Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is 1984 by George Orwell. I’m was actually surprised that I haven’t recommended this book before now. Many think the title 1984 is an inversion of the last two digits of the year it was written, which was 1948 (published in 1949), but I’m not sure this was ever confirmed.

This book takes place in a dystopian future where the world is continually at war (as is common in many dystopian futures). The war is referenced but not really commented on besides how it is used to oppress the people and explain shortages of everyday items such as chocolate or razer blades. You may have heard some of the terminology from this book, such as Newspeak, Thought Police, and Big Brother. The popular slogan of the government in the book is also something you may have heard. It goes:

War is Peace

Freedom is Slavery

Ignorance is Strength

This book is thought-provoking in many ways and shows both what a human, and human society, can endure under an oppressive establishment. It also highlights humanity’s desire to be free and independent. There are several concerning things that are considered common practice in this dystopia. The most frightening for me was the main character’s occupation. Winston Smith works in a government building where his job is to “correct” past news articles to align with the current government’s views and actions.

For instance, he changes something as trivial as the chocolate ration. An article a few months earlier state that the ration has been changed from two bars a day to one bar (I’m paraphrasing this just to give an example so don’t quote me). The government, aka Big Brother, is reducing the ration again to only half a bar, so Winston is given an article to change. He changes it to read that the ration was actually one-quarter of a bar several months ago. So now, the people will read and believe that the new ration of half a bar is actually an increase in chocolate and they will all be happy about this improvement despite the reality that they will be getting less. There is a whole department dedicated to the changing of past information. This is terrifying on so many levels.

Ironically, 1984 returned to the bestsellers list last year (2017) because of today’s political climate. I first read it a few years ago (maybe 2015). Despite the sometimes somber content, I enjoyed it because it was interesting, thought-provoking (I like pondering new ideas), but also frightening because there have been some countries in the world that may have experienced similar events in the past.

This book was banned in 1950 in Russia. Even owning a copy at the time was cause for arrest because it was considered anti-communist propaganda. It was also banned in several countries in Europe at this time along with Orwell’s novella Animal Farm, which was also considered a political commentary.

I couldn’t imagine reading this book and realizing I would be living certain aspects of it. I’m thankful I can read it comfortably and allow it to improve my understanding of the world, people, society, the past, and allow me to understand how fragile information can be. It makes me feel responsible to ensure that facts aren’t muddled when there is irrefutable evidence. It also makes me feel responsible for my neighbors. To stand up if anyone tries to take away their freedoms, even if mine are in no way threatened. This book is both a warning and a call to action to prevent injustices.

Most of this books follows Winston as he tries to live a better life without being caught. He attempts to love someone he shouldn’t. He goes places he otherwise wouldn’t be allowed. He does things any of us would, but he has to always be looking over his shoulder. You may be surprised how this book ends, but I hope it makes you think. After all, some of the best books help us grow.

Happy Reading.

My Own Monster

Obtaining a body was much easier than Madie thought it would have been. A few thousand dollars to a coroner and she was loading the corpse of a thirty-two-year-old male in the back of an ice truck. His end was somewhat sad, but Madie didn’t care much about that. All she cared about was that she got the body. It was slated for cremation. Whoever received the urn would never know that the pile of ash within it was not who, or what, they thought it was.

It was important that she get a fresh corpse. This guy wasn’t even dead for a full forty-eight hours, and he was kept in a controlled environment that slowed the cell decomposition. Now, after unloading him from the truck, he now in her own environmentally controlled lab that would keep his body in prime condition for her experiments.

The first step was to hook him up. She cut the large “Y” pattern of stitches on his chest and opened his rib-cage so she could get to his heart. She hooked up four leads, one into each chamber, then she attached the eight pints of A- blood she also bought from the coroner to the machine. She ran two more leads to the dead man’s lungs. She flipped a switch and the heart-lung machine hummed to life. It began pumping blood and oxygen into the corpses body. This was the first, crucial step. She had to stop the autolysis. Bodies begin to decay as soon as they die. Providing fresh blood and oxygen would help remove the toxins that begin the decomposition process. She hoped the body was fresh enough that what little damage had already occurred could be reversed.

