Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Go Set A Watchman: A Humble Book Review From a Humble Reader

Writing a review for this book was a bit challenging. First because of so much controversy that surrounds the book's publication and secondly the many bad reviews the book is getting. In a nutshell people are pissed about some of their favorite characters turned into something completely different from what they thought they were.  It is no secret that Atticus Finch the beloved father of  Scout in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird is now a huge racist in Go Set A Watchman and that's not the only thing that has fans of the original book upset. As a reader I find that what most people are upset about the book is that a hero, like Atticus who stood up for a black man accused of rape in To Kill A Mockingbird, isn't as perfect as they thought he was and the same goes for some of the characters in the book. I too was shocked when I first heard that Atticus was a racist in the new novel because I remember loving what Atticus stood for and thought of him as a better man. I even went ahead and thought to cancel my preorder of the book for that reason but I thought better than that. And yes To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorite novels and unlike most of you, I chose not to read it during high school (because screw the man and how dare they make read a book!). I read To Kill A Mockingbird after high school and I'm glad I did because I appreciated it more. So what do I think of Go Set A Watchman? Before I begin my humble review I should say two things. One: that I choose to read this book despite the controversy surrounding it because I like to judge the book for myself in the end. Two: I consider this novel to be a sequel to Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird. Yes I know that GSAW is supposedly the first draft of TKAM and was later changed into the original work. Despite that I choose to consider this book to be a sequel so this review is coming from that point of view. And why not a sequel? Everything is getting a sequel and a reboot so why not American classics? Star Wars is getting a sequel, it wouldn't surprise me if The Catcher in the Rye got a sequel out of nowhere. Lets get on with the review.

Some of my summer reads with Lego Indy
GSAW is set during the 1950's, The novel begins with Scout now a young woman of 26 and using her birth name of Jean Louise, coming home to Maycomb, Alabama. She comes home and finds things to be different when she left. The reader experiences those changes through Scout as she walks through Maycomb County. Atticus now lives with his sister and aunt to Scout, Alexandra. We also meet Hank who is Atticus' right hand man and childhood friend/ boyfriend of Scout. Yes Scout has a boyfriend which means our Scout is grown up (duh). The plot thickens when Scout starts exploring around her changed town and finds that Atticus is not what she thought he was along with some of the townspeople (racist). The book is easy to read and can be read within 2-3 days with only 278 pages and thick fonts. But let us get down to the good part (or bad part).

Going back to the question: did I like GSAW? I can see why most people dont like it. As I stated in the beginning, the biggest beef most people are having is accepting that heroes aren't perfect. Yes I really enjoyed reading GSAW for many reasons. One of them has to do with Atticus. Atticus is old now suffering from arthritis but the biggest thing is that Atticus is a racist who joins a committee who fights for segregation between the blacks and whites. Atticus believes that "mixing" is wrong and can be the downfall of many things and it is even hinted that he may have been in meetings of the KKK. While I completely do not agree with what Atticus is saying, I liked seeing Atticus not be the hero of this story like in TKAM. This is the heart crushing below die hard fans of TKAM felt and the reader who has read that work feels all the feels through Scout who is crushed to learn the truth behind her father. This makes me think of everyone who said that they would not read GSAW because of Atticus being a racist and all who were crushed about Atticus who was a hero to them who looked up to Atticus; they all felt the crush Scout felt. I wasn't crushed but did see the disappointment through Scout. Here is a little girl who loved and looked up to her father only to find out that he wasn't perfect and it's especially hurtful since Atticus is all Scout has. Dill and Jem are gone and the only connection to Scout's past is Atticus, Aunt Alexandra, Hank and Dr. Finch (Scout's uncle). I liked this part about the book because it teaches us that no matter who our heroes are, they aren't always what they appear to be and aren't perfect. It's like Atticus turned to the Dark Side and Scout has to deal with it. Really heart breaking which I just felt and liked alot.

