I am trying to write a story on my own and I would really appriciate it if some random people could answer these questions. I feel I need to hear more opinions on reading in order to make it more accessible for people who don’t share my obsession with disaster.
1. Do you enjoy a book better if it’s all laid out for you or if the writer leaves alot towards the imagination?
2. Do you have a preference towards making up your own ending depending on the situation or would you like to have a definite answer?
3. Does a story require romance in any way to make it easier to like, if so does it a. have to be between lovers or b. between a pet/friend/item?
4. How does a story make you feel the most? As in if you’re reading a horror story, what makes you feel the most scared in the story (the beast hunting the character down or the tension from not knowing what it is)?
5. Do you prefer it if the story has complex sentences that describes more accurate or a story that kind of flows easier?
The Gone-Away World is a science-fiction novel written in 2008 by Nick Harkaway. The story revolves around an unamed man and his best friend Gonzo, the real maincharacter, and how they, along with their other friends/coworkers from the ‘Haulage & HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company’, save the world by going out on missions to keep the balance of the world intact. The story takes places in the aftermath of the Go-Away-War and the characters the story follows go out on missions to make sure that the Go-Away-Materia stays off the livable zone.
Well ho-lee shit. If you have been reading my previous entries you’ll be familiar with my love for mindfucks or just “what in fuckshithell was that about??” and you bet this is another one! This is a very difficult book to describe without giving too much away but this was one fantastic book. Much like others it was tough in the beginning and it didn’t really take off until after a while and sadly, for me, it took about two thirds of it to kick off. If I hadn’t been stranded in Russia with my class, it probably would’ve taken longer for me to finish reading. But also much like about every book in the world; I do not regret finishing it. The main reason to why it was so tough is probably because I didn’t really understand the connection but at the end it was like I’d been laying a puzzle upside down and someone just flipped it over for me.
The characters personalities and their flaws are spelt out however Harkaway still makes the feelings blend in with the actions so that it really feels like a person and not just a description. The technical part (because every science-fiction story has one) was acctually really easy for me to understand which probably means anyone can understand it. Instead of using fancy-pansy words that has never seen the light of day other than from a dictionary he used easier explanations which, in a way, made the whole thing seem more devastating.
And now, for the twist. Every book has that thing that makes the whole story go pop, that one thing you really remember. Just like Metro 2033 it had an ending that made everything turn around in a way you never saw coming. And much like American Psycho it truly makes you evaluate who you and the people around you are. One of my favorite sayings is: “Nothing is what it seems” because there’s always so much more than what meets the eye. And I love books like these because they really bring that out.
There’s nothing like the feeling when you’ve finished a book and it made you feel in such a way and made you think so far outside your box that you have to reconsider everything you’ve ever heard, felt or seen in your life.
American Psycho is a psychological thriller and was published in 1991. The story revolves around Patrick Bateman, a businessman on Manhattan, who turns out to have serial-killer tendencies. He comes from a wealthy family and is successful at what he does thus he can afford to surround himself with beautiful things and expensive living. Little does everyone know Batemans hobby ranges from renting videotapes to brutally murdering prostitutes. The story is told in the first person by the main character. There was a film adaption of American Psycho in 2000 starring Christian Bale.
I began reading this because it’s one of those books you kinda just have to read but also since I’ve seen the movie like five times and loved it each and everytime. But the biggest difference between the two is how it makes you feel. When I was watching the movie I wasn’t exactly enjoying the bloody scenes but they didn’t make me that uncomfortable, contrary to what the book made me feel. Every reader out there can agree that 99% of the time, the book is always better than the movie and boy, it sure made me feel.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been reading this book in public places since eventhough I’m in the world of the written word I remain very conscious of my surroundings and I didn’t really have the proper enviroment to react. If the very detailed murders didn’t make my stomache turn then the very explicit sexscences made me somewhat uncomfortable, especially when on a crowded train. Not that I don’t recommend this book, it’s an extremly well-written book but if you’re a little sensitive then you should be cautious.
In one way, every book you read has a messege for you. It differs from person to person but all in all, it tells us the same. This book is a perfect example of how ‘nothing is what it seems’. From the outside, Bateman looks like the perfect man; he’s handsome, he’s wealthy and he’s successful. But if you look deep down into his character you learn that he’s one of the most vile, repulsive and disturbed men who has ever had a chance to live.
It’s a little creepy when you think about how someone you barely know could be a Bateman, because how well do we really know other people?
This movie came out recently and the plot in its most basic form is like this: A team of amateur paranormal investigators decides to investigate a haunted asylum. They are recording everything as their priority is not the paranormal activity itself, but a TV show they run called Grave Encounters. Being completly devoted to their show, they agree to lock themselves inside the abandoned asylum overnight to capture ghostly activities. However, they get more than what they bargained for when the building turns into an impossible maze where the previous mental-patients come back to terrorize them.
Now, first off; I will be writing my personal opinion which may include spoilers.
