New!

The time I’ve spent away has not all been wasted on watching Youtube videos. In between seeing cats acting surprised and little boys singing Bruno Mars singles, I managed to find steady employment and so have had time for little else. 

Buuuuut now that I have had some time to acclimate I want to start a new segment on this blog, which I have had a hard time pinning down a theme for anyway. 

The new segment will be called “Movie Merits” where i watch movies either widely recognized as “bad” or extremely polarized and sift through the cons to find the pros. I don’t have a set schedule for it yet and there’s going to be a lot of research put into each piece. I’m Not turning the blog into a movie reviewer site, but movies are my second favorite vehicle of story telling, in just 120 minutes they can change a persons perspective or they way they want others to perceive themselves and I have much respect for the art fourm.

So instead of spending weeks reading a terrible book I only spend 2 hours watching and analyzing a bad movie. The idea is that no matter how bad something is, as long as at least one person put effort into it, it deserves to be watched and perhaps we can find a gem or two.

At least I wanna give it a go.

 The first movie under this new segment is going to be one that’s actually pretty high up on my guilty pleasure list, and one that had tons of production problems. I wont give it away but here’s a hint: A Puerto Rican and a Brit play a pair of Italian brothers.

Perhaps thats a little too obtuse but nothing in this film is subtle.

I’m not saying this idea is a novel approach at analyzing stories but at least its something that has steadily captured my interest, and hopefully will not only entertain but inform all who wish to read.

The Ritual: Shopping for Used Books

                                            Image
 Preparation.
            Step one: Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

            Step two: Review list of books to be bought, over coffee

            Step three: Pack light! Small bag that holds card, keys, and, phone…..a small knife, maybe. You never know.

            Step four: Map out shops in a logical and convenient manner. (Preferably going to farthest one first)

            Step five: Pick out some tunes for the ride and for the actual shopping process. (This may seem rude to some, but it has been a bit of a life saver. It prevents random people from approaching you, keeps you in a good mood, and during the holidays gives a nice change to the dentist drill that is the shopping center seasonal music.)

Time to strike!
           This part of the book buying experience can’t really be quantified in steps, its more akin to The Method; you need to be a tree in the wind. Some people I know pile up their entirely by cover and sort though them later just before the purchase process. This is lunacy to me because at that point once I have weeded out the “wants” from the “no thank yous” I feel no sense of achievement when the book is finally mine, it just seems like another face in the crowd. (Keep in mind that I myself am a crazy person, who genders her books and considers the whole of her library as a family of brothers and sisters (Like Flowers in Attic kind of brothers and sisters, if ya know what I mean eheh heh?…….Ahem.))                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, this part of the whole experience for me is one of utter pleasure, forgive me for gushing, but in those moments all that there is in my little bubble is me and the book I’m holding.

Once you get the feel of the shop its like instinct, snatching books off the shelf like the flash, breathing in the scent of barely touched books, and the simultaneous disappointment/excitement you feel when you find a nicer edition of a book you already own and at a discount price. And if you go often enough your eyes wont even linger on the John Grishams, or the Nicolas Sparks, the Sophie Kinselllas, nor the Patricia Cornwells, you will be able to see the true gems at a glance, and that is a true life skill….Just a very specific life skill, you can’t put it on a resume or nothin’.
There are many experiences that are worthwhile and life lasting. The most underrated of which is bargain book hunting. but to an avid reader its like the adrenaline junkies weekly bungee jump off the local bridge, its wonderful and you just can’t get enough.

 

            

 

                        

Belated Book Review

                                                         Image

  I just wish to take the first few sentences to say I am not a bandwagon jumper, my sensibilities are offended at the very notion that clever advertising and peer pressure could make me want to do something that I would otherwise have no interest in. Having said that      
I believe my interest is- wait sorry be right back-… Just needed to grab a refreshing Coca Cola, it’s funny my Pandora station was just talking about the cool refreshing taste of a Coca Cola and I just felt compelled to…to …..wait a minute, hey wait! GRRRAWR! DAMN YOU, YOU SLIMY-

Ahem, like I was saying I believe my Interest in the book series is akin to a child being shown a movie for the first time at a friends house and later telling his parents; “mommy! dada! I just saw this movie with these light swords, and space ships, and a moon that wasn’t a moon, and a bad guy that breathed like Timmy’s little brother, I think it was called Space Fights have you seen it?” 
So here and now I am claiming the ignorance of a six year old.                                                                                                                   I wish I could say I won’t spoil anything in this review but I just cant make that kind of a commitment instead all spoilers will be in bold type. Though if you haven’t read the book or watched the series you shouldn’t be reading reviews in the first place, so for those of you who haven’t and have nothing else to do I have provided a link just for you.  http://i.imgur.com/mUmfAKb.jpg  There you go. (And you thought the Lannisters were a scary family.)                                        

I will confess that I do not watch the show, though i am an immense fan I don’t appreciate the show as I do the books. To be honest it is because I have an obsessive need for the books and show to match up and they do not in a lot of ways so I just spare myself the irritation of the changes and thus spare the internet of another cannon complainer. The review of this book may seem a little lopsided that would be because there is so much to cover in this book I don’t think I could cover it all.

