The Book Thread!

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artymon I\/
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Thu 22nd Oct 2020

^Funny, I just happened to find a copy of Lost World! Haven't read either book before, but I like Michael's other books...

Currently re-reading/skimming Andrew Clements' Things Not Seen.

I remember reading this in middle school and being utterly fascinated with the book. It portrays a fairly realistic view what if one day you woke up and were invisible? I feel he did a great job putting us inside Bobby's head, his day to day life, frustrations and thoughts.
Its age shows with mentions of a cell phone being a still up and coming thing, but I think the altogether concept holds. The most glaring part of it is that the book is set in February and midterms are mentioned as why many of Bobby's friends aren't getting online and all at the library/studying. 2020, this wouldn't be the case at all! Midterms or not, there'd be people online, on social media, online gaming, digital researching, or other artistic/engineering projects.

I suspect he would've been warned on going online though.

But man, did Andrew Clements ever call it with the government!


I found it darkly amusing, the dad's first thought within the first five pages is literally, "Don't tell the government"
It gets to the point the school starts investigating young Bobby's disappearance.

Is it bad your parents would rather take the fall for your disappearance and go to prison than take let their child be abducted by the government in the name of science? What does that say about us? And not even just us the United States.

How sad is that that

I don't think the version I had mentioned this, but apparently Andrew's first draft was pretty wild, with subplots about car chases, bank robberies, and globe trotting on airplanes, zany stuff. I do like and appreciate the "grounded" vibe of this version....but kinda wouldn't mind peeking at the original. :lol:


I went to double check I had spelled Mr. Clements' name properly and just learned he died about a year ago. So sad. I read the other books in his "Things" trilogy and another book or two...He was only 70.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by Cabaline » Sat 7th Nov 2020

I'm currently listening to The Shining for the first time, I've never read it before. And omg it is about a million times better than the movie!

Danny is so much more complex and intuitive, and his internal monologue is really insightful! Stephen King really captures the way that children link logic and can sense all kinds of things.
Wendy is amazing in the book and I will fight anyone who says otherwise! In the movie, Kubrik did his best to make her bland and a bit pathetic, but in the book she is strong, thoughtful, independent, insightful and she has a bit of the shine too.

Other stick out bits that I've enjoyed are the topiary animals and the snake/hose. I also now really appreciate Jack's slow descent and how the hotel gets to him in really subtle ways. I think it might be worth a re-listen again in the future.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by HollyShort9 » Sat 7th Nov 2020

Cabaline wrote:
Sat 7th Nov 2020
I'm currently listening to The Shining for the first time, I've never read it before. And omg it is about a million times better than the movie!

Danny is so much more complex and intuitive, and his internal monologue is really insightful! Stephen King really captures the way that children link logic and can sense all kinds of things.
Wendy is amazing in the book and I will fight anyone who says otherwise! In the movie, Kubrik did his best to make her bland and a bit pathetic, but in the book she is strong, thoughtful, independent, insightful and she has a bit of the shine too.

Other stick out bits that I've enjoyed are the topiary animals and the snake/hose. I also now really appreciate Jack's slow descent and how the hotel gets to him in really subtle ways. I think it might be worth a re-listen again in the future.
When I watched the movie (watched it after reading the book, the first time), I was literally like, "When's it going to be scary?" The book was sooooo good. I think Danny was the most important character in the book, and the least consequential in the movie, which is a shame. Stephen King hates the movie.

I'm reading a book called Driving with Dead People by Monica Holloway currently. It's a memoir about her childhood--her dad was obsessed with gore and would always film unfortunate accidents for his own enjoyment, and her best friend's dad was a mortician.

Another great book I've read recently is Educated by Tara Westover, which is the book that got me into memoirs. Her dad was an uber-religious doomsday prepper and "homeschooled" them (quotation marks because homeschooling when done right is truly amazing, but their version of "homeschooling" just meant "didn't go to school") and there was a lot of abuse in her home from a lot of directions. She escapes, somehow gets herself to college through sheer willpower, and goes on to become highly successful and write this memoir.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by Cabaline » Sun 22nd Nov 2020

HollyShort9 wrote:
Sat 7th Nov 2020
Cabaline wrote:
Sat 7th Nov 2020
I'm currently listening to The Shining for the first time, I've never read it before. And omg it is about a million times better than the movie!

Danny is so much more complex and intuitive, and his internal monologue is really insightful! Stephen King really captures the way that children link logic and can sense all kinds of things.
Wendy is amazing in the book and I will fight anyone who says otherwise! In the movie, Kubrik did his best to make her bland and a bit pathetic, but in the book she is strong, thoughtful, independent, insightful and she has a bit of the shine too.

Other stick out bits that I've enjoyed are the topiary animals and the snake/hose. I also now really appreciate Jack's slow descent and how the hotel gets to him in really subtle ways. I think it might be worth a re-listen again in the future.
When I watched the movie (watched it after reading the book, the first time), I was literally like, "When's it going to be scary?" The book was sooooo good. I think Danny was the most important character in the book, and the least consequential in the movie, which is a shame. Stephen King hates the movie.
I really agree with you here! Danny is an amazing character! In the films, he just says a few weird things and walks about with a scared look in his face. But in the book, he adds a layer of raw emotion to the events happening. Because Danny sees unfiltered thoughts, he is able to experience feelings without the filter that the adults try to put it through first. And it really makes an excellent point about how much we hide even from the people we love, without even intending to, purely because everything passes through an internal filter as we process our own thoughts, feelings and emotions! I think using a child, who says is experiencing things that he only partly understands, is an excellent choice which contributes to the ambiguity and uncertainness that the characters feel.

I have just got Dr Sleep on audiobook today, so I am looking forward to listening to it and seeing how the universe expands :D
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Tue 24th Nov 2020

^Let us know what you think!!!
I admit, I'm so so on it.

>>
<<

This would more or less be a consecutive post thing, but hey, if we can net a post, warum nicht?

So I have finally reached the infamous Clone Saga in Spider-Man. I'm familiar enough with it, I know most of the twists unfortunately, but I don't know all the details and how it unfolds and such. Like I slightly forgot it was coming up and then geeked when I realized who the "mystery man" was.
I'm slightly dissatisfied that so far there is no explanation as to how Ben Reilly survived an explosion and an immolation...but I guess....details, amirite?
There's teases for "our" Spider-Man being the clone. That's part of an eventual twist that it's either revealed or heavily suggested that he's the clone and Ben is in fact the OG Peter Parker.
Of course this is eventually put to rest. It's a fun concept, but can you imagine, the whole Jackal plot was published in the 70s and this story or saga whatever, spans the mid-late 90s. Can you imagine how ticked off the fans would be to have it revealed the Spider-Man they'd been following for over twenty years was naught but a clone? That'd be a mighty slap in the face. *cough*almostasbadasmakingadealwiththedevilthaterasesamarriageof20years*cough*

The plot that just preceded this one involved his parents coming back from the dead...until it's revealed they're actually not his parents (surprise) and not even human, but rather a pair of android / simulacrum creations manufactured by the Chameleon at the behest of Harry Osborn / Lil Goblin Jr.

It leaves Pete kinda messed up.

Annnnnd....well......

It's kinda ticking me off. Dude, get over it.

Yeah, I know, how heartless can you be, that's bound to leave a ton of psychological scars the fact Pete's handling it as well as he is is nothing short of a miracle, etc etc....
Thing is, Pete had his doubts about this guys (his parents/the imposters) from the get-go. I think somewhere in Consecutive Posting I did the math on how long the "parents" were around....but most lamely of me, I forgot. I think it might have been just around two years. Which in comic book time could be anywhere from three months to two actual years. I'll be generous and say around three to six months. Is that generous or conservative? I dunno.
Okay, I doubt they were around longer than a year tops. These are supervillains after all, they have to concoct an inator just to make their tea boil faster.

My point is, they weren't around that long. The real parents weren't around long in Pete's life either. Previously, he's freely mentioned he never knew his parents and considers his aunt and uncle to be his parents, going so far as to specifically say his mom could never be better than Aunt May.
Here, they (the writers) have him acting like it's a fresh wound. Like maybe they had only died a few years ago and omg here they are again! The writers are trying to create a Gwen Stacy type emotional break for Peter.
But it just doesn't gel for me.
Eventually, Pete trusts his "parents" just long enough to reveal his dual identity. Obviously, this was a mistake and near instantly triggers his mystical plot device spider-sense into realizing thusly.
So he finally listens to Aunt May - who had doubts about these people as well and was labeled as being senile - and warns her against them.
He tracks the parents down, discovers the Chameleon plot, blows some things up, etc etc.
At the end of it, he has a mental breakdown of sorts, on realizing this has all been a plot to specifically mind-screw him.

It's like....really? You're going to let yourself be played like that? You're acting exactly how he wants!!!

I get that it would be traumatic. But he takes it too far and decides to cut off the "man" part of his life i.e. and be only the "Spider".

Essentially this just means he uses it as an excuse to completely ignore/ditch Mary Jane and Aunt May, who is in the hospital in a coma. (I know, I know, what's new there)

So that's the mentality we're dealing with when Pete...or "the Spider" enters the Clone Saga. A Peter Parker / Spider-Man that is not his normal self.

It's criminal, by the way, that Black Cat hasn't made an appearance for any of this. She appeared in like one issue of a story that centered around some silly "bio armor" that even the writers got bored with.

Cat is the epitome of embracing/prioritizing the alter ego over the civilian life. That's partly why they broke up. She couldn't quite understand why or how Spider-Man could tolerate being Peter Parker.

And now here he is, unable to tolerate the Man anymore. *shakes head*

I dunno, there seems to be a bit of an identity crisis going on at this time. You've got Doc Ock, Leland Owlsley, and even Daredevil pondering their dual identities. The former two I'll take with a grain of salt since they appear here, but even Daredevil apparently faked his own death to give up his Matt Murdock identity.

Ben's dilemma is that he's hung up on being a clone and yet he's doing a better job at being human than Spidey. Like I said earlier, you can tell the writers were trying to tease that Ben was the real Spidey and Peter the clone. It's interesting, but a slap in the face nonetheless.

Alright. I think I've ranted enough. Apologies.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by Cabaline » Sun 6th Dec 2020

I've started Dr Sleep, but I am not sure how I feel about it. I'm a few chapters in and I feel conflicted. The chapters from the point of view of this mystery woman are more confusing than intriguing. I am fine with adult themes in anything but I really feel as though the explicit stuff so far is being extremely forced and is there just for the sake of it.

I'm going to keep going with it and I will finish it no matter what, but so far I'm not loving it as instantly as I loved The Shining.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Sat 12th Dec 2020

^Did you end up finishing/continuing? (Thank Odin it wasn't just me.)

Currently reading Ready Player Two.

Loved the first book and the movie, despite the differences between the former and latter. Man, having Alan Silvestri score for the movie was basically like having a mini Back to the Future Part IV. I had so many chills from listening to that!!!

Anyway.

This book here, RP2, I'm not as crazy about. Maybe I ought to re-read the first book just to see if I'm nostalgia-visioning it, but it came off as great. I liked it, I enjoyed it. As uncomfortable as it may be, I can even say I identified with some parts of it.

This one here.....back story first I suppose. The hot rumor I heard was that Mr. Ernest Cline intended Ready Player One to be a one and done. No player two option in mind.

.......and thennnnn the movie came out and was successful enough to warrant a sequel, forcing Cline to write another.

Never a good idea, in my humble opinion, to force someone to do something. Whether they want to or not. As Geri said in Toy Story 2, you can't rush art.

...cause you might not like the results. Okay, pre-ramble out of the way I guess.

The first hundred pages of this read as a recap/reintroduction to the world. And. Not. A. Single. Thing. Happens.

There'll likely be spoilers from here on out, I'll try to be as vague as possible, just so your warned...

Alright, inside the first five pages, Wade finds a new headset that Halliday left behind. It plugs your head directly into the computer OASIS simulation essentially making real life and sim life indistinguishable.

[insert Bohemian Rhapsody] Is this the real life or fantasy?

The next 95 or so pages basically just outline the aftermath of book one and dance around other plot elements, the breakup, introducing the Shards....etc.

But otherwise, nothing happens. There's no day-to-day interactions, nada. It felt very....how does that idiom go? Show me, don't tell me. That's what this book needs. Less Tower of Text of "this happened...and then this happened" summary mode and more into offering even just rudimentary scenes. I guess that would make this book even longer though.

The other thing I have to complain about concerns adult elements. What Cab said just about sums up how I about feel. I'm fine with "that", but it felt extremely overdone. Like the dude couldn't go a page without mentioning how the new Oasis tech was being used for "explicit pleasure".

This could be part of a setup for what will probably happen later (The Big Red Plotdevice Button) but even then, since the button is getting pressed anyway, the non-FG appropriate material wouldn't matter.

