Monday, December 8, 2008

The Book Thief

Oh, god. This book will CHANGE YOUR LIFE, if you are like me. It made me cry so hard that I was wreck, and it wasn't really about the sadness of some of those parts. Just the emotion and feeling. And the frankness of the author, Markus Zusak.

I am pretty sure I got the recommendation from BAP...too lazy to go check. :D

Anyway, it is based at the time of World War II, the Holocaust, but for once it's not through the eyes of a Jew.
Liesel Meminger is a true blonde German. But when her mother drops her off to be adopted by the loving Hubermanns, the seven year old girl is haunted by her past. The poverty-stricken street that Liesel lives on is filled with vivid characters, who are hauntingly real. There are friends and midnight reading lessons.
When the Hubermanns accept a Jew into their basement, Liesels world changes and your attention will be demanded.
When the bombing starts it changes uncontrollably.
Through all the tragedy there is always love ready there for Liesel.
Follow Liesel's story, narrated by Death himself, from when she is a young girl through to her adolescent years. This is truly the most unique story ever.

Read it! Post your own! Be happy!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

We have got to get better at this

Our blog needs more attention, I don't know how to fix that problem though.

anyway the books I am reading currently have all been for school and they would be:
Cry the Beloved Country--a book I was supposed to finish weeks ago as well as write an essay for about the most important quote in the whole book, didn't happen.
Speak--actually finished on time, but got pneumonia so I missed the seminar.

Speak was a fast read, heavy subject matter though. Basically it takes you through the exposure of a highschool outsider and how she copes with a traumatizing event that happened at the end of the summer.

Cry of Beloved, still working on that one maybe I'll finish maybe I won't, hard to tell at this point.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Gilda Joyce

Gilda Joyce is a series by Jennifer Allison.
The series is about a girl named Gilda Joyce who thinks she has Psychic powers.
The first book is called 'Gilda Joyce' and the second is "Gilda Joyce and the Ladies of the Lake" and the third one is "Gilda Joyce and the Ghost Sonata"

Of coursem her detective skills are nothing compared to those of the Irregulars, but it's still a nice series.

I know this post sounds terribly depressingly boring, but that's because that's how i feel at the moment. bored. so i should have posted a review at a differant time. uggh.

Friday, August 15, 2008

1-800-Where-R-You series by Meg Cabot

This is series by Meg Cabot has about the least romance of all her books. Usually they're all about the girl always thinking about the boy, but her 1-800-Where-R-You series is different.

In the first book, When Lightning Strikes, Jess is walking home from school, when it starts thunder-storming and hailing. She doesn't feel like getting pelted by hailstones, so she escapes under the bleachers, even though she knows "never go under something metal during a thunderstorm." As the title suggests, she gets struck by lightning, but she didn't really feel any pain, though her friend Ruth saw it happen. Ruth keeps bugging her about because she thinks she'll have a heart attack or something so Jess consults her brother who says there would be a scar where the lightning entered her body. She checks her hands and feet, but doesn't see anything. Later when she undresses to go to bed she sees a star shaped scar on her chest. When she wakes up, she knows where these kids are. She has never heard of them ever. I can't say anymore without giving anything away. Read it!

The books in the series are:

When Lightning strikes
Code name cassandra (my personal favrorite)
Safe house
Missing You

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hey everybody!

So I just got back from the beach with my youth group and while I was there I started reading Catcher in the Rye, the famous coming age story where the kid falls for the older woman...I like it so far but it's not exactly my cup of tea. But of course my cup of tea has evolved over time from a book who's flavoring is more chai or black, to now a more mellowed out chamomile or green :)
also on the reading agenda: The Narrows, by Micheal Connelly
Adam, By Ted Deckker ( I have to read this one but parents don't think I will be able to handle the demon possession, but I've read all his other work so I really would like to read this one)
and The Jungle, Upton Sinclair--most boring repetative book I''ve ever read. I didn't even finish it. No one else in my english group read it either, they spark-notes-ed it and I skimmed the last chapter. Basically all you need to know is that Sinclair wrote tis fantastically depressing story about a small immigrant family who's hopes and dreams of the great American way of life are crushed by the bleak and hard life they strugle through in Packingtown, Chicago. Jurgis the main character is the father of the family who marries Ona (spoiler warning) who gives him children, both who die, then she dies and a bunch of other really unfortyunate events occur which leads to Jurgis's turn to Socialism, end of story, and somewhere in there, chapter 19/20 or something it talks about the gross conditions in which meats where packed.
yeah, that one definatly was not my cup of tea.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"Negative. Positive. It's how you look at it."

This book has great cover art. It should only be read by 13+ It is one of the MOST touching books I've EVER read. It might not suit all reader's tastes, but I recommend that you give it a try if you can get your hands on a copy.

Now, about the story. I do not know any possible way of explaining the book properly without revealing the whole story. Yes,I know that this sounds horribly lame, but it's true. But I will try.

Broken Soup is all about Rowan Clark. An average 15 year old, who lives with a mother who's is an empty shell and a once loved but forgotten little sister named Stroma. Her older brother Jack died, two(?) years ago, which ultimately resulted in her parent's divorce. Rowan now takes care of Stroma and goes to school. One day whilst shopping for groceries, a boy comes upto her, claiming that she dropped the negative he was holding out for her. Embarassed by the sudden commotion, she grudgingly takes the negative home. From here, this is where Rowan's story beigins....

