The Reading Corner is a place where books of all genres are examined and reviewed. Comments, questions and disagreement are welcomed. Grab some coffee and a comfy chair and make yourself at home.

Friday, July 31, 2009

10 Things I Hate About You: B. Dalton edition

This is the B. Dalton rant I promised some time ago. Although it may or may not apply to all B. Daltons in general, this list applies 100% to the one here in Findlay. And all of the items on this list contribute to me driving the extra distance across town to The Stately Raven (about which I will rave, given half a chance).

  1. Poor Customer Service. This is a killer for stores -which is why smaller and locally-owned places are generally staffed by friendly, enthusiastic people. The B. Dalton employs solely grumps. These women are so lazy that they have refused to turn 90 degrees and search their computer database to see if a book I wanted was in stock. Instead I have gotten "Welllll, I don't know. I guess you could check on the shelf." These women (they are all women) do not greet customers or ask if they can help locate a book, but instead glare at anyone who dares to walk into the store as though they've been rolling around in shit for several days. Ladies - lighten up! You treat a customer right and you'll still have a paycheck. Consistently piss them off every time they come in, you're going to lose them to the competition, which clearly has you beat in this regard.
  2. Selection. Okay -no bookstore can cater exclusively to my tastes. I know this (and it irritates me). But it's like the B. Dalton people looked at a catalog of "Books NO ONE wants to read EVER" and bought 90% of their stock from it. And then, when those books didn't sell, they put sale stickers on them in the hopes that they could lure a few saps foolish enough to judge content based on a sale sticker and make a purchase (don't you judge me). The other 10% is comprised of Twilight and Twilight knock-offs. I'm not really even exaggerating that much -that's the worst part of this. I wander* through the store picking books off shelves only to replace them with a sigh, wondering who in their right mind would actually read such a book. Or write it. I shudder to think. The selection really is just laughable.
  3. Layout. I am aware that space is pretty tight. The store is crammed into an oddly-shaped corner store of the mall, and it's not very big. But anyone with even a basic understanding of design principles -or common sense- will walk in, attempt to *wander and, after either bumping into every other patron and bookshelf in the place, throw up their hands and say, "Screw this, man." The front of the store is open and inviting: tables present hot books and sales, and there is plenty of room to move around without tucking your elbows into your lungs. There's even a wall -a whole wall -showcasing best-sellers and favorites. But then, dear reader, you step into the traditional shelving area, and all hell breaks loose. Or is crammed into a tiny, tiny space and becomes even more hellish. The walls are lined with books and those cool Beauty & the Beast sliding ladders (which are for employees, of course, as if any of those biddies would ever slide exuberantly along them singing about books!!). The organization of these walled books seems to be...whatever they couldn't fit on the other shelves. It really makes no sense. The other shelves are squat, disorganized and depressing. Fiction is divided into...fiction. There's a separate section for sci-fi and romance, but otherwise it's like genre doesn't exist. Looking for a mystery? Oh, it's in there somewhere. Maybe. Classic literature? Well...it's probably in fiction, but finding a specific book in this store is about as probable as finding a thriving colony of Emperor Penguins in the Sahara. I've never seen a less efficient way of organizing books -and the majority of my own books are stored in bins.
  4. Upkeep. Don't these people dust? Even occasionally? I know the mall has janitors. What the hell is going on in this store? When I worked in a (small, local and ultimately doomed) bookstore, we were cleaning constantly. Dusting, vacuuming and -most importantly -keeping the books straight. Customers come through and leave books lopsided, halfway out of their shelf space or on the floor. Part of working in a bookstore is noticing things like that and taking care of it. I did a test. I took a book (I'm pretty sure it was Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas -great book) and pulled it off the shelf, turned it face out and upside down and sat it on the shelf above its original home. I went back a week later...and it was still in the same place I'd put it. Unmoved. I put it back in the sad hole it had left behind in the shelf below. That is criminal, as far as I'm concerned. A whole week went by before anyone even noticed that something was out of place, and it was the person who put it out to begin with.
  5. Romance novels. They sell well. I'm sure. And that's fine -a bookstore needs to sell books. That's why it's a store. But didn't someone -anyone -think that putting the romance novels right next to the YA and kids' books was kind of a bad idea? Are they trying to attract mothers who have nothing better to do than, oh, say, watch their kids? To whom is this set-up supposed to be attractive? If teens are going to read trashy romance novels, that's whatever -it's personal taste. But I think some common sense was checked at the door when they set this up.
  6. Lighting. The front of this B. Dalton is warm and well-lit. Inviting, as I said earlier. You walk back into the stacks and it's like being in a totally different store. It's like shopping underwater. Blindfolded. At night. The light in the back of this place is like light that needed a place to go die and picked the bookstore. It's dim, bluish and for some reason vaguely nauseating. After 15 minutes shopping there, I feel as though I will never see sunshine again and I really need some coffee. This is not a conducive atmosphere in which to shop for books. The lighting needs to be consistent, bright (but not glaring) and above all showcase the store's books to their best advantage. I feel like I should buy books there in order to rescue them from the awful lighting.
  7. The Shopping Experience. It's almost impossible to have a good one in this B. Dalton. Shopping for books is like any other kind of shopping -you have to be able to browse, to have a secluded area in which to try the books on for size. Instead, the awful layout, nasty employees and horrible lighting tell potential customers, "Look, jackass. You better have a book in mind the second you walk in this store or get the hell out. Also, find it yourself. Do I look like I want to help you?" After approximately 10 to 15 minutes of aimless browsing (or increasingly frustrated searching), the employees will emerge from behind their registers like resentful slugs and walk by whatever aisle you happen to be in, glaring at you, suspicion evident on their rotund, pasty faces. Apparently in their world, no one reads anything that isn't Twilight or featured in Oprah's Book Club, so someone who doesn't know exactly what they want when coming into the store can only be some sort of miscreant who will probably attempt to steal all 8 (unnecessary) copies of Paul Coehlo's The Alchemist (which, as an aside, I didn't like all that much when I read it). It's a horribly uncomfortable way to shop. I like to crack open a book and read a few pages...or chapters...before I am prepared to drop $7-20 on it. Most bookstores don't mind this. But B. Dalton? Get in, get out and don't just stand there. God forbid you just want to browse through some books.
  8. Technology. I wouldn't be surprised if the registers and computer in this place are older than both of my siblings. There's nothing wrong with older computers...if they're still fast and effective. These registers grumble and bitch as they work to process credit cards and are generally about as friendly-seeming as the women who run them. And should you actually be able to get one of them to search for a book on the computer for you, be prepared to stand there for about 8 minutes while they fail to spell the title right, then screw up the author's name and wait for no searches to be returned; after having corrected them, be ready to wait another 3-5 minutes while the computer hums along like a geriatric bee before gleefully announcing that the book isn't in stock (before you go sniff around and find it in a section where it doesn't really belong anyway). Update your tech. It's pathetic. My cell phone works better than all of the computers in this place, and that does not give me much faith in the store.
  9. Special Orders. Don't tell me it's going to take 4-6 weeks for a special order to come in (and then never call when it does, forcing me to come in asking for it anyway). That's bullshit. I worked in a bookstore, as I have mentioned, and we guaranteed that a special order would be in within 5-7 business days. Not a month and a half. If any bookstore tries to tell you that they can't have it within a week (unless the book is really rare or old), they're lying and/or they're a really bad bookstore. A special order is a special order for a reason -it should not be coming in with your next regularly scheduled shipment...that's why it's "special." You're ordering it "specially" for this customer, who should not be made to wait that long for a book they could have within the same day at another store, or within a week...since that other store will actually order it for them.
  10. Promotions. I'm all for them. I think they're cool. I love special deals, coupons and frequent buyer programs. The one B. Dalton has sucks. It's like $40 to join it, meaning you have to spend about $150 in books before it even pays for itself. For someone like me who has limited cash most of the time anyway, $40 up front is not really that feasible. Granted, I probably spend $300 on books every year, but dropping $40 with no immediate, tangible benefit is never going to happen for me. I'm cheap. And for people who don't buy books as often as I do, this "frequent buyer program" looks more like a "huge ripoff program." Places like The Stately Raven know what's up -once you spend a certain amount of money on books, your next purchase is discounted pretty steeply. And it's free. FREE. You hear that, B. Dalton? It doesn't cost anything for the customer, except their loyalty -and with a place like the Raven, that just comes with the gig. People should not have to pay for promotions or discounts. That defeats the purpose. Also, would it kill you to have some author signings? It would involve moving stuff around so that said author could have a place to sit that's not on top of a bunch of shitty sale books, so yes, it probably would kill you...but in the long run, I don't think that would be a bad thing.


