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Dave Green's Read Alerts

My hobbies include just about anything, really...except reading, I hate reading! Kidding of course, reading is my favorite hobby! I love not only reading, but creative writing as well. I'm currently working on a novel about a group of paranormal social workers who try to help creatures like themselves cope with being different while also protecting humanity from the more malevolent beings. Other hobbies include music, yoga, comedy clubs, movies, and video games. I read from just about any genre, but my favorites are fantasy/urban fantasy, mystery, science fiction, and graphic novels (that's what us comic-book geeks call them to try to sound more sophisticated). In my secret identity, I work as an accountant for a nonprofit organization . I know...accounting and creative writing don't exactly go together...what can I say, I'm full of contradictions! My rating system: 5 STARS - I absolutely loved this book! I couldn't wait to finish it, yet I also never wanted it to end! 4 STARS - I liked this book an awful lot! It would have been perfect, except for some minor issue or issues that detracted from my overall enjoyment. 3 STARS - I liked this book, but found it somewhat flawed. Probably would not read again, but might still give the author and/or series a second chance. 2 STARS - Overall, a disappointing read for me. It had its moments, but sadly the bad outweighed the good. 1 STAR - I hate the part of my brain that convinced me to read this book!

Currently reading

Queen and Country: A Gentleman's Game
Greg Rucka
A Scanner Darkly - Philip K. Dick A dark, haunting masterpiece. A Scanner Darkly isn't just a great book, it's an IMPORTANT book!

Phillip K Dick's A Scanner Darkly follows the journey of Bob Arctor, an undercover police officer (code-named "Fred") trying to ingratiate himself into the drug culture in an attempt to bring down the suppliers of Substance D, a highly addictive mind-altering drug that can eventually cause permanent brain damage. Tragically, Arctor himself becomes an addict, first only taking Substance D to earn the trust of the people he's trying to take down, then taking it more and more to relieve the stress of his job. Eventually, Substance D poisons his mind to the point that he truly believes "Fred" and Bob Arctor are two separate people! What follows is a sad but compelling portrait of a sympathetic hero's slow descent into madness.

What makes this book so powerful is that PKD does such a masterful job of detailing the horrors of drug addiction. This book is a classic example of "show, don't tell". PKD doesn't simply hold us by the hand and tell us that using drugs is wrong. Instead, we watch the slow burn going on inside Bob Arctor's mind. Arctor becomes increasingly paranoid. He begins to suffer hallucinations and time distortion. Random thoughts having nothing to do with current events start popping up in Arctor's narrative with no explanation. And what makes this even more jarring is that while we understand what is happening to Arctor, he does not. By giving us a direct view into Arctor's slowly deteriorating mind, PKD perfectly depicts just how tragic the life of a drug addict truly is.

A book with subject matter this bleak would be hard to get through without any lighter moments. Fortunately, PKD manages to inject a lot of dark humor throughout the story, most of which comes from Bob Arctor's bizarre roommate, Jim Barris. From his invention of "the world's loudest silencer", to his rather unique line of deductive reasoning in determining that his forgetting to turn on a tape recorder proves there was an intruder in the house, Mr. Barris provides laugh-out-loud moments that are far funnier than most books you'll find in the "humor" section.

I labeled this book important, not just because of the powerful anti-drug message, but also because of how influential it is. Considering how many elements of this novel are still used in literature today, it's often easy to forget this was written back in the 70s (except maybe for Arctor's tendency to say, "I can dig it"). Writers like Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis owe a great deal of debt to PKD for showing them the way!

An incredibly compelling and powerful novel, A Scanner Darkly does exactly what classic literature is supposed to. It makes you care about the characters, it invokes your emotions, and it stays with you long after you've put it back on the bookshelf!