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More and More Gilmore Girls

It Makes Me Feel Better, Television, Things to Look Forward To

In preparation of the upcoming Netflix revival of Gilmore Girls, I’ve undertaken the daunting task of watching the entire series from beginning to end. Unlike so many of my friends who watched the show when it first aired back in the early 2000’s, I stayed away from it. It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t enjoy the immensely talented Lauren Graham or doe-eyed Alexis Bledel, it was just more of a “didn’t have the time to see it” type deal. So when I heard of the stand-alone 4-episode revival last year, I thought now was the perfect time to see for myself what all the buzz was about.Gilmore-Girls-gilmore-girls-336905_1024_768

Now I haven’t seen the entire series yet, in fact, I’m just finishing up Season 2. There are 153 episodes, so with the right scheduling and  strategic decline of certain social engagement, I just might be all caught up when the redux premieres this fall. Here’s hoping.

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Child of Privilege

Mature “Child of Privilege”

Book Reviews

A testament to the power of internal strength, Ross Ponderson’s “Child of Privilege” is an important work. It’s important for all the obvious reasons (recognition of less-written about themes, a clear knowledge of vocabulary and plot structure, etc), but it’s the tackling of rather taboo issues that still face modern society that are perpetually swept under that old, damn rug.

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The novel finds Dana Van Werner, born into immense wealth and a much-desired social status, leaving the only world she’s ever known in hope of safety and personal truth. It’s rather safe to say, and un-spoiler-y at that, that Dana’s upbringing was intense, at best. A victim of physical, emotional, and mental abuse by her father, Dana makes the incredibly risky step to leave all that she’s ever known behind to live in the ‘real’ world, whatever that may be.

Fortunately, she’s got a strong resolve, something she’s had to acquire due to her father’s unreasonable dislike of her. While she has no idea where she is to rest her head at night, the relief of not having to suffer any more beatings trumps over any feelings of worry.

So, obviously, Dana has a lot to learn as she enters ‘big city’ life, which has its own set of learning curves and experiences to endure. Fortunately, the author has crafted a protagonist that is not only a clear victim, but also an accessible, realistic woman who is on the rollercoaster of life, just like the rest of us. Her father clearly is looking for her, and with his never-ending financial resources, acquires private investigators aplenty to locate his missing daughter. Dana is not only escaping her terrible past, but also the relentless pursuit of those hired to capture her once more.

I was extremely entertained and invested in “Child of Privilege”. Not only is it a well-paced, tightly-plotted novel that is unpretentious, but it’s also a clever statement on the perils in the wealthy, and the dynamism of the human soul. Oh, and it’s surprisingly funny.

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A Fortunate Read: David Heath’s “Fortune 69”

Book Reviews

Mental health and depression issues are still considered taboo and controversial. My mind cannot wrap itself around the notion that what makes us different STILL makes us strange. Acceptance and acknowledgement are two of the strongest human actions that exist, and they’re still the two that people are still trying to get right. Check out #oscarsowhite. It’s awful.

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This is precisely why David Heath’s effervescent “Fortune 69” was such a welcome and eye-opening read. It holds a flawed, depressed main character at its core, using Trigger as the catalyst to present a world that literally always has it’s finger on a trigger, ready to shoot.

The aforementioned Trigger is depressed and lonely. Either one is not a truly ideal state to be in, but together, nothing good can really come of it. Embarking on a suicide attempt, Trigger decides that life is not worth living, and decides to end his life for all of social media to see and behold. It’s a powerful commentary on voyeurism and our propensity to watch someone suffer.

Fortunately, the author decides to use this sad event to bring a character into the reader’s lives that is at once endearing and damaged. Trigger is navigating the tough terrains of life, unsure of a lot of things, and excitable about others. His posted suicide note on Fortune-69.com, his second home online, and has found himself with devout followers who have christened him their new leader. Leader of what remains to be seen.

Peppered in are a few colorful characters that bring a spectrum of originality and tonality to the novel. The author is clearly an intelligent person, as evidenced through his witty anecdotes and witty, sly stabs at modern culture. It’s an entertaining, provocative read that allows the reader to become active in their observation, even though in today’s age, it’s passivity that governs most of our lives.

