Wednesday, July 19, 2017

VANCOUVER BOYS BOOK CLUB, IN REVIEW -- PART 2

Here we go again, folks. Remember, Glasses Brandon's picks are in brown, mine are in blue, and JJ's are in pink


SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK by Matthew  Quick

GLASSES BRANDON: 1/1
JJ: 1/1
JESSE: 1/1

JJ: This book had a self-deprecating tone which had me laughing throughout, and I had a palpable (gross -ed.) attraction to the Tiffany character.

Jesse: As the official book club notekeeping journal reminds us, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK led to my most insightful book club question and comment:
"When does positivity become delusional?
When romance is involved."
This book, THE PLEASURE OF MY COMPANY and CLOWN GIRL form a good trilogy of "delusional narrator pining over an absent or disinterested love interest, " stories

Glasses Brandon: "When does positivity become delusional?" Is a great question to apply to this novel, but I think that Pat Peoples was delusional about many things (like the amount of time he spent in the mental hospital, for example). I loved this book because I identify with the character. I have Bipolar Disorder and the book does a good job portraying what that is like. The movie mucks it up. So as always, read the book.  



MORE STORIES ABOUT SPACESHIPS AND CANCER by Casper Kelly


GLASSES BRANDON: 1/1
JJ: 1/1
JESSE: 1/1

Jesse: This is a collection of short stories by the guy who made that TOO MANY COOKS video, and co-created the excellent TV show YOUR PRETTY FACE IS GOING TO HELL. More than any other author, I feel like this guy understands me. He perfectly conveyed what it's like to be a creepy, overweight, kind-of-bookish-but-not-exactly-smart white guy in the 21st century. And, unlike most short story collections (like PEOPLE LIKE YOU, for example), this one had interesting story concepts. "Taking a Shit in the Future" is an immortal masterpiece.

JJ: This pick is the kind of gem that you find by joining a boys club book club. Funny, short stories with crazy premises, would have never found/read this otherwise. There were no stories about cancer though. This was a classic Jesse pick. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he's on the Casper Kelly Street Team, the way he constantly plugs this guy's shit!   

Glasses Brandon: First of all, People like you is very good. Not every story can have a joke every third line. This book was hilarious. It was all over the place, but totally believed in the worlds it was building and then immediately destroying. The story about taking a shit in the future was great, the story about the virtual realities slowly becoming the only reality was also very well done, and the story about being the last man on earth was the best. I also liked the dumb little interludes with the host of the book, because it was unique and ridiculous.  
Jesse: I would've gotten rid of the interludes, actually.




POP. 1280 by Jim Thompson

GLASSES BRANDON: 0/1
JJ: 1/1
JESSE: 1/1
DAVE (JJ's friend, who was brought in for one meeting to improve JJ's scores): 1/1


Jesse: Whoa, nelly!!! This 1964 pulp western will knock your socks onto your spurs, and call you a bitch!!

JJ:
I was happy with this pick. The book was set it a small country town which felt fun to be in. The story moved quickly, with colorful whores, pimps, lawmen, murders and, a crooked sheriff who everyone thinks is incompetent.

Glasses Brandon: This book was not good. I have a hard time with books about evil and nonredeemable characters. It just felt like the story of an ADD sociopath who kept changing his mind and killing who ever stood in his way at the moment. 

Jesse:
This was the book with the best cover.



THIS SIDE OF BRIGHTNESS by Colum Mccann


GLASSES BRANDON: 1/1
JJ: 0/1
JESSE: 0/1

Jesse: This was the book with the worst cover, and the most annoying title. It had some great imagery--especially in the parts with the homeless guy, which should've just been the whole book--but it was too cornball, ultimately. Whenever I hear people wax romantic about New York, it seems cornball to me. Fuck New York!

JJ: This unfortunate book suffered from the trait of having two story lines. The writing which focused on the present was so much more gripping and interesting that when it moved on, I just wanted to get back to the homeless guy living in the abandon underground subway. The novel did however do a good job of connecting the two timelines at the end.

Glasses Brandon: The cover is not material for a book review. Cornball is apparently a synonym for emotional in this universe. While others may have found "the parts with the homeless guy," to be the most interesting. Removing the link between Treefrog and his grandfather would have missed a wealth of the story. Without Nathan's story of working in the tunnels, Treefrog would've had no reason to be down there at all. He also wouldn't have learned all of his high climbing and acrobatic skills, first on the rooftop of Nathan and his apartment building and then later in the highrises of the city. Omitting the early parts would've lost the background that treefrog's story exists in. The tunnel is a safe place, safe from the abhorrent and pervasive racism of early 19th century new york, safe from the harsh life on the streets, safe from the death by automobile crash and later by police in the south. This Side of Brightness tells the story of a family enduring almost a century and how hard it can be to survive as the city changes around you. 

THE BURGLAR IN THE CLOSET by Lawrence Block

GLASSES BRANDON: 0/1
JJ: 0/1
JESSE: 0/1

JJ: This was a pitiful waste of a pick. The authors photo on the back was badass though and I just pictured him as the main character.

Jesse: This was the only book to get all zeroes, and the one that ruined my perfect record, but I maintain that it's not even that bad. It's just not recommend-able. There's danger in playing it safe, I learned.

Glasses Brandon: This was not a good book. It felt like a made for TV movie, that was made for tv back in the 70s. Entertaining? Maybe. Obvious and too easy to figure out? Definitely. There were funny bits, like the two cops and the absurdity of being stuck in the closet while people are having sex. 
Jesse: What's so absurd about that?

THE COLOR OF MAGIC by Terry Pratchett

GLASSES BRANDON: 1/1
JJ: -
JESSE: 1/1

Jesse: My funny foreign dad is obsessed with these Discworld books, so I have been very careful to not display the slightest amount of interest in them, ever, but you can't deny a really good joke and this book has a few.

Glasses Brandon: My dad does not read these kinds of books, so I have always had the freedom to like them without embarrassment. I liked it, because it was funny and absurd. There was also a consistency to the silliness that I liked as well. The magic trunk that kept saving them was really cool too. Anyways, I liked it, don't remember all that much about it though.

JJ: This was another swing and a miss regarding finishing a fantasy book.. starting to consider fantasy is not for me. Pretty crazy world though, seems like enough material for like, forty more novels.



1 comment:

  1. I like these a lot even though I have never heard of any of them and probably read my last fiction book in high school.

    Good luck getting Jesse to ever open up emotionally, guys!!

    ReplyDelete