Friday, November 13, 2009

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Author: Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters Publication Date: 2009 Category: Fiction Who'll want to read it? Anyone who loved "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", any Austen fans with a sense of humour. Point of no return: For me, it was the title. Classic line: Willoughby, on Colonel Brandon (page 56):"Who, though he may have a thinking mind, has also a fish's face, and should perhaps be more comfortable out of his gentlemen's coats and submerged in the tank in my parlour." What's it all about? The classic "Sense and Sensibility" story, set after "the Alteration, when the waters of the world grew cold and hateful to the sons of man, and darkness moved on the face of the deep." (page 7) After the death of their father, and the subsequent forced move to Pestilent Isle, in the Middleton Archipelago, the Dashwood sisters' lives take a completely new direction. Marianne falls in love with the handsome Willoughby (who appears to best advantage in full diving costume and helmet), Margaret becomes increasingly aware of the unusual nature of their island, and Elinor tries to maintain and instill a semblance of sense and decorum in her family. I thoroughly enjoyed this "Quirk Classic", and cannot wait for the next one! Publisher: Quirk Books

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Author: Junot Diaz

Publication Date: 2007

Category: fiction

Who'll want to read it? I'm not really sure. It's a pretty crazy ride.

Point of no return: I loved the first line: "They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles." I then really struggled through the first chapter, but persisted, mainly because the book had been recommended. It picks up again in chapter two.

What's it all about? For me, it was more about the females of Oscar's family. Oscar is an incredibly overweight Dominican in New Jersey, whose life revolves around all things science fiction and fantasy (including role playing games and manga films), and the unrequited love he has for every random girl he sees. There is a fuku on the family, from a previous generation - a curse that is so powerful, it is passed down to each member of the family in a different way. His sister Lola, and his mother Belicia are stronger characters than Oscar himself, and I found their tales much more interesting.

Publisher: Riverhead Books