Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Your balls, Mr. Darcy?" "They belong to you, Miss Bennet."

For anyone who may be reading this ... I go a little nuts in this post. Spoilers will be revealed. You have been duly warned.

Just like I knew I would, I have fallen in love with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It basically removes every thing that I hated about the original ((which, honestly, wasn't much)), and added every thing that it had been sorely missing That is Grahame-Smith took out all the unnecessary long-windedness of Austen and got right to the point. That's not to say I think the zombies were a "missing" piece to the original novel, but I do think it was a nice touch.

Most importantly, having completed the novel, it hasn't made me favor the original work less; it makes me appreciate it more. While Grahame-Smith tries to mimic Austen's style, he doesn't quite nail it. It's kind of like reading a fanfiction. A really, really good, exceedingly funny and violent fanfiction. Still impressive, for sure. I loved and hated ((and loved to hate)) an assortment of characters in the original, and I get to do the same in this edition as well, only I get more satisfaction out of the way certain players got their comeuppance, if you will.

Elizabeth, I felt, was pretty badass in Pride and Prejudice. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind. She was smart, and witty, and impressive yet modest. And most importantly, she was not infallible. When she made a mistake, she admitted it. In and Zombies, she's still all of those things, with the exception that she wields a Katana sword. True story, and I freakin' love it. Turns out, Daddy ((who is awesome)) sent his daughters to China to learn under a Master Liu-something-or-other in the deadly arts. There they learned kickass skills to defeat the icky zombies. They are all quite impressive, and of course Elizabeth is the best. The final show down between her and Her Ladyship was brillant. Whoa.

Mr. Bennet I also enjoyed in the original, though he made me a little frustrated at times. I never understood how he could continually hold his composure in regards to that nutty woman he called a wife. She got on my ever-livin' nerves. It was funny when he'd toss out zingers that would fly over her head, but just once I wanted him to mention one that she was sure to comprehend. In this one, Mr. Bennet is decidedly blunt. I think my favorite Mr. Bennet line is when he pleads for Mrs. Bennet to "spare [him] the expense of having [her] lips sewn shut." On numerous other occassions he complains about her "prattling" while I continue to laugh. Such was the attitude he was missing in the original.

Mrs. Bennet is exactly the same. I hate her, and I love it.

Charlotte Lucas becomes a zombie. ((HA!)) She is beheaded, most honorably.

Mr. Collins is short and fat. He is continually describe as short and fat. He can't defend himself against the unmentionables. He's just as annoying as ever. He hangs himself after beheading his wife.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a pretty kickass old bag. She's slain 10 thousand ((maybe?)) unmentionables in her day. She has a dojo in her home, and a plethora of ninjas at her disposal. She's just as uppity as ever.

Mr. Darcy is pretty much the same. Tall, handsome, arrogant and oblivious, plus he has mad musketry skills and was educated in Japan. He, too, is a slayer of zombies. And of course, he falls in love with Elizabeth for all the same reasons as before, with the addition of her rivaling deadly arts skills. I particularly love the sparring match between the two when he proposes for the first time. It's kind of like foreplay. Mr. Darcy is also is a little less censored. He specifically tells Miss Bingley that she'd enjoy balls better if she "knew the first thing about them." Such a remark causes Elizabeth to blush and try not to laugh.

Mr. Wickham is still an epic bag of douche. She still seduces the ridiculous Lydia, and many others, leaving in his wake a trail of debts and bastards (("a bastard-maker?"- quoted from Jane Bennet)). His commeupance is the most satisfying of all, I do believe. Not only is he forced to marry Lydia, but he gets the hell beaten out of him by Darcy. He is left paralyzed and bed-ridden, where he continually soils himself. It's terrific.

As much as I enjoyed this book, I can't express enough that the original Pride and Prejudice is 10 times better. My favorite is still the former, but I do enjoy satire and this was the best. I don't mind at all that this novel is thoroughly poking fun at a classic. It just proves how influential Austen and her works have remained today.

If you love or hate Austen, I would definitely recommend this book.

**Next, I'm reading Anna Karenina. It'll be a while 'til my next post....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Florentino - Not Your Average Hero

So, I forgot to mention another element of the novel that I loved ((right? I'm finding more good things to say about it!)), and that is this: Florentino Ariza is not your average hero; he's the antihero.

Predominantly, the male hero is absurdly attractive and absurdly confident. If he is not absurdly rich by birth, then he became absurdly rich due to his absurd talent. He never loses composure. All the ladies want him. In short, he's quite a catch.

Floretino definitely falls short in most - if not all - of the above characteristics.

He's not attractive ((hence the reason not even his awesome love letter writing skills could keep his obsession)). He wears thick glasses for his myopia. He dresses like an old man; he dresses like an older man when he is an old man. He loses his hair at a youngish age and resorts to the high school prinicpal-meets-Don Trump combover. But the best of all is the fact that he suffers from severe IBS. I freakin' love it. Twice Fermina had his guts twisted up with nerves that he almost soiled himself in front of her. That's spectacular.

Yet, despite all of that - all the ladies still wanted him.

