We met on a rainy afternoon in New Jersey. I was 12, and I had found a dusty copy of Selections from S...moreI've had a tumultous romance with Stephen King.
We met on a rainy afternoon in New Jersey. I was 12, and I had found a dusty copy of Selections from Skeleton Crew in my Aunt's impressive book collection. I had to sneak him into the living room, away from prying eyes. Heaven forbid, my Mother would find me with something as bold and as crass as a Stephen King book.
It was a great first date. King was horrifying, engaging, hilarious, and dirty. He had all of the appeal of a bad boy on a dirt bike.
And since Selections from Skeleton Crew we've had our ups and downs. He put me under his spell in The Eyes of the Dragon, but I grew bored with him when he wrote Gerald's Game. I thought my love for him could be rekindled after I read Bag of Bones, where he showed his readers asensitive side to his story-telling, but after a few more books I decided to leave. I had outgrown my love for Stephen King.
So, I took my entire collection of Stephen King books, including untouched copies of the first three books in the Dark Tower series, and threw them into the box labeled "Goodwill".
And then I came across this graphic novel.
It was like coming across a text message from an ex-boyfriend. I was reminded of why I fell in love with Stephen King, and simultaneously reminded of why I fell out of love with him.
The Dark Tower graphic novel brings us into a world where cloaked magicians exist alongside gun-toting Cowboys. It's Lord of the Rings meets the Wild Wild West. It's a coming-of-age story of a cowboy earning his guns, and a group of three young boys coming to terms with their ka, or their destiny. To me, this is what I enjoy most about Stephen King; the horror fairy tale. He has a way of mixing the magical and the macbre and making it work.
Another reason I enjoyed this graphic novel is because it quickens the pace of the story. I find that Stephen King has a way of going on wild tangents that contribute nothing whatsoever to the actual storyline. And yet, his narratives are so plot driven that you can splice about 100 pages from any of his books and still get the entire story. This form of novel forces the narrative to go on continuosly. No more of this feet dragging.
And yet, there were still more faults to this book. The artwork was beautiful, but inconsistent. The colour palettes and use of shadows did well in contributing to the novel's story, and yet, I couldn't help but notice that several pictures were quite literally copied and pasted into different scenes in the book. The character development other than Roland's was barely there.
So,all in all I did enjoy this. It was an entertaining, quick read that reminded me why I love the horror genre. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough for me to rekindle the love that I once had for Stephen King. Will I be picking up the sequels in this series? Not likely. (less)
I'm a huge fan of The Walking Dead series, and I love what Robert Kirkman has done for TV.
But *gasps* (blasphemy) I've never been a fan of Robert Kir...moreI'm a huge fan of The Walking Dead series, and I love what Robert Kirkman has done for TV.
But *gasps* (blasphemy) I've never been a fan of Robert Kirkman's work on paper. Yes, I did enjoy his graphic novels, but I didn't love them. I felt that they were gory and intense, but lacked any real character development. The plot developed much too quickly.
This book is just an extension of that, but without the beautiful artwork. As gory as this book is, it lacks the intensity of the show and the graphic novel. It was also riddled with akward sentences, and poorly used similes. Such as this:
Bundled in a down coat with her stuffed penguin at her side, she seems oddly sanguine, her pale face drawn and languid, as though she were about to visit the pediatrician
Really?! You're taking a little girl out on the road with the threat of flesh-eating zombies, and then you equate the sheer terror of the situation with going to the doctor's office.
The characters feel flat as well. We've got Philip Blake, the angry tattooed Mexican, who'll do anything to keep his daughter alive; Brian Blake, his fail-at-life hippy brother; Bobby Marsh, the token fat guy; and Penny, Philip's little girl.
My verdict: I choose to erase this book from my memory, and go on loving David Morissey's interpretation of The Governor. (less)
I often get made fun of by my film-snob friends (and if any of you are reading this, I really do love you) because I love M. Night Shyamalan. No, my l...moreI often get made fun of by my film-snob friends (and if any of you are reading this, I really do love you) because I love M. Night Shyamalan. No, my love for the man is not just limited to The Sixth Sense (eek Bruce Willis with hair) or Signs but I dig pretty much most of his films-- plot twists, Razzies, and all.
Last year, I came across his film Devil where five complete strangers get stuck in an elevator. One of these strangers is the Devil in disguise, collecting the souls of the sinful. One by one, each passanger is killed off, leaving the audience and the characters guessing, "Who dunnit?"
So how is this even relevant to my review?
If it wasn't for Mr. Shyamalan's Devil I probably would never have picked up this wonderful book by Agatha Christie. And Then There Were None starts off with ten unfortunate strangers getting lured onto an island by Mr. U.N. Owen. Each is faced with an alleged crime from their past, and one by one, they are killed off the island. Subistute ten strangers for five, an island with a house, or an elevator, and ladies and gentlemen, you have the formula for pretty much every modern murder mystery.
