marți, 24 decembrie 2013

Review: Let It Snow

18272314Title: Let It Snow
Authors: Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle
First Published: October 2nd 2008
Pages: 354
     An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives.

 Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

I don't know what exactely is my problem with Christmas books, but I always want to read them just for my excitement to fly out the window in the end.

Plot: There's not a lot that can be said, really. Basically, this is the story about how the biggest blizzard in half-a-century changed these characters lives for the better, right on time for The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. What's interesting about this book, though, is that, instead of being an anthology containing three separate short stories, it's a single novel with three narrators and interwoven characters. So what can you read about in Let It Snow, you ask? Well, firstly, you find out about Jubilee, the girl who, apart from having a name better fitted for a stripper, also has a set of parents whose obssesion for a certain type of ceramic Christmas village gets them in jail. So, right on Christmas Eve, our I'm-not-a-stripper-and-I'll-keep-reminding-you-that character has to go by train to Florida. Only that the snow decides to hit and she gets stuck in Gracetown, where certain events will make her question her entire relationship with Noah, the apparently perfect boyfriend. Then, there's Tobin, who, along with his two best friend, will go out in the middle of the blizzard, trying to reach the far-away Waffle House, all in the name of flirting and cheerleaders. But, you guessed it!, things don't go according to the plan and he might just realize that, sometimes, there's a chance the happy middle will lead to the happily ever after. And, of course, there's the third story, tying them all together, about Addie, and over-dramatic, self-absorbed, broken-hearted barista and how a little tea-cup pig will make her be a better person.

Characters: Usually, I like to talk a lot here, because for me, the people in it represent the biggest part of the story. But what can you really say about some characters when you only read a few chapters about them? Well, let's start with Addie, because here I have things to say, actually. She is just so damn annoying! That self-absorbed thing? That's not a joke, not even by far. She's the over-dramatic, I'm-gonna-sit-here-and-feel-sorry-for-myself kind of person. She becomes more likeable towards the end, but unfortunately, the change happens overnight and is pretty hard to swallow, so I ended up not liking her anyway. And Jeb (the boyfriend with an optional ex) he's kind of plain. Cute, but you don't really see a lot of him. Tobin and Angie (the Duke)...well, you can feel that John Green is behind them. They're smart in that typical teenage way, they're funny, along with PJ, who I haven't mentioned until now, but he's kind of the salt and papper of the story. Yeah, they're just nice while being douchebags in the same time. Not a lot of character development, but what can you expect from an 100 pages long shot? And finally Jubilee and Stuart? Again, they're nice. Just.. nice. Honestly, the only character that left an impression is Addie, and that only because she annoyed me so damn much.

Personal opinion: I don't even know what to say. I expected more than I received, to put it all out there. I can't even put my finger on what I didn't like. Overall, the book is good, but nothing challenging, nothing touching. If you are into Christmasy reads, or if you are just looking for something fluffy, then you will probably enjoy it. I honestly think this book is way overhyped, and a big part of that hype is fueled by John Green's name. Not gonna lie, he's story was the best. Well paced, funny, even cute, good characters, I will probably reread it. Maureen Johnson's was also nice, but a little too fast for my liking. I realise she only had a few chapters for herself, but it made some previous feelings of the character seem cheap and I would have probably enjoyed it more had it been wraped-up differently. As for Lauren Myracle's, I only have one thing to say: Addie.

Favorite quote: "If by that you mean that I dislike celebrity magazines, prefer food to anorexia, refuse to watch TV shows about models, and hate the color pink, then yes. I am proud to be not really a girl."

Recommend: It was likeable enough, so if you think it might be your kind of book, go ahead. Also, it has a tone of good reviews, so maybe I'm just the odd one out. Again.

duminică, 22 decembrie 2013

Review: The Red Pyramid

7090447 Title: The Red Pyramid
Author: Rick Riordan
First Published: May 4th 2010
Pages: 514

Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

I just want to say sorry in advance, because I'm quite sure this review will either be pretty confusing, or will eventually turn into a rumble. And now that I got that out of the way, enjoy the fangirling. (God, I hope it won't come to it)

