We Are The Same

Pictures are crisp. Wiped clean and powdered with fancy dust. Polished. Perfectly fashioned.

We believe it because our eyes don’t lie. They translate as truth. After all where did the phrase “I’ll believe it when I see it” come from?

But really they are only a highlight reel. A highlight from a long period of time. One happy moment among several miserable ones. One flashy smile before the argument begins. One vacation after eleven months of pain. They don’t show the in-betweens.

Writing however is not about displaying a highlight reel. It’s about being raw, stripped down and completely honest. It’s a place where the dirt becomes the welcoming mat.

It’s difficult and it hurts to bleed that way on paper, but it is authentic. The other upside is that it can also be therapeutic. Not just for the author but for the reader too. Maybe that was always the intention when the first word was written. Or carved into stone. Maybe that was what set off the billions of words that came after it. Words that have been and still continue to be put together in so many different combinations to bring us unity and resonance.

Subtract the visuals, the façades; the show we put on. Strip them away and take a good look – we are all inherently the same. From our head to our toes, we are the same. From our fears to our desires, we are the same.

I like that writing shines the light on that. It does not hide the truth. Even when flowered, the truth lustres between the lines. It does not present a highlight reel but it does highlight the uniformity of us all.

The written word has a certain power that brushes and pictures can never paint. So to my writer who stares at a blank page or refuses to lift a pen, I softly ask that you strip down in the literary sense. Bleed. Show us your innermost thoughts. The ones you are terrified to read out loud. The ones that stretch to the deepest pit in your heart.

Write and prove once more that we are the same.

mazerunner

Book Review: The Maze Runner

mazerunnerThe Maze Runner, by James Dashner
Series: Maze Runner Series
Published: 6th October 2009
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 384

Summary: The story follows Thomas, who wakes up in a lift with a lost memory of his past and where he came from. He joins several other boys who entered this world the exact same way. 

They are locked into a place called the Glade surrounded by stone walls that open and close at the same time every single day. The walls that surround them form an ever-changing maze, making it impossible to find a way out. 

When Thomas joins, strange things start to happen and others become suspicious of him. But he knows what he wants to do. He wants to be a Runner. To run around every corner of the maze and help them all get out.

 

***

With the movie adaptation out only a couple of months away, I thought it was finally time to run around the ‘maze’.

The idea of the Maze, the Glade and the things that happen within it make for a really good storyline. I have to say that this book is more driven by its plot than its main character. While I like Thomas, I didn’t really feel that much toward him, only that I wanted to know what was going to happen to him next.

As I have started writing a lot more fiction in the past year than previously, the idea of ‘showing – not telling’ is a big deal to me. I read books upon books to explore how writers translate that onto the page. Unfortunately, James Dashner hasn’t really taken that approach in this book. The style is pretty much ‘telling’ but somehow it still didn’t put me off. Like I said, this book is plot-driven to the nth degree – it’s brilliant.

As for the other characters, I really came to like Minho and Newt and Chuck has a little place in my heart too. James did a great job portraying their attitude toward their miserable existence in the Glade and I loved their lingo and mannerisms! Figuring out what they mean by reading on makes you feel like you’re a part of their little community. ‘Shuckface’, ‘good that’ and ‘Greenie’ are my favourites.

The Maze Runner is a page-turner and it keeps you guessing. With the UK movie release on 10th October, I think you should hurry to pick this one up.

The Hidden Complexities

The oscillating wheel that makes the watch tick. The endless components of a motherboard. The copious drafts, deleted work and lost words that finally make the book. The trend is to hide the complexity.

We lock it away, hide it from clear sight. Leaving it only for those intrigued enough once, maybe twice if lucky, to explore and pick apart; to attempt to understand. And they are overwhelmed, unable to expose their also complex brain to decipher; in fear that it itself cannot handle the labyrinth.

When finally enough synthetically-built courage forms to explore and research, their only solution is to simplify. Because the only way to understand is to make it simple. To categorise. To put into context and to make associations with something one can fathom. Something modest. Something artless.