Another thing I liked about the book was that within all the changes that have happened, Scout is still that lovable tomboy we know from TKAM and then some. Scout is strong and stands up to here father. She has grown (probably because she has lived in New York for a while now) and she knows where she stands in her life and like she says she is colorblind. That can be a good thing for some and bad for others. but Scout knows what she is and that is something I liked.

The writing style of the book feels like it is Harper Lee and immediately sucks you into the world and story. Some parts are shabby but can be overlooked. Some editing could have gone into it which does make it seem like this is a first draft of something that once was and could have been the original. Lee transmits the reader to Scouts childhood and back to the present making things beautiful and even more heartbreaking when we get to the realization of Atticus' change. One part that I just really did not like was the introduction Dr. Finch(the uncle) who I can not remember if he shows up in TKAM. To me Dr. Finch felt out of place like something from Alice in Wonderland. The man is strange and most of the time I didn't know what he was talking about, even Scout expresses her annoyance at her uncle making no to little sense. Near the ending Dr. Finch tries to give Scout some meaningful advice but I felt like I waited to long to hear it and never got anything. I honestly hated the parts with Dr. Finch and that is saying a lot considering this book has many causes to hate. He spoke in riddles and the answer was never there. Maybe that was just me.

I don't know if this book was really Harper Lee's first draft of TKAM or written entirely new or even someone else's writing. But to me it does feel like Lee's own words and the message is strong. Racism is a hot topic in todays society and I feel like GSAW is important. It shows us the nasty sides of what people can become and how we can stand up to them. I don't know if GSAW will be the new TKAM of our generation but it certainly has a strong and emotional message. Will it ever be better than TKAM? Hell no. TKAM is a classic but GSAW is a great read regardless. To me GSAW is a sequel but you the reader can always decide what you make of this read. Reading GSAW I remembered a quote from The Dark Knight when Harvey Dent says "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain." Atticus is what Dent was saying. Truer words could not have been said from Two-Face himself.

So what do I give GSAM?
 The book has tons of controversy  and as I stated in the beginning people are mad about a hero who isn't what they expected them to be. The book is a great read and I truly enjoyed it. I feel that this book can be strong in many parts while in some it could use a little more work but I'm glad TKAM is the original work. I hated the character of Dr. Finch because he felt out of place but everyone else is good. Here's my rating for

Go Set A Watchman:
8 Koopa Shells out of 10
It's sad and heartbreaking but at the same time shows a real side to things and serves as a reality check.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Geek's Quest For Star Wars Expanded Universe Part 1

It wasn't too long since I talked about the future of the Star Wars expanded universe (or EU). It's been a while since we all knew that Star Wars was taken over by that big rat, oops sorry I am being told it's a mouse (sike), Disney. And when Disney finally bought the Star Wars franchise along with the Indiana Jones franchise things haven't gone so well with Star Wars fans. Yes we are getting some new Star Wars films for the next few years but at a great cost. All of the Star Wars EU has been thrown away causing a huge problem for hardcore EU fans. From Disney's point of view, the EU does limit their creativity since the EU expands hundreds of years after Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi. So now Disney took all those books, 161 Star Wars EU books and said they are no longer canon. Disney is now producing their own Star Wars EU books and quite frankly it is not too impressive. See all the old EU is being reprinted but under a banner called Legends, which in other
words mean "Hey this stuff you are reading is a waste of time and is not canon. Read our offical Disney Star Wars canon." Well thats how I see it. And this is where I start my journey: a journey to get all of the Star Wars Expanded Universe books without the "Legends" banner and that horrible Disney logo next to the Lucasfilm logo.

