A Review of Creepshows: The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Guide by Stephen Jones

This guide gives a short synopsis and some behind the scenes commentary of every film based on a Stephen King movie up to it’s print date of 2001. It even talks about the movies very loosely based on his stories and the episodes of popular television series that he scripted, Chinga from X Files for instance. I was surprised to see that he had a close circle of friends that included movie industry big wigs that he frequently works with, like Mick Garris and George Romero. This book also talks about the reception of the films, how much creative control King had and his involvement, and how closely the film follows the book, which in most cases isn’t very close.

I quite enjoyed this book, because as a cinephile, I’ve seen a good majority of those tv mini series and films based on his books. I’m not as familiar with the lower budget works or his dollar babies, but now this gives me a list of things I need to check out. The book ends with an interview with the man himself and what I liked best was how he talked about his near fatal accident of 1999 that almost prevented him from ever writing again. At the printing of this interview, his only plans for writing were to finish the Dark Tower series and one more novel and then he was going to retire. I’m incredibly glad he decided to scrap that idea because he has printed some fantastic works since then.

I give this one a 5 out of 5.  It has great info on the movies and the process it took to get them to the screen for us to see. The photographs and video covers only enhance the experience. This is a must have companion book for any fan of the man himself: Stephen King!

Advertisements

A Review of The Simpson’s Family History by Matt Groening

I am a huge Simpsons freak. This book came out last year some time and I had been eyeballing it at Barnes and Noble every since. But it was $35 and I just couldn’t justify spending that much at the time. Low and behold, I went browsing in the Barnes and Noble bargain section a few days ago and what should happen to be sitting their glowing as if calling me to buy it? You guessed it! It was now only $9.99 and I had to get it.

This is a visual history of 25 years of The Simpsons. With some explanatory text and the occasional bit of trivia, it is mostly screenshots pulled from the show. What I like about it, is that they’ve put it together in chronological order using the flashbacks from the series and current plots. It starts from Grandpa Abe simpson as a child moving to America and goes through how Homer and Marge meet, their early life together, how Homer got on at the Nuclear Power Plant, all the way to the birth of Maggie.

This is a must have for any true Simpsons fan. Going through the history and seeing the screen shots had me reliving some of my favorite episodes. It made me want to go back and start watching the series all over again. Good thing I have every season that is currently on DVD. I give this book an easy 5 out of 5. It isn’t any kind of profound reading but it will scratch that Simpsons itch in a very satisfactory way.

A Review of Cock and Bull by Will Self

I bought this book after reading a brief description about it on a list of “Weirdest Books You Will Ever Read”. I am a big fan of strange and bizarre. But I think I am desensitized to bizarre because I didn’t find this one all that strange.

Carol is a married woman who quickly married a man she barely knew and slept with after a drunken binge in college. Things quickly fell apart. Dan was an alcoholic, their sex life was minimal, and she was extremely unhappy with her life. Self exploration led her discover a nub growing amidst her lady bits. She learns that she is growing a penis. Bull is a big rugby player who is also unsatisfied with his life. He wants to be a sports journalist more than anything but the publication he currently works for has him going to cabarets and interviewing comedians more than anything else. After another viewing another excruciating performance and briefly having words with the comedian, Bull wakes up the next day to discover a prepubescent vagina has developed in the knee pit of his left leg. Upon going to his physician, Dr Margoulies, the doctor, who is a sex addict, falls in love with the vagina and begins pursuing Bull.

From the description I read I should have understood the nature of this book. Both stories in this book run rampant with sex and very graphic descriptions of sexual acts. The first story I read rather quickly because it is a woman’s journey of self discovery and the reader almost feels sorry for her. The second story was not as engaging and the characters were not very likeable, especially Alan Margoulies.

If you enjoy graphic sex in your novels and strange storylines then this is the book for you. I personally didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. I would give this one a 3 out of 5. I may have given it less but I did enjoy the first story, the ending in particular. It was an easy and pretty quick read. Besides misplaced anatomy this wasn’t even close to one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read.

