Review: The Road

The Road
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
ISBN: 0307387895
The book is available on Amazon
I was hoping for a very dark post apocalyptic novel when I purchased The Road, but instead I found what felt like a half-hearted attempt at the genre. To be honest the entire story didn’t feel all that dark, hopeless, or even post apocalyptic. McCarthy repeatedly mentions the ever present ash, the ash snowfall, the ash dyed rain, etc etc …but this gets old after the first 100 pages. The dialogue is interesting if only because it’s short, choppy, and very much to the point. It may be important just to note that Cormac McCarthy is the writer of the now famous “No Country for Old Men” novel turned Hollywood blockbuster.
[xrr rating=3/5]

Review: The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
ISBN: 0446670251
The book is available on Amazon
After recently reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides I was anxious to read another book he had written.The Virgin Suicides continues in much the same style of sarcasm and biting social commentary, while remaining very approachable to the casual reader. The point of these reviews aren’t to give away the plot because that wouldn’t do anyone any good. So I will simply say that this was an interesting, relatively quick, and enjoyable read. The ending left a bit to be desired, but I’m beginning to realize that I happen to be extremely picky about what constitutes a good ending to a novel.
[xrr rating=3/5]

Review: Middlesex

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
ISBN: 0312422156
The book is available on Amazon
“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” Is your interest piqued yet? This remarkably novel follows the life and family of Cal Stephanides or Calliope, depending on when you met our narrator. Eugenides does a remarkable job of weaving minute details of the past with satirical humor of the present. This novel was exciting, engaging, extremely funny, and very approachable for casual readers. That being said, those with any knowledge of Greek mythology will find particularly interesting and comical tidbits throughout the novel. This is probably the best novel I’ve read in at least the past 4 years. I’d highly recommend this to anyone, but I’d emphasis that they shouldn’t get hung up on the society-induced awkwardness they may feel from the situation the book discusses.
[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Review: The Alchemist

The Alchemist
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
ISBN: 0061122416
The book is available on Amazon
The Alchemist is a quaint tale about a peaceful shepherd named Santiago. He travels from his quiet existence in the hills of Spain to begin what will ultimately become the spiritual journey of his life. Unfortunately for the reader, Coelho tries far too hard to impart these spiritual tidbits during this adventure. It’s not that the book is actually all that spiritual; it’s more that Coelho attempts force that on the story. If you haven’t gathered yet, I feel that he fails miserably at this unnecessary task. To be brief, if this book hadn’t been a very quick read (1 afternoon) I would have put it down and retired it to the bookshelf unfinished. It’s a moderately interesting story, but Coelho stumbles in his attempt to impress the reader with his spiritual ramblings.
[xrr rating=2.5/5]

Review: Survivor

The Survivor
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk
ISBN: 038549872
The book is available on Amazon
Survivor is definitely not for everyone. Palahniuk became famous with his novel-turned major motion picture Fight Club. This novel successfully carries the torch of sarcasm, pessimism, and dark humor. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this novel. Read that again. The first half of this story was very well executed, and then the second half of the book spirals into an absurd tangent that ultimately leaves the reader wondering why they are continuing to read. I won’t ruin the plot for you; if you’d like to find a plot review you can easily find one of those online with a quick search. What I will do is say that for the first half of this novel our main character, Tender Branson, is nothing short of brilliant. He’s brilliant in quirky and amusing ways, and yet he’s so horribly naive it’s actually hard to imagine at the same time. If you’ve ever read anything by Palahniuk then you will feel perfectly comfortable after even the first page of this novel. If you’re new to Palahniuk then you may be in for a new treat. That being said, do yourself a favor (I wish I had), just put the book down right around page 158 because after that it’s all downhill towards the ridiculous ending.
[xrr rating=3.5/5]

Review: The Hobbit (or there and back again)

The Hobbit
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
ISBN: 0618260307
This book is available on Amazon
The Hobbit is a prequel to the infamous The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This won’t be your naive run-of-the-mill “this book rocks!!” type of reviews. To be quite honest, I found this novel to be rather bland and uninspired. It felt quite drab and lacking any kind of compelling plot when compared to the action packed extravaganza that the LOTR’s trilogy provided. It’s tough for me to recommend this famous book to anyone considering I so thoroughly loathed reading this, but perhaps if the potential victim hadn’t already been spoiled by the wonderful journey that is the LOTR trilogy then they might find it exciting.
[xrr rating=3/5]

Review: 50 Cent – Curtis

50 Cent - Curtis
Don’t ask how, but I’ve acquired a copy of the new 50 Cent – Curtis album. It drops on September 11th (like Kanye’s new album). To put it briefly: the album isn’t very good. Lyrically it’s weak, but it has some banging beats. The album has a much “harder” sound to it, and because of that I don’t see many of these songs making it on the radio. I am actually surprised, to be honest, because this isn’t nearly as pop music-ish as I thought it would be. Either way it’s not very good. The only single that I can see making it on the radio would be “Ayo Technology”, and that’s because it’s insanely pop music-ish (it features Justin Timberlake).
Save your money.
Rating: (based on the “retail” album)
[xrr rating=2.5/5]

Review: Kanye West – Graduation

Kanye West - Graduation album cover
Don’t ask how, but I’ve acquired a copy of the new Kanye West – Graduation album. It doesn’t technically drop until September 11th, but I’ve got a copy. What kind of douche bag drops an album on 9/11? Oh wait, Kanye and this guy. Anyways, I’ve listened to it for a while, and my general feeling is that the album is garbage. The lyrics are pretty good (for Kanye at least), but the music behind the lyrics is mostly crap.
The two exceptions to an otherwise subpar and uninspired album would be the single on the radio “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and the previously unreleased “Everything I am”. Save your money, and buy the upcoming Army of the Pharaohs album that drops September 25th.
p.s. I tag this post as “hip hop”, but I use that term very loosely when it comes to this album…
Rating: (based on the “retail” album)
[xrr rating=3/5]

Review: Talib Kweli – Ear Drum

Talib Kweli Ear Drum
Chilling here in ATL (Atlanta) listening to the advance of Talib Kweli’s Ear Drum. Barnes and Noble has Ear Drum’s release date at July 24th, but I don’t think that’s correct. Anyways, so far I am definitely impressed with the album. Here is a pretty good early preview of Ear Drum.
Early rating: (based on the advanced album, things could still change for the retail:
6/20 Update: I have acquired a copy of the retail album, and after plenty of listening I have updated my rating from a 4.5 to a 4.0
8/30 Update: I have updated my rating of this album. It’s DEFINITELY grown on me. I love this album.
Rating: (based on the “retail” album I have acquired)
[xrr rating=4.5/5]