Thursday, March 12, 2015

Week of 1/26/2015 Book Review (5) - East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I'ma get a little serious for this one, because I think this book warrants it.

East of Eden is essentially based upon the story of Cain and Abel -- the two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain is the older brother and had the gift of tilling the land, Abel is the younger brother and had the gift of being a shepard. They both gave God gifts reaped from their talents and God was like "ayo Abel good lookin' out my dude" and he neglected acknowledging Cain. Jealousy drives older brother Cain to madness and he ends up committing the first murder ever, on his own brother. Cain ends up being Satan's first roommate.


East of Eden takes Cain and Abel and weaves its structure and themes into family and interpersonal relationships that many can relate to. It's brutally honest and something that I really appreciated.

John Steinbeck's writing is masterful -- from how he describes the environment, to his careful character development, and to how he delicately delivers the story. Steinbeck's writing is a good balance of complexity -- it's a notch down from Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy while still being able to paint robust sensory images.

The story was so engaging that it elicited strong emotions out of me while I was reading -- it was weird, but also welcoming. I get pretty emotionally attached when I watch movies (like wow I was like irritated the whole time watching 'Her'), but never really when reading. East of Eden changed that.

 East of Eden is the best book I've read in a long while. I strongly recommend checking it out.

5/5 (first one!)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week of 1/22/2015 Book Review (4) - The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

I'll be honest, this book was really just a filler book before I started East of Eden by John Steinbeck. This book comes in at a little over ~100 pages from what I remember. It was a very quick read.

Unfortunately the quick read wasn't very stimulating. This book is about a guy who has his homies over (AFTER he's "time travelled") and tries to convince them that he's built a time machine. The homies are like "wtf you talkin about dude? this guy's baked". Then he goes and shows the machine to them. He then regales them with his most recent adventure -- that of which, was quite boring. :(

The book was amiss of any true character development -- I didn't feel any attachment to the protagonist or any of the creatures that he met during his travels. I was on some "If he dies, he dies." Ivan Drago tip from Rocky IV. This was my sentiment while the main dude was crawling around:

I might be a little rough but I'm just being honest. I think this was the book that elevated H.G. Wells' popularity. I can believe it because it's a nice little story, but it didn't engage me enough intellectually or emotionally.

2/5 but I think I gave it 3/5 on my goodreads account

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Week of 1/16/2015 Book Review (3) - Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I'm behind. Both in reading and writing, but I'm going to make it.

Week 3 of 2015 I read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It takes place in an alternate future where books are banned. The offense is so bad that any household that houses (lol get it) the books gets burned down to the ground. What a shitty world. But hey I like dystopian type stuff and I've been wanting to read this for awhile.

Enter Guy Montag, he's one of the dudes that is tasked to burn these books. It's ironic because they are called firemen -- again, alternate future. I'm not going to spoil it too much but he meets a young girl that makes him question his career as a destroyer of literature. Her youthful curiosity burns (lol get it) deep within Guy Montag. Everybody else in this alternate future is appeased by total pleasure -- accosted by a constant barrage of sensory haymakers.

Basically they are all zombified vegetables.

It begs the question, does he risk his cushy career or does he follow this feeling lit (lol get it) by the young girls embers (lol get it) of genuine humanity? Read and find out brah. It's worth it.

This was a good, comfortable read. Fahrenheit 451 is enjoyable and has some themes that resonated with me. Reading the book makes you more aware of the present -- how we have all these mediums to satisfy ourselves, to the point that we might forget about basic things. Basic things such as education, curiosity, love, family -- basically major things that define us as humans on this planet Earth.

It brings you back to reality by showing you a reality that could be.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2015 Week 2 (1/18/2015) Book Review - Open by Andre Agassi

Here we go boys book 2!!! O lawd I'm buzzed off red wine but the show must go on

The 2nd book I've read this year is an autobio of the pro tennis player Andre Agassi called Open. I think I have a thing for autobiographies of athletes -- I read Mike Tyson's last year and deeply enjoyed that one. I played tennis growing up and also boxed a little bit in college so maybe thats why. Maybe I'm buzzed.

'Open' walks through Agassi's life -- from being a kid pushed into tennis, to his struggles being a pro, the controversy he brought to tennis, his successes, and his downfalls (within tennis and romantic chit). I always gravitate towards hard working people so I definitely enjoyed his anecdotes of the work he put in.

The book is definitely written in Agassi's voice -- somewhat confident/arrogant but also kinda whiny in the fact that he constantly complains of hating tennis and would be like 'OMG I suck I quit'. But I mean, understandable because he was forced into it. I would have liked to read more about the technicalities of his game and what he worked on to achieve his success, but I enjoyed the book regardless. He had his swag man -- his look back in the day was his way to hang onto his individuality that was stripped from him at a young age. Check this picture out:

Swag boy status if you ask me -- mullet, bright colors, jean shorts (!!!), Nikes. Funny thing is that he discloses in the book that his hair was falling out from an early age and actually wore hair pieces during tournaments -- it worried him so much that he almost lost matches because of it. That's why he ended up shaving his head.

This was a fun read. Definitely lightened things up after reading something so grotesque and grim as Blood Meridian the previous week. 4/5

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 Week 1 (1/11/2015) Book Review - Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

One of the resolutions I made for 2015 was to read more. A good amount more. To the point where I'm going to attempt to read a book a week. I'll come clean and say that I started this book in 2014, but hey it's 2015 now and I finished it within the first week! Convenient!

These book reviews are pretty much going to be unfiltered -- I won't be editing these. They'll be a one-take thing because I feel like it will make the review seem like more in my 'voice'. Also, maybe because I'm lazy.

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy is about the United State's expansion to the (wild) west. It follows a 14 year old from Tennesee and the things he sees. I'll say outright that this is not a pleasant book -- it is very gruesome. Easily the most graphic book I've read... maybe ever.

The reason for this is because the kid ends up in a ragtag band of soldiers that get paid for killing Indians -- they scalp them and trade them in for money, clearing the way for western expansion. Eventually they just kill everything and everybody, because scalps are scalps right? :(

The story follows multiple characters in the book, the main one not actually being The Kid, but arguably a man named Holden aka 'The Judge'. The author makes it out that this guy can do anything he wants with unparalleled skill -- from making bullets out of dirt, to copying pieces of art in his scrapbook and immediately destroying it. The guy's nuts. I've read discussions about there are comparisons between Judge and Satan, which I can understand now after completing the book. The Judge is just a reprehensible villain.

It's weird because he's such a bad guy, but I was captivated whenever the book focused on him. It may be the suspense -- I honestly didn't know what he was going to do. A good comparison would be the Joker from Batman (Heath Ledger version, RIP).

“Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.”- Judge Holden
I enjoyed this book, but I will say Cormac's apparent disdain for punctuation and appetite for complex vocabulary made some parts difficult to get through. There were multiple occasions where I would read something and not know what I read (lmao). I had to get through them via context. This is the 2nd book of his I read, The Road being the first. I really liked The Road, more so than Blood Meridian.

I'll give this a 4/5, just because the way it made me feel weird.