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review 2017-11-29 02:52
An uneven book about a Vet dealing with his ghosts from Vietnam.
Curse of the Coloring Book: A Novel Inspired by a True Story - Howard L. Hibbard

Herald Lloyd is an attorney whose life is falling apart -- he's drinking to excess regularly, his wife/business partner is continually threatening to leave, and he's committed a pretty obvious bit of malpractice while being uninsured -- which will pretty much ruin his practice and family. All of this can be traced back to his drinking, he's self-medicating to deal with recurring nightmares, flashbacks and stress related to his time serving in Vietnam (all of which are probably exacerbated by the drinking in a wonderful loop). We know that because he tells everyone that he's dealing with his symptoms just fine on his own in just about every conversation he has. Because what says "dealing with" better than constantly talking about how you're dealing with it?


The novel focuses on the actions that take place in 1988, where Lloyd deals with crisis around his malpractice and his efforts to dodge the repercussions of it. The characterization of everyone is shallow, the writing is stiff, the dialogue is cringe-worthy, the plot is predictable (yeah, it's based to some degree on actual events, but the presentation of the plot is predictable).


The book's saving grace (and, at times, the only thing that kept me reading) were the flashbacks to Lloyd's time in Vietnam. They (by my entirely unscientific reckoning) make up about sixty percentage of the book They were still too-frequently sloppy and self-indulgent with cringe-worthy dialogue. However, there was a life to them, something you could build a novel on (thankfully, because that's just what Hibbard was trying to do). Seriously, give me a novel based on this material alone, and my take will be much more encouraging. There's a great mix of types of material -- comic, dark comic, horror, slice of life, friendship, loyalty -- just about everything you could ask for when Lloyd thinks about (willingly or not) his friends, subordinates, commanders, antagonists from his years in Asia.


There's quite a lot of material featuring flashbacks to a week of R&R Lloyd spent with a prostitute. His wife, Thea, didn't enjoy him reliving that so often -- and who can blame her? -- and I didn't either. Calling them "gratuitous" feels like a tautology, honestly. I'm going to stop there because this threatens to take over this post, and no one wants that.


I'm going to give this a 3 Star rating because the Vietnam material was so strong (minus the stuff with the prostitute), the 1988 material on its own wouldn't even get 2 from me. A good editorial pass or two would've helped things tremendously -- I appreciate what it seems that Hibbard was going for here, but good intentions don't make good books. Good writing does, and there just wasn't much of that here.


<i><b>Disclaimer:</b> I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.</i>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/11/28/curse-of-the-coloring-book-by-howard-l-hibbard
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review 2016-12-20 00:00
A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film
A Christmas Story: The Book That Inspired the Hilarious Classic Film - Jean Shepherd Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars and rounded it up to 4 stars on Goodreads.

Who hasn't seen "A Christmas Story?" I have been watching this movie since I was 6 years old and it's been a holiday tradition in my family that every year we watch this. Heck, I am not going home this year, but my brothers, sister, and I are still going to watch it and group chat. My favorite scene hands down is always watching how proud the Old Man was watching Ralphie playing with his BB gun that he wanted for Christmas.

Reading the book that inspired the film I can say that I was a bit disappointed with the structure. Since I am so familiar with the movie and can quote that thing off the top of my head, the book only really focuses on Christmas for one part of the book. The other parts occur at different times of the year, and I thought the last part focusing on the Bumpus's family was off-putting and pretty gross in parts.

The book starts off introducing the book and tying it into the movie that many readers may know about. From there it goes into the quest for the Red Ryder BB Gun. There are course are many of the same scenes in the movie so we have the whole "you'll shoot your eye out." and even the same admonishments from his teacher and Santa Claus, however, he still gets his gift, the day before Christmas. Apparently in this household, Christmas Eve was when all of the presents were opened by this family, with Christmas Day all of the other relatives showing up to provide gifts. We also do get that scene were he almost did shoot his eye out, but lied to his mother about what happened and got away from it. I found parts of this story sweet and found myself smiling throughout.

We are provided other details about the terrible Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, The Old Man and his special award, his fight with a bully named Grover Dill, and how much the family hated it when a clan of hillbillies (the books words) called Bumpus moved in next door. I am really surprised with how well the movie/screenplay was since the movie intertwines everything quite beautifully. The book jumped around a lot and maybe it wouldn't have bothered me so much if I did not have the movie playing in my head as background while reading.

I thought the writing hit the right level of nostalgia for childhood things like snow storms, being warm in the house, and love of Christmas and Santa Claus. After that though, we get Shephard's comments on marriage (his parents) and how they work. I thought looking at the major award section and how his father and mother quietly dueled over the lamp that my mother would have outlawed in our home too was pretty funny. However, unlike with the movie, this causes a three day freeze between his mother and father, before his father finally breaks the silence and everyone goes to the movies afterwards.


The flow didn't really work though in this one I have to say. I think it's because we have Shepard using a present incident (like the woman who was screeching about the terrible toy industry to him as an adult) to recall his childhood affection for his Red Ryder BB Gun. We get another off segue when Shepard does his best to hit on some woman (sounds like this took place during the 1960s) and is thwarted by her female lover which leads to him talking about his parents struggle over a lamp.

