Bookay-Ukay. Bearing a name that is a pun on the Filipino word for thrift store (“ukay-ukay”, pronounced “ookai-ookai”), this homey little bookshop in the UP Village, Quezon City is a piece of heaven for bookworms. They have massive collections of cheap reads (both pre-loved and brand new), custom bookmarks that range from cute to creepy, and CDs/CD jackets.

Warning: The old book smell that may assault you upon stepping in is notoriously sweet and addicting. One might experience a little hesitancy to leave. :p

the-library-and-step-on-it:

LITERARY FRIENDSHIPS:
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

GAIMAN: "We’re working on seeing how many smart-alec answers we can come up with when people ask us how we collaborated." PRATCHETT: “I wrote all the words, and Neil assembled them into certain meaningful patterns… What it wasn’t was a case of one guy getting 2/3 of the money and the other guy doing 3/4 of the work.” GAIMAN: “It wasn’t, somebody writes a three-page synopsis, and then somebody else writes a whole novel and gets their name small on the bottom.” PRATCHETT: “That isn’t how we did it, mainly because our egos were fighting one another the whole time, and we were trying to grab the best bits from one another.” GAIMAN: “We both have egos the size of planetary cores.”

the-library-and-step-on-it:

LITERARY FRIENDSHIPS:

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

GAIMAN: "We’re working on seeing how many smart-alec answers we can come up with when people ask us how we collaborated."
PRATCHETT: “I wrote all the words, and Neil assembled them into certain meaningful patterns… What it wasn’t was a case of one guy getting 2/3 of the money and the other guy doing 3/4 of the work.”
GAIMAN: “It wasn’t, somebody writes a three-page synopsis, and then somebody else writes a whole novel and gets their name small on the bottom.”
PRATCHETT: “That isn’t how we did it, mainly because our egos were fighting one another the whole time, and we were trying to grab the best bits from one another.”
GAIMAN: “We both have egos the size of planetary cores.”

Review: A Long Way DownAuthor: Nick HornbyGenre: Humor, ContemporaryMy Rating: ★★★ (3 of 5 stars)
____
At every tail-end of a published book about suicide—or an attempt to commit it—is a potential for controversy. Authors know that; the bravest ones refuse to pull punches and went on telling their stories the way they know how, steeling themselves for the future salvo of questions and accusations. They are willing to risk being pulled out of shelves later if it meant they would get their tales told first.
Nick Hornby emerged as one of these writers, but of an unconventional kind. In his book A Long Way Down, he relays the accounts of not only one, not even two, but four people about to commit suicide. And he finds that the best way to decline treading on eggshells for anyone is to shower his book with a dry, black humor.
A Long Way Down follows the story of four strangers who met atop a London building and ended up foiling each other’s plans to plunge to their own deaths. They are Martin, an ex-TV presenter who has “pissed away his life away” by sleeping with a minor; Maureen, a fraught single mother taking care of her disabled child; Jess, a stroppy teenager who was left by her boyfriend (and sister); and JJ, an ex-rock god who feels like a failure-on-two-shoes. They “postponed” their plans after a few heated arguments and some cold pizza slices. But would their unlikely alliance be reason enough to stop them from retrying to take their own lives?
Unless you are someone who gets fascinated by hearing other people’s tales of personal anguish, this book’s gist didn’t sound appealing at all. But Hornby’s deft hands made it so that his story would work, and it did nicely, with a number of brilliant, unforgettable moments in it.
The thing I liked the best in this book is how Hornby executed his fourfold delineation of the characters’ voices. The narrators are so different in a way that not even some misery-loves-company magic would be able to bind them together. Hornby spoke effectively through their mouths like they’re honest, live people—so real-like, in fact, that they did not click easily together as friends even after meeting the way they did. Hornby didn’t detour to the formulaic “we’re going to be friends and everything is going to be all right” road, because he did not intend the novel to become a self-possessed echo of a self-help book.  Even though he can pull these people together to sew up some semblance of miraculous hope, he did not, and just let them be their own individuals. 
JJ is an instant favorite of mine. It’s not only because his issues are very relatable (they hit so close to home at the time I read the book) but also because he’s four-dimensionally human enough to feel shame about how “shallow” his problems are compared to others’.  He’s so embarrassed that he fabricated an incurable disease from the initials of his favorite band as his reason to commit suicide. Does being a failure in something you consider your “everything” equate to your life suddenly becoming disposable? Does it really mean it’s the end? Does it mean you can’t start again? The fact that Hornby didn’t need cheese to touch this issue is laudable.
It is quite noticeable how the story didn’t dig too deep about the common issues surrounding suicide, like how the usual novel about it would. What Hornby tackled is more about lifestyles and the human condition.
The storyline is as non-linear as it could get with four different people telling it. The common things your book report format will ask you for will not be easy to find, so if you are looking for a fast-paced story with clear climaxes and resolutions, this book will be a difficult read. 
I myself would admit that I had a hard time with some parts I call the “troughs streak” because they didn’t seem to get anywhere for a long while. The story then just seemed to drag, and when it happens you sometimes get tired to care about the characters, even if you like them well in the beginning. Your interest just starts waning. Fortunately, the streak did break at some point and I began enjoying the rest of the story again, until the (open) end.
For the record, the book has been translated into the big screen and the movie’s currently showing in cinemas. I don’t know how to feel about the “major recalibrations” they’ve obviously done to the source material (thanks, trailer), but I won’t react yet since I haven’t seen the whole picture yet. :)
___
For the curious, you may watch the movie’s trailer here. It stars Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul, and Imogen Poots.
(Reposting because I added a few ‘assessments’ there. Photo by Anty Diluvian on Flickr.)

