Posts Tagged ‘fiction’
I’m really not sure how today’s Mondayitis is likely to go as I’m interviewing the Library from The Great Gatsby, I’m sure the books could have a great deal to say if I can only get them to talk. Here goes…
What do you read?
What do we read? What a terribly strange question you ask. There are so many of us residing in this library and it is very obvious that we must be reading each other. Rather, we would very much like to read each other but Mr Gatsby hasn’t seen fit to cut the pages. He made certain to buy real books, not cardboard or anything cheap but then did not cut the pages.
We do sometimes read to each other to help alleviate the boredom of sitting on the shelf all day. We trust Mr Gatsby will cut our pages one day, it will all depend on if he lives after his little dip in the pool. There was another man nearby, we think he had a gun and we all know what a gun can do.
No, we don’t feel like answering any more strange questions. Goodbye.
Thank you to the Library from The Great Gatsby, I pay great respect to F. Scott Fitzgerald for bringing us this wonderful work.
Today is a very special edition of Mondayitis. Today, I present to you Uncle Alfred! Sometimes he’s a Queensland Blue Heeler and when he’s not he’s a perfectly rational man.
What do you read?
I’m not a big reader. I read the newspaper, there are a lot of pictures in the newspaper, it makes it easier to read.
Why do you read?
I read to pass the time, when I’m not mowing the lawn or drying dishes. Sometimes the family leave the telly on and I watch that. Good programme on now, it’s Playschool they’re about to go through the window. It’s a dog! Woof! I’m a dog! Want to play with the dog on telly! Woof! Woof!
My apologies for that, I didn’t know how long he’d last. When Uncle Alfred sees a dog he behaves like a dog. I think I should take him to the park for a game of fetch. He comes from the book I’ll Plead Insanity by Melbourne lawyer David Cross.
Just a couple of my favourite blogs.
Let’s start off with a little word play on Not Always Learning.
To err is human, to typo is anything but divine but it does depend on your point of view.
Over on Beattie they’re talking about The Railway Children. I recall seeing Jenny Agutter in this when I was young, some of the images have stayed with me for ever. I’ve mentioned The Railway Children by E Nesbit before as she has been accused of plagiarism.
Authors generally don’t make a lot of money, James Oswald agrees so he’s keeping his cattle and sheep farm going, partly because it gives him time to think and plot and partly for the money.
Leaving Beattie and going back to Not Always Learning we get some thoughts on discrimination.
There are many quotes that have been proven wrong over the years. There’s the one about the number of computers needed “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers” attributed to Thomas J. Watson of IBM which has been proven incorrect and there’s the one about not needing personal computers in the home, also proven to be incorrect as so many homes can’t manage without personal computers. This one:
“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.” Steve Jobs January 2008
should also be under fire. Steve Jobs was talking about the Kindle and I don’t know how much of this quote is was fueled by his rivalry with the company and how much was due to his business acumen but I’d say he’s wrong.
People are still reading and while we’ve got new authors coming up challenging us with their writing it will continue. Three authors I will name are:
J. K. Rowling
E. L. James
All three of them have written books which have got people reading, I can’t speak for Stephanie Meyer as I’ve never read her books but the others are not terribly good authors although Rowling stands out head and shoulders above James. I’ve written about both of them before, Rowling has great ideas and gets kids reading but her characters are not very complex while James just has poor writing, she’s been to the school of ‘tell all and don’t make the reader work’ using this to the full extent. I managed to make it through all of Rowling’s Harry Potter books but only made it through 80 pages of James first book, I didn’t even make it to the ‘objectionable material’ as the poor writing made me give up fairly early and never want to go back.
What I wanted to say about these authors is that all three have made people read. I’ve seen many conversations on the internet surrounding them, discussing the books leading to the question ‘what else will I like?’ I’ve heard of bookshops being asked if there are any books of similar ilk and I’m sure if you were able to check the stats for online bookshops you’d see people buying more ebooks than before.
What quotes do you like that have proven wrong?
Not me personally but my blog. I’m celebrating in a low key sort of way with balloons. I couldn’t find balloons in my cupboard (planning ahead) so instead am linking to some cool pictures of balloons. To start off with here’s a little thing I made this morning.
Here’s the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta followed closely by the Putrajaya International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in 2011, lots of cool stuff on both of these.
You want to make your own balloon animal? Go to WikiHow for some lessons.
If you’re still into Angry Birds then there’s a remote control Angry Birds Balloon.
Buzz Lightyear are go! I’m not mixing my shows, whatever gave you that idea?
This could be the State Room Scene in A Night at the Opera by the Marx Brothers as re-enacted by balloons.
