SightsnBytes (Ted White)

May 7, 2014

So you are a writer, are you?

Filed under: Books I have read,It's True, I promise ya — Sightsnbytes @ 9:15 pm

Someone bought me a book once. I think it was my fifth grade teacher. She said “read it, you will enjoy it, I promise you.”

I did what she told me and she was right. I loved the book. I carried it with me where ever I went, even to the point that I donned the nickname ‘book worm’. I didn’t care, loved the book. From that particular book, I went on to read the rest of the very interesting books by the author, and was probably his biggest fan in all the Roman Catholic school system all through the 1970’s.

It was that one particular book, and perhaps the author himself, that enticed me to keep writing, and maybe even the reason why I write today.

I was asked once if I was a writer. When I agreed, I was asked if I had anything published. My reply was that a writer writes. Publishing is something else entirely. I was also asked why I write. My answer was that I wanted to become the next Farley Mowat. He laughed. Farley wrote that wonderful first novel that was given to me by the strict but very compassionate teacher in the fifth grade. The book was entitled ‘The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be’.

Farley passed away today. He was a Canadian writer who wrote books that appealed to almost everyone in many walks of life.  His books were enjoyed world wide and some, such as ‘Never Cry Wolf’ was even adapted into a movie.

If you find the time, look for any Mowat book you can find, and like my teacher said, you will enjoy the book.


July 7, 2013

Stephen King’s latest novel: Joyland

Filed under: Books I have read — Sightsnbytes @ 2:27 pm

After suffering through the Dan Brown’s Inferno, I was about ready to give up reading for awhile.That is, until I purchased Stephen King’s Joyland. A complete JOY to read!

The master of scary stories brings us something a little different this time. We are introduced into the world of Amusement Parks and the carnies who work there. The novel gives us a fascinating mixture of mystery, suspense, and tragedy. There is even romance thrown  into the pot. I truly enjoyed the read, and I would strongly recommend the book to anyone  who enjoys a great story. If I was to rate the book I would give it five out of five stars.

June 24, 2013

Book Review: Inferno

Filed under: Books I have read — Sightsnbytes @ 6:55 pm

I just finished reading Dan Brown’s latest creation,  ‘Inferno’. I have to say,  I was never so tired after reading a  book in my life. The entire book, especially the first half,  was nothing but a chase, with a bit of hide and seek thrown  in. I liked the title though, because if I had been reading a paperback rather than an ebook, there would have been an ‘Inferno’ in  my back yard…me burning this damn  book.

I truly believe old Dan wrote this to please his publishers, and to possibly meet some sort of deadline, while he was vacationing in Italy. It reads more like a tour guide of Florence Italy than it does a novel. Dan  went into way (WAYYY) too much detail. It was like having someone tell you about the burger he just ate, and going off on a tangent and sharing with you the family history of the cow they made the meat from. I would say that if one were to take out all the BS, you would end up  with a very interesting pamphlet.

That being said, the story did have a nice twist at the end, but it took Dan sooooo long to reach it. I almost gave up several times, and often found myself skipping ahead page by page to find the story. So much detail was given to things like the history of old buildings and cities.

On the end, I said that I was finishing the thing even if it killed me. I am still here, but I think I learned a very valuable lesson. Ever watch a bomb of a movie, and all through the movie you hope it will get better but you learn that it won’t? This is that movie. God, I hope they never make a movie out of this one…Oh, ya, the thing I learned was that if a book is boring for the first 30%, I am deleting it and going on to the next book on my Kindle. I look forward to bigger and better things from Robert Langdon, this book isn’t it.. Just saying…

December 14, 2011

Starting to read a new book

Filed under: Books I have read — Sightsnbytes @ 1:51 pm

I just started reading a new book. I hate that. I love the feeling of being so addicted to a book, you don’t want to put it down, but I always found that beginning to read a new book is a bit of a pain. I often throw away possibly great books because the beginning bores me. Maybe that is why I enjoy reading series of books, like the Repairman Jack or Jack Reacher, or even the Star Trek series of books. I know all the main characters, so I am comfortable with what is going on.