Plot: For those of you (us) who are fans of Percy Jackson, but not only for those, of course, Rick Riordan brought another magic-is-real, what-the-hell-did-my-life-just-become, will-I-survive-to-see-tomorrow adventure type of book. Set in the same parallel reality as the aforementioned series, The Red Pyramid deals with a new mythology, new rules and new gods. Introducing a brother and sister duo, with an unfortunate relantionship and ready-to-be-messed-up lives, this first installment in The Kane Chronicles will take you from London to Brooklyn to Cairo in a seemingly impossible quest to save the world, stay alive and reinforce a type of magic banished thousands of years ago. To keep the story simple, Sadie and Carter were separated six years ago, after their mother's death and after a long custody battle. Now Sadie has a normal life in London, with her boring, father-hating grandparents, while Carter travels the world with their only remaining parent, famous egyptologist Julius Kanes. She only gets to see her father twice a year, which makes their family relationships quite strained. But this all ends on Christmas Eve, one of the visitation days, when Dr. Kane decides it's time to set mysterious things right. Unfortunately, this ends with his disappearance, a blown-to-pieces Rosetta Stone, five gods of Egypt unleashed, and the fate of the world on the shoulder of his two kids. Now Sadie and Carter have to save the world from being taken over by the God of Chaos, Set. All while being hosts for two other temperamental gods, going to live with an unknown uncle, finding out they're Blood of the Pharaohs and learning about their family appartanence to an Ancient Egyptian magic society named the House of Life.

Characters: Like Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Red Pyramid is also told from a first person perspective. This time, however, Sadie and Carter are both narrating, which adds to the hilarity of the story. Personally, I like Sadie's point of view better, not because she's a girl, but because she's sarcastic, and witty and she just reminds me of myself quite a lot. Also, Sadie's point of view has Anubis (God of Funerals, pretty hot God of Funerals), so you can't really blame a girl for her preferences. But, letting my biased reasons apart, she is a strong character, has some really cool powers seeing how she hosts Isis, and I just became attached to her pretty quickly. As for Carter, he is more on the geeky side, knows a lot about Ancient Egypt and he developes some impresive combat abilities, being the Eye of Horus and all that jazz. Their relantionship is rocky at best, they haven't seen each other more than a few times in the last years, honestly, they are near strangers. But I enjoyed seeing how the realisation that they are all that is left of their family brings them closer, makes them want to protect each other. You can see that behind the facade, they are just children, unsure of their powers, not knowing who to trust, missing their mother, in Sadie's case, missing her father also. Wanting to impress him, attract his attention. There's a nice assortment of secondary characters, too, like Zia Rashid, a young magician of the House of Life, Iskandar, the Chief Lector, whose appearance is brief, but whom I really liked as a character and also, why not, Michel Desjardins, the second most powerful magician in the world, who's quite interesting, too.

Personal opinion: There are a lot of people who say this series is the egyptian Percy Jackson, and while I can agree in a small measure, I feel the need to point out that The Kane Chronicles has its own qualities. It's action-packed, has an interesting premise and an even more interesting development. And there is this really nice twist near the end that is perfectly relevant for how the series is going to continue and, you know, just increases the tension. Personally, I was glued to the book and that is saying something. 

Favorite quote: "Fairness means everyone gets what they need. And the only way to get what you need is to make it happen yourself." 

Recommandation: I guess you already got this one: read The Red Pyramid. There's a great chance you will end up enjoying it. And if not, I'm really sorry, but at least you tried.

miercuri, 18 decembrie 2013

Review: The One and Only Ivan

Title: The One and Only Ivan
Author: Catherine Applegate
First Published: January 1st, 2012
Pages: 252

  Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

   Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home--and his own art--through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it's up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

I'll try to make this as straight to the point as possible, because, in all honesty, this is a really short book: out of all the Middle-Grade novels I've read this year, The One and Only Ivan probably fits best the Children's Literature tag. Don't let yourselves be fooled by the 252 pages this *in reality* novella has, if you are willing to give it two full hours of your life, you can finish it before even realising that you started. Big font, big spaces, pages with only a few sentences on them. This pretty much summarizes the way this is printed. But you aren't here to hear that, are you? So let's move on to what really interests you: the review.

Plot: As far as the plot goes, the summary does a pretty good job out of telling it all. If you expect twists and turns, a few arms being fired, some movie-like action scenes, or hell, I don't know, dancing penguins, you are going to be deceptioned, my friend. Pretty much, this is exactly what it looks like. A baby elephant arrives at this permanent wanna-be circus and its sad existence triggers all sorts of memories and feelings in the long-time star of the almost-gone-bankrupt establishment. There are a few sad things along the way, some stories told, some almost-forgotten memories revisited, a somehow ingenious plan, and like that, bam!, you're at the end. I'd like to say, for no reason in particular, that I expected another development for this story. Honestly, before reading it, I had this idea about how they were going to get out of their cages and make it all the way to the jungle, while followed by an angry boss and some some equaly determined hunters. Yep, I have a hyperactive imagination.

