Category Archives: Thirty Days of Books

Day 30 – What Book Are You Reading Right Now?

It’s finally over! Day 30 is here!!!

I’m currently dragging myself through Blameless by Gail Carriger. I was considering using Soulless for Day 11 before I remember that it was exactly as bad as I’d expected a bright pink steampunk book to be, and therefore couldn’t be classed as a disappointment. However the title character of Alexia Tarabotti was just compelling enough to make me buy Changeless (Soulless was given away free at a convention, I would NOT have paid money for it) in the hope that the series might improve as occasionally happens. And it did! Right up until the ending as which point the whole thing collapsed into exactly the kind of drama that stops me reading “romantic” fiction. It was exactly like being punched in the stomach.

Unfortunately Blameless continues in the same vein and its taken me almost two months to get 150 pages into the book and every page has been a battle. And yet, like eating stale popcorn – you don’t like it, it tastes bad and you know it won’t end well – I can’t stop reading it. Alexia Tarabotti remains just this side of likable, and a few of the supporting cast are admittedly awesome (Professor Lyall the dignified werewolf, and Lord Akeldama, a vampire so fruity he’d make Oscar Wilde look like a member of the EDL). I’ve just discovered, with a sinking heart that two more books are planned. I guess I’ll end up reading those too, whether I really want to or not.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 30 – Foist One Last Rarity On Us

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Day 29 – Saddest Character Death

Hmmmm I’ve already talk about Snape, and I can’t really go on about Erik again so soon after a previous PotO based post. I was considering making the title of this one “Most Satisfying Character – Death” and talking about Neil Gaiman’s Death of the Endless or Pratchett’s anthropromorphic personification Death, but again I’ve probably wittered on about both those authors a bit too much.

So I’m going to use “saddest” in it’s British slang meaning of “lamest” and talk about Duncan Idaho. Now I wasn’t that bothered about Duncan in the David Lynch version, but I liked him in the first Sci Fi Channel mini-series adaptation and then came to adore him in the second Children of Dune mini-series. Now this had nothing to do with the fact that he was played by my all time favorite actor Edward Atterton… ok I lie, it probably had a lot to do with that… but I was also deeply amused that the character of the ghola Hayt is supposed to be a clone of the original Idaho, but in the first film he was played by a Scot with long hair and then is cloned into a buttoned up posh English guy, and in the best traditions of bad sci-fi, no one notices.

However I’m not talking about either the death of the first Idaho a the hands of the Sardaukar or the death of the first ghola in Children of Dune. I’m referring to his death in God Emperor of Dune (one of many) when he get squished by the Emperor’s giant sandworm body. What a waste.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 29 – Track to Track to Get The Party Started

Who doesn’t love a creepy cabaret song?

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Day 28 – First Favorite Book

My first literary love was probably Pratchett, and I did once read all of Anne McCaffrey‘s books in a single summer, but there aren’t many books that I link with specific childhood events.

We used to holiday in the States a lot when I was younger and I always underestimated the number of books I needed to bring with me. I’d read a lot because I’m not a sun bathing person and American TV has far to many adverts to be watchable. Remember this was in the days when most UK homes got only 4 or 5 TV channels and two of them had no commercial breaks, so watching stuff with adverts ever 5 minutes was a brain melting experience, even now I prefer to watch most series on DVD or On Demand to avoid the stupid adverts. Anyway we usually ended up in the hopelessly touristy parts of Florida without a book store in sight, or in the suburbs with only an S-Mart (or whatever they are called in Florida) for general shopping purposes.

I found this when we were staying in a villa with its own po0l (OMG luxury!), during a period when I was trying not to be goth (I occasionally tried to be normal as a teen, it never stuck for long), on a rack by the check outs at the S-Mart. I’m not sure if you can see it in the photo but the cover isn’t even cut straight. It was the only book I found all holiday and I probably read it three times whilst listening to the insane Floridian storms.

Interview With The Vampire isn’t the best book ever written, and Anne Rice has gone more than a bit in the years since this was released (if you missed her punctuation free tantrum in response to the poor reviews of Blackwood Farm you missed a real treat, it was epic), but despite the mediocre series that follows IWTV remains a classic of vampire writing. It also produced one of the only films where I can stand to watch Tom Cruise or Antonio Banderas. And without an ounce of glitter in sight!

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 28 – Track to Chill Out/Unwind To


I’m not a summery person but I love this song. No it’s not the banned version :p

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Day 27 – If A Book Contains ______, You Will Always Read It!

