I won Love versus Goliath by Robyn Oyeniyi (from the Love versus Goliath blog) at a drawing. I promised to post about it, so here it is.
Love versus Go...moreI won Love versus Goliath by Robyn Oyeniyi (from the Love versus Goliath blog) at a drawing. I promised to post about it, so here it is.
Love versus Goliath is a true story of Robyn and her family. Robyn is an Australian, and she happened to fall in love with John, an asylum seeker from Nigeria. He fled his home to escape death, moved from country to country without knowing whether his wife and their four children were even alive (the wife divorced him after a while, hoping that his political enemies who wanted him dead would stop being a threat for her and the kids), and finally got to Australia. There he met Robyn; she wanted to help this nice guy in trouble; they fell in love – and then Australia deported him back to Nigeria, since they didn’t believe his claim was a true one. As soon as she could, Robyn went to Nigeria too, married John, and then got back to Australia to fight the battle against bureaucracy – that would be the Goliath – and bring her family home. Family meant John and four kids, since the Nigerian law usually gives children to the father after the divorce. The battle with bureaucracy took a while, a lot of money and health was spent, but it was worth it – the family is finally together.
At the end of the book, you’ll find a bunch of really useful resources for anyone in a similar situation.
The book is wonderful in many aspects.
It is an emotional story about love and about fighting for love.
It’s an ugly story about what bureaucracy can be like, and how it can ruin people’s lives – John could have been killed before the bureaucracy allowed Robyn to bring him to Australia, their oldest daughter could have been sold (yes, it happens in Nigeria, and a healthy, pretty young girl like her would probably fetch a good price), their sons could have been killed too so they wouldn’t follow in their father’s footsteps…
It’s very interesting to look at the cultural differences – for example, when I first heard of Robyn’s story, I was surprised that John got the kids. While my country is patriarchal, it’s the mother who gets the children after the divorce, unless it can be proven she is extremely abusive (and even then it may happen for her to get the custody over the kids anyway). So, when I read that John got the kids, my first thought was that their biological mother was dead, or, well, seriously not suitable for raising children – and that turned out not to be the case at all. Shows where the assumptions based on our own, often limited experience can lead us, doesn’t it?
Speaking of cultural differences, big and small: folks, go and read Robyn’s blog, you’ll learn a lot!
Another interesting aspect of reading Love versus Goliath were my own reactions. Because of the stress, both Robyn and John suffered serious health problems. To me it looked like they were overreacting. Yes, John and their four children were in danger. Yes, it was stressful. I know stressful. I’m from Serbia, and I was there for the decade of civil war. I didn’t see my own father for seven years because of that war, didn’t always know even whether he was alive. I was there during the seventy-something days when the NATO dropped bombs all over Serbia. My friends and family were in all of that, too. And yet, we were much calmer about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither saying that people from Serbia are heartless or insensitive, nor that Robyn’s and John’s reactions were anywhere outside of normal – different people react to stress in a different manner – I’m merely noticing my own reactions when reading Love versus Goliath. Were they really overreacting? Am I the one who is weird? Both? Neither? Who knows?
Overall, I’m really glad that I’ve read this book – and that Robyn is reunited with her family, of course! A professional editor could have made improvements (several paragraphs were copy-pasted from one chapter to another even though a short reminder would have done the job, some chapters or parts of them looked to me like rants – perfectly understandable, just more suited for a blog than a book), but with four kids to feed and raise on a limited budget, I know what my priorities would have been! Even without a professional editor or being a professional writer, Robyn tells her story in a compelling way and in a clear enough manner, and gives people in similar situation hope that they can succeed, too, plus some information as to how to do it. And that is, I think, what matters most.
2003. godine se na jednom od konkursa sajta Screaming Planet pojavila i priča Zombie Island Porno Massacre, priča o ekipi porno glumaca koji dospevaju...more2003. godine se na jednom od konkursa sajta Screaming Planet pojavila i priča Zombie Island Porno Massacre, priča o ekipi porno glumaca koji dospevaju na prelepo ostrvo da bi ustanovili da je preplavljeno zombijima – i da su tu namerno dovedeni, kao i da će njihova pogibija od strane zombija biti snimana i snimak unovčen. Priča do tada nepoznatog autora doživela je dobar prijem, sa više strana bilo je predloga da od toga nastane roman, i, sedam godina kasnije, upravo to se i desilo.
