Sunday, December 17

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer borrowed this book on audio from the library, read by the author. The opinions expressed are his and no monetary compensation was offered to him by the publisher. Cover art is copyright Puffin Books.*

This is the story of Mr. Fox, who feeds his family by poaching from three farmers. Naturally these farmers are miffed and come after Mr. Fox, placing his family and all his neighbours' lives in jeopardy.

What – an – idiot.

The three farmers are mean, mean, mean. They are also ugly. If there is one thing I have learnt from Roald Dahl, it is that mean people are ugly, and ugly people are mean. Still, these mean ol' blokes do work for a living. They may be cruel, but they are understandably ticked off by Mr. Fox's antics.

I don't sympathise with the mean farmers, but I don't sympathise with Mr. Fox either. He is too clever for his own good. No, he thinks he's cleverer than he is. His taunting of the farmers has dire consequences.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Fox are terrible parents. Not only does Mr. Fox put his children's lives on the line, but Mrs. Fox wails about how her children are going to die...right in front of them. She also tells them she would rather have them slowly starve to death than catch a bullet. Then Mr. Fox puts them to work on empty stomachs. And the prize for Worst Parents Ever goes to...the Foxes!

Naturally Mr. Fox's clever solution is to do more poaching from the three farmers. What could possibly go wrong? He even ropes in other animals to help him out in his criminal activities.

What is meant to make Mr. Fox sympathetic? Is it that he is an animal being hunted? Mr. Fox is a carnivore, killing animals left and right. Only those poor creatures didn't do anything to Mr. Fox. Hypocrite!

'Fantastic Mr. Fox' is the story of a fox that is in no way fantastic. It is a tale of gross entitlement that seeks to glorify criminal activity.

*I bet Mr. Fox would kill and eat puffins.

Saturday, December 16

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Chapter One

On the occasion of Jane Austen's birthday, I decided to read the first chapter of her most beloved novel, Pride & Prejudice.


Wednesday, November 29

The New Arrival by Vanya Nastanlieva

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer borrowed this book from the library. No monetary compensation was offered to him by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright Simply Read Books.

This is a book about Sam. That's right, a story where a hedgehog is granted a name that doesn't start with the letter "H." It's a miracle.

Sam has been ousted from home at only a few weeks old. Typical. Now the little guy has to find a new home for himself.

It doesn't take Sam long to find a place to live...but it does take him forever to find any sign of another living creature. For all Sam knows, he is living in a post-apocalyptic world and is the last of the living.

In reality, all of the animals in the forest are being trolls, creeping on him from out of sight. Every – single – one. They let this poor prickly plebeian wander through the forest all alone, desperately seeking companionship.

It's true, sometimes the animals are right behind Sam or under his nose, but he can't be blamed for missing them. Hedgehogs have poor eyesight. One of them could have very well spoken up, the savage beasts!

When he still can't find anyone – after struggling up hills and through horrible weather – he turns to drastic measures. Sam begins to pull out his spines to pin notes to trees. Don't ask me how he has access to paper or ink. I have no idea. I do know that hedgehog spines are not like porcupine quills. They are not easily removed and they are not that sharp. They also cannot get apples and strawberries stuck to them. Sam must be cursed.

Sam's story is a tragic one. Eventually the other animals decide to put him out of his misery and greet him, but by this stage he has already developed a serious case of trichotillomania. Sam's physical and mental health has suffered because of his loneliness. His new "friends" try to help him, but they can never fully repair the damage that has been done.

'The New Arrival' is a commentary on the harsh realities of striking out on your own. It is not for the faint of heart.

Friday, November 24

Where Are My Books? by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

In accordance with the FTC Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer borrowed this book from the librart. The opinions expressed are his and no monetary compensation was offered to him by the author or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Simon and Schuster.

Spencer loves books. Like many readers, he rocks out to a particular genre – water-dwelling creatures. This kid is probably going to grow up to be a marine biologist. Or a librarian.

His favourite books is 'Night-Night Narwhal.' When it inexplicably goes missing, Spencer flips out. I would! When more books start to go missing, he must use his ingenuity to solve the mystery.

'Where Are My Books?' is the story of an avid reader. It shows that in times of turmoil, it's important to not lose your head. Instead, put it to use! Also, to be lenient with people who steal yo' stuff. I'm not so sure about that part. If someone stole my books, I'd be miffed! Perhaps Spencer is just a kinder creature than I am. I regret nothing.

I feel that the book also touches on the importance of extending your reading. If Spencer had knowledge outside of fish, amphibians and water mammals, he might have been clued in earlier. I might be reading into that, but that's one of the things I took from the book.

I loved the shameless plug of Debbie Ridpath Ohi's other books, 'Naked' and 'I'm Bored!' I look forward to reading them.

If you enjoy 'Where Are My Books?' I also recommend 'The Snatchabook' by Helen and Thomas Docherty.

Monday, November 20

Wade Wilson’s War by Duane Swierczynski, Illustrated by Jason Pearson

In accordance with the FTC, Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer borrowed this book
from a nefarious individual. He held it hostage for many moons. No monetary compensation was offered to him by the author, illustrator, inker, colourist, letterer, or publisher. He could use some to pay for therapy. Cover art is copyright Marvel.

This was my first Deadpool comic. I am scarred for life.

Not because of the violence, or the language, or the crazy. No. It is because the comic book people played with my mind. They made me question my own sanity. I did not like it. They are the Weapon X of my life and this is my origin story.

The comic starts off savvy. There is intrigue and Deadpoolian humour. Wade is recounting his deadly shenanigans to some official stiffs. There are many scene cuts/flashbacks. New readers who know &^%# all about Deadpool get some insight into his origin story.

Deadpool is a special soul. He is a loony, a maniac. He is also aware that he is a comic book character and breaks the fourth wall. It is marvelous. These traits are all executed in 'Wade Wilson's War' – but then things get whack, and I don't mean Deadpool-fun-times [lewd pun redacted].

The narrative is psychotically skewed. This is expected from the mind of Deadpool, but this comic tries to imply that all of Deadpool's antics do just that – happen inside his mind. He is still crazy, but the reader is lead to question whether he is enlightened or just delusional, and the comic is full of conflicting information. Deadpool says this, security footage shows that. What is real? Who is alive? Who is dead? Is Wade Wilson just a crazy man who thinks he has superpowers?

'Wade Wilson's War' takes the unreliable narrator trope and [innuendo metaphor redacted]. If that sounds good to you, read it – but be warned. You may exit this journey with conflicting emotions and more questions that you can contain.

Am I real or a fiction? Am I free or a puppet? Am I sane or a prisoner of my own imagination?

I no longer know.