Sunday, October 6, 2013

World War Z by Max Brooks

4/5 stars

I liked this book. I really really did. Zombies that actually become scary is a rare commodity in this world and let me tell you, when you live alone, and you have cats with a penchant to knock things over unexpectedly, this book becomes terrifying.

Told post the War, World War Z does an exemplary job on describing events that we, as a reader, need to believe changed our entire world. It isn't just one country effected. It wasn't just one category of people. This books spans a variety of cultures and gives voice to several different groups who are now forever united together in a single events that was meant to destroy them. In moments that are blindingly terrifying, this novel portrays zombies in a refreshing way. It does not spend hours focusing on how the zombies move or give us countless images of them gnawing on torn limbs, blood staining their face. It instead focuses on the survivors, what they think, what they had felt during the time, who they were concerned about and whether they thought the entire scenario was a joke or not. This leaves countless things up to the readers imagination and in this scenario, it works. This is the type of novel where less is a hell of a lot more because what the brain can conjure is always going to be much more personal and much more skin crawling, than what an author can try to give you.

What I think impressed me most about this book was that there was something for every type of reader. World War Z. Brooks had a story for every type of reader here and switched between voices with conviction and ease. That alone makes me sit back in awe of him. He didn't just have one story he set out to tell in this novel. He had dozens.

For example, I do not enjoy politics. When that point in most novels is reached where the authors spends pages going over a political structure or the on going push and pull between two parties, I zone out. It is a necessary thing to have in novels, especially ones that are trying to set up and brand new world. Often you'll see me complain about this because I am not the type of reader who cares how the world functions so much as how the people inhabiting it do. My brain registers the hints of a political rant or even a financial explanation, and starts to wander to more exciting moments that I wish were taking place instead. Max Brooks had his fair share of stories told from a politician or someone who knew way more about economics or even how the business aspect of the world worked. He also had stories about parents trying to keep their children alive just one more day, computer geeks escaping from a four story apartment complex, and pilots who became so delirious that they could not explain how they even logically made it out of the war zone alive. This type of story works in the structure that Brooks has set up and does not detract from the overall enjoyment of

I am genuinely excited to see the movie adaptation of this and am looking forward to buying the audio book to enjoy this experience all over again. World War Z was a novel that I did not expect to enjoy, nor did I expect the range of emotions that poured out of me while reading. It is one of the first critically acclaimed novels that I've read in quite a while, that actually lived up to its hype.

If you want to see what else I'm reading this month, visit here:

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card


Children fighting a battle well beyond their years, taken from their homes before they even really got the chance to live, thrust into a world that makes them adults quicker than they ever should. Ender's Game has some harsh topics worthy of exploration and it is easy to see why this is a series, given the amount of room this author has created in his world. However... I was not a fan of this book.

As I say the above, I almost feel as if I should apologize. As said in some previous posts, this is one of those novels that has always been floating in my reading vision. It was a book that if you hadn't read, you had at least heard about. It's iconic. It's probably considered one of the fundamentals of Sci-fi. But, as I curled up on my sofa, a cup of coffee in hand, looking forward to a book that is so revered, I was disappointed. The only thing that I really took away from the story after a good three hours of reading was this was a “guys” book. And I hate using that term because I know there are females out there that enjoy the type of writing I'm talking about (big explosions, lots of immature insults to each other, more big explosions). Hell, I'm even one of them when the mood strikes me. However, Ender's Game was slow moving except for the numerous descriptions of battle that took place. The action in between the battles/training was filler at best. Character growth felt choppy, any connections that were supposed to form between characters felt very flat, and most of the in-between scenes talked about fighting, or involved fighting in the halls of the school.

Though, to be fair, most of those complaints I just listed happened at the school where our main character, Ender, was taken for training in the upcoming war. When we stepped back home and got to visit his brother and sister, I found myself enjoying the novel much more. Valentine and Peter were intriguing reads and I think I would have much rather read an entire novel about them.

Also, lets address the weird dialogue choices in this book. These are children. Small small children. Yet, they spoke better than adults. Now, in Ender's case, I can at least justify it. He is in a school where he is forced to grow up. I see what the author was going for there. But what about in the case of his siblings? Why were they small children with eloquent tongues and brilliant minds? Was this explained and I just glossed over it? Therein lies one of the fundamental issues with me and this book. There were things that we as a reader were just supposed to accept but we were to accept them with little to no information about the world or time that the book was taking place in and often times, these facts were just kind of thrust at us in such a way that they didn't stick. I didn't even know that the aliens being fought looked like bugs for a good amount of the novel and probably wouldn't have known if they hadn't kept calling them buggers.  Though, I am fully ready to admit that might be on me and the lack of attention I was able to keep on this book.

