Another update

So far, for research, I’ve read the first volume of Shelby Foote’s Civil War: A Narrative (a fascinating ground-level view of the war) and Grant Goes South by Bruce Catton (a biography which focuses exclusively on his service during the first years of the American Civil War), and I’m currently reading Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson, and listening to Grant by Ron Chernow.  

On the subject of the co-venture, my wife and I are discussing how best to approach them. We have decided to make them compatible, though they can be seen as independent reads. 
That’s all for now.

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An Update and a tease for my #SecretProject

Since my last post a lot has happened in my life. My wife quit her job so she could go to school full time. She has since graduated from Cosmetology school, but in the meantime, we had to cut back on expenses (Internet and Netflix were first to go). I’ve been so focused on work, I let my best of intentions of maintaining a blog fall to the wayside.

So what’s new? I’ve abandoned my plans to finish James Clavell’s Asian saga as I found myself actively hating each book more. I have not yet gone on to the second book in Megg Jensen’s Cloud Prophet trilogy (sorry Megg!), but I did finish both The Shining and Pet Sematary (no reviews, except both are well worth a read). 

I have also been maintaining an Author page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/JonathanBrettKennedy/), where I have been teasing a Secret Project. 

To keep this from being a completely useless update, I will reveal to all two of you reading this blog that my Secret Project is a co-venture with my wife, and it is an alternate history set against the backdrop of the Post-bellum era. It will be a five year project the two of us will undertake, and will result in two separate books, as each of us had a different idea while watching a documentary about the American Civil War, which sparked an all night conversation where we discussed mainly the story she will outline, and we will both write. For my idea, we’re doing the opposite. As of now, the two books may, or may not, contradict each other. We’ll have to decide what is best for each narrative. 

Once things get settled down again, I will be back to giving semi-regular updates, reviews, and nonsense. Until then, I offer you this time-traveller I spotted in Fishers, IN.

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Cartoon

Illustrator unknown, please contact me if you are the creator so that I may properly credit you

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Holy Fuckballs!

If you’ve been following the news or watch SNL, you’ll no doubt be aware that President 45 has surrounded himself with Nazis, Sexists, Homophobes, and Fools. 

President Bannon (different than his puppet President 45) has his agenda (I’ll discuss that in another post, but look at this: 

TIMELINE (for those too lazy, the link is where I obtained my info, and it is a direct copy of what follows, and I have verified most of the info through sources linked below)  
December 29 – President Obama announced sanctions against Russia and ousted Russian diplomats. 

December 29 – Flynn made at least 5 calls to Russian ambassador 

December 30 – Putin announced he will not retaliate invites American children to Kremlin 

December 30 – Trump praised Putin in tweet for his reaction and sucked up to Putin 

January 13: Flynn’s calls to Russia were reported 

***January 14: Pence said oh Flynn just called to tell Russia Merry Christmas (it wasn’t Christmas in Russia) ***

January 15: Pence went on Fox News and said it was Christmas not sanctions that Flynn talked to Russia about (Five times? he called them to say Merry Christmas five times?) 

January 2? – Yates and US Intelligence warned Trump administration that Flynn is lying 

January 30 – Trump fired Yates 

February 13 – Washington Post broke news that Trump has known for weeks that Flynn was lying. Kellyanne confirms that she had been working on this for weeks. That the story (that Flynn called to say Merry Christmas five times) was no longer “sustainable.” 

February 13 – Flynn resigns.

—–

President 45 KNEW that Flynn was lying, Conway knew he was lying, and it’s reasonable to assume others knew as well. 

 This is no longer a Right and Left matter. It’s not a difference of Policy. This is a matter what is best for our country. 

President 45 must go! 

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote-A Review

I’m a delivery driver by profession. As such, I’m in my car quite a bit, and I use my time in the car to listen to audio books. It’s no problem to finish most stories in a week’s time, and even longer books can be made enjoyable with the proper narrator. 

Before listening to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, my knowledge of the story was Truman Capote wrote it, Audrey Hepburn was in the movie, and Deep Blue Something wrote a song about the film. And my only prior exposure to Capote’s work was the film version of In Cold Blood and the movie Capote (the one with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener). 

