The Child-ish Book Review

A workman discovers the remains of a baby while digging up a building site in Woolwich in England, and it’s reported as a two sentence piece in a newspaper more focused on the London Olympics, the Royals and potential terrorists. Most would have ignored it. Not Kate Waters. Kate, a plucky older journalist in an era of young reporters and online news, discovers the story and files it away for later use. She decides to discover the truth behind the baby, but gets more than she bargained for when she learns more about the residents of Howard Street. Combine this with Angela Irving, who lost her baby back in 1970 and is still struggling to cope, and Emma Simmonds, who’s also struggling to deal with the news as it brings back long-hidden memories, and you’ve got an intriguing, almost-400 page read.

The Child is Fiona Barton’s second novel, and I went to the library and had them order it in, as I loved Barton’s previous book, The Widow, so much. Unfortunately, I’m a massive procrastinator, and the book was a couple days late, when I realised I really should pick it up and read it, since I’ve got so many other books to read (Final Girls, Crash Override, Quiet, Day of the Triffids, the rest of Adrian Mole, etc). Lucky for me, it’s AMAZINGLY QUICK to read. I mean, I read 20 pages over a month, since the book started quite slowly. I then finished the remaining 350 or so pages in two days. Yes, two. Despite this knowledge, I almost DNF’d this second book, because the start wasn’t interesting at all. It just felt like a rehash of The Widow, except a dead baby this time instead of a missing child. I decided, since the book was late back to the library, I should quickly read more of it to see if it was worth it, and yes, the book does get better.

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You Shouldn’t Be Judging Books By Their Movies

An anonymous person, commonly quoted as J.W, Eagan, told us you should never judge a book by its movie. They have to be right, don’t they? A terrible movie will probably be based off a great book! Books are beautiful precious things that can tell a story with only your imagination to keep it thriving. The book is always better than the movie! How can a movie, which involves like barely any effort, be the same as a novel? The film is barely ever faithful, removes important characters (Peeves the Poltergeist, and Madge from The Hunger Games are the most important characters ever!!), and adds useless subplots that f*** up the beauty and the imagination. Not to mention the actors never look like who I imagined! Grr!

Or not. Books don’t have anything that immediately make them greater than films or even video games. There’s bad books. I’ve read plenty of them in my time. I can’t stand most straight romances except a bunch of my mum’s ones from the ’80s (Little Sister, The Popularity Plan) and those from my trashy YA stage in early high school (South Beach). I still remember the awful books I read in high school: Bypass by Michael McGirr and Deadly, Unna by Phillip Gwynne, that almost turned me off reading for life. I got through Fifty Shades of Grey and seven chapters of Fifty Shades Darker. Those are not good books. The later, ghostwritten Vampire Diaries books make me weep for the future of fiction. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child…well, let’s not go there. Books, by virtue of being books, aren’t necessarily the greatest things ever. The same for movie aficionados, and video game enthusiasts. There’s good and bad.

Should we be judging a book by its movie? Well, of course not. I think that speaks for itself. They’re completely different mediums, interpreted in different ways. See: The Shining by Stephen King, and The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick. Shocking revelation: I dislike both of them. In this case, Stephen King really loathes Kubrick’s interpretation of The Shining, as it’s completely different to what he wanted. I can’t be surprised: I don’t think I’ve found a single faithfully adapted Stephen King movie. Both have a completely different vibe, and that’s because it’s by two different people who have different visions for the story. The film of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, has a bit of an indie, hipster vibe about it, which the book doesn’t. Popular opinion says the Azkaban film is the greatest one, better than the book. Others like me, prefer the Christopher Columbus vibe of the first two, and wished there’d been a mixture between Columbus’s interpretation, and the forgettable dude who directed Goblet of Fire.

Adapting from a book to movie can be quite difficult. Making it as faithful to the book as possible is impossible, especially if it’s a long book like Harry Potter with a lot of plot. Except if you’re Stephen Chbosky. Alternatively, the Twilight Saga is like seventy-bajillion pages  with little to no plot, and the films still managed to miss crucial plot details. In spite of all this, I thought I should go ahead and tell you some of the greatest film adaptations and some of the shittiest ones. Because we all know there are great books and terrible books, just like there are amazing films and God-awful films:

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Responding to Spam Posts on a Post about Spam: A Hate Story

In a sense of irony almost too good to pass up, my blog post from March—You have pending blog posts scammer: An Introductory Guide to Spam Emails—received an absurd amount of spam comments trying to make it into the comments section.

It all started quite simply. I was mashing out words on the keyboard for my last blog post, a simple post reviewing the ridiculous number of movies I’ve watched this year. That’s when I noticed my email notifications.

I thought to myself, “Hmm, probably some people who have enjoyed my rousing reviews of…wait, who am I kidding myself?”

Then I saw the emails from WordPress:

The Adrian Mole-slash-Poopy Butthole part of my brain immediately thought:

Oo-wee! Is this what fame feels like?

Alas, it was not meant to be. That sense of irony intermingled with the ugly, rearing head of a cliche, and I realised they were simply…spammers. For a blog post about spammers. The sense of irony was almost too good to pass up, so I passed it up. Until today, where I’ve decided the best thing to do is critique these people.

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Movie Review Roundup 2017, Part Two: Far Too Many Movies to Review!

binge watching

noun

noun: binge watching: The practice of watching multiple episodes of a television programme in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming

(via Google)

The era of online internet streaming has brought about a huge change in the way we watch movies and TV shows.

