The Fault in Our Stars is an incredible book by author John Green, published on January 10, 2012. The main character, Hazel Grace Lancaster is a 16 year old with cancer infected lungs. She goes to a support group regularly, when she meets a new kid named Augustus Waters, an amputee and former basketball player. Even though she won't admit it yet, Hazel falls in love with "Gus". Many obstacles present themselves, and Hazel and Gus go through many problems, but they still find themselves together. Two movies have since been made based on this book, one in 2014, and one in 2020. The Fault in Our Stars is a very popular and praised book by critics and young adults alike. The Manila Bulletin says; "Just two paragraphs into the work, and he immediately wallops the readers with such an insightful observation delivered in such an unsentimental way that its hard not to shake your head in admiration.". The lesson in this book inspires people because it shows that you should always make the most of life as you can, even when you're dying. You should live every day as if it's your last. Overall, I do recommend this book. It's very well written, and I think it deserves a 9.5/10.
Jim Henson's 1986 flim Labyrinth follows the story a Sarah(played by a young Jennifer Connelly), a teenage girl who looks to fanstansy stories as an escape from her rather mundain life. One night when she is particularly fed up with babysitting her crying stepbrother, she innocently wishes that The Goblin King, a supposedly fictional character, would come and take the baby away from her. To her horror, her wish comes true. Jareth the Golin King (played by David Bowie) visits Sarah and she begs him to return the baby. He tells her that her baby brother is already locked away in his castle at the center of a labyrinth. He gives her 13 hours to solve the Labyrinth before Toby will be turned into one of his goblin minions. What follows is Sarah's trecherous journey to save her brother. She meets many fatansical creatures along the way, all of which are puppets designed by Jim Henson himself, who also created The Muppets. Bowie's muscial talent is also featured throughtout the plays in several songs including "Magic Dance" and "As the World Falls Down". The product of all of these magical elements is nothing short of amazing. It is no surprise that Labyrinth remains a cult classic today. Seeing as this is my favourite film of all time it is only fitting that Labyrinth is a 10/10 in my eyes. This movie is perfect for all ages and is a must-watch for fantasy film fans!
Frozen II is set 3 years afterthe first film. Elsa hears a voice in the distance and decides she has to go follow it which leads her on a adventure of self-discovery which of course Anna and the gang join in on. I am glad we finally got a backstory to Elsa's powers. It was interesting to see the characters kind of chill out and see what they do when they are not facing great danger. While the songs were not quite as iconic as Let it Go or the First Time in Forever, they were pretty good. My favourite is Into The Unknown. Of course Olaf's dialogue was hilarious, I love Josh Gad's improvisation. And of course the animations were very pretty. One thing I would change is, I wish that there was more stakes involved. I could just be traumatized from my own childhood *cough lion king cough* This movie was a lot about change and transformation. and while I feel like there should have been more stakes involved and it was predictable I still enjoyed the movie.
By: Mateo Mazari
This tale is about a young boy named Nikolas, he lives with his father in Norway and his father travels far north to capture an elf for the king. The reward was 3,000 Norway coins, and as the months went on Nikolas gave up. He decided to head north and find Elfhelm, the hidden elf village.. I'd keep telling the story but I want those with a true Christmas spirit who understand the joy of the season like to go and read this book, onto the review ;)!
I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5, it was very imaginative and very well written though some of the grammar it contained was just a tad bit odd. The author has truly captured what it means to be a believer of Christmas, even when all hope is down and people have told you otherwise. Matt Haig, the author, believes that everyone should and could be a little happier during the holiday season, and that everyone no matter age, religion or anything, can be a believer.
