Archives, Part TURN IT UP TO ELEVEN! (April 23, 2009 to May 12, 2009)

It's About Bloody Time (April 23, 2009)

I know I've been saying it for months now, but today I'm finally releasing my closely guarded second book for people to read through and critique. I've got say--I'm a bit worried about how the response will be, given the format of the narrative. Though there are other books out there that follow similar patterns, I've never found one this... well, believable? You'll see what I mean if/when you actually read it. I will be encouraging whoever reads it to post something here, so we can have a general conversation on it, or simply guage reactions, but I will also be generally writing about what reactions I receive myself. If everyone actually reads this time (that became a problem with the last book--lots of promise, not a lot of doing) then this should make for an interesting couple of weeks.

Hm. Well, I suppose this should be as good a time as any to finally name the damned thing. There's really no point in dragging it out further, is there? So, without further ado, here it is:

Sanity's Flaw

Now, I know there will be a book coming out now within the year with that title, and I'm calling it now (although, I suppose I shouldn't). Also, there's a good chance if it ever sees publication that the book will have a completely different title, but that is the one I've chosen and I feel its rather... perfect.

In other news, did you know that Stephen King finished a novel after working on it for 25 years? Supposedly similar to The Stand, Under the Dome details what happens when an invisible force field traps a Maine town within it and is due out in November. That'll be a bit after Dan Brown's newest (though maybe a bit late, considering he could monopolize on the Angels & Demons film if he released it earlier in the year) novel, The Lost Symbol, which is slated to drop in September. The thing already has an initial print run of 6.5 million... the largest in Random House history. Damn.

Coming up this week: My review of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, hopefully some news on some early impressions, and, on Monday, my review of Andy Andrews' Noticer.

Until next time, good luck getting published!

Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews (April 27, 2009)

This is a bit out of order, but Thomas Nelson, for which I'm a reviewer, has asked us all to post our reviews on the 27th of April for this title, so I am happily obliging. My review for the Twilight series is upcoming.

This title is available here.

The Noticer (7.8/10)

I've never been one for self-help books. In fact, I've never actually read one, having dodged everything from Chicken Soup to The Secret and instead diving headfirst into entertaining reads and historical accounts. However, I read Andy Andrews' The Noticer in a day and a half, not only because it's relatively brief (only 176 pages, including a reader's guide) but because I was absolutely engrossed.

I'm not certain how original Andrews' ideas are. I'm not certain how true any of the story actually is (I highly doubt any of the events actually transpired, but I saw no mention of the title being fiction anywhere). And I never read Andrews' previous title. But reading the story of Jones (not Mr. Jones) kept me enthralled and I found myself as consumed by his words of wisdom as the characters in the book itself. I longed to discover his next piece of wisdom, wondered what yarn he would spin in his new setting, and, as I was supposed to, wondered desperately what the man carried in his dilapidated suitcase.

As I said, I've never read a self-help book before, so I may be singular in noticing (no pun intended) that there was no climax to the story. Sure, the ending supposedly served as one, but at the point I never felt more excitement, never believed in any rising action. The entire story simply was, as flat as possible. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it did stand out.

One more point. Having read the book, I feel no strong desire to run out and change my life. Surely, while reading The Noticer, I wanted to test out some of his advice, but not now. Maybe it'll affect the way I think in the long run, but, unlike the characters in the story that seemed to complete 180's on the drop of "perspective," I doubt it will change my life so much. Maybe it's just me.

If you like this book, you may also be interested in:

Walden Two, by B.F. Skinner

Rex, by Kathleen Lewis

The Poet, by Michael Connelly

War and Peace (April 30, 2009)

Although, for some reason, I wasn't able to load an image of Master Dew yet (I will rectify this as soon as possible), here are a few images of a collage I assembled that I call War and Peace. It is a collection of images from Juxtapoz Magazine, November 2007, Issue #82, mainly of works done by Shepard Fairey, but also including pieces from Chris Conn Askew and a few others who I will have to look through the tattered remnants of the magazine to properly cite (if you have the issue, or know whose art it is, please let me know).

