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23 July 2006 @ 01:21 am
The Shadow in the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Rating: 5/5

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18 July 2006 @ 10:32 pm
Q&A by Vikas Swarup
Rating: 4/5

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03 July 2006 @ 02:15 pm
Sorry, this update isn't as long as the first. But here's three more interesting books for you guys to pick up. For my summer reading, part 1- see here.

12) Breakfast at Tiffany's and three other stories by Truman Capote
Summary: In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose style is part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany's; her poignancy, wit and naivete continue to charm.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a classic, and the copy I picked up (see amazon link above!) has three short stories as well ("House of Flowers", "A Diamond Guitar" and "A Christmas Memory"). Capote's writing is good. Or at least, I liked it. The movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's follows the book closely enough, but I prefer the book-version. If you haven't seen the book with Audrey Hepburn. Do it! Hepburn is major love. Breakfast at Tiffany's is a wonderful romance. If you pick up a copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's, try to get this copy so you can enjoy the other short stories as well.

Overall: 5/5


13) Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
Summary: Chemistry honors student and cross-country runner Kate Malone is driven. Daughter of a father who is a reverend first and a parent second and a dead mother she tries not to remember, Kate has one goal: To escape them both by gaining entrance to her own holy temple, MIT. Eschewing sleep, she runs endlessly every night waiting for the sacred college acceptance letter. Then two disasters occur: Sullen classmate Teri and her younger brother, Mikey,take over Kate's room when their own house burns down, and a too-thin letter comes from MIT, signifying denial. And so the experiment begins.Can crude Teri and sweet Mikey, combined with the rejection letter,form the catalyst that will shake Kate out of her selfish tunnel vision and force her to deal with the suppressed pain of her mom's death? "If I could run all the time, life would be fine. As long as I keep moving,I'm in control." But for Kate, it's time to stop running and face the feelings she's spent her whole life racing away from.

My third Laurie Halse Anderson book of the summer (I counted Speak even though it was a re-reading). It also happens to be Anderson's third novel. I still need to read her second, Fever 1793. Anyways, I love this book, and I don't know why I never picked up before. One of the first things that I noticed was that the story was set at Merryweather High, like in Speak. This takes place a year after Melinda's (Speak's protagonist), freshman year. Melinda does make a "guest appearance" as a well-adjusted sophomore. The novel deals with college rejection, life's difficulties and mistakes. You empathize with the protagonist, Kate, but at the same time-- you realize that part of her college troubles was her own damn fault. Overall, a good novel; it's somewhere between a 4.5 and a 5.

Overall: 4.7/5


14) Junior by Macaulay Culkin
Summary: This self-indulgently infantile book is a novel in only the loosest sense: it looks and reads more like a book-length zine. Amid quizzes,comics, poetry, journal entries, lists (one to-do: "Pump my own gas")and bits of narrative, child star Culkin, through the persona of Junior, tackles the emotional fallout from his years struggling under the parenting—and, inseparably, the career management—of an abusive father. Though Culkin protests that Junior the character is not Culkin the author, the line seems pretty thin. Early on, Junior notes that he's "not a writer," and few readers will argue. But as a calculated piece of celebrity implosion, the book is weirdly compelling. Passages dealing directly with the father are uniformly powerful: smart and tragic. Unfortunately, this rich central conflict gets buried beneath in terminable bellyaching over the writing process, half-baked philosophical musing and go-nowhere overtures to a woman who no longer loves him. Of all the ironies Culkin tries to engage (as when overgrown rich kid Junior asks, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a place in the country like we talked about?"), the book's biggest is that it's best when it sticks with Daddy. (Mar.)

It the first book from everyone's favorite child actor, Culkin, from the Home Alone series. This book is part-fiction, part-memoir. At least from the way I interpret it. Early on in the book, "Junior" makes a clear distinction between himself and his "novel." The "novel" is clearly based on Culkin's own experience, especially his relationship with his father, but how much of the novel is true up to your own interpretation. The book itself is a fast-read. It's jumbled and random at times. It has pictures and a section from Junior's "blue period", printed completely in blue. I picked up this book, because of the cover design, Culkin's name and because I passed in the "new" section at the library. This was a much better read than my last random pick-up at the new section, Lessons in Duck Hunting (see number 11). Although, this book like this seems like it could be written by anyone, it was an interesting read.

