Lynne Truss's book (I hope putting the comma and 's' there is correct.) Eats, shoots and leaves is a delight. It made reviewing punctuation rules more...moreLynne Truss's book (I hope putting the comma and 's' there is correct.) Eats, shoots and leaves is a delight. It made reviewing punctuation rules more fun -- but it is so much more than just a grammar guide; here is a funny woman who tells us the use and abuse of punctuation marks, often in very funny ways. Reading is, as described beautifully by several authors including Stephen King, a time-traveling experience. We communicate through time and space; ideas are exchanged; organized and managed fluidly by punctuation marks (directing us to the right routes, the detours, the alleyways, the speakeasies..what am I saying?). The author may be dead, literally and figuratively speaking, but his or her voice lives on through his texts. What I am trying to say is Lynne Truss has opened me to the formerly unknown (at least to me) world of punctuation sticklers, those who do feel affronted when they see people put up signs like, "Potatoe's," "No dog's [allowed]," and "Bob,s pets". Without correct punctuation, we are forever doomed to misjudge and misunderstand dead or absent authors who cannot defend themselves in flesh and blood.
Truss's book has made me even more sensitive to grammar. Though I wouldn't call myself a "grammar nazi" by any stretch of imagination, I do bristle at the sight of "Your" in place of "You're" or "Were" in place of "We're". I often squint my eyes at poorly written papers submitted to me by students when I worked as a college instructor. Punctuation, however, was a different matter to me. It was, I admit, slightly dispensable. What with the advent of electronic mails, search engines, and social networking sites like twitter or facebook where you rarely find diligent and heroic grammar policemen lurking in the corner, eager to pounce on unsuspecting offenders. And even if they do, they are always mocked and insulted for being sticklers and straight-laced upholders of rules. It's a cruel world.
But Lynne Truss's book cajoled me, courted me, and opened my eyes to the surprisingly interesting and amusing world of punctuation. It is, I've decided, quite indispensable. Sadly though, more and more people are eschewing these cute little critters who work madly on the page to direct you to the right places and meanings. In one brilliant example, Truss shows us how our hardworking commas (and slipping in the unassuming colon) can facilitate smooth and well-intentioned meanings. Placed in the wrong way, it can cause quite a stir:
A woman, without her man, is nothing. A woman: without her, man is nothing.
Truss admits that Language is ever changing. Transmutable, mutating, evolving (devolving? haha), and welcoming of changes. Lynne Truss worries about the fate of the unjustly wronged punctuation marks, and rightly so if you've seen the atrocities done out there in the internet. One gem I do remember coming across was a status update from a stranger in Facebook. He posted:
When I wake up I'm gonna eat watch tv watch my sister take a bath.
The horror! And the snickers it elicited from people! If the poor guy knew how to use the comma, his update would not sound so disturbing.(less)
I love comic books as much as the next person (but I love graphic novels more), Mind The Gap is one of those few--at least in my opinion--well-illustr...moreI love comic books as much as the next person (but I love graphic novels more), Mind The Gap is one of those few--at least in my opinion--well-illustrated stories: the artwork is fantastic except for one thing: the dialogue.
I have a problem with the dialogue. And the pacing of the story I suppose, but let me explain more. Mind the Gap is paranormal whodunit. The protagonist is an Asian-American girl (not sure if she was Korean-american)who goes into comatose after a terrible head trauma. Nobody knows who did it and what happened to her except that we have a bunch of characters who are suspect to this shenanigan. The first few pages of this comic was ok, but gradually, I feel like being warped into weirdland where the characters are starting to mouth dialogues that were just...simply...awkward. Yes, yes, awkward at best. The pacing was crazy: information was being shuttled back and forth at the speed of light but the plot points move along like dying cows. And I'm not entitled to make that analogy as I'm nowhere near real cows. Long story short, I found myself skipping pages. I understand that this is a serial comic book, but still, it left me...weirded out for some reason.
