A buddy of mine and myself talk about books quite a bit, and though we have different literary interests we both agree, with great vehemence, that theA buddy of mine and myself talk about books quite a bit, and though we have different literary interests we both agree, with great vehemence, that the classics suck. So I for the life of me have no idea why I started reading the ultimate classic horror novel. I loathe the classics, I truly do, and it is my opinion that they ruin the enjoyment of reading. So many kids are forced to read such boring books that I don't think it comes as a shock that so few of us adults are fanatic readers. I for one hated the books assigned in high school English, and I really loathed them more so in college. I had no desire to read old novels with outdated plots and themes, filled with phrases and jokes and vocabulary of an era long ago. I read them dutifully and promptly discarded them. I just never understood wasting my time and energy on such droll literature, especially not when there were hundreds of other books that I actually wanted to read.
So, did I want to read Dracula? Honestly, I picked this edition up at library book sale because I figured that someday I'd have the propensity to familiarize myself with classic literature, despite my general animosity towards it. I guess I read it out of a need to gloat with literate narcism, whilst maintaining the self-identifying sub-cultural proclivity. In other words, I basically wanted to announce that I was well versed in all things nerdy, dark, macabre, brutal, and trve kvlt!
But all in all Bram Stroker's "Dracula" is just another dreary, boring classic.
First off, I was unaware the novel's narrative consisted of multiple journal entries and letters and correspondence between many of its characters; most notably the characters Nina, Dr. Seward, and Jonathan Harker. In a way I found that to be a very interesting approach to writing a novel, and I think Bram Stoker executed it in a magnificently progressive fashion. Bram Stoker did a very good job utilizing voices and speech patterns between the characters to help the reader identify from whom's point-of-view they were reading. And yet, on the other hand, it became irksome as a lot of the scenes were completely centered around dialogue and exposition, with little to no action; although, I wouldn't say the descriptions of setting and mood were lacking. I'm not an expert in the period or anything, but I wonder if this multi-narrative approach was seen as progressive for its time, and if that helped enhance the novel's popularity decades later, especially during the modernist movement (for I do believe Dracula was a considerable flop and failed to find its audience until many, many years later).
Secondly, the novel should've been aptly named: "What's Wrong With Lucy?" . . . like, for real. Or perhaps: "Psht -- There Ain't No Dracula In This Damn Novel!" . . . like, for fucking real. Out of the 400+ pages I do believe Dracula himself only graces 50 or so of them. That was the biggest disappointment I had reading this novel. I was completely dumbfounded, annoyed and literally exhausted of the entire Lucy-saga that took up the better half of this novel. I can reiterate 200+ pages in 1 long, run-on sentence: Lucy is sick, Dr. Van Helsing shall give her a blood transfusion with Arthur's blood; oh, Lucy is still sick, Dr. Van Helsing shall give her another blood transfusion, but now with Dr. Seward's blood; oh, aghast, Lucy is still sick, Dr. Van Helsing shall give her yet another blood transfusion, but this time with Quincey's blood; dammit, Lucy is still sick, Dr. Van Helsing shall give her one last blood transfusion, but this time with his own blood; well, fuck, Lucy's dead . . . or wait, Lucy is not dead, but rather she is the UNDEAD!
Last but not least (and this is at no fault of Bram Stoker) but the standard Hollywood portrayal of Dracula as a pale, dark haired, dark lipped, gothic cliche, greatly contrasts that of Bram Stoker's vision of Count Dracula. Bram Stoker portrays Dracula as more akin to Count Olaf from the Lemony Snicket series. No joke. Bram Stoker describes Dracula as a tall, thin man, with bushy, white eye brows, and a long, pointy nose, and pointy chin, and yeah . . .
In the end, I didn't find Dracula horrible. There were a lot of interesting characters and scenarios, the setting and mood were conveyed really well, and the multi-narrative approach was interesting. Nevertheless, the monotonous pacing of Lucy's ordeal, the lack of Dracula as a main character, the constant dialogue and exposition . . . all of this made Dracula suck . . . pun intended!