Here is a much better review to read. If I explain any more, I will spoil the story.

Monday, May 26, 2008

HUSH by Jacqueline Woodson

HUSH is the story of Evie Thomas, a girl who was and still is Towsiah Green inside. Her whole family has moved from Denver, Colorado to some big city, where they can stay anonymous. The reason of why they had to move and become anonymous was a difficult and confusing one. Her whole family knows what her father had done was right. But its too hard for them to accept, especially for her older sister Anna, who used to be the popular cheerleader Cameron Green.
Evie's mother, a primary school teacher, has now become religious. Her father battles emotionally with himself over the fact whether or not he made the right choice for his family. Anna wants to runaway to college and Evie just wants everyone else to be happy, together as a family.

I found this book a really touching one. At first I thought it would be some boring book. After reading the novel, I think it's a unique story, something we can but can't relate to. At some points in the storyline, the book becomes 'slow', but all is made up with the 'fast' points of the book.
If I were to rate this book(which I am doing now, ha)it would be 8/10. This book is not a normal book. It's an 'independent' book (do you get me??). Even though it's not all ghouls, blood and fantasy, it's strange.

(This was my first post EVER on this blog. Woohoo. Please excuse my excitement ;))

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"We're going to exorcise it"

The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones is an oddity, even by the woman's own standards. For one thing, it actually has somewhat of a clear cut ending. And if you're familiar with Diana's work, you'll know that getting a straight conclusion out of her is as elusive as getting Kiera Knightley to put on two pounds.

The Time of the Ghost is marketed as a novel for "older readers", meaning that it's a little darker, more twisted, gore-ish and with the more adolescent elements of crushes and infatuations (often the more dangerous kind). The whole thing is told from the point of view of a ghost. This ghost, far from being angry or tortured, is simply painfully confused. It doesn't know how it died, why it died, who she was or why she has ended up where she has. The only thing she seems convinced about is that she must be one of the four Melford sisters, whose parents run a private boarding school for boys in the English countryside. The ghost in question continues to observe the four sisters, almost in stalker-fashion, trying to find any spark of recognition or a clue that may let her know which sister she was while alive. And I'll have to end it there. It would be disgustingly improper of me to divulge any more of the plot than I already have. Like I've said before, the pure joy and thrill of reading a Diana Wynne Jones novel that you know nothing about, save for the blurb on the back cover, is discovering the plot on your own. Nobody weaves a plot quite like Jones, I think. Even in one of her shortest books, she manages to find a way to thoroughly befuddle the reader, using her good old ace up the sleeve ; the concept of time travel, which she utilises in a completely fresh way.

Another aspect in which Jones excels herself this time around is through her characters. Having less than a dozen main characters, all entirely non-magical, totally normal homo sapiens, and it would be a pretty mammoth task to make each of them rich, memorable, unique and entirely themselves, as well as having their own quirks and tangled relationship dynamics with each other. But she pulls it off admirably, producing what I believe to be her single strongest cast of characters yet. Her descriptions of them, physical and otherwise, are so powerful, and have such an impact on the imagination, that all their little quirks and characteristics stay with you long after you've closed this book and started on something else.

Yet another aspect of The Time of the Ghost is the stark imagery, and the constant sense of underlying danger and foreboding, and also the knowledge that since there is a ghost floating around, has the worst scenario already happened or is there still a way to undo whatever doom awaits the ghost, whoever she is? Scenes like the exorcism with the knobbly blue candle, the Scrabble game, the sacrifice of the chicken, Cart's cornflake mayhem, and Fenella waving a carving knife with her hair tied in bloody knots are the kind of thing that will stay burned in your mind for months and months.
You had also better be sure that since she is generous enough to provide us with a relatively straight ending, that the road to that ending will be as confusing, ambigous and as littered with vague symbolism as possible.
All in all The Time of the Ghost comes highly recommended, and is living literary proof that sometimes the best things come with the smallest page count.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Warning: Mature Readers Only

Like Hannibal, I give this book a rated R label due to blood, gore, cursing, and disturbing images.

John Dies at the End (or JDatE as it is called on the web) is probably one of the most popular online books in existance. With it's own movie coming soon and a publishing deal already, JDatE is probably going to come into your knowledge sooner or later. It begins with the main character, David (or Dave), fighting a monster. This is not the entire book, however. The real action starts when he begins to tell his tale to a reporter.
The story is riveting as David tells how he and his hetero-sexual partner, John ( of the title) accidentally took a drug called 'Soy Sauce' and are now able to see the other side of the world. . . The ghost side, the demon side. This is a horrible, terrible side that does not, contrary to popular belief, haunt houses. They haunt minds. That is what they do. And so now John and David (along with their fateful side-dog, Molly) fight the monsters whenever opprtunity arrises.

In my opinion, JDatE is one of the best amatuer books ever. It has an obvious 'spooky story' vibe and a 'new author' alert goes off in your head during the first chapter. But I was distubed by some of the detailings put forth and I would not advise anyone under the age of sixteen reading this without having a strong stomach.


Friday, May 2, 2008


Lena ia back from a rather long grounding and then losing the e-mail address! I will soon be posting about a particularly weird book that is completely free to read. So, until then, I have to go. I'll be posting about John Dies at the End tomorrow!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My apologies

Junior year is just all around terrible, you know? And mentally and emotionally...I haven't been feeling well this whole year. Mainly I spend most of my time feeling horrible about everything so...

