Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My advice is to read this before they make it a movie.  Because I'd bet a substantial number of dollars that it will be made into one in the near future.  Also, I will be going to see that movie.  Unless of course they cast Leo DiCaprio as the lead, and then they're going to need to give away free popcorn to convince me to buy a ticket. Well, actually that may not be true.  That's how much I liked this story.  I liked this story enough to watch the King of the World! over-emote all over it.

There's magic (like, for real magic), intrigue, a circus (obviously), romance, and a lot of characters in this book. Not to mention a substantial number of pages- 501 by my iPad's count- but worth every page.  I downloaded the book on Thursday evening, did my best to ignore my children even while they weren't feeling well, and finished the book on Wednesday.  So 500 pages in 6 days as a geographically single mother of two small children; another glowing endorsement.

The story centers around Marco and Celia, strangers who have been pitted against one another in a magician's duel of sorts.  Except here the magic is real and it's disguised as illusion.  Marco and Celia know they're in a competition but they don't know any other rules, or even who their competition may be, for a long time.  The orchestrators of the competition are two powerful magicians with different philosophies on instruction, one just happens to be Celia's father.  What Marco and Celia don't realize is that the winner of the competition is the one that actually endures the competition:  the one alive at the end is the victor.  That is not to say that one of the competitors has to kill the other, just that one has to be strong enough to outlast the other.  It's an odd competition, but I liked it anyway.

The scene of the competition is Le Cirque de Reves.  The circus of all circuses, it's done entirely in black, white and silver.  It shows up overnight without advanced warning, operates from sundown to sunrise, and has a magic all of its own.  As Marco and Celia (both attached to the circus in different ways: he is the assistant of the circus proprietor and she is the circus illusionist) realize the competition is to be played out there, they both realize and acknowledge one another as an opponent.  What follows is the addition of amazing elements to the circus.  He creates an ice garden as a "move" in the competition, to which she replies with a charmed carousel. They both must create and maintain these magical places within the circus, while at the same time never truly revealing that is in fact magic powering these spectacles.  During the competition they fall for one another.

There are many other story lines and the book jumps from place to place/period to period with descriptions of the elements of the circus interspersed between.  It could be tedious and overwhelming, but the magic of this book is that it's not tedious and overwhelming.  I wanted to go to this circus (and I'm not all that big on circuses).  I wanted to know about the other characters (and there are quite a few).  I wanted there to be a happy ending for everyone involved (and if you read this blog, you know most of the books I read are not considered uplifting).  And most importantly for a lover of books and stories, I didn't want this book to end.  Now I'm kind of stuck in a book hangover - after that last book it's hard to find one that I think will compare.  If I had a hard copy of the book, I'd be passing it around for others to read.  Sharing books is about as magical as I get.  So go check it out.  Then let me know if you'd be a reveur too. Pin It

Monday, September 26, 2011

Marked by Elisabeth Naughton


That sums up my reaction to Marked by Elisabeth Naughton.  I bought it because it was described as a steamy paranormal romance, but it hit two of those categories (paranormal romance) better than the other (steamy).  And those two hits? They left me underwhelmed.  This isn't a bad book, but I won't go back for more.  That disappoints me because I love to discover new authors. 

The paranormal premise is twist on classic Greek mythology where a parallel land, Argolea, is protected by a group of guardians descended from Achilles, Heracles, Jason, Odysseus, Perseus, Theseus, and Bellerophon.  The hero is one of those guardians, and he comes to our world on a mission to save his betrothed.  Alas, he falls for our heroine (his betrothed's half-sister) who he thinks will die if he completes his mission.


The paranormal is underwhelming because it takes a well-known mythology and just, well, messes with it. None of the other world characters are endearing.   So, yes, underwhelming.

The romance is underwhelming because it's what I call a"Civil War" romances.  You know? The kind where the Southern belle falls for a Yankee officer, and politics, and war, and family allegiance keep the two lovers apart.  These romances are full of angst.  I am not, by nature, an angst-y girl, so I find "Civil War" romances annoying.  A hero who falls for someone he's committed to kill or defeat or humiliate is a lousy set-up for happily ever after in my book.  So, yes, underwhelming.

And the steam?  It mostly wishful.  After all, when the Civil War keeps lovers apart, they can only dream about making steam.

