Archive for the ‘tv’ Category

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Non-Music Reviews: Books, TV, and more!

June 26, 2008

Book 1: So last week I read a book that just blew me away, The Raw Shark Texts by Stephen Hall. It’s his first novel (unfortunately this means there aren’t any others by him to read) and it’s probably the best book I’ve read in years.

Everything about it is perfect. It’s got just the right touch of tragicomedy that you’ll be laughing at one page and crying at the next. It’s got the perfect sense of absurdism. Enough to make the book ridiculous and fun, but not so much that it’s unreadable or dense. And even more awesome was the typography. The author used sentences to make pictures. Kinda like ASCII art, but with actual words and sentences, as opposed to dots and slashes. For instance a fish with be “drawn” with the word fin filling in its fins and beak filling in its beak. Crazy, yeah?

But what Mr. Hall is most effective at is building empathy for the main character, Eric Sanderson. Eric Sanderson wakes up with no memory and a note from his old self giving him a person to get in contact with. I’m not going to ruin the story, because I want everyone to read it, but the way the book deals with loss, grief, love, and memories is incredible. I wish all books made me feel this way.

Book 2: Unfortunately, this book proved that that won’t happen. Based on Amazon.com’s recommendation, I checked out Remainder by Tom McCarthy. This book had potential, a lot of potential. And it was poorly used. It’s about this guy who has an “Accident” which he can’t disclose because he won a lawsuit where the company pays him money and he keeps his mouth shut about it. Anyways, he’s rich now. And his memory is fragmented. So one night this guy has a vision with a memory he can’t place. So he pays lots of money to have people reenact it for him. Again and again.

Now this book has a great opportunity to explore his memories and all sorts of cool stuff. But it doesn’t. Instead the main character starts reenacting random everyday encounters he has. It’s stupid, pointless. And by the end of the book the main character is a selfish boor who’s entirely unlikable.

That’s not even what bothered me the most about the book. The author goes to great extent at the beginning to introduce a girl named Catharine. They knew each other before the accident and something romantic was blooming. After the accident she comes to visit, and nothing happens between them. Then that’s it. She’s gone from the book entirely. Mentioned maybe once again.

Basically, Remainder by Tom McCarthy is a waste of time.

TV Show: Pushing Daisies. Alright, I ignored this when it was new. I ignored it for several months after. I ignored it all the way up until tonight when I watched an episode (Smell of Success) online. And it will never be ignored again. I’ve seen it described as a forensic fairytale, which is spot on. It’s about this baker named Ned who’s a twentysomething that can bring people back to life by touching them. When he touches them a second time they die, and for good. If he brings them back for longer than 60 seconds, someone or something of equal value has to die instead. And his next touch still kills them for good. Kind of a mixed bag.

Anyways, the show has a truly magical feel to it. Like Oz plus Seuss plus Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with some mystery solving. Oh right, because he can bring back the dead, he can talk to them and ask murder victims “Oh hey, since I have you here, who stuck that knife in your gullet?” So he’s basically a pie baking Sam Spade.

I can’t tell you how much I love this show. In fact, I’m going to go watch another episode right now.

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