Fighting your way through bad writing or The trek through the Mortal Instruments, part I

I have this problem with books I don’t like or find boring. I have this unexplainable need to finish them even if they are just awful or I can’t get into them. In fact I have a stack of books that about once a year  I pick up each one of them and for a month or so try to force myself to plow through, eventually to put it back at the bottom of the pile for another day. And while a few are books that I grabbed off the shelf because their covers called to me, most of them are books that were suggested to me by trusted friends  or colleagues or are prize winners and bestsellers that I felt were books I had to read to see what the hype was about. Sometimes this pile works out for the better. If it hadn’t been for my pile of unfinished reading I never would have given The Road a second chance, and now that I did, it is one of my favorite books.  Unfortunately most of these books end up returning to the pile over and over again only to pushed off again for another day. Poor Jurassic Park has been returning to that pile every year since I bought it in 1993. I want to read it, I really do, but I just can’t get past page 75!

And this brings me to my current problem. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I have two friends/colleagues who are just head over heels for this series. So when my Borders was going out of business I decided to purchase the first three in the series to see what all of the fuss was about. As I said these are people who’s literary judgement I hold in high regard, who have suggested other titles to me that I found to be exceptional and brilliant. So when they both insisted that I read this series I had no reason to doubt their suggestion.

Image courtesy of If you are not familiar with this series here is a synopsis from the official website for the first book in the series:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.

But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….

Sounds intriguing enough right? And don’t get me wrong the premise set up on the back of the book is enticing. But it stops there.

This book was terrible! The writing was mediocre at best, the social interaction between the characters is uncomfortable and unimaginative, and the “sexy” aspect that is toted on the cover by tween author Holly Black, is entertaining at best and down right nauseating by the end. (I will go into no more on that as not to spoil it for those of you who still wish to read it.)

Now this is just the first book. I bought the first three. My hope is that by the end of it all I will see what all the hype was about, but I am currently on page 200 of Book 2, The City of Ashes, and I have been on page 200 for about 3 weeks now. I really am trying, but this book has been sitting by my bedside for weeks and I keep opting to listen to old time radio shows instead of reading it. Hopefully this book is not going the  way of Jurassic Park, and hopefully it gets better…I’ll keep you posted.


Even the government is preparing…

Whether it is the Rapture or the Zombie Apocalypse everyone should be prepared. The CDC has issued a warning about the Zombie Apocalypse including a list of how to be prepared. For more information on how to be ahead of the game in the event of Zombies (or the Rapture, if you get left behind,) click on the link below:

Of course you could always go the literary way and check out these titles by Max Brooks:

Whether you are looking for humor or looking for horror, Brooks’ books are sure to be the ticket. World War Z will open the window into what this world is going to look like after the said Zombie Apocalypse, where as The Zombie Survival Guide will give you a good resource for how to survive a zombie attach and will give you good laugh as well.

On a more serious note, “they” say the Rapture is coming tomorrow, so that is something to be aware of. If you are looking for a more realistic look at what our post Rapture world is going to look like you may want to turn your eyes to The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Talk about a haunting look into the future. Now I am not going to lie, this book is a little tough to get used to. In fact the writing style is so unconventional that I had to put it down the first time I tried reading it. HOWEVER, after rave reviews from my other bibliophilic friends, I forced myself to try it again. And I am so very glad I did. Grim, depressing, and downright scary, The Road teaches us to always have hope, even in the darkest of times.

“You have to carry the fire.”
I don’t know how to.”
Yes, you do.”
Is the fire real? The fire?”
Yes it is.”
Where is it? I don’t know where it is.”
Yes you do. It’s inside you. It always was there. I can see it.”
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)

If you don’t have time before “The Rapture” tomorrow to read the entire book, I highly recommend the film that came out in 2009. Produced nearly scene for scene from the book, this film translated the original work impeccably. The acting is amazing, the art is profound. Another picture that was shot here in Pa. (not I am not a yinzer, I swear! this is strictly coincidence,) the abandoned mills and destroyed neighborhoods of Pittsburgh in correlation with the bleakness of Erie Pa. in the winter created a remarkable setting for this post-apocalyptic world.

I was lucky enough to spend an evening chatting with “the kid,” Kody Smit  McPhee during the filming and let me tell you, that kid is talented! And sweet! Him and his father were eating at the table next to my friend and I and we happened to start chatting with them. We talked all night. He was one of the smartest and friendliest 11-year-olds I have ever met, and his father was so personable and kind. My friend kept in touch with them for a while and we were even invited to the movie release party in New York. Unfortunately [for me and my friend,] the studio ended up pushing back the release date for the film for over a year, and we  lost touch with the family.

Any whoozle–good luck during the Rapture tomorrow, and for those of you still around next week, I look forward to seeing you 🙂

“Perhaps in the world’s destruction it would be possible at last to see how it was made. Oceans, mountains. The ponderous counterspectacle of things ceasing to be. The sweeping waste, hydroptic and coldly secular. The silence.”
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)