What makes this novel so great is that Christie doesn't rely on blood to captivate her audience. She opens the novel with a British nursery rhyme "Ten Little Indians". Each killing mimics a verse of the poem until each stranger is killed off. The tension and the fear suffered by each character is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. You almost feel sympathetic for them, even though you almost have no background of who these people are.
Ingeniously done. This is my first Agatha Christie, but it won't be my last.
1) You don't like ghost giraffes 2) You don't like ghost giraffes acting as sex therapists 3) You don't like ghost giraffes...moreYou won't like this book if:
1) You don't like ghost giraffes 2) You don't like ghost giraffes acting as sex therapists 3) You don't like ghost giraffes with big boners 4) You don't like ghost giraffes perfoming cunnilingus 5) You don't like ghost giraffes impreganating your wife
I you happen to be partial to ghost giraffes, and you also happen to be a pervert, this will be your cup of tea. Three stars. (less)
I had a big problem with how self-contained each of the chapters were. I felt that ever chapter was a short-story, and then Gaiman would go back and add little details so that it would all make sense in the end. But there was no flow, no unity in between the chapters.
It felt anticlimatic as well. All of the chills and thrills were in the very first chapter. It sort of dwindlesdown from there. (less)
I've sat on the river boat with Florentino Ariza, and I was unmoved by his quest for love. I've been a voyeur to the old bachelor who buys himself a fourteen-year old virgin on his 90th birthday. I was mildly disgusted. However, "Chronicle of a Death Foretold", this I like. I really, really like.
For people that haven't read GGM, this would be a good place to start. It's a slim read (my copy is only 143 pages), and it gives you a taste of what his other books are like. For people that have complained about Marquez being too wordy, this is the book for you. The prose is descriptive, but far from being purple.
The story is about the murder of Santiago Nasir. Although his death was foretold by everybody in his town, nobody does anything to stop the attack from happening. Marquez is a master at story-telling. Even though the same story is being told throughout the book by many different characters, their individual accounts of the crime just draws you into the book even more.
Again, Marquez brings the magical into the mundane. There aren't any shortages of ghosts or pyschic dreams in this one.
No, no. By no means do I worship the devil-- I don't sacrifice chickens on my spare time, nor do I run ar...moreI've always had a fascination with the Devil.
No, no. By no means do I worship the devil-- I don't sacrifice chickens on my spare time, nor do I run around naked in pastures to howl at the moonlight. However, I was raised with a strict Catholic upbringing by a very superstitious Grandmother. So at a young age, I had a very black and white concept of good vs evil, and heaven and hell. Movies like The Omen (Gregory Peck version, if you please), and The Exorcist use to scare the living daylights out of me.
As I grew up, my Grandmother's version of the Devil started to melt away, and I developed a fond appreciation for different interpretations of "Lucifer", "Satan", "Beelzebub", whatever you'd like to call him. I've come across some interesting portrayals of the Devil, but Bulgakov really takes the cake.
In "The Master and Margarita", the black magician Woland is Satan incarnate. He comes to pay a vist in Stalanist Moscow with a very intriguing posse which includes a talking, gun-slinging, vodka-loving cat, Bohemoth. If there ever was the perfect time and place for Satan to vist the world, it would be Stalanist Moscow; citizens are petrified of the Police, the art world is censored and controlled by the government, and, as portrayed in the novel, people are willing to oust each other to the police if it meant some sort of personal gain. The Devil uses this to his advantage and wreaks havoc in Moscow by exposing the follies of mankind.Yet, I can't really see the Devil as "the bad guy" in this book. He's merely just doing his job-- punishing the wicked, and rewarding the good.
"The Good" in this book are of course the title characters-- The Master (a nameless writer in an asylum, whose book about Pontious Pilate is interwoven with the plot) and Margarita, his beautiful, devoted lover. Over the course of the book, I've really come to love both of these characters. Bulgakov is great at manipulating feelings. Even though there aren't any erotic scenes in the book, you feel the sexual passion between the couple. You feel the despair they when they're separated from each other. You feel pathos for the Master when he suffers a mental breakdown, and you squeal in delight as Margarita races naked through the sky. I couldn't help but feel a sense of elation when the two are rewarded in the end.
The Master and Margarita is one of the most profound, and entertaining books I have ever read. It celebrates sensuality, yet it's critical against instant gratification. It deals with good vs. evil, and the gray area in between. there's so much allusion to so many great works of art, that I can only look forward to rereading this book only after I can fully understand all of these allusions. And in the midst of this depth, Bulgakov still manages to throw in the most imaginative twists to his story: Satan's ball for sinners, a talking cat, a flying pig, and naked women flying through the air.