With the body hooked up, she now had to wait. She wanted to begin tests away, and was itching to inject the first serum now, but a glimpse at the clock showed that it was already four in the morning. She let logic win out against her eagerness. It would be best to let the body acclimate before starting any tests.

Madie kicked off her shoes when she got home from working a temporary waitress job. She was exhausted, but her excitement triumphed as she hurried down the stairs to her patient. She entered the sealed lab she built-in her basement to find her corpse looking a little more alive. The cold pallor had been replaced with a warmer hue. He could easily have been mistaken for an actual patient in the middle of an open-heart surgery.

She checked the machine, replaced two pints of blood with newer ones, and removed a bag of black bio-matter that had been separated from the bloodstream. Then she turned her attention to the dead man. He was cute. She surprised herself when the thought crossed her mind. She turned and opened a refrigerated drawer. Inside were three syringes.

They were all concoctions of her own design. Created after years of research and testing on small animals. She insisted on human testing. After the third denial, and a stern warning, she was insistent enough that they fired her. She was careful not to leave any notes behind when she left, and was thankful to still have friends in the field that helped her get the materials she needed to continue her research in secret.

Madie picked up the first syringe. She inserted the needle into the injection port connected to the blood supply line and pushed the serum into the bloodstream. She watched it dissolve into the blood. An excitement ran through her. She stood stiffly, waiting for something to happen. When nothing changed, she sighed and sat down in the desk chair by the computer. Science was never instantaneous. Her calculations put the first stage’s completion at four hours after injection. She knew the math was correct, but of course she also hoped for an unexpected triumph.

“Now we wait,” she said to the empty room. She woke the computer and began running scenarios. She checked on the body every twenty minutes. After a while she grew bored and began playing solitaire to pass the time.

Four hours passed and her alarm sounded. She checked the body thoroughly before pushing the second injection. Again, she waited with a tinge of excitement. Again, her logic won out and she sat back at the computer to wait the sixteen hours for the completion of stage two.

Madie woke to her alarm. She wiped sleep away from her eyes as she slowly gained full consciousness. She silenced the annoying beep and glanced over at the body. Stage two was complete. She examined him again. He was warm to the touch. The heart was twitching, not beating, but moving. She ran a few tests and was relieved to find everything was exactly as it should be. She pushed the final injection.

The third stage was expected to take forty-five minutes for completion. Madie did not set an alarm because she knew she would hover anxiously the entire time. Her eyes only left the body to check the machine. Then it happened. At the forty-third minute mark, the heart beat. Then it beat again. It began a steady rhythm. Madie carefully removed the leads and watched in pure euphoria as the dead man’s heart began pumping blood on its own.

Then something happened that she was not prepared for. The body groaned. The man, dead for nearly four days, was waking up. She hurriedly prepared an anesthetic. His eyes opened, focused, then looked at her. She could not stop smiling.


“Shh,” Madie stopped him, “you were in a bad accident. You are in surgery now. I’m going to give a little more anesthetic.”

His eyes lulled and he was went under. She unhooked him from the machine. He was able to breathe on his own. She carefully sewed him up. He was alive. She couldn’t believe it. Her research predicted it was possible, but she still couldn’t believe she’d achieved it. All she had to do now was nurse him back to health. After she calmed down that is. Then she could begin Phase 2.

It’s Dangerous to Go Alone

I was certain it was a dream. Everything was blocky, monochromatic, and nothing seemed in focus. I entered a cave to find carefully stacked pixels forming the vague image of an old man. He gifted me a sword and offered no instruction, but I knew what I had to do. I scoured the world, defeated monsters, and eventually achieved my fate. She was safe, which meant I could rest.

I believed I would wake to familiar surroundings, but I was wrong. Instead I woke to a woman’s voice calling for help. My body was slightly recognizable, the landscapes more defined, but again I was tasked with a heavy burden. Weeks passed without rest until I completed my task. I had saved a kingdom, and my reward was another nightmare.

