Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Pick: The Devil's Graveyard

The Devil’s Graveyard is the third book from Anonymous, the first two books being “The Book With No Name” and “The Eye of the Moon”. This new book talks about the new gripping and terrifying adventures of the Bourbon Kid, an infamous serial killer.
The Devil’s Graveyard is a cursed place in the desert where Hotel Pasadena can be found. Impersonators of dead stars such as Judy Garland, James Brown, Kurt Cobain and more, all swarm to the hotel to compete for the final of the “Back from The Dead” singing contest. Aside from the million dollar prize at stake, there is more to that than what meets the eye. In a bizarre turn of events, the finalists are killed off one by one. If that’s not strange enough, throw in some flesh-eating zombies and the gates of hell threatening to open up... to make this tale more horrific than it already is.
I haven’t read the first two books yet, but I find this one much too graphic for my taste. There’s just too much blood, gore and profanity splattered all over the pages! For sure my parents will not approve of this kind of literature. However, being the book maven that I am, and not wanting to start a book without even finishing it, I decided to keep pushing on...and you know what? Morbid stuff aside, I’m glad I did.
The American Idol-like setting with the action-packed twists and turns, make this novel quite an engaging read. The part I like most is seeing The Bourbon Kid shed off a bit of his mad killer exterior and reveal a bit of his soft side. This book is not for the faint of heart but if you’re game, then you’re in for one heck of a ride.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Pick: Dreamland

All her life, Caitlin was overshadowed by her older sister Cass. Cass has the perfect life: student council president, star soccer player, and on her way to Yale for college. But when Caitlin wakes up on her 16th birthday, she finds out that her sister left home without telling anyone. As the family copes with the space left by Cass, Caitlin still feels her shadow. Longing to be different and to do something her own, she falls in love with Rogerson, a mysterious older boy. On their first date, she learns two secrets about him: that Rogerson is a drug dealer, and that his father hits him. Those revelations fold her into his world. And despite his problems, Caitlin is happy with who she is: “Now, with him, I felt finally like I was making my own choices, living wide awake after being in a dreamworld so long.” Life takes on the routine of hanging out with his friends, joining him on his “errands”, smoking and doing drugs. Soon, Rogerson becomes possessive and jealous, and Caitlin starts losing control of her life. Then Rogerson becomes abusive. Caitlin feels helpless: “But now I felt like I was drifting, sucked down by undertow, and too far out to swim back to the shore.” Constantly stoned, she hides her bruises and looks forward to the good days – days when Rogerson won’t hit her. She sinks, stuck in a different kind of dreamland, which she finds “preferable” to facing the reality of her problems. As she spirals toward her breaking point, she feels herself being shaken awake, shaken back into reality. But breaking the surface will mean leaving Rogerson and coming to terms with herself.

“Dreamland.” The title makes this sound a like light read, but it’s a heavy story. When Caitlin was drowning under the weight of her problems, I could understand her helplessness, her shame, her desire to keep her problems secret. But I was a bit upset at Caitlin because she didn’t have to be in that situation in the first place. There were lots of alarm bells ringing as her relationship took off, but she didn’t pay attention. Her desire to differentiate herself from her sister was so strong that it overpowered all other reasoning. Caitlin wasn’t particularly troubled, but she got sucked in nonetheless.

Sarah Dessen vividly describes what it feels like to lose control over your life, to feel attached to the source of your problems, to feel helpless and wanting help, but never being able to say your problems out loud. She sends a strong message to readers about drugs and abusive relationships. It’s dark and gritty, and if you’re smart enough to know what’s good for you, you’ll avoid Caitlin’s dreamland at all costs.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Pick: The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar is the semi-autobiographical novel of Sylvia Plath whose main author is Esther Greenwood, a young, talented and driven writer who was granted a scholarship and an editorial stint in a ladies magazine one summer in NYC. To the outside world, Esther is proper, brilliant, put-together. But the summer in NYC was the start of her descent to madness. Esther feels detached, disinterested and unable to have the slightest enjoyment to things that any nineteen year old away in the big city would normally feel. And yet she wakes up each day, putting up with conversations she didn’t want to participate in, events she couldn’t care less to go to and friendships she was starting not to care about. After her stint in NYC she goes back to her home in a suburb of Boston to spend the rest of her summer and here she nurses her depression like a strong drink. The first thing to go was sleep, then her ability to write, her interest in reading and next her inability to hold a thought …”Everytime I tried to concentrate, my mind glided off, like a skater, into a large empty space, and pirouetted there, absently.” Through visits to her psychiatrist, shock therapy and a subsequent stay in an asylum, Esther struggles to get out of the bell jar that is constantly above her head, ready to descend and engulf her.

