When talking about "Wasting Talent" you almost have to consider other junkie novels in its class such as "Requiem for a Dream", "Trainspotting", "Cand...moreWhen talking about "Wasting Talent" you almost have to consider other junkie novels in its class such as "Requiem for a Dream", "Trainspotting", "Candy", and "Dead Babies", just to name a few. These novels are drug-addled, often violent, sexual, with a constant tease of hope. The characters are always flawed and their choices are never the right ones...so to bring any originality to this very niche genre is a challenge in itself, and Leone succeeds here in this regard mostly by giving an original style to established substance.
The writing is...wow...almost lyrical, I'd say. Very minimalist. Lots of punching sentences. It shows the influence of Bret Easton Ellis without crossing into derivative territory. It's a very well-designed page-turner in both its structure and narrative. Damien, our resident protag, goes through cycles of criminal activity, f***ing girls, getting wasted on a myriad of substances beyond junk, and just generally being in bad situations. Rare are there periods of reprieve...so there's this feeling of constant motion/action/danger happening. It makes sense when you think about it because the junkie is all about the next score, the next high, the next batch. The addict is always chasing, and as a reader, you feel right there with him.
The big thing I want to applaud Leone for is his command of the details as they relate to actually doing drugs: prepping them, using them, how they make you feel and think, the bad comedown, the paranoia. Rule #1 of writing a drug novel is to know how to write about drugs, and I can tell the difference between a writer faking it and a writer who actually knows their sh*t. Leone knows his sh*t.
If I have one gripe about the novel it's that I never bought the musical genius aspect of Damien's character...and it's a fairly important thing considering this story is predicated on a man who throws away his talent for drugs. That part fell short for me. My emotional investment was never fully realized, but that doesn't make Damien any less entertaining to watch or the story any less gripping.
A fan of Selby Jr. or Welsh should definitely check this out. (less)
The beginning of Gayle Towell's novella comes with a warning in regards to the content and subject matter. This warning is not unfounded.
"Blood Gravit...moreThe beginning of Gayle Towell's novella comes with a warning in regards to the content and subject matter. This warning is not unfounded.
"Blood Gravity" is like nothing I've ever read before, probably because this is the type of book that I'd usually avoid. At its most innocent, you could call it a family drama...but to apply that label is putting it lightly. Within these pages is self-harm and pedophilia and a family so twisted it resonates in the reader's guts. On the one hand, I don't think I could ever read this book again. On the other hand, I can't deny that I've been thinking about it (against my will) for the past 24 hours. "Blood Gravity" is not a light read, but a haunting, harrowing, mind-f*ck of a book. This is powerful writing that will push the reader to their limits.(less)
This was an odd book because I got exactly what I expected (porn anecdotes, fuck stories, stripper and escort tales, etc.), and ye...moreMore like 2.5 stars.
This was an odd book because I got exactly what I expected (porn anecdotes, fuck stories, stripper and escort tales, etc.), and yet, somehow it didn't completely satisfy. Part of the problem is that this isn't really technically a novel. A novel has a beginning, middle, and end. "Insatiable" is more a hodge-podge of barely-connected stories that are all over the place. Asa, of course, talks about doing porn, the people and personalities in porn, and her motivations behind doing it. We also get things like her shoplifting stint as a child, abortions, acne problems, being addicted to crack, and what it was like for her directing instead of starring. There's also haiku poems scattered about. When it's all said and done though, there's not really a main narrative to grab on to. This is Asa telling stories about herself in non-chronological order: some of it appropriate for the text, and some of it coming off like filler material. I admire her candor in being so honest, but some things (like being addicted to crack) got brushed over.
The best parts of this book actually have nothing to do with porn. It's when Asa talks about her own inadequacies with herself or other people that I was most hooked. The porn bits are hammered a little too hard...to the point where it's tiresome. Literally the only thing that made my stomach turn a little was towards the end when she's addressing her not-yet-conceived future child and talking about anal and DP and the like.
Again, you'll get pretty much what you expect here. It's not a bad book but it's not great either. Very middle of the road. (less)
After ANNIHILATION--which I really enjoyed--AUTHORITY was a bit of a letdown.
In AUTHORITY, we shift from the jungles and mystery of Area X to the offi...moreAfter ANNIHILATION--which I really enjoyed--AUTHORITY was a bit of a letdown.