The Hunger Games was published in 2008 and is the first book of a triology. After a series of nature disasters the world is in a torn place and a new country has formed in North-America called Panem. In Panem there are originally 13 districts, each and every one has their own ‘specialty’ like fishing, farming or mining but when there was a revolution brewing, the goverment fought back hard and District 13 was destroyed to statue an example. As another consequence the goverment implented an annual ‘contest’ called: The hunger games. In this game one boy and one girl from each district, from the ages 12-18, are chosen to compete against eachother in an arena that differs from a desert to a winterland to a swamp each year. The rules are simple, only one can survive.
In this particular story a girl from District 12 decides to go instead of her younger sister who were chosen, and a boy she has no real connection with other than once from in their past. The girl, named Katniss, lost her father at a young age and in order to provide for her sick mother and younger sister, she goes hunting illegally.
A friend of mine showed me this book and told me I’d love it. I was skeptic at first, because I tend to be somewhat picky but she promised me it’d be good. I began reading, it was so-so, a couple of chapters in it was great and after I read it completly it had my in a drug-like haze. I could not put it away. I kept thinking about it and when I thought about it I felt strong longing for holding it in my hands again. The book really holds the suspense and there’s things after things happening and you just can’t put it away. It’s really hard to explain. The plot is amazing, well-thought and it keeps it relevant. The writing isn’t too difficult but it’s not childlike. The characters are well-developed and somewhat ‘true to themselves’ in a sense that they don’t behave one way and act out another which tends to be confusing.
The book also lies in the post-apocalyptic and science fiction genre and even if you don’t really like these genres the book is still brilliant to read. The qualities the book contains to make it post-apocalyptic and science-fictional are kind of shadowed so if you don’t really care you don’t really notice but if you do care, you can sense it.
On a negative note (I like stating both pro’s and con’s) this book is so great it should be longer. And you might say “but there’s three books in the series” and well yes, that’s true but that doesn’t even feel enough.
I feel that I can’t really express why it is so good but there’s so much to it. There’s the political battle between the people and the goverment, there’s the moral battle for Katniss on what to do and what’s best to do, and there’s perfectly potrayed, very subtle, romance that we all enjoy even tho some of us wont admit it.
Metro 2033 is a book by Dmitry Glukhovsky, published officially in 2005 (was posted online in 2002) and it takes place in Moscow, Russia in the near future (as seen on title). Due to a nuclear war mankind has been forced down into the subway/metro in order to avoid getting touched by radioactivity that cannot penetrate that deep. People have put up societys within the metro much like states. The book focuses on a young man named Artyom who lives in one of the independent states in the metro. He has to travel throughout the entire metro in order to warn the rest of the inhabitants about an approaching danger and whilst on his journey he encounters a variety of cultural, religious and political states that developed. The book has a sequel called Metro 2034 which was published 2009 in Russia. A game has also been developed based on Metro 2033 and it carries the same name.
Normally I don’t tempt myself into reading books this big because it’s a real pain to drag it with me everywhere I might eventually need to read a little but much like House of Leaves in previous entry, it was so worth it. Sure, there was alot of names in russian that I can’t even pronounce and that you only had to know until the next chapter and the chapters were long and maybe at the time I was just really tired, but it was hard in the beginning to just get into the book because it was so hard to make sense of it all. But if you just relax when reading it and you don’t read too much into it (pun quite intended) and you simply let it flow on by it wont be that much annoying. Try to remember the names that come up in multiple chapters, they tend to be important and it makes it less confusing.
Now, you may be asking yourself ‘why is it so worth it if it’s only confusing?’. Well, because the story itself is so damn fantastic. Down to the detail it’s boring, confusing and honestly; slightly annoying. But in the big picture it may damn well have been one of the best books I’ve ever had the fortune to stumble upon. In every book you read, the story keeps building up the ending until it explodes and along the way you guess your ass off on how it will end and most of the time (if you’re an experienced reader) you guess it pretty much right. But this time it completly caught me off guard. The way it ended hadn’t even crossed my mind. Now, I don’t want to set your expectations up too high, this is a personal opinion but goddamn. I sat there with the book in my lap when I finished it and just tried to accept the fact of how mindraped I just got.
So in conclusion, this book is very much like House of Leaves in the sense that it might seem pointless to work yourself through it but in the end it was definietly not a mistake.
I’d also like to point out that the sequel is an indirect one, meaning you can read it without reading Metro 2033 and you won’t really miss anything. Both books are basically independent. Also, I haven’t played the game but from the tiny bits of gameplay I watched I gather it follows the book pretty well.
House of Leaves was written by Mark Z. Danielewski and was published in 2000. The book is a little complicated to summarize since it tells two different stories at once but one story is about a man named Will Navidson and his family who moves into a house that is different. The house has a room that when you enter it, it varies in size and not by a couple of inches but by yards. Navidson decides to keep the door to the room locked and he invites some friends to investigate the place with him. They all carry a videocamera in their searches, they bring food and supplies for spending more than a day in there because of the massiveness of the room. But then they later find other doors within the room, leading to even bigger rooms and each and everytime they enter the main room as seen from the rest of the house it changes. While they are inside the mysterious place they also experience the sound of something like a beast which terrifies them. Navidson who moved into the house becomes obsessed with finding the truth about the mysterious house and beigins to lose contact with his family.