But if you like the turmoil of "Civil War" romances, feel free to check it out.  The reviews are nicer than mine.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

So I'm typing this with a toddler on my lap.  He's cute and he's got some crazy hair, but he's not so hot at dictation.  I'm currently ready The Night Circus and am digging it quite a bit.  It has a nice mix of eccentricity and intrigue.  However, my reading keeps getting interrupted by my children.  They're so rude.  It's not like they can't take care of themselves; they are, after all, 4 and 1.5 years old.  They should be able to cook their own meals and entertain themselves.  As it is, they make me do that stuff for them and that's why I'm reviewing a children's book today.......well, really a children's author.

For anyone who has small children or knows someone who has small children or knows someone who will be buying for small children (Lord, how many small children are there?), I recommend pretty much anything Sandra Boynton has written.  Our current favorite is Moo, Baa, La La La!  It's our favorite mostly because it allows us to make fools of ourselves when imitating animal sounds.  It also allows my 1.5 year old to shake his teacher finger and say "No, no!" which is very exciting when you're one and half.  This particular story is actually more of a list of animals and the noises they make rather than an actual story but seeing as the target audience is little humans, I think that's just fine.  All of Ms. Boynton's books have an easy flow of words; almost always rhyming but not in an obnoxious fashion.  The books are not long, so that's a good start for littles with attention issues.  I can get my two to sit for an entire round of Pajama Time!, no problem.  These books are cute and fun.

One of the things I like about Ms. Boynton's books are her illustrations.  Ranging from barnyard animals to monsters who steal and then fix your birthday fun, they all have cute somewhat whimsical drawings.  Even more exciting than that is the frequency of silly songs in the books.  Snuggle Puppy and The Belly Button Book have my favorite songs, and as my daughter grows older she has yet to abandon the songs from these stories.  Possibly more exciting than that is that Ms. Boynton's board books (Which are an invention from heaven when dealing with little humans; our books have taken a swim, been run over, been attacked by Oreo, been the rope substitute in an unfortunate tug-of-war circumstance, and although they don't look new, they can still be read and loved.  And I have no idea why Oreo went all DEATH TO BOOKS! that day.  He has since come to an accord with all literature in our house.  It is a golden age of peace.) are now part of a larger franchise.  I have the Moo, Baa, La La La! app on my iPod Touch.  There are song books and recordings of the songs as sung by various celebrities.  There are family planners and calendars featuring Boynton illustrations.  She's everywhere and I can't say as I don't think she doesn't deserve the success.  After all, her books made me want to type a review with a toddler on my lap.  Even while he shakes his teacher finger at me and says "No, no!"

Check out the awesome at her official web page!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Want to judge romance?

Do you like romance novels?
Do you like free books? (I can't believe I asked that.)
Are you opinionated?  (That's probably why we're friends.)

Here's a link to the National Readers Choice Awards sponsored by the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America.  They're looking for judges.

I signed up!  Let me know if you did, too! Pin It

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Oh boy.  Where do I start?  I set out to read A Reliable Wife because I saw at least five people reading it on my flights to and from Illinois this summer.  Couple that with the fact that my kids would have some new and exciting entertainment for a few weeks (aka grandparents), I decided to give it a try.  I then forgot about it and it got buried in my e library not to be heard from in months.  Foreshadowing, anyone?  Those of you who regularly read this blog (we LOVE you, by the way and are planning some contests in the near future) know that it's Sarah that usually reads the depressing, sad books.  She would LOVE this book.  Here's why:

The book is set in rural Wisconsin (yay, Midwest!) in the early 1900's.  A man, Ralph Truitt, places a want ad in a Chicago newspaper looking for "a reliable wife."  Ralph has had the most unfortunate of lives, including an abusive childhood, tumultuous marriage, and the subsequent death of his first wife and daughter.  Plus, his only living relative, his stepson, refuses to have any contact with him.  Just about the only thing he has going for him is that he is extremely wealthy and can afford to place an ad in a paper looking for a reliable wife.

A seemingly simple, reliable woman answers his ad and arrives by train to her new life in Wisconsin.  Ralph showers Catherine with material wealth, trying to find peace and yearning to live out his remaining years being loved by a woman.   As the tale unfolds, we learn that Catherine has had a most depressing life of her own and comes from the streets of Chicago where she eked out a living as a "companion" for men.  The two make an interesting pair but their relationship turns tragic when Ralph becomes sick.  There are so many disgusting moral plot twists in this book, you should read it for yourself if you are interested.  I don't want to give too much away, but I literally read the last 75 pages with my mouth open.  How can one man to be so unlucky?  How can so many people in one family be so dysfunctional?  Where do they all find such copious amounts of forgiveness?  How can Sarah read so many books with such sad, heartbreaking undertones? 

