The World in Writing

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Book Review: Good Omens

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

First off, to all my Canadian followers – heck, anyone who’s a fan of sparklers, fireworks and celebrating where you came from – I hope you all had a happy Canada Day. In all honesty, it has been a very long time since I’ve done anything to truly honor the occasion. I usually just spend that evening consoling my dog as the fireworks next door drive him into a barking frenzy. This year, being my first summer spent in Ottawa, I decided to do something special, and ended up joining a friend of mine in taking part in the creation of a Human Flag in downtown Ottawa. I’m always up for trying something new. Granted, it seemed like a rather strange way to spend my time at 9am in the morning, but after seeing the picture they took, it was totally worth it.

Downtown-Rideau-Living-Flag-2015

It’s always amazing to see so many people coming together to volunteer for something like this. Granted, we still could’ve used a few more people to fill in the spaces, but it still turned out pretty incredible.

Ok, down to business. As is almost always the case with me, it takes me time to get through a book. I tell people that I’m a very detailed and thorough reader, and that’s why it takes me a bit longer than most. Yes, that is one reason. I think another reason is because I’ve never been a fan of reaching the ending of things. What I love about books that come in series is knowing that there’s always going to be another one, but even they eventually reach an ending point. I was pretty much curled up in my bed in tears when I read through the last Harry Potter book. Just the other day, I watched my boyfriend play until the end of The Last of Us, and the fact that the game ended on a cliff hanger made me more upset than all of the other stuff that happened throughout the game. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very heart wrenching game that made me tear up more than once, but the only thing that bugs me worse than something coming to and end is when the ending only leaves you with questions! Great game though :)

There is a point in all of this, and that point is that as much as I love reading books, I’ve learned to take my time, because I know that no matter how great of an ending it might have, it will still have an ending… That being said, I have finally managed to read one of my greatest literary obstacles: Good Omens. I say it’s a literary obstacle because for years I’ve been meaning to read this book, and I only just got around to it about a month ago. All I can say is that I honestly regret not getting around to it sooner!

Good OmensGood Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

stars-5

Angels, demons, the apocalypse, and the fate of the world resting in the hands of an eleven year old boy, who also happens to be the anti-Christ. This book has been around for over 20 years, and yet there’s still nothing quite like it out there. It’s not your typical ‘good vs. evil’ story. In fact, they make it very clear that it’s not so much a case of angels being inherently good or demons inherently bad, they just both have their jobs to do in order to keep the world running. I know, it seems like I only have positive things to say about the books I read. Well, give me a bad book, and I’m sure I’ll be able to pick some good things out of it to. That’s what I like about books; no matter what the intention of the author is, I can feel free to interpret it any way I so choose. Of course, there are some books that even I cannot salvage any words of praise from… like Twilight. It is possible to write a good romance story about humans, vampires and werewolves, but I have yet to read it.

Ok, back to Good Omens. There is very little to critique about this piece of work. The writing is amazing, the characters are brilliant, and the storyline is the perfect level of comedy and drama without going over the top. Admittedly, there were a few points where I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what was going on, but I think it’s because the book isn’t written from solely one perspective. It’s constantly jumping back and forth from one characters viewpoint to the next, even within the same chapter, which sometimes makes it hard to keep up. The good thing about that is you get to see the events occurring through various eyes, allowing you to connect with all of the characters on some emotional level. I figure if I were to read it again, I would be able to follow it much more smoothly, but that will have to wait until I finish going through the rest of my library.

In conclusion, a great read, and if you love a good satirical and speculative fiction, laced with the combined wit and sense of humour of Gaiman and Pratchett, you should definitely add this book to your collection.

As always, I welcome any thoughts you may have on my review, or perhaps you have an opinion about the book you would like to share. Either way, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, or visit my blogs facebook page and comments to your hearts content. Either way, until next time, happy reading everyone!

Cheers,

BookNerd

July 2, 2015 Posted by | Favourite Books For 2015, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Books vs. Video Games: Do These Things Make Us Violent?

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

I was posed a rather interesting question the other day, one which I was surprised I had never given much thought to before. It has been an on-going debate for years about whether there exists a direct link between video games and violent behaviour in youth. There are numerous opinions on the matter, but it’s one of those issues you can’t just throw into any specific category and expect that to be the only answer. Much like the chicken and the egg quandary, I don’t think we’ll ever know with one hundred percent certainty whether or not video games make us more violent.

As one who has grown up with three brothers, all of whom were avid video game players, and having played a fair share of those same games myself, I can safely say that not one of us has experienced any kind of violent reaction from all those hours of gameplay. In fact, and not to brag or anything… well maybe a little, but each and every one of us as done quite well for ourselves. My youngest brother, inspired by the games he has played, is even studying graphic design and computer programming at university.  

