Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Book Hunter Goes Hunting

Please note: I'm a book hunter, not a photographer. Pardon the picture.
Sometime last year, I decided that it'd be a great idea to hold book giveaways rather than just talk about it. Last week, I purchased a copy of A Blue Hand by Deborah Baker and - Bing! - it seemed like the appropriate book for my first giveaway. Sadly, I couldn't find a second copy. However, The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle seemed like a great choice, as well. The week before last, a copy of The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates also seemed like a good book giveaway, so I bought another copy of that. Tagging along was My Revolutions by Hari Kunzru. Now I'm struggling with the idea of which book is should be the first placed up for grabs. Perhaps a toss of a three-sided coin or with the help of my three-armed friend, I will find the answer. 

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Book Hunter Goes Job Hunting

Catch of the day
The book hunter is tired beyond belief that he is forced to speak in the third person in order to keep some balance in his train of thought. Waking up at 6:30 in the morning and heading to the public library to wait in line for a job fair, the book hunter arrives as the twenty-fourth job seeker. The enthused job seekers file in, expecting employers galore. Not so. A lot of them are either running late or no show. Because of the added weight of needing a job on his shoulders, this blow nearly enrages the book hunter. After an hour of waiting for the other employers to come in, the book hunter sneaks out and checks out what the library has on sale. That is where he finds a copy of Philip K. Dick's posthumous novel, Radio Free Albemuth. Hardbacks are usually a dollar and that is how much he spends.

On Wednesday, he ventured to Hobby Lobby, stopping off Dollar Tree before returning home. The itch - similar to what Dexter Morgan describes when he needs to play - came over him. There was a playmate so he dove into the disarray that is the book section. There he found a copy of The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle. It piqued his interest, but this isn't the playmate that was calling out to him. Just as he was getting ready to throw in the towel, he noticed a picture of Allen Ginsberg and a monkey. A Blue Hand: The Beats in India by Deborah Baker sticks out like a sore thumb. Bingo.

Now he plans to head off to another Dollar Tree hoping to find a copy of A Blue Hand as he plans to put it up as a giveaway on the Tumblr account - yes, there's a Tumblr account (tragic, I know). 

Total book hunting price: $3.17. 

Until next time, keep on huntin'. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"The Dead Man" Series by Goldberg & Rabkin Only 99 Cents on Amazon

For a limited time, Amazon has made the price of Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin's The Dead Man series 99 cents per book. The series includes:

The Dead Man series is a collaborative act between Goldberg and Rabkin, a monthly horror novel series published under Amazon's 47North imprint. The limited 99-cent price only available on Amazon, and only for Kindle. 

Lil Wayne

There's only one Lil Wayne song I can claim to like. Even then, the hook's what drew me in, not his lyrics. Justin, my nephew, downloaded a few tracks the other night. A couple of them came from his "rock" album, described as such because - and I'm uncertain if this is fact or fiction - Lil Wayne wasn't inspired by any of the beats that he was listening to, so he just grabbed the guitar and started making his own. I'm uncertain how he even managed to win four Grammy awards, but he did. What can I say, though. It's no big surprise that I don't like his music. I'm more of a fan of industrial than rap.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis

Question the narrator of Imperial Bedrooms - Bret Easton Ellis's follow up to his cult novel, Less Than Zero - because we've been duped before. In Less Than Zero, we're led to believe Clay's the one at the helm. He's writing the story as it happens. Imperial Bedrooms, on the other hand, opens with Clay - once again - narrating: "They had made a movie about us. The movie was based on a book written by someone we knew." Clay describes the book and the movie and the differences between the both. "The book was blunt and had an honesty about it, whereas the movie was just a beautiful lie," he says. We share the same feelings for the novel and its cinematic counterpart, "The movie was begging for our sympathy whereas the book didn't give a shit."

And the book still doesn't give a shit. Adapt that, Hollywood!

Less Than Zero is to first year of college as Imperial Bedrooms is to mid-life crisis. Is that accurate? In Less Than Zero, we're forced to see that things change. People change. And college is the enforcer of this change for many of us. Some of us become nostalgic, others become cold and jaded. And those who become come cold and jaded grow up to be Hollywood producers, writers, directors, actors, pimps, schemers, executives, and whore mongers. They use people for their own sexual gratification, whispering - not sweet nothings - spectacular promises that one can never hold on to. 

