The Bell Jar

the bell jar

I’m going to start this review on a somber note. May in the US celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month. Most of the world suffers from some form of mental illness whether mild or severe and many never get treated for one reason or another. Much of it comes from guilt, shame, or denial or plenty of other reasons but the outcome remains the same: a pain others can’t see. I’ve suffered from mental illness and many of my loved ones have. The Bell Jar helped me realize I wasn’t alone…

Esther Greenwood is a young woman who ought to feel on top of the world. From college she scored herself a much sought after internship at a women’s magazine and has come a long way from her roots in Boston. Unlike the others around her, she isn’t fascinated by the big city life. She feels stuck, unsure what to do or where to go after school and what the world could have in store for her except a life as a homemaker to please her nagging mother and marry a dude she barely likes basically because she’s expected to. One night she finds herself in a dark situation and Esther unravels, leading to suicide attempts and trips to the asylum and the barbaric treatments of the day, all alone, and misunderstood inside of her own personal jar…

The Bell Jar scared me. Deeply terrified me in fact. It wasn’t the fear of a monster or the supernatural that terrified me but how much I related to the feelings Esther portrayed. The book is beautifully written and the characters feel palpable through Esther’s eyes. The feelings she has feel justified and while sympathetic, by the end I rooted for her to find hope.  The ending I found even more tragic when the real life of Sylvia Plath was taken into account. In the end, The Bell Jar is a book every reader, writer, or anyone dealing with mental illness should read. Instead of our customary farewell, I urge anyone dealing with mental illness to seek help and best wishes; it’s Ok to not be Ok.

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Mr B Gone

mr b gone

Clive Barker, over the past decade I’ve been trying to better myself as a writer, has been something of a inspiration to me. While his work I find pretty varied in hits and misses, he is a master of working gruesome details and making the macabre almost beautiful and creative. Since The Hellbound Heart I haven’t read a full book by him, sticking with short stories like those found in Books of Blood (vol 1) , until I read this strange oddity called Mr. B Gone…

Jakabok Botch is a pathetic demon residing in hell with his family. Beaten, hated, and scarred by them, everything changes when he kills his father as he’s pulled to Earth circa the 1400’s. After running from his captors, he sets off on a journey of menace and bloodshed amongst the weak and corrupt disguising himself as a burned man. His only partner in mischief is Quitoon, a lover, a friend, and enemy. Quitoon, fascinated by the inventions of man, is excited by a new invention that will change the world: the printing press…

After finishing the book, I really didn’t know what to think. I like the overall narrative and thought the story itself was pretty inventive. There are some great gore moments and some good dark humor moments. I didn’t like Mr B as a main character and the meta nature of the book itself irked the hell out of me. I’ve never liked stories where the narrator talks directly to the audience so that made the story slog longer for me than it should have; I will say I had to chuckle for the reasoning behind it revealed at the end. While not my favorite by Barker, Mr B Gone should be checked out if you like horror meta fiction but avoided if you want a straight narrative. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

Looking For Alaska

looking for Alaska

I’d like to dedicate this review to the only girl who ever gave me a chance and understood why I loved books. In a strange way this book reflected one of the most painful times of my life, the before, the cataclysm, and the aftermath. We always cling to the before when after falls when all we have is a billion questions and wet, crushed petals of what could have been…

Miles Halter is a smart, quiet young man who is fascinated by last words. He isn’t an outcast but just doesn’t seem the need to stand out. He is sent to Culver Creek, a prestigious boarding school in Alabama, all the way across the US from his native Florida. At Culver Creek, he finds himself amongst a host of snotty rich kids but he finds friends of his own in the prank loving group lead by his his roommate Chip ” The Colonel” Martin and Alaska Young. Alaska’s eccentric ways and mysterious past fascinate Miles, now dubbed “Pudge”, and he can’t help but be drawn to her. Maybe even love her. Hi-jinks ensue when they pull a epic prank on the rich kids and they spend a night drinking to celebrate. Life seems to be going great for Miles until Alaska storms out one night and the After begins, and Miles is left to watch the belonging and life he loved break apart…

For those who read the book, you’ll understand why I pretty much couldn’t talk about the second half of the book. I have to say I really enjoyed this book. The story is well paced and the characters are really likable. The way Green writes is very natural and I have to admit, it was pretty easy to lose a few hours inside of it’s pages which is one of the best compliments I can give a writer. I give him credit on the ambiguity of the ending and for not copping out with a forced happy ending. In the end I highly recommend this book as a good read but also to young inspiring writers too. I’d like to thank my dear friend again for sharing this story with me and I’d like to wish her a happily ever After in a new chapter of her life. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

 

Sticks:A tool in Time

sticks

I’m dedicating this post to a good friend of mine, Billy, who coincidentally wrote the book which is the topic of today’s blog. Sticks: A tool in time is exactly what the cover and title suggest: a book about sticks. Yes, sticks. No metaphors, no mysticism just ordinary sticks you break off a tree every day. Now, I know what many of you are thinking: “Torsten, why in the fuck do I want to read a book about sticks when I can read about distant fantasy landscapes, millionaires with kinky fetishes, or secret agents?” Well my friend, I have 2 reasons why you should. The first being a response to your thoughts, yes those are fun subjects to dive into but there are so many books about the same thing, but how many are about sticks? Also, its absurdly hilarious. Savior laughed himself silly and honestly I had a good many laughs too; the book is written to be self aware and laughs are intended. I’m well aware the humor won’t catch on everyone but it’s a fun, small read you can find cheap on Amazon ( link listed below) and I wish my friend the best and can’t wait for the next installment. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

 

Check Amazon to buy a copy.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

girl dragon tattoo

I remember hearing about these series of books just as I got into reading in my late teens, mainly because of the disturbing nature of there subject matters. Going into them, I was excited as hell to read them, especially considering the David Fincher movie was right around the corner then. The question is, did it live up to the hype?