We’re told a body so harmonized, each interaction of protein, receptor or cell perfectly in tune to produce life can only be understood if it was once reduced to a simple being that developed over time.

But complexity is irreducible.

It is always the complex characters that are most interesting. The ones that draw you in at the hint of a reason behind their actions, only to then do something unpredictable; never quite leaving you satiated enough to move on.

A perfectly aligned mechanism holding millions of minute contrivances in a tight space, each with a unique role that detects light, firing electricity to an equally multifarious structure that lets you read these words but also brings you colour, intensity and a picture. A picture that can also be examined, explored and unfolded into its own boundless complexities.

The detail that one might miss, but when caught provides a realised appreciation that stirs emotion and grips your attention. That is complexity in its beautiful form. Its only form.

We are respected with layers upon layers of complex lattices that surround us but sadly we choose to conceal and leave unappreciated due to our fear of complication.

But complexity doesn’t always mean complicated and so it doesn’t always need simplifying.

It is supposed to be convoluted. Elaborate and tortuous. So exceedingly intricate that even masterminds glare with wonder. That is what makes it beautiful.

Complexity is beautiful.

So it is with that in mind that perhaps there is a need to drop the veils and embrace the complex.

The Fault in Our Stars

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greenfaultinourstarsmovie
Series: Standalone 
Published: January 10th 2012 
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 316 

 

I think I’ll get shot for this, but I’m giving my honest opinion anyway. The Fault in Our Stars is a good book but it doesn’t quite match the hype it has been given. Sorry, don’t shoot! Let me explain.

So I’ve been putting off reading this book; mainly because I wanted to pick it up a mere few weeks before the movie release time so I would be in complete TFIOS-world. And I am glad I did this.

John Green has a poetic manner of writing books, his choice of words can undeniably move mountains and I am already a huge fan of his and Hank’s Youtube channel. However, having now read two of his books (Looking for Alaska and TFIOS), I haven’t felt fully invested in the characters. I feel bad for them from an outsider-looking-in kind of way but not in a KATNISS-OMG-WHAT-ARE-YOU-DOING kind of way. I love that his characters are deep-thinking intellectuals. I can completely understand that given Hazel and Augustus’ situations, they would be the soul-searching types, more so than their healthy teenage counterparts but I still felt it was a tad unrealistic.

Other than that, I fell in love with the couple’s connection and humour. I have no earthly way of describing my appreciation for Gus’ metaphor and having not understood seeing the ‘Okay? Okay’ business everywhere prior to reading the book, I now adore it.

As for the movie trailer – WOW. Full-fledged waterfalls. Especially at the ‘Okay’, my goodness and using OneRepublic’s ‘What You Wanted’, well that sure is one way to win my heart. I have a strong suspicion that this is going to be one of the occasions where I love the movie more than the book. I think it will be after seeing it that I will feel I can relate more to the characters, and feel the story has been brought to life.

Despite my reservations, I thought it was a beautiful book, I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, I give it 3 on the Crying-Meter and I fully recommend it.

confessionsofagp

Book Review: Confessions of a GP

Firstly – 5 stars on both laughing and Oh-my-God meters!   (key bottom of page)

 

Benjamin Daniels unfolds his experiences as a GP in the UK and his memories while training using a comically written collection of stories.

confessionsofagpWhile I literally had to bite my hand to stop myself from hysterically laughing on the train during my read, I thought this book was also quite enlightening on some of the issues doctors and patients face in the UK. How we can help our health system by understanding what is realistic to expect from GPs. When it is vital to go see one and when not to. And why perhaps they do not appreciate you turning up with an un-requested sample of your urine, and learning that you should refrain from saying “What’s up Doc?” no matter how tempted you are.

As a dentist (in training), I can understand the struggles GPs face, having to listen, sympathise, diagnose and potentially treat a patient all in 10 minutes. But Dr Daniels allows every reader from any walk of life to sympathise with them, as it is very often that we complain about their incompetence and lack of sympathy (though my sister is one, I am still guilty of this, sorry sis, I do defend you too!)

He gives the behind the scenes of a doctor who has faced a range of patients, even a man who had to be surgically removed from his couch. Sheesh! You’re going to want to read it just for that story!