Characters: I said it before and I'm going to say it again, children books do have the best characters. They are all so different and, in this particular case, they embody pretty varied human types. And yes, I'm including here the animal-band, too. Firstly, there's Ivan, who reaminds me somehow of a grandpa. He adapted to this new life, can't really remember a great deal of his previous one, but still looks at it like at some kind of golden age. And, *even if I don't think a kid would do all this overanalyzing that I'm doing* I do believe he just repressed his memories because it hurt too much to deal with them. Pretty human behaviour, if you ask me. We also have Stella, an adult elephant who doesn't want little baby Ruby to have the same kind of unfulfilling, painful existence she had. Bob the dog *ha, it rhymes* , who's the fighter type, the loner, the one who doesn't want to get overly attached because it would only bring him heartache at the end of the day. And Ruby, the baby, the little elephant, the new star, the one who puts everything in motion. Ruby is a kid, basically. She has all the right questions without even realising it, she can be annoying or thoughtfull, she can give up or be full of love, and she masters that balance between bravery and cowardice that every kid seems to have. There are also some human characters, like Julia, the maintenance man daughter and the one who keeps Ivan's passion for ar alive, and Mack, the boss, who is the perfect exemple of an imperfect human being. He has his moments of powerful humanity and of unnecessary cruelty, and that just makes him real.

Personal opinion: This story deals a lot with cruelty toward animals and how important is for them to remain or at least be reintegrated in their own environment. I especially liked the idea of a gorilla-narrator. It allows you, as a reader, to walk a few miles in his shoes, and understand all his confusion regarding his own self, all his hopes, and fears, and feeling. It's great to read Ivan's thoughts about humans, seeing how much they influenced the course of his life and still, how calmly he studies them. It's really interesting, really touching. This entire story is heartwarming. It's about friendship, and the importance of promises, and wanting someone's happiness in spite of you own unhappiness. About selflessness, and feeling weak and not having control over your own life. And, the most important thing, I think, it's about becoming what you were meant to be by using the means allowed by what you have already become. You know those quotes authors choose to be written on the first page of their books? Like a motto? Katherine Applegate just chose the perfect George Eliot passage: "It's never to late to be what you might have been."

Favorite quote: "Humans speak too much. They chatter like chimps, crowding the world with their noise even when they have nothing to say."

Recommandation: Read this book. If you love animals, read this book. If you love good simple stories, read this book. If you want a bed-time story for your 8 years old, read him this book. Honestly, just read this book. You'll probably like it, because it touches the heart. And if you end up feeling like you wasted your time, I'm sorry. But read it anyway. 



marți, 5 noiembrie 2013

The Book Sacrifice Tag or let's borrow from Booktube!


So I was once again aimlessly wandering on Youtube and I found one of my favorite videos by Ariel Bisset. In other words, she's the creator of this tag that I am just borrowing it for entertainment reasons. And because I'm feeling lazy. Anyway, check her out here, she's awesome.

Basically, this tag is the only one I found so far that celebrates the books we don't like. Maybe that's why I love it so much. The concept is really simple: you just choose a book you would willingly sacrifice in every one of this sceneries. Ariel already said it, but I'm going to do it, too. This is meant to be fun, not offesinve.

1) An Over-Hyped book: Let's start this off with a Zombie Apocalypse! Let's say you're in a book store, just browsing, when BAM! ZOMBIE ATTACK. An announcement comes over the PA System saying that the military has discovered that the zombies' only weakness is over-hyped books. What book that everyone else says is amazing but you really hated do you start chucking at the zombies knowing that it will count as an over-hyped book and successfully wipe them out?!

I have a feeling I'm going to make a lot of people angry with my answer, but whatever. Go for it, right? So, that book? It's The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. And I'm really sorry for it, because from what I've seen she's such a nice person, but I've tried reading that novel and I couldn't even finish it. However, I'll say it's more bad done, than bad. The general idea was really cool, but I couldn't help but get the impression of scatteredness. My guess is that she wanted to write about so many things that she ended up barely covering the basic notions. Also, the central character seemed weak to me. She tried to come by as strong, but at the end of the day, I just don't think she was.  And while some people might like The Darkest Minds for what it is, I don't. Sorry, except not really.

