Tag Archive | good omens

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

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New Publishers, New Books, New Year!

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

How quickly time passes sometimes. It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly two whole months since last I posted something, and it is not for lack of nothing to say. The month of November was plagued with essays, projects and exam preparations, while December… well, aside from exams, it really wasn’t all that busy, but my brain has a tendency to shut down for a few weeks following that taxing exam period 🙂 That does not, however, mean that my love of books and reading them has waned in the least! I have many new books to share with you all, but first, I have some BIG NEWS!

A dear friend of mine has recently started his own publishing company, which you should know as fellow book lovers is a pretty big deal in the world of literature. Its official launch is in January, but you can already get to know a bit about them by visiting one of the following web locations:

Drawn Forth Publishing - Stirling, Ontario Drawn Forth Publishing: Books for a Better World

Facebook: www.facebook.com/drawnforth

Website: www.drawnforth.org

Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrawnForth

Whoever said that literature was a dying art was greatly mistaken, for it is alive and well so long as there are skilled writers with limitless imaginations, and publishers willing to give them the opportunity to share them both with the world. I’d like to wish them the best of luck, and I hope all of you lovely BookNerds will do the same.

Now on to the next bit of news!

As I am sure I have mentioned time and time again – to the point where you guys are probably sick and tired of hearing it but I’ll probably keep mentioning it anyway – I am a bit of a slow reader. I like to take my sweet time while I read, which means that months can pass and I’ll still be on the same book. However, that hasn’t stopped me from building up my reading collection, providing me with even more books that I’ll be able to enjoy as I’m sitting in my rocking chair, poking the ceiling above me with a broom every time the upstairs neighbors get a little too rowdy.

One of the new books I purchased is actually one I had been meaning to get my hands on for quite some time, but I could never seem to find it. Although thinking back, I’m sure I could have found it on Amazon and ordered it in no time, but I’ve never been a big fan of online shopping. I like to go out and physically see and feel the things I’m going to buy, so that there’s less of a chance of me wanting to return them later on for whatever reason. Fortunately enough, I succeeded in finding the one I was looking for…

Good Omens Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

So many people have accused British humor as being dry, lifeless and just the kind of humor that goes right over your head. Well to those people, I say go buy any of the books written by Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman, and tell us what you really think. This book is witty, clever and at times I literally feel like my side is going to split because I’m laughing so hard! I never thought a book about angels, demons and the anti-Christ could be so wonderfully funny, but I guess that’s what happens when you get two of the worlds most brilliant authors working together.

On top of finding this little treasure, I also received the best birthday present one could get; an entire book series! Admittedly, I had never even heard of the series before, but after reading the first couple chapters of the first book, I felt guilty about my ignorance, as it is just so bloody amazing…

mistborn-trilogy Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Just another fantasy book? I think not. Sanderson has a way of making every character relevant to the story, even if they only make a five second appearance. The protagonists are very multi-layered, making it hard to tell whether they’re the good guys or the bad guys, but either way you can’t wait to see what they do next. I’ve always had a hard time finding books that had a good, strong female character, who doesn’t immediately become a damsel in distress as soon as a handsome, muscular man appears. Vin is an excellent female heroine, one whose strength lies in her ability to read situations and react to them in a way which benefits her, without being annoying or too full of herself. Then there is Kelsier, the kind of male protagonist who you can’t help but be on his side, no matter what horrible thing he does. I’m only two chapters in, and already I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble they get into next!

  So many books to read, yet so little time to read them in. I guess I’ll just have to keep doing my best, and perhaps stop buying books for a little while so I can catch up on the ones I already have… nah! I’ll come up with a much better new years resolution than that. Speaking of new years resolution, I would love to know what my book loving followers have in mind regarding their vows for the new year! If you feel like sharing, feel free to do so in the comments below. I’ll try to get things started, as soon as I can figure out what my new years resolution is going to be 😉

That’s all for today. For my next post, I’m hoping to get a bit more insight into the up and coming publishing company Drawn Forth, in order to give you guys more details as to what kind of services they will be providing, and possibly even point some of you up and coming writers in their direction. Until then, bundle up nice and warm next to the fireplace, and happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Words of Wisdom: Neil Gaiman

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

Before getting to the focal point of today’s blog, I would like to give a HUGE thanks to all of my followers. I have never taken on this kind of internet responsibility before, with people hanging on my every word and sharing what I have to say with others. I mentioned this before, but my goal is to become an established Opinions columnist, and this has essentially become one of my stepping stones for getting there. Thanks to you all, I have more confidence than ever in my ability to gauge people’s interests and deliver a unique and personal insight on the matter. Hugs and high fives all around, and I hope to be able to continue meeting your expectations in the future ^_^

Now, before I get all teary eyed, let’s move on to the main event for today. To follow this weeks ‘book’ theme, I decided to dig up another quote for the Words of Wisdom segment. This weeks quote comes from British author Neil Gaiman, who wrote such brilliant masterpieces as Good Omens, Coraline, and American Gods. He also made an appearance alongside author John Green and his brother – and established music artist – Hank Green at Carnegie Hall for “An Evening of Awesome”. I’ll post a clip of the event at the end of the post, but for now, let us bask in the wisdom of this man’s wit as he addresses the existence of our dreams …

neil-gaiman-lantern_0

(Neil Gaiman, 1960 ~ present)

“People think dreams aren’t real just because they aren’t made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes.”

