THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE

oceanNEIL GAIMEN

Gaimen has given us a dark dream of a novel, at times a nightmare. The forces of good and evil fight over the heart and soul of a seven year old boy. It is also about the fleeting and changing nature of memory. The narrator returns to his childhood home for a funeral. He is drawn to return to the house at the end of the lane. As he sits by the ocean that looks at times like a duckpond or a pail of water, childhood memories flood his consciousness. When he was a boy a horrible darkness was released in the neighbourhood when a man committed suicide in his family vehicle. Luckily he had the protection of the three women who live in the house at the end of the lane. Lettie, his friend promised to protect him no matter what would arise, was a couple of years older than him but had the wisdom of the ages. Her grandmother Mrs. Hempstock and her mother Old Mrs. Hempstock have amazing skills. They could even take time apart and sew it back together in a new and changed way.NeilGaimanSandman

Ocean is a must read. It is the type of book you can read in a single session it is so intriguing.

CHE: A Graphic Biography

cheSPAIN RODREGUEZ

Everyone is familiar with the iconic photo of Che (Esterno Guevara). It is on t-shirts, posters, movie marquees and the list goes on. It is known all over the world. But while most people recognize his picture they don’t understand his background and why he is famous. Most don’t really understand what his picture represents because it means different concepts to different people. Rodreques graphic bio is a great way to fill in those blanks.

Che wasn’t Cuban thought it was in Cuba that he was a revolutionary leader and later a government leader in health and education. He was born in August, 1928 in the Argentine city of Rosario to an educated and middle class family. In medical school he took special interest in leprosy and allergies, the later because he was asthmatic. When he was dumped by a woman from a wealthy family he took a much celebrated motorcycle trip through much of South America where he learned much about racial and class inequality. He published a book che4

Che is an easy read and good history. Well worth the time to catch up on some of the history of South America and the U S involvement.

MUMBAI NEW YORK SCRANTON

shopsinTAMARA SHOPSIN

Shopsin is a professional illustrator  and her simple illustrations and her husband’s photographs help bring to life this memoir of life and possible death. It begins in India: “There are people still sleeping on top of parked cars and trucks. Taxis and dogs are everywhere. It is dirty, noisy and loud. The crowds are thick between crumbling buildings, battling overgrown trees. Mumbai is hard-f cling core. I love it. I’m overwhelmed and within three hours of walking need a nap.” Through out her time in India her fatigue grows far beyond jet lag. You know something is wrong. When she is back in New York she helps at her father’s famous restaurant as well as works on “illos”, her abbreviation for illustrations. But even then falls asleep when shopsins 2she sits down for a break.

The memoir is written in simple declarative sentences, a style that works well for Shopsin. It is an easy read that is well worth the time.