Review: A Long Way Down
Author: Nick Hornby
Genre: Humor, Contemporary
My Rating: ★★★ (3 of 5 stars)

____

At every tail-end of a published book about suicide—or an attempt to commit it—is a potential for controversy. Authors know that; the bravest ones refuse to pull punches and went on telling their stories the way they know how, steeling themselves for the future salvo of questions and accusations. They are willing to risk being pulled out of shelves later if it meant they would get their tales told first.

Nick Hornby emerged as one of these writers, but of an unconventional kind. In his book A Long Way Down, he relays the accounts of not only one, not even two, but four people about to commit suicide. And he finds that the best way to decline treading on eggshells for anyone is to shower his book with a dry, black humor.

A Long Way Down follows the story of four strangers who met atop a London building and ended up foiling each other’s plans to plunge to their own deaths. They are Martin, an ex-TV presenter who has “pissed away his life away” by sleeping with a minor; Maureen, a fraught single mother taking care of her disabled child; Jess, a stroppy teenager who was left by her boyfriend (and sister); and JJ, an ex-rock god who feels like a failure-on-two-shoes. They “postponed” their plans after a few heated arguments and some cold pizza slices. But would their unlikely alliance be reason enough to stop them from retrying to take their own lives?

Unless you are someone who gets fascinated by hearing other people’s tales of personal anguish, this book’s gist didn’t sound appealing at all. But Hornby’s deft hands made it so that his story would work, and it did nicely, with a number of brilliant, unforgettable moments in it.

The thing I liked the best in this book is how Hornby executed his fourfold delineation of the characters’ voices. The narrators are so different in a way that not even some misery-loves-company magic would be able to bind them together. Hornby spoke effectively through their mouths like they’re honest, live people—so real-like, in fact, that they did not click easily together as friends even after meeting the way they did. Hornby didn’t detour to the formulaic “we’re going to be friends and everything is going to be all right” road, because he did not intend the novel to become a self-possessed echo of a self-help book.  Even though he can pull these people together to sew up some semblance of miraculous hope, he did not, and just let them be their own individuals. 

JJ is an instant favorite of mine. It’s not only because his issues are very relatable (they hit so close to home at the time I read the book) but also because he’s four-dimensionally human enough to feel shame about how “shallow” his problems are compared to others’.  He’s so embarrassed that he fabricated an incurable disease from the initials of his favorite band as his reason to commit suicide. Does being a failure in something you consider your “everything” equate to your life suddenly becoming disposable? Does it really mean it’s the end? Does it mean you can’t start again? The fact that Hornby didn’t need cheese to touch this issue is laudable.

It is quite noticeable how the story didn’t dig too deep about the common issues surrounding suicide, like how the usual novel about it would. What Hornby tackled is more about lifestyles and the human condition.

The storyline is as non-linear as it could get with four different people telling it. The common things your book report format will ask you for will not be easy to find, so if you are looking for a fast-paced story with clear climaxes and resolutions, this book will be a difficult read. 

I myself would admit that I had a hard time with some parts I call the “troughs streak” because they didn’t seem to get anywhere for a long while. The story then just seemed to drag, and when it happens you sometimes get tired to care about the characters, even if you like them well in the beginning. Your interest just starts waning. Fortunately, the streak did break at some point and I began enjoying the rest of the story again, until the (open) end.