Just what you would expect from a man whose imagination knows no bounds, inspiring thousands to realize their own dreams by fulfilling his own. I first became aware of this author back in high school. One of my friends, whom I have known since early childhood, would read chapters of Good Omens to me on the bus every day. She told me that I would like it even before she started, and like every other time she said that, I fell in love with this author’s work. We never did manage to get to the end of that book before high school ended, but I have been a die hard fan of his ever since.

I would love to hear about how you guys were introduced to his work, and what you first impression was:

  • What books of his have you read?
  • What did you think of them?
  • How do his books differ from any others you’ve ever read?

Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments – just click on the speech bubble in the top right corner – and if you haven’t read any of his books before, or are unfamiliar with the identity of this author, then I think a little bit of research is in order 🙂

That’s all for today. As always, happy reading, and here is the video clip I promised you:

Cheers,

BookNerd

Thoughts from Aboard Via Rail

Hello All!

I was glad to see that so many people found my Writing Tips from yesterdays post to be useful. To pass the time for the next four hours as I travel by train to Ottawa, I decided to continue that train of thought (pun intended) by focusing on some of the places where some of the greatest novels were written, and what it was that inspired the ideas behind these literary masterpieces.

Travel Writing

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

The witches and wizards we have all come to know and love came into being aboard a train traveling to London, England. I don’t thin it could have been written any other way. It only took about four hours on a train for the dark haired, bespectacled wizard to take shape, and the world that he was soon to be thrown into.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

This fantasy series was an interesting one, as it was not only written during and following World War 2, but it wasn’t even written in the order that it was meant to be read. Many of the tales are a reflection of what took place in his own life, combined with his initial inspiration sparked by the illustrations, which were cobbled together before the series was given life.

The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

This twelve book series seems like like your average fantasy series, but there is actually more to it than that. This series was heavily influenced by the work of Ayn Rand, who took a more philosophical approach to her books. Goodkind was more or less intent on presenting certain human and philosophical themes in the guise of a fantasy adventure, exploring certain human dilemmas and emotional situations to give an in depth look into the human experience.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

This is yet another series that was written during the turmoil brought about during World War II, beginning with the newly rejuvenated The Hobbit. This is one of those series that has undergone extensive analysis, from the various themes to its many origins, all in the hopes to get inside the authors mind. The completion of his was slow going, since he was in the midst of his career as a university examiner. This just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what you end up doing in life; there is always time to write an epic tale. The Lord of the Rings portion of the series was written a few years later, the chapters of which were sent back and forth between himself and his son, Christopher, who at the time was away serving with the Royal Air Force.

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

This work is a classic, with a rich history of being both an amazing novel, and a mischief maker. H.G. Wells wrote this story in response to multiple historical events, resulting in a projected scenario of what would become of humanity if it were to fall prey to an alien race. The main event to spark the idea for this novel was actually in 1894, when Mars had fallen into a position in the sky where you could actually see it, which led to the speculation of the possibility of life existing on the surface of Mars. Wells has a history of making certain predictions in his writing, most of them revealing worst case scenario’s such as aerial bombings, gas warfare, advanced lazer-based weaponry, and even robots.  Through his writing, Wells revealed a side of humanity that was not exactly positive, but which provoked deep philosophical discussions about human nature and how it reacts to threats of an unknown nature.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Only these two authors could take such a serious and complex concept and turn it into a comedy that is both entertaining and insightful. The idea of this story is that of the Four Horsemen – War, Famine, Pollution and Death – coming down to earth in order to pass judgement on the human race, and the attempts of and angel and a demon to stop this from happening, having become quite comfortable living among humans. All of this is coming to pass due to the birth of the Anti-Christ, or the son of Satan, who must decide between living a life of good or evil. You can see from the topic that this is a tale based, if only loosely, on different religious prophecies, revealed in a humorous fashion reminiscent of Monty Python. Gaiman and Pratchett had known each other for some time, and it seemed like a mutual agreement to set forth in making a collaborative novel, and they continuously swapped parts during the writing process so that they both contributed equally to all of the different characters.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Normally I wouldn’t bother giving mention to this series, but knowing that there exists a rather large following, it seemed only fair that I put my own feeling s about the series aside and give it some time in the spotlight.  This was the first book Meyer had ever written, and it is essentially the embodiment of almost every girls’ fantasy; falling in love with a handsome, yet feared and misunderstood vampire. She claims that the main premise for the novel came to her in a dream, subconsciously witnessing the romantic tale of a vampire falling in love with a human, while at the same time trying not to kill her. It resembles the tale of Romeo and Juliet, the idea being that the romance is forbidden by both sides, and it ends up leading to a greater conflict than they initially thought. The concept of human and vampire romance is nothing new, if I learned anything from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Still, Meyer has started up the vampire craze all over again, both on paper and on the big screen.

These are only to name a few, but there are hundreds more authors who stumbled across an idea in all different manner’s of places, times and situations. Since I enjoyed doing this so much, I have now decided to start yet another weekly segment, with the intention of presenting a book every week which was written under unique or interesting circumstances, and also including where their inspiration came from.

As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns, I would be most happy to read them from the comments below. Happy reading everyone!

Cheers 🙂