"mangled titles" tumblr

I’ve had a tumblr blog for ages but last month I finally figured out what to use it for – keeping track of those mangled title requests we get from patrons!  But, of course, I need your help!  If you have any classic messed up titles/authors stories, please submit them!  

Check out what I have so far here http://orangerful.tumblr.com 

Don’t worry, all names will be changed to protect the confused!  

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book thoughts: Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

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Albert Borris

Five suicidal teens set out on a road trip.  The plan is to visit the graves of celebrity suicides and pay their respects.  The pact is to finish their trip at Death Valley and end their lives there.

That is the premise of “Crash Into Me”.  Owen met the four other teens in a suicide chat room and they devised this road trip as a way to escape the lives they have come to hate.  Of course, when they leave behind everything, they free themselves of some of the stress that is causing these suicidal thoughts.  

Albert Borris does a good job of portraying Owen’s confusion and frustration with himself and the world.  Tragic events have led Owen to this decision, though they are not made perfectly clear until the end of the book.  But it is easy to see how someone could convince themselves they have nothing to live for when they have no idea what is out there…which is kind of the point of the book.  

This will appeal to any reader who likes realistic, angsty tales that put you in the front row, along the lines of Ellen Hopkins or ‘Living Dead Girl’.  The ending reminded me of an 80s movie, with everything wrapped up a little too neatly after the messy trip that was the story but I can’t think of any other way to end it without making it completely depressing.

Solid 3 stars.  

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Liar by Justine Larbalestier (2009)

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Justine Larbalestier

Micah is a liar.  In fact, she tells you that on the first page.  But she also promises that this book will contain the truth. 

But can you really believe her promises?

That is the idea behind “Liar” – the narrator of the book cannot be trusted.  It’s an interesting premise, but unfortunately it wore thin.  Since we can’t trust our narrator at all, its hard to stay engaged in the story, especially when you can feel she is lying to you.  After getting to the second half of the book, I was tired of all her lies and misinformation – I just wanted to know the truth.

Which I think is the one useful thing about this book – it would make a great book discussion title for teens.  Because we’ve all met people who make up stories about themselves (hopefully none to the psychosis-like extreme that Micah does, but we’ve all been lied to).  It would be very easy to talk about her lies, her truths, and the “tips” she gives about lying. 

Overall, “Liar” was just too long.  Because you’re getting the story in first-person from a pathological liar, Micah’s reveals and re-explanations of things that happened to her start to just get repetitive.  And I felt the ending was very odd and rushed, in unsatisfying.

2.5 stars. 

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book thoughts: I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb

How can I resist a young adult book with that title, that cover, and blurbs by Jon Stewart AND Judd Apatow? 

Oliver Watson is the titular Evil Genius.  He runs an evil corporation from his secret lair located below his parent’s suburban home.  When dwelling in his lair and plotting his world takeover, he is attending class at his local public middle school.  In class and at home, Oliver pretends to be a below average student, skating by with passing grades and falling all over himself in the hallways.  No one would suspect that he is the fourth richest person in the world. 

From infanthood, Oliver has had nothing but disdain for his father.  So when his dad talks about how one of the biggest milestones in his young life was to be elected student-body president, Oliver decides he will be class president – not because he wants his father’s acceptance (because he denies that vehemently throughout the book) but to show his father that anything he did, his buffoonish son can do too, diminishing the value of the accomplishment.

If you like the snarky humor of “The Daily Show” (which the author works on) then you’ll probably enjoy this book.  Oliver mocks his fellow students, tortures teachers, and generally abuses anyone who works for him.  While some of the jokes might go over a kid’s head (will 7th graders know who Machiavelli was?), I think they will get a kick out of it.  It might be good for reluctant boy readers who enjoy the antics of Stewie on “The Family Guy” since the book is full of satire and fart jokes. 

A quick read that will make you giggle, even if the ending is a bit cheesy.  3.5 stars.

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book thoughts: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson (2009)

The Girl Who Played with Fire is the sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  And, like so many seconds in a trilogy, it might be better than the first. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduced us to Mikhail Blomkvist, investigative journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, an intense young woman who makes her living in a less-than-honest way.  While the mystery in the book is interesting, it is Blomkvist, Salander, and the rest of the characters that keep you reading (or, in my case, listening.  Simon Vance is an AMAZING narrator.)

