You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Book Review’ category.

Life Before Man – Margaret Atwood

This book was published in the 70s, which makes Atwood about 3298493 years old, or about the same age as a dinosaur.  Apparently back then she was more depressing than a St. John’s winter.  Still gorgeous writing, though.

***/*****

This morning, I went downstairs for coffee and caught a glimpse of the road from the front door. There was yellow stuff all over the road. I was like, “WTF is all this yellow stuff?!” It took about five seconds to realize it was SUNSHINE. Freaking SUNSHINE. I haven’t seen SUNSHINE in so long, that I had NO IDEA what was spread all over the pavement. I shit you not.

 

I went out for a company supper last night since we’re taking over the world and winning all kinds of awards and kicking ass internationally. I vow never to complain about work again. I can’t think of another place where I could possibly discuss butt plugs and sex toys with my seniors. Pretty sure if they ever even stumbled upon this blog, they’d embrace it rather than fire me. Maybe. The lead tech writer reads, after all. Hi Cubemate!

 

Anyway, I love the mesh of people, and I don’t know why we don’t get together like that more often. One of the guys and I had a contest building the tallest tower out of mussel shells. Then I walked home and wiped out on the street before my house, in front of a bunch of people including an old man who was very concerned. I’m surprised I didn’t land in a pile of broken glass, being in the ghetto and all. My hands are skinned though. They probably have syphilis now.

 

So here’s what I’ve been reading.

 

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

 

Rich woman loses job, becomes poor and has epiphany. I liked her in the end, but after I saw the author photo, was confused about the conceit.

 Wow, that book had so much substance that it didn’t even take up two lines. Excellent.

So, Kindle is making its way around the globe. How do you peeps feel about that? How do you feel about potentially never have to turn pages again? Will you miss the sacred, new-book smell? Will you cry about never being able to thumb through pages, pick up a book to read the back-cover, or stack good literature lovingly in your bookshelf?

 

I have mixed emotions. On one hand, the technology is freaking amazing and I do like saving trees. I think it’s safe to assume that this technology is the wave of the future, and although I may not like it, I don’t want to be 80 years old rocking in my chair and grumbling about “those damned kids today, with their fancy high-tech flying cars and loud electronic music.” Yeah, take me back to the good old days when rappers were bangin’ bitches and smokin’ Js. Classic.

 

And what happens when books ARE annihilated? Will all the adorable bookstores in the world close down? Will I not be able to drag my eyes along the titles in a used bookstore? Will I not find carefully written inscriptions on the inside of a cover?

 

THE ECONOMY WILL COLLAPSE. BUT THE TREES WILL BE STANDING.

 

Shit this is all so terribly devastating that I don’t know what to do with myself. Anyone remember the library from Beauty and the Beast? That’s what I want. More than babies. Just books.

New theme I’m incorporating into the new blog: three-line book reviews. Why? Because I’m lazy.

Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

I hated this book the first time around, but decided to give it a second shot since EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD loves it. I hated it again, up until this quote: “Catastrophes were lurking everywhere, too numerous to count. When he contemplated the many diseases and potential accidents threatening him, he was positively astounded that he had managed to survive in good health for as long as he had. It was miraculous. Each day he faced was another dangerous mission against mortality. And he had been surviving them for 28 years.” ***/*****

Longer than 3 lines. I suck.

Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut is stark and hilarious.***/*****

One line. Does that make up for it?

I haven’t posted any recent book reviews because, honestly, I’m ashamed of myself. I didn’t realize it was possible for reading to make me stupider (holy shit is that actually a word?), but since reading the Shopaholic series, I have regressed to a 1st grade reading level. This issue is backed by the fact that in my last two blog entries, I have confused “conscience” and “conscious,” as well as “taunt” and “taut.” I need to start over, become an abecedarian (and I only know that word because of Word of the Day).

Kinsella is a pretty terrific writer, I’ll admit. She’s easy to read, funny, and has flawless style. So how the fuck did she create a literary monster like Becky Bloomwood/Brandon?

