John and Dave and the Temple of X’al’naa’thuthuthu

Temple of Xalnaathuthuthu

This is essay-like in-between is included in the sequel of  John Dies at the End. This short story starts where the first book ends and plunges the reader right back into mysteriousness and the desperate need for action. It starts to take off by the fifth page or so and becomes immediately grotesque and swiftly throws the reader into a state of disgust and hilarity involving a “Goliath Fucking Bird-Eating Spider”, amongst other creepy not-of-this-world crawlies.

It’s well written, but I hate how it’s so terribly descriptive with its gore. Molly of course finds herself in some trouble and it’s strange and funny in its way, as well. It also reveals more about the shadow men and makes one ask more questions about all the mysterious goings on, similar to The Adjustment Bureau and as it’s popularly compared to, Inception. It has its bouts of hilarity throughout, one involving a Jesus painting with powers of righteousness which will entertain anyone with a broad sense of humor who’s heard of Jesus.

Plus, the ever-loving Jesus isn’t even the best part! The crazy moments which happen after, also have the ability of making one snort at it’s implausibility; but laugh, one may. Reading this prequel to the sequel was worth the 70 odd pages.

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John Dies at the End

JDATE

Very similar to the movie, this novel fleshes out what we don’t learn and is a warped, laugh-out-loud tale. It has a kind of playful funniness which is hard to pin down in novel form; it’s more common in 20 minute slapstick based verbosity and I truly appreciate reading it in a novel.

John’s character also becomes more likable, I was insouciant with the movie character, he not being bad, it merely needing more of the story than they could cover. The same happens for Dave, for at first, he seemed an absent-minded, possible psycho.

The alternate-universe people they meet are also extremely different from the movie versions and it becomes so terribly tragic by the last chapter, but also sweet, with a surprising ending. Unbelievably, worth the read! For the review of the 1.5 sequel.

Cagney by Cagney

Cagney by Cagney

This is seriously one of my favorite and most memorable autobiographies. James Cagney seems to spare no detail in this book, which may seem odd since it isn’t a chubby book. He goes through a bit of a childhood bully phase in accompaniment of his brothers and he describes behind the scenes moments about what happened in some of his movies and the people he met, whom I don’t remember unfortunately (perhaps a reread is in my distant future).

It was pretty much reading an action, adventure, intelligent, multifaceted, beautiful movie which was never made; I enjoyed reading it. This book was one of the main influences I watched more of his movies to see if I could capture any of the moments from this wonderful read. He was one hell of an actor, with quite a range. I recommend this book to anyone who knows of his movies and enjoys his work.

Education of a Felon

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I love this autobiography; it has everything. The criminal life which starts in early childhood it’s hard to believe it actually happened. It describes the life of a man who got pulled into the criminal fold from a young age and fought his way through boy’s homes, psychiatric wards and of course, prisons. And then he goes on to become an actor and writer. He knew many actors who are still in the business today and met some of them in prison, i.e. Danny Trejo. He lightly covers some interesting facts about his time working on Reservoir Dogs, but this sticks closely to what Bunker found the most important, writing literature, becoming a success, and being able to enjoy it without seeing the  inside of a prison again. It’s one of the most lively and engrossing reads I’ve ever experienced. I recommend this book to those who like to read about the criminal mind, but one which isn’t of a murdering disposition.

The Princess Bride

The-Princess-Bride

I must disclose, I preferred the movie over the book. Even though the book is almost verbatim to the movie, there are a few changes which didn’t seem necessary especially with Billy Crystal‘s part. He made Miracle Max his own, in the most memorable way and outshines the book character of Miracle Max, which of course only makes sense when one realizes how much Crystal’s part is improvised.

The same goes for Inigo Montoya: Mandy Patinkin is the bloody heart of the character and the book doesn’t give what the actors mentioned do, but the book does give more of his background story and much more swordsmanship training and techniques which rounded off the knowledge already given in the movie.

Otherwise, it was a quick read and still quite entertaining. Read this for the imaginative storytelling and a closer look at the individual characters, but also for a nice introduction which has anecdotes about Andre the Giant which were quite enjoyable; otherwise, watch the movie again.

Heroes Die

Heroes Die

Here’s a confession: I truly love this book. It has everything one would want in an action/fantasy/adventure movie, even funny dialogue, except written out on the page. The reluctant protagonist is an actor called Hari Michaelson and is a futuristic icon of the masses. It’s what reality TV could become except no one on the planet he’s acting on knows he’s from another world acting for billions of people’s entertainment. On this other world, there live fairies with dirty mouths and living in whore-houses, a new God whom Hari has pissed off, along with plenty of other folk.

There are other actors besides Hari who go so far as to get reconstruction surgeries to make themselves look elvish or whatever other sorts of fantastical creatures residing on this other world so they can try to make a living as an actor in this strange new development of the business. I don’t want to get too in depth on this, but it is quite worth the read, especially since it’s continued on as a series; but so far this is the best of the three, although if this one does whet the appetite, the sequel is just as violent and humorous as the first.

The Decameron

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This book definitely has a different flavor compared to other stories from long ago; and I’m glad I decided to read this instead of The Canterbury Tales, since I found Chaucer used some sources for his work from here. Also, I believe I would be back-tracking my enjoyment level by trying to read Chaucer’s work now, since it sounds like it’s the Christian and heavily more religious version of this sordid and expansive bunch of short stories.

It’s written in an easily consumable way and in an understandable fashion; many are sexually driven and the stories do mirror each other in format, but after reading a couple hundred pages, they all tend to have to do with people getting into trouble and discovering someone to “have pleasure with” and get out of trouble again. Despite my rudimentary explanation they are pretty decent stories.

I definitely didn’t read them without breaks between, though. The translators did a stellar job of updating the speech. I recommend this before reading The Canterbury Tales, and then I’d want a counter-review for this one, to whomever’s game.