I don't get it. The explanation was that he was a man in need of love. So, I guess all those poor, misguided women wanted to be the ones to love him, to fix him.

Good fail, ladies.

Love in the Time of *Snore*

Right, so reading this book took longer than I had originally anticipated. The last fifty pages were especially difficult to get through, simply because it was boring and I knew I was almost done. Knowing that I was fifty pages away from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies just made it harder to muddle through it.

But I did it. Thank you, God.

People try to categorize this book as a love story. Maybe I'm as deep as a mud puddle because I would have to whole heartedly disagree. I had some serious problems with the characters. For one, I found Fermina a snobbish, annoying bitch. She "fell in love" with Florentino because he knows how to write a love letter. When she catches her first look at him -- up close, not just a glimpse -- he's suddenly not good enough for her. Although, I would be a little turned off too if his eyes were alight with petrified love - or something like that. I don't think the word petrified should not be a modifier for love, thanks.

As for Florentino, he's just nuts. Seriously. Coo-COO for Co-Co Puffs. He wasn't so much in love with her as he was obsessed with her. And don't give me that crap about having 622 affairs in order to slake his lust - but his heart remained Fermina's. Bull. Shit. In truth, he fell in love with several women after Fermina -- and two of them died because of him.

In my opinion, the only victim in this novel (and that's a loosely used term) is Juvenal. One, because he has a name like Juvenal. Two, he married Fermina in hopes of falling in love with her. He obviously invested more into the relationship than she did. He did have asshole tendancies, though (ie: his single affair in fifty years of marriage), but some things can be excused since he married a twit like Fermina (not the affair, though, that's inexcusable).

Ok, ok, so maybe Leona is victim-esque in the novel, as well. She was one of the many women in love with Florentino, but the only one who he didn't get to sleep with - and not because he didn't try. She refused his ass for reasons that I'm not certain about, but whatever, because I'm proud of her.

By the way, I'm pretty sure Florentino was a pedophile. If you use the phrase "dickey-bird" whilst trying to seduce a 14-year-old (and you're 80), then I'd say you need some serious counselling. I guess that didn't really have that back then.

The ending was really good, though. I did appreciate it because it was an allusion to something Fermina had said a little earlier in the novel. Disregarding my dislike for the characters, the style it was written in, and the epic run-ons, this novel had some really amazing pieces of awesome that I bracketed in pen throughout. Mostly it's just the way Marquez described something, an analogy he used, or just something I read that made me think: I wish I could write like that.

At any rate, I really am glad I read it despite all the bad things I said about it. I don't think, however, I'll be reading anything else by Mr. Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Love in the Time of Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies

So, Love in the Time of Cholera ... definitely not my favorite. It's not horrible, but it doesn't make me want to curl up in bed and just read for hours either. Again, it has a lot to do with the fact that I just can't get into the style of it. Marquez doesn't number his chapters, and that just annoys the hell out of me, lol. I know that's totally weird, but I like to know my progress, thanks. And every "chapter" is a-little-more-a-little-less 50 pages. I don't know why but that annoys me, too.

Oh, and he's forever using the characters first and last names: Floretino Ariza, Fermina Daza, Dr. Juvenal Urbino, over and over and over again. Why can't you just say: So, then Florentino said, "I eat orchid petals because I want to know what your scent tastes like." Fermina replies, aghast, "you're crazy!" Dr. Urbino nods gravely: "As a doctor, I am qualified in such matters. You're a loon, son."

Whatever, though. It's gonna take me a little longer to read this book ((it's only 350 pages)), I'm thinking probably another week, but I'm determined. It's really not all that bad. Sometimes I do get really into it; he is a captivating writer, but sometimes it's the little things that bother me.

Character wise, Florentino is totally a nut job. I mean, if you eat flower petals and chug perfume just to know what a chick tastes like...that's weird, dude. And Fermina is a snob ((her rejection of Florentino does make me feel sorry for the chump, but he's still nuts)). The only character I enjoying - thus far - is Urbino. He has captured most of my sympathy, and he seems...the most sane.

Anyway, so, today is Mother's Day. While I was out picking up gifts, and flowers, and cake for Mama Bear, I picked up I'll Sceam Later by Marlee Matlin ((totally stoked)) while at Target. Then my sister and I meandered over to Borders, and I found the book I have to read next. No doubt about it, once I've finished Love in the Time of Cholera, then I must read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It's exactly as the title states: it is Pride and Prejudice with a few zombies thrown in.

I'm pretty sure it's going to kick ass. I read the author bios on the back, and I about snorted ((okay, I did snort, a lot)):
JANE AUSTEN is the author of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, and other masterpieces of English literature. SETH GRAHAME-SMITH once took a class in English literature.

So stoked. I'm not crazy obsessed with zombies or ninjas ((yeah, ninjas are in this book, too)) or anything, but c'mon. You have to admit that this is going to rock. I do love the Resident Evil Trilogy, but I don't own the Zombies Survival Guide or whatever ((my brother does)).

I'm sure I'll write extensively on this book's sheer awesomenss.

Good Day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

*sad face*

The Time Traveler's Wife is finished. It was pretty much devestating. I loved it.

Still not ready for the classics yet. Alex recommended Love in the Time of Cholera.