A picture of Master Dew should be going up on my Facebook page soon, but I will try to get one here as quickly as possible as well. I still don't know why it won't upload....

Review: The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer (May 5, 2009)

The book series is available here. Twilight the movie is available here.

The Twilight Saga (7.4/10)

I honestly never had any intention to read this series. Instead, they were pretty much forced on me by my girlfriend who, as with nearly every other girl in the country, was entirely engrossed by the four books. She read through the series over the course of a week, never putting the book down except to work or sleep, and not always even then. Then she had to go find the movie so she could watch it, then buy it so we could watch it again. And then twice more after. So, after making fun of her several times (she never, ever reads, so this was all a bit of a shock) she asked me to read the series. I'm always down for trying something new, so I agreed.

I wasn't impressed.

Sure, the story isn't too shabby. Vampires are beautiful, they've got some rules, make Native Americans turn into Werewolves, Bella has tasty blood, etc. and so forth. The first book set the rules, the second one changed it up and threw in more romance, the third... was not very memorable, and the fourth provided a somewhat sickening scene followed by an end. That's the series in a nutshell, I suppose.

What bugged me the most about this series was the constant letdown. There would be pages and pages and pages of anticipation and then people would talk and that would be it. Situation diffused. But I wasn't. I didn't care about the random romance moments (which were not even detailed enough to qualify as normal romance, a mark of the title's YA designation) and was quite enthralled with the background information snuck into the story, but when it came to the action... huge sigh. Think Mission Impossible III: great preview, cool buildup, ultimate letdown. The Volturi were especially guilt of this; for the corrupt police of the vampire world, they're considerably boring.

Here's the thing, though. Meyer wrote a large section of the fourth book as Jacob, and she did an admirable job, although her writing isn't the most amazing (especially coming off of Stephen King's The Stand), and plans to write another book from the view of Edward (maybe, she did get really pissed off over a leaked, early copy, sort of like Wolverine's travesty). I'm certain my girlfriend will buy it... and I just might read it. I just might. I don't even know why. So, maybe she's got me hooked.

If you like these books, you may also be interested in:

The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling

Vox, by Nicholson Baker

Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice

First Response to Sanity's Flaw (May 12, 2009)

A number of people have asked to read Sanity's Flaw after I announced it was (finally) finished, and yesterday the first person to complete the book, Derek, sent me his reaction to the story. As with the others, Sanity's Flaw was sent to him in five chunks, so I'm presenting his responses (minus several excerpts, which I deleted for spoiler purposes) below. I think it's a great initial reading, and I can't wait to see what others have to say about it. Thanks to everyone for your support.

On Part One:

so you remember how i dont sleep? well you know sometimes when im not sleeping i like to read books... and ya know sometimes with like twilight and harry potter for examples, i get hooked and end up finishing the book in one night... but anyway... i read what you sent me =) haha... its really good! im hooked!

On Part Two:

please send more =) haha
(most of this needed to be deleted for spoiler reasons)

On Part Three:

DAMNNNNNNN. so i finally finished my school work so i got to read part three! it was awesome! i 'couldnt put it down' yea, its in quotes cause technically i wasnt holding it... but you know... but yea that was awesome!!! soooo when do i get the next section? =P

On Part Four:

cant wait for the next part! (again, mostly deleted for spoiler reasons)

On Part Five and the book as a whole:

hey! awesome! ive been anticipating haha
anyway though, i really liked the book as a whole. very interesting. seems like it would be a good episode of a csi or law and order or something... or more likly that profiler show where they profile serial killers that i cant think of the name of right now.

Derek had a lot of thoughts on the plot of the story, offering some suggestions as to where I may need to clarify certain points, and proved very, very helpful. Thanks again for reading, Derek, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!