Friday, September 29, 2017

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse - The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and how cats can really fuck things up

Welcome to another edition of the Cephalopd Coffeehouse. The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.
https://armchairsquid.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-cephalopod-coffeehouse-september.html


This month I'm going to tell about The First Fiftten Lives of Harry August by Claire North

 Before I tell how much I loved this book, I first have to tell you why I'm so late getting this post up. Last night I was writing merrily away and took a short bathroom break. When I returned to my laptop, I found my cat, Mel, in my chair and a bunch of gobbledygook on my screen. I managed to delete it all - with some difficulty I might add - and then went to write this post. Imagine my dismay upon discovering my key board no longer worked.

Of course, I knew instantly that in addition to writing a bunch shite in my document, Mel had also pressed one of those hot keys that do things like turn your screen upside down (yes, this has happened to me - only I did it by accident and it took me forever to figure out how to fix it!!!). Which is fine as long as you're the one who hit the hot key, cuz then you know how to change everything back. Only I had no idea which key, or combination thereof, Mel pressed to make the keyboard non functional. I was almost going to restart my computer when I realized if I did I'd have no way of entering my password.

So I called my brother J (thank God he answered and thank God my mouse still worked) and he did a google search for 'keyboard not working.' This did not particularly help so he tried adding the words 'cat stepped on my key board.' Immediately a bunch of answer popped up. Imagine that.

It took a few tries but finally he found the solution by going into keyboard settings and finding the filter box(whatever the heck that is) checked off which shouldn't have been. Apparently there's a hot key for that and my little Mel managed to find it.

Bad Cat!

Anyway, I unchecked the box and my world was right again but it was too late to write this post. Hence my tardiness. Nevertheless, I am here now, and I can honestly say that I give The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August 5 stars. 

I loved this book. Why? Because it's about one of my favorite subjects, living your life over. That's what Harry August gets to do.

His first life is unremarkable.He's born in the early part of the 20th century, grows up, fights in the war, gets married and dies having lived a pretty good life more or less. It's his second life when things get interesting. When Harry is around 7 or 8, he begins to remember his last life and is overwhelmed by not only the memories but the knowledge he suddenly possesses. He ends up being committed to an institution for the insane and throws himself out a window. His third life goes a little better but I'm not going to tell you any more because you should really read this book. It's a little like Groundhog Day except Harry keeps living his whole life over and over.

I think I especially love this book because it uses a theory I have long considered. What if the Big Bang has happened over and over. Bang, universe born, expands and then I don't know, pops and then everything resets. It's quite possible that we are all living the same lives over and over like Harry. Now imagine if that were true. What would you do with your next life?


39 comments:

  1. Your cat has a talent with keyboards! Glad you got it sorted out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah, and no more leaving the laptop open and unattended!

      Delete
  2. Oh my, what a naughty cat! Glad you've been able to recover your work. The book sounds pretty interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The book was awesome. One of my favorites this year.

      Delete
  3. I find it quite funny that "cat stepped on keyboard" had solutions when "keyboard not working" does not.

    Sounds like an interesting book. I believe in reincarnation, so I believe I have lived many lives before. Hopefully, I won't have too many more after this ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well, cat stepped on the keyboard had the solution I needed, the other solutions had nothing to do with the hot keys and I knew that was what had happened. Wicked good book.

      Delete
  4. Great concept! Begs the question, which number life am I in now?

    Sounds like fun - a little maddening but fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't it be interesting to know what you did with your last life?

      Delete
    2. I do wonder sometimes about how my life would be different if I had made different choices. Sometimes the small ones make an enormous difference.

      Delete
  5. I will have to track this down. And really, really hope that this life is all I have.
    Sigh on the cat front. I think the worst ours have done (so far) is backing up and spraying the wall phone. Which died.
    The most moving book I have read this month is I heard the Owl Call my Name by Margaret Craven. Mostly my reading has fallen into the agreeable trash zone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope I get another one. Life can be difficult and awful and heartbreaking and wonderful but no matter what there's stuff to learn. I want to know about everything!