And furthermore, why the fuck did I read the entire series?

Anyway, Becky blunders through life like a little girl, completely unable to face her problems, tell the truth, or deal with the consequences of her idiot actions. Yet, every grossly overblown problem somehow works itself out, seemingly by luck. I have absolutely no idea how she managed to build a relationship with a brilliant millionaire, but hey, it gives hope to a poor, single, empty-headed girl like me.

Maybe if I irrationally spend money (Lasik surgery), ignore my problems (bleeding knife wound in my thumb right now), and burn all my bridges, I too can marry a rich, handsome, understanding husband!

Except in my scenario, my husband turns out to have a secret cellar filled with bestiality videos starring himself.

Shopaholic Series – Sophie Kinsella

shopaholic-baby-sophie-kinsella-book-cover-art

Shopaholic-Ties-The-Knot-Ebook

Not so much a good time.

So here’s where I truly hang my head in shame, because I started reading this literary prize:

Legacy of Silence – Belva Plain

0440226406

I’ve always been confused between Belva Plain and Mary Higgens Clark, because aren’t they the same author? Spewing out average stories about middle-aged women growing up on a farm, tending to husbands, washing diapers, and falling in love with war heroes? Not that I’ve read any Higgens Clark, it’s just the book covers all look the same. And you know what they say about judging a good book by its cover: completely accurate assessments, all the time.

My Mother forced me to read this book. She slapped me in the face, tied me to a chair, and pried open my eyelids with Scotch tape, and forced me to read this book.

And you know what? I enjoyed it.

I haven’t read a good war story in ages, and for some reason I have a fascination with all things painful. Like this bleeding knife wound in my thumb that I can’t stop picking at.

Light, good character development and a considerable amount of action.
Now excuse me while I go read some Vonnegut.

Today, while crossing the road on my way to work, I found myself deep in concentration. If I don’t concentrate deeply on crossing the road, I will get hit by a moving vehicle because people in St. John’s are careless fucktards like that.

So there’s two guys standing on the corner near me, and one says: “Excuse me.”

I glance at him, and he grins and motions to his smile as an indication for me to smile. This man, standing on the corner with long, silver hair in a NEON WINDBREAKER, is telling me to lighten up. I burst out into erratic laughter.

 

“That’s right sweetheart, smile.”

 

Oh yeah asshole, I’ll smile. I’ll smile because secretly in my head I’m thinking about punching you in the balls. I don’t like mornings. And I don’t like you.

 

Abby Lee – Diary of a Sex Fiend

 

I wish this girl were my real friend. She’s an ANIMAL. Word of advice: THIS IS NOT GOOD BEDTIME READING. Unless you have a drawer of toys nearby. Check out her blog: http://girlwithaonetrackmind.blogspot.com

I started a gay list thing, to keep some goals in sight. I’m always a little nervous that I will be one of those people who “settle” for the marriage, the nuclear family, the fancy house. Those were things I never actually imagined for myself, but they increasingly become appealing. I still want to keep my larger-than-life goals in check, such as being a recognized writer and travelling the world. Or, you know, uncovering some fossils of a prehistoric bird creature and having it named after me. Whatever.

 

Twenty Before Thirty is the list, and wouldn’t ya know that I could only reach eight?! So suggest something spectacular for me, and I’ll consider it.

 

  1. Chill out in the Greek Islands for 10 days, soaking up the sun, making out with Greek men, eating Greek food, and getting in touch with some ancient history.
  2. Buy a home and redecorate it.
  3. Pay off my student loans.
  4. Get Lasik eye surgery and live the dream.
  5. Fall in love without being a needy, obsessive asshole.*
  6. Get a puppy, raise it properly, and not kill it.
  7. Publish at least five creative pieces of writing.
  8. Take French classes.

 

*I feel the need to defend myself on this one, because I’ll tell you a little secret: I have never been involved in a serious relationship. Nope. I have the worst case of commitment-phobia I have ever encountered. I have never called anyone my boyfriend, and anyone who has dared to come close has scared me off so successfully that I’ve begun to question my sexuality. In fact, there’s a 35 year old man waiting to see me this weekend (I met him in Ottawa), but I’d rather just avoid his texts.

