Monday, March 23, 2009

On Trend Literature + Book Reviews

I've decided not to read anymore trendy, commercial crap like Twilight, so Minion by L.A. Banks is getting returned to the library ASAP. It's a trilogy, and I know once I read the first book, I'll be obligated to read the second and third, so I'm saving myself the trouble of being latched to the series for any period of time by reading none of it. To quote a review from, I refuse to read books that are "not so much ‘compelling’ as ‘enslaving’". I'd rather read something of substance if I'm going to take the time. It is wrong to yearn for literary merit????

ANYWHO - The Razor's Edge was a GREAT read. It reminded me of The Picture of Dorian Gray in that Dorian Gray, the character, is a lot like Larry in The Razor's Edge: they're both young, attractive men with no family, of middling social status - charming, charismatic, peculiar. Both cease to age as well, but for very different reasons and in very different ways. The Picture of Dorian Gray's Lord Henry is reminiscent of The Razor's Edge's Elliot Templeton in that they're both obsessed with social status, and strive to remain relevant by being in the favors of those in certain circles and of a certain class. Both are great books that I enjoyed immensely.

The Handmaid's Tale was a surprisingly quick read - and equally disturbing. The matter of the book overshadows the manner in which it was written 100 fold, though it is impressive prose. It tells the story of a dystopian, but not too distant future in which a fundamentalist Christian group takes over America by killing the President and Congress - forcing women into subservient roles, including the eponymous Handmaid, whose sole purpose is reproduction, as most women have been rendered barren by pollution and environmental toxins. THE STORY IS DISMAL! I definitely recommend it to everyone who can read!

I just started The Reader today, but I accidentally read a HUGE plot spoiler online... so the big 'OH NO SHE DIDN'T' of the book isn't going to have as big an impact for me. I won't spill that moment here.... The book is now a movie starring Kate Winslet, and 18-year old German actor David Kross (who is hot! too bad he's so young....). Here's the basic plot: A 15-year old boy is sick on his way home from school and rescued by a woman over twice his age, with whom he then begins an illicit affair - the strangest part is that she makes him read aloud to her. The woman disappears for about 10 years and they run into each other again when he is in law school and she is on trial for war crimes in post WWII Germany.... he's conflicted because she has a huge secret and it's even worse that the heinous acts she committed in the war.

David Kross & Kate Winslet @ The Reader Premier

Best part - David Kross had to learn English for the role.

Can't wait to finish reading this. EDIT: Finished it in about a day. The book has a great plot and full characters, but it's written so clinically.... I'm glad it was short. It felt less like a novel and more like a piece of academic writing or a 200+ page newspaper article. It was very cold, somehow. That said, I did enjoy it and think the way it was written lends itself well to the subjects with which the story dealt. There's a lot of talk of detachment and divorcing oneself from one's actions - and that's exactly how the book reads, so perhaps it was an intentional choice.

I'm looking forward to seeing the movie - mainly because David Kross is HOT!!!! lol

and this is funny: According to the Washington Post, December is National Buy a Book by a Black Author and Give It to Somebody Not Black Month... amazing! AMAZING! As someone who plans to be a novelist (soon?), is in marketing, and is Black - I call 'MARKETING SCHEME' on this one - but it's a good one.