I don't discourage people though to check it out. Some of you might like it though.(less)
If i had stopped in chapter four or less, i might have started this review with a, "try as i might, i just couldn'tbring myself to love the protagonis...moreIf i had stopped in chapter four or less, i might have started this review with a, "try as i might, i just couldn'tbring myself to love the protagonist.". Anna dressed in blood is a novel that dangerously straddles the line between twilight-esque story and i-think-i-will-take this-seriously fiction. I could not think of a better way to write the review than this: a collection of random thoughts and questions that popped up while i was reading it. I finished the novel in four hours by the way. It was that easy.
1. Pet peeves aroused during the reading: The propensity of writers to give characters ridonkulous names. As ridonkulous as the word ridonkulous.
Worst offender is still charlaine harris for naming a chinese vampire chow. Chow? Really?
2. I appreciate the popular culture references.
Harry potter, ghostbusters, stephen king, buffy the vampire slayer. I'm quite surprised it doesn't take a jab at other popular novels involving vampires.
3. Sometimes the characters are either stereotypes, contradict themselves, or lack personalities. She narrowly misses these by compensating with witty dialogue.
4. I always feel uncomfortable reading YA novels that deal with teenagers (duh). I feel like these novels are diluted, strained, and blurry.
5. Does this novel's characters ring a bell?
A trio of friends dealing with the occult? Harry potter is that you?
6. mother is awfully found wanting in the character personality department. Call it flying in the face of verisimilitude. Some characters felt unconvincing.
7. All this mysticism! Thank god she does not subscribe to hollywood voodoo! No more sparkling supernatural entities. Spare us ignorant and racist and gratifying nonsense!
8. This is ctually a YA novel, wait what? Caught dead reading one, you guys! Not after the steamy matureness and detailedness of fifty shades.
9. Writing style Writer holds an MA in creative writing. Enough said.
10. Emo? Protagonist sometimes nearly drifts into that terrifyingland of... emo land or teenage-angst land. Don't, i dare say. Only Achilles has the right to wangst! (waiting while wallowing in angst!)
11. The book's charm is somewhat similar to Charlaine Harris's first few books, at least until she turned the SS series into a melting pile of... Je ne sais quoi...unreadable silly material.
12. Why 3 stars? Loved the book for combining true horror (none of those bullshit vanilla diluted hollywood horror) and teenage romance. Minus two stars for killing tybalt the cat. That was the only plot point in the whole novel I cried in. Dammit no more killing animals!
Conclusion The novel was quite entertaining, enough to make me want to read the sequel. Twilight and fifty shades both failed in that regard.
( if you noticed that my review looks suspiciously weird, as if written by a seven year old kid, that's because i am typing in an ipad, damn it's hard not to miss punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and spaces. Please bear with me as i smashed my laptop's monitor and is too lazy to type like a pro. Or pretend like one.) (less)
The two stars that I gave as a rating for this book is by no means an attempt to dissuade people from reading this excellent book from a truly funny a...moreThe two stars that I gave as a rating for this book is by no means an attempt to dissuade people from reading this excellent book from a truly funny and inspirational comedian (comedienne?). My problem with this book is that there are certain parts in the book that I could not relate to MAINLY because, like some private and personal joke, they poke fun of the American culture; Naturally I had to skip some parts, being a non-American. However, I finished this book thinking that Tina Fey is a genuinely nice, smart girl who doesn't need to take herself too seriously--One I can, surprisingly at the end of the book, relate to simply because, like everyone else, she was flawed but still courageous enough to face life with her trademark aplomb.
Plus, there are even bits of original scripts from their SNL skits. Awesome.(less)
Honestly, I don't know why I even moved on to the second installment of the Fifty shades trilogy, curiosity? hope? Maybe it would be a tad better this...moreHonestly, I don't know why I even moved on to the second installment of the Fifty shades trilogy, curiosity? hope? Maybe it would be a tad better this time in the second book?