 

Is this really all I want out of life? Really?

 

Books! I have an affinity towards pink-covered, girly shit.

 

The Gatecrasher – Madeleine Wickham

 

Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella

 

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan – Sophie Kinsella

 

 

Apparently I am obsessed with Sophia Kinsella. I loved her other book Can You Keep a Secret?, so I assumed I would enjoy the Shopaholic series. She IS a talented writer, but holy fuck Rebecca Bloomwood is the most annoying literary character in the universe. GROW UP AND STOP BUYING SHIT YOU CRAZY WHORE. That is all.

 

P.S. Wickham is actually Kinsella’s real name, which I didn’t realize until after I read the book. Coincidence…or conspiracy? Perhaps I should make my reading list a little more protean.

 

P.P.S. I started adding Word of the Days to my entries again; guess which word I used this time.

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

 


Either I’m losing my English major edge, or this book is absolute shit. Absolute, bloody shit. This book only inspired me to eat apple pie and ice-cream.

 

Other uses for this book:

1) Toilet paper

2) To start a small fire with

3) To place within a row of other Classical literature to impress people

 

Like honestly, other than being well-written, how can anyone find this boring piece of drivel a pleasure to read?

When the Twilight craze started sometime last year, I was eager to pick up the books myself. Everybody I knew was reading those books, including some of my friends who dare not touch literature for fear it might burn them. One of my best friends reportedly stayed up an entire night until she had finished reading the first book. Geez, I thought. This author must really be onto something!

 

What happened next was one of the most genuinely disappointing moments of my life, and months later I am still left in shock and confusion, because quite frankly the first book was SHIT. S-H-I-T! Craphole, filth, shit of the earth! Even writing this entry makes me want to pound out my frustration on my keyboard. I literally just felt my heart clench in rage.

 

First of all, let me say that I am NOT making these judgements based on pretention picked up from my years of studying English literature. I’m sure I have been influenced a little, but I certainly don’t abhor pop culture like many of my faggy, hippie classmates. I adored Harry Potter, for god’s sake (until he turned into an arrogant prick, that is).

 

But I just cannot comprehend the attraction of these books. Stephenie Meyer is a garbage writer. I don’t know how the editor ignored the FIVE BILLION DASHES inserted in EVERY PARAGRAPH but he/she did, and should be fired immediately or publicly hung.

 

The story line was entirely corrupt. So this loser of a teenager moves to a new town to start afresh, and actually finds herself making friends with the locals. Like, people are actually interested in her and want to be her friend, for the first time EVER! And what does she do?! She ditches all these lovely new companions for a fucking vampire! A stupid fucking vampire! What kind of message is this delivering to teenagers?! IT’S OKAY TO GET INVOLVED WITH DANGEROUS MEN, AS LONG AS THEY LOVE YOU? IT’S OKAY TO DITCH ALL YOUR FRIENDS, POSSIBLE FUTURE SUPPORT NETWORKS FOR WHEN THE STUPID VAMPIRE DUMPS YOUR ASS BECAUSE YOU GET FAT AND PREGNANT?

 

NEVERMIND that Meyer is a Mormon, so the main characters’ entire passionate relationship lacks any real passion whatsoever. There’s a lot of STARING and coy GLANCES and awkward EXCHANGES and loving GAZES and horny hand-holding BUT NOTHING EVER HAPPENS. Go have fucking sex somewhere already, because the ONLY cool thing that could have possibly happened in that book would be to have SEX WITH A VAMPIRE. Yes I realize that this book is for young teenagers, but if you’re going to tell a young girl it’s okay to dedicate your entire life to a dangerous lover (like a pedophile, perhaps) then you must as well be realistic about it.

