Book Reviw | The One-Eyed Man by Ron Currie Jr.

one eyed man cover.jpegPublished last month, Currie’s newest novel, The One-Eyed Man, introduces 39 year old protagonist K. After the death of his wife, K’s life rapidly changes course. In attempts to find truth in language, he fully engages strangers in belabored conversations that set them on edge, ready to react with physical violence to K’s words. Consequently, K is offered his own reality TV show by a hopeful producer. With a sassy redhead in tow, K’s show blows up and he steps on loads of toes, rendering enemies in multiple spheres.

After really enjoying Currie’s previous novel, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, I was excited for this book’s release. I read this book entirely of my own volition with no review requests. I found the first half thoroughly enjoyable! I was often laughing out loud, or reacting facially to Currie’s words. Specifically, I appreciated how the narrative focused on people’s use of language and their speech inaccuracies and the focus on philosophical issues. However, as the story continued and refocused on a more active plot, I found myself losing interest. I wish the book had ended halfway through the story. This said, I highly praise the writing style and tone used here, and would try another Currie book in the future. Positively can be compared to, and enjoyed by fans of, Tom Robbins or Kurt Vonnegut. See what you think, check it out from a library near you.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading The One-Eyed Man, you’ll likely enjoy Lexicon by Max Barry (2013). 

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Book Review | How to Ruin Everything: Essays by George Watsky

how to ruin everything cover watskyI was late in hearing about this release from one of my favorite Hip-Hop artists. How to Ruin Everything is a collection of 13 essays by Watsky. These essays are not reminiscent of traditional essays and the book reads more like a collection of true short stories about events in Watsky’s life. The stories are all around 20 pages and fairly easy to digest. The topics range from Watsky’s childhood education, to his travels in Spain and India, through epileptic episodes and to his poetry and hip-hop tours in the US. Some essays are more interesting and memorable than others, but all are well written.

Due to the varied topics of the essays, readers should be able to find something of interest in this book. Watsky fans will enjoy personal details the author shares during the stories. This said, the book took me longer than expected to get through. I found myself wanting to take a nap during a few of the pieces. Though I was glad to finally finish it, I’d give it a solid 3/5 stars and recommend it as a way to pass time during public transit. Check it out from a library near you! It is dedicated to librarians =] A special thanks to Goodreads Giveaways for bringing this book to my attention, even though I wasn’t fortunate enough to win a copy.

Book Review | The Devil’s Dancer : a Satire of Nothing by Victor Bertocchi

I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author for participating in the giveaway.

This book was a mystery before it arrived without much of a synopsis available online at the time. Following the format used by Pirandello in Six Characters in Search of an Author, a play about the production of a play, Bertocchi has written a play for the stage about the production of a play in this book. Lines, physical character descriptions, and musical numbers are included. It speaks of varying opinions of art, the stage, popular culture and capitalism, amongst other things.
While the writing style was unique and still clear enough to follow, I’ll agree with another reviewer to say that the characters were just not appealing enough. Most of them were fairly flat, perhaps giving leeway for an actor’s interpretation on the stage, but also simply unlikeable. The individual chapters/acts were quick enough to get through, but once I had set the book down I was unmotivated to pick it up again. It was a chore to get through for me and I wouldn’t have finished it had it not been given in exchange for a review of the book’s entirety. That said, the quality of the actual book is great and it would work well for those wanting to read while using public transit since it can be frequently interrupted without problem. It is not currently available in any libraries, but the author was selling the ebook for 99¢ (info here).

Film Review | La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)

the great beauty film poster Living the high life can be a beautiful thing, but as writer Jep discovers, it can also be something one grows weary of. The Great Beauty begins at Jep’s 65th birthday and with his realization that he’s ready to enjoy another kind of living. After publishing a popular book in his 20’s, he became one of Rome’s high society kings. He was invited to major parties and gatherings and has friends in high places. As time passes and he sees that his time is limited he aims to explore what he finds truly important and meaningful. He makes new relationships with down to earth people who seem to be more real than what he has become accustomed to and explores what Rome has to offer.

La Grande Bellezza is a film about aging, relationships, and the beauty of Rome and common people. It presents petty hangups of the upper class, failed relationships, lavish parties and shots of beauty in Rome’s art and architecture. This film is visually appealing and boasts an intense soundtrack, which makes it a great choice for the big screen. The movie is quite long (~2:20), but does not drag on at all. I enjoyed watching this movie and would recommend it to others interested in Roman high life. The DVD has been released in Italy and is for sale on Amazon, but has not been released yet in the US. Check Fandango to see if this movie is playing near you. For more information in Italian check the facebook page.

Film Review | Carnage directed by Roman Polański

dvd cover carnageThis is probably one of those movies that you will either love or hate. Based on a French play, Carnage features Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly, and takes place almost entirely in the living room of a New York City apartment. It details two couples’ attempts to reconcile an incident that occurred between their sons. As the four parents spend more time together, they regress to childlike behavior and grow increasingly frustrated with each other. Great for people watchers, this film allows you to see interpersonal conflict up close. You’ll see the bigger picture and laugh at the ridiculousness into which some situations digress.