Humor

Book Review: William Shakespeare's Get Thee...Back to the Future!

William Shakespeare's Get Thee...Back to the Future!
Author: 
Doescher, Ian
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Having already listened to the audiobooks for the Shakespearean versions of the original Star Wars trilogy, I was curious to see how another beloved pop culture film would fare with the treatment. Get Thee…Back to the Future! had a bit more of a challenge when compared to the Star Wars stories. First, as the plot is set in (relatively) modern times, much of our technology had to be “explained” in Shakespearean format (e.g., a car is “a horseless carriage born on fumes of gas and flame”). At least the Star Wars stories seemed to fit in the Shakespearean timeframe a little better.

Despite this clash of modern and medieval, the transformation into Shakespearean form does end up working. I’d probably compare this to some of his comedies like The Taming of the Shrew , Twelfth Night , and Much Ado About Nothing , if for no other reason than the comedy of errors involved with Marty being hit on by his mother. I did appreciate some of the more heady references that were thrown in to make it seem more akin to something from Shakespeare’s era (the constant oedipal references were foremost among them).

One thing that seemed to be missing from the audiobook version of this was the sound effects and music that helped accentuate the Star Wars stories. Granted, Back to the Future didn’t have much in terms of sound effects. However, the music is iconic enough that it would have made a welcome addition. And by music, I mean Alan Silvestri’s score, since all the “pop songs” were addressed in the narrative and motif. Either way, it’s a short read and a fun little experiment to see how the “father of modern drama” can enhance (or ruin, depending on your tastes) our modern favorite films.

The Shakespearean comedy I didn’t know I needed, I give Get Thee…Back to the Future! 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Waste Lands

The Waste Lands
Author: 
King, Stephen
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Before I got into reading the Dark Tower series, I saw the movie adaptation. It’s honestly what inspired me to get into the books. While I was a little disappointed with The Gunslinger , The Drawing of the Three showed me the series’ true potential. Moving on from my favorite book in the series, we have The Waste Lands. It's sort of a mash-up of the two earlier books in terms of characters and plot points. However, it's ultimately less than the sum of their parts (and that’s mostly due to the ending). What strikes me with The Waste Lands is how it could have been better than it was.

Those who have seen the movie version of The Dark Tower will recognize a lot of scenes, if not a huge chunk of them. I can see why they cut the two most interesting characters from the film, especially since everyone ends up splitting off to go on their own journeys almost as soon as everyone finally comes together. And while I did appreciate the weird “robot animals” and the riddle motif, I was ultimately frustrated that this core group of four characters didn’t have more time to show what their inter-personal dynamic would evolve into.

At the very least, the strength of the overall series and the thorough and vivid descriptions of this fantasy world were enough to overcome my misgivings about this book. It’s still well done on a technical level, even if some of its better moments are likely to be explored in future volumes. The cliffhanger ending was a bit of a bummer, though, especially since it might be a while before I can get the next book in the series from my library any time soon. I’ll still read it eventually, though, if for no other reason than to see how these characters fare in their travels.

A great book with some wasted potential, I give The Waste Lands 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Chomp

Chomp
Author: 
Hiaasen, Carl
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Chomp is a book written by Carl Hiaasen. I would rate Chomp five out of five stars. In Chomp, Wahoo’s mom is on a trip working in China. The main character, Wahoo, and his dad, Mickey, get hired for a TV job. Their family is tight on money, and they are trying to pay off the mortgage of their house. While Wahoo’s mom is in China, he and his dad go on a rollercoaster of exciting events working for the show. It has a very exciting plot and swallowed me into the book. It is a funny tale about the love for animals. I enjoyed the character’s humor and how Wahoo reacted to tough problems. I loved this book and would recommend it to others. It is in a series, but it is a standalone book. I would recommend reading all of the other books in this fantastic series. The author is an amazing writer. That is why I would recommend Chomp to you.

Reviewer's Name: 
Hayden S

Book Review: Cookiesaurus Rex

Cookiesaurus Rex
Author: 
Dominy, Amy Fellner and Evans, Nate
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Cookiesaurus Rex comes out of the oven with a huge attitude! He starts out happy with his green frosting until he realizes that other cookies are getting sprinkles and more. Is he happy with his new look? See the different ways he’s decorated and find out what happens to him in the end. This is a fun book with colorful illustrations that help tell the story.

Reviewer's Name: 
Carol

Book Review: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
Author: 
Sanderson, Brandon
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians is a thrilling book about a teenage orphan called Alcatraz Smedry. He is passed along from home to home because he always breaks what is most important to his foster parents. However on his thirteenth birthday, an old man shows up claiming to be his grandfather. He kept saying that he was late. Because he had a talent, a talent for being late. And he tells Alcatraz that he has a talent, a talent for breaking things.

Alcatraz is sucked into a world of crystal knights, bad romance novel golems, and dark oculators. In each book he learns a little more about his family and his talent. Alcatraz learns about the hushlands and the free kingdoms and the evil librarians that want to take over the world. He finds out about the dark talent the talent that will break the world. And he finds out the magic of putting footnotes in a book.

This is one of my favorites because of the funny dialog and the narrator. it touches on some funny topics and includes evil monsters. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves magic and a good story. between evil librarians and reckless smedry's this is one of my favorate series. Alcatraz vs the Evil librarians is a steller book.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddox A.

