The Girl on the Train (2016)

Title: The Girl on the Traingirl_on_the_train_ver3_xlg
Year: 2016
Director: Erin Cressida Wilson
Genre: Drama/Mystery
Date Watched: May 6, 2017
Category: #14 A drama

I was a little bit apprehensive when I heard that Emily Blunt had been cast as the main character in this movie, not because I don’t love her as an actress but more that I imagined her as being slightly older (until I was reminded that Emily Blunt is no longer a 20 something). As it turns out Emily Blunt was the perfect choice, but not just that so was Haley Bennett as the girl who went missing and Laura Prepon as the roommate.

If you’ve read the book then you’ll notice that the movie does stick to to the plot of the book quite well. Right down to the surprise ending.

Honestly, this book and the movie were slightly uncomfortable to read and watch for me because there is not a single likable character in the whole thing for most of the movie, maybe because I spent the whole thing hating each character for a different reason from the ex-husband who didn’t help his wife with a tough time to the missing girl who seemed to hate the baby she was sitting for and was sleeping with someone who wasn’t her husband. At the same time is really is a great movie (and a great book).

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Cannibal by Chuck Palahniuk and Other Short Stories

Okay, so this one is going to be a little different in format. Rather than just one short story there’s 4 here! Enjoy! All these stories were available online so I’ve included the links for you to read them if you wish. Before we jump in though, the first two on this list are definitely a little more gory than many people can handle so feel free to skip past them if that’s not your thing. (The quote above is from Chuck Palahniuk)

Title: Cannibal
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Genre: Short Story
Words: 2505
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

So, if you’ve never read any of Chuck Palahniuk’s books or short stories then you are in for quite the treat. That being said, this one is not my favourite of his short stories. I won’t spoil this one too much because it is quite short and Chuck Palahniuk is known for his twists and turns. Go check out Guts if you like this one though, that is one of the most disturbing things I have ever read. What I will say about Cannibal is, that I started reading it not long before I needed to go somewhere and lost track of time and was very nearly late to where I was going, only to have to find the last of the story on my phone and read it once I got there.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 


 

Title: Obsolete
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Genre: Short Story
Words: 4347
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

This one is a little different to the other stories I’ve read by Palahniuk and didn’t hold my attention nearly as much as the others. Though I was still surprised by the ending at least. If this is your first time reading something by Palahniuk I would suggest picking something else to start with even if this one is comparatively tame by his standards. It just doesn’t fit together as well as some of the others I’ve read.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

 


 

Title: The Zero Meter Diving Team
Author: Jim Shepard
Genre: Short Story
Words: (????)
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

This one was actually quite a sad read, unsurprising given the subject matter, though I was immediately drawn to it because of the subject matter. The Zero Meter Diving Team is the story of a trio of brothers and their experiences with Chernobyl, with one working there, one living nearby and being on the river at the time of the explosion and the third being part of the bureaucracy called in to help with the clean up. The imagery in it is beautiful, and the emotions are raw. It was just a great read.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 


 

Title: All Summer in a Day
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Short Story
Words: (????)
Category: 20. Read a short story, one with less than 5000 words
Format: Online 

This was an unusual read for me. I’ve never read anything by Bradbury before (despite actually knowing his granddaughter), but I saw this and decided to give it a shot. The writing isn’t necessarily a style I enjoy but it was written quite a while ago so I don’t mind. What was unusual for me, is that it is about such an ordinary school yard occurrence except that it occurs in a science fiction setting in a school room on Venus. That being said, I definitely identify with the poor girl in the story (I won’t tell you more so I don’t spoil it).

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Doubt Factory – Paolo Bacigalupi

Title: The Doubt Factory9780349002569-us-300
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 496
Category: 25. Read an indie book, where the publisher is a small or niche house and not one of the top 6 publishers (Atom)
Format: Paper

Date Started: February 7th 2017
Date Finished: February 10th 2017

The perfect book for the amateur conspiracy theorist, The Doubt Factory explores the question of just how much we can trust the brands and products we’re using. Specifically the pharmaceuticals that many of us need just to stay alive. Are these same pharmaceuticals actually killing us?

Alix has lived a very sheltered and affluent life going to the best private school money can buy with a house that many of us would be envious of and a perfectly boring suburban family. Her dad works long hours, her mum keeps the house in order, she gets good grades and her younger brother is always getting himself into trouble. Perfectly normal. Her friends are also perfectly normal, their private school kids just like her, who’s parents work and earn enough money to also send them to private schools. Her afternoons are spent in Starbucks with friends, going to the mall or doing homework. At least until 2.0 shows up and things start getting weird for Alix.

A prank at school that she is told is all her fault, then her brother runs off and her dad starts freaking out. Why does 2.0 have it in for her family and why is she now stuck with Death Barbie following her around all the time to keep her safe?

As the plot begins to unfold so do the questions, like falling down a rabbit hole, one after another. And Alix does feel kind of like she’s falling down a rabbit hole as her perfectly regular life begins to unravel around her.

The book is a bit slow to get started, but once it does it’s a fascinating exploration of the way we embrace new products without really knowing the risks they pose to us. Is your asthma medication going to put you in a coma? Is aspirin going to kill your kid? Yes, this is a novel and as such slightly dramatised, but it does make you wonder just how much you know about the products you’re using and how they’re regulated.

Despite the subject matter this is a nice easy read, the language straightforward and the concepts well explained, after all it is a young adult book. Some of the twists I saw coming, some of them I didn’t which is always a plus from me. If you can handle a story that builds slowly and a somewhat dense main character (at least for the first half of the book) then you should give The Doubt Factory a chance.

Rating: 3.5/5