Archives For Review

After loving Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, I wanted to read more from the author. He only had one other published novel, so I bought a copy of Ablutions and set to reading. I won’t deny how happy I was to see that the book was very short. Not even 200 pages! This was going to be an easy read. And while the prose was certainly easy and enjoyable, the content was dark and difficult. It took getting through the whole book to come to terms with wether deWitt had gone too far in his dark depictions of debauchery and apathy. Click to read more.

I’m a fan of a light read. Books that feel like work are often rewarding, but being a movie buff makes me slightly impatient. Sometimes all I need is to sit back and devour a really simple-to-read book. I would never claim that The Da Vinci Code is well-written, or even that it’s particularly good, but I still read it in the space of hours in a single night. One rare occasions I stumble upon that wonderful gift, a book that has the artistic heft of a difficult read and the light prose of a J.K. Rowling. Such is the case with Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, a revisionist Western of sorts that I managed to read in the space of a day. Click to read more.

Such a disappointment. I’d heard this book pimped by so many cinephiles, including the guys on Filmspotting. How could it possibly not live up? Easy Riders, Raging Bulls is Peter Biskind‘s book about the New Hollywood of the late-60s and 70s. It promised to run through everything. All the little details. A journalistic look at how the era came about and eventually faltered. Unfortunately I wasn’t told that the journalism was less New Yorker, more People Magazine. Click to read more.

Another Mark Kermode book! Only this time I actually read it. No audiobook crap on this one. Amazingly, I could pretty much hear Kermode’s voice in my head as I read it, so it wasn’t too unlike the pleasures of an audiobook. It’s Only a Movie is essentially a memoir. Kermode talks about growing up, falling in love with movies, becoming a journalist, doing journalist things, and watching Werner Herzog get shot. Click to read more.

I love me some Mark Kermode. LOVE HIM! For those of you who may not be familiar with The Good Doctor, Mark Kermode PhD is a film critic for BBC radio. His show is available on iTunes as a podcast called Kermode and Mayo Film Review. Go listen to it. It’s great.

Anyway, Mark Kermode is one of the most entertaining and erudite critics around. He also knows how to string a damn good sentence together. He’s passionate and loud and funny and loves to rant. Basically the perfect guy to write a book about the state of film in the modern era. But here’s the rub: I didn’t actually “read” his latest book, The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex. Instead, since he’s a great guy to listen to on the radio, I opted for the audiobook version. Kermode reads his book and brings so much passion in his voice that I can’t recommend “reading” it any other way. Click to read more.

Two books down. My choice for the second book of my 50 Book Pledge was Cormac McCarthy’s seminal Blood Meridian. Given how much I loved the Coen brothers’ adaptation of No Country for Old Men, and how great McCarthy’s novel The Road was, my excitement was pretty high. Sadly, I can’t say I enjoyed Blood Meridian very much. Click to read more.

One book down! Yay!

Look, I’m a bit of an idiot. I got a late start on this #50BookPledge business, but then on top of that I decided my first book would be an 850 page fantasy opus. I’m just lucky the prose wasn’t as heavy as War and Peace or else my pledge would have been over before it even started.

Anyway, on to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It’s a book by one Susanna Clarke, released some years ago to a fair bit of acclaim and a nice spot on a number of bestsellers lists. It’s an interesting book in that it’s not exactly easy to fit it into a box. On the one hand it’s a fantasy book. No doubt about it. It’s got magicians who can do real magic, fairies, naval armadas made out of rain, all that jazz. But it’s also something of an alternate history tale, except the “alternate” in this case is that it’s an 19th Century England in which magic once existed and is now being restored. And then on top of this, the book is written in a style highly reminiscent of the works of Jane Austen, mixed with a little Charles Dickens.

If all this sounds like it might be up your alley, then you should probably just stop reading now and go pick up a copy of the book. Click to read more.

There is always a lot riding on the final entry in a great series, but I don’t think expectations for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows could have been higher. The Harry Potter series was already far and away the best-selling book series ever published and the fans were ravenous. J.K. Rowling’s last book about the adventures of Harry Potter and his friends needed to be great. It needed to be epic. And most of all, it needed to be satisfying. I can tell you, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows does not disappoint in the slightest. Click to read more

The penultimate chapter in the Harry Potter series has arrived. It’s time to talk about J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I’d like to warn anyone who might read this review that there will be SPOILERS. But not just spoilers for Half-Blood Prince. I fully expect that anyone reading this already knows what transpires between Snape and Dumbledore. No, this review will contain SPOILERS for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Again, I imagine most people reading this review have already read the entire book series, but there may be a few of you who have only seen the films, in which case I’d be giving away events that take place in Deathly Hallows Part 2.

Now that we have that housekeeping out of the way, I’d like to get right into my review of what I consider the very best book in the Harry Potter series. In my mind, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince may be a clear stepping stone into the final book, but I also think it is the best, most compelling book in the series. Click to read more

When Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released back in 2003, I loved it like everyone else, but like everyone else I was a bit put off by the darker, more angry Harry. Dude, I know Voldemort is back and that kid from last year died, but can’t you lighten up just a little? Harry’s teen angst made for a book that was not only the longest in the series, but the most aimless and boring. All I can ask myself now is, what the hell was I thinking? Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a remarkable book. Click to read more