Book Review: Dirk Gently Series

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency & The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul make up the “Dirk Gently” series by Douglas Adams

Adams is one of my favorite authors, and although these two books aren’t my favorite of his, they are still excellent works.

Dirk Gently is a detective. A ‘holistic detective’, but what does that mean? The Dictionary defines the word “holistic” as: Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Douglas Adams uses Dirk Gently as a portal to the weird facts and coincidences inside his head. For instance, did you know that Aliens meant to build a paradise on Earth four billion years ago, or that the Norse God Odin loves linen? It’s crazy ‘facts’ and events like this that make the Dirk Gently series worth reading.

How do you solve a murder when there was no possible way for anyone to have entered or left the room? How do you remove a sofa from a stairwell when a computer says it could not have possibly gotten stuck there in the first place? Well, you have to look at everything else in the Universe to find your answer.

Just like Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Trilogy, the Dirk Gently Series is playful, well-written, and definitely worth your time.

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Point of View

Point of view is one of the first things you should think about when you decide to write a novel. Are you going to describe events as if you’re the protagonist (1st Person, ‘I’, ‘We’)? Are you going to describe events as an outside narrator (3rd Person, ‘He’, ‘She’)? Or how about the very rare 2nd Person (‘You’)?

Be careful when you make your decision, because it’s going to affect the entire novel.

With 1st Person P.O.V. you have the benefit of showing your protagonist’s thought process, while leaving some mystery as to what other characters are thinking. With 3rd Person, you can either leave everyone’s thoughts in their own head, or you can have everything out in the open. But what about that oddball we call 2nd Person? Well, with 2nd Person you can control the reader’s thoughts!

All of these are powerful and effective, depending on the mind that’s using them.

Recently, I read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and was shocked when I discovered what Seth Grahame-Smith did with P.O.V. One minute you’re reading a 3rd Person point of view and the next you’ve got a first person account of Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts! Without a transition, without quotes, all in the same paragraph! It took some time to get used to, but I actually kind of liked it. It was new and it really worked.

So don’t think you’re limited to one point of view when you start writing a novel. It’s just something to think about.

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Book Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Let me start off my saying that Seth Grahame-Smith is an absolute genius.

Now that that’s established, I can review this book.

I was a little skeptical at first. Abraham Lincoln? Vampires? What? But I was pleasantly surprised. The premise of the book is that the author (Grahame-Smith) was given a box full of Abraham Lincoln’s diaries and he is trying to condense them into a novel. It turned out great!

Not only is the novel factual (the Dred-Scott Decision, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, the Civil War), but it wonderfully weaves in bits of vampire hunting into Lincoln’s life. Not only that, but it’s believable, and that’s the important part. The beginning of each chapter features an excerpt from one of Lincoln’s speeches that fits perfectly with the vampire plot going on at that point.

And like I said, it’s pure genius. I read Lincoln’s second inaugural address in English class the other day and I couldn’t go more than 3 sentences without underlining something that alluded to the plot in this novel. It almost makes me want to believe it.

SPOILERS: The basic premise is that the vampires were hunted out of Europe and found their way to America, where they could freely feed (on slaves) and not get caught. However, Abe Lincoln loses his mother to vampires, as well as his grandfather (before his time). This sets a chain reaction that leaves Abraham Lincoln in the perfect position to end the vampire tyranny in America: free the slaves; cut off their food supply. And that is the true story of the Civil War. END SPOILERS

Basically, I think everyone who has ever read a book needs to read this one. So go get a copy!

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Obstacles

Well, it’s been quite a while since you’ve seen any signs of my existence, so here’s my explanation.

For a writer, Twitter and Facebook are amazing tools to meet other writers, share ideas, find agents and editors, but Twitter and Facebook can also be a major distraction.

For me it got to the point where I spent more time on the internet than in the real world. And being a Junior in high school, the past month and this coming month are the most important days of the year. My homework load has grown exponentially and in about a month I have 3 AP tests to take.

Let’s just say I’ve been busy, and that’s taken away from my time for you lovely internet people. But I shall return before summer, so don’t worry too much!

And since I’ve been using all of my time to get homework done and ignoring the internet, I’ve found some time to actually read books, so you should find some of my reviews coming your way soon.

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Save the Internet!

Please do your part or the rest of the internet will look like this. Forever…

http://sopastrike.com/strike

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Book Review: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Let me start by saying that this novel is not what you’re expecting. Yes, there’s the experiment gone wrong and the multiple personalities of Jekyll and Hyde, but that just sets the stage for Robert Louis Stevenson (the author) to explore some very deep and dark parts of humanity.

Structurally, I didn’t enjoy the very long paragraphs in the novel, but something about the novel kept me interested. I didn’t notice anything special that Stevenson did, but Stevenson kept it interesting. It’s very hard to pinpoint my point of interest though. However, the final paragraph is absolutely golden!

For his time, Stevenson was a bit of a genius. I really enjoyed his exploration of the darkness inside the human heart. Jekyll is a well kept and intelligent man, but Hyde is the beast inside of him. Hyde wants to have fun and do whatever he wants. Hyde is the physical manifestation of Jekyll’s anger and twisted thoughts.

The novel left me with a haunting chill. I wanted more Jekyll and Hyde, more of their story. It really got me thinking about the ‘Hyde’ in all of us.

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The Problem with Getting New Books…

So, with Christmas past us and a new year coming, I have a slight problem. I got three new books for Christmas* and I’m trying to fit them on my bookshelf.

The problem is that all of my books are different heights and different lengths so it looks like short book, tall book, short book, tall book and there are books that stick out and books that I can hardly see. (You could just picture the buildings in a city if you like.)

I think books should have a standard height and a standard length so they all look nice and neat on my bookshelf. But this could just be my OCD typing right now… What do you think?

Standard book sizes would also make it much easier to build bookcases, and presses (or whatever machinery they use to make books… hmm, how do they make books? To Google!)

Anyways, my rant is over. My OCD wants standard book sizes.

*The Radioactive Boy Scout by Ken Silverstein, Still Me by Christopher Reeve, and My Inventions by Nikola Tesla

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