Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: The Shelter by James Everington

The Shelter
Written by James Everington

Published: 2011

Synopsis: It’s a long, drowsy summer at the end of the 1980s, and Alan Dean and three of his friends cross the fields behind their village to look for a rumoured WW2 air raid shelter. Only half believing that it even exists beyond schoolboy gossip, the four boys nevertheless feel an odd tension and unease. And when they do find the shelter, and go down inside it, the strange and horrifying events that follow will test their adolescent friendships to breaking point, and affect the rest of their lives...

After submitting a draft to my supervisor I decided to celebrate by finally picking up something that wasn't a graphic novel or text book! A couple of months back James Everington approached me about reading his new novella, The Shelter, and now seemed the perfect time to dive into his claustrophobic and moody horror. I really need to congratulate myself for making this choice, because not only did I love the book, but I am now incredibly eager to really kick start my reading...even if it means reducing my sleep to 2 hours a day!

The Shelter is quite a small book (hence referring to it as a novella previously), which works incredibly in its favour. This is a very immersive book, and I think it will resonate to readers much more distinctly if they read it from cover to cover in one go. Which is where the length comes in as a real benefit, obviously. I found myself stuck right in amongst the claustrophobic fear that builds and builds to oppressive heights as we follow Alan Dean's story, and I honestly think if I had tuned out and come back to it the next day it might not have impacted me quite as heavily. That isn't to say it relies on this, and I'm sure there are people out there who have read it in shorter bursts and still enjoy it. But if I can offer one piece of advice, it'd be find a comfortable spot, dig yourself in and read, read, read until The Shelter is complete. You can thank me later.

The Shelter is reminiscent of a Stephen King short story. In fact, James Everington mentions in his Author's Note that he was heavily influenced by the work of King at the time. It shows. Like King, Everington has a fantastic ability for painting the characters for you in great detail that captivates every sense. I could smell the sweat steaming off Tom's body, I could see the glint of Mark's earring under his long hair, and I could hear the ever present "thud-thud" of Alan's heart as he grew closer to the ominous shelter. Also like King, the book manages to balance that precarious line between real and supernatural horror. The story is, for the most part, grounded in the real, but there is that ever present "what if"  that you simply can't ignore. The real focus of the story are these four boys, Alan in particular, and this one day in their life, a hot summer day where everything changed. What happened doesn't really matter, what matters is the interactions and the reactions of these boys and the oppressive tension that builds because of it. Like Stephen King, James Everington manages to hit all these highs and produce a dark and moody horror that stays with you because of the possibility of its reality.

The Shelter is a great book that manages to wind itself tight around you until you find yourself struggling to catch you breath. This is definitely a "stayer" and I imagine parts of the book will continue to haunt me for weeks to come. So for any fans of Stephen King, atmospheric horror or short, unique reads then consider reading The Shelter, I think it'll be right up your alley!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Links

*Johnny Depp has been made an honorary member of the Comanche tribe thanks to his role in the new Lone Ranger Movie (Via Huffington Post)

*If you read this book, you know very well that I tend to favour genre fiction. Well, it seems that I'm not the only one. Here's an article that examines how genre fiction is going to take over the world. (Via Time entertainment)

*An interesting little post about an author who, through a printing error, has now got several typographical errors in his book. I can't imagine how frustrating that'd be! (Via Sydney Morning Herald)

*The 10 most beautiful places in the world. I would quite happily spend a fair whack of time in all of these locations. Anyone want to help me pay my way?? Haha (Via Buzzfeed)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Excerpt: The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner

How did everyone enjoy yesterday's guest post (the first ever for Nylon Admiral by the way)?

 I thought it was fascinating to read how wide and varied a life Theodore Weesner has lived and the devotion he has shown to his writing career. Something that I'm sure you all can imagine is expressed wonderfully through his writing. As promised I have an excerpt from the book for you all to read. I'll stop waffling and let you all sink you teeth into the goodness below soon enough, but before I do I just want to remind you all to click through if you're interested in reading some more about the book, its critical reception and the links to the myriad sites where you can purchase it.