This seems to be a recurring theme for Cline, in book one there was that midsection bit where an abundance of detail is divulged over the course of several pages about things Wade does alone...after his break up thing.

I did a comparison by the by, in book one at about a hundred pages in, Wade had already found the first key and explained the world and had character interactions.

My other complaint is Aech. She's kinda acting like a jerk.

Theories: Anorak is going to takeover Wade's physical body in the real world. Or that's the master plan. The shards might not be to build a sim copy of the Siren, but maybe they're the memories that got cut off the AI Anorak.
The button being pressed is inevitable.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by Cabaline » Sun 13th Dec 2020

artymon I\/ wrote:
Sat 12th Dec 2020
^Did you end up finishing/continuing? (Thank Odin it wasn't just me.)
I am continuing but it is slow and rough going. I am so disinterested in these "Abra" chapters. None of the characters are grabbing me at all from that storyline, I am currently in the middle of a chapter where it is Abra's birthday party and there is a tedious list of characters all having discussions that I am struggling to make myself care about. Danny's chapters are getting interesting but the problem is that I finally start getting into it and then we shift to a totally different timeline that I feel like I am having to sit through to get back to Dan.

I'm not even halfway through the story yet either. I'll let you know how I find it when I continue but I am not very eager and looking forward to it the way I was with The Shining.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Sun 4th Apr 2021

^You're not alone at least. Think I might pick up the Shining again when I finish my current book.

....which is a little number called A Salty Piece of Land by none other than Jimmy Buffett.

Really enjoying it!! I slightly feel like Jimmy's writing isa tad clunky, but I'm not much of an expert on such things. Now, in comparison to RP2 where not a lot happens but exposition, here not a lot happens but that's exactly the point. This guy just follows the wind and sees where life takes him.

I did end up finishing Ready Player 2, my theories all proved wrong....even though I kinda liked them better. I ended up rereading the first book and kinda found Wade just more annoying. Like...it's kinda like what Ray Liotta said to Tim Allen, putting the leather jackets on and riding a motorcycle doesn't make you a biker.

Binging media just because someone told you to (indirectly)/for money doesn't make you a fan

~~

4/24/2021

Finished A Salty Piece of Land, it's not 100% FG standards, but I recommend it if you are a mature devourer of books. Or have the blessing of a guardian.

Currently reading a book by Jess Winfield called My Name is Will (which is not the full title).

So far I'm enjoying it. Funnily enough, it's about as mature as Buffett's book, as in it handles the same topics, but this one feels like it goes a notch more than Buffett.

I suppose that could be because here we're following a college dude...which y'know, nuff said, whereas in ASPoL you're following a dude in his forties.

There's also a secondary story that follows legit Shakespeare.
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by HollyShort9 » Sat 5th Jun 2021

Cabaline wrote:
Sun 13th Dec 2020
artymon I\/ wrote:
Sat 12th Dec 2020
^Did you end up finishing/continuing? (Thank Odin it wasn't just me.)
I am continuing but it is slow and rough going. I am so disinterested in these "Abra" chapters. None of the characters are grabbing me at all from that storyline, I am currently in the middle of a chapter where it is Abra's birthday party and there is a tedious list of characters all having discussions that I am struggling to make myself care about. Danny's chapters are getting interesting but the problem is that I finally start getting into it and then we shift to a totally different timeline that I feel like I am having to sit through to get back to Dan.

I'm not even halfway through the story yet either. I'll let you know how I find it when I continue but I am not very eager and looking forward to it the way I was with The Shining.
Doctor Sleep started out slow for me too, but by the end I think it's Stephen King's best book... the ending made me cry. Give it a chance if you haven't finished still! :)
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Mon 7th Jun 2021

I do know I finished it...but I kinda forget how it ended, haven't read it in ages. Maybe I'll give it a second chance at some point.

~~

I finished My Name is Will. That one I could take or leave it. Like, it was alright, buuut I think the peak of the book was the Orion gag.....which was about a paragraph twenty pages in.

I am now reading The Lost World by Michael Crichton.
I've seen the movie (natch) and OG JP....though I've never read the books, which I guess is weird as I've read a ton of other MC books and loved them.
So far, no exception. Lost World is awesome, I chomped through nearly 100 pages this weekend (which is a lot for me these days, I'm slower than I used to be :lol: )
The book is wildly different from the movie.
It follows the basic plot/rotary of characters. Ian Malcolm gets roped into finding/going to a "lost world" filled with dinos.
Now, foolishly, I haven't read the first book, so I don't know all the details of what goes down, I'm assuming it's similar-ish to the movie.
But it seems Ian and all survivors signed non-disclosure agreements to not talk about what went down on Isla Nublar.
The book starts with him giving a lecture at a science institute and this smart mouth type Levine interrupts the presentation to ask questions and somehow manages to get Ian to join him on a venture to find a Lost World.

WHY?!!!
Dude, you barely seem to have escaped from the other island with your life! Why would you wanna go back, much less help someone else find a place like that????

Scientific responsibility? Find the dinos, make sure they stay there? Curiosity?
Oh, and why weren't the dinos on the second island destroyed along with their relatives and related contents of Nublar??
The book says InGen went bankrupt after the JP incident....but there still seems to be power at the second island. So this implies they're not gone? Rebranded?

EDIT:/

Update
August 8th, 2021

I finished the Lost World a little while ago, definitely recommend. I now have a bit of a crush on Sarah Harding, like whoa, what a badass woman.

In the meantime, I delved into Frank Abagnale's Catch Me if You Can, which (supposedly) recounts his various conjobs in his youth. Certainly an entertaining read if nothing else. And it serves to remind that attitude is everything, at least for the 60s/70s. Your word (and artfully forged documents) were all you had. No internet or extensive background checks.
The book goes where the movie doesn't and delves into the prisons he served time in. France sounds like a real charming place. Sorry, Roxy.

Roxanne: *unabashed* If you are caught for a crime, you serve the time. It is prison, not a country club.

Currently reading a book I found at the library called Pirates! by Celia Rees.

Sometimes I have snobbish standards and desire only to read from the crème de la crème, like Michael Crichton or Dean Koontz....and other times simply seeing a gal on a cover with the word Pirates is enough for me.
I'm kinda so-so on this one? Like, the full name of the book is Pirates! The True and Remarkable Adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kington. It touts itself as being utterly and entirely true and factual, and is presented as a letter to Captain Charles James for him to publish in his book, A General History of the Pyrates....only the author bluntly decides to oh so scholarly declare Captain James is none other than Daniel Dafoe.
Now, yes, this is something that's theorized and I won't pretend that I know any the better...but it sort of bugs me all the same this author does this.
A) Reveal/out Daniel Dafoe and B) Claim this is a true story when it's easily verified as not.
In context of the book, it came out early 2000s. The internet was (and still is) a developing place. Perhaps it was harder to fact check things on Google....even though by 2007 "googling" something is a household term.
Yet googling either girl will only net results for the book.
Like, dude, Celia, if you want to write a factual feature about female pirates....look no further than Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Better yet? Anne Bonny's fate is sort of unknown. Like yeah, she's definitely dead by now and likely perished in prison...but there is no official record of what happened to her. So if you wanted to take a liberal historical fact twist, you could say this is Bonny's personal journal/memoirs after escaping/being smuggled out of jail.
Or if you just want to tell your own story, that's perfectly fine as well.
Point is, you don't need to gaslight us. There's enough misinformation out there as it is....now more than ever.

Okay. Now let's actually get into this story.
Currently I'm about a hundred pages in. The page number says something like one forty or one sixty....but at least thirty pages of that are preamble junk (copyright, author forward), so we'll just say one hundred.
It centers on Nancy, the daughter of an affluent plantation owner/fleet manager. We get slices of her life growing up, mom died when she was born, thus lacked a female figure, thus sort of leaned into the tomboy life, learned accounting and bookkeeping from the dad, took fencing lessons, the usual.
Now the dad experiences some financial troubles. Thor decides to throw an awesome party with Poseidon and they trash the dad's fleet. So he scrambles to set up this secret marriage thing to pimp his daughter out to an affluent Brazilian dude.
However, in the midst of this, he grows ill and dies (prolly helped along by the new wife). Nancy inherits the plantation and is sent to Port Royal with her brother Joseph (a real winner in his own right, favors rum and coke along with gambling money away).
At the plantation, she meets "the help" Phillis and her daughter, Minerva.

Now, this book takes place in 1722 and there's a load of color talk and depicts slavery.
Being the Mature Literary Analysists we are, we'll take all this at face value as a part of how history was and carry on.
Nancy develops a bond of sorts with the ladies, despite their naturally reserved nature. We don't exactly get to see much of it beyond a horseback depiction of going to a hidden pond and frolicking in Mother Nature's swimsuit, though Nancy assures us this basically becomes a daily habit. I think ( ? )

There's a dude named Duke who sort of runs the day to day operations at the plantation with his mate, the Whip. Typical Grade A jerk designed purely to be hated and garner zero sympathy for when he's ganked later on by Nancy, but more later.

The Brazilian dude comes to collect for Nancy which is about when the penny drops for her on what her brothers and dad were talking about with "doing her part for the family". She gives him the slip and catches Duke abducting Minerva...which is where we get our call to action and Point of No Return and Nancy promptly shoots him in the head, redecorating his bedroom with his brains.

Think my problem here is a) we don't really have enough character development/relationship development between Minerva and Nancy (the book dwells more on Nancy and her male friend William who is not really involved in the story yet)

and b) I would've preferred to see Nancy exude a little more rage in her kill. It's depicted in a very bland emotional state. Almost zero emotion. And let's face it, if anyone found themselves in a situation like that, especially (I'd think) a woman, there'd be a lot of emotion there.
Terror at least. This is your best friend and you have no thoughts? This is the first time you've murdered a person and even though it's for a more than valid reason...it's just...bland.
I'd've preferred to see her, on the coattails of being "betrayed" by her father and brothers, have an emotional epiphany where an anger bubbles over and she decides she's tired of having men decide her life and controlling what she does, what she wears, and how she acts and then decides to blow Duke's head off.

/end rant I think.

Also, Minvera is prolly Nancy's half sister, as they make a note about Minerva's father being unknown/not mentioned/not present.

EDIT:/

Update
September 25th, 2021

I was totally right about the sister thing.

Rest of the book was alright.

Currently reading Congo by Michael Crichton.

I've sort of heard of this one....in the sense I've seen the book before and seen it listed under his works and figured it'd prolly be worth a read at some point. So far it has been.
Though I haven't quite had the chance to catch up on it....

Update
October 31st, 2021

Still reading Congo (nearing the end), figured I'd toss a few thoughts out.

Definitely enjoying it.

Wasn't quite sure what I thought it'd be about.

Basically, this world research team is searching for diamonds - special blue diamonds - for a third party to use to make super fast computers to build Skynet.

Like, no joke. I'm jumping ahead a bunch, but hey, you don't mind. They go most of the book saying they need to go to Congo, then reveal the diamonds at this lost city and say they need the diamonds for vague reasons and just now it comes out.
The diamonds are capable of running computers that the powers that be plan to equip with laser cannons to fight wars and stuff. But since lasers are too fast for humans to perceive, they have to connect them to the computers to do the work....which is literally almost the plot of Terminator. Super computer put in charge of nukes. Computer becomes self-aware and yeets nukes at human creators.
That aside.
Characters are pretty cool. You've got Elliot, a sort of naive-Nate type, Ross she's our resident alpha-gal all work no play.

Then there's Munro.
He's described as this sort of experienced/gnarled mercenary dude that's spearheaded many an expedition into Congo and other areas before. Basically, he's a combination of Mattias and Indiana Jones.
And his relationship with Amy is so freaking precious.
(Amy is Elliot's gorilla coworker? She speaks in sign language.)

Update
November 6th, 2021

Finished Congo! I was nearly at the end earlier. Not much else to report. One thing I didn't like was that there were bits of dialogue that were said to have been reported later, i.e., after the book i.e., essentially spoiling who lives and who dies.
Like there were several times the book would go, "Later, Elliot was reported as saying, 'Ermagawd, I thought we were all gon die!'"
DUDE. You just don't do that. Keep me in suspense.

Not sure what my next book will be.

