Ghost World – Daniel Clowes

Title: Ghost World220px-ghost_world
Author: Daniel Clowes
Genre: Comic
Pages: 80
Category: 17. Read a book that was turned into a movie
Format: Paper

Okay, this is also a cult classic and was almost the movie I picked except I wanted to check out the comic first. So here we are. Comics are definitely not my favourite way to read but I do like to check one out every so often. I figured sneaking one in this year would plenty, especially since the book I picked up included the entire series as well as comments from Daniel Clowes.

Anyway, this comic so perfectly sums up what it’s like to finish high school and not really know what you’re going to do with your life. Particularly that first summer when you’ve just finished up with exams and you’re just kind of bumbling around town probably drinking and sleeping in. I spent most of my first summer out of school working in one of those shitty fast food jobs but I also had plenty of time to laze about and contemplate life. I think the experiences of these guys are pretty common. That person you were so close to in high school, you slowly have less and less in common with the, until you realise that you don’t really want to hang out with them anymore.

I had a bit of an issue with Enid to be honest because she just came across as so manipulative of Rebecca. She spends an awful lot of time particularly in the early comics deciding with she and Rebecca will do with their days. Honestly, if she was my friend I don’t know that I would want to hang out with her either.

This isn’t an uplifting read or anything like that and it leaves you feeling just a little bit melancholy when you’re done but if you haven’t checked it out it’s a pretty cool comic.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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Poseidon (2006)

Title: Poseidon
Year: 2006
Director: Wolfgang Peterson
Genre: Action/Disaster
Category: #29 An apocalypse/dystopian film

As someone who grew up in a time where The Poseidon Adventure (1972) was played as the midday movie at least a few times every year, I was a bit hesitant to watch this. I loved The Poseidon Adventure, every time I noticed it was on I’d be watching it, I often saw only part of it and it’s honestly possible I never saw the whole thing beginning to end but anyway.

The basic premise of the 2006 version is the same – A passenger ship is hit by a rogue wave on New Year’s Eve and the ship flips upside down. The people left alive have to try and find a way out while wandering about in a topsy turvy world. Whilst not technically an apocalypse movie I was incredibly short on choices because it’s one of my favourite genres so I’ve pretty much seen them all. In the end I stuck with disaster movie since it’s often the same type of conventions.

Anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. There wasn’t as much character progression as I’ve seen in some movies but it felt pretty right for the genre as a whole and well worth a watch even if you liked the original.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Florence Foster Jenkins

Title: Florence Foster Jenkinsmv5bmja0mzc4mjmxml5bml5banbnxkftztgwodiwntqxode-_v1_uy1200_cr9506301200_al_
Year: 2016
Director: Stephen Frears
Genre: Historical
Category: #27 A film starring Meryl Streep

Okay, so I’ve watched a lot of Meryl Streep but this is one I hadn’t bothered to check out because I didn’t love the idea of it very much. But it was quite funny in places and very well put together. It’s the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins who was known for her truly terrible singing abilities.

Florence has an unusual relationship with her husband (played by Hugh Grant) and also quite a lot of money. We get to see her succeeding in her singing career despite not being able to sing at all.

Honestly, I would’ve been much happier rewatching Mamma Mia or the Devil Wears Prada but I decided to pick new movies for all of my choices so here we are. Meryl Streep is someone who often stars in hilarious movies like Mamma Mia but just as often appears playing real people such as Julia Childs. Much like Julia this movie is well worth a watch but probably won’t make it to my top five Meryl Streep movies.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Baywatch (2017)

Title: Baywatchbaywatch_poster
Year: 2017
Director: Seth Gordon
Genre: Action
Category: #36 A movie with a rotten tomato score of less than 20%

I didn’t need to watch this movie to know that it would be some combination of awful and ridiculous and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you either. But it was.

This one follows on from the original TV show but now it’s The Rock who runs the beach. Welcome Zac Efron who’s an Olympic swimmer with a bad reputation and a sense of entitlement. Cue drugs showing up on the beach and the Baywatch folks getting caught up in a mystery that really should be left to the cops. Add in a healthy dose of character growth and a lot of gratuitous shots of male and female bodies in swimsuits and you’ve got Baywatch.

Honestly though, it had a pretty coherent plot which is more than I can say for a bunch of things I’ve seen this year so it gets some points for that and the acting was okay. The plot was certainly a bit predictable in places and there was nothing particularly amazing about it. But honestly, if all you want from your movie is a distraction from your real life and some pretty men/women to look at then this is a great choice.

Rating: 3/5 stars

 

Sundays on Squire’s Isle – Geonn Cannon

Title: Sunday’s on Squire’s Isle106fcd5439e914d6e7566272036b5e53_large
Author: Geonn Cannon
Genre: LGBT
Wordcount: 30,430
Category: 16. Read an unknown book, with no more than 100 ratings on any one website
Format: Ebook

I know there’s those of you who just love your ebooks but I honestly prefer to be able to feel the weight of a book in my hands which is why I either buy my physical books or head to the library. It’s only indie authors that I’ll ever read in eformat. At which time I either borrow my fiancee’s Kobo or end up reading through Kindle or Kobo apps on my phone. I used my phone to read this one reading a little here and there until I finished it.

I really wanted to enjoy this book because it was a great concept. Honestly, I think it would make a much better book if everything was expanded out a little more. Rather than a series of slightly connected short stories we actually got a chance to see the characters progressing more in their lives and goals. The thing that really made it hard for me with this book was that all of the characters sounded kind of the same and I dind’t have much interest in the stories because of it.

