February 29, 2016

The Reading Book Post, February 29th


Hello, everybody! Last night was Oscars night. I was particularly interested in the Adapted Screenplay category, as one of my favourite authors was nominated (Nick Hornby for Brooklyn) and one of the greatest adaptations I've ever seen onscreen was also nominated (The Martian). Eventually, none of those won, but all the nominees made this particular category really tough. Anyway, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • Dash & Lily's Book of Dares is getting a sequel! See the cover and read an interview with the authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily is due on October 18, 2016.   


  • Prepare to add two more books to your to-be-read list! New novels by Zadie Smith and Ali Smith will be published this year. Swing Time by Zadie Smith is expected on November 3rd, while Autumn by Ali Smith is due on August 24, 2016. 


  • The End of Watch, the upcoming novel be Stephen King now has an animated cover. What do you think? The novel will be available on June 7, 2016.


  • Irvine Welsh is also returning in 2016 with his new novel The Blade Artist. For now, you can read an excerpt while the novel is coming on April 7th.


  • Watch the new book trailer for the upcoming picture-book They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel. What an impressive art style! The book will be published on August 30.


  • Tell the Wind and Fire, the upcoming young adult novel by Sarah Rees Brennan's is due on April 5. But you can watch the book trailer. Are you fired up for this novel?


  • We have some news about The Winds of Winter. Unfortunately, it's now a release date. George R. R. Martin has revealed that in the latest installment of The Song of Ice and Fire there will be a twist that cannot be used in the series, as this character is dead in the show.


  • What is a better combination than tea and books? Well, Novel Teas combines both of those things. Each tea bag includes tags with quotes by famous authors. I need this in my life!


  • Which Literary Heroine Are You? Take the quiz to find out! I got Hermione Granger (Yay!), which one did you get?

February 25, 2016

Review: Bioshock- Rapture by John Shirley

Title: Bioshock - Rapture

Author: John Shirley

Publisher: Tor Books

Date of Publication: 2011

Number of Pages: 444

Find it at: Book Depository

Summary

It's the end of World War II. FDR's New Deal has redefined American politics. Taxes are at an all-time high. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has brought a fear of total annihilation. The rise of secret government agencies and sanctions on business has many watching their backs. America's sense of freedom is diminishing... and many are desperate to take that freedom back.

Among them is a great dreamer, an immigrant who pulled himself from the depths of poverty to become one of the wealthiest and admired men in the world. That man is Andrew Ryan, and he believed that great men and women deserve better. And so he set out to create the impossible, a utopia free from government, censorship, and moral restrictions on science -- where what you give is what you get. He created Rapture -- the shining city below the sea.

But as we all know, this utopia suffered a great tragedy. This is the story of how it all came to be... and how it all ended.

Review

Bioshock: Infinite is one of my favourite games. I don't usually play first-person shooters, but in this particular case, the story was so engrossing that I had to make an exception! Indeed, if you're looking for a great story in a game this is one of the titles that definitely come in mind. So, when I decided to read Bioshock - Rapture for the video games to books themed read I was equally excited and anxious. The first book of the theme (Assassin's Creed: Renaissanceturned out to be a disappointment although the game had an excellent story and I was worried that history would repeat itself. But with Bioshock there was a difference: I hadn't played the first installment of the franchise prior to reading the novel. And doing both of these, reading the novel and playing the game at the same period, gave me an experience I didn't expect. 

First of all, Bioshock - Rapture is a prequel to the game. We get to know from the very beginning who Andrew Ryan was and how he decided to build Rapture, an underwater city. Before even the foundations of the city were laid, we understood which people Ryan wanted to recruit. If everything went according to the tycoon's plan, the Rapture would surely be the utopia he was hoping for. When the city was finally built, Fontaine came into the foreground and the relentless game of power began. There was a lot of politics and manipulation while each one tried to control Rapture. Ryan wanted to avoid unions and nationalism at all costs, but he was forced to act as a tyrant. If you haven't played the game, then there are a couple of spoilers towards the end.

The idea of a city like Rapture is very appealing. A free city, with free market, where everyone will be entitled to his own work. No government, no religion, nothing to control society. The rise of such a city was rapid and the falling was even more rapid. If it weren't Fontaine, then there would surely be someone else that would want to control Rapture.

The key to the fall of Rapture was the discovery of the plasmids. This is one of the distinctive elements of the game and it couldn't be omitted. But at the same time, it offered a tool of manipulation. Plasmids were addictive and helped human genes to mutate, giving to the users super-human abilities, like telekinesis and incineration. The one who sold the plasmids was the one who possessed all the power.

