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29 March 2009 @ 06:51 pm
Hey pretty people! I give you a joke that I learned today.

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."


On that note, I swear to you all that I will finish Atlas Shrugged eventually (I'm several chapters into the third and last part but various things have kept me away from finishing Rand's description of t3h kapitalist ut0pia zomg), but it will probably not happen until at least the end of May when I'll have finally gradumacated from college-town.
25 December 2008 @ 02:33 pm
As a holiday gift to you all, I bring an article linked to by a friend of mine:

Twilight Sucks And Not In A Good Way

A very satisfying read. Enjoy!
20 November 2008 @ 11:25 pm
Being a girl who discovered the joy of non-picture books through Patricia C. Wrede's Dealing with Dragons and went on to devour Jane Yolen's dragon stories, Robin McKinley's Hero and the Crown, and of course The Hobbit, I had always thought that someday I should really get around to reading Anne McCaffrey's books about the Dragonriders of Pern. They were always there, in the background, standard reading for your average nerdy girl with magical inclinations. But somehow I never read any.

I was at the library the other day and saw an omnibus of the first three novels, Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon. So I though, "Well, self, you are mostly unemployed and have great swathes of time on your hands! You will never have a better opportunity to catch up on your feminist sf/f credentials" and checked it out.

Last night I struggled through to the end of the first book. I will not be reading any more.

Here's why.Collapse )
16 November 2008 @ 01:39 am
After reporting to you on Dracula I decided that it might be fun to dig a little deeper into the respectable Victorian male id by reading Stoker's last novel, The Lair of the White Worm, in which an evil sexy woman who is really an enormous ancient snake lives in a moist, smelly, dark hole and MUST BE DESTROYED.

The depths of that id turn out to be even fouler than Lady Arabella's hole. (I'm not sorry! This book deserves obscene punning.)

a deceptively charming illustration by tarot artist Pamela Colman Smith--more here

abysmal writing, hideous racism, mongooses, and the eternal struggle between good and evilCollapse )

You can read the whole thing for free here or at a number of other places online. I would have recommended that you do, if you're fascinated by utter trainwrecks of books, if it weren't for all that stuff about Oolanga. That just crosses the line. Instead, if you're still curious, I'll tell you more in the comments.
13 November 2008 @ 12:52 pm

So, I'd seen this book way back in the day when it first came out and really wanted it. Then somebody told me it was awful. I kind of wondered about it from time to time, and then discovered that my boyfriend owned a number of the books in the series a couple of weeks ago. I read the first three, because they were just That Bad. It's like a trainwreck.


A Long-Winded Rant About a Really Bad Fantasy Novel...Collapse )
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied
12 November 2008 @ 10:43 pm
I have read Twilight and admit myself a failure--I sort of liked it.

Yes, Bella is a Mary Sue. Yes, it's really fucking creepy that Edward watches her while she sleeps and then makes knowing comments about how he spent his night. Yes, I had to wait 289 pages for a really weak explanation of why immortal vampires who are described as looking older than other high school students choose to spend their days in high school (and get to skive off on hunting trips half the time without getting Social Services all over their house). Yes, the last third of the book is really choppily paced and I was astounded by the stupidity of Bella's genius alternative plan for getting out of danger at Forks.

...But then, I read romance novels for fun. Compared to lots of them, Twilight is well-written and exciting, with a sympathetic protagonist and, believe it or not, healthier sexual politics. I seem to have developed the right sort of mindset to enjoy it as a bit of escapism. Sorry. :(

(This isn't the end of my opportunities to complain about Stephenie Meyer here, though--I liked Twilight well enough to decide to read the other ones, whenever the 14-year-old girls at my local library loosen their grip on copies, and I hear they get progressively worse...)


The first time I read Dracula, I was in eighth grade and everything except VAMPIRES! went straight over my head. I reread it this week and--ahem!

My first theory was that Stoker, as a Repressed VictorianTM, didn't mean to put any subtext in his book--it's just that everything he found scary and suspenseful happened to come with huge amounts of sublimated sexual baggage.

Then (because I happened to have it on my shelves) I also read Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of Dracula, by Barbara Belford. (This is the most recent biography; it seems very well researched, but not terribly well written.) Now I'm not sure. On one hand, Stoker started his writing career as a drama critic and was involved with the theater almost all of his life. Discerning shades of meaning was part of his job. He also idolized Walt Whitman and was friends with Oscar Wilde. On the other hand, in his later years (but not too long after publishing Dracula) he became a strong advocate of the moral censorship of fiction.

