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review 2016-10-30 15:34
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Deborah Moggach
Better than the movie!
At times I felt it was so different too. I love how it was interpreted, but I do love the flow
of the story more when reading it.
I actually had to forget what I had seen. The characters they chose for the film seemed
quite different than the book. While some I could connect the dots, others it was hard, so I just let it go and read. I'm glad I did too. I found the book so much more rich in Indian culture. It made me want to go and stay at the Marigold Hotel myself, or even the Hotel Balmoral. I just want to be there.
The story, or rather one specific character, is more racist than I remember in the movie.
'Only a different color skin could get his mojo working. Women like these knew how to 
satisfy a man, it was their culture'. Say what?! My mouth hung open for that one. But I'm
glad it didn't put me off or stop me from reading. Those shocking moments, or character 
flaws, kind of make the story more real. It's sad, but there is some really racist people out
All in all, if you haven't seen the films or read the book, I suggest starting with the story.
So good. So very good.
Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2016/10/the-best-exotic-marigold-hotel-by.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-10-01 03:26
Keep Running, don't think too hard
The Maze Runner - James Dashner

The Maze Runner
James Dashner
Delacorte Press (2009)
ISBN 9780385737944


The Long and Short:
A very male centric dystopia with great world building, but less the impressive characters and writing style. I wasn't expecting anything too profound, so I wasn't disappointed when it scratched only two layers of skin.


The Long:

I could have done this in one sitting, but life interfered. I was not expecting much, and I got a very little bit more than that.


There were a couple of things that were quite well done, such as the amnesia angle. The terror and confusion of knowing almost nothing but your own name (only to find out later that you don't even have *that*), and the kind of oppressive feeling of living in such a fake world, knowing that you're always being observed and there's always the reliable threat of Grievers. So the world building is more than good.


I also liked the Maze "language" the boys have since it adds to the disorienting off kilter feel of being tossed into the maze. The strange made up terms seem to annoy a lot of my friends who've read it, but then I'm a linguistics student, so I appreciate those kinds of things.


The plot is simple: get out of the maze and find out what the hell is going on. That is the biggest propelling force in this book. Dashner has a flair for ending his rather short chapters with cliff-hanger/sensational statements so that you *have* to start the next one. He always has you wanting to know what happens next, even at the expense of pace and characterization. That is the biggest problem with this book; aside from Newt and Minho and even Chuck, everyone else is pretty one dimensional. Thomas is just too much of the perfect hero to really appreciate, and Teresa seems to be there merely for decoration and plot movement, which is a crying shame, as she's the only female in the book.


Another thing, of a very spoilery nature *you've been warned* I was incredibly upset that when we finally get a chance to experience the Change through Thomas, it all happens off page. WHAT. We're told over and over and over how awful the Change is, then we don't even get to experience it. Utterly robbed. He just gets up, none the worse for wear, wipes his hands of the mess and more or less says, "well now that's done with, lets call a meeting and let me tell you what all this maze business is about, shall I?". Yeah, was really not happy about that. It didn't help endear me to Thomas' super speshulness either. /Spoiler.


Other annoying things are the "not telling you things you need to know" attitude by *every*one in the book. This is where Dashner's need to keep the chapters exciting and short force the tension to be stretched out in a frustrating way. I also had a problem with Thomas and Teresa being the centre of everything. I understand them being catalysts, but Thomas seems to be the only one able to do anything right. There's so much potential in the supporting cast, but they're forced to the background to let Thomas shine in stead of being full characters in their own right. Which sucks even more since I found Thomas to be not all an interesting or sympathetic character. I may also just lack an imagination equipped with a bestiary - I couldn't for life of me figure out what the Grievers were supposed to look like, and so they ended up being much less scary than they could have been.


I'm happy I read it before I see the movie, and while I enjoyed it for the most part, I ain't gonna rush out and buy the sequel either. I'll get to it eventually.


