Sunday, October 25, 2009

Why I'm So Glad I'm Not a Girl

Over the last few months, during normal conversation with my female friends, I often stumbled across habits or conditions which reaffirmed my gratitude to God for making me male. For the record, I apologize in advance for any offence taken, but this is my honest, blunt, opinion. This list goes from the most gladdening to the most trivial. Moreover, generalities are used in nearly every reason of this list, so not everything listed applies to every person. Just in case, I apologize in advance again.

  1. Childbirth: I hear that bearing children hurts more than anything else. I would rather not experience anything to that degree. The result may be more than worth the pain, but I am just glad that I do not have to experience anything near that pain.
  2. Periods: Many friends of mine complain of the cramps and uncomfortableness that accompanies this monthly cycle. Moreover, the moodiness that may accompany a period may cause tension between close ones.
  3. Menopause: Later in life, many women experience menopause, which can be accompanied with hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and other negative symptoms. To me, menopause sounds like a miserable time, and, like my first two reasons, something that I would definitely not enjoy. Luckily, I do not have to.
  4. Horrible guys: I have to admit, some guys are jerks. Some are players, some are opportunistic, and some just do the absolutely unforgivable. It seems that every girl I know looks past the most obvious negative in a guy and utterly falls for him. If their attraction (or perhaps dependence) becomes too great, then sometimes they go through cycles of love and hate. I couldn't stand being so fickle. Understandably, this does not apply to every female I know, but to quite a few, it does. Sometimes, guys go too far though. This breed of scum relies on intoxication and trickery to have his way with women. Such dirt does not deserve life.
  5. Shaving, and alternatives: Women have to shave a much larger area than men. Honestly, shaving my face can be more than enough! Some even get waxings, which, to tell the truth, frighten me to no end. How can anyone undergo such pain willingly?
  6. Make up: Personally, make up seems to be a multi-million dollar waste of money. To me, most girls look fine without makeup. Even worse, sometimes they look worse with makeup on. Spending a great deal of time attempting to look perfect when your natural skin looks good enough seems like a grand waste of time.

As time continues to pass, I will probably add and subtract items from this list, but have no fear, I am sure that I will always be extremely thankful that I am male. As a bit of a disclaimer, I must say that nearly everything listed in this post is based on assumption and hearsay. None of this I have personally experienced exactly as I have written. For example, I have shaved, just not my legs. That being said, I say my final appology for any offence taken and retire until next time.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Robin Cook's Foriegn Body

Corruption runs rampant through India. The big dogs look out for themselves, and only themselves. Any way to make a bit of money is not out of reach, and when Jennifer Hernandez hears of her grandmother’s sudden death during elective surgery in India, she becomes suspicious. Jennifer ends up traveling to India and finds herself caught in the center of a web of conspiracy and corruption. Robin Cook’s Foreign Body provoked thoughts of the plausibility of similar instances happening in reality.

Unfortunately, this book contains certain characteristics that disappointed me. One, over-casting, can degrade from the overall effect of a book by going into too much detail involving minor characters. Another problem of over-casting involves remembering characters. With so many characters, remembering every one, and relevant information involving them, becomes difficult. Robin Cook also uses strange names in Foreign Body, which is justified because the events unfold in India. However, he uses names very similar to each other, for example the names Rajish and Ramesh can be confused very easily.

Another dissatisfying trait that this book possesses is the point at which the book caught my interest. By the time I actually reached the good part of this book, I had sworn that I would never read another of Cook’s books. The satisfying action in this book occurred within the last twenty percent of the novel. Most books have action placed throughout, but this manuscript concentrated all interesting parts near the very end. Not only is the action too concentrated, but also any decent skirmish dissipates momentously quickly.

Thus far I have not allowed Robin Cook any leeway or slack. Thus far I have criticized and cut down his work, but despite all of the negative aspects of this novel, some positive features exist. For one, this book made me think. The events told of in this paperback seem impossible at first, but upon further inspection, a revelation may occur. Some people will do anything for money and power. Inside this tale, greedy, despicable humans inside this book and outside, commit crimes remorselessly just to gain material possessions or power. This book simply provokes one to question the morality of big business, their government and others, and perhaps other seemingly normal people. After reading this novel, I realized that anyone can succumb to corruption, and given the right circumstances, definately will.