In any case, I'll let you be the judge of the following excerpt:

Lie back and think of EnglandCollapse )
12 November 2008 @ 03:34 pm
My ridiculous job, as some of you know, entails separating the sheep from the goats, bookwise--separating the book-sheep from the book-goats--and therefore I see more bad books per square inch and also per hour than most of you can imagine in your scariest dreams. Most of them I send off to be destroyed but some of them I save, and here is one! It is called Lovers of Life: An Epic Biography of a Soul, by Edwards Davis, and I feel it is a good time to tell you about it in light of the Ayn Rand and all. Ayn Rand would really hate this book. It is an epic poem in six cantos, the first canto being

Greed : Mammon : War : Catastrophe

WELL you might say WHAT'S ALL THAT ABOUT THEN. Well I will let Mr. Davis explain! He says, "The mundane characters of the dramatis personae, Agamemnon, Cadmus, Daedalus, Melampus, Minos, and Scylla--by the machinery of reincarnation, here used as an art-device--are lifted from antiquity and placed in an imagined age beyond the pitiless defeat of the Masses, brought on by the collapse of predacious Capitalism, when finally that titanic tyranny shall have been met by the uprising love-force of Social Revolution." It is set in 1985, upon a desolated height in the Rhine sector. Now you might say, What is wrong with this book, it sounds awesome and awesome books are not a fit subject for this community! But I am sorry to tell you the poetry is pretty bad and pretty boring and I did not even read all of it. Like for example, "The Fifth Canto pictures the amatory conflict between Minos, Scylla and Agamemnon, the defeated War-king declaring "It had been my intent to plant my soul/In some new uncontaminated womb,/That from my bone and body and my brain/Might stalk a new tribe on our wounded world." Pretty unpleasant! Also gross. But not to worry, "Scylla scorns the proposal of the oligarchical Beast." Also, at one point Agamemmnon yells at everybody to drink this cup of Jesus's blood he happens to have. It might be metaphor blood, I don't know, I don't really understand poetry. This was all written in 1934, which certainly was an exciting time in the world of literature.

I should add that I was alive in 1985, though I was barely six years old at the time, and while I do not exactly remember it being like this poem predicts, I am willing to consider that I was too young to notice the eerie parallels.

09 November 2008 @ 02:22 am
Despite the length, this is speedy reading so far. A little bit more about what I meant in the last entry, concerning Rand's writing style: what I mean is, she doesn't have such overwhelming eloquence that every sentence makes me weep at the sheer beauty, and even if she did have it, that would probably make the book even more frustrating to read. But in any case, perhaps because she's so bloody obsessed with materialism, she does a great job at describing physical objects and crafting metaphors out of them. It's a good enough job that while reading, I get a strong sense of the poignant heroicism that she's trying to evoke.

Buuuuuuuuuut things are already getting stupider than they were, in terms of plot and character. So far I have never read a writer who was this stylistically compelling yet so fucked up on making me care about anyone or anything that's happening.

Chapter IV: The Immovable MoversCollapse )

Chapter V: The Climax of the D'AnconiasCollapse )

Chapter VI: The Non-CommercialCollapse )

People call this book life-changing. I'm pretty sure it can only change your life for the better if you basically already believe this kind of vomitous tripe makes sense before you read it.
07 November 2008 @ 06:01 pm
It happened. I got Atlas Shrugged. And by the most deliciously satisfying method ever: downloading a pirated .pdf version. Yes you can yell at me if this is a problem in your mind. However it is my opinion that Rand deserves neither a cent of my money nor even the dignity of showing up in my library checkout records. What was that? Something about property rights being the foundation of Our Great Capitalist State? Fuck that, in your case, Rand. SHAZAM!


Well, I've read three chapters, which is about 60 of 1053 pages. I don't know how this compares to an actual copy of the book but I believe the overall page count is roughly the same, so 60 pages should be about the same, too. I thought it might be so bad that I'd give up after this amount of reading, but it turns out that it's even worse. It's so bad, I can't bear to stop reading because otherwise I will miss developing an entirely new standard for what I qualify as bad to begin with. (Also, a note: for those of you who followed my recaps of The Sword of Truth, I'll probably be providing some occasional commentary on things that I see Goodkind has having extra-blatantly ripped off. It will be marked by bracketed italics and the alert "TERRY G., OHH YOU!")

Chapter I: The ThemeCollapse )

Chapter II: The ChainCollapse )

Chapter III: The Top and the BottomCollapse )

I give Rand credit for her descriptive ability, thus far. What's godawfully frightening, though, is that because her descriptive ability is good, it makes you wonder at times whether you're maybe reading a perfectly sane person's account of a bunch of sociopaths, only there are these precious one liners here and there that remind you, in horrifying clarity, that you're instead reading a perfectly insane person's account of a bunch of supposedly amazing people.

More soon!
06 November 2008 @ 11:20 am
I went to the grocery store last night and discovered that Twilight has come out in mass market paperback.

So I bought it.

I will read it, too! And then bitch about it here and then swap it on BookMooch, where dozens of unsuspecting souls are dying to get their hands on it.