Annihilation Book VS Movie

annihilation  annihilation movie tie in

I loved the Southern Reach Trilogy, especially Annihilation. I wouldn’t say the book is for everyone it is weird, very, very weird, but I was hooked. I was really excited to see the movie to get a better visual of the story, more than what I had made up in my head while reading.

I finally got around to watching the movie, and it’s a pretty good……..Nothing like the book, but good. I would say that the movie was rather loosely based on the novel. If you go into this wanting to see a movie that is exactly the same as a the book, you will be disappointed, so just sit back and enjoy the film.

 

**Spoilers**

 

General Plot

It seems to me they took the general premise of the book, and wrote a whole new story. The main draw to this book for me was the Tower, its mystery and suspense around it. The Tower wasn’t in the movie at all, I kept waiting for it’s discovery and it never happened. I was really disappointed about that part, I wanted to see the writing on the wall and the Crawler.

One thing that I thought was well done, was the animals. The creatures that people in Area X had transformed into was everything that I had hoped for. Hearing their distorted voices and seeing them all disfigured was pretty much exactly what I had been picturing in my head.

Area X

I can’t really say they changed Area X all that much since visually its basically a forest, beach and some swamp. Buuuuuut, the border is visible in the movie….. I don’t know how I feel about that. On one hand it looks really cool, like a giant bubble. On the other hand, I also liked the mystery of a border no one can see, like a giant scary version of a two way mirror, everything looked normal but all was not well on the other side.

They spent a lot more time in the movie out side of Area X, this did no go over well with me. That was the whole point of the book. If they had spent less time on an affair that never happened, maybe they could have included the Tower. These parts I just found to be annoying, I wanted to see Area X!

Characters

I thought the Psychologist and the Biologist were perfect for their rolls, while the others I found it hard to distinguish who was who. Unlike where they gave the women names in the movie, in the novel I liked the fact that they were only identified why their rolls on the team. I felt like it added something to the story. Since very little was given about their backgrounds they only way for me to identify them was through their rolls on the team. In the book it remained clear what each of them was there to do. But in the movie, it was very unclear what their jobs were, so the names didn’t help me (also the 5th woman went into Area X in the movie, so that threw me off quite a bit too).

Ending

Okay, now the ending. The ending in the movie had zero to do with the book. Where the novel leaves the ending open for the following two books to come. The movie, gives a more concrete finale, which still had nothing to do with the ending of the series even. I am going to say the film ending used some creative license.

In the end I am going to say I definitely preferred the books. But if you have no intention to read them and are interested int he movie alone. It’s alright, you are going to find it very weird and most likely when the credits start rolling you will most likely be saying to yourself WTF did I just watch.

I find it hard to compare a book to its movie counterpart when it is so different, but in the end I think it is best too look at these as two separate pieces of work. Enjoy them for what they are, comparing is just frustrating.

A Day Out With The Boys by John Ingle

a day out with the boys.jpg

⭐️⭐️

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is the story of John Ingle’s life and his ability to communicate with his subconscious. John goes through most of his life, giving examples of his subconscious mind helping him through traumatic events. It was about growing up with a mind that functions differently than what we are used to. John was able to override pain when faced with extreme circumstances.

I was drawn into this one because it is about human subconscious. I have a weak spot for anything about the human brain. I find them fascinating, and am always looking to learn some more about how they tick. Typically first hand experience is better than listening to a scientist.

The overall idea behind the autobiography I found fascinating. I knew nothing about having ‘two minds’, as John described it. He gives examples throughout his life including childhood, when he was able to block out the physical pain. As a child he did not know why there was not any pain, and even as an adult he didn’t understand it for quite some time. John did not shy away from discussing his experiences with doctors and psychologists, and how he became diagnosed with this ability. He also brings up how, even within the medical community, “dichotomies of the mind” does not seem to be agreed upon. Many assessed him a schizophrenic due to his description of the splitting of the mind. I found it interesting to see how it would feel from the inside to see the doctors disagree with the reason you are feeling this way. To be feeling off, and be getting the run around to different doctors, all telling him different things. I will say that this book made me think and I spent quite a bit of time on Google trying to learn more about this subject.