 

And it was BORING. BORING BORING BORING. This coming from someone who has read years of CLASSIC LITERATURE! My God I want to scream my hatred to the world! The other day I logged onto Facebook and somebody’s status declared Meyer as the best author of ALL TIME. YEAH OKAY. SURE. YOU IGNORANT FUCK. I would love, love, love to take some hardcover copies of Twilight and BEAT YOU TO DEATH.

 

The only good side of the series? Kids are reading. That’s it. Jesus fucking Christ, maybe teenagers will be able to spell properly someday.

 

Anyway, here’s a good book to expand your mind.

 

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

 

This book probably could have ended long before it did with the same impact, but I enjoyed it. Heavy, what with the corruption of Africa and the exploitation of the Congo. But excellent character development, that sorta thing. My favourite line? There are Christians, and then there are Christians.

 

****/*****

Today is a holiday in France, so I am confined to the apartment once again. I keep hoping that the charming boy will come online and offer to take me somewhere – anywhere – but alas, my hopes have been dashed. This would be a lot more fucking pleasant if I had some wine. Or if I could speak French. I have never, ever been so intimidated by a language barrier. Even in Mexico, people seemed more open to different languages (probably because their income depended on it). I can’t be mad at the town, of course. It’s obviously my own fault I’m such an ignorant fuck.

 

Anyway, I didn’t bother to even leave my apartment today. I’m too sulky and technically the holiday doesn’t apply to me. I’ve been plotting a night excursion in Paris for this Friday instead, but the longer I delay purchasing a ticket, the more my head is filled with rapes and crimes and people attempting to beat me with baguettes.

 

I will arrive in Paris at 4 p.m., and my flight to Montreal doesn’t leave until 1 p.m. the next morning. So I have an entire evening to see the city of lights. I have to take a cab to my hotel near the CDG Airport, check-in, unload my garbage and head back downtown somewhere to hop on a Seine River cruise or bus. The only one that suits me (i.e. does not include the word “romantic”) starts at 7 p.m., which unfortunately coincides with my supper. And since I have not had a sensible French multi-course meal yet and have been eating disgusting cheeseburgers in cardboard boxes, this really fucking distresses me. I can’t stop using the word “fucking” because my nerves are shot, my stomach protrudes from between my tank-top and shorts from lack of exercise and healthy food, and I feel like a zombie. I just want a good meal, in a restaurant where I assume most of the waiters can speak some form of English.

 

So it’s a toss up: elaborate meal, or tour of the city? Taking a cab alone is also intimidating to me, as my irrational fear gene kicks in and starts signalling my brain to start thinking SEX TRADE SEX TRADE RAPE. But seriously, did I really come all the way to France to sit in my hotel room and be a whiney bitch?!

 

Maybe when I return from the tour, I can retreat to the swanky hotel bar and hit on business men. Jesus I really want some booze.

 OH YAH. And then I logged onto CBC this morning to see “AIR FRANCE FLIGHT MISSING.” I’m just going to make this all about me for a second here, and say HOLY SHIT WTF. It’s like every time I embark on a journey, some kind of travel catastrophe follows me. The H1N1 in Mexico, the terrorist threats in England… I’m never travelling again. And also, saddest story ever. I cried after reading it, an all too unhappy reminder of the recent Cougar helicopter crash.

Also, while doing laundry last night, my washer went BESERK. Like, I thought the neighbours were either shagging violently or the building was collapsing. I came out to find the washer halfway across the kitchen, like THIS:

 

Now the son of a bitch is blocking my cutlery drawer, and I can’t for the life of me get it to budge. The TV is also broken. And if I hear “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt on the radio one more time, I’m going to launch myself off the balcony.

 

And yes, I did read two books since yesterday. Two.

 

John Grisham – Playing for Pizza

 

This book caused me to dream about being a pro football player. A for effort.

 

Sophie Kinsella – Can You Keep a Secret?

 

I was looking for fluffy chick-lit, and boy did I ever nail it. But I love chick stuff. Chick lit, chick flicks, chick everything. Although if Emma were to blush one more time, I would have had to smack her.

I love how the French say “beach.” Like “bitch.” “Do you want to go to the bitch?” “I love the bitch!”