Plus I actually haven't gotten a lot of reading time. It totally sucks, but there it is.

But right now I am reading something that qualifies as freaky, and I'm almost done with it, so I'll post thoughts about it when I finish it, sometime this week.

And since I use Google Reader, I very rarely leave comments. But I am reading!


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vanished, what a great word

There are sometimes which I truly wish I could.
Sorry for the disappearing act, I've been out of it, in the truest sense of the phrase.

My reading lately has consisted of my assigned reading from school and a few other notorious stories I picked up while on the road:

No Way to Treat A First Lady, by Christopher Buckley (funny inside-the-beltway jokes)

The Secret of Lost Things, S. Hay (ending was a given, plot good enough, but I don't recommend it for those who have an innocence to protect)

Fieldwork, Mishca (AMAZING, but really sad)

these would be my own choosing in school we're reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and we just finishd Night, by Elie Weizel, and All Queit on the Western Front, Enrich Marie Remarque. A good just thuroughlly depressing I must say.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Only Uphill Allowed from Here

Okay, so it's pretty obvious that Bloody Awful Poetry and I have been the only freakybloggers posting around here. (New review on the way!) I believe that Theatre/Teen Vegan/LittleChar has officially vanished from the internet, and god knows where on earth CosimaCat, Spring, Lena, and Andori-Isilee have gotten to. (Spring, I saw the draft of your post- PLEASE, finish it and POST!!!) We are glad to welcome Sekrit7 to the Freakiest blog on the web, and I believe that she will actually help us keep up the posts here. I am going to politely but forcefully remind everyone that they are still part of the blog via comments. Maybe not so politely.

Sorry, I just reread my post. I guess this is a bit rude and perhaps mean, but we need to keep this up! I also have something REALLY important for our New Englanders that might happen. So, off to comment to you all. I won't sound so evil if you take a look at the past 10 posts or so. Tsk tsk.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The best thing to have hit trilogy-land since that dude named Tolkien dreamed up those things with hairy feet.

Garth Nix is criminally underrated. In a world currently dominated by jeans-wearing bespectacled boy wizards (yes, you know who you are, Potty), a lot of so-called children's fantasy written decades before J.K Rowling (bless her golden stinking rich little heart) even thought about thinking about Harry Potter. Authors like Ursula Le Guin and (my hero) Diana Wynne Jones have had their works reprinted and re marketed to a whole new generation of readers who have a new found appreciation for this once-reviled genre. But in my not-so-humble opinion, a certain Aussie still isn't as appreciated as he deserves to be.
The man is responsible for writing quite possible the single best fantasy/sci-fi/adventure trilogy in the history of mankind. I leave the Lord of the Rings out of this; because it is virtually untouchable and also because technically LOTR isn't a trilogy at all- it's one very long story published in three parts. Ditto the movies.

Behold the Old Kingdom trilogy.

Go ahead. Feel free to take a minute and absorb the awesomeness of it all.

The Old Kingdom trilogy is a unique work of the imagination. I consider myself a pretty well-read young grasshopper, with some respectable knowledge of various genres, and I think Nix has borrowed and assimilated many elements from other fantasy novels and produced something totally original in context and execution.
To cut the blab ; the Old Kingdom is a fictional land, or country of sorts, where magic is not just part of everyday life, but the essence of Creation itself. This law, or Force (Star Wars anybody?) is referred to as the Charter, and this power is tapped into by residents of the Old Kingdom, to perform "magic" of their own. Charter Mages are those wise and powerful and talented and knowledgeable enough to have direct access to the power of the Charter. Necromancers are the bad dudes who want to manipulate all the power to achieve their own dodgy gains. The lesser people merely use it a sort of guideline to life and existence.
To the south of the Old Kingdom lies Ancelstierre, which is similar to our own world ;electricity, vehicles, buildings, etc. This is where the story picks up with the character of Sabriel. After fearing for her father's safety in the Old Kingdom, she decides to travel there herself to find him, and from there there's no turning away from the awesomeness that awaits you.

Themes of love, death, morals, ethics, betrayal, secrets, corruption, greed, the search for one's identity, the forces of good and evil, friendship etc all twist and mould and tie each other up in a great big knot that slowly unravels and then ravels itself back. But what makes these books so unusual and ingenious is Nix's portrayal of Death. Not death, but Death. Death is not merely a concept or theory or state of being, it's an actual, physical place, a trans-dimensional plane of sorts. The only human allowed to pass between the border of Life and Death at will is the Abhorsen, who acts as a guardian to the souls passing from Life to Death, and an exorcist whose job it is to "make sure the Dead stay dead". And you know how I love all that philosophical crap.
Oh and no prizes for guessing that Sabriel eventually takes over from the current Abhorsen, her father. The Abhorsen (there is only one at a time) are sort of the middle point between the "good" Charter Mages and the "evil" Necromancers. They work alone, using the power of the Charter Mages but the weapons and methods of a necromancer. Their job, their passing from Life to Death at will, is an oddity; they go against nature to preserve nature. A contradiction to their own existence.

