Sunday, December 14, 2014

ReView of DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn


Libby Day lived through the moment that changed her existence for the rest of her life.  At seven years old, her fifteen year old brother, Ben, took an ax to her mother and two older sisters.  Twenty four years later, still "the Love Survivor of the Prairie Massacre," Libby Day begins to delve deeper into the past to re-examine more closely what truly happened.

I love Gillian Flynn for keeping true to the theme that nothing is ever as it appears from a distance.  Convicted for the murders of his family members and jailed for life, Ben happens to be misunderstood by his family, a willing victim to his sociopath vixen, and best of all braver than any of Day family members.  While this is Libby Day's journey to make sense of that day in the past, the novel is indirectly a journey of redemption for Ben.

Some people just come with a natural darkness within themselves, some resort to dark matters as a reaction of their circumstances, some resort to dark matters to be martyrs, and others just happen to be right dab in the middle of the former clashing together.  These are the dark places Gillian Flynn unravels slowly through the novel.

Gillian Flynn seems to have a flare for the darkness in communities, not just in individuals.  Deadening poverty.  Failed tourist town.  Self-deprecating lifestyles.  Fearful injustices.  Drugs. Animal sacrifices. Mindless hysteria. Characters in the novel have reactionary dysfunctions to their community dynamics, all of which leads the story to its tipping point.

What will shock you the most is when the novel reveals what truly happened that day when Libby lost her mother and siblings, and her brother Ben was jailed for it.  You come to learn and understand each and every one of the characters, their malfunctions, and their deepest reasons for all their actions.  At some point the novel even makes it possible to come to terms of their actions, only to find out the one character you learn least about influences the rest of the characters the most.

Something supposedly for the best intentions turns accidentally disastrous leaving only tragedy behind.


Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Genre: Mystery
Format: Audio
Length: 349 pages
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books
First Published: 2009

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

ReView of JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS LOVER by Lauren Leto

"For the Love of Print," "Fan Fictions," "How to Fake it," "Snark Bait," are just a few of the chapter titles from this book.  Initially, when I chose to read this book, I thought I was in for a real ride - something unique, out-of-the box, something that was going to make me laugh and at the same time maybe show me a different perspective on books.  The book fell short for me in some areas, but it did give some new perspectives.

"Want to impress the hot stranger at the bar who asks for your take onInfinite Jest? Dying to shut up the blowhard in front of you who’s pontificating on Cormac McCarthy’s “recurring road narratives”? Having difficulty keeping Francine Prose and Annie Proulx straight?

For all those overwhelmed readers who need to get a firm grip on the relentless onslaught of must-read books to stay on top of the inevitable conversations that swirl around them, Lauren Leto’s Judging a Book by Its Lover is manna from literary heaven! A hilarious send-up of—and inspired homage to—the passionate and peculiar world of book culture, this guide to literary debate leaves no reader or author unscathed, at once adoring and skewering everyone from Jonathan Franzen to Ayn Rand to Dostoyevsky and the people who read them." GoodReads

I love that Lauren Leto began the book with the story of her childhood experience when her teacher complimented her on being such a great reader that all she did thereafter as a result was read.  Her parents were painfully upset with the teacher, can you believe it?  I wonder if Lauren Leto is truthful in her story.  How can a parent be upset that their child is reading all the time? Go ahead, give your thoughts on that, I wonder how many of you are understanding with that concept :).

I began to understand the worry her parents had when I read the following confession from Lauren Leto: "I'm an anxious person.  My guess (gathered from an unscientific survey of fellow readers and the uneducated opinions of my family) is that this may be the result of years of overexposure to fictional worlds and underexposure to real-world activities such as recess, school dances, and cocktail parties.  I'm not very comfortable in settings and situations most people take for granted as part of the comings and goings of everyday life." How many of readers and writers can relate to such an anxious experience of life?  I know I have had my moments, whether it's a result of my exposure to so many fictional worlds or not may be up for discussion.  Maybe her parents had a legitimate reason to worry for her being with her head in books all the time? Maybe.  Maybe not. Sometimes the risk is more than worth it.

I loved the part in the book when she talks about how the best books "expand and challenge the mind," and how the "easy books don't have images that come to you suddenly when you're alone on a street corner and a passing man's face suddenly strikes you, like the line in Jeffrey Eugenide's Middlesex, as 'rumpled like an unmade bed.'"  I have had many moments when at random a line in a great book will strike me just as she mentions here.  This is one of the most beautiful marks a book can leave on you.  

Suffice it to say the book starts out fairly strong.  It lost me in the middle at some point, and I found myself flipping through a chuncky portion. Towards the end of the book, though, there are a few chapters worthh slowing down for, particularly "Fan Letters," "Little-Known Treasures," and "What Your Child Will Grow Up to Be if You Read Them.."  All fairly awkward, funny, and absolutely uniquely opinionated.  When I am reading a book on books, it's almost a given that I expect an opinionated writer, and so I enjoyed her writing very much in these chapters.  

As for the chapter on "How to Fake it?"  Booksellers, this is your chapter.  If you want a cheat-sheet of what to briefly know about books and how to mention small bits about each book to your customers, go ahead and just read this chapter if the rest of the book does not interest you. 

