Tuesday, December 27, 2016

King Rat

King Rat (Asian Saga, #4)King Rat by James Clavell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I compare to Tai-pan and Shogun, this book, King Rat, would be my least favorite. There is a restrictive feeling about it since it is a World War II POW camp in Singapore: Changi. The first two books had an epic nature about them, one was control on Imperial Japan and the other was control of East Asia by means of trade by the English.

Shogun

Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1)Shōgun by James Clavell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Chinese philosophy the Yin and Yang are the two opposing forces beneficial to the well being if there is harmony. In the book Shogun harmony is Wa. While I sound philosophical let me be clear that Shogun is not a philosophy book. The best modern pop culture analogy I can give would be Game of Thrones only here you have the real world of samurais.

The harmony or the Wa I speak of is to the quality of the book. James Clavell has mixed east and west elements often opposing into a seamless story worth 1,000 pages long.

Tai-pan

Tai-Pan (Asian Saga, #2)Tai-Pan by James Clavell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tai-pan is another East and West tale in the quality of Shogun, Clavell’s other popular book. Though in the later there is more versus between East and West, in Tai-pan there is more “diplomacy”.

For one reason the story of Tai-pan is more economic and business in nature. There is more subtlety in business than there is with the story of the samurai.

Lonesome Dove

Lonesome DoveLonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To think of Hollywood westerns is to set oneself up for wrong expectations in this book. Hollywood or the movies for one is a visual medium and books are never made into movies as they are written.

I fell into that expectation at the beginning of the book almost always expecting gunfights every few pages. After finishing a few chapters I thought writing gunfights every so often will ultimately be boring. The scene was best if it was watched with its quick draw and the gunfighters just flipping their guns into their holster.

Then we go into the genius of the book of moving to and from the concept of boring to epic. My only complaint of the author is that he uses euphemisms for anything sexual even rape. I had to read that paragraph twice at that rape section to understand and feel pity for the character. It was a weird choice to use indirect words when overall the author has been so vivid in describing the life in the old west.

Brooklyn


Reading letters is a plot device. 

However in the 2016 Best Picture nominee Brooklyn directed by John Crowley reading letters – this is snail mail mind you – was more than a plot device but was also the visualization of a heartbreak and thus highlight of my watching experience. They act as my goal posts wherein I could judge what condition Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) was in and where she was going.  The letters or rather the reading of it was what hooked me.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Rogue One

It seems reviews today need to come with a disclaimer in the beginning as to whether there are spoilers or not so in compliance with the requirement I'd say yes there are spoilers. There are spoilers even though I tried to be as vague as possible but its impossible to describe what I like or don't like without giving even just a little.  My advice as someone who tries to avoid spoilers every so often it is best not to read anything at all.




Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is better than the prequels (The Phantom Menace, Attack of theClones, and the Revenge of the Sith) especially if you see it side by side with A New Hope.  It is even better than the newest sequel the Force Awakens which felt like a rip off of A New Hope.