Update
January 1st, 2022

Been reading a book called Full Dark by Brad Thor.
It follows this ex-military dude that works as a contractor and basically does a bunch of black ops type missions to take out terrorists and such. It had a pretty strong opening where one of the other protagonists takes down a Spetsnaz team of hitmen.
It's a little red, white, and blue in some areas that surpass my liking. There's nothing wrong with being patriotic and loving your country....unless it hinders you from acknowledging the faults it may have.
No person, place, thing, idea is ever fully perfect. Even the most perfect of things would be imperfect by the very definition of having no imperfections (see Mary Sue).
And sometimes these characters sound just as brainwashed as the terrorists they're fighting. That same "I'm better than you" mentality.
Again, not meant as a barb to anyone or their country, and endless gratitude to those who serve/served for us. 🇺🇸
Anyway, there's this one part where the guy is trying to track this one terrorist and he's relaying everything back to a guy on the computer aka a Foaly type. And he's barking all these orders to this guy. Do this, track that. And that and that.
At one point, the faux-Foaly stops and goes, "Uh.....I'm just one person. I have to bring help in."
The book, of course, takes itself a wee more serious than AF (which didn't not take itself seriously, but y'know, reality check) and so the guy is initially hesitant, but allows the extra help.
Kinda just made me sympathize more with Foaly and his snippiness.

Update
February 8th, 2022

Finished Full Dark. Ended on a cliffhanger that I'm not going to bother following up on. Not that it was bad, just eh. Diversify the reads.

Started Strange Highways by Dean Koontz.

I'd been trying to start it for a few weeks, think partly my head wasn't in the game for it. Also parting....it didn't quite hook me.
Like....the protagonist is this alcoholic dude who comes back to his childhood home to bury a dead dad he hasn't spoken to in years and mopes about what a horrible son he is.
All the while there's a dozen more interesting characters the story has presented us with: The alcoholic's gypsy writer brother (as yet unseen, but mentioned), the philosopher lawyer that studied at Harvard to work in a Podunk coal town.
I'm only 35 pages, so it still has room to entice. I think this is actually just a short stories collection thing; I grabbed the book from a free library thing, so I don't technically know what's all in it.
Side note: I was killing time out and about and was reading in public when a Korean lady approached and asked what I was reading then mentioned her favorite book is the Bible and promptly proceeded to sit down and delivery a summary of a few of the stories.
Nice lady though :)

Update April 11th, 2022

Somehow lost the Strange Highways book and didn't do much reading, until one day I ended up being early at work and had an hour to kill so I snagged a book from the breakroom called Strawberry Tattoo by Lauren Henderson.
It focuses on this British artist chick named Sam Jones who signs on to do some sort of statue work exhibit in New York.
So far it's alright. Sort of has a sex, drugs, and rock n' roll(ish) vibe. Not quite to the Will extent. It's pretty alright, although what sticks out to me is how big a deal everyone makes out of the gal being British. "Oh wow, you Brits have such funny phrases" / "Ermagosh, is it true y'all drink til you drop??"
I dunno....that kind of talk....they don't actually say that, but dialogues along those lines....they don't strike me as being organic.
The impression I get is that these are people in their mid-late twenties.
Maybe it's because of time spent on this forum back in the day, interacting with people from all over, reading Harry Potter, and in combination to working with international people....like I still very much love learning about all the little....idioms and quirks and stuff from other cultures, but....
Dunno. Just seems....not rude...
Like, in the Parent Trap remake with Lindsay Lohan, you've got the kids at camp asking her about life in California, geeking out about movie stars and stuff and she kind of laughs it off, like lol no, I live on a vineyard and make wine yo.
That's kind of how this strikes me. Except there it seems more natural, kids being kids and curious and asking and such.
Here it just....feels out of place. Like this can't be the first time you've met/been around a British person - especially not in a place like New York, especially not when you evidently deal with international people all the time and especially not when you have staff that's international.
So aside from that one complaint, it's fine.

Oddly enough, I just found the Strange Highways book the other day.....maybe I'll finish it.

Update 11/3/2022

Have yet to finish Strange Highways with very little motivation.

Happy to see I wrote down the one author's name, Laura. Was debating to go look up her other works...

Anyway, been reading a short stories collections thing, 13 horror stories from 13 writers in a book collectively called Prime Evil.

I think Stephen King is meant to be the big draw star...which, hey, worked for me.
i'm about halfway through the stories. Some have been hit or miss. Some are entirely unworthy of the tree whose paper they've vandalized with their boring prose.

Just finished one called Orange is for Anguish, Blue is for Insanity. Pretty freaking good. These art students get enthralled into a perplexing mystery from a not-Van Gogh.

Thought the twist would be the faces would be revealed to be all the other critics and artists that went mad, but the twist is still satisfactory.

Update November 16, 2022

Nearly done with the next story, Juniper Tree.

A load of tosh. There are non-FG elements of SA nature involved, but...none of the story at all feels cohesive. I may just be an idiot, but it just feels like a load of unrelated BS quickly crammed and edited into a twenty page draft Peter Straub shoved into the editor's hands when tasked with crafting a short horror story.

I half about a page and a half left but there has been literally nothing of interest to happen.

I seem to spend more time ragging on the bad stories than the good ones.

But it's like....if it's good, it's good. Nuff said. Bad makes me look at it and want to think, what could make it better? Alright, that's slightly BS, way more of a lofty goal than I'm capable. But I guess....it helps to pluck out bits and pieces that I don't like and don't want to wind up duplicating?

Eh.

Really want to re-read Under the Dome.

Update Nov 11, 22 part II

Also caught up on some of the new Spidey mags! No one seems entirely pleased with the new writer and it's not hard to see why. Pretty much any sort of progress or development is shuntered away (allegedly) and we're not given much explanation....yet.

Update
November 23, 2022

Finished Juniper Tree. Just....trash. Felt like the author was bored and wanted to tell his life story/vent child trauma.

Next story was something called Spinning Tales with the Dead
It was better than Juniper Tree....but not by a particularly higher margin.
I feel like it might benefit from a re-read at a later juncture. Maybe two re-reads. One to actually try and digest the story and another to uncover the hidden bits and bobs.

Tales with the Dead
The basic story was three generations (I think) a guy, his son, and his grandson all go fishing and tell tall tales. I think I just wasn't in a good head space as I couldn't keep track of their names and who was which guy which didn't help by me taking breaks. I didn't find them interesting enough to be bothered with differentiating them...and again, this is a me thing, but the story is set by river with the guys fishing. Not much of an angler myself and I just...felt a tad bored on principle.
Idk. Silly, I know.
Conceptually, I think it's not bad.
As I said, the trio are taking turns telling stories. As they talk, a woman appears on the river that they apparently just ignore. She goes about flashing them and smearing blood about herself.
The only sort of vague acknowledgement comes when the grandson...Ephraim... mentions he wishes he had hair like his mom's. I think it's meant to imply that the middle guy ganked his son and wife and goes to the river in some weird atonement ritual, joined by the ghosts of his past.
Like I said, conceptually, not bad.

About to start on a book called Alice's Last Adventure. Written by a guy named Thomas Ligotti. He was born and raised in Detroit, so he definitely knows horror.

And I can legally make that joke too! 😛
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artymon I\/
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Posts: 2526
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by artymon I\/ » Sun 11th Dec 2022

I do know I finished it...but I kinda forget how it ended, haven't read it in ages. Maybe I'll give it a second chance at some point.

~~

I finished My Name is Will. That one I could take or leave it. Like, it was alright, buuut I think the peak of the book was the Orion gag.....which was about a paragraph twenty pages in.

I am now reading The Lost World by Michael Crichton.
I've seen the movie (natch) and OG JP....though I've never read the books, which I guess is weird as I've read a ton of other MC books and loved them.
So far, no exception. Lost World is awesome, I chomped through nearly 100 pages this weekend (which is a lot for me these days, I'm slower than I used to be :lol: )
The book is wildly different from the movie.
It follows the basic plot/rotary of characters. Ian Malcolm gets roped into finding/going to a "lost world" filled with dinos.
Now, foolishly, I haven't read the first book, so I don't know all the details of what goes down, I'm assuming it's similar-ish to the movie.
But it seems Ian and all survivors signed non-disclosure agreements to not talk about what went down on Isla Nublar.
The book starts with him giving a lecture at a science institute and this smart mouth type Levine interrupts the presentation to ask questions and somehow manages to get Ian to join him on a venture to find a Lost World.

WHY?!!!
Dude, you barely seem to have escaped from the other island with your life! Why would you wanna go back, much less help someone else find a place like that????

Scientific responsibility? Find the dinos, make sure they stay there? Curiosity?
Oh, and why weren't the dinos on the second island destroyed along with their relatives and related contents of Nublar??
The book says InGen went bankrupt after the JP incident....but there still seems to be power at the second island. So this implies they're not gone? Rebranded?

EDIT:/

Update
August 8th, 2021

I finished the Lost World a little while ago, definitely recommend. I now have a bit of a crush on Sarah Harding, like whoa, what a badass woman.

In the meantime, I delved into Frank Abagnale's Catch Me if You Can, which (supposedly) recounts his various conjobs in his youth. Certainly an entertaining read if nothing else. And it serves to remind that attitude is everything, at least for the 60s/70s. Your word (and artfully forged documents) were all you had. No internet or extensive background checks.
The book goes where the movie doesn't and delves into the prisons he served time in. France sounds like a real charming place. Sorry, Roxy.

Roxanne: *unabashed* If you are caught for a crime, you serve the time. It is prison, not a country club.

Currently reading a book I found at the library called Pirates! by Celia Rees.

Sometimes I have snobbish standards and desire only to read from the crème de la crème, like Michael Crichton or Dean Koontz....and other times simply seeing a gal on a cover with the word Pirates is enough for me.
I'm kinda so-so on this one? Like, the full name of the book is Pirates! The True and Remarkable Adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kington. It touts itself as being utterly and entirely true and factual, and is presented as a letter to Captain Charles James for him to publish in his book, A General History of the Pyrates....only the author bluntly decides to oh so scholarly declare Captain James is none other than Daniel Dafoe.
Now, yes, this is something that's theorized and I won't pretend that I know any the better...but it sort of bugs me all the same this author does this.
A) Reveal/out Daniel Dafoe and B) Claim this is a true story when it's easily verified as not.
In context of the book, it came out early 2000s. The internet was (and still is) a developing place. Perhaps it was harder to fact check things on Google....even though by 2007 "googling" something is a household term.
Yet googling either girl will only net results for the book.
Like, dude, Celia, if you want to write a factual feature about female pirates....look no further than Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Better yet? Anne Bonny's fate is sort of unknown. Like yeah, she's definitely dead by now and likely perished in prison...but there is no official record of what happened to her. So if you wanted to take a liberal historical fact twist, you could say this is Bonny's personal journal/memoirs after escaping/being smuggled out of jail.
Or if you just want to tell your own story, that's perfectly fine as well.
Point is, you don't need to gaslight us. There's enough misinformation out there as it is....now more than ever.

Okay. Now let's actually get into this story.
Currently I'm about a hundred pages in. The page number says something like one forty or one sixty....but at least thirty pages of that are preamble junk (copyright, author forward), so we'll just say one hundred.
It centers on Nancy, the daughter of an affluent plantation owner/fleet manager. We get slices of her life growing up, mom died when she was born, thus lacked a female figure, thus sort of leaned into the tomboy life, learned accounting and bookkeeping from the dad, took fencing lessons, the usual.
Now the dad experiences some financial troubles. Thor decides to throw an awesome party with Poseidon and they trash the dad's fleet. So he scrambles to set up this secret marriage thing to pimp his daughter out to an affluent Brazilian dude.
However, in the midst of this, he grows ill and dies (prolly helped along by the new wife). Nancy inherits the plantation and is sent to Port Royal with her brother Joseph (a real winner in his own right, favors rum and coke along with gambling money away).
At the plantation, she meets "the help" Phillis and her daughter, Minerva.

Now, this book takes place in 1722 and there's a load of color talk and depicts slavery.
Being the Mature Literary Analysists we are, we'll take all this at face value as a part of how history was and carry on.
Nancy develops a bond of sorts with the ladies, despite their naturally reserved nature. We don't exactly get to see much of it beyond a horseback depiction of going to a hidden pond and frolicking in Mother Nature's swimsuit, though Nancy assures us this basically becomes a daily habit. I think ( ? )

There's a dude named Duke who sort of runs the day to day operations at the plantation with his mate, the Whip. Typical Grade A jerk designed purely to be hated and garner zero sympathy for when he's ganked later on by Nancy, but more later.

The Brazilian dude comes to collect for Nancy which is about when the penny drops for her on what her brothers and dad were talking about with "doing her part for the family". She gives him the slip and catches Duke abducting Minerva...which is where we get our call to action and Point of No Return and Nancy promptly shoots him in the head, redecorating his bedroom with his brains.

Think my problem here is a) we don't really have enough character development/relationship development between Minerva and Nancy (the book dwells more on Nancy and her male friend William who is not really involved in the story yet)

and b) I would've preferred to see Nancy exude a little more rage in her kill. It's depicted in a very bland emotional state. Almost zero emotion. And let's face it, if anyone found themselves in a situation like that, especially (I'd think) a woman, there'd be a lot of emotion there.
Terror at least. This is your best friend and you have no thoughts? This is the first time you've murdered a person and even though it's for a more than valid reason...it's just...bland.
I'd've preferred to see her, on the coattails of being "betrayed" by her father and brothers, have an emotional epiphany where an anger bubbles over and she decides she's tired of having men decide her life and controlling what she does, what she wears, and how she acts and then decides to blow Duke's head off.

