The Crisis That Is Social Media

“Everyone lives three versions of themselves; a public life, a private life and a secret life.”

Hullo pips! I haven’t been updating the blog much but I’ve been reading Broken Monsters for quite some time now and still have not quite finished. To those not familiar to the novel, it is a supernatural-thriller written by Lauren Beukes who has done several award-winning novels with unique premises, one of them about a time-travelling serial-killer which I am going to read soon. Hah, look who’s excited. Anyway, Broken Monsters has an equally riveting premise that touches the horrors of the unknown, making you question what is real and not.

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When I picked up this book, I’m not sure what I was up against. A generic cop-thriller, maybe? A sympathetic serial-killer? A goldfish? It was far better than that (I could do with the goldfish though) and far more different than expectations (there was no goldfish). Broken Monsters is filled with different personalities that at times it barely resembles a mystery novel. The multiple-POV approach introduces us to different characters and allows us to see the city dynamically, from a cop’s more cynical perspective to a journalist’s embellished eye for detail. What is distinct about this book is that it’s all about the characters, not the murder or the story, and the book is shaped through their drive and quirks– how each person keep up with their relationships, their jobs, their sanity and their dreams in a city that is gradually falling apart. Take Tom Perrota’s Little Children and add the hallucinatory experience and social commentary of Paranoia Agent in the mix, and you get a snarky and progressive thriller that’ll make you laugh and scared for your life.  Continue reading

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WWWoW – Strange Novels. Just an Inch Strange.

What are you currently reading?

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The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A writer’s story comes true..??

It seems my hang-over reading The Watcher in the Shadows never vanished, so now I’m reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s second book~ I’m just afraid I won’t like it as much as The Watcher in the Shadows because it certainly set the bar too high. We have the Sempere & Sons cameo though, and that enough could make my heart jump (and damn how it did).


What did you recently finished reading?

27003Thursday Next: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

A strong female heroine tries to catch a super villain who thought it a great idea to kill characters from novels. It was.

 Aaaarghh. What the hell were you thinking Fforde?! What the hell?! Eyebrows were raised while reading this book. I’m not sure what to think about it at all. It’s horribly written but really fun to read. Thursday is bland as much as Acheron is amusing. The story is all over the place and some chapters are better left out. I have a lot of issues about this book but enjoying it is not one of them. This is so confusing.


Waiting on Wednesdays

Okay. I decided to put WWW and WOW together since I couldn’t follow-up with the books that I intend to read. Something always comes up that deems far more important to read, so, instead, I’ll post here the books I want to read.

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The Emperor’s Railroad by Guy Haley

Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…

Expected publication: April 19, 2016

Post-apocalyptic stories are always good reads; this is why I’m wondering I don’t read much of them. This one looks weird enough, and I don’t think I’ve ever read a post-apocalyptic book with zombies, monsters and angels.


Eight Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven’t Talked About Enough/In A While

Hah. Here we are. The post where I get to talk about my favorite novels. And ten eight of them. Gush.

THE STAND

My favorite of all King’s novels. It drove me to read twenty of his novels and become obsessed with anything related to King. This epic book provides lots of room for discussion, especially about its characters, so I’m not sure why I haven’t brought it up that much in my blog, or to anyone at that matter.

The Stand begins with Captain Trips, a virus that wipes out most of the population…

No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side.

Or you don’t.

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There was an instance of my life when I was driven to madness by Tumblr. Shuuen no Shiori was one of the catapults that turned me into an academic in that wretched place. A terrible one. I just couldn’t stop talking about it. I made twenty-pages worth of character analysis, with bits of psychology and sociology thrown here and there. The funny thing is that it barely comes across my mind these days.

Shuuen no Shiori or Bookmark of Demise is a vocaloid series about four friends who got involved in a Demise Game where one of them is the fox. They have to kill the fox or else, all of them will die. It’s a wonderful psychological horror/drama with lots of unexpected twists and turns.

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I’ve been a huge reader of Martha Grimes works since I was 15. I even wrote a letter to her once.