 

Celluloid

Checking out “Celluloid” By Holly Curtis

Book Reviews, Rave!

We all know a Jimmy Clifford. In “Celluloid” by Holly Curtis, Jimmy Clifford is a film enthusiast with a strong moral compass. When you pair a tale of justice with the medium of movies, you can not help but get a strong story of emotion, investment, and nostalgia.

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Holly Curtis handles this tale of one man’s personal mission to save his local indie cinema from a condo takeover with ease and precision. Jimmy Clifford is like an older kid, something most common among the coveted 18-49 demographic. He owns a shop chock full of film memorabilia, and is supported by characters such as his best friend and a drug dealer who specializes in the hot drug du jour.

Jimmy is personally affected by the news of a condo to be built in place of his revered “Crypt” – said movie theatre. He takes it upon himself to stage a cabaret night to raise awareness of the situation, and to raise money to stop the takeover.

What ensues is a hilarious story of pop culture, a certain coming of age, and a quest to find entertainment to make the cabaret a bonafide hit. It’s a rather unique and interesting tale of the little things that can trigger the resolution in a person long thought dormant, and a pleasure to read.

 

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Spiralling Out with James Gilmartin’s “The Spiral Effect: The Collector”

Book Reviews

I haven’t read a good sci-fi novel in a while. James Gilmartin’s glossy yet profound The Spiral Effect: The Collector is a juicy read that while borrowing from the sci-fi genre, it manages to tell a human story about saving lives.

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It’s apocalyptic but contemporary. The story find a strange disease wiping out scores of the Earth’s populations. It’s origins, and more important, its cure, is unknown.  Gilmartin presents a world where most people have ESP, allowing the protagonist here to flex his skills at saving the world.

He’s the Collector. He’s immune to this rampant virus, therefore he naturally decides to embark on a journey to find information on how to find a cure before the Earth is completely decimated. Using his special telekinesis skills, he ventures into the minds of those he comes upon, trying to piece together facts or some semblance of action to combat the evil sickness.

The messaging about the savagery of humanity does not go unnoticed. Nor does the immediate embracing of a life of violence that people will take to save themselves and their loved ones. It’s a bit Dawn of the Dead-y but so much more. The Collector carefully takes his time and watches his steps carefully as no one is to be trusted around him.

It’s a fairly dark and heavy read, but Gilmartin manages to present hope in subtle ways. His knack at depicting a world that is at the mercy of science and those immune few who hold their salvation in their hands. It’s a good one – check it out.

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Connecting with Gary Beck’s “Flawed Connections”

Book Reviews

Reading Gary Beck’s Flawed Connections gave me some serious St. Elmo’s Fire vibes – minus the self-deprecation. In his novel, Beck handily crafts four intertwining tales of coming of age, life experiences, and incessant hope that comes with being young.

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Here we have four extremely connected friends: Ted, Phillipe, Kevin, and Lys. Each of the above represent concurrent themes that abound in Flawed Connections, from redemption to self-sabotage to finding the good in a sometimes menacing world.  Ted, the son of a former activist, must grapple a life where everything is not a confrontation or a situation waiting to be fixed. Then we have Phillipe, who is a bi-racial kid who has no idea what he’s in for.

Then we have the more classic and familiar Kevin, who was born out of money and doesn’t think much of how to actually attain it. We close the group with Lyn, who, because of her lifestyle choices, has been forced out of her family and left to fend for herself in the world.

They are also all incredibly talented kids who happen to start up a computer business. The author crafts a story of what happens to kids who come into a serious sum of money for being creative, as well as the downfall that is certain to befall them. By the end of the novel, you feel as though these four kids are indeed your friends. They’re naive and funny, and ultimately wish to be loved. Money isn’t everything, and Gary Beck brings that message right home with his lovely Flawed Connections.

 

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Taking in “the Wedding & Disaster of Felona Mabel” by Kenn Bivins

Book Reviews

Demonstrating a clear capacity for creating a main character that is at once intriguing yet familiar, Kenn Bivins’ “the Wedding & Disaster if Felona Mabel” is a captivating read.