Context Free Quote:

n/a - unfortunately, this book lacked any standout phrases or moments for me. A sign, that.

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review 2013-06-27 00:00
Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room - Geoff Dyer http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/54062507677/geoff-dyer-and-zona

Zona, A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room is another in an increasing number of fine nonfiction works written by Geoff Dyer. This book, his latest, is definitely a continuance of his maturity as both a writer and a person aging gracefully. Two brilliant earlier works that bear remarking are The Ongoing Moment (a book about photography written by a man who doesn''t even own a camera) and Out of Sheer Rage (a potentially serious biographical study of D.H. Lawrence that turned out to be almost everything but. But still I learned enough about Lawrence to want to read all his collected letters and a couple biographies written about him. I have yet to read any of his fiction except for a couple key adulterous segments involving Lady Chatterly and the resident hired gamekeeper back when I was a virgin kid with pimples.) I bought this book Zona shortly after it was released in 2012, not too long after I had been initially introduced to Geoff Dyer and had already swiftly run through quite a few of his nonfiction works. His collected essays were very good as were the two earlier titles I mentioned at the top of the page. But the book about yoga was for the most part a silly bore that focused too much on his smoking pot and getting laid, or attempting to have sex with anybody except who he was supposed to be having it with. The book on yoga was a travelogue of sorts that failed on many levels and for me significantly lowered the standing of Dyer with me to some degree. I wish he hadn't written it. But with Zona he has again positioned himself as one of my favorite contemporary authors and along with the prior books already mentioned cannot be denied his place in the literary canon.

The film Dyer is summarizing for us, kind of, by way of his many digressions that bring to mind another favorite writer, now dead, by the name of W.G. Sebald (who would never stoop so low as to reveal his seedier side but still offers glimpses of his living darkness), the Dyer film study an historically revered work by the famous director Andrei Tarkovsky titled Stalker. So far, the only film by Tarkovsky that I have seen was Mirror made five years prior to this one in 1974. Mirror was a beautiful black and white film that I remember liking very much but at the time not enough to want to watch more of the director's work. (I do have his last film Sacrifice in my Netflix queue, but Dyer does not speak so highly of Tarkovsky's later films as they seemed to him to be retreads, or films patterned too much after the famous Tarkovsky.) I have been given more to the work of the Hungarian director Bela Tarr due to the influence of my teacher whom I have spoken probably too often about but feel the need to always give credit where it belongs. There are many other films listed and spoken about in Dyer's book Zona which I have also seen and found I could appreciate his personal take on them and the digressions they caused within this new literary creation of his. It is doubtful that Dyer is a brilliant film critic, but he can pass himself off as one if he so wishes. He is believable in what he has to say about all film, actors and directors, and the photographers who must produce these moving visions directed to them.

I was a bit concerned going into the reading of this book that one, it might be boring and two, that Dyer would ruin the film for me if I ever wanted to eventually see it. Neither was the case. Immediately from the get go the book was an engaging read. The synopsis, or summery, (Dyer resisted either) begins with reel one and follows the film to the end. At least it is written in that manner, but as I haven't seen the film I cannot confirm that Dyer was precise in his truthful accounting of the frames. But I like his style. The main thing for me, besides Dyer being a highly gifted writer, is that though he enjoys his certain measures of success and does enjoy a brief public encounter or two from adoring fans, he isn't really much concerned what you ultimately think of him or even how shocking his personal digressions may seem to some of us of a more prudish nature. I cannot recall a book I have read by Dyer that did not have the ubiquitous too-personal sex scene or sexual fantasy laced with illegal drugs, and almost always, especially his beloved hallucinogens. But make no mistake, this a serious work of art and Dyer's penchant for his personal delusions or deviant behavior seems to be kept at bay until a point far later in his narration that was destined to have some darker Dyer included in its telling. But again, that is what makes these Dyer books so interesting to me. There is so much of Geoff Dyer in it that the reader better find the author palatable or at least commanding enough in his writing to make you suffer through his personal lurid ordeals. If the personal were not included I would not be the fan of his I think I am these days. I love this guy, but I know he is not interested in building any permanent or longer-lasting relationship with me other than the getting of royalties from the sales of his books. But he isn't even much concerned with how commercial his work even is. Dyer generally writes only for himself and about topics he is interested in and if he cannot find the available book on the subject he is most interested in at the time he writes it. I would class him as the audacious type which is a compliment from me as he seems to be able to pull off anything he wishes to. And Zona just so happened to be his favorite film of all-time and one that very few people have seen in the scope of the ogling masses who view the trash so prevalent on our many big screens placed in malls and parking lots all over the world. He knew his audience for this book about a film would be limited, but still he wrote it because that is what Geoff Dyer does.

