REVIEW: “The Book Thief” (2013)

“I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS.”

I’d give the film adaptation a 3.5 out of 5. If it weren’t for that last third, I would give it a higher rating because I did enjoy it and it is a wonderful film.

If you’re at all interested here is the link for the first fifteen-ish pages I wrote of my own adaptation for The Book Thief, keeping in mind that I am not a professional and this was my first foray into writing any kind of script/screenplay. Also note that I was ideally writing it with the mindset of this film being a three-part miniseries. Though caveat: it may contain spoilers, as it is a non-linear film narrative version of the story.

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REVIEW: ‘The Guardians Series’ by William Joyce

“I’m a Guardian. How do I know that? Because the moon told me so. So when the moon tells you something, believe it.”

My rating out of 5: 5

‘The Guardians’ series is available in both hardcover and ebook formats from Amazon and Barnes&Noble; the first three books are also available as a box set. Personally, I recommend the hardbacks just because of the artwork alone and how nice it is to have the books in your hands. One of the few times I will recommend getting the books and not saving money on the ebooks.

My thoughts on ‘The Fairyland’ series by Catherynne M. Valente:

I picked up the first in this series, “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making”, on a whim from Amazon when it was listed as one of the top Kindle books of the year — I was burning up a gift card, so I wasn’t too picky. Boy, was I glad I picked that book. It’s whimsical, brilliantly creative, and is written in a rhythmic style that just begs you to read it aloud. A pure delight from start to finish.

My rating out of 5: 5

REVIEW: “Eleanor & Park” and “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell

   

Being in two parts, in which this becomes almost more of an author review via two young adult novels

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Both “Eleanor & Park” and “Fangirl” are available in hardback and ebook formats from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. The collected works of John Green, “Romeo&Juliet”, “Special Topics in Calamity Physics”, and “The Book Thief” are also available in multiple formats from these two sellers.

Rating for “Eleanor & Park”: 3.5

Rating for “Fangirl”: 4.5

Brief thoughts on John Green:
He really does have a wonderful handle on the way teenagers speak and act — an apparently rare quality in the world of “Young Adult” literature. I highly recommend “The Fault in our Stars” (4.5) and “An Abundance of Katherines” (4) for examples of some of his best work.

Brief thoughts on “Romeo & Juliet”:
It is far from my favourite Shakespearean play, but it’s a beautiful piece, especially from a linguistic and poetic viewpoint. Because it’s Shakespeare, it still rates at a 4.5.

Brief thoughts on “The Book Thief”:
This is one of my top 10 favourite books I have ever read. Period. It’s brilliantly told — with the most unique and entertaining narrator I’ve ever encountered in fiction — with the kind of tragic beauty that only a top-rate storyteller could provide. When I finished this book, I was in a kind of catatonic daze that was to the extent that ‘book hangover’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. I think every person on the planet should read this book. It’s life-changing good. Giving it a out of 5 seems unfair to it — it’s beyond any rating scale.

A Note on ‘The Male Gaze’

So the male gaze wasn’t really considered a thing until around the second wave of feminism in the 1970s, when Laura Mulvey introduced the concept into an essay she wrote on “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Aiming specifically to highlight asymmetry of gender power within film, Mulvey stated very specifically that women were objectified in film because heterosexual men were in control of the camera and. I will add on to that to say it is not just that they contorlled the camera, but often that they also were the narrator of the story.

As a result, Hollywood played to the models of voyeurism and scopophilia, something which only added weight to Mulvey’s argument. It is a concept and argument which has subsequently become extremely influential in media studies as a whole, not just feminist film studies. 

So what exactly is the male gaze? The male gaze occurs when the camera — or the visual lens of a literary narrator — puts the audience/reader into the perspective of a heterosexual man. As a result, it may linger over the curves of a women’s body or any other physical aspect of her presence. The result is that the woman in then displayed as an erotic object both diegetically and non-diegetically. The man then emerges as the dominant power within the created fantasy, and the woman is passive to the active gaze from the man.