As I've already mentioned, Bioshock is a first-person shooter game. If there were violent scenes in the novel, then it would totally be justifiable, but this wasn't the case. The novel indeed had a couple of fights, but the violence was mild. Also, looting was absent. To be honest, I would find it absurd if this gameplay element was included. What Bioshock - Rapture managed to do was to keep the atmosphere of the game and that was what impressed me the most.

Playing the game while reading the novel gave me an extraordinary experience. I was completely immersed in the world and the novel gave me a better understanding of some of the characters that appeared in the game as well. It was like I was reading about the cause and then I traveled into the future and saw the effect it had. If you haven't played the game, then I would recommend that you do both.

All in all, Bioshock - Rapture was an excellent read. If you expect to find the raw violence of the game, then you'll be disappointed. But if you want to dig deeper into the motives of Andrew Ryan and what the citizens of Rapture thought, then you'll definitely love it. This is a tough call for the score, as the novel is as good as the game, but I'll have to give the point to the book format.

February 24, 2016

Play(list) by the Book: Bioshock - Rapture



Hello, everybody! Another book, another literary playlist. This time, get ready to be immersed in the melodies of Bioshock: Rapture. Most of the songs originate before 1950, so sit back and enjoy!





In the Play(list) by the Book, I included all the songs and artists mentioned in the novel Bioshock: Rapture by John Shirley. Since it's a prequel to the well-known game Bioshock many of the songs listed here were also featured on the soundtrack of the game. When only an artist was mentioned I used either a song that I personally liked or a song that can be found in the soundtracks of BioshockBioshock 2 and Bioshock: Infinite.


Find previous Play(list) by the Book here.  

February 13, 2016

Review: Headlines You May Have Missed by Morris Brady

Title: Headlines You May Have Missed

Author: Morris Brady

Publisher: Self-published

Date of Publication: 2016

Number of Pages: 82

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary

Are you ready for some news that isn't fit to print?

Humor and news come together in the new ebook Headlines You May Have Missed. Sure, you can find news in most newspapers, but where else can you find headlines like these...

SHRINK SAYS YOUR GRANDMA COULDN'T COOK... You just liked food she prepared because she put sugar or booze in everything.

FLORIDA COLLEGES SLASH BUDGETS... Academics out--football to stay.

TRUMP: I THOUGHT FOOD STAMPS WERE POSTAGE STAMPS WITH PICTURES OF FOOD ON THEM

Admit it... you don't see headlines like that in the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times. See what you've been missing by reading Morris Brady's new book, Headlines You May Have Missed.

Review

I love books that make me laugh. The funny books themed read is, in fact, one of my favourite themes I've done so far. So, I was eager to dig into Headlines You May Have Missed, especially after reading lengthy novels, such as 11/22/63.

The format of this book is quite simple. The headlines fall into seven categories: Popular Culture, Sports, Politics, Modern Life, Big Business, Tabloid News and Politics (The George W. Bush Presidency). In that way, everyone can find a topic that will enjoy more. For example, I couldn't really get the Sports and Politics headlines, but I was interested in Popular Culture and Tabloid News ones.

But the issue with Headlines You May Have Missed is that many of these headlines didn't connect with me. Most of them are topical, so people from the USA might enjoy it more since they will be more familiar with the news and people the headlines intent to comment upon. Another thing that I missed in this book is a foreword by the author, even a short one. This is a book that contains only headlines, there are only a couple of exceptions where there is also a subheader, but I'd love to read one or two words from the author.

Headlines You May Have Missed is a quick read. The humour might not be for everybody, but if you're in for a quick and light read then give it a try.

So, my advice is...


Visit the newspaper stand... 

February 8, 2016

The Reading Book Post, February 8th


Hello, everybody! Are you waiting for Valentine's Day this week? But it's still a few days away, so until then, let's see what happened in the literary world the previous week.

  • The shortlist for The British Science Fiction Association was announced earlier this week. The winners will become public on 26th March at Mancunicon. 

  • Did you love Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin? You can see the cover of the sequel to the young adult novel, called Blood for Blood. You can also read an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming book. Blood for Blood is due on November 2016.

  • Author Andy Struthers claims that Bram Stoker's Dracula wasn't inspired by Vlad the Impaler, but by Sabina Baring-Gould's texts, called Lycanthropy: the Study of Werewolfs and the story Margery of Quether

  • A new survey conducted by the BBC has revealed which books most people have lied about reading. The results are quite interesting, as the top places belong to books such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. How many have you read from the top 20?