I will say that it was nice to take a break from my normal genre and read something that evoked such different emotions.  My mystery/tough chick/crime spree dramas and my young adult fantasies don't usually make me shake my head in wonder.  Nor do they make me say a little prayer of thanksgiving that my life turned out the way it did.  Geesh.  But, my normal genres DO usually make me want to read more. Quite often I  find myself wanting more.  More books.  More mystery.  More fantasy.  Not so with this book.  No more Ralph and Catherine and their miserable lives.  Please.  It's JUST.TOO.SAD.

I also understand that this type of literature has a place.  It is no less of a work of art than any other novel.  Not everything needs to be a crime drama or full of vampires and wizards.  But the next time I am on plane, I'll be the one with my head down engrossed in my mystery about vampire crimes against wizards (Hey...that might actually make a good book!).  I'm boring that way.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs

Dear Kathy Reichs,

We need to talk.

First, I'd like to tell you that I love your Temperance Brennan series.  I read a lot of murder mysteries, especially in the sub-category of police procedurals, and you write a mean one.  Flash and Bones is no exception.  In fact, much about the plot and character interactions make it one of your betters ones.  Because Tempe is a forensic pathologist, her experience and wisdom can be used in ways that seem pretty dry to me.  Flash and Bones with its missing persons case elements involves a lot more outside-the-lab investigating; it's hard to lecture on skeletal forensics when one set of remains is confiscated by the FBI and two sets of remains are discovered late in the tale.  That keeps the more pedantic elements of some of Tempe's adventures absent from in this one.

I'm giving a thumbs up to this book despite its NASCAR elements.  I'm not a race girl.  But who can resist a mystery that starts out with a body encased in asphalt in a metal drum and found at a landfill?  And, really, who can resist a cryptic tale of confiscated remains, two missing persons, poisons, a possible federal conspiracy AND white supremacists?   It's a really good book because it doesn't even seem like too much to consider for one story while you're reading it.

Like I said, I'm a fan.

But that brings me to my second point.  As a fan who's read all the books in the series and also faithfully watches Bones* on Fox, I feel like I've got a vested interest in how the series continues to develop.  So for the sake of plausibility and continuity, stop messing around with Pete and Charlie and NASCAR security guys; get Tempe and Ryan back together**.


I was wildly unamused when Tempe implied that Ryan was a philanderer.  She's MARRIED in what must be the longest, dumbest, most drown-out divorce in the history of the written word. Ryan offered her a commitment.  She refused.  Therefore, she gets to pass no judgments (especially inaccurate ones) on Ryan.

This is not a romantic tangent of mine. This is a comment on the procedure of presenting police procedurals.  Pete is annoying and adds no value to the stories.  Charlie is a flat, poorly-developed character introduced in my least favorite Tempe book of all times***.  The NASCAR guy was a one book character. (I hope).  Ryan, however, is a cop.  More importantly, he's a cop who likes Tempe and appreciates her input in police matters.  Ryan provides Tempe plausible involvement with police investigations, gets her outside of her lab and away from the pedantry.

And, of course, he's hot.  But that's a side issue.

In every police procedural on TV that is not based on a character created by Kathy Reichs, the medical examiners get, at best, two scenes per episode--once at the scene of the crime, once in the morgue. That would make for a limited set-up for a crime solving medical examiner, but in order to expand Tempe's scope there needs to be a reason a cop lets her tag along. A good reason.  (These stories are too good for sloppy logic.)   Love works for me.  It should work for you, too, but if it doesn't consider the shared history and hours that Tempe and Ryan have logged.  You know they work well together.  Let them continue to do so.

I know this is a matter of opinion, but, as I said, I'm a fan


*Bones is based on the Temperance Brennan character from the books.  Beyond sharing a name, profession, and good storytelling, there is little resemblance between TV Tempe and book Tempe.

**From the beginning of the series, Tempe has been separated from her husband, Pete.  I try to pretend that he doesn't exist.  Charlie is an old-flame who has tried to rekindle youthful interests.  I try to pretend he doesn't exist.  The NASCAR security guy is a pivotal character in Flash and Bones.  He's new, and from here on out, I'll pretend like he doesn't exist.  Ryan is a cop in Quebec.  He's pretty.  He speaks French.  He loves a strong, smart woman.  I try to pretend I'll meet him someday.