 

I have researched the hell out of Lorient, and have found nothing touristy to do. I’d kill to go to Belle-Ile-En-Mer, but all the information about it is in French, and there are no English websites. I can’t even do a night tour in Paris next week, because my stupid hotel is outside the city. Do you know how frustrating it is to be in France, on a free trip, and not be able to do ANYTHING? The Loire Valley is midway between me and Paris. I don’t have a phone, I don’t know French, and I am essentially alone.

 

I became so desperate last night that I Googled “How can I make friends in Lorient?”

 

I didn’t find any. So I depleted my wine and beer stock, and got absolutely hammered. Alone. In my apartment. I wandered out onto my balcony and mooned the beach. I stumbled around my kitchen and ate the last of my lemon pies. And then I passed out, at 3 a.m. It would have been the perfect evening to sit on the beach with a bottle of wine and a lover, and instead I staggered around my apartment and sang loudly to MFM Pop radio.

 

I ventured to the beach yesterday, however. The French have no insecurities: I saw more saggy boobs and exposed ass than I ever want to see again in my life. Everybody was out with their friends and families, lounging around, soaking up the sun. I dipped my toes in the ocean, snapped some pictures, and laid in the sun for two hours. It was uncomfortably hot, and I didn’t bring a hat or water. Even my boobs were sweating. I tanned and read some trashy John Grisham until I felt nauseous and had to leave.

 

 

Today I will finish up some work, hit up the beach again, and perhaps even gather the nerve to order a real French meal. Something with three courses, a beer, and dessert.

 

Proof that I am actually in France

Proof that I am actually in France

 

 

The Other Queen – Philippa Gregory

 

Reading the first two-thirds of this book was the equivalent of having my eyes pecked out by vultures. I literally fell asleep at least three times, and the characters were so infuriating that I still do not know who the protagonist is. Bess is a greedy, heartless wench; George is a silly, naive man; and the Queen of Scots is the most vain, selfish, vile creature I have ever read about. Gregory thinks she would have made a great queen? She would have been too preoccupied with her wardrobe to pay attention to her duties.

 

The book is divided so that each chapter is from the perspective of either George, Bess or Mary. Basically, it takes forever to get anywhere in the story because first there must be THREE accounts of the SAME incident. Plus it never goes anywhere, the same crap keeps happening: Bess complains about money, George fawns over the Queen, and the Queen bats her pretty eyelashes. Gregory focuses on the Queen’s imprisonment, yet skips years over the most interesting part when the Queen is accused of plotting Queen Elizabeth’s murder.

 

I DID enjoy the book near the end…it became more lively and fast-paced (hence why I gave it three stars)… but I would have given up on reading this eons ago if the book hadn’t cost me $18 in Mexico. Unfortunately this is my first Gregory book, and I don’t know if I will read any others.

 

Bay of Spirits – Farley Mowat

 

This was my first book by Mowat, and goddamn he is amazing. The entire book discusses his travels in outport Newfoundland towns in the 50s (or 60s? I can’t remember). He bounces from coast to coast in his little schooner with his lady love, meeting new friends in some of those most sheltered, isolated towns in the province. A large chunk of the book takes place where I grew up.

 

I don’t particularly enjoy Newfoundland literature…I guess it’s hard to find intrigue in reading about a lifestyle I’m already very familiar with. But Mowat makes Newfoundland history enthralling. This is my parents’ Newfoundland, their childhoods, their lives of poverty trying to survive in small towns. There’s something so appealing about the simple way of life that I’d give my left breast to experience it. Or at least I could do with some of mom’s jig’s dinner. Mmmm.

 

Amazing read. Mowat is an asshole though… he discusses leaving his wife and children for another woman without any remorse whatsoever. In fact, he only mentions his wife halfway through the book, well after he meets his woman. Plus his behaviour in the last chapter just makes him a douchebag, but I won’t ruin it for you.  

And ain’t he just a handsome devil?

Don’t Forget to Check Out My New Travel Site!

Awards