Now, this excerpt is from the second chapter and follows the theft of Alex's 14th car. Bored and wanting to do something crazy, Alex decides to do the unexpected and actually attend school for once.


ALEX PARKED THE BUICK three blocks from the school, where he had parked the day before, and walked back. The snow had turned to rain by now and the leather of his shoes was quickly soaked black. He had considered clearing the car of evidence, to wipe away fingerprints and to empty the ashtray, but for no clear reason he parked it and let it stand. About ten minutes remained in the lunch hour, and as he walked back, the feeling of drawing nearer to the school moved through him with the sensation of a wind rising and falling, rising again.

Ahead, before the dairy bars, there were only a few students about, and they were walking with their faces down against the damp snow. Alex walked past the parked cars, cars which were full, their windows steamed over. The windows of the dairy bars across the street were also steamed over. He did not cross the street. He was growing vaguely weak in his joints, fluid in his muscles. He imagined a car door being thrown open, or the door of one of the dairy bars being thrown open, and someone running—he would not run himself—and grabbing his arm, calling back to the others following, as if they could not see, “I got him, here he is, I got him,” the others strung out, walking, trotting, smiling, without their coats. Teachers could see from the second- and third-floor windows across the street, men teachers whispering afterward as Mr. Burke had once, after a fight, whispered to him, “Hey, who got his clock cleaned down there?”

He did not look toward the steamed windows of the dairy bars across the street. He walked by and crossed over to the sidewalk leading to the school. He was thinking he might as well try to hit one of them, maybe feign submission, for there would be words, and come up, come around, with all he had—he might as well try for Cricket Alan, close his eye, break his nose bone, maybe knock him out, cold-cock him. But no one came running after him, and he walked along, rubbery. Just as he reached the heavy double door, the other side came swinging open and startled him. It was a girl, nameless, a familiar and pudgy face. She wrinkled her face and turned it down immediately against the weather, and went on, and he forced a weak smile over the jumping of his heart.

Within the warm air he foolishly stomped his feet on the link-metal mat, splashing the water the mat lay in on his pants legs. He walked on into the first-floor corridor. In spite of all else there was a faint feeling of coming home after having been away. Here was the tile floor, the familiar hallways lined with dark-green lockers, the whiskey-colored varnished molding, the globes hanging from the ceiling. Except for two girls walking away on the right, the corridor was empty. Far off, also to the right, music was playing, record music from the noon-hour dance in the girls’ gym, which, because he had never learned to dance, he always avoided.

His locker was to the left, in the basement near his homeroom. He walked along. Here he was, he had come back, the object, he believed, of a morning of corridor conversations. But the first student he saw, Barry Fagan, coming down the stairway ahead, walking fast, looked at him as he passed, nodded, walked on. Alex tried not to walk too fast, or too slow, and it was difficult to coordinate himself.

Going down the stairs to the basement, he met his homeroom teacher, Mr. Hewitt, coming up. Mr. Hewitt, besides teaching history, was the varsity baseball coach, and a quiet man, neither popular nor unpopular. He nodded lightly at Alex as they passed. Then, behind him, Alex heard Mr. Hewitt say, “Alex, were you here this morning?”

Pausing, Alex said, “No.”

“Where were you?”

Rather than condemnation, there was some kindness in the man’s voice, and Alex, stopped on the steps, was affected and weakened by it. He found it hard to look up at Mr. Hewitt, who stood waiting. At last, glancing up, Alex said, “I’m back to school now.”

Mr. Hewitt was amused. “You’re back. Good, I’m glad to hear that. Where have you been?”

“Nowhere,” Alex said. “Just messing around.” He stood where he was, looking down again, knowing that Mr. Hewitt was standing there looking at him.
“You have a minute?” Mr. Hewitt said. “I’d like to talk with you.”

Alex hunched his shoulders, to say yes, and walked along slightly to the rear of the man. They went past Alex’s locker and into the homeroom, and Alex still found it hard to look up. It seemed that if he did, something like whimpering would spread from his chest to his throat. He glanced up enough to see that Karen Parker was sitting at a desk in the homeroom, reading, and looked away as Mr. Hewitt said to her, “Karen, would you excuse us a minute, please?”