/end rant I think.

Also, Minvera is prolly Nancy's half sister, as they make a note about Minerva's father being unknown/not mentioned/not present.

EDIT:/

Update
September 25th, 2021

I was totally right about the sister thing.

Rest of the book was alright.

Currently reading Congo by Michael Crichton.

I've sort of heard of this one....in the sense I've seen the book before and seen it listed under his works and figured it'd prolly be worth a read at some point. So far it has been.
Though I haven't quite had the chance to catch up on it....

Update
October 31st, 2021

Still reading Congo (nearing the end), figured I'd toss a few thoughts out.

Definitely enjoying it.

Wasn't quite sure what I thought it'd be about.

Basically, this world research team is searching for diamonds - special blue diamonds - for a third party to use to make super fast computers to build Skynet.

Like, no joke. I'm jumping ahead a bunch, but hey, you don't mind. They go most of the book saying they need to go to Congo, then reveal the diamonds at this lost city and say they need the diamonds for vague reasons and just now it comes out.
The diamonds are capable of running computers that the powers that be plan to equip with laser cannons to fight wars and stuff. But since lasers are too fast for humans to perceive, they have to connect them to the computers to do the work....which is literally almost the plot of Terminator. Super computer put in charge of nukes. Computer becomes self-aware and yeets nukes at human creators.
That aside.
Characters are pretty cool. You've got Elliot, a sort of naive-Nate type, Ross she's our resident alpha-gal all work no play.

Then there's Munro.
He's described as this sort of experienced/gnarled mercenary dude that's spearheaded many an expedition into Congo and other areas before. Basically, he's a combination of Mattias and Indiana Jones.
And his relationship with Amy is so freaking precious.
(Amy is Elliot's gorilla coworker? She speaks in sign language.)

Update
November 6th, 2021

Finished Congo! I was nearly at the end earlier. Not much else to report. One thing I didn't like was that there were bits of dialogue that were said to have been reported later, i.e., after the book i.e., essentially spoiling who lives and who dies.
Like there were several times the book would go, "Later, Elliot was reported as saying, 'Ermagawd, I thought we were all gon die!'"
DUDE. You just don't do that. Keep me in suspense.

Not sure what my next book will be.

Update
January 1st, 2022

Been reading a book called Full Dark by Brad Thor.
It follows this ex-military dude that works as a contractor and basically does a bunch of black ops type missions to take out terrorists and such. It had a pretty strong opening where one of the other protagonists takes down a Spetsnaz team of hitmen.
It's a little red, white, and blue in some areas that surpass my liking. There's nothing wrong with being patriotic and loving your country....unless it hinders you from acknowledging the faults it may have.
No person, place, thing, idea is ever fully perfect. Even the most perfect of things would be imperfect by the very definition of having no imperfections (see Mary Sue).
And sometimes these characters sound just as brainwashed as the terrorists they're fighting. That same "I'm better than you" mentality.
Again, not meant as a barb to anyone or their country, and endless gratitude to those who serve/served for us. 🇺🇸
Anyway, there's this one part where the guy is trying to track this one terrorist and he's relaying everything back to a guy on the computer aka a Foaly type. And he's barking all these orders to this guy. Do this, track that. And that and that.
At one point, the faux-Foaly stops and goes, "Uh.....I'm just one person. I have to bring help in."
The book, of course, takes itself a wee more serious than AF (which didn't not take itself seriously, but y'know, reality check) and so the guy is initially hesitant, but allows the extra help.
Kinda just made me sympathize more with Foaly and his snippiness.

Update
February 8th, 2022

Finished Full Dark. Ended on a cliffhanger that I'm not going to bother following up on. Not that it was bad, just eh. Diversify the reads.

Started Strange Highways by Dean Koontz.

I'd been trying to start it for a few weeks, think partly my head wasn't in the game for it. Also parting....it didn't quite hook me.
Like....the protagonist is this alcoholic dude who comes back to his childhood home to bury a dead dad he hasn't spoken to in years and mopes about what a horrible son he is.
All the while there's a dozen more interesting characters the story has presented us with: The alcoholic's gypsy writer brother (as yet unseen, but mentioned), the philosopher lawyer that studied at Harvard to work in a Podunk coal town.
I'm only 35 pages, so it still has room to entice. I think this is actually just a short stories collection thing; I grabbed the book from a free library thing, so I don't technically know what's all in it.
Side note: I was killing time out and about and was reading in public when a Korean lady approached and asked what I was reading then mentioned her favorite book is the Bible and promptly proceeded to sit down and delivery a summary of a few of the stories.
Nice lady though :)

Update April 11th, 2022

Somehow lost the Strange Highways book and didn't do much reading, until one day I ended up being early at work and had an hour to kill so I snagged a book from the breakroom called Strawberry Tattoo by Lauren Henderson.
It focuses on this British artist chick named Sam Jones who signs on to do some sort of statue work exhibit in New York.
So far it's alright. Sort of has a sex, drugs, and rock n' roll(ish) vibe. Not quite to the Will extent. It's pretty alright, although what sticks out to me is how big a deal everyone makes out of the gal being British. "Oh wow, you Brits have such funny phrases" / "Ermagosh, is it true y'all drink til you drop??"
I dunno....that kind of talk....they don't actually say that, but dialogues along those lines....they don't strike me as being organic.
The impression I get is that these are people in their mid-late twenties.
Maybe it's because of time spent on this forum back in the day, interacting with people from all over, reading Harry Potter, and in combination to working with international people....like I still very much love learning about all the little....idioms and quirks and stuff from other cultures, but....
Dunno. Just seems....not rude...
Like, in the Parent Trap remake with Lindsay Lohan, you've got the kids at camp asking her about life in California, geeking out about movie stars and stuff and she kind of laughs it off, like lol no, I live on a vineyard and make wine yo.
That's kind of how this strikes me. Except there it seems more natural, kids being kids and curious and asking and such.
Here it just....feels out of place. Like this can't be the first time you've met/been around a British person - especially not in a place like New York, especially not when you evidently deal with international people all the time and especially not when you have staff that's international.
So aside from that one complaint, it's fine.

Oddly enough, I just found the Strange Highways book the other day.....maybe I'll finish it.

Update 11/3/2022

Have yet to finish Strange Highways with very little motivation.

Happy to see I wrote down the one author's name, Laura. Was debating to go look up her other works...

Anyway, been reading a short stories collections thing, 13 horror stories from 13 writers in a book collectively called Prime Evil.

I think Stephen King is meant to be the big draw star...which, hey, worked for me.
i'm about halfway through the stories. Some have been hit or miss. Some are entirely unworthy of the tree whose paper they've vandalized with their boring prose.

Just finished one called Orange is for Anguish, Blue is for Insanity. Pretty freaking good. These art students get enthralled into a perplexing mystery from a not-Van Gogh.

Thought the twist would be the faces would be revealed to be all the other critics and artists that went mad, but the twist is still satisfactory.

Update November 16, 2022

Nearly done with the next story, Juniper Tree.

A load of tosh. There are non-FG elements of SA nature involved, but...none of the story at all feels cohesive. I may just be an idiot, but it just feels like a load of unrelated BS quickly crammed and edited into a twenty page draft Peter Straub shoved into the editor's hands when tasked with crafting a short horror story.

I half about a page and a half left but there has been literally nothing of interest to happen.

I seem to spend more time ragging on the bad stories than the good ones.

But it's like....if it's good, it's good. Nuff said. Bad makes me look at it and want to think, what could make it better? Alright, that's slightly BS, way more of a lofty goal than I'm capable. But I guess....it helps to pluck out bits and pieces that I don't like and don't want to wind up duplicating?

Eh.

Really want to re-read Under the Dome.

Update Nov 11, 22 part II

Also caught up on some of the new Spidey mags! No one seems entirely pleased with the new writer and it's not hard to see why. Pretty much any sort of progress or development is shuntered away (allegedly) and we're not given much explanation....yet.

Update
November 23, 2022

Finished Juniper Tree. Just....trash. Felt like the author was bored and wanted to tell his life story/vent child trauma.

Next story was something called Spinning Tales with the Dead
It was better than Juniper Tree....but not by a particularly higher margin.
I feel like it might benefit from a re-read at a later juncture. Maybe two re-reads. One to actually try and digest the story and another to uncover the hidden bits and bobs.

Tales with the Dead
The basic story was three generations (I think) a guy, his son, and his grandson all go fishing and tell tall tales. I think I just wasn't in a good head space as I couldn't keep track of their names and who was which guy which didn't help by me taking breaks. I didn't find them interesting enough to be bothered with differentiating them...and again, this is a me thing, but the story is set by river with the guys fishing. Not much of an angler myself and I just...felt a tad bored on principle.
Idk. Silly, I know.
Conceptually, I think it's not bad.
As I said, the trio are taking turns telling stories. As they talk, a woman appears on the river that they apparently just ignore. She goes about flashing them and smearing blood about herself.
The only sort of vague acknowledgement comes when the grandson...Ephraim... mentions he wishes he had hair like his mom's. I think it's meant to imply that the middle guy ganked his son and wife and goes to the river in some weird atonement ritual, joined by the ghosts of his past.
Like I said, conceptually, not bad.

About to start on a book called Alice's Last Adventure. Written by a guy named Thomas Ligotti. He was born and raised in Detroit, so he definitely knows horror.

And I can legally make that joke too! 😛


Update
December 10th, 2022

Finished Alice's Last Adventure.

Decent enough. Like....it was okay. Just....these stories all suffer from being vague as heck.
So Alice was an old lady writer. Not Lewis Carroll's. But named after her.
She's written a series of Goosebump-esuqe books that revolve around a boy named Preston Penn loosely based off a real life childhood friend of the same name.
RL Preston dies, she goes to the funeral, nothing really happens, at the hotel she has a one night stand with a younger suitor, morning after, she starts seeing things.
What things you ask?
Wonderful question.
Couldn't say.
Just she sees things in reflections. Mirror in hotel. In the toilet bowl water. In her house window.
Now, maybe she's just going crazy/senile, only her cat and a small girl also seem to see something in reflections.
It ends with her freaking out over the moon in her window.
*shrugs*

Next one is something called Next Time You'll Remember Me.

Pretty sure the "author" was plastered out of his mind.

It's about a writer that wants comeuppance for alleged stolen stories.

Off the bat I thought to myself, Stephen King did a better job with his version of the story, Secret Window.
(Irony being Stephen prolly was on something and his story is miles better xD )
I think the guy in the story might be psychic and that's where his story ideas are coming from, the real authors that think up the story and write it before him.
Honestly....I guess it sounds cool.
The outline does.
Presentation just comes off bat-crazy.

What's funnier is allegedly, this story was sent in without a name, but the return address matched some author dude.
It's written in first person.
Can't help but wonder if the editor just fumbled it together in attempt to sound mysterious.

Update
December 16, 2022

Finished the short stories book!

Let's see....yeah that one with the Next Time blah blah...like it has the writer just randomly barging into some other author dude's house and demanding compensation....and what's crazier is that the author just shrugs and goes along with it!

I think the main character writer guy is hinted at being psychi - ah yeah, I already said that. Then basically it's a solid theory that he's psychic and maybe it even drives him crazy? I dunno.

Oh what was the next one....?

Ah yeah, The Pool
Whitley Strieber

So....honestly, the little preface on him was about as entertaining as the read.

Basically the guy is alleging he was abducted by "non-human entities" and has written "non-fiction" accounts of the matter.
This story was his first fiction work after experience.
(I'm sorry. I can't help but laugh.)
He says he's not sure they were true "extra-terrestrials" just that they weren't human.
Like...alright, George. Must be them pesky inter-dimensional beings.

Anyway.

The Pool follows a father who wakes up and finds his son in a pool. Like full on in the pool attempting to drown himself.
Dad drives in, retrieves kid - who is stark naked - and the conversation that follows is weirder, in the sense the kid is basically expositioned into a child genius a la Artemis Fowl/Charles Wallace.
Artemis not Fowl claims to...see the world beyond what the dad or anyone can, it's all beautiful, they're there, he wants to join them, blah blah...kid and dad share some whiskey - no joke - dad keeps the event to himself.
I forget exactly what happened next....something to the effect Dad thinks Arty is on drugs and searches his room, finds a music box or something and his perception is changed.

Later that night, the mom and dad are horrified to find the boy has drowned himself in the pool.
It ends implying the dad might follow suit, haunted by the visions his son was having.