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom is the sequel to The First Five people You Meet in Heaven, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven comes 15 years after the first book. It stars Annie, a young girl that Eddie protagonist from the first book died saving. Annie gets into a tragic accident and arrives in Heaven. We now see Annie's life starting from the end and see Eddie as one of the people Annie meets in heaven. We get to see what happened to Annie after Eddie died, and who she was. In addition, we finally get the full view of heaven. You die, then meet your five people and then wait to be a part of somebody else's five people. I really enjoyed the sequel. The way Mitch Albom writes his narrative with so many side stories woven in and keeping you on your toes by switching right at the good moment. This novel teaches you various lessons but also makes you feel good about humanity and the like. It is not a dense read, there is no large amount of unnecessary description. There are are many plot twists. I enjoyed the closure it provided and gave us a full circle perspective of Albom's idea of heaven. If you enjoyed the first book I would highly recommend reading the sequel and other Mitch Albom's Books
The Five People You Meet in Heaven is the life story of Eddie, the amusement park maintenance guy, but his story begins at the end and through following Eddie through his journey through Heaven. In Albom's Version of Heaven, you meet five people hat made some sort of impact on his life whether good or bad. By joining Eddie's journey we get to see the events of his life unfold and learn valuable life lessons such as people are interconnected andyour minisucle actions can have a great impact on people's lives. I have recently started to read Mitch Albom's books and quite enjoy them. I find them to not be overly religious or trying to impart his religious beliefs, but rather takes a different perspective. The way Albom writes his narrative is very compelling, concise and puts you right into the story. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a short but very captivating book.
Avengers: Endgame, directed by Joe & Anthony Russo, is the latest and most anticipated superhero movie yet, having already hit 1.2 billion dollars in box office sales. It picks up right after Avengers: Infinity War, leaving the audience on an epic cliffhanger. The Avengers that remain after the fatal snap by Thanos, which caused half of the universe to perish, must find a way to bring back those that perished and defeat Thanos once and for all. I personally really enjoyed the movie, it allowed for closure for many of the character's storylines and brought back moments from previous Marvel movies. I liked the comic relief that came after dark scenes, which maybe came a little too quickly, and getting to see all my favourite superheros finally come together. For fear of giving away spoilers, I will not say much more, but I do not recommend this movie to those that have not watch previous marvel movies, as Avengers: Endgame is much more of a conclusion rather than an introduction to all the characters and storylines. Overall, I enjoyed the movie and cannot wait to see what comes next!
By Benjamin J.N. Harrison
1934’s Novel with Cocaine remains one of the most mysterious and enchanting novels of early 20th century Russian literature. Very little is known about its author, who goes by the nom-de-plume M. Ageyev; supposedly, his real name was Mark Lazarevich Levi and he was born in Moscow, emigrated to Paris, and died in Yerevan. Beyond that, nothing is known, making this novel a clue of sorts; a clue that, when examined thoroughly, may proffer some insight into the mind and life of the anonymous author.
Novel with Cocaine is a bildungsroman telling the story of Vadim, a womanizing schoolboy and perhaps one of European literature’s most contemptible protagonists. Vadim is a character no reader will be able to like, no matter how hard they try; reading of his unjustified maternal hatred and his purposeful infecting of a girl during intercourse near the beginning of the novel is sure to fill every reader with disgust. Yet somehow, by some inexplicable force, the reader will persist. Despite the protagonist’s abhorrent nature, Ageyev’s novel is extraordinarily compelling, due chiefly to its philosophic, Dostoyevsky-style narration.
Novel with Cocaine is masterfully written; the protagonist, although detestable, is incredibly real. With sharp self-awareness and sardonic wit, he recounts his experiences leading to his adoption of cocaine addiction: his days at school, his love affair with an older woman, his experiences with prostitutes, and most notably, his relationship with his mother. Vadim’s widowed and poor mother is perhaps one of the most pitiful characters ever written; she is mistreated and neglected by her son throughout, and for no real reason. Vadim acknowledges how sweet and harmless his mother is, but he nonetheless hates her with every inch of his being. At the beginning of the novel, when she visits Vadim at school to pay for his overdue semester fees, he is deeply embarrassed due to her shabby appearance and pretends not to recognize her. In a later chapter, he beats her and steals from her to fund his cocaine habit, after which he takes refuge in his rich friend’s house to waste the days getting high. If anything positive comes out of reading this, it is a sudden obligation the reader feels to express love for his/her mother. Seriously.
Although in the title, cocaine does not appear until the last third of the novel, when Vadim is introduced to the substance by some older friends at a party. The habit that he develops leads to the most fascinating aspect of the book: its philosophic and psychologic reflections.