For the record, the book has been translated into the big screen and the movie’s currently showing in cinemas. I don’t know how to feel about the “major recalibrations” they’ve obviously done to the source material (thanks, trailer), but I won’t react yet since I haven’t seen the whole picture yet. :)

___

For the curious, you may watch the movie’s trailer here. It stars Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul, and Imogen Poots.

(Reposting because I added a few ‘assessments’ there. Photo by Anty Diluvian on Flickr.)

For my current read, I decided to try a slice of non-fiction.
The Junior Officers’ Reading Club: Killing Time and Fighting Wars is the front-line life account of ex-soldier Patrick Hennessy. It follows his growth from being an arrogant enlistee to a fierce commander while fighting in the Middle East combat zones.  The title refers to the book club he and some of his military academy pals founded to stave off boredom and sometimes to ride adrenaline come-downs.
So far, the book’s good.

For my current read, I decided to try a slice of non-fiction.

The Junior Officers’ Reading Club: Killing Time and Fighting Wars is the front-line life account of ex-soldier Patrick Hennessy. It follows his growth from being an arrogant enlistee to a fierce commander while fighting in the Middle East combat zones.  The title refers to the book club he and some of his military academy pals founded to stave off boredom and sometimes to ride adrenaline come-downs.

So far, the book’s good.

SABRIEL. The first book of my favorite YA fantasy series—the underrated Abhorsen/Old Kingdom chronicles by Garth Nix—gets a new, breathtaking face from freelance artist Sebastian Ciaffaglione.

The top illustration is the covert art; bottom is the unused cover rough. Ciaffaglione got to paint the covers for ALL FOUR BOOKS in the series.Nix will be revealing his Lirael art on the fourth.

(Stop for a sec and let that sink in, fellow bookworms—we’re finally going to see Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen in all her ’necromantic’ glory! For more than a decade I’ve always wondered what Chlorr of the Mask looked like or what she was like before…well, before she got “lost”. She’s a villain I totally love, creepy golden mask and all. The US edition’s cover of Clariel was revealed last month. I admit, I was a little disappointed that she’s a dead ringer of Leo and Diane Dillon’s Lirael there. I mean the only difference is she’s got a dragon instead of a Disreputable Dog)

The new Aus editions will be out in September 2014.

I rarely prefer books with characters/faces on the cover, but I’ll choose these over the ones with charter marks on them. :p

ebookfriendly:

A word learned is a word earned http://ebks.to/1dhDquq

ebookfriendly:

A word learned is a word earned http://ebks.to/1dhDquq

kurkmantolumadonna:

Küçük P’m.

Oh, this reminds me of this “guerilla bookstore” that pops up in the sidewalk across our office building in Makati. I once picked up Le Petit Prince from their mat, and Kuya Joey, the seller, apologized and told me it’s reserved for a regular customer who asked him to collect The Little Prince books in ALL LANGUAGES he could find. He’d said yes, with no extra charge! I would like to collect them all too but it’s obvious I’m not going to be a priority even if I ask for reservations. Haha. 
Anyway, I’d blog about this bookstore soon. The sellers are very knowledgeable and cool, and their books are heavily discounted. :)

kurkmantolumadonna:

Küçük P’m.

Oh, this reminds me of this “guerilla bookstore” that pops up in the sidewalk across our office building in Makati. I once picked up Le Petit Prince from their mat, and Kuya Joey, the seller, apologized and told me it’s reserved for a regular customer who asked him to collect The Little Prince books in ALL LANGUAGES he could find. He’d said yes, with no extra charge! I would like to collect them all too but it’s obvious I’m not going to be a priority even if I ask for reservations. Haha. 

Anyway, I’d blog about this bookstore soon. The sellers are very knowledgeable and cool, and their books are heavily discounted. :)

What it’s like to live at a Bookstore in Paris
via Buzzfeed, by Krystie Lee Yandoli

“One minute I was a visitor just like any other, and the next minute I was welcomed in to this huge, historic community of writers and expatriates.”