I did have some issues with this book. I couldn’t grasp the organization of this book – I spent a lot of this book confused about what exactly was he trying to tell me. There are many chapters: the first few are named, then they are numbered, back to named, and then it ends with another chapter one. If there was a purpose to this format it was not clearly stated. I couldn’t get into the writing because I couldn’t get into any type of natural flow. It seemed to be written as more of short story tidbits from his life, rather than following any type of order.

There seemed to be a couple of times where two chapters seemed to be telling me the same life story in two slightly different ways. Now I’m not sure if that is supposed to be showing me the two minds and their interpretation of the scene respectively, or if it was just redundant. But the information is different even though the same conversations are mentioned and partially quoted. This just left me more confused than fascinated. I think this could have easily been fixed by better communicating what the chapters were trying to do rather than just putting them sequentially.

In the middle of the book John describes something that is happening in his brain. By this I mean characters that are in his head. It was almost like a random piece of fiction wedged in the middle of the autobiography. I feel like he was trying to show us how his brain works and what happens sometimes. But this section was three chapters of these characters interacting, and I don’t see what I got out of that. I found myself trying to speed read through those sections.

The idea behind this book was good but, tell me more about brains and what it is like living with different conditions! There seemed to be very little information about how John’s brain works. I’m still not sure I understand what he means when he says he has two distinct minds or that he can communicate with his subconscious. I guess I was hoping for a bit more science. I know he is not a doctor, but overall this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting and it just wasn’t for me.

If you have read this let me know I would like to have a better understanding of this.

Dancing With Shadows by Adrian Churchward

 

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⭐️⭐️ ½

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is the story of Scott Mitchell, a human rights lawyer. He is arrested in suspicion of money laundering, and looses his job at a big London law firm. Scott has now made it his mission to prove his innocence, which leads him to a complicated adventure in Russia. Mitchell ends up stuck in the middle between the powers that be, being pushed in all directions. He must find the best way to exonerate himself.

I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a lawyer fighting for his own innocence. Once you add in the sketchy police charges and all the officials that have an interest in the outcome, sounds like a great read. Overall this book was entertaining.

Scott was a very interesting main character. Having a lawyer at the centre of the very serious accusation of laundering millions really got me invested in the story. I had this constant feeling that Scott was in panic mode, not understanding how he got into this predicament and why it was so complicated to get out of it all. He was a human rights lawyer receiving an award when arrested. How could this happen….and why?

The plot of the story had twists and turns. I had no idea which way it was going to go. With so many people influencing the outcome of the case, it was hard to tell who was actually on Scott’s side. Were the officials really trying to help or Were their motives selfish? This book kept me guessing.

The issues I had with the book that made this a two and a half star rating were the other characters. There were so many characters and new ones were being introduced throughout. I had a very hard time remembering who they were and what their significance was. It felt like I hadn’t even come to understand the characters’ motives before another one was introduced, and found myself spending a bit too much time trying to remember who was who.

Overall it was an interesting read but I felt like it had more potential. With all that being said, I think it could make a really good movie; the plot was great and having the visual would help keep everything straight I think.

The Sacrifice by Indrajit Garai

The sacrifice

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is a collection of three short stories, which all have a common theme of sacrifice in one way or another. It starts with The Move about a dairy farmer who sacrifices it all for his son; then The Listener about a boy who risks his life for his favourite tree; and finally The Sacrifice about a grandfather who gives up everything for his grandson.

This collection was very interesting to me. At first I was a little worried that the stories would be similar to each other and therefore redundant. No worries there, every loss was completely individual: the theme of sacrifice was shown in a great variety. They were all major decisions all for very different reasons, besides the fact that they were for family or a friend of sort. They were almost beautiful in a way.

One thing that I found interesting in the collection is that all the sacrifices were made by men for their loved ones, I think because of stereotypes: I assumed there would be a mother making a sacrifice for her children. I really appreciated seeing a father taking that role.

