Delightfully Dark Dexter Makes Dreary Reading

Very rarely do I say to skip to book and go straight to the viewed version, but in this case, by all means. Dexter, the Showtime series, builds connections between the characters, fleshes them out with intricacies. Jeff Lindsay created a thrilling character. But that is all.

I fell in love with Dexter first as a series, I’ll admit that straight out. But since I’m usually inclined to feel that the book is better simply because it’s the original, I feel that balances the bias out. With that said, don’t even bother with the books. Lindsay created a brilliant idea and then floundered with it. And then after he floundered, he got lost and bored us. Finally he threw in biblical demons and children as killers. No, sorry, this isn’t going to work for me. Not having a viable, interesting plot for half the book does not good reading make.

Showtime built a character with…..well, character. He’s funny and bright and dark and messy and lovable and terrifying. The story line not only exists, which is already a win over the book, it holds you to the edge of your seat as you hold your breath. The depth given to the series makes it the phenomenon it has become.

But I suppose we should at least give Lindsay a nod. After all, he got the ball rolling, even if he didn’t go anywhere with it.

Farenheit 451 Reborn Into a Graphic Novel

One of the most inventive science fiction classics is set to be reborn as a graphic novel on the 56th birthday of its creation. Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 is taking up new space on shelves. Don’t get me wrong, I love the graphic novel. It’s a delicate mix of story line and artistry; a unique and powerful art form. Even Bradbury is excited about the new interpretation of his work, gracing it with an introduction and his blessing. But for me, this announcement was tinged with sorrow and melancholy.

Bradbury is required reading across the board in high schools nationwide and soon, the graphic novel will be pulled out as an equivalent to Cliff’s Notes, leaving scores of bored or lazy students with an easy way to never crack the cover of the classic. I’m sure diehards and overachievers will still read the actual book; some will enjoy it, some will close it and never think of it again, but some will be deeply touched by it and carry the experience with them. It’s a beautiful, one-of-a-kind experience; touching, creative, foreboding and brilliant. While I love the interpretation of a classic into another art form, I’m saddened by the knowledge that fewer people will inclined to read the book and will miss that experience. But maybe I’m wrong; I hope I’m wrong. I want to be as optimistic as Bradbury himself: “That’s what good graphic novels can do. They can make you read more.” Fingers crossed that’s true.

The Passing of Literary Greats: Vonnegut, Crichton

There are very few literary giants striding among us anymore. True, there are many novelists, but so many are actors/ politicians/ millionaires/ rock stars/ playboy floozies/ singers that they don’t really count as writers, just bored multi-taskers trying and failing to conquer another dimension of life. No, true literary greats are few and far between. Our generation has been blessed with its share and sadly, they are leaving our world, bowing out in shrugs and silence. The quiet nature of literary creativity pales in comparison to the drug riddled and innuendo laden glitz of rock stars and stars of the silver screen, so we rarely give these artists the attention and send off they deserve. Well, it’s not the one they deserve, but at least it’s heartfelt.

Kurt Vonnegut was the first author who truly captured my attention. Books, of course, had owned my imagination since I was of a capricious age. But Vonnegut was the man who made me curious about the people behind the words. Slaughterhouse 5 was like a dream the first time I read it; floating through space and war and mundane life simultaneously left me enraptured. A voice emerged from the pages and lulled me. I searched for his name of bookstore shelves and was never left thirsting after closing the pages of his creations. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. died April 11, 2007 after 84 years on our tired, confused and wilting planet. So it goes.

Michael Crichton is the author who I can pick up even when I don’t want to read. His books are a guaranteed good read and can alight the desire even when it feels completely extinguished. He’s accessible to all levels of readers, even though he could easily write in lofty prose and condescending scientific jargon. His intelligence is clear and his imagination is always backed by strong scientific data. All of the sudden, you’re in a impossible place with sound reasons for being there, with characters you empathize with and grow quickly attached to, and soon find yourself fighting to put the book down. He was brilliant and left a legacy of literature that hopefully many after me will be enthralled by. Michael Crichton died on Nov 4, 2008 in Los Angeles at the age of 66, after a private battle with cancer. He will be greatly missed.

There it is: my word of thanks to two men who strongly shaped my life. They will be missed, even if society withheld the send-off they deserved.
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