Riddle of the Sands

18 07 2016

This was a lot more fun and not as erotic as I thought. I also had no idea this was the second book in a series which explains why there was so little setup introducing the (too many) characters and what they do. But that doesn’t matter when there are more twists and turns in the plot that both Hunger Games: Mockingjay movies combined (though that’s not saying that much).

Placed an interlibrary loan for the first book because I’m intrigued by this series now. Whaddya know? There is such a thing as decent gay fiction after all.

image





Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

17 07 2016

Finally. It feels like the HP series is getting good once it steps away from all the kiddy stuff and treads into darker territory. Also the movie is the best one out of the first three I’ve seen so far.

image





Paper Shadows

1 07 2016

In the spirit of Canada Day, here’s a Canadian writer who I admire very much! Like most people, I first read The Jade Peony and loved it instantly. I particularly loved the hint that one of the brothers was gay, in addition to it being about a Chinese family in Canada. So I expected his memoir, Paper Shadows, to be equally memorable.

Maybe my expectations were too high. I did find the secrets of the family to be fascinating and intriguing but I was disappointed that a lot of his childhood consisted of mundane activities that didn’t seem relevant to the greater family mysteries. The dog peed everywhere in the house? Well, that sucks but… Why did it need to be told? Some reviews have said that the book was in dire need of an editor and I wholeheartedly agree.

I was also surprised to learn that Choy is openly gay, a fact that is not touched on in the book (though there is a hint of it). It made me think about my own book and how our upbringings were so different despite both of us being first generation Chinese Canadians. In my query I’ve been sending to publishers and literary agents, I say something along the lines of how many memoirs by Chinese Canadian writers are immigration stories and that they are valuable and worthwhile — but they shouldn’t necessarily be the only stories we read. A lot of people tend to believe that growing up in Canada in modern times is easy and carefree, but that’s a na├»ve thought. My memoir shows otherwise. And I am passionate to do so.

image





The Glass Menagerie

27 06 2016

Is it wrong to be disappointed when something isn’t as depressing as you thought it would be? I thought this play would be sad and there are certainly layers of sadness but not an overwhelming sadness that I expected.

Also I like this shirt. And of course the awesome Gravity Falls cap that is slightly too big for my tiny head.

Didn’t I say I was going to post every day again? Whatever happened to that? Hmm…

image





One Man’s Trash

2 06 2016

Hooray for Canadian lit! Hooray even more for Vancouver writers! There’s something about reviewing local authors that makes me feel like I can’t/shouldn’t criticize their work in public, even if I did find some flawed in some ways. I guess it makes me feel like a bit of a jerk even if I have constructive remarks because they could very well read my words and, I don’t know, not be happy. Or tell me that I’m just jealous because I don’t have a published book (yet).

So basically, all I will say is that some stories in this collection were more interesting than others, such as when Ivan and his girlfriend attempt to get a shotgun wedding in Vegas. To distract you, here’s a picture of me wearing an awesome shirt with dinosaurs on it.

image





Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

1 06 2016

I’ve had this book for a while and hadn’t had a chance to read it but it was surprisingly short so I decided to finally knock it off my list.

About the book: it was great. What can I say? Although I was also surprised at the lack of deaths. Modern day adaptations present Mr. Hyde as some sort of serial killer when in fact he murders only one person in the story. I suppose at the time it must’ve come off as more horrifying relative to our standards, but it was interesting to note how this character’s depictions have changed over the years.

And yes, that is a discarded library book I bought at my local library’s book sale, which I always find underrated. Also libraries in general. Or reading. Any sort of literacy, really. (I’m lowering the bar further and further…)

I also realized just now that I did the picture wrong. Oh well. No one looks at the book anyway.

IMG_20160601_163753820





Gone, gone, gone

13 05 2016

An interesting look at the budding romantic relationship of two eccentric boys against the backdrop of the anniversary of 9/11 and the Belgate 2002 shootings. The premise is certainly interesting, and the writing is engaging up to a certain point, at which the style gets repetitive and the story flounders, not knowing where to go. While the relationship and romance is unconventionally approached, the novel’s anti-climatic ending leaves the impression that this wasn’t as thought out as it should have been.

image





The Shadow Hero

10 05 2016

As a fan of American Born Chinese, I wanted to read more of Gene Luen Yang’s work. I think the world is a better place with him and his work: I’m definitely all for more Chinese protagonists (or any of colour, for that matter).

The Shadow Hero is an inventive imagining (albeit based on an old comic) of a Chinese superhero and how he became who he is. There is intrigue involving ancient Chinese spirits and a mob boss, and humour is laced throughout, giving the story a light feel despite some dark moments.

The plot hits some bumps along the way that unfortunately aren’t always believable, like how would Hank’s mother gleefully coerces her son to become a superhero without once considering his safety (until tragedy strikes), or Hank’s uncle is conveniently a kung fu master. Instances like this such as these remove immersion in the wonderfully drawn panels. Yang seems more interested in the idea of Chinese superhero than writing a cohesive and structured narrative.

I also read today that the Russo brothers, the same who directed the previous two Captain America films will be directing a Chinese superhero film (thanks to their Chinese producers, not really because it was a passion project of theirs). Here’s hoping it’ll be good.

image





Strip

24 04 2016

I like to think of my reading list as fairly selective, and because of this, perhaps I have high expectations about how good they should be. It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, I will begin a book and within the first few pages, I won’t be hooked and I won’t enjoy the story for whatever reason.

Many a year ago when this book came out, I read about it in the paper and thought it sounded like an interesting novel (and also written by a local writer too!). I put it on my Later list– it was only now, years later, that I finally got around to it. I think my expectations this time around were fairly low, but Strip just didn’t click for me, and I was once again disappointed (as I was when The Geography of Pluto turned out to be a bore). The writing itself isn’t bad at all, although the writer over-describes things that don’t necessarily warrant so much figurative language.

But mostly, this book just has a really unlikeable protagonist that I found yelling at on a few occasions while reading, particularly when he goes on and on about his ballet instructor legend/lover who abruptly disappears. From all the Daniel this, and Daniel that, you’d think the protagonist was sixteen, not a twenty-something year old. However, I’d say the thing that made reading the first 60 or so pages of this book so difficult was that John, the protagonist, doesn’t tell the audience how he feels about certain events or people or things (aside from the aforementioned whining about Daniel and how he looks down on fellow dancers). This renders the story inaccessible and difficult for the reader to really empathize with anything that happens, not to mention it makes John come across as arrogant and not self-aware. Maybe it gets better when he gets to be a stripper, but I didn’t even get that far (also, for all the pages spent pining and moaning about Daniel, the plot could’ve moved along a little faster).

Sigh. Gay literature, like gay films, it seems, is really hit or miss.

Although you can’t see because the entire photo is blurry, the cover of the book is actually an out-of-focus shot of the backside of a male, so I thought I’d try to recreate it. I’m not exactly thrilled about sharing my ass to the world since I’m not a muscular dancer, but there you go. Enjoy it before I regret it.

strip





Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

23 04 2016

Another meh read. I hear this book is one of the least liked books of the series so I’m hoping things get better.

Also, my crotch.

image

image