Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review(ish) - American Gods

I guess technically there are spoilers in this post.  So, if you are one of those crazy people who hasn't read this book yet, and you don't want to know what happens, wait to read this blog post.  If, however, you just don't care, then read on!

Last night, my book club met and discussed American Gods, a book epic in its scope.  It covers a crazy trip from jail to large cities to small towns.  It covers death, ghostly visits, parole violations, and murder. 

There is no great way to summarize the plot of American Gods.  There is so much that happens in this book.  It is truly a lengthy read.  It is over 500 pages, and there is much information in those pages. 

I'll give you some of the points you should know about this book.

*At the beginning of the book, Laura, Shadow's wife, is killed in a car accident. 
*Shadow, at the end of a three year jail sentence, gets released from jail a day earlier than planned because of Laura's death.
*Shadow meets Wednesday almost immediately after getting released from prison.  Wednesday propositions Shadow with work.  Repeatedly.  After all, he's the only one who would want to hire a felon, right?
*Shadow gets in a bar fight with Mad Sweeney.  This is to prove something.  You'll find out what when you read the book. 
*When playing chess with Czernobog, Shadow beats him in one game.  Czernobog spends the rest of the novel making not so veiled comments about how he's going to kill Shadow with a hammer.
*Despite her death, Laura is seen throughout the book.  She is a major player in some of the events that transpire. 
*Shadow has some trippy dreams in the book that have some serious outcomes in the "real world."  (One of them, which is just silly, is a dream where he can see Wednesday having intercourse with some woman.)
*There is a giant (and I mean giant) carousel that the gods and Shadow ride to get to there meeting spot when they visit the house on the rock.
*Wednesday says throughout the book that he is gathering the gods to start a war because too many people have forgotten the gods.  Let's just say, his intentions are actually less than noble. 
*There are some "new gods."  The one you meet in the car is a pimply, greasy faced young man (older teenager, really) who tries to get after Shadow for being teamed up with Wednesday. 
*Shadow gets his ass whooped by two men named Mr. Town and Mr. Road.
*Laura, in a rather confusing sequence of events, kills the two men who have taken Shadow and beaten him. 
*Shadow spends some time in a small town named Lakeville.  While there, he is told to just lay low.

I could go on and on.  Really, what you NEED to know is: there is murder, sex, robbery, intrigue, death, illusion, trickery and deceit throughout this entire novel.  Every page is littered with wonderful words that create a story you will love.  This is a book I loved from the first chapter.  If I were told that this was the only book I could read for the rest of my life, I wouldn't be disappointed.

Characters you need to remember:
*Mad Sweeney
*Chris (the police officer)
*Mr. Ibis
*Mr. Jaquel

These are the characters that I think are the most important to the story line.  They are the "major players" in the book.  There are so many minor characters throughout the book that to list them all would take forever.  And you'd probably get bored reading through all the names.  So, I'll not list ALL the characters.  Instead, you can keep reading to see photos of people I'd choose to play the characters were this a movie or series.


When we were talking about this book, one of the things my book club talked about was who we would cast as the characters in this book if it were made into a movie or series.  None of us could really decide, but after I thought about it some more, here's what I came up with for (some) actor choices:

Shadow -  To play this role, I'd pick Jason Momoa.  He's cute, and he could totally pull off that bad boy vibe!  

Wednesday - Ian McKellan seems like an almost obvious choice to play the role of Wednesday.  Doesn't he seem like an Odin-type character?

Laura - I could totally picture Courteney Cox playing Laura.  She'd have to have long hair though, because Courteney just looks better with long hair.

Mad Sweeney - Ving Rhames is a man who is, to put it decently, very nicely put together.  Not only that, but he, in real life, looks intimidating.  He can pull of intimidating in movies as well.  I could totally see him playing the role of Mad Sweeney. 

Czernobog - I feel like Alexander Skarsgard would be great for the role of Czernobog.  He's got the ability to be intimidating.  He's a great actor.  And, let's face it: he's easy on the eyes. 

Mr. Jaquel - If I were to pick any actor to play the role of Mr. Jaquel, it would be Jesse L. Martin.  Not only is a phenomenal actor (and singer, as evidenced in Rent) but I truly believe that he could pull off the mellow vibe I imagine Mr. Jaquel has.

Mr. Ibis - I imagine Mr. Ibis to be another fellow who has a phenomenally mellow attitude.  He's just sort of awesome.  I think that Taye Diggs could be just the actor to play the role of Mr. Ibis and play it well.

So, I hope you enjoyed my (rambling) blog post about this book.  I also hope that this post lit in you a fire to get out and read this book immediately.  It's totally worth it!  If I were to give this book a grade, it would be an A++!

Monday, August 19, 2013

On The Book Shelf

After reading through a couple fluffy reads, I'm back into the groove of "thinking" books.  Here's what I've got on my reading pile right now!

I'm making my way through the end of To Kill a Mockingbird for one of my Classics Club reads.  I LOVE this book!

 This is a book that we're reading for September for my book club.  Mystery, death, suicide.  It's good so far.

East of Eden is another book that I'm reading for Classics Club.  Who doesn't love a little Steinbeck?   What I think is odd, is that I majored in English, but I never had to read any Steinbeck for my classes.  Very odd.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Geek Girls Unite

I just finished reading the book Geek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon.  Now, while I appreciate the idea that Leslie is writing about how geek girls deserve to be treated with respect, the irony is, I found her to be disrespectful, condescending and judgmental.  Simon says the following in the introduction:

 “Let’s be totally honest: we are all guilty of excluding people who aren’t like us.  Whether or not we mean to, we’ve all done it at some point or another – whether it was out of our own insecurities or fears or just being oblivious to the fact that someone else is there .  So, I apologize in advance if I’ve left out any area of geekdom that might be your particular area of expertise, because there are plenty of awesome obsessions I wasn’t able to include here.” (Geek Girls Unite, p. 7.)

