Archive for literature

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Posted in Book, books, Celebrities, literature, Reviews, romance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2010 by payjturner

The Reader by Berhard Schlink is the story of a teenager who becomes involved with an older, mysterious woman. It is set in Germany and written from the teenagers point of view.

Years later, after thier relationship is over, he discovers a shocking secret about this woman. The secret takes him back to the time of thier relationship, which he seems to relive over and over, while he struggles to accept and understand her secret and what happened between them.

The thing that intrigued me about this book is the shock and mystery…the idea of thinking that you know someone, at least on some level, and then discovering something that you could have never imagined about that person. It makes the lead character question everything that he thought he knew about this woman as well as everything about their relationship.

While the relationship and the secret itself do not disappoint, you basically get a bird’s eye view of the events afterword. This is the type of book where I really want to hear the other side of the story. The woman’s side of the story during and after the relationship would be a much more fulfilling read and answer my multitude of questions. That is not provided. I didn’t feel like this book was unfinished but I did feel like it should be a set of two books with the other book being written from the woman’s point of view.

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

Posted in Book, books, Celebrities, Entertainers, fantasy, literature, Reviews, romance, sci-fi, twilight, Uncategorized, vampire, werewolf with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by payjturner

Stephanie Myer’s Eclipse, similar to its predecessors, is extremely seductive and packed with forbidden romance and turmoil. But the one thing that this book has over Twilight and New Moon is, without a doubt, suspense. It starts off somewhat slow in the beginning. It’s almost like the author wants to torture you just to see how much you can take. But all of that suspense definitely pays off in the end. Toward the middle of the book you start to get pulled in a few different directions by the characters. The action and suspense picks up dramatically, almost to the point of exhaustion. This is a good thing.

Eclipse takes the love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob to new levels. This is, of course, the most fascinating part of the book and its core. You get a deeper understanding of the characters feelings. You see an almost unhealthy and inhuman kind of forgiveness and patience, particularly on Edward’s part, which is believable considering that he is not human. Jacob forces Bella into a realization that she never saw coming that only heightens her struggle. And in the middle of all of that, there are enemies to contend with and major, life altering decisions to make.

In the end, the characters aren’t the only people torn between one path or the other. As a reader, I was torn right along with them. Eclipse absolutely lives up to the standard that the first two books set and, in some cases, surpasses it.

Book Review: Moonwalk by Michael Jackson

Posted in biography, Book, books, Celebrities, Entertainers, literature, michael jackson, Music, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by payjturner

moonwalkMoonwalk is basically a recollection of Michael Jackson’s life, in his own words, through 1988.  He discusses his music, family, friends, career, views, relationships, influences, and much more.

Obviously, there is a tremendous amount of discussion about his music and its history. For instance, he says that he did “This Place Hotel” because he had a fascination with revenge and couldn’t really understand why people would want revenge. “The Lady in My Life” was the song where Quincy Jones asked him to “beg”. “Blues Away”, which he didn’t sing anymore by this time, was about a deep depression even though the song has a light feel to it.  

He says that he is surprised when people think that all of an artist’s work comes from personal experience or their own lifestyle because many times nothing is farther from the truth. It is the artist’s job to create a mood or feeling using imagination, which is the most useful tool an artist has.

Michael Jackson was obviously a perfectionist who was extremely professional and serious when it came to his work. He recalls that during the making of The Wiz someone was joking around while he was filming a scene. They were trying to make him laugh and he was very upset and hurt by that. He couldn’t understand why someone would want to act that way knowing that it could mess up the scene.

He talks about all of the people who influenced him from Sammy Davis Jr. to Jackie Wilson to Fred Astaire. He reveals some of the pranks played by he and his brothers, what it was like for a child to play in seedy night clubs, why Janet was like his twin, and what it was like to drop his father as his manager. He recalls what happened after the famous Pepsi commercial where he received 3rd degree burns and how it was his childhood dream to ride in an ambulance with the sirens going. He also says that he dreamed of having a family with 13 kids.

He describes himself as “one of the loneliest people in the world.” He touches on his relationships saying that girls want to “figure out what makes me tick.”  They want to either save him or be lonely with him and he wouldn’t wish that on anyone. He discusses the fact that he had a hard time looking them, and the public, in the eye due to his shy nature. He used sunglasses to hide his eyes and, in some tiny way, to have some sense of privacy that was almost impossible to come by without barricading himself inside a room. A doctor gave him a surgical mask once after having his wisdom teeth taken out. He recalls that he liked the feeling of wearing it out in public because, like the sunglasses, it gave him a sense of privacy. Some of the more chilling moments in the book were his thoughts on celebrities, like Elvis for instance, who have tragically fallen victim to their lifestyle. He says that he didn’t think he would end up like that and he didn’t want to.

I found Moonwalk to be smart, sensitive and extremely insightful. He seemed like, to use his own words, “a young person with an old soul” who felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility not only to his family and friends who depended on him but also to his fans. I personally enjoyed the book a great deal. I feel like it gave me a better understanding of Michael Jackson beyond the music. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan.

Book Review: Twilight by S. Meyer

Posted in Book, books, Celebrities, literature, Reviews, romance, twilight, Uncategorized, vampire with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by payjturner

twilightcoverJust finished reading Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. Yeah, I’m a little late getting into this world-wide wind storm but better late than never right? I watched the movie months ago. I heard through an acquaintance that the movie was good. This particular acquaintance is not exactly the type to be into movies like this so I decided to try it out. I didn’t expect to like it but I loved it. I guess the high school girl in me is alive and well…not that I really had any doubt. I still feel like I’m 18…and let me assure you that 18 was many “new moons” ago.