Whew! Lists! I am tired. If you made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back. And a cup of coffee or something.
Also, it's review Friday! Go check it out! Woo-hoo! Jane Eyre, aww-riiight. It's not an analysis, it's a review of it from The Things That Matter, but still. Jane Eyre. :D

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Scorn (and a picture of Doctor Who)


There's something truly satisfying about writing a snarky review. Really satisfying. It's almost carnal -as though I'm stalking this unsuspecting book; noticing its weaknesses when comparing it to others of its kind; watching as it stumbles along and makes more errors; slowly luring it into the seclusion of my computer screen where I pounce upon it, tearing it apart chapter by chapter, mistake by fatal mistake, ink running like blood down my chin as I break its spine and it falls to the floor, twitching weakly and finally becoming still.

Um.

What?

But seriously (as my little brother would say emphatically) it does feel a little like that. It makes me angry to come across a piece of writing that had a chance to be good but due to failure on the part of writers and editors instead limps along like a wounded, malformed animal. Something like this book, Dedication, or Twilight (no rant on that today, I promise), just asks for someone like me to come along and annihilate it.

I have issues with writers who send out sub-par work. A blog like this is one thing. I'm sure I've made errors, and I know I don't spend nearly as much time crafting my entries as I could (or probably should). Even my reviews probably have some screw-ups in them, although I spend a lot more time on those. But a book? A manuscript that you send out to a multitude of publishers and pray (even if you don't believe in a god) that you get an acceptance letter and not just another stack of tactfully worded rejections? There's no excuse for a bad manuscript.

I don't understand why a writer would end out anything less than their absolute best effort -particularly a writer who has been published before. I'm not saying everything should be 100% error-free; most books have mistakes in them, and I'm by no means Little Miss Perfect. But when I sent my first piece out into the void, I worked on it for weeks. Weeks. Hours every day, talking to my professor, re-wording, re-formatting, fixing the timeline, clarifying details, polishing, cutting, revising and fretting over the placement of every comma and semi-colon (the piece did get published, by the way, in the spring edition of the North Central Review). It's 15 pages, double spaced, in Word.

So when I come across a published, full-length 100+ page novel that feels like someone wrote it and got bored halfway through, or didn't bother to make sure they were writing properly grammatical sentences, or wrote something that ends up falling flat on its face, it pisses me off. A lot. I take issue with boring, lazy, slipshod writing.

Not every book needs to be a great work of literature. Reading slightly silly books is a great way to relax. But I want to be able to feel that even the slightly silly books I read were worked on as hard as I work on my own writing, if not harder. I want to feel that the published book I hold in my hands was worth the time and effort people put into writing, editing, printing, marketing, distributing and selling the book. I want to feel that they money I spent and the time I used reading the book were not squandered.

Because if a book doesn't earn my interest and my respect, I'm going to hunt it down and kill it. Only with a review like this one for Dedication, or this one for the Heroines, or this one for Twilight can I feel like I've used that wasted time well -or at least gotten a little revenge for the time I wasted.

On to another topic -Literature. Capital L. I have a note on Facebook asking for thoughts, and that's gotten a fantastic response. However, I still want to post the questions to the Internet at large.
  • What is Literature?
  • What books do you consider to be Literature?
  • What makes something Literature?
  • What cultural influence does Literature have?
  • Why do we/you read Literature?
  • What is the significance of Literature?
Come on people, help me out. You know you want to. I want all the input I can get. Links, thesis papers, books, middle fingers thrown up in the general direction of my book snobbery -whatever. Send it my way. I'll love you forever!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Webcomics



This picture (which I am aware is not flattering) will make sense once you get to the entry on FreakAngels.


Webcomics are awesome. I read a lot of them, usually on Saturdays. Saturday is my designated web-comic day. However, if I find a new one that I like, I'll read it from the beginning until the most recent one so that I'm all caught up. I've been doing that recently with a new one that I found. So today instead of books, I'm going to talk about all of my favorite web-comics. Well...most of them. I don't have all day to do this.

  • E-merl. E-merl is weird but awesome. It's a 3-panel comic (4 with the title, which is always pertinent to the joke), pretty simply illustrated, lots of bright colors (always important) with subjects like "Other Names For Roses That Would Not Smell As Sweet". Yeah. Awesome. Minimal swearing, not too much that would frighten the kiddies. Pretty tame, but very clever. It's updated Tues/Thurs
  • Questionable Content. Definitely start at the beginning as this one is a continuous story with new characters and plot lines added consistently. It's also very clever, but it's more focused on the people and their relationships. Sort of like a sit-com without any actors and it's usually much funnier (excluding Seinfeld, which wins at everything forever I don't care what anyone says. Seinfeld formed me as a person). It gets updated pretty much every day Mon-Fri, although when they guy who does it is busy, the very offensive Yelling Bird will take over. I follow him on Twitter (along with the other characters who update occasionally). YB is horrifying. QC is one to check out; swearing and sex are involved, so if that's gonna bug you, don't read it.
  • xkcd. A classic among web-comic aficionados. Lots of mathematical and literary references -a lot of it will go above the average reader's head, but it's really hysterically good. Also, hypertext. Never forget to read the hypertext.
  • FreakAngels. One of my personal favorites. Warren Ellis writes it, and he's just undeniably brilliant. I also follow him on Twitter, and he's a very interesting alcoholic. FreakAngels follows the story of a bunch of twenty-somethings who accidentally caused the apocalypse, kind of. They all have these undeveloped powers they use and they can communicate telepathically. A lot of it deals with them trying to rebuild a working society from scratch, politics and human/kind of super-human relationships. It's so well done...I'm totally not doing it justice here, but I love it. I love it so much that I bought a FreakAngels tank top using my coffee money. That should be enough to get you to read it.
  • Bite Me!. Vampires before Twilight. Real vampires, not faggots. It's a completed comic, so it took me about 45 minutes-1 hour to get through the whole thing. It's well-written and -illustrated. Funny, fast-paced and clever, I really enjoyed coming across it. Also the author makes fun of Twilight (hypertext. NEVER forget hypertext. It makes comics 10x better). Some swearing/risque humor. Nothing shocking, but funny as hell.
  • Penny Arcade. A classic gaming comic. I game very little (L4D. Foreva.) but even I crack up reading PA, because it's just that good. It's funny and cute and silly and crude and hilarious. The story arc is sort of continuous, but you don't need much background to be able to really get into the humor. Swearing is rampant. Get over it.
  • Pictures for Sad Children. Not my favorite. It's a little predictable, but occasionally there will be one that just sucks you right back in to its universe. It's got some real gems, and that alone makes it worth reading right through it.
  • This image specifically: Dude Watchin' with the Brontes. I laughed for about a minute straight when I read this. It's just... gold. Absolute gold. If you're a literature nerd like myself, that it.
  • Least I Could Do. It's just funny. There's a lot of sex in this one, fyi. The characters are awesome though, and it's really well illustrated. If you go back to the very beginning and read through it, you can see where the illustrator changed and it really made all the difference in the quality of the comic. I enjoy it.
  • Dresden Codak. Heard of transhumanism? This is where you need to go to find out about it. It's an extraordinarily well-done comic. All I should need to say to get you there and reading it is that there is a character named Tiny Carl Jung. Yeah. I love DC.
  • Girls with Slingshots. I just started reading this one yesterday. It's pretty sexual and there's lots of swearing, so no-go for kids, but it's good. It's funny, well-drawn and realistic. I'm getting a kick out of reading it. One of my favorite parts about GwS is that the characters are aware of their status as characters in a comic -much like my beloved Deadpool. It adds a slightly bizarre but ultimately interesting element to the stories.
  • Last but not least is Wondermark. Wondermark is just plain weird. Also, hypertext. WM is really, really funny and clever, especially if you like off-kilter humor and things called a Piranhamoose.
Those are the comics I read most regularly, although there a few others scattered here and there that I'll check in on. Be sure to read at least some of these -they will take your day, shake it by its humor gland and force it to be awesome.
I'm not even kidding. Maybe a little.