Next one, By Reason of Darkness by Jack Cady
Whoa.
I will eat crow and say damn. This one was extremely good. A large chunk of these have vastly been whatever, but this...this was excellent.
I...*starts and stops, thinking how to word it* ... ironically, a little while back, I read that Full Dark military book full of 'Murica rules yall drool propaganda (I can say that, I'm American. Put your ban hammer down) and yeah, that was my takeaway. Just popcorn propaganda. It was entertaining, not thought provoking. Slightly terrifying in how there's very little difference between a patriot and a terrorist mentality. Both believe they're superior and their ends justify any amount of horrific means.

This was also a "war" story of sorts. Essentially you've got three former comrades, each interesting enough to warrant their own full books. You have a character near exclusively referred to as "The Blackbird" a black American with a proclivity for wearing feathers in his hair. Like daaaamn. And who should he be friends with but a Viking dude named North. And the narrator, former rocketeer now lawyer...who's name I can't recall...
So yeah, these three guys went through a non-specific jungle war together. This was written in the 80s, so it's potentially likely to be some riff on Vietnam.
I don't think I can do this justice by summarizing it here.
Weirdly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of information on it out there. It doesn't even rate a mention on Cady's wiki. Least, not that I saw.

I don't want to botch summarize it, but basically, the ghosts and tolls of war's past catches up with these three and they spend a night dealing with them.
I guess the only twist here is that it's not supernatural ooga booga ghost, but more just... the inner demons we have inside us. That make us do crazy and horrible things.

10/10 would recommend reading it.

A common theme I noted in all the stories - I'm not sure if the editor requested this or not - was hunger. In some cases it was a physical hunger, for food or blood; others it was a metaphorical hunger, for peace or war or death.
Again, not sure if the editor imposed/tasked this theme onto the writers or if they all individually incorporated this into their works.
If the second (which cynically I think is not the case here) does that imply the real horror is hunger? Let us think of Tantalus. Surrounded by food and water forever just out of his grasp. Or in Animorphs there's an alien race called Taxxon, essentially giant roaches with razor blade mouths driven by sheer panic instinct to consume consume consume.
Another King story involves a guy stuck on a beach and winds up literally eating himself to death. Yet another, the Langoliers, involves creatures that eat time and remnants of the past.
Kurt Vonnegut said that every character should want something, even if it's just something as simple as a glass of water.
Is that what horror is? To want or need but not have?
Or is that merely the harbinger of horror: That unstoppable force coming to consume, no matter what.

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In no particular order, my top stories were:

By Reason of Darkness
Orange is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity
Night Flier
Coming to Grief

Alice can get an honorable okay
As can the Pool

Less than okay, marginally acceptable is the Blood Kiss

And the rest more or less were a waste of paper.

Update,
December 24th, 2022

Pulled the trigger and re-reading Under the Dome.
The book is a behemoth, but it reads and flows just so freaking well. A testament to what a good writer Stephen is. And, despite it being a thousand pages and loaded with characters, I recall more or less having been able to keep track of them fairly well. Unlike say in the Spinning Tales with the Dead story where it just....poorly defined the scenario and in turn provoked severe disinterest.

The book has a great flow.

Man though. It just starts you off and hits you like a Mack truck. From plane crashes, woodchuck bisections, actual truck crashes, domestic abuse/murder, mutilation....

That last one actually was heartbreakingly disturbing.

This gal is out gardening when the Dome comes down and gets her hand severed. The sheer abruptness of it. She's not some scummy pirate Captain in a fight or doing anything even remotely....just bam, no hand. Just a pulpy, bloody mess.
Cuts to her husband casually making lunch to see her stumble in, slightly delirious and she bleeds out in his arms.
Kinda had one of those moments where I had to just set it down and say it's just a story. Just a story. Like all around, how horrible must that be? As the "Man" to have that happen to your wife? How helpless must that feel. To be the wife and have that happen. Eech.

I do know there's an SA scene later on with another character.
But she at least gets to stick it to the thugs.

Yeah, for whatever reason, the wife and husband thing is most disturbing. More disturbing than the kid murdering his girlfriend or the r*pe scene...those aren't pleasant things to read, but....perhaps it goes back to a principle of that being human evil exacted on humans. Something that would be terrible, but....maybe because it's something you can prepare for? Like in a horror movie how you see the girl or guy walk down a dark alley. Like duh! Clearly would have been a preventable decapitation if you'd only brought your Mossberg for that casual grocery run, Barbara.
(I tease, obviously.)

Update
January 13th, 2023

Surprisingly making great progress in Dome! Yeah, the book's a monster, but the pages really do breeze.

It occurred to me how there are some severely similar elements between Under the Dome and Harry Potter's Order of the Phoenix. Both feature an utterly evil and despicable character that hides under a shroud of sweetness and sunshine....all the while using their (ill-gotten) power to amass an army of authority thugs.

I'm sure Stephen could very well have been inspired by JK and maybe even took a pinch or two of inspiration, although a more scholarly person would be able to cite how people will always fight to acquire and abuse power, especially when cut off from "proper" society/civilization.

It's books like these that make me extremely distrustful of government/politics/religion.

I also can't help but wonder, again, a more scholarly person would be able to give better examples and catch onto little hints here and there better than I...but I wonder....

So the main antagonist....(or I suppose one of, if you consider the Dome and it's....Overseers...antagonists....) is a guy named Big Jim Rennie, played by Dean Norris in the series, fantastic work by him...

Big Jim is a small town used car salesman and town figurehead, as one of it's Selectmen. And also highly religious. He, in addition to a few other people in his pocket, has been keeping the town afloat by running a secret meth lab.

Basically, my theory/curiosity, is King/did King mean to create a parallel between Jesus and Barbie? Both are humble travelers and get on the outs with the baddies.

Ehhhhhh, I don't feel like delving too much into that, to be honest.

Came to the....scene....with Sam. It wasn't quite as bad as I remembered. The aftermath bit, yeah. That poor kid. But I'm pretty sure she gets revenge on some of them.

I was actually quite impressed, at one point she made a reference to the Drunken Sailor song!

Update
January 17th, 2023

Y'know, would've been interesting if I'd been keeping a page tracker as well...especially with this guy. I'm somewhere on 400+ at any rate.

It occurs to me, so Barbie briefs his buddy Cox about the situation inside the Dome. And very much about Second Selectman James "Big Jim" Rennie.

It occurs to me that the military easily knew about some petty barfight Barbie got into with the locals only days or maybe even hours before the Dome went down (and no, that is nowhere near the reason why it's there) I don't exactly know what they know about it, but more or less enough.
My point is that they'd almost certainly have to have a similar dossier on Rennie. See, ol' Big Jim is running a semi-secret meth lab in the town. The late Chief of Police suspected/knew/had his own little file and was in contact with the Attorney General.....so wouldn't the military also have been made aware?
There was zero actual proof, or at least not enough, but there was a lot of stuff with which a case was being built and made. Basically it sounds like if the Dome hadn't come down, Rennie would've gone down probably within a year.
Now yeah, I know, gee, the military doesn't really deal with drugs. Yeah, that's fine. DEA, right? It's still government and you're telling me the agencies wouldn't talk to each other on this? Yeah, bureaucracy, mine is bigger than yours, blah blah.
But this situation is allegedly unprecedented.

My point with all this is that the military wants their boy, Barbie, to be the main mover and shaker inside the Dome, but Rennie isn't good with that and sorely wants to have an excuse to gank Barbie.

Why wouldn't the military tell Barbie about Rennie's extracurricular activities? If it were able to help Barbie get ahead/discredit him, why not? Or, if the government wanted to be dirty...and well, c'mon, it's the government, they could issue Barbie an order to gank Rennie. As a threat to the community a kingpin drug lord whose murder is justified by all the harm he's caused by manufacture of his product.

[misogynistic trigger warning]

Piper you absolute idiotic piece of bible thumbing hypocrite.

This woman bullies Sam into giving the names of the people who raped her and then proceeds to singlehandedly march herself right to the stoop of those responsible and straight up accuses them.

So the guys and girl that raped Sam also happen to be auxiliary police officers.

Like what did you think was going to happen? Even if they weren't "cops" like what was your plan? How irresponsibly stupid of you!
Not only is your own puny pathetic life in danger, but now this poor girl, who's already suffered way more than she had any right to, now she's in danger for outing them.
No, Sam nor Piper shouldn't have kept silent about that. Absolutely out those pigs and hang them (figuratively or literally)....but have a better plan, Piper!!!! You didn't even tell the people at the hospital aka the few "decent" people left in town.
Talk to someone you trust, like Brenda the dead Chief's wife or Julia the newspaper gal, or Barbie, tell the damn bartender at Dippers!

I think that's a falling point for this novel. There's so much shady crap that goes on and it gets entirely missed simply because the townspeople aren't gossipy enough to report to each other.
Rusty and Barbie share a dangerously close moment to this when Rusty tells him about the missing propane.

I get it, you don't quite know who you can and can't trust or even that there is such a thing as you should be keeping note of.

Really sad about her dog though. I won't say that "triggered" me...but I vaguely remembered it as happening moments before it was about to and I set the book down for a bit....reading or watching/hearing about stuff like that doesn't exactly...since...

I can understand why Dean Koontz makes sure the dog always lives. Or the cat.
Just....hits differently.

Update
February 1st, 2023

Took an intermezzo from Dome to indulge in a short story called The Catbird Seat. It's only 6 pages long and easily found online, so go for it.
Basically, there's this super square dude that's so straight laced he doesn't drink or smoke and beverage of choice is milk. He works in some menial firm and this boisterous woman starts working there.
From a viewer standpoint, she's rather amusing. Every bit of dialogue is either something bawling or braying. And she has a bunch of these weird random questions she shouts at Milksop...whose name is Martin?
"ARE YA SITTING IN THE CATBIRD SEAT? ARE YA TEARING UP THE PEA PATCH? AREYA LIFTIN AN OXCART FROM THE DITCH? ARE YA HOLLARIN IN THE RAIN BARRELL?"
They're apparently baseball terms from the South. Catbird Seat being a desirable position and pea patch being a rampage/bad spot, blah blah....
They're entertaining, but only I suspect from the viewer standpoint.
The woman also starts making changes - she's in the boss's pocket and has the boss utterly enthralled.
I'm not sure if she's supposed to be old or exotic/young. Could go either way.
Milksop suspects he's going to get the boot and decides, logically, to off her.
He has some harebrained scheme that involves buying a pack of cigarettes, then goes over to the "ducky" apartment she lives in for a visit.
All the while thinking if he runs into a single soul he'll abandon the plot.
He sees no one but the woman who's pleased as punch and invites him up, offering him a drink and a smoke.
Dumbly, he accepts and she cackles away at the amusing image of him with a stoige and a scotch - wait'll the others hear about this.
Suddenly, Milksop starts babbling about a plot. A plot to blow up the work office and do away with the old goat of a boss (haha, goat).
The woman does not take kindly to this, infact it seems to be the one thing that shuts her up and she coldly tells him to beat it.
The next day, she marches in the Goat Boss's office and brays away the events of last night.
Goat sends her away and summons Milksop........who naturally has no idear what the woman's on about.

......AND THE GOAT BUYS IT!!!! He's like, yeah think she had a mental breakdown bro, she was yammering about how you were drunk and smoking and makin' threats and homie, I know you don't do any of that.

So the story ends with the lady getting dragged off to an institution (and fired).

It was rather entertaining but it occurred to me, it's a bit of a reverse-Uno MeToo card.

(Again, let's be adults, #MeToo is a serious matter, but for story context. Yeah, if someone's done something bad to you or someone you know, they should be punished and publicly shamed*)

Like, if the woman hadn't said anything, she'd've kept her job and would've been able to oust Milksop just like her original downsizing plan. But she went in there full barrel and was done in by the strength of her own overbearing nature.

That was one interpretation anyway.

EDIT:/
4/25/23
*I think I'd like to clarify on this. YES. If you've been abused or suffered any sort of mistreatment, YES. You should make it known and get help. But I think the conclusion here is to get help in a smart fashion.
Ulgine Barrows didn't stop to think that Milksop's reputation AS a milksop would protect him. And her presentation on the manner, braying and bawling and yelling, all make her come off as being more than a little off her rocker.
So, if you need help, be smart about it. And calm. Think several steps ahead, like Artemis would. What will happen when I do this and then after that.
And always be sure to know when to remove yourself.
Just be safe and please don't waste your efforts on being offended by me.



>>
<<

As far as the Dome...I'm somewhere past 800. Uh....no real new thoughts to post I guess?

What makes it scary is how easily you could see this happening. Not necessarily an alien force field trapping a town. But just...the concept of total anarchy and power abuse.

Ah yeah, hot take.

So, even if Big Jim consented and handed control over to Barbie, pretty sure the town would still be screwed. Even if Sanders didn't join the Chef...the Chef would've blown the bomb anyway.

