Tag: Leonardo DiCaprio

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Posted July 25, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Science Fiction, Thriller / 9 Comments

The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesTitle: The Shining Girls (Goodreads)
Author: Lauren Beukes
Published: Harper Collins, 2013
Pages: 389
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller
My Copy: Personal Copy

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

During the depression era, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens onto other times. But it comes at a cost, he has to hunt down and kill all the shining girls; those bright girls burning with potential. He stalks them through the different ages, leaving clues on their bodies. But when one of the girls doesn’t die she starts to hunt him. Can Kirby Mazrachi track down this time-traveling serial killer before it’s too late?

Right off the bat, a time traveling serial killer was enough to sell me on this book, it sounded unique and familiar all at the same time. I started reading this book instead of reading the novel I needed to read for book club (which is And the Mountains Echoed) as a way of procrastinating and simply because I wanted something light and entertaining while I wasn’t feeling too well. I flew through this novel and while it was dark, twisted and often graphic, I still felt like it missed something.

I like my serial killers to have an inner conflict; the inner turmoil of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, the dark passenger of Dexter in the Dexter series (and TV show) and if you’ve seen Mr Brooks, the guy in the back seat (played by William Hunt). I love the psychological elements that are found in these examples and this is what I look for in a novel about serial killers. I want to know their motivations, their convictions, the struggle between good and evil within each one of them and when I didn’t get that in The Shinning Girls, I was disappointed by that.

Then again I love how graphic this book is; there is a real thrill to read the macabre and Lauren Beukes doesn’t hold back in the book. While the author doesn’t go into too much detail about the time travelling mechanics, when someone asked me if the time travelling elements were believable in the book I had to stop and think. Firstly can time traveling be believable? Then I spent time thinking about the different theories around time traveling and going back and forth in time, never really seemed to alter the future at all. Why didn’t Harper just go back to the same day and finish Kirby off? Or even a different day? There are so many questions that are left to the imagination and nothing about time travelling was ever be truly explored. You know what? I think I prefer it that way, there are too many theories regarding time travel, I think it was best to leave it up the reader to draw their own conclusions about some of the plot. I don’t like it when everything is wrapped up neatly and every thread within a novel is covered off. I want something left to my imagination, I want to form my own ideas and I want to question the book in the end.

I think Lauren Beukes made a conscious effort not to fill in all the gaps; there are so many questions, backstory and motivations that could have been filled in but leaving that all up to the imagination of the reader just worked better for this book. It also can set up for possible sequels and spin offs. This means when Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way and MRC brought the rights to make this into a TV series (even before the book was released in America) I think Beukes decision paid off. With all those lose threads, it give the TV adaptation room to move and vary from the book if needed (in order to set up a few seasons). Adaptations are tricky and I’m often against them but with a book like The Shining Girls, I think they have a good foundation to work with and expand without upsetting too many of the diehard fans.

The Shinning Girls is far from perfect; there are things I would have liked to see done differently but this was pure entertainment and the fact that there are a slight literary quality about it helped as well. I’m curious to see what happens with the TV show and I’ll be sure to watch it if it ever makes it to air but in the meantime, this is a Science Fiction/Thriller that I’m happy to recommend to people. There is a lot to think about and it is one hell of a read.

My Winter Reading List

Posted July 14, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in What are you Reading / 0 Comments

There seems to be a lot of talk about summer reading lists lately, but its winter! I know, I know, it is summer over where the majority of book bloggers live so I thought I will join the discussion. This is the time of year where all the big blockbuster books are released and everyone is picking out what they plan to read while they have time off or go on vacation. This is the wrong time of year for this over in Australia but we sometimes plan to read books as well (I try not to but there are so many books I want to read). So I thought I might post some books that are waiting for me on my nightstand.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Everyone is buzzing about this novel but I’ll admit I’ve never read The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns. This book is the book chosen for my local book club so there is an excuse to read this. I’m not sure what to expect but judging by the hype I’m worried I’ll be hugely disappointed, I hope not.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Arguably one of the most talked about books at the moment; this is disturbing and uncomfortable and I can’t wait to read it. I know it will make me sick and the idea of sexual psychopath with a fetish for 14 year old boys is too disturbing to talk about, but these subjects often need addressing more than ever. The bonus is the cover of this book, it’s highly suggestive but turn the book over and you see the button.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
What can I say about this book? It’s set in Russia, so I’m sold. I’ve been hearing great things about this book and then the wonderful Anne at The Reading Room recommended and sent me a copy of this book, so I know it will be on the top of my reading list. There are other people out there raving about the book as well and for the most part they are people whose opinions I trust.

