Category Archives: Literature

Short Story: Can’t Sleep

It is 1am.

I think I am losing my mind.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have walked by the front window to see if your car was in my driveway.

My constant checking of your social media pages has become obsessive.

My work is suffering. My mind wanders too much.

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Short Story: Three Years Later

I didn’t think it was her at first.

The bar was busy, but it was at that time when people started to leave to either head home or find some late night food.

She was standing with two other female friends, finishing off their mixed drinks.

My buddy elbowed me asking me if I was ok. Apparently I had been looking off into the distance for some time. I was, in a way. It felt like I was looking at my distant past. It had been three years since I had last seen this girl, now a woman.

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Short Story: The Appointment

I have an appointment this evening with Evelyn White.

I would hesitate to call it a date, as there is some business we need to attend to.

Evelyn currently resides at 210 Montgomery Avenue, which is only two blocks off of Main Street.

Cold Springs is what someone might call a lovely little town. It has a postcard-esque main street filled with people and, as such, I decide to walk to Evelyn’s from the train station.

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Short Story: The Man, The Mountain, and The God

The old stories always told of the mountain.

The mountain where the god lived.

In some of the stories, he was kind.

In others, he was vengeful.

Which of the stories was true, the man wondered.

He had asked this question aloud once, at a harvest feast when he was a child.

The elders gave him a scolding look.

“We do not question the ways of our god”, they told him.

“Why not?”, was his retort.

Being quickly shuffled by his mother back to his bed, he never got an answer.

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Book Review: The Boy Who Drew Monsters

Last year I began my own tradition of reading a horror/thriller book around Halloween. Consider it my way of mentally getting into the season. The first book I read was a classic; The Shining by Stephen King. It was an exciting read and I couldn’t wait to read another creepy kind of novel when this recently passed Halloween season came about. I was planning on reading another of King’s novels, perhaps Carrie. However, I settled on reading a new fiction book I saw on the shelves of Barnes & Noble while book shopping a few weeks ago.

I was captivated by the title and cover of The Boy Who Drew Monsters, as it seemed to be perfect for what I wanted to read. The brief plot description on the back also helped in pushing me to buy the novel by Keith Donohue.

When it finally came time for me to read it, I was excited to see what kind of psychological thriller would unfold before me. Every chapter my anticipation grew and grew. Then it grew some more. Then my excitement, and even my interest, began to wane.

Don’t get me wrong, Donohue is a skilled writer. The main characters became well developed as the story progressed, as did the story itself.

The novel revolves around the Keenan family. Specifically, the story is about the single child of that family, Jack Peter Keenan. Jip, as he is referred to by his father, suffers from a severe form of Asperger’s. Jip’s condition, as well as his fear of leaving the house after nearly drowning a few year’s earlier, is taking a toll on his parents. His father still holds out hope that his son can overcome and even outgrow his current state, while Jip’s mother seems resigned to the fact that he will only get worse and will need more help then her and her husband can offer.

Th extent of the stress of caring for Jip, as well as the difficulty it took conceiving him, compounded with a serious indiscretion carried out by the father years earlier is very evident in the relationship between husband and wife.

As can be deduced by the book’s title, Jip somehow has the ability to draw creatures that come to life to haunt him and his family, as well as Jip’s closest and only friend, Nick. How Jip can accomplish this is never really explained which, in my opinion, detracted a bit from the book.

In any case, in a town that is rumored to be the location of a horrible shipwreck who’s unfortunate victims haunt the land, the Keenan’s make their home.

The combination of emotional and mental fatigue from a damaged marriage and caring for a son with serious needs leaves the Keenan family nearly helpless to the frightening onslaught of monsters that can only be created through a child’s overactive imagination.

What was supposed to be a dream house, and a dream life on the shore in Maine, turns out to be something much darker than anyone could have imagined.

As I was saying earlier though, despite the premise and character development being intriguing, I believe the book lacked the creepy build up to a big frightening moment(s).

Having said that, the ending of the novel and the startling plot twist revealed, more than made up for any issues I had with the rest of the book.

Overall, The Boy Who Drew Monsters, is a very readable and well developed book that will leave your jaw dropped in the ending pages.

I would certainly recommend you give this novel a read!

Book Review: The Name of the Wind

A few weeks ago, we published an article that listed five books on our wishlist. Last week, we reviewed a book on the list, LexiconThis week The Motley Experience reviews another book on the list, one that we were very excited to read. The Name of the Wind is the first in a three book saga by Patrick Rothfuss called, The Kingkiller Chronicle.

