Monday, April 3, 2017

Weird Friends and Strange Books

I've got some strange friends. Not that the people in and of themselves are strange, mind you. What I mean is I've got some very close friends that I wouldn't normally gravitate towards, but because of circumstances throwing us together, we ended up becoming best buddies. Opposites do indeed sometimes attract.

And it's the same for books. There are some titles I wouldn't have normally picked up, but for whatever reason did, and now they hold a special place on my bookshelf.

Mark Mynheir
If I'm going to grab a book, it's either going to be historical, YA, or sci fi. This isn't any of those. This is a story of a washed up detective in modern day Florida. Why do I like it? Honestly, I don't know. The hero, Ray Quinn, just kind of grew on me. I think he reminded me of several cranky male teachers I've had throughout the years. I keep waiting for him to put out more, but he hasn't yet.

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game--until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’ s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case--to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth--at any cost.

Mary-Ann Kirby
I live, eat, and breathe fiction. This one isn't. This is a freaking biography. But it's so interesting that I couldn't put it down. Here's a blurb:

I Am Hutterite takes readers into the hidden heart of the little-known Hutterite colony in southern Manitoba where author Mary-Ann Kirkby spent her childhood. When she was ten years old her parents packed up their seven children and a handful of possessions and left the security of the colony to start a new life. Overnight they were thrust into a world they didn't understand, a world that did not understand them.

Before she left the colony Mary-Ann had never tasted macaroni and cheese or ridden a bike. She had never heard of Walt Disney or rock-and-roll. She was forced to reinvent herself, denying her heritage to fit in with her peers. With great humor, Kirkby describes how she adapted to popular culture; and with raw honesty her family's deep sense of loss for their community. More than a history lesson, I Am Hutterite is a powerful tale of retracing steps and understanding how our beginnings often define us.

Controversial and acclaimed by the Hutterite community, Kirkby's book unveils the rich history and traditions of her people, giving us a rare and intimate portrait of an extraordinary way of life.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
This is a really strange read and NOT for the, umm, sensitive or easily offended crowd. Okay, let's just say it's rated R, shall we? Why do I like it so much then? Probably because it continually throws surprises at the reader, from line drawings to interesting paragraphs that make you think.

In Breakfast of Champions, one of Kurt Vonnegut’s most beloved characters, the aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.

So, what about you? Any strange reads to recommend?


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