She did not quite understand, and Mr. Hewitt added after a pause, “We’d like to have a talk in private for a minute.”

“Oh,” she said. Alex heard her gather her things and heard Mr. Hewitt step over to close the door behind her.

Mr. Hewitt said, “Sit down.”

Alex sat down, looking ahead to look away. He saw the bottom half of Mr. Hewitt move to a seat on a desk top. Mr. Hewitt said, “You’ve gotten yourself into some kind of a dilemma, haven’t you?”

Alex had not expected or wanted kindness from anyone; he was too easily affected by it, and even as he smiled lightly, his cheeks were trembling and he could not look up.

“Can you tell me what’s happened?” Mr. Hewitt said.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Alex said quickly.

“Why are you so upset?” Mr. Hewitt said. He spoke all the more kindly.

Alex hunched his shoulders and lips again, as if not knowing or not wanting to say.

“Something at home?”

“Nah,” Alex said.

“I know you’ve missed a lot of school lately. What have you been doing? I’m not going to punish you or anything. Perhaps I can help.”

“Ah, just a lot of bad things,” Alex said. But his voice failed to work clearly—it rose at the end—and he continued to look ahead at nothing, angry with his voice, with himself.

“What kind of bad things? You mean skipping school?”


“What, exactly? Can you tell me? You feel free to tell me?”

Unable to speak and unable to look, Alex hunched his shoulders again—he didn’t know. He felt his lower lip reaching out.

Someone opened the door and came walking in. Alex’s view to the door was blocked and he did not look anyway, but Mr. Hewitt said impatiently, “Please wait outside and close the door.”

After a pause, almost in a whisper, Mr. Hewitt said, “Serious bad things?”

Alex nodded once. He did not look up. He knew Mr. Hewitt was studying him, and in his pause, that Mr. Hewitt believed him.

“These wallets—the money taken from the locker room. Do you know anything about that?”


For a moment neither of them spoke or moved. Then Mr. Hewitt said, “I’m afraid the class is about to start. But I want you to do me a favor—I want you to come back this afternoon after school—immediately after—will you do that?”

Alex moved his shoulders again and more or less nodded that he would.

He stood up as Mr. Hewitt rose, but he still could not look at the man. He walked over toward the door without looking back, and heard Mr. Hewitt say behind him, “Don’t get too worried now. It’ll work itself out.”

Alex said nothing; before him through the glass half of the door he saw faces on top of and beside each other. They began to separate and back off before he touched the doorknob.

He stepped through them without looking at a face, saw bodies before him in the thickening corridor, and heard someone whisper, “What’s going on?” The bell, ringing suddenly, startled him.

At his locker, facing the wall and holding his lock in his hand, he tried to tell himself the numbers. They came close but he could not quite catch them. He fingered the lock’s black face, and beside him someone said, “Hey, what was that all about?”

Alex turned and looked at the boy beside his shoulder but could not think of his name, however familiar his face. “What?” he said to the boy.
The boy spoke again, but Alex’s mind was hearing Mr. Hewitt again and he did not hear the boy. Alex turned his back on him, as if to conceal the working of his combination, and the boy’s hand fell on his shoulder. “Hey,” the boy said, and Alex, not looking back, suddenly, violently, whipped his shoulder to shake off the hand. The hand did not return. Nor did Alex look back. He continued staring down, hardly seeing the face of the lock.
In a moment he knew, decided in the knowing, that he was not going to the afternoon classes. What was he doing there? How could he have thought of coming to school? Sitting at a desk, sitting there, sitting there, sitting there. He closed his eyes for a moment, still facing the wall. But he could not see what he seemed to have been trying to see.

At last he let the lock drop. He turned to leave, making his way as calmly as he could through the confusion of corridor movement, aiming for the side door on the landing, fifty feet away, aiming for the gray and cold air outside. He experienced a slight shivering of panic as he walked, panic against the ringing of the second bell, a fear of being collared by some teacher, being led to a classroom and turned over to another teacher like an errant Tom Sawyer when he was of a range of mind this moment to go for the teacher’s head, or eyes, or throat.