Additionally, I love picnics. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

My hands are covered in ink.


Today as part of my second job at Spectrum Eye (the first bit was finding, pulling and re-filing 2000+ files), I started faxing 929 new doctor announcements. Except first I had to cross off all of the out-of-state doctors. Then all of the in-town doctors. Then all of the doctors with no fax numbers (duh). Then I had to go through and find all of the optometrists and ophthalmologists to make sure I fax to them first (hello yellow hi-liter). I went from 929 to 373 doctors. 97 of those are now hi-lited. My hands are covered in ink from crossing stuff out. I don't just do lines, I do big wavy scrawls. No curlicues, just big waves. That way I know it's really crossed out.
After an hour and 39 minutes I decided I was done for the day.
I haven't sent a single fax yet.

In other news, you guys suck. I got zero votes on what review to post today! My feelings are hurt. On a scale of one to permanent scarring, I'm at about a knee scrape. Screw you guys. :(

So I picked the review of The Great Gatsby. Mostly because I worked really hard on it. It took probably 3 hours total to write, edit, re-write, re-edit, finish, polish, find links, format and publish. So be grateful. And go read it. I'm pretty pleased with it. Of course I could have written more or changed a few things...but I say that about every piece, every time I go back and read it again. I've learned to just let go a little. Once it's out there, it's out there. I'm chill with it. It's a good review, and I like it.

The only rotten part is now I want to watch the movie version except I know it will depress the hell out of me.

Today I'm going to be working on a review of The Perks of Being a Wallflower (thanks again Dirk), and possibly going to the library to pick some stuff up. I got Walden Two (which I'm working on) but the two other books I got I haven't even cracked. That's a bad sign for them...usually if I grab a book and let it stew for a couple of days the suspense drives me nuts and I blast through them. These two are just sitting there, bored and useless. That means they need to go back and I need to find something else.

Right now then I have TPoBaW, W2 and Interview with the Vampire to work on; Alex is going to lend me Parallelities when he gets back from NYC (cue jealous grumbling and bitching) and I'm hoping Jonah will let me borrow a sci-fi book he was telling me about, which is called either Up or Down the Line (my memory is horrible).

Other than that, I still need ideas. I'm going to go through my own books and pick out a few I remember well enough to review without rereading (Assassins of Tamurin which I've read upwards of 6 times is definitely one, maybe A Canticle for Leibowitz... we'll see. Memoirs of a Survivor. Stuff like that), but I still need ideas.

I'm also going to be writing a piece on what literature is for my super secret special project, and I want some outside opinions. What do you think literature is? Write as much as I want. If you give me good ideas, I'll use them and credit you in the blog entry about it and be forever grateful to you. I have some outlined ideas which I'll be keeping to myself so as not to bias your comments (which had better be many), but I would love to hear from you all. All...what, 5 of you who read this? If I'm lucky.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday update


Sunday! A day of relaxation, haircuts and shopping. I got my hair cut a little shorter than I wanted, but I figure that it's better to have it too short than too long. It'll grow out in a few weeks and I'll need another cut anyway. It looks good at least. Huzzah.

I also read The Perks of Being a Wallflower this morning (courtesy of my friend Dirk Frey who very obligingly left it in my mailbox -thanks Dirk!), and really enjoyed it. There will be a review of that sooner or later, so huzzah for that!
As for tomorrow, I'm going to give you all a choice -I have several reviews lined up and ready to go, but I'm going to let you vote on which one I put up. If I don't get any comments, I'm just going to pick whichever one I want.

Your choices:

  • The Things That Matter: Jane Eyre
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Living Dead in Dallas
Not too many choices, but all of them are finished and ready to be published. It's totally up to you. So get voting!

I'm also starting Walden Two today (thanks for the suggestion, Alex! Yay ideas!) and I'm still searching for some of the other book ideas you've given out. Additionally, more ideas are always good, so send 'em on out!

Tomorrow is also going to be awesome for several other reasons. I'm starting my second job at Spectrum Eye. I have about 60 more files to put away and then I get to fax 929 "new doctor" announcements. However, before I can fax them I have to cross about half of them off since they either don't need announcements or they're out-of-state. Either way, I'll get to wear a skirt to work instead of my slacks! I love wearing skirts, but I haven't been able to since I'm up and down ladders all the time. Then in the evening Jonah is cooking me dinner and we're having a picnic at his house. I can't remember the last time I went picnicking, much less had someone aside from a family member cook for me (not that I don't love my mom's cooking -she's the best), but I'm excited about tomorrow. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Frack

I just realized I'm supposed to post 1 "Info 101" article/week...so my big jump on 5 of them was sort of my worst idea ever. Those 5 would have covered around half of the articles I needed to write for my super secret special project (which clearly is no longer a secret at this point, but you know what? I'll call it what I want. Screw you.).

So for this week we have an article about the excellent Wooster Book Company -these fabulous people were the only ones to write me back when I sent out requests for picture permission for those first 5 articles (towards which I now feel rather bitter). I've been e-mailing back and forth for a couple of weeks with the owner/founder/all-around-cool-person David Wiesenberg in order to get info, more pics and all those shenanigans.

They are Ohio's largest independent bookstore, and I think they're great. I'd love to go visit them, especially for the Buckeye Book Fair (there's a link to info on it in the article, which you need to go read).

Go! Now!

Have a good Saturday.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ho-hum

It's review Friday. That means you get to go and read about Wuthering Heights!

How exciting -amirite or amirite?
Of course I'm right.

I decided to hold off on Great Gatsby until Monday, since the review isn't quite where I want it as of yet. But that just means Monday will be even more exciting than today!

Short entry right now...I'm busy cleaning the basement and fun stuff like that.

More tomorrow!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thor's Day

Because I could. Read it and like it.
Or don't, I suppose. It's really up to you.

