Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories

Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories
Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories by Karen Russell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was very impressed with this short story collection. I've ready two other short story books this year and this is my favorite. There were only 8 stories but each one was excellent, compared to [b:Tenth of December|13641208|Tenth of December|George Saunders||19256026] and [b:Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury|13329252|Shadow Show All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury|Sam Weller||18536664]. Here's a by story review and rank (8/8 being my fave and 1/8 still being awesome just not my fave- cause again they were all great!) Slight spoilers for plot, not outcome

Vampires in the Lemon Grove- 1/8 Great opening story. It was engaging and well told, for short stories there was excellent character development. I felt so sad for the old male vampire because you could tell he was trying and the bat/vampire was just kinda heartless bitch.

Reeling for the Empire- 4/8 Creepy and weird. Poor women are given the "opportunity" to make money for their families by because human silk worms! OMG weird. Creepy and gross, but again you really feel for these women because they're tricked into it and sometimes sold by their families to do this. Weird.

The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach- 2/8 Probably should actually be 1/8 but it was written so well I can't help at least put it second to my least favorite. I didn't feel like the potentially time traveling aspects of it were too well thought out or developed but I kept wanting to know where the hell the story was going.

Proving Up- 6/8 OMG CREEPY! This one gives me the heebies when I think about it. Kinda a little Book of Eli action going on here. Even though it's not supposed to be a dystopian story it totally could be. People who moved west early on and struggled and died for years but still worked so hard for the "inspector" to come and grant them their homesteads. Eeeek scary scary cause you can totally see this happening...back then.

The Barn at the End of Our Term- 5/8 Fabulous little story! One of the shorter one but super cute, presidents that didn't really make that big of an impact become horses at the end of their presidencies or when they die, it's not clear, but so entertaining. Some of them think they're in heaven, others think they're in hell and some are still trying to Politic their way out of it. LOVE IT!

Dougbert Shackleton's Rules for Antarctic Tailgating- 3/8 Cute story, shortest of the bunch and just entertaining. What if antartic tailgating was a thing, who are the teams- Whale VS Krill of course! How do you prep- by fattening up and training for months. It's hilarious and just super cute.

The New Veterans- 8/8 BEST SHORT STORY EVER. I could have used a whole novel on this one. Reminds me a bit like a story from Shadow Show because it had an interactive tattoo- a tattoo so tied into a persons soul basically that it can effect their lives. Really good. I will probably keep thinking about this one for a while.

The Graceless Doll of Eric Mutis- 7/8 Uh kids. Uh kid bullies. And creepy Scarecrow! This one could have been so much worse (as in stomach turning) but luckily it wasn't. I kept waiting for true horrors to happen but honestly just thinking about what could of happened makes it so good. I wanted to finish this one fast because I was so scared of what the ending could be.

I love this short story collection, seriously every one is deserving and I really liked this one best out of the short story books I've read this year.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review: Slimed!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age

Slimed!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age
Slimed!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age by Mathew Klickstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you're between 23-33 and spent the first 8ish years of your life watching Nickelodeon then go read this book. It was a delightful trip down memory lane. The "golden age" of Nick stops right around the ending of Clarissa Explains it All and started during You Can't Do That On Television. This book was just interview after interview with all the people involved (actors, producers, animators) in You Can't Do That On Television, Welcome Freshman, Out of Control, Nick Arcade, Roundhouse, Double Dare, Wild & Crazy Kids, Clarissa Explains it All, Salute Your Shorts, Hey Dude!, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Rugrats, Doug and Ren & Stimpy. It was so interesting.

What's amazing is all the child actors seem to be completely normal people now. Most of them went on to college and if any of them stayed in the business it was as Production Assistants and Producers. The people who were really screwed up by Nickelodeon? The adults! OMG it sounds crazy. Backstabbing and bickering and being just downright cruel to one another. You'd never know the animosity that came out of RUGRATS! The backstabbing that happened with Ren & Stimpy.

This books covers everything from what Slime is made of (eww), to diversity on Nick, the music, the costumes- Pete & Pete's costume designed does Mad Men's costumes now. It's so interesting. For the adults at the time they of course seem the least effected, all the actors apparently still get approached on the street by not 30-somethings telling them how big a fan they were of their shows.

This book probably doesn't really deserve 5 stars, but it gets it because I'm a nostalgia sucker. What this book reminded me of- I will forever long for the day when the entire series of Pete & Pete is on DVD (right now only two seasons are grrr), Clarissa had the best fashion sense in the world, and Marc Summers is a bad ass.

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