Against All Odds and why you don’t need to read it?

Against All Odds and why you don’t need to read it?

Against All Odds is a 2017 novel by Danielle Steel, American writer who started her writing career back in the 70s and have been publishing books ever since. Her writing style is very simple and requires very little effort by the reader to visualize what they are reading. she doesn’t go into very little details neither does she create an environment where you get lost in which is the reason behind why I think Against All Odds is not worthy of reading.

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Yes, writing with a simple language is what modern readers ask for but not to the point of not having a point in the novel !

the entire novel goes around a family of five, the mother (Kate Madison) her two sons (willie and Justin) and her two daughters (Isabelle and Julie) and a bunch of side characters which only one of them who is Liam (a college friend of Kate) is important in this review.

so the story goes about how Kate lost her husband at an early age and had to raise the four children by herself and now they all are grown ups and having their own lives and living alone. this is a good starting point but how can you extend such normal life? by creating problems for each character of course and what is better than emotional and relationship-related problems? yes the whole novel is about how every single character in the novel (maybe besides the grandma and her friend) have relationship problems as their main life problem ! Willie is a guy of seduction and goes around from one girl to another, Justin is gay and with his boyfriend and their problems go around having kids and raising them. Isabelle(aka Izzie) is attracted to a criminal client caught with drugs and is addicted to them, yet she falls in love with him and marries him the first chance she gets even though she knows he doesn’t and will never get a job… Julie marries a guy who by Kate’s description is “too good to be true” and it turns out to be true (yes in multiple places the mother turns out to be true) and Kate herself finally and after years of being a widow decides to go out and see people and the first man she chooses turns out to be a french guy who has an “arrangement” with his wife and don’t live together anymore!

what I could get from this book was a couple of points that I will be mentioning below:

  1. kids will make mistakes even though mothers always tell them which way is the right way but it is of little to no help ! which doesn’t really fit real life events, many times children made better decisions than their parents and saying that mothers are always right is a very bold move!
  2. the novel tries to show how women can raise their children even without their husband, and as a person who have been raised by a widowed woman I can agree on this point. and the novel shows it in a good way.
  3. through the character of Grandma Lou the story tries to say that age is just a number when it comes to enjoying life as she is the grandma of the family yet she is the only one enjoying it to the limits.
  4. life will always be good in the end? this one is a very optimistic point as each kid eventually gets where they were supposed to be in Kate’s eyes which is kinda weird as is this supposed to be saying that if you go where your mom tells you to go you will be happy? if so, then this is even worse than I thought.
  5. the last and the most irritating point of the novel for me was when Liam tells Kate that if she had not married her late husband, he would have proposed to her later on but when she did, he decided to stick to the friendship they have and get married to another woman who dies during the course of the novel and then five months  after her death Liam confesses his old feelings for Kate and telss her he would propose in seven months if she says yes(the way he proposes is even weirder than the entire thing as he is basically saying I’m not asking you to marry me yet, but will you say yes when I actually ask you?) I mean, is it supposed to tell me that friendships between men and women is all but a lie and eventually it will either break down or become a relationship? if so then it is absolutely irritating me as I believe in the existence of cross sex friendships and don’t think it will always become emotional. if not, then what was the point? what did Steel want to tell me by Liam confessing?

the entire novel problem to problem without a rest. I think a family like that wouldn’t survive easily.

another problem I have with the novel is how easily big problems get solved ! Isabelle’s addicted husband dies when she is pregnant and after a while she gives birth to the kid and starts dating life just that easily. Julie’s “perfect” husband is a monster, beats her, threatens to kill her and abuses her, but when she runs away, after a while he just gives up and kills another woman ! when Richard(Justin’s boyfriend) cheats on him with a younger boy and then leaves the house. he gets accepted back into the house by Justin very simply. even when he catches him cheating there is the least argument happening between the two boys ! and Willie simply stops being a player around girls and settles down with a woman older than himself and they all live happily ever after ! If in Steel’s life problems are solved that easily I honestly envy her!

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the book has nothing to make me recommend it to anyone. yes if your English language skill is very basic maybe it will be useful as it is very simply written but otherwise there is nothing so attractive about the book.

in conclusion I want to give the book 2/5 stars and that goes for the second and third points mentioned above. otherwise nothing more to go for.

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Analyzing The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Analyzing The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

Anyone who is familiar with Gothic literature, knows that Edgar Allan Poe is one of the leaders in Gothic American poetry and story-telling, with masterpieces such as The Black Cat and The Raven, he always showed a dark-themed story. he also went quite brilliant on symbolism in his writings.