Bad Read; Boring Classic; Trve Kvlt!
P.S. According to the ISBN this was the very edition I read, which was absolutely appalling to read. There were so many typos. Every other page had a misspelled word or punctuation error or just words accidentally written as one word (likethis). So, that was annoying . . .
I think this novel is the perfect example of style-over-substance. When someone writes in a language that tickles your brain it's easy to oRating: 3.5
I think this novel is the perfect example of style-over-substance. When someone writes in a language that tickles your brain it's easy to overlook any faults or lacking development in characters or plot. Not that were a lot of problems with the story or anything, in fact, probably quite the opposite; though, it wasn't perfect either.
In the end, the overall story just felt empty; or, actually, I'd say the overall story just sort of rode a straight line along it's own narrative and didn't stray into any subplots nor sprinkle a dash of any other genre. What I mean by that is: even within the most drama-style pieces, there's a comical jab here and there, or maybe an element of tension; The Snow Child, on the other hand, was just a drama about a couple living in the wilderness of Alaska who happened upon a mysterious girl seemingly made of winter itself. And there's a tone to that narrative, which perfectly accompanied the story, but never did it falter or seemingly take a step into a new direction. What is presented on the first page is exactly what it is presented on the last page.
Overall, everything was crafted perfectly. The characters were fleshed out, the setting felt right and accurate, the scenes were well-paced and flowed seamlessly into one another, the language was beautifully articulate, the tone was perfect, and the story was okay. But I feel that the latter of those qualities was the weakest.
Good book; great read . . . definitely style-over-substance. ...more
Thank god, I'm finally done reading that f___ing book.
Okay, that was a bit of a harsh statement, but seriously . . . I knew better than to purchase aThank god, I'm finally done reading that f___ing book.
Okay, that was a bit of a harsh statement, but seriously . . . I knew better than to purchase a piece of fan-fiction; but I just couldn't help myself, I'm a fanatic of the film "The Dark Crystal" by Jim Henson. And like most fanatics I too have been yearning for a continuation of the original story. There was a rather interesting period several years back where fans had their hopes up that there would be some sort of reprisal of "The Dark Crystal" storyline -- it was all in the span of a couple of months when a brief rumor that a film sequel was in the works (there was even a photo published in film magazines, featuring a gelfling animatronic), and there was the publication of Brian Froud's artwork related to the original film, and there was even a tease of a story that filled a couple of crappy pages tucked at the flip-side of the first issue for the manga "Labyrinth", and I do believe there was even a few graphic novels -- but all in all there hasn't been any hope of an emergence of a gelfling saga. And after reading J.M. Lee's "Shadows of the Dark Crystal", I'd say there still isn't any hope.
I shan't divulge too much, but in short some of the concepts and characters introduced just didn't sit well with me. It totally missed the tone and overall mythos of "The Dark Crystal". And I fear the next time I watch the movie I'll just keep imagining gelflings with gills. Plus, the narration was simplistic and the scenes really needed to be expanded. All in all, I'd summarize the plot as: things happen to a gelfling girl with gills going on an adventure.
I was super stoked about reading The Devil's Evidence (Thomas Fool #2) that I snagged a copy a few weeks after its release and opted to begin readingI was super stoked about reading The Devil's Evidence (Thomas Fool #2) that I snagged a copy a few weeks after its release and opted to begin reading it immediately, interrupting the novel I was currently reading. I just f***ing loved The Devil's Detective (Thomas Fool #1) so much that the idea of a sequel made me howl with joy.
I eagerly jumped back into Simon Kurt Unsworth's vision of Hell and was ecstatic about all the crazy monstrosities facing the damned hero, Thomas Fool. I loved the descriptions Unsworth used, and just how vivid and disgusting he wrote Hell. And then there was Unsworth's vision of Heaven . . . which was sort of boring; which was exactly how Unsworth wrote it, literally. His vision of Heaven was a place where the "saved" just stand around, unaware, unmoving, just existing amongst angels who help guide them from a carousel to a beach to a forest to a desert to plains, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
So, in short, Hell was deliciously evil, and Heaven was blissfully dull.