Now, obviously this novel isn't all bad because I gave it a three out of five stars. I must admit that some of my amusement for this book comes from the fact that this very homophobic author had several naked wrestling scenes throughout his story. Should something like that make me smile? Yes. Yes it should.

The true reason it has gotten a three star rating though, and the reason why I'll most likely read it again in the future in hopes of giving it another shot, is the ending. There is a plot twist at the end that made me giddy for the first time. The pay off that I had been waiting for did actually show up during the last fifty pages or so and, if I'm being truthful, around page two hundred, the book did catch my attention much much more. Pretty much the moment things got 'real' so to speak is when I started enjoying it. Now, this sort of payoff works fantastically in novels because it is the last thing you remember before ending the book. It leaves you with good feelings that bump up star rating and make you rethink your previous opinion (honestly, without this ending, it would have gotten a two star). However, it is the authors job to make the novel entertaining before this point so you don't put it down or dread reading the next chapter or two.

I know plenty of people that do enjoy this book. I'm not saying its a bad one. I'm saying that I found a lot of fault in it that I personally couldn't get past. It was too big Hollywood, summer Blockbuster movie for me. I'd seen it before and I will see it again. That being said, I need to give it some credit because while I have seen this story before, this one came first. You can easily see the influence that this book has had over such things as Hunger Games, Mass Effect, Halo and so on. For that, I do have respect for it. But is it a novel that holds up over time? Not really.

If you are an avid reader, I'd say read Ender's Game because its iconic. At least then you can make up your own opinion. If you are someone that has trouble reading in the fist place though, or know that Sci-fi isn't really your thing, give it a pass.

That being said, I will go see the movie because Harrison Ford. Yes. I did just say that. :)

For more of what I'm reading this month:

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Battling the Apocalypse with Sweatshirts and Off Brand Jeans

Something has been bothering me lately. Morning routine doesn't consist of much for me because honestly, I love my sleep. I'm not going to get up an hour and a half early to put on make up or do my hair or countless other things that I can't think of but apparently, women do in the morning. However, I've noticed through
traveling, or from simple human observation, that our world has suddenly become awash in ill fitting jeans and t-shirts, and, if you live in my town, pajama bottoms and stained sweatshirts. It is kind of deplorable, really. There's a certain pride that men and women used to take in how they appeared to the world and it is a pride that apparently has been shot to hell in recent years. After pondering this situation for several days, the only conclusion I can come up with is that we, as a society, are so terrified of an alien invasion that we are trying to look as unappealing as possible.

I realized this yesterday as I walking around town. Fed up with most of my clothes and the idea of feeling like a frumpy old cat lady that only toothless men seem to desire, I did the unthinkable. I put on a skirt.

I know. I know. I'm endangering our world. I became aware of this when I walked to the grocery store and I got several looks from people. A woman who dresses nice seems to be a rare breed now. Maybe not in every town, but in Eugene Oregon, we are trying our hardest to fight this constant threat of alien invasions by dressing either in clothes that we are spilling out of, or ones that hide the fact that we are even human. Walking down the street in a skirt and boots was a dangerous thing that I did. The fact that I added a nice fitting jacket to it and then entered into a store where they sold more clothes that are directly hindering the war effort.... I kind of feel like I'm not living up to my American duties. If I truly loved my country, I'd be wearing pajama bottoms and stained sweatshirts as I walked around town.

Furthermore, I have the definite plight of being a nerd girl. Nerd girls are only allowed to look like this:

The television shows us that social inept nerdom is the way to go. It is the only thing that makes you a nerd in fact unless you want to dress in a gold bikini.  Then you are the rare hot nerd that is plastered over nerd guy bedrooms. But, dressing nicely just for the hell of it pretty much means you have to hand your nerd card in. So not only was I inviting the aliens down to our lush planet with my stocking covered legs, but I was also showing my true colors. Donning a skirt is a beacon to the world that you think Superheroes are for little boys and that an x-box controller is pretty much a strange object that will explode if you microwave or put it in the blender. Nerd girls would never dress nicely or in a way that doesn't express their nerdyness. No no. Don't be fooled. Nerd girls that dress nice are just lying to you. Here are some of those posers so you are more aware.