Of course, like most things in life, video games should be played in moderation. As much as I love peanut butter cookies, I’m not about to sit their and eat them for 24 hours a day. I know, apples and oranges, but you know what I mean. Here’s a better example: I love listening to Josh Groban, but I’ve made the mistake time and time again to get hooked on one of his songs, and then play it over and over again until I get sick of it. You have to mix it up with other genres. It’s the same with video games: instead of constantly playing first person shooters, mix it up with some Super Mario or Kerbel Space Program. If you’re that afraid that video games might make you more violent, then play one of the hundreds of other non-violent games out there.

 One of my favourite video games right now – ok, I’m mostly just watching my boyfriend play it, but I love watching him go through the story, it’s fantastic! – is Witcher 3. It’s possibly one of the most graphic games I’ve ever seen, yet the characters are incredibly well rounded and memorable, it’s designed in a way where even if you haven’t played the first two, you still know what’s going on, and the graphics are phenomenal! Is it a violent game? Well, there’s no doubt about that. I cringed a few times when they did a close up of the enemy heads being sliced off. After seeing all of that, do I feel like cleaving off someone’s head with a sword? No, I most certainly do not. Why? Because I know it’s fiction!

If anything, I find video games to be rather therapeutic. I’m sure most of us have experienced those moments where someone pisses us off to the point where we picture ourselves punching them in the face over and over again. When those thoughts of aggression plague my mind, I wait until I get home, and then I take it out on my enemies in a good old game of Heroes of Might and Magic (for those of whom this game may be before your time, look it up, and then pick up a copy for cheap off of Steam or Good Old Games). Just like artists pour their emotions into their paintings, and musicians into their music, we gamers channel our negative emotions into slaying virtual monsters.

Aside from that initial question, that person also made a comment about how it’s better to read more books and play fewer video games. Well, to that I say pick up a Ken Follett or Game of Thrones book, and then see if you’re whistling the same tune. The majority of todays modern books are loaded with gory violence, very explicit sex scenes, and language that even those who drop the F bomb every other word would cringe at the sound of. So no, in the battle of books vs. video games, I would not say there’s really much of a difference content wise in this day and age. Besides, there are a thousand other reasons why our society as a whole is becoming more violent, and I’m pretty sure that how much time we spend on our computer or x-box 360 is pretty far down the list.

These are just my thoughts though. If you have your own opinions regarding this ongoing debate, I would love to hear them, so feel free to post your thoughts in the comments, and until next time, happy reading!

 

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

 

June 24, 2015 Posted by | Reflections on Life, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review – Star Wars: Dark Force Rising

 

 

 

 

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

I realize it’s been a while since my last post, but that’s what happens when you move to a new place and get your first job out of university. In other words, life got busy. Surprisingly, I’ve had a lot more time to set aside for some of the more simple pleasures, like reading for instance, which has allowed me to reward all of you wonderful followers with the first book review since… well, whenever my last one was.

Oh, and I should also mention, in case you haven’t noticed already, that I am changing the look of my blog. As much as I love the colour red, admittedly it was getting a little hard on the eyes, not to mention a little boring. Unfortunately, this change means that I need to spend a bit of time fixing a few things that the new theme went and altered, so if you’re unable to read some of the posts or if something is acting funny when you’re trying to click on it, then that’s probably why.

So, without further ado, here’s what I thought of Timothy Zahn’s “Star Wars: Dark Force Rising”.

 