I hope you all enjoyed this brief foray into what seems like a unique book (I'm hoping to finally get a chance to read it once my uni commitments start to die down). If you're interested in learning more, click through the link provided at the top of the post. And if you missed the guest post by the author yesterday, be sure to click through to read it now.

The Great Gatsby trailer

The trailer for Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby is out. I'm still not 100% sold on Carey Mulligan as Daisy and I have no idea why it's in 3D, but the trailer portrays an impressive film, visually at the very least. I'm excited to see this, I've like most of Luhrmann's work (Romeo and Juliet was amazing...if you don't align it too closely to the play) and Leonard DiCaprio is one of my favourite actors. Plus the 1920s are easily my favourite era...those clothes, the design, the hedonistic parties!

What does everyone else think?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Author Guest Post: Theodore Weesner

Hello everyone! I know things have been quiet around here, but I think this post will make it all worthwhile! Below I have a wonderful guest post by Theodore Weesner, the author of The Car Thief. 

Hailed as a modern American classic, this coming of age tale is Theodore's fourth novel and just the tippy-top of his illustrious writing career. Before going any further in my introduction, I'm going to whet you literary appetites with a brief synopsis of The Car Thief;

It’s 1959. Sixteen year-old Alex Housman has just stolen his fourteenth car and frankly doesn’t know why. His divorced, working class father grinds out the night shift at the local Chevy Plant in Detroit, kept afloat by the flask in his glove compartment and the open bottles in his Flint, Michigan home. 
Abandoned and alone, father and son struggle to express a deep love for each other, even as Alex fills his day juggling cheap thrills and a crushing depression. He cruises and steals, running from, and to, the police, compelled by reasons he frustratingly can’t put into words. And then there’s Irene Shaeffer, the pretty girl in school whose admiration Alex needs like a drug in order to get by. Broke and fighting to survive, Alex and his father face the realities of estrangement, incarceration, and even violence as their lives hurtle toward the climactic episode that a New York Times reviewer called “one of the most profoundly powerful in American fiction.”

Do I have your full attention now? Good! I'll be posting an excerpt from The Car Thief for your enjoyment tomorrow, but right now I have a post that Theodore was kind enough to write about the making of The Car Thief. Below you'll be able to read about the inspiration that lead to The Car Thief and exactly how much of Theodore's own life is mirrored in this fascinating new novel.


Theodore Weesner, author of The Car Thief
What was my inspiration for writing The Car Thief and how much of me personally went into the story? 

I'm working to answer those questions in a personal memoir I have underway called ‘Hoodlum Artist.’

 As a short answer let me say that I lived a stupid and ignorant life of deprivation that commenced on being abandoned at age one, with my brother Jack, age three, to a 550 pound immobile woman named Alice Sleeseman, who took in children from broken homes in Flint’s ‘Little Missouri.’ We may have been dirty and scrawny but ours was a ‘Summerhill’ life of almost total freedom (I recall nothing but happiness, exploration, adventure) and I’m not complaining. If I was damaged on having been abandoned by my mother, I’m not smart enough to say. She was fifteen when she gave birth for the first time, on proceeding into a life devoted to drinking, dancing and honky-tonking. She never visited, while my father stopped by every other weekend or so to see how Jack and I were doing. Grandma Sleeseman, as we called her, made her way each morning to a centrally-located rocker from which she issued instructions, sending Jack and me with some dollars and a rusty wagon to a grocery store on Fenton Road to buy food supplies, and instructing other children of the house in the preparation of meals in the kitchen. Jack and I always had an eye out for the appearance of our father’s green Chevy and the thrill we felt when it came into view.

(After an extremely rough childhood, Theodore (known as Ted) picks up his story in a defining incident in High School…)

Central High School. Working as a part-time carry-out boy at Hamady’s, minding my own business and striving to get my life on track, I wandered into the stands of a high school football game one Friday evening after work, only to find myself inexplicably charged, on Monday at school, with fighting in the end zone. The witness making the charge was the Principal himself, on having used binoculars from Atwood Stadium’s 50-yard line to make his identification. At a subsequent hearing attended by my step-mother as well as the Superintendent of Public Schools--where the Principal wept in the face of the terrible punishment he felt compelled to administer despite my claims of innocence--I was permanently discharged from Flint Central, never to be allowed to set foot on school grounds again.

