Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book Twenty One - Snuff

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk is about an attempt to set a world gang bang record. It is told from the point of view of 3 of the dicks and the wrangler. As we get to know these characters, secrets are revealed and it was an entertaining read, if only for the references to fake (I assume) porn flicks. Palahniuk had a fun time coming up with porn titles and stories.

Palahniuk is an excellent descriptor, although some of the things described in this book may turn the stomach. I felt like I was right there in that green room with 600 dudes, smells and all. I wasn't fooled by the plot twists in the book, but I was amused just the same to see how they unfolded.

All in all Snuff was a pleasurable read (no pun intended). There are a lot of interesting facts presented in the book, some of which I am very curious about their authenticity. One is that babies are not kicking in the womb but are actually masturbating. True or not, that is some funny shit!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book Twenty - Delores Claiborne

Stephen King just has a written voice that I can sink into like my favorite pair of jammy pants. I have been reading his books since I was a teenager. So while at the library recently I thought I would treat myself to one of the older books that I hadn't gotten around to reading yet. I picked Delores Claiborne. I am not sure why I hadn't read it before, but I may have seen part of the movie, but I am notorious for falling asleep during movies, so I was able to read the book mainly unaware of what I would find within, although I had no choice but to picture Kathy Bates as Delores.

In this book, the entire narrative is being read by the titular Delores while giving a report to the police. She is accused of murdering her longtime employer and companion, Vera Donovan, and further to that, she has long been the subject of gossip on the small island she inhabits, for the murder of her husband that she passed off as an accident.

She narrates the entire story in this manner, under the guise of telling the police "everything", but it did work for me as a storytelling device. Although she does talk to the people in the room, we are required to understand their replies by what Delores says, which makes things interesting. The confession that she gives covers many aspects of both her life and her family as well as how that tied into her relationship with the wealthy Vera who is a notorious bitch and difficult to work for. It tells how their relationship changed over the years as Vera became more elderly and dependent, but always she remained the bitch. It is understandable why she is being accused of her murder.

This was by far my favorite King book, but it was an enjoyable fast read and I will keep on ticking those last missing King books off of my "to read" list.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Book Nineteen - Tongue, a Novel

Kyung Ran Jo's novel Tongue is a poetic tale about a woman moving on with her life after her long term boyfriend leaves her for another woman. It is different from other similar stories that I have read. The protagonist is not outwardly angry at her former partner for the betrayal. It is almost as if she has something like Asperger's as she cannot seem to understand some social cues and seems only to be able to relate everything to food and doesn't understand that other people do not necessarily feel the same way as she.

After the relationship ends, Ji-won closes down the cooking school that she was running and goes back to work at the Italian restaurant in Korea that she left to open the school. It is understandable that by going back to work she could continue to live her life in a situation that has her feeling lost.

The descriptions of the food and the cooking practices in the restaurant transported me into the world of gourmet cooking in Korea. I felt something a bit magical in Ran Jo's writing and I wonder who did the translation and how they manage to translate books at all without losing the author's original voice. In this case I feel it was accomplished well, although I guess I can't say what it would have been like to read it in Korean.

The character of Ji-won is an unusual one and in the end everything all ties together in a very satisfying manner. There are some odd choices in the book as far as punctuations and random capitalization, but perhaps this is something to do with translation. Overall I would recommend reading this book, although it did make me hungry.