You are an ass. Like so many other ugly Americans, your choice to live in a bubble in which you pick and choose the...more--February 8, 2012--
Dear Sai King,
You are an ass. Like so many other ugly Americans, your choice to live in a bubble in which you pick and choose the things that suit your skewed world view disgusts me. In your afterward, based on your research, you say you are now 98% sure that Oswald was the lone gunman. Nowhere do you mention the House Select Committee on Assasinations, which, based on indisputable physical and forensic evidence, concluded that there were at least two guns firing on the president. You can discount all the conspiracy theories you want, but the empirical evidence does not lie. For God's sake man, you can even SEE the trajectory of the bullet in the Zapruder Film, which contradicts Oswald's position and which you did claim you'd watched!
In one fell swoop you have severed our twenty-year connection. I cannot be on the same wavelength as such an idiot. I cannot hold you in high regard, nor can I include you in my list of heroes. Not if these lies are what you believe.
Maybe that's not as bad and scary as I thought it would be. Maybe there's a reason it's time for me to leave you behind. Tyler Durden says, "It is only after we have lost everything are we free to do anything." I feel lighter already.
I'll no longer be buying your books; luckily I can get them from the library if I decide to read your future works. After all, I am curious about the new Dark Tower installment and the sequel to The Shining.
If I decide to keep writing, I look forward to *my* version of a world in which Kennedy lives: it will be a far more thoughtful, provocative, and well-written story than your piece of sheisse. My worldview is not limited by what I would *like* to believe, it expands to include even the things I don't like or don't want to hear.
Oh, and dude, you seriously need to get a better editor. There is no reason for this novel to be 867 pages long. The whole 300+ pages in Jodie, Texas could have been cut and nobody ever would have noticed.
The one star I've given "11/22/63" is for Bevvie and Ritchie. Revisiting Derry was the only positive aspect of this waste of time -- you should have stuck to what you knew.
Zuzu, a former Constant Reader
--January 31, 2012--
Dear Sai King,
We've had a very long relationship, you and I, going on twenty years. In those twenty years you haven't written a damn thing that I didn't love, everything has resonated with me -- and almost especially the books that other people hated, like "Lisey's Story". I fucking love that book. You are a brilliant writer.
To prove our connection, four years ago I started germinating a novel in which Kennedy lived. For all these years I've been chatting with people of your generation asking them what they think would have been different if he and his brother had survived. Idealistic me, I was convinced that Hero Kennedy would have made this world a better place. Like you mention in one of the Dark Tower books, I thought he was as true and honorable as Roland -- the last gunslinger.
That was until I learned that he, his brother, and a group of others had not only murdered Marilyn Monroe, they also covered it up. Every time a news station or filmmaker has tried to bring this heinous crime to light, it has been quashed because the Kennedy's are not gunslingers. They are crooks.
My book has since morphed from an elegy to a great man to a world in which Marilyn Monroe does not die: she gives the press conference that she would have done had they not silenced her. The end of the Kennedys.
I know you still love JFK. He's still your hero like he was mine. I wonder if knowing what I know would have affected your book. I'm only about 30 pages in so I don't know where you're going with this. I have no illusions that yours is a story to glorify JFK. The Great American Hero. The murderous rapist creep. I spit on his grave.
All that aside, I'm still afraid you've lost me with this book. It doesn't sound like you. You're trying too hard to write a book that will take you out of the monster genre and it's not working. You sound stilted, like you're self-censoring. Worse, it's kind of boring. Is it really so important to you to get "legitimacy" as a writer? Don't you know that you are one of the best modern American novelists? Don't you know that your discerning readers, like myself, consider you on par with John Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald? Fuck you if that's not enough.
I don't like fighting with you. I don't want to not like you. I don't want my love for you to be colored by your Kennedy book. I want to be able to re-read your other works as I do often and not have the specter of this one over my eyes.
This must be how so many people felt when they read “Lisey’s Story” and didn’t get it. Hated it even. It’s horribly unsettling, Mr. King, I feel like a foundation of myself is cracking. If it breaks, I will never be the same.
Thus, I have come to a decision: I will read your Kennedy book, but I will not engage with it. I will not savor your each and every word. I will not cry at the end.
After 20 years this is the first time you have disappointed me, but I won’t let you break my heart over it.
I have no idea how to rate this book. For amazing social and cultural satire, and for capturing the spirit of psychopathy and greed in the American ps...moreI have no idea how to rate this book. For amazing social and cultural satire, and for capturing the spirit of psychopathy and greed in the American psyche, I give it 5 stars. But as the brutality of the titular American psycho rises further and further to the surface, I can barely bring myself to give the book even 1 star.