I liked that idea a lot. Very original. Nevertheless, I felt The Devil's Evidence (#2) was lacking the power of the first book. The Devil's Detective (#1) can easily be a stand-alone novel, but its sequel is definitely a sequel. One who hasn't read #1 (which, does anyone just jump into a series without reading the first book anyway?) would undoubtedly find some elements of #2 confusing. Beyond that, reading #2 felt like a wasted sequel, for it mirrored #1 far too much.
A lot of the same characters from the first novel are in the second novel, and though a few new characters are introduced, there was far more focus on the older characters. And that really bugged me when it came to the main character's emotional attachment towards a secondary character who had very little page-time and wasn't well developed at all.
And another thing that truly irked me was just how long and drawn out the scenes in Heaven were; for such a disinteresting place, Unsworth sure wrote a lot about it.
And I was growing weary of Thomas Fool's constant self-ridicule in the form of puns: "You little fool . . . You dumb fool . . . Forever Hell's fool . . . Thomas Fool, the fool in Heaven" . . . and blah, blah, blah.
And last but not least I was very dissatisfied with the climatic resolution. The overall ending was fine, but it felt rushed, especially given how long it took to get there.
But I did like the book, truly, I did. And it seems a lot of readers did as well, some even preferring it over its predecessor. I just hope that if there is a Thomas Fool #3 (and I do so hope there will be one) that it has something more to offer than The Devil's Evidence.
This is a biased review given that V. Shawn Hines is family.
While I haven't read a lot of books targeted for children, I have read a few. Generally, IThis is a biased review given that V. Shawn Hines is family.
While I haven't read a lot of books targeted for children, I have read a few. Generally, I've found that stories geared towards elementary-grade-level children are rather simplistic in narrative and language. And while I wouldn't rightly say The Cruddy Fairies is outside this simplicity, I would say that The Cruddy Fairies is aimed at the more "enlightened" group of children amongst the elementary-grade-level demographic.
First, the language . . . which is rather elevated. There are a lot of fun adjectives (such as the main tag-line: "ucky, yucky, ooey, gooey") and quite the number of verbs and adverbs that may beyond the average reading level of elementary-grade-level children, as well as just a lot of words in general. It might be quite lengthy for most children, but a more literate child would most likely find it an easy read.
Second, the plot . . . which is right at home for children. Most of the stories I've read aimed at such youthful audience implore the most minimalistic of plots: the protagonist must overcome a simple, yet life-altering obstacle. And The Cruddy Fairies doesn't stray far from this. The story delves into the notion of self-doubt, which the main character eventually overcomes.
In the end, despite my personal association, I'd say this is a worth while read for children far exceeding the expectations of education. And the illustrations were wonderful as well.
Good Book, Good Read, Yucky, Gooey Boogers. ...more
There's not much I can say that hasn't already been said. The general consensus is that this is an awesome novel . . . so awesome it was turned into aThere's not much I can say that hasn't already been said. The general consensus is that this is an awesome novel . . . so awesome it was turned into a hit movie (at least I think it's a hit movie).
But for anyone who is curious, just know that there is a lot of scientific jargon and equations and molecular thingamabobbers that become tedious at times and read more like a chemistry textbook than a novel, but the personality of Mark Watney, the main character, is so cheerfully optimistic and comical that it makes the science of the story quite enjoyable. In fact, I was astonished to discover that this was more so a comedy than a science-fiction novel. And that's what held my interest. Any novel that can make me laugh out loud is definitely worth my reading. All the same, this comical portrayal of a man in a dire situation mixed with scientific mumbo-jumbo on top of weak secondary characters may ruin the story for a select few readers (and indeed there are a few negative critics). Nevertheless, I think the majority of readers looking for a quick, easy read will find this novel delightfully nerdy.