The Raven is almost always considered one of Poe’s most popular work and is loved by any Poe fan for many reasons such as the perfect description of the dark night setting and the amazing rhythm throughout the poem and all the symbols he used to perfect the image.

the poem is based on the story of a man in his chamber in a cold December night who suddenly hears a tapping on his chamber door and when he opens the door he finds no one but darkness facing him, so he goes back to his chamber but then the tapping goes to his window the he realizes that the tapping was done by a raven so he starts talking to the raven and assumingly the raven talks back to him with a very specific and short answer “nevermore”.

now if we open up the poem and go verse by verse, it goes like this:

1- the narrator is in his chamber falling asleep “Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—”  so from this verse we get the idea that the narrator was in a depressed mood in a cold and dreary night when he heard the tapping and because he had no expectation he only tells himself that it must be a sort of a visitor.

2- in the second verse the narrator indicates the timing of the incident, as he says it is bleak December, and also he tells us what he was doing just before the incident “Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow/ From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—” here we see that the narrator is grieving for the loss of Lenore who, according to the later line is a maiden. but we also need to keep in mind the meaning of Lenore in Greek is Light. so he was trying to use his books to cease or stop his sorrow of his loss of Lenore.

3- now he is telling us how the dark, cold and windy night is filling his heart with terror and how he is afraid but he keeps on telling himself that the tapping is only a late visitor and nothing more.

4- now and because of the previous verse, he feels better as he kept on telling himself that it is merely a visitor so he apologizes for answering the door late and he also shows that he is neither expecting a female nor a male visitor as he says “”sir” said I “or madam – ” so until now we understand the tapping is totally unexpected in such a night, also in the next line of the verse he tells us that he opened the door and found nothing but darkness behind it.

5- this for me is the most psychologically described verse in the entire poem. he simply says that he was afraid to a point of having so many dark ideas that no human before had such dark ideas. because putting yourself in his position would show you what the narrator must’ve felt when he opened the door to find no one tapping. this verse is so brilliantly written that it needs the least explanation to feel the terror in his heart, but we need to keep the first line in mind “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,” and the last two lines which he whispers “Lenore?” and a sound echoes “Lenore”. so we get the idea that the man kept on staring into the darkness and then whispered wishingly for Lenore ! which I later will come to.

6- then the man goes back to his room but now the tapping comes from his window and he tells himself that he is hearing a sound from the window lattice and it must only be the wind.

7- he opens the window, and a raven flies inside the room and lands on a “bust of Pallas”  now the symbolism somehow starts here, as ravens can mean both bad luck or death and wisdom and they also are considered as prophets in Greek mythology. also Pallas is the goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology (later I will link this with the name Lenore). so a raven perching on a sculpture of the head of Pallas.

8- so the narrator’s mood changes from sad to smiling, and then he starts talking to the raven by asking its name. and the answer he gets is only “Nevermore”

9- in this verse he indicates that he thinks the name has no relevancy but still thinks it is amazing that a talking raven with the name of “nevermore” is in his room.

10- the bird says nothing more and stays still on the bust, but the man tells the bird that he thinks he will fly and leave tomorrow just like how everyone else abandoned him for any sort of reasons but the bird, again says “nevermore”

11- so the man somehow understands that the bird can only say “nevermore” so he thinks this bird must have had a sad master who somehow said nevermore more often that the bird learned it.

12- but he is not convinced of his own thoughts. so he brings a chair, and sits in front of the bird and curiously wants to know what this bird might be meaning by saying “nevermore”

13- he keeps on guessing and getting ideas but he cannot convince himself of one idea behind the meanings of “nevermore”

14- the narrator finally starts hallucinating as he smells a perfume from an unknown source and hears footsteps of angels in his room and thinks these angels are sent from god to forget his sorrow of losing Lenore ! he yells at himself and tells himself to drink and forget Lenore !

15/16- the man gets caught up in thinking after staring for a long time so he gets unsure about whether the bird is a prophet or sent from the devil, if the bird is just a coincident or actually is sent for him, or if the bird came with news about Lenore.

17- he finally gets mad at the bird, he tells the bird to go and leave no trace behind, he wants the bird to go back to the devil who sent him, he wants the bird to go back to darkness of night and leave his chamber but the bird goes on saying “nevermore”

18- in the final verse, the narrator says that the bird is still there and not leaving, and he is still seeing the devilish eyes the bird has and assumes they’re from the bird’s devilish sender. and its shadows are on the floor of the chamber. and he finally says that his soul will never be lifted out of the shadow on the floor.