Her RY books is a series of mystery novels starring Richard Jury, our melancholic yet charming detective and his sidekick, Melrose Plant, the ex-earl who can buy pretty much anything with just a card and cheque and one of the funniest characters I have ever come across. A very fascinating mystery series with lots of quirky yet thoughtful characters (especially the dogs and children~). It’s always a delight to read.

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Oh yes. I was one of those people who gawked hallelujah to this series, which spawned hundreds of YA Dystopian rip-offs and quadruple movies that are better off as trilogies. I thought it was pretty awesome book, and still is. It was an exciting read that kept me awake for days with a powerful ending.

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A middle-grade book that more people should read and I ought to talk more about. It features a boy who could see witches and takes place in New York City, where magic is being replaced with machines. It’s a very colorful book with lots of promise. Now, if Moriarty could just start writing the next book

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The third book/series that blew up my mind. The Discworld series couldn’t taught me enough about race, politics, jingoism, morality, and so much more but not without pulling off laughs. I used to contribute a few Disc stuff on Tumblr but haven’t talked much of it lately.

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To Kill a Mockingbird was the second book that blew me away. A lot of explosions happened during my teenage years and thankfully enough, this book was one of them. I was fifteen when my eyes were opened about racism and, though the book didn’t explicitly said that word, I grew to learn that such things happened. Racism isn’t a common topic in our education (but patriotism and the English language are, funnily enough) so, after reading this book, I was simply stumped. 

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Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

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You guessed it. The first book that blew away my life and my world. I’ve been an avid fan of the series when I was twelve onwards and what it did to me was very, very life-changing. It taught me to think and listen. It taught me to flip over the chessboard and see things from another person’s point-of-view. It made me love puzzles, mysteries, and most of all, books. It taught me that space in reality that is reserved for magic and how to grasp that. It taught me how to look beyond the catbox. It taught me to empathize and to reason. How I miss this one.

It is easy to cast magic on other people. And believing in other people’s magic is not so difficult. The hardest thing is casting magic on yourself.

WWW – Funerals, Cemeteries, Open-Forums, and Merceneries

The Three Ws are:


What are you currently reading?

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The Stranger by Albert Camus

Uh. A guy’s mother just died.

I just started reading this one. I don’t have much of an idea what the book is going to be about but the buzzwords are murder, existentialism, and philosophy.


What did you recently finished reading?

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Daniel Sempere figures out the mystery of his favorite author Julian Carax.

Recently my favorite book. Check out my review of it here.

Rage by Stephen King/Richard Bachman

A boy takes his class in hostage and starts an open forum.

One of King’s more controversial books. Rage was put out-of-print by King himself after a series of school shootings that transpired after the book’s publication. This is the first book he published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. I already made a review of this one here, but somehow lost it in WP. Charlie Decker would have been amazed of my raw screams of pain.


Waiting on Wednesdays

Okay. I decided to put WWW and WOW together since I couldn’t follow-up with the books that I intend to read. Something always comes up that deems far more important to read, so, instead, I’ll post here the books I want to read.

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Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd

Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Shattered Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent’s principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he’s not forced to rely on others or kill without cause. Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won’t turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he’s met over the years. So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine. Expected publication: May 16, 2016

THIS BOOK BEGS TO BE READ.


A Book That Loves Books

 

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The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. (Goodreads)

Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.

How do I even begin talking about The Shadow of the Wind?

As it unfolded, the structure of the story began to remind me of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable ever-smaller dolls within. Step by step the narrative split into a thousand stories, as if it had entered a gallery of mirrors, its identity fragmented into endless reflections.”

That’s an actual quote from the book. The nerve.

…until that moment I had not understood that this was a story about lonely people, about absence and loss, and that that was why I had taken refuge in it until it became confused with my own life, like someone who has escaped into the pages of a novel because those whom he needs to love seem nothing more than ghosts inhabiting the mind of a stranger.”

Well, I’ll be damned. The book is doing all the review by itself. What am I here for?

“Well, this is a story about books.

“About books?”

“About accursed books, about a man who wrote them, about a character who broke out of the pages of a novel so that he could burn it, about a betrayal and a lost friendship. It’s a story of love, of hatred, and of the dreams that live in the shadow of the wind.

Shut up book. You’re taking over my job.