Overall: 4/5
 
 
18 June 2006 @ 11:49 am
k~ My first post here. Anyways, I started my summer reading for the year. Summaries (stolen from Amazon) and reviews (shittily done by me) are below. Enjoy.

o1) Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edogawa Rampo, translated by James B. Harris
Summary: Hirai Taro (1894-1965), much more familiar as Edogawa Rampo, was the first modern writer of mysteries in Japan. The author’s pen name is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of Edgar Allen Poe. Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination is a collection of nine bloodcurling, chilling tales present a genre of literature largely unknown to readers outside Japan. Lucid and packed with suspense, these stories have enthralled Japanese readers for half a century.

As a Detective Conan fan, reading these was a must! The stories are way different from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes Tales. In a way, they were more about being weird, than mysterious. Yeah, they were just weird mostly. Rampo was way into psychology and incorporated the element into his stories a lot. This translation I had made this a fast and fun read. My favorite stories were The Red Chamber, Two Crippled Men, and The Twins.

Overall: 5/5

o2) Company by Max Barry
Summary: With broad strokes, Barry once again satirizes corporate America in his third caustic novel (after Jennifer Government).This time, he takes aim at the perennial corporate crime of turning people into cogs in a machine. Recent b-school grad Stephen Jones, afresh-faced new hire at a Seattle-based holding company called Zephyr,jumps on the fast track to success when he's immediately promoted from sales assistant to sales rep in Zephyr's training sales department."Don't try to understand the company. Just go with it," a colleague advises when Jones is flummoxed to learn his team sells training packages to other internal Zephyr departments. But unlike his co-workers, he won't accept ignorance of his employer's business, and his unusual display of initiative catapults him into the ranks of senior management, where he discovers the "customer-free" company's true, sinister raison d'être.

I loved it more than Jennifer's Government, which I read last summer. I really need to get around to reading Barry's first book, Syrup. Anyways, this book is humorous and well... mind-bogging. You read this book going "wtf" like Jones, the protagonist, until you find out what the company is really about. It's humorous and satirical, which makes it <3. I could not put this book now, and finished it one sitting.

Overall: 5/5

o3) The Last Nazi by Stan PottignerCollapse )
 
 
25 May 2006 @ 08:19 pm
Quite the best Original Homoerotic fiction I've ever read:

If you like sci-fi, homoerotic relationships, s&m or none of the above (side?) you'll love: The Administration Series.

Warning: Ultra-violence, the old in-out, rape, sci-fi, family gatherings, food porn.

Link: http://www.mannazone.org/zone/admin/index.html

"Their world is the dark future dystopia of New London, where Europe is controlled by a totalitarian bureaucracy, which shares political power with powerful corporations. The oppressive government uses torture, violence and the various Divisions of the feared Department of Internal Security to maintain power. The corporations fight amongst themselves, using lethal force under the euphemism of 'corporate sabotage', uniting only to resist attempts by the Administration to extend its control over them. "


The action is placed in an indeterminate future, where nations have disintegrated and the whole world is under the rule of a form of despotic government called The Administration, whose relationship to the society they claim to wish to protect is paternalistic at best and antagonistic at worst, and whose power is conflictingly shared by major Corporations. This dance of power is then skillfully paralleled in the life and characterization of the main players: Val Toreth, Senior Para-Investigator of the department of Investigation and Interrogation (remember the Inquisition? This is one hot Torquemada) and Keir Warrick, key figure, founder and creator of a corporation dedicated to the creation of sims, in other words, virtual reality. This sound too sci-fi for your tastes? Don't you worry, the story is written in such a way that it will please those who are science fiction aficionados and those who, like me, have not really been immersed in the genre. The technology portrayed in the plots is both familiar and advanced, so it doesn't make the descriptions a hurdle one must go through in order to get to the "meaty parts," and yet one does not doubt the fact that, yes, this is a credible futuristic setting.

After seducing you like this, now comes the tricky part where I'll either lose you altogether or cinch the deal. This is not a story about male bonding, at least not in the Mel Gibson/ Danny Glover way. This is a story about two very different men who come together in one of the most original and tumultous Fuck stories ever created. I say Fuck story, because though the two characters arrive at a crossroads in which it is impossible to deny their affection toward one another, they never mention the word Love. This is not just a ploy, to make the squeeing fanbois and girls deliciously frustrated, ready to beg and wring their necks, it is a valid characterization, firmly placed in the subtle and rich background provided to the characters.


I also recommend:
Mysterious Skin - Heim
The Man Who Fell in Love with The Moon - Spanbauer
The Name of the Rose - Eco
Lolita - Nabokov
A ClockWork Orange - Burgess
 
 
 
11 April 2006 @ 06:54 am
This is my first entry for 2006. Yay! My 50 books a year is up again and it's going great so far. Here are the first five books I have read.
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