I find it hard to talk about character development in short stories, since we get thrown in the middle of a life changing event for each of them. But we are given just enough of their history to see where they started out and how they got to this position. So I think it is safe to say that in their own ways, we saw a change in the character even if it meant looking back rather than watching it happen in present time – which I found to be an interesting way to look at someone’s life choices.

The writing style was a little different from what I am used to, but I found that it really enveloped me into the stories. Garai’s writing has a way of bringing up almost hidden emotions. They are subtle. They hit harder than it seems while reading. I found myself thinking of the stories a week later and the feelings were still as fresh as if I had just closed the book.

If I had to pick one I think I would say my favourite story was The Sacrifice. But, to be honest they all bring something different to the table, and they evoke emotions in different ways.

Overall if you are trying out short stories and are new the genre then this might be a good start-off point. The stories are a bit longer and have a concrete ending. Even if you are an old pro, I still think this is worth picking up.

Enterprise Reporting: Can anyone ever really trust the news again? by Tom Chorneau

Enterprise Reporting

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is a book about deception. How a manager of a lobbying firm and his nephew could use the system to get their clients what they want, and what they were paying for, all right under governor Schwarzenegger’s nose.

This book was not exactly what I was expecting. What I had in my mind more of a fasted paced, almost thriller. I was a little surprised to see this story slowly unravel before my eyes. Yes, this is the story of deceit and manipulation of the media, but there is much more going on behind this cover.

The book starts off with a top political reporter who gets an offer from his uncle, something that he doesn’t feel right about (no spoilers). When you hate your job it can be hard to turn down cash for some less than ethical behaviour. The story then follows the reporter and his internal conflict. Does he take the money?  How could he be caught? Next thing you know, he has made the leap and starts running a website for his uncle. If they happen to publish a few articles here and there that promote the clients’ motives, that shouldn’t be a big deal right?

As I watched the scheme unravel, it really made me think about the media: how easy it could be to manipulate and to sway public opinion. Which bring the question as in the title, how much can you really trust the news? Can we see the subtlety? You can also  see how simple it may be for someone to leave behind their reputation they have worked so hard on for money. When it seems so minute of a deception, it makes it is easily believable. I don’t doubt that someone would take that risk…That people have taken that risk. But the scale escalates and it gets harder to hide and justify.

I couldn’t tell through out this book what was going to happen in the end. The character development was very well done. I could watch how his mind set was changing; ethical seemed to change definitions. I found the writing style really helped to tell this story. I wouldn’t describe the writing as beautiful or picturesque. It felt as though I was reading a news article at times, which I found really drove home the theme. I had mixed emotions about what was happening: I was a bit sad to see the character make compromises with himself, and to see his personal life suffer because of it all. But I also felt like it was true to the character and would have it any other way.

Overall I would recommend this book. I found it interesting and engaging. If you want to question the news pick up this book.

 

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m not entirely sure I am the right person to review this book. This book is about African Americans living in the U.S. Also, I don’t know what I can add to the conversation, but I hope if I can convince one person to read this it was well worth writing the review.

This is a non-fiction book written for everyone to learn about the race issues. Dyson talks about pretty much all aspects of race in here: from his childhood to the systematic racism in the U.S. He also touches on how we, as humans, can work together to bring true equality.

The book breaks it down into different aspects and makes it very easy to see the problems, and offers answer to questions you may have. It shows the common misconceptions surrounding “black-on-black crimes”. Dyson explains how social injustice has put many African Americans in a desperate situation, causing much of the violence. For example, he cites statistics on how many unarmed African Americans are killed by police compared to Caucasians. Hearing how African Americans need to teach their children how to act around a police officer in order to live through a traffic stop is heartbreaking.

This is a pretty small book for such an enormous topic. There is so much to be said, done, changed, and learnt. I have not lived in the U.S. and I am Caucasian, so I can’t say firsthand if the race issues are the same in Canada as they are in the U.S. However, no matter where you live, this book will teach you something about race and inequality.

It has now come to my realization how much denial people may have. Just because you aren’t racist doesn’t mean you aren’t contributing to the problem. Everyone needs to make an effort so that everyone has the same opportunities in society, no matter their colour. I think this book just helped me realize what white privilege really is, and to be respectful and give more credit to people whom I had no idea what they were going through.