This hatred of beginning to read a new book  compares to the first day on a new job. I am confident that I can do the work, but since I know nobody there, I feel somewhat uncomfortable. I can also compare my book reading dilemma to new underwear. I know that the underwear will eventually become comfortable, but at first, it feels all starchy and difficult to wear.

I just opened my Kindle to the first few pages of 11-22-63 by Stephen King. I have read all the reviews of the book, and it promises to deliver everything I want in the book, a bit of history, some science fiction, a bit of action, etc. Hopefully it will be more comfortable than the underwear I am wearing…for more on underwear, see my post.

December 8, 2011

Hey Mr. John-Boy

Filed under: Books I have read — Sightsnbytes @ 9:15 am

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be John-Boy Walton. Man, that guy could write! Each week, I would tune into the show, and along with the rest of my family, I would watch, totally captivated by the antics and adventures of this quaint southern American family.

Although there were many characters on the show, such as Jason, Jim-Bob, and Ben, my favorite was John-Boy. This was one talented family. Jason was the musician, and he could really belt out the tunes. Jim-Bob was mechanically inclined, and Ben was the entrepreneur of the family, and of course, John-Boy, who strived to be a writer.

I used to check out the local library looking for his books. Sadly enough, Old John-Boy was a fictional character, and had no books published. I wonder if Richard Thomas had any writing talent? When I was a kid, I found his mailing address on the back of a fan magazine, and wrote him a letter. I still remember what I wrote:

“Dear Mr. John Boy;

I watch you write every week. I see that you finally got your book published, and I was wondering if you could send me a copy. I will get mom to pay you for it. Yours truly, Teddy”

I never received a response.

Nonetheless, I think it was John-Boy who helped influence my love for the written word. I  would read books like most people ate dinner, savagely attacking books and often reading them from front to back in a day or two. When I didn’t have anything to read, I wrote my own stuff, and read that.

Writing became an escape for me. Despite being the skinny kid everyone beat up, the characters in my little books were strong and fearless. I only wish I had kept those books, but being a kid, I thought that writing my own books was foolish, and I ended up destroying them when I was done reading them.

When I got older, I used write down everything. If I spent a day with my grandfather in his hay fields, I wrote down my reflections of how I felt that day, and how he must have felt working the fields faithfully each day. When my dad and I went fishing, he would often find me sitting on an old rotten log, fishing rod threw in the bushes, with pen in hand instead. At school, I would resort to spending time in the back of the library with a notepad, instead of playing outside with the other kids. Even now, as an adult, I write every time I get a minute to myself.

I have never published anything. I guess part of the reason is that I do not know the steps that are involved in getting a book published; the other part being that I don’t write for profit, I write for therapy and relaxation. Those words spend hours pounding around in my head before I write them down and they leave my mind…sounds crazy but that is how I feel when I write.

So if Mr. John-Boy is out there reading this blog, I am still waiting for that book. I will take a Kindle copy if you have it handy.

Yours Truly, SightsnBytes

December 7, 2011

Between the Pages (Pixels)

Filed under: Books I have read — Sightsnbytes @ 2:45 pm

I have to say, getting a Kindle was one of the better decisions I have made in a while. Since receiving this great Birthday gift, I have read almost ten books, some more than a thousand pages in length. Living in rural Newfoundland, we do not have access to a decent book store, unless you consider Walmart a decent book store. I for one, do not.

The Kindle has opened my eyes to as many books as I can imagine, and I plan on taking full advantage of the new opportunities this little device can provide. I recently downloaded the entire Repairman Jack series of books, and I find myself lost between the pages (pixels) of this unlikely hero and his adventures. I have also re-read A Thousand Splendid Suns, a book that I found absolutely amazing to read the first time, albeit on a torn copy of the book I picked up at a garage sale.

I am already planning on reading Stephen King’s newest, 11-22-63, which tells the story of a man who goes back in time in an attempt to prevent the assassination of John F Kennedy. Should be an interesting read. I have that one downloaded, just waiting to be read.

The Kindle allows me to carry my entire library with me where ever I go, and with all those old hardcover books gone from the shelves, I have even more space to store my goodies. The Kindle is a win win for me. I have also recommended the device to my friends, and some of them are purchasing ereaders for Christmas gifts.