I'm having a good week. Today, however, could be quite different. Little sister (Bree, aged 13, dangerous when provoked) is supposed to be having a luau-themed party for her entire eighth grade class, approximately 48 people. 20+ have confirmed attendance. That in itself terrifies me. That's a minimum of 21 thirteen-year-olds in my house/backyard/swimming pool. However, even worse, it's been raining all day.

You can't have a luau in the rain. You just can't. I think it's stopped raining now, which is good, but it's still all shitty-looking outside. The party is supposed to start at 7-ish, I believe. Hopefully it will clear up by then. Otherwise Bree will have to postpone until tomorrow...and that will screw up my plans (maybe). We shall see.

Fingers crossed for non-shitty weather.

I'm listening to Weird Al. That is not relevant, but I thought you should know. He is awesome.

All right, book talk is beginning now.
Last night I went to The Stately Raven (my favorite bookstore here in Findlay) and while there was of course in the Weird Room (which is where all of the fantasy/sci-fi/horror and graphic novels are kept, along with some awesome murals and Darth Vader's head). In the WR, Jonah found a book that traces the history of Batman comics from the funny pages of newspapers, beginning in what I'm guessing was the 1940s. So we sat and read a few pages of them before the Raven closed and we had to leave...and they were terrible. And by terrible I mean hysterically bad. And by hysterically bad I mean they were so awful that I would read them every day of my life until I'm too old to read (and the day that happens, I'm a goner).

We discussed Batman's apparent overreaction to the Penguin's latest crime -he stole a bunch of umbrellas and shot Robin in the eyes with one. One that had been converted into a water pistol. Batman goes from saying "It was only water, not acid! What chumps we are, Robin." to shaking one of the hired thugs the Penguin had used in order to find out where the Penguin was, presumably to dispense a well-timed and cape-fling-y ass-kicking to the umbrella-stealing fiend (and yes, all of those hyphens are necessary). The bold words are as they were in the comic, too. Batman and Robin get their names in bold every time they're used, as do words that need particular emphasis.

As I said, hysterically bad. The comic did not improve from that point -it got incomparably more awesome and horrible. The next one was about stolen pirate gold stashed on an island in a lake (yeah.) and a kidnapped old man who was going to give it all to the government "to help us win the war!" Patriotism was what it was all about.

It was a pretty sweet book. I would buy it, no doubt.

Anybody have any stories about books so bad they're good?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Part 2


It's up! WOO party party. Everybody DANCE. Just kidding, you only need to go and check out the review. It'll make more sense if you refer to part 1 and then go to part 2 (especially if you haven't yet read part 1).

In other book news, I went to the library yesterday and, as expected, they had 1 of the 10 books I went in specifically looking for. Let that sink in. I went in looking for 10 books (which is a lot, admittedly) -none of them are rare books. None of them are particularly obscure. You know which one they had? Walden Two. My public library does not even possess a copy of Ender's Game. It wasn't checked out (or missing, a la Generation X, thanks to a certain someone I know), they just don't have it. How they get away with not having one of the most influential sci-fi books around, I don't know. They have plenty of copies of awful books that no one will ever read ever in a million years (not even me for the sake of a review. Okay maybe me), but not Ender's Game. They don't have Population Bomb -or On The Road by Jack Kerouac.

I speak sincerely when I ask with great gusto and much shaking of hands, what the fuck?!

I go to my local library a lot. No, really. I'm there about 2x a week on average, and that's 2x checking out new things (or trying to), not taking stuff back. It's not a bad looking library. It's got nice big windows and it's well-lit. The books and shelves are getting a bit worn, but they disguise that by constantly moving sections around so that if you don't go for a couple of months, when you come back nothing makes any sense whatsoever. There will be Christian Fiction where the Anne Rice used to be (Christian Fiction, by the way, is something that confuses me. Is it just overtly preachy? Why can't it just be moral fiction? Where's the Hindu Fiction?), and that's a little bit trippy. Speaking of Anne Rice, I finally, finally, on my umpteenth attempt, managed to snag one of the two copies of Interview With The Vampire that the library has. I've been trying, 2x/week since June 12 to get one.

Yeah.

My library is not good. It's never been good, although I may at some point have been under the impression that it was, since when I was about 12 I used to check out pretty much the same 5 or 6 books every time I went and I would just buy everything else from B. Dalton (another rant for another day. I do have to go to work at some point this morning). This is even before funding got shafted.

I really don't know what can be done about a shit-tastic library. Anyone have ideas? I'm considering trying Paperback Swap, despite it costing me in postage. It'll save on gas and (possibly) time and frustration. Does anyone have experience with it? Good? Bad? Some in between or extreme? Are there other sources you've found besides the library for inexpensive books? My income is small and quickly exhausted, despite me only buying coffee and books and occasionally a necessary item of clothing.

The used bookstores in Findlay aren't really calling to me at this point (although I have reviewed them) since the people I know who frequent them do so to get a new stash of trashy romance novels. While I have nothing personally against trashy romance novels -aside from their being trashy romance novels- I don't particularly want to read them.

So! Today went up the review of TTTM + Frankenstein. Maybe Friday will be something new, if you're lucky. Like The Great Gatsby. We'll see!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm really hungry


I even had a cinnamon roll! What's the deal? I mean I love food and all, but this is just ridiculous. I feel like I haven't eaten in three days. I also have blisters on my both of my feet. Apparently my kitten heel flip-flops do not enjoy having to walk my sorry ass down Main Street and back, no matter who I'm walking with. Blisters hurt. Just fyi.

So, books! I'm making a library jaunt today, and I'm planning on picking up a few of the things you guys have suggested to me, with a couple of additions...hopefully. We'll see. So that means I'm going in looking for:
  • Ender's game, Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card
  • Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Population Bomb
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • On the Road
  • Parallelities
  • Walden Two
(Alex, if you have some time to get me any of the books you have so that I could borrow them, that would be awesome, since I'm 98.4% sure the library won't have a single thing I'm looking for)

Any other ideas, you guys?
I finally finished Brave New World, so in addition the review of the Great Gatsby that will be up sometime in the next few weeks, there will be a review of BNW as well. Yay! Get excited about it.

For now though I have got to get something to eat.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday, Monday, Monday!


I always feel like I should come up with some sort of alliterative mnemonic for each day that I publish a review, like "Mayhem Monday" or "Whacked-out Wednesday" or "Fizzy Friday," none of which make a whole lot of sense, but which sound pretty cool.

Today's just a Monday, though. I didn't go to work in favor of watching America's Next Top Model with my mom and little sister. That's right, I admitted it. I was watching ANTM. I hate reality TV and I despise Tyra Banks and I think models present a shallow, conformist, unrealistic and negative image for young women. But I like the show. I don't know why. It's just my guilty pleasure I guess, hypocritical as it is. Nobody's perfect.

Today's also a review Monday! The first of 8 parts is going up, and the next seven will be interspersed throughout the next few weeks. Yay! Get excited. This is the review of The Things That Matter. As much as I enjoyed reading the book, it's not an entirely positive review. There were a few things about it that just didn't quite work for me. Wanna know what they were?
Go read the review. :)

I'm also still reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It has not gotten any less weird, and that makes me happy.

For now, I'm going to do other things with my day, including eating pizza, taking my little sister shopping and quite probably lazing around. Allll riiiiiiight.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Two entries


In one day?
You're some kind of spoiled (and I'm some kind of bored).

This one is mostly just me blabbing -less on the books, more on the "whatever I feel like telling you" side of the blog. And all of this just basically being me procrastinating on my The Things That Matter review...which is sad, since part numero uno goes up tomorrow. But that's why I'm doing it in 8 parts, so I have time to edit as I go. Right? Right.

