An Action Adventure: The Templar Legacy

Happy Friday everyone! We’ve made it to the end of the week. And since there is a lot of Friday-ness to celebrate, I thought a quick little review might be nice just in case you are in need of some weekend reading recommendations.

Vitals- 

Title: The Templar Legacy; Author: Steve Berry; Genre: Fiction

The Gist– An action-packed adventure about lost treasure and the Knights Templar.

What Stuck A new take on a secret brotherhood’s story that never gets old. I never get sick of this tale and Berry gives it a new angle making it all the more interesting.

Should you give a flip?- Yes.  If you liked The DiVinci Code or the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, this is going to be your kind of book.

Book Graduation

My departure from young adult fiction was rather abrupt. When I was in seventh grade I found that I had out grown the Boxcar Children books, and I was up-to-date on Harry Potter; eagerly awaiting the next book.  But that left me with the conundrum of what I should read in the meantime. At this particular time, the young adult section wasn’t the expansive place it is now.

So after some initial hesitation, my mom recommended Chromosome 6 by Robin Cook. She thought it might fill the void that I was currently experiencing.  She had read it many years before and thought it might interest me.  She was right.  I loved it.  It had adventure and mystery and my favorite…science. I proceeded to read almost every other book Mr. Cook had published.  I became fascinated with forensics and couldn’t get enough of Patricia Cornwell’s novels either.  There was a distinct time period that I had my nose stuck in a Cook or a Cornwell novel at all times.

It showed me I could not only get through a fair sized adult book, but it could be really good. I realize that Harry Potter books are quiet girthy themselves; however, Chromosome 6 wasn’t really meant for my age group that made it a bit intimidating. Nevertheless, it drew me into the story, and if I could read one there had to be so many more.

My teachers didn’t seem to mind.  At least I was reading of my own volition.  As time went on I broadened my horizons ever so slightly.  I read some Doyle, Christie, Dan Brown.  But I must give a lot of credit to that first book.  Had it been bad I can’t say that I would be the avid reader I am today.

And I discovered my reading also had unexpected perks.  Every Friday in Social Studies we played a trivia quiz bowl.  The teacher would split us up into teams and then there were different categories that we could choose from.  And each category had questions that were worth different amount of points.  Obviously the higher the point value, the harder the question.

My team decided one Friday to go for the goal and choose Arts and Literature for 80 points.  The question was to name the main reoccurring character of Patricia Cornwell novels. Without even thinking, I simply looked at my teacher and said, “Dr. Kay Scarpetta.”  There was an instant flash of hatred in the eyes of my teammates until Mr. Krambeer’s lips quirked into a smile and he said, “Correct.”

I think that day was a real win for nerd-dom.  My classmates didn’t think quite as little of me and my reading as they once had.  And it was probably the first time my free reading knowledge had been useful.  It was reinforcement that all reading has merit.

I don’t read many books these days like those of Mr. Cook or Ms. Cornwell.  I may have over done it in high school.  But they will always be remembered with a nostalgic softness because they made a difference at a critical time in my reading career.

Plot Twist Coping

It was late last year when my aunt informed me of an awesome quote she had seen while scrolling through Pinterest.

“When something goes wrong in your life. Just yell, ‘Plot twist!’ And move on.”

This advice was particularly helpful as Scott and I were planning our wedding. And I put it to more recent use when we were informed earlier this year that we wouldn’t be able to re-new our lease and would have to find a new place to live.  We had two and a half months to attempt to buy a place.  We knew that once it was over it would be a funny experience; however, in the moment it sucked.

But I can now speak from experience, it really does help to suddenly shout, “Plot Twist!” when all hell breaks loose.  It tends to get a chuckle or at the very least a weird look, and ease the tension.

A Little Extra Love

In my last post, I gave a quick review of The Little Paris Bookshop. I acknowledged that I could go on-and-on about this read and one of the reasons was due to its elegant prose.  Ms. George seems to have the ability to say things in ways that make me envious.

While I loved this book, I almost did not post a review because it’s one of the rare books I’ve read and enjoyed so much that I’m afraid to share it.  I’m afraid to shout to the world about this book for fear that people will not like it nearly as much as I do.  This thought is quite unbearable to me.

However, I feel that not telling the world is just as unjust.  Thus, I wrote the review, and I have decided to take it one step further and technically break my own rule about book reviews and over-pontification.  But what are rules without an exception or two?

I do not wish to spoil the plot, character-development or all the wonderful verbiage, but I would like to offer a taste.

From the very beginning, George sets a standard of striking comparisons.  A character tells the protagonist, “You are cashmere compared with the normal yarn from which men are spun.”  I will fully admit that it’s lines like this that make my eyebrows meet my hair line, and my head cock to the side in interest and intrigue.