What I loved was how the people in the "story" don't even get physical descriptions: the only things the author tells you is what labels they are wearing and what they are drinking. I imagined these hordes of faceless, soulless creatures -- zombies, effectively -- walking around New York. Another thing the author perfectly captures is how nobody listens, really listens, to anyone. As the main character starts dropping hints about his grotesque predilections into banal conversation nobody even bats an eye, so concerned are they about the nothing on their mind, the stream of meaningless words from their mouths. They are all empty. The parallels to what I see around me here in the US are uncanny.
Basically, if you replace the Walkman with an iPod and some of the now-vintage designers like Bill Blass for Alexander McQueen you have a portrait of today's "average" Wall Street-er.
As the book went on and the masks of sanity slip, I ended up having to skip pages because of the unfathomable level of violence against women. Makes my stomach turn. I know this is a part of the apt commentary Mr. Ellis is making about white American men (in the 1980s), but it was too much, even for me who loves horror.
The worst thing about this book is how true it is, even 20+ years later. I've read a number of articles about how recent American pornography is more geared towards hurting and humiliating women than ever before and many of the scenes in this book seem to have come to life on film in recent years. Just disgusting. I want to channel the spirit of Lorena Bobbitt and go to town.
This was probably not a good book to read upon having relocated to the US. If I wasn't scared before, I fucking am now. What the hell is *wrong* with this place? (less)
Magic and magicker. These books have inspired so many people! I start to see all the threads going out from this book and why I love so many of the mo...moreMagic and magicker. These books have inspired so many people! I start to see all the threads going out from this book and why I love so many of the modern authors I do. (less)
This book is crazy prophetic. In the story, the cure for the common cold goes bad and ends up turning most of the human population into zombies. Becau...moreThis book is crazy prophetic. In the story, the cure for the common cold goes bad and ends up turning most of the human population into zombies. Because the mainstream media helped cover up the epidemic, in this future world bloggers are the new and trusted media. No more Fox News, hallelujah.
There is so much I loved about this book, prophecy aside. I love that one of the types of bloggers is an Irwin (I have a Zuzu Irwin thread on my own blog which is about my different encounters with animals around the world). I also love that another blogger type is a Fictional (I have a poetry series on my blog about the memories and stories of Prague's sculptures). Basically, I saw myself in a lot of the characters in FEED.
I've never before read a book with a blogger as the main character and that is one of the most enjoyable parts of the story. Lots of parallels to my own blogging style, including a 15-minutes-to-live post that left me weeping.
The future world is bleak but overall the power of social media and online publishing shines through. I suspect we'll be seeing more and more books like this one as the days go by.
Zombie mayhem and nastiness is at a minimum, so if you aren't into the zombie genre (as I definitely am not) then no worries, nothing too cringe-worthy or gross. The story is very human, and that could be seen as a flaw (at least that's what my husband said, he wanted more zombie appearances). The writing style is clear and the excerpts from the bloggers "actual" blogs are brilliant.
I am on pins and needles to read the two follow-up novels. Absolutely recommend this one!(less)
This book is kick ass! John Landis is one of my favorite directors and his commentary is just like him, geeky, goofy, and funny. I have a huge new lis...moreThis book is kick ass! John Landis is one of my favorite directors and his commentary is just like him, geeky, goofy, and funny. I have a huge new list of horror films and books that I need to watch/read based on his recommendations. I loved seeing favorites like Edward Scissorhands (including the original Burton drawing that inspired my own Edward tattoo), Medusa from Clash of the Titans, Fright Night, The Descent, and a whole host of others beautifully laid out in this massive pages.
The only incomplete thing was that the book didn't end with any final notes from its compiler, as it began. You're just turning glossy pages of monster pictures and awesome captions, and then suddenly you're in the index. But, this wasn't so much a book of words anyway, it was in honour of all the amazing monsters that have come from global cinema. Still, some recap words would have been a nice way to tie this fabulous coffee table book together.
This book broke my heart a little. I loved hearing from the real Alice and her story resonated with me on so many levels. I almost wasn't able to read...moreThis book broke my heart a little. I loved hearing from the real Alice and her story resonated with me on so many levels. I almost wasn't able to read this because I knew it would change how I saw one of my favorite books of all time, but I also thought about my own storytelling and how abuse can't just get swept under the rug at all turns just to protect to a wrongdoer.
I finished "Alice I Have Benn" a week ago and I've not been able to even write about all that I felt while reading. I've also had a really hard time starting another book since I finished this one -- a very tough act to follow considering how "Alice in Wonderland" has been one of the cornerstones of my creative foundation since I was a child. I will always love the story, but after this book I know I can no longer love it blindly.