First order of business. It hasn't become evident much in this blog yet, but I swear. A lot. Nonchalantly or with great emphasis -as a bumper sticker I have on Facebook says: "Profanity makes talking fun!" Now, while I don't necessarily believe that to be true, I really have no issue with swearing. I'll call a spade a spade. Or, to be more precise, I'll call a tool a tool. One of my favorite observations while driving is "Nice truck/car/pimp-mobile of your choice -sorry about your dick." Because it's at least partially true (nobody has a car that makes that GGGGGGRRRRRRVVVVVVVRG rattly noise and has spoilers, superfluous tailpipes, a car so shiny it looks like it's covered in olive oil and all the little doo-dads who isn't compensating for something, whether it's phallic or not). So, just as an fyi, if the occasional curse is going to bother you... be prepared to avert your eyes, at least occasionally. I try to tone it down on the blog, but sometimes it will inevitably slip through. At least I'm not the Tourette's Guy.

Count your blessings.

Second order of business. I've recently started following another blog called The Pretty Year. It's this woman, Michelle, who's decided to amp up her wardrobe with 250 outfits while spending less than $250. Neat stuff. She's a funny lady, too, and she isn't afraid to tell it how it is. Although she swears a lot less than I do. If you have any interest in clothes or women's fashion or cool people who do interesting things and aren't afraid to talk about it online, check her out. I also like the fact that she is not a stick-thin girly girl. Coming from my own petite POV, it's nice to know there are people out there who aren't a 36-25-36 or whatever and who are proud of it.

Third order of business. I am really procrastinating right now. I've gone through and linked this article to hell and back. I hope you all click on all of the links. Sometimes they're useful and pertinent and sometimes I'm being a dick or just posting irrelevant links that I think are interesting, whether you agree or not.

Fourth order of business. I am out of things to say. Onward and upward and forward and toward...I'd say backward, but that doesn't work in this context. Or does it?

EDIT-
Check this out! Gender bias is everywhere. I won't go ultra-feminist on you right now (although I guarantee I will have at least one day where I get mad about something and go all femi-nazi on you, all while being well-worded, polite and correct), but seriously editors? I want to join your ranks when I graduate, and this is pathetic. The guy who wrote this is also really funny.

Sundays are boring


Sundaes aren't, though. And actually, this Sunday hasn't been boring at all. I woke up to find that I had no internet -nor did the 13 surrounding counties. I think I speak for all of us when I raise both middle fingers to Time Warner Cable and shout words that I will not type here for the sake of propriety and your eyes (they'd catch on fire and fall out if you were forced to read what I actually said). No jokes here.

But, the internet is back. My equilibrium has been restored, as has my enthusiasm for writing (which was totally gone yesterday). Strange how having something taken away suddenly makes it 10x more important and vital. Although while the interwebs were down, I did play 8 games of tennis on the Wii and beat the stuffing out of some virtual punching bags (I think 75, to be exact, although not all in one go. More like 8.), and I ran a couple of miles on the treadmill. And I had coffee, started a load of laundry, read a magazine and took my cat outside. Maybe not having the internet on constantly isn't a completely bad thing.

Ha! What am I saying? I live on the internet.

I'm still reading Brave New World, and I've also started Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Hunter S. Thompson and I would have gotten along. Not that I'm a drug-addled acid-headed fiend, but I like his style of writing and the way he words things. Anyone who can write like that about an experience he probably really and truly couldn't remember much of is okay in my book. It's funny to jump between the books, though, because Huxley has a lot of (socially demanded and legal) drug use that isn't described in a lot of detail and Thompson has a lot of (obviously illegal and terrifying) drug use that is basically the entire book.

In other news, people are finally starting to suggest books to me! Yay! I love you all. Starting today, I'll be working on a review of The Great Gatsby (yum yum) and hopefully finishing my reviews of The Things That Matter so that I can have a nice hefty backlog of things to post. However, as in the picture, I want MOAR. Because MOAR.

I love books, and I need to have suggestions. They help me more than you are aware -even if I don't read what you suggest, it gives me ideas, and those are invaluable.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

It's Caturday!


LOLCats. They have either ruined the internets, or made them incomparably more awesome. I'm never sure which, although there was a rendition of Wasteland makes my day every time I read it. (If you haven't read Wasteland, it wouldn't make much sense. In fact, it probably won't make any. But it's a good place to get started on the poem, because a] it's read by LOLCats and b] it's really really funny). However, the link appears to have died. :( So I can no longer post it for you. If I find it again (or anyone knows where it is), I'll link you to it. It's great.

Right now I'm reading Brave New World. I started it about two weeks ago and put it aside in favor of The Things That Matter (which I am currently in the process of reviewing; it's going to be a review in 8 parts, so holy hell is that taking forever to do. It's basically an academic paper at this point, but since I am a Literature Examiner, that's my job. And I enjoy it.); now that I've picked BNW back up, I regret having put it down. It's just amazing. I'll be writing another lengthy review of that, I can already tell.

I still need ideas of books to read! Bring 'em on, bring 'em on. As with my musical criteria (well, criterion): I will read anything that doesn't suck. And if it does...I just get to write a nasty review.

Here's something funny I've noticed about the comments I get on my Twilight review. The ones that aren't agreeing with me but aren't totally illiterate still aren't disagreeing with me. They're calling me names, or saying I'm jealous of Meyer. "Say whatnow?" is generally my reaction to that buffoonery. If I were jealous of Meyer, I wouldn't have the ability to write a review, because I'd be too busy off writing a better series of novels than Twilight. It's not like it'd be hard -it's been done a million times before, and will be done a million times hence. I just think it's sort of sad that people are so defensive of Twilight they have to automatically assume that anyone who doesn't like it either sucks as a person or is a struggling and therefore jealous writer.

Sorry I'm not jealous of something that wasn't worth reading in the first place, kiddies.

Those comments also get deleted, because they generally are full of other inappropriate insults. One offered to print of the review and have a dog bescumber it.

Anyway, /rant again. That review just makes me laugh. People get so pissy!

Off I go to enjoy my weekend!

Friday, July 17, 2009

This book


You should probably read it. It's funny, and weird.
What book?
This one.

Mhm, that's right. It's review Friday!

In other news, my grandma is coming to spend the weekend! Yay fun times! Maybe. We'll see. Should be all right :)

Short entry today, but that's just because I have nothing exciting to tell you, other than that grandma is coming over.

Still looking for ideas of books to review though! Bring 'em on!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The price of being a bookworm


I have a bad back. I'm 19 (although not for much longer) and I wake up in the mornings and walk around with my hand pressing against the small of my back, rolling my neck to get the kinks out and it sounds like a smattering of gunfire erupts from my spine. Actually, that sounds kind of cool...and it would be, but it usually hurts. It's just not fun. In addition to that, my neck itself is beyond wrecked. A normal person's neck curves like this: ) Mine curves like this (
Know why? Because I spend all of my time with my head bent over books. I have actually changed the shape of my own spine by reading a lot. A lot is an understatement. We all know this. My neck's been like that since the seventh grade, when I started studying seriously for the spelling bee. By the time I was in eighth grade, I was spending 40 hours/week studying. I would get up at 5 in the morning and stay up late. That's 40 hours every week with my head bent over books.

I have a bad back.
It's totally worth it, though. I wouldn't change a thing. Okay, maybe if I could I'd go back into my eighth grade self standing in front of that microphone, staring at Dr. Bailly (my BFF) and scream that I know how to spell theodicy. But I can't. I loved the spelling bee, though. It's a good experience, even if I did wreck my back over it.

