Monthly Archives: April 2011

Day 16 – Favorite Collection of Poetry

This night
While I am dreaming
Searching for you
I have a message, but you’re not sleeping
I wade through deep black waters, endless deserts
Turning my eyes away
From the criminals who seek to shame me

Meet me at the crossroads
Where we will come together
And nothing else will matter
From now until forever

These things
The only way I know to tell you
Whispered in the static
Screaming through the veil
Please say
The message came through
As intended
Code deciphered and recieved

I’m not a poetry person. I get the point of poetry but any real enjoyment I might have gotten out of it was burned away by the rubbish assigned in the GCSE syllabus. So for this one I’m choosing someone who is a poet but a musician and author as well. I own a copy of Ladies and Other Vicious Creatures by Donna Lynch, but I couldn’t find it to photograph it, so this is part of an image by Steven Archer, the other half of the band Ego Likeness.

I love the universe Ego Likeness operate in, as twist and disturbing as it is. Its a place where reality and nightmare blend together until you don’t know the one from the other, where the witches and demons are real and just might be you. I recommend that you read the madness that is Isabel Burning, and hear the darkness that is Breedless, marvel at the beauty of Luna Maris and maybe pick up some animal bones in resin whilst you’re at it.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 16 – Day 16 – Track That Describes You

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Day 15 – Your “Comfort” Book

Hmmm most of the books I’d consider as “comfort” books have already been mentioned, so I’m going to go forthe books I turn to when I’ve had a long day and I’m too exhausted to concentrate on anything complicated or clever.

The Sookie Stackhouse (a.k.a Southern Vampire (a.k.a True Blood)) series by Charlaine Harris is neither complicated or clever. These are literary soap operas, the kind of books you can read in one sitting and never think about again. Fortunately the characters are just this side of one dimensional and some of the set pieces are imaginative enough to keep the reader entertained. This series treats the vampire mythos with some degree of respect whilst still letting the characters be flawed, both of which seem to be missing from Twilight. Sorry but I like vampires to be real vampires. Just like Dexter and Bones, the TV series that has been spawned by the Sookie Stackhouse books is wildly better than its source, which makes it all worthwhile in the end 🙂

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 15 – Track That You Wish Described You

Heh, I wish I looked that good, just so I could complain about it :p

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Day 14 – Favorite Character In A Book

Mug courtesy of Protowilson.deviantart.com

I tend to get obsessed with characters more for the inspiration they represent than for their representation in the original book. As my name suggests I’m a huge fan of The Phantom of the Opera, but not for Gaston Leroux’s original book, which lets face it, is completely terrible. I love Erik in all his forms, in versions official and fanfiction, from Susan Kay to Andrew Lloyd Webber via Brian De Palma, but I don’t especially like his portrayal in the original book. Same goes for Dracula, whilst I appreciate the original book, I’d much rather have the Gary Oldman , Christopher Lee or Richard Roxburgh version.

So for this prompt I decided to choose Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling, a character that I love as much in the original books, as for his portrayal in film and fanfiction. Saying that I originally only agreed to read the Harry Potter books because Snape is played by Alan Rickman, one of my very favourite actors.

I was a Snape fan before it turned out he was a good guy, he always struck me as the only sane and sensible teacher in the whole school, since he was the only one to react to Potters constant acts of near insanity with anything approaching the appropriate response. He was also in charge of the coolest of the four houses and taught the most awesome subject. By the end of the books he turns out to be the most powerful, and in many ways the most important, character in the whole series, without whom the entire endeavor would have failed with Harry’s death at Quirrell’s hands in the first book. And yet in the end, his life ends with the same sense of waste as when it was lived, with insufficient recognition and a pointless death for ridiculous reasons at the hands of a lunatic. He never even gets a funeral! It’s all so depressingly tragic.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 14 – Track You Only Like For Its Sentimental Value

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Day 13 – Favorite Opening Scene In A Book

“It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”

That is, for me, one of the best opening lines I’ve read in a very long time. It sucks you immediately. What happened to the North Sea to dry it out? And, wait a minute, what the hell do you mean, a city is CHASING a mining town?