Regretfully, this book’s over-casting, slow pace, and other degrading traits take away from the thought provoking aspects of this novel. If read through completely, Foreign Body becomes a decent read, but the difficulty lies in reading through the book completely. Had I not had to have read the book for AP Biology, I would have thrown the paperback into the fire and realize that watching the sorry book burn actually turned out to be more entertaining than reading to where I got to. I must say, I do not recommend this book to anyone save die hard Robin Cook fans. To be quite blunt, Robin Cook’s Foreign Body was a complete waste of time and given the opportunity, I would un-read the pitiable novel.

506 Pages

Jay Asher's Th1rteen R3asons Why

“WARNING: This book review’s mediocrity has been linked to suicide. Reader discretion is advised. With this in mind, continue, if you dare.” It’s a pitiable day when a teenager can write something like that at the top of a book review for the sheer comedy relief, especially when the teenager behaves as a model adult would. The day becomes even sadder when the reader realizes that the statement is a pun. The book, Th1rteen R3asons Why, tells the story of Clay Jenson, and his role in the suicide of a young woman named Hannah Baker. The manuscript details all of the contributions to her decision in the form of audio tapes, and the book tells of Clay’s reactions to hearing his and others’ part in her demise. Jay Asher’s Th1rteen R3ason’s Why captured me with the compelling tale of blame and misconception.

Within these pages, an important theme lies. This book teaches the importance of every decision we make. As Hannah demonstrates, even small actions lead to bigger ones, and perhaps by other people at that. A simple action such as being on a joke best/worst list had repercussions until Hannah’s death. The list opened doors for rumors to start, people to talk about, and drama to center around. Later, certain guys attempted to take advantage of her based on the rumors they heard. One was a Peeking Tom who took pictures of her through her window! As Hannah herself states, “When you mess with one part of someone’s life, you’re messing with their entire life.” The theme of this book can be stated as, “Your actions have repercussions throughout every part of a person’s life, and not only theirs, but everyone close to them as well.

Most books I enjoy possess a simple, easy to understand format, but Th1rteen R3ason’s Why has a format far from my preference. However, and despite my confusion between the speakers at times, I loved the format in which the book took. In the book, Hannah’s words are italicized, and Clay’s responses, thoughts, and other actions are in plain print. The book does not split Hannah’s speaking and Clay’s reactions into different chapters, but integrate one into the other. Oftentimes Clay contradicts Hannah’s statements in his mind as he listens to her tapes.

As can be expected from a book about a girl who kills herself and the people whom contributed to her suicide, the tone can be spiteful and dark. However, other times, I can practically hear a normal teenage female voice speaking something sarcastic, or cracking a pun. I hate to say this, but sometimes this girl actually says funny things. To make matters worse, she says them in the tapes regarding her suicide! For most of the book, she does not sound resolved to kill herself. She does not even like the word! As the book progresses, an apparent change occurs in Hannah’s voice. The once slightly disturbed teenager turns utterly despondent and indifferent to the world. Clay, on the other hand, speaks roughly the same throughout the book. His melancholy statements regarding Hannah remain until the end. Other characters, such as Tony, stay the same for the entire book as well.

Th1rteen R3ason’s Why tells the story of a funny suicidal teenage girl and another teenager who only wants to know the truth, no matter how gruesome. Through the tapes, he learns gruesome truths about others, and he learns his own part in her demise. During the night, he travels to the scenes mentioned by Hannah, and listens to each story at their respective locations. Clay learns the same lesson that everyone should learn after reading this book. He learns that every action has a reaction on everyone. However, this book contains a little mature content, so I advise reader discretion. Despite that fact, I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone, no matter their favorite genre.