Od početne priče o porno-zvezdi na zalasku Tomu Strongu i njegovoj ekipi nastalo je znatno više. U priču je ušla i Agencija koja se bavi rešavanjem slučajeva koje policija ne uspeva da reši, najčešće slučajeva koji uključuju natprirodno (zombije, vampire, vukodlake, uklete kuće...), i troje njenih članova poreklom iz Srbije: nekadašnja glumica Beba Novak, lepotica na killer heels Lulu Dubrovna, i vampir Časlav. I Marko Novaković, Bebin bratanac, novi regrut kome će slučaj na Ostrvu prokletih biti prvi.
Naime, na Ostrvo prokletih, odavno inficirano zombijima i kao takvo mesto na koje niko normalan ne želi da otputuje, otišla je porno diva Kara Kristal, nekadašnja velika ljubav Toma Stronga, kako bi snimila ekskluzivne scene. Na njen poziv tamo se uputio i Tom sa svojom ekipom. Sa porno divom se gubi kontakt, pa Herbert Ros, njen poslodavac, ne žaleći sredstava aganžuje kompletnu ekipu Agencije kako bi na sigurno vratila zvezdu koja mu donosi veliki novac. Ispašće da će se ekipa, pomalo već lenja nakon mnogobrojnih uspeha i tajnog aduta koji im omogućava da nepovređeni izvode misije, naći u mnogo većoj nevolji nego što su mogli i da slute; ispašće da bi Markov prvi slučaj mogao da mu bude i poslednji.
Veliko je osveženje u domaćoj literaturi naići na toliko nepretenciozno napisan roman kao što je “Ostrvo prokletih”. Autor piše da bi zabavio svoje čitaoce, u tome uživa i toga se nimalo ne stidi. Likovi, premda tipski, imaju u sebi dovoljno ljudskog da bi zainteresovali čitaoca, da bi strepeo za njihovu sudbinu, i da bi želeo da psihotični zločinci budu kažnjeni. Priča je u prvoj polovini romana nešto sporija, kako bi se čitalac upoznao sa istorijatom likova, Agencijom i svetom u kome se sve dešava, da bi se stvari ubrzale u drugoj polovini romana, kada agenti dospeju na Ostrvo prokletih, borba sa zombijima počne, a nekoliko likova se nađe usred morbidne verzije Čarobnjaka iz Oza. Struktura je možda mogla da bude drugačija – recimo, da se počne sa dolaskom agenata na Ostrvo prokletih, kako bi čitaoci koji očekuju “prsate komade” i zombije to odmah i dobili, a da se u posebno označenim poglavljima pripoveda o pozadini i likovima – ali i ovako napisan roman je doživeo dobar prijem, jer nudi četiri stotine strana dobre zabave, što je za ovakvu vrstu literature glavno.(less)
An old man realizing that, at the end, what matters is not how much art we've seen, even if we're very very passionate about it; nor how much beautifu...moreAn old man realizing that, at the end, what matters is not how much art we've seen, even if we're very very passionate about it; nor how much beautiful music we've listened to; nor how many great philosophy books we've read. What matters most is that one person we loved so much -- but we only realize that after we lose her. And it's only human touch that helps, no matter how much we love other things.(less)
Sonja Blue was fun as an idea. However, forcing it into VtM universe, and making the entire thing a lousy Yojimbo (or A Fistful of Dollars, or Last Ma...moreSonja Blue was fun as an idea. However, forcing it into VtM universe, and making the entire thing a lousy Yojimbo (or A Fistful of Dollars, or Last Man Standing, if you're more familiar with those) retelling gave a, well, lousy result.
Still, people who have never heard of Yojimbo or A Fistful of Dollars, let alone watched them, might find this book fun.(less)
I preferred some other works by Powers, such as the Dinner at Deviant's Palace, The Drawing of the Dark and The Anubis Gates. This one had the opportu...moreI preferred some other works by Powers, such as the Dinner at Deviant's Palace, The Drawing of the Dark and The Anubis Gates. This one had the opportunity to be a great fun - pirates, voodoo, immortality, magic, the usual secret history, everything fits in great... But it just wasn't as fun as some of his other works.
Part of the problem were the darn ship parts. Time after time I had to read half a page mentioning various ship parts, without the explanation what the parts were for, what was their function on the ship; even when there was the perfect opportunity to do some explaining, such as mentioning that the pirate newb learned the difference between this and that sort of a rope, the readers are not told what that difference is.
