Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stupid girls don't deserve a book.

What is up with blog sensation just snatching up book deals? This one makes me particularly upset because these DABA girls (girls who are dating bankers who are suffering in the financial crisis) are idiots and don't deserve a meal at Olive Garden, much less a book deal.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read this, then this, and finally check out the blog here.

Self-publishing

Interesting article in the NYTimes today on self-publishing. I wonder though, if the old stigma of self-publishing will continue to uphold in this economy...

Thoughts?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Guess I was having some EAT ME cake and not noticing...

I just finished Alice in Wonderland for one of my lit classes. I'd read it before in undergrad, but for some reason, the richness of the parody and symbolism was more obvious to me this time around. Which always surprises me - while I think a lot has changed since I've graduated from college, I think because I spent it mostly doing the same stuff over and over, at least intellectually or academically, I'm not necessarily conscious that I've become, well, more intellectually developed or that my brain capacity has changed in any way. When you're 8, the amount you change in 5 years to 13 is tangible and chartable- a clear jump. From 21 to 26, I'm not sure it's something I've noticed as much.

Fitting perhaps, considering Alice is so much about growing up, and the trials and tribulations of growing up fast in a world that is confusing and daunting.


If you've never read Alice as an adult, I would pick it up. It's a fast read - less than 100 pages with pictures - and kinda fun. I remember as a kid watching the Disney cartoon and then their Sunday night movie version and being completely FREAKED OUT, and in a way, reading it now still makes me feel like its uncanny and gives me shivers. Like the crazy Queen of Hearts and the Hatter and March Hare stuffing the doormouse into a teapot. Stuff like that creeped the shit out of me. Oh, and I was really disturbed by the scene in the cartoon movie with the flowers who call her a weed, but I was relieved that it wasn't in the actual book. My conclusion is that reading Alice is very much like the actual experience of life it's an allegory to. As a kid, sort of terrifying and upsetting; as an adult, kinda whimsical and fun to look back on. I totally am never letting my kids watch that movie. I don't think you're ready for that until you're older. That and the psychedelic elephant dream in Dumbo. Totally not kid friendly.

That's all.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bullshit

Effing bullshit.

USB thief strikes again.

I spent hours last night writing a new chapter to the novel, and this afternoon I plugged in to finish off the last couple of paragraphs and...

...it's gone. Blank. Deleted. The document (which was a compilation of everything) is 30 pages (which was originally 60 when I left it) of blankness.


Now instead of working on the next chapter like I intended to, I am stuck rewriting this chapter that I don't even feel like touching right now, I'm so mad.


UGHHHH.

Monday, January 5, 2009

On a slight fantasy kick...

I just started this TOME - Anne Bishop's The Black Jewels Trilogy. It's 3 books, so I guess it's not REALLY that long, but 1200+ pages in one volume feels like a lot. Nonetheless.

Quick summary: The books are about a world that has been taken over by a powerful and evil High Priestess who has eliminated all her rivals, and placed strong males against her in slavery. A premonition by a slightly crazed Black Widow witch tells that a strong new Queen with powers unseen before will soon come. She's still a little girl though, so then people from all sides want to control her and shape her into their own pawn... though the good guys of course just love her and respect her and want to protect her as she grows.

I finished the first book, Daughter of the Blood in about a day. It's brutal and gruesome at points, and yet thrilling. I'm always so in awe of fantasy writers and their ability to create completely new worlds and rules of the world and then cement them so firmly that you never doubt the validity of these rules. What I've liked about this book is how it balances the serious fantasy elements with a lot of humor. The first book revolves around a little girl, and she's adorable and petulant at times, and as she grows, she does so convincingly, while still retaining her unnatural character traits. The heroes in the book all have character flaws, and yet they still remain sympathetic and fun to read. The thing about this book is that I found myself giggling as often as I found myself totally horrified (and horrified to a point where I felt vaguely ill).

I'm not a huge huge fantasy reader, but I think my tastes are pretty open and diverse. I'm actually really enjoying this trilogy (now halfway through the second one). It's easy to get into, the language is casual, and while brutal at points, the humor and endearing quality of the characters helps make it bearable and worth it. You actually care about these people. For a plot driven book, I'd say there's a good amount of characterization as well as depth that I feel for them in ways you don't always feel for genre characters.

Warning though for the faint of heart: there's a lot of brutality, especially sexual brutality. Rape, pedophilia, and just general uncomfortable sexual torture that made me cringe. If you can't stomach that, I would not recommend reading.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

40 Books devoured in 2008.

Before I wipe the slate clean from the sidebar, here we go. In reverse chronological order (because I'm too lazy to sit there and reorder them), the books I managed to complete in 2008, 10 short of the 50 I intended to read:
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (very good) - 12.30.08
  • Happy Family | Wendy Lee (okay) - 12.28.08
  • A Pale View of Hills | Kazuo Ishiguro (great) - 12.27.08
  • Kushiel's Justice | Jacqueline Carey (good) - 12.25.08
  • The Last Lecture | Randy Pausch (feel-good) - 12.21.08
  • Molloy | Samuel Beckett (okay) - 12.10.08
  • Textermination | Christine Brooke-Rose (okay) - 12.02.08
  • Kushiel's Scion | Jacqueline Carey (good) - 11.28.08
  • Pnin | Vladimir Nabokov (good) - 10.14.08
  • Nightwood | Djuna Barnes (okay) - 09.30.08
  • Speed and Politics | Paul Virilio (eh) - 09.24.08
  • Visions of Cody | Jack Kerouac (no) - 09.16.08
  • The Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood (good) - 09.12.08
  • Pleasure of Text | Roland Barthes (eh) - 09.09.08
  • Kushiel's Avatar | Jacqueline Carey (good) - 09.08.08
  • Kushiel's Chosen | Jacqueline Carey (good) - 08.21.08
  • Nineteen Minutes | Jodi PIcoult (good) - 08.13.08
  • The Pact | Jodi Picoult (good) - 08.06.08
  • Kushiel's Dart | Jacqueline Carey (good) - 08.04.08
  • The English Patient | Michael Ondaatje (great) - 07.24.08
  • What I Loved | Siri Hustvedt (okay) - 07.03.08
  • The Girl in the Picture | Denise Chong (great) - 06.20.08
  • Foreign Babes in Beijing | Rachel DeWoskin (good) - 06.17.08
  • Three Cups of Tea | Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (very good) - 06.12.08
  • The Killing Fields | Christopher Hudson (very good) - 06.06.08
  • Mexican Whiteboy | Matt de la Pena (good) - 06.04.08
  • Glass Castle | Jeannette Walls (good) - 06.02.08
  • Yiddish Policemen's Union | Michael Chabon (good) - 05.31.08
  • Zorro | Isabel Allende (okay) - 05.23.08
  • The Book Thief | Markus Zusak (very good) - 05.08.08
  • The Other Boleyn Girl | Philippa Gregory (good) - 04.12.08
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay | Michael Chabon (great) - 04.02.08
  • Atonement | Ian McEwan (good) - 03.01.08
  • Flowers for Algernon | Daniel Keyes (very good) - 02.21.08
  • The Blind Assassin | Margaret Atwood (great) - 02.19.08
  • Tree of Smoke | Denis Johnson (good) - 02.13.08
  • Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana | Umberto Eco (okay) - 02.11.08
  • Waiting | Ha Jin (very good) - 01.09.08
  • Eclipse | Stephenie Meyer (good) - 01.05.08
  • New Moon | Stephenie Meyer (good) - 01.04.08
  • Twilight | Stephenie Meyer (good) - 01.03.08