Tag Archives: book-movies

Sophie’s Choice

Whoa, steamy!

Not only is there a whole lot of built-up sexual tension throughout the entire novel, the narrator has such a love affair with the English language that it’s downright sexy.

I love that this novel operates on so many different levels: there’s the horrors of the Holocaust and the Auschwitz labour camp, and it’s tied back to the embarrassment of slavery in what is recent American history, and there’s also the violence and passion of Sophie and Nathan’s relationship.

I was particularly drawn to Stingo’s struggle as a writer, and how the book is really a bildungsroman in that Stingo matures not only in the literary sense (that is, into a true writer), but also – gratefully – sexually.

Dune

I am officially caught up on Doctor Who now! (The reboot starting with 2005, at least. I try not to think about how much old DW I have to catch up on, not to mention Torchwood and the other spin-offs.) This means that I can actually read again! I did somehow find the time to read Dune though, which was made easier simply by the fact that it’s an amazing novel!

Dune is about the House Atreides struggling to survive on the desert planet Arrakis that the Emperor has assigned to them as a dukedom. It’s the harshest, most desolate place to live, but controlling this planet means controlling melange, the spice that not only allows for space travel, but gives life, energy, and a heightened consciousness. There’s treachery involved, and a witch-like order of women, and a prophesied messiah, and giant sandworms, and a lot of hope and despair. It’s a really wonderful read, and I promise it reads quickly.

I started watching the movie on Netflix and I think it’s fun! Horrible graphics, but then again it was 1984. I do love that Patrick Stewart is in it – so young! and Sting! And Trey from Sex & the City! On second thought it’s kind of a terrible movie, but amusing nonetheless. I don’t think it’d make much sense to someone who hasn’t read the book, and even then it’s a bit confusing. All the more reason to read the book!

Starship Troopers

What a great read! I completely disagree with critics who say that this book glorifies war – I think, rather, that it glorifies the soldiers and acknowledges what they suffer through for the sake of country. Now, I haven’t seen the movie, which as I understand interpreted the novel quite differently from the way Heinlein supposedly intended… but the book is really great. I get the impression that if you liked the book, you may not like the movie.

A few things stood out for me:

  • The banality of war: Several times I noticed that Heinlein’s tone shows how desensitized Rico becomes to violence. Very scary!
  • Whoa, he’s Filipino? Kevin & I were talking once about how it’s wonderful that nationality could be just an afterthought – so often race is the most important identifier in literature and I just don’t buy it sometimes. Also, I wonder what he said in Tagalog…?
  • I was very interested in the idea of gaining full citizenship only through volunteering for military service. (I mean interested in the idea, not interested in actually having it implemented in our society!) Although I do wonder how it might work in a place like the United States. Very intriguing concept though.

The Saga of Darren Shan

These books are AWESOME!  Of course I read Twilight too but these are so much better.  The best part about the Saga of Darren Shan (better known as the Cirque du Freak series) is that Shan really wrote them with pre-teen children in mind.  In fact, they seem to be for pre-teen boys.  I really like the voice and how Shan ever-so-surreptitiously sneaks in little vocabulary lessons just to make sure it’s a didactic experience.  I also really liked Shan’s vampire mythology, and how it’s presented somewhat meta-humorously: he constantly refers to what traditional vampire lore and tells you “No, that’s not really how we vampire folk are… those are just stories” and it all kind of made me giggle.

There are twelve books in the series but I swear it didn’t feel like it. I think I read about two or three books of the series per day, depending on how much time I had to read.  But yes, I bought all 12 books in the span of about a week.  Yikes.

Read it! Give it to your children/siblings/cousins to read!

The Road

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road has gotten a lot of press lately since Oprah recommended it and it was made into a movie – and with good reason.  It is one of the best books I’ve read in a while; it’s horrifying, yes, but amazing nonetheless.  There are several scenes that are so absolutely wretched that I won’t likely forget them for a very long time.

The book is about a man and a boy who are on a journey towards the ocean after an unnamed (probably natural) disaster that killed off almost all of humanity and plant-/animal-life.  For some reason they believe that they’ll be saved once they get to the ocean, and the whole time you’re thinking that there probably won’t be anything there, and they probably know it too, but it’s the hope that drives them so you keep telling yourself that it’ll be perfectly all right in the end.  It’s an absolutely desolate, nerve-wracking journey that leaves you feeling as desperate as the man and boy.

Time traveling

Kevin sent me this great article in which a physicist analyzes the time travel element in The Time Traveler’s Wife.

I think time travel is one of the most intriguing and most confusing concepts in literature and film. Thinking about the grandfather paradox makes my mind all a-whirl with so many questions.  I suppose that’s why it’s been a regular topic spanning virtually all genres over several centuries.  This writer explains why time travel actually seems quite plausible in Time Traveler’s Wife, of all works – certainly not what one would call traditional “science fiction”.  It’s really very interesting.

I highly recommend the book as well.  Don’t forget: the movie comes out today, starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana!

Fight Club

I guess I’ve been reading a lot of violent books lately… I swear it’s not on purpose! Anyway I read Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk because I always loved the movie (Edward Norton love all around!)

Fight Club is about an unnamed narrator who works for a car company as the safety recall analyst. He suffers from insomnia, among other things (ennui, general hatred of his life, etc.) One day he meets Tyler Durden, who is a super charismatic soap salesman who also works crappy jobs just to terrorize the modern consumer. They start a Fight Club, which is exactly like it sounds – a group of guys meet up and fight, mainly to relieve the stresses of living in what they find a vapid, consumer-driven society.

This book is pretty important, in my opinion, because it addresses society’s obsession with labels and material possessions. I know I’m definitely victim to brand-love but I also acknowledge that it’s unhealthy to be defined by one’s possessions.

For the record, the book is surprisingly very similar to the movie. There were several scenes that felt as if the actors just used the book instead of a separate screenplay. Then again, there were also other scenes that was added or removed or just tweaked. The denouement is similar (same great plot twist) but it’s also a little changed, which I feel results in a different mood to the ending.