Tag: Annoyed

Joe Hill – Strange Weather | Review

Title: Strange Weather

Author: Joe Hill

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 440

Rating 4/5

 

 

I picked up this book because I’d read and enjoyed some of Joe Hill’s stuff before and because my cat picked it out for me when I filmed a video of my cat picking my TBR. I thought it was a novel going into it, but it turned out to be a collection of what Hill calls short novels. I’d argue that it’s actually three novellas and one short novel, but that’s just semantics.

The interesting thing about this collection is that, as the title suggests, each of the stories relates back in some way to the weather. There’s a hail of crows, an out of control forest fire, a solid cloud and a rain of metal shards that wreak havoc on anything beneath them. With weather like this, you might want to stay indoors.

I suppose the most logical way to review this book would be to tackle each of the stories in order, so let’s start with Snapshot, which is the least memorable of the lot and which reminded me a little bit of The Sun Dog by Stephen King, Hill’s father. I didn’t think much of that story either, but I do like the idea of using a creepy polaroid camera as a plot device.

 

 

Up next we have Loaded, the longest piece, which started a little slow but which suddenly went nuts and which went on to have one of the bleakest endings I’ve ever come across. I liked it though, and I was impressed by what Hill had to say on the subject of guns. His opinion definitely comes across, but it doesn’t feel preachy. He just lays it out like it is and then leaves the reader to make up their own mind.

Then there’s Aloft, which follows what happens when a man volunteers for a charity parachute jump, immediately regrets it and ends up stranded on a cloud. There’s a lot of jumping backwards and forwards through time, which kind of annoyed me a little bit, but I can also see how it was necessary for the way that the story was told. I wasn’t the biggest fan though.

And then finally we have Rain, a sort of parody post-apocalyptic novel that works well on one level and not so well on another. I actually thought that the premise of it was pretty good and wished that Hill had run with it for real, but hey ho. All in all though, it was a great collection and I’d definitely recommend it. Enjoy!

 

 

Click here to buy Strange Weather.

 


Stephen Fry – The Ode Less Travelled | Review

Title: The Ode Less Travelled

Author: Stephen Fry

Type: Non-Fiction/Poetry

Page Count/Review Word Count: 358

Rating: 2*/5

 

Stephen Fry - The Ode Less Travelled

Stephen Fry – The Ode Less Travelled

 

This book is subtitled “unlocking the poet within”, but I don’t know if I’d agree with that. I personally found it supremely off-putting, not because of the information itself but because of the way that it was presented.

I’ve always considered myself a Stephen Fry fan, and I’ve already read a half dozen or so of his books. My mum always accuses him of being pompous, stuck-up and a little unlikeable, but I’d never seen that before. But here, that side of his personality is out in abundance. I mean, it was to the point at which it was making me angry to read it and I only forced myself to continue because I was planning on reading all of Fry’s books. But after this one, I’m not sure if I want to continue.

It wasn’t a problem with the actual content of the book, because it’s all factually correct and has the potential to be quite a useful little reference book. I mean, it tells you everything you need to know about different poetic forms and also the syllable counts, stresses and rhyming schemes that underlie these forms and make them work in the first place. I had no problem with the information itself because it was always correct as far as I could see.

 

Stephen Fry On Ignorance

Stephen Fry On Ignorance

 

The problem that I had was with the way in which the information was delivered. Fry came across as so smug about it all that it really put me off, especially when he pulled some of his little tricks, like deliberately writing bad free verse poetry and then using that to evidence his belief that free verse poetry isn’t worth reading.

Personally, I prefer free verse poetry, but I used to like rhyming poetry as well. After reading this book, I’m not so sure. Fry kind of makes out as though the two forms of poetry can’t coexist, but I’m betting against him. He seemed like a grumpy old man who’s annoyed because poetry has evolved and he hasn’t.

 

Stephen Fry On God

Stephen Fry On God

 

Click here to buy The Ode Less Travelled.

 


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