Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (March 14, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 1857983424
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857983425
  • List Price: $15.99
  • I finished this book on August 29
Okay, I bought this book for three reasons. Now, mind you, they are not particularly good reasons, but here they are: because I had a gift card, because the cover reminded me of the cover of Speak, which I liked, and because the blurb on the back said the fairy seduces the boy. So, I'm all: Seduced? I'm in!
But let me just tell you: this shit is weird. I'm all: Baroo? Even until tonight, when I only had a little bit left of the book, I never felt like I knew what was going on. Now that it's over, and I've let it marinade a bit, I have decided what happened. Weirdness, that's what. But not entirely unpalatable weirdness.
Okay, here goes: It's 1960's England and Sam, Terry and Clive are friends. Get ready for my favorite line the the book: "But power in this group, true power, rested in the hands of the one who had the stamina to say "Fuck off" more times and more vigorously than the next man." Squee! I love cursing! Anyway: so they are friends and then they meet Alice and they all love her and oh by the way, Sam sees the Tooth Fairy, they maybe kill a dude and someone looses a body part (more than one, actually). Also: sexing the Tooth Fairy is weird. I would say this book is one half coming of age tale, one half weird fantasy and two thirds LSD trip. And, yes, I know that those things do not add up but that seems to be fitting for this book.
The prose is good, everything is interesting and strangely dark and beautiful. There is a great sense of foreboding throughout which adds a lot without saying much. Very mysterious. I'm seriously not sure how I feel about this at all. My thumb is wavering in the middle. I'm pretty sure I liked it, but...seriously, wtf? Holy cats, I wish someone else would read it and talk to me about it. That is your mission, if you choose to accept it....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dracula by Bram Stoker

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (November 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553212710
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553212716
  • List Price: $4.95
  • I finished this book on August 21
Okay my lovelies. Here's the thing, I have mentioned about a billion times that I love vampires, but the truth is: I had never read this before. The place where it all started. For shame. Also, I have seen the 1992 film version so many times that I could not stop picturing those actors as the characters. Boo!
Anywho: I'm sure everyone knows the story of this one. However, if you haven't read it and you are going on popular perception of it, you've probably got it wrong. First, there is no love affair between Mina and Sirius Black, I mean Gary Oldman, I mean Count Dracula. The 1992 movie led us to believe that Mina was all "Blood? Yes, please!" But that's not the case. Also, Neo's portrayal of Jonathan Harker in that movie may lead you to believe that Harker is, in fact, a tool. This is not so. In fact, one thing I was continually struck by is how good the people in this book are. They are almost unrealistically kind and understanding. I wanted to hug them. Also, Dracula is not killed by a stake to the heart. I'm just saying...
The book is written in journal entries and newspaper clippings which is very cool. You get to see all the different characters points of view and it's not as cheesy as the switch off chapter narration of some books. I have to say that even though I knew what was going to happen I was still very invested in the melodrama of it all. I can see why this book spawned such an empire. From crazy fan sites, to movies, to being studied in school to delicious breakfast cereal. Mmmm, marshmallow bats...
Though in my head I am definitely cooking up a sexier version of vampires (1/2 Edward from Twilight and 1/2 my boyfriend Trent Reznor perhaps?) I feel a much better vamp enthusiast having read this. And I promise: I will certainly be picking up more classic gothic horror in the near future.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stardust: film review

