Tag: American Psycho

Distracted by Other Books

Posted October 2, 2018 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 12 Comments

My Thoughts and Reading in September 2018

For the past few months it has felt like I have really slowed down in my reading, and that felt a little demoralising. Granted, to use the world ‘demoralising’ when referring to one’s reading life is very much a first world problem. To think my biggest problems in my life is about my reading journey really does mean that I have a pretty great life. I am currently in a period of uncertainty with my job where I am unsure if I will be made redundant and yet my concern is directed towards how many books I have read in a single month. As much as I would love to keep my current job, I feel at ease around the whole situation, one path leaves me with work, the other leads to a pay out and more reading time. While I do experience a little worry, it only comes in short waves and honestly I feel like they would be stupid to get rid of me.

Getting back to my reading month, I started off by finishing The Shape of the Ruins. I had put this one aside for the entire month of August because it was Women in Translations Month. Which makes me feel like I have done this book a disservice. Setting down a book normally is caused by not enjoying what I am reading but in this case I was literally distracted by other books. I am more interested in being a part of this great reading event. Juan Gabriel Vásquez is an amazing writer and I feel like my recent discovery of his books is one of the highlights of the year, but when women in translation month came along I could not stop myself from focusing on that event. Do you ever get that feeling? Sometimes I want to go into the new month with a clean slate but there will always be other books to distract my reading journey. I have found my reading niche, and I am happy that my focus is solely on translations, probably because I am now being distracted by less books than before.

One of the highlights of September was a weekend away from everything. My wife had to go down to Brisbane for work, and I decided to come along for the ride. I had a few days in a hotel room with some books I wanted to read. This was an amazing experience. I took down Aracoeli, Fever and Spear and Wait, Blink to occupy my time. There is something refreshing about stepping away from the distractions of your life to focus on some reading. I think this reignited the passion within me and kicked my reading back into normal gear. I was not experiencing a reading slump but I think I was lacking the motivation to read as frequently as I normally do. As far as the three books are concerned, Fever and Spear was the clear highlight. I think I am not smart enough to fully appreciate Aracoeli, but I will get there and Wait, Blink was just a fun quirky read.

The National Book Award in America last year announced that they had added a translated literature award and this month we finally got to see what was on their first longlist. My initial reaction to the list was one of curiosity, mainly because I was unfamiliar with half the picks. There were some obvious choices like Flights which won the Man Booker International prize this year. However The Beekeeper is an interesting pick, mainly because it is the only non-fiction book to make the list. I do feel like I should read the entire longlist just to be a part of the conversation. I listen to a podcast called The Three Percent Podcast which focuses mainly on translations and the publishing world, and just listening to the way they talk so critically about this longlist makes me envious. I know I have only recently focused on reading translations but I hope to be able to get to a point in my life where I can just scoff at a longlist the same way as the hosts. This kind of reaction happens all the time when an award like the Man Booker International longlist is announced. I feel like that kind of familiarity towards the choices is definitely a reading goal for me. Out of the ten books picked, I had only read one of the books picked (Flights), but at the end of this month I have completed three more (Wait, Blink, Love and Trick). Two others are currently being read (Comemadre and Disoriental). Which is leaving me in a really good position to complete the rest of the list, which are Aetherial Worlds, The Beekeeper, One Part Woman and The Emissary. Expect to see reviews from all these books in the next few months.

I finished off the month reading African Psycho, which is obviously a parody on American Psycho but I think I enjoyed it more. Not because there was anything special about the novel, mainly because it was a very different book to what I expected. Half the book I felt was a struggle, and that seemed to be the author emulating that obsession found in American Psycho, but the ending really pulled the whole book together. Finally I ended the month on a low note, The Silence of the Girls, which was the book club pick for October. It was a boring retelling of the Trojan War told from the perspective of a female slave. There was so much potential in exploring the fears this woman might have faced but Pat Barker missed the opportunity. This was told from the first person perspective of the slave so we could hear her thoughts, but for the most part the author wrote lines like “I was scared” regarding a situating with nothing more. You know that old writing advice “show don’t tell”? Pat Barker should have listened to that advice. Just writing about this is making me angry and I have said more about this novel than the others because this will be the last time I put any effort into writing about The Silence of the Girls.