One more item to add to my bucket list: visit this bookstore as a Tumbleweed. :)

On my Oz-sessed Radar___
There can never be too many back stories, dark-themed retellings, or complex revisionist reboots of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
At least to me. Admittedly I’m still reeling from a post-Wicked: The Musical hangover, and I can’t help but scour the ‘Net for spin-offs or books that the L. F. Baum classic spawned. Minus the rest of  Gregory Maguire’s Wicked Years books that I haven’t picked up yet, I’ve found a new series that I found interesting:
Dorothy Must Dieby Danielle Paige

“…Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.
What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas…”

No Place Like Ozby Danielle Page, Dorothy Must Die 0.5

Dorothy clicked her heels three times and returned to Kansas. The end … or was it? Although she’s happy to be home with Aunt Em, Dorothy has regretted her decision to leave Oz ever since. So when a mysterious gift arrives at her doorstep on her sixteenth birthday, Dorothy jumps at the chance to return to the glittering city that made her a star.
Setting off for the Emerald City, Dorothy is eager to be reunited with her friends: the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. But she soon discovers that in the time she’s been gone, Oz has changed—and Dorothy has, too. This time, the yellow brick road leads her down a very different path. And before her journey is through, Dorothy will find that the line between wicked and good has become so blurred she’s not sure which side of it she’s on.

_______
Dorothy Must Die will be released this April while No Place Like Oz, its digital prequel, is already available.

On my Oz-sessed Radar
___

There can never be too many back stories, dark-themed retellings, or complex revisionist reboots of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

At least to me. Admittedly I’m still reeling from a post-Wicked: The Musical hangover, and I can’t help but scour the ‘Net for spin-offs or books that the L. F. Baum classic spawned. Minus the rest of  Gregory Maguire’s Wicked Years books that I haven’t picked up yet, I’ve found a new series that I found interesting:

Dorothy Must Die
by Danielle Paige

“…Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas…”

No Place Like Oz
by Danielle Page, Dorothy Must Die 0.5

Dorothy clicked her heels three times and returned to Kansas. The end … or was it? Although she’s happy to be home with Aunt Em, Dorothy has regretted her decision to leave Oz ever since. So when a mysterious gift arrives at her doorstep on her sixteenth birthday, Dorothy jumps at the chance to return to the glittering city that made her a star.

Setting off for the Emerald City, Dorothy is eager to be reunited with her friends: the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. But she soon discovers that in the time she’s been gone, Oz has changed—and Dorothy has, too. This time, the yellow brick road leads her down a very different path. And before her journey is through, Dorothy will find that the line between wicked and good has become so blurred she’s not sure which side of it she’s on.

_______

Dorothy Must Die will be released this April while No Place Like Oz, its digital prequel, is already available.

My cousin Helen, who is in her 90s now, was in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. She and a bunch of the girls in the ghetto had to do sewing each day. And if you were found with a book, it was an automatic death penalty. She had gotten hold of a copy of ‘Gone With the Wind’, and she would take three or four hours out of her sleeping time each night to read. And then, during the hour or so when they were sewing the next day, she would tell them all the story. These girls were risking certain death for a story. And when she told me that story herself, it actually made what I do feel more important. Because giving people stories is not a luxury. It’s actually one of the things that you live and die for.

 Neil Gaiman (via jaynestown)

(Source: lupanthropy)

- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The best kind of books are those that are honest. Their love is borne verbatim from their author’s parental affections: word by word, they expose their very being for their beholder’s mind and heart.
Their honesty can become so contagious that you, the reader, gradually opens your heart to their pages. You shed a tear or two when the characters’ pain blooms; you laugh when they can’t contain the bliss in their chests. Their words send your pulse rushing, dragging you with the charging plot.
The reading experience becomes more personal this way. You and the books clandestinely share a piece of your souls to each other, and more often than not, the intimacy lingers even after the you have turned the last page.
The best kind of books are those that are honest; the best kind of books are those that are alive.

The best kind of books are those that are honest. Their love is borne verbatim from their author’s parental affections: word by word, they expose their very being for their beholder’s mind and heart.

Their honesty can become so contagious that you, the reader, gradually opens your heart to their pages. You shed a tear or two when the characters’ pain blooms; you laugh when they can’t contain the bliss in their chests. Their words send your pulse rushing, dragging you with the charging plot.

The reading experience becomes more personal this way. You and the books clandestinely share a piece of your souls to each other, and more often than not, the intimacy lingers even after the you have turned the last page.

The best kind of books are those that are honest; the best kind of books are those that are alive.