The setting of the book takes place in Indiana during The Great Depression. I didn't really get a sense that the family was struggling, which is weird, cause my grandmother before she passed away still was all about never throwing out food and keeping everything she had ever been given because she always had a fear about running out of food or needing clothes and blankets. She also passed this along to my mother who was a pack rat and this is why if any of you ever visit my home you will see how minimalist I am. I do a yearly purge because I still dream of rooms filled with old blankets that scratch and smelled, but we had to put on our beds every winter because they were still good.

Shepherd does a great job though with describing his neighborhood and the times of the day and how everyone was crazy for prizes in newspapers along with listening to the radio every night.

The ending was a bit of a letdown though. The book abruptly ends and I thought it needed an epilogue or something included since you feel like another story is just waiting to be told.

I read this for the twelve tasks of the festive season, task 8, the movie ticket.
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text 2015-05-26 14:18
The Witcher and 6 more awesome games based on books

In mid May the gamers were euphoric about the third part of The Witcher gameWe must confess that we've joined this ecstasy! :D The Witcher 3 absolutely rocks! And we started wondering that movies based on novels are not uncommon any more but did you know that many games took their origins from literature? Have a look at 7 awesome book inspired games: read, play and have fun! 


P.S. If you're a BookLikes member and view this post on your Dashboard, please go to the BookLikes Blog view to watch the official game trailers (click). 


1. The Witcher



This world doesn't need a hero

It needs a Professional 


The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an action role-playing video game developed by Polish video game developer CD Projekt RED. The game is the third in the series, all parts are based on the series of fantasy novels by the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, but all take place after them. The game was released May 19, 2015 but it has already won several awards in 2013 and 2014, it won IGN's E3 People's Choice Award in 2013 and 2014, and won GameSpot's E3 People's Choice Award in 2014. It also won the Most Anticipated Game during The Game Awards 2014 in Las Vegas. 


Book it is based on:  


Title: The Last Wish

Authir: Andrzej Sapkowski  


Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realize that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.




2. Metro 2033



Released in March 2010 Metro 2033 is a survival horror shooter video game based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. After atomic attacks on Russia, survivors are forced to live underground where they face not only aggressive humans but also mutated animals and other creatures. Warning: it's not a game for someone with cold feet, the game received many praises for its horror elements. 


Book it is based on: 


Title: Metro 2033

Author: Dmitry Glukhovsky  


The year is 2033. The world has been reduced to rubble. Humanity is nearly extinct. The half-destroyed cities have become uninhabitable through radiation. Beyond their boundaries, they say, lie endless burned-out deserts and the remains of splintered forests. Survivors still remember the past greatness of humankind. But the last remains of civilisation have already become a distant memory, the stuff of myth and legend. More than 20 years have passed since the last plane took off from the earth. Rusted railways lead into emptiness. The ether is void and the airwaves echo to a soulless howling where previously the frequencies were full of news from Tokyo, New York, Buenos Aires. Man has handed over stewardship of the earth to new life-forms. Mutated by radiation, they are better adapted to the new world. Man's time is over. A few score thousand survivors live on, not knowing whether they are the only ones left on earth. They live in the Moscow Metro - the biggest air-raid shelter ever built.



3. Alice



American McGee's Alice is a  psychological horror action video game released in December 2000. The game takes place several years after Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and features older Alice. Both the setting and the main character are much more macabre than the world presented in works by Lewis Carroll. 


Book it is based on: 


Title: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Author:  Lewis Carroll


The Mad Hatter, the Ugly Duchess, the Mock Turtle, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat-characters each more eccentric than the last, and that could only have come from Lewis Carroll, the master of sublime nonsense. In these two brilliant burlesques he created two of the most famous and fantastic novels of all time that not only stirred our imagination but revolutionized literature. 




4. Sherlock Holmes



Sherlock Holmes has been a subject on many games and The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, an adventure video game released in 2012, is just one out of numerous interpretations of Arthur Conan Doyle's character. The majority of game setting involves crime scenes and examining clues, the player can control Sherlock Holmes, dr. Watson, and Toby, a basset hound. 


Book it is based on:


Title: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle   


Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created. Holmes, master of disguise, reasoned logically to deduce clients' background from their first appearance. He used fingerprints, chemical analysis, and forensic science. 




5. Game of Thrones



Released in 2014 Game of Thrones is an episodic graphic adventure fantasy drama video game based on the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin and their TV adaptation. George R. R. Martin stated that his personal assistant, Ty Corey Franck, is working with Telltale Games as a "story consultant".


Book it is based on:


Title: A Game of Thrones

Author: George R.R. Martin 


A Song of Ice and Fire series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction. 




6. Batman



Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game based on large collection of Batman stories. The game received praises for character and world design, soundtrack, and Batman's combat skills.


Book it is based on: 


Title: Batman: Year One

Authors: Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, Richmond Lewis, Dennis O'Neil   


Lieutenant James Gordon takes up a new post in the crime-ridden and corrupt city of Gotham, while billionaire Bruce Wayne returns to the scene of his parents' deaths, intent on punishing the criminal element. 




7. The Walking Dead



The Walking Dead is an episodic interactive drama graphic adventure video game. The game takes place in the same fictional world as the comic, with events occurring shortly after the onset of the zombie apocalypse. Unlike many other adventure games, The Walking Dead: Game focuses more on story and character development than on puzzle solving. 


Book it is based on:


Title: The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye

Authors: Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore 


An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living. 



Let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorite games based on books in the comments below! 


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text 2015-02-11 10:43
Six Books To Read Before Oscars Night
Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen - Jane Hawking
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed
Still Alice - Lisa Genova
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
Alan Turing: The Enigma: The Book That Inspired the Film "The Imitation Game" - Andrew Hodges,Andrew Hodges,Douglas R. Hofstadter
American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History - Chris Kyle,Scott McEwen,Jim DeFelice,John Pruden

Books are always better but I love comparing books and movies. How about you?


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review 2015-01-08 13:39
Marnie (1961) by Winston Graham
Marnie: The Book That Inspired the Hitchcock Classic - Winston Graham

Man, I was smooth. I told my friend, Look, all you have to do is grab it and put it in your pocket like it's no big deal. Like this. We were halfway out of the store and all was quiet when my friend said, That was easy, wait here. The key word, of course, is "halfway" out of the store. Soon as we hit the mall, some big lug was on our tail and we were toast. It's possible I smarted off to the guy a bit. It's possible that's why he called the cops. It's certain that an hour later, we were both downtown in a detention cell. What are you in for? this scary tough kid asks. Stealing a necklace, I say. Oh, man, you should be home watching Popeye. I didn't ask what he was in for.

This is more or less how Marnie begins her life of crime, with a minor theft at the age of ten. Thankfully, it's also where the parallels with my own life end. When we first meet Marnie, she's passing a cop who wishes her a good night. She wonders what he'd say if he knew what was in her handbag. Over a decade later, she's graduated to felony theft. Warrants have been issued for her arrest. But she doesn't mind: the warrants are all under false names in towns she's long since left behind. Now she's on the move again.

But this time she picks the wrong target, or the wrong man to work for. Mark Rutland, of Rutland's Printing, is a lonely widower whose wife died very young. Marnie captures his imagination. While it can't be said she encourages his attention, she doesn't entirely rebuff him either. It's enough for Mark to fall in love. When Marnie makes her move, Mark catches her. Believing he can help her, he coerces her into marriage. And that's when Marnie's uncomplicated, if criminal, existence comes to an end.

I didn't know until I saw the credits that Alfred Hitchcock's film was based on this novel, or any novel for that matter. Unlike many of the books his films have been based on -- Psycho, The 39 Steps, Strangers on a Train, to take those I've read myself -- this one doesn't seem to have come down to us with a reputation in its own right. I find this strange for two reasons. First, Winston Graham, the author, wrote over 40 books, including 12 in a series popular in Britain. Second, and more significantly, I think this book is better than the others I've read. Head and shoulders better.

Perhaps it has something to do with its genre. Where the other books are all considered thrillers, this one is classified as a crime novel. Whatever that is. I have to admit, if that was all I had to go on, I doubt I ever would have picked up this book. So let's make this a little clearer: Marnie is a psychological suspense story that happens to involve crime.

Not that the crime is incidental -- Marnie's M.O. is richly detailed. Watching her go about the business of ingratiating herself into a company, planning the heist, and then carrying it out is one of the pleasures of the book. But what really makes it enjoyable is Marnie herself, who approaches her "work" with a detachment and matter-of-factness that is both funny and frightening. She's pathological, but utterly charming. (She reminds me a bit of Julie Bailey, Cornell Woolrich's dazzling angel of vengeance in The Bride Wore Black.)

Of course, Marnie's crimes are only one manifestation of her mental condition. The other is her detestation of men. One leads to her marriage, the other threatens to destroy it. Though Hitchcock's film is, in terms of plot, remarkably similar to Graham's book, the two are unique in that their emphases are different. The movie pushes Mark into the foreground; the book, narrated by Marnie herself, keeps him at a distance -- though not quite far enough away to suit Marnie. And we can't help but sympathize with her. She was, after all, virtually blackmailed into marriage. But where the movie can be seen as a war for dominance, the book details a war of suppression. Mostly that means running away -- distancing herself from Mark, going out with his hated cousin and business partner -- but Marnie is too bright not to consider the implications of her lifestyle. As Graham drops one clue after another about the source of Marnie's derangement, we begin to sympathize with Mark, as well, or with his aim at least. This isn't about a man trying to tame a woman; it's about a woman discovering that she has a problem. And it's all played out against a tense backdrop of crime, jealousy, frustration, and intrigue.

With this book, at least (and now I'm curious about all those other books), Graham shows himself to be, like Hitchcock, a master of suspense.

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