Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Passage

The PassageMy wife purchased this book through a book club a few months back and I finally got around to reading it. The Passage also happens to be on the top 100 books to read by Amazon found here. She thought it would be right up my alley, but since I started The Stand and this was said to be similar to that book I thought I'd give it a little time before attempting it. But here I am, finished with a new book and still working on buttoning up the other huge novel. It was probably worth jumping ship though.

The Passage is part story and part fictitious history lesson. You follow a few groups of people throughout the novel that's locale varies from Colorado to California. In fact, some of the story happens right around where we're presently residing. It was nice to hear about Thousand Palms, Banning, and the wind farms. Back to it, the story is about a potential cure-all turned weapon by the American government. That weapon is released, accidentally, and ends up bringing the eventual end of the human civilization. It really is a cross of I Am Legend and The Stand. It's still it's own story even with the similarities. The 700-page book spans about 100 years and rarely feels like it. ;-)

It's a well written book. Cronin does a good job describing the scene and the emotions of the players. You don't need a huge imagination for his writing. I did have a little problem seeing the characters as little more than teenagers even though I believe they were mostly in their mid to late twenties. Maybe I just glossed that over.  LOL, that just made me think that this is almost a vampire Red Dawn! Doesn't that make you want to leave the book alone... and that's not my intent. If anything the book is worth the read, but I wasn't happy with the ending. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but it was left a little more open ended than I would have preferred. Perhaps Cronin is looking at doing a sequel, but I would like to know how it all went on. *sigh*

Rating: 7 CB's - good book; couldn't put it down; want real ending.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends of West Texas Music (Brad and Michele Moore Roots Music Series)Most people, whether they are into music or not, have heard the catchy tunes of Buddy Holly at some point in their lives.  They remain an influence on many artists of varied genres even today.  His untimely death (with other promising musicians) is often referred to as the Day the Music Died.  But for the musicians, songwritters, and artists of his hometown, the music never stopped.  This is the topic of my latest read: Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends of West Texas Music.  The book is a compilation of interviews with twenty-five artists who came from or drifted into and were influenced by Lubbock, Texas - the home of Buddy Holly. 
My interest in this book is based on my lifelong love of some of these very artists: Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, and Terry Allen.  But it is amazing just how many artists are from the flatland that makes up Lubbock's landscape.  Although I have never spent any time in Lubbock, I feel I know the story: small town hoping to be something bigger, but never qutie making it.  All the trappings of the Bible belt: a church on every corner and bars on the outskirts of town.  The struggle to find something to pass the time, to make a way out of town, and the sense of home that draws you back when you leave. 
The legacy of Buddy Holly went almost completely unnoticed by the citizens of Lubbock (until the Chamber found out it was a moneymaking venture) and many of the artists of Lubbock have gone mostly unnoticed by mainstream anything.  Nonetheless, that is just how most of them would want it.  They do it for the love of music, not to make money.  I am so happy that Chris Oglesby took the time to record some of these stories. 
If you are uninitiated in the music of West Texas (or Texas in general), this book is a great starting point.
Rating: 6 of 7