The story, as mentioned in the review, is an emotional one and probably relatable for most of us who have loved and lost. Perhaps that’s why for me certain lines seemed to ring so true.

“It’s amazing how unimpressed people are by being loved when it doesn’t fit in with their plans.  Love irks them so much that they change the locks or leave without warning.”

I read this line about four times in utter awe.  We are so thunderstruck when someone doesn’t love us, but we can be so indifferent to being loved.  Perhaps because it’s too accessible and easy.  There is definitely some truth in the idea of playing hard to get.  Just nobody had put it to me quite this starkly.

I will not ruin it by saying anymore; that is the taste I will offer. And if this was intriguing then I would say this wonderful novel is one for you.  I realize this post was in many ways self-indulgent, but I feel that words that strike me like this are rare and deserve some pointed praise.

Oh, Just Read It- The Little Paris Bookshop

Vitals-

Title: The Little Paris Bookshop; Author- Nina George; Type- Fiction

The Gist- A profoundly emotional story of losing love and the process of moving forward.  And how books can be the cure for many emotional ailments.

What Stuck- George is able to concisely and eloquently state some of life’s most emotionally baffling conundrums. I’m envious of this talent.

Should you give a flip?- YES!  This is a wonderful book.  It’s beautiful and elegant.  I get a warm, sunny feeling when thinking of this read.  I’ll shut up now.  Just go read it.

A Comma Conundrum

Oxford comma for the win!!

Before I get to what the hell that means, here’s a little background…

My mother was a high-school English teacher for 33-years, and as I’m sure you’ve witnessed my grammar is far from perfect, but it certainly isn’t for a lack of trying.

My mother would always politely remind me that I did well instead of good.  That “Holly has one…” as opposed to “Holly gots one…” And when correcting my papers there would always be a red flick for a final comma in a series of items, also known as the Oxford comma.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I learned its name, that it had a fair amount of debate centered on it, and that technically using it wasn’t written into the stone tablet of grammarian law at the time of the Ten Commandments.  Some believe that the Oxford comma should always be used.  It completes the series.  Some believe that is it unnecessary, and the conjunction is enough to indicate the final separation in the list. These individuals tend to believe that only in very specific circumstance should it be employed to clarify something that could be ambiguous without it.

My boss and I have secret Oxford comma wars.  He leaves it out.  I put it back in.  He crosses it out when correcting drafts and so on.  I don’t think he’s caught on yet that I’m doing it on purpose.

However, earlier this year The New York Times reported that the lack of this controversial Oxford comma has given truck drivers for a Maine based dairy company the grounds to file suit regarding overtime compensation.

Maine requires time and a half be paid after 40 hours worked with a few exceptions that are listed in the state’s statute.  This list, as common in much legal writing, lacks the Oxford comma leaving room for some serious interpretation.

Below is the link to the full article that clearly defines why Oxford may have outfoxed an employer.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/us/oxford-comma-lawsuit.html

Where do you stand: with Oxford or without?

Checking Reading Snobbery

I need to be knocked down a peg in my reading attitude.  I recently read The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry. It is an action/adventure type story centering on the myths surrounding the Templar knights and the Crusades.  I went into it thinking that it would be like every other action/adventure book I’ve read.  But I was low on reading material, and figured it would fill the void until I could get something “better” to read.

However, once I began, I found the story to be exciting and intriguing. It then struck me I had begun to look at books of this type as “low brow.”  I felt ashamed, and I scolded myself about this.  A good story is a good story and that’s all the matters.  Furthermore, who am I to dub things as low or high on the brow spectrum?

These books might not have flowery verbiage, and probably won’t ascend to the place of Sense and Sensibility or A Tale of Two Cities. However, they still took a tremendous amount of effort and research to produce, particularly books like Mr. Berry’s where he mixes a sizable helping of history into his plot. They may be somewhat formulaic, but they keep me reading and that’s the whole point of a good book.

These books are a bit like the Die Hard movies.  Everyone knows they won’t be winning Oscars or other notable film accolades, but the general population will love them because they are action packed with a splash of comedy.  They are pure entertainment and that’s simply wonderful.

I don’t want to read these exclusively like I once did when I was in high school, but these books should not be looked down upon.  And I sometimes need to remind my occasionally snobby arse that reading anything and everything has merit and adds perspective to a reading repertoire.  Things are gained in mysterious places, so keeping a broad range of reading is not only rewarding, but important.

I’m going to delight in these reads to the nth degree because all books deserve a chance, and I’m glad all types of books exist.  It keeps life interesting, and that’s what I’m looking for.  So, here’s to entertaining action novels.

Yippee ki-ay mother fucker.