Today I woke up and my back is cackling to itself. I sat up to the sound of fireworks, only they were coming from me instead of the fields behind my neighborhood. It feels like someone picked me up and threw me into a brick wall several times while I was sleeping. Not fun. Fortunately, coffee fixes everything. I have already had one cup, and I'm planning on having many more throughout the course of the day. If I can't fix the way my spine is, I'll at least replace pain with caffeine jitters. WOO.

I'm going to work soon...I think it's going to be a backroom day for me, just re-filing things. It's nice. I can have my iPod and rock out, and people very rarely walk in on that. Generally.

In other news, I finally finished reading The Things That Matter last night. It took me a ridiculously long time to get through it, but I'm glad I read it. I'll be working on a review of that today, and avoiding being in the house with my little brother and his friend. I don't like kids, and Bubby + a friend = lots of unnecessary noise. I'm going to GTFO and find a seat in a coffeeshop where nobody will bother me. It'll be awesome.

Finally, I have questions for you, dear readers:
What do you want to see reviewed? What are your favorite books? What books do you hate?

If you could pick any book for me to write about, what would it be?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Super secret special project


It's up!
Here
Here
Here
and
Here.

Told you it wasn't anything that would make you jump through the ceiling with excitement (well, I told some of you that). But who cares what you think, just go read them!
Actually, I care. Leave comments!

Also, here is the promised, long-awaited review of Rebecca! Holy cow! It's early morning and you have so much to read!!!!

Why are you still here?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tragedy and mayhem


I got Rick Rolled yesterday. At work. That song...that horrid song...was on the radio. I got Rick Rolled by life. I was laughing so hard I accidentally snorted dust from the files I was pulling during the chorus. Never gonna give you up...

For those of you who don't know the horror of a Rick Roll, just go here.

In other news, people who like Twilight still hate me. Far be it from me to criticize a 12 or 13 year old for having an opinion, but seriously kids? Shut up. You have no idea what good literature looks like unless you're precocious, and if you are, you wouldn't like Twilight. You wouldn't insist that my "reality" must be boring because there are no vampires or werewolves in it (first, I watch True Blood religiously, so to hell with your sissy vampires and second, in both True Blood and Twilight, they're shape-shifters. Get your terminology right or GTFO).

If I bothered to respond to the comments on that particular article, I'd probably a) get fired for being a dick and b) make some little kids cry.

I'm all for freedom of speech, and I love getting comments - and making fun of stupid people. So in the end I have no problem with idiots leaving poorly written comments that are, in a word, buncombe. (If you don't know what buncombe is, go here. You'll also learn about lots of other fun words, like bescumber and Frenchify). Seriously, fans of Twilight: come insult my review as much as you like. But know that no matter how many times you tell me the "Twilight Saga" (which I will reiterate for the umpteenth time is a series and not a saga. Idiots. I don't care what it says on the cover of the book, the cover of the book is lying to you) is the BEST BOOK EVAR and you luuuuuv Edward and he's so hot and protective...you're never going to change my mind. The books are sexist, poorly written, boring, predictable, riddled with errors and they promote abuse, stalking and pedophilia. There's no way around that.

/rant

In other news, I'm going to work again today! I'm going to try to go in at least 4 days this week, although I'm taking tomorrow off for the sake of my special project. Are you getting excited??? If not, I'm disappointed. Make me a cake and I will forgive you.

Additionally....I got into an argument with a 65-year-old man from Australia yesterday. He wrote an article on Helium.com and I was sort of put off by it, since it proposed to explain why scientists reject the idea of God by trying to tear down the theory of evolution. Needless to say, that was not convincing to me, so I wrote him some feedback. Twice (because Firefox chose to crash right then, not because I'm that much of a dick). I wasn't very nice. I wasn't attacking him personally, since in the rating system you don't know whose article you're working with, but I was definitely ripping the article more than one new orifice. My questions were justified and I still stand by my position that the article was written from an ignorant and incorrect standpoint, but I was being a bit of a snide jackass.

So it didn't surprise me when I got a long, impassioned e-mail from him asking me who the hell I think I am, insulting my intelligence, my writing abilities, my personality and my validity as a human being. About what I expected from what was clearly a radical, if not fundamental, Christian. I wrote him back, apologizing for the offense and basically being more of a jackass while trying to come off as taking the moral high ground (which is what I tend to do in those situations).

A flurry of e-mails passed between us, each successively less pissy, and it was a really weird experience that I thought I'd share with you, my very few readers. He turns out to be quite nice. I caught him at a bad moment, he said, early in his day and he responded without thinking about whether my comments might be valid. I, of course, apologized for my lack of tact. Then we talked about schooling (since in his first e-mail he had compared me to one of his daughters...not in a good way) and that seems to have been the end of it.

Except for this -this is the second time I've sent him feedback on Helium via the rating system. And pissed him off without really trying to. The first time I responded quite angrily, I remember, saying something about getting into a pissing match with a skunk (I've told you I'm a jackass. Eventually you will believe that); this time I appear to have made a friend, maybe. Or at least there's one less 65-year-old who hates me.

Crazy times.
Still reading. :)



The review of Rebecca goes up tomorrow, along with my special project, so keep your optical organs peeled!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Review Monday

As promised, here is today's review. Richard Feynman!

You're all getting spoiled this week; I posted an extra review last night just for kicks, and later this week I have a special project that's going to result in 4 separate articles! So get excited about that, and get your reading glasses ready! ;) It's going to be a busy week for me. I'm actually going to work in addition to writing, so I actually have to leave the house for something other than the library or coffee...

As far as my experiment yesterday with going outside went....that failed miserably. I stayed inside and got active though. My arms still hurt from Wii Boxing, and I'm okay with that. I'm still white as a lily, but at least I didn't spend all day sitting in front of my screen staring at various pieces of writing. I consider that a step in the right direction. Maybe I'll actually venture outside today, who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Still reading The Things That Matter...it's taking longer than it probably should, mostly because I'm just reading at night right now. Not sure why, I've just been putzing around doing other things during the day. Like playing Wii.

Well, keep an eye out for further reviews 'n' stuff later this week :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'm a pimp

Still reading The Things That Matter- I'm about halfway through the third section, and still greatly enjoying it. After the Frankenstein repetition, it picked up. The Wuthering Heights analysis was much better, and now I'm on Jane Eyre, which is one of my favorite books of all time; I'm liking it.

What I'm not liking is how pale I still am. I spend all my time inside reading, working on writing or watching movies. My left arm is darker than my right because when I drive, I let it hang out the window. That's pathetic. So I've decided that today I'm going to spend time outside. I probably won't be active, since I'm a bit of a bum, but I'll at least get off this chair and get nice and golden brown (or pink, depending on how the day turns out).

We'll see. What that means is I'm going to try to stay off Yahoo Answers (where I spend probably 25% of my day, if not more, pissing off Twilight fans) and disconnect from the interwebs for a while. I'm becoming too much of a couch potato, no matter how productive it is. I also want to see how my articles do without me pimping them all the time. The past couple of days have been pretty productive, but so have I.

So, there's that. Additionally, tomorrow's Monday, so you know what that means: review day!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Things That Matter

After finishing Rebecca, I realized with an unpleasant jolt that I had nothing left from the library to read. So of course I had to go yesterday and get some things. I got Everything Is Illuminated, a bio of Audrey Hepburn, Brave New World, The Things that Matter and a book called The Accidental. The ones I've not read look interesting and the one I have I know is good; I just want to review it.

