Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Temporarily On Hold/Slowed Down

Yeah.  So...I'm back in school and of course every one of my classes involves a bunch of reading, so I don't know exactly how much time I'll have for recreational reading.

That being said, this blog is either going to be dead until the end of the quarter (12/10/2010) or the reviews will be even more infrequent than usual.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Will Storr vs. the Supernatural by Will Storr


Will Storr has done some seriously bizarre and other-wordly things over the course of his career as a journalist.  But even spending an entire day with Ozzy Osbourne wasn't as frightening as when he agreed to follow Philadelphia "demonologist" Lou Gentile on his appointed round.  Will Storr never believed in ghosts--but his healthy skepticism couldn't explain the strange lights and sounds he witnessed, and the weird behavior of the occupants of several allegedly haunted houses.

What resulted is a confirmed cynic's (and proud of it!) dedicated search for answers in a shadowy world of seances, mediums, devil worshippers--even the Vatican's chief exorcist.  So get ready to confront the genuinely creepy along with the hilariously ridiculous in Will Storr vs. the Supernatural!


After my last three books, I thought it was about time I get back to reading books where I don't already know the ending.  What better way to do that than to read a work of non-fiction?

I was surprised by this book.  I went into it expecting to get a straight-forward progression from complete skeptic to full-on believer.  That did not happen.  The book basically involves a cynic having this beliefs (or lack thereof) tested.  Storr attends countless paranormal research events, meets with renowned investigators, questions a philosopher, interviews a psychiatrist and sits down with an exorcist.

Ultimately, he finishes completely unsure about whether or not the paranormal exists, but that's fine.  The guy did his research.  I'm surprised the guy lasted a year.  I would have slapped every psychic he came in contact with.  His experiences with psychics and mediums were so awkward (not written the situations themselves were awkward).  I would not have been able to smile and nod the way he did.

One complaint...and it really has nothing to do with the content of the book.  My complaint...WHO THE HELL EDITED THIS BOOK?!  I can understand the occasional spelling error (and I had to have a little leeway for the fact that Storr is British and so you get the expected differences), but there were words that were consistently just flat out spelled wrong.  Spell check is your friend, people.  Look into it.

Bottom it.  No matter who you are, read.  Originally, I was just going to recommend this to people who are believers.  As the book went on though, I changed my mind.  No matter which side of the paranormal fence you fall on, I think this is a book to read.  It makes you consider things maybe you haven't thought of before.  It's not shy about revealing the seedy underbelly of TV ghost hunting programs. makes it painfully obvious just how full of it some psychics and mediums are.  Read it.


Monday, September 13, 2010

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult


Anna is not sick, but she might as well be.  By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood.  The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate--a life role that she has never challenged...until now.  Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is.  But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister.  So, Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable--a decision that will tear her family apart and possibly have fatal consequences for the sister she loves.


This book made me cry.  That really says a lot.  In my twenty-six years in this world, only one other book has ever made me truly cry.  I'm not talking about just tearing up a little.  I'm talking about choked up, sad movie crying.

On that subject, let me say...yes.  I had seen the movie, prior to reading the book.  I try to keep that from being the case.  I honestly prefer to read the book, before viewing the movie, but there are those rare occasions where the movie somehow manages to be viewed before I can read the book (I blame HBO and insomnia in this case).  I had a feeling this book was going to make cry, given that the movie had me crying for about 90 of the 100 minutes.

Anyway...the book's a really good read.  The ending was a  Without giving too much away (cause it does end far differently than the movie), I kind of didn't see any purpose to what happens in the end.  You go through the events of the book and to have this final event ('s hard to review this without giving it away) occur seemed a little...pointless?  I don't know, maybe other people would get the value of it, but it completely eluded me.

My only complaint (aside from the "event") was some of the characters.  Not so much the way they were written.  They were written perfectly.  The characters as people bugged me.  Their behavior, more specifically, annoyed me.  Between Sara's inability to understand Anna's reasons for filing the lawsuit and Jesse constantly lashing out, I found it hard to really tolerate them at times.  I'm sure it's all in the eyes of the reader, though.  Maybe other can better accept the way they act, but I found it a little grating.

Bottom line...definitely read it.  It's a really touching book and raises a few important is it alright to just let someone die? it and form your own opinions.