      I think you would like the book.

      Delete
  6. Well, that's a nerve-wracking premise. Not sure if I could manage this life over again...

    And, what's up with no one punning your cat-ass-trophe? Are we writers, or not? *shakes head in dismay*

    I've actually heard good things about this one before, so you've nudged it into my maybe pile.
    V :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! A cat-ass-trophe! That's what happened1

      Delete
  7. Sorry your cat knocked out your keyboard. My dog is too scared of my laptop to touch it. I'm sure she thinks it's dark magic.

    Glad you enjoyed your book. It sounds like an interesting story. I bet it brings up lots of questions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm just glad I was able to get it fixed!

      Delete
  8. OY! It's a wonder my cats haven't wreaked havoc with my PC or laptop, because they are always right here with me when I'm trying to work. The worst thing Dash has ever done is knock over my big mug of ice water all over the keyboard. After she did it a couple times, I no longer drink out of open-topped containers. (sigh) Funny thing is, the cats have NEVER messed with my hubby's mugs of water.

    That book sounds terrific. Thanks for the heads up. If I got to live my life over, I wouldn't wait until I was so darned old to get serious about writing. (Or as serious as I get...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, it's funny, they never did this when I had my desk top.

      Wouldn't it be kinda cool do get a reset?

      Delete
  9. Glad you liked this book so much. And thank god for your brother!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My brother definitely rocks :)

      Delete
  10. Hi Marcy! It's been a long time...

    The main problem is that we still believe that our cats don't know exactly what they are doing. I'm sure Mel knew exactly how to fix what she had done. She just won't do it!

    The book sounds pretty interesting. If you are right about the "big bang," I'm about ready for another reset!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...or she won't tell, at least not in any way i can understand!

      I'm not ready for a reset yet, but I would take one when the time came.

      Delete
  11. Pets definitely keep things interesting. This sounds like a fascinating book, asking just the sort of questions that get the mind wandering. Thanks for the tip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was super good. Might be my favorite book of the year.

      Delete
  12. I'm so glad the problem got solved. There's another book you might enjoy on the topic of living life over called "The Honesty of Tigers" by David Bridger. It's good. Thank you for the review. As for me, I like to think I'd live a more adventurous life. Be well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will check that book out, thanks!

      Delete
  13. So now that's going on my goodreads list. The story sounds really cool, especially that it takes him a few years to remember his life. How have I not heard of this book?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I had to snigger a lot at your cat story - cats are such jerks sometimes, aren't they? And it's all part of their everyday behaviour. :P I foster cats and also have one of my own so I'm very familiar with all the ways in which they can fuck stuff up. At least your cat didn't pee on your laptop, which one of mine did to my Mac once!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh thank god she didn't pee on it!!! I've been keeping it closed ever since when I'm not there.

      Delete
  15. Oh, darn cats! Mine has done something similar. Kiddos have done a few things too. The book sounds intriguing! With my next life I'd try to avoid the mistakes/situations that have caused pain/regret in this life. I'm sure new challenges would pop up. I'd start writing sooner as well (started in my late 20s) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a first for me. Not sure why my cats never did anything like this before or why now!

      Delete
  16. I would have more adventures and dance more ... :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Glad you were able to solve the Mel Mystery!!
    Sounds like a great story. For me, I would be braver ... I hope! :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. that's an interesting cover for the book!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Gives "If I could live my life all over again" a lot more meaning, doesn't it? I don't have too many regrets, but I would set myself up to take allow myself to focus on writing at a much earlier age, thereby perhaps, developing more skill and becoming more successful. Oh, well...

    ReplyDelete
  20. I have accidentally turned my computer screen upside down on more than one occasion. You'd think I'd remember how to fix each time. Nope.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I don't have a cat, but I have a dog that acts like one. LOL! I'm tech support at my house and that's not a task I relish. I usually google the issue and often come up with a solution. Scary, but true.

    ReplyDelete

If you're interested in my blog I'm interested in your comments.