Archive for the ‘ Literature ’ Category

True Blood vs. Sookie Stackhouse Books

“True Blood,” a hit HBO series based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, has been my guilty pleasure as soon as I saw an advertisement for it and for a second thought they really were trying to sell people synthetic blood. Instead, they were selling the show, of course, but for a moments, I was torn out of what I knew as reality and I liked it. Yes, it’s about vampires, and yes, there are lots of good looking people in it, but no, it is not “Twilight” for adults. Neither is it as deplorable as “Vampire Diaries.”

In case you aren’t yet a rabid fan of the show, here are some basics: Sookie Stackhouse, barmaid in Bon Temps, Louisiana, can read minds. She is tormented by this gift, because she has very poor control of it. A man walks into her bar and he is a blank. She is instantly attracted to the sound of nothing that she is getting from him. The reason his mind is not broadcasting to her, is because he is a vampire, but despite that, they fall madly in love. The world “True Blood” takes place in is much like our own, with one key difference. All the weird shit you read/heard about (barring outer space), is probably true, and it’s also pretty well organized. A Japanese corporation develops Tru Blood, a drink emulating the nutritional value and flavor of human blood, and bam! Vampires, who were real all along, can now leave the underworld and come into the limelight. The idea is that they no longer need to drink from humans and are therefore tame kittens that we no longer need to fear. Continue reading

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The Dresden Files Are My Literary Crack

Harry Dresden is the kind of guy I’d like to be friends with. Well, maybe not really good friends, since all his good friends are constantly exposed to mortal peril and whatnot. Still, he’s pretty friggin cool and it might be worth it. Anyway, I digress.

Harry Dresden is the protagonist of the much noticed Dresden Files series authored by Jim Butcher. The urban fantasy series has already become a sci-fi live action adaptation as well as a comic book. Not too shabby.

The story centers around the only wizard/private investigator listed in the Chicago Yellow Pages. The series starts with the novel Storm Front, where Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is introduced and quickly thrown into a nightmarish scenario rife with black magic and corpses. A few other mainstays are introduced, such as Karrin Murphy, a lieutenant with the Chicago Police Department who occasionally engages Dresden as a consultant on some of the stranger cases her department has to deal with. What follows is a mystery involving damsels in distress, twisted maniacs, loads of well-thought out magical feats and creatures and lots of action tempered with the occasional comic relief. Continue reading

Audrey’s Door: Worth Opening?

audreys-doorAudrey’s Door, by Sarah Langan, is a very intriguing book. While it doesn’t shatter the horror/suspense genre, it sticks to conventions that work, provides us with incredibly believable characters, and deliverers a story that does not disappoint.

The story revolves around up-and-coming architect Audrey Lucas, a young woman who is plagued by a compulsive disorder and chaotic past. Having lived a nomadic existence with her mother Betsy, Audrey eventually decided to make it on her own by moving to New York City, applying herself in college, and landing a job at a prestigious firm. After having relationship issues with her fiancé, the gentle-but-lazy Saraub, she decides to find a place of her own and stumbles across the Breviary, which offers a surprisingly affordable apartment located on the Upper West side. However, the Breviary houses terrible evil, and it has been waiting for someone like Audrey to show up. Continue reading

Dethklok Versus The Goon Makes My Brain Hurt

GoonVsDethklok

Two mediums collide, as well as two minds, to make animation, heavy metal, horror, gore and comedy into… well… something obviously driven by marketing. While Metalocalypse, created by Brendon Small, is absolutely uproarious on screen, with all four characters almost entirely unintelligible as they mumble the dialogue before delivering another nonsensical musical number, it really doesn’t work on paper.
Continue reading

Pygmy: Is Palahniuk even trying anymore?

pygmy-chuckChuck Palahniuk released another book a few months ago entitled “Pygmy,” just a year after his last book, “Snuff,” which I did not like. I was surprised when I found out another book had been released so soon; most authors usually have a larger gap between books. I figured with the steady decline in quality that his work has had that it probably wasn’t going to be any good, but it was short so I figured it wouldn’t take to long to read. So, going against my better judgment I picked it up, hoping it would at least be better than his last few books have been. I really need to start trusting those first instincts.

The story is about a young Asian spy from an unnamed country posing as an exchange student in America. While here, he is working to put a plan in motion that involves winning the local science fair so he can go to Washington and set off a device that will kill millions of Americans. This is different from his usual work and for some reason felt a little ridiculous to me. Yet I had no problem accepting the plot of “Survivor,” which involved a man becoming the leader of a cult and building a giant landfill of pornography. Maybe it had to do with the narrative style of this book that just completely turned me off to the story. Continue reading

Neil? Yes, Amanda? – Performances and Q&A with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer

Show date: June 3, 2009
Venue: Housing Works Book Store Cafe
Guests: Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer

d42 was having a fan girl fit. Neil Gaiman, best selling novelist, comic book writer, tireless blogger, as well as Amanda Palmer, singer, musician, icon, and recently deceased, were going to be under one roof at the Housing Works Book Store Café! These two beloved icons gathered with us this night to promote Who Killed Amanda Palmer Photo Book for which Gaiman provided the text.  Kyle Cassidy, photographer (also in attendance, but on the sidelines), provided excellent pictures of Palmer bloodied and stuffed into a shopping cart, floating in a pond, as a gorgeous statue, and in various other poses, all having a lack of life in common. Continue reading

Fool by Christopher Moore: A Different Take on King Lear

foolChristopher Moore’s latest book, Fool, is a retelling of Shakespeare’s play King Lear through the eyes of Pocket, the court jester. Being one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, going in I imagined it was going to be hard to find humor in the plot. However, Moore uses the plot, the language, and every situation in the book to fit a joke onto almost every page.

This is Moore’s second re-telling of an old story, his first being Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, which I greatly enjoyed. In this book however, he decided to use an already existing minor character, and develop him greater, instead of making an entirely new character and inserting him into the story. The way Pocket is developed and inserted into the events happening in the narrative, it’s hard at times to imagine him as a minor character in the play.

Going in, I was a little worried that I would have a hard time following the plot since I wasn’t too familiar with the original work, despite being assigned to read it in multiple classes in college (I was never really a motivated student). This was not the case though, as Moore keeps things simple, clearly keeping all characters and titles in order and avoiding traditional Shakespearean dialogue, making it a very approachable book to those not familiar with the bard. Continue reading

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