Saturday, 14 May 2016

WASTELAND GODS by Jonathan Woodrow

Wasteland GodsWasteland Gods by Jonathan Woodrow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: After the brutal murder of his son is broadcast over the internet, Billy Kingston becomes consumed with alcoholism and thoughts of revenge.
But his outlook changes when a divine being named Dr. Verity offers Billy the chance to not only find the man responsible for his pain but to remove him from this world before he can commit the murder.
When the deal with Verity takes a wrong turn, Billy moves to the small, remote town of Benton Lake and the chance of a new life. Only Dr. Verity isn’t through with him yet. Not by a long shot...

MY REVIEW: A strange story. In one sense, you don’t really understand what’s going on until the last chapter. I would have liked more hints in the story pointing toward the ending than it being a complete surprise. The strength of the book lies in the exploration of the experience of loss and grief. There are moments of genuine suspense and horror but I didn’t find them always believable. The writing is good and I will check out the author’s next book. (NB: I received a free copy of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.)

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Friday, 6 May 2016


Ready for some goodies to watch on the big screen this week?


Top of the list this week is the story of FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. I’ve seen the French movie about the same character which was ok — and this one is likely to be similar. Variety’s Guy Lodge describes this movie as, ‘… an audience picture first and foremost: one wholly sympathetic to its eponymous subject's delusional drive to delight crowds with or without the requisite artistry.’ Looking forward to it. People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ***1/2


MIA MADRE (My Mother) tells the story of Margherita, a director in the middle of an existential crisis, who has to deal with the inevitable and still unacceptable loss of her mother. For The Hollywood Reporter’s Deborah Young, ‘Simplicity and maturity of vision are the virtues here, good qualities but perhaps a little too understated for major attention-grabbing.’ People ***1/2 ◉ Critics ***


THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY is another biopic about a famous man, this time, Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar. He grew up poor in Madras, India, and earns admittance to Cambridge University during WWI, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor, G.H. Hardy. It’s good to know about famous people that have flown under the radar for most of us. I have seen this one and will post my review soon. In the meantime, I agree with Empire who describes it as ‘Well intentioned and played, this shows flashes of what could have been, but is ultimately let down by its timidity towards the maths, and fails to make the case for its own hero's greatness.’ People ***1/2 ◉ Critics **1/2

If you saw Bad Neighbours then we probably know what to expect with NEIGHBOURS 2: SORORITY RISING. After a sorority moves in next door, which is even more debaucherous than the fraternity before it, Mac and Kelly have to ask for help from their former enemy, Teddy. Notice the phrase ‘more debaucherous’. Didn’t think that was possible — but there you go. Screen International ’s Fionnuala Halligan says it ‘… turns out to be an uneasy watch, awash with unconvincing performances, unfunny stereotypes, and dubious gross-out gags.’ Be warned. People *** ◉ Critics **1/2


See above and you decide! wink emoticon

That's it for this week. See you at the movies!

NOTE Movie summaries are adaptations of movie summary on IMDB. Opinions are mine unless credited. People and critics scores are a rough idea of how movies are currently being rated on the “average”. These updates are written from an Australian perspective so openings of the movies in cinemas may vary in other parts of the world.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016


BOOK DESCRIPTION: Far from being the work of a madman, Anders Breivik's murderous rampage in Norway was the action of an extreme narcissist. As the dead lay around him, he held up a finger asking for a Band-Aid.

Written with the pace of a psychological thriller, The Life of I is a compelling account of the rise of narcissism in individuals and society. Manne examines the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the alarming rise of sexual assaults in sport and the military, as well as the vengeful killings of Elliot Rodger in California. She looks at narcissism in the pursuit of fame and our obsession with 'making it'. She goes beyond the usual suspects of social media and celebrity culture to the deeper root of the issue: how a new narcissistic character-type is being fuelled by a cult of the self and the pursuit of wealth in a hypercompetitive consumer society.

The Life of I also offers insights from the latest work in psychology, looking at how narcissism develops. But Manne also shows that there is an alternative: how to transcend narcissism, to be fully alive to the presence of others; how to create a world where love and care are no longer turned inward.
MY REVIEW: A very in-depth, richly textured discussion of narcissism. Of particular interest are the case studies analysing real people that have demonstrated narcissistic personalities. Like the best books, there are things to disagree with. The writing is engaging and easy to read. The greatest temptation in reading a book like this one is that of labelling people you know -- so take care! It is hard to disagree with the thesis that our culture is becoming increasingly self-centred.

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