 

Several favourite quotes in this one, but I don’t want to spoil the fantastic tales that they pop up in so here are a random two:

“Until recently I thought the Artic Monkeys were a result of climate change.”

“Don’t ever say What’s up Doc… It’s like saying – I don’t belieeeve it – to the actor of One Foot in the Grave.” (UK readers, please tell me you remember that show!)

 

Overall, a hilarious, light read and though it is based on doctors in the UK, it is still great for absolutely everyone, wherever you are from!

As I was writing this review, I found out there’s a ‘Further Confessions of a GP.’ When it comes to food and books –  I’m an always-go-for-seconds kinda gal.

 

*Rating Meters Key: Laugh and cries are self-explanatory. Oh-my-God meter refers to how many times I read a twist, was surprised, was frustrated at a character or insanely excited to find out what happens next.

Prisoners

Movie Review: Prisoners (2013) – Spoiler-free

Read on, no spoilers whatsoever, amigo.

The Basics:

8.1 on IMDb Prisoners

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski

Main Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, with Melissa Leo, and Paul Dano.

A dramatic thriller about the abduction of two young girls and their pursuit. Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), the father of one of the girls takes things into his own hands when he decides Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhal) isn’t following the right lead.

Review

This movie is simply a masterpiece. I was amazed by the cinematography, the writing and the rising emotion from the characters and range of my own!
The director purposefully unravels the story in increments, steadily turning up the suspense like a slowly dripping tap throughout the entire movie.

I’ve never really been a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal, but in this movie he completely won me over.  His frustration and attitude toward solving the case wasn’t overt, yet his heartfelt investment in it was palpable, making his character feel completely real. still prisoners

As for Hugh Jackman, I don’t think I’ve seen him so emotionally exposed since Les Miserables. You can’t help rooting for him in his quest for answers, even when his methods are somewhat unorthodox.

Answers to Qs you may have:

What mood do I need to be in?

It’s not a movie for when you’re just bored and want something to watch. It’s also not a feel good movie either.

It’s one where you ‘ll be completely sucked in and you need to focus because it may leave you confused as to how it all concludes and you won’t get complete closure (had to give a heads up).

So do I watch this movie or not?

Yes. Please do! It is emotion, distress and suspense beautifully weaved into one piece. It really makes you wonder what lengths you would take if you were in the same position.

Thank you Denis Villeneuve, my nails were fully chomped by the rolling credits.

insurgent

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (No Spoilers)

Don’t worry – Spoiler-free – Keep Reading!

Title: Insurgent (Book 2) insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: #1 Divergent, #2 Insurgent, #3 Allegiant
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 525

Release Date: May 01, 2012

Confused? - Read my review on Divergent. Then read Divergent. Then come back =)

What I liked:

I love that it picks up where Divergent left off; not in a well-obviously-it’s-the-second-instalment-of-the-trilogy-so-duh kind of way, but it literally picks up from the scene we left Tris in. Sometimes I need to live through scenes in full and with the way Divergent ended, I absolutely did not want a time lapse so thank you Veronica.

There is definitely some serious character development going on and I felt there was a certain shift in the air. I can’t say what kind without giving something away, but it was one that raised the stakes and got me guessing throughout.

 

What I didn’t like:

I had to keep starting and stopping when I was reading Insurgent so it took me a little while to really get into, but once I was – I was. (a little bit my fault and a little bit the book not quite gripping me completely)

There were many times where Tris’ decisions really annoyed me and I felt like giving her a good slap but it’s okay – I got through it devoid of violence.

Favourite Quote: “Cruelty does not make a person dishonest, the same way bravery does not make a person kind.” – Veronica Roth, Insurgent

Rating Meters*

Laugh-0-meter: 3 out of 5

Cry—meter: 1 out of 5

Oh-my-God- meter: 4 out of 5

Do I recommend?

Do I recommend?

*Rating Meters Key: Laugh and cries are self-explanatory. Oh-my-God meter refers to how many times I read a twist, was surprised, was frustrated at a character or insanely excited to find out what happens next.