Thursday, February 21, 2013

9. Life on a Rock

Life on a Rock by K. A. Albury

I read a lot of travelogues and have traveled to similar places myself so I was very interested to read this book when I stumbled upon it, unfortunately it didn't live up to what I had hoped for. A number of the exceedingly high reviews and comments come from people that seem to know Mrs. Albury personally, and I have to say that probably has an effect on their ratings. As a completely objective reader I did find the writing to be just OK, more in line with a travel journal a family member might write on vacation than anything. It also must be noted that much of the book really goes nowhere or accomplishes anything of real value, and many stories abruptly end or major events that get built up to and then are never explained. There are some small vignettes of specific events and happenings that are very engrossing and enjoyable, exciting even, but they are few and far between and get mired in a lot of repetitive bits. It also is very hard for an unbiased reader to not pick up on some glaring issues and themes. These are relatively well-off people that are not used to manual labor and actual work, and for all of the complaining and whinging it is hard to feel sympathetic. The author attempts to portray herself as a sympathetic figure but it just falls entirely flat. There are complaints about money throughout being tight but they buy a 19' Mako boat on a whim, take trips all over the place, own a horse, fly whenever/wherever they want, and more. It really is just a rich couple having to live like normal people, and still far above the level of most around them. That brings me to my next issue, and one another reviewer of this book mentioned. The portrayal and attitude towards the local staff members comes off very poorly. I won't go so far as to say racist as someone else did but that isn't far off. This book has some good aspects to it but on the whole it is tedious and tiresome and there are just so many truly wonderful books in this genre that it isn't worth the effort. 2/5 (Poor)

8. An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington

An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington by Karl Pilkington

An Idiot Abroad is an excellent show that I can't recommend highly enough to everyone. Rarely does a show consistently make me laugh so hard that I have to pause multiple times, every single episode. I also adore travelogues and love to experience new places and cultures myself. I received this book as a gift and had no idea what to expect going into it. Unfortunately it doesn't hit the same beats as the show in text. There were a few laugh out loud moments but few and far between and the whole thing seems a bit hastily thrown together, which I'm sure it was. Pages upon pages of filler phone conversations transcribed and some bits used and re-used in the text turned me off a bit. It does offer a little insight to some behind the scenes happenings during filming as well as some adventures that didn't make it to air but again it feels a little weak when all is said and done. It is an OK quick read for fans of the show, but I wouldn't go out of my way to read it. 3/5 (Good)

7. The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects

The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects by Mike Mignola

Mike Mignola is best known for his work on the popular Hellboy series which spun off into B.P.R.D. as well as a number of other projects. Lately he has dropped the artist role and focused on just the writing. I am actually not the biggest fan of his writing but his art can be absolutely amazing, which is why I have been going back and checking out a few of the odd-balls I missed in the past where he took on both roles. The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects is a collection of shorter works, some new and some reprinted. It didn't hit the mark for me in almost any respect. Some of the art is very good but it just doesn't have much soul or emotion and the writing is much the same. Bland. 2/5 (Poor)