Saturday, December 31, 2016

Morning's Still Working . . .

I'm still waking up early to write every morning, but "early" has taken on quite a fluid meaning during the holidays.

Also, I've noticed an uptick in readership over the last couple of days. Who out there is reading this (as if I didn't already know). So, as a sop to my fan(s), I'm rededicating myself to journaling. You can thank of curse me later.

To that end, I'm writing about what could have been my favorite book of 2016. During my hiatus from writing here, I've finished quite a few books. Throughout 2016 I've read the following:

The Stand by Stephen King - What a great walk down memory lane (see here).
The Manchurian Candidate - Great book, but you could watch the movie and get the same thing (see here).
Four to Score by Evanovich - My fave for rainy day quick reads. It's eerie how much she's modeled her love interest(s) off of me (see here).
Icon by Frederick Forsyth - Even better than Red Storm Rising (see here).
Jack Reacher Running Blind - No comment. Just a time waster as so many of his are (see here).
The Third Deadly Sin - I've spent too much time telling this audience about my favorite author, but I'm sad that this will be the last new book of his I'll ever read (see here).

But among all the books I've read this year, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (see here) is hands down the best of the bunch. 

The first line is actually one of the last lines, so by posting the first line here, you get a two-fer:

I am writing this for you. My enemy. My friend. You know, already, you must know. You have lost.

North, Claire - The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August 

After that introduction the story starts and starts quickly:
The second cataclysm began in my eleventh life, in 1996. I was dying my usual death, slipping away in a warm morphine haze, which she interrupted like an ice cube down my spine.

Like my favorite sci-fi author, Vernor Vinge (see here), Claire North does and outstanding job of creating a believable alternate universe. In this case it is alternate universes. The crux of the story is that Harry gets to relive his same life over and over. Easily the most intriguing thing I've ever read if only because it makes one think of all the things that person would do differently. The story wanders a bit, jumping back and forth from one life to another but always showing that journey toward the cataclysm. One of the most fun and entertaining books I've read lately. 

I love what must have been the impetus behind the story, finding a religious teaching or obscure idea, interpreting it into modern times and providing a structure and rules to it that make sense and completely engross the reader. Then taking even that a step further and adding a plot, characters and story line that is just as compelling as the world that has been created. 

But still, I loved it most for the thoughts and fantasies it inspired in me. Sure there are those who will disparage the idea that lives can be re-lived just the way you want them, to them I say "pshaw!" And one thing I loved most about this novel is that it showed that those people who you loved and liked in one life continued to be the same people no matter the life you find yourself in. 

So jealous of Harry and his ability to relive his life. I now hope that when I die I wake up and find myself reborn just like he does.