2) A Sequel: Let's say you've just left the salon with a SMASHING new haircut and BOOM: Torrential downpour. What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself?

Oh, God, this is a hard one. I tend to see the good points of a sequel rather than the bad ones as long as I liked the first book in the series. Anyway, I'll go with Midnight Alley. I don't know what's with me and the Morganville Vampire series, I just seem to enjoy it less and less with every book.

3) A Classic: Let's say you're in a lecture and your English teacher is going on and on about how this classic changed the world, how it revolutionized literature and you get so sick of it that you chuck the classic right at his face because you know what? This classic is stupid and it's worth detention just to show everyone how you feel! What Classic did you chuck?

Vanity Fair! I just hate it so much. So much. So freakin' much! Amelia simply disgusts me with her weakness, and I'm sorry to say it, but Rebecca's chapters just weren't worth the struggle after a while. This thing can burn from all I care.

4) Your least favourite book of life!: Let's say that you're hanging out at the library when BAM global warming explodes and the world outside becomes a frozen wasteland. You're trapped and your only chance for survival is to burn a book. What is the book you first run to, your least favourite book of all life, what book do you not fully regret lighting?

Can I just go with Vanity Fair again? Pretty please? I don't think I hate anything else that much. No? 'Kay. Then... This is going to be really strange seeing how everything else is in English, but, well, my bad for not thinking the answer before starting writing. La Medeleni. Yes. I hate that so much. So, so much. Lorelei's good, though. I just don't know how they can be written by the same person.

Anyway, this was it, people. The Book Sacrifice Tag. Anyone who wants to can do it, just be sure to leave a link to Ariel's channel. Carmine out. (ha, I feel like a spy!)

duminică, 3 noiembrie 2013

Movie Review: City of Bones - "Sometimes I turn myself down just to keep things interesting"

 It seems that by the time I've finally gotten around watching City of Bones, everyone else had already seen it. So I've heard a lot of mixed reviews, seen a hell of a lot of deceptioned fans, and listened to a tone of angry rants. Naturally, I couldn't help but wonder: "Have they really fucked up another one?". So last night, me and one of my friends (who really loves the books) took a deep breath and basically went for it.

We expected heartbreak. We expected pain. Anger. Angst. The how-could-you-you-monsters kind of feels. All caused by how bad this movie was. The thing is, it really wasn't. Sure, it had its weak points. But, come on, let's be honest, they all have theirs. 

Now, the first thing you have to know about me is that I'm not really a hardcore fan. Yes, I like the books. They're an entertaining read, fast-paced, full of angst and action and feels, with a really, really good cliffhanger, but still, The Mortal Instruments didn't do it for me big time. Why? I don't know, really. I just think the Infernal Devices are so much better, and having read Clockwork Angel first, City of Bones seemed kind of pale in comaparition. But, as I said, I like them, at least the initial trilogy, because this is what I've read so far.

Going back to the movie, I believe what deceptioned the majority was the choice in actors. I myself was a little bit put off by the idea of Jamie playing Jace, but hell, just because I didn't like it, it wasn't going to change, so I rolled with it. If I have to be honest, my biggest problem with the acting crew was Alec being played by Kevin Zegers. The guy's way too old for passing off as a teenager. I wasn't too excited about Jemima West as Isabelle, either, but as far as the age problem goes, at least she looks, I don't know, 22-23? Alec is like a thirty years old dude, masquerading as an almost-legal kid, with a way younger twin sister and a pedophilic obsession with his best friend. Isabelle, on the other hand, while she could probably be seen as a really mature nineteen years old, doesn't have the femme-fatale vibe she has in the books. She's pretty, but not that pretty, if you get what I mean. And it really made me sad, because one of my favorite things about her is how harsh she can be for such a delicate, little thing.

But now, do I have to judge the movie by this things? Don't think so, because in reality, the directors are the ones that should have done a better job at choosing actual teenagers, or at least people that look like teenagers, for the roles. I like Lily Collins as Clary. She really looks like I imagined her, as well as Robert Sheehan as Simon. And I liked the way they acted. Truly, honestly liked it. May I just add that whoever played Valentine did a great job? It was sick how much justice he did to a madman.