The four book series (Mortal Engines, Predators Gold, Infernal Devices and Darkling Plain, and their prequels – A Web Of Air, Fever Crumb and Scrivener’s Moon) takes place in a post apocalyptic wasteland where cities and towns, on wheels or tracks or gas balloons, chase one another down for resources. It’s like Mad Max on an epic scale, with airships and robots thrown in. The series is aimed at teens so most the characters are children and young people, but like any good children’s book there are sill some adult characters and a good depth of storytelling to keep the interest of older or more advanced readers. Though if you’re considering these as a gift for children be aware that death, war and emotional conflict are major themes and can get a little graphic.

(I know this is a copy of what I posted before. I have food poisoning.)

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 13 – Track That Gets Stuck In Your Head

I hate this song with a passion but once I hear it I get it stuck in my head for weeks and weeks. Though I’ve had Haben Sie Gehort Das Deutsche Band stuck in my head for the last month

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Day 12 – A Book You’ve Read More Than Five Times

Hmmmm… that covers an awful lot of books…

Ok, I’ve chosen one of the few books I’ve actually had to replace due to over-reading. My original copy of American Gods by Neil Gaiman had been glued, taped and even stapled trying to hold it together for one more reading. I finally gave in when I picked it up and the spine just dissolved into confetti. I’m not kind to my books.

It’s hard to pinpoint why I’d addicted to American Gods. It might be the depth of the story, the range of the characters, the flashes of humour or the sheer scale of the set piece battles combined with the individual tiny dramas. I love recognising a new god or a new reference each time I read it. I adore Wednesday for his sheer magnetism and Shadow’s pathos. But I think the most endlessly appealing part is the strength of the characterisation, Gaiman somehow makes you feel that you know even the smallest character personally and then wraps you up in their world.

It also contains one of my favorite speeches of all time.

Hannah’s Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 12 – Track for a Thoughtful Montage Sequence

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Day 11 – A Book that Disappointed You

I’m a Philip K Dick fan. I have a whole shelf filled with his books. Generally I enjoy most of his work, even if the things they have inspired are better than the original books (Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies, and Total Recall is one of the few Schwarzenegger films I can stand). I even liked The Penultimate Truth, which has the single most frustrating ending of any book ever written!

So why can’t I finish The Man In The High Castle? I’m told (by people who read real literature) that it’s his best book. But nothing happens?!?! Not only does nothing happen (in the first half at least, which was as far as I could drag my boredom) the language actually makes sense. You don’t spend every page wonder what the f*** is going on, or what drugs Dick as taking on that particular day. The fact that it didn’t read like a Philip K Dick book is probably the reason I couldn’t finish it, that wasn’t that promise of complete bats**t insanity that kept the other books interesting. I knew I should have stayed away from literature :p

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 11 – Track That’s Gibberingly Upbeat & Happy

As a member of CAMRA I too enjoy a fancy beer!

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Day 10 – A Book You Thought You Wouldn’t Like But Ended Up Loving

As previously mentioned, I was given Lord John And The Private Matter after my grandmother mistakenly bought it second hand from The Famous Bookstall. I originally assumed it was going to be the usual slightly incipid womens fiction that she generally read. Then I realised why she hadn’t read it herself. My poor gran! LOL!

I’ve tried to read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, which the Lord John sequence is a spin off from, but I found it to be exactly the kind of fluff I’d expected this to be. Time travelling love affair? Yawn. Secretly gay nobleman/military leader solves ridiculous whodunnit? Yes please! This is even more amusing if you read it in the voice of John Barrowman. It’s not deep and its neither big nor clever, but it is a lot of fun. We need more historical novels like this!

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 10 – Track for Expressing Howls of Pain

I do love Emilie Autumn and her drama. I was going to use a Cradle of Filth track for this one, but I thought the howling there would be a bit too literal.

