Friday, October 25, 2013

Rocky Horror Picture Show at LOT

 The amazing lead and costume designer, Adam Norrad.
 Andrew Ball as Rocky had the best body I've ever seen, and could sing!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Marketed as a "chilling psychological thriller" and it's not. I’m at 72% going “When is the thrill part going to happen?”

One thing I would say is good is it reads like a thriller, it’s a very quick light read that I finished easily in a day and a half.

The negatives, this is not Gone Girl. It’s not better than Gone Girl.

The wife is okay, but the husband was so annoying I wanted to stop reading the book. He would do things wrong and blame the women in his life, which pissed me off. “And he wouldn’t have felt the need to hide it from her, he added, if she weren’t so damn controlling.” At the same time it didn’t piss me off enough, I didn’t hate him, he seemed wishy-washy and like an overgrown baby and I just wanted him out of my life. Also I wanted to know how old he was and I kept waiting for a LONG time, like 80% finished, to find out he was 46.

I didn’t care about the characters enough. There’s a subplot of childhood trauma that isn’t fully explained and never goes anywhere and has no relevance.

It’s kind of a “So what” book. I’ll forget it by tomorrow.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Spreadeagle: A Novel by Kevin Killian

Spreadeagle: A Novel by Kevin Killian
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I got to 65% of the book, and I think I’m done.
I heard of this book when it was nominated for a LAMBDA Literary award, although the awards people themselves don’t speak well of the book:
“…the initial bulk of the story feels disjointed, making it difficult to follow the plot, and hard to initially become invested in the fate of the protagonists. If you’re able to make it through to Part II, however, you’ll be rewarded with an engrossing and compelling examination of a small-town gay man’s descent into obsession, addiction, and crime that comes close to making you forget about the fractured nature of the preceding chapters.”

So I made it to Part II, holding out hope as the review suggests. Part one was indeed difficult to follow, fractured, and in bad need of a re-write. This was made worse by the ebook version I purchased for the Kindle from the publisher which didn't have divisions or page breaks between sections so it all ran together and one character would switch to the next without any notification. Also poorly formatted in lots of parts, don't know why no one could be bothered to fix this.

I get to part two and I read:
“Maybe the genius who invented cellophane came to it by accident, just started seeing through everything one hundred per cent because he (or she) was in love with someone who would turn out to be all wrong for them.”

This didn’t seem to make any sense to me. I also started reading of a subplot to defraud people out of money by making them HIV positive, and thought to myself “What the hell am I reading?” Like John Irving’s In One Person, I’m reading it, kind of going along and not liking it or disliking it, and then something happens you really dislike and I go “What the hell am I reading???” and stop.
I liked the fact that everyone thought the author in part one was Armistead Maupin. Other than that, I had real trouble figuring out who was who and why I should care.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Survivors by Sean Eads

The Survivors by Sean Eads
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up after reading The German. This was also nominated for a LAMBDA award in the SciFi category and the premise appealed to me.

While The German was very light on the sci-fi, almost to the point of being non-existent, this one goes deeper. I don’t think I’ve read sci-fi before, this plot reminded me a little of Doctor Who in the David Tennant years, which was a good thing.

The book zooms along well, I love the little details which gross you out but also give you a reaction, it’s a great way to hook a reader, such as the purple dripping semen. I felt the book went a little too far into it’s own world, near the very end I was kind of looking for the escape button as I became a little too uncomfortable, but I suppose that’s the sign of a good author as well. Lord knows I couldn’t stop once I hit 75% or so I had to read to the end or die trying. Similarly there’s a few scenes of violence that I felt uncomfortable with, but I wasn’t sure who’s side I was on, the side of the human or the side of the alien, so I like the moral ambiguity as well.

One thing I would say, there are tricks an author can do to make his main character more likeable or relatable, I would have appreciated a bit more of that. Well Craig was nice enough, I’m not even sure that’s his name, and I was far more invested in the story than in him. Similarly the ex-boyfriend, Scott I think, I didn’t get why Craig cared about him at all. Guy seemed like an idiot, and I felt for us to be invested in him turning bad, we would have had to believe that he was ever good, and I didn’t, so a full star off for that.

This being said the book is very well paced and a fun exciting read that you won’t soon forget and I highly recommend it.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Nuit Blanche 2013

Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff

Fraud: Essays by David Rakoff
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this book for my book club.

I didn’t find the book humorous, a couple of times I thought to myself, that was smart, but I don’t think I really laughed.

The highlight of the book is the author describing the origin of the term “23 skidoo” which I never knew.

The book is a series of unrelated essays, some on elves in Iceland, others on cancer, others on nature retreats.

I think my biggest problem was the author and I don’t think the same way. I don’t know of anyone who things this way though. Regarding the possibility of forced laughter, the author says:
“I’m suddenly reminded of that legendary medieval torture wherein infidels and malefactors, their chests constricted by tight leather straps, have salt poured on their feet. Goats are then brought in to lick the salt off and the victims expire in horrible, suffocating guffaws, unable to escape or draw their next breath.”
It seems a bit extreme.

In one paragraph we have the words jute, apparatchiks and gestalt. On one other page synecdoche, anodyne and thrum. I don’t know what any of these 6 words mean, and this was on three paragraphs. There’s an important lesson that when you have to explain the joke, it’s less funny. Similarly always using the dictionary function of my Kindle took away from the story. I don’t know what I would have done if I was reading the paperback.

The narrative felt strained, over-thought and over-worked while only being mildly amusing.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A difficult book that I can’t say I enjoyed.
The book is narrated by 15 different characters over 59 chapters. Faulkner writes in a verse somewhere between poetry and riddle, as in:

“We picked on down the row, the woods getting closer and closer and the secret shade, picking on into the secret shade with my sack and Lafe’s sack. Because I said will I or wont I when the sack was half full because I said if the sack is full when we get to the woods it wont be me.”

You can’t actually understand it. I read ever word of the book but I didn’t understand most of it. I had glimpses of understanding, as well as glimpses of greatness, with passages like:

“She prayed for me because she believed I was blind to sin, wanting me to kneel and pray too, because people to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too.”

I feel this book was done a million times better when it was called The Grapes of Wrath. I feel like Darl and Tom are very similar and both stories, written around the same time, involve a family crossing the American south in a wagon with a dead body.

This one was just too confusing. I read the Wikipedia article to understand the story after I finished it and I was amazed at how much I missed. Also the parts I did get, like the abortion mission, were so disjointed as to appear to be part of a separate story. I just can’t get behind this. To me Faulkner’s 4 am stream of consciousness does not deserve to be up there with Steinbeck’s thoughtful and well-researched masterpiece.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013