Has Clay grown up? Has he matured? No. Not in the least. Rather than evolving, he's become less than  he was in Less Than Zero. Has Julian learned from his time as a hustler, working for Finn? No. Instead, he becomes the pimp. Has Blair learned not to pursue Clay? No. 

And much like the film of Less Than Zero, Rip plays the villain. Julian owes him a ton of money. Julian is his little project. And Clay is forced to realize that he has been given the same opportunity that his fictional counterpart was given on the big screen. He has the power to be a friend. To bail Julian out of troubled waters. 

The novel shines a light on our darker selves, examining the people we can be and the people we choose to be.

Imperial Bedrooms is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble for Kindle and Nook, respectively. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Book Hunter Watches A Movie

Perhaps if they'd gone with adapting The Dark Knight Returns, my enthusiasm might've skyrocketed. Instead, they decided that the right card to play was to adapt Batman: Year One. Don't get me wrong, the graphic novel is a classic. You don't get anymore raw with the origins of Batman than the Frank Miller story, save the Nolan-verse origin in Batman Begins

Then again, the story is shared between the two hopes for Gotham - the cop sworn to uphold the law and the vigilante who goes after the untouchable. Though I want to say it's Gordon's story, rather than Batman's despite the shared narration. Perhaps the Dark Knight can keep the graphic novel. 

The story opens as both heroes enter Gotham. Jim Gordon, a cop who's looking for a fresh start in a new city; Bruce Wayne, a wealthy bachelor returning home from living abroad for several years. Neither of them are aware of each other. Neither of them know that soon their paths to justice will intersect. The adaptation stays true to the graphic novel. Jim finds it difficult to fit in the corrupt department. Has an affair, regrets it and breaks it off. He has his first son. He attempts to clean out the department and make right by his wife. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is growing impatient, wanting to start cleaning out the city before he is ready. He finds a symbol. He finds an ally with Harvey Dent. He finds one in Jim Gordon. 

The internal monologues are present and the script is the same - for the most part, anyway; I'm working from memory here. Bryan Cranston voicing Jim Gordon was memorable. Ben McKenzie as Batman/Bruce Wayne was less than. Hopefully someone in the production makes a note of this and the mistake is never again repeated. And I hardly recognized Eliza Dushku voicing Selina Kyle/Catwoman, despite the excellent job she did with the role. 

On the scale, I'd say Batman: Year One ranks at least three-out-of-five. Average. The perfect companion for the graphic novel

Batman: Year One is out now, available at Amazon in single and two-disc editions, as well as, Blu-Ray/DVD combo + digital copy edition. You can watch it now on Amazon Instant. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Book Hunter Watches A Movie: The Kids Aren't All Right Part II

Before Robert Downey, Jr. was saving the world as Iron Man and before James Spader was bending his secretary over his desk for a good spanking, there was Less Than Zero. Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, the film deviates greatly from the original plot. It's one of those adaptations, ladies and gentlemen. 

While the woe-is-me, privilege, upper class teenagers are still present, gone are their deviant behavior that made the novel repugnant. And that's not necessarily a good there. Where Ellis divorced us from any emotion or sympathy we might have for Clay and his friends, the film enforces them. 

Starting off during high school graduation, the film introduces us to the three-some that is Clay, Blair and Julian. They're the epitome of BFFs that won't allow the post-high school life to diminish their love for each other. However, while Clay is away the mice will play. Feeling the betrayal of the two most important people in his life, Clay returns home for Christmas vacation to a Los Angeles that is not what he left behind. Forced to care about the people who betrayed his feelings, he finds that he's stuck hoping for the past, fearing the future and surviving the present.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Kids Aren't All Right Part 1: Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Less Than Zero is a terribly chilling book about the woe-is-me white upper class college-aged kids, spending their time partying, snorting coke and whoring themselves out. And the way Bret Easton Ellis tells it, well, it's damn right poetic. 

Clay returns home for Christmas break. After spending the last four months in New Hampshire, Los Angeles seems foreign to him. Even worse, the people he knew are less friends than they are strangers. Oblivious ex-girlfriend picks up where their relationship left off. His friends are degenerate junkies. And Clay, while no different himself, begins to see himself for the first time. And the thought depresses him.

The book holds every vice in this ugly world that is glamoured up. Clay friends find it no big deal gang raping a twelve-year-old girl. Pimp Finn finds nothing wrong with subduing Julian into prostituting himself in order to pay back a debt. In fact, Finn even uses heroin to keep him in line. In the world Ellis created, there is no right or wrong. There's just action without consequences. 