It's a lengthy, but quick read, and I recommend it to everybody!(less)
My only regret about reading this book was not reading it soon enough. I have read so many reviews and summaries of "Never Let Me Go" that going into...moreMy only regret about reading this book was not reading it soon enough. I have read so many reviews and summaries of "Never Let Me Go" that going into the novel, I already knew the twists and the turns that lay ahead of me. It took away from the nail-biting suspense of trying to figure out "so, what exactly is a donation?" or "why is Madame taking artwork from the children?"
But other than that, I think it was perfect. Ishiguro brings Kathy H. to life as soon as we are introduced to her. Kathy reminisces on three distinct periods in her life: her childhood at Hailsham (a very special boarding school for very special children), her stay with her close friends Ruth and Tommy at the Cottages, and her life as a carer for several of her peers.
"Never Let Me Go" deals with some pretty brutal stuff, and it could have turned into a blood-spattered organ-fest. But instead, Ishiguro gives us something that is emotional and scary, yet still believable. Even though Kathy shares very warm, colourful memories from her childhood, there is always that hint of impending doom that each character must face.
This is my first read from Ishiguro, but it definitely won't be the last. (less)
Whenever I read Jane Austen, I have to overcome the sudden urge to start speaking in an upper-class English accent. And why not? Even with the hardshi...moreWhenever I read Jane Austen, I have to overcome the sudden urge to start speaking in an upper-class English accent. And why not? Even with the hardships portrayed in Austen's novels, she has the ability to keep the mood humorous and light. Wouldn't life be better if it were narrated in an Austentanian English accent? I think so.
I've debated much with myself about the rating I would give this book. Make no mistake, I absolutely, positively, with all my being, loved this book. I would have given it a 5 had I not remembered how much I loved Pride and Prejudice. Austen just has the talent of making guys-that-seem-like-jerks so damn endearing. Even though I thought Edward Ferrars was a lying, cheating prat, I was in love with him by the end of the novel.
Austen creates a great contrast between the two Dashwood sisters; Elinor, the practical, logical sister; and Marianne, the impulsive romantic. I think that the contrast between the two women is what has given this story its universal appeal. We can all relate to the duality of Emma and Marianne's characters. Like Elinor, we try to keep our poker faces on, especially when dealing with douchebags like Edward Ferrars. Even in this modern age, society looks down, (or at least makes fun of) people that follow impulsive, passsionate urges. Yet like Marianne, we have to fight hard to supress these instincts. What I love about Austen is how she shows the flaws of being too logical or too romantic. The sisters were only able to find peace within themselves when they learn how to balance sense and sensibility. Interesting tidbit: Austen had once said that the character she most identifies with, out of her whole body of work, was.... drumroll please... Marianne Dashwood. After reading a biography about Austen,it was apparent why. She had been offered a marriage of convenience, accepted it, and later declined the offer. She would rather marry for love than financial convenience.
The rest of the story line is pretty typical for a rom-com :girl falls in love with guy, guy ends up being jerk and makes girl cry, jerk ends up not being jerk after all. The good girls go home with their men, while the bad girls go home punished. But not harshly, this is Austen land after all. However typical the story line, the characters and the dialogue keep the read light, easy, and fresh.
Imagine living in a hierarchal society. Now imagine that in this society, you are completely immobile; no matter what you do, no matter what your pers...moreImagine living in a hierarchal society. Now imagine that in this society, you are completely immobile; no matter what you do, no matter what your personal or profession merits are, you are stuck in your place. In this society, the top dogs, the head honchos are free to do whatever the hell they want, while the little guys on the bottom have to sweep away their own footsteps so as not to pollute the presence of the higher-ups. This is the caste-based society that Rohinton Mistry so successfully portrays in "A Fine Balance".
Mistry brings us into the lives of four dazzling characters. There's Dina Dalal who struggles to make ends meet. Renting a room in her flat is the young, sheltered, Manek Kohla who is forced out into the city by his parents. Lastly, there are the two tragic tailors; Ishvar, and his nephew Omprakash. Although each character comes from a different walk of life, their paths unexpectedly intwertwine. Mistry writes about the sense of friendship and family that they find in each other.
If the words "friendship" and "family" have induced some kind of gag reflex in you, I assure you this is not one of those books. A Fine Balance may very well be one of the most depressing books you'll ever read in your life. Mistry writes about disturbing themes like caste violence, political corruption, and death. If there's ever a time you feel down because something going on in your life, read a little bit about Om and Ishvar. I promise you, your life in comparison will seem like an episode of Carebears, or Strawberry Shortcake.
However, with all the tragedy and sadness that occurs throughout this novel, there is always a little glimmer of hope. Each character shows resilience in the face of adversity. Although Mistry gives us a bleak portrayal of the human condition, I can't help but feel awe towards the strength of his characters.