This book is literally for everyone, to learn about another race, or perhaps to learn a bit more about your own. I have heard many glowing reviews from people of many ethnicities, so I hope that means it is a good representation for many.

This is an important piece of literature.

Carry On: Stan Zuray’s Journey from Boston Greaser to Alaskan Homesteader by Tim Attewell, Stan Zuray

Carry On

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A quick little recap for you guys. This the true story of Stan Zuray. Living in Boston, he was searching for meaning in his life. While his friends were being shipped off to Vietnam and then returning with injuries, emotional and drug problems, Stan decided his future would be in Tozitna River Valley, Alaska. This book will show you what nature can throw at you: good and bad from grizzly bears and famine, to dog sledding and racing. This is an amazing journey of heart and soul.

This is a great book. I find it hard to rate and review non-fiction/memoirs, but I settled on 4 stars for this one. My deciding factor…The story really stuck with me. It’s been about a week since I put it down and I still think about it.

The book starts off with Stan’s situation in Boston where his life was not heading down a good path. If he continued he could have inevitably ended up in prison. With the draft for the war and all the problems that it brought and his unstable situation, he decided move north.

Alaska, this is where the story really starts to gain momentum. I live in Canada; it gets cold up here(tons of snow where I live). But, that is nothing compared to what Stan was able to overcome. There is a monumental difference between living up north and living off the land up north. I found it fascinating just learning how he built somewhere to live, and the logistics of it all: cutting down the trees, prepping them, stacking and securing them into his new home.

The physical requirements and knowledge of the land is very important, which is pretty much what I would have expected. What I didn’t know, was how easily it could all have been lost. One fire and they almost lost everything. One bad winter and they could have starved. One bad injury and it could have been over too. There is very little room for error.

As I watched the story come to life, I felt anxious just reading about his life. Stan was saved after a fire had burnt almost everything they owned. An army base nearby sent up a boat full of food. While this saved the day, it was still touch and go whether they were going to make it or not. When Stan was attacked by a grizzly, and was rushed to the closest town to seek medical attention, again I had no idea how that was going to turn out.

Over the years they seemed to get a little more comfortable, earning a small amount of money selling furs in town while continuing to living off the land. Then Stan decides to race in the Iditarod. This is race that is nearly 1000 miles, going from Anchorage to Nome. Due to extremely harsh weather conditions, “It would remain among the longest,toughest races in Iditarod history”. From start to finish it would take the racers from 16 to 26 days to complete. Stan came in 9th place and won Rookie of the Year. His race time was 16 days, 6 hours and 44 minutes. The endurance and perseverance of the dogs and mushers is worthy of a book all too itself.

Stan’s story is fascinating, amazing, interesting, and I think for everyone. You will learn something, and it’s just a great story.

Animals do get hurt in this book, it is not done with malice, it was just the way of life.

Have you guys read any non-fiction about living up north? Or any suggestions for me based off this one?

You by Caroline Kepnes

You

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Finally getting back into some thrillers, yay…..Well one so far.

This is a thriller written from the point of view of a stalker, Joe. He is obsessed over a woman named Beck. He begins to work his way into her life, watching her every move and doing his best to become her perfect man.Meanwhile the woman is completely unaware of what he is doing.

This thriller had me on the edge of my seat. I was hooked right from the start. It was a different experience reading a thriller from the point of view of the stalker: it seems so much creepier when you can hear his thoughts and justifications.  The psychological aspect was really well done – the way he thinking and talking as if they were meant to be and everything else was getting in their way, or that what he was doing was for her own good.

The only part I wasn’t a huge fan of was how sexualized some of the narrative was. But then again, when someone is obsessed about another person like that. I think it may have accurate that a stalker would be focussing on sex. So if that makes you uncomfortable this book might not be for you.

If you like creepy creepy thrillers than I would say this one is for you. It was a little different than other thrillers I have read so it was really nice to see some change in the genre.

Have you guys read You, or the sequel which I have heard a lot of mixed reviews on?