October 14, 2011

CSI NY, come up with your own endings please, or you will end up on the killing floor

Filed under: Books I have read — Sightsnbytes @ 10:27 am
Tags: ,

I just began reading the Jack Reacher series of books, by Lee Child.  I decided to begin at the beginning, ( good idea) the first book in the series, which is ‘The Killing Floor’

This was a very exciting book from cover to cover, with twists and turns throughout (how’s that for alliteration?) and finally, when I got to the end of the book, I decided to take a break and watch TV.

This was two weeks ago, and an episode of CSI NY was on the tube. I usually find those CSI shows to resemble science fiction, as they discover clues and use techniques that are foreign to any law enforcement agency. For example, they have the results of DNA tests in minutes, while I have been told this process can take up quite some time. Anyway, back to what pissed me off on this particular occasion.

The episode I watched was the one about counterfeiting, and the offenders were using five dollar bills and a few household chemicals to wash the printing off the small bills, and print them with the faces of $100 bills. As I watched, I quickly became annoyed, because this was exactly the same plot (except the book was more believable) as the plot in Lee Child’s 1998 novel “The Killing Floor”.

Going back to the book was like some idiot telling you the end of the movie, as the final plot twist of the book was the same as the TV show. This just goes to show how creative TV series writers are. Do I hear ‘Lawsuit’ anywhere?

April 14, 2010

On my shelf at the moment

Filed under: Books I have read — Sightsnbytes @ 3:41 pm

Amongst all the important papers and journals, there sits a few novels and hardcover books I read during my breaks. There’s the 24 TV series based books that I purchased, and read in less than two days, a novel one of my students recommended, a few Stephen King books that frightened the hell out of me and gave me nightmares for a few weeks, an autobiography of an idiot, and one book that I read and I have to admit, that changed my mind about several things in this great world we live in.

The 24 novels, based on the TV series starring Keifer Sutherland, were a quick read. Reading those books taught me that the TV series is nothing more than superheros ducking bullets and diving through car crashes in death defying heroism. Since reading the novels, the TV series has not interested me like it used to. I guess after six or more seasons of blowing a guy up, killing his family, assasinating various presidents, multiple torture scenes, and endless and senseless violence, a person gets bored. The books are more of the same.

One of my students recommended I read Dean Koontz’ Frankenstein. Biggest mistake ever. What a bomber that was. Hands without bodies crawling around the floor like kittens, mutilated victims sticking out of bushes, without hearts or other organs, zombies walking around looking for body parts, and a ‘hero’ who was an experiment gone wrong. Add this to an ongoing murder case and a mad scientist named…you guessed it..Dr. Frankenstein, and you have the novel in hand. This was supposed to be a screenplay for an upcoming TV series, but got tossed when it was read. For some ungodly reason, Mr. Koontz thought that if it wasn’t good enough for TV, it would be great for a novel series…Boy, was he mistaken. There are several books in this series…I did NOT buy the others.

I also have a few Clive Cussler books on the shelf. Cussler’s hero, Dirk Pitt, is the star of the better books he has written. Although he is an unkillable hero, the action is intense, and the books are filled with adventure.  The Treasure of Khan, a book I picked up at Chapters for $9.99, was the best. It dealt with everythign from Genghis Khan to Mongolian history, to a greedy oil baron. Great read, and my introduction to the world of Clive Cussler. The second book on the shelf by Cussler is Arctic Drift, which is also interesting, but since it is written by an American, and based in Canada, it includes several references to dog sleds and igloos. Why is it that we, as Canadians, know so much about the United States, but they know so little about us? I, for one, do not own a dog sled, and even if I did, my dog is far to small to pull one around the backyard, let alone across the barren nothingness that the Americans believe is Canada.

A friend of mine recommended I read The Kite Runner. At the time, I was planning a bus trip across the island, and was too lazy to carry a book with me. So, I downloaded the audiobook copy of the book on my trusty Ipod. The author, Khaled Hosseini actually read the book to me. I was amazed by the book. Life changing is the only term I can find to describe the book. I swore that no other book would ever change how I thought about the Middle East…That was, however, until I read Mr. Hosseini’s newest title, A Thousand Splendid Suns. Whatta book. Whatta Read! The story of two young women and the cruel idoit of a husband they shared. Thats right, they were both married to the same guy at the same time. Apparently, that’s ok in this country. Anyway, not only were they subjected to violence and cruelity at the hands of this madman, they were subjected to the lack of respect that came with living in a country under Talaban rule. Up until I read this book, I used to wonder why our soldiers were over there fighting, but now, I cheer them on. Please read this book, and let me know what you thought.

