Book Review: Diary by Chuck Palahniuk

Without a doubt Chuck Palahniuk is the literary equivalent of a method actor. He meticulously researches his books.

But this novel is different. This one’s about the artistic process, one I think this author is both familiar with and also terribly good at explaining it.

Diary is the story of Misty Wilmot, a waitress. Yeah, she was once a promising painter, but now she’s just there, not dead yet, but not quite alive either. But when her husband tries to kill himself (and fails), she finds out that she hasn’t yet lost her talent. That’s basically the premise of this story. More or less. Yeah, there’s a plot twist towards the end, ’cause that’s Chuck’s specialty. And yeah, we’ve got strange characters doing strange things in a strange world. Continue reading Book Review: Diary by Chuck Palahniuk

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Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

Even though I wrote an article on why this novel is so difficult to adapt into a movie, I didn’t review the novel. It’s time to do just that now.

Few novels have exerted such a tremendous influence on me. Frank Herbert’s masterpiece, and undeniably one of the very best SciFi novels ever written, takes a life of its own over the span of the first few pages.

The universe the story is set in is complex — a vast intergalactic empire working as an intricate mechanism, a lasting feud, and all the treacherous games that are a part of the never ending struggle for power among the powerful.
Continue reading Book Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

Book Review: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

“It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”

It takes a special kind of humor to make me laugh. This is that special kind. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman make a fantastic team, and their humor is music to my soul. Even though I loved almost every word they put to paper, I am still aware of the fact that this book might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Especially those who take themselves and the world around them way too seriously. Which is like 90% of the people on the Internet these days.

“Over the years Crowley had found it increasingly difficult to find anything demonic to do which showed up against the natural background of generalized nastiness. There had been times, over the past millennium, when he’d felt like sending a message back Below saying, Look we may as well give up right now, we might as well shut down Dis and Pandemonium and everywhere and move up here, there’s nothing we can do to them that they don’t do to themselves and they do things we’ve never even thought of, often involving electrodes. They’ve got what we lack. They’ve got imagination. And electricity, of course. One of them had written it, hadn’t he…”Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” …”

Continue reading Book Review: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Book Review: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

One word review: Wow!

Ever so often it happens that I get to suspend disbelief and immerse myself in such a brilliantly constructed fictional universe that it feels like a dream I’d never want to end.

Yes. I did not want to wake up from this.

I’m still book hangover. I am currently reading the sequel.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons is a brilliant SF novel. The world is complex, intriguing, and believable. It tells of certain aspects of humanity that should/could be enhanced as we develop our technology.

This is also a great novel in terms of storytelling. The writing does its job. Each character has its own way of describing events, certain motivations and dreams and hopes and aspirations. Continue reading Book Review: Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Book Review: We the Animals by Justin Torres

When it comes to things that have a price tag attached to them, literature being no exception, there are certain trends that come and go. In commercial fiction, this trend might be vampires one day and zombies the other. In “real fiction”; what some people call literary fiction, there’s the trend of the autobiographical novel. Part fiction, part truth, these novels appeal to most of the best young novelists out there.

We the Animals is no exception. Continue reading Book Review: We the Animals by Justin Torres

Book Review: The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

From the book’s description:

Unfinished at the time of his death, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon is a story of doomed love set against the extravagance of America’s booming film industry. The studio lot looks like ‘thirty acres of fairyland’ the night that a mysterious woman stands and smiles at Monroe Stahr, the last of the great Hollywood princes. Enchanted by one another, they begin a passionate but hopeless love affair, starting with a fast-moving seduction as slick as a scene from one of Stahr’s pictures. The romance unfolds, frame by frame, watched by Cecilia, a thoroughly modern girl who has taken her lessons in sentiment and cynicism from all the movies she has seen. Her buoyant humor and satirical eye perfectly complement Fitzgerald’s panorama of Hollywood at its most lavish and bewitching.

If the great Francis Scott Fitzgerald would have finished writing this novel, it would have been his masterpiece. Yes, it would have been better than The Great Gatsby, which is my favorite novel of all time, and the only piece of writing I’ve been reading once a year since I was seventeen. Besides Dune. Continue reading Book Review: The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Lost and Found: Famous Writer’s Works Discarded, Then Found Years Later

Contrary to popular belief, even the most famous of writers had their fair share of rejection. Or, even more difficult to believe, they forgot  having written them in the first place. Or simply didn’t bother to finish writing them.

Here are some books that were lost, only to be found many, many years later. Continue reading Lost and Found: Famous Writer’s Works Discarded, Then Found Years Later