Mikael Blomkvist was a well off journalist, publisher, and co owner of a popular magazine until a lawsuit turned his life to shit and nearly destroyed his career overnight. With his career in jeopardy, he figures he has nothing left to lose when he’s summoned to a private meeting with Henrik Vanger, a millionaire with a task for Blomkvist: discover what happened to Harriet Vanger and in return he’ll get the evidence to win his suit and save his career. In this he isn’t alone, crossing paths with anti-social, strange hacker and researcher Lisabeth Salander, who’s dealing with her dark past and present. Can these two solve the dark mystery of what happened to Harriet Vanger?

Before I begin, I only read the first book and haven’t seen any of the movies so my familiarity with the series ends here. The book was pretty fascinating with two interesting lead characters and a lot of twisting back stories in the Vanger family. Salander keeps you’re attention because the first few chapters are slow. On the whole, the mystery is good and there is some really dark shit in it; the ending I feel was disappointing. Also I have to note something that was a bit disorienting. Like Let the Right One In it was translated into English from native Swedish and the sentence structures and wording feels odd and takes getting used to. In the end, I found it to be a solid book worth checking out if you like mysteries or dark thrillers. May the gaming gods bring you glory.

 

Pet Sematary 2019

p sem ellie

Pet Sematary is what made me a Stephen King fan as a little kid, making me feel uneasy in the fact cemeteries are always a two minute walk away from everywhere I’ve ever lived. The story means a great deal to me so I was a bit irritable when the remake was announced and hinted in the The Dark Tower . But if It (2017) was any indication, I was willing to give it a shot knowing that it sure as hell wasn’t going to be the story I knew. Was I right to be worried?

The Creeds are a normal family who move into a picturesque farm house in the middle of the country. Lewis is a Dr who wants to slow down and spend time with wife Rachael and kids spirited Ellie and baby Gage and Church the cat. While exploring the back woods, Ellie stumbles upon a creepy procession of kids in animal masks going to bury a dead dog in the Pet Sematary, where kids have buried there pets for generations says Judd Crandall, the Creed’s neighbor. Much the like original Lewis is being warned by the ghost of Pascow who he tried to save to avoid the Sematary, or rather what’s behind the dead fall. Some barriers were not meant to be crossed…

I give this remake credit, it does play with your expectations of either the original or the novel and that’s where it’s strongest. It was a huge mistake I believe to ruin the big twist that sets it apart in the trailers; I’m not going to spoil it but I actually really like how it turns out. The performances are really good but the girl that played Ellie I thought was fantastic and I hope to see more of her. The new imagery is cool but somehow feels close to the original. I warn people, do not go in expecting a A to B adaptation but more of a what if type of scenario. A few times the pacing was off throughout all three acts, sometimes dragging but other times feeling a little too fast,  and there is a WTF moment involving a cow I’m sure Savior is going to bring up in his review that made us laugh. while I’ve heard others say there was too much exposition, I feel too much of Judd’s backstory was cut out and the Wendi-go stuff  was mostly irrelevant. Overall, Pet Sematary is a good remake and a good, solid horror movie I recommend to all needing a good scare this spring. May the gaming gods bring you glory and remember…sometimes dead is indeed better.

 

Deadpool vs Carnage

dp v carnage

A while back I talked about this story in my list of 5 of my favorite Deadpool stories and randomly before heading off to my job that ain’t Saviorgaming, I plucked this bad boy off my comic bookcase and started reading it for old time sake. Both insane, murderous, red wearing smartasses that are nearly unkillable, this was bound to get messy…

The story begins with Cleatus Kassidy, the human part of Carnage, in prison for the murder sprees and mayhem he’s known for. This time he’s broken into near sanity without his other. Nearly hundreds of miles away the Carnage symbiote is being experimented on, yearning for it’s perfect host to bond with again. It breaks free of captivity, leching from one body to another until reuniting with Kassidy, becoming Carnage once again- vowing to serve true chaos once again, ditching plans of bigger things and devoting himself to pure bloody anarchy. And that he does in a horrendous killing spree, virtually unopposed, until Wade catches him on the TV one night. Wade, Deadpool, believes the ” TV people” are telling him he’s the only one crazy enough to be able to hunt down psycho and with that, the hunt is on. Blood spills on both sides until Carnage’s girl Shriek joins him and Deadpool seems screwed but he finds the mysterious Mercury team, trying to use the symbiotes for military use and suddenly Wade finds himself trying to fight fire with fire…

A majority of this comic feels like a R rated, bloody lost episode of Looney Tunes and it’s awesome. Both characters are evenly badass and have sweet moments throughout. I like how Deadpool of all people is the voice of reason and we get a good glimpse of him being disgusted by Carnage’s ruthless nature, making a more complex contrast than expected. The artwork is really solid and like typical Marvel fashion there is a nice prologue in the beginning, explaining both characters for the new comers so it’s very easy to pick up. I recommend as a good, funny, action packed quick read. May the gaming gods bring you glory.