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clackamaslee has commented on (8) products.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

clackamaslee, April 24, 2014

This is a pretty simple book, designed for those who have never traveled but always felt the wanderlust itch in their feet. By "travel" I'm referring to long-term, low-budget travel. This is definitely not intended for the independently wealthy or those who don't know how to function without all of the conveniences of home. Nor is meant for the person who has a couple of weeks off of work and just wants to get out of town. There are many other books for those interested in that type of travel.

Potts describes several different approaches to travel and refrains from passing judgment on any of them. He lays out the pros and cons of each style and lets you decide what's right for you. He provides some how-to, some what NOT to do, and dozens of resources. He is also continually adding to and updating the resources on his website. Somehow, he passes on all of this information without making the book feel like a typical travel book.

I took six months off after college and traveled around the U.S. with my then-toddler son. Sustained travel can be difficult even in this country. When my son graduates high school, I plan to try long-term international travel. This book was a great jumping off point for me. I was surprisingly impressed and inspired.
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The Long Walk by Stephen King as Richard Bachman
The Long Walk

clackamaslee, April 3, 2014

This book is wonderfully exhausting.

This is the original Hunger Game, or a cross between The Lottery and The Hunger Games, at least. The setting is spare, much like the square in The Lottery... just a road, the people on it, and the people watching... treating it like a game. You're selected by a drawing, but you have the opportunity to back out until it begins. Plenty of other 13-17 year old boys want to take your place. Only one can win, but The Prize is worth trying. And survival takes so much more than physical strength and desire to win.

This might (MIGHT. I need to re-read The Running Man) be my favorite King book. I like the Bachman books because there is so much less paranormal bull-hooey in them. He focuses on the soul... on the psychological trauma we inflict on ourselves and each other. I'm not going to go into the premise of the book because I'm sure you already read the blurb and that's all that can really be said without spoilers. But I can say a few things about what I got out of it.

You have to keep going. If you ever stop for more than a moment, the urge to not get up again can overpower you, so just. keep. going. People you meet along the way might drive you bananas, but they're on their own journey so you can only decide to either get to know them, or try to ignore them... you can't change where they are going without changing yourself. You'll make friends, but when the chips are down they are probably just trying to get by and looking out for themselves. Just keep going. We all die in the end but we can choose how far we get or at least how we go down.

Maybe King didn't intend to convey that, but that's what I got out of it.
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Rule of the Bone: A Novel by Russell Banks and Arturo Patten
Rule of the Bone: A Novel

clackamaslee, September 19, 2013

I'm not sure whether I liked this book or hated it. Banks did a great job making Bone's narration sound authentic. But I got tired of hearing it. Bone's reactions to his upbringing was realistic. But since we don't find out about it until halfway in, the first half felt contrived and the situations Bone put himself in felt forced. That Bone was able to get on an international flight without a passport was ridiculous, though since it was 1995, it was slightly (VERY slightly) more plausible than it would be today.

Working in adolescent addictions I'm torn as to whether this book would be good for the population I work with. On the one hand it would be good to see a book in which pot is actually treated like an addictive drug. In fact, Bone uses many of the same arguments and rationalizations that the work kids use. It's also good that this is a younger teen, since so many books that deal with these issues have older main characters that younger teens with the same issues get left out. Bone's inability to talk honestly with his mom (or anyone, for that matter) about abuses or her neglect is spot on. The dream of finding the absent parent is also. So there is a lot that the kids at work could relate to in this.... and maybe through Bone they could address some of their own thinking errors.

But man oh man the TRIGGERS. The drug use, the abuse, the neglect, the running away, the ganja Rasta culture... and the fact that while Bone does start to make better choices, he is still led by the advice of a drug dealer and never starts looking for answers within himself. At the end of the book he is still looking for a magical wand (change of scenery) to make his life better. His character doesn't grow much.
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Bodily Harm: The Breakthrough Healing Program for Self-Injurers

clackamaslee, September 19, 2013

I couldn't tell who the authors intended to read this book.

There's some good information here, though if mental health practitioners were the target audience they probably already know the stats/success/relapse potential of self-harm. There is nothing new here for them.

In all, this book read like an advertisement for the authors' system. The authors only worked with people who were willingly getting treatment, who were therefore likelier to succeed already. There was no good advice on how to help clients see that this is an unhealthy coping skill or how to help them replace it with a more productive skill. The writing was dry and didn't feel accessible to clients, if they were the target audience.
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Dark Life by Kat Falls
Dark Life

clackamaslee, February 7, 2013

This book seemed geared for the middle school audience, but I still enjoyed it. It was a fun, quick read on a rainy day.

The world that Falls created is intriguing... I kind of want to start a homestead of my own. Kids are pretty universally interested in marine life, even if they don't particularly enjoy the water. I'm pretty sure that the descriptions of the underwater farms and other parts of The Deep will fascinate younger readers.

The story was predictable in parts, but then again, I'm not the target audience. The only character that didn't read flat to me was the main boy, Ty. But that is not unusual for first person narratives, and is appropriate for the level it was written for.

All in all, this book is worth reading for ages ten to mid-teen. There's nothing here inappropriate for younger readers, and the writing style and vocabulary are simple.

I expect to read the sequel.
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