The Girl who Played with Fire takes those characters and puts them into much more immediate danger.  The relationships they built in the first book are put to use and you find out more of their past. 

Lisbeth Salander now ranks among my favorite characters from books.  She is a bit crazy, a bit uneven, but there is something about her tenacity that makes her fascinating.  I don’t think I’d want to meet her, but I really like reading about her.

Be warned – this book has a MUCH bigger cliffhanger ending than the first one. And sadly, the final book is not out in the U.S. yet. 

5 out of 5 stars.  Wow. 

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book thoughts: Going Bovine by Libba Bray (2009)

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Libba Bray

SPRING BREAK WOO!

Well, that’s what Cameron wishes he could say.  Instead, he’s just found out that he contracted mad cow disease and doesn’t have much longer to live.  But one day while he’s sitting in his hospital bed, an angel in combat boots with hot pink hair arrives and tells him he must go and find the scientist who has the cure!  She gives him a magical Disneyland E-Ticket which will keep his brain from melting while he’s out of the hospital.

Sound wacky?  Well, it is.  Going Bovine by Libba Bray is a ridiculous book.  But it is also a very sweet story. 

There is so much I want to say about this book but 1) it’s way too hard to explain beyond the above summary without making this post TL;DR and 2) it’s much more fun to discover the crazy world along with Cameron rather than know what is coming.

Though, in a way, you know what is coming pretty quickly.  You sort of know where the whole story is headed.  But as with any great adventure, it is the journey that matters most.  And this journey has action, adventure, and really wild things.  And even though it is a long book, I found myself missing the characters after that final page. 

If you’re in the mood for a story that is truly ri-donk-ulous, Going Bovine is a great read. 

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movie thoughts: Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Before I begin this “movie thoughts” post, I must say a few things:

1.  I ❤ the Raimi boys.  I’ve been a fan of the Evil Dead films since I was in high school.  My brother and I watched them a LOT.  We loved that weird, twisted sense of humor mixed with wacky horror.

2. I’m a wuss.  I don’t really like scary movies.  I don’t like to watch people get murdered horribly.  Not my thing.  When I do attempt to watch movies like that, I end up up all night, listening to the “axe murderer” I hear sneaking around my apartment. 

Okay, now that we got that out of the way:

“Drag Me To Hell” is the most hilarious horror movie I’ve seen since “Evil Dead 2”.  As my friend Damian described it, you spend most of the film going “AAAH! *blink blink* HAHAHAHA!”.  Sam & Ivan Raimi didn’t set out to change the face of horror movies.  Instead, they stuck with what they new – spooky mixed with silly – and “Drag Me To Hell” is a great 90 minute gasp/guffaw fest.

Christine Brown just wants to get some respect.  She wants to get the promotion at her job.  She wants to impress her long-term boyfriend (played by Justin “I’m a Mac!” Long) and his parents.  She wants to leave behind her farm roots and be something more.  So when an old woman comes into the bank begging for a third extension on her mortgage, Christine decides that she will show how tough she can be and denies the woman the loan.  Unfortunately, this woman turns out to be a gypsy.  She curses Christine – in 3 days, she will be DRAGGED INTO HELL!

There are just as many “gotcha” moments in this movie as there are Looney Tunes moments.  If you have a friend (like me) who is a wuss and doesn’t like realistic gore/realistic violence/slasher flicks but you want to watch something a little creepy, this is a good one to try. 

It’s actually really “clean” too.  I mean, there is very little swearing, no big sex scene – it’s just ridiculous scare gag after gag. 

The great thing about this movie is how much it reminds me of the low-budget horror that was evil dead. Before studio started pumping money into this genre and realistic CGI effects took over, a bunch of rattling windows and eerie shadows were enough to give you goosebumps.  When I finished the film, I felt entertained, but not so upset I couldn’t go to bed. 

Yeah it’s cheesy.  But I’ve decided that I like my horror with a helping of cheese.  I’m sure the hardcore horror fans are laughing at me, but that’s fine.  Hardcore horror is not my thing.  Give me a goofy Raimi Bros. flick any day!

My only complaint was the lack of Bruce Campbell cameo – but I guess he was shooting Burn Notice. 

3.5 out of 5 stars

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