Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc. (1988)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000JWW2G4
  • I finished listening to this audio book no Sept. 21
So, I own a copy of this book, I don't know where I got it, but when I went to read it all the pages where in super bizarre wrong order. So, I got it on tape from the library.
I have seen lots of different takes on this story. Remember Bill Cosby, or (terrifyingly) Kevin Bacon and his invisible nudie shots? Yikes Stripes. (Uh, scratch that: upon further investigation Bill Cosby was a ghost in that movie, not invisible. Either way, it was bad). And once again, after hearing the real story I am surprised at the original.
It's mostly an account of what happens after our hero (whose name, we will learn, is Griffin) is already invisible. He's actually kind of bad at it. I'm not saying that I would be better, but I like to think if I found myself invisible I would be a bit more stealthy. Also, he's quite rude to people, which makes him suspicious. Apparently he doesn't know you catch more invisible cats with sugar (or something). Anyway, so he makes a series of mistakes, gets busted and shenanigans ensue. And before he was invisible? He was an (presumably ornery) albino. So, you know, things kinda went from bad to worse with him.
The reader here was an English woman and it's always funny to me when women do men's voices in books on tape. It always leaves me with an impression that every man in the story is sort of a pansy whiner. But, she did do a great cockney accent so that was cool.
Overall, the story was interested, and it led me to think about what I would do if I couldn't be seen. Cause our crank-meister Griffin thought it was gonna be cool to kill folks cause they couldn't see him. That's just rude. I think I would probably cause much tamer mayhem. Like, you know, switching the soup at Bennigans, or goosing people.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Metamorphosis by Peter Kuper and Franz Kafka

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (August 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400047951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400047956
  • List Price: $7.99
  • I finished this book on Sept. 16
So, you know what super sucks? Turning into a giant bug. Really, really sucks. That's what happens to Gregor Samsa in Franz Kafka's 1915 novella. This is a graphic novel adaptation of that story done by artist Peter Kuper. His stuff is weird and very cool. My estimation of this gentleman when up considerably when I realized he feels pretty much the same way about G.W. Bush that I do. Anywho: his website is cool, check out the stock illustrations.
So, the story at hand. I confess that when I read the original for some class or another in undergrad I thought it was only okay. I see why they make kids read it and everything, but really: it's just kind of a bummer. Likewise: the graphic novel is scratchy black and white. It is harsh, it is ugly. Except: Gregor the MacDaddy Beetle himself. He's not that ugly. He often looks like a sort of very concerned cartoon dad's head on top of a bug body. I keep thinking that he probably sounds like the dad from The Oblongs. Actually, he kind of looks like him too. Weird. I know that was a horrible description, so feel free to look at pages out of the book here, and here. There was a bit of coolness with the text going in different directions, or following the pattern of Gergor's shell. Overall, though: it was a bit strange. I'm not sure that reading this would make any kid want to read the actual book.
You can study up on the original version at sparknotes, if you're interested, but I'm all set. My grade for this one: meh.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The R.I.P Challenge

Hey Kiddies. So, its' time for the R.I.P. Challenge over at Stainless Steel Droppings. This is a challenge to read spooky stories brought to you from the Master of Awesomery, Carl, who also hosted the Once Upon a Time Challenge I did this summer. You may read everyone else's reviews over here at the Yarns Review site.

I'm gonna do Peril the First: which is to read 4 books from any subgenre I choose. Soooo, here are my choices
Edit: This is my new list, updated on Oct 29. (I had to make some changes due to my schedule and book availability. Also, cause I am lame.)
1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke
2. Dead on Town Line by Leslie Connor
3. Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
4. Sweetblood by Pete Hautman

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060515198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060515195
  • List Price: $7.99
  • I finished this book on September 11
So, my lovelies, another tasty Gaiman book. Amazon calls this a companion piece to American Gods. I'll buy that, however, it's a totally stand alone story in it's own right.
Mr. Nancy (who was in AG) is actually an incarnation of Anansi, a rather jaunty spider god. This book is about his son Fat Charlie who, in the course of the first few chapters, finds out that his father has died, his father was a god, and he has a brother. How's that for a shocker? Also, extra points to Mr. Gaiman for throwing in karaoke, wax fruit, and a literal barrel of monkeys.
As you may remember, I raved over the chocolate covered cherry sweet Stardust (and also the movie, here). This one, while equally amazing, was really more like a savory four course dinner. There were several interesting characters, an awesome, twisty plot and lots of little jokes. I really thought Charlie's inner thoughts were really funny, especially those about Rosie's mom. Ooooh, also fantastic chapter titles. For example: Chapter Five: In which we examine the many consequences of the morning after. Love!!
As I have mentioned ad nauseam: Gaiman has a fantastic blog/website, which you may look at: here. You may also read more about this book and American Gods at wikipedia, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Blood and Chocolate : film review

  • Based on the book Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
  • Directed by Katja Von Garnier
  • Written by Ehren Kruger and Christopher P. Landon
  • Sony Pictures (2007)
  • PG-13
  • 98 minutes
  • I watched this film on September 3

Oh, my. First, let me preface this by saying I loved the book. A lot. Which is why I was so stoked to see the movie. And why, having seen it, I'm so angry now. Garbage!
Okay: there is so much changed from the book that basically the only thing that's the same are the characters' names and the fact that some of them are werewolves. First, they made the characters older. Okay, I can deal with that. Then they inexplicably changed the setting from America to Bucharest. What? Also they managed to take out all the beauty, all the moral all the...well, good stuff.
The book is about a teenaged werewolf who is struggling with sexuality, with her heritage, with her identity. In the end she resolves those issues and finds peace. In the movie a pretty blond girl runs around, fights and betrays her identity for a moderately attractive random dude (but, oh, he writes graphic novels, so he's edgy!). Also, because they can't bother to really explain the title they have Vivian work in a Chocolate shop. Get it? Cause the title has the word chocolate in it! So clever. Also, they scraped Vivan's mural, which I would have really liked to see. And, oh, by the way; in an expert move of abandoning everything the whole book stood for: Vivian ends up with the wrong guy in the movie! HATE!! There were points where I was wondering if the people who adapted this even read the book.
Is there some good? Well, the phasing to wolf is borderline cool. However, they morph into honest to God wolves, not mythic Loup-garoux. There are some good looking people in it, but no one in this whole film has chemistry with anyone else. How could Oliver Martinez, who was so hot in Unfaithful be so bland here? Though I hated that movie, his performance was much better when he was philandering with Diane Lane. And Agnes Bruckner who plays Vivian is...I dunno, pretty, or whatever, but she did nothing for me. The worst part is the director brought us Iron Jawed Angels which was super good. And the same producer made Underworld, which I loved.
So you know, Rotten Tomatoes agrees with me that this movie was balls. If, for some reason you are interested in visiting the hilariously bad site for the film...well I warned you. (Also, what's with her fake nails? They are on the movie poster and splashed all over that site. Vivian is so not the kind of girl to sport big fake acrylics). I do highly recommend the book, and you can read more about that here.
Alright, that's it, I'm done. I'm so annoyed that the more I think about this movie the more I'd like to punch someone in the throat.


Hey kiddies: I found a cool site online and I thought I should share it with all of my fellow bibliophiles. It's called Goodreads and it's a sort of social networking/book review place. You can rate books, write reviews and see what friends are reading. If you sign up you should friend me. You can find my profile here. Love to Patty and Jason for letting me know about this coolness.