Tuesday, 25 June 2013

July Novel: World War Z by Max Brooks

An oral history of the zombie war

Title: World War Z
Author: Max Brooks
First Published: 2006

About the novel:

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Why we chose this novel and what we expect from it:

Why not? It has a certain reputation/level of fame, it has been turned into a move and it presents itself in a documentary style, and of course: ZOMBIES!

Kiwie: No idea what to expect I've heard people love it and I've heard people hate it. All I know is: Zombies that nearly destroy us. Which is good, as I like both zombies and destruction!


Sunday, 16 June 2013

June alternate/#2 pick:

Title: Death's Daughter (Calliope Reaper-Jones #1)
Author: Amber Benson
First published: 2009

About the novel, as presented on Goodreads:

Calliope Reaper-Jones so just wanted a normal life: buying designer shoes on sale, dating guys from Craig’s List, web-surfing for organic dim-sum for her boss...

But when her father—who happens to be Death himself—is kidnapped, and the Devil’s Protege embarks on a hostile takeover of the family business, Death, Inc., Callie returns home to assume the CEO mantle— only to discover she must complete three nearly impossible tasks in the realm of the afterlife first.

Why we chose this book and what we expect:

Amber Benson wrote this, she's good on twitter, she was great on Buffy (Tara!) and you know she seem like a nice lady so getting friendly with her novels were the logical next step really, and when they're about death's daughter, well, that just makes them more interesting.

Kiwie: I've followed her tweets, and now the Bloodkiss movie kickstarter (where she'll be a singervampire, along with Neil Gaiman or other pick, who will also be a vampire!) and thought "why not read her novels?" and now I am going to give them a shot. I've been reading a lot about heaven and hell so why not add some more? Probably not the deepest book I'll read this year, but I love stories about Death so. Light, fun and deadly?

Katastrofekat: This sounds like a nice summer read. I'm always into paranormal stuff and this sounds like something fifteen year old me would have loved to either read or write so I guess this will be a good pick for my taste.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Kiwie: Haaaaaaai!

Katastrofekat: Yo!

Katastrofekat: So, Lolita then?

Kiwie: Yeah, what did you think about the read?

Katastrofekat: It was an okay book, but it was a bit longer than what I feel it should have been.

Katastrofekat: You?

Kiwie: Agreed, some parts were just too dragged out for my tastes. Like when they were driving around the country and Humbert Humbert (H.H) was basically just listing a lot of places and mentioning a thing here and a thing there. I just skimmed those pages and put the book down for a couple of days before I continued.

Katastrofekat: Same here.

Kiwie Kristine: This is really one of those books that I liked more after I was done and had a think than during. Not that it was bad, it was just tough to get through, not just because of the writing, but also the "romance" between H.H and a girl who is 12 at the start...

Katastrofekat: That is true. Also, I kind of whis we could have gotten to know Lolita  a bit better. She just was around a lot, but I don't think she had that much of a personality

Kiwie: Yeah, but that's the nature of a first-person narrative we only see people through the narrator and he didn't bother getting to know her at all. She liked movies and boys as far as he was concerned. Of course she was broken throughout and possbly hid her personality well.

Katastrofekat: Yeah, how can you not be broken if you grow up with a mother that resents you. No wonder she wanted to be loved, no matter how wrong the romance might have been

Kiwie: Yeah, and what we learn about her when H.H visits her with her new husband is equally disturbing, she really didn't have a chance, unless she got though and just let it happen. She seems a bit emotionally crippled to me, very no-nonsense. She bartered with H.H "I do this and you give me that," so she must have had an end in mind too.

Katastrofekat: She can't have had an easy life, no matter how though she got. I did like who H.H started to lose his mind when they were on their second trip through America. When he saw people following them.

Kiwie: I liked that too, when he was falling apart was great, getting paranoid, making up advanced scemes etc. We know he was in mental health institutions several times during his life and it wasn't until the end he himself truly realised how sick he was. Earlier he'd brush it off as if it was just exhaustion or something, but the really started to lose it when he got paranoid.

Katastrofekat: One thing that really annoyed me was when he narrated the story and suddenly changed to french. I had french for three years and I still didn't understand enough to actually know what he meant by it. I wish he could have stuck to english or at least translated the french in footnotes or something. I felt like I was missing stuff and that was really annoying.

Kiwie: Ugh, the french! I used google translate for some parts, made noe more sense with that... He also threw in some german and latin for good measure. Frustrating!
Kiwie: Well, some of it made sense, but sometimes he used his pet names for Lolita there as well and google translate was all "WTF?"

Katastrofekat: Yeah. Even though I liked the book, I didn't like it quite enough to actually bother with google translate.

Kiwie: I hate feeling left out...

Katastrofekat: Oh, the pet names! Omg, that girl had to many names if you ask me...

Kiwie: Yeah, and he couldn't keep other people straight either! I know he was making up names for them, but dude, stick to the same ones for the same people! He was too meticulous about the other stuff to not be able to do it (as a narrator).

Katastrofekat: In the start of the book I had trouble figuring out who he was talking about, when he called both Lolita and her mother by their last name.

Kiwie: Yeah. Everything was jumbled (and I guess it was so in H.H mind too, but I don't think that's an excuse for overdoing it Nabokov!)
Kiwie Kristine: H.H is an pretentious ass and that made it hard to read too sometimes. All those french philosophers and what nots.

Katastrofekat: Yes! That's excatly what he was. The story he told us was very interesting and disturbing at the same time, but I had a hard time relating to him at all.

Kiwie: I did a little research (okay, wikipedia) and there is apparently an annotated version that explains stuff (especially references to other things and I'm sure I only picked up on the Poe related ones...). I think that would have been more fun to read, this isn't exactly the kind of story that drags you into it anyway, the interruption would probalby be welcome. The story is interesting, and I loved how it started out as a defence of his actions and ended up as a confession of his sins instead. That is brilliant story-telling and perfect use of the first-person!

Katastrofekat: Yeah, I think I would have liked to read that version as well, as I felt kind of stupid at times while reading, since there obviously was stuff I was missing out on. I agree, the story-telling was good and this book wouldn't have worked as well if it wasn't written in the first-person. I'm glad to have read it, as I now will be able to get Lolita references but it won't be a book I will be in a hurry to read again.

Kiwie: Nothing is more annoying than when you know you don't get it. It's like banging your head against a wall. I won't re-read either I think. I do have a penchant for unlikeable main characters, but not the perverted ones. Tip of the hat to Nabokov though, he wrote a pretty good and unredeemable guy, who I think appears to be a good example of the pervert (as shown in the media at least), only with a different narrative. Nabokov gets a lot of it right, but also makes H.H annoying and in fact as childish as the child he abuses sometimes makes the novels somewhat annoying as well.

Katastrofekat: That's right, Nabokov wrote this book very well. Also, This is a main character I'm actually glad not to be able to relate to, if you know what I mean.

Kiwie: Haha, yeah, I'd be pretty disturbed at myself if I read it an thoguht "hey, that H.H's on to something!"

Katastrofekat: Ai, that would be pretty bad!

Kiwie: This could be a book peple get suspected pervs to read and go "so what did you think?" and if they liked H.H: lock em up!

June #1 pick: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
First Published: June 2013

What goodreads has to say about it:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark, from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman.

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

Why we chose this book and what we expect

It is a Gaiman novel. We don't really need any other reason as he's among our very favorite authors. Also the cover is really pretty.

Kiwie: Gaiman has a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf so when he comes out with a new novel I'm going to read it. Easy as pie! I don't have any particular expectations other than that, hopefully, I'll like it or even better, love it. It sounds interesting at least.