The other problem were the protagonist and the girl (the damsel in distress). The protagonist starts out as a pretty ordinary and somewhat clumsy guy, and then he finds out he's simply great with the ship cannons (fine, one previously undiscovered talent would be ok), and that he's also great with all the kinds of the sailor's work. No description of the work he's supposed to be great at, no explanation how come one man has so many talents, we don't even get to know what is, exactly, this sailor's work he;s so great at. As for the girl, throughout most of the novel her purpose seems to be to be taken away from the protagonist so he keeps trying to rescue her, she's nondescript, also drugged, and at the very end she's the one who saves the situation. Yeah, that's believable. Not.
This could have been a great book. Unfortunately, I know that Powers can do much better, so I'm disappointed.(less)
I got this book for free in exchange for an honest review, so here it is -- my feelings are pretty mixed up about this one, so kindly bear with me.
Thi...moreI got this book for free in exchange for an honest review, so here it is -- my feelings are pretty mixed up about this one, so kindly bear with me.
This book surprised me. I expected magic and talking cats (cats, yay!), as advertised, and I got them. I didn't expect this young adult fantasy novella to be so religious -- Narnia is quite subtle compared to this one. It's not necessarily a bad thing, if you're a Christian and want to raise your kid as a Christian; as it happens, I'm not. Don't get me wrong, though, I wasn't offended by the religious content, merely surprised.
The first sentence almost made me give up: "The woman clasped her white knuckled hands in her lap and crossed her ankles beneath her tattered skirt." However, it becomes better immediately after the first sentence, so don't give up just because of that one!
This novella is mostly cute, and sometimes touching. Be warned, though: (view spoiler)[there's a scene with a pile of dead (killed!) cats, and the pile is taller than a human. (hide spoiler)] There are no graphic descriptions, but I still found it disturbing. (view spoiler)[I also found disturbing the idea to stay friends with a youth who uses fur of a killed (intelligent, talking, loving, caring) cat as a hat. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, Secrets of the Malkin is mostly likeable; I would have enjoyed it much more if it wasn't for (view spoiler)[so many dead cats (hide spoiler)].["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
He's the last werewolf, and there are no new werewolves being made -- whoever gets bitten dies within 12 hours, nobody survives. He's also 200-years o...moreHe's the last werewolf, and there are no new werewolves being made -- whoever gets bitten dies within 12 hours, nobody survives. He's also 200-years old, and tired of everything. He wants the Hunters to kill him already. But then he meets someone, and everything changes.
The story itself -- a guy is tired of everything and would welcome death, and then he meets that special someone and everything changes -- is not a new one, but there is a twist. Werewolves are beasts, not a suitable dating material; every month they must kill a human being, and after they realize that, they either kill themselves or live with that fact -- and keep killing. It was interesting to follow that sort of a character, and the author portrayed him well as a seen-it-all guy, well-educated, giving plenty of classics and mainstream references, and a monthly killer on top of that.
What didn't work so well was the amount of sex. It is stated from the beginning that the werewolves have incredibly high libido. Fine. Then comes the sex (the author seems fond of anal sex -- not with guys, with women). Fine, i got it, his sex drive is strong. Then comes more sex. Yeah, I got it. For those who failed to get it by then, there's more sex. Enough already! And then... You get my point.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. Not the greatest one I ever read, not by a long shot, but it's a book about peculiar characters in a s**t lot of trouble, and perfectly capable of keeping my attention until I'm finished.(less)
A science fiction novel (although SF is here as a metaphor), a romance and a political satire. The novel describes four friends in their early thirtie...moreA science fiction novel (although SF is here as a metaphor), a romance and a political satire. The novel describes four friends in their early thirties, stuck in Serbia and stuck in their lives: Pole, who can't admit to his Orthodox Christian father that he is gay (his father would kick him out of the house, or kill himself, or both), Oliver, a rebel in love with Jovana who wants to become a part of the system (she's in love with him too, but can't admit it to herself), and Beba, a fashion designer who is struggling to become a recognized artist. They get involved in some weird things, including extraterrestrial aliens who want to make a secret deal with Serbia, at first you laugh at their wit, but as the things progress, the laughter, although still there, becomes bitter, and by the end of the book, there's only a bitter grimace left. The SF part could have been better, but the book is good anyway, both humorous and bitter story about destroyed lives and a destroyed country.(less)
Dinner at Deviant's Palace is a lavish, lucid, carefully crafted and extremely fun novel, a novel difficult to put aside, a nove...moreReviewed at: Suite101.