The other story is about a man named Johnny Truant who finds notes describing the beforementioned story and becomes obsessed with finding out if it’s truth or fiction. The notes are named “The Navidson Record”. Truant becomes, like Navidson, out of tune with the rest of the world and he himself becomes tormented in the way Navidson did.
I read this book because I found it in a list of books you have to read. And indeed, it really is a book you should read. It may not interest everybody and a couple of times I felt like giving up but in the end it was so very much worth it. It has been debated if this really is a horrorstory or if it’s a lovestory and no one can judge that better than yourself. Personally, I can’t really decide.
The story itself is sometimes difficult to follow and at some points it’s very monotonous not to mention the massive footnotes and long sentences when Truant is “speaking”. But I have to say House of Leaves is one of those books you can only really appriciate after you’ve read it while during the reading it feels like a pain. But it did keep me going for quite a while, little golden pieces in the middle of the grey like when the unknown beast roars and they’re all so far away from getting out of the enormous space. The text in the book doesn’t always follow the original way of putting the text but in some places it’s formed into a spiral in order to subconsciously remind the read about the spiralstaircase that has quite some significance to the story.
The story itself is somewhat beautiful to me, madness is sweet in my eyes. A house holds so much power it enchants a man to the point where he barely recognizes himself anymore. A simple pile of notes describing said house compells a man to give up on his life only to devote it to the house.
You should be prepared to be dragged into the book if you plan to read it, Danielewski has written it in such a fashion that it feels as if it is your current world. You no longer exist in the world where you’re only reading a book but you now read an event that’s very much happening. You almost feel as if you’re in the very house.
House of Leaves is a book I will gladly read again when I’m older, if not for reliving it in my head then at least for the feeling it brings me. It is a big book and it will take time to read but it wont be one of those books you forget about, it will stay with you for a very long time.
The Road is a post-apocalytpic novel written by Cormac McCarthy, published in 2006. The road is about a man and his son traveling on a deserted highway across a landscape destroyed by an unknown event that eventually will come to wipe out mankind. The father, knowing they won’t survive the upcoming winter, decides to walk south to the ocean and where it will hopefully will be warm and pleasant instead of the harsh, bleak world they appear to live in. They are both weak, tired and they carry only what they absolutly need on their backs.
This is a fairly simple book, there are no hard words or complex meanings but instead such easy writing it could be a book for pre-school. However the plot and the meaning of the book is written in a much more mature manner than what a pre-schooler could ever handle. It’s a very sad story, about the last stand for a man trying to protect the little he has left and if the love from a father to his son isn’t enough then at least the hopelessly cold and grey world that’s described in the novel will most likely satisfy any post-apocalyptic fan. There’s not much to say about it because it is so simple, however I do wish it had more “adult” writing because it would fill out more and make it longer. It would also make it more detailed but as simple as it’s written it also leaves alot to your imagination. I’d say about half the story is your own and his written half almost only makes up the conversation part so in that sense, the very gentle writing is acctually not a con but a pro.
I’m a little torn because I want to love this story because it’s so beautifully, desperatly sad but I also want to hate it because of it’s simplicity; it makes me jealous how in such small words he can depict an entire world that I absolutly adore.
If you are a person who loves (or just likes) post-apocalyptic tales then this is most definatly a book to read. The story is pretty standard for its genre, it wont take very long to read and it will tickle your imagination to its limits.
Flood was published in 2008 by Stephen Baxter. The story describes a near future in which deep submarine seismic activity leads to cracks in the seabed which in their turn opens up deep subterranean reservoirs of water. The rising water level consumes all land until there is no more land at all, almost destroying mankind. Within the story you follow four main characters and as the story develop they all chose a different way in order to survive. The book has a sequel called Ark and it was published in 2009.
Personally, Stephen Baxter may very well be one of my absolute favorite writers. He writes in a way that you come to love most of the characters despite them having bad flaws. The plot continues simultaneously while you read about the individual characters so that you come to forget about the real story and instead you read about the characters and their struggles to go on.
The book is written in a ‘hard science fiction’ genre which means it emphasis on scientific or technical details, much like Dan Brown did in Deception Point. It does get confusing but if you just learn to just not question the theories and not to get caught up on every difficult word it will flow on just fine.
The characters are specific, well-developed and in a wide range, the environment isn’t a typical wasteland (mainly because it’s not that kind of apocalyptic tale) and the story flows on gently without having that many sudden interruptions.
On a negative note, the story doesn’t really have a goal at the end. It’s more like it starts with a bang and for the reminder of the story you softly wait your way out of the storm. Although I prefer my apocalyptic stories without sudden events everywhere I still feel that Flood lacked a goal, an ending you’d look forward to unfolding specifically for this story.