A great deal of the movie I couln't really decide if I liked how Jamie acted. In regard to the character, the Jace from the movie is still ironic, but more open and welcoming. Also, I observed, a great deal of Jamie's emotion reflects in his eyes, not on his face. Maybe that's why I was kind of wary at first, as they mostly show him from profile or his eyes are shadowed. Also, I find his accent sexy. Just saying.

Moving on to the plot, there were some changes, yes. They pretty much followed the book until the end and then they adapted the final quarter, I think. While I would have liked to see Valentine's house, I still enjoyed the battle at the Institute. I wasn't particulary fond of the decision of stating that they're not brothers, seeing how I had to wait two books to be sure if it's a ploy or not, but whatever, 90% of the viewers already knew the truth, anyway. Oh, I would have loved to see Simon as a rat. That was my biggest deception, as it's one of my favorite scenes. Also, I loved that they kept some lines from the book, especially Jace's moments.

The fighting scenes were sick. I was expecting to hate them, but were they ever good! I loved, loved, loved them. And that scene with the dog was just so disgusting and awesome until the fridge moment messed it up. Also, do the women in Clary's family get a kick out of beating someone to death with a kitchen appliance? I loved the kissing scene. There was that little hesitation, and then that "Fuck, man, I'm going for it" moment. 

All in all, I really enjoyed it. I can see why the diehard fans won't like it, since there were some major changes, but I, for myself, really think that if you're willing to roll with them you'll end up finding City of Bones not quite bad.

sâmbătă, 2 noiembrie 2013

In Debt of a Character: Jane Eyre - "I am no bird and no net ensnares me" (1)

I am no bird and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will

Am citit prima oara Jane Eyre cand aveam doisprezece ani si, marturisesc, simt nevoia sa fug in coltul camerei si sa izbucnesc in plans (zguduindu-ma de suspinde, da) cand aud adulti spunand: "Este o carte mult prea complicata si pe deasupra, plictisitoare. Nu am putut sa trec de primele cincizeci de pagini" . Cu totii suntem protectori cand vine vorba de cartile noastre preferate, dar nu ma pot abtine sa intreb: ce este atat de complicat la acest clasic? Cu ce este aceasta poveste a formarii diferita de oricare alta pe care ati gasit-o vreodata satisfacatoare? Cum poate ceva care a lasat o impresie atat de puternica asupra mea la o varsta atat de frageda sa fie plictisitor pentru cineva a carui experienta de viata o depaseste cu mult pe a mea chiar si la momentul actual?

Jane Eyre este de departe cel mai cunoscut roman al lui Charlotte Bronte. S-a bucurat de adaptari cinematografice, a fost pusa in scena ca piesa de teatru si a avut parte de repovestiri din diferite unghiuri, realizate de autori mai mult sau mai putini moderni. Dar nu acesta este motivul pentru care am inceput sa scriu despre ea, ci datorita respectului pe care personajul principal mi l-a trezit de-a  lungul operei.

Cei dintre voi care ma cunoasteti stiti deja cat de mult afecteaza personajele modul in care privesc o carte. Am puternice tendinte feministe, asa ca eroinele (si daca ma gandesc bine, si personajele secundare) slabe tind sa ma irite. Jane Eyre a fost una dintre primele mele intalniri cu femeile puternice in lumea literara si pentru asta ii voi fi mereu recunoscatoare.

Opera lui Charlotte Bronte este un bildungsroman, in consecinta Jane este urmarita inca de cand era un copil si locuia cu familia unchiului sau. O vedem la Lowood, scoala la care este trimisa, unde isi pierde cea mai buna prietena. Suntem alaturi de ea in anii sai de profesorat si o insotim odata ce porneste in urmatoarea etapa a vietii sale, cea de guvernanta. Nici una dintre aceste perioade nu a fost usoara pentru Jane. I-au lipsit afectiunea, i-au lipsit respectul, si, pe rand, fie din cauza conditiei sociale sau a varstei, a fost desconsiderata ca si persoana. Dar a continuat sa infrunte viata si eu am continuat sa fiu alaturi de ea.

Ceea ce este interesant este ca, pana nu se intampla (si daca nu sti nimic in prealabil despre ce se intampla in carte, ca mine), nu te gandesti ca pe parcurs s-ar putea ivi o poveste de dragoste. Jane nu provine neaparat din patura sociala de mijloc, dar isi duce existenta ca si cum ar face parte din ea. A trait o mare parte din viata inconjurata numai de copii si femei. Ii lipsesc averea, zestrea si nu se bucura de o infatisare neaparat deosebita.