Nix's characters take on a life of their own. Sabriel and Lirael are both completely and utterly not annoying, thank goodness. They manage to be strong female characters without ever grating on my nerves, losing thier humanity or their relatability. My favourite character happens to be a cat. A little white one named Mogget, reluctant assistant to the Abhorsen. Even Mogget isn't who he appears to be though. There's a lot that little kitty cat knows that the readers don't. He is incredibly ancient, despite his helpfulness, will not hesitate to kill his master to gain his freedom at the slightest opportunity. (Although I'm rather proud to say that I correctly guessed the true identity of Mogget halfway through the third and last book).

Despite its huge setting and wide scope, the Old Kingom trilogy never gets to heavy or difficult to keep up with. It isn't bogged down with too much historical information or extra detail. The dialogue is suitably not-verbose. Garth Nix does not bother explaining why certain things happen, or how something works, preferring to keep an air of mystique and vagueness about it, so that by the end of the three books you get the sense that this story has not even told you a fraction of the whole of the Old Kingdom saga. But to quote the god old Tenth Doctor "Once you know everything, you might as well just stop".

The trilogy is the closest thing to perfection I could possibly ask from a fantasy novel. Despite the fact that the second book, Lirael, takes place 19 years after the events of Sabriel, the story never lags or loses focus, and continues to build and grow, until Lirael ends in an infuriatingly suspenseful cliffhanger, and you're walking around the house at one in the morning, bleary-eyed, with the images of Charter spells and icy glaciers and Greater Dead demons still burned in your brain, pulling your hair and kicking yourself for not asking Michelle's sister if you could borrow all three books at the same time. And when you get your hands on Abhorsen, the final chapter, it wastes absolutely no time with introductions or story set-ups, but plunges right into the heart of the action, until it all rolls up into one last, screaming, rolling, fiery, hallelujah kick-ass final battle that makes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows blush in embarrassment for its lack of awesomeness, against a villain that makes Lord Voldemort look like peanuts.

If you haven't already guessed, I really really quite like these books, and I hope they never ever make it into movies. Oh Charter forbid they ever do that.

p.s I still adore J.K Rowling and the seven Potter books.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Update: A Poem that made me cry

So, I was bored and searching that poem on Google. Apparently, the REAL original poem ended "He began to draw flowers with his crayons. They were red, blue, and orange."

It's WAY happier and all that crap-but I like the other version better. It just pulls out more feeling and makes you think more. It almost can change you in a small way. Like "Oh, wait. I remember that poem. Am I giving in to the molding of my brain? (Or am I possibly molding someone elses?)"

Just for those of you that may have had your heart ripped out for a few seconds there. (e.g. me).

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"All children mythologize their birth".

Go get this book now. As in, right now. Go out, to your nearest bookstore. Walk there if you have to. Get an advance on your allowance, if you must. Steal from your brother's wallet, if necessary.
You simply have to own a copy and read it.
It's been a long time since I last enjoyed a book so much. I sat down with it for 5 hours; during that time forgetting to eat, drink, answer phone calls, perform regular bodily functions and hold normal conversation. I barely looked up. If the roof had fallen in at the time, I'd have barely noticed. My only mission in life was to go to the next page, the next page, the next page, etc..

I am not even going to tell you what it's about.

The thirteenth tale...

Well, okaaaay I will. The story revolves around the prim and proper biographer Margaret Lea, who owns and runs a bookstore with her father. She receives a most mysterious letter from Vida Winter, allegedly the greatest living English novelist of the age (the time period of the story is never actually mentioned, but if I had to guess I'd say it was probably around the 1930s).

The aging Miss Winter wants Margaret Lea, of all people, to write and publish her biography, through many interviews and research processes at Vida Winter's home in the Yorkshire moors.
Miss Winter, being a masterclass storyteller and also, therefore, a phenomenal liar, is an exceedingly mysterious woman. Nothing is known of her birth or early life. Within a 20 year span she gives 20 very different, very wild and very imaginative accounts of her birth and life (all obviously not true). But she is prepared to divulge the entire truth to Margaret Lea, for some sinister reason.
And so begins Vida Winter's amazing tale, of her family, and her life, and her darkest secrets, while Margaret also learns to face her own painful past. The "Thirteenth Tale", so called because Vida Winter once had a book of short stories published under that title, but mysteriously the book only contained twelve stories, the pages of the thirteenth one being completely blank. I suppose you could assume that this elusive 13th tale is the chilling, disturbing and tragic narrative of Vida's own childhood. To call this book "freaky" would be both inappropriate and an understatement. It has the elements of ghosts, adultery, incest, obsession, disease, madness, the concept of twins having their souls torn apart and placed in two bodies, insanity, life after death, secrets, the fragility of family, the love of strangers, murder, arson, rape, religion. All these themes and concepts whirling about and tying each other up in knots and giving you rather unpleasant sensations of being watched (or maybe it was just me).And if you find it all too confusing or boring, even; take my word for it. This is one book you won't be putting down until you've devoured every word of every page.
Diane Setterfield is my new hero.

And one more thing; pay attention to the way Vida Winter refers to herself in the stories. The pronouns she uses; I, you, we, and so on.
That is all.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Poem that made me Cry

The Little Boy

Once a little boy went to school.

He was quite a little boy

And it was quite a big school.

But when the little boy

Found that he could go to his room

By walking right in from the door outside

He was happy;

And the school did not seem

Quite so big anymore.

One morning

When the little boy had been in school awhile,

The teacher said:"Today we are going to make a picture."

"Good!" thought the little boy.

He liked to make all kinds;

Lions and tigers,

Chickens and cows,

Trains and boats;

And he took out his box of crayons

And began to draw.