There was a terrific thunderstorm this morning. I haven't heard it rain so hard since Findlay flooded a couple of years ago. The thunder was fantastic, too. It sounded like the world was tearing open. I loved it.

Right now I'm reading The Things That Matter. It's an analysis of 7 great works of literature and how they relate to seven different stages of life. So far it's been really good; I've read the first section, which deals with Frankenstein. It dragged on a little towards the end of its 40-some pages; I got the feeling that the author ran out of things to say and so repeated them a lot. However, it did get his point across. Lots of biographical information on Mary Shelley and a perspective on Frankenstein and the creature (not the monster, as I usually see it called, which I thought was interesting in itself) I haven't really seen before.

So far so good.

I also got the movie La Vie En Rose, which is about Edith Piaf. La Vie En Rose is one of my favorite songs. Audrey Hepburn sings it in Sabrina, and Edith Piaf is famous for it; it's a beautiful song. The actress who plays Piaf in the movie, Marion Cotillard, also plays Billie Frechette in the movie Public Enemies, which I saw a week ago...it's a good movie, by the by. Worth seeing, despite its length. It's one of the most beautifully shot movies I think I've ever seen. There's one scene in particular, in a bar, where the only thing in the frame are the heads of the characters talking at one side of the screen, the edge of the bar extending away from them, and darkness. It's unspeakably gorgeous.

Now that the storm is over, it's sunny and humid and sticky...I know my mom isn't going to turn on the AC, which sucks since (for once in Findlay) there is no wind. But it's a pretty day. Everything is crackly and wet.

I like Saturdays.

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's so damn hot

As Rob Burgundy would say, milk was a bad choice. Or would have been, had I had milk. Fortunately I stuck with water. However, it's still hotter than Hell on a Sunday outside, and I don't like it. I'm wearing jeans like I always do, and it's just not fun. I feel like someone stuck me inside of a radiator and left me there. Trying to type on a laptop is just not doing it for me....I have it on a pillow to keep the direct heat off my legs, but the pillow is warm as well. There is no winning in this scenario.

I finished Rebecca. I woke up this morning afire with the thirst to know what happened -so in lieu of going to work, I sat in bed for an hour and ripped through it. It's just as good as I thought it would be, and largely more surprising. It's a well done book. I'd recommend it to anyone. Funniest part is that my mom watched the movie version of it several months ago, and they're vastly different, which is to be expected, I suppose.

I also have another review up. (Two, actually, if you count the one on Helium, but that one'll be up on Examiner next week, so if you want to find it, either DIY or wait. ;) ).

So, all things considered, I need to get me to a library. I'm out of books to read, unbelievable as that sounds. Off I go.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Newspapers and further thoughts on Rebecca

Sometimes "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide" comes through -sometimes it isn't about dating or making extremely stupid choices as a result over an overdeveloped sense of competition. The episode I just watched was about the power of the press to actually enact change, even if it's a school newspaper. I wish my school newspaper had done interesting things like that, as opposed to self-congratulatory back-patting and stories about the editors' friends. Some of those people are my friends, too, and I mean them no offense, but where was the investigative reporting? Where were the stories about the teachers that played favorites or stacked grades? Where were stories about corruption on the school board? Perhaps there wasn't any, and Findlay is just as boring as the school papers made it sound...but somehow, I think the real corruption was just in the newspaper.

I'm still reading Rebecca, and still loving it. It's getting weirder and more disturbing as the story progresses, and I'm loving it. This is the first time in weeks I've confined my reading to a single book -it's a strange experience, actually, not to switch between three or so books every hour or chapter I spend reading. I wouldn't say it's more relaxing, even. It's just different. Pleasant, but different.

A review will be up soon after I finish it, and it'll probably be a hefty one. There will also be a review up tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The learning curve

I learn a lot of interesting things from comments on my reviews -most of them about myself.
For example, "ur r a low life wanna be" was one I received today. I was unaware that I are anything of the sort. :P I also apparently lack imagination, have never been in love, don't know what love is, can't judge other people's taste in books because they like it, so I should keep my opinion to myself (I clearly need some lessons in logic) and I've never written anything in my life and have no idea how hard it is to be a writer.

Seeing as I've written, to date, 3 completed novels and 1 unfinished novel, that one flies out the window pretty quickly. (A side note -if you go looking for these comments, some of them have been deleted as they were accompanied by threats of physical violence. As much as I'd like to engage in a good match of fisticuffs with anyone who wants to go at it, I won't have threats on my page. It's not ladylike). I'd also say that, having written 3 1/2 novels -as well as countless short stories/essays and, oh hey, reviews!, I've got a pretty good sized imagination.

As for keeping my opinion to myself...let me think about that one. No.
It's my job to be opinionated. And I happen to be able to back up my opinions, unlike some people, whose only defense for the series is that...they like it, so I should shut up. Yeah. Not gonna happen.

With regards to having been in love, if they can be in love with Edward Cullen, I can be in love with Mr. Darcy. And Mr. Rochester. And Dr. Juvenal Urbino.
What? I like me some literary men, so sue me. ;)

Also, and this is a new one. I am a crazy psycho. I really can't argue with that, except in the context of my article. Sorry I happen to be right, teenagers on the internet who can neither spell properly nor form a coherent argument so as to prove that I am in fact a crazy psycho/wrong!

In addition, as I learned on another review, I am a goddess. Talk about an ego boost!

Then come the facts that really don't make a damn bit of sense, like the ones I got claiming the author/actress/all around badass of a woman Colette was actually a man. Seriously, what? Are...are you out in your backyard watching for UFOs, too? How many times have you seen Elvis? Or gotten Jesus on your toast? Colette was not a man, sorry to burst your bubble. I looked into it. There's zero evidence anywhere (but if you -any of you- can come up with it, I'd be pretty interested, actually. Especially since she, you know, had a child and numerous sexual partners of both genders and was wildly popular and performed nearly nude onstage multiple times. You'd think someone would have noticed).

The things you learn on the internet can hardly be described. Most of them, however, just prove that people are really, really, really stupid.

Rebecca

Last night I started reading Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, and I'm already hooked. There will be a review up this week or next, depending on when I finish it. Yay books! Seriously, if you haven't read Rebecca go check it out from a library or just buy a copy and read it along with me. It's totally worth it. I'm 23 pages in and I'm telling you it's good.

I had other things to write about, but none of them are really relevant.
I do have another review up, though! Dead Until Dark, the first of the Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Check it out. Leave me nasty comments, etc. The usual. You know how we do.

Short blog post is short! But you will survive. I have reading to do, anyway.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Books and movies and stuff...oh my.

I couldn't think of anything for the third category. I would have said music, but I'm not going to talk about that. Stuff, however, is just broad enough to cover what I want it to.

So, books: I'm currently reading "A Devil's Chaplain" by Richard Dawkins. There will be a review up today or tomorrow (haven't decided yet when to post it), so keep checking back to see if there's a link for it. I'm also read "The Meaning of it All" which is a collection of 3 lectures given by Richard Feynman in 1963. The man was brilliant. He was funny, erudite and still relatable. He was about 80 miles above everyone's head, but you still manage to understand what he wanted you to. And he was so kind about everything. Switching from his book to Dawkins is like going from eating chocolate ice cream to chewing on a jawbreaker. I like Dawkins, don't get me wrong. He's incredibly smart, but he's a jackass. He's pompous, arrogant and nasty. And it's annoying, because he's so convinced he's right -and he often is, too.
That's part of why I like him.
I'm a jackass.

