Okay, you kind of need to be living under a rock to not have heard of Stephen King’s The Shining. And there was a super scary movie made of it by Stan...moreOkay, you kind of need to be living under a rock to not have heard of Stephen King’s The Shining. And there was a super scary movie made of it by Stanley Kubrick. Plus, who doesn’t know that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”? The Shining was originally written in 1977, so how could we not all know how it goes? Well, I had never read the book, and although I’ve seen the movie a dozen times or more, I have realized that I didn’t really know The Shining after all.
I picked up the audiobook after my mom kept insisting I read it. She absolutely loved the book, and told me over and over again that it was so scary she couldn’t sleep. I didn’t have that problem, personally, but I did start thinking I was seeing stuff out of the corner of my eye while thinking about the story. Showers were definitely more interesting, thinking I was seeing a person–maybe with a roque mallet?–outside the shower curtain.
Jack’s alcoholism is really put on display in the book. We get an insider’s look at what it’s like to be a recovering alcoholic. He’s been sober for two years since alcohol helped to ruin his life, yet Jack still yearns for a drink every single day. We learn much more of his and Wendy’s back stories, and the family histories that lead to their dysfunctions. King’s insights into the human condition are often striking, and I don’t think his critics give him enough credit where that is concerned.
As for the audiobook, Campbell Scott does a great job narrating. He doesn’t try to copy Jack Nicholson’s performance as Jack, even though that seems like it would be really easy to do. Instead, he treats each character as the person they are in the book, rather than in the movie, and does justice to King’s prose.
The bottom line is this: if you have seen the movie and liked it, but haven’t read the book, you should read the book. The book and the movie are VERY different, and you will not know how the book ends. Danny is a different character, as is Jack, and the hotel is much more of an actual character in the book. What’s better? It’s a toss up. As lame as it sounds, the book is very effective as a book, and the movie is effective as a movie, and they should be judged separately because they’re so different from each other. But really, read the book.(less)
Hanna is a mix: half Finnish, half black; raised in Finland but living in Texas; stunningly beautiful but devastatingly insane. After the death of her...moreHanna is a mix: half Finnish, half black; raised in Finland but living in Texas; stunningly beautiful but devastatingly insane. After the death of her father, Hanna goes to live with her mother..who she has never met and who does not want her. It becomes apparent that in her mother's town of Portero, things are far stranger than they originally appear. Hanna has a hard time determining what strange events are in her head, and what are real.
Bleeding Violet is a wild ride! I felt that this book was fantastically strange, and unapologetically so. Hanna is a very strong, very brave character whose strength comes from her insanity -- not normally an admirable characteristic in a heroine. Hanna and her mother Rosalee are both sexually liberal, but it somehow seems right for their characters. While the monsters in Portero are dangerous, the real danger in the story is Hanna's emotional state and how quickly she can lose control and become violent toward herself and others. The story transcends the strange fantasy world by portraying the broken relationship between a troubled teen and the mother she needs, but who rejects her.
Bleeding Violet was a strong, original story, and I look forward to reading more from Dia Reeves in the future.(less)
Wayside School has reopened, but things are not back to normal. With Mrs. Jewls out on maternity leave, the students must endure dreaded substitute te...moreWayside School has reopened, but things are not back to normal. With Mrs. Jewls out on maternity leave, the students must endure dreaded substitute teachers. Everybody wonders whether Mr. Gorf is related to their old teacher Mrs Gorf, who turned all the students into apples until she herself was turned and eaten by Louis, the yard teacher. Mrs. Drazil, whose name rhymes with Brazil seems kind enough, but will never forget when a student doesn’t finish the homework, and Miss Norgard has a third ear! The wackiness continues for the students on the 30th floor.(less)
Ferdinand the Vampire is a sensitive, caring vampire. He bites his victims using one tooth so that it will look like a mere mosquito bite. He has a ca...moreFerdinand the Vampire is a sensitive, caring vampire. He bites his victims using one tooth so that it will look like a mere mosquito bite. He has a cat that has an unnatural love for cheese and flies around with him in his messenger bag. He also has many women in his life. Some are vampires, some are mandragoras, some are spirits, and some are French. This delightfully drawn graphic novel follows Ferdinand as he dates and enjoys life as a vampire.
The relationships portrayed in this book are surprisingly real, apart from the fact that they involve the undead or mythical rather than average humans. Sfar’s artwork is as beautifully quirky as his storyline. This graphic novel offers a hybrid of many current teen trends: romance, vampires, and graphic novels. (less)