So I was untouched, a virgin to the story, unaware of what to expect.

In 1943, our unnamed narrator meets Holly Golightly, a beautiful woman that makes a living from her looks and suckering men into paying for everything. She seems flighty, but underneath, she is quite calculating. Capote wastes no time in letting us know she is not a character to admire, but to detest.

But just as quickly are we made known of this fact do we forget it because Capote’s lyrical sentences help to mold a mythical creature that stands on par with the Sirens that Odysseus encountered. Even those savvy to her ways repeatedly fall under her spell.

Once I finished this story, I had to pull over for a few minutes to absorb everything. The story could have ended no other way, but I still felt a tremendous sadness.

I, too, have fallen under Holly Golightly’s spell.

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Anathema by Megg Jensen-A Review

In book one of the Cloud Prophet trilogy (and book one in the larger Song of Eloh Saga), we are introduced to Reychel. She is a slave in the house of Kandek, her master. She is also forbidden to see the sky, except for when she has private meetings with her Master. No one knows why she, alone, is forbidden to see the sky.

It is this mystery that drives much of the first act of the book. Until the reveal, which is more of a “oh, cool” moment more than a “WTF?!” moment, it is enough to keep the reader (or, in my case, the listener) from putting the story aside.

And once the story starts rolling, it doesn’t stop.

It’s easy to see where the author received her inspiration. Anathema has many Star Warsian elements, but it’s not a ripoff of the story. 

Ahem.

Instead, Ms. Jensen seems to take select ideas from Episodes 1, 4, and 5, and crafting them into an original narrative. And best of all, there’s no JarJar.

Now, a bit of padding to make this review longer. I’ve owned this book since it was released way back in 2011. I purchased it after meeting the author at a book signing. Now, after six long years, I have finally read the book, and am off to discover how the tale ends.

(after I finish the next fucking James Clavell book, of course).

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Shogun by James Clavell-A Review

A few weeks back, I wrote about challenging myself to read all of James Clavell’s Asian Saga. And every word of that remains true. 

Shogun is vast in scale, beautiful in its description, and absolutely frustrating in its conclusion. I’ve already said all of that in my last post. So why the need to write a review? 

(Hint: look at the title of my page) 

John Blackthorne is Pilot of the Erasmus, a Dutch ship, with Royal papers to attack any enemy ship. Before the story begins, the crew has attacked several ships, raised settlements in the Americas, and decided to set sail for “the Japans.”

The prologue of this massive book is set aboard the Erasmus, in the final days before the arrival. Blackthorne is lamenting about the voyage, and the onset of scurvy amongst the crew. It’s beautifully written, and instantly draws us in, allowing us to know the protagonist we will spend the next three weeks of our life with. 

The main narrative opens with Blackthorne waking up in Japan. He has been stripped of his clothes, cleaned, and bandaged. A female attendant comes in, bringing food. They converse, and thus the book continues to mislead the reader. The conversation is the setup for a gag that takes 100 pages to pay off, but it’s extremely well done. 

In fact, the first quarter of the book, as long as we are following Blackthorne, Omi, and Toranaga, the story flows amazingly well. But Clavell has a tendency to get bogged down in the details. In the first 300 pages, there is a large passage of a tertiary character’s thoughts about her mother-in-law. The reader already knows the woman is a bitch, we don’t need ten pages of an internal monologue about the ironic nature of the daughter-in-law eventually becoming the woman she loathed. 

And it only gets worse, because Clavell does this for every fucking character. The only thought the reader is not graced with is when they need to defecate. There is a lot of pissing, though. Including a scene where Blackthorne is pissed on. 

Around the 1/3 mark of the book, the reader is treated to the essence of the plot: how Toranaga maneuvers his way to become Shogun. For character study, and a primer on the Japanese culture and language, the novel is worth a look. As a story, it is overly padded and makes me want to scream at the author. 

Sadly, James Clavell passed away in 1994. Sadder still, Anita Blake is not real. I will be in need of a Necromancer at the end of this 6,000 page journey. 

Fortunately, the next book in my queue will offer a slight reprieve before my continued literary self-flagelation. 

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