The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

31 08 2010

The Graveyard Book is a children’s book written by Neil Gaiman.  This book really took me by surprise.  I thought that the way it started was very grisly and far too frightening for a children’s book.  In fact, I was so disturbed by the opening chapter that I almost put it down.  Boy, am I glad I kept on reading!

This book is certainly for a more mature child, one that is used to reading things that might be disturbing to think about or to imagine.  The first chapter opens with the murder of the entire family of the child who is eventually named Nobody (Bod) Jones, and for the killer’s hunt for him (a child of only 2).  However, as the story developed I found myself enchanted with the idea of the plot and also with the characters, especially those of Bod and his “guardian” Silas.  And then toward the end when you find out about the “Jacks”, the action really starts to move and the whole book comes together.

The cast of characters is great and what creative and daydreaming child would not want to have as much freedom as Bod, as many special powers, and so many loving caring souls looking out for him.

For me this book is about the strength of the pure and unjaded soul of childhood.  It is too bad that as Bod grows up he has to lose his special powers and his adopted “family” but we all have to grow up and go out in the world.  At least Bod’s life will continue to be a great adventure.

This book was borrowed from the library.


The Passage – Justin Cronin

30 08 2010

I recently finished reading The Passage by Justin Cronin.  I have to admit that I knew there was a lot of publicity and hype around this book, but I didn’t really know what it was about.  It wasn’t until I saw it listed on a post-apocalypse reading list that I decided to try it.  Also, it happened to be on the shelf at my library when I was looking for something to read.

Let me just say that reading this book was a very fortuitous accident.  It has been a long time since a book has gripped me like this one did.  So much so, that I found myself dreaming about it in between bouts of reading it.  Believe me, I only put it down so that I could sleep.  This book was all consuming. 

Yes, there were parts that were rather simplistic, and parts that I wish had been expanded upon but overall this was a compelling book and one that is very entertaining.  Also, despite the subject matter there were parts that were definitely meant to be humorous. 

The beginning reminded me a lot of Firestarter by Stephen King which is one of my all time favorite books.  The rest was purely original.  Some people are saying this is a vampire book, but you know what, based on the current sub-genre of vampire books that are popular, ie. sexy, friendly, animal eating, super heroes, this is not a vampire novel.  This is an original book that holds its own and will probably create its own sub-genre just like cyber punk created a sub-genre of Sci-Fi.

It is hard to say I loved a book like this, how can you love a book about the hopelessness of the end of the world as we know it?  All I can say is that I want more and I can’t wait for the next two books in the series.

Why Do I Read This Trash?!?

22 04 2010

Ok, I admit it, I am a huge fan of vampire novels and movies.  I have been since I discovered Interview with the Vampire in the university bookstore when I was buying my text books.  (I am not going to say how long ago this was.)

I love the Sookie Stackhouse books and can’t wait for True Blood to start again in June.  I also enjoy The Vampire Diaries.  I love the original Dracula by Bram Stoker and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) movie is one of my favorites. 

Some vampire books are spooky, some are scary, some are about loners others about vamps as an organized group of beings almost like us just immortal, all of them are sexy in one way or another but I think the books by Hamilton are overly sexed.  They use the vampires or other fantasy beings; fairies, lycanthropes, necromancers as a cover for what they really are, bodice-ripper romances with an urban, modern twist that border on pornography.

The first one I read was  Danse Macabre and although I am definitely not prudish, I was ready to put it down.  Of course I didn’t, I liked the story line, I kept hoping that the story would get more developed.  I recently read two more books by Laurell K. Hamilton – Divine Misdemeanors and Flirt – both of them are mystery/thrillers but both of them disappointed me becaues instead of developing great plots they got side-tracked into sex and then the sex took over.  I know to some of you out there this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but if I want to read porn I will get something from the erotica section of the book store.

Every time I read a book by Hamilton I tell myself never again, then I see one in the library and I think what the heck, give her another try after all she has a huge fan base and she is always on the best seller list so there must be something good about these books.  Well, I just can’t see it.  It’s too bad, I wish I could come away from the books at least feeling entertained but I don’t even get that.  I actually feel that all I have done is indulge my prurient interests and over-indulged in voyeurism.

So, the next time I see one and am tempted to pick up, I will have to tell myself “just say no”, and walk away.

Both books were borrowed from the library.