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Archive for November, 2004|Monthly archive page

Once is Not Enough

In Novel on November 23, 2004 at 2:50 am

onceisnotenough-thumb.jpgOnce is Not Enough (1973)
by Jacqueline Susann

I read Valley of the Dolls few months ago, it was the famous (infamous?) best-selling trash classic from 60s. It sure was a hell of an enjoyable read. 😀 Once is Not Enough was last of her “trash trilogy,” finished shortly before her death. It followed the same formula as Valley: rich and famous glamorous lifestyle, entertainment industry, sensationalism, drugs, sex, lesbian affair, gang rape, orgy, retards, a high to low fall and much more… Once started out just as great as Valley but then fell short with the pointlessly depressing ending, or as Chinese saying goes: “spray dog blood.” Maybe it’s due to the fact that Jacqueline Susann was at her final stage of cancer when she had to race against time to finish the book. It was just an unsatisfying but somewhat fitting strange surreal supernatural ending that marked her final exit.

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I’m Not Scared (2003)

In Film on November 15, 2004 at 6:48 pm

notscare01.jpg

I’m Not Scared is an emotional and powerful thriller/drama from Italy about moral, choice, betrayal and courage, I love it very much. It’s a classic coming-of-age and loss of innocent story about a boy being forced into make a difficult moral choice and decision too early for his age.

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Another Country (1985)

In Film on November 12, 2004 at 7:37 pm

anotherc.jpg

Based on the infamous Cambridge spies for Russia Guy Burgess & Donald Maclean, Another Country projected a possible motivation on what could have driven two rich upper class school boys into betraying their own country. Set in the 30s, it’s essentially a British boarding school movie starring the very young and handsome Rupert Everett and Colin Firth (both with awful 80s hair), and the much hilariously ‘pure’ Cary Elwes as Rupert’s school boy lover.

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Battle Royale

In Novel on November 11, 2004 at 2:55 am

battleroyale-thumb.jpgBattle Royale (1999)
by Koushun Takami

The premise sounds great: A class of junior high students were forced to participate in a survival game on an isolated island conducted by a (hypothetical) Fascist government. Each were given a random weapon, ranged from utter useless things to a machine gun. They have to kill off each other within 3 days until one survivor remained, or else the collars locked on their neck will explode.

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Winter Rose

In Novel on November 11, 2004 at 2:34 am

winterrose.jpgWinter Rose
by Patricia McKillip

After finishing Johnathan Strange I wanted to read more about faeries. I picked up this book based on the reviews saying that: 1) it is a retelling of the Scottish Tam Lin legend, and 2) the author is acclaimed to be a modern day Hans Christian Andersen. However it didn’t live up to my expectation. The weakest part, which is the major problem I have with the book, is the portrayal of the central Tam Lin character. In McKillip’s story, two sisters are enchanted (both figuratively and literally) by a man with mysterious past. But this man came across as totally boring, hence I cannot comprehend nor get into their strange fascination with this…bland nobody. McKillip’s prose is flowery, they’re borderline pretentious for my taste but they did illustrate a certain sensuality and aesthetic atmosphere. A lot of dreamy descriptions worked on a metaphoric level. I like how she depicted the rose thorns and the brutal winter storm (reminds me of Andersen‘s Snow Queen). The ‘mystery’ in the story is also quite engaging. Though another weak point for me is the villainous character of Snow Queen/Faerie Queen, who didn’t feel much of a ‘character’ as her presence was too other-worldly and metaphorically, hence less frightening and interesting (compare to another much more entertaining modern Tam Lin retelling I read before: Diana Wynne Jones‘s Fire and Hemlock).

Two George MacDonald Fantasy

In Novel on November 10, 2004 at 2:48 am

princessgoblin-thumb.jpgThe Princess and the Goblin (1871)
by George MacDonald

I found these expensive luxury UK import Children books on bargain at a bookstore for only $5 each. They’re all richly cloth bound with very nice paper and printing. Inside are classic illustrations from the 19th century edition. So I picked up two that I’ve always wanted to read, which are two victorian children Fantasy novels by George MacDonald, who’s known to be one of the first and most influencial Fantasy writers from the 19th century. The Princess and the Goblins was also known to be Tolkien and C.S. Lewis childhood favorite; I can definitely see the influences.

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