But the teacher said,


"It is not time to begin!"

And she waited until everyone looked ready.

"Now," said the teacher,

"We are going to make flowers."

"Good!" thought the little boy,

He started to make beautiful ones

With his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said "Wait!"

"And I will show you how."

She drew a flower on the blackboard.

It was red, with a green stem.

"There," said the teacher,

"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at his teacher's flower

Then he looked at his own flower.

He liked his flower better than the teacher's

But he did not say this.

He just turned his paper over,

And made a flower like the teacher's.

It was red, with a green stem.

On another day

When the little boy had opened

The door from the outside all by himself,

The teacher said:

"Today we are going to make something with clay."

"Good!" thought the little boy;

He liked clay.

He could make all kinds of things with clay:

Snakes and snowmen,

Elephants and mice,

Cars and trucks

And he began to pull and pinch his ball of clay.

But the teacher said, "Wait!"

"It is not time to begin!"

And she waited until everyone looked ready.

"Now," said the teacher,"We are going to make a dish."

"Good!" thought the little boy,

He liked to make dishes.

And he began to make some

They were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said "Wait!"

"And I will show you how."

And she showed everyone how to make

One deep dish.

"There," said the teacher,"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at the teacher's dish;

Then he looked at his own.

He liked his better than the teacher's

But he did not say this.

He just rolled his clay into a big ball again

And made a dish like the teacher's.

It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon

The little boy learned to wait,

And to watch

And to make things just like the teacher.

And pretty soon

He didn't make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened

That the little boy and his family

Moved to another house,

In another city,

And the little boy

Had to go to another school.

This school was even bigger

Than the other one.

And there was no door from the outside

Into his room.

He had to go up some big steps

And walk down a long hall

To get to his room.

And the very first day

He was there,

The teacher said:"Today we are going to make a picture."

"Good!" thought the little boy.

And he waited for the teacher

To tell what to do.

But the teacher didn't say anything.

She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy

She asked,

"Don't you want to make a picture?"

"Yes," said the lttle boy.

"What are we going to make?"

"I don't know until you make it," said the teacher.

"How shall I make it?" asked the little boy.

"Why, anyway you like," said the teacher.

"And any color?" asked the little boy.

"Any color," said the teacher.

"If everyone made the same picture,

And used the same colors,

How would I know who made what,

And which was which?"

"I don't know," said the little boy.

And he began to make flower.

It was red, with a green stem.

~Helen E. Buckley

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Very Premium Book and Its Equally Premium Movie

So. After weeks with no word from my fellow freakybloggers, and a push from the International Mastermind, my boss who gives me the highest payment by reading what I've written and commenting on them, I have decided to be selfish and post yet again. In truth I miss freakyblogging, and reading what you guys are reading, and I hope the rest of you come back soon!

Until then I'll just draw your attention to a book I've wanted to read ever since it came out, but only got the chance to read very recently.

Everything is Illuminated

Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer, isn't a freakybook on the whole, but its many disparate and freaky bits and pieces create a tale that proves sometimes just regular everyday life can be freakier, stranger and more miraculous that any freaky product of the imagination. The book follows three points of view, across three different time periods; that of Jonathan, the young American author come to Ukraine to find his grandfather's wartime saviour(a woman named Augustine)while writing a rather magical account of the village and people of Trachimbrod ranging from the early 19th century to World War Two; that of the young Ukrainian translator and guide who describes and narrates the search for Augustine using his hilarious and endearing mangled version of English, and all these being attached to letters Alex sends to Jonathan.
It sounds a bit confusing but once the book is in your hands it really isn't all that daunting, even being rather short for a novel with such an epic scope. The problem with Everything Is Illuminated, as one critic so accurately points out, is that its first chapters are so hard to read, mainly because " burst out laughing every few sentences, lose your place, get tempted to call your friends and read out long sections of the prose, and then have to start all over again".
The novel excels at being a comedy; in fact the last time a book made me literally laugh out loud was Tom Holt's Earth, Water,Fire and Custard, but also is so incredibly touching, poignant and utterly miserable, only to make you bust a gut laughing again by the next page.
Most of the humour comes from a dog named Sammy Davis Junior Junior, a "blind" grandfather who apparently has no problem driving a car or reading road signs, and my personal favourite, Alex's mangled English,which surely must be some genius form of sentence construction. The dialogue is also sharp, witty, and almost insanely funny;

Jonathan: I'm a vegetarian.
Alex: You're a what?
Jonathan: I don't eat meat.
Alex: How can you not eat meat?
Jonathan: I just don't.
Alex: [to Grandfather, in Russian] He says he does not eat meat.
Grandfather: [to Alex, in Russian] Yes you do.
Alex: [to Jonathan, in English]Yes you do.
Jonathan: No meat.
Alex: Steak?
Jonathan: No...
Alex: Chickens!
Jonathan: No...
Alex: And what about the sausage?
Jonathan: Oh god, not the sausage,no.
Alex: [to Grandfather, in Russian] He says he does not eat any meat.
Grandfather: [to Alex, in Russian] Not even sausage?
Alex: [to Grandfather, in Russian] I know!
Grandfather: [to Alex, in Russian] What is wrong with him?
Alex: What is wrong with you?