Ok so I’m not proud of this one, but I’ve been a raging phan girl for well over a decade, long before Gerard Bulter destroyed the ALW version of The Phantom with that awful, awful movie version. But it says a lot about exactly how bad my addiction is that I still bought the soundtrack AND the DVD, even though I hated the movie.

I bought the shockingly horrible Phantom of Manhattan by Frederick Forsyth the day it was released, read it in about two hours and then threw it across the room. The book claims to be a sequel to the plot of the ALW musical, not to the original book, but then has a central plot device (Christine’s son being Erik’s rather than Raoul’s) that isn’t possible within the plot of the original show without making poor Erik a rapist. The book destroys well loves characters and ruins even those characters hated by the majority of the phandom. Raoul might be unpopular amongst Erik loving phans everywhere but turning him into a vicious alcoholic makes no sense. The epic failure of tPoM amongst phans and critics alike should have made ALW look else where for inspiration for his new musical, but by all accounts Paint Never Dries sorry I mean Love Never Dies makes just as little sense as TPoM. I used to love ALW’s work, but this total disregard for the phans who kept PotO on Broadway and the West End all these years, and a complete contempt for the characters themselves is completely heartbreaking.

In comparison Susan Kay’s Phantom treats Leroux’s characters with the sense of love and respect they deserve. I think this is one major issue with everything ALW has done with PotO, there is always a sense that Leroux is just some incompetent buffoon and the characters are ALW’s personal domain, but as time has progressed its become more and more clear that ALW doesn’t understand the characters at all. Susan Kay gives Erik a real history, detailed, rich and tragic, she doesn’t half his age and turn his past into a cartoon. It’s not the greatest book ever written, and there have been plenty of amazing phan phictions written since (tip: avoid anything that starts with “my Erik is based on Gerard Butler” its usually a sign of bad things to come :p ) but if you really want to get to grips with the real Erik, I’d recommend starting there. I don’t know if this book has been rereleased recently, my copy (which is missing) cost me £40 back in the mid ’90s. Edited to add: new copies seem to be going for between £13 and £25 on bookdepository.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 27 – Track To Trip Out To

No comment :p

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Day 26 – Most Annoying Book Ending

I think I’ve already mentioned The Penultimate Truth by Philip K Dick but it really does have the most annoying ending ever written.

Compared to PKD’s other books this is relatively sane in its writing style and the plot mostly makes sense. You don’t have to spend 20 minutes deciphering individual paragraphs, you don’t have to work out of two people are really one person or if something is just a hallucination. It’s a story about false realities and the way governments keep the majority of people in the dark via the media. Basically 99% of the population live in bunkers deep underground and think the world above is some radiation-destroyed, mutant-filled nightmare, whilst the remaining 1% live above ground in huge luxurious parks. The book then includes all the usual dystopian shenanigans. Right up to the climax. Which of the two warring powers above ground will succeed? What was the truth about all the weirdness that was happening? Unfortunately for the reader the main character decides he has had enough of all the intrigue and goes to live underground. And never finds out the ultimate answer. So neither does the reader.

Like Lovecraft on those days when he can’t be bothered to describe his monster, you’re left with an overwhelming urge to hit the author over the head with the book.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 26 – Track That Everyone Else Seems To Love But That You Don’t Like Much

I don’t understand the point of Lady Gaga, its just bad pop music performed by someone (who looks like Marilyn Manson on a good day) in silly outfits. At least when David Bowie did the cross gender crazy outfits he was producing amazing music.

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Day 25 – Five Books From Your “To Be Read” Stack

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – always been put off by the length, the book will fall apart before I finish it because I mistreat books terribly.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende – I really want to get to the point where I can read this in the original German.

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick – I adore PKD but I keep forgetting to buy this.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – I don’t know how I haven’t read this yet but I’m ashamed that I haven’t.

The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton – my fiance insists I read this :p

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 25 – Track That’s An Interesting Cover Version

Aha! This is my very favorite type of music. Covers. Amazing covers, awesome covers, bad covers, silly covers, insane covers, William Shatner covers, covers of William Shatner covers, I love them all. I even love covers of songs I hate in their original form. This one is a mashup but I couldn’t choose just one so do look at the ones linked above too.

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Day 24 – Best Quote From A Novel

I can believe things that are true and things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not.

I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen – I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.

I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone’s ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state.

