Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Paradox of Vertical Flght by Emil Ostrovski

"What happens when you put a suicidal eighteen-year-old philosophy student, his ex-girlfriend, his best friend, and his newborn baby in a truck and send them to Grandma's house? This debut novel by Emil Ostrovski will appeal to fans of John Green, Chris Crutcher, and Jay Asher.

On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, philosophy student and high school senior Jack Polovsky is somewhat seriously thinking of suicide when his cell phone rings. Jack's ex-girlfriend, Jess, has given birth, and Jack is the father. Jack hasn't spoken with Jess in about nine months—and she wants him to see the baby before he is adopted. The new teenage father kidnaps the baby, names him Socrates, stocks up on baby supplies at Wal-Mart, and hits the road with his best friend, Tommy, and the ex-girlfriend. As they head to Grandma's house (eluding the police at every turn), Jack tells baby Socrates about Homer, Troy, Aristotle, the real Socrates, and the Greek myths—because all stories spring from those stories, really. Even this one. Funny, heart-wrenching, and wholly original, this debut novel by Emil Ostrovski explores the nature of family, love, friendship, fate, fatherhood, and myth."

So, this was an advance copy that I read recently. I think this is a book that definitely can't be pigeonholed, but in spite of that (or because of it) I really liked it. A lot. And it's really hard to say why. Undoubtedly, this book is kind of screwed up at times. That's kind of what added to its charm, though, for me. It's shockingly, weirdly, different from anything else out there (yet the John Green/Chris Crutcher references were closest, which might explain why I liked it). The book manages, in its messed-up situations, to bring intense hilarity and almost surrealism, and it gets grounded by irrational sweetness from Jack and his motivations and musings. It's strangely charismatic, and I really recommend you read this when you get the chance. It came out in September, so maybe keep an eye out for it in the library sometime soon-ish!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lola by Elbert Or

"Jesse sees dead people, monsters, demons, and lots of other things that go bump in the night that no one else can see. No one except his ailing grandmother - a woman who used her visions to help those living in her small town... the same rural community in all the scary stories Jesse's heard as a child. Man-eating ogres in trees. Farmhouses haunted by wraiths. Even pigs possessed by the devil. Upon his grandmother's passing, Jesse has no choice but to face his demons and whatever else might be awaiting him at grandma's house."

This author's actually coming soon to Sitka, just so you know, and I believe this is the book he's exhibiting most. Just for that reason, it'd probably be nice to pick up a copy and get to know it. Being a graphic novel, it's an incredibly quick read--I finished it in about fifteen to twenty minutes. The design was really quite good; it wasn't manga style, it was more simplistic and clean, which made for really nice reading. The actual time period and the events of the story were short, but it was definitely enjoyable to read. Not a bad use of twenty minutes, and the story, while not exactly managing to creep me out, made a pretty interesting ghost story. You could check it out soon at Kettleson or maybe Blatchley; they're being ordered.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

"What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be...well...a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad's recitation, and only the "good parts" reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He's reconstructed the "Good Parts Version" to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What's it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it's about everything."

If you're a decent human being, I hope you've seen the Princess Bride. It'd concern me if you haven't. Anyway, the existence of a respective book wasn't ever really on the forefront of my mind or my to-read list, but when I picked this up to occupy me for a 14-hour plane ride, I wasn't disappointed. There's a complete new layer added with the book that I knew little about: Goldman gives this elaborate (and extremely convincing) background of just abridging an old classic. He mentions growing up with it, and gives footnotes during the story like, "And now, Morgenstern goes into a seventeen-page musing on hats, which I've cut out..." and things like that. It's enormously amusing, if not a little brain-twisting. I had to stop halfway through the intro just to make sure there wasn't an original book. And the actual book and dialogue was amazing, unsurprisingly. This is one of the few movies that is basically on par with the book; the dialogue is verbatim about 90% of the time, and the story was insanely accurate. The extra element in the book of character backgrounds (especially Fezzik and Inigo) was an added treat. So, the book's a tiny bit long, but it doesn't feel like it at all. It feels exactly like the movie. Huge approval and thumbs up! There's copies at Blatchley, Sitka High, MEHS, and Kettleson.