I mentioned that I am currently reading Comemadre and Disoriental. I also mentioned that I want to complete the National Book Awards longlist for translated literature, so I do need to mention that again. I have been feeling very motivated and I hope to take that opportunity to write more. I still have a few reviews to write but I also want to get back into BookTube. I love talking about literature and looking for as many ways to do so as possible. Have you seen The Literary Discord? For those who do not know, Discord is like a modern day forum, it was created mainly for games as a place to build communities, but other communities have utilised it as well, including me when I created The Literary Discord as another place to talk about literature. My plan to return to BookTube is to push myself to speak about books that do not get enough attention (translations). It is a way to practise speaking and develop my voice. I have this blog and my podcast that I am passionate about, I hope to be able to bring that same passion back to BookTube, because I lost it. I hope this new found energy continues for me and I hope you have all had a great reading month.

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How Frankenstein Changed My Life

Posted June 14, 2018 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 2 Comments

Two hundred years ago, a book was published that literally changed my life. It is very rare to say that a book could have such a life changing effect on someone but in my case it is actually true. It happened about nine years, without going into too many details, I was not happy with myself. I was directionless and went through a self-destructive phase. While it was not just literature that saved me, I do have to give credit to my wife as well. Books ignited the spark in me that made everything else click into place. I am a very different person to who I was back then, I suddenly turned into a passionate and voracious reader thanks to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

It all started with when I discovered a little radio show called The Culture Club by Craig Schuftan. This show explored similarities between music and the art world. This peaked my interest and I started reading his book Hey, Nietzsche! Leave Them Kids Alone which looked at the similarities modern rock had with the Romantic period. Looking at bands like My Chemical Romance, Weezer, and The Smashing Pumpkins. The Romantic poets were the rock stars of their time, and their angst felt very similar. I knew I had to read Frankenstein and it all fell into place from there. Reading this classic, I quickly identified with the creature Victor Frankenstein had created. Although his pain was far more real than my angst, I have people who care about me, I was just an outsider.

My feeling of not belonging in this world was similar to what I was reading in this novel. Frankenstein was the first book I picked up because of Hey, Nietzsche! Leave Them Kids Alone and I did that because of one of my favourite Smashing Pumpkin songs, Disarm. In this song Billy Corgan fantasises about cutting his parents limbs off, because he hated them for bring him into the world.

“It’s about chopping off somebody’s arms.. The reason I wrote Disarm was because, I didn’t have the guts to kill my parents, so I thought I’d get back at them through song. And rather then have an angry, angry, angry violent song I’d thought I’d write something beautiful and make them realize what tender feelings I have in my heart, and make them feel really bad for treating me like shit. Disarm’s hard to talk about because people will say to me ‘I listen to that song and I can’t figure out what it’s about.’ It’s like about things that are beyond words. I think you can conjure up images and put together phrases, but it’s a feeling beyond words and for me it has a lot to do with like a sense of loss. Being an adult and looking back and romanticizing a childhood that never happened or went by so quickly in a naive state that you miss it.”  — Billy Corgan on Disarm (RAGE, 1993)

This tenderness that Corgan reflects in Disarm is not dissimilar to the creatures own feeling. One of the most common themes I get while re-reading Frankenstein is this feeling of how society treats people who are different. For the creature, he came into this world and was immediately rejected by his creator. He was also rejected by everyone he encounters. He pleads with Victor Frankenstein to create him a companion; that is all he wants. He came into this world with love in his heart, but was denied it at every turn. Most of my early reading life focused on this idea of an outsider and how the world treated them. Books like American PsychoPerfume by Patrick Suskind and the Dexter Morgan series all deal with these monstrous characters and how the world and their situation has shaped them. I found comfort in the exploration of the outsider in literature. The idea of blaming society for the way I was felt good, but with my new found thirst for literature came a better understanding of myself and the way the world works. Nowadays I like to read transgressive fiction because it is very different to my own life but while writing this article I cannot help but wonder if it was originally because I identified with them more than with a protagonist that gets a happy ending.