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The Name of the Wind is the debut novel by fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss. As stated earlier, it is the first in a series of three books that make up the saga of The Kingkiller Chronicle. The plot of the story revolves around the main character, Kvothe, telling the true story of how he came to be known as the legendary figure known across the lands. He tells his life story to a scriv, or storyteller/reporter, that has come looking for him. For when the book begins, Kvothe goes by the name of Kote, an innkeeper in a small village.

As if the mystery of how the son of a wandering troupe became both a famous and infamous figure and then a quiet innkeeper in a peaceful village isn’t enough to grab your interest, then the world the story is set in will be. The time period and setting is similar to that found in Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings, more so the former. As it is a fantasy series, there does exist magic and unbelievable stories and mythology. However, Rothfuss crafts the world in such a way that, although still fantasy, the “fantasy elements” are more believable than most cookie-cutter fantasy novels. There is magic in the story, however not the kind of fantastical magic seen in Harry Potter. This magic is more routed in science and in transfers of energy and of knowing the true names of things that those knowledgeable in the field want to control. There is a similarity, thought, to Harry Potter in that to gain this knowledge, one must be accepted into the University where they are taught math, science, reasoning and logic, and sympathy (“magic”). The most experienced are then taught how to call upon the names of elements around them.

Without giving away too many spoilers, young Kvothe dreams of attending the University to learn the name of the wind and how to wield the powers of sympathy. Although extremely talented and exceptionally bright, Kvothe must endure unimaginable obstacles and setbacks. It is through these trial and tribulations that, together with his natural abilities, Kvothe becomes a man, and a legend.

I spent the past few days reading this book and had trouble putting it down once I became invested. It may be a slow start for some, however once all the important characters and setting have been introduced  you become swept away. There are not many action scenes in the sense of battles and war. Instead, what captures your attention is the story of a young boy growing into adulthood, with all the troubles that brings in addition to all the other aforementioned obstacles Kvothe must overcome. The writing style is also what captivated me as it is simply wonderful. The Name of the Wind was a true joy to read and I will definitely be picking up the sequel, A Wise Man’s Fear, very soon.

Book Review: Lexicon

In a previous article, we listed five books on The Motley Experience’s “wish list”. One of these books was the highly acclaimed novel by Max Barry, Lexicon.

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This is a science fiction novel that reads as a thriller. The premise of the story is based on an organization of people that are talented in the art of persuasion and linguistics, called “poets”, and what happens when they attempt to teach an undisciplined girl from the streets, Emily Ruff, their methods.

Their title as poets comes from their ability to manipulate words to unlock another person’s mind to being open to persuasion. Think Jedi mind trick. This art form is not new, rather it dates back to the beginning of man. Old stories and myths of magicians and sorcerers, even biblical stories such as the Tower of Babel, are based on the acts of these persuaders.

Without spoiling too much of the novel, the majority of the story follows the (mis)adventures of Emily Ruff, renamed Virginia Woolf, on her quest of trying to learn as much as she can about persuasion. This, as well as other conflicts and storylines in the book, centers around the discovery of a bareword; a word so powerful and ancient, that those who see it are completely and entirely at the whim of the possessor. That is, except for one person, or outlier, who seems to have some sort of natural resistance to persuasion tactics.

The novel is easy to read and is fast paced. Some of the plot twists can be a tad bit predictable. However, as a whole, Lexicon is a wonderfully exciting book that will captivate your imagination…. or persuade it at the very least!

Books to Look Out For

Normally, on a Monday, The Motley Experience provides readers with a book review. 

The books reviewed are always read by The ME staff before being written about.

This week we will take a different approach and list some novels, old and new, that are on our Wish List.

Included are also the reviews published by the publishers.

Please take a look at the five books listed to hopefully get an idea of what to add to your own reading wish lists!

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Book Review: The Crash Course

 

“The next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty years.

The world is in economic crisis, and there are no easy fixes to our predicament. Unsustainable trends in the economy, energy, and the environment have finally caught up with us and are converging on a very narrow window of time—the “Twenty-Teens.” The Crash Course, by Chris Martenson (Phd),  presents our predicament and illuminates the path ahead, so you can face the coming disruptions and thrive–without fearing the future or retreating into denial. In this book you will find solid facts and grounded reasoning presented in a calm, positive, non-partisan manner.

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