Short Stories, Writing, and All That Jazz Part 2

I forgot to add something to that post, I made a Facebook page for this blog a minute ago. I will also add that if you are a writer or a poet, feel free to send me your work for me to post on this blog. Of course I will read it, but I want to promote other writers. I will also be posting my own stuff, so yeah. My email is in the Contact Me, send it in a word document, with a Bio of yourself. It can be a short story, Fan-fiction, Flash fiction, Poetry, even a excerpt from your novel.

Short Stories, Writing, and All That Jazz

There hasn’t been any reviews here, well I’m reading a very long book at the moment but I always read shorter books on the side, so there will be one soon, maybe a week or so. There will be some posts to fill up that empty gap though.

A lot of people who have a great appreciation for literature, I mean people who are really infatuated with it, tend to write stuff. Their heads are filled with new ideas, new inventions or new worlds. They grab out a piece of paper or a notebook and write it down, let it simmer, and then something crazy comes out of it. Unfortunately I am one of those people, but I don’t proudly call myself a writer, I don’t walk around and say “Hey, I write, want to know what I write?”. I actually think I am a terrible writer, not because somebody said I was, but because everything that I create, in my eyes, is either a failure, or not good enough. 

There are different types of writers, the fan-fiction writers, the screenplay writers, the journal writers, and the I-never-finish writers. I used to be the writer who never finished but now that’s not true anymore, I finished one novella manuscript and wrote a few short stories. I also have this blog, but I don’t know if that counts. I have thought of making a separate blog dedicated to writing but I’m not sure if that would be a good idea. 

I am thinking of making a Facebook page for this blog and I am thinking of posting some of my short stories here. So yeah, there will be something to fill up that empty gap of reviews. 

Book Review: The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith


Pages: 358
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror
Format: Paperback

“Sixteen-year-old Jack gets drunk and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is kidnapped. He escapes, narrowly. The only person he tells is his best friend, Conner. When they arrive in London as planned for summer break, a stranger hands Jack a pair of glasses. Through the lenses, he sees another world called Marbury.

There is war in Marbury. It is a desolate and murderous place where Jack is responsible for the survival of two younger boys. Conner is there, too. But he’s trying to kill them.

Meanwhile, Jack is falling in love with an English girl, and afraid he’s losing his mind.

Conner tells Jack it’s going to be okay.

But it’s not.

Andrew Smith has written his most beautiful and personal novel yet, as he explores the nightmarish outer limits of what trauma can do to our bodies and our minds”

Andrew Smith is an author I know but didn’t really read his books until later. Right now a lot of people in the YA book community are raving about him thanks to Winger and recently, Grasshopper Jungle. I’m actually really curious to read those two. Even though there were a few things I didn’t like about this book, writing wise, it’s real but a little repetitive in this novel, I think Andrew is pretty darn good writer when it’s come to plot and characters.

The Marbury Lens seems to have mixed ratings, a lot of people of hate it and there’s a small amount that love it. I’m assuming that a lot of those fans probably read the book when they were younger, when The Marbury Lens was actually released, which was 4 years ago. I missed out on it, I’m 18 but lately the YA category is kind of not interesting to me anymore, of course there are some exceptions though. 

When I first picked up this book, I was actually pretty scared, there are some things in this book that I honestly never thought would actually be in a YA novel. I’m pretty sure there are more graphic and explicit YA novels other than this one, but this one is the most graphic one that I can remember. The violence doesn’t really bother me though, it adds to the darkness of the novel, but there are some things that I didn’t really like. 

The Marbury Lens consists of two young adults named Jack and Conner. Jack lives in a pretty dysfunctional family and Conner lives a fairly normal life. So judging by this, you’re gonna know that Jack, the main character, is going to be the sulky, depressed, sensitive but stubborn, loyal, and well, a pretty sad guy. Jack is a bit introverted and shy and well Conner, he’s the sex crazed, party boy.  After the traumatic event of Freddie Horvath, Jack’s mental state takes a toll and you can’t help but feel bad for the guy, you want to give him a big hug, but Jack doesn’t cry, so he’s not going to cry into your shoulder. 

But back to what I dislike, what I don’t like about this novel, and it’s really the only thing. I understand that guys curse a lot but dang, so many f-bombs, it started to get ridiculous, like a tired joke. What would I sound like if I wrote like that? FUCK THIS, FUCK THAT, FUCK, FUCK BOOKS, FUCK TEXTBOOKS, FUCK WORDS, WORDS ARE FUCKING AWESOME, BOOKS ARE FUCKING AWESOME, COMPUTERS ARE FUCKING AWESOME, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK. Another thing that bothered me was that he kept repeating the same thought over and over again. I understand that it’s pretty realistic and that’s what people do when they lose their minds. Like here’s another silly thing: I LIKE INTERNET, INTERNET, INTERNET. THE INTERNET DESTROYED MY BRAIN, BRAIN, BRAIN. 

Okay it’s out of my system, I will admit that I don’t curse in real life very often, seriously I don’t. 

The Marbury World is pretty interesting and frightening. There’s dead people everywhere, it’s a post-apocolyptic world, with humans affected by a disease that apparently made them lose their humanity. So Jack, Griffin, and Ben are the survivors of the world, and Conner is one of the humans affected by the disease. So for most of the book the trio travel through the world and run away or fight off Harvesters or the Devils (Conner is one of them). The world feels really empty though, but that’s what you would expected in a world that has just ended. There’s a lot of grit and grime in this novel, a lot of guts, sweat, puke, blood, and human gore.