Re-reading Frankenstein again I cannot help but reflect on how different each reading experience really is. There are so many different ways to read Frankenstein, commonly there is the idea of science taking things too fast, or the dangers of playing God. Or perhaps Mary Shelley wants to simply say actions have consequences. When I studied Frankenstein in university I knew a little more about Mary Shelley, so I was looking at Frankenstein with some context.

Before Shelley wrote Frankenstein she had given birth to a daughter, two months premature. This daughter only lived a few weeks, a year later she gave birth to William Shelley. After the birth of her son she suffered from postnatal depression. The birth of William happened a few months before the story of Frankenstein was conceived, so it wasn’t too surprising to see William’s name in the novel. William was Victor Frankenstein’s youngest brother, who was strangled to death by the monster. So, either Mary Shelley’s depression manifested an urge to strangle William, or there is something far more complex happening in the novel. Looking at the story arc of William’s death, we know a young woman is accused of the murder. So maybe there is something here to be said about the mother-child relationship, especially with the idea of maternal guilt and thinking about her lost daughter.

Maybe you want to explore this idea of creating life without the need of a woman, or maybe this is just a parody of creationism. Even the subtitle of ‘the Modern Prometheus’ means you can look at the similarities between this novel and Greek mythology. Paradise Lost by John Milton is another piece of literature that is often explored in relation to Frankenstein. I am struck by how many different ways we can look at Frankenstein and as I develop my own skills in analysing literature, I often return to this classic and see what I can find with a re-read. Mary Shelley is a very interesting person to read about, and I have picked up a few biographies on her, including The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler and Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives by Daisy Hay (my next one will be Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon). I find knowing the context only enhances my enjoyment of a book. I know people read for many different reasons but for me it is all about educating and improving myself. I do read for escapism but I tend to enjoy a novel more if there is some interesting themes to explore.

For someone who has only been a reader since 2009, I feel like I have a lot of literature to catch up on but I still feel the urge to revisit my favourites over and over again. I started off wanting to re-read Frankenstein every year but that quickly faded away, but I still like to revisit the text, it still remains one of my favourites. Did you know there are two different editions of Frankenstein out there? The book was originally published in 1818 but it was then republished in 1831 with revisions made by Mary Shelley. While the 1831 edition is commonly the one that gets published, I like to switch between the two different editions.

I have lost count of how many copies I own of Frankenstein. I own some beautiful editions including a new hardcover of the 1818 text from Oxford World Classics which I am currently reading. The book means so much I have copies all over the house, and one at work. Plus there is the ebook and audiobook edition I can access from my phone at any time. Literature plays such a huge part of my life, even I have trouble imagining my life without them. Frankenstein played a big part in my own transformation. All I can hope is that people continue to find something in this piece of classic literature. I will be re-reading this for years to come and I hope it continues to make an impact to people over the next two hundred years.

This beautiful edition of the 1818 text of Frankenstein was sent to my by Oxford World Classics

This review was originally published in the literary journal The Literati

The Dog by Joseph O’Neill

Posted October 21, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 0 Comments

The Dog by Joseph O’NeillTitle: The Dog (Goodreads)
Author: Joseph O'Neill
Published: Harper Collins, 2014
Pages: 256
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

The Dog tells the story of a protagonist known simply as X; after a long-term relationship comes to an end he decides to make a change. Leaving New York, he takes an unusual job in a strange new city. Dubai is undergoing major transformations, the city is transforming into the ultimate futuristic city. Our protagonist finds himself in a different culture working as the “family officer” of the unpredictable and wealthy Batros family.