I hate that Disney has taking over and completely trashed the Star Wars EU. To me it is an insult as a fan and as a reader to say assault these wonderful books are nothing but trash because they aren't part of the story anymore. The Star Wars EU books had a rich history covering from The Old Republic to after Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi in an era known as The New Jedi Order. We, the real Star Wars fans, grew to love characters like Mara Jade (Luke Skywalkers wife), the Solo twins, Darth Malgus, Grand Admiral Thrawn and many other Star Wars EU characters. These wonderful stories filled me with so much backstory that the films weren't just films to be but a true work of art. But those rats at Disney didn't care about the fans just as long as they make money out of it. Now there are some people who hate on the EU saying it was bad, that it contradicted itself or if you have friends like mine who claim to be Star Wars fans you'll hear "Well atleast new Star Wars films are coming out!" The Star Wars EU books were better than the films, rich with good story telling. I am
Star Wars vs Disney Assaulted Star Wars
excited for the new Star Wars film, believe me I am. And yes I will be there opening day when Star Wars Episode 7 premiers but I will always believe that the EU was first. To me, the Star Wars EU is the real Star Wars. This is why I refuse to buy the EU books with that "Legends" banner and especially not that Disney logo in the back. Thats another thing that is insulting to be as a fan. The fact that Disney declares the EU non-canon and therefore crap, they then go ahead and add their stupid "Disney" logo to the back of the old EU books. Sure Disney owns Star Wars, but they shouldn't add their logo the the "non-canon" Star Wars EU books. Its a big insult. I am a fan of Star Wars not Disney Star Wars (despite the fact that I am reading Disney's new Star Wars EU books).

This is why I have given myself the mission to grab all of the Star Wars EU books that don't have that "Legends" banner and especially the Disney logo in the back like in the photo above. I will try to find this old school Star Wars books everywhere I can and hopefully completing the entire collection of the Star Wars EU. I will only get Star Wars books with the "Legends" banner if I can't find the book without the banner. I certainly would hate to grab the Star Wars EU books with the "Legends" banner and the Disney logo. DAMN YOU DISNEY! So for the next few months up until the release of the new Star Wars film I will make it my mission to grab all the Star Wars EU books. Now I know there is lots of Star Wars EU material out there like comic books, short stories, videos games and even role playing games, but I am only sticking to the Star Wars EU books because it's easier for me to follow and hunt down than the other stuff.
The mixing of "Legends" and Star Wars

Why do I hate Disney so much? Because they own everything I love. Things like Marvel, Star Wars, The Lone Ranger, Zorro, and especially Indiana Jones all belong to Disney now. I hate Disney as a company but I love going to Disneyland. It's a weird hate/love thing I have with Disney. I think they are evil but hey Disneyland is fun. Greedy but fun. I just don't like Disney messing with the things I love. I certainly would hate Disney if they even thought of rebooting Indiana Jones and the Indiana Jones EU books (all of which I own). Star Wars vs Disney Star Wars are two very big things. This is my Geek quest. I have to do this. It's important. If any of you guys want to help me out do so! To my fellow Star Wars fans I say on to thee Fight On! Many died to bring you these EU stories (not really). For now my wallet will suffer and the journey will be long and tough. I am determined.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Musty Boyz Pre-Valentines Day Show

What did I do this weekend? This weekend was filled with shows. Bands like The Growlers and Thee Commons were playing over the weekend. I started off my weekend on Friday February 13, 2015 over The Echo waiting for the Musty Boyz first show of the year that included some awesome bands like The Frights, L.A. Witch, The Buttertones, and the main headliner Cherry Glazzer! Check out the pictures and the video I recorded. There's no point in me reviewing anything because everything was awesome complete with babes, music, sex dolls and musty people! I'm still in pain from the pit I was in that day. Awesome stuff.

The Buttertones

L.A. Witch
L.A. Witch exploded on stage quite literally

L.A. Witch Such babes

Cherry Glazzer
Cherry Glazzer's set brought out the sex dolls. Musty Boyz throwing out sex dolls

Cherry Glazzer (such dream pop)

The night
Okay folks thats all for this post! I'll be seeing you cats real see!
Like always follow me on Instagram: @travelinginformant for more photos and adventures I have

Here's the links to the bands and their music. And while you guys are there tell them The Traveling Informant sent you!