The aforementioned Felona Mabel the every-person and the lone wolf. She navigates the terrain of the human existence with vulnerability and hope, which, as well know is, a difficult medium to coalesce. Bivins manages to portray a character, replete with quirks and idiosyncracies, who would not be out of place in a weekly serial drama or comedy… or dramedy.

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The novel is about reconciling one’s past and confronting one’s fears. Felona does this with panache and realism. The skeletons in her closet are as terrifying as they were when she put them in there for safe-keeping. The depiction of Felona’s current relationship is funny and true, especially with the underlying message that one must confront their past before truly embracing the future.

Felona seems to have everything she has always wished for: a satisfying job, a new bethrothed, and a presence in a major city. However, when she finds out that her mother is nearing death, she must visit her and confront the woman who had borne her much pain in years gone by.

It’s a tale of redemption and truth, without all the cliches and rhetoric that often comprises today’s popular fiction. Bivins’ prosaic talent walks a fine line between nostalgia and modernity, and I, for one, am a big fan.

 

Becoming Moon

A Review of Craig A. Hart’s “Becoming Moon”

Book Reviews

Oh, the life of a writer. Forced to live with the ever-present plethora of words that are just aching to be released on paper, ideas that spin around with the hope of being born into becoming a great piece of art. It’s an exhausting career to undertake, both a blessing and a curse. In Craig A. Hart’s ethereal Becoming Moon, he not only presents a character study of a talented writer, but also successfully provides a commentary on the dangers of over-parenting and over-planning one’s journey.

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It’s a simple story, really, but an extremely profound analysis of personal motivations and understanding one’s truths. The protagonist in Becoming Moon is complicated, resentful and real. Like every other writer, our protagonist wants to essentially create a timeless piece of art, but as we all know, the creation of art comes from a place that is sacred and rare, and cannot be forced. With a clear dislike for the concept of ghost-writing, Hart uses this plot point as a catalyst for our hero to confront the issues of his past before he becomes the man he wants to be.

There are more conflicts and plot points in Hart’s novel  that the reader might find familiar (The Words, a film starring Bradley Cooper comes to mind).  However, Hart manages to inject more life and vigour to a character who ultimately only wishes to be a true artist but life, as it tends to do, gets in the way.

1979

A “1979” Short Story Collection Review

Book Reviews, Random Musings

Comprised of 13 tales, Steve Anderson’s charming “1979” is a satisfying read through and through. These tales all depict coming-of-age for several characters in the deep of working-class America. However, the setting is only a stand-in for the universal feelings and themes that are introduced in each of the short stories, rife with characters who are tackling the difficult road to adulthood and coming to terms of understanding what their lot in life might be.

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At the cusp of the decade that would see the birth of the personal computer and of punk music, each of the stories told by Anderson are about rebirth and recognition, to some extent. While the stark landscapes can come across as a bit disparate, the author manages to subvert the abandoned factories and rural surroundings and introduce characters that are not only realistic, but are, too, on the cusp of adulthood and a new age.

There are the requisite themes that are often present in coming-of-age novels, from innocent sexual awakenings to glimpsing the truths that lie hidden behind existing facades, both physically and literally. Some stories are bit more risque than others, but once again, the actions fit into the tone of each of the stories. And, strangely enough, the issues facing the characters in “1979” are very similar to the ones facing the kids of today’s technological age, albeit in slightly different contexts.

“1979” is a modern contemplation into what it means to mature and the importance of life experience in contributing to what the adult version of oneself will be. Good job, Anderson.

 

Mondo Bohemiano

A Review of Quentin J. Parker’s “Mondo Bohemiano”

Book Reviews

Crisp and contemporary, Quentin J. Parker’s wholly original “Mondo Bohemiano” is a fun read through and through. Coming in at a relatively short 51,000 words, the novel reads like a modern treatise on the 21st century young person. The protagonist here is Nigel Q. Bunnytail, clearly an indicative name of his uniqueness and quickness. He makes the courageous decision to leave his comfort level of living in Philadelphia for the unknown terrain of Spokane. After suffering a relationship demise of massive proportions, Bunnytail is hell-bent on living his life to the fullest.

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