Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why I'm Not "Johning" So Much

I noticed #Johning trending on twitter a whiles back. I decided quickly that I am not a fan. For one, it looks much too painful to be comfortable enough to read or write. Maybe pain is stimulating for Green, that’s probably why it works for him.

Anyways, that is completely beside the point.

I was reading The Notebook Sisters' review of More Than This by Patrick Ness when the urgency to write this post overwhelmed me. The reason I picked up that book was only because it was written by Ness. Ok, so honestly, it was also because it had a thought provoking premise.
And I read it. And I loved it.

The book also had a one line review from a well known writer on its cover. John Green asked us to "Just read it." That blog post got comments saying that the reason they picked up the book was because JG told them to.
I was mad. I was so fucking pissed.

Let me back up.

My tryst with the phenomenon that is JOHN GREEN began two years back when my bestie Caroline started talking like this:
Me: Baby (we call each other "baby" compulsorily) how's college?
She: Oh you know, the usual. Hey did you read TFIOS?
Me: Expand that please.
[Ten minutes later]
Me: ... and that's how the whole college thinks I'm scary.
She: Mmm. Listen you have to read TFIOS.
Me: Were you even listening?
[12 hours later]
She: There's this guy.... oh wait, did you buy TFIOS?
Me: ....
[The next morning. Phone doesn't stop ringing.]
Me: (rubs eyes) Hello?
She: Did you get it? Did you get it? Oh. Good morning baby.

For the sake of my sanity, I had to buy that book which I had judged it to be a predictably sad cheesy cancer story. But miracle of miracles, the stingy bitch decided to give the book five stars.

Then I obviously had to know what his other books were like. I read Looking for Alaska (which I thought was okay-ishly good) and Will Grayson,Will Grayson (David Levithan is a hero). After that I wasn't particularly motivated to read the rest. So would I pick up a book just because he told me to? No. (I did it with Eleanor and Park and - meh.)

His twitter account tries to feed us that he is somehow an all-knowing bookish authority. That seriously irked me - only ONE of his books really impressed me and the guy thinks he's cool. I haven't watched any of his vlogs, so I'll have to reserve my judgement on that.

But you know what takes the cake? From the moment I heard TFIOS was going to be a movie, I was thrilled and scared at the same time. Thrilled because duh, scared because movie adaptations sometimes make me want to gouge my eyes out. Then I heard Green was going to be involved in every aspect of it, his tweets provided me hope.

And then I saw the movie.

Why I liked the book was because it treated a potentially cheesy story in a completely non-cheesy way. The movie, while retaining the plot, succumbed to cheesiness. And although the theatre was filled with stifled sobs and sniffing, I didn't contribute to the acoustics.

(I'm not completely heartless - my tear ducts leaked some during the last twenty minutes or so.)

Moral of the story: I'm okay with John Green. I don't worship the ground he walks on. I have allowed his brand of romance readable. (Psst, look who's the bookish authority now.) And I don't like that one contributing factor to why Ness's book sold was the commandment of Green.
Nothing to worry, bloggerverse. It's just yours truly venting out.

Disclaimer: The exact conversation with Caroline eludes my memory. I might have exaggerated to express the sentiment.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ARC Review: Darkness - Erin Eveland

(Blurb from Goodreads) One Girl. One Boy. And the Masters of Darkness. See the Shadow Creatures. They are everywhere. But you can't run from the shadows or the Masters who control them.

Catherine has been born with a supernatural power called Darkness. The Masters of Darkness have found her and it's just a matter of time before someone claims her.


I really don't know how to classify my feelings about this book (What. A. Surprise.)

The first thought to puncture my skeptical brain is, "Whoa, this book is verbose." Since this book is officially YA, the language used in the initial pages fooled me into thinking the story was set during a time when people used a vocabulary far more extensively than today. I was wrong - I found that some chapters later. The plot concerns the parnormal and the philosophical aspects of (um, because my brain can't puke out a better word) magic - which works alright. I ususally fall in love with anything parading as philosophical content but this one didn't seduce me.