In any case, Bloody Awful Poetry highly recommends. There is also a movie adaptation of the book,starring Elijah Wood and directed by Liev Schreiber, which, for once, I am very pleased to say, is almost as good as the book itself. This is for the simple reason that it does not stay with the book word by word, neither does it stray too far from canon, but it simply becomes its won wonderful story while staying true to the essence of the novel. For a little taste of it you can have a look at the trailer. It makes an equally premium movie, with a supremely premium soundtrack,which is really just the icing on a very premium cake, as Alex Perchov would say.

You can buy the book here or purchase the DVD here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Downfall of the Freakish Empire!

Hello? Is anyone out there? I gotta say, this is really becoming sad. Have you all just completely FORGOTTEN this blog? Or are you just being lazy? I for one think that I am going to have to send out alert messages, if no one has posted in... *checks calendar* ...four days.

So, as my extreme and agonizing disappointment continues, I have one last thing to say. Not much really.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

And no, I'm not getting paid to do this.

Since we agreed, originally, to branch out into freaky music and movies as well as books, I thought I might as well get the ball rolling a bit, eh? Also I'm really excited to get you Freakybloggers into this band, which is why I'm taking the luxury of posting twice this month, instead of once, which is what I usually do for the sake of politeness.
I have already raved about these guys on my other blog ,so you might wanna check that post out first for more info on the band. Basically Sigur ros are an Icelandic quartet, a bunch of four skinny white dudes with impossible sounding names who one day decided that they would much prefer to hole up in a studio and make strange, wonderful sounds together rather than go to school, which is what they should have been doing.

They recorded their first album way back in the mid to late nineties, making a deal with the studio owners to paint the outside of the building in exchange for permission to use the equipment. For their second album, the members of Sigur ros glued and put together the CD casings on their own, resulting in most of the CDs being useless because of glue deposits on them.
But what makes them freaky, you ask?
They're freaky in a good way. The lead singer's voice is so high-pitched, ethereal and spine-tingling , that you would be graciously forgiven for thinking the voice came from a woman's throat, or the throat of someting that wasn't even human. They sing in a language that doesn't exist. Even their own countrypeople don't understand them, most of the time. According to keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson, the lyrics aren't important to them. They aren't interested in tagging each of their songs with a message or a story. They would, in fact, much prefer the listener to interpret and understand and "feel" the sounds in whatever way they feel.
And what a sound that is. In various reviews, the music of Sigur ros has been described as everything from "irrelevantly pretentious" to "the sound of God weeping tears of gold from heaven" .
They have been tagged with almost every musical genre imaginable ;post-rock, progressive rock, avantgarde, new-age, world music; when in reality the sheer size and scope and depth of their sound defies any attempt to categorize them. They are an acquired taste, like blue cheese or raisins (for me, anyway).
I raved about them constantly to one of my friends and whined about how difficult it was to find their stuff. But Annmarie came through spectacularly, and dropped by at my crib with a copy of Sigur ros' 2005 release, Takk...
I now take this opportunity to thank Annmarie, very publicly, on Blogger.

Takk is easily the band's most musically accessible record. Most of the songs remain under 10 minutes long (which is unusual for Sigur ros, but we don't mind) and have a definite structure. They tend to start out slow and soft and tinkly before exploding in a magnificent wall of sound that is predictable but still wondrous. Despite their huge, ethereal, apocalyptic soundscape, the songs aren't about God and Heaven and Hell and Judgement or angels and monsters, but simply about walking in the rain, or admiring the sunrise, or jumping in puddles, or holding hands with someone special, or smelling grass.
At some point, words fail to describe or do justice, when it comes to this band. In the same way that they defy being pigeonholed into a specific genre, they also defy the limitations of language to fully grasp what they have done to music as we know it.

Glosoli (from the album Takk.., also probably my favourite music video of all time).


Sigur ros live in Philadelphia (you gotta watch this, I'm telling you)

The trailer for their new (gorgeous) tour film, Heima.

Buy their albums here.
Stream their stuff here.
Download (free and legal, don't worry.) mp3s here.
Visit their official site.
Check out their MySpace.
Read other (better) reviews here.
Have a look at their Youtube channel.

The official site of their new tour film, Heima.

I think I've pretty much covered everything. Please please please do give them a try, in the spirit of Freakishness! And let me know what you think, regardless of whether you like them or not.

(International Mastermind also recommends!)

edit :International Mastermind, who is something like our Boss here (except that we don't get paid) is adamant that I add more freaky details about Sigur ros. But I'm a wee bit lazy to do that. Soo...if you are interested in learning more freakish trivia on this wonderful wonderful band please head on over to my humble blog and stuff yourselves with all manner of weird and wonderful gifts, talents, behavioural problems and disabilities that make this band true Freaks in their own freakish right! And if you still aren't even a little bit interested in trying their music out, well then I really cannot help you there.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

American Gods

If Stephen King is the King Of Blatant Shameless Freakishness, then Neil Gaiman is the Emperor of Subtle Fine Freakishness.

Neil Gaiman doesn't do sharp teeth or gooey ickiness or wet warm blood. He does it in a way that's so subtle and refined and quiet that you forget it's supposed to be freaky. And then you remember. And then you get a wee bit scared.
Take this excerpt for example.

"The telephone in Shadow's apartment was still silent and dead. He thought about getting it connected, but could think of no-one he wanted to call. Late one night he picked it up and listened, and was convinced that he could hear a wind blowing and a distant conversation between a group of people talking in voices too low to properly make out. He said, 'Hello?' and 'Who's there?' but there was no reply, only a sudden silence and then the faraway sound of laughter, so faint he was not certain he was not imagining it."