In AUTHORITY, we shift from the jungles and mystery of Area X to the offices and politics of the Southern Reach. There's little to no action. Some parts were very compelling, like the interview portions with the biologist...but those were vastly over-shadowed by long dragging periods in which Control (the main protag) goes on a wild goose chase for information. There's misinformation and double-crosses. Layers are added to the enigma that is Area X. Answers are provided, however, in typical "Lost" fashion, they're answers that lead to more questions. I won't give spoilers. Just know that this definitely feels like an interim novel purely meant to get us to the final novel. That's what it felt like at least.
This, of course, is required reading if you're taking on the entire trilogy...but this installment was a definite labor. I flew threw ANNIHILATION in a matter of days. AUTHORITY took some effort. (less)
An abortion--covered in caviar, gold leaf, and diamonds--is still an abortion.
Make no mistake, Rich Kids of Instagram is single-handedly the hugest ab...moreAn abortion--covered in caviar, gold leaf, and diamonds--is still an abortion.
Make no mistake, Rich Kids of Instagram is single-handedly the hugest abortion of a book I've ever had the misfortune of reading. I read it for free, and yet somehow I feel like Maya Sloan and the people over at Gallery Books should have to pay reparations to society for this stillbirth of a "novel". It's pure, unmitigated horseshit. It's the book you throw into the fireplace when you don't want to waste firewood. It is the end-all be-all of how to do the opposite of literature. It's Maya Sloan's performance art opus in which we watch her squat, make "totes" diarrhea on the page, so she can turn a profit.
RKOI is actually WORSE than reality TV. Worse. Congratulations, Maya Sloan, you've failed upwards!!
SURELY, IT CAN'T BE THAT BAD!!
Well, don't books have a story? A plot?
NOT THIS ONE!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Instead, Maya Sloan does this thing where she takes a myriad of non-interesting characters and has them do (wait for it) not really much of anything with barely-there connecting threads. I'm completely serious. What Sloan appears to have done is eavesdropped on the most uninteresting conversations imaginable and transcribed them, all while adding words like "totes" and "obvi" and whatever hashtag speak was hot that week. Sloan drops names like Victoria Beckham and Kate Middleton. Oh, and if you love brand names...Sloan just has allllllllllllllllllllllll of them. OMG OMG OMG Prada! Say Prada again, guys! We all love PRADA!! And drugs! RKOI has these kids doing drugs like the weed and the coke and the pills that make you wanna party so totes obvi hard (did I use that right, Maya?).
BUT LET'S NOT FORGET THOSE INSTAGRAM PICS!!
Yeah, bro...the book has Instagram pics in between chapters just in case you don't know what those look like. And they have hashtags!! So many hashtags!!
So far we've got: DRUGS, HASHTAGS, NAME-DROPPING, TOTES, OBVI, INSTAGRAM, DOUBLE-TOTES-OBVI, TEXTING, MORE TEXTING, CHARACTERS GETTING UPSET BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T GET A TEXT BACK, THEN TEXTS COMING BACK, TOTES TEXTING, DRUGS, MORE NAME-DROPPING
How about some spoilers now??
So the whole "book" is built around a guy named Todd Evergreen who everyone is panty-twisted over because he's rich (like everyone else in the "book") and they all want a piece of him, right?
SPOILER #1: Todd Evergreen is from **gasp!!** the sticks...like out in the woods...TOTES OMG!!!! SPOILER #2: Todd Evergreen is a genius at computers because he can **gasp!!** see patterns like Neo from The Matrix. Genius explanation, Maya! SPOILER #3: Todd Evergreen's big revenge against those mean ol' rich kids of Instagram is **gasp!!** throwing a party and getting saucy pictures of them with hidden cameras!!
WAS THE BOOK JUST RUINED??
Nope. I just totes saved you some time.
This is literally the worst book I've ever read. Ever. I hope Maya Sloan enjoys her money.
It goes without saying that this is a great screenplay turned into a great movie, but I think the coolest part was reading all the scenes that actuall...moreIt goes without saying that this is a great screenplay turned into a great movie, but I think the coolest part was reading all the scenes that actually didn't make it into the film. This is a must-read for fans of Tarantino or people trying to learn how to write a damn good screenplay.(less)