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Now if we add everything up together we have these, a raven, a bust of Pallas and Lenore !

now all these three things can be found in Greek mythology. as ravens are considered to be a sort of a prophet used by Apollo among the mortal world and they’re also considered as a sign of bad luck. and out of Greek mythology it is widely thought of them as signs of death !

then we have the bust of Pallas, the goddess of wisdom in Greek mythology and Lenore which in Greek means light !

can the narrator be talking about himself approaching his own death? firstly in the darkness he whispers Lenore? and he hears Lenore back from an echo of himself whispering the name. this somehow gives us the idea that the man is talking to himself ! we see that the man is not in a good form and he is not quite well. later the sign of death or the prophet comes which is the raven and lands on the sign of wisdom.

we understand that the man is not just any human being, he is a person of literacy as having a bust of Pallas in his chamber is not an ordinary thing for just anyone, so he can understand that seeing a raven, real or not. is not a good sign for a mortal specially when that bad sign lands on the sign of wisdom in his room. he keeps on talking “to the bird” or to himself in such a dark night and he starts hallucinating till he gets to the level of hearing angels footsteps in his room and smells a perfume from an unknown source and his final verse he speaks in a present tense. which somehow makes whatever in that verse in a sort of eternal state. the bird stays there and he stays in the birds shadows! with all that I think the man is approaching his own death and he does know about it but he still cannot convince himself that he is dying he does not want to approve of loosing the last “light” or hope of his life but just how December is the ending of a year, he is going toward his own end.

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove is a Swedish novel by Fredrik Backman (originally titled: En man som heter Ove) published in 2012, translated into English by Henning Koch in 2013.

The novel is set in Sweden and goes around an old grumpy man who is quite sick of everything, he lost interest in everything or to be more fair he never had much interest in much stuff.18774964

He is a man of numbers and tools not a man of imagination, he sees things through mathematical facts not ideas and dreams. He is a man of black and white not colors. A man of loyalty when it comes to cars and specially his beloved Saab. So yes that is Ove.

The story starts by telling you that Ove wants to buy a computer, and the it goes back to why he wants to buy a computer and then goes further back to the road he had to take in his life to get to such point.

The main story is when new neighbors arrive to his neighborhood and they drive over his mailbox and that’s when we get to know the main characters.

Ove wants to suicide. Why? [spoiler alert] because he lost his wife, yes Ove might be a man of black and white but he has a heart full of love when it comes to loving his wife a big heart full of love that it causes his death(not the suicide but he will die some other way).

The book is amazing and very nicely put, I loved the translation and the entire thing is just simple and I don’t know…cute?

You can almost imagine everything written in the book you are actually looking at a virtual reality sort of video, you can recreate their voices in your mind and even their faces.

The chapters aren’t too long to bore you down and the story keeps you going on reading as much as you can.

There are nice things to learn from this book and Backman’s way of writing is one of them in which he used a method of telling one story in two separate ways, a chapter talking about what is happening now and a chapter about what has happened in Ove’s past which In a way explains what is happening now.

How he fell in love with his wife, how he fell in love with Saab and how he fell in love with tools and so on…

I really recommend the book. It is really good, maybe the ending kind of strange and if I wrote it I would have done it in a different way but that is what Backman thought is good and he might be right, in the end even if I don’t exactly love the ending I have to admit it did not ruin the book it just gave it a touch of too much kindness and niceness that I don’t really like in book or movie endings otherwise the entire book is just a piece of goodness.

 

My rating would be 4/5

Reasons why Marvel is getting better while DC is going backward?

Reasons why Marvel is getting better while DC is going backward?

since the start of Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008 with Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk , Marvel have been improving from one movie to another with almost no failure , each movie is better than the one before and each year most of superhero fans like me will go like “Marvel can’t stop amazing me”. but on the other hand DC is not going on the same road , their movies in the last couple of years were disappointing . if we talk about movies since The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) which starts from 2013 and includes 5 released movies and five movies to come till 2020 .but the main question is what does Marvel have and DC doesn’t , to make this difference? why is DC failing the competition ?

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1- PLANNING :

both companies have released two to three movies a year lately , but they don’t work in the same way , Marvel introduced their characters in phase one ( 2008 – 2012 ) and in these years we got to know Iron-Man , The Hulk, Thor and Captain America and later an Avengers movie which puts these characters together and shows some other superheroes who we got adapted to them and later in phase two( 2013 – 2015) we got to see more of those introduced characters and to know some more such as Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy then later they started phase three (2016 – 2019) we already saw five amazing movies which contained an introduction to Doctor Strange, a rebirth of Spider-Man, the third Thor movie , the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie and the Civil War which was a Captain America movie. all these five movies were as good as their predecessors maybe even better and their plans for the next two years include the introduction of three other characters who are Black Panther, Captain Marvel and The Wasp. a second Spider-Man movie , two Avengers movies and the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie. this way of working made Marvel know what they’re doing and they surely made obvious that they have a plan.