*** I will not name this book because, in my mind, it doesn't exist.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Full Dark No Stars by Stephen King

OK.  Blogger and I got into a fist fight and we'll see if I won by virtue of whether this post actually gets published.  I am very strong.  And my computer has very short arms.  So it wasn't much of a fight.

I just finished this book last night.  I've said it before and I'm saying it again:  Stephen King is an excellent story-teller.  This is a book of four novellas, and much like his other collections, I enjoyed them all.  None of the stories here deal (all that much) with supernatural or other-worldly beings that made Stephen King one of the most read horror authors.  It's because of that absence that I think these stories are scarier.  Knowing that these things can happen - and probably do happen to a certain extent - make the fear almost tangible.  But don't worry that it's too scary; you can always put it in the freezer if you need to.

"1922" tells the story of a farmer in an uneasy marriage.  When his wife decides they need to sell the farm and move to a city, the farmer convinces his son that they need to kill the wife/mother.  They manage to do so, but allowing the darker part of his nature to take over - however briefly - has permanent ramifications for the father and particularly the son.  The son grows up in ways that a parent hopes their children never even become aware that is possible.  I'm not sure what it is about rats that fascinates Mr. King, but I sure wish he'd leave them alone.  Of course, not as much as the farmer in this story wishes Mr. King would leave them alone.  Suffice to say it ends badly for all involved.  But whether or not there is a real ghost in this ghost story is a matter of interpretation.  Sometimes the mind creates powerful illusions.

"Big Driver", in my opinion, would have made for a great novel.  The characters could easily be developed into more than presented.  An author goes to a book signing event not far from home, but on her way back becomes stranded in the middle of nowhere.  Help arrives not too long after she realizes that she has no cell phone service.  Unfortunately "help" comes in the form of a serial rapist and killer.  Assaulted and left for dead, she manages to make her way home.  Rather than going to the police, she decides it would be easier to deal with the situation in her own manner.  Turns out there was more to the book signing than mingling.  The author discovers enough information to realize that her assault was a family affair (there's plenty of fodder there for half a novel - easily).  I won't give away everything, but "Big Driver" doesn't make it out on the road anymore.

"Fair Extension" was tough to read.  Mostly because I wanted there to be more moralistic overtones, but that's just not how it turns out.  In this story we read about an average man with an ordinary life who is facing down aggressive cancer.  He has a steady job, a loving wife, good kids, and a fast-spreading cancer that will probably take his life in less than a year's time.  He's out for a drive when he sees a curious roadside vendor set up with nothing to offer on his table.  He starts talking to the vendor with the assumption that the man is crazy, particularly since the man is offering him a 15-20 year extension on his life.  As the talk continues, it comes up that the extension isn't free.  It'll cost our average man 15% of his earnings during the extension and a name.  The money seems a small price to pay, but the name is more costly.  Seems that one can't get 15-20 in the black without putting someone else 15-20 in the red.  Eventually, after a week's trial of good health and amazing MRI results, our average man makes his first payment in the form of a name....the name of his best friend since grammar school.  There are all sorts of reasons why he chose his best friend, but for me it all boiled down to pettiness and jealousy.  Tragedies and misfortune begin befalling not the best friend in particular, but the best friend's family.  His wife dies, his middle child loses his cognitive abilities as a result of a heart attack, his daughter suffers from odd health maladies, his business is audited, his business is investigated by the EPA, a trusted employee embezzles 2 million dollars, his oldest is arrested for domestic abuse, the list goes on.  Meanwhile our average man regains his health, gets a promotion, goes on exotic vacations with his loving wife, watches his children grow up to become successful and happy.  And that's pretty much the story.  I was hoping for guilt.  The kind of guilt that makes you a little crazy.  The kind of guilt that makes you give away everything you own.  Instead, the average man is almost smug in his satisfaction with how life turned out.  And that's the scariest part.....there's probably that kind of average man in all of us.  We could probably all be the kind of person who can enjoy a "fair extension" without the guilt.  I don't every want to meet that part of me.

