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Showing posts from March, 2010

In The President's Secret Service by Ronald Kessler

In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect by Ronald Kessler pretty much says it all in its title. One of the things that I liked best about this book was the short chapters. Especially recently I've found that if a book has rather long chapters, it is a big turn off for me. That was what drove me up the wall when I read The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway in high school: it's a novella that was basically one long chapter. I hated it, and I hated the story. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness was basically three really long chapters. Hated it. And I had to read it twice in college and write a paper on it both times. The first paper, for my introduction to literary criticism class, was about how I got nothing out of it and why I got nothing out of it. To be honest, the story itself is not one that I would choose to read on my own, so that didn't help it at all. But I digress. …

District 9

District 9 is up against nine other films in the best picture categoy at this Sunday's Oscars. I've seen two or three of the other nominees and have plans to see some of the others when they come out on DVD; there's no telling who will get the Oscar for best picture this year although it seems like the two frontrunners are The Hurt Locker and Avatar.
I recently watched District 9 starring Sharlto Copley. For some reason I was under the impression that the protagonist, Wikus van de Merwe, was a soldier who gets caught up in events in the alien ghetto. However, this was a false impression.
Twenty years ago an alien ship came to earth; it came to rest over the South African capital of Johannesburg and there it hovered for months with nary a word or movement from it alien passengers. Finally a detail of humans were dispatched to breech the ship to reveal its secrets: mysterious alien technology and extremely malnourished aliens. The aliens were evacuated from the ship and …

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender

Fortunately, good girls don't die either in Katie Alender's debut novel Bad Girls Don't Die. Once the story in this absorbing, page turning, heart pounding, wicked, creepy, suspenseful thriller gets cranked up, you won't want to put it down until you've reached the end. Alender creates the creepy atmosphere of a possessed, haunted house and sister like nobody's business--the best part is that it is subtle rather than obvious supernatural elements. The creepiness can just as easily be explained away as a manifestation of a mental breakdown as the main character tells herself over and over again before finally realizing that she is not crazy and yes, her sister is possessed by one crazy, evil ghost.
Alender realistically portrays the outcast, teen outsider who doesn't fit in at her school --she doesn't want to and she doesn't care who knows it. She cuts class, speaks her mind, stands up to the popular in-crowd, and regards with scorn the misfit cro…