The ending of the last book left off with the death of Robert and Ned all those in Kings Landing who served the Hand, and a few more key deaths such as Viserys and Kahl Drogo along with his “stillborn” son. The biggest surprise though was the birth of the dragons. Though it all Game of Thrones left us with an uncertain feeling as to the fate of House Stark, that feeling evolves into a great grey fog that covers the span of the entire Westros in Clash of Kings.

We begin in an unlikely place, we see the world through the eyes of a Maester. Cressen is doing everything in his power to give good council to Lord Stannis Bratheon, now King Stannnis. A priestess of the Lord of Light has begun to corrupt their way of life and Maester Cressen means to put a stop to it. He determines to kill Lady Melisandre with a powerful poison for which there is no cure nor immunity and through unfortunate happenstance must drink of the poison himself, but is willing to give his life so that his King can be free of the woman. He offers a cup to her in amnesty and they drink but only one dies. As Maester Cressen struggles for breath he looks into her red eyes and denies her and her magic. 

What was so interesting about the first book was that it was grounded in reality, there were legends and gods as there are today but there was no magic or changelings or wargs. Strange things were happening to be sure, but the understanding of them was unbeknownst to the main characters. They have no idea what’s coming for them, I feel like the red comet is an allegory for a sort of Damocles sword. 

Moving straight along we visit with the Stark sisters, their mother and the Imp. I just want to point out here, through the whole of this book it never lagged or dragged on, everyones story line was interesting and fiercely intense, Sansa and Arya the most. To me their innocence and vulnerability makes their situations seem all the more perilous, each time there is a fresh danger they must contend with. They definitely have the most growth in the book. Sansa seems to be finally finding her own voice and is becoming less and less of an air head. Arya is finding her strength and bravery, she seems more of a phenix than a wolf. She has been broken down so much during the bookuntil finally she was given a chance to do the breaking. It was both exhilarating and sad reading her last chapter in the book.                                                                                                                                                                               The relationship between Tyrion and Cersie also gets tense with Tyrion becoming the Hand of the King and having so much control it throws Cersei for a loop I don’t think she has had to work so hard to be one step ahead in her life. 

(A side not here, for some reason I feel Like Cersei embodies The Seven. Father is the judgement, Mother is motherhood. Nurturing and merciful which she can depict if need be, The Warrior is strength courage victory, The mMaiden virtue and chastity which she can also portray when it serves her, The Smith is works and crafts, and we all know she’s a crafty vixen, The Crone wisdom and guidance. This one I didn’t notice until towards the end of Clash, she is sitting with Sansa giving her advice about what would be expected of her should she become queen and essentially telling her she needs to learn to play the game. And lastly is The Stranger which is the representation of death and the unknown. I feel she has all these traits in abundance.)

Next is one of the biggest plot points: Theon Greyjoy. I seemed to hate him and pity him in turns…..buuuut mostly hate. He blames almost everyone else for his problems and when he finally strikes out for his own glory it marks the beginning of the end for Theon. Whenever he claimed Winterfell as rightfully his I just wanted to push my thumbs into his eyes. His mismanagement of the winter castle would rival that of your local Home Depot. I hope the Boltons flay down to the bone. Now with Winterfell taken Robb will be essentially backed into a corner and Riverrun is now surrounded by enemies, just like the second act of a play the books gets much, much darker.


                                      Image
One of the best chapters is when Dany visits the House of the Undying, the unimaginable creepiness of the place left me feeling like I had left Qarth and was somehow transported to The Overlook Hotel. Here, though, Dany sees some important visions and gains some insight that she can’t quite yet decipher, then when things start going south for Daenerys (like not quite dead people going all Alive on her) Dorgon steps in and does what I have been screaming in my head for this whole chapter and burns it with fire. That moment we finally see her Dragons in action they no longer seem like scaly little snake bats, Dorgon give us a little taste of the future soon to come.

These were Just some of the highlights of the book if I could dissect the whole thing I would and maybe will at some point, my final thoughts on the whole experience of reading the book is this: the sheer depth of world and character development has left me   feeling like I was underwater for a week and just came up for air. 