Review: It’s Kind of a Funny StoryAuthor: Ned VizziniGenre: Young adult, contemporaryMy Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 stars)
___
Novels that can snag a bookworm’s heart are often those that contain surprises worthy of a Forrest Gump chocolate-box quote.  They are often the new ones, the strangers in paper with a lot to offer. Our eyes haven’t explored their universes yet, so they can catch us off guard and shake up a gamut of emotions in us. Their plot twists, if done right, serve as special candies for the eager reader. 
If there’s such a thing as a bibliophile’s code of honor, I think one of its first commandments will be “Thou shalt never trade the experience of reading a new book for anything else.”
Holding Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story, however, made me realize there’s also something so mystical about reading a book that you know the ending of. 
I’m not talking about its literal ending. It’s not like I’ve read it before; it’s not like I’ve watched its movie adaptation before touching the paperback, too. See, when I acquired the novel it is new, but it’s neither a ‘stranger’ book nor an I-know-every-dent-and-dip-in-its-plotlines book to me. There are only a few things I know about it before I got past the flyleaf: (1) it’s about a teenage boy who spends days in a psychiatric hospital, and (2) it’s semi-autobiographical.
I also happened to know that Vizzini used to conduct inspirational talks in schools and other institutions about suicide. Even if you haven’t even read the back cover blurb yet, these tidbits are more than enough to know the novel’s gist.
Burdened with the pressure about doing well in a prestigious high school, young Craig comes down with clinical depression. He works hard—and overthinks—until one night he stops eating and sleeping and almost kills himself. Afterwards he checks himself in a psychiatric hospital and deals with his personal demons with the help of his newfound friends.
For a book that tackles depression and suicide, It’s Kind of a Funny Story is surprisingly light. It’s easy to fall in step with Craig as he relays his tale with an easy (if a little off-kilter and morbid) breeziness despite his situation. When he prattles about his Tentacles (a problem that lead to another problem to another problem) and his Anchors (things that he can hold on to), he does so in a way that was edged in something like confessional whispers. It’s not the “guarded” kind of biography, because in those you can tell if the author is trying to sugarcoat or gloss over some facts of the subject’s life. It’s as if Vizzini is talking to the ‘shrinks’ he likes, or friends that he has no doubts in trusting. I believe this is how open every book should be. I wouldn’t be surprised if writing this novel happened to be one of Vizzini’s therapeutic activities.
The other characters are colored streaks in Craig’s otherwise drab world of peer pressure and high expectations. It was a fast-paced read, and the narrator didn’t attempt to cram the pages with life-changing lessons. Because the truth, which Craig also tells himself, is that you can’t get better in a matter of days. Nor can your long-time beliefs change in a heartbeat just because you meet a bunch of persons you click with. The most probable thing to happen is that you decide to change. Turn over a new leaf, take a step forward in the right direction and all that.
After his stay at the hospital, Craig lists all the things he should try, all the verbs he wants to translate into actual muscle pulls and smiles and memories. At the end he repeats the word “live” in a string, like a mantra, and repeats it once again as the last one-worded line.
But that wasn’t the real ending, wasn’t it? The ending I was talking about at the start of this review was the one in the news and in many social networking sites: in December 2013, Ned Vizzini took his own life. Hearing that news bit made the book a little more heartbreaking because the last pages were showered with hope and new beginning. There is even a mild hint of a happy-ever-after down the long, long road for our narrator.
I can almost hear you guys: “But you should view the book as a separate entity from the author’s life!” Oh, but that’s what I’m doing. It’s not like I’m giving Vizzini’s life a review, it’s still the book that I’m giving stars. You just have to admit, though, that severing the deep connection between a man and his confessions (no matter how fictionalized) is nearly an impossible task. Vizzini’s sequel was everywhere, from the articles documenting his inspirational talks to the headlines about his untimely demise.
Because of its Unwritten Chapter, It’s Kind of a Funny Story may have sadistically ironic meanings now to many. Not for me, though. For the same reason, it will still pinch my heart and sting my eyes.
As for the promised rating—four shining stars.

Review: It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Author: Ned Vizzini
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
My Rating: ★★★★ (4/5 stars)

___

Novels that can snag a bookworm’s heart are often those that contain surprises worthy of a Forrest Gump chocolate-box quote.  They are often the new ones, the strangers in paper with a lot to offer. Our eyes haven’t explored their universes yet, so they can catch us off guard and shake up a gamut of emotions in us. Their plot twists, if done right, serve as special candies for the eager reader. 

If there’s such a thing as a bibliophile’s code of honor, I think one of its first commandments will be “Thou shalt never trade the experience of reading a new book for anything else.”

Holding Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story, however, made me realize there’s also something so mystical about reading a book that you know the ending of. 