Update
February 26th 2023

Finished Under the Dome about a week or so ago....moving onto a book called Twisted Ash. A friend's brother wrote it and it revolves around Norse mythology...so basically nuff said.

Haven't gotten too too far into it yet...so here's the Dome recap.

It's good. It's readable.

That said, I think there are a few bits and pieces where Steve started one idea and either forgot about it and had to backtrack on things or just had a case of the screwits.

Like, some of the characters are talking about tracking down the potential source of the dome and it's suggested the generator might emit some sort of radiation and the guy on the inside, Barbie, tracks down a Geiger counter....and promptly hands it off to the local RN...who hands it off to a group of plucky kids...who sure enough are able to track trace radiation to this Ridge sort of on the outskirts of town, where they find a bunch of dead animals. They theorize that animals killed themselves after the environment was rendered unlivable by the radiation.
Reporting back, the group devises for the Nurse/Doctor to go back in a ghetto homemade radiation suit. Passing through the area, he passes out, has a vision, blah blah, reaches the box...reports back.
About two hundred pages later, the whole group goes to run over there and at night they discover the radiation belt glows...and the adults go, but radiation doesn't glow....so the radiation/glow belt must just be a scarecrow tactic...

Honestly, there's a lot of back and forthing and fuzzy logic that gives the impression Steve had an oh crap moment and had to hash out what was going on with it.

I also have to wonder about the eco-system situation. Basically, being trapped in a bubble, air and water are able to escape the Dome, but only in very small amounts.

But for the majority, their own air gets poisoned with wood burning, cigarettes, car emissions....and a giant meth lab exploding.
There's notes of environmentalism, but it feels more like a casual observation than a "ram down throat to save the earth"

It harkens back to what George Carlin/Harrison Ford have said in so many words: You need the earth more than it needs you and if you don't take care of it, it won't be taking care of you.

One of the things they also say in regards to the eco-system situation is that there'd be no rain. Now...Steve consulted many a people about the science of this and it's ultimately his world/story....but I feel like there would be. If you put an empty bowl in a bowl of salt water, then covered that bowl with plastic wrap or whatever and left it in the sun, the water in the bigger bowl would "evaporate" onto the surface of the wrap, then drip back into the empty water, purifying it of the salt. Idk.

It's a good read.

Though I'm happy not to be hauling it around anymore :lol:

Update
March 17th, 2023

Been reading a book called Twisted Ash. Can't quite think how to talk about it. It's a book. Yeah. Definitely a book. I think it's supposed to be the first in a series....which can be a mixed bag. If it's good, heck yeah, bring me more. If it's Full Dark, meh. Don't waste my time.

The way it was described to me was that it's about Norse mythology, which, nuff said.

So far we've been following family that hails from Norway, standard American apple pie. Mom, Dad, twin boys. The one boy, Alder, is starting to see Figures. A guy with a hammer, a twisted chick on fire, etc etc.

I'm a bit of an idiot, as I realized about a quarter of the way in the chapters are marked with Before and After, as in before and after a particular event that has not happened or been explicitly mentioned.

The book was recommended to my by a co-worker who's brother wrote it. It's an Amazon type thing, it's not some big Hollywood production, but it is very nicely done and everything. Hardcover designs, chapter headings etc etc. But I think I went in with that bias of trying to analyze it of whether it's better or worse than something I could write...which, well, a snail could crawl across my keyboard some days and produce more interesting content.

So yeah, my head was looking it over and the Before/After thing slipped by for a bit. But basically, I think the one brother Logan ends up having to kill Alder...per Alder's request.

Now Alder, I spent a minute reading it in my head as Adler...because Uncharted ruined me. But Alder is named after Balder, the Norse god of beauty and such.
The story with him goes that everyone loved him so much that basically he became invulnerable to harm. The trees and rocks wouldn't hurt him or spears or animals etc etc.
Naturally this cheeses Loki off who finds the one thing that wasn't able to make it to the peace treaty signing....namely mistletoe. He then gets a blind guy to gank Balder which sets off Ragnarok....which I think is what's happening/going to happen here.
Alder learns he's become impervious to harm save for when Logan accidentally bashes him with a door.
The After sequences show Logan and Mom and Dad going to therapy for "something" and they end up taking a trip back to the ancestral lands in Norway. It's sort of a slow burn, but we're getting there.

Update
April 3rd, 2023

Finished Twisted Ash. Wasn't bad, but it needed more fleshing. I think this is supposed to be part of a series....which again, I'm prolly going to let go.

Actually, the concepts were rather intriguing, if somewhat ill-defined. The Fate thing almost sounds like a hopped up Pennywise.

Currently starting a book called American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Only a few pages in, Shadow's in the slammer, interviewed by the....warden?

Update
April 25th, 2023

Basically, I'm doing anything to avoid writing. So hello FG :)

I think I'm about halfway through Gods. I'm enjoying it, but it definitely suffers from one of Kurt Vonnegut's "rules" (which yes, no story or poem should ever be bound by rules...we'll call them suggestions then).
So one of Kurt's suggestions is "Give the reader as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense! The reader should have such a clear idea of what's going on and why that they could finish the story themselves, should the last few pages be eaten by cockroaches"
In his context, it was for short stories, but I think stories in general can suffer from lack of information. Did your novel really need to be 400 pages or did you just want to stretch a 40 page story out?
But yeah, so Shadow is released from prison, discovers his wife died literally a day ago and is offered a job (an extremely vague job, but we'll circle back) by Mr. Wednesday...who I knew going in was Odin. Wednesday roughly traces back to Woven's Day....the Day of Odin.
His wife also happened to be having an affair...which I cynically had wondered, then next page, oh I was right. Well. Gee.
I wish I could give you more plot, but that's basically all I've got. There are gods running around America, brought over from their homelands.
Now, I'm not sure if these are the OG real gods or....sort of Xerox'd god copies. Like, there's a meeting and a Hindi goddess, Kali, I think, says there's another of her in the homeland and does very well. So does this imply maybe they are the real ones and they're stuck here in America?
There's the concept of "We draw our power from their prayers" where the gods are only strong if they're honored or noticed or fed attention.
Basically, the old pantheon of gods of all religions is on the verge of dying. They are old.
New gods are in.
But not...traditional gods. You have god of roads, god of TV, god of internet, and so on. They're young. They're what the people are "praying" to.
Oh lord, there was also one of the most hysterical scenes in the book. I was reading in the break room and couldn't stop cracking up. I can't even curse Roxanne. There's no double entendre, it's a full on smut line that was so dirty, it was just funny. And then what happens to the guy as well xD
....because you knew something was gonna go down.

.............

nope. I can't even write the barb xDDD

Oh yeah, so Shadow's job. I can't for the life of me figure out what Odin wants him to be doing. He alleged to hire him as a driver, but Odin is more than capable. I think Odin just needed a ringer. Probably someone to be left holding the bag unfortunately.

Or someone to use as distraction bait as Shadow's been abducted twice by mooks working with the New Gods.

Update
May the Fourth, 2023

Yeah, still no idear what Shadow's purpose is. I think purely distraction fodder/ringer. There was one line Odin said about him to another dude in Vegas....something about how his new driver has everyone in an uproar or something.

Not much has happened.

Most heart-breakingly, the sex god Bilquis was run down by the obese kid in the limo. (For the record, the book literally describes him by using the word "fat" but since we're in the Sensitive Era, I'll use obese.)
I prefer to think she'll be alright. I was legit very sad. She had this sort of on my own, self-reliant, scrappy vibe.

Odin has Shadow stashed in a small town called Lakeside or Lakeview, Lakesomething, promising him he'll be safe there and is for the most part is, he goes and socializes, makes friends with the locals, blah blah.
Apparently, there have been a number of disappearances through the years in the town, seems once a year in the winter a child, teen, or young adult vanishes. I suspect that's probably to do with Odin. It has a very Pennywise vibe to it.
Probably Odin...or Wednesday, if you prefer...uses the child as a "sacrifice" to maintain some vestige of power.

Bilquis established she still requires sacrifices, literally sucking them in *snickers uncontrollably* so it stands to reason Odin likely has a similar need for sacrifices.

Probably is going to wind up getting ganked by Shadow, who is nicknamed "Puppy" by his dead wife.
The reference here is that in traditional Norse mythology, Odin is eaten or killed by Fenrir, the great wolf.

At one point, Odin drunkenly calls Shadow, going on some tirade or other and mentions that Shadow reminds him of his son, Thor.

Ever hear of that guy before?

According to Wednesday, Thor was big and stupid, like Shadow. And offed himself in the 30s.
Like what the d'arvit?
What I really hate is that Marvel Thor isn't introduced until the 60s. Because initially I was like, wait no way, bs bs bs. No way does our boy Thor decide to off himself. He'd be literally the one god of Norse mythology that would be the most loved and worshipped, potentially even over Odin.
It's established by Easter/Ēostre that even though she's a forgotten pagan goddess of fertility and such, that she's able to benefit the worship and love manifested by the twisted modern version of Easter, so I'd be fairly confident that Thor could easily have done the same. [via utilizing the worship Marvel Thor would receive]
but he ganked himself before the comics came out.

Just very sad. I still say bs as even pre-Marvel Thor was a well-known deity and worshipped and sought after for protection. Like the dude's essentially a gardener, he controls rain and thunder and the people of North were like, "Hey yo, can you protect us?"
It'd be like if you had some landscaper in doing work, then saw a cartel zooming up and you'd be like, Oh hey, Pablo, can you take care of this? Thanks.

Actually, that's kind of a fun concept, viewing Thor as a gardener. Kind of like that one angel from Supernatural, Joshua. Sam and Dean were trying to find him because he spoke to God and they find him in the center tending to a garden. Jack Burnes used being a horticulturist as cover for being a CIA op.

Update,
May 14th, 2023

Uh......... [lol'ing at gardener Thor] ....... [reads through]

Yeah, guess I called it. Shadow was literally nothing more than a complete distraction/diversion tactic while his dad / Odin went about staging the war to obtain kills he can claim.

Conceptually, it is so not a bad plot. BUT THE FACT IT TOOK ME OVER 400 PAGES TO GET TO PLOT IS UNACCEPTABLE. Anyone that paid money for this was conned as much as the gods in the book were conned by Wednesday.

It's just so stretched and we're given so little. Like, at this point, I'm just kinda, oh. Okay. Twiddling my thumbs until I reach the end.

I'm going to finish it, just *sigh*

But yeah. That one sentence is the entire plot/twist.

Oh and the old geezer in Lakewhatever is the one ganking the kids. Because he's some German goblin. Big whoop.

If I wanted to experience a story where I'm essentially being given the run-around, I'd play Monkey Island AND AT LEAST BE HAVING FUN AND LAUGHING AT THE JOKES.

Moral of story: Do not buy this book at full price. Do not support author.

.....I'm probably going to watch the show too, just to see if my Dexter theory holds true.

Theory being the book was very much meh material, but the show was dang good.

Update
May 25th, 2023
If I wanted to experience a story where I'm essentially being given the run-around, I'd play Monkey Island AND AT LEAST BE HAVING FUN AND LAUGHING AT THE JOKES.
That about sums that book up. Oh my Odin, it just never seemed to end. It went on and on.

Like. I kid you not. This book had an "ending" then an epilogue, ... which, alright, I checked and the author technically designates it as Part IV and it goes on for a few more chapters, then a "postscript" an "Acknowledgements" an appendix/deleted scene, a whole-rear interview with the author...and honestly, I gave up after the deleted scene. Just slammed the book shut and tossed it aside and thanked Athena my next book had come in.

The postscript did offer somewhat significant plot/world details. Basically, Shadow is in Iceland and meets OG Odin. Which essentially confirms what was hinted at before: That essentially the gods and entities here aren't the real guys. They're....well, sort of like a Tulpa: A mass hallucination creation.
Enough people that prayed to their old gods were able to essentially "will" new entities into existing.
Mixed thoughts.

Um....that was a little rude what I said about don't support the author. He did a ton of research and I'm sure worked hard....just maybe toooo hard?

I very much get the idea he had his heart set on adapting this for a show and think that's why it feels like it goes on excessively. There's a lot of filler so it can be broken into episodes.

I did watch the first episode. Think I traumatized my fellow viewers. Or rather...the Bilquis scene did. xD
Might end up solo watching, as I only read this blasted thing so I could watch the show and enjoy Peter Stormare's performance as Chernabog.

Currently reading Stephen King's short stories book Skeleton Crew

Yeah, yeah, another short stories book.

First up is The Mist...well, actually, first one I read was called Survivor Type.

