Your week in books #7

  • Most of you guts probably already know this, but there is a “The Great Gatsby” game on the Internet made to look like an old NES/Family Computer game. I haven’t actually read “The Great Gatsby” yet, but the game sure does make me want to do so! (Source)
  • Apparently, there is also a video game version of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot floating around on the Internet. (Source)
  • And while we’re on this video game vein, I liked this short essay about the possibility of having established writers penning the scripts for video games. While most of my video-gaming has been limited to various iterations “The Legend of Zelda” — coincidentally, Zelda was also the name of the wife of “The Great Gatsby” author F. Scott Fitzgerald — I would like to see what a game penned by a writer would be like. (Source)
  • Related to previous bullet point: Apparently, Alex Garland has already penned a video game for the XBox 360 and the PS3. (Source)
  • I don’t particularly like writing on books, but I do admit that I did love reading the notes on the margins of some of the books I borrowed from the university library. But with more people going the digital route, The New York Times wonders if writing in the margins…will fall of the margins? Yes, I make myself laugh. (Source)
  • Finally, I really like this essay on the cultural revolution happening alongside Egypt’s newfound democracy. (Source)

Book review: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright’s “Red Riding Hood”

To be honest, the only reason I even thought of picking up this book was because of the trailer. I’m the easiest person to market stuff to: just mention that there’s going to be some shirtless boys with accents in your product and I will be good to go.

However, making life decisions based on the availability of attractive guys hasn’t always worked out very well for me in the past. It was precisely because of “Hot-Guys-On-Book-Covers” that I ended up reading such delightful reading material like Becca Fitzpatrick’s “Hush, Hush” and Holly Black’s “White Cat“.

Would “Red Riding Hood” be a similar disappointment?

Continue reading Book review: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright’s “Red Riding Hood”

Book to movie review: “I Am Number Four”

Thanks to the lovely Meann, I was able to catch an advanced screening of “I Am Number Four”, the first leading role for Alex Pettyfer’s abs. As the readers of this blog know, I wasn’t exactly a fan of the book. Will the movie be any better?

To its credit, the movie did whittle down a lot of the stupidity that went on in James Frey and Jobie Hughes’ “I Am Number Four”. Gone, for instance, is the drawn out rivalry between Mark and Number Four that inexplicably took up several chapters in the book.

The movie also does a better job of illustrating Number Four’s desire to be a part of a family by putting the dinner scene with Sarah’s family early on in the movie. The book had it near the tail end of the story, which really did nothing for character development and was really just awkward all around.

Number Four’s powers are much better in the movie than in the book, where it felt like he was one of the few mutants that Professor X had to turn away from the Institute. Number Six was also much better portrayed here in the film than in the book, which I credit to Marti Noxon’s involvment.

The movie is also less awkward about the romance between Number Four and Sarah, and I did like the fact that Number Four was a little aggressive. Although that may just be me and my imaginary ovaries talking.

But the most important thing that the movie got right is the constant exposure that Alex Pettyfer’s abs got throughout the movie. He’s already shirtless the first time we see him on screen, and the director/producer/writer/whoever seemed to shoehorn in any available opportunity for Alex Pettyfer to shed off that shirt. School prank? TAKE OFF THAT SHIRT! Going to bed? TAKE OFF THAT SHIRT!  Movie’s getting kinda boring? TAKE OFF THAT SHIRT!

Is the movie worth one’s time and money? Sure, if you’re a tween who wants to see what a bad boy looks like shirtless. If you’re someone over 12 and has seen “Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, and “Battlestar Galactica”? A definite pass. The movie may be less stupid, but it isn’t any less bland.

Here, have some shirtless Alex Pettyfer.

Continue reading Book to movie review: “I Am Number Four”

Your week in books #6

Margaret K. McElderry
  • Margaret K. McElderry, publisher of such young adult books like Susan Cooper’s “The Dark Is Rising” series, died on Valentine’s Day at her Manhattan home. She was 98 years old. (Source)
  • They’re going to make a TV film of J.K. Rowling’s life. I don’t know how to feel about that. (Source)
  • Children’s authors over at the United Kingdom are crying foul over Martin Amis’ remarks that “only a brain injury” could make him write for children. (Source)
  • Meanwhile, Michael Gondry says he will be adapting Philip K. Dick’s novel “Ubik” into a feature film. I haven’t read Dick (heh) before, but the comments section seems to think that Gondry would be a good fit for the adaptation. (Source)
  • A Roberto Bolano novel will be serialized in the Paris Review starting this spring. (Source)
  • This is the first time I’ve heard about this. Apparently, there’s a book called the “Voynich Manuscript” that’s filled with “alien” code that has mystified scientists for decades. The farthest they’ve ever gone with making some sense of the thing is carbon dating it. The manuscript appears to be older than the Gutenberg bible, the first book to be printed with modern presses. (Source)
  • Finally, have a look at the new New York Times Bestsellers List, now with a separate list for e-books. (Source)

Book review: Emma Donoghue’s “Room”

The past week has been a little hectic, which is why the reviews have been few and far between. It doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon, but I’ll try my best to sneak in a few posts every now and then.

