Mexico has a lot of cloobs. There’s the Sam’s Club (cloob) and Club (cloob) Med [frankly, I had no idea that Club Med still existed…it seems like such a 1990s notion to me], and now there’s the eponymous “Jeff has enough time and interest to read books again” Book Cloob! So let’s examine some recent reads, the first of which even is Mexico-related:
In Rebel Without a Crew, no-name Mexican filmmaker Robert Rodriguez recalls his childhood making movies on various home cameras, and accounts his brief time in film school and in medical research hospitals, where he raised funds and wrote the script to his first independent smash film, El Mariachi (filmed in Mexico, in Spanish, and acted by primarily Mexican actors.)
I really enjoyed the style of the book as it is a collection of the author’s journal entries. Rodriguez is obviously smart, talented, and creative, and in this way the audience can experience his raw talent and vivaciousness without being stymied by poor writing. It is a very funny (and at times touching) true-life tale of someone who uses all of their resources and limitations in a creative way and was successful despite conventional thought. I highly recommend it to artistic and entrepreneurial minds alike.
4 out of 4 sombreros!
At my lovely wife’s request I read the immensely successful Hunger Games of Suzanne Collins. Moving away from Mexico and to the mythic world of Panem, the annual hunger games pits various youth “tributes” from different divisions of the realm against one another in deadly combat, all in the name of scarce resources and an evil bureaucracy.
To be completely honest, I had absolutely no interest in reading this book. I was aware of the story concept and find the very idea of it to be immensely derivative of, ohhhhh let’s see…
BATTLE ROYALE (Children pitted against one another in a futuristic battleground that is in many ways VERY similar and MOST similar to the Hunger Games)
THE RUNNING MAN (A live-or-die post-apocalyptic game show…also similar to another S.K. novella, THE LONG WALK)
THE LOTTERY (Children drawing lots in an ancient ritual to see who is sacrificed for the hope of a good harvest)
BRAZIL (Terry Gilliam’s anti-bureaucratic epic)
SMASH T.V. (also derivative of THE RUNNING MAN)
…so as you can see, when I heard about this depiction, I felt like I already knew the story.
But you know what? I really liked it, and I liked it despite all of the above because of 2 reasons: amazing and empathetic characters and character development, and a fresh, young, female protagonist. My only real criticism is that because the book is aimed for younger audiences, often scenes or developments get truncated or rushed, but to be honest, it’s better than the youth-geared sci-fi I remember reading at that age (e.g. this dreadful Tripods series that I had to read in middle school.)
4 out of 4 tortillas de maíz: