Monday, September 29, 2014

Review of The Former Hero by Jeffery Allen Mays

You can pick up the book here on Amazon:

Rating: 7.5/10

Value: Around $4.00 for kindle and $15.00 for paperback

Readers: I would recommend this book to those who have a higher reading level.  To get the most out of the book you would need a 12th grade reading level.  The genre is a mix between crime drama and psychological drama.

Summary:  The book starts with a drug addicted mother frantically searching for her missing child.  This is where the author shines light on the interesting environment he has created.  The city is one filled completely with corruption.  The mother can’t call the police because they have been bought by a rich man who bought his way into being mayor.  The only way she knows to help herself is to find the child herself.  As the story develops the author brings in more characters and focuses on developing people into black and white heroes and villains.  There is a huge amount of story within these pages.  Each character both good and bad the author will spend time with.  He develops them all quite well, but with all this it is difficult to keep a grasp on the world being developed.

Positive:  There are two points that I felt were done very well in this book.  The first is the world Mays creates.  This is a world that is completely different from what the majority of us have experienced.  It was difficult for me to understand a world that could be bought and sold.  I have read about this type of corruption in history books, but to read a novel which has it developed so completely was extremely enjoyable.  It felt as though I was living in a different time with completely different circumstances.  The second factor of the book I enjoyed is different types of writing.  Each time the author jumps from character to character the style of writing changes completely.  There are even changes from prose to poetry which in a novel is extremely rare, but Mays pulls it off very well.

Negative: The book was well done and I enjoyed it, but found some down sides while reading.  The number one problem I had was the grammar and spelling errors in writing.  These were simple mistakes and I was able to immediately fix the error in my mind, but the frequency of errors were a bit disconcerting.  The other problem I had was the length of the book.  This is a very large book and though it has excellent action in places there are many pages which feel like they drag while nothing of importance is happening.  Mays will develop aspects of character, environment, or plot that really don’t play enough into the story to need such description.
Characters:  The characters within the book were definitely the strong point of the book.  I found the theories of heroism and villainy were outstanding.  The world created fitted the extremism of the analogies for good and bad.  You are able to see the true good and evil in the writing with the constant battle between both.  By the end Mays wraps the whole thing up nicely leaving the reader understanding the entirety of the book.
Writing:  Though Mays is a very good writer like I said previously the book was not edited well.  Looking past these mistakes is difficult, but if you are able to do so the writing is smooth.  The descriptions are done in a way that places the reader in the environment Mays creates.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Analysis of "O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman

I got this poem from Poem Hunter.  They have a nice layout and offer a video reading.  You can pick a book full of Whitman's poetry from Amazon.

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills; 
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won; 
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Walt Whitman

Personally I have not read much of Whitman's work preferring Poe and other poets who place imagery and metaphor much more enjoyable then poem structure and rhyme. Whitman writes this poem with incredible detail and description.  The man's voice in the poem was a sailor and he speaks about a successful voyage, but the death of the captain.  

One of the best aspects of this poem is the hidden message.  Being successful in what your doing will usually take precedent, but in reality means little if you lose yourself along the way.  Whitman puts this message forth as the speaker talks about the crowd.  The line that really brings this forth is "For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding."  This line to me conveys the success of the mission then in a later verse he says "My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;" The captain can't enjoy the victory since he didn't live through the trip.

Another part of the poem that really brings the power of Whitman's description out is the imagery of death.  Such sayings as "It is some dream that on the deck, You've fallen cold and dead." and "My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will".  He brings the death of the captain to the forefront of the readers mind.  He displays the difference between the mood on the shore wonderfully.

Overall this poem is very enjoyable and has made me reconsider my thoughts of poets who place importance on poem structure.  The words used are incredibly powerful and really allow the reader to walk in the place of the speaker.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why I Write about Literature

I find a real connection when reading and writing.  Once a piece is published and I pick that book, story, or poem up the mask is off.  I get to sit inside an author's head without a filter.  The ideas within the book are no longer private thoughts.

Another thing I enjoy is the lifting of deceit.  When I talk to someone face to face it is rare I receive their thought in its entirety.  There are several reasons for this the main being the filter and thought processing.  When in conversation the person will be deciding how to communicate their thoughts to you.  This is done within seconds before the speech and usually severely lacks the completeness and details of the thought.  Thought processing also takes much more time than what is usually socially acceptable in a conversation.

Writing removes all of these restrictions from communication.  The author has more than enough time to decide what they will say, how they will say it, and the exact wording they will use to convey their thought to the reader.  Thought processing is another unrestricted process the writer can utilize.  They can take that generalized thought or idea they want to convey and begin adding.  Every book starts simply with a person wanting to write their thoughts, ideas, or stories down.  In a book is where you will find these three things complete and the closest to perfect the author can get.