Could I just fill this review with quotes? Of course I can. The Shadow of the Wind is a bookworm’s trove of quotes, the ones you post in Pinterest or your own wall. It’s a book that loves books.

A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”

Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”

I was raised among books, making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast from dust and whose smell I carry on my hands to this day.”

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Psychos, Girls, Clubs, and Oranges

Film Friday is where I post short reviews of movies and why you should try them out! Today’s feature are the most messed-up films that I have ever watched. The cons are primarily about the said movie being messed-up. They are certainly un-family-friendly, unless you and your kids find watching sex and violence altogether an instructive experience, then we’re cool.

Click the titles to check out more details about the movie.

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AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000)

SYNOPSIS: Before becoming the dark knight, Bruce Wayne is bigshot businessman by day, a sadistic murderer by night.

Actually a pretty film to look at. In retrospect, all films in this list have good aesthetics. For American Psycho, we are brought to the heights of the American dream. Posh condos, trendy restaurants, slick designer suits and cream-colored business cards and for Patrick Bateman, his daily routine follows strict observance to his vanity from his morning necessities to his midnight flings. All is bright and shiny at day but we see hints of a more sinister nature as the film progresses. The violence is only subtly hinted and not like those disgusting gore-fest films, despite what the title implies, it has a message in mind. It was a crazy, humorous and thoughtful look of, not of human nature’s violent monstrosities, but our obsession to material things and ourselves and the shallowness of that culture. Plus, Christian Bale is just an amazing mad guy here and you’ll find yourself disgusted and fascinated at him, all at the same time.

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GONE GIRL (2014)

SYNOPSIS: Nick Dunn managed to lost his wife in their anniversary. People start to hate him for it.

Directed by David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network), Gone Girl touches marriage and the media circus in a twisted sort of way. The film itself is grim-looking. It looks as if it’s about to get swallowed by shadows and interestingly, the effect is often used in showing Nick and Amy’s happier relationship as a couple. While I could ramble about its themes, all my praises go to the amazing portrayals of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as Nick and Amy respectively, who added much intensity to their roles. A film that could have been utterly ridiculous, with Fincher’s style and the perfect cast, the experience is overall, breath-taking and just whoa.

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FIGHT CLUB (1999)

SYNOPSIS: First rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB. Second rule: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB. MAN RAAGEEE ARRRGGHH

Another David Fincher movie! If Gone Girl was intense in a quiet sort of way, Fight Club is your testosterone-filled, pumped-up action movie that will have you holding your breath most of the time. It stars Edward Norton as a weary-eyed white-collar who buys Ikea furniture and visits caregroups to fill up the empty hole in his heart. He later meets Brad Pitt and they develop this intimate relationship where they punch each other. The film touches materialism like American Psycho and has that gritty feel akin to Fincher’s style, but portrayed in extremes. I honestly thought the film was entirely ridiculous but I was hooked up to the end. 
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A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1972)

SYNOPSIS: A film that promotes our healthy youthful communities and their inspiring services to the country.

A Clockwork of Orange was a film I hated so much at first, and grew to love and appreciate later. The impact hit me after a few days and I ended up rambling mindlessly about it.

The film portrays a futuristic Britain and the daily flings of Alex and his droogs, from beating beggars to raping women. It was a very difficult film to stomach and often times I have to pause for breaks and get myself a drink of water. Despite its dark themes, the film displays vibrant colors and light pastels plus powerful imagery that heavily contrasts to the violence involved in the scenes. It has various commentary about society, media, religion and so much more to ponder about.

How about you guys? Any movies you’ve recently watched and enjoyed? Seen any of these sick shows? I could use more of them (laughs awkwardly).

Detective Palace Cares..?

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The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway?

Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.

The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job—but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week—except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.

The first in a trilogy, The Last Policeman offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. As Palace’s investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we’re confronted by hard questions way beyond “whodunit.” What basis does civilization rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered? (Goodreads)

The Last Policeman was one of the novels I had a hard time reading. It’s not because the book was bad. I picked it up because it has an interesting premise— pre-apocalyptic America and a murder dressed as a suicide– and it was a fairly easy book to finish. The problem was, I couldn’t read it without feeling so down and near to tears.
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