I know I haven't offered much help here in the way of a significant and enriching book review. I apologize for this obvious shortcoming. But the jacket blurbs and the publisher's hype should offer enough of a synopsis of the book to spike your interest in reading it. Plus there are some very good reviews already written about this book. All I hope to be saying here is that Geoff Dyer will not let you down with this one, this Zona, and he also won't ruin Stalker for you if you haven't seen the film yet. In the process, however, he will entertain you, take you through a life or two, ask some very good questions, offer a few good answers of his own and others, and show you the ropes around the room they all must call The Zone.
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review 2012-08-09 00:00
Zona: A Book about a Film about a Journey to a Room
Zona: A Book about a Film about a Journey to a Room - Geoff Dyer Back in the 1980's I used an iffy videotape to record a rare television showing of the classic films Solaris and Stalker by the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. I didn't think I would want to keep them. I certainly didn't expect that more than twenty years later I would be watching Stalker while reading a book about it. The author, Geoff Dyer, would not be impressed: "One cannot watch Stalker on TV for the simple reason that the Zone is cinema;" he says, "it does not even exist on telly."Zona reads like a director's cut commentary from a man obsessed by this spellbinding film. One mark of a great work of art is that it affects people and draws them back to it time and again - Stalker certainly has that effect on Geoff Dyer. (Me too, even though I am the very opposite of a cinephile. I seldom watch films. I never got rid of that tape though - I knew I would watch it again someday.) Stalker is a very strange film. It's based on the book Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers (albeit with most of the sci-fi aspects removed by Tarkovsky) in which a 'Stalker' guides people through a Forbidden Zone at the heart of which is The Room in which your deepest wish comes true. Because Stalker is long and slow-moving it would be possible to read the book while 'watching' the film, were it not for Dyer's circumambient footnotes in which he digresses into personal memories and making comparisons and connections with other films. It is those digressions that make Dyer such a fascinating writer, along with his luminous devotion to the film:"From here on we are in a realm of loveliness unmatched anywhere else in cinema. We are able to believe in something blatantly untrue, an amendment to the idea that men were put on earth to create works of art: that the cinema was invented so that Tarkovsky could make Stalker, that our greatest debt to the Lumière brothers is that they enabled this film to be made."Zona is never stuffy; and at times, Dyer's reverence switches to irreverence as his dry commentary teases some aspects of the film, such as Stalker's bedroom attire. Pointing out that at the start of the film: "...he sleeps without his trousers but with his sweater on. "As before, he keeps his sweater on - his sweater, which is dirty, soaking and stinky-looking, ripe for the starring role in an advertisement for the latest breakthrough in biological detergents."There is a black dog in Stalker and it reminded of another work of art that haunts me for reasons I find difficult to pin down: [a:John Berger's 1999 novel King: A Street Story, in which a day in the life of a homeless couple is seen through the eyes of a stray dog. Coincidentally, Dyer has also written a book about Berger. I found myself wondering if it was the same dog.
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review 2012-02-16 00:00
Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room
Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room - Geoff Dyer Should watch Tarkovsky's Stalker
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