So, since I loved the movie so much I wanted to read the book. Normally, I don’t read the book after I’ve already seen the movie. It’s sometimes hard for me to get into if I already know what’s coming…although most of the time the book is much better & quite a bit different.

In this case, the book definitely held my interest. The movie very closely resembles the book in almost every detail. There are a few exceptions but nothing that really throws you off or makes you regret having read or watched it. The book filled in some gaps (like a more detailed history of the Cullens) for me and made things a little bit clearer as they often do. It elaborates on the emotions of the characters which helped me to better understand some of the acting in the movie. I’m normally not into vampire books or movies but this is more of a love story than anything else. The vampire theme takes a back seat.

I now know why the teen crowd goes nuts over this book and movie. Edward Cullen. Before I thought is was just the fact that the actor who plays Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) happens to be gorgeous. This has to be the most fascinating vampire that I’ve ever read about or watched. He’s probably every young (& possibly not so young) girls bad boy fantasy. This character, as well as the story line between Edward and Bella, makes Twilight the intrigue that it has become. Actually, I think it’s more of an addiction. I could’ve read the book more than once if I didn’t have graduate classes to worry about. I watched the movie 3 times & could’ve (& probably will at some point) watch it more.

You know the feeling you get when you finally get something that you really love that you haven’t had in a long time (like chocolate or caffeine)? Well, Twilight gives you that feeling and in some cases it’s even better.

I think almost anyone who is into books with romance as one of the major themes will like it. It is a light but highly enjoyable and addictive read. I honestly can’t wait to read the rest of the Twilight saga and watch the upcoming movies.

Book Review– Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case by D. Dimond

Posted in biography, Book, books, Celebrities, Entertainers, literature, michael jackson, Music, Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2009 by payjturner

mjbookI’ve always been fascinated by Michael Jackson & his life as most of the world has. Admittedly, I’ve always been a fan. I was looking for a book that would present as many FACTS as possible about his life & the allegations made against him. Normally, all we hear through the media is speculation, exaggeration, sensationalism, rumor, opinion, hearsay, lies & gossip that sends ratings through the roof & gets people paid. When I first read a description of this book & read about Diane Dimond I thought “this might be more credible and unbiased than usual”. Boy was I wrong. This book reads in large part like a tabloid…particularly in the beginning & toward the end. But to be fair, I wonder if a book could be written about him and not sound like a tabloid?

This book is full of shady characters that the author (& the court apparently) uses as “witnesses” or “proof”. Boy has the meaning of those words been bent & morphed to the point that many of us don’t even recognize when it’s happening anymore. In somecases she does present both sides even if it still seems biased and, in a lot of cases, is all hearsay that can’t really be corroborated with much, if any, legitimacy. In my opinion, those things shouldn’t even be included in the book if it is intended to have a shred of a credible feel to it. Otherwise, you get the tabloidesque undertones that in all honesty made me want to just stop reading it after about page 20 or so. But again I wonder could a book be written without hearsay? There probably wouldn’t be much to say if not for hearsay.

The one point that does not seem like speculation, gossip, hearsay, opinion or exaggeration is chapter 9. This is where the author presents a conversation she had with a profiler that works on sex crimes. One thing bothered me about this chapter…well, a lot of things bothered me about this chapter but at the top of the list was the fact that it was supposed to be anonymous…meaning that the profiler was not supposed to be commenting on Michael Jackson but he obviously knew who Dimond was referring to. That doesn’t make what he supposedly said untrue but I just felt like it was thrown out there and then the chapter was over. This definitely wasn’t the only instance where I felt like I needed more information or that details were missing.

She does present some testimony from the trial in 2005 and I have to side with the jurors in this case….the prosecution (according to this book anyway) wasn’t particularly convincing no matter how hard the author tries to make it so with her commentary. The book jumps all over the place. There are bits & pieces scattered here and there so that it is a little hard to keep track of everything. Details from one instance will be presented in the beginning of the book but the big picture & the author’s comments or opinions will be at the end or in the middle somewhere. It would be very easy to forget the details that were presented if you are not taking notes (Although I read this book in the span of about 24 hours so it wasn’t that hard for me).

One of the biggest problems that I have with this book…maybe the only real problem that all of the others stem from…is that while she somewhat tries to pretend like she is being an unbiased reporter, it is written with an obvious undertone and theme throughout…one of her obvious belief that Michael Jackson is guilty on all accounts from 1993 on. Not to mention his guilt of just being a weird, undeserving human being that brought everything on himself no matter how many un-credible, money hungry people he had around him. There are many justifications presented by the author for the witnesses’ (I use this term loosely) accounts relayed through whatever means to her (the author). When presented with a chance to ponder what Michael Jackson/Jackson Team’s circumstances or justifications might be this is clearly left out a large majority of the time.

Were there parts that startled me? Yes. Were there parts that made me rethink my thoughts & opinions previously? Yes. Did it change my thoughts & opinions in the end? No. It did however give me a great respect & possibly pity for the 2005 jury. I have a clearer picture of how hard it must’ve been to sift through all of the information given & come out feeling like you accomplished something. For me, it also proves, crime or no crime, that money really is the root of all evil. I think based on this book a circumstancial case could be made for either side but in the end there was just way too much reasonable doubt and no real proof on either side.

In the end, I walked away from this book feeling like I had just wasted too much of my life reading tabloid trash. I didn’t feel like I had any more concrete answers than I had before I read it. Even though some of the details were shocking, it wasn’t anything that I didn’t expect. Really the only thing shocking to me is that Michael Jackson didn’t run out of money way before he did….guilty or not.

Don’t waste your money on this book. If you must read it get it from a library.