Ce e extraordinar la mica Jane, ca si la varianta ei adulta, sunt adanca moralitate si simtul acut al justitiei. Neindreptatita pe parcursul existentei sale, prima oara de matusa pe care isi face intr-un final curaj sa o infrunte si apoi in viata sa scolara, Jane continua sa lupte si sa spere. Mai mult, este constienta de propria sa valoare.

 Do you think because I am obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!

Cu alte cuvinte, Jane Eyre mi-a dat sfaturi. M-a invatat sa le tin piept oamenilor. Sa fiu constienta de propria valoare. Mi-a aratat ca ma pot ridica asupra actualei mele conditii sociale. Ca nu este nici o rusine in munca simpla si onesta. Ca stralucirea nu iti garanteaza fericirea in viata si ca lipsa ei nu inseamna o existenta in mizerie. Cel mai important insa, m-a educat spre a intelege ca, indiferent ce as putea pierde, trebuie sa raman fidela principiilor mele, pentru ca fara ele ma pierd pe mine insami. Ca dragostea nu e dragoste fara onestitate, respect si sinceritate, dar si ca greselile facute din iubire sunt cele mai demne de a fi iertate.

Asa ca dragi adulti (si adolescenti) pe care Jane Eyre va plictiseste, va rog sa va intrebati daca voi ati fost invatati toate lucrurile acestea si daca voi i-ati invatat pe copiii vostri. Daca da, foarte bine. Daca nu, nu va spun sa o cititi. Doar sa incetati a o denigra. Spuneti mai bine ca nu e pe gustul vostru, decat ca e plictisitoare. Voua, celor care ascultati manele sub fereastra mea si scuipati coji de seminte pe trotuar, v-as spune ca Jane m-a invatat sa ii respect pe cei din jur, deci in consecinta, sa imi cumpar o pereche de casti si o punga pentru resturi, dar oricum nu o sa cititi niciodata asta, asa ca ar fi pierdere de timp. Pentru voi cei care imi impartasiti parerea sau care respectati ceea ce am scris, chiar daca nu sunteti de acord, va astept data viitoare.

Pana atunci, ii sunt datoare lui Jane Eyre, care a avut grija sa construiasca peste baza deja existenta a unei fiinte umane decente.

vineri, 1 noiembrie 2013

Author Discussion: Abbi Glines sau noua nu ne place, nu ne place fara sex (2)

  Abbi Glines sau noua nu ne place, nu ne place fara sex 

Poate sunt eu de moda veche, dar simt o placere deosebita ca, macar o data la cateva saptamani, sa ma intorc la buna si batrana decenta in ceea ce priveste contemporary. Da, imi place sa citesc ceva fluffy. Ceva dulce. Ceva cliseic, dar atragator. Va provoc sa imi spuneti ca niciodata nu v-ati bucurat de un cliseu bine scris. Va provoc sa fiti sinceri cand imi spuneti lucrul acesta. 

Revenind la "buna si batrana decenta" insa, devine din ce in ce mai rara. Contemporary, nowadays, means friends with benefits turned to lovers, fucking against a wall (or against every surface in a house, but come on, the wall's a classic) and a good deal of unnecessary angst thrown in for good measures. Sunt insa exceptii (despre care vom vorbi curand) si, daca m-ai fi intrebat acum doi ani, as fi spus ca Abbi Glines constituie una dintre ele. Femeia scria cliseuri, dar mie imi placea sa le citesc. Nu cred ca ma puteti da in judecata.

De atunci insa, miss Glines a descoperit cheia succesului, se pare. A trecut de la YA la NA (o sa vorbim si despre asta), a invatat ca sexul se bucura de cerere pe piata si, ca orice producator bun, s-a hotarat sa puna la bataie propria oferta. Nu ca se vede ca fac economie? A scos o noua serie, a adaugat niste sex cu mai putina descriere si in continuarile celei vechi si uite asa a dat publicului ceea ce publicul si-a dorit.

Acum, poate ca va intrebati: "Ce treaba are Carmine cu chestia asta? Sa treaca peste si sa scoata nasul din treaba femeii. Bravo ei ca stie sa faca bani!" Problema mea, care ma racaie, se pare, fiindca altfel nu as fi scris tot articolul asta, e ca aceeasi Abbi Glines s-a hotarat sa isi rescrie cartile vechi, pentru a da, din nou, majoritatii cititorilor ceea ce isi dorea.