A Review of Sick Bastards by Matt Shaw

So, I had to think very carefully about how I was going to review this book for various reasons. And I think the fact that the book comes with a warning will give you an idea why. The only reason I even picked up this eBook to begin with because I was dared to read it by a fellow book worm. Heed the book’s warning. Heed my warning: If you are in any way, shape, or form bothered by anything at all, do not read this book. With that said, I’ve actually read worse, but this is pretty bad.

The main character wakes up in a post apocalyptic world after a nuclear blast and he has no idea who he is. No name, no date of birth, no society he can reach in a dense wood. He is living with an older man, an older woman, and a young adult woman. There is only a family picture of them in the truck outside their cabin to show them that they are a family.

This book is a series of flashbacks mixed with present day events that weave this tale together for the reader. Though we are dropped right in the middle of an already unfolding story, every few pages we go back to the past, and that helps us to understand what’s going on. The elements of this story are the very basics in depravity: lust, incest, murder, rape, etc. This family is fighting their basest urges and protecting themselves against mutations outside their home.

I did not like this book at all. The characters are inhuman in the least. The storytelling was actually fairly good, but the subject matter and the all hope is lost ending left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I actually wanted to quick reading several times but the fact that this book was so short is the only thing that allowed me to keep reading. I give Sick Bastards a 2 out of 5 stars and only because I thought the writing style worked and the author did warn me that I mignt not  like it. The very fact this thing was written was an offense to me. Some things just need to stay in people’s heads. But at the same time, the finale of the book makes a great point into human psyche. I will leave it to you to decide…

A Review of American Gods by Neil Gaimen

We first meet Shadow Moon as he is being released from prison three weeks early due to the tragic death of his wife. Not knowing what to do next, he is asked by a stranger if he wants a job. Shadow has no other options so he takes the job blindly. In Neil Gaiman’s own words this is a release from prison, a road trip, and a corrupt town all balled into one big book.

My biggest problem with this book is its sheer length. While parts of it are really good and engaging, drawing you right in, there are other parts that have so many useless facts that I felt really hard pressed to keep listening. Shadow is a very personable protagonist and even with his flaws you find yourself becoming increasingly fond of him and what he continues to go through. It helps that all the other characters are so vile that they make him shine in comparison. I can’t get into the antagonist without really giving anything away. It really kept me guessing throughout the story. I think that’s another one of this book’s greatest points, it leaves you wondering just enough so that you keep reading even when you don’t really want to.

I gave this book a 4 out of 5. It is seriously bizarre and has some strong sexual content that may not be for everyone. I’m a fan of bizarre and at times it was even too out there for me. I’ve always heard amazing things about Neil Gaiman and this is the first book I’ve read by him and I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. I may have started with the wrong book from his library. I will give another a try to see if my opinion improves. This was definitely not a bad book. I liked it. But I expected to be floored due to the reception he’s received and I just wasn’t floored by this and I will probably never read it again. But I do encourage everyone to give it a try and see for themselves.

A Review of Sing Sweet Nightengale by Erica Cameron

Sing Sweet Nightingale is the story of Hudson Vincent, an 18 year old teen who has just escaped the clutches of a demon named Calease who was posing as an angel. What humans don’t know is there’s a world just outside of our own that can only be accessed through our dreams. Most don’t escape it but somehow Hudson does. The after effects of fighting and destroying Calease is powers Hudson doesn’t understand and a dream of a girl who is slowly losing her grip on the human world as her demon sucks her in to the dream world. Its a race against time as Hudson tries to find a way to save her before her 18th birthday, when she will be sucked into the dream world forever. This book sucked me in from the very first pages and I couldn’t put it down. It’s a roller coaster ride from front to back. Hudson is a very likeable protagonist with just enough back story to keep you wanting more. The cast of characters you meet along the way all come together to help propel this story in the adventure it takes you on. The character development is exceptional and makes you really feel the emotions they feel. You get to know them and begin to feel you could be friends with them. The only thing that’s not to like about this book is that it ends on a cliffhanger and keeps you begging d for more. I can not wait to read what’s coming next with this story. This is a young adult title that I would consider to have paranormal and fantasy elements. There is no sexual content so would be appropriate for all ages of teens.