It's the story of a disgraced doctor that winds up stranded on a tiny island with a ton of drugs he was trying to smuggle.
It raises the question of how much a person can endure to survive...which then raises the counter question, how badly does the person want to survive.
It's about one of...well, it's not descriptively graphic. But conceptually, it's about the grossest and most graphic story.
>>
<<
I'll spoiler the juicy bit. Only look if you're comfortable with the warning.
Basically, with no other resources on the island...the guy resorts to eating himself. It ends with him describing himself as a crab-creature, scuttling on the beach and the story - told in journal form - doesn't end proper, but trails off, suggesting he ate his fingers and hands.

Gruesome, yeah?

Yet, if you gave it to the right director, easy Oscar material :lol:

So, next is The Mist.
I'd known the rough plot, a mist comes in and critters as well and people don't survive.
I was a little unsure when I saw it was the longest story in there, boasting around 150 pages.
Like is there really that much story to tell?
But Steve kept me entertained.
It's another one that doesn't have a proper end, the protag sums up that this is being written at a hotel he and a few survivors made it to.

The Frank Darabont movie has a way dark and biting ending. Even Steve admired it. Allegedly.
Which for him...I know his attitude for his movies is very "meh" which...I think I understand more and more.

Now, next story is...oh darn, it was something, "Here There Be Tygers"
If Mist was the longest, this story was the shortest (ironic for Stephen). Or at least, it might be. It wasn't even 10 pages long! I finished it inside of 24 hours, and really, glanced at it last night and finished proper at lunch today.

And yet, it manages to convey everything in a short story.
We get a character, who has motivations, people in his life, antagonist, a situation and...well, I guess an ending?
Honestly, it's about the most random bit of work.
This kid is in class and has to go to the bathroom...or basement as he calls it and his teacher makes a big show of it, asking if he has to urinate. Literally repeating that word several times. So he goes and for a bit, I'm thinking he's going to somehow end up in the basement where there'll be some flame monster or a clown or whatever.
But no. The kid legit goes to the bathroom, we're given a brief description....that ends with a tiger being revealed in the corner.
To his credit, the kid doesn't scream or freak out or pee himself.
Probably shocked as all heck, but he manages to calmly leave and close the door.
As he's weighing options...because he still has to pee...a classmate sent to check on him chides him and doesn't believe the story...and goes inside....and is apparently eaten by the tiger.
There's no scream or bloody bits described. Then the teacher herself comes down, goes in and gets pounced on.

Maybe the story is a metaphor for the kid mentally snapping at being torment and in actuality there is no tiger and he ganked both the classmate and teacher on his own?

Currently starting on something called the Monkey.

Update
May 30th, 2023

[pardon my exceptionally poor typing, i'm not even going to try too hard]

Still think about the Tyger story a little. I think the shortness is intentional. like yeah they're short stories, but this one is ludicrouusly short. and i think that's the point. that it's so short you might overlook it jumping from the mist to the monkey.
and that's the real horror: allowing mentally troubled people to escape notice and further develop negative psychosis.
i mean, could just be a story about a tiger in the bathroom.

anyway. the monkey
it's not bad, starting off was a little shaky, there was a bit of character overload and sometimes it's not worth attaching the brain cells to remember them, like how short is this gonna be, how important are they all to the story, etc etc.
weirdly, this story read like a goosebumps story. like if the survivor of a goosebumps story grew up, went to college, got married, had kids, mortgaged the house, then bam, slappy the dummy just turns up out of nowhere.

basically that's where we pick up, a guy named hal is cleaning....out his aunt's attic i think and finds the monkey and we're told about the story in flashbacks to young hal and his brother who found it among their absent father's belongings.
at first, it seems broken, then it begins to clap it cymbals one night and the next day hal learns a babysitter of theirs died in the night, a shootout between a boyfriend and another friend....over ice cream.

young hal is freaked and immediately connects the creepy monkey with it and drops it like a hot potato. smart boy. but of course, the monkey makes its way back, and hangs on the brother's shelf. coupe years go by, it rings and someone else dies this time bills frend and so on and so on. eventually, the mom gets it and they go to live with the aunt and uncle.....whoboth eventually die.

so that's where we're at present day, with adult hal and his boys.


sort of interesting, when you're young, you fear death for yourself.....growing older, you fear death of those you love and care about.

Update
June 6th, 2023

^Ah yeah....eech. Rough typing.
More or less back to my typically terrible typing technique.

Finished the Monkey. Surprisingly, you might almost be able to call it a happy ending. Well, except for the fish. I suppose it implies it'll be back. But I thought for sure the dad Hal was going to die.

Currently reading Mrs. Todd's Shortcut. Which so far has just been two dudes talking about another dude's wife driving a Mercedes and her desire to cut down driving time.
It's a slow burn.
And I don't think my head was into it as much.

Oh! Nearly forgot, there was a shorty between Monkey and Todd....Cain Rises Up. Took place in a college campus. A guy does bad on a test and shoots people from his dorm window. Again, like the Tyger book, I don't think this was even 9 pages. Steve seems to have a recurring theme with school shooting/violence.
He has a Bachman book that deals with some sort of school drama as well.
Just seems a bit suss or bold that you'd include two school violence stories in your collections.
Could be a common theme because it's an easy theme, gun violent or a shooting is a very real and terrifying thought. It's something where it's over before you know what's even happened.

On a semi-adjacent note, I'm watching a Young Indy called Trenches of Hell, deals with....trench war from WW1. There's a scene where the Germans or whoever toss gas into the trenches and everyone dons their mask....except this one guy who evidently misplaced it. Panicked, he scrambles around and tries to salvage one off a dead guy, only to find it's broken. Fear mounting, he turns to his comrades centering (of course) on Indy and is coughing and crawling on his knees towards him and begs, "Give me your mask..." and...man, the raw emotion and pain and torn emotions Sean Patrick Flannery is able to convey from behind his gas mask is incredible. "I can't" he tells the guy and for a moment you really do go, Man, he's just a kid. They all are. Kids in a horrible, hellish, inhumane setting.

Anyway, yeah. Mrs. Todd's Shortcut. We'll see uh what it is and what's scary about saving time.

Update,
June 13th, 2023

Finished Mrs. Todd's Shortcut. Honestly, it wasn't that bad. That's about the second story in here that's surprised me as not being overtly dark and....well...horrific. Which is vastly surprising from Stephen King.

I mean, it's def fantastical and somewhat scary.

Mrs. Todd or 'Phelia, if you will, continues to find ever increasingly shorter routes and the guy conveying the story to the other guy mentions how she seems radiant, glowing and ecstatic over these shorter routes.
Infact, it seems she's getting younger.
He begins comparing her to a goddess, like Diana...or Artemis if you're Greek.
I forget exactly where all it's supposed to be taking place, I think she was heading to Bangor and wherever they are is 75 miles away, if you drew a straight line on a map.
Eventually, Phelia claims to have found a route under 75 miles which the dude Homer calls bs on and so she takes him on a trip. The trek takes them through a dodgy forest, but it's not like any forest he's seen before; vines move and grab at them, strange creatures leer at them.
So it's not so much actual shortcuts, but somehow Phelia is finding pockets to travel through. Space between spaces or folding the map.
Eventually, she goes missing altogether....then Homer goes along with her.

Not my best summarization, but you get the jist. Not a bad read, def a slow burn.

Next is a dilly called The Jaunt.

Only a page in, some sort of sci-fi romp.

Update
June 26th, 2023

The Jaunt wasn't bad. Sci-fi story set in the future where teleportation is a thing and people use it to mine water off Mars. Because water is now more valuable than oil.
This dad is explaining the history of Jaunting and such. Basically, this is the multiverse where Doc Brown invents teleportation instead. The key thing is that living beings have to be asleep to undergo the transit.
Shady experiments with condemned convicts reveal that one guy scientists sent in awake, the dude comes out and manages to croak out "It's eternity in there" before dying.
Essentially, the theory in verse is that the actual span of the Jaunt from an outsider lasts only seconds, the actual transit for the object/person is a long while....which potentially could make sense, if you think about planetary revolving. That's the big mistake every time travel story makes. Even just say going six months ahead or behind places you off planet, cause in theory if you're standing still, the earth is still moving...
Anyway, before I reveal more of my scientific incompetence.....
Jaunting involves time travel of a sense. Instant on our end, long time on their end.
So the dad and his family go through, he wakes up and finds his son faked taking the sleep gas and is now this babbling insane nine-inch-nail monstrosity.

Could easily have read another 100 pages.

Next was a story called the Wedding Gig.

Fantastic piece, would love to see an adaptation.
Set in the 20s, follows this jazz group that gets....well a wedding gig. From this mobster dude. Who proceeds to lay down some conditions...the wedding is for his sister....who is plus sized. In the standard tough guy way, the gangster makes it clear he doesn't want anyone to laugh at her and such and such. Also mentions a mysterious Greek competitor looking to ice him.

Fill-In: *raises hand*

Uh....yeah?

Fill-In: *with notebook, adjusts round rim glasses* Uh, yes. So is this gentleman a mobster or a gangster? You mention both and I do feel there's a distinct difference.

Roxanne: *nods* He's got a point.

*blinks*

I...wha? Really? Is there? *searches* Alright, a gangster is just a generic thug/criminal. A mobster is someone that officially belongs to an "organization" which this gentleman does.

Fill-In: *scratches down notes* Right, so mobster is the technical term then?

*sighs* I suppose. Sated?

Fill-In: *sets notebook on lap* Yes, yes, carry on!

Uh...right. So the jazz dude....I don't think we even get his name or anything. He and his buddies agree to the gig and the wedding goes along. The bride gets a description that we'll glide over to avoid offending people, the groom contrasts her by being skinny as a rail, 90 pounds soaking wet.

As you might expect, things more or less go alright, until this wedding crasher comes in and tells our mobster that he has a message from the Greek and proceeds to (in an extremely fearful, "I'm the messenger and gonna get shot" manner) deliver the message....basically slamming the poor sister/bride.
Which sets the mobster off annnnnnnd he chases the dude outside where he walks into a trap and is ganked.

Now, the twist here is that the sister ends up taking up the reigns of the mobster's criminal empire and avenges her brothers killer and grows the empire bigger than her brother had.

It's actually very straight forward. Somehow a great read. Part of it too was that there were a ton of music refs, songs that the band was playing and such. Which was a treat for me to look up.

After that was this thing called Paranoid: A Chant

You can prolly find it online.
I'm not a big poet person.
Basically this page an a half thing on this...paranoid guy? Thinks he's being watched or some such...if there's subtext, I didn't glean much.

Update
July 4th, 2023

Let's see...yeah, uh huh, that sums up the Paranoid Chant. There's a short film of it you can find on Youtube, interesting work. It's meant to reference the Dark Man / Randal Flagg within but yeah. Basically a paranoid/crazy person.

Next was The Raft. Whooo baby, this one was great. It had all the notes of dumb horny teens and a force bent on ending them.
Like, again, it's one of those stories that'd easily make a 90 minute popcorn thriller/horror.
These four college kids go out to a raft on a lake they frequented in the summer....and it's now end of summer, start of fall-ish. Under influences of herbal uh medicine, they decide it's a great idea to go out there. There's a little unspoken drama of the brain guy gleaning that his galpal has the hots for his brawn pal. So there's faint notes of reluctance, but Brain goes along.
They swim out and just about as they're reaching the raft, Brain spots a strange dark circular object in the water with them and it seems to be moving towards them.
Quick to panic mode, he clambers on and insists the girls get on the raft as well, inadvertently injuring one of the girls as he jerks her up.
They think he's nuts, but they do see the object and think it's an oil slick, water pollution.....until the one girl attempts to go back in the water and the object sucks her in and dissolves her into nothingness.
That's the "oh" moment.
Now, from here I thought for sure there was going to be more mind goofery, either try and sacrifice another person to satisfy the creature's hunger or the remaining three swim off in three directions....but no, it's kinda by the numbers, the critter gets Mr. Jock next leaving Brain with Jock's ex-galpal....

For whatever reason, I instantly thought of Venom/the symbiotes of Marvel and had to check the dates. This story came out in 82 and Venom didn't debut until.....89 I think? No, 88. The suit was revealed as being alive in 84, then Venom appeared in 88.
So I could potentially see this as being an inspiration...a vague inspiration.

But yeah, it was a good read. Got the psychological juices flowing. There's also an adaptation available on Youtube courtesy the Creepshow.

Next is called Word Processor of the Gods....which was published in a Playboy magazine. Stay classy, Steve.
(Can't say I blame him, that'd be so boss to get a story in there, hahah)

It's oddly tame though. Had a bit of a Click/Wonderful Life vibe. Failed author guy is in a blah marriage with a blah kid. His brother and his family all die in drunken accident, the nephew left our protag a word processor....this came out in 1983, mind.
Apparently Stephen wrote this or came up with the idea in the midst of an illness.
Basically, it's revealed the word processor literally follows the commands it's given. If you type a phrase like, "There's a bag of gold on the floor" and hit INSERT, a bag appears. If you type, "My son is so and so..." then hit DELETE...he's gone. Including all traces.
So the guy goes about adjusting his life....all the while the experiment word processor built from scraps just barely manages to cope before dying.