I cannot revere "Alice in Wonderland"'s author and his predilections towards young girls (of which there were many, and I never knew that before). But I also cannot abandon the world of Wonderland that shaped me as a person and a writer. So now I come to "Alice in Wonderland" from a different place of truth, one that is more grounded in the "real" context of its creation, and while I feel like a bit of my childhood innocence was lost, I know Melanie Benjamin's book is not the culprit: I look to Alice in Wonderland for escape, for magic, for the wonder I want to see all the time -- that this story somehow takes me back to the enchantment of childhood. After reading Benjamin's work I know now that the myth of Wonderland is a most apt metaphor for my childhood, and all this time I have been pretending I ever had a childhood to look back on with joy save for escapes into the fantastical worlds of Oz, Fantasia, the Labyrinth, places where the Wild Things roam. I had the kind of childhood the real Alice had, one that sounds romantic but ultimately requires making peace with latent horrors.
In some ways I want to be angry with "Alice I have Been". It changed everything. I didn't necessarily need this particular mirror turned on my life right now. But, at the same time, I'm also thankful to it for forcing me to confront my history, the authors I hold to high esteem, the worlds in which I consider myself an honorary member just because my real world was (or is) too painful.
When it's all said and done, I suppose Wonderland was always a tainted space. And that's okay, because nowhere is perfect.
This is one of those books that will never leave me. I highly recommend it, but do brace yourself for an intense read.(less)
Some fascinating insights into the world of criminalism and profiling. As I was reading, I of course thought about my various villains in American Mon...moreSome fascinating insights into the world of criminalism and profiling. As I was reading, I of course thought about my various villains in American Monsters I and upcoming baddies in Books II and III. Without doing any research other than watching crime shows I managed to make back stories that totally fit what Mr Douglas would predict about their behaviour. The ones that differ still fit into the general molds he's presented in this book. I have no idea what that says about me (I'd make a good criminal? Or a good criminalist?), but it was pretty cool and a great feeling of validation.
The parallel projects of two American architects -- one the creator of America's first world fair and the other America's most prolific serial killer...moreThe parallel projects of two American architects -- one the creator of America's first world fair and the other America's most prolific serial killer -- unfold in 1893 Chicago. A very interesting read. (less)
This is a really hard book to read. For some reason, McCarthy's prose gets a bit convoluted and I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and who...moreThis is a really hard book to read. For some reason, McCarthy's prose gets a bit convoluted and I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and who he was talking about. That said, it's a brilliant portrait of America during the indigenous genocide of the late 1800s. I have no idea how anyone at all managed to survive those days.
The brutality was intense -- I've never read so many scalpings in my life. This book should be a part of school curriculum for its ability to portray how wild the west really was.(less)
What a fascinating take on HOWL. I think Ginsberg would have been very pleased with this result. And what a great poem. I'd forgotten how awesome it i...moreWhat a fascinating take on HOWL. I think Ginsberg would have been very pleased with this result. And what a great poem. I'd forgotten how awesome it is and plan to get a book of his poetry next time I'm library-bound.(less)
I can't even begin to describe how conflicted I feel about the events in this book.
Occasionally, I would get so caught up in Capote's beautiful storyt...moreI can't even begin to describe how conflicted I feel about the events in this book.
Occasionally, I would get so caught up in Capote's beautiful storytelling gift that I'd forget this is something that actually happened.
And then I would feel sick to my stomach, and I'd have nightmares.
From my own personal experience of violent crime, I do not, DO NOT, want to feel sympathy for the people perpetrating the kinds of crimes that leave dead in their wake and leave survivors just as bad off. But as much as I fought it, I couldn't help but see what would lead two men to walk into a Kansas home and shoot four people in the head.
And then I would feel sick, and have nightmares.
This is a confusing book. If you've never experienced a violent crime that resulted in someone's death, then I think you have a far better chance than me of appreciating the art of this book.
I'm glad I read it -- it's helped me shape characters in my second novel. But I think it would have been far less harrowing had I not the personal experience with something similar.
All that said, Truman Capote is a brilliant writer. One of America's best. Anyone who makes you feel this much is an artist.(less)
This book was simply marvelous. The writing style, the story, just beautifully done. Some great twists and turns in the plot and an awesome jaw-droppi...moreThis book was simply marvelous. The writing style, the story, just beautifully done. Some great twists and turns in the plot and an awesome jaw-dropping ending. Just brilliant. I've never read Chandler before and I know he's going to be a huge inspiration for American Monsters II. The library has a bunch of his books so you can bet I'll be checking them out one by one.(less)