I’m not talking about its literal ending. It’s not like I’ve read it before; it’s not like I’ve watched its movie adaptation before touching the paperback, too. See, when I acquired the novel it is new, but it’s neither a ‘stranger’ book nor an I-know-every-dent-and-dip-in-its-plotlines book to me. There are only a few things I know about it before I got past the flyleaf: (1) it’s about a teenage boy who spends days in a psychiatric hospital, and (2) it’s semi-autobiographical.

I also happened to know that Vizzini used to conduct inspirational talks in schools and other institutions about suicide. Even if you haven’t even read the back cover blurb yet, these tidbits are more than enough to know the novel’s gist.

Burdened with the pressure about doing well in a prestigious high school, young Craig comes down with clinical depression. He works hard—and overthinks—until one night he stops eating and sleeping and almost kills himself. Afterwards he checks himself in a psychiatric hospital and deals with his personal demons with the help of his newfound friends.

For a book that tackles depression and suicide, It’s Kind of a Funny Story is surprisingly light. It’s easy to fall in step with Craig as he relays his tale with an easy (if a little off-kilter and morbid) breeziness despite his situation. When he prattles about his Tentacles (a problem that lead to another problem to another problem) and his Anchors (things that he can hold on to), he does so in a way that was edged in something like confessional whispers. It’s not the “guarded” kind of biography, because in those you can tell if the author is trying to sugarcoat or gloss over some facts of the subject’s life. It’s as if Vizzini is talking to the ‘shrinks’ he likes, or friends that he has no doubts in trusting. I believe this is how open every book should be. I wouldn’t be surprised if writing this novel happened to be one of Vizzini’s therapeutic activities.

The other characters are colored streaks in Craig’s otherwise drab world of peer pressure and high expectations. It was a fast-paced read, and the narrator didn’t attempt to cram the pages with life-changing lessons. Because the truth, which Craig also tells himself, is that you can’t get better in a matter of days. Nor can your long-time beliefs change in a heartbeat just because you meet a bunch of persons you click with. The most probable thing to happen is that you decide to change. Turn over a new leaf, take a step forward in the right direction and all that.

After his stay at the hospital, Craig lists all the things he should try, all the verbs he wants to translate into actual muscle pulls and smiles and memories. At the end he repeats the word “live” in a string, like a mantra, and repeats it once again as the last one-worded line.

But that wasn’t the real ending, wasn’t it? The ending I was talking about at the start of this review was the one in the news and in many social networking sites: in December 2013, Ned Vizzini took his own life. Hearing that news bit made the book a little more heartbreaking because the last pages were showered with hope and new beginning. There is even a mild hint of a happy-ever-after down the long, long road for our narrator.

I can almost hear you guys: “But you should view the book as a separate entity from the author’s life!” Oh, but that’s what I’m doing. It’s not like I’m giving Vizzini’s life a review, it’s still the book that I’m giving stars. You just have to admit, though, that severing the deep connection between a man and his confessions (no matter how fictionalized) is nearly an impossible task. Vizzini’s sequel was everywhere, from the articles documenting his inspirational talks to the headlines about his untimely demise.

Because of its Unwritten Chapter, It’s Kind of a Funny Story may have sadistically ironic meanings now to many. Not for me, though. For the same reason, it will still pinch my heart and sting my eyes.

As for the promised rating—four shining stars.

Most Gaimaniacs must have already heard of the volley of good news about our literary rock star’s works these past few days, but for those who haven’t:

  • The Sandman graphic novel series is going to get the big screen treatment! Joseph Gordon-Levitt is involved, but it’s not disclosed yet whether he’s going to star, or direct, or both. (Two cents? I love JGL, and although he’s no doubt a dreamboat, I kind of don’t see him wearing the self-obsessed, broody role of the dream lord Morpheus.) Read more here.
  • American Gods will be adapted into a TV series, but no longer as an HBO exclusive. Read more here.
  • Anansi Boys will also be translated into the small screen by BBC. Read more here.
  • The Graveyard Book two-volume graphic novel adaptations will be released by HarperCollins this July and September. Read more here.

(Gaiman photo by Kimberly Butler at Parnassus.)

I finished this last week. The book’s like a pesky, potty-mouthed friend with an unlimited supply of dark humor. Filled my morning shuttle rides with head-shakes and chuckles. Full review to be posted soon. :)
How about you guys? What are you currently reading?

I finished this last week. The book’s like a pesky, potty-mouthed friend with an unlimited supply of dark humor. Filled my morning shuttle rides with head-shakes and chuckles. Full review to be posted soon. :)

How about you guys? What are you currently reading?