Darkforcerising

stars-5
WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS (I always try my best to avoid spoiling a book for others, but I can’t make any guarantees. Hopefully anyone reading this is already aware that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father, and if not… Oops :P)
I previously posted a mid-way review for this book, figuring it might take a while until I actually made it to the end with everything that’s been happening lately, and I felt it was my duty to share at least some of my thoughts with you guys. Since then, my impression of this book has only improved. My favourite parts in this book are definitely the interactions between Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker, mostly because she has her sights set on killing him, and yet it ends up with either him saving her life, or her begrudgingly going to him for help. It’s my new favourite example of a love-hate relationship… that’s not to say that they’re in love with each other, but there’s definitely some kind of connection between them that cannot be ignored.
My next favourite, of course, is the Lando – Han tag team, getting up to all sorts of shenanigans as usual, mostly Han dragging Lando into missions that he doesn’t really want any part of. Probably due to past experiences that didn’t always end so well for him. They definitely had more presence in this book, most likely because the conflict between them and the new imperial fleet had amplified substantially.
That’s another thing I really liked about this book. The first one was more of an overview of what was going on with all the members of the original star wars gang since they blew up the Star Destroyer and the Empire crumbled beneath the feet of those who had chosen the path to the dark side. That’s not to say that nothing happened, but this one was definitely a lot more actioned packed, and you can tell that a whole lot of s*** is gonna be going down in the next one with the lovely little cliff hanger he left at the end.
Then there’s the crazy Jedi master C’baoth, who has clearly spent a little too much time by himself. At first I thought it might just be a character quirk, like when Luke first met Yoda. He was a little weird, speaking mostly in riddles and rummaging through his stuff. It was a delightful quirkiness that made you smile when you saw it. C’baoth is just… nuts! He has been driven mad by his own ideals, which pretty much involves Jedi becoming the rulers of everything and everyone. Now, maybe he turns out to be a good guy in the next one, and that everything until now has been an act, although I find it hard to believe after what happened at the end [don’t worry, I’ll keep the details to myself].
Overall, it was a damn good read. It was one of those books where the more I read, the more I wanted to keep reading, which surprised me because I was originally hesitant to read these books in the first place. Now, I can’t wait to find out what happens next, especially after what they discovered at the end of this one… let’s just say that certain events are seem to be repeating themselves, and it doesn’t look to good for the good guys.

I’m actually gonna take a little break from the series to finish another book I had started reading a while back, but set aside to start reading this series. Good Omens is a novel I’ve wanted to read for a very long time, ever since a friend of mine used to read it to me on the bus on our way to school. I used to be able to read books in any moving vehicle, but after a while I found myself getting a little motion sick, which is why I was very grateful that she was willing to read to me. Also, I didn’t own the book at the time, and she was giving it so much praise that I knew I had to read it myself someday.

In the meantime, feel free to leave your thoughts on this book, or any other book, in the comments, and as always, happy reading!

 

Cheers,

BookNerd

May 22, 2015 Posted by | Favourite Books For 2015, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paper Towns: Coming to a Theatre Near You!

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

Have you read and/or seen the Fault In Our Stars by John Green? If not, then make that priority number one.

Have you read Paper Towns, also by John Green? If not, I would also suggest that you do so as soon as possible.

Okay, have you done both of those things? Great, now you can read the remainder of John Green’s books, because by this point you’re likely hooked ^_^

I’ve already said this many times before, but John Green is my favourite modern teen fiction writer. He writes the kind of romance stories that you don’t have to be a teenager, or even a teen romance lover, to enjoy. It’s original, creative, and without any of that unnecessary cheesiness you get with other romance stories like, dare I say Twilight??? I apologize to all of those who have remained loyal fans to the vampire-human-werewolf love triangle, but at the same time I cannot help but throw this thought out there; if those books can get published, then I suppose anything is possible.

Okay, that’s enough of the Twilight bashing, especially since I could go on for hours. As you can see based on the title of todays post, I want to share my thoughts on the trailer for the upcoming movie based on one of my favourite novels of all time; Paper Towns. What I loved most about this story is that you really didn’t know how things were going to end up between Margo Roth Spiegleman and Quentin Jacobson. There’s nothing worse than a book with an obvious ending, as it only serves to leave you feeling disappointed in the end. Spiegleman was one of those unpredictable characters who lives life at her own pace, and just when both you, the reader, and Jacobson think they’ve got her figured out, they realize how very wrong they were. She really is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. I also enjoy Jacobon’s character, who to me is the living embodiment of the yearning that exists in all of us to break free from normalcy and seek out the strange and the unknown… and, you know, follow the person we’re head over heels for.

I’m always hesitant to watch movies that are based on books, especially when those books are very dear and near to my heart. After what they did to Eragon and some of the Harry Potter movies, my hesitancy has only grown more intense. I mean, how hard is it to slap a pair of elf ears on a girl, or pop a few creatures into a maze? And let’s not forget my disappointment from not being able to see what a Blast Ended Skrewt actually looks like. Those feelings aside, I finally convinced myself after half a year of it coming to theaters to watch The Fault in Our Stars, and you know what? I was absolutely delighted. I’m not saying it was perfect, but it was damn near close to how I had envisioned it looking in my head. The cast was great, the script was pure gold, and even though I don’t usually cry over watching a movie, I won’t deny that there was a tear or two threatening to role out of my tear duct.

Now, let’s cross our fingers that the same magic will be worked on this next movie, based on one of the first John Green books I owned – the first one being Will Greyson, Will Greyson, which I’m also looking forward to seeing a movie rendition of in the future. Any who, based on what I’ve seen from the trailer, thee movie does seem to show some promise, but I figure you guys should watch it and decide for yourselves. Will it be a hit? A miss? Are we looking at the new age of teen romance in the film industry? Watch the trailer below and share your thoughts in the comments, or if you’ve already seen it… well, you can leave your thoughts in the comments before anyone else does. Enjoy ^_^

Q: What’s the craziest, most out there thing you’ve ever done in your entire life?