Now, here I was thinking that the author would be sincere in this statement.  However, throughout the book, I found comments such as the following:
“While it’s obvious you read more than just the year-old issues of Us Weekly in the doctor’s office, you’re going to have to up the literary ante if you want to be considered a true literary geek girl.” (Geek Girls Unite, p. 38.)


“I really appreciate your fervor and excitement, but just because you’ve watched Fargo doesn’t mean you’re a film geek girl…yet.  Read on and get yah Netflix queue ready.” (Geek Girls Unite, p. 70)

At least she clarified the statement directly above with the word “yet.”  It shows that she *might* have some little bit of respect for people who don’t necessarily know as much about movies as she.  (And how much does she know, really?  The author never states exactly how much she knows about movies, music, books, anime, manga, etc.)  However, the majority of the above statement reeks with judgment towards women who don’t know as much about film as the author, as does the following comment:
“Sorry, Megan Fox, but having a giant Marilyn Monroe tattoo on your inner forearm doesn’t make you look like a fan of classic cinema.  In fact, it just makes you look like a poseur.  Oh, did you hear that?  I think Brian Austen Green’s calling you from the other room.  Beverly Hills, 90210 is playing on the Soap Network right now, and he wants you to keep him company while he weeps uncontrollably over his lost youth.” (Geek Girls Unite, p. 70.)

Point on this statement: Megan Fox had her Marilyn Monroe tattoo removed.  Now, how does the author know how much other people (like Megan Fox) know about film.  If someone has seen Casablanca, but hasn't heard of Rage in Heaven or Adam had Four Sons, that doesn't mean they don't know a ton about film.  After all, nobody can know everything.

As someone who loves movies and books, adores Star Wars, likes old movies like Pillow Talk, The Parent Trap, The Wizard of Oz and His Girl Friday, thinks Neil Gaiman is as close to a god as the literary world is ever going to get and likes to read Manga, but doesn’t know everything about these items listed, I find what the author is saying at the end of her little quizzes in the book to be very judgmental.  I believe that ALL girls who fall under the umbrella of geekdom need to be welcomed with open arms, no matter what they like, and no matter how much they know.

If we love the Misfits, but not the Pixies, does that make us any less of a music geek? Hell,  No!

If you never knew that Ray Manzarek was the keyboardist for The Doors until recently, does that make you any less of a music geek?  Hell, no!

If you have no idea who Felicia Day is, but still love gaming and comic books, does that make you any less of a geek?  Hell, no.

If you like to read comic books from the DC universe but aren’t really into Marvel, does that make you any less of a comic book geek?  Hell, no!

If you’ve devoured every word of Jane Austen, James Fenimore Cooper, Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, but haven’t read a thing by Virginia Woolf, does that make you any less of a literary geek?  Hell to the no!

So go ahead, girl.  Ignore the judgment. Ignore the people who look down on you because they think they know more than you.  Rock your glasses wearing, punk rock loving, movie watching, Dead Kennedy’s listening, Jim Morrison pining, Jane Austen reading, hippy flowers in your hair, cosplay, twilight loving, Harry Potter wand waver, gamer, geek girl self just as you are.  Because geeks in all their forms deserve to be treated like the people they are. 

To wrap this up, I think that you should all go watch this video (which should be considered awesome simply because Wil Wheaton is in it.)  To paraphrase Tracy Jordan from TGS:  "Geek girls need love, too.  Geek girls need love, too."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dead Until Dark

I just finished reading Charlaine Harris's first Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Until Dark.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I am a fan of True Blood, the TV series based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels. 

While the book was technically well written, it was basically like reading True Blood in book form.  There were no surprises for me, really. 

If you've never read the books or seen True Blood, here's what you need to know.

1. Sookie is telepathic.  She can hear other people's thoughts (though some more clearly than others.)

2. Sookie says that she always knew a vampire would come into Merlotte's.  (That's where she works.)

3. Sam has a total thing for Sookie..... But he's her boss.  And she can't read his mind, but she doesn't know why.

4. When Bill comes in, Sookie is immediately enamored with him, partly because he is a vampire and partly because she can't read his mind.

The only things that really bothered me about this book were: No Tara.  And there was a character named Charslie.  I don't know why the second one bothered me.  It just did.

Overall, I think this book was alright.  However, if you're already familiar with the world of True Blood, you might find it a bit tedious and repetitive.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Books on the Nightstand

Alright, I don't know if I've ever shared this, but I LOVE True Blood.  It's weird, bloody and totally violent, but I am totally addicted!  I just can't get enough of that show. 

Anyway, I've been waiting for a while to get my hands on a copy of Dead until Dark, the first Sookie Stackhouse novel.    Yesterday was my lucky day, because I was browsing around and stumbled across a copy.  YEAH!  So, that's one of the books on my reading pile right now.

Now, in addition to that I am also still making my way through American Gods, the fantastic Neil Gaiman book that I just can't keep my hands off of!  So far, it's amazing!

And finally, when I found the Classics Club blog, I decided I HAD to participate.  Yesterday, I was trying to decide what book I wanted to start with. I even asked the people on my Facebook fan page.  I was leaning towards To Kill a Mockingbird anyway, because who doesn't love Harper Lee?  (It's just too bad this was the only book she wrote!)  Anyway, almost everyone who chimed in was in favor of this book as well.  Anyway, this is my first pick for my Classics Club reading.

What are you reading right now?