Disturbed and cheated, needing at all costs to prove myself, I began to become an over-achiever. Having turned seventeen, enlisting in the army as a GED, I soon became a model soldier who—by the time my three years were up, spending all but six months in Germany—I had qualified for OCS (based on high test scores, ranked in the 99th percentile) and, as a decent athlete, had also been considered for appointment to West Point…which consideration was quietly withdrawn when my juvenile criminal history and time served came to added light.

Admitted by some quirk to Michigan State University, I continued as an over-achiever, giving my all to catching up with the proper kids who had left me behind. Qualifying for a newly launched Honors College, I also received Hinman Creative Research scholarships with which to supplement my monthly checks under the GI Bill. I was invited as well, as a junior, to represent the giant-sized University in competition for a Rhodes Scholarship. Not wishing to undertake the competition and interviews, having fallen in love by then—having been ‘called’—to be nothing less than an artist committed to creative writing, I went on in search of success in the craft…and never looked back. All along, in my writing, I had been exploring conflicts I had known before landing on my feet in the army and as a student. So it was that I called my first novel, which was inspired by need, experience, and artistic hunger, ‘The Car Thief,’ during the writing of which I drew on the guts of my own history in search of valid themes and exquisitely realistic details.

-Theodore Weesner

Be sure to keep an eye out for the excerpt from The Car Thief I'll be sharing tomorrow. Or if you simply can't wait, click through for all the purchasing options, and a more detailed run down of the book.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Links

*^Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs use old photography books used to create a gorgeous vintage camera (Via Design Taxi)

*New Bill Murray photo-shoots. Because your Monday deserves them (Via Moviefone)

*Page Turners is the National Library of Australia blog. Here's a post where they talk to one of their IT staff about what they're reading (it's Infinite Jest by the way) (Via Page Turners)

*The pleasures of Audiobooks/being read to (Via The Newyorker, seen on Neil Gaiman's twitter)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mean Old Nasties.

For the first time since I began this blog, I'm having to moderate a bunch of comments. Most of them are spam messages which are written in barely legible English that I have no problem deleting, but the other day a comment went to moderation that I really had to question whether to publish it, or delete it. 

The comment was from a really old post (at least a year ago) and it was mean. Really mean. It really bummed me out because blogging is supposed to be a hobby, something I enjoy, and who wants to be abused doing their hobby?! If a comment came through from someone Anonymous who disagreed with my review/opinion, I wouldn't hesitate to publish it and respond back. Conversation like this, I think, is a good thing. However, this comment wasn't suggesting an alternative view to a book or writer, it didn't really have anything to do with the post. It was just a mean personal attack at me, so I deleted it. Any response I made to this one would have been overly defensive or aggressive, and it would really darken my relationship with commenting on this blog. 

Was deleting it the right thing to do? Should I be letting new/old blog readers know exactly what other people think about me? I don't think so, especially when it's such an unprovoked and nasty attack, but I'm curious what everyone else thinks about this issue. Have you had to make the same call on your own blog? What is it with people hiding behind the veil of anonymity online that brings out the inner ass-hat?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

As my PhD consumes more and more of my life, I'm finding myself reading far more comics. Because of their smaller size I can read one (or a few) in one sitting without feeling like I'm encroaching into my study time, plus they weigh far less in my textbook heavy bag! So expect a few more of these posts over the next few months, because Tom keeps bringing home more and more of these beautifies.

Crossed: Badlands (issues 1-4)
Written by: Garth Ennis and Jamie Delano, Illustrated by: Jacen Burrows

My Thoughts: This is actually a spin-off from a larger graphic novel series, but I'm not really sure how much or how little relates between them. In Crossed: Badlands a small troop of survivors are trying to make their way through the Scottish back country without encountering the "crossed". The crossed are people who have been struck by a mystery illness which creates a rage-y/zombie like response in them. I really liked this one, the pacing was perfect, the characters were interesting and multi-sided (a certain red-headed royal plays a role!) and the situations they found themselves in were grim, tough and decidedly real. The artwork beautifully accompanied the writing and the story, and the crossed appearance of the infected people is chilling. I'm looking forward to reading the primary story!

