Archive for the ‘BOOKS’ Category

book review – FAHRENHEIT 451

August 22, 2011

Today is the birthday of Ray Bradbury, author of one of my favorite books of all time, Fahrenheit 451. The YA market was very different when I was a teenager, so much so that it barely even existed. There was no Harry Potter or Hunger Games back then, and as a young reader I jumped into science fiction at an early age, starting primarily with writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs. I first read Fahrenheit 451 when I was 13 years old, and it changed my life. Set in a dystopian future where books are illegal and it is the jobs of fireman to start fires, Bradbury’s book follows the adventures of Guy Montag. A dutiful fireman who does his job of burning all books and the homes in which they are hidden, Montag begins to question his role in the oppressive society, and finds himself branded an outlaw when he decides that books must be preserved. Though it’s not considered to be a YA novel, Fahrenheit 451 is a perfect book for teenagers. Exploring themes of alienation, blind allegiance to questionable authority, and a societal disconnect from its own humanity, all of which are subjects teens can relate to.


August 17, 2011

The first installment in Rick Yancey’s series about a young boy working for a scientist who hunts monsters is an incredibly impressive novel. Set in the late 19th century, The Monstrumologist recounts the grisly exploits of twelve year-old orphan Will Henry and his guardian/boss, Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a renowned monstrumologist. Will’s father had been the trusted assistant of Warthrop, and now that his parents are dead, and he has nowhere else to go, he finds himself slaving away for the self-absorbed scientist as the hunts a pack of vicious Anthropophagi—headless creatures with mouths in the middle of their chests and a taste for human flesh. Creepy, violent and rich with character development, The Monstrumologist lays the foundation for the complex relationship between Will and Warthrop. It is a great introduction and a wonderful set-up for the second installment, The Curse of the Wendigo, which in many ways is a stronger book. The second book in the Monstrumologist series finds Will accompanying Warthrop to the frozen wilds of Canada in search of the doctor’s former best friend and fellow monstrumologist. Yancey details their harrowing adventure with such vivid detail that the experience is almost unbearable. And that’s only the first half of the book. Things go from terrifying and violent in the snow-covered forests of Canada to nightmarish and gut-churning in the streets of late 1800s New York City. (more…)

book review – THE DEAD

March 12, 2011

матрациBest known for his Young Bond series chronicling the adventures of James Bond before he became a spy, author Charlie Higson surprised me with the debut novel of his new series, The Enemy. Owing much to zombie films like Dawn of the Dead and not-quite-zombie films like 28 Days Later, The Enemy is one of the best Young Adult novels I’ve read in years. And now that I’ve read Higson’s follow-up, The Dead, I can say that this is shaping up to be one of the best YA series that I’ve read. Rather than picking up where he left off in The Enemy, Higson goes back in time, closer to the beginning of the devastating plague that has wiped out much of the human race.

Kicking off more than a year before the events in The Enemy, The Dead starts several months after a mysterious disease has killed off everyone over the age of fourteen. Those that haven’t been killed have been turned into hideous diseased cannibals that hunt and devour the children who have not been affected by the disease, but are still struggling to survive in a decimated world. The Dead follows a small group of survivors as they forage for food and look for a safe place to stay. But as anyone who has read The Enemy knows, Higson does not play favorites with his characters—no one is safe in this brutally violent world.

book review: MONSTERS OF MEN

October 15, 2010

When I finished reading the first and second books in the Chaos Walking series, The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, I practically threw the books across the room. In the tradition of all great cliffhangers, both books ended abruptly, and left me wanting more. And though I waited impatiently for Monsters of Men, the third and final book in the series, I hesitated to recommend the first two books to anyone. To put it quite simply, I wanted to see how the series ended, and if author Patrick Ness would be able to deliver on the promise of greatness he had already established. (more…)

Age of Ignorance (a.k.a. Banning Books for Boys, a.k.a. Teenage Boys Don't Read, a.k.a. Reading is Fundamental, Accept for Teenage Boys)

May 14, 2010

For those of you that haven’t been paying attention, I’ve written my first novel. Darius Logan and Super Justice Force is a Young Adult action/adventure novel that I wrote specifically for myself when I was thirteen years old. That’s to say, when I first started writing the book, I set out to write something that would have captured my imagination and entertained me when I was a young teenager. By the time I was thirteen, my interests had been divided between movies, comic books, video games, roller derby and girls. But I still liked to read, although I had matured past the adventures of the Three Investigators, and it was right around then that I made the leap from books written for kids, to slightly more mature material like Fahrenheit 451, a book that had a profound impact on me during my formative years. (more…)

The Plain Janes

August 15, 2007

plain-janes.jpgDespite my complaints about the San Diego Comic-Con, some good did come out of my excursion into that madhouse. It is only now, after I’ve had time to really decompress, that I have taken inventory of what I picked up at the convention. In years past I’ve been known to spend too much money and taken anything that’s handed to me, as long as it’s free. But this year I exercised a little discretion, and the end result was that I had very little to carry back with me on the plane. (more…)

The University of Alabama Trivia Book

June 3, 2007

Are you a trivia buff? A history buff? Interested in little known information about the University of Alabama? Admittedly, under normal circumstances I would only answer “yes” to two out of those three questions. But these aren’t normal circumstances. (more…)