The reader feels no sympathy for Clay or the people who make up his L.A. life. Even the flashbacks of Clay's childhood bring no connection to him. Bret Easton Ellis created a masterpiece of repugnant people that readers will enjoy hating for years go come. At least for me, anyway.

Less Than Zero is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for Kindle and Nook, respectively. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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The Book Hunter Watches A Movie

Pretty sure I'm in the minority, but Thor sucked ass. How anyone thought otherwise is beyond me. It was as if the writers sat around and pondered how they could possibly screw up a Marvel hero like they have never screwed up a Marvel hero before. Slapped a lengthy, dull, cliched story line together, cast a bunch of pretty people and filmed it just hoping that no one noticed what a crapfest it was. But that's Thor. We're here to discuss Captain America.

Subtitled The First Avenger, the film opens - assumingly in the present, or at the very least, near future - as a team of government officials uncover something they've been searching for 70 years. That said, the film is told as a two hour long flashback. I'll admit when I first heard about the film I was skeptical. Captain America couldn't work in modern day, at least not his origin. Thankfully, the writers of the film saw that, setting him during War World II. Second doubt was the casting of Chris Evans. Really? The guy who played the Human Torch in those next-to-godawful Fantastic Four flicks? Let's not forget he was also in Not Another Teen Movie. Are you certain that this guy is the person who's supposed embodied the American spirit? However, his acting was phenomenal. 

There isn't a single thing I could point out that annoyed me about the movie. If anything, it's given me hope - which is something I didn't have with Thor - for next summer's Avengers movie. It balances the right amount of action and tension with passion and romance, splashed with the right amount of humor - sort of like those Iron Man movies.

Captain America is out on DVD, 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy, 3-Disc Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD Combo + Digital Copy, and Amazon Instant Video October 25th. Pre-order now and until next time, keep on huntin'.

Stop fantasizing about the Vampires of Twilight and become one. It's free.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dollar Tree Shopping Spree

A book hunter never gives up a bargain. And one of the most overlooked hunting grounds are dollar stores, more notably the Dollar Tree, where literally everything is only a dollar - Family Dollar and Dollar General only use the name for show.

Quite a few books are Dollar Tree finds. Today, I found three more. Panic!: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity edited by Michael Lewis (Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World, Moneyball), Short Girls by Bich Minh Nguyen (Stealing Buddha's Dinner), and The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates 1973-1982 by Joyce Carol Oates (I Am No One You Know: Stories, The Gravedigger's Daughter: A Novel).

I'd been wanting to read both Stealing Buddha's Dinner and Short Girls by Nguyen, mostly because I've never heard of the writer before and the titles intrigued me. The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates 1973-1982 piqued my interested because I love reading the journals of writers - I own a few already. Panic! stuck out because of Michael Lewis, who did an excellent job with Moneyball, which I'm still slowly digesting. Not only that, but since a lot of these articles were written about ten or so years ago, it might lend in some hindsight to this whole Occupy Wall Street business.

There might have been more fines, but the organization was chaotic. If I had the time and got paid for it, I would've fixed it up nice and neat because I'm on a roll with organizing. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ethical Zombies?

It's difficult to accept a zombie Wolverine. It's the healing ability. That clause always gets in the way. It doesn't allow me to fully accept a zombie Logan. That aside, there shouldn't be anything that would stop me from enjoying the Marvel Zombie series, right? If only.

The first volume didn't pan well for me, merely ranking an average review. Marvel Zombies 2, on the other hand, is merely a waste of time. It's so awful, I fear pursuing the series any further just to save me the money and agony - just a note, I purchased the two volumes together.

40 years has passed since the events of volume one and the zombie heroes have devoured the entire universe. Back on Earth, an aging T'Challa is the elected leader of New Wankanda on the verge of an Acolyte uprising. When his assassination is botched, he finds himself mortally injured. The only person with a cure is zombie Wasp, who bites the dying leader in order to save his life. As the uprising reaches its heights, it is trampled by the return of zombie heroes. The battle of the interdimensional device begins. However, zombies are shown their proverbial mirror-selves and a decision must be made.

I remember when I first heard of Marvel Zombies. I was sitting in the aisle at Hastings, scanning the graphic novels when a guy walks up to me and starts talking about it. I love zombies. I love Marvel. What's to stop me from loving this idea? Apparently the execution. The art is great. It ranges from comical to horror to the seriousness of the matter to the completely cliche - check out the ending. The writing and storyline on the other hand. Are you serious? Makes one wonder what the hell Robert Kirkman was aiming for. You know, other than a paycheck.