Cherry Glazzer's Bandcamp:

The Frights

L.A. Witch

The Buttertones

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Traveling Informant Reviews a Book: Autobiography by Morrissey

I am not a fan of Morrissey. I don't consider myself a fan of Morrissey nor do I consider myself one now. I only simply acknowledged his existence but never listened to anything he produced. I am not familiar with any of his solo work or any of his rants. To me, Morrissey was a douche bag who thought to highly of himself and a giant depressed ranter. Always complaining about the world and injustice. But I like The Smiths and because I like The Smiths I knew who Morrissey was. But I never looked into who the other band members were and what their names are. Until now.
Morrissey's Autobiography

Are you still with me? Good because I have something to say. I loved Autobiography. Morrissey knows how to write. So why did I even read this book if I am not a fan of Morrissey? Good question. Here's my answer, simple and true. I read it because I wanted to know why so many of my friends had an unnatural obsession with Morrissey. I wanted to know why so many people loved Morrissey and why this special girl I know loves Morrissey. The book was recommended to me by this special girl and so I read it hoping to know who Morrissey is from his own words. And so I have read it and I have enjoyed the words that this man has written. So here is my first ever book review for all you droogies. Here's how I'll do it. My grading scale will be at the bottom of the review and I shall rate the books (and any future things I review) out of ten. For example if a book is a 10 for me then I shall say "10 koopa shells out of 10" (Koopa Shells are those turtles from Super Mario and I'll use koopa shells instead of stars) There are three things I want to talk about this book. I want to talk about it's publishing under the Penguin Classics print, the two editions of the book but we'll start off with the content of the book. We all good now? Okay on to the review droogies!!!
The front page of Morrissey's Autobiography; displaying a baby Morrissey chilling

BOOK REVIEW: So before I start I want to mention that for the sake and purposes of this review I shall be reviewing the U.K. edition of Morrissey's Autobiography. There is a U.S. edition of the book and rumor has it that that there are some differences between the U.K. edition and the U.S. edition of the book. I'll be reviewing the U.K. edition of Autobiography (even though I have both editions in my possession but I have only read the U.K. edition). More on that later on. The book is written as an autobiography, meaning that Morrissey himself is behind the pen. The book length is roughly 457 pages with photographs from Morrissey's childhood era, family photographs and photographs of other artists and friends including album covers from his time with The Smiths and his solo career.
Morrissey starts off with whatever my friend told me "a very cheesy Morrissey way" of starting a book by using the sentence "My childhood is streets upon streets upon streets upon streets." It was in this sentence that I knew what type of Morrissey was (overly dramatic) and that I was definitely going to enjoy this book to it's fullest. The saddest parts of the autobiography are the details of his childhood and how poor life was during such time. The cool part about this is that Morrissey doesn't make it necessarily sad and makes it so dramatic that it's sort of funny the way he makes things sound. Another thing is that Morrissey don't make you feel (or at least I didn't) sad about himself but he feels sorrow for those around him. I laughed out loud when Morrissey says that thankfully his giant head didn't kill his mother during birth. But it is apparent that Morrissey would suffer from the Autobiography isn't your typical autobiography. Morrissey's Autobiography is a statement. A statement about what his believes are (as he bashes those who eat meat hence the title Meat is Murder) and what his struggles as an artist are.
Two of a Kind yet different
beginning of his life. His talk about his childhood school days are also heart breaking yet still have that black humor to them. I'm not sure if Morrissey does this intently (I would imagine he would though) or if it just comes off like that. Another favorite scene is when a girl punched him out simply because she liked Morrissey but he didn't respond the way she wanted him to. Such childhood stuff! That happened to me. The rest of the story continues on with Morrissey talking about major music influences he had during his teenage years like the David Bowie, Lou Reed (both my all time favorite music artists) and of course the New York Dolls. These guys are Morrissey's favorite band (although he never actually states it on paper. Morrissey goes on to talk about The Smiths, and the troubles that followed with the band members like Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce, and Andy Rourke. His solo career and the injustices his faced with record labels like Rough Trade and the judicial injustice Morrissey suffered with Mike Joyce and a judge named John Weeks. It is that this part that really sucked me in as I felt the anger that Morrissey felt against Weeks and Joyce, hell I even came to dislike Johnny Marr. If a writer can do that, to make you feel what he or she feels then they have understood what writing is. Morrissey's writing is unique.