"A Good Marriage" was actually something I thought about when the BTK serial killer was caught.  A man had been a good husband and father, an upstanding part of a community, and at the same time he was a man who bound, tortured, and killed people.  When they caught the man who did that, I wondered if a person could live with a serial killer and really not know anything about it.  Even before I read this story, my answer was "yes."  A woman in search of batteries for the tv remote stumbles upon a box in a garage.  The box leads to a hiding place.  The place leads to the identification of a woman whose body had been found recently; another victim of a serial killer on the loose.  Twenty-seven years of marriage, of raising children, of Boy Scouts, of steady and reliable work as an accountant, of coin-collecting, of being a mild-mannered husband and diplomatic father were cast into a different light because the batteries in the remote were dead.  And that's all I'm going to say.  You have to read it to find out the rest.  That is if you can keep it out of the freezer. Pin It

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crush by Alan Jacobson

Have I mentioned how much I love my new nook?  Yes, I said new nook.  And yes, that makes nook number three in one year.  I love to read and my husband loves to buy things that plug in and look fancy, so voila!  I have a new nook. It also means that he got to have my nook color so really, it was a win/win.  At least that's what he's telling himself.

My first objective with my new nook was to clear off some of the books that had just been laying around on my home screen not getting read.  Crush was first on the list.  Had I known it would was so suspenseful, I would have read it much sooner.  When I first downloaded it, I remember having reading a quote from
James Patterson that said, "Karen Vail is as compelling a character as any created by Patricia Cornwell, or yours truly."  High praise.  Patricia Cornwell's character Kay Scarpetta is my all-time favorite female character so I just had to read this for myself to find out!

I wouldn't go so far as to say Karen Vail is as compelling as my girl Kay, but she is a close second.  As an FBI profiler, mom and all around down-to-earth chick, Karen Vail is pretty much who I want to be when I grow up.  In this particular novel, she finds herself thrown into the middle of a brutal murder while on a mandatory vacation.  It turns out her last case (I didn't know this was part of a series or I would have started with the first mom would be wagging her finger at me if she ever found out) was especially wicked, messed her up a little in the head and the department ordered her to take some time off.  In Napa.  With her handsome police boyfriend.  Without her kid. I was starting to get a little jealous of Karen until she rolled up on a dead body during a tour of a winery. Bummer.

Karen's nature dictates that she cannot just go about her way and finish her vacation.  This murder has all the markings of a serial killer and catching a serial killer is what she does best.  Thanks to her understanding boyfriend and a local police force that eventually recognizes her expertise, Karen stays on to help.  She races against the clock to outsmart the killer and prevent the bodies from piling up.  What she didn't count on was the killer using the safety of her son (who stayed back in Virgina) to get to her as a way of trying to derail her from the case.  As a professional, Karen is cool under pressure.  But as a mom, she is human.  This case shakes her to her core and causes her to question her career choice on more than one occasion.

 I liked the suspense element of this book...A LOT.  I haven't read a page turner like this in quite some time.  The plot takes some pretty sharp turns and has a surprise ending that I did not see coming.  I love that quality in a book.  I will admit that I feel hoodwinked and naive for a little bit, but then I get over it and dive right into the next book.  I also thought the author did an a thorough and informed job weaving the intricacies of the wine country/industry into his book.  It was evident that he did his research and he did it well.  Reading it made me want to visit Napa and all of those fabulous wineries! 

If this had been a stand alone work and not one in a series it would have been a perfect pick for me.  Alas, I will be spending some time backtracking and reading the rest of the Karen Vail series...just not in order.  Please don't tell my mom.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood

(This should have gone up last night.  We'll just pretend that bloggers get Labor Day off.  'Kay?  Okay.)

Once upon a time, Julie Garwood wrote historical romances--really funny, really sexy historical romances.  Once upon a time, Julie Garwood was probably my favorite romance author. Once upon a time, I fell in love with an entire list of romance novel heroes from Julie Garwood books like The Bride, The Lion's Lady, and Guardian Angel.

I miss the good ol' days.

In days of yore, Ms. Garwood didn't write contemporary novels.  In days of yore, the sheltered, wide-eyed outlook on life of Garwood heroines didn't seem out of place and out of context. In days of yore, I didn't read a Garwood and wish for more.

I really miss the good ol' days.

The Ideal Man didn't stop me from reminiscing about how good Julie Garwood books once were.  It's not a bad book, per se. reviewers gave it three stars out of five.  That's fair.  It's just that I would have rated most of her historical romances as 4.5 or 5 stars out of 5.

But I'll pull my head out of 1991 and get back to the book at hand.

Dr. Ellie witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent and meets Special Agent Max as she gives her statement.  Her accidental viewing of this crime makes her the shooter's next target, so Special Agent Max travels to the Carolinas to provide protection for her when she goes home to attend her sister's wedding.  The instant attraction they both noticed intensifies as they're forced to spend time together dealing with Dr. Ellie's crazy family and multiple threats to Dr. Ellie's life.  (She has a long-time stalker to worry about as well as the new threat from the shooter.)