Back when I discovered DVD box-sets in the long-gone era of the mid-2000s, I fully embraced binge-watching by watching the first few seasons of Family Guy (yes, the embarrassment from enjoying Family Guy still lingers) and the first three seasons of Smallville in rapid succession. Back then, I could watch the 20-something episodes of Smallville in under a week, but it was okay, because you still had to put the disc in the DVD player, and it wasn’t as simple as it is now. Fast forward ten years…

Oh, how I miss those days. With the twenty-tens came the invention of Netflix—well, that was around back in the day, but it was completely different—and Stan and Hulu and whatever the Foxtel one is called, and all the others.

Lucky for me, I’m near the end of these massive, 60-billion word (welcome to Hyperbole Land, folks!) movie reviews, so the insomnia is kicked up a notch. According to a study by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, out of the over-80% of young adults who admitted to binge-watching (the remaining 20% are liars I tell you, LIARS!), a whopping 98% of them were likely to have a poor quality of sleep. Which is why, before I improve my sleep cycle, I’m gonna use this insomnia to tell you of some more movies I’ve watched this year, and why I think they’re awesome, or alternatively, horrifically horrible. Let’s get going then!

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Movie Review Roundup 2017, Part One: Confessions of a Netflix Addict

Netflix: Is it Inspiration Central for writers?

My name is Jessica and I am a Netflix addict. And a Stan addict. And Amazon Prime. Unfortunately—or fortunately for me—we don’t have Hulu or any of the others in ‘Straya yet, so I can be saved from consuming more of the timesuck that is online streaming. My fiancé and I recently caved in and signed up to Netflix early this year, and I’ve roughly guesstimated the number of movies I’ve watched on there, and elsewhere, and the count got up to at least 35. There are still 46 movies (and 135 books, but let’s try and ignore that for now) on my To-Watch list, so this addiction doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. Don’t worry, I do have a life. I’ve even managed to get some writing in!

So I’ve devised a solution. Alongside the book reviews, I’m gonna do a monthly catch-up of all the great and not-so-great movies I’ve been watching, and my reviews, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how trashy.

Warning: I have a slightly terrible taste in movies. A bunch of these are beloved and popular movies that I gave 👎👎👎 reviews. *Cough cough* I’ll ignore the various movies I’ve re-watched, ’cause clearly I think they’re awesome (Shrek 1&2, Fight Club, Sorority Row, Inglourious Basterds). Let’s get going!

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Into the Watery Depths of a Book Review

When I was seventeen, I saved my sister from drowning…

Danielle “Nel” Abbott is obsessed with the local area of her town of Beckford, nicknamed the Drowning Pool, where it’s said troublesome women come to die. She’s writing a book about the Drowning Pool and all the women who have mysteriously committed suicide there, but it’s making a lot of the townspeople angry. When Nel ends up being one of the Pool victims herself, her younger, estranged sister Jules (never Julia!) has to revisit all her long-repressed memories of Beckford to care for Nel’s cliched-moody daughter Lena and try and figure out whether Nel actually committed suicide—or is something more sinister at play?

Into the Water is Paula Hawkins second novel. After the success of The Girl on the Train, her first novel, which I kinda reviewed in a blog post on foreshadowing back in 2015, everyone—me especially—was waiting with bated breath for Hawkins’s second novel.

And guess what?

It’s disappointing.

Into the Water was released on May 2nd, and I quickly requested it from the library, with a queue that now stretches over forty other excited folks. This week, I realised it was due back at the library—overdue now—and I hurriedly went ahead and read this 352 page behemoth (not really haha!) in just a couple of days, 100 pages at a time. It’s a quick read once you get stuck into it, and the plot promised to be interesting.

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You Won’t Read This Blog Post

According to studies, around 60-80% of you never read past the headline. That’s right, this one included. Congrats if you read past the aptly titled You Won’t Read This Blog Post, ’cause you’re in the minority! You’re only slightly more common than the guesstimated 0.01% of people who read the iTunes terms and conditions, those poor, poor souls. I mean, I read the entire Copyright Act of 1968 once for a university assignment, and I don’t even do that.

So, um…hello, I guess? Wow, I actually only had enough content to fill out that one paragraph. Hey, well since you’re still reading this well into paragraph two, I guess you’re here for the long run. Sigh. I guess I’ll start with the article that I first thought of when looking into the topic of, well, Reading Past the Headline and Read[ing] This Blog Post. It was April Fools’ Day, and I was one of those fools that spent the day mindlessly scrolling down the mine of endless time-wasting, Facebook. That day in 2014, I switched between Facebook and Twitter and back to Facebook. Then a wild article caught my attention. These were the wild days in which I didn’t have AdBlocker and F.B Purity, so I immediately reacted—probably with rage or annoyance or something–when I saw this headline:

Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?

With imagined fury running through my veins, I read through the comments, as they, 100% of the time (unless comments are disabled) are a source of lolcowery, entertainment and humour. This one was predictable, with the obligatory slew of comments about millennials destroying society by partying with smashed avocado instead of buying houses; As a non-American, I knew ‘Muricans were always stupid; those “LOL Debbie this is so true” with attached Minions image; and more. The truth: I didn’t even click on the link until I read a comment that gave it all away. And I’m not the only one. You do it too.

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