Archive | August, 2013

Daily Book Challenge – Day 16

31 Aug

This is late and I’m full of good excuses. I’ll wait a bit and do the Day 17 bit, I don’t have to think about it or why I like it so much.

I was having a hard time coming up with any female characters I liked that weren’t super young – for whatever reason, I find a lot of heroines go through an annoying phase when they reach puberty.

I’m trying not to gush over my own work and the characters I’d mention would be in unpublished work anyway. But then I resaw my graphic novel copy of Guards!Guards! and I remembered Terry Pratchett. He has so many wonderful characters to chose from – male and female, but I picked Granny Weatherwax. She’s cranky. She’s opinionated. She won’t admit her ignorance. I will strive to be like her, when I’m older, though I have the feeling I’m more of a Gytha Ogg. I think this is an example of an uncompromising character done right – it’s hinted that the woman isn’t perfect, but that’s not the point. One of my favorite scenes with her is in Witches Abroad and she confronts her sister – the self-acclaimed good-witch. It’s not my favorite of the Discworld Set, but Granny Weatherwax wins basically because of that scene – and it’s not like she is done merely with other witches and wizards – she battles vampires, fairies and all sorts of denizens threatening Lancre, and I’m thuroughly entertained every time.


Daily Book Meme – Day 15

30 Aug

Day 15 – Favorite male character

I don’t love characters the way I used to – now I’m in a “Hmm… that’s interesting…” If I were to answer this as from my own work, it would probably be either Koth or Sedolei – very different characters. (They are from different unpublished works too). But I might as well go after a character someone would know.

Disclaimer: I’m sure I’ll think of a different character I like better like, a week from now.

Reepicheep from Voyage of the Dawn Treader: When I was a kid, I didn’t like Prince Caspian much, but Reepicheep made it entertaining. Now as an adult with movies, Reepicheep made the movie, and he wasn’t enough to save the VotDT Movie (Hated it, and I still have the biggest sort-of-crush on Ben Barnes, who, by the way, looked way too old to play Caspian).  I suppose this is a result of my love of cartoons with those “Let me at ’em!” Scrappy-Doo characters everyone else loathes. I guess I just adore the courage in something so small and borderline ineffectual. I picked him, because at the end of the day, if I ever had to go on an adventure with a fictional character, I wouldn’t pick someone suped-up on powers or super-wise. Nope – a swashbuckling Mouse with a deathwish. It’ll make for a better story if we survived…

Daily Book Meme: Day 14

29 Aug

Favorite Book by Favorite Author


It’s 1984.


I know I should go on about it, but instead, take pride that I seized the day and went to the beach. Family commitments make me post this with just over half an hour my time to get this posted, so here’s some pictures I took today:


Tools01 Dragonring Spinningwheel Tools02 Vikinghats01 Falcon01


Did I mention the beach was Gimli Beach, and they have a major New Iceland theme? The raptor was taken in Winnipeg when I got back – let’s just say that if you can’t afford to travel, it’s fun to do research in beach towns.

Daily Book Meme: Day 13

27 Aug

George Orwell

I’ve talked enough about Lewis and Butler for the time being – I’m sure we’ll be back to them shortly. I generally try to follow the George Orwell school of writing (Keep it Simple, Stupid).  Just because his prose is clear, doesn’t mean that it’s by any means poor, I’ll let it speak for itself:

“I am a degenerate modern semi-intellectual who would die if I did not get my early morning cup of tea and my New Statesman every Friday. Clearly I do not, in a sense, ‘want’ to return to a simpler, harder, probably agricultural way of life. In the same sense I don’t ‘want’ to cut down on my drinking, to pay my debts, to take enough exercise, to be faithful to my wife, etc. etc. But in another and more permanent sense I do want these things, and perhaps in the same sense I want a civilization in which ‘progress’ is not definable as making the world safe for little fat men.”

“This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half.”

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

“Several of them would have protested if they could have found the right arguments.”

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”

Cookies if you can name the origin of each quote without googling.

Daily Book Meme: Day 12

26 Aug

Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore

The Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs

I’m not saying I’ve read any of these titles since High School – and I’m not saying education ruined me, either  – all my ratings on goodreads are based on nostalgic memory. I’m scared that if I read these books, it’ll ruin my memories of enjoying them so much. I devoured these when I was in grade 2-4; and reread the all again when I was in Junior High. If you’re ever curious why I like sword & sorcery, space operas, or perhaps why I think most love stories are kind of predictable, it’s because these dimestore-copies were my big influencer. And I know some of Burroughs books had more depth to them (I am a Barbarian) and I think the cultural legacy is great – but I don’t want that feeling to go away – it’s kind of like seeing a cartoon as an adult when you haven’t seen it in years. You remember it as being great, and you hate the animation mistakes, the logical flaws… you know.

Daily Book Meme: Day 11

25 Aug

Day 11 – A book you hated


Now, there are many books I’ve read that are certainly written worse. There are certain books that offend me more. I could rant about how this book makes up its own mythology as it goes along to drive the story in the direction the author wants, or seems to nail hypocritical female sexuality on the head. I could talk about how, at its core, this book is about glamorizing violence against women and missing the point of heroic sacrifice entirely.

But the author would have me be nice.

Well, blacklist me all you’d like.

Works don’t exist in a vacuum. A work is not an entire reflection on the author – it may consist of their ideologies, but it might not – when I study debate, one key tactic is understand your opponent, so that you might prepare ahead of time. I can debate something I don’t believe in easily. Yes, books might be precious inner-workings of our psyche, a labor of love and sweat that, might be misinterpreted.

That doesn’t mean books of every caliber – literary, mainstream, and cheap pulp, shouldn’t be discussed.

