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.