Additionally, some of you may not know this, but in addition to writing for Examiner.com, I also write for Helium.com -the nice thing about that is I can write a lot more loosely on Helium. I have a couple of movie reviews, and some political stuff as well. It's not all books, all the time there. Granted, Examiner is like my best friend where Helium is more of an acquaintance that I'd hang out with once in a while, but there's probably still some fun stuff on there for you to read. I like it, anyway. If you check it out, you'll notice a lot of duplicated articles from Examiner. Some of them were stolen from there and put on Helium, and some of them it's the other way around. Regardless, there's stuff on each of them that isn't on the other, so I think it's worth checking out, but that might just be me.

I'm still watching Now, Voyager...I don't know why, but when I watch a movie by myself, it'll take me two or three days to finish it. I get distracted. I check my blog for comments, I tweet, I check Examiner to see what's going on there. In short, without other people to watch the movie, I'm more interested in my own life. Which is funny, in a way, because I prefer to do most things alone as it is. Either way, N,V is a great movie. I'd definitely advise checking it out. Bette Davis has an unusual sort of beauty, but beautiful she was.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Eileen Favorite is...not my favorite. Forgive me.

I always feel vaguely dirty when I make puns, as though I have somehow sinned against the collective intelligence of all of the people who read this blog (however many of you there are, know that I adore you for coming back!). Puns are just distasteful in some way, and a good deal of the time. Rarely do I come across a pun that makes me go "Ahhh, I see. That was clever." Puns are about as subtle as a pie in the face, and as enjoyable.

Onto the point. I just wrote my second most vitriolic review! Second only to my rage against the Twilight machine is my review of Eileen Favorite's book The Heroines. Basically, it's no good and I'm sorry I bought it. If anyone would like to purchase it from me, let me know, har har. Seriously, go read the review. I guarantee you won't want to read it after that, or I haven't done my job, or you're just being perverse.

In other news, I was mentioned by name in a question on Yahoo! Answers yesterday. I am apparently well known there for my dislike of Twilight and my irritating habit of jumping on 99% of the Twilight questions, saying "mean" things about the books and posting a link to my review. I'm not sure what's worse: that I'm known for that, or that I found out about it because it was a Twilight related question and I was answering it so I could say mean things about Twilight and post a link to my review.......... You decide.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

I was dragged out of bed at 9 a.m. to go canoeing. Not my first choice of activities. Let's be honest -about the most active I normally get is turning the pages of a book. In Athens, I walk a lot more, because of the hills. And because I don't have anywhere to go that would really necessitate a car (except Wal*Mart, but even that distance is pretty easy to walk). Anyway, you get the idea. I'm a bum. So now my arms and wrists are aching tired, and I feel like something sucked all of the energy out of me. I am not in the best of moods.

Yesterday I hit up the library again. I've discovered that if I decide on a topic, instead of a specific book, I can usually find something. So I got a couple of books by/about Richard Feynman, one by Richard Dawkins (the topic was not men named Richard, just fyi), the book Rebecca and a biography of Colette that I wanted to review (and already have). It was a pretty successful trip, all things considered, although I did finally get busted for using my mom's card instead of my own, which is AWOL. I've been using mom's card since I got home. That is upwards of 12 trips to the library, at least 8 of which involved me actually using the card. This is the first time anyone has noticed it's not her....and the woman who did figure it out isn't someone I know. Creepy.

I'm still reading The Know-It-All, which is the precursor to The Year of Living Biblically, which I adored. Also, A. J. Jacobs and I are now friends on Facebook. He read my review! How small of a world is it? I was so excited I almost passed out. Mom made fun of me. I'm glad it was a positive review... But yeah, expect the KIA review to be delayed a little, since I'm trying to get more diversity of authors in the reviews right now. Admittedly, that sounds shammy when I remember that I'm also writing a review of every single Sookie Stackhouse novel, as well as an overall review (which is linked to above), but those are mostly because I know they'll generate hits. And I can link them to my Twilight review, which has over 100 comments. That amuses me. The comments range from really funny and insightful to really funny and stupid. The threatening ones I delete, despite their amusement value. I just don't think they're appropriate for the page, as much as I'm not intimidated by 13 year old girls threatening me on the internet (or IRL, really. I'm hard to intimidate).

I'm also reading Dawkins' book A Devil's Chaplain which is really interesting so far. It's a collection of essays, and although it's not nearly the polemic that The God Delusion is, I still think Dawkins is a pompous ass. As much as I agree with him (which is to say -most of the time, I think he's mostly right, but I'd still argue with him [and lose, since he's much smarter than I am]), he's a pompous ass and he writes to deliberately piss people off. I can tell, because I do it too. It's fun to get a reaction, even a negative one, from writing. And a topic as controversial as the one on which he normally writes is bound to get some negative responses no matter how gently he words it. He's fun to read, I'll be honest. I like to see how long I can go before something needles me, even if it's something with which I agree. Fun stuff, fun stuff.

There'll be reviews of a bunch of books up this week, and blogs to go with them, same as usual. This weekend I'm trying to get a little bit ahead. I figure if I write a review a day, I'll be in good shape when I go back to school and won't have the leisure to sit on my skinny butt all day and read whatever I want. Of course, I'll also have much more academic writing to put up, which will be fun and high-brow than my usual opinions. Good times.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Gigi

Has anybody else seen the movie Gigi? I have -I'll be honest, it's not my favorite. Leslie Caron (who I loved in the movie Lili, which has an oddly similar title) came off as more irritating than spunky, and it bothered me. She was a great actress, but this musical just doesn't do it for me. Regardless, I have always wanted to read the book Gigi.

Sadly, but not shockingly, my library does not have a copy of it. What they did have was "Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette" -a biography of the woman who wrote Gigi. And wow. Just...wow. The woman was fascinating and bizarre and brilliant. It's a long book (500 pages) and I had it finished in about 2 days. I could not put it down from the moment I picked it up.

You know how a lot of artists are temperamental and weird and get in trouble all the time?
That's Colette. She lived in the late 19th and early 20th century, acted onstage, had lesbian and bisexual relationships, got married and divorced, wrote scandalous books -and didn't care what anyone thought of her. She knew what was up. And she just lived the way she wanted to. Fascinating, grumpy woman.

So of course I wrote a review of the book, which you should go read (the review or the book? Both).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Real vampires

I've done it again, me and my reviewing. This time, it's a (mostly) positive look at the Sookie Stackhouse Novels by Charlaine Harris. True Blood (one of my favorite shows) is based on them, and I'm only a little embarrassed to say that the show is the only reason I picked up the books. I am very pleased, however, to say that I was pleasantly surprised by them. They're not great, I'll be honest, but they don't really try to be. They try to be violent, steamy, interesting fun -and they are. That's all they are, and that's all they need to be. Hell, if that's all Twilight pretended to be, I might be able to like them.


Okay, that was an exaggeration.

Twilight can't even pretend to be as good as these books, because Twilight is too busy primping its hair and pretending to be a saga. It's a series. A series. Look up the definition of a saga before you sling the word around like so much mud.

The Sookie Stackhouse Novels aren't written for high-brow readers of literature. They're written for the everyday girl (or guy) looking for a little bit of lighthearted fun, and they deliver. There are plenty of flaws in the books (I get a pang every time I think of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" written as "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner"), but despite those flaws, at least there's a story. There's an interesting, complex story with interesting, complex characters. Sookie's shallow moments are human moments, not Mary Sue moments, and the characters continue to get more interesting as the series progresses.

So, while I would read these over Twilight in a heartbeat -less than a heartbeat -I still wouldn't call them good literature. But damned if I don't enjoy them.