288 Pages

Saturday, October 3, 2009

H. G. Wells's The Invisible Man

H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man centers around a man of science gone mad. Griffin, a brilliant chemist, discovers a method to turn living organisms invisible. In one such experiment, he turns himself invisible, and he realizes the power that he possesses in that state. As the old saw says, “Power corrupts,” and Griffin proves this. In his invisible state, Griffin commits various crimes, and flees the area. As time goes on, Griffin becomes increasingly mad until his crimes catch up to him. Patrols are set out, and all doors and windows are barred. With nowhere to run, and no access to supplies, Griffin’s actions go beyond those of an insane person; he becomes all out manic. H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man constantly surprised me with quick twists and turns, as well as the tale of a genius gone mad with power.

One original characteristic that I noticed while reading this book was the characters. Every character possessed different personalities, different attitudes, and slightly different dialect. Wells makes denizens of the back-water town Iping sound straight out of the country, whereas the citizens of larger towns speak in a more cultured, correct manner. Even among the members of Iping, variation exists. For example, Huxter speaks nearly perfect English, whereas Hall injects a bit of country jargon into standard English. On the other hand, educated people, such as Dr. Kemp, speak very perfect English, and speak as though they are above other people.

Another characteristic the book possessed that impressed me lies in the writing style. At the beginning of a chapter, the narrator makes matter-of-fact comments, whereas during the actual telling of the tale, the tone seems rather angry, and later, insane. “I have told the circumstances of the stranger’s arrival in Iping with a certain fullness of detail, in order that the curious impression he created may be understood by the reader,” is one such matter-of-fact statement. An example of an angry to manic tone could be, “It was my landlord with threats and inquiries, and old Polish Jew in a long grey coat and greasy slippers. I had been tormenting a cat in the night, he was sure, --- the old woman’s tongue had been busy… I told him to get out… In a moment I had him by the collar; something ripped and he went spinning out into his own passage. I slammed and locked the door and sat down quivering.” The characters seem to come alive in this novel!

All praise aside, The Invisible Man stands as a solid good read, and a book worth reading. From nearly page one, curiosity and suspense kept the pages turning. However, this book can be a bit difficult to read because of the old English words used. In the end, the rewards of this book greatly outweigh the costs. I recommend H. G. Wells’s The Invisible Man to anyone who enjoys a good science fiction novel, and anyone who likes a book about power, and the consequences of possessing it.

135 Pages

J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

Holden Caulfield, a teenager, finds that he is expelled from Pencey, a prep-school, before the Christmas Holiday, and makes the executive decision to leave campus and spend time in New York City alone. Through his misadventures, Holden finds out more about both the city he grew up in, and about himself. J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye intrigued me with its tale of a nearly despondent teenager and his journey through the concrete jungle of New York City.

One unusual characteristic of this book lies in the writing style. To my dismay, a pessimistic, nearly despondent, and angry tone pervades itself through the entire book. Normally, such a horrible tone makes me want to scream, “Burn it!” within the first three pages. However, despite the dreadful style, this book kept me glued to the page and not wanting to put the book down.

Yet another facet of this classic that engrossed me was the wide cast of characters present. Salinger knows how to make people out of characters for sure! By the time I had finished half of the book, I felt as though I knew Holden well enough to predict his next abysmal phrase. Even minor characters such as Stradlater and the nuns are described in so much detail; they seem to have more of a personality than some real humans. Stradlater’s hurried actions and snobbish request (as well as Holden’s commentaries about him) suggest that his personality can be summed up as snobbish and arrogant. The nuns’ kind actions and courteous behavior toward Holden portray them as stereotypical nuns.

Other examples of the uniqueness of this book lie in the setting. Typically, I can relate to the setting of a book somehow, but this takes place in the Big Apple, New York City. On the contrary, Salinger describes the streets to a degree in which I could find my way through the megalopolis.

All rambling aside, I thoroughly enjoyed J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The unique style and word play captured me and held me hostage until the last page. I highly recommend this book, and can guarantee that it will be like nothing you have read before.

277 Pages