Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Current Reading

So I'm working on the Map of Time right now, written by Felix J. Palma. & so far, I'm loving it. Feel free to go to your local bookstore or library and pick up a copy to begin reading. It's not super heavy reading, but it's heavy enough to not be completely frivolous. It is also already a bestseller, though it was just released in its' English translation last month.

I've got to say, if I didn't pay attention, I might not even know this is a translation. It does not read as though it is lacking anything in character, and the words flow together beautifully. I cannot imagine the story being written in a better manner, though, of course, it is probably better in its' original form in Spanish.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book so far:

"...the passage of time, which transformed the volatile present into that finished, unalterable painting called the past, a canvas man always executed blindly, with erratic brushstrokes that only make sense when one stepped far enough away from it to be able to admire it as a whole."

“He could imagine no greater misery than to drift through life aimlessly, frustrated, knowing nothing could ever satisfy him, building a dull, meaningless existence on the basis of luck and a series of muddled decisions, an existence interchangeable with that of his neighbor, aspiring only to the brief, fragile, and elusive happiness of simple folk.”

“Sometimes she wondered whether she did everything in her power to overcome her gnawing sense of dissatisfaction, or whether, on the contrary, she derived a morbid pleasure from giving in to it.”

Feel free to dissect these quotes I enjoy, or share some of your own!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My First Ellen Hopkins Novel

Today, I am going to review Ellen Hopkins' forthcoming adult novel Triangles. I was lucky enough to receive an Advanced Reading Copy, as the book is not for sale until October, 2011. The cover of my ARC copy is purplish and sexy:

This makes the cover fitting to the book, which is about middle-aged women grappling with family and sexuality issues. As the title suggests, this is the first book written by Ellen Hopkins which I have read.

I was rather surprised, initially, to discover that the book is comprised of poems. I wasn't sure I was going to like it. Yet the poetry reads quickly, and rather like prose, and I grew accustomed to it much faster than I anticipated.

The book chronicles a difficult time in the lives of 3 middle-aged women. Holly seems to have everything a woman could want - a stable home life, a husband who is still completely in love with her, and three good-looking children - but she's not satisfied. The big 4-0 is looming on the horizon, and she is feeling like she has not accomplished anything for herself. Marissa is dealing with a gay son and a sickly daughter who probably won't be alive much longer. Andrea is trying to convince herself that she doesn't need love in her life, but keeps finding herself entangled with men, anyway.

The book is often sad, sometimes uplifting, and often adventurous. The women are all interesting characters, and the reader does get to know them rather well.

It was an interesting book, and if you are a fan of Hopkins' YA work, then I think you will definitely want to check this out. I think it's also a great book, if you're in the mood to read about uncertainty and loss. Or if you're interested to see what a novel comprised of poems is like.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Horror Movie & Character Development

I recently watched "The Roommate," the horror movie with Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly about a horrible roommate. Except that the roommate was the character with whom I sympathized the most, although I'm sure you're supposed to feel bad that the super pretty, super talented, perfect girl Minka Kelly plays, whom everyone likes, is the one you're supposed to connect with, or whatever.

Honestly, Leighton Meester made this movie for me. And it wasn't by scaring me. It was through her vulnerability, and the fact that no one gave her what she needed the most: friendship.

Warning: the rest of this blog post is going to contain spoilers. Read at your own peril.

Suffice it to say, Leighton Meester is the only actor in that movie. Which is surprising, because I'm usually a pretty big Billy Zane fan, and he has a part in this movie - but I just didn't feel that he did a very good job in this movie. Billy Zane gave a lukewarm performance, and Minka Kelly got to play the pretty girl whom everyone adores automatically, b/c that's just the way some girls are received...

So maybe I didn't respond well to this film b/c I wasn't one of those girls. I'm kind of shy, and I've never been the kind of person who people just flock around. I've never been the kind of girl who gets invited to a party the first day she meets someone, and I've never had a good experience at a frat house, and all of the boys I dated in college were losers who didn't go to my school.

I was actually treated a lot more like Rebecca, Leighton Meester's character. There is something in me, a reserve, that sprung up unawares sometime during the period that I was growing up, that convinces people I am stuck up rather than shy. This is the vibe I got from Leighton Meester's character. Even before she said anything, before she had a chance to be mean or rude and deserving of being shunned, she was treated oddly and people whispered that she was scary within hearing range.

The two girls that she obsesses about are the girls whom she wants to be, because they are loved by all. (Who doesn't want to be loved?) And so she struggles to be nice to them, and goes a little bit overboard b/c she has a mental illness, and their response is to tell her she was never their friend.

That's just mean.

Is it really necessary, to shatter whatever normal, human part of her exists by taking all of their interaction that was truly on friendly terms, and making it meaningless?

She has a mental illness, she needs to go to a hospital, not be mocked by "normal" people, who are really just as heartless as they think she is.

For what did Aly Michalka's character Tracy do, that was so worthy of friendship? Invite Sara to a few parties, get too drunk, and abandon her at a nightclub? Oh. Yeah. That sounds like a winner. Like someone who cares.

I don't understand this mentality that a person has to be "cool" all the time. Like, if you're really my friend, you'll be there for me and have my back, but don't tell me that or act like that unless you're drunk.

Leighton Meester's Rebecca did exactly that - whatever she thought her friend needed. She tried to give her friend Sara what she wanted, even when what she wanted was ridiculous. And all she wanted in return was a friend.

For which she was shot and killed.

So who was the real murderer in the movie? The girl with the mental illness who thought she was doing what her friend needed? Or the girl whom everyone adored who didn't do the rational thing and talk to her roommate's parents or, at the least, her hall monitor about any issues she was having?