Pentru cei dintre voi care nu stiti, Abbi Glines este autoarea seriei Sea Breeze, a carei prima carte, Breathe, un total adorabil cliseu, a ajuns in topul meu pe anul 2012. Desi povestea este una banala, simpla, scrisa si rescrisa de nenumarati autori (sau cel putin vazuta in prea multe filme), se pare ca pe mine este una care nu ma va plictisi niciodata. Sau nu avea sa ma plisctiseasca. Pana cand aceeasi autoare a hotarat ca nu erau destule "momente fierbinti" si ca sa adauge punctul de vedere a lui Jax nu are cu ce sa strice. Poate ca n-a stricat, dar de adus nici n-a adus prea multe (nimic). Ce a reusit insa, a fost sa strice intreaga atmosfera adolescentina si dulce pe care a creat-o. Ce a reusit, din nou, a fost sa transforme o carte pe care o iubeam intr-o alta lucrare ieftina in care cei doi sunt deja implicati trup si suflet de la prima vedere, in care sexul se confunda cu dragostea si in care personajul masculin e nici mai mult, nici mai putin, than a cocky bastard (nu stiu cum s-o spun asa frumos in romana). Thank you very much, Abbi Glines.

Dar trecand peste dezamagirea mea proprie, care e doar a mea si nu trebuie sa influenteze pe nimeni, putem sa ne gandim un pic mai obiectiv la ceea ce se intampla de fapt aici? Autorul X are o carte la Y pret. Acelasi autor X vinde un numar mare de copii ale acelei carti, se uita pe recenzii, vede ce ii lipseste, se intoarce si rescrie cartea respectiva si o vinde din nou, la un pret mai mare sau egal cu actualul pret Y. Cititorul, curios sa vada ce se intampla de fapt in varianta rescrisa, fie pentru ca i-a placut prima, fie pentru ca il intereseaza daca scriitorul a vazut lumina, cumpara inca o data cartea. El, ca si cititor, se supune riscului de a fi dezamagit. In schimb, pentru autor nu exista decat un singur rezultat, si acela este destul de clar prielnic portofelului. De aceea, parerea mea despre Abbi Glines s-a schimbat. Exact acest rationament este cel care a determinat modificarile.

Privind din alt unghi, daca masa cititorilor isi dorea some steamy scenes, iar ea ar fi vrut sa le faca pe plac, ar fi putut doar scrie cateva pentru blog. Sau aceeasi masa a cititorilor ar fi putut apela la Fanfiction, scris de altii sau chiar de ei. Posibilitati exista, dar nu la fel de profitabile. Cu alte cuvinte: daca cititorii "Mandrie si Prejudecata" doresc sa vada putina actiune intre Darcy si Elizabeth, si multi dintre ei vor, Jane Austen ar trebui sa revina la viata? Sa fim sinceri, ar fi fost mult mai profitabil pentru ea sa fie un vampir in zilele noastre.

Acestea fiind spuse, se pare ca, mai nou, in contemporary sexul e un must. Trist, dar adevarat. Pe data viitoare, cand poate vom vorbi despre subiecte mai placute. Carmine out.

N.A.: nu am absolut nimic impotriva sexului sau a cartilor ce includ sex. Am ceva impotriva comercializarii nenecesare a acestuia.

joi, 31 octombrie 2013

Author Discussion: Rainbow Rowell sau de ce nu sunt eu ca restul lumii. (1)


Rainbow Rowell sau de ce nu sunt eu ca restul lumii.

La ora actuala, daca esti blogger - book blogger - si nu ai auzit de Rainbow Rowell se presupune ca ai trait pe sub o piatra. Deci ati trait sau n-ati trait? Pana in vara, va spun sincer, adresa mea a fost a doua stanca de calcar pe stanga, numarul 24p. Deci ce s-a schimbat? M-a omorat curiozitatea si mi-am comandat Attachments de pe Book Depository. De atunci, m-am mai tarat un centimetru afara cu Fangirl si acum sunt aici sa va spun o poveste: povestea despre cum sunt eu din nou aia ciudata!

