Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dream Angus

A short book, but not exactly a quick read; it was difficult to get into, to lose myself in the story. I’m sorry to say, I was a bit disappointed with Alexander McCall-Smith’s Dream Angus. I really wanted to like it. Dream Angus is another installment of the Myth Series, which includes authors Margaret Atwood and Karen Armstrong. I’ve read both their contributions and they were great. Instead of one story, I got many. Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad and [another contributor] Jeanette Winterson’s Weight were retellings, reimaginings of old myths. This is what I expected. Instead, Angus’s story was constantly being interrupted by different tales from the modern world. It was more like a collection of short stories orbiting Angus’s myth. I suppose I had high expectations. It was still a good book. Perhaps I was just unprepared for its format. I just wish there was something about it I could get excited about.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Living Dead In Dallas

Living Dead In Dallas is the second of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse novels. I couldn’t put it down. Sookie found herself involved in another vampire mystery. She also found herself in a human one as well. In both instances, it was the humans who hurt her most, not the feared undead. There are fanatics and fangs, shapeshifters and werewolves. There are mythical creatures you don’t expect. This story was a ton of fun and I’m eager to read about what happens to Sookie next.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

If you loved the original… well, I hope you’ll love Seth Grahame-Smith’s reworking of Jane Austen’s classic. I certainly did. The story still centres on Elizabeth Bennet. However, instead of her and her sisters being English ladies, they are great warriors as well. Elizabeth and Jane are in fact, the two best warriors in Hertfordshire. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies really shows off women as strong individuals, fighting to save their country.

I really enjoyed how Grahame-Smith took the character development a step further. Elizabeth was a strong individual in Austen’s classic, but in this new retelling, she is also physically strong. If you thought Mrs. Bennet was silly before, she’s especially silly now. The antagonists are even more vile. Grahame-Smith is a bit more obvious with how troublesome Mr. Collins is, but alas, poor Charlotte… The punishments for the antagonists are probably things you wished would happen to these characters originally. Oh, Mr. Wickham…

Having recently read Austen’s Pride and Prejudice many of the passages were fresh in my mind. I loved how little words like, “zombies” and “Satan’s army” can change the meaning of an entire chapter. The zombification seemed seamless. For people who have read Austen’s work, this is a fun change. For those who haven’t, this might be a nice introduction into a classic…just make sure you read the original after.

Did I mention they’re going to make it into a movie? I can’t wait!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Chuck Norris vs. Mr. T

Chuck Norris vs. Mr. T by Ian Spector is a fun laugh. It is also totally, wonderfully, pointless. Spector’s book is filled with “facts” as to why Chuck Norris and Mr. T are the baddest dudes who ever lived. It is a follow up to Spector’s The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 facts about the World's Greatest Human, which he was sued over. It all started on the internet; websites listing these satirical facts. However, once it was published, Chuck Norris sued Spector and Penquin books (though he didn’t seem to mind while it was only on the internet.) How Spector survived this encounter to publish another book, I don’t know. But he did and gave readers 200 more facts, plus 200 about Mr. T. As Chuck Norris felt the need to point out, these facts aren’t true, his tears can not cure cancer. They are just a bit of senseless fun, perhaps something to leave on the coffee table to spark conversation and loads of laughs.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You

I just want to scream at these women, “Why are you acting so crazy?” The actions of some of the characters made me cringe. I felt like this movie gave women a bad name. I felt like the women were essentially all the same, just in different situations. None of them seemed to have any real, common sense. The male characters seemed to be somewhat more varied, though all except Conor were commitment phobes. It was very frustrating to watch.

I like to think that I was never like these women. Though I know I may not be the best judge of myself. Yes, sometimes we may read too much into a situation, trying to figure out if a guy likes us. Yes, we may delude ourselves about where a relationship is going. We at least try to believe the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ speech. Don’t guys do that too, try to figure out if a girl likes them? But I don’t know any woman who’s gone to a restaurant hoping to bump into a guy who hasn’t called her. I don’t know anyone who has purposefully gotten involved with a married man. I don’t know any obsessive callers.

For me, the highlight of the movie was the relationship between Gigi and Alex. I think they might have gotten the most screen time and deservedly so. It’s the only storyline that offered any real insight into dating. I also thought Mary was quite funny. The Janine, Ben, Anna triangle was frustrating. Was Ben Affleck only in the movie for five minutes? You forget he’s even in it. These women ‘aren’t the exception, they’re the rule,’ but that doesn’t mean they can’t have some individuality.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I am so glad I finally got to see Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. I found it a welcome addition to the Harry Potter franchise. The Half-Blood Prince has action, tense moments and maturing teenagers. As with the previous book to film adaptations, there were some good parts left out. I would have loved to see the Gryffindor team win the Quidditch cup, though I was happy to see Harry as captain, with Ginny and Ron on the team. It also would have been nice to be introduced to the new Minister of Magic, but that’s okay too. I’m sure the next movie will find us staring at a lion-esque man. I also would have liked a little more back story into who the Half-Blood Prince was. We get it in the book, but not for those who have only seen the film. I think the ending was well done, the battle and the meeting of friends. I also liked how the story began with the “Unbreakable Vow”. I’m glad that I was able to see it and can’t wait to see it again.