My eyes opened to the insistent nagging of a fairy who had found her way into my home. She bid me to follow her where I learned once again I was fated to save a world in danger. Something in me wanted to forego this responsibility, but my nature prevailed.

My travels revealed my fate to be the eternal struggle between three forces. The evil strength of a monster, the wisdom of a goddess, and myself. Each part woven together into the fabric of destiny. My eyes opened time and time again to complete a task that tested the limits of my strength. I would never know peace.

Through each resurrection I realized I was not alone. She was always with me. The goddess who took up arms beside me to battle the demon. I do not know how many lives I have lived, nor which memories are real, but knowing I will always find her when I wake up is enough. For her, I will never stop fighting.

Book Recommendation of the Week

This week’s book recommendation is One Day by David Nicholls. This book came out in 2009 and lasts 448 pages. I find a lot of books when they are being made into movies (I worked at a movie theater for years). This one is no exception. I saw a movie trailer and was interested and therefore went and read the book. I enjoyed the movie, but of course liked the book better. There are few movies that I tend to think are better than the book, but there are some. This movie stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess and the screenplay was written by David Nicholls himself.

This book has many mixed reviews and I feel it would be irresponsible of me not to give you a fair warning about this one. The book is a little depressing, but I think it does several good things that many might see as simply terrible. One of the main characters, Dexter, is kind of a dick. The other, Emma, is not entirely likable either. (This really makes you want to read it, right?) Hear me out. These characters aren’t great people and they don’t get treated terribly well either. They do, however, represent a more realistic portrayal of life than most fictional stories do. They don’t end up living the exact lives they dreamed. They don’t immediately notice their flaws (if at all).  It is a story about youthful aspiration and compromises made throughout adulthood. The book spans 20 years and these two weave in and out of each other’s lives. They have good days and bad, but they are always drawn back.

Another aspect that drew me to the book was the structure. Each chapter effectively tells each character’s story for that year. Some years, the two characters don’t interact with each other at all. I wouldn’t consider this book a love story. Nor should you expect it to be even though love and relationships do occur throughout. It focuses on loneliness and how we find our way in this strange world of ours.

Yes, this book does come with a warning, and I don’t think everyone will enjoy it. I do think it has the ability to resonate with people, which is why I am recommending it.

Happy Reading.

I’m Getting Married Today

Hello everyone,

I know it’s been a minute since I’ve written anything that wasn’t a story or book recommendation, but I wanted to share a few things before I disappear for the next week.

I am getting married today. After four and a half years of dating the person I knew I would spend the rest of my life with from day one, we are finally making things official. Food, drink, and fun will be had. And cake too, plenty of cake. While we are all having fun here, I hope you have some fun as well wherever you are. Have a drink for me if you like. Beer or coffee or whatever. Or have some cake, or a pastry. Or do whatever your heart desires. It’s moments like these, which I am experiencing right now, that remind us that life is more than just working and stressing and raging against the current of the world. It is about fellowship and good times. These moments come too few and I hope that you are living your best life. Visiting friends and enjoying the moments without even thinking about the time.

Tonight, for me, I will be surrounded by friends and family while we all drink and dance and sit around talking. We will be celebrating and having fun. And I will be sending these good vibes out into the world and I hope some of them find you.

If anyone is worried about not having a story or book recommendation for the next week (I’m not foolish enough to believe anyone anxiously awaits these), fear not for I have prepared a few things ahead of time. That’s right, I have written a story and prepared a recommendation. Things will proceed as usual. Book recommendations on Sundays and stories on Thursdays. I even added a little micro fiction for this next week as well.

I’ll probably check-in from time to time (from my phone while in the car or something) so I won’t be completely absent, but I will be fairly silent on social media.

Anyway, I know I’ve said this earlier, but I will try to post more non-story/book posts going forward.

Next time you see a post on here though, it will be from a married man. As always, thanks for reading. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors. Until next time…