Constance by Patrick McGrath
From the acclaimed author of Asylum and Martha Peake, a masterful new novel of psychological suspense, the story of a marriage haunted by trauma and descending into crisis. This book has peaked my interest and I’m really looking forward to it, I’ve never read Patrick McGrath so I’m not sure what to expect, but it sounds intriguing.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes
A time-traveling serial killer is impossible to trace – until one of his victims survives. I’m not sure if I need to say more to sell this book. This book has enough buzz to speak for itself, mainly because  Appian Way, Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company brought the television rights to this book before it was released in America.

I’m sure everyone has some books they are planning to read over the Winter/Summer so I’d love to hear what is currently on your list. I’m sure there are millions of books on your TBR’s, I know mine is growing faster than I can read and who knows if I’ll get to all these books in time for Spring, but I’ll have fun trying.

Gatsby and My Hate for Movie Tie-In Covers

Posted May 9, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 0 Comments


I had a little complaint about book covers changing a few days ago but now I feel the need to comment on something else cover related. Movie tie-in book covers are the worst thing out there, I know they help people recognise the book but they are just so ugly and should never be printed. The New York Times wrote an interesting article called Judging ‘Gatsby’ by Its Cover(s) in which they looked at the iconic Great Gatsby cover with the new movie cover.

Normally books go through different cover changes but when it comes to The Great Gatsby, the original cover is still the most recognised of all its covers. So when you see the movie tie-in cover it is a huge shock; do we really need a cover with Leonardo DiCaprio on it? The article is really interesting because it looks at how the original cover is out selling the movie tie-in and even an independent bookseller who refuses to sell the new cinematic edition. Saying “It’s just God-awful, ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a pillar of American literature, and people don’t want it messed with. We’re selling the classic cover and have no intention of selling the new one.”

There is even a little quote by Ernest Hemingway who called the original cover “garish” and wrote in his memoir A Moveable Feast that he was “embarrassed by the violence, bad taste and slippery look of it.” But that is probably a whole new blog post, maybe two (one to look at the complex relationship of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway).

I know I hate movie tie-in covers and go out of my way to avoid them at all cost. I know most people hate them, you can read The Week complain about them, even Books on the Nightstand had a conversation about them recently. But I want to know if there are any good movie-tie in covers out there and what you think about them?

Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazell

Posted May 5, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Thriller / 0 Comments

Beat The Reaper by Josh BazellTitle: Beat The Reaper (Goodreads)
Author: Josh Bazell
Series: Peter Brown #1
Published: Little Brown and Company, 2008
Pages: 310
Genres: Thriller
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: Amazon (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I was recommended this book last year, and while it looks interesting, I kept putting this book off. I’m not sure why I did, as this book was so much fun to read. Think mob book (in the style of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch) meets Scrubs but with a much darker sense of humour. Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell tells the story of Peter Brown, an intern for Manhattan’s worst hospital. Dr. Brown is in the Federal Witness Protection Program having previously been a mob hitman named Pietro Brwna. I know, the feds lacked imagination and yet the mob failed to find him until one of them ends up being a patient of Dr. Peter Brown.

The humour alone makes this book worth reading, but then on top of that you have the story of a kick ass doctor in what would make a great blockbuster movie if it was directed by someone like Guy Ritchie or Quentin Tarantino. Having said that there are rumours of this book being made into a movie (New Regency acquired the rights in 2009) or even a TV series (HBO started development in 2011) but both seemed to be interested in Leonardo DiCaprio as the protagonist. I can’t see DiCaprio as Peter Brown; I often imagined him more of Vinnie Jones type character even though he probably isn’t right for the role either.

While I think it would make a great adaptation, I’m not going to hold my breath for one; let alone a good one. Beat the Reaper could be the next sleeper hit; with an increasing cult following, this book was well worth the read. All readers interested in an edge of your seat action novel, or a dark medical/mob read should go out and grab a copy of this book. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in this series.