Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Currently Reading

Derailed by James Siegel © 2003
Ad executive Charles Schine's descent into a nightmarish world of ex-cons, scam artists, and thugs couldn't have begun more idyllically. A brief encounter on a commuter train with a seductive woman named Lucinda Harris leads to an afternoon tryst in a shabby Manhattan hotel. But just as the two lovers are about to leave, a man named Vasquez bursts into the room, beats up Charles, repeatedly rapes Lucinda, and robs them both. Unable to go to the police, since both are married, they find themselves vulnerable to blackmail. Soon, Charles is forced to risk his job, his marriage, and the health of his diabetic daughter in a battle of wits with a man who seems always one step ahead of him.

Comments: This book has now been made into a movie starring Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston. I thought I'd read the book before I saw the movie. You know how much I love me some Clive! To view the trailer, click here.

The Children of the Island by T. M. Wright © 1983
From the book jacket: HOMECOMING: Now once again, after so many centuries, they stood upon the island. MANHATTAN ISLAND. The place which, before the buildings had been put up to cut the sky apart and before the subways sliced through the earth, had been the place of their birth. The place where they had first sprung up. The place that had nourished them, and given them pleasure, before men had found them and driven them away.

Comments: Sounds good, right? Wow. Me no likee. I have to be honest, besides actually thinking the book's premise seemed somewhat interesting, and seeing the glowing review given to it (printed on the back of the book), by Whitley Strieber (author of Wolfen and The Hunger), I totally bought this book for some pretty superficial reasons: [1] The cover harkened back to a time (the 80's) when cheesy cover art dominated the bookstands...and I liked it. And [2] One of the main characters is actually named Joyce DeWitt!! I kid you not. Someone (*cough*the author*cough*) obviously had feelings for Ms. DeWitt at the time. He probably wanted her to come and knock on his door.

I didn't like this book for so many reasons, but writing style was the main one. Other reasons I didn't like the book, include: [1] Waaaay too many characters and their subsequent subplots. I kept getting them mixed up. I just lost track. Sometimes it would be chapters before you got back to a particular character and their situation. [2] Speaking of chapters, they were so short (which I usually welcome...but not this short), the reader only gets small glimpses into that stories particular plot. Too small. [3] The book didn't feel like it knew what it wanted to be (horror/romance/drama/dark fantasy/social commentary). And [4] Goofy suspense (or lack thereof). If I had to describe it in one word: Muddled.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times, and Legend of James Dean by Paul Alexander © 1997
From Publishers Weekly- This is a juicy biography that looks at the events that shaped Dean's (1931-1955) homosexuality. The death of his mother left Dean to be raised by relatives in Indiana, where he enjoyed an adolescence filled with basketball, 4-H Clubs and fast motorcycles. During this idyllic time he lost his virginity--to the local minister. After graduation from high school, Dean moved to L.A. to attend acting classes at UCLA. Unable to find film work, he slept with men (including, purportedly, Clifton Webb) who could help him to get acting jobs. Moving to Manhattan, he joined the Actors Studio to study under Lee Strasberg. After appearing on TV and Broadway, Dean returned to Hollywood to make East of Eden . Rebel Without a Cause and Giant followed, but Dean died in a car accident before their premieres. No movie critic, Alexander ( Rough Magic ) instead has written a graphic sexual biography that's likely to shock Dean fans.

Comments: Okay, I've talked about this before, so let me clarify: I'm not one of those gay men who think every attractive/hunky guy is gay. I refer to this as Wishful Thinking Syndrome. I'm not out to convert anyone and personally, I could care less who is or isn't. I'm still going to like who I like, regardless.

So, with that said, I didn't buy this book because I thought James Dean was gay. I bought it because I just love him to pieces and my interests have always been piqued by rumors of his sex life and his supposed "bisexuality." Personally, I think the whole "He's gay! He's gay!" theme of this book is purely the author's hype, BUT I haven't finished the book yet, so we'll see what my stance is after it's all said and done.

Dancing Through Life in a Pair of Broken Heels: Extremely Short Stories for the Totally Stressed by Mickey Guisewite illustrated by Cathy Guisewite © 1994
A collection of short stories about the many stressful things we all have to deal with in everyday life.

Comments: I love quick, easy reads. My attention span runs the gamut. Sometimes I have patience for stuff like The Works of Andre Gide, then other times all I want is a quick fix, like a Mad magazine or the Laughter is the Best Medicine section of the Reader's Digest. Well, Dancing Through Life... is just what the doctor ordered. All the stories are short and sweet and just about anyone can identify with them (not just women, like the title alludes to). Overall I'd say I really enjoyed 95% of the book. I say 95% because there were one or two stories that kinda fell flat. In general I'd definitely recommend it. Ideal for those boring lunch times or right before bed. Great light reading!


Post a Comment

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.