Book Review: William Shakespeare's: The Jedi Doth Return

William Shakespeare's: The Jedi Doth Return
Author: 
Doescher, Ian
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Of the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. I enjoyed how there was some finality to the stories started back in A New Hope, and Empire Strikes Back. Plus, there were a ton of neat creatures (like the Rancor and Sarlacc) and machines (like the Speeder bikes and AT-STs) that grabbed my attention from a young age. Sure, I can understand the depth of Empire Strikes Back now that I’m an adult, but Return of the Jedi always holds that element of nostalgia for me.

So, how does the Shakespearean version of my favorite Star Wars story stack up? If anything, Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return is consistent with its predecessors, Verily, a New Hope and The Empire Striketh Back . I enjoyed the voice acting and the little changes that made the audiobook more than just a Shakespearean reading of the screenplay. Of course, having listened to three books of this fantastic mashup, it has almost overstayed its welcome. Almost. I still think it’s a genius fusion of two pop culture masterpieces, but at what point does it lose its originality?

Sure, The Jedi Doth Return adds some new bits like songs (which land just about as well as the “added” songs in the 1997 Special Edition re-release). Overall, though, I was a little taken aback at how little dialogue there was in it. Most of the action was described either in chorus or soliloquy, which merely highlighted how much action was present in the original movie. This is great for an action-packed conclusion on the big screen, but it doesn’t land quite as well on the printed page (or audiobook). Despite this, I still think fans of either Star Wars or Shakespeare (or both) should give it a read.

Another consistently funny mash-up of archaic speech and futuristic sci-fi, I give Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps

How to Give Your Cat a Bath in Five Easy Steps
Author: 
Winstanley, Nicola
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

It’s not easy to give a cat a bath as you will soon realize when you read this book! Mr. Flea, the cat in this book, is NOT agreeable to having a bath. The five simple steps that start the book turn into much more work than Mr. Flea’s owner is expecting. Enjoy this book and its pictures and learn what might be the best way to bathe a cat.

Reviewer's Name: 
Carol

Book Review: The Baby Owner's Manual

The Baby Owner's Manual
Author: 
Borgenicht, Louis and Joe
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

You might be shocked to learn that some men do read the instructions. There have been numerous products that I have purchased over the years which necessitated a read-through of the instructions provided. Usually, these were items of extreme complexity or of thorough interest to me to require fully understanding the items before beginning to use them. The Baby Owner’s Manual might seem like a humorous fusion of a parenting book with a repair manual for a vehicle, but somehow the fusion of these two works better than I would have ever expected.

Published by Quirk Books (who have created other genius mash-ups like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Shakespeare’s Star Wars ), The Baby Owner’s Manual takes the complicated and frightening task of keeping a newborn alive and presents the necessary information in a format that any guy can understand. In fact, aside from a few choice substitutions that make a baby seem more like a car than a human, I’d probably keep this book as a useful reference any time something I don’t know how to handle comes up. This will likely be often considering my first child is due near the end of the year.

The only qualm I might have with this book is that some studies have come out since 2003 that have changed a few suggestions the book gives these new parents. Of course, any well-prepared parents will probably be able to pick these inconsistencies out and follow the more current recommendations. In the
end, though, the direct and straightforward method this book uses to convey its information makes it far more useful than just as a gag gift (I’m looking at you, How to Traumatize Your Children).

An instruction manual every man should read, I give The Baby Owner’s Manual 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back

William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back
Author: 
Doescher, Ian
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I said it for my review of Shakespeare’s Star Wars , and I’ll say it again: this combination of old verbiage and meter with popular science fiction is a match made in heaven. The follow-up to the first part of the original trilogy, Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back continues to be an amusing exercise that anyone who loves Shakespeare and/or Star Wars will enjoy. Some consider Empire to be the best part of the original trilogy, and its adherence to the plot won’t disappoint. Additionally, the audiobook version continues to use music, sound effects, and voice acting to recreate an experience as close to the source material as possible.

While the audiobook did provide a robust experience of the text (especially the voice actors who recreated Han Solo and C-3PO’s speech patterns), the author’s explanation at the end made me realize there were some aspects that weren’t quite as clear as they would have been if I had just read the book normally. For instance, Yoda’s typically backward speech wasn’t as backward as I would have thought—mostly because the Shakespearean cadence sounds a little backward. Instead, Yoda spoke in haiku, which I’m sure would have been more evident if I was reading the words on the page.

As I mentioned above, Empire is the favorite of many Star Wars fans. However, I’m one of the rare few (like the author) who find Return of the Jedi to be their favorite of these first three films. Consequently, since this book held close to the original plot, it seemed to sag a little between the opening act on Hoth and the third act in Cloud City. At least the added soliloquies from ancillary characters like the AT-AT walkers, random Stormtroopers, and the dangerous creatures of the universe added in some humorous elements to the narrative that weren’t strictly canon.

A fantastic audiobook that still might require a read-through, I give Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Interrupting Chicken

Interrupting Chicken
Author: 
Stein, David Ezra
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Papa is trying to read little red chicken a story at bedtime, but she keeps interrupting. She can’t help herself! She inserts herself into the story of Hansel & Gretel. She jumps into the story of Little Red Riding Hood. She changes the story of Chicken Little. Will little red chicken ever stop interrupting and go to sleep? Find out when you read this story.

Reviewer's Name: 
Carol

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Humor