Here is the world’s largest balloon sculpture from some year or other. I can’t believe the amount of breath some people have, that’s a lot of balloons to blow up.
Last but not least is one from Cory Doctorow, I give it no more introduction than that.
Tune in tomorrow for Mondayitis, I feature I real live published author!
I follow Marieke Hardy on Twitter, she says things I’m thinking but wouldn’t dare say and does interesting things so when I found her book it had to join my To Be Read pile.
When I finally pulled it out I wasn’t surprised to find it eminently readable. It’s about a class of media students, some of whom actually get on with each other and some who don’t. By the end of the year we see how they’ve come together as a group and are able to work together to an end, I won’t say what type of end but it is amusing.
This has been adapted from the series of the same name also written by Hardy. I have yet to see the series as it aired in 2002 long before Twitter was even thought of. It has themes familiar to most students, bullying, dating, fitting into a new school…or not and regular classroom ‘stuff’.
Until today I hadn’t noticed the sentence on the front cover ‘From the outrageously funny television series’ so I was assuming it was standalone but in my minds eye I could see the scenes unfolding in the school corridor or the classroom, the ones I had more trouble with were the ones within people’s homes but I think that’s more to do with Hardy’s focus on the characters rather than the homes. While I like a bit of description I feel if you describe too much it ruins the effect, I’ve actually stopped reading books before because the descriptions were too detailed so I think Hardy gets it about right.
I wouldn’t bother recommending it to your young reader as they might enjoy it and we can’t have them enjoying what they read.
Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Mazagine is pulp fiction at it’s best. It takes submissions from all sorts of people across Australia and New Zealand and only publishes the good ones. I got involved with ASIM within the first dozen or so issues and then managed to acquire most of the rest, they look really nice on my shelf.
One story in Issue 48 caught my eye and rereading it just now I understand why.
The Whims of my Enemy by Amanda J. Spedding
The story opens with people on a train, our protagonist is talking about blood and how much she’s seen of it in defence of her land. Despite the words ‘defence’ and ‘invaders’ my first thoughts with the first two paragraphs were of the Holocaust and how Jews were sent on trains to death camps. Then as I read further I was reminded of The Hunger Games. The similiarity is due to the people in the carriage needing to be whittled down from 26 to 10 by the end of the final leg of their journey, they are given little food and most of the conversation centres around bullying to bring down their opponents spirits to make them easier to kill.
“Meet the quota and life is our reward.” I read this and wondered if this was true and if they would be allowed to live at the end or if there would be another train journey with a similar end, we don’t get to find out. For Jael, our protagonist it feels more like a battle with herself as she fights not to kill and leave the killing to others.
I have a love/hate relationship with this story just like Hunger Games. It is brilliantly executed, every word is correct and fits in beautifully with the rest. The characters are well drawn and the writing as a whole is just right. I have a problem with the content, it is totally horrifying to have to kill in order to stay alive, I understand this has happened in wars throughout the centuries but in this case it’s to demoralise the captives and I feel to provide amusement for the victors of the war.
The problem with ASIM is the stories are addictive. Having finished writing about one story I’m now being seduced by another and I have so much to do today. Do yourself a favour and get a subscription as unless you find them second hand somewhere that’s the only way you’ll be able to read them. Go straight to their website now!
“Woof”, says Timmy “Can I read too?”
“No, you silly thing” responds George, “dogs can’t read.”
Timmy would do anything for her including learning to read. He wouldn’t dress up and attend a flash mob as George wouldn’t dream of dressing him up and have other dogs laugh at him. Let’s just pretend George has taught Timmy to read.
What do you read?
Woof! The newspaper, I need to know what’s happening in the world if I am going to keep up with Mistress George. Woof!
Why do you read?
I thought I answered that already?
Do you read to your kids or to someone else’s kids?
No, woof. My mouth doesn’t work too well for making words. I do wag my tail at them and play fetch.
Before you ask, no, I would not dream of dressing up. Mistress George is good to me and does not dream of putting me in real clothes, I have my fur and that is good enough for us. She did once put a trumpet on my neck but explained it was for my own good to stop me scratching my wound. I was happy to go camping with her to hide from other dogs, I did not want them to laugh at me.
A big thank you to Timmy from The Famous Five for answering questions about reading. Thank you also to Enid Blyton for providing us with such wonderful books.
You know those days when you open your mouth (or put fingers to keyboard) and step right into it getting yourself thoroughly embedded? I had one of those days last week with Dexter. You can read what I wrote and then if you still choose can come back for a little grovelling and some further thoughts.