Shadow, in question, is a convict. Days before his release from prison, he is told that his wife has died in a mysterious car crash. Numb with grief and confusion, he gets on a plane home, where he meets the enigmatic and decidedly odd Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a former god. Shadow, having nothing else left to live for,agrees to work for Mr Wednesday. So they embark on a strange journey across the United States, from New York to Las Vegas, from South Dakota to San Francsico, while a so-called "storm" breaks out, and a war of supernatural and divine proportions is poised to break out.
Shadow meets multititudes of the most remarkable people, all at one time who were gods, brought over from their native lands in the minds and hearts of the people who migrated to the New World.
While Shadow himself struggles with his true identity, and that of the "gods" around him, and his dead wife's corpse who keeps returning to him.
It may not sound like much, but the fact that I am blogging about this book before I have even finished it (just 200 pages to go!) gives you an idea of how good it is.
A great deal of research is necessary in reading American Gods. Neil Giaman features gods, deities and mythological figures from practically every known civilization; Norse, Native American, Bavarian, African, Asian, Arabic, Egyptian. Hindu gods, Chinese gods,Greek gods, Roman gods, even Jesus Christ is given a mention. The process of finding out the stories and details behind the myths and legends, and drawing parallels and lines and connections to the story, are just as fascinating as the book itself.
However if you are familiar with Norse and Scandinavian mythology, to a certain degree, the plot will be quite obvious to you. But Neil Giaman is a fabulous enough author to not let your knowledge of what should happen next spoil the read.
In any case, Bloody Awful Poetry highly recommends.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Edge by...Michael Cadnum

Ugh. This is definitely freakish. In the BAD way.

It starts out with Zachary, a high-school dropout living in a bad area. The first chapter is a blur-a brawl of crazed, drunken teens, that ends up blood spattered cloud of tear gas. Zachary finds himself stowing away a hard, steel gun.
Suddenly his life is falling apart, his father is in the hospital with a bullet in his spine, his girlfriend's mother is a bit too friendly with him, and all he has to hold on to is the revolver.
No one knows who shot his father.

It sounds much more exciting than it really is. The plot could have been great, but the author writes it in such a depressing way. I know that it is meant to have tear-jerking parts, but we are seeing this through Zachary's eyes. And Zachary sounds like he's on heavy meds.

Alas, as an avid reader I am compelled to read the rest of the book, even though it sucks. Oh well.

UPDATE: This is the first book that I have officially abandoned. Of course, I abandoned it to read three fantastic books that I have, stacked up and waiting for me. Midnighters 2: touching darkness, Midnighters 3: (forgot the name), and Specials. Got to love Westerfeld!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Review of the whole midnighers trilogy in progress and coming ASAP! (which might be a while but still...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Stephen King is the undisputed King Of The Freaks, in my humble opinion. Heck, it's even in his name! The King of things that go bump in the dark, that are born out of your nightmares, gooey and icky and full of teeth and eyes made out of the night, tapping on your window by moonlight, asking very nicely if you could please let them come in, just for a little while? They only want to play, and they're not really all that noisy.

Dreamcatcher, in my opinion, is one of Mr King's freakiest works. His wife, Tabitha King, in fact often refers to it as "the one with the shit-weasels".


Basically it is the story of four men who were once boys. And as young boys they did something noble and good, but one that would end up altering their lives beyond belief and comprehension. An alien invasion in the woods of Maine, unexplainable powers, and the one little boy with Down's Syndrome who links these four friends and everything that happens around them.
I won't go into the plot much. I bought the book knowing next to nothing about the story, and I think I enjoyed the little flashbacks and revelations much more that way. It is one of the joys of a Stephen King novel. Step into it, as clueless as possible, expecting nothing and everything, and just let that man, the storyteller, do his job. My only complaint is that the novel is just a tad too long. At least a hundred or so pages could be cut off, really.
But apart from that, this book was a godsend for me. I had flu and a throwy-uppy virus for about a week, and Dreamcatcher (along with warm orange juice) was my constant companion on those long, feverish, sweaty nights, when sleep was as far away as the chance of Jessica Simpson winning the Pulitzer Prize.
It goes deep into the depths of human psyche and awareness and psychology without you ever realizing it at first. It plumbs at your fears so tactfully and unobstrusively that you almost never realize what's going on. And not just fears of what's hiding in the shadows or what's going to pop out at you from behind those bushes. But also the fear of losing your grip on that line between reality and fantasy, and losing the people you love, and losing that carefree innocence of your childhood, and losing yourself in the overwhelming insanity of the world around you.

Stephen King may never be considered as particularly intelligent literary reading material, but you cannot deny the fact that the man makes his characters so very human that it's almost ridiculous. Their thought processes, their fears, their minds and hearts become part of you, that's how powerful it is.
All in all, Dreamcatcher is another extremely satisfactory King reading experience, with one of those ambiguous you-decide-what-the-ending-is finishing touches. Bloody Awful Poetry highly approves.