  • Based on the book Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • Directed by Matthew Vaughn
  • Written by Neil Gaiman and Jane Goldman
  • Paramount Pictures (2007)
  • PG-13
  • 128 Minutes
  • I saw this movie on August 11
Okay, my lovelies. As I mentioned I was thinking about starting to review movies I saw based on books I have read. So, here goes.
As you may remember, I reviewed Stardust here, and gave it the esteemed bee Seal of Approval.
First off: visuals. This movie was extremely good looking. Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Charlie Cox. Remember how I said I hoped Danes looked like she did in Polish Wedding? She did, but better. Not to mention Mark Strong, who plays Septimus (I like the bad boys, sue me). All the settings are very cool, and the magic is represented by sort of jets of light. Awesome. Also, when the star (Danes) shines the effect is very cool. Oh, and the flying pirate ship helmed by Robert DeNiro (do you think his friends call him Bobby?) was well done and DeNiro was funny if a little Baron Munchausen.
Second: the adaptation. Now, when I watch a movie based on a book I loved I try to look at it separately as it's own work rather than tirelessly comparing. The story in the film is changed somewhat from the book, but I thought the changes brought some interesting ideas and very cool action. The narrator of the movie is Ian McKellen (who I sort of wish was my grandfather) and to be honest, I could have used a little more of him. Gaiman's narration in the book was witty, smart and incredibly sharp. I would have liked to hear a little more of that.
Overall, I really liked it. I laughed and smiled and got a little mushy. Definite warm fuzzies. For more info about the film go here. For some reviews go try Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Also, I highly recommend Gaiman's blog. He has talked a lot about the adaptation and various other extremely interesting things. You have to love a man whose nickname is Scary Trousers. Also, we have the animated adaptation of Coraline to look forward to sometime in 2008.
So, that's it for our first movie review! Just another service brought to you by your friendly local booknerd!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Shamelessly asking for money

Hi kids, it's your favorite booknerd here. It's that time of the year when I have to start going around to people with a sad expression and ask for money to support my yearly charity walk.
My mum and I both have Crohn's disease, which sucks. Each year we do the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation Walk to help raise money. It's actually pretty fun, and this year we are having it at the zoo! Keep in mind that if I don't raise enough money I will get kicked out of my family.
Those of you interested can donate via my goofy CCFA webpage, here. ( i know, i know, worst looking page ever. i wish i could design my own, but they make you use theirs.)
Good things happen to people who donate. Mostly, the good things involve me thanking them obnoxiously, or singing songs about them.
If you live in Buffalo, you should come to the walk on Sept. 8. Check out the page, here. There will be cool auctions, free food and um, I will also be there. If you're lucky I'll get you a t-shirt.
Alright, my lovelies, I'm done begging for handouts now.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (August 7, 2007)
  • Pages: 628
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316160202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316160209
  • List Price: $18.99
  • I finished this book on August 8

Remember when I was wistfully missing Edward and Bella? Well, they are finally here. I picked this up as soon as it came out and read it in just over 24 hours. I was almost as excited for this as I was for Harry Potter. Only, unlike HP I have no one to talk about this with, because I don't know anyone else who's read it. When HP came out my phone was ringing off the hook with people who wanted to discuss and scrutinize. Now, there's no one to discuss my favorite vampire love affair with. So, I'll tell you.
Edward and Bella return in the third book in the Twilight Saga. You may remember I reviewed the first two: Twilight and New Moon. In this volume Bella and Edward are about to graduate from high school and they are trying to figure out what to do in the future: turning Bella-wise. So there are some arguments about that because Edward is reluctant to turn her and she's very stubborn. Also, Bella's werewolf friend Jake, who is painfully in love with her stirs up some trouble between the love birds. Including some kissing!! So, poor Bella has to choose between Jake (who's hot, cause, apparently werewolves are super-heated) and Edward who's so cold. I, however, had never had even one beautiful supernatural creature who was vying for my affections. I'm just saying. Regardless: the love triangle action was very cool. I am totally Team Edward, though I can see what is appealing about Jake (he's so hot!).
Anywho: this book also features lots of cool fighting / vampire war goodness. And, the Big Bad was not who I was expecting, so that was cool too. Another cool part of this book was hearing the background stories on some of the other vamps in Edward's family. I was not expecting to ever feel sorry for Rosalie, but...what do you know, I do.
My predictions for this book were woefully wrong. I had hoped to see two things: Bella turned into a vamp and some sexin'. And you know what? Unsurprisingly, I am 0 for 2. Also, no wedding. I expect the next book will come out and it will be the three days leading up to the wedding and I still get nothing. My my that is frustrating. Though the book wasn't what I was expecting it is always nice to spend time with characters like these. The next one should be out in the Fall of '08 and I super want her to release the book Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edwards point of view) but that may never happen. For those interested, you can read the first chapter of that on Meyer's website. For crazy fan news and other related goodies, visit the fan site, here. For general info, go here. Also, this series gets extra point for having three beautiful covers that will look lovely on my bookshelf in my home library some day.
All in all, it went by too fast and now I'm annoyed to have to wait for the next one. Oh, well, I suppose I can find something to read to tide me over...