By ingesting copious amounts of cocaine, Vadim comes to understand his addiction, an entity that stems from the sole motivating force of humanity: “The reason behind human activity, as diverse as that activity may be, is always one: man’s need to bring about events in the external world which, when reflected in his consciousness, will make him feel happiness”. By taking cocaine, Vadim is able to escape his reality of poverty and fatherlessness and create memories in which he feels happy, however forged that happiness may be. The drug completely eliminates any need for action in the external world to bring about authentic contentment – and as perverse as this logic may seem, Ageyev makes it sound flawless.
While it is difficult to determine how much of Ageyev’s novel was autobiographical, his description of addiction is frighteningly convincing. The lengths the author goes to describe one’s first time with a narcotic substance, the horror of coming down from a trip, and the surreptitious anguish that gives rise to addiction, make one sure Ageyev dealt with that terrible plague of substance dependence himself.
Novel with Cocaine is not for the faint of heart; it is profoundly bleak, chaotic, and harrowing, yet at the same time mesmerizing. In a devilishly artful fashion, Ageyev brings the tragedy of addiction, as well as the internal and external realities of the addict, to focus.
Shazam! directed by David Sandberg is the newest DC superhero film. The film is about a 14 year- old foster kid, Billy Batson, who get superpowers that allow him to transform into the adult superhero, Shazam, after meeting a wizard. He has to master his newfound skills before Dr. Silvana takes them. Shazam! has been considered by critics to be the best DCEU movie so far because of its humor and coming-of-age storyline. Even though I did not know Shazam’s backstory at all before watching the movie, I enjoyed it very much because the audience got to see the villain's backstory as well as the superhero’s, and I liked the references to Greek & Roman mythology. I enjoyed the plot as it wasn’t a typical, “ I have superpowers I must save the world” plot, we get to see Shazam realize the extent of his powers and learn from his mistakes. I found it very interesting that Shazam’s original name is Captain Marvel, another superhero whose movie recently came out. Also Marvel is the name of the main competitive comic book company, so learning more about that was cool. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, I would recommend this movie to anyone that wants to have a good laugh and enjoys superhero movies.
A man with a noticeably long neck and a plaited cord around his hat instead of a ribbon boards a crowded bus called the S bus. Each time the bus makes a stop, his neighbor steps on his foot, prompting conflict. When a seat opens up, however, he takes a seat. Two hours later, the man is found with a friend, who tells him his coat needs a new button.
Raymond Queneau’s 1947 avant-garde novella Exercises in Style retells that exact banal story in ninety-nine different ways. Examples of this include the chapter ‘Cockney’, written as if told in a cockney accent; ‘Ode’, which tells the story as a musical composition; ‘Medical’, which explains everyday phenomena as if they applied to a doctor’s diagnostic criteria; ‘Onomatopoeia’, using words resembling sounds to narrate the story; ‘Comedy’, a three-act play; ‘Reactionary’, narrated by a politically conservative observer and; ‘Haiku’, which reduces the story to seventeen syllables. While many may see this as pointless and indubitably boring, Queneau’s book is nothing short of a triumph, demonstrating not only the vast possibilities of linguistic styles while storytelling, but also the power of language itself.
In a sense, Queneau’s story gains somewhat of a mythic quality throughout the book; by its mere retelling, the story metamorphoses from a completely average event into a legend of sorts, bound to secure itself stubbornly into the conscience of any reader. The reader is never given any reason to care for the characters; as a matter of fact, the reader never really figures out who the characters are at all. Moreover, the story itself says nothing interesting or significant whatever – it is as bare and trite as could possibly be. These factors should deter anyone from seeking in the story pleasure, but it remarkably does quite the opposite, with the tale becoming increasingly fascinating with each retelling.
Exercises is all about language and literary form; it thrives only as a result of its ambition in toying with different techniques and styles. Although a simple and quick read, Queneau succeeds tremendously in communicating his fervent love of language. The novel forces one to consider how they use language on a daily basis – what words they use, how they use them, how their thoughts are channeled into language, and how they build their narratives. It reminds one to consider their words more carefully and to explore alternate methods of speech and presentation. With incomparable zest and wit, Queneau’s Exercises in Style is an exemplary work of postwar French avant-garde literature and is bound to secure a place in the heart of every eccentric who dares open it.
Buy here: https://www.amazon.ca/Exercises-Style-Raymond-Queneau/dp/0811207897
Various insightful reviews about books and movies.