Monday, January 28, 2013

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

It should not have taken me so long to get around to reading Cloud Atlas, but it did.  The book was recommended to me by a trusted source, and I normally wouldn't put it off as long as I did, but somehow it just turned out this way.

I can't say I regret it taking so long, though.  The book is excellent, and I think it best that I read it over the past week or so, when I was in a place that I could focus on it and get into it the way I wanted to.  It's a book that wants that kind of attention, and deserves it.

The structure of the novel is beautifully envisioned and executed.  The unfolding of the stories could not have been more perfectly put together.  And the way the book resonates... it's just a lovely reading experience.

If you haven't read it yet, do.  It's really worth lending your best readerly attention to this book.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Van Helsing

I'd seen bits and pieces of Van Helsing at various times since it came out, but never got a chance to sit down and watch the whole movie until recently.  That's actually kind of funny, because I had intended to see it on the big screen when it was first released.

I ended up quite enjoying the movie.  It was fun, for the most part, and full of action.  I enjoyed the way it played with older texts and wove together a new, engaging story that was fun in its own rights.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Hobbit

I finally got around to seeing The Hobbit last week after Christmas.  I thought it a visually stunning film, like the other LOTR movies, but it was much too long.  I really don't see the need to push it to three installments.  The story became draggy, and it doesn't make the next two look very promising.  There was too much of the beautiful-scenery-and-music going on.  A quicker pace and shorter film would've been preferable, I think.

I've always been a big fan of Tolkien, and liked the first three films, but this one has made me think twice about whether or not I will see the final two.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

The Time Traveler's Wife

I expected to enjoy The Time Traveler's Wife more than I did. Part of the problem may have been that my expectations were higher than usual, since I'd heard so much about it and felt like I was rather late to the party when I did finally get to read it.  But somehow, it didn't quite measure up to the hype.

That's not to say the book was bad, because it wasn't.  There were parts of it that I really enjoyed.  But something about it just didn't quite strike a chord with me.  What I did like was the structure of the novel, and the way the past, present and future all unfolded simultaneously.  I liked most of the characters, too, but did feel there was something of an uneven quality in the narration — little bumps along the way that made the read a little less smooth in some bits than I was ready for.

It's not a complete waste of time to read the book, especially if you are interested in the question of time, free will, etc.  But it wasn't amongst my favorites from my 2012 reading list either.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Fish Eats Lion

Apologies for the recent hiatus.

Now... Fish Eats Lion!  This anthology of speculative fiction from Singapore was quite a pleasure to read.  It includes one of my own short stories, and we had quite a good time at the recent launch.  But I don't mention it here simply because it includes my story.  The fact is, I thought the quality of fiction included in the anthology was pretty impressive, and the range of themes and styles was much broader than I expected.  Jason Erik Lundberg did an outstanding job editing the volume, and the book is a beautiful product in its own right.

You can visit the Books Actually website for more details.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Virginia Woolf's Orlando isn't the sort of book I usually mention on this blog, but a recent rereading of it made me think it worth a plug here.

For any who don't already know, Orlando is a bit of weird tale, a time- and gender-bender (not genre-bender, but gender-bender).  It is fun how the novel plays with the question of time and the development of humankind and culture in a survey of several centuries.  At the heart of it is the development of gender issues, and I like the way the story offers a playful treatment of what is (not only in real life, but in the text's treatment) deadly serious.

And of course, it's Virginia Woolf.  What other recommendation does one need?

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Source Code

A friend recommended Source Code to me several weeks ago, saying she thought I'd like the concept, even if the movie were not 100% my thing.  As it turns out, I enjoyed it very much.  I like the concept, and I like the storyline too.

I don't want to say too much because I hate coming across spoilers of shows I haven't seen yet.  But I can say that if you like movies that explore the nature of time and the human mind and how the mind experiences time, then you'll probably enjoy Source Code as much as I did.

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