Right off the bat I can’t help but compare The Dog with Bret Easton Ellis’ book American Psycho and not for the reasons you might think. X might be an unlikeable character but he is no Patrick Bateman; well there are similarities but he isn’t going around killing people. Joseph O’Neill has created a shallow narcissistic character, thrown him into a very different culture and watched what might happen. This turns The Dog into a non-violent Ellis book just set in Dubai.

Can we also talk about the name X, not only does this book take its best ideas from Bret Easton Ellis and American Psycho but the protagonists name reminds me too much of the movie adaptation of J. J. Connolly’s novel Layer Cake. For those who don’t know or haven’t seen the movie, there is a character in that known as XXXX. Two connections to other novels and I am not off to a good start with this novel.

Normally I would love a novel with an unlikeable character stuck in in a culture clash but I kept seeing these similarities and it made it difficult. The book tried to make a humorous satire of the situation, playing on cultural differences and linguistics but I was still stuck. Every now and then I found glimpses of that craftsmanship I have heard about but maybe I should have just read Netherland, since that is the book people rave about.

The Dog was long listed for the Man Booker this year but I was assigned this book for book club. I just want it to be clear that I was not reading this book because of the long listing; in fact I was a little disappointed with this year’s list. I would have loved to enjoy this novel but for the most part it felt too similar to other novels. I felt the need to skim through The Dog rather than enjoying the writing and style.

Mini Reviews: Books about Books

Posted February 6, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 0 Comments

I don’t often write mini reviews but I do think they might be handy at times. I like to write a few hundred words on each book for documentation purposes, this is my reading journal after all. Having said that there are two books that I wanted to talk about, I can’t say I’ve ‘read’ them as these are the types of books you keep on your shelf and skim through. Both are a similar theme, my favourite non-fiction theme in fact (books about books) so I thought I would combine them into the one post.

The Novel Cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies by Ella Berthoud, Susan Elderkin

“Sick? Tired? Lost your job? Take one dose of literature and repeat until better.”

I would like to be known as a Bibliotherapist; it is on my twitter profile so it must be true. I received this book for Christmas from the most amazing person (my wife) and now I finally have the textbook to officially hand out some bibliotherapy. You have a shopping addiction, please go away and read American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (that’s what it recommends); I can tell you after that book you’ll not want to be so concerned about what clothing labels are trendy enough to buy and reference in conversation. This is the medical handbook that I can truly get behind and I had a lot of fun looking through it and finding out just how to deal with my parents during Christmas. I loved this book, it was so much fun to flick through. My only problem was the fact that Frankenstein was never prescribed to cure an illness, why can’t it help a god complex, isolation or something like that?

Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl

“What to read next is every book lover’s greatest dilemma.”

Any real book lover knows that picking the next book is hard, but this is not the book that solves this issue. Book Lust is a collection of different reading lists for different topics, moods and so on. Say you want to know what Russian books to read or want a list of coming of age books. That is all well and good, hats off to Nancy Pearl for able to make a collection of book lists into a book series. The problem I found is book lovers are aware of most of the books mentioned in these lists; they have millions of books they want to read and this book doesn’t really help them at all. Personally I don’t think anyone apart from book lovers will read a book like this so really it feels pointless. There are lists in the book so obscure they start to feel like filler. My major beef with this book was there were no original thoughts, all books seemed like obvious choices and the presentation of each list needed work.  Each topic isn’t a book list and they are not essays of literary criticism either, for me, this just felt sloppy.  I will give credit to Nancy Pearl for being able to turn her love of book lists into a collection of books.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Posted July 15, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 0 Comments

Tampa by Alissa NuttingTitle: Tampa (Goodreads)
Author: Alissa Nutting
Published: Allen & Unwin, 2013
Pages: 272
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley, ARC from Publisher

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Suburban middle grade teacher Celeste Prices is undeniably beautiful, everyone can see that. Her husband is rich, hardworking, determined and most people think they are the perfect couple. That’s because no one knows Celesta’s secret, her singular sexual obsession for fourteen year old boys. After all this is the real reason she became a teacher and is working at Jefferson Jr. High.