My little theory about this book is that Marbury is another world where everyone’s fear has occured, where death and disease is prominent. Maybe Marbury is the world of the future, where humanity had finally diminished. I also feel like those purple glasses are way of escape for those who are troubled, despite the dark world on the other side. People escape darkness just to be filled with more, but Marbury is apparently not real, so it is way for people to desperately escape reality.

The Marbury Lens kind of has mixed feeling in me too, I liked it but some of the writing style annoyed me. I loved it but I got annoyed by it. I love the plot, it’s suspenseful and absorbing, hard to put down. Although, I hate to say it, but I think Conner is kind of annoying, I wouldn’t want him as a friend. The female characters are practically wooden boards for the boy’s entertainment. Despite all of this, it was an okay read, I think I want to read the sequel though.

                                                                Rating: 3.5/5

December Wrap-Up

Holy freaking Christ, I freaking forgot to do this, how dare me. Since I reviewed all of the books I read. I honestly don’t see a point to writing anything on here. So this should be quick. I don’t even remember what the hell I read. I definitly didn’t read too much this month though.

1.Four Sparks Fall by T.A. Noonan


2. On Beauty by Zadie Smith


3. The Third Reich by Roberto Bolaño 


4. Your Republic is Calling You by Young-ha Kim


5. Women Float by Maureen Foley


Book Review: Humboldt: Or, the Power of Positive Thinking by Scott Navicky (Advanced Readers Copy)

Pages: 350
Genre: Contemporary, Humor
Format: E-book

Here is an advanced readers copy of one of CClap Publishing’s novels. Humboldt is part of the series of novels that will be released in paperback this year.  The book cover is quite a beauty don’t you think? It kind of matches the nature part of the story, but nothing will match the craziness and the absurdity of this novel.

I think from now on, I’m just going to copy and paste the synopsis because half of the time I get the summary wrong anyway. Am  I being lazy?

The Iraq War? The housing market collapse? College football’s concussion crisis? How can anyone be expected to understand such complexities, especially a “horticulturally dyslexic” farmboy with an eighth-grade education and a penchant for perpetually misunderstanding, misreading, and misinterpreting the world? Born on a farm in Ohio, Humboldt is content to spend his life “outside amongst the oxygen and unhurried hydrocarbons.” But when his father’s farm is threatened with foreclosure, Humboldt is forced to save it by enrolling in college, leading him on an epic absurdist adventure through Washington politics, New York performance art, Boston blue-bloods, post-Katrina New Orleans, multiple murders, and holy resurrections. Mixing the speed and structure of Voltaire’s Candide with a heavy dose of Joycean wordplay, and a love of literary acrobatics worthy of David Foster Wallace, Scott Navicky’s debut novel assails some of modern America’s most cherished beliefs and institutions with the battle cry: “Ticklez l’infame!”

Now here’s the review:

This book is so freaking insane, I don’t even know what to say. Humboldt is a very likeable character, he’s so innocent and optimistic because well, he lived on a farm and he wasn’t expose to anything. So the poor guy is extremely naive  but don’t worry that will change, the crazy things that he experiences will make him a grown person. A lot of people think he’s dumb but he’s actually really freaking smart.

I feel like this review is really horrible. So every character is really quirky and unique, none of them blend into each other and they all have a purpose. This novel is also a satire so everything is really crazy and sarcastic so if you’re dumb like me, you start to question if everything is serious. There were some jokes and dialogue where it’s like “Woah, that’s a burn, you better treat that burn.”

It’s  a really fun novel and there’s a lot of wacky situations and wordplay. Sometimes it’s hard to understand because it really does spiral into insanity. It makes you feel really smart but at the same time your brain melts. It’s like playing tennis and the ball is going back and forth slowly at first, but then the players gets intense and the ball starts flying faster and harder and the players are sweating and getting more pumped. There’s Also a lot of that “Let’s talk about life and how life works and parents and growing up” but then something absurd happens right after that and throws all of that mumbo jumbo out the window, especially when Humboldt kills people and then they somehow come back to life. It’s like one of those parody movies that don’t make sense but we keep laughing anyway because it’s not supposed to make sense and nothing in life makes sense anyway. 

Sometimes the absurdity does get a little tiring though, I will admit that towards the end I skimmed through or sped through some parts because I just got tired. Then the action finally happened and the ending just left me baffled. Why? Crazy character development. Humboldt had changed so much, stronger, smarter, but more cynical as if he finally lost optimism and turned into a pessimist. Humboldt learns all the ways of life in America and everything seems to be fake or a joke as if this book is making fun of American society, and sadly, everything is so god dang true. I do understand it’s a satire though. By the way, There are some parts where the writing style changes from novel to a play.

The book is written in a very humorous way but there is one thing that I wanted to point out that I wasn’t too comfortable with. Some people might point out and say “well it’s a satire and Humboldt was an ignorant farmer so he doesn’t know any better” and I understand that but seriously N-word town? Somebody is going to get really offended. Couldn’t you call it Afro town or something? Like I understand why, but it put me off a bit. 

Despite that little thing above, it’s generally a favorable book for me. Congrats or thank you, I don’t know how to end this. 

                                                                Rating: 3.5/5