  • A research team from the University of Colorado Boulder has created the Tactile Picture Book Project, in which picture books for the blind and visually-impaired children were designed. So inspiring! 

  • A new exhibition shows different sides of Andy Warhol. Warhol by the Book will take place at the Morgan Library & Museum and will feature more than 130 book-related objects of the famous artist.

  • What's Your Favourite Type of YA Romance? Take the quiz to find out! I got The Unrequited Row Boat of Love, what did you get?   

February 7, 2016

Weeckies: The Trial for Murder by Charles Dickens


Hello, everyone! Today is Charles Dickens' birthday and this gives us the perfect opportunity to read one of the numerous short stories the much-beloved author has written. The Trial for Murder was written in 1865 and it's a ghost story. It's a quick read of just 4,603 words, so if you want to honour the great author today, I can't recommend it enough. 


The Trial for Murder is just what the title suggests. The main character is a banker, who is summoned as a jury member to a trial. But this banker has something extraordinary: he can see the ghost of the murdered man. The ghost is present all the days the trial took place but is never menacing. Therefore, I can't say that this short story is particularly scary. But keep in mind that it was written in mid 19th century and readers then would surely be creeped out.                                                                                                                                                                                   Nevertheless, the atmosphere that was created was eerie. Although I could tell why the ghost appeared, I felt anxious whenever it decided to take action. The introductory scene to the incident was one of the best I've encountered, in order to put me in the right mood for a ghost tale. But the ghost doesn't add something ground-breaking to the plot apart from the certainty of the guilt of the murderer. Although The Trial for Murder isn't a scary story, it's certainly a well-written one.


Which is your favourite short story written by Charles Dickens?

February 5, 2016

Review: A Guide Through A Woman's Mind: Women, It's Time to Say What You Mean...And Mean What You Say! by Rea Unique

Title: A Guide Through A Woman's Mind: Women, It's Time to Say What You Mean...And Mean What You Say!

Author: Rea Unique

Publisher: Xlibris Corporation

Date of Publication: 2008

Number of Pages: 80

Find it at: Book Depository

Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary

So many relationships fail because of communication. Men seem to think that we can read their mind.

Women, if you fall into this category…Wow! The only thing that comes to me is that you are tired of him.

Girls, don’t worry. No one’s name is out in the air and you are not the only one complaining about your situation. I’m just surprised so many women are going through the same situation. Maybe this is the reason so many women are in violent domestic relationships. Is it because some men don’t know how to express their feelings or opinions, and becoming dominant is the only way they know how? I am here to tell you that do not work!!!

This book deals with relationships. It speaks words from the heart of women. This book speaks words that women find easy to discuss among each other. Words that they find hard to express with their partner and words they so desperately want to say.

Review

There isn't a better way to express feelings and thoughts than through a good poem. Moreover, a collection of poetry, such as this one, dealing with domestic violence has every potential to be pretty powerful. Or, at least, that was what I was expecting.

A Guide Through A Woman's Mind wasn't actually about women suffering domestic violence like the summary had promised me. It told the story of a woman who lost communication with her husband and, therefore, she felt miserable about it. Now, this is also a very serious problem, but different than the one I was expecting.

Apart from my expectations, this collection of poetry told a story. Each poem added something new to the plot and revealed parts of the characters that were unknown to me before. I'm not sure if those poems are even a bit autobiographical, but I got to know this woman who cried to her partner for communication. I felt like a witness to a marriage that slowly fell apart. Moreover, I followed this woman when she was trying to decide when she should let go of a relationship that did her no good. Eventually, I realized how much courage she needed to begin again. I have to admit that I enjoyed that A Guide Through A Woman's Mind turned out to reveal its own story bit by bit.

But my enjoyment wasn't enough for this book to leave me satisfied. Sometimes, and I hate to admit that it was more often than I'd want to, the narrator seemed to me a little unfair and unreasonable. After years of living together, it's only natural not to have candlelit dinners anymore. But what I really didn't like was the frequent mention of who brought the money home. If a man were to read this collection, I'm not quite sure what he would think. Well, I understand that this is targeted to women, but still it's full of cliches.

Nevertheless, I'm sure that I would enjoy A Guide Through A Woman's Mind more if there weren't so many typos in the poems. If there were just a couple I wouldn't even mention it, but this collection needs some editing. Especially those grammatical errors really threw me off the poems!

To sum things up, A Guide Through A Woman's Mind had potential, but I was mostly disappointed. Both thematically and morphologically this collection failed to appeal to me. Read this only if you are a woman and need some poetry to read, but still keep in mind of the issues I've stated.

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