Written by: John Smith, Illustrations by: Edmund Bagwell

My Thoughts: Shane is out of juvenile detention and is trying to keep out of trouble, but there's trouble all around his neighbourhood and it's not going to be easy to keep out of... I really enjoyed Cradlegrave (except perhaps the ending) but man, is it gross! I won't say anything to give the story away, but this is one of those stories that will make you feel queasy as you read it, and probably for a little while afterwards as well. The story is well written and, ending aside, it held my attention throughout the whole thing. The characters all look a little too similar, so it gets a little hard to tell them apart now and again, but if you like a twisted district/home horror to make you feel uneasy, then this one is for you.

Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child (Issues #1 and 2)
Written by: Delwyn Seyfu Hinds, Denys Cowan and John Floyd

My Thoughts: I've only just begun this new series, but so far, so good. Set in the New Orleans, there's an interesting mix of voodoo, magic, shadow worlds, action and mystery. The story bounced around quite a bit during these two issues, but I'm hoping it'll smooth down as the story progresses.  It's a little early to say for sure, I'm loving the female leads and focus and I think there's real potential for this to grow into a great series. I'm definitely going to keep my eyes out and see where the writers take this one.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Links

*Last week we heard  the sad news that Maurice Sendak had died. Here is an article about how his writing changed the direction for children's literature. (Via Christian Science Monitor)

*I love this tumblr so, so much. I wish I had a dog that could text... (Via textfromdog)

*Hanna over at Booking in Heels is hosting her very first readathon! It's a little different to your typical 24 hour readathon, so head over to her blog to read the details. (Via Booking in Heels)

*Another fantastic post from Belle about her love of stories and that uneasy sense of anxiety which is hard to avoid.  (Via Belle's Bookcase)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk

Written by: Chuck Palahniuk

Published: 2008

Synopsis: In the crowded greenroom of a porn-movie production, hundreds of men mill around in their boxers, awaiting their turn with the legendary Cassie Wright. An aging adult film star, Cassie Wright intends to cap her career by breaking the world record for serial fornication by having sex with 600 men on camera—one of whom may want to kill her. Told from the perspectives of Mr. 72, Mr. 137, Mr. 600, and Sheila, the talent wrangler who must keep it all under control, Snuff is a dark, wild, and lethally funny novel that brings the presence of pornography in contemporary life into the realm of literary fiction.

Guys, I'm a little sad. I think I'm officially hopping off the Chuck Palahniuk bandwagon. As much as I loved Haunted, Fight Club and Survivor, Snuff was the final nail in the coffin, and it makes me sad. I want to like Palahniuk, I really, really do. But as good as his books can be, they can also be a real yawn-fest. How the hell does a book about a porn star trying to break the record for most guys banged in a row get boring?! Well, I'm going to tell you.

I really enjoyed the first few chapters of this book. Palahniuk manages to really capture the seedy, nastiness of this whole endeavour. 600 guys crowded in a room, eating junk food, sweating and popping viagra just so they can say "Yeah I was there, I was number X to bang Cassie Wright". Those first few chapters transport you right into the thick of it and man, it will make your skin crawl. Honestly, I'm never going to be able to eat corn chips or popcorn again.

While the story broadly looks over the entire room of sweaty, horny men, it concentrates mostly on 3 guys and the PA, Sheila. Though they're eventually named, they're mostly referred to as Mr 72, 137 and 600. Each of these guys is here for a different reason, to help out a friend, to rekindle a dying career, to 'rescue' Ms Wright, but as the book continues we learn that they have a few things in common. The direction of the story is pretty easy to spot a mile off once you start to read, but I'll avoid giving away any spoilers in case you want to read it for yourself. Nevertheless, the majority of the book covers the internal and external discussion of these three men, with the snooty PA weighing in every now and again. Personally, I think I would have preferred a non-traditional narrative that laid out the stories of all (or a big chunk) of the guys who decided to take part in this world record attempt. A patchwork of different stories, guys who expect to get something out of it, guys who were bored on their lunch breaks, young teenagers looking for a neat way to lose their virginity. I think that would have been a far more interesting and illuminating story. Instead you get a join the dots type of story that begins to pull away from the interesting concept and focuses too much on these three losers. And they are losers, all three of them. They are not nice guys, they're gross and stupid and irresponsible and shallow. Losers.