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Day 09 – Best Scene Ever

They stared at this sudden, bloody, swaying apparition, which was dreamily waving a sword in one hand and an axe in the other.
They had axes, too. But the thing glared at the and asked:
“Where’s… my… cow?”
They backed away.
“Is that my cow?” the creature demanded, stepping forward unsteadily. It shook its head sadly. “It goes ‘Baaaa!'” it wept. “It is… a sheep….”
Then it fell to its knees, clenched its teeth and turned its face upwards, like a man tortured beyond his wit, and beseeching the goods of fortune and the tempest, screamed: “That! Is!! Not!! My!!! Cow!!!!”
The dwarfs backed away down the slope. Overhead, the vurms were still pouring in, outlining the invader against their green-white glow.
“Where’s my cow? Is that my cow?” it demanded, following them.
In every part of the cavern dwarfs had stopped work. There was hesitancy in the air. This was only one man, after all, and the though in many minds was: what is someone else going to do about this? It had not yet progressed to: what am I going to about this? Besides, where was the cow? There was a cow down here?
“it goes ‘neigh!’ It is a horse! That’s not my cow!”
Dwarfs looked at one another. Where was the horse, then? Did you hear a horse? […}
Half a dozen shrouded dark guards stepped out from the group. One of them carried, ahead of him, a flame weapon, and advanced on the figure cautiously. The flame of its little pilot light was the brightest thing in the cave.
The figure looked up, the light reflected red in its eyes, and growled: “is that my cow?”
Then it threw the axe overarm, full at the guard. It struck the flame weapon which exploded.
“It goes, Hruuugh!'” Burning oil fountained across the dark. Some of it splashed onto Vime’s arm. He slapped at it. There was pain, intense pain, but he knew this only in the same way that he knew the moon existed. It was there, but it was a long way off and didn’t affect him very much.

IMO, the best fight (and most ridiculous) fight scene ever. You’ll have to get the book to read the rest of it, but it is awesome.
Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 9 – Track for Dancing to Like a Muppet


A song for muppets, with muppets. You remind me of the babe….

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“A Tear, Sarah Jane?” RIP Lis Sladen

With only four days left until the premiere of the new season of Doctor Who, it was a huge shock to read of the death of Lis Sladen. Better known as Sarah Jane Smith, Lis was originally a companion of the Third and Fourth Doctors, but more recently appeared in several Tenth Doctor episodes, as well as in her own spin off series The Sarah Jane Adventures.

I didn’t watch the Third and Fourth Doctor episodes when they first came out, due to not having been born, and I have to admit to not watching them on repeat because…. I’m terrified of Tom Baker *ahem* So my first real encounter with Sarah Jane was in School Reunion with David Tennant and a guest appearance from the deliciously evil Anthony Head (Repoman, yum!). Even though I wasn’t that familiar with the character, her performance as the abandoned companion was absolutely perfect, I even cried when the stupid robot dog died! The strength of her performance has actually encouraged me to try to get over my fear of Tom Baker and revisit the earlier series. I’m glad I did.

Along with the recent death of Nicholas Courtney (who played The Brigadier) this is a sad loss for the Doctor Who fandom, its just fortunate that the new series continues to introduce fresh awesome talent that might eventually fill the gaps.

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Day 08 – A Book Everyone Should Read At Least Once

I know it’s traditional to point to something from the 100 Best Books Evor list or the classics section of the library, but my choice is a bit more obscure.

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Years of Rice And Salt is a speculative history based on the concept that 99.99% of Europe’s population was lost during the Black Death. A series of short stories spanning several hundreds years are linked by the fact that all the characters are reincarnations of the same souls though out. So whilst world history progresses without Western culture, we also see the development of complex interpersonal relationships whilst the characters change age, sex, race and in one case species.

Because of the linking of characters this isn’t an easy read, rarely does the author actually tell you which characters are which, though clues are given in the first initials of names. It’s mostly left to the reader to work out by personality. The book also requires the reader to be willing to read about a variety of other cultures and to have a basic understand of history in order to understand the differences with reality. All the effort is more than rewarded with the scenes set in the various afterlifes, I could happy read those over and over.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 8 – Track For Dancing To Sleazily

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