The Bell Jar can be sad if you want to just dwell on Esther’s depression. But more than that, Esther is hopeful as she waits and tries to get better and to be her old self again and I think aside from the serious tones of the novel, this is what it is really about. At a time when it was taboo to talk about depression and other feminist ideals, I find Sylvia Plath very brave and ahead of her time with the way she describes Esther and her thought processes. You can feel her brilliance shine through. 5 stars!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Lust List

One of the adults I absolutely loooove is Nancy Pearl, librarian, avid reader and author of Book Lust. Have you guys laid your eyes on this book?!!!! What a dizzying compilation it is! Filled with Nancy’s book recommendations for just about any kind of mood. And since I can be a mite moody, I know how helpful this book is but…well…I am miles away from reading all the books that are in her book. I’m no Nancy Pearl but just wanted to share the books that I’m lusting for! Can’t wait to get my hands on these so I can lock myself in my room and start reading. Caaaan’t wait!

Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven – I read a review and I was hooked! A teenager possessed by a demon, a secret society, a plot to save the world and a sprinkling of magical creatures..what’s not to like?
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery – I love lists! And here’s another one…. albums! Adults in movies talk about Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra and even Yoko Ono’s songs and sometimes I just don’t get it. Kids my age don’t talk about stuff like that and I wanna know more about how and why these albums made the cut.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – ever since I saw Julia Stiles read this in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, I’ve been wanting to read it too. Soon, you will be in my hands!

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen – I love her books and how the things she writes about are hard, heavy and gritty stuff. Stuff that people don’t want to talk about. She lays it all out and this one is no different.

The Devil’s Graveyard by Anonymous – You’ve got a reality-show-singing-contest impersonating dead stars and the contestants get killed off one by one…isn’t that gripping you yet????
The Recessionistas by Alexandra Lebenthal -- Let’s see how those Upper Eastsiders deal with the global recession. No more outings to the salon, my chihuahua?The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo – I am such a Sherlock Holmes fan so give me any murder, mystery or crime book and I want my hands on it pronto!What’s in your Book Lust list?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hello Blogosphere!

Today is a very special day. Not as special as my birthday but pretty close I think. Today, I’ve decided to start a blog.

There’s so much buzzing in my head that I need to make sure to write everything down lest I forget. It’s exciting and scary... but I know that it’s the absolute bestest way for me to document all my wonderful book adventures inside Fully Booked! You see, I live and breathe books!!! Books to me are like how peanut butter is to jelly, we just mix.

Books simply get me. Books understand that I have this unquenchable thirst for knowledge that I simply have to satisfy. Sorta like how I am constantly craving for spaghetti and meatballs, but that’s another story altogether. With books, I can easily be transported to thousands of years before our time when dinosaurs still walked the face of the earth...and I can zoom hundreds of years into the future, where cars fly and androids walk amongst humans!

Books allow me to hop from one country to another without having to set foot in a plane! By simply flipping through the pages of a book I can experience exciting epic adventures, or even witness remarkable historical events! Oh I can just go on and on and on....

So anyway, you can just imagine how amazed I was the moment my parents brought me to Fully Booked for the first time. I stood there at the entrance, with my jaw hanging. Goodness gravy, this is it!!! I ran, skipped and did cartwheels inside because I couldn’t believe my eyes! I’ve found it... my wonderland, my book-heaven!

So that’s my story. Since then, I practically live in Fully Booked. I’m good friends with the people inside the store and they don’t seem to mind when I bug them about new arrivals, or ask them to reach a book for me at the topmost shelf. They are the sweetest coolest bunch ever! The best thing I like about them is that they give me the inside scoop about the goings-on inside the store, whether it be a new title, an upcoming event or sale or just anything juicy enough, and they don’t mind that I share it with you guys. And so I will!

So follow me and learn about my book adventures! Let’s all discover the wonderful world of books and who knows, you might end up winning some pretty awesome prizes along the way.