Dinner at Deviant's Palace is a lavish, lucid, carefully crafted and extremely fun novel, a novel difficult to put aside, a novel you love to come back to, to listen to the wild music again, to fight the hemogoblin and crazy sect members and the Deviant himself, to be the hero rescuing the damsel in distress, and to fall in love again, while running away with nothing but doughnuts.
A wife leaves her husband, and he, unable to accept that, starts with conspiracy theories including secret dervish orders, secret signs on people's fa...moreA wife leaves her husband, and he, unable to accept that, starts with conspiracy theories including secret dervish orders, secret signs on people's faces and other tin foil hat stuff, and roams through their hometown, Istanbul, hoping to somehow run into her, and sometimes pretending to be his columnist uncle. It's hilarious -- and, as it often happens with Pamuk, there are mirrors, uncertain identities, and the clash of the East and the West, so it's complex and hilarious at the same time.(less)
Someone with a troublesome past (in this case a retired exorcist) decides to do "one more job" in order to be able to pay the rent, and gets in a s**t...moreSomeone with a troublesome past (in this case a retired exorcist) decides to do "one more job" in order to be able to pay the rent, and gets in a s**t lot of trouble. The world filled with ghosts, zombies (that's when a ghost possesses his own body), demons and metamorphs isn't all that imaginative, the plot is even less imaginative, and I think I've seen the characters about a million times before. It's supposed to be just a light fun, but I barely found any fun in it.(less)
The epic trilogy about the world of Helliconia, in some ways so similar to Earth, and yet, because of the virus, forever out of our reach, is finished...moreThe epic trilogy about the world of Helliconia, in some ways so similar to Earth, and yet, because of the virus, forever out of our reach, is finished, and in a good way. It is a very ambitious project to cover the span of a few thousand years, and more, in a science fiction trilogy, but Aldiss managed to do it -- and he did it through human (and not just human) drama and political intrigue, thus making it very alive and never boring or like an encyclopedia entry.(less)
Skip the first part. Skip the last part, unless to see the ending. From the middle, read every fifth page. You'll miss nothing of importance, skip the...moreSkip the first part. Skip the last part, unless to see the ending. From the middle, read every fifth page. You'll miss nothing of importance, skip the sex scenes, and won't read every single thought Anita had.
I understand why so many people love this book: a compelling story about the survival in a cruel world, children in danger, tough decisions... However...moreI understand why so many people love this book: a compelling story about the survival in a cruel world, children in danger, tough decisions... However, it wasn't my cup of tea. At the beginning of the book, we learn that the main character tried to drown a kitten a few years ago, and to me, that's a no. That's what the bad guys do, and the good guys (and gals) stop the bad guys from doing it. Not to mention that I didn't like the attitude of the main character, either -- lots of people live in very bad conditions, but are not trying to drown kittens, yelling at others so often, and generally being unpleasant. My other problem with this book was the unbelievable world. Folks are dying of starvation, and yet, all the children, even the most poor ones, go to school on regular basis? Not just very young ones, but sixteen-year-olds too? How on Earth can they afford it, how come they're not working to earn a few pennies and help their families? It's not like schools in this world would help them get a better job. Another example: folks are dying of starvation, and yet almost nobody (nobody but the main character, that is) is aware that there are edible plants around them, even though they're living in such conditions for quite a while? People will eat grass if they're starving to death; by trial and error they should have found out which plants they could eat, like the main character's father did. And yet another example: when the main character's father died (she was eleven at the time) her mother became so depressive she wouldn't even get out of bed, so it was up to Katniss to cook for herself and her little sister. It was presented to us as if it was a big deal, an eleven-year-old cooking; but if the world was as the author described it, Katniss should have been helping her mother with the house chores, cooking included, and by the time she was eleven, even if she had no talent for cooking whatsoever, she should have learnt enough to be a decent cook. And another example -- I'll stop after this one: if so many people are starving, where are the children (and adults) hunting down cats, rats, and everything else that moved on their streets and under them? Sorry, but the world didn't seem believable to me, and I didn't like the main character; I liked Rue and Peeta, though, and some of the other characters were fun, though not enough to give this book more than 2 stars.(less)
At first, I was surprised with this book -- it follows two teenagers who run away from their homes in Texas and ride to Mexico, where they find jobs w...moreAt first, I was surprised with this book -- it follows two teenagers who run away from their homes in Texas and ride to Mexico, where they find jobs working with cattle. While crossing the border, they're joined by a 13-year-old boy on the most beautiful horse they've ever seen, and they have good horses themselves and know a lot about them. The troubles the three of them seemed not so bad, so I was surprised, since i'm used to McCarthy's books being much darker.
