jeepgirl77 (jeepgirl77) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books for July


The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Pages: 144


In December 1995, Jean-Dominique Bauby, the 43-year-old editor of French Elle, suffered a massive stroke that left him permanently paralyzed, a victim of “locked in syndrome.” Once known for his gregariousness and wit, Bauby now finds himself imprisoned in an inert body, able to communicate only by blinking his left eye. The miracle is that in doing so he was able to compose this stunningly eloquent memoir.

In a voice that is by turns wistful and mischievous, angry and sardonic, Bauby gives us a celebration of the liberating power of consciousness: what it is like to spend a day with his children, to imagine lying in bed beside his wife, to conjure up the flavor of delectable meals even as he is fed through at tube. Most of all, this triumphant book lets us witness an indomitable spirit and share in the pure joy of its own survival.

This was a compelling book. At times quite sad and occasionally rather humorous, Bauby takes the reader on a journey through a life that is irrevocably changed in the space of seconds. This book challenged me to reassess the things I find important in my life and realize that every moment is precious and should be lived fully.

Books completed: 14/50
Pages completed: 4,141/15,000



Speaking in Tongues by Neil Gaiman


In Speaking in Tongues, Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Neil Gaiman reads a selection of his own stories and poems:

Instructions "is a poem about what to do if you find yourself in a fairy tale. It is guaranteed to work."

The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch "is a mostly true story, and it has several real people in it, although I have made no attempt to imitate either Jonathan or Jane while reading it. This is about the only time I've ever written a story around a painting - in this case a Frank Frazetta painting of a woman and a sabre-toothed tiger that was the cover image of the magazine in question."

The Price "is more or less true. At least, the narrator in both of these stories is pretty much me, the house is my house, the cats my cats, and the family is my family."

Daughter of Owls "was based on a sculpture by Lisa Snellings of a girl surrounded by owls. I knew the story immediately, but didn't have a clue what the voice of the story was. I tried it as a poem, and it was terrible. So I wrote it in the voice of a marvelous writer, John Aubrey, and was happy."

The Sea Change "was also inspired by a Lisa Snellings statue, this one of an undersea siren. I wrote it in a tiny mews house in Earls Court, with the beaches of my childhood in my mind, remembering the rattling noises that the sea made when it dragged down the pebbles. It was Kipling who called the sea the "old grey widowmaker", and it's a name I'll not forget."

Books completed: 15/50
Pages completed: 4,141/15,000


Telling Tales by Neil Gaiman


A collection of stories written and read by Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning author Neil Gaiman:

A Writer's Prayer "was written shortly before I began American Gods. I knew the first two verses when I began it, and the conclusion was there when I reached it. This is why I love writing."

Harlequin Valentine "was originally written as a short story. Lisa Snellings made a Ferris Wheel with strange creatures in each car, and writers wrote stories, one for each character. I was given the showman, a little Harlequin who took people's tickets."

Boys and Girls Together "was written in a hotel room in Boston. It rained outside, and I was certain I was telling the world something very important."

The Wedding Present "is a story hidden in my book of short stories, Smoke and Mirrors. Some people who have copies of Smoke and Mirrors have skipped past it, and do not know that it was there. Do not tell them."

The End "is the kind of thing I find on my hard disk from time to time - small, gentle apocalypses that I do not quite remember writing."

Books completed: 16/50
Pages completed: 4,141/15,000



Blockade Billy by Stephen King
Pages: 132


Even the most die-hard baseball fans don't know the true story of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely. He may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, but today no one remembers his name. He was the first—and only—player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game's history.

Every effort was made to erase any evidence that William Blakely played professional baseball, and with good reason. Blockade Billy had a secret darker than any pill or injection that might cause a scandal in sports today. His secret was much, much worse... and only Stephen King, the most gifted storyteller of our age, can reveal the truth to the world, once and for all.

This was a quick and easy read and one of the more enjoyable books I’ve recently encountered. King’s use of a narrator telling him the story works, and it works well. I loved all the little details of the game and how it was back in the day when the guys played for the love and of and not the crazy cash deals. I’ll definitely be reading this one again.

Books completed: 17/50
ages completed: 4,273/15,000




Tags: biography, fantasy

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