I’d Rather Love Life Than Hate Cancer: One Woman’s Journey with Cancer by Julie K. Barthels

I'd Rather Love Life than Hate Cancer

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Thanks Julie for bringing it to my attention. 

This is Julie’s memoir about her experience with an aggressive from of breast cancer. She starts off with what her life looked like before the diagnosis, from training for a half marathon, to her career path as the Clinical Director at a rape crisis centre and then to a private therapy practice. This all started with a letter written in the middle of the night to her oldest daughter. Not knowing if she would survive, she wanted to tell her all the life lessons she might miss out on.

This is a 120 page book that packs a punch. It took me a while to write this review, I wanted to sit with this after I had finished it: I wanted it all to soak in. She starts off with a the process of being diagnosed and the stress of it all; but, what Julie brings to the table is her attitude. She took this horrible thing that had invaded her body and saw what this experience could teach her about life (in the end what it could teach us all).

The book is broken down into many chapters, all looking at different lessons she has learnt from the whole ordeal: acknowledging the negative presence the cancer is in her life, but then choosing to not to let it define who she is. Julie’s memoir is unbelievably inspiring. The whole thing started with her cancer, but the lessons she talks about are universal.

Although the memoir is centred around a cancer diagnosis and treatment, Julie brings it all back to how it can relate to generalized life lessons- how she came to love her body even with the cancer; the balancing act between the body, mind and soul; and how this pushed her to refocus on the things that are truly most important to her. I think this is something we could use some help with, a little more balance in our lives. Even when our world is turned upside down, there are still things to be grateful for. Whether it is in our own lives, or just gratitude for our families.

Christianity is a main topic throughout the memoir. She is a Christian, and this helped her through it all. A few of the lessons come back to faith, but Julie leaves it open to other beliefs. The God you pray to or not, does not influence what you can get out of this book. Obviously her faith is a very important part of her and has helped her to be a better person: helped her to see the good in life, even when you are diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. I am not a Christian, but I still got a lot out of this book.

Reading this book, gave me a sort of calmness. It made me want to be a better, more positive, more forgiving person. I made we want to look for the good in life, no matter what was is going on.

If you are interested in a short but powerful memoir, about cancer, and really just life, I urge you to pick this up.

 

Savage Joy by Robert Dunn

savage joy

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is the story of a an aspiring writer in the mid 1970’s. Cole has recently been hired on at The New Yorker, working in the typing pool, and living in a $90 a month East Village apartment. He then meets a neighbour, who is a musician and soon sucks him into the punk rock scene of New York City. This book tells the story of Cole and four friends and their lives around literary parties, band problems, and the city life.

I really enjoyed this book. It took me about two weeks to read it, but I don’t mean that as a criticism, I was savouring and enjoying the experience. I’m usually big on reading quickly, and I like fasted paced books. But this was a perfect slow burn for me.

My favourite part of the book was the atmosphere. Every time I picked up this book, I was completely enveloped into the time period. In my head I could picture New York City, mid 1970’s. The characters, the speech, the descriptions. It felt like I was there, which I don’t experience very often in books. For atmosphere it reminded me of the show Mad Men, the time period and the setting. It was great.

Savage Joy is a character driven book. The main character is Cole, the book primarily tells his story. Cole learning about the new life he has started in the big city, and now exploring this foreign world of punk music and the CBGB. It was so interesting for me to learn about the music scene in this way. We get to see it from Coles eyes, how the lives compare, the music world and the literary world. It seemed as though he was almost torn between the two, fascinated by the band, and his dream to be an amazing author. It also follows the stories of the band mates as well. It show’s the drama and stress of band members touring together and the power struggle between the members.

I loved watching the characters evolve through this story. The way they interact and their relationships changing. It felt very natural to me, new friendships change as people learn. Also there was a lot of new things for them: music, a tour, new jobs, there was a lot going on for everyone. It was a fascinating read all around.

All of the characters were so different, and they blended so well. A naive writer, relaxed musician, rebellious girl from a good family, responsible girl that looks like a rocker, and a young religious man exploring life.

Anyone interested in the 1970’s CBGBs should pick up this book. You will be taken back to New York City and feel like your exploring a new world.