The writing was definitely better, improved, but then we are still reminded every page what a beautiful hottie Christian Grey is, or what a complete ditz Ana Steele is, I don't know, whatever. The plot is still rather predictable and weak in some parts, other readers however might find it racy and breathtaking. After reading this book, I am sure as hell not interested anymore in the third book. Enough said. (less)
I couldn't get past chapter 7 on this one, it was THAT bad. Sure, we are easily titillated by the idea of a sexy billionaire falling desperately inlov...moreI couldn't get past chapter 7 on this one, it was THAT bad. Sure, we are easily titillated by the idea of a sexy billionaire falling desperately inlove with a college student (a comparative literature student? good lord.)and we are easily drawn in by the seductive concept of BDSM and Romance thrown into the mixture BUT this novel fails in several aspects: repetitive and unimaginative language, formula-driven plot, a male character who sounds more like a girl, and an annoying Mary Sue female protagonist. I tried really hard to like this, considering I've stopped reading adult romance five years ago. Picking this book up, due to its sudden popularity, only proved one thing: why I moved on from formulaic stories to more substantial ones. (less)
Madeline Miller's book is sad but clear montage of the romantic relationship between Aristos Achaion Achilles and the exiled prince, Patroclus. Like a...moreMadeline Miller's book is sad but clear montage of the romantic relationship between Aristos Achaion Achilles and the exiled prince, Patroclus. Like almost all the books published in the twentieth century, this is a retelling of a popular epic, Iliad, through the eyes of the second best hero in the events, Patroclus—the one whose death triggers the return of Achilles to the Trojan war. This time, in the tale spun to us by first time author Miller, we see the events, fully fleshed, through the eyes of Patroclus. He is at the center stage. We follow the first few chapters on his childhood, and later on as an exiled ex-prince to Phthia, the kingdom where Achilles' father, Peleus, rules. Their friendship gradually burgeons into a heartbreakingly tender love. Along the way, we meet other famous mythological figures: old and ailing Peleus, Thetis—the mortal hating sea-nymph, Deidameia, Odysseus, Diomedes, Ajax, Agamemnon, Menelaus, so on and so forth. Her portrayal of the Trojan characters however are detached and distant. We only hear one word from Helen and never see her again, Hector only utters one line and is not shown as the more-charming hero that he is over Achilles, Paris is not played as the pretty-boy jerk he usually is, especially in the movies. On the other hand, Pyrrhus, Achilles' son by Deidameia, is portrayed sharply as a cruel and heartless killing-machine.
Miller's prose is clear and strong, oftentimes lyrical and poetic. A reviewer pointed out that she spends too much time fawning over the character of Achilles. Though evident, it is not done in bad taste, it is only understandable that Patroclus would from time and time remind readers of Achilles' beauty. I for one, was not troubled at all. If you want to see something like this get really annoying, you only have to turn to Twilight or Fifty Shades trilogy.
In this novel, they are portrayed as star-crossed lovers. The romantic nature of the “comradeship” between these two is arguable. In many different versions, Achilles and Patroclus are cousins, one older than the other. Others have interpreted their intimate relationship as merely platonic, never verging on the Greek pederasty (and it should because they already have outgrown it). This does not mean however that it is spitefully wrong or historically incorrect to portray them in a romantic, even sexual, manner as the epics and other classic works will always be interpreted through many ways and from different times and perspectives. This is the perspective of Achilles' passionate lover.
Miller covers the Trojan war up until the climax and we wonder how will the story continue. What follows is a montage of the final years of the war, Pyrrhus' arrival, the failure to follow Achilles' last request, and finally, in a very tender moment, cold and hateful Thetis' surrender and submission to her maternal feelings. She relents and talks to Patroclus' spirit, to remind her of her lost son. "I am made of memories", Patroclus answers, we have the first thirty chapters of it.
Miller's novel is reminiscent of Mary Renault who wrote similar stories. Even now, I can not acquire copies of her books—which I read in the library of the university I graduated from and worked—and which sometimes I thought of stealing. Miller's prose is the closest thing I can get to Mary Renault. The way she fleshes out characters, to appear three dimensional on her page, to call them out from their two dimensional portraits on urns, is nothing new. T.H. White has done the same for the Arthurian Legends and I have loved him ever since. This is a work that has done away with the endless carnage and who-killed-who (the same unending droning of “begats” in the bible) and focuses more on the emotional aspect of the characters, the love between two men. (less)
I think it's a good book--but more of a bridge than a stand-alone book. I understand why many readers aren't satisfied with it: because it is episodic...moreI think it's a good book--but more of a bridge than a stand-alone book. I understand why many readers aren't satisfied with it: because it is episodic, introduces new plot arcs, and toned-down compared to preceding series. It was not that good, but it was not that bad either. (less)