book review: Crash

I finished reading this Crash by J. G. Ballard a few weeks ago, but I was thinking about how I felt about the book.  The writing style is interesting – it has a dream-like quality to it, as if reading the story put me into a trance.  If you have seen the movie, the movie does a good job of capturing this quality.

However, I couldn’t empathize with any of the characters because I didn’t like any of them.  I also couldn’t relate to the subject matter of the book.  The characters in the book  have a sexual fascination with crashes.  The more gruesome the crash, the more it seems to turn them on.  There are slight variations of this between the characters – one is obsessed with movie stars crashing, one is interested in a guy who loves gruesome crashes.  I can see the metaphor.  By being in a crash and being damaged, you’re being transformed physically and you share a bond with other crash victims.  I still can’t relate to getting turned on by blood spurting out and dismembered people.  The subject matter is disturbing but the writing style was so different.  J. G. Ballard hits you on the head with shocking sexual perversion but he does it by taking you into a dream, which seem to be two opposites, but he somehow makes it work.

I’m not quite sure what to make of it, but I suppose that making readers think is one of the marks of a great writer.  All the same, I’m not in any hurry to read more J. G. Ballard books.

Book review: The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden

Don’t let the title fool you – even though it’s called “The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden,” I found this book to be full of useful information for any beginning gardener.  There were many tips for how to maximize vegetable yield in a smaller area (go vertical), but there was a section in the book about how to  make sure you have enough nutrients in the soil and how much of each vegetable to plant (for example, 1 artichoke per person but 12 asparagus plants per person).

I thought I would skim through this book to just read the sections that interested me, but I ended up reading the book from cover to cover.  It was so helpful and interesting!  I loved everything from the sample gardening plot plans to the different variations of plants to the “typical problem” section for each vegetable.  It does everything from teaching how to compost to providing tips for natural pest remedies.  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  Buy it if you are thinking about starting a vegetable garden!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Book review: The 13th Gift

The 13th Gift was an easy, fast warm-your-heart holiday memoir about a family who is spending their first Christmas without the Dad, who died of a heart condition.  Presents start appearing 12 days before Christmas with cards that contain modified versions of the 12 days of Christmas song on them from “true friends.”  The gifts are small items like a poinsettia, candles, etc., – little gifts that remind the family of Christmas.

The author did a nice job of portraying the pain and anguish that her family felt.  She also was very honest about how she didn’t want to celebrate Christmas and how even buying presents for her children were difficult.  It was interesting how, once the author started getting into the Christmas spirit more, she encountered more people who were willing to help her (furniture store) instead of rude people (guy in the parking lot).  At the very end of the book, the author does finally track down the “true friends.”

This book is exactly what you would think it would be.  It was fun to read and I’m glad that there are good people out there who help others without any recognition.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.