Lastly, I want to say that I was so happy about how the book ends.  The last paragraph of the book is a great way to summarize the thoughts and ideas of books, in general.  

"The greatest arguments for the oneness of humanity is the recognition that we are all emotional beings, subject to the fantasies of a story.  We talk about this event we went through alone because it connects us together.  You're never more human than when you realize a sentence has the power to push and pull the emotions of millions."

It was alright, I liked it

Genre: Non-Fiction
Format: Paperback
Length: 269 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial
First Published: 2012

Sunday, April 20, 2014

ReView of GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

This is the story of two people who barely know each other, then again do people really know each other? It is also the case of two people who possibly know each other well enough to become angered and bitter with each other's presence.  At times, their circumstances has forced them to come at their wits ends with each other's presence and character.  But are there real and significant psychologies worthy of worry for these characters?  Is Amy an almost psychopath? A Sociopath?  Can Nick really be a murderer?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

ReView of IN THE KNOW: THE CLASSIC GUIDE TO BEING CULTURED AND COOL by Nancy MacDonnell

If you enjoy knowledge, and you want to catch up a little bit on past influencers of our culture this is definitely a good source.  While the book focuses mostly on fashion icons and lifestyle elements, the first part of the book is very useful.  That part focuses on Ten Cultural Innovators, Ten Books You Should Read, Five Art Books to Display, and also Ten Films to Know About.

I spent the majority of my focus on the first couple of chapters because those were the chapters that were of interest of me.  I didn't much care for the others.  The book weighs heavily on Fashion & Lifestyle, and lacks the balance of Literature, Film, Arts & Philosophy, to which only one section was dedicated, and was named Culture.  A little weird, I say.

Nevertheless, that's just my opinion.  It's worth taking a look at.  It's worth giving it as a gift to someone who is probably into the Arts & Fashion lifestyle as it contain a lot of useful reference, and a lot of historical icons that revolutionized those subjects.

That's all I have to say.  It was kind of miss for me.  I figure culture is bigger part to being 'cultured and cool' than fashion and lifestyle, but maybe I'm wrong.  You decide for yourself.  I have decided for myself.


Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Paperback
Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Penguin
First Published: 2007


Saturday, January 11, 2014

ReView of DRACULA by Bram Stocker

Definitely not what I excepted of this novel.  Can you believe I have never read Dracula, until now? Well, after reading it for the first time I can safely say it is one of my favorite classic novels.  This is Dracula.  The real. The one and only. Cold. Evil. Terrifying. Utterly, mysterious.  The world's most famous vampire.

As you read Dracula you will not forget the words Dracula speaks to Jonathan Harker upon his arrival at the Dracula castle.

Welcome to my home.  Come freely.  Go safely.  And leave some things of the happiness you bring.

From an ordinary person, these words are a welcome one hopes to get, but from Dracula it's just creepy.  Wonderfully creepy, coming from the curious and excited reader.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Bookserk ReView Rating

After much deliberation, I have updated my Gone Bookserk ReView Rating.  Many of you will still see the old rating on previous posts, until with time they will change over.

My old rating had its limits, the new rating allows me to expand the types of reviews I will be posting. As you will see, the 5Star-system I have created falls much more in line with the GoneBookserk theme, as I will explain further.

Friday, January 3, 2014

ReView of THIS SIDE OF PARADISE by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Amory Blaine is utterly an idealist.  He indulges in every sense of his dreams, to the point that it becomes detrimental to the state of his status in life.  I was waiting for something in the novel to really excite me about this character.  I felt like as I turned the page I could possibly find an event that would change Amory Blaine from a very hopeless character to a triumphant hero of the story.  But the novel just become more and more tragic as it developed.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

ReView of THE MATHEMATICS OF LIFE by Ian Stewart

Wow!  Quite a dense book.  When you first start this book, it almost seems like it's going to be an easy read.  If you have a background in the sciences or biology, you'll notice even more how easy of a read it is.  Boy does it turn out to be otherwise.  I kept reading through this book for months.  I have finally finished it, truthfully by skimming the last twenty pages or so.  I'm entering a quick review of it, but I intend to go back to it this year and read it one chapter at a time again.  Really, there are at least five great reasons to read this book.

ReView of DEMIAN by Herman Hesse

"On good days, when my conscious did not trouble me, it was often delightful to play with them, to be good and decent as they were and to see myself in a noble light.  That's what it must have been like to be an angel!  It was the highest state one could think of.  But how infrequent such days were! Often at play, at some harmless activity, I became so fervent and headstrong that I was too much for my sister; the quarrels and unhappiness this led to threw me into such a rage that I became horrible, did and said things so awful they seared my heart even as I said them.  Then followed harsh hours of gloomy regret and contrition, the painful moment when I begged forgiveness, to be followed again by beams of light, a quiet, thankful, undivided gladness."

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Most Memorable GoneBookserk Moments 2013

As the new year approaches and I reflect back on all that's happened on this blog, I realize I have so many memories to be thankful for.  Many of which I never really paid tribute to or shared with you all, the readers.  So this year, I'm doing that.  Here are my favorite moments about being GoneBookserk, so far.

Bookserk Globally

Czech (3) Brazillian (2) Chinese (2) Indian (2) Japanese (2) African (1) Italian (1) Swedish (1)