I am a sucker for punishment, and because of that, I read the bio of William Shatner. Again, I found the book at Chapters, on sale (I am so cheap when it comes to good deals). The book was interesting enough, but geez..the guy is an idiot. I have always been a trekkie, but cmon…Kirk and Shat are like chalk and cheese. The book was funny at times, and I have to admit, from time to time, you had to like the guy, but his attitude often got the best of him, and of me too. Hope they don’t make a movie.

I also read the thickest book on the shelf, and it only took me four months. This was definitely “Bang for the Buck”, as I picked up Under the Dome, by Stephen King for just 25 buck at Walmart, while Chapters was still selling it for $40. The book was very interesting, despite over a thousand pages, and while my arms grew tired from carrying it around the office, my mind never grew bored or tired once. The story of a small southern US town that is virtually cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible glass dome, and how people react when this happens. The book, which actually took King over 30 years to write (and I felt guilty taking four months to read it), shows how we are sometimes followers to corrupt leaders, and how there are always a few heroes to risk their lives to stop them. I hear that King and Speilberg are planning a TV series based on the book. I can only hope that the series is better than previous stinkers that have been based on brilliant books.

That leaves one more book…The Lost Symbol, written by Dan ‘Lul somewhere in the book’ Brown. I have managed to read all his other books, and I must admit, I have struggled with boredom in most of them, except maybe, for the Davini Code, which was sheer genius. I am not saying that his books are boring, it is just that somewhere near the middle, his books get a little withdrawn. The Lost Symbol is no different, although in this case, Ole Lul Dan ran out of steam in the final few chapters of the book. Read the book, and stop when you get the answers you are looking for. That is the only advice I can give you. When the movie comes out,  go to the bathroom somewhere near the end and you will thorougly enjoy the show.

I have a collection of short stories by Stephen King, entitled Nightmares and Dreamscapes that I am reading now, and I am enjoying SOME of the stories. More on that later. Feel free to comment on those books, or some that you are reading and you would like to recommend.

Headfirst in the Books

Filed under: Books I have read — Sightsnbytes @ 3:16 pm

I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me to take part in one of my favorite activities…Reading. I have always had a love affair with books. As a child, I truly cherished my Little Golden Books. I carried them everywhere I went, and treasured each and every one of them. I would still have those books, if my younger brother would not have eaten them on me. Apparently he liked books too, but as a food item for his growing molars.

In the fifth grade, I had a teacher who also loved books, and of forcing her younger students to read. She gave us a booklist of over 200 titles, and being the type of person to act without fully reading and understanding instructions, I read 200 books in six months. No wonder I wear glasses now! And I didn’t read books aimed at fifth grade; instead, I found myself lost in books by George Orwell and Isaac Asimov.  My schoolmates laughed when they seen me read “Animal Farm”, and ‘Mouse on the Moon’, without realizing that these books were not the childhood books they were reading.

Through the years, I continued reading whenever I got a chance. this gave me a heads up when a blockbuster movie came out, as I probably read the novel version years before the movie was even thougth of. As a trekkie, I got lost in stories the TV and movie storylines could only dream of, as I read every Star Trek novel that came out. How many visits to the city did I make to buy an armful of books each month? I did not care to be called a nerd or loser, because in those books, I could be anything I wanted to be.

A book reader has such a blessed life. No matter what is going on around us, the book reader can delve deep into a story, and be swept away to universes far far away. The reader can gallop into the sunset with a good L’Amour novel, or sail along the river in a Twain classic. As a reader, the sky is the limit to where you can go.

For every popular TV series, there is a collection of novels loosely based on the TV plotlines. I have not only read all the Star Trek books, I have also kept up to date with the original V (as well as the newer versions of this story), Gunsmoke books, and even Little House books. Reading gives me such a great feeling, like a lifetime of experiences, without even leaving the room. I highly recommend reading.

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