Undeva prin martie, eu, nu neaparat blogger, pentru ca sunt neserioasa si imi place sa am de la doua bloguri in sus oricum (si sa scriu cand am chef), intru pe Goodreads. De cine ma lovesc? Rainbow Rowell. Intru pe YouTube. Cine e acolo? Rainbow Rowell. Ma uit la un Book Haul? Rainbow Rowell. Ma uit la Wrap Up? Rainbow Rowell. TBR? Rainbow Rowell. Recommendations? Best reads? Top Ten? Rowell, Rowell, Rowell. Video despre cum sa eviti sa auzi de Rainbow Rowell? Freakin' Rowell. Si ati prins voi ideea. 

 Acum, nu sunt batuta in cap. Stiu si eu ce e ala hype. Si stiu ca atunci cand o carte apare peste tot, exista doua posibile diagnostice: ori e foarte buna (sindromul Harry Potter) ori e pierdere-de-timp-care-si-a-gasit-audienta (sindromul Twilight). Asa ca decid, dupa cum am spus, sa dau o sansa autoarei. Am hotarat sa nu incep cu Eleanor and Park si m-am dus direct la inceputuri: prima ei carte, Attachments. Romanul asta a reusit 3 lucruri: 
  • m-a vindecat de tremuratul vecin cu epilepsia care ma apuca si numai cand ii auzeam numele
  • m-a invatat, din nou, ca socoteala de acasa nu se potriveste cu cea din targ ( a se citi: comedia romantica promisa pe spate nu se regaseste in carte, in schimb e o interesanta poveste despre descoperirea de sine)
  • si mi-a demonstrat, din nou, cat de usor e sa faci dintr-o carte formidabila una mediocra printr-o singura fraza. (trecerea de la formidabila la buna se face in ultimele pagini, ceea ce e si mai dezamagitor)
 Daca pana acum ati crezut ca urasc cartile acestei autoare, imi pare rau, dar nu e asa. Nu exista ura in mine pentru ele, doar ceea ce as putea numi dezamagire. Nu extrema, dar frecventa. Nu ma intelegi gresit, imi plac personajele. Foarte reale, intr-adevar, si cel mai mare atuu al ei, as putea spune. Imi plac subiectele. Am apreciat foarte mult Fangirl pentru ca a avut curajul sa vorbeasca despre o parte atat de larga, dar in mare parte ignorata, a societatii. A adus fanfictionul si forumurile si pe noi, fanele obsesive, in prim-plan si ne-a arat esenta. Ne-a facut sa devenim mai mult decat fete din spatele unui username pe un forum. Ceea ce nu imi place este firul plat pe care il urmaresc povestile ei. Nu ma plictisesc citind, dar nici nu simt o frenezie deosebita. Climaxul, punctul culminant, momentul soc, orgasmul (cum naiba vreti sa-i spuneti, ca nu mai am idei) nu exista. In special in Fangirl, a construit toata aceasta tensiune formidabila in Cath si nu a lasat-o sa o elibereze niciodata. Saraca fata a tinut in ea, si a tinut in ea, si a tinut in ea pana cand am crezut ca o sa explodeze,  ca in final sa nu se intample nimic si in mare parte lucrurile sa se rezolve pur si simplu de la sine.Si cu toate sentimentele alea colectionate, ce?

Rainbow Rowell scrie intr-adevar un gen aparte de contemporary. Doar ca nu genul meu. Unde e momentul acela care imi ia respiratia, fir-ar sa fie?! Vreau sa mi se taie respiratia! Vreau ca personajul meu sa isi ia inima in dinti si sa spuna o data ce crede!

Nu judec pe nimeni caruia ii plac cartile ei, doar ca nu imi explic de ce atat de multi oameni, care pana acum nu se puteau bucura de acest fel de contemporary (din ce am vazut eu) par din ce in ce mai des sa se alature valului de obsesie creat in jurul ei. Pe mine ma scuzati, dar prefer sa raman pe dinafara si sa ma agat de propria mea parere. Daca macar o parte din cei care o lauda excesiv nu sunt de acord cu mine in sufletul lor, sunt gata sa nu ma mai asez la tastatura de acum. Dar ma indoiesc. Cu alte cuvinte, prefer sa raman eu iar pe margine si sa astept ca Rowell sa se imbunatateasca. Potential este destul. Talent din plin. Povesti bune. Ii mai trebuie o scanteie si cand o sa o gaseasca, I'll be the first to sing her praises. Pana atunci, ma astept sa imi sara macar o persoana in cap. Mi s-a mai intamplat.