I think it was sheer stubbornness that kept me reading this omnibus. Normally when I don’t like a book I don’t go and read more of the series but this one I just kept on plugging away and found myself involved about half way through the third book, anytime before then I could have put it down and been mildly annoyed at not finishing. Am I glad I finished? Sort of, it feels good to have made it through and to have found the hook in the third book, one which might come back to revisit us in a future book, but my brain does feel dirty with reading so much of Dexter. Lindsay doesn’t paint Dexter as a nice man and my brain feels very strange to have read about him through his own eyes.
In the last article I talked about Dexter having an alter ego just like Tara but having finally gotten to the middle of the third book I find it’s rather more involved than that and my alter ego idea has to be squashed well and truly. I’m going to put in a bit of a spoiler here so if you haven’t read Dexter in the Dark then go away now.
Dexter encounters the God Moloch and discovers his Dark Passenger or Inside Shadow is nothing more than a reproduction of Moloch and he is capable of moving from one person to another. Moloch apparently doesn’t like having reproductions of himself hanging around without him being in control, he also doesn’t like Dexter as he feels he is an aberration, so he tries to kill Dexter using his human hosts. He uses music and hypnotics to bring Dexter to him and tries to force him through the fire.
Things I have trouble with here. The Hebrew letters of Mem Lamed Final Chaf are transliterated as MLK whereas my small amount of Hebrew would transliterate them as MLcH where the cH is the gutteral sound in the back of the throat, in linguistics it would be written as an H with a little dot underneath rather than cH so I’m stretching a point here. Lindsay says MLK could be translated as Melek or King but the last letter is not generally transliterated as a ‘K’ sound but a ‘cH’ sound.
Lindsay indicates there are several possible words that could come from the letters MLK, I have no trouble with that both Aramaic and Hebrew were originally written without vowels these useful marks only being added when the Romans expelled the Jews from Israel, but when it actually sounds like MLcH with the cH sounding more like the ‘ch’ from the Scottish word ‘loch’ I have a problem.
In the book Moloch apparently wants people to be burned to death for him, the reason is never very clear. This could be okay, my research shows two possible reasons for the fire: the first being sacrificial and; the second probably as a cleansing agent but not necessarily to kill. It’s a little confusing as translations change over the years as the languages shift and change.
Dexter talks about not being human and having had to watch and learn how to act. He has apparently created his life from the ground up. This is not dissimilar to people in the Autism Spectrum as they don’t necessarily know how to interact with people automatically and can’t learn like ‘normal’ people can but need to be shown and examine every interaction in detail. Am I saying he’s autistic? Not necessarily, but very possibly.
Will I read another Dexter? Probably not, I did spend a lot of the book wondering how they dealt with it in the TV series and one day I do intend to watch it so I can find out. It is an incredibly dark series and there is only so much I can take. One thing I’m enjoying is seeing a large hole in my To Be Read Pile. I’m cleansing my brain by reading The Google Story, it’s nice and light and could have done with a good proofreader but that’s a rant for another day.
I picked this omnibus up from an op shop a while ago and as it creates a nice hole in my To Be Read Pile I thought I’d give it a go, having read two of the three books without a break I’m now asking myself why.
Dexter is not normal and we’re told this so many, many times that we have to believe he actually knows himself. His father created a really bad childhood for him so Dexter was warped by the age of three and his foster father, Harry, instead of helping him become normal counselled him to channel his darkness into killing the right people for the right reasons. When we arrive at the first book Dexter is a blood spatter analyst and uses his job to help him find pedophiles and other people who ‘deserve’ death. His evidence is good but won’t get through a court of law, but that’s okay as Dexter abides by the Code of Harry to make sure he’s killing the right person for the right reasons.
This is really dark stuff, well written although I am getting rather annoyed with being reminded so often about how bad and warped and totally not normal Dexter is. The constant reminders remind me of Fifty Shades of Grey and how we were constantly reminded how the two people were drawn to one another, the big difference here is that Dexter is well written.
Each book stands alone except we do find out a little more about his childhood trauma in Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Lindsay seems to be drawing a long bow here and telling us how really bad childhoods can cause trauma and lead the child (then adult) to become twisted and not normal and I’m not sure I totally agree with him. Yes, it does give some formation of the person’s character but there are other things that intervene and it couldn’t possibly twist a person as much as Lindsay is saying.
Because of this childhood trauma Dexter appears to have an alter ego, much like in The United States of Tara, the difference being that Dexter has conversation with his Dark Passenger and relies on him for some of his detective work. Dexter then lets the Dark Passenger take over during those times when he is taking some deserving person to their final end.
I’m going to struggle to finish the last book in this omnibus and then I’m going to read something totally different to cleanse my brain of the gore, maybe a business book or two.
Edit: Finished the book and found I had to eat my words. You can see the follow up here.