You’re Ok Annie.

             Image

        Lately I have had a hard time just putting the right amount of time aside for writing and when I do have the time I find an amazing amount of things to do other than write. (On an unrelated note: If anyone needs ideas on fall fashion just let me know.) 
I sit at the desk I bought for writing in an uncomfortable metal folding chair and out of the corner of my eye I see the leather notebook I painstakingly searched for it’s like a starving child my mind wants to ignore. But lo the moment I put it out of my mind I feel the bottom drawer thumping like the beating of that hideous heart, full of legal yellow note pads I bought especially for my leather notebook.

Though they are constant reminders of my failing writing hopes (its hardly even a hobby now) the sensation is almost like watching a loved one slowly distance themselves from you, yet you cant do anything to stop the process.

In one of my recent “writing sessions” I re-watched Misery. I had forgot just how bazaar that movie was. The relationship wasn’t like a normal kidnapping and torture cliché it went through ebbs and flows and though Paul knew he would die if he couldn’t get away, he also knew in the end that Annie helped him to become a serious writer. She was encouraging and supportive, and when he didn’t give his best she was blunt and didn’t let him get away with lazy writing. she made him write even when he didn’t want to (though it was on threat of death) I did the research and found the book to be much much darker. 

As I watched the movie I couldn’t help but feel that many writers like myself need an Annie Wilkes in our life, only without the hobbling, and the homicide, and the constant fear of death, ok maybe not a full blown Annie Wilkes but just her essence. That constant persistence on writing more and only giving your best, because if other people believe in me why cant i believe in myself? 
I guess I have to be my own Annie Wilkes…..That came out way more psychotic than I was expecting but you get the idea.

PS. I know that the Annie in king’s book represented his drug issues at the time, I am mainly referring to the film rendition.

Re-runs On The Shelf

Image

Do you ever get that sneaking suspicion that a book is following you? No? just me? Ok.
The Latest books haunting the shelves of used book stores and charity shops alike is the erotic episodic escapades that is 50 Shades of Grey. I did notice this some time ago and then recently read an article of the suffering book shops swimming in olympic sized pools full of copies of the book. The decline in the fascination of the “mommy porn” has saturated the used book market.

Apparently it is not possible to recycle the books due to the glue that binds the spines. This is extremely unfortunate. I will not pretend I understand ecology when it comes to chemicals and glue, but can’t they turn them into cardboard boxes or that squishy rubber stuff they put on kids playgrounds now a days? The article goes on to talk about how they hope to sell off some of the books once the movies come out though that may be a bit futile seeing as how many publishers reprint the books with new covers featuring the actors. Would you rather a copy of a couple of postmortem arms holding an apple or would you rather have Kristen Stewart/Bella riding piggy back on a dashing postmortem Edward? Now you have the choice!

Hopefully the Facebook page “50 ways to kill 50 Shades of Grey” will sweep the nation so  it can be more like 50,000 ways, because that seems to be about right. Honestly my feelings on the whole subject is this; I wish more people were book hoarders.

Just thought I would share.

Write What You (Don’t) Know.

              Image        The other day I was perusing my Facebook feed, stalking old acquaintances and clucking my tongue at Candy Crush invites when I came across a link by Neil Gaiman and being hopelessly devoted, I bit. It took me here-ish: 

http://www.wofford.edu/sharedworlds/handstext/

It was an article in which different authors wrote writing advice on their hands, I will admit I only skimmed the article but the main focus was the hands. Lots of creative styles but nothing that jumped out at me.

It was the same old advice you get from every professional “Finish your S***.” 
“Read, Write, Repeat.” Until I stumbled across one that said: “DON’T “write what you know”-Make up something new!” It struck me that I had never flipped that old adage on its head, “write what you know.” Why should I write what I know it’s what stops me from writing what I love. 

I looked to see who was delivering this Zelda-like wisdom and saw that it was Joe Haldeman. The name kicked over a few rocks in my dusty memory and I recalled that I had read one of his books, but if you know the author it’s not the one your thinking of, It was Old Twentieth. Though he is more recognized by having penned The Forever War. I have been mulling around his advice in my head for a few days now and I have come to the conclusion that I have been going about this writing business all wrong.

I want what I write to be perfect and that is just dumb. I want to write and I want to feel like I am accomplishing something so when I write what I know it should be perfect right? *Insert “wrong answer buzzer noise” here* The ability to write something that you know does not inherently make something or other good, but if you can take what you know and add A LOT of what you don’t then you get yourself questioning things, and that is the making of good writing. I don’t know, maybe this is not for me, but I am willing to make a lot of mistakes to make up something new.