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weeping Underwater Looks a Lot Like Laughter

Michael J. White set off to tell us a story about love, loss, lust, love, and loss. In short, with his debut novel - Weeping Underwater Looks a Lot Like Laughter - he gives us a story about high school romance and infatuations. It's like no other than I have read in the past. It presses us to feel, see the through the eyes of the narrator, George Flynn, and his days with the Schell girls, Emily, his love interest, and Katie, the little sister. When tragedy strikes, George's life - social, familial, and romantic - is thrown into a tailspin. He cannot help put to grasp at the pieces, hoping that they one day fit into each other. 

Somewhere between YA and adult contemporary is where you'll find Weeping Underwater Looks a Lot Like Laughter. George Flynn is well into adulthood as he begins his narrative. The need to do so raises when he sees former high school sweetheart, Emily Schell, on television. And while the novel is interesting and emotional, there are several times that it just drags out. George acknowledges that he doesn't feel like giving us all the details in the days when his relationship with Emily grows sour, yet feels the need the give us details that add nothing to the story. There were several times in the story that I just felt the need to put it down and read something else, returning as if nothing happened in between. Truth be told, I started the book sometime during the summer and just finished it now. And that's because I had less than a hundred pages left. I can't help but feel that if ever there were a film adaptation, I'd enjoy it more than the novel itself. 

Weeping Underwater Looks a Lot Like Laughter is available on Amazon in bargain price hardback ($9.98), paperback ($11.70), and Kindle ($9.99). It's also available at Barnes & Noble in paperback and Nook edition. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Lurking Lust

I know what you're thinking - tentacle porn. Tentacle porn that would put the manga and anime people to shame. Tentacles everywhere, filling every orifice. That's the image we come up with when someone suggests combining the world of Lovecraft and erotica. Don't be ashamed, I thoughts so as well. So much so, that I went into reading Cthulhurotica with a chuckle. Carrie Cuinn, the editor, pulled a fast one over us lovers of Lovecraft. We suckers will buy just about anything with Cthulhu plastered on it, right? Of course, we'd be wrong. 

Combining the monstrous science fiction horror of Lovecraft with the literary erotic word must've been a hard task for the writers featured in the collection. The stories range from creepy to cute to downright arousing, touching on all ranges of attraction. Some writers dip into the bisexual landscape while others are a tad more conservative. In "Transfigured Night," K.V. Taylor spills out a homoerotic tale that skirts on necrophilia. Whereas, in "Le Ciél Ouvert," Kirsten Brown introduces us to a character whose sexual appetite can only be sated by something otherworldly. "The C-Word" by Don Pizarro, a May-December romance is reignited in the town of Innsmouth, showing that love has no age boundaries, as well as, cursed ones. 

The collection is well worth the read for lovers of the Cthulhu Mythos, as well as, those who simply just love. The collection also includes three essays, beautifully drawn images, and a few lines of Lovecraft's poetry.

Cthulhurotica is available on Amazon in paperback ($13.99) and for Kindle ($3.99). Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Dexter Returns

Yesterday marked the premiere of the sixth season of Dexter, and the world is now a better place. After last year lackluster season - I understood what the goal was, but am still disappointed that it didn't lead down another path. Let's not fail to mention how disappointed I've been with the book series, which adds another novel - Double Dexter - later this month. Yes, I'll be suckered into reading it, as well.

I could go off to fill this whole post with spoilers and concerns, but I won't. Instead, I'll only ask one question. Is Edward James Olmos' character suppose to act as an anti-Harry Morgan character? 

You can catch Dexter - the TV series - on Showtime. Double Dexter hits shelves, Kindles and Nooks on October 18th.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mile 81 by Stephen King

Like I said, I'm on the fence about Stephen King. While UR was a great read, Mile 81 - a Kindle Single - felt more like a chore.

Taking place in the shut down Mile 81 rest area, one would think it was about some grizzly murder that happened which still haunts the area. Instead, we get a muddied station wagon that eats people. One part Christine, one part Little Shop of Horrors. Three parts bad. Story revolves around several characters - most of which become a grizzly meal for the alien vehicle. There's next to none character growth. It lacks substance underneath the surface. It's almost as if Mile 81 was a write-for-hire piece, something King had to do because of some agreement he made with Amazon. 

It's hard to say if Mile 81 is a lengthy short story or a novella, but it sure has hell felt like a longer read than UR. Oh well, until next time, keep on huntin'.