Look forward to a year of epic movies, and epic books of course, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

April 22, 2015 Posted by | Book-To-Movie Adaptations | , , , , | Leave a comment

Star Wars: Dark Force Rising – Midway Book Review & More!

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

As winter finally begins to say its goodbyes and Spring comes in to takes its place, embracing us with its long awaited warmth, our minds also begin to lose their fatigue, overcoming the urge to hibernate and instead succumbing to the overwhelming need to dive head first into even more books. After all, there’s nothing like lying down on our backs in a luscious green meadow, holding a book high to the sky so that we can absorb both the book and the beautiful scenery into our eyes.

Unfortunately, if you’re in the Ottawa area like me, then your must have dropped down into your stomach as white flakes of frozen water began pouring from the sky for the umpteenth time. In a way, it was to be expected. After all, Ottawa weather is known for teasing us by offering a sample of nice weather, and then ripping it from our hands without any mercy. I love snow as much as a next person, but even I feel that it has overstayed its welcome. It’s almost getting to the point where we might have to officially change when the first day of spring is.

 Putting the disappointing weather aside, I have decided to provide all of you lovely booknerds with a pre-review of one of the books I am in the midst of reading. As you all know, I’m a slow reader. Avid, but slow. It can take me months to get through a single novel, regardless of how much I’m getting into the story. I’ve been getting some reading tips from my roommates, and I can feel my word intake speeding up already, but you still might have to wait a bit until I finish my current novel.

However, seeing as I’ve made it to the halfway point, I wanted t share my thoughts with you thus far.

Star Wars: Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn

Star Wars Dark Force Rising

Star Wars: Dark Force Rising is the sequel to Heir to the Empire from Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, a series which takes place five years after the events of the final Star Wars movie [the actual final one, not the ones they made after the original… you know, the ones that could have been good but for some reason weren’t]. Luke Skywalker is among the last of the Jedi , and therefore must carry the burden of not only training the next generation of Jedi, but also building up the new Republic.

In this action-packed sequel, remnants of the Empire are closing in, doing everything they can to get their hands on Leia and the twins she will soon give birth to. At the same time, Luke has finally tracked down who he believes to be the last of the Jedi masters… and let’s just say he isn’t quite what he expected. He’s certainly no Yoda, but Luke still has a great deal to learn before he can truly claim to be a Jedi master himself. Han and Lando, as always, get themselves into quite a bit of trouble, almost to the point where they’re questioning each others loyalties, but that just keeps things interesting. Then there’s the Noghri , most of whom are convinced that they must forever remain indebted to the Empire, while others realize that this is not a way of life that can continue into the future.

There is so much going on in this book already, and there’s still so much more to come. What I really like about Timothy Zahn’s writing is that he has captured the characters perfectly, and even with the new characters, he makes it feel as though they’ve been part of the of the star wars universe all along.

There used to be this unspoken rule that went around when I was young, which stated that if you were a star trek fan, then you weren’t allowed to like star wars. Well, to that I say if loving both scifi universes is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. My love of Star Wars has been around almost as long as my love of star trek, and you know why that is? Aside from both being based in the realm of science fiction, comparing these two universes is like comparing pokemon cards and yugioh cards; they’re just not comparable because they’re both good for very different reasons.  

Based on what I’ve read so far, I would definitely recommend this book to any and all star wars fans… heck, I would go so far as to recommend it to all science fiction fans! 

Now, while I’m in the mood for recommending things, if you haven’t had a chance to play this game, then I suggest you hop on Steam right now and get yourself a copy.

DSC07731I happened to come across this copy while I was at Value Village, and since it only cost a couple bucks, I saw no reason not to. I remembered seeing one of my brothers play it, and I knew my boyfriend was a big fan of it, so I knew it was good. It’s a bit of an older game, so the graphics aren’t the best, but the storyline and dialogue are amazing, and that’s something that’s hard to find in any game. It’s also a good game for someone like me, who is still relatively new to the gaming world outside of Pokemon, Tetris, Heroes of Might and Magic and Super Mario kart.

While still on the topic of science fiction, here’s today’s random question, which you can feel free to leave a response to in the comments below:

Q: Just like the kids from my youth claimed that you were not allowed to like both star wars and star trek, did the kids from your own youth come up with similarly crazy rules?

 

That’s all for today. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below any time, and until next time, happy reading! 

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Favourite Books For 2015 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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