Book Divas Author Visit

So, apparently there is a cool book site I somehow missed out on. It's called Book Divas and it's a book club for YA books. There is a very cool discussion board and a section for teachers and librarians. Even though I do not like to consider myself a "diva" I think I might just have to sign up.
Anywho: the reason I'm telling you this, my lovelies, is that they are having a online author visit on August 13th that I thought you might be interested in. I, for one, love schmoozing with authors, especially when it's free.
The author is Mellisa Marr, and her book is Wicked Lovely. I haven't heard of Mrs. Marr yet, but I am intrigued by the description of the book: fairies, delicious romance scenes? I'm in!
I just thought you might be interested, so you should check it out.
p.s. I'm sure you'll be seeing a review for this book from me, when I can get my hot paws on it.

Oh! I almost forgot! I have been thinking adding reviews of new movies made from books that I have read on the blog. Just a short blurb sort of comparing, cause there are lots of good movies based on books coming up. So, what do you think? Let me know.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Dissecting Stephen King by Heidi Strengell

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Popular Press 3; New Ed edition (March 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299209741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299209742
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • List Price: $26.95
  • I finished this book on August 5
The subtitle to this book is From the Gothic to Literary Naturalism, but I swear that it's much more interesting than it would lead you to believe. Let take the cover, for example. I don't know if you can see from this image but in the picture instead of rib bones what you see inside this dissected chest are typebars from a typewriter. Cool.
Anwho, as you know I am a "constant reader" of (and often claim to be dating) Stephen King. And, because I am a turbo-nerd I am often compelled to read non-fiction books about things in which I am interested. Hence, the SK non-fiction book. I actually took out several from the library to peruse, but this one caught my attention the most.
Inside, author Heidi Strengell dissects the works of SK (did I basically just tell you what you already know from the title? You bet!). She talks about how his work is related to the Gothic tradition, including a drawn out comparison of King's Salem's Lot to popular gothic masterpiece, Dracula (for more info on Gothic books, click here). Then she talks about the myth/fairy tale tradition in King, discussing his "multiverse" and a cool part about how The Dark Tower series, is, among other things, a western, a gothic and an apocalyptic fable. Finally she ends up talking about King using literary naturalism, discussing things like: his use of free will, genetic determinism and the idea of fate.
Strengell herself is mysterious, not having published anything not about SK (more obsessed than me, perhaps?) but if you're interested in reading an essay of hers, then check it out here. So, because she clearly spends too much time thinking about SK she does point out some really interesting stuff and uses tons of examples from a variety of his books. After this I feel I need to go immediately and read Dracula and compare it with Salem's Lot. And eat Count Chocula. (mmm, marshmallow bats) so look forward to that in the near future.
When I was in undergrad I took a course called Philosophy in Literature for which we read several books I hated (who shall remain nameless). And my professor for that class (who shall also remain nameless, but I will note that he habitually wore Chuck Taylors) once went on a tirade about how Stephen King was awful and ruining literature etc. and that he had a magic computer that spit out his books at random according to a formula. Actually, that sounds more like a Stephen King novel premise than reality, doesn't it? Anyway, I remember at the time being very heated by these comments and wanting to make a rebuttal that King's work was popular for a reason. Perhaps I could give Mr. ChuckTaylors a copy of this book. Okay, maybe not. Really, I would only recommend this book to someone who was a big fan and has read a lot of King's work since it relies so heavily on examples. If you are interested, check out King's website.
Happily, even though I have read lots of King, there are still many more of his books out there waiting for me.