Thursday, 16 April 2015

Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankel

Hardcover, 289 pages
Published August 7th 2012 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2012)

My copy of this book came from doing work experience at Headline Review.

Blurb: "In the spirit of ONE DAY, comes a fresh and warmhearted love story for the 21st century. Sometimes the end is just the beginning . . .

Sam Elling works for an internet dating company, but he still can't get a date. So he creates an algorithm that will match you with your soul mate. Sam meets the love of his life, a coworker named Meredith, but he also gets fired when the company starts losing all their customers to Mr. and Ms. Right.

When Meredith's grandmother, Livvie, dies suddenly, Sam uses his ample free time to create a computer program that will allow Meredith to have one last conversation with her grandmother. Mining from all her correspondence—email, Facebook, Skype, texts—Sam constructs a computer simulation of Livvie who can respond to email or video chat just as if she were still alive. It's not supernatural, it's computer science.

Meredith loves it, and the couple begins to wonder if this is something that could help more people through their grief. And thus, the company RePose is born. The business takes off, but for every person who just wants to say good-bye, there is someone who can't let go.

In the meantime, Sam and Meredith's affection for one another deepens into the kind of love that once tasted, you can't live without. But what if one of them suddenly had to? This entertaining novel, delivers a charming and bittersweet romance as well as a lump in the throat exploration of the nature of love, loss, and life (both real and computer simulated). Maybe nothing was meant to last forever, but then again, sometimes love takes on a life of its own."

I really enjoyed reading Goodbye for Now. The premise of this book is that when our loved ones die, we would do anything to see or speak to them again. The main character, Sam, develops software based on his girlfriend's grandmother's email communications in order to replicate and create her conversations so that Meredith (the girlfriend) can continue to speak to her grandmother who had recently passed away. His one small idea expands and they then explore helping others to speak to people they've lost.

The book explores the ideas of loss and finding ways to move on very sympathetically and the implications of the software were very interesting, some of which I wouldn't have thought about. For example, the idea that people would get carried away with creating communications with loved ones who were terminally ill in order to speak to them when they're gone but in doing so were spoiling the time they had left with the person themselves.

However, before I put you off the idea of reading this, the book isn't all sad, there are funny and uplifting moments. I really enjoyed the style of the writing and the development of the characters and their relationships. The only downside of this for me was that the author added in one too many sad plot points (which I won't elaborate on).

This book especially spoke to me as I lost a loved one recently who I would love to speak to again.

I would rate this as 8 out of 10.

Friday, 10 April 2015

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher

Hardcover, 176 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Quirk Books

"Prithee, attend the tale so far: Han Solo entombed in carbonite, the princess taken captive, the Rebel Alliance besieged, and Jabba the Hutt engorged. Alack! Now Luke Skywalker and his Rebel band must seek fresh allies in their quest to thwart the construction of a new Imperial Death Star. But whom can they trust to fight by their side in the great battle to come? Cry "Ewok" and let slip the dogs of war!

Frozen heroes! Furry creatures! Family secrets revealed! And a lightsaber duel to decide the date of the Empire. In troth, William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return has it all!"

This was a great final installment in the trilogy of the original Star Wars films as Shakespearean plays! This kept all the drama and excitement of the films. I also found that in some ways I noticed far more by reading Ian Doescher's plays than I did when watching the films, picking up more of the smaller plot points. The soliloquys of the main characters were thought provoking, inventive and quite revealing.

I also enjoyed finding out more about the Ewoks - who doesn't love those little furry teddy bears? ;)

A final 10 out of 10 from me.

I also found out just now that Ian Doescher has published William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace which I will definitely be purchasing, so look out for another review soon.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher

Hardcover, 172 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Quirk Books

"Return to the star-crossed galaxy far, far away as the brooding young hero, a power-mad emperor, and their jesting droids match wits, struggle for power, and soliloquize in elegant and impeccable iambic pentameter. Illustrated with beautiful black-and-white Elizabethan-style artwork, [this offers] essential reading for all ages. Something Wookiee this way comes!"

"Many a fortnight have passed since the destruction of the Death Star. Young Luke Skywalker and his friends have taken refuge on the ice planet of Hoth, where the evil Darth Vader has hatched a cold-blooded plan to capture them. Only with the help of a little green Jedi Master - and a swaggering rascal names Lando Calrissian - can our heroes escape the Empire's wrath. And only then will Lord Vader learn how sharper than a tauntaun's tooth it is to have a Jedi child.

What light through Yoda's window breaks? Methinks you'll find out in the pages of The Empire Striketh Back."

I enjoyed this book just as much as Ian Doescher's first foray into the Shakespearean Star Wars world.

Again, I loved that the author stuck closely to the original film. This was another fast paced and captivating play.

I thought the author was particularly inventive with Yoda's speech. As most of the other characters speak in iambic pentameter, he wrote Yoda's lines in the form of Haikus to make them stand out as much as in the films.

"But mind the dark side.
Anger, fear, aggression - from
The dark side are they."

Yoda also looks spectacular in his ruff on the front cover!

10 out of 10 again from me!

"Our story endeth, though your hearts doth burn,
And shall until the Jedi doth return."

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher

Hardcover, 174 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Quirk Books

"Inspired by one of the greatest creative minds in the English language—and William Shakespeare—here is an officially licensed retelling of George Lucas's epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ’Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearsome Stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter—and complete with twenty gorgeous Elizabethan illustrations—William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike. Zounds! This is the book you’re looking for."

This was an amazing present! I love the original Star Wars trilogy and I think this was an brilliant idea. It could have gone so badly wrong but I thought it was inspired.

Firstly, I loved the illustrations in this book of so many of my favourite characters. Not only are they fantastic as artwork but it's also hilarious seeing them in Shakespearean style clothing!

The book itself sticks to the actual story of Star Wars: A New Hope very closely. The author is also very clever in the way he uses language to represent different characters. Most characters speak in iambic pentameter but R2-D2 for example speaks in his beeps and squeaks when communicating with other characters, but is also used to commentate on the actions of other characters by giving soliloquys and making asides to the audience. The Jawas are still incomprehensible and Han Solo is as witty as ever.

This book is clever, inventive and very funny and I wish I had thought of the idea of writing it - although I doubt I could have carried it off with such aplomb.

10 out of 10 from me.

"There let our heroes rest free from attack,
Till darkness rise and Empire striketh back."

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

I'm alive... and still reading!

See, proof that I am still alive!

It's been a very busy couple of years, including getting a job and doing some awesome travelling. I highly recommend visiting Iceland and Rome, but that's a story for another blog...

I have still kept up with reading - I think it would be impossible for me not to read at all - but inevitably full time employment has a rather annoying tendency to get in the way of undisturbed reading time! However, I have decided that I want to start blogging again as nothing beats reading and then sharing the books you love with people who love them too!

So I hope you enjoy my reviews and posts to come.

Happy reading!