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Michael's Book Babble

I'm an indie author and a scribbler of inane babble. I talk about books I've read/liked. Or at least, that's the plan.


Most of the reviews will be considered "mini-reviews." Usually, it's mostly my reaction to what I've been reading. There are people who are far better at doing full and helpful reviews. But I still have fun doing them, and hope you enjoy them!

A Sad Thanksgiving Holiday For Us

— feeling sad

I’m sad to say that we had to put our cat Butters down today. He was 10 years old. He’d become very sick a few days ago and when we took him to the emergency vet, we learned that he had a whole bunch of other problems. To keep it short, he wasn’t going to have a very comfortable life if we chose any of the options the vet gave us, and as much as we love our pets we can’t ever, ever do that to any one of them. We’re just thankful we were able to catch it on time, and make sure that Butters got a peaceful send off, which doesn’t happen very often when it comes to pets.


Happy to say I got to know him a good majority of his life. In fact, my wife knew I was the one when he accepted me the second or third day I was over. And if any of you know Butters… he doesn’t accept ANYBODY outside of her. He’s terrified of strangers. But he took to me pretty quickly.


We are sad and we are bummed, but I am so grateful we were able to give him a wonderful life with us. I’m beyond happy we were able to let him go peacefully. He’ll always be a part of us.


A first for me...

For the first time ever, I had to delete a book review on here.


A few months back I reviewed Al Franken's latest book which I gave it a glowing review because at the time I loved it, and I loved the guy.


But due to recent allegations against him involving sexual misconduct, I've decided to delete the review.


Okay, now with that ugliness is out of the way, I can go back to writing reviews about fiction (sometimes), post drunken posts, or just be a stranger for months. Ya know? The usual for me!

Our newest family member

On Sunday we rescued a tuxedo kitty from an animal shelter. Meet the latest family member, Bighetti (or "Big Head").



We named him after a character from Silicon Valley, which I'm obsessed with currently.


So for those of you keeping track at home, we now have three cats and a dog....





An exciting, horrific, and at times charming epic

It - Stephen King

I think I’ve mentioned this in previous updates, but for the longest time I avoided Stephen King’s It. It just seemed way too intimidating. I don’t do well with long books. I quickly lose interest, and it’s almost always never the fault of the author. As soon as I’m reading a book, I see another in a bookstore and go, “Oh! I want to read that one. NOW.”


Took me until I was thirty-five to finally give the book a go, and I am really, really glad that I did. It is a sweeping and engaging epic. Heartwarming, funny, and terrifying. The interesting thing is I found the actual horror elements the least interesting. Sure, I loved It when it was in the background, but when the kids and adults finally come face to face with It, that’s when I wasn’t nearly as interested or invested. I was far more engaged by the children and their relationships with one another.


And the history King paints for this town. AMAZING. Some of the best stuff apart from the kids is the history King goes into. And he has to, because the town is very much the story. The town isn’t simply a town. It’s a major character. DERRY IS IT.


As much as I enjoyed the novel, there were a few times towards the end of the book where I thought it went off the rails. Without getting into spoilery territory (although I imagine at this point I was the only human on this chaotic planet who hadn’t read It), the kids end up having to do… something to get out of the tunnels. An adult version of one of the kids makes mention of this, and I remember blinking my eyes several times and saying, “Whaaaaaat?” I thought surely I’d misheard. Or perhaps it wasn’t meant to be literal. Maybe it was more of a metaphor. But then you get to that part and OH NOPE IT AIN’T NO STINKIN’ METAPHOR IT REALLY HAPPENS. (Also, reading Chuck Wendig’s Damn Fine Story, he even mentions this in his footnotes which warned me that, yes, this most certainly happens). I get what King was trying to achieve with this, but it just felt wrong and out of place to me. And I actually read this section as fast as I could to get it done and over with.


Be warned animal lovers… there are some really, really tough and horrible scenes involving animal murder and torture. On the plus side, we get to see what happens to this person who’s causing the murder and torture, and it was insanely satisfying.


To help me get through this monster of a book, I listened to the audiobook which is superbly read by Steven Webber. He does an amazing job. Highly recommended. Even if you’ve read the book, you should listen to his reading. It’s masterful.


I loved Stephen King’s It. Will I ever read it again? Hard to say. It really is long, and like I said I don’t do well with long books. But I am really happy that I finally got around to reading it. Definitely can see why this is so many people’s favorite book by him.


4 stars

"How's Annie? How's Annie?"

Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier - Mark Frost

Holy crap.




Mark Frost's Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier answers so many questions after the revival, yet still leaves plenty of mystery for us. Of course, you have to decide if you want to find out some of these answers, or if you'd like to keep wondering.


For this book will answer a bunch. It's more of a wrap-up than anything. We get to learn the fates of so many characters. And we also have plenty of theories that are either confirmed, or completely destroyed.


Do you want to know the truth about Audrey Horne, or have a better idea of her fate? Want to know who that little girl was that swallowed that weird bug monster way back when in New Mexico? What about those final moments of the revival?


