Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Golden Compass

[Just as starting note... I thought that I published this awhile ago... but it turns out it was saved as a draft! Oops. ] So I began to read the Golden Compass and to be honest I'm not completely enthralled in it. I'm not sure if that's because I'm not a huge fantasy fan or not. Actually I'm quite certain it had to do with dust! I suppose it could be deemed logical in the sense that everything is made up of some sort of matter. Dust is something that is mentioned from the start with Lord Asriel (Lyra's uncle/father hah!) but it always remains a mystery-never fully resolved. I felt like a lot of aspects of the fantasy world weren't quite developed. The world that was created seemed too much like our world, which I think was intended so that the matters being discussed (souls, right and wrong, passion and life) could be pondered and related to life as "we" know it.
I really didn't appreciate how every character, except Roger, seemed to be self centered.. I thought that Lyra was a just a quirky, independent adolescent but I also believed that she would save Roger. His death was a selfish sacrifice. On a positive I liked the representation of the soul and how it was not connected to the person. Instead of being the soul OF a person it was in the form of a daemon. That made me think of what type of daemon I would have... I'd probably mature into having a squirrel or something nervous or flighty hah :)
I'm glad I attempted to understand this book. I suppose it's like a new type of food that you either like or cannot stand. This was definitely no cupcake.

(I read the school's copy of "The Golden Compass"... it was missing probably twenty pages here and there.. so I watched the movie as well. Altogether an interesting read)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Hobbit

This story is very much apart of the fantasy genre. I first read J. R. R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit" when I was about ten years old or so and I absolutely fell in love with it... Harry Potter has nothing on Bilbo! I actually inherited a first edition copy of it (from 1937) with all of the original illustrations and green cloth cover.. so this particular book is very dear to me. Tolkein's descriptive imagery is really quite outstanding especially considering the use of song and rhyme that make up Bilbo's world.
An ironic part to this book is in the very beginning while Bilbo is "entertaining" the dwarves he listens to their enchanting music and can't even comprehend that the lyrics to the song reflect the journey he is about to ensue. All the songs and verses within the book are descriptive in the telling of location and what will happen. For a young adult book I think that the writing is quite inventive. Another aspect of fantasy that takes hold of Bilbo is how his persona and character is affected by the story rather than in most stories where the character is merely a character. The evolution Of Mr. Baggins is very humanistic and the fact that he craves/forced into adventure at a mature age makes the story even more fantastical. I also love the fact that a short "pleasantly plump" hobbit that is totally fixated on food and comfort becomes more and more like Indiana Jones. I will note, however that Gandolf does help in rescuing Bilbo and the dwarves since he can vanish and reappear so easily.
Their adventure includes encounters with elves, dragons, wolves, giant spiders, giant eagles, and goblins... this book has many rich and enchanted characters that are seen even now in popular fiction. Bilbo finds the lost ring from Gollum and uses riddles and trickery to keep it.. unaware of its dangers and ultimate power. Time is very precious to Bilbo considering his age and the ring seems to alter time [which forshadows the Lord of The Rings.] Along with the ring Middle Earth is introduced and also some of it's mysterious creatures. This is the only Tolkien book that I have read, but I've heard that it's one of the better. Ultimately this fantasy is portrayed so well that I don't want or need to question the fiction.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Interview With A Vampire

I must say that Anne Rice's story is quite enthralling and that the story itself is completely enchanting. "Interview With A Vampire" was one of those books that I was always curious about reading but I never really sat down and did just that. To my unknown knowledge, vampires were always from Transylvania, wore capes, and shared a strong relationship with bats... mostly because of Bram Stoker's "Dracula"; and that their only pleasure was in killing and feeding. The modern day vampire is more humanistic than that, and Rice's telling of Louis' s personal account of becomming a vampire seemed to be very relatable. Louis struggled with overcoming his former self.. a human, and his need for just (in being like a devil or angel and taking and giving life) and normality made him very real to me. Louis saw the faults in every positive aspect of being a vampire, especially immortality. Rather than thinking of this as a precious gift.. to forever live, he found it disgusting and unnatural. His creator, Lestat, however cherished the fact that he could live frivolously and that was only one of the differences that they have.

to be continued...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Strange, strange movie...

Last week I thought that I should investigate the genre of horror a little more with watching the recommended movie, "No Such Thing". I was so distracted by the hopefully low budget acting and special effects that it took me awhile to appreciate the story. Honestly the monster seemed to look like the Beast from "Beauty and The Beast" and it was hard to keep from laughing... especially with his Disney heroine wardrobe. I can see the connection between Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" and "No Such Thing" in the Gothic sense. There was a romance that was of course unconventional and possibly destructive to others (the possibility of endangering others and the actual significant other deems this movie Gothic) and the subject of life and death was quite prevalent in the film. "Frankenstein" focused on creation and the unknown responsibilities that go with creating life, while this movie's direct focus is ending the life of the monster and the danger of it's existence being known.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!

I was so excited to read this book since hearing all the hype. I began this book this summer and have finally worked my way through it. The addition of zombies to Pride and Prejudice makes the characters not necessarily more "deep" in emotion but definitely more fun. For instance Elizabeth Bennet in the original is very quick witted, smart and cunning but lacks a superior trait to her sisters, she is known as being plain... this new rendition made Lizzy the most powerful predator in all of England. She was known for being decent looking and for her quick wit but this new warrior quality that she possesses makes her the most amiable match to most men and surprisingly enough her training in the Oriental Arts gives her family and herself a higher status than Pride and Prejudice. In PPZ, higher society, such as Lady Catherine de Bourgh and of course, Mr. Darcy are well trained in the deadly arts so by Miss Bennet being trained and exceeding slaying standards she is welcomed into the upper class. Class was a very important subject for Jane Austen to explore especially since she was a lot like Elizabeth although without Miss Bennet's luck. It also seems that zombies are portrayed without class, as the disease can strike upon anyone and because of their lack of identity it is not daunting to kill them. The zombies themselves pray upon the weaker lower class. Just like Mr. Bingley's ball when all of his waiting staff and cooks were prayed upon and Bingley's only concern was for the lost desserts. Although the zombies are not the heroes of the love story they do in a way save Pride and Prejudice from being strictly satirical and wordy. I do love the original, however this book gives an opportunity for a comeback and the zombies are the comic relief. One of the book's finer moments for me was the description of Darcy's attraction for Elizabeth and how he admires her muscular built. That honestly made me laugh, especially while comparing the frail Miss Bingley who also seems to be a predator in the romantic sense. This book was altogether very well composed and the scenes that had the "unmentionables" seemed to be the jewels out of the novel.