Each of these three guys ends up narrating the chapters, along with the PA, who fills in a lot of the background on why the aging porn star, Cassie Wright, would even consider trying to break this record. The PA's chapters were probably the most interesting, and mainly because they contained Cassie, who seemed like a mix of Marilyn Monroe, Courtney Love and Paula Yates. However, this cross narration style meant that there was never any real depth added to the characters, you'd read their perspective for three pages, then the next guy would retell it from where he was standing and add a little extra, and then the next guy would tell it all over again. it was a little repetitive, and lacked any real drive.

Which leads into my biggest complaint, and the reason why I think this might be my last Palhniuk least for awhile. After reading a few Palahniuk books, it's fairly easy to see his "style" emerge over and over in every book. Instead of giving his characters any real depth, they have literary ticks that set them apart. For example, Sheila says "true fact" maybe 10,000 times in this book. She says it so often that I felt like my head might explode. Sure there are some people in real life who have catch phrases, but each character has some version of "true fact" that they churn out over and over, just in case you forgot whose chapter it is. Preceding the "true fact" was usually an obscure statement about porn or actresses/actors who died doing the craft they loved. Sound familiar? Remember the little statements about how you can hand-make nitro-glycerine bombs or napalm in Fight Club? Remember reading similar little stories in Lullaby and Survivor? The first one or two had me curious, is Palahniuk the king of hunting down obscure facts for his book or does he make them up? After that it grew boring and all I could think about was how often he uses this device in his books. It's not so quirky and unusual if you read it in 6 separate books, regardless of how different the subject matter is. Now that I'm quite a way into Palahniuk's oeuvre it just comes across as lazy writing, as though he has a template and just fills in the blanks with whatever subject happens to be the focus of his new book.

Snuff wasn't a bad book. I was interested enough to get through the whole thing, and there are definitely some quotable lines mixed up in it all. And the end is...well, spectacular and bonkers are two words that come to mind. But it isn't anything to rave about. It's a so-so book about what could have been a very interesting premise. Add in all the template, repetitive bullshit and it's enough for this average book to turn me off Palahniuk for good. Maybe I just had him on too high a pedestal. Fight Club was an amazing book, and Haunted blew my mind. Considering they were the first two of his books that I read, I guess it isn't really surprising that the rest of the excursion into his work has come off maybe try the book for yourself, maybe I'm just too disillusioned to give a proper, objective review. I'm sure you won't hate it, but will you love it? Who knows guys, who knows.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Links

*Current U.S politicians as Game of Thrones characters (Via The Warming Glow)

*Anita Heiss shares the fantastic poem Me I Am by Steven Oliver. (Via Anita Heiss's Blog)

*Susie Bubble is a fashion blogger, but her list of blogging tips would work for anyone...well most of them anyway. (Via MFW)

And that's all for this week, hunting for news is far too enticing when I have deadlines looming!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fanart Friday: Cinna from The Hunger Games

Cinna was easily one of my favourite characters in The Hunger Games. He was so understated and sensible, yet still managed to stand out as an individual. He had a great heart, an enviable capacity for understanding but he isn't afraid to show a little attitude when the time calls for it. Without spoiling anything, I wish he'd had a larger role in the books. Then again, perhaps if he'd been a more central character I would have tired of him, or he'd have done something obnoxious that tainted his early presence. Who could ever know? Anyway, here are a series of pictures of this wonderful minor character. Be sure to click through the links and see the rest of the artwork by these phenomenal artists.

THG: Cinna by Minuiko

Cinna by Akanei-Run

Cinna 01 by MirandaFear

Thursday, May 3, 2012


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