If you don't want any confirmation, then you may want to keep away. But if you're a fan and can't get enough, then I highly recommend it. It's a lot easier to digest than Twin Peaks: The Secret History. This book is presented as a number of FBI reports written by Agent Tammy Preston and has more of a straight-forward narrative than the previous.

The audiobook is less than three hours long, which means the book is most likely a very quick read. This will only appeal to those who are a fan of the show and who have seen Twin Peaks: The Return.

Frost doesn't answer everything, and truth be told I wouldn't want him to. But he does offer a lot more than Lynch does. So it's all about preference. If you're more intrigued by the the mystery of certain things and certain events, then this may not be for you. But if you want to know more... step into the strange and wonderful Twin Peaks just one more time.


Oh. And how's Annie? How's Annie???!!

5 stars

Reading progress update: I've read 1091 out of 1477 pages.

It - Stephen King

Patrick Hockstetter.


Holy crap.


This section of the book was BRUTAL. I'd heard rumblings about how screwed up that kid was. We only caught a glimpse of him in the new movie, which is a shame. Although I truly don't know how they could've pulled off what he does in the book in the movie.


I honestly was this close to giving up. I almost had to stop reading/listening because it's so, so brutal and vicious... but I'm glad I didn't stop. Because... well... what ends up happening to him was extremely satisfying.

Random Babble 10/19/17

It’s 4PM and I’m drinking a glass of wine while listening to Slipknot BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT GROWNUPS GET TO DO DAMMIT.

Truly Wonderful

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin

Damn, is this book charming. And heartbreaking. It’s been a while since I’ve read a novel that can affect me the way this one did. I didn’t even know a thing about it, which is why I’m very reluctant to say too much about it.


Also, I’m terrible at story summaries.


This book was such an excellent and wonderful surprise. Each chapter is introduced by a title of a short story selected by A.J. Fikry, and he also scribbles down notes for each one. The who and the why for these notes… you’ll find out.


I don’t recall ever reading a book that made me say, “Dammit, this is charming!” so many times. And there were also moments where I felt absolutely devastated. I don’t want to say more for fear of ruining anything.


I know. I haven’t said much about the story. Again, the reason I loved this so much is because I went into it blind. I was intrigued by the idea of chapters being introduced by short story titles and A.J.’s critiques. I am and always will be a lover of short stories, so that’s probably why this book spoke to me so much.


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a wonderful achievement. Beautiful, funny, heart-breaking, and painfully honest.


While this book wasn’t published this year, it is my favorite read of 2017. I cannot recommend this enough.


5 stars

Reading progress update: I've read 1021 out of 1477 pages.

It - Stephen King

Holy crap... that beating Eddie took from Henry. That was so fucking uncomfortable. I had a hard time reading that part. It felt so real... but that’s what King does best. He makes you care for these characters so you’re scared as all hell when something terrible like that happens to them.


Switching between listening to the audiobook and reading this on my Kindle. It’s the perfect book to read on it because it doesn’t feel nearly as intimidating since you’re not holding that humongous book in your hands (I still bought a hardcover because I wanted it for my collection).

Reading progress update: I've read 204 out of 272 pages.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin


I was going to refrain from posting another update on this as it would just echo my previous updates about how damned charming this book is.


Screw it.







Reading progress update: I've read 817 out of 1477 pages.

It - Stephen King

Wow, I wonder if we’re going to see Beverly’s husband in Part 2 whenever it comes out. He’s absolutely horrifying and all sorts of terrible.


I knew she was in an abusive relationship thanks to the mini-series, but they really brushed over that in the made-for-TV movie version.


It’s way, way, WAY worse in the book.


Oh, and I’m still loving every bit of this. (If that wasn’t painfully obvious)

So we saw IT tonight...

...and it was amazing! Simply amazing!


Of course, they had to cut out and change a lot. But for the most part, the changes really work. And kudos to Bill Skarsgård! He had some giant shoes to fill, and he was excellent. Bummed we didn’t see him all that much in this, but then again I also admire the fact that the movie didn’t overuse him.


The kids are fantastic. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. (especially the kid from Stranger Things)


While it wasn’t exactly jump-out-of-your-seat scary, it was certainly creepy enough.


Loved it. Loved it, loved it, LOVED IT. And that’s saying something because I’m usually harsh on the movie adaptation of anything I’m currently reading or have read.

Go see it. Bring your friends! We all float down here.


We. All. FLOAT.



Random Babble 10/3/17

Slipknot gets a bad rap about being dark, negative, profane, etc. They’re a band I’ve been listening to since high school.


There’s a great quote in the very first song of their latest album, The Gray Chapter:


”Don’t let this fucking world tear you apart.”


If there wasn’t a better quote for this year. Holy crap...


And yeah, I’m on my second Knob Creek for the night soooo....  :P

Reading progress update: I've read 609 out of 1477 pages.

It - Stephen King

Holy crap!


Dick Hallorann appearance! Dick Hallorann appearance!!


(okay, you may go back to whatever you were doing)

Random Busty Picture 10/1/17


It’s been a while since I’ve posted a picture of Buster. So here ya go! :)

Reading progress update: I've read 162 out of 272 pages.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin

I think I’ve mentioned how charming the damn book is, right? I did, right? Okay, just checking.