Tag Archives: books

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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Day 20 – Favorite Kiss

It was insanely difficult to come up with an answer for this one, cos generally I don’t pay any attention to such sappiness.

In the end I picked the only kiss I could remember, from Seasons of Mist, volume four of the Sandman graphic novel series by Neil Gaiman. I’m not going to show the kiss itself here because, 1. I’ve lost my copies of Sandman one through six and 2. its rather graphic.

The kiss in question is between Lucifer (The Morningstar, The Adversary, The Great Serpent, Satan, Lord of Hell) and Mazikeen who is a demon and a daughter of Lilith. This kiss takes place as Lucifer is planning to close down Hell and quit his job as Satan. Mazikeen pledges her love and loyalty to him even though he is no longer her lord or master, to which he states “you may love me, if you wish” before kissing her goodbye and using her knife to cut off his wings. The reason I’d class the kiss as graphic is that Mazikeen (as a demon) is missing most of one side of her face. Literally her brain is exposed and you can see inside her mouth, which makes the image of her kissing the David Bowie-esque Lucifer very disturbing indeed. Here’s a link to it in ummm… spanish I think.  You’ve been warned.

The relationship Lucifer has with Mazikeen is the closest he seems to get to genuine emotion in the Sandman books, and I always felt sorry for poor ugly Mazikeen for being left behind. Until The Kindly Ones at least, when its revealed that Lucifer is playing piano in a wine bar and Mazikeen is part of the staff. One up for the ugly girls :p

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 20 – Oh My God Listen To The Lyrics

It was so hard not to pick another JoCo song for this, but for such a sad song, with a such a depressing message, this always makes me giggle. Why? 3:40 to 3:46 that’s why. Ah, Pete Steele, you’re sadly missed.

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Day 19 – Favorite Book Cover

I am so jealous of anyone who has any book from this special edition series . HINT. Please feel free to buy me any of these. Ahem. Anyway, this obnoxiously pink design is absolutely perfect for the Alice stories.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 19 – Track to Seduce Someone To

I’m on a JoCo kick right now, but, well a giant golden submarine would work on me, and once again, Helena by the Misfits is probably still too weird.

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Day 18 – Favorite Childhood Book

I switched around day 13 and day 18 when I realised that I already had an entry for favorite opening scene.

It’s hard to chose a favorite childhood book because I wasn’t really a booky kid when I was a child, though I was an extremely booky teenager. I thank Terry Pratchett and Anne McCaffery for that, though more their adult books than the ones aimed at kids. Amazing Maurice didn’t come out until 2001 when I was at university and that was really the first kid centric Discworld book. I’d already read the rest of Discworld by then, working backwards from Soul Music in 1994. But there are Pratchett books outside of Discworld. The shockingly tragic Nation being the latest, Carpet People being the first.

For me however the Bromeliad/Nome series was my first taste of Pratchett, and the first time I found a book that really appealed to me. It was set in places I knew about – department stores, quarries and Kennedy Space Center (yeah, I was a geeky kid and one of the few in my class to be lucky enough to go to Florida regularly). Pratchett has a great way of making everyday things wonderful by changing your perspective, and seeing the world through the eyes of creatures a few inches high is perfect for that. Plus it has spaceships, and Concord. It will always be a regret of mine that now Concord is gone I’ll never get to eat strange woobly pink stuff and look for Nomes under the seats.

Even Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 18 – Track That Reminds You It’s Gonna Be Alright

Normally songs like this just make me more depressed but I think the combination of JoCo’s voice and the fact that this is about a real guy, who really did all these insane things, makes it all ok.

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Day 17 – Favorite Short Story

Cats can see the color out of space but are unimpressed by it

Ok so I’ve missed quite a few days of this. My excuse? Well Portal 2 came out. Then I dislocated my thumb. The first may have caused the second.

Anyway, my choice for this one has to be “The Color Out Of Space” by H. P. Lovecraft, the only genuinely scary story I’ve ever read. That link is to the full text. Go read it before you read any further. Or get the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company radio play version, its free in various places. A lot of the time you get the impression that Lovecraft isn’t describing his monsters because he can’t be bothered, isn’t being paid enough or can’t think of anything. All too often we get to the end of the book and end up with something like “never could I tell, try as I might, what it actually was that I saw”, and on those occasions that he does describe his monsters (for example the epically detailed description of Wilbur Whateley in The Dunwich Horror) they’re weird but they aren’t (in the age of cinema FX at least) actually very scary.

But the whole point of the “bad guys” in this story is that they don’t have a form to describe. They literally are just a colour (from space). A colour which can’t be described using human language as it doesn’t exist in our visible spectrum, rather like Terry Pratchett’s Octarine aka the colour of magic best described as a ‘fluorescent greenish-yellow-purple’. and how do you fight a colour? Or a vapour, or a wasting disease as it ultimately becomes? Well, you can’t, that’s the point.

The story ends with a proper sense of dread on the cliffhanger, much better than Lovecraft’s better know stories because the action takes place close to a populated area, rather than the polar icecaps or the Australian outback.

Even  Better 30 Day Song Challenge – Day 17 – Track That Opened You Up To A New Genre

I’m not a fan of hip hop but chap hop is so much more dignified 😀

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