The Bookworm: The devils are in the details

“Horns”

by Joe Hill

This morning, when you got out of bed and wandered into the bathroom, the same face that’s greeted you on hundreds of mornings stared back at you in the mirror. Same eyes, although bleary and not quite open. Same hair, more or less (perhaps literally). The cheeks, lips, yawn, all familiar.

Yep, that’s you in the mirror. You’re the same as you were last night, only a little rumpled. Count yourself lucky. At least you didn’t wake up this morning with horns, like Ignatius Perrish did. And in the new book “Horns,” by Joe Hill, nothing will ever be the same.

Hung over and a little sick, Ig Perrish didn’t at first notice the bony protuberances sprouting from his forehead. But they were sensitive and when he finally saw them in the mirror, he knew he was in trouble, and not just for being horny.

Everybody in Gideon thought Ig was guilty as sin for the murder of Merrin Williams. It was common knowledge that he and Merrin had argued before she was killed. Lots of people saw Ig storm away, Merrin close behind him. Though the charges were dropped, the notion that he raped and killed Merrin never was.

But Ig had loved Merrin since they were kids. They’d named their someday children. They were engaged to be married. She was his reason for living. Now, with his future in tatters and suspicion everywhere, Ig woke up with a set of horns. And with them, came a unique set of abilities.

He could mimic any voice from the depths of his body, fooling even loved ones. While in his presence, people were unable to keep secrets or thoughts to themselves. They never remembered seeing Ig, much less talking with him. And with the merest touch, Ig knew every bad thing they had ever done in their lives.

He knew, for instance, that his brother, Terry, was nearby when Merrin drew her last breath. Ig knew then who killed the love of his life, how it happened and the senseless reason why. And he knew that he’d burn before he’d let the murderer go.

Seriously, I need to learn not to take books like this to bed with me. Many times, as I was reading “Horns,” I didn’t know whether to laugh or scream, so I did both. Hill possesses a wicked sense of humor that almost makes you believe this is a rompish mistaken-identity sort of tale, akin to what Rod Serling might have presented.

Then Hill whomps you over the head with the most unthinkably evil, most malevolent thing you can imagine; he wraps it up in serpents and serves it hot over a dark, abandoned foundry and leaves you realizing you’ve held your breath the entire time you’ve been reading that page.

A little love, a little evil and lots of good reading, this is a book to find if you want a nice scare. Lock “Horns” in your hands and you’ll have a devil of a time letting it go.

“Over 40 & You’re Hired!”

by Robin Ryan

Your teenager reminds you of it every day. Not overtly, mind you. Nothing’s mentioned straight-out, but the eye rolls and heavy sighs say it loud and clear: hands-down, she thinks you’re old and out of touch. You can handle that from a teenager; you kind of expect it. But, because you’re out of work, your self-confidence begins to wonder if she’s right.

So is it true? Are you “too old” to land a job in this economy? “No,” says author Robin Ryan, and in her new book “Over 40 & You’re Hired!” you’ll learn that your age may be one of your handiest advantages.

No doubt about it, the rules have changed since you last job hunted. But then, so have you, says Ryan. You’re no kid anymore, and that’s good: the skills, maturity and contacts you’ve gathered over the years are exactly what some employers look for.

But first, you need to remake yourself into the Number One Best Candidate for the job, starting with technology. In today’s work world, you absolutely must get up to speed with computers and electronic devices. Take classes, ask your kids or grandkids, ask the people at the cell phone store. Today’s workplace does not operate without technology, and neither should you.

Next, get out your card file and start calling those contacts you spent years cultivating. Through what Ryan calls the “hidden job market,” somebody on your list may know somebody else who has a position to fill, and you can bet they’d rather fill it themselves than go the long route through HR. Never go anywhere or talk to anyone without looking for a job.

Think about your strengths and weaknesses and have ready a “60-Second Sell.” That is, be able to tell someone who you are, what you’ve accomplished and where you want to be, all within one minute. To bolster this, you’ll want to have a stellar resume and a cover letter that wows your prospective new boss.

Ask for what you want and be specific. Update your look and wardrobe and boost your attitude. If you get a lot of rejection letters, ask (nicely) what you could have done differently. Send thank-you notes. And remember – no perk negotiations until the job is offered.

Using interviews with real decision makers, as well as information from her own career workshops, Ryan gives mature job-seekers plenty of doable, step-by-step advice on landing the right job, maybe even at a better salary.

Ryan’s confidence and can-do attitude is contagious, and though most of the information here is level-headed, basic stuff, her updates help make sense of what may be very unfamiliar terrain for even the highest-level job hunter.

If you’ve been laid off, fired or you hate your current job; if you’re re-entering the workforce after temporary retirement or raising a family; or if you’re looking for work for the first time, this book is just the kind of literary pep-talk that mature job-seekers need. “Over 40 & You’re Hired!” is a book to put your hands down on.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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