Maybe it’s just in a place I am personally, but I don’t see general criticism as an attack – I’ve seen it as an attack, but if I want to be a professional, I have to stand up to the rigors of testing. And, I think science-fiction and fantasy titles, should they be strong enough, should be worthy of literary consideration. We can’t get there unless we expose our flaws.

Love this book? Great – enjoy. I have no problem if you like this book, and think everything I said was completely out of context. Find like-minded people who share the mindset of talking the way you do and enjoying books your way. But when you see me doing an analysis, or someone’s talking about some rather disturbing trends in YA, or maybe, they just didn’t like something and they lack the means to articulate it – maybe that’s not necessarily a discussion for you. I know I get snarkier with certain friends – it’s just the way we are. For some people, they won’t have the people in real life who are willing to discuss a theme in a movie or book – not even at the college level. So if they have a personal blog or review site or whatever and they want to discuss a theme in a movie or a book – I say allow the discussion, and let’s not penalize wannabe writers for following an unpopular opinion, voicing warranted criticism, or even being wrong.

Furthermore, are novels:

1) A Science

2) An Art

Now, which one of those is subjective, and which one is objective? Granted, spelling, grammar – those are objective rules laid out,. Don’t freak out if someone says something mean – and it’s okay to be angry, or rant. But the internet is a giant place of misunderstanding of tone. Grow up if you want to be taken seriously – and yeah, if you are feeling really bad for yourself, go find a bestseller and go read all their one-star reviews.

Daily Book Meme: Day 10

24 Aug

Day 10 – Favorite classic book


Can someone define classic? I’m going to use ‘old and almost everyone enjoys’.

Without being certain, I think my main issue with Austen is that she has upper-class problems for her well-to-do protagonists – yes, flay me now, what with what I said about HDM two days ago and now this. With Bronte, I felt a real connection with Jane – I mean, our lives couldn’t be more different, but I liked that she was uncompromising and came from very humble roots. I need to read more Charlotte Bronte, I know. Getting on it…

The only thing I didn’t like was the convenience of killing off her love interest’s wife. Naturally, I rather enjoyed Wide Sargasso Sea…

Daily Book Challenge: Day 9

23 Aug


Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

I’m never sure how to answer these things – I usually end up enjoying some aspect of most books; unless I go in knowing it’s bad. That’s why I try to avoid hyped-up stuff, because I like to poke and prod at the faults (one can only say “WOWEEE SO AMAZING!ONE! so many times). I’m also kind of the bad feminist who doesn’t acknowledge how hard things have been for previous generations – I work in EMS which is still 80% male (Stats unknown, that’s just a number we throw around) but it’s also a field with employment equity, yaddah yaddah. You meet some sexist guys in the field, but for the most part they have to keep most of it to themselves; HR takes that stuff seriously.

This book I haven’t probably read in five years, but I remember really enjoying looking at the different expectations placed on women, and how oftentimes, you have to be much better than a guy just to be equal.

My only qualm is – well, this book highlights how you either have to come from money or effectively starve as an artist, because, like many people, there is no such thing as writing part-time. I don’t really like starving, so I’m still trying to manage writing with having an occupation unrelated to writing. I think it’s working out good – EMS, if nothing else, gives me the education needed to adequately relay injuries and you meet the most interesting people, don’t ya know. People who couldn’t be believable in fiction, but I’m getting off topic. Those of us who come from the working class, just bare with us, okay? I promise not to wreck literature singlehandedly – I’ll need help.

Anyway – I haven’t read everything by Woolf, but I had a professor who loved her back in the Uni days, so I’ve read quite a bit. Great getting your feet wet with Woolf, and it also talks a bit about the politics of why we have so many more male writers than female ones. Dated, granted, but still definitely worth the read.

 “Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Daily Book Challenge: Day 8

22 Aug

Day 08 – Most overrated book


It’s Gnosticism, people, not atheism. I know, atheism is technically a huge group of ideas, but my Keep It Simple Stupid definition of atheism s effectively naturalism – and I know there is a little bit of interpretation towards the natural world we can’t experience, even with our technology – but this series? Gnosticism.

I’m not going to bitch about how you shouldn’t leave the climatic action off screen – unless you wrote yourself into a hole and you have a first-person narrator and they happen to not witness it. I can do this for lots of books. This was probably what made me snarl the most, but here’s my simplified beefs:  

Don’t like Narnia? Fine – but don’t go on about how racist Lewis is and then have the multiverse saved by a white girl and boy. Don’t make your main character a liar and try to tell me ‘the truth’. Don’t create awesome armored polar-bears and then hardly include them in the last book.  This series had some fantastic ideas – I have the feeling it’s because I don’t like Will and Lyra’s characters, because some of the characters (Mrs. Coulter, Iorek) were great.  However, I think what’s telling is how in a book effectively slamming Christianity hardly has reference of Jesus in it. I know the author has written something specifically dealing with Jesus – I might get around to reading it one of these decades.

“Is your religion showing?” Possibly – I recall this same defense called when I said The Da Vinci Code was poorly written, so you decide.

Daily Book Challenge: Day 7

22 Aug

Day 7 – Most underrated book


I can’t pick the best -of-the-best of underrated books because I read a lot of small press stuff, ‘specially the Canadian publisher/author stuff. There’s lots of good stuff – here’s a YA book I picked up at Keycon, and I enjoyed it – basically it’s about a repressed group of people fighting against the ruling class that has eradicated them and forced them underground, and the heroine thinks she’s going in incognito to find something. It had everything in the making to be a cliché YA romance, but it was one of the few books where the chemistry really was doing it for me. I normally am that jerk of a cynic who poo-poos the romance -but if I see a pair with chemistry, I calls it like I sees it.