* * * * *

Because of the nature of my job, most of the books I end up reading come from the young adult shelves of the local bookstores. While I do have books that don’t have teenagers drowning in twu wuv, they are often relegated to the bottom of my reading pile. But every now and then, my job allows for a few “adult” books to zoom up the ranks.

This week, I finished reading Emma Donoghue’s “Room”, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Continue reading Book review: Emma Donoghue’s “Room”

Book review: Becca Fitzpatrick’s “Hush, Hush”

Want to know what I found out this morning? This is what I found out.

If you’re too lazy to click on the link, it’s a campaign to get “Hush, Hush” author Becca Fitzpatrick over here to our fair islands. Our fair capital is leading the survey, but the Fitzpatrick fans want to make sure the deal is locked down.

If the country does win, I will end up interviewing Fitzpatrick. There’s no two-ways around it. And while I have no trouble talking to her, I may have some trouble not being critical of her writing.

You see, I hate “Hush, Hush”. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I hate it so much I talked to Lauren Kate about it, which turned out to be a horrible decision since the two of them are friends. I hate it so much, I take every possible opportunity to tell my friends and anybody who’ll listen not to read it.

I hate it so much I wrote a review about it for a newspaper

It’s right here

Your week in books #5

  • Those dirty Georgian era publishers! Turns out that the book “The Works of the Earls of Rochester and Roscommon” — which ran to 20 editions — was so popular back in those days only partly because of the “serious” poetry within. An Oxford researcher has discovered that pubslihers bound at the back of the 1714 edition three poems centering on dildos. Sex still sells, in whatever era. (Source)
  • While 18th century men apparently suffered from “dildo envy”, it would appear that today’s male writers have nothing to worry about. A new study from the US reveals that leading literary magazines focus their review coverage on books written by men, and commission more men than women to write about them. (Source)
  • Check out this interesting story from The Paris Review about a 33-year-old J.D. Salinger asking a girl to drop everything in her life to be with him. (Source)
  • Everyone knows I’m not really a big fan of e-book readers, but it really does look like that is where reading is headed. The New York Times is saying that more and more younger readers are starting to get into these things. (Source)

Finally, check out this video on how to make your own interactive comic.

    Book review: Chinggay Labrador’s “Popped”

    I don’t think anyone can accuse me of having any anti-KPop bias.

    When KPop supergroup Super Junior came around these parts last year, I was right there in the mosh pit with friends, screaming it out with everyone else and taking videos of all the shirtlessness and Korean weirdness happening all over the stage. My phone got stolen though, so no fan videos will be passed down to young faglings.

    When Rain came to perform — with UKiss in tow — I was also front and center, with the tweets to prove it.

    I also have nothing against Summit Books and its line of chick lit novels, if my review of Tara Sering’s “Between Dinner and the Morning After” is anything to go by. I loved “Between Dinner and the Morning After”.

    Seeing that the newest Summit Book was about the KPop fan experience, I thought that nothing could possibly go wrong. At best, I would love Chinggay Labrador’s “Popped”. At worst, I thought I would just be mildly irritated.

    Was I ever wrong

    Your week in books #4

    • People protecting the Library of Alexandria.

      Egypt has been on everybody’s mind, and deservedly so. As the country descends into chaos and we hear about ancient artifacts being desecrated, it’s nice to see that there are still people who still value books and knowledge despite all of this and are banding together to protect the Library of Alexandria. (Source)

    • Everyone knows I’m a Tolkien fan, so I found this project really fascinating. Apparently, Russian scientist Kirill Yeskov went and rewrote Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” in “real-world” terms, telling the point of view of Mordor this time around. Fifteen years after he first started working on it, a fan named Yisroel Markov translates it into English. (Source)
    • Finally, e-books. I don’t think I can ever fully get into it, but the New York Times definitely is. (Source)

    Book review: Tara Sering’s “Between Dinner and the Morning After”

    I’ve got a really busy day ahead — paying bills, figuring out housing loans, talking to real estate peeps — so I thought of putting up this old review I did of Summit Book’s “Between Dinner and the Morning After”. You guys can think of it as a prelude since I am currently reading Chinggay Labrador’s “Popped”, also from Summit Books.

    More than meets the eye