But on the other side DC started with Man of Steel back in 2013 which was a good movie but nothing else happened till 2016 when they released Dawn of Justice . a movie which introduced the new Batman , in comparison to Civil War , in CW we already knew most of the main characters and those newly introduced were minor characters but in DoJ we were introduced to Batman ! one of the two main characters and this is never a good thing to do , people need to get adapted to a character before you put it in such a movie , later they released Suicide Squad in the same year , and none of the characters were previously shown . and in 2017 they released two movies which were Wonder Woman and Justice League. Wonder Woman was the first movie for the superhero and it wasn’t up to the expectations , we saw her previously in Suicide Squad for a very short period then we got to see her first movie . the same problems of Suicide Squad goes for Justice league as well , Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg are to be seen for the first time . this chaos DC had put themselves in, is in no favor to them and it just makes things worse. and their future plans are five movies which two of them are the first movies of two characters already seen in Justice League for the first time (Cyborg and Aquaman) also we will see Shazam and Green Lantern Corps which I don’t really know what to expect from.

Marvel first introduced a group of superheroes then they used these heroes to keep us going and to introduce other new characters as well , but DC introduced Superman and after 3 years , boom here is your Batman , Wonder Woman , Suicide Squad members, Aquaman , The Flash and Cyborg.

 

2- CASTING:

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A- when DC announced Ben Affleck as the new Batman , I felt bad about him , my friends all were saying that he would be great for that specific Batman but the man doesn’t have the characteristics that Batman needs , he wasn’t right from the first place and I couldn’t see Affleck as the man to fill Christian Bale‘s place . but that doesn’t mean he was the only reason why Dawn of Justice was a bad movie.

B- I thought Gal Gadot was a very good move from DC and yes she was fit to be WW unlucky for her the movie was not good enough to show how she was a good choice.

C- Suicide Squad in my opinion, had the best casting of the recent DC movies , I saw all the actors suiting their character but Jared Leto. fans had already seen Heath Ledger‘s Joker and satisfying them is hard as hell after what they saw.

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even though DC’s casting was fine , but Marvel chose their actors way more carefully , they went with fun actors , faces that can be funny when needed yet bold too. Scarlett Johansson can be as heroic and savage yet she can still be the hot and bright lady she always shows . we can’t see this in DC.

3- USE OF HUMOR

Marvel movies can be all jokes and funny such as Thor : Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy and of course Iron Man , but they also can be serious and gloomy too as we can see in Thor: The Dark World.

but in DC all we have seen so far have been dark movies , not much fun , everything feeling wrong . in Dawn of Justice we see people against two superheroes who are fighting each other. in Wonder Woman the movie takes place during the second world war !

but Suicide Squad can be an exception which we see a bit of fun which is supposed to be a movie about a group of villains getting together .

this lack of humor can be very harmful.

4-THE MOVIES

sometimes no matter who you cast or what you do , a bad movie remains a bad movie . Dawn of Justice was just a bad movie , the plot felt weird and the cinematography was not in place .

Wonder Woman didn’t feel right , something was missing and just didn’t feel right.

but do these problems exist in Marvel movies? do we see those pointless plots and bad directions and missing spots in their movies? no .

 

Book Review: Notes From The Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Book Review: Notes From The Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Usually almost every piece of writing by Dostoyevsky has so many moody and irritating moments and characters in them , and this novel is no exception. The book is the diaries of a man living in an underground room talking about how his life were years before.

He is a moody man changing his attitudes momentarily towards the other characters. 

From the very beginning the man talks about how he dislikes the society and writers of that era of that russian society, and in this we can clearly see Dostoyevsky’s perspective towards the russian society of that time.

While reading the book sometimes I just wanted to put it down without ever picking it up again. And when I finished it I decided not to read any Dostoyevsky’s works for at least six months , it’s not a long novel yet very mentally tiring. 

The underground man acts stupid somethings, maybe arrogant or even unbelievably naive but he certainly resembles some decisions by each of us. Sometimes we decide to follow people who has no respect . Sometimes we invite people to our shadows then later we realize the sun is burning us above them and we regret ever having them .