Basically, this blog is an apology. I apologize for having the audacity to dress like a woman yesterday and I can only thank whoever is listening that the Mothership did not darken or smog filled skies. Some handy tips to dressing so we can ensure the survival of the human race? Well, it's easy.  See below.

Furthermore, I'm sorry that I disgraced all the nerd girls out there yesterday with my clothing lies. I attempted to thwart this by rolling a few twenty siders last night and found that the dice fumbled out of my hand and I suddenly couldn't remember how to do perception checks or even know what to do when faced with such things as the Whispering Way and their henchmen. The skirt rendered my nerd abilities useless. I am ashamed.

Don't make the same mistakes I did yesterday. Women of the world, continue to dress in things that suppress your confidence because it is the only way we are going to stay alive in this world. And nerd girls, make sure that you only dress nerdy. Not this type of nerdy either.

 This kind.

It's the only way to keep your nerd card. Don't be like me. Don't dress up and have it taken away. You can't be both an alien beacon and a nerd girl at the same time. The time has come to choose, my fellow Nerd Fighters.  Although, on the upside, if we do live in a post apocolyptic world, things like this will be acceptable.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October Book Reads

If you've noticed, I did skip September mainly because I was behind on my reading choices for moths prior and I was honestly just tired of reading. Those moods hit me every once in a while where books are more of a chore than anything else. It takes a really good book to finally snap me out of it and thankfully, Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch did that for me. I'm back in my reading mood and hopefully, my blogging mood again. There are many little things to tell you, dear bloggers. Many many things.

But for now, here are my hopeful picks for September.

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

I don't think there's a single Sci-Fi reader out there that doesn't know about Enders Game. I have been hearing about how amazing this book is for years now and after a good friend of mine plowed through it in a few days time, I decided it was time for me to give it a go as well. It's been sitting on my shelf ever since, haunting me with its blue cover that screams space wars . The odd thing about this book, is I couldn't begin to even tell you what the plot is. For a book that is so well loved, it is not one that seems to be common pop culture knowledge. I'll give it a go though and see if it breaks my stigma on books that are set in space, all being the same.

Review Now Up:

World War Z by Max Brooks

I haven't seen the movie. Let me get that out of the way first. I fully plan to watch it but I wanted to read the novel first, even though I hear that the novel and the movie have nothing to do with each other.

This is a book that I do know something about. Set in a post apocalyptic world, it shares the accounts of what the Zombie War was truly like. It intrigues me simply because it is a collection of stories from the perspective of people who lived through the war. It's a different take on the zombie movement and lets face it, the zombie movement is one that needs to be fresh if it plans to keep going. I've talked before about how much I love Zombies Run! But that is pretty much the extent of my love for zombies because.... well, because there never seems to be anything new about them. I'm not a big zombie person. I don't even like Walking Dead. I know. It's a slight against my nerd card but most of the time find that show boring. Although, maybe I'm just desensitized at this point.

Anyway, we will see if World War Z catches my interest. It has all of the components that I liked to see in an experimental novel such as this, but I can see where it could get stale very quickly.

Review Now Up:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Read the authors names and if you follow this blog, you know why I'm reading this book. John Green is my author crush. He can do no wrong in my eyes. I realize that this might make me biased before I even read this novel but that man has yet to let me down. Is he the greatest author I've ever read? Of course not. Is he one of the most truthful ones? Yes. I think that's an important distinction to make.

Hooded Man by Paul Kane

I was walking through the book store the other day when I spotted this. A picture of a man caught my eye as he stood before me, his head bent, a green hood shadowing his features. My response?


Like Peter Pan, I have this special affinity for the man in lincoln greens. There is something about that story that I've always swooned over in a very unladylike, fangirl fashion. If Robin was to show up at my window, I'd go with him in a heart beat. Peter on the other hand....?

I'm fully aware that just because a story is about Robin Hood, it does not make it good. However, I have to give it a shot because honestly, I have never read a portrayal of Robin Hood that I've enjoyed. Even the original by Howard Pyle didn't manage to captivate my attention like the idea of Robin does. I liked it. I even laughed. But it didn't encapsulate the snarky thievery that I've come to associate with Robin. Nor did the man come across as a hopeless romantic that cared too much for the people around him. The only version of Robin Hood that I've seen that has managed to portray all of this was the BBC version of Robin Hood. If you haven't seen it, go and watch. Then sit down in a ball and rock back and forth while weeping bitter bitter tears.

Also, it may have come to my attention lately that I really like thieves... I'm not sure that is something I should be admitting on the infinite interwebs.
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