Again, I could easily see this fleshed into a whole novel or novella or whatever.

In my head I already was adding on a scene where he goes to cash in the gold, but it's revealed that it's fake or something...and then he goes and finds that the wife and son he stole/reanimated from his brother aren't exactly the same either and now he's stuck with them since the processor is broken... etc...

It was good, bit abrupt and short. My complaint is that it was a little tough at the start to get a bearing on the whole "Who, huh, what?" game of what's going on, who's who....

On a story now called The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Keep you posted!

(Thinking about setting the short stories book down to read Dead Calm)

Update
July 21st, 2023

The Hand shake story was alright, another one of those "told through one person in front of a group of people"

I dunno, I'm not entirely a fan of that style....it just feels unnecessary to put a story like that, unless there's an element of something from the story coming back to the "present"

Otherwise, I sort of waste time and thought getting my bearings on character and settings I really need not bother with.

And that's gotta be annoying for the writer, stamping quotation marks at the start of every paragraph and a million other little things to consider.

But basically, this group of dudes are in a room...playing poker? Then an old dude randomly starts a story about another game he played way back when, involving some dude who has cursed hands. Like people and things he touches die.
Eh.

After that was a story called Beachland.

Steve seemed to like to dabble with sci-fi. This one is set thousands of years in the future, two dudes crash onto a beach planet or a desert planet. It's literally just sand. The one dude instantly cracks up, the other signals for help and panics for water.
Ship shows up, attempts to rescue the cracked up dude, attempts to salvage contraband from the downed ship....planet is too unstable, sort of starts to come alive so the captain takes the one dude and gtfo's, leaving the cracked up guy who really only wishes he had his Beach Boys tape.

Definitely felt like something Stephen wrote in a cramped laundry room to earn an extra fifty bucks.

I'm gonna set the short stories book down for now. Book at the library caught my eye, something called Bad Monkey. Bright yellow with a red cover and a monkey with a pirate tricorn on its head. Back page sounded promising, "There's an arm in Yancy's freezer. But there's a logical (Hiassenian) reason..."

Hiassen is the name of the author, so it sort of implies to me that there'll be zany, convoluted things afoot.

Only a couple pages in now, and I may have over fluffed it. Like, to be fair, there's no way that back splash could ever live up to the hype I gave it. I'mma still read it, just keep my expectations low.

Update
August 4th, 2023

Still reading the Monkey book! I forgot to mention/emphasize this is one of those books that falls under the "oh, this looks interesting. Eh, what the heck."
Luckily, it's so far been good!
The arm in the freezer bit got a tiny improvement, he roadtrips it to another police hq, but they don't want it...and his hq doesn't want it...so he decides to stick it in his fridge until someone does want it.
(There is a rather cliched scene of him driving with it in a cooler and sticking popsicles and crabs next to it. Dunno why, it didn't strike the note for me...felt like it was trying just a hair too hard)
Eventually a widow comes looking for it.....Yancy and the widow's step daughter think she killed the husband, but I'm pretty sure it's a faked death scenario.
Honestly, the subplot of Yancy undermining his neighbor's attempts to sell his wretched spec house is more intriguing.
Basically, the neighbor starts to build a house and it disrupts the guy's view....shenanigans ensue.

Update
August 25th, 2023

Finished it and I called it. The arm dude was running a medicare scam, faked his death (with the wife in on it)...then wound up dying for-realsies.
The book wasn't bad...but it sort of fell under one of those convenience things.
Sometimes it's just feels things work too well for a character. Like, he gets sort of dumped by this one chick he was sneaking around with, but winds up courting a gorgeous coroner. The spec house thing gets burned down.
He doesn't get reinstated as a cop, but that just feels like whatever, who cares.
Weirdly, I saw there's allegedly an adaptation of it in the works.

Sort of between stuff right now, waiting on a book to come in. Attempting to be more diligent with my comics. Focus is still on Ben, but Pete and MJ are in the background.
Kinda cute seeing them married and expecting, talking names and such...
But it's also gut-wrenching to know that it goes bad. I don't know the exact details, but I know (obviously) MJ and Pete don't have a child (yet) in the 616 reality, I kinda know that it's something to the effect...I think the Goblin comes round, messes stuff up and some combination of.....alright, I can't type this with a straight face....well....there's problems with Pete's DNA, having been irradiated. Like, once you connect the dots, I just giggle like a 12 year old. Let's just say Peter Parker's blood isn't his only body fluid that's radioactive xDDDDDDD
But yeah, I'm getting the (illegal) book tomorrow I think.

Update
September 3rd, 2023

Lol. Radioactive DNA.
Okay, okay...um....
Sorry, I distracted myself by reading through some of my past reviews. Y'know, it's been about 3 months and my finger still doesn't quite feel. I don't think the nerves are going to come back, but at least it's useable. Heck of a scar.
Actually, had a friend that had a similar incident and he went to our doctor and he got the bad one. I'll thank my stars Dr. Ozzie patched me up right.

Anyway.
My illegal book, The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford
It is the semi-autobiographical book that Full Metal Jacket is based on.

Definitely some of it goes over my head, particularly the military slang and platoon divisions and such. And there's some reading between the lines bits. It's a book that does not hold your hand. It's not going to draw the scenario out in crayon. You know or you don't. You have to put in some work to have an idea of the situation.
I respect that, though I'm also irked as I was hoping for insight into the subject by reading it.

We're following a Marine poge known as Joker. He's a reporter....sort of sounds like he helps feed propaganda? Yay America, dang those pesky North Viet Cong guys?

I apologize heavily in advance for my lack of knowledge on the subject and just for being an American, etc etc.
If you are easily triggered/sensitive to the subject, maybe just skip past this.

Well...actually I don't have much more to say.

Update
September 19th, 2023

Nearly done with the Short-Timers! Although I won't give much details on it. Feel like me attempting to discuss the subject matter on here wouldn't gel well. Suffice to say, it's a fine addition.

Actually, figured I'd update a little on my Spidey read through. So after all my tittering about radioactive body fluids and DNA...I believe I was wrong. Now, I had thought MJ wound up having a miscarriage, but details are extremely murky. Probably intentionally so, Marvel's gotta keep their options open, don't they?
Essentially, Norman Osborn aka Green Goblin, sends some woman on his payroll to spike MJ's food that causes her to go into labor. She gives birth, but something in the drugs caused the child to appear stillborn and the shady af doctor takes the child...May...away.
We cut back simply to the woman and Norman who says he trusts she "knew what to do" or how to take care of the situation, or something.
He asks if she has the package. Then says, "I trust you'll make sure it's never seen again."
Like I said, intentionally vague as heck. It's not outright said one way or another if she's alive or not.
I believe in the Spider-Girl books, it's revealed that Kaine saves her? Beats up the woman, Mongrain, and returns little May to MJ and Pete.

Man, y'know, if current Marvel had wanted to be really clever, they should have had the girl MJ and Paul had actually be MJ and Pete's....instead of the aborted plotline monstrosity they were going for.
60 years of a couple and you think you're gonna try and undo it? Screw you, Mephisto.
Okay, to be fair, more like 50ish years. But you get my point.

Update
September 29th, 2023

Finished Short-Timers. Almost feel like I might need to re-read it before I attempt the other project. There was another book I heard of that also centers around a biography of the Vietnam conflict....but I've heard the subject in question did not entirely approve of the book or movie made of it, which I can understand. And it's like 300+ pages long.

I'm not opposed to the length, but I'm opposed to some author milking that from a guy that doesn't even approve of it.

Anyway.

A friend recommended a book/series called A Court of Thorns and Roses.
I'm proud to say my pea brain figured out it was a Beauty and the Beast-esque story before I took a glance at the wiki page. Just a glance, I'm not spoiling myself.
It sort of has Artemis Fowl vibes to it. If you squint and tilt your head a bit.

This gal Feyre lives in poverty with her family in a mystic land and goes out hunting one day in effort to provide food and winds up ganking this wolf that turns out to be a faerie, unbeknownst to her.
So she sells the skins and about a day later this other wolf creature bursts in her family's shack and demands retribution for ganking his buddy. A life for a life, and proceeds to take Feyre back to his domain.

There's a bunch of talks about this faerie/human war that occurred centuries ago resulting in the two species living in separate divisions, North and South (so why was the wolf dude, Andras, skulking about in human turf?)
Rumors are rampant and legends lend that the faeries are a bunch of evil jerks etc etc

So the other faerie dude, Tamlin, takes Feyre back to his place...which is a sprawling mansion estate....naturally.

That's about where I am for now. Honestly, she's not missing much at home, her family is toxic af.

*as fowl. Eh? Eh?

Update
October 9th, 2023

Oh boy, I have to give you some tea on this one!

So it sort of plays out that Feyre is extremely (and I'd say rightfully) mistrustful and is set on escaping anyway she can. She exhibits some Gemini traits, noting stuff like windows, layouts, hiding spots, smuggling dinner knives, setting up room traps, etc.
Despite going from poverty to luxury, she feels a duty to her toxic family, tracing back to some ridiculous promise she made to her dying mother.
The head high Fae dude Tamlin assures her he's taken care of her family in addition to kidnapping her.
There was actually this rather sad part where she's trying to warn her family about this "Blight"/curse/sickness that's spreading through the fairy lands and bound for the human world....but she's illiterate and unable to properly write a letter or read.
My jaw went down and I felt this immense pang of sadness....and guilt. Here I am, reading this book about a gal that can't read or write and is frustrated over it.
Despite it, she's highly capable in all other ways.

*whirls*
NOT LIKE THAT ROXANNE.

Roxanne: *legs propped up, book split open* Oh just keep going then, cherie.

*sighs*

Sooooooooooo.............she starts getting closer with her captors, to the point she's going out on patrol rides and gets a little painting studio made up. She kind of resigns herself to this after capturing another fairy dude, a creature called a Suriel...which are allegedly bound to tell the truth.
She tried to find a way out of her...debt, for ganking the Andras feller...but the Suriel tells her there's no way out and she's best to stick with the High Lord, Tamlin.

One night, there's this celebration ceremony thing going on, Fire Night. Both Tamlin and Lucien insist she has to stay inside the estate, in fact, lock her room and set a trap. Legit, the one bro tells her to set a trap.

.....

So naturally, she sneaks out five minutes after they leave, irresistibly drawn by distant drums.

My first instinct said, "Human sacrifice."
Roxy told me I was being ridiculous and it was obviously a sex cult.

Roxy: *smirks* Say it.

*sighs and hangs head*

You were right. It was a sex cult.

She goes, gets sort of accosted by some low-tier fairy dudes and gets rescued by Lucien who freaks and explains what's going on....basically these fairies replenish their magic via....uh....the power of friendship.
He then proceeds to warn her that those under the influence of the ritual are not themselves...and yeah, you know, we can just skip ahead a bit, yeah?

Um.....

There's been a few hints about a "she" and after an uninvited dinner guest emissary of hers comes in, Tamlin then decides he has to send Feyre away....for her safety.
She cocks an eyebrow and asks about the magic Treaty and he shrugs it aside, mumbling to take care of it or whatever. They share a night of passion, he says I love you, she doesn't say it back, she goes back home where her family is back in their old mansion and rich, they'd been "glamored"/mesmerized to think Feyre was with some fake Aunt, but the older sister remembered and the two share tea, blah blah, she feels this nagging feeling that she has to go back and stand her ground and help.
She goes back to the fairy palace and finds its abandoned all but for the housekeeping fairy who tells her that everything is BS, that there was never a treaty, the Andras dude was willingly sacrificed, that everyone in the Court was cursed by the she chick, Amarantha, who set a very specific counter-curse.

Basically, Amarantha wants to get with Tamlin, he jilted her, so she cursed him and his people something to the effect that he has to have a human chick fall in love after killing a fairy and hating them.

So the dude has been sending out willing soldiers to die for him (and the court) for nearly 50 years.

Housekeeper also says they were cursed to not be able to speak of it in a proper way.....which struck me as weird. Like not that part, but you remember earlier she interrogated the Suriel dude?
Considering she had to trap him off-grounds, I didn't think he counted as being "part of the curse"....but apparently he was also bound from speaking about the curse? As he just says stick with Tamlin.
Maybe I ought to go re-read that.

So yeah, now she's gotten herself captured Under the Mountain and has to do some trial things to free Tamlin.

Update,
October 15th, 2023

She made a shady deal or two, but got the job done. Slightly ticked at her for not being as savvy with those deals as she was when she initially entered the fairy realm, being sus of everything.

On the fence on pursuing the rest of the series.

Update
October 29