Catherine deserves everyone's sympathy - theoretically.
That was the problem.
The writing is "incredible" - my grammar and poetry skills have improved a notch - but it's aloof. "Incredible", because it's only technically so.
Maybe it's because of the third person narrative (but I know a lot of books written in third persn that I ADORE) but I just couldn't reach out to the characters. They felt like some actors in a play who are technically fulfilling, but somehow couldn't involve the audience. The book had an overall thespian effect. Which usually always awes me - but this one didn't.

The book is ... interesting. (Read that sentence in an undecided voice). It's definitely good for a first time read, and also for the curious, insatiable bookworm.
And yes, it is YA, but there is some adult content so teenage initiates, beware.

VERDICT: Technically (this is the third time I am using this word in this post) this book deserves a 3.5 stars, but this book lacks (dear brain cough up some word to explain what I'm feeling) soul. So 3 stars.

NOTE: See the footer "An Interactive Novel"? There were links at the beginning of each page to mood setting audio but because of non-existent wifi facilities - yeahn not very interactive for me.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Book Pride and Prejudice

There is a conversation that happens once a blue moon when I am stuck with another person with no other option than to talk. The following is the remainder of that desperate conversation after we’ve discussed our curriculum vitae.

Me: (suffering through a bout of mental agony trying to think of a topic) So. You read?
The Other Person: Yes! I read more than the average person. What about you?
Me: OHMYGODYES. You must have an idea how hard it is to come across another bookworm, right?
TOP: Absolutely! What kind of books do you read?
Me: I am passing through a realistic YA phase. With some dystopia thrown in for good measure. I completely adore historical fiction and love literary prose (Patrick Ness is KING). I also read enough of adult fiction (I need some social drama for my diet), poetry and of course, classics. That’s off the top of my head. What about you?

Almost this conversation happened when I first met Miss J. Except that she came searching for me asking, “Hey I heard you read?” and her answer to my “What books do you read?” confirmed us book buddies.
But sometimes TOP’s answer throws me.

TOP: Wow. So you must have read Twilight, right? I am such a Twihard. And I completely love Fifty Shades. My favourite author is (insert contemporary romance writer’s name).
Me: Meh.

We all know what they say about books and their covers. In my case, I read the book’s backside blurb only if the cover does alright by me. But I am also guilty of a worse crime.

I judge a person by the book (s)he reads.

The worst part? I don’t even think that badly of all those people who haven’t even come across A Book.

God help any Twihard or Fifty Shades fan who crosses my path – they are guaranteed to get an earful from me. That awful conversation includes a lot of “Yeah? What so great about stalkers and paedophiles?” and “No. Don’t tell me that’s love, it’s called creepy” and “Right. You are a fan of a heroine who turns suicidal because her vampire boyfriend dumped her” and “Do you know that the word ‘stone’ has been used 12 times to describe Edward in Twilight alone?” and “Do not get me started on Fifty Shades”.
Then I come across Rae Carson and a little something she said to disrupt my sleep.

Putting it that way made me feel pretty bad for all those times I handed out patronizing lectures. Rae Carson is one writer in my list of fandoms I am a citizen of, whose series finale did not involve unnecessary character murders and crappy plot. So when she said that, I did lose my sleep over whether or not she’s right.
But think about it. How is being a fan of literary porn justifiable? According to me, a person who loves reading erotica literature isn’t a bookworm – the same way someone who watches a lot of porn isn’t a movie buff. And Twilight. I feel it’s preaching the wrong ‘moral of the story’ disguised with the stuff of eighth grade girls’ dreams. I realize Carson was employing them as mere examples but it’s still pretty hard to not get worked up when people mention them. (Maybe it’s because I matured after reading Twilight and felt scammed. Never tried Fifty Shades, though and never will.) When I come across reviews of books that feature covers with girls and boys in intimate poses with half lidded eyes, I don’t even read the title. I read contemporary romances only when I want to get over a book hangover or just kill time – like getting drunk and strip dancing (not that I would know anything about it). I also realize my YA favourites are looked down upon by some literary snobs (whose choices sometimes bore me to death) but I have my reasons – it’s because they keep amazing me.