The way Autobiography is written comes off as a humorous rant that reflects who Morrissey is. Yes I believe Morrissey is overly dramatic in his views of life. He describes himself as being attracted to humans not just one sexual preference and his comments make him sound depressed yet he says he is a very happy man. I was glad to see his take on his struggles with his music, censorship, and fights with record labels (which I always thought were evil). The last part of his book deals with his tour in Mexico and how he falls in love with the audience every time. And I loved the story of how Morrissey almost got kidnapped. Crazy things happen to Morrissey. Who the hell refers to themselves in third person? Morrissey does. He talks about relationships with people, which to my understanding he has never talked about. He has never talked about him being gay or straight. Like he says, he is attracted to humans. But in Autobiography, Morrissey talks about a relationship with a man named Jake Walters. While Morrissey never states he had a homosexual relationship with the guy, it is clear that there was a relationship and a strong attraction for one another. Not that it matters but fans would like to read that story since it's interesting.Often times I have heard Morrissey being compared to Oscar Wilde and I thought that was ridiculous. Not I agree with that statement.  Morrissey is our Oscar Wilde.

Morrissey's Autobiography demands to be read not twice but thrice. It a book that is wonderfully written filled with emotion and passion. Passion for music. Anyone can enjoy it; both fans of Morrissey and non fans of Morrissey like me. I'm not saying I don't like Morrissey that's not the case, I simply wasn't interested in him. But this autobiography was wonderful.  Here is what I rate it Morrissey's Autobiography:
10 koopa shells out of 10
Its is uniquely written, with passion and dark humor. It is sad yet happy.

Now one problem I have with this book is that it is written under the Penguin Classics print. It is my understanding that Penguins Classics are reserved for highly esteemed authors whose works have Autobiography was automatically printed under the Classics print and that shouldn't be the case. Yes the book was very well written but I don't think it deserves to be written under the Penguin Classics print. IF anything, I think it's a marketing scheme by either Morrissey or the publisher to make money off of it. Which is why I also think that there are two editions of the book. The U.K. edition was the first to come out in Europe. However for the U.S. edition, there are some changes to the book as some claim. I myself got both editions after I had originally bought the U.S. edition. After I read online that the U.S. edition was heavily edited especially to his story about his relationship with Jake Walters I decided to get the U.K. edition. I was lucky to find a U.K. edition at Amoeba Records in Hollywood. But after comparing briefly the two texts I have found no real differences between the two books. The U.K. is 457 pages long and the U.S. edition is 457 pages long. But the odd part is that the U.K. edition is thicker than the U.S. edition despite that both books have the same page length. So I ask Are both books really that different? I don't think so. But like I said before I believe Autobiography should be read three times. I don't think it deserves to be printed under the Penguin Classics book, but being a Morrissey book I am not surprised that it even is published under the Penguin Classic banner. So folks if you guys can get both copies of the book go for it. The U.K. is a little hard to find if you live in the U.S. but if I were to buy a copy it would be the U.K. edition just in case the U.S. edition really is censored.
The U.S. edition on top of the U.K. edition of Morrissey's Autobiography
stood the test of time and whose texts continue being important till this time. Why Morrissey's

I'll try to reread Morrissey's Autobiography along with the U.S. edition of it and see if there really is a difference between the two or not. For now good read this book it's fun and a great read.

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Thanks droogies!!!