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Archive for February, 2012

Found out I could access this at work again.  I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do so, but for a short while, at least, I can post a bit more than I have.  It is a bit of a struggle to always have to hunt for Internet access somewhere.

I wrote a short story yesterday, a fairy tale.  It started out as one of my Christmas stories, but I didn’t like how it was going.  Then I thought to make it one of my ‘Great-Aunt’ tales and it worked out great.  A kitten gets a Pepto-Bismol colored coat for Christmas and deliberately loses it.  After a few revisions, I can use it as this year’s Christmas story.  Or not.  I did a Great-Aunt Christmas story last time.

Over the weekend I read a story by G.A. Henty, a British author born in the 1800’s.  The story, and I can’t recall the title, reminded me of one of Horatio Alger’s work.  In it, Henty’s book, a boy who is orphaned improves his lot and becomes manager of a coal mind.  I went looking on the Internet for more stories and found most of his stories are historical.  They are free for Kindle so I got one.  I have to tell my mom she now has two books on her Kindle.  She may or may not read them, heavy on the may not since she has issues with the Kindle.  She’s fighting using it.  Considering she’s about read every single paperback in the library system she might want to surrender.  The other book I put on, also free, is by Karl May.  He’s a whole other post.

Monday and Tuesday night I reread one of my manuscripts.  It needs a lot of work.  I didn’t really have a complete story line when I wrote it and I never went back to reread, just wrote, wrote, wrote.  It shows.  Still, I think it has a lot of potential and it’s funny.  I just wish some of my characters had shown up earlier.  In my revision, they will.

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Killer cars. Killer domestic robots. An uprising of robots and mechanical things.

I had this on my list of books I wanted to read and finally managed to snag it from my local library. The book starts at the end of the war between robots and humans. Cormac ‘Bright Boy’ Wallace and his unit find a device that has recorded the history of the war and it is that history that fills the following pages.

My first thought, when I began reading the history, was ‘I don’t like it when chapter comes from different viewpoints.’ Well, forget that. I got so sucked into the story it got so I couldn’t wait for the next chapter to hear about someone else’s experience. Some characters return in later chapters allowing the reader to see how they fair during the war.

When I first heard about the book I wondered if it would be like Terminator. It isn’t. It’s not just robots that go out on killing sprees, but elevators, dinosaur toys, mobile mailboxes, a gas refueling trucks. If it’s it go a chip in it and the it gets the ‘virus’ it becomes a human killing machine.

Don’t think that the book is all gore and killing, it isn’t. It’s about survival, about people working together to save the human race. The characters interweave with one another although few actually meet. There’s the elderly gentlemen in Japan with his robot girlfriend, the daughter of a congresswoman who is altered by the robots, the teen in London who goes from harmful pranks to saving lives.

This was one of those books I didn’t want to put down and it has a title I’ll remember forever even though I can’ hardly pronounce it aloud without twisting my tongue. Robopocoplyse, try saying that three times real fast in a row.

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I went to the library today, like I do just about Saturday and started looking for books for my mom.  She didn’t feel well enough to come along so I had to hope I didn’t get anything she’s already read.  By now I’m pretty good at selecting books, at least I think I am; she might be lying to make me feel good.

She can’t hold hardbacks very well anymore so I always aim for the paperbacks.  Today, as I was browsing and old beef of mine cropped up:   books that don’t tell you what they’re about.  I picked up a promising book, turned it over, and encountered blurbs of praise.  “This is the best book ever!”  “Wonderfully written, best book of the decade!”  “Chillingly written, you’ll remember it forever.”

Okay, several people think it’s a good book.  But what is it about?  There’s not a hint of a clue.  Is it a mystery?  Romance?  Horror?  C’mon people, give me a teeny clue.  Anything.  Write, ‘this is great mystery.’  Write, ‘this is the best historical novel to come alone in anyone’s lifetime.’  Just one teeny, tiny clue.

But there’s nothing.  So, I slide the book back onto the shelf and move on.  What might be the best book ever, may be the worst book my mom ever wanted to start reading.

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I picked this up because it was on display in the public library and it perked my interest. While there are no autistic students at myhigh school, I do know several families with a child who has autism. I also recently read Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork which is also written in first person although Marcelo has an Asperger’s like condition and not autism.

I found this book quite educational.  Jason, the 12-year-old boy in the story, can’t tell exactly who people are. Is the lady in the library the librarian or the dental assistant? He reasons she is the librarian because she is in the library. Structure is very important to him and he can’t tolerate noise well. It made me think of how I should act when I’m around someone with autism. It made me think of how I did act around a child with autism and didn’t know it. In the early 90’s, my sister and I were at Mt. Rushmore. We were taking pictures and this boy kept popping up in our way, standing, inches away from the camera. We muttered how rude he was. A woman, his mom maybe, said he had autism. We felt awful.

After reading this book, I thought not only of the Jason, but of his mother, and of the lady at Mt. Rushmore. How must she feel having to explain her child over and over again?

I enjoyed the humor in Anything But Typical. One part that sticks out is that the family practicing sitting in an airplane to prepare Jason for his flight to a conference. Once at the airport, as they made their way to the gate, Jason thinks that maybe they should have practiced walking through the airport instead since it not only made him nervous, but his mother.

Jason is a writer. His insights and explanations of literary devices will help those writers who read his book young and old. Writing is his way to connect to others, the neurotypicals, or NTs.

One thing I would have liked was a reader’s note to explain how the author prepared for this book. Is there a family member with autism? Had she worked with people with autism? Did someone with autism give her some insight?

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