But maybe Twihards have their reasons too. I don’t know.

Moral of the story: Do not attempt to decode the mind of yours truly.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Some Bad Boys We Can't Help But Love

Before I begin raving about this very important topic, I want to send out a huge SORRY. I happen to be living in a place where three bars on anything that provides an access to the World Wide Web is a privilege so, no I hadn't stopped blogging just trapped in the 15th century.

You know how I accidentally mentioned the fact that I’m obsessed with Korean series even though it’s completely against the core tenet of my being? (I mean, THERE IS A LIMIT to how much one can take the constant squabbling and jibing and heated staring and the omnipresence of really cute guys and such pretty girls that threaten your feminine existence. Plus, I’m still very much against contemporary romances.) So we were watching this series where EVERYONE swooned and drooled over the hero (who is unspeakably good looking) and the same everyone felt sorry for (they called him) The Villain when I and another girl secretly, unconsciously rooted for (ugh I hate that word) The Villain. Maybe not outright “rooted for”. We were okay if the girl ended up with him and not the hero.
And there we were fangirling, just the two of us, when my train of thought pulled up at a station. I remembered the other times when I rooted for the guy who didn’t get the girl and is BAD by common consensus. I am never included in the “common”, BTW.
Examples (in the order I met them):
Draco Malfoy – Harry Potter series
I don’t know why alright? It’s probably because I felt sorry for him. It’s like he almost had no choice in who he should turn out to be, what with his family and all. Every time he did something evil I’d mentally say something like “No, Draco why did you do that?” and feel my heart twisting with sadness.  And when I reached that chapter in HBP where he’s pointing a wand at Dumbledore I kept chanting, “No, no, no” which worked. And then the epilogue happened and I was happy. During that time when I was on the HP marathon, my dreams included Draco and me at the Three Broomsticks sipping a butterbeer, somewhat like Lily and Snape – speaking house-wise. And the Tom Felton casting didn’t hurt either.
I’m allowed to fantasize, okay?
 Luke Castellan – Percy Jackson series
Ah, Luke darling. Do you have any idea how much heartache you caused me? I think it was the sympathy bone in me for feeling this way. He resented his crappy dad and then I come to know about his mom and I had to admire him despite the choices he made.
Then the climax of The Last Olympian turned on the waterworks and I loved him forever.
Damon Salvatore – The Vampire Diaries (only season one of the TV series– don’t have the patience to get through the other seasons or the books)
Because he’s infinitely much better looking than Stephan. With his quintessential bad boy looks and those piercing blue eyes and that smug smile of his and his trademark sarcasm and … okay I have exceeded the permissible number of connectors in a sentence.
ETA: I heard he's the boyfriend now. Due to popular demand, perhaps?  
Loki – Thor the movie

I am not shallow but it’s pretty hard to evince the appropriate sentiment (in this case, a combination of frustration and loathing) and aim it at such a gorgeous male specimen.
(My parents don’t read my blog – YAY)
Choi Young Do (aka The Villain) – The Heirs
choi young do crying gif
He fell in love with the girl already claimed by the hero but DOESN’T REALIZE IT. He keeps doing things boys in primary school do to the girls they have a crush on – if Cha Eun Sang had pigtails I’m sure he would have pulled on it. He keeps tripping her, pushed her into the pool, and spilled juice so that she would have to mop it up. And yeah, there are always ways to piss off the boyfriend too. But he also keeps doing these anonymous acts of kindness and we’re whispering, “You like her, you like her, how stupid are you?” And then there’s this scene (as depicted above in the gif i made painfully) where he cries (for a totally different reason) and I’m screaming at the screen that I EXIST FORGET HER.
This is my list of bad boys I ship with me. Care to share?
Add your graffiti here before you leave; this wall needs all the colour it can get. And check back, I always reply as promptly as the wifi allows me to. ;)