Category Archives: Books

Tracklist Tuesday: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 

Photo credit: Goodreads
Photo credit: Goodreads

*Spoiler Alert!*

This mix highlights parts of Flynn’s novel Gone Girl, from the “twincest-y” relationship of Nick and Go to Amy’s vindictive and manipulative psychosis that eventually destroys her marriage.

Songs like Florence and the Machine’s “Kiss with a Fist,” “Desperate Measures” by Marianas Trench and “I Was a Fool” by Tegan and Sara explore the disintegrating and destructive relationship between Amy and Nick. While “Black Widow,” by Iggy Azalea, “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and “Decoy” by Paramore all detail Amy’s rich and enduring need to continue the life and lies she’s built herself on.

Later tracks like “Psychotic Girl” by The Black Keys and “Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don’t” by Brand New describe what’s left of Nick and Amy’s relationship after she’s forced to return to him and their forced relationship following her secret impregnation.

Overall, the music explores the intricacies of the story, leading the characters in the same circles they pursue in the text while highlighting the aspects that make Nick, Amy and Go so memorable.

Check out the full playlist here. 

Gaiman’s readers swim in masterful prose from newest publication

Photo credit: Goodreads
Photo credit: Goodreads

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 5/5 stars

This masterful web of magic and mystery has to be one of my favorites by the famed fantasy author. Gaiman shocks and surprises once again with the 2013 publication showing readers that the child’s mind still remains the most viable and open to the unknown, even after aging long into adulthood.

The story follows a Sussex native returning to his childhood home after a funeral where he decides to visit former best friend, Lettie Hempstock. From there both he and the reader are fully immersed in flashbacks to a whirlwind battle between good, evil and the great beyond.

With a telling dedication, “For Amanda, who wanted to know,” Gaiman airs on the side of the clandestine, cloaking the novel’s overture in slowly-revealed secrets. The pacing keeps the reader engaged and entertained, making the text nearly impossible to put down.

This short story turned novel is filled with decadent description, charismatic characters and memorable quotations, an ocean for any rabid reader to devour. The work may be a quick read, but it’s one you’ll want to pick up again and again. I highly recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane to readers of all ages.

Flynn’s Gone Girl fails to measure up to best-seller praise

Photo credit: Goodreads
Photo credit: Goodreads

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 3/5 stars

With all the promises of “I just couldn’t put it down!” and “OMG, so addicting!!!” I ventured into this best-selling novel with high expectations. This dually narrated suspense story follows the lives of Nick and Amy Dunne, a married couple experiencing difficulties in their relationship.

How refreshing.

The story finally sparks interest with the sudden and unexplained disappearance of Amy on their fifth wedding anniversary. Flynn’s narrative segmentation between Nick’s real-time observations and Amy’s diary nearly forces the reader to keep reading by breaking off in the middle of providing vital information. It’s just as frustrating as it is tiresome.

Flynn also struggled with inequality in character development. Where Amy, self-professed genius and master of manipulation is fleshed out to the fullest, Nick remains the inept, bumbling husband regardless of climactic stimuli. Though it’s clear by the end that Amy is the unadulterated center of the story, it doesn’t change the supremely unbalanced points of view.

Is this a plot device? Maybe, but to the average reader it comes across as sloppy writing more than an extensively crafted linguistic choice.

Overall, Flynn’s writing is strong. Strong enough that after finishing this book I pursued another one of her works Dark Places. However, the ending and the self-indulgent-Amy-show narration made the book semi-predictable and, at times, uninteresting.

Though I wouldn’t extol this book’s praises as others have before me, I would still recommend it if you’re at all interested. You may end up enjoying Flynn’s work in ways I didn’t. Colorful supportive characters and an early plot twist redeem the aforementioned flaws, so it’s not an entirely hopeless pursuit.

Gone Girl is a well-written, well-paced suspense story, but it could have been better. Venture with an open mind and low expectations and you won’t be disappointed.

The Maze Runner sends readers running in search of better writing

Photo credit: Goodreads

Photo credit: Goodreads

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

2.5/5 stars

The first of three books in James Dashner’s young-adult dystopian series, The Maze Runner follows a group of teenage boys confined to a world of gears, “grievers” and grief serum.

The concept was enticing—a post-apocalyptic future world where children are monitored in a giant, moving maze by unknown “Big Brother” figures—but dully executed. Unlike Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, the language was unimaginative, predictable and insipid.

The terrifying concepts of a self-shifting maze and “grievers,” giant, metallic worms that hunt through the maze at night for runners that haven’t made it back safely behind the walls, were diminished to a bland bedtime story with amorphous monsters. Description is clearly not Dashner’s strength.

In a last-stitch attempt to spike the plot, there appears a lone female, sent up in the metal elevator box used to send supplies to the boys once a week. However, she’s written with no personality except for the glaringly stereotypical infatuation with the main man, Thomas, and an impressively unimpressive amount of intellect.

The two can communicate telepathically as well—the origin of which Dashner hasn’t yet specified as a likely ploy to keep the reader pushing through the next few novels.

The pacing of the story flat-lined, making the only motivation to keep reading stem from an overwhelming desire to just finish the book and move on. The climax, when the characters venture into the “griever hole” at the center of the maze, was beyond predictable.

There are two other books in the Maze Runner series, however, if they’re anything like the first I have no desire to read them. Essentially, this series read like a cheap knock-off of Roth’s Divergent series or Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy.

Color me disappointed.

The Maze Runner movie, featuring Dylan O’Brien as protagonist Thomas, is scheduled to hit theaters in early September 2014. Perhaps the concept will do better on screen than it did in print.

Day 18: Favorite book-to-screen adaptation

Day 18
Day 18

Day 18: Favorite screen adaptations- The Great Gatsby, She’s the Man (Based off Twelfth Night), Macbeth ft. Patrick Stewart, and Romeo and Juliet ft. Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio

I loved the adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Though it may not fit the plot to the letter, the similarities are striking and the presentation is ridiculously entertaining.

The versions of Macbeth and R &J are both highly symbolic and I really enjoyed the gritty and unique way they were produced.

Gatsby made the list purely because it was SO close to the book that I had almost no complaints. Other than the neglect for color symbolism, which was so apparent in the text, the movie followed the plot-line to the letter. I was impressed, entertained and fulfilled as a reader.

 

Update: 30-Day Book Selfie Challenge

Day 7
Day 7

Day 7: Book with the best male lead- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Day 8
Day 8

Day 8: book with the best supporting characters- The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Favorites include: Alice, Janet and Eliot

Day 9
Day 9

Day 9: the book you would recommend to anyone, ever- Sextrology by Starsky and Cox

By far the best, and most accurate, astrological account I’ve ever read. Continue reading Update: 30-Day Book Selfie Challenge