Dr. Ellie and Special Agent Max are both interesting people with a believable mutual attraction.  Unfortunately, the quick development of deeper feelings is a little harder to believe, the ending is a little abrupt and pat, and Dr. Ellie's family members are more annoying than quirky.  That said, it's a completely innocuous book that provides the Happily Ever After that most of us look for in romance novels.

It's just not like it was in the good ol' days.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Before I even begin my review, let me just say that the new Blogger interface is fancy.  And pretty.  And makes me nervous that I'm not doing something right, so let me know if this doesn't post in English.  Also, before anyone asks, I have not seen the movie.  I've seen clips and know that it's considered by many to be a classic, but I've never seen it in its entirety.  So Stanley Kubrick has in no way influenced this review.

The first thing I found interesting about this book, was the note from Burgess explaining the reason for reprinting A Clockwork Orange in 1995.  Apparently the original version of the book (as published in the U.K.) had 21 chapters.  The later American version had 20 chapters.  The last chapter, in which our narrator, Alex, sort of matures was not published in the U.S.  This American version is also what Kubrick used as his vision for the film.  So if you've seen the movie, Mr. Burgess would like you to know that it's not the entire story.  I'm also pretty sure he'd like you to buy the reprint from 1995 so he can continue to make some money. 

I'm not sure I can say I liked this book.  Then again I definitely didn't dislike it.  It's a pretty quick read once you become accustomed to the language.  There are some big themes to work with and it's an interesting writing style, but I have some issues with the main character.  The book begins with Alex as the head of a group of young, well.........thugs I suppose is the right word.  He and his friends spend their evenings drinking (milk with knives comes up quite a bit and I took that to mean a drink laced with some sort of designer drug that brings out the desire for senseless violence), robbing, assaulting, raping, and consequently running from the highly ineffective law.  They aren't the only gang out and about.  It seems that in this time and place, the night is ruled by youth willing to beat down anyone who dares to venture outside of (and eventually not even venture outside) their home.  One of the first scenes involves the group of friends beating up an old man walking home from the library. 

The violence continues to escalate.  The is in-fighting amongst the original group of friends.  Alex eventually gets arrested and is thrown in jail.  Though he is young his crimes are grievous, so he is treated as an adult in his sentencing.  While in jail he pays lip service to reform and then takes part in manslaughter.  Alex is then picked to be a part of a new therapy designed to permanently reform even the most violent of offenders.  He is to be an example and an answer to the growing violent trend in what was once a civil society.  They give him a drug and force him to watch ultra-violent footage for hours at a time.  This eventually elicits a strong involuntary response from Alex.  Every time he is in an environment of confrontation, he becomes physically ill to the point of incapacitation.  He's deemed reformed and released back to society. 

However that isn't as great as it seems either.  With the crack-down of the police and the rumor of this new treatment, crime rate has gone down considerably.  People are no longer afraid to go out at night.  Alex's old gang is no longer functioning as one member is dead, one is now on the police force, and another's whereabouts is unknown.  Alex tries to go home only to find his room being rented out.  He is brutally beaten by an old friend - all the while unable to defend himself.  His story becomes the example of a political movement that feels the current "state" has over-stepped its bounds.  Eventually, Alex is returned to his original mental state.  At that point he tries to return to his old ways.  That's the end in America.

In the U.K., Alex becomes dissatisfied with the violence.  He runs into an old member of his original group in a coffee shop.  His friend has grown up, gotten married, and is having children.  Alex yearns for a baby.  He wants to do more than destroy, he wants to create and nurture.  And that's the end in the U.K.  I guess my biggest problem is that Mr. Burgess spends 20 chapters following Alex (who NEVER apologizes to or shows proper respect for his own parents........and he whines quite a bit for a guy who regularly knocks people's teeth out) in his immature ways, only to give us one chapter in which Alex shows even a hint of understanding that life might be bigger than just what Alex wants.  Even at that, Alex seems to want a baby for what it means to him and not what it would mean to anyone else.  He doesn't go through the emotions of wanting to find a partner - a woman that he might respect and love - and then what they might create and nurture together, but rather he grabs onto the idea that he wants a kid to show him things.  That's still pretty self-centered.

This is not my favorite book, but I'm glad I read it. Anyone think I should see the movie? 

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