Pudge eating his first bufriedo in Looking for Alaska.
The bufriedo is a symbol of Culver Creek's happiness as much as the swan is a symbol of its misery. When Pudge bites into the deep-fried crunch, Takumi says 'There's nothing like watching a man eat his first bufriedo.' What's more, they stay crunchy even when days old and if Pudge and the Colonel abandon Waffle House or the meatloaf which is neither meaty nor loafy, they heat up a two day old bufriedo and remember the good times in Culver Creek. Because its not always good times.
Kurt Vonnegut's masterpiece, Slaughterhouse 5 came to mind first, but then I remembered Stephen King's epic time-travel book. If the date doesn't mean anything at first glance, it's the date President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The story? Jake Epping, an English teacher from Maine, 2011 goes back in time to stop the atrocity. There's so much to this book that I loved. There is a love story made complicated by Jake's mission and his ties in the present day which doesn't get in the way of the action. Then there's the mission itself and the all-annoying and devastating butterfly effect. I won't spoil how Jake goes back in time, but the origins behind it are amazingly inventive. Al, Jake's friend, is passionate about stopping Kennedy's death and he dreams of the possible future they could create. Saving Kennedy would prevent Vietnam and open up brighter futures for everyone. When Jake arrives in 1960's America, the world and characters are so believable and like Jake, you will probably fall in love with a time when the root beer was full, the kids danced to 'In the Mood' and the cars were beautiful.
Paper Towns 'People say friends don't destroy one another. What do they know about friends?' A quote from The Mountain Goats.
This is absolutely true. Our friends are the ones who can betray us, the ones who can hurt us and, as statistics suggest, can kill us. Trust has to be earned, and people can make it bloody hard to trust them. If you've been hurt before by someone you may have even loved, you're apt to hold your guard and study their actions far more than before and maybe never trust again. This is relevant to Paper Towns' air of mystery that surrounds Margo Roth Spiegelman. Q, the protagonist, almost destroys his friendships with the hunt for Margo, but he believes she deserves to be found and somebody should care. He's right with that one.
Odd choice, this one. Every book has advice and I could have chosen one about relationships and your own health, but Bioshock has the loudest advice I've read. Don't screw around with genetics! And I will shout it from the rooftops. In the underwater city of Rapture, scientists discover a sea slug that produces ADAM, a genetic miracle worker than can alter almost anything about a person from fire-creating abilities to re-crafting your face. This is a city stuck in 1960, face reconstruction wasn't at its best and ADAM allows scientists, weapons manufacturers, doctors and businessmen to use the tools to create a new genetic age of enhancement. But, with great power comes great catastrophes. When the people of Rapture begin to stockpile on ADAM, they start to degrade and lose their minds and with becoming addicts, they develop erratic behaviour and soon go insane. Then Rapture falls to pieces and everybody's scrambling around for ADAM in a world where the economy has died and all the big-brains who could make ADAM are now dead or dying. Don't play around with genetics, people.
Takumi's fox-hat in Looking for Alaska
Near the middle of the book, Pudge and the gang start Barn Night, the prank intended to hit the Weekday Warriors where it hurts. Pudge and Takumi's job is to light fireworks around campus to lure away the Eagle so the Colonel and Alaska can break into his house and send off report cards to the Warriors' parents. Takumi then breaks out his fox-hat and says to Pudge smiling, 'No-one can catch the motherfucking fox!'. Throughout the chase scene, the pair of them light more fireworks and once they're out of firecrackers, they get lost and try to find the barn. When asked where it is, Takumi looks at Pudge with his hat askew, 'The Fox is pointing left. So left.' That entire section, the Barn Night, is one of the happiest reading experiences I've had. Just four best friends doing what they do best and having fun the only way they know how.
Brave New World
Nothing beats Brave New World for its inventive thinking and terrifying alternatives to mundane life as we know it. What's more, it even seems possible that the science behind the book is possible. How can you ward off kids from reading books? Brave New World knows how. How can you eradicate family life and marraige and teach everyone that sex should not be taboo and be indulged at every whim? Brave New World knows how. How can you make everybody happy? Brave New World knows how. Aldous Huxley, in my mind, was a genius and someone who was way too advanced for his time. For me this is the ultimate dystopia book, maybe even utopia depending on how you look at it, and I heartily recommend this story. It's a world-beater, without question.
The Green Mile
Although, not quite the full on horror novel we're used to from Stephen King, The Green Mile is scary because of its characters. Life on death row for both screw and con is a miserable one, and Cold Mountain Penitentiary is full of lunatics. Wharton, or, Wild Bill is a prime example of the sociopath who has no conscience. The convict, Delacriox, who burned people alive, can be seen as a sympathetic character and somebody you hate to see die in the chair. Then you have John Coffey, the man convicted of raping and killing two girls. It's scary how in 1930s America, if a black man is being judged for a crime, he almost always loses and not only that, he has a heart of gold. Misery and despair are the kings of The Green Mile and there is almost no hope to be found in the story. And that's what's scariest of all. Even the prison guards are good people, but life on the Mile ruins them and in the end, they believe the God they worship will judge them for their roles they play in the story and nobody wins. Everyone dies on the Mile eventually.
Songs of the Week:
- 'Slowly (Oh So Slowly)' by Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band
- 'Air Mattress' by Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band
- 'To All the Lights in the Windows' by Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band
- 'Cabbage Town' by Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band
- 'Roosevelt Room' by Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band'
- 'I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore' by Rise Against
- 'Nobody's Home' by Avril Lavigne
- 'A Slow Parade' by A.A Bondy
- 'American Hearts' by A.A Bondy
- 'Chained' by The XX