Saturday, January 31, 2009

Eleanor Rigby

Douglas Coupland’s Eleanor Rigby is much more than what it seems. The novel, named for the Beatles’ song, takes the idea of loneliness and expands it. You think it is a story about the lonely life of Liz Dunn. It is, but it is so much more. Liz lives her life, simply, routinely. Then, a mysterious man shows up and her life is never the same again.

This is the second of Coupland’s novels that I’ve read. He likes to throw the unexpected at his readers, something I appreciate. There are so many bumps on the road to what seems the end of Liz Dunn’s solitary existence. I enjoyed the ride immensely. I’m eager to read another of his novels.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Remember Me?

I think Remember Me? had the perfect ending. Lexi Smart doesn’t have some brilliant flash of memory; things don’t come flooding back to her in grand, dramatic fashion. What happens seems more natural. It’s a thread, “gossamer thin” and it’s real. It’s something she can hold on to and use for the life she’s creating for herself. It’s not the picturesque life she thought she had, it’s a life that reflects the person she’s remembered.

Remember Me? is definitely full of Sophie Kinsella’s style and humour. The story, however, didn’t have me yearning for more the way the Shopaholic series has or The Undomestic Goddess. I didn’t love Lexi the way I did Becky or Samantha. The meat of the story, the really interesting bits, doesn’t happen until a third of the way into the narrative. Lexi takes too long to learn about Eric. Maybe Jon should have been introduced sooner.

It is a really enjoyable story and an excellent stand-alone book. I just found Lexi’s friends and family frustrating and extremely unhelpful towards someone who has amnesia. It fueled the plot, but made me a bit angry at the supporting characters. Remember Me? was an easy read and a unique story. However, it didn’t leave me with the same good feeling as Kinsella’s other works.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Dark Tower VI: The Song of Susannah


Stephen King is such a freak! He put himself in his novel! I mean, it is a fictionalized version, especially after what happens at the end. That obviously can’t be real. It somehow justifies or explains how so many of his other novels have a thread of The Dark Tower running through them. Is it self-indulgent to make himself a part of Roland and his ka-tet’s quest for the Tower? Maybe. It does seem to add another layer of interest to the story. Is he the creator or just the bard, the vessel? What would happen if your imaginings were to come to life?

One thing I have to say about this edition of The Song of Susannah is how much I like the artwork. When I read Wolves of the Calla while liking the story, I strongly disliked the artwork they decided to include with it. I thought it took away from the imagery King was trying to create. With Susannah, I found that the artwork added something; it was more expressive. The images didn’t try to represent what the reader was imagining, rather a feeling that the story was trying to create.

There is only one more book in The Dark Tower tale (not including the second graphic novel.) I can’t wait, yet I will. I don’t want Roland and the other characters to disappear on me just yet. I want to prolong their existence. I know that no matter the end of the final novel, I’ll be sad that they are gone.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is J. K. Rowling’s latest addition to the supplementary works of the Harry Potter series. In the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione is lift a book by Dumbledore. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of stories that every little witch and wizard heard as children. However, Harry and Hermione were raised by Muggles, so they are not familiar with Beedle the Bard. One story in particular plays a large part in the events of The Deathly Hallows.

Rowling gives us the opportunity to read these stories ourselves. She allows us to look a little further into a world that Harry Potter fans love. After each story is a commentary by Albus Dumbledore, written very much in the voice of the character. The stories are cute, easy to read and have what most ‘fairy tales’ have, a moral at the end. They are definitely stories that could be added to the young child’s repertoire. Right after The Cat in the Hat, a child might want to hear about The Hopping Pot.

A Chrstmas Carol

I really wanted to read the unabridged, original, unillustrated, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. I finished it, appropriately enough on Christmas Eve. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though I found it difficult to get into initially. It had nothing to do with Dickens’ writing – this is the third book by him I’ve read and the others were much longer. The difficulty lay more in the fat that I already knew what was going to happen. How many times have you heard the story, read a children’s version or seen a movie adaptation? There’s even A Muppet’s Christmas Carol! I can understand the appeal after finishing the original work. The story has a cinematic quality, which creates a vivid narrative. There are a few things, as with every original piece, that were left out. In the end, it is a wonderful story that every holiday lover should read.