You can check this book out for free on Smashwords and honestly, I would encourage all of you to check out books on sites like Smashwords or to give new indie authors a shot because many of them are putting out truly amazing books and deserve our support. I’d love to see more indie books getting recognition so I’ll be placing my focus more on indie books next year than what I have this year (though there will still be plenty of traditionally published books since I’ve got a huge to read list going).

Rating: 3/5 stars

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Title: Million Dollar Babymv5bmtkxnza1ndqxov5bml5banbnxkftztcwntkymtizmw-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_
Year: 2004
Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre: Action/Sport
Category: #4 A film about sport

Okay, I know, where was I when this came out? Who knows, I definitely heard about it, I’m not sure why I never watched it, but here we are. Honestly, the first half of this movie is exactly what I was expecting, the second half not so much. I won’t spoil why, but if you’ve seen it I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

If you’re looking for something funny, this isn’t the one for you. This is definitely more drama than laughs. Definitely more Remember the Titans than Bend it Like Beckham.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Title: Ghost in the Shellmv5bmzjinti3mjitmgjimy00yza1ltg2mtitzme1zmrhowq0ngy1xkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyotk4mtm0nq-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_
Year: 2017
Director: Rupert Sanders
Genre: Action
Category: #49 An action movie

There’s been a lot of hate for this movie particularly in the lead-up to the release which largely surrounded the choice to have Scarlett Johansson as the lead actress. Given that this film was released as a Japanese anime in the 90’s with a lot of success there was a huge concern about casting a white actress and the Hollywood whitewashing that often occurs with modern movies. I certainly think those concerns are justified but I think the creators did a good job of explaining just why she was white even when the film was set in Japan.

I haven’t seen the original so I can’t comment on the film as a comparison but I will endeavour to watch it at some point and come back to you guys.

At any rate, the premise of this movie is incredibly cool that we could basically take someone’s brain out and put it in to a man made body and then use them to fight… and honestly, I don’t think we’re all that far from being able to do something like that.

Rating: 3/5 stars

 

The Zookeeper’s Wife – Diane Ackerman

Title: The Zookeeper’s Wife51qkbrj3cdl-_sx331_bo1204203200_
Author: Diane Ackerman
Genre: History
Pages: 368
Category: 42. Read a book that features animals
Format: Paper

So this one is based on a true story, set during World War II in Poland. It’s a pretty sad story but also incredibly interesting.

This was also made into a movie this year which is why it was on my list oddly enough. I was tossing up between this and A Dog’s Purpose but it received a lot of bad press regarding the treatment of animals so I picked this instead.

Honestly though, the hardest part reading this was the treatment of the animals during the war. This isn’t something I had put a lot of thought into prior to reading this book but it’s such a horrible thing to read about. Animals either dying or getting out of their enclosures and then being shot during a bombing.

It’s definitely a book that is worth reading and I’ll be checking out the movie when I have a chance too

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Three – Sarah Lotz

Title: The Three19880173
Author: Sarah Lotz
Genre: Mystery/Horror
Pages: 471
Category: 33. Read a book from the horror genre
Format: Paper

Date Started: September 15th 2017
Date Finished: September 17th 2017

I started this book at the airport right before getting on a three hour flight. Which is obviously a great idea. tarting a book about a plane crash right before flying. It’s become kind of a tradition though, last flight it was Departure by A G Riddle (great book by the way).

At any rate, 4 planes crash almost simultaneously in completely different parts of the world. There’s a single survivor from 3 of the crashes and none from the fourth, all 3 survivors are children and all 3 start acting weirdly once they get home. A pastor in America believes that there is a fourth child who survived the other crash and that together the 4 children are the horsemen of the apocalypse.

This is one of the stranger books I’ve read and has lead me to a new conclusion that plane crash books are largely incredibly strange. Honestly, I enjoyed the book but… really, not a lot actually happened which is surprising for such a long book and I was left feeling a little like maybe this wasn’t the horror book I was expecting. At least, right until the very end.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Title: Never Let Me Go71rpwxqqd3l
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 288
Category: 43. Read a book where the main character goes on a journey
Format: Paper

Date Started: June 29th 2017
Date Finished: July 5th 2017

It’s possible I would’ve have picked this up if it weren’t for this challenge. Okay, I wouldn’t have. But like so many other books that I’ve picked up because of this challenge, I actually ended up liking it.

The book switches between the past and the present intertwined. The past explores Cathy’s experiences at a boarding school which seems to be located somewhere in the British countryside. The present explores Cathy’s job as a carer where she occasionally comes into contact with people she went to school with.

Right off the bat though, the boarding school seems a little weird and not quite right. First off each student cultivates their own collections which they are able to purchase from sales at the school that happen quarterly. They don’t use money though, they use tokens which they receive in exchange for their art with better art getting more tokens. In turn, the art is sold at the quarterly sales in addition to items brought in from outside the school like clothes.

There’s also this constant mention of donations which is threaded through both the past and present stories, though it’s easy to make guesses what this means since Cathy is a carer for those who have made donations. She travels between care facilities working with her clients. Of course, after she’s finished been a carer she will make her own donations.

This book has the same feel as the Handmaid’s Tale for me, even though this society is a little more rooted in our current reality than the Handmaid’s Tale is. But, I think it’s safe to say that if you were a fan of the Handmaid’s Tale then you should give this a try.

Rating: 3/5 stars