I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste.

I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like martians in War of the Worlds.

I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman.

I believe that mankind’s destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it’s aerodynamically impossible for a bumble bee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t ever open the box to feed it it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself.

I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn’t even know that I’m alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck.

I believe that anyone who says sex is overrated just hasn’t done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what’s going on will lie about the little things too.

I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, a baby’s right to live, that while all human life is sacred there’s nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system.

I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods)

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 24 – Track You Love That Was Released In The Past Six Months

Ah. Ummmm… I don’t usually keep that up to date with music. The last proper album I bought was the Tron: Legacy soundtrack and that’s just gone over 6 months old… oh wait, quote by Neil Gaiman so song by Neil Gaiman too. If you like this song you should buy the album, for charity!

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Day 23 – Most Annoying Character Ever

Ronald Bilius Weasley. The middle name says it all really.

Weak, cowardly, petulant, lazy, stupid and jealous, (a typical teenage boy then) I never really saw the point of Ron Weasley. Everything about the character grates on my nerves, and I certainly have never understood what Hermione is supposed to see in him. Other than Harry what exactly do those two have in common? Why would such an intelligent and powerful witch choose to repeatedly take back such a thoughtless and often vindictive little tit?

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 23 – Track You Love That Was Released Decades Before You Were Born

I like a lot of old music, but I struggled to find something more than a decade older than me that I really LOVE.

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Day 22 – Favorite Non-Sexual Relationship

This is where I look like a complete copycat by choosing the same answer as Siobhan @ Book And Biscuit but I do think that the completely psychotic relationship between Mrs Danvers and Mrs De Winter II is one of the best character interactions in any book. The whole scenario is a perfect example of how someone can be so downtrodden that they can ultimately be trained into making themselves feel inferior, and how someone can love a person so much that they aren’t just blind to their faults but think they are virtues.

A woman with any strength or backbone could have thrown off the shadow of Rebecca quite easily, but then such a woman probably wouldn’t have attracted Maxi, and a woman with confidence and a bit of commonsense would have wondered what Mrs Danvers was up to, but again such a woman probably wouldn’t have gotten herself into that situation. The whole book for me was like one of those horror movies when you already know something bad is going to happen but the teens still go to the abandoned movie theatre. You just want to reach into the book and shake Mrs De Winter II. Or hand Mrs Danvers the matches.

You should definitely watch David Mitchell as Mrs Danvers in the Mitchell And Webb version (about 6 minutes in), in the sketch they turn to the situation on its head and have Rebecca thinking about the mysterious future Mrs De Winter. “Oh no Rebecca, we’ll never use the boating lake after you’ve gone, the future Mrs De Winter will find it too upsetting, and besides, people will say its haunted.”

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 22 – Track You Look Forward To Introducing Kids To

There’s no anbswer I can give to this that doesn’t make me look evil, or that isn’t from Labryrinth. So here’s my current favorite song to inflict on people.

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Day 21 – Favorite Romantic Relationship

Urgh. Two romance questions in a row? Really? Pass the sick bucket.

As much as I love Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, I’m going to have to go back to Pratchett for this one.

(His Grace, His Excellency, the Duke of Ankh, Commander) Sir Samuel Vimes and Lady Sybil Ramkin first meet in Guards! Guards! as an alcoholic captain of the Night Watch and the richest spinster in Ankh Morpork. Long story short he saves her from being sacrificed to a dragon and she helps reform him into the one of the most influential men in the city. I’m choosing these two, rather than the more “romantic” Angua and Carrot or the more intriguing Lord Vetinari and Lady Margotta, simply because they are ultimately so very ordinary. They just get on with life with out excessive drama, ok so they have the occasional soppy moment but usually its interrupted by Vimes having to run off to deal with criminals or some international crisis.

Yes Heathcliff and Cathy are terribly passionate, but by the end of Wuthering Heights everyone is dead. Sybil and Sam are a prime example of a sensible older couple who perfect compliment each other – Sybil can’t cook but “since Sam Vimes”s spectrum of gastronomic delight mainly ranged from ‘well fried’ to ‘caramelized’” it’s a match made in burnt crunchy bit heaven. I’d much rather have that kind of relationship than some tragedy.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 21 – Oh My God Listen to the Violin!

Don’t just listen to this song, watch what he’s doing! It’s all the violin, including the percussion. If you haven’t seen Matt Howden live, you haven’t really experienced music.

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