Later in the book, I got all the darkness I expected, and more, including murders, torture, more torture, death of a child... McCarthy once again explores how far some people are willing to go to get what they want or what they believe they should have -- and it turns out to be very far indeed, including some characters who basically are good, decent folks.
An excellent read, if you can stomach the darkness in your fellow human beings.(less)
What is it with Chuck Wendig and dead cats? It's becoming repetitive, or I keep running into Chuck Wendig books with injured/dead cats. This books is n...moreWhat is it with Chuck Wendig and dead cats? It's becoming repetitive, or I keep running into Chuck Wendig books with injured/dead cats. This books is not an easy read. Some call it YA, but it's not, it's way too brutal (you don't usually read about chilli peppers and peanut butter being shoved up gay boy's anus so that he s***s blood for a week). The characters don't just hold hands and kiss at the end, either -- their only answer is to keep fighting the bad guys, but the reader is very aware the fight is far from over, and the characters will probably get hurt really bad again, and again, and again. On the other hand, perhaps this IS a good read for teenagers -- while extremely brutal, the books also tells them that they're neither alone nor freaks, and that might be just what they need to hear.(less)
A good ole' horror novel -- a kid who saw something but nobody believes him, monsters in the woods, old Indian tales, teenagers who have sex get kille...moreA good ole' horror novel -- a kid who saw something but nobody believes him, monsters in the woods, old Indian tales, teenagers who have sex get killed, a bully teenager causing even more problems... Overall, it was pretty good, although I would have appreciated it better if it was shorter, say, about 200 pages for the novel. The novel is followed by stories which are set in the same world, only at different times, starting from the creation of the world and the said monsters, and then through encounters with the monsters people had in that area. I enjoyed the creation stories even better than I enjoyed the novel, and some of the other stories were nicely wicked.(less)
**spoiler alert** Yet another book where you get to read every single thought of Anita Blake. Some things happen, too, some people get injured, folks...more**spoiler alert** Yet another book where you get to read every single thought of Anita Blake. Some things happen, too, some people get injured, folks we were previously told were superfastsuperstrongsuperkillers are suddenly sloppy, the villain we were previously told might be unkillable gets defeated without much difficulty, and we get to read inner monologue of Anita Blake. At least she's less annoying than she used to be, so we don't read about her having issues and having issues, but growing up a bit and having less issues than she used to. Yay. Not.(less)
The introductions were way too long, meandering and with little substance, the stories childish, or ineptly written, or down the "anything goes" alley...moreThe introductions were way too long, meandering and with little substance, the stories childish, or ineptly written, or down the "anything goes" alley, or all of the above; there are some sweet moments in Hambly's story (but, Peter Pan?!), and Newman's story was intelligent, well written and funny, and that's about it. Instead of this one, I recommend picking up Newman's Professor Moriarty collection -- that way you get to read the good story, and a bunch of other good stories.(less)
The Quiet Girl may not be an easy read, because of its mysticism and meandering storytelling and unique perspective of the prota...moreReviewed at: Suite101.
The Quiet Girl may not be an easy read, because of its mysticism and meandering storytelling and unique perspective of the protagonist, but the mysterious world and compelling characters are well worth the effort – the book grabs your attention and refuses to let go.
A play by Elfriede jelinek about a terrible night in 1945 in the castle of Rechnitz when 180 Jews were brutally murdered (well, eventually murdered, s...moreA play by Elfriede jelinek about a terrible night in 1945 in the castle of Rechnitz when 180 Jews were brutally murdered (well, eventually murdered, since it happened during a, more or less, Nazi orgy). They play isn't so much about the crime itself; it is about the denial that it ever happened, about people lying to others and to themselves and saying that such a thing couldn't possibly happen and didn't happen.(less)