Saturday, September 20, 2014

ebook review

hi there

it's rare that i bother to post ebook reviews. although the technology is amazing, and it allows for one to get books they want to read that are not on the shelves, it just still doesn't feel like "proper" reading. if that sounds terribly elitist of me, then my apologies, as it is not meant to. it's just a case of it really being as flat and as straightforward as it just doesn't feel right.

also, taking pictures of an ereader is not as easy as it is to take a picture of a real book.

this doesn't mean that books are in any way lesser on an ebook, far from. i have found the actual novels themselves to be as enjoyable or as dreary as they are, the medium having very little bearing in that regard.

so why bother to all of a sudden do a review (or three) now? well, one of them is because Sharpy said to read it, the other two, why not if i was doing one anyway. links, as usual or standard, just for ease of your own reference, none of the links are in any way endorsed or paid for.

oh yeah, *** SPOILER WARNINGS *** for you. so you're warned from here on out.

i do not recall where exactly i caught wind of the novel that is The Troop. it might have been when i was looking for another title and stumbled on it. however i got to hear of it, it sounded like it would be ace. this it pretty much was, but not for the reasons i had expected.

it did sound rather like the sort of thing i would much rather read on a bus, but i could not find it on the shelves in any of the bookshops in town. as i have a mountain of paperbacks already for the bus, ordering one seemed strange, so i opted for the ebook version.

plot? well, the way it was described when i saw it and got interested made it sound like a psychological thriller horror sort of thing. in actual fact, it is a 'supernatural' horror type of thing instead. oh. the difference? well, whereas what i was expecting to happen would as a given be plausible, in this case you have to accept that strange, curious, "unexplained by science" things can happen. which, as it happens, they do. not that the book is void of all of the more psychological horror things.

basically a scout troop is off on an island and, well, some sort of "virus" thing breaks loose. will the scout troop survive? will it all go Lord Of The Flies? and what caused it all? for this you will have to read the book and (mostly) get the answers.

it wasn't bad. it was pretty good. the past / present / future tense and the narrative switches worked rather well to tell the story - if it was all linear, it would have been flat out average. a fan of horror novels of any nature, i would wager, would not be at all disappointed with this one. no doubt some film studio somewhere is sat in ownership of the rights. if they go right ahead and film it in a linear way, it will be a most disappointing film. if, indeed, it gets filmed.

next, then, is the one that Sharpy said to read. The Last Tiger was also one i looked for the paperback of, and was surprised to find that no shop had it. very surprised by this, in fact, as it has high praise and high sales figures.

Sharpy read it twice in a week, he says. Sharpy and i, then, had very different views on the novel.

is it bad? no, not really. it just didn't particularly do much for me. any point it was trying to make was somewhat lost by the very minimalist approach taken to certain plot details, in particular with regards to the background of the characters. if you get a fair way into a book and your feeling is "why would i care" about what happens to the protagonist, which i didn't, then there's something of a failing there in the point of pursuing the story.

ostensibly it's the tale of a child who becomes somewhat enamoured by the tigers he finds when he lands in, of all places, Tasmania, and is thus quite distressed when people, in particular his father, start shooting them. this is, yes, a very laboured and heavy handed metaphorical thing which eventually turns out to relate to a human life lost. to achieve this goal, a very Disney approach is applied to tigers, which sees them have human emotions and act in a very human way when it suits the story progression.

i neither liked nor disliked the novel. it was OK reading, nothing mind-blowing, nothing too dreary as to take Sharpy up on his offer on a refund of the cost of the ebook. there are many out there who have read the book and will declare it an emotional, moving masterpiece, just as there are many who will declare it empty, meaningless melodrama. i pretty much understand both interpretations. good luck to you if you give it a try.

as Sharpy will be upset that i have not given it unashamed love, i had better make him a little less displeased with me. here, for his benefit, are images of a cat typing on a laptop. he loves this, does Sharpy.

moving on, then, to a fine novel. a superb one. a novel that i would happily declare one to be one that i have thoroughly enjoyed. a novel that i shall probably read again, a distinction only previously given by me (not that this means much) to Catch 22, A Clockwork Orange, Bonfire Of The Vanities and American Psycho. what is this book? this one.

The Martian. regulars here will recall that i liked the sound of it and wanted it for the bus, but the font on the paperback is far too small. so ereader it was for it.

this book should be rubbish. its nothing more, in principal, that Robinson Crusoe In Space. a manned mission to Mars has to leave in a hurry, and leaves a dead crew member behind. except, as it turns out, he is not quite dead. not being quite dead, he decides he likes it that way, and sets about working out how to live long enough to be rescued, as and when the next mission to Mars arrives. surviving on Mars is not an easy thing to do, one would think. and it isn't.

rarely have i found a book so engaging and involving. all this, bearing in mind the spoiler warning, when the first 100 or so pages are all effectively "space farming". the narrator created, the astronaut stuck on Mars, is truly an astonishing literary creation. it's that "OK, sure, why not try this" approach, i suppose, and the bizarre humour he exerts to try and survive in what is, if you mentioned the concept to anyone, surely an impossible situation. is what happens in the novel plausible or realistic? no idea, but it all sounds it, and doesn't leap to any massive science fiction get out clauses at all.

i am going to go right ahead and say that anyone who is reading this and loves reading books should just get this soonest and read, preferably before the Ridley Scott film of it comes out next year. not that there's anything wrong with Ridley films, far from it - just that no film at all could capture the narration here. it matters not if you don't like space or science and that, this is one of the most incredibly human books i have ever read. go get it, and enjoy.

can't really add anything to that, i guess. off to go and find something else to read, and will just have to hope it's as good as The Martian.

happy reading!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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