There are three main reasons people will try to avoid this book. Firstly the protagonist is not likeable, how could she be? Secondly, the sad truth is I found a lot of people tend to avoid Juvenalian satire; I’m not entirely sure why but maybe they don’t appreciate it or they forget to remember it is not an indication of the satirist persona. Lastly and probably most importantly, this book is disturbing; probably the most disconcerting book I’ve ever read (American Psycho held this place for a long time) and I found myself having to put it down just to recover.

So why read it? Tampa is a well written debut novel and arguably one of the most talked about novels at the moment. The reason it’s talked about is the subject it satirises; let’s face it, this is a topic that is often never talked about because of its disturbing nature. A female sexual predator is something I’ve never read in a book but this seems to works in Alissa Nutting’s favour. I have to take a moment to talk about the subject matter because this is important. Young teenage boys all seem to have similar fantasies; an older woman, normally a teacher or a babysitter. It’s a common sexual desire for a boy with their budding sexuality; the experienced, already developed older woman, but they don’t realise just how destructive that can be on them. They have no idea how to separate their emotions from the sexual act and this is a slippery slope that can only lead to being hurt. Not to mention the emotional and psychological damage it can do to them.

Then you have the discussion of sexual addiction being covered in this novel as well. Celeste Prices acts with sociopathic meticulousness; lying and manipulating everyone in order to get what she desires. Not just the people around her; she deludes herself as well, always trying to justify her actions. I think it was interesting how Alissa Nutting was able to look at the problems with this fantasy young boys have and how damaging it can be and at the same time have the reader think about sex addiction and how it effects the person.

Tampa is written in the first person perspective of Celeste Prices so as a reader we get to see her trying to justify her actions to herself and the reader. Though as the reader we can see how off her justification is and maybe even remember times in our own life were we have tried justifying making stupid mistakes with similar lies. The thoughts and the desire that Celeste has to the fourteen year old boys is disgusting and are sure to make you feel sick, which is the reason I couldn’t read this book in one sitting.

In fact every time I put down the book, I worried that if I showed my wife any sort of affection that she might get the wrong idea. I found out later that she was worried that if she showed any affection, I might associate it with the book. So I’m glad it was short and I didn’t have to spend too much time reading it. I’m sure my poor wife got sick of me wanting to discuss this subject matter with her, it’s not an easy topic but this novel makes you want to talk about it with someone. She tells me a similar thing happened in Glee where one of the teenage boys was molested by his babysitter when he was young and his classmates thought it wasn’t that bad as it’s every boy’s fantasy.

The fact that you can’t help wanting to talk about this novel and the themes would make this book the perfect choice for a book club which scares me a lot. I hope and pray that this never becomes the next book club book at my local book club. I love the Mary Who? Book club and this is the best indie bookstore in Townsville but I am normally the only male and most of the other people are slightly older than me. This would be the most awkward book to discuss and because I have so much I can say about this novel it would feel really weird, so I hope that it never becomes the next pick for book club.

This has been compared to Lolita and I can see why, the sexual predator and the satirical nature, but personally I think this comparison might do more harm than good.  Being compared to a masterpiece like Lolita would put so much pressure on this book and I don’t think it lives up to the beauty of Vladimir Nabokov’s writing. I get why it is compared but I think it tackles different topics and they both should be analysed separately. Having said that it might be a good book to partner with Lolita if your book club has that kind of structure set up.

Lastly I want to quickly talk about the covers because I think they are worth mentioning. In the UK and Australasia the cover is a pink shirt with a button hole. I love this cover, it is very suggestive and makes people look twice and it really suits the book. Apparently, in America, the black cover that  I thought looked boring in comparison, is made from black velvet, which might give the same suggestive tones when you pick up the book rather than looking at it. Interesting choices and I think both seem to work really well but I prefer the buttonhole cover.