There is also a movie version of the book, starring the likes of Morgan Freeman and Thomas Jane. Apparently it is quite good, but all I'm saying is that, compared to the novel, the movie ending supremely sucks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

PRETTIES ~Scott Westerfield

Somebody has probably already posted on this book, but I love it so much! I just finished it, and I loved UGLIES (book 1 in the series) almost as much.
Westerfield has created a future world, where you are divided by how you look. When you are young (a.k.a. 'Littlie') you live with your parents in 'Middle pretty Town'. (Ignore the crappy city names!) When you are twelve, though, you are sent to 'Uglyville' (again with the stupid names,). There you are raised by computers, fed, clothed, and taught by a hole in the wall. You are also taught to think of yourself as a hideous creature who can't wait to turn 16.

Once you are 16 you are sent to an operation. An operation where they sand off your face, smash all your bones, and then make you look beautiful. Pretty. You look like everyone else in 'New Pretty Town', sweet, innocent, and vulnerable. And gorgeous.
In this new world, killing animals and trees was considered barbaric. You instead used metal.

All Tally ever wanted was to be a Pretty. She was always tricking the technology, to sneak into New Pretty Town to watch the partying and fun going on with the pretties. (Did I mention that that was all Pretties had to do? Have fun?) But then she is told what terrible things that the operation can do to you, and she changes her mind a bit about turning 'Pretty'.
I can't tell about Book 2, without giving away Book 1!

Go. Read. It.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

two very different header options for IM's other blog!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

update to yee

I had two reviews already done and I was working on several more. I HAD. Now I don't know where the notebook is and I never got around to typing them up....

I'm really awful at this, aren't I?

PS. Bloody Awful Poetry - I. Love. Timeline. It's actually one of the two things that made me interested in quantum physics (the other's the Wikipedia entry on Schrodinger's Cat). (and I'm kinda nuts about quantum physics... um...)

PPS - to everyone else.... HEY, IS THAT A DEMONIC DUCK OVER THERE?! *runs away*

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Jurassic Park

I am very serious when I say that Michael Crichton's book, Jurassic Park, is one of my favorites. I usually don't go for the gory books of death and destruction, but this one was intriguing.
It starts off with a young boy who has been ripped up by something, being shipped to a hospital. Read it!
Then it goes to a young girl and her parents, traveling to a deserted beach. She is studying wildlife, when a small birdlike reptile attacks her arm. That is one of my favorite parts.

And so launches the gory, tragic, horrifying, and freaky...Jurassic Park.

I am starting another Crichton book, and it has started off the same way. A guy comes into a hospital, puking blood. (Sorry for any visuals!)

I will post about Timeline (the above book), soon!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well yes. We all have been just a tad lazy haven't we,Theatre? We embarrass ourselves. Anyway, I have indeed had the chance to finish a couple of books between Christmas and New Year's. Right now I'm halfway through Zadie Smith's On Beauty and Mark Haddon's Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time. But for now I thought I'd settle for Audrey Niffenegger's extremely unconventional love story.

The very beginning of the novel presents a rather complicated scenario. The first time Claire meets Henry,she is 5 years old and he is 36. But the first time Henry meets Claire,he is 28 and she,22. If that alone doesn't at least slightly set your freakybook senses tingling,I don't know what will.
As the narrative unfolds,told from the first person's POV of both Claire and Henry,we learn that the hero of the tale suffers from a rare genetic disease,which the author refers to as Chrono-Displacement. Henry,at any moment of the day,can be literally sucked and thrown back and forth in time. He usually appears in his new surroundings completely naked,and must wander around and make do with what he can steal or scrounge until his cells decide to return to his proper timeline again. Very dangerous,and very inconvenient.
But it explains why Claire has known him all her life,whereas the 28 year old Henry hasn't the slightest clue as to who she is (he doesn't actually start going back into Claire's childhood and teen years until he himself is 36,remember?)
Told you it's complicated.

There are particularly touching scenes when Henry ends up visiting his daughter in the future,after his own death,and when he goes back in time and witnesses the death of his own mother countless times. Despite its freakishness which qualifies it for a spot in this blog,the characters in the novel are merely trying to hold on to a normal,real existence. It is particularly painful for Claire,who has to contend with her husband's sudden and often lengthy disappearances,wondering where he is o r if he's hurt and maybe,just maybe,this is the one time when he might never actually come back.
In one sadly comical scene,Henry pulls one of his Chrono-displacement disappearances moments before his wedding to Claire,but by a stroke of insane good fortune an older time-travelling Henry shows up to take the younger Henry's place.
Don't get me wrong,it's a rather fabulous book, but at times the sweet charming magic of "everything will work out somehow" tends to grate on my nerves. Because Henry can travel forward into his own future,he can basically be sure of how and when he gets married,his children,even the house they end up living in. And so the couple are wrapped in a somewhat lukewarm blanket of security,knowing that some part of their future lives are already mapped out and set. Indeed,for someone who is so disconnected from his own timeline, at times I feel like this Henry dude really gets it too easy.
In any case,this is definitely one for those warm fuzzies,and the Freaky Book Hall O' Fame.

If you're interested, a
movie adaptation of the novel is also due this year,starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

We have got to get better at this

HAPPY NEW YEARS; CHRISTMAS; CAUCUS NIGHT; dudes what is with the silence surely at least one of us has finished a book or two of worth this Christmas? So I'm kinda in the middle of two different books both interesting one freaky (The Historian) and the other informative (French Women Don't Get Fat)

So whats with the sleeping you guys? I'm probably the last credible person to even bring up such a topic as posting regularity, but still, reading you guys' input is really a highlight, I think, in the blogosphere or at least our little corner of it (that is actually self contradiction statement somehow)