So yes Notes From The Underground was one of the most irritating and tiring books I’ve read so far, yet in a way I enjoyed it. And yes I had a special joy reading it.

I would go with 3/5

Wonder Woman : Movie Review

Wonder Woman : Movie Review

Wonder Woman is a 2017 movie directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot as Diana (Wonder Woman), Chris Pine as Steve Trevor and David Thewlis as Sir Patrick(Ares) .


The basic story starts from the childhood of Diana who is a goddes from the Amazons which is a land that contains only women and no men. she is well trained to be a warrior (the best actually) and one day she sees a man in the water surrounding their islands , even though she is told to leave him alone but she saves him and then their land gets discovered by an army which are chasing the mentioned man who is Steve Trevor. A spy among the german army working with the British government and he discovered that the Germans are working on a weapon of mass destruction which is a hydrogen based gas . And Diana who always thought of a fight with Ares(God of war[check greek mythology ]) thinks she has to go with him because this war is Ares’s work and she has to stop him.

This was the first hour of the movie it was a very slow introduction of both worlds amd everyone’s positions in the war . And then action starts with Diana coming to the real world of WWI and she companies Steve in his mission to create a squad to stop the Germans even though the officials tell them not to interfere. Except for Sir Patrick who privately supports them to go on. Which Diana later discovers that Ares is not among the Germans and the man who she kills thinking it’s him is not actually Ares. In fact Ares is Sir Patrick and they start fighting in one side and having a deep conversation about human nature on the other side. And in the same time Trevor decides on a suicide mission to fly the plane contains the gas and then destroy it on air.

Diana who is having some feelings with Steve is loosing the fight against Ares until she realizes that Steve has done it and he’s dead . Which angers her and she starts fighting with all her might and eventually kills Ares.

Points to talk about:

  • The movie starts with a very feminine beginning and later things heat upbut the introduction is so slow yet the action is so fast which neither one should be the way they are. The introduction needed some more details but less time and the ending was surprisingly sudden.
  • The way of communication or transportation between the Amazons and our world is not clear for example if people can just go in or out of the amazons how are they kept isolated for all those years? And if not then how did Steve Trevor ended up on their beach and how did he get out with Diana?
  • Diana’s surprise for seeing so mainstream things is not really normal . She’s a goddess who knows so many languages yet doesn’t know what kind of clothes she’s trying on and thinks she’s going to fight in a dress?
  • When they get in action that’s when things get a bit better for me as a story .but not so much for cinematography and graphics.
  • In the last fight between her and Ares . I kind of liked that fight specially with it including the conversation about whether humans deserve a help or not . If they deserve to be saved or not and the ending when Diana says humans have both bad and good in them and it’s their own decision what to choose.
  • I loved the tragic ending with captain Trevor and the sacrifice he took for the rest of the humans. I never saw that coming.
  • Even though the movie is nearly two and a half hours . Yet everything is going so fast . Yes I understand there’s too much to cover in that time but still. Things just pop up from nowhere.

Conclusion: In comparison to the latest DC works. I’m not surprised by what I saw and I never expected much better to be honest. The main question is , can DC impress us in their next works? Honestly I doubt it. 

For me the movie deserved somewhere near 6/10 because I know it could’ve been much better.

Spiderman Homecoming: Movie Review

Spiderman Homecoming: Movie Review

Spiderman – Homecoming is a 2017 Action,Adventure and Sci-fi movie directed by Jon Watts and starring Tom Holland as Peter Parker(Spiderman), Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes(Vulture) and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark (Iron Man).The movie is about the starting point for Peter Parker to become Spiderman which in difference with the older versions this is a highly technologically advanced and developed Spiderman , starting from the suit and all the weapons Parker could use against his enemies.

In the movie Parker tells everyone that he has an internship in Stark enterprises but in reality he has a training time to become Spiderman with helps from Tony Stark and his assistant to prepare him for fighting crimes and the plan is to start with very small daily things but he end up fighting against a gang lead by the Vulture and their crime is selling illegal weapons. And as it happens , Vulture turns out to be the father Parker’s crush which puts him in some awkward situations.

This Peter Parker likes adventures and he thinks he has more than what Stark thinks of him which leads to him doing what Stark told him not to do.

The movie is nice and quite simple and it’s funny to a certain point. In that scene when Spiderman tries to save the ship it felt like a remake of the train scene from Spiderman 2 (2004) . 

There were some sort of announcements like the new Avengers building and the ending with a line (Spiderman will return: be moved) all of these made the movie just a window to a new generation of Marvels movies (at least for me) 

With these being counted. I don’t think it can take more than 6/10