I should warn people that this book contains graphical sex scenes which are ghastly and off putting, so this book is never going to be an easy read but this is a topic that needs to be discussed more and the book does this really well. I really enjoyed having read this book, but not really while reading it. I’m surprised how much I wanted to talk about the subject, so I think Alissa Nutting achieved what she set out to achieve. I hope people read it soon; I look forward to discussing the book with others.

Five Decent Movie Adaptation

Posted July 10, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Adaptations, Top 5 / 0 Comments

top-5Yesterday I did a Top Ten Tuesday list where I looked at ten of the Worst Movie Adaptations in my opinion. These were books that really don’t translate well to the screen. But as a counter balance I thought I would give you five good movie adaptations. Yes only five, there are not many adaptations that I feel work as well as the book. So in no particular order:

5. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

3. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

1. Scott Pilgrim Verse the World by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Also I would like to include The Virgin Suicides, Revolutionary Road, Perfume, Fight Club, The Road, American Psycho and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy which are not perfect but they are still pretty decent compared to some of the other adaptations out there. Now it’s your turn, what do you like that worked well as a book adaptation? Maybe next time I’ll look at decent Noir adaptations.

The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis

Posted August 22, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

The Informers by Bret Easton EllisTitle: The Informers (Goodreads)
Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 1994
Pages: 272
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I don’t know why I keep coming back to Bret Easton Ellis; I never seem to overly enjoy his vacuous characters but something keeps drawing me back. The Informers is my forth Ellis book and this one is a collection of short stories that ultimately link together to make an overall story. Think Crash (the movie) but with shallow characters. The Informers follow the lives of several interconnected characters, they all eat at the same places, sleep with the same people and pretty much act like each other.

Each chapter is told from a different character in a first person perspective and in the end each point of view come together to make a very loosely connected story. The characters remind me a lot of Less than Zero but most of the characters in The Informers are supposed to be adults. There are a lot of conversations in this book between different characters and this is the part of the book that Bret Easton Ellis does best. He seems to be able to have a lot of conversations and still drive the plot without adding to much more and the interactions between the people seem to feel very natural.

The book feels shallow and cynical; it tries to spotlight a moral decline of Californian life. Most of Bret Easton Ellis novels feel the same, he is often called a moral satirist but I often feel like he is just a nihilist. But I still feel the need to read his books even if I don’t enjoy them (except for Imperial Bedrooms). Ellis has an interesting style and if I rate his books from worst to best, it looks like he is improving as a writer with age. This might be the fact that his books are more and more metafictional and that seems to help add depth into a book a shallow annoying characters.

Question Tuesday: Books are Better than the Movies; Any Exceptions?

Posted June 26, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Question Tuesday / 0 Comments

“Never judge a book by its movie” – J.W. Eagan

I’m not sure if I’ve seen a movie that I liked more than the book. I know if I read American Psycho before seeing the movie I might have enjoyed it more. I think there are plenty of examples of books I didn’t enjoy because I saw the movie first. Others include Psycho by Robert Bloch and Limitless by Alan Glynn. There are a few movies that I enjoyed more than the books, like The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver, The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson and The Hunter by Richard Stark (Payback, 1999) There are books I thought were average and I would rather invest 2 hours watching the movie than 8 or more hours reading the books. Even if the movies turned out bad, it was still less of an investment than reading the book.

Graphic novels seem to be the best at being adapted to movies. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, Sin City by Frank Miller, Kick Ass by Mark Millar and V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Watchman by Alan Moore all seem to be good examples of that. While all these graphic novels are decent, I prefer the movies over the books. I’m sure many people will disagree with this but that’s my opinion. What movies do people prefer over the books?

While we are on the topic of Movie Adaptions; one of the things I hate most about them, is when the cover of the books change to match the movie posters or even the name of the book changing to match. I really hate owning a book with the movie name or cover on it but sometimes there is just no getting away from it.