Monday, May 4, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

I decided to continue reading The Time Traveler's Wife today. I finished the Nicholas Sparks book at work, and was able to read about twenty more pages of the next novel before I actually had to, well, work.

I forgot about my love/hate relationship with this book. It's an amazing and refreshing idea; it has a great plot, fun characters ((for the most part)), and I really do enjoy it. But I hate Niffenegger's writing style. I abhor it, really. She's way too in love with run-on sentences, fragments, and semi-colons ((though, I am trying to fall in love with semi-colons myself...but too many of them I find distracting)). The semi-colons and run-on especially grind my gears. Okay, so it's cute when Clare is twelve and is talking in run-on sentences. It's a characteristic. I get it. But when she's twenty years old, and a college graduate...it's time to stop. And yes, I know people do not think in perfect English, but you know what...that is what's so great about a novel. I don't have to sift through a person's jack rabbit-paced mind trying to comprehend.

Furthermore, "I hate it when she doesn't use tags after dialogue." "When it reads like this, it's just stupid. And wrong. I hate that." I'm all for creative license and liberties and what not, but honestly now....

Unfortunately, what I've listed are not things I can overlook. The mistakes are glaringly obvious ((just who in the hell was her editor?!)), which makes for a slow read. Not to mention, it's written in first person point of view, which I hate. Not only that, but it switches between the two characters - excessively. It's not just switching POVs as a new chapter begins ((which would be tolerable)); it's right in the middle of the chapter, or a scene, or a conversation. It's unnecassary and annoying.

This book makes me absurdly positive that it's going to be twice as hard to get a novel published than I had originally thought. Apparently, you can suck at all things structurally and grammatically correct, but you need a wicked story idea. I fall short in the second category.

But really, I do like the book...I just don't like the author...or how it's written.

Excited for the movie to come out though. Should be better.

Anyway. I feel accomplished. Yay.

" "

I have about fifty pages left to read of Three Weeks with My Brother. I've practically devoured that book; it's so awesome. I'll definitely have it finished by tomorrow - probably while I'm at work. With that said, I need to figure out what I'm going to read next. I want something contemporary. Not quite ready to jump back into the classics yet - so Bronte, and Hawthorne, and Tolskoy are going to have to wait.

I'm thinking I should probably finish reading The Time Traveler's Wife, being as I started that ages ago - and had to stop once the semester started. I'm not quite halfway finished with it. It makes sense to start that book, but I kind of want to start something new, too. I want to give my library card a workout.

To choose from, I have:

The Time Traveler's Wife - again, this would be ideal to finish.
A Northern Light - which Sarah swears is amazing. I don't know when I'll see her again to borrow it from her, so...I guess I can get it from the library, though.
The Host - I should really save this for the summer...It looks to be an epic.
Marley & Me - totally random, and heard-tell it's a tear-jeaker, but whatthehell.

Hmm...decisions, decisions. Oh, well, I'll figure something.

...in unrelated news, I need a freakin' title.

And that is all.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Reason Number 1,029 Why I Love Nicholas Sparks

Aside from the fact that he's just amazing, he's a terrific author who just understands girls. I mean, in his novels it's glaringly apparent that he gets us. And nearly every book I've read by him, I've devoured in hours and enjoyed thoroughly.

With that said, I had no intention of reading Three Weeks with My Brother; I just don't do memoirs. But my co-worker, Sarah, said it oozed awesomeness and, truth be known, I'm was getting a little tired of the classics and period pieces. I needed something a little fresher. So, I started it yesterday, and I'm almost half-way finished with it.

It's truly an amazing book. He co-wrote this with his brother ((though, I think it's obvious that it's predominantly Nicholas's work)), and it's literally about the three weeks he spent with his brother traveling the world, interspersed with details of their lives growing up together. They had an interesting childhood, to say the least.

I think another reason I'm just *in love* with this book is because I can relate to certain aspects of what he's writing about. Not a lot mind you. I certainly haven't dealt with the kind of tragedy he has ((and I certainly wouldn't have such a good sense of humor about life now)), but the ones that I do are just startling; the whole middle child syndrome for instance - I get that.

It's heartwarming to read about the type of relationships he had with his brother, sister and parents ((even if I maintain that they needed to be taken away from said "parents)). I don't know what it's like to grow up with your sibling as a best friend. My brother and I certainly don't share that type of relationship, nor my sister and I for that matter. And the way those two boys ((Nicholas and Micah)) treat their sister is just...awww; I mean, those boys asked their sister to the prom. How freaking sweet is that? I want my kids to grow up like that - that close ((wait, I decided today I wasn't going to have any...wild children-customers have stauched any desire for me to procreate)).

*sigh* And reading this book ((reading in general, but I've noticed moreso with this book)) makes me want to write...soooooo bad. I can sit at my computer for hours and just pound away at the keys. I really want to do that again; I don't know why I'm not.

Anyway, I'm really excited about this book. I'm pretty exhausted after today, but I want to keep reading. I need to sleep...I don't know what I'll do.

Amazing - anyone who hasn't read this book needs to. Foooor sure.

***((Also, added The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd to my books list))