Remakes and Modernisations

Posted December 14, 2011 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 8 Comments

With recent rumours of another American Psycho movie adaption, I thought I might throw my two cents in about remakes and modernisations. First of all, I’ll start with American Psycho; I’ve read the book and seen the 2000 cult classic. Whether you liked it or not, there is no denying that the movie captured the essence of the book, with all its darkness and satire. Also, let’s face it; can you really imagine anyone else but Christian Bale playing Patrick Bateman? Ellis has said he would approve of the remake if Miles Fisher plays the lead (if you have seen the music video ‘This Must Be The Place’ then you will know why). But I can’t see the remake working as it is said it will also be a modernisation; I don’t see how the dark comedy will translate at all.

Apart from this movie, there have been many books that have been remade into movies and modernised but how often does it really work? With superhero and comic book franchises, it works because there are so many different avenues and story lines to explore but with a book you really are bound to the same story.

This brings me to a modernisation that I’ve actually enjoyed, two in fact, both from the same book. This Book was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel ‘The Scarlet Letter’. The first modernisation was the film Easy A, which took the concept of The Scarlet Letter and transferred into a modern high school environment. This movie took the concept of adultery and the effects of passing judgment and applied it to the high school issue of bullying. It was incredibly main-stream but I enjoyed it none-the-less.

The second was something I’ve not seen before, I modernisation in book form; this was Hillary Jordan’s young adult novel ‘When She Woke’. Like most YA novels, this is set in a dystopian society in the not so distant future. In the world, The Church governs all and the church is pretty much like Westboro church. As a form of punishment Hannah Payne has her skin altered bright red so the world will know her sins. Now she has to live in a society that will judge her without knowing her.

The concept of remake of a remake or modernisation done like When She Woke is new to me and I wonder how many books are remakes or modernisations. Which brings me to another thought; what is the difference between a remake and a homage? The lines seem to blur between the two but I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Please Ban My Book, I Want it to Become Popular (Banned Book Week)

Posted October 2, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Listology / 0 Comments

This week is Banned Book Week, where we celebrate our freedom to read whatever we want. Though books still get banned and censored by the government, I think now is the time to look at some of the best and worst books that have been banned or censored.

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was banned in the province of Hunan, China, beginning in 1931 for its portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level of complexity as human beings
  • American Psycho has a sale and purchase restriction in the Australian State of Queensland. Sale is restricted to persons 18 years old or older in the other Australian states
  • Animal Farm banned in the former USSR and the author’s preface suppressed in nearly all of its editions during 1940 – 45
  • Brave New World was banned in Ireland in 1932 due to alleged references of sexual promiscuity
  • The Da Vinci Code was banned in Lebanon after Catholic leaders deemed it offensive to Christianity
  • The Diary of a Young Girl was also banned in Lebanon for “portraying Jews, Israel or Zionism favourably”
  • The Grapes of Wrath temporarily banned in many places in the US because it made the residents of this region look bad.
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover banned in the United States and the United Kingdom for violation of obscenity laws
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four was banned by the Soviet Union in 1950, as Stalin understood that it was a satire based on his leadership, and it was nearly banned by U.S.A and U.K in the early 1960s during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Ulysses was banned in U.K during the 1930s and in Australia during the 1930s to the 1940s and challenged and temporarily banned in the U.S.A for its sexual content
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin was banned in the Southern United States during the Civil War due to its anti-slavery content.

Nowadays books are still getting challenged and banned. One book that is currently under fire is Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak which tells the story of a teenage girl who deals with depression after become a victim of rape. The author has said the following about censorship;

But censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in the darkness and makes them vulnerable. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them.

Censorship and book banning seems to fling books into popularity more than some books deserve. For example Lady Chatterley’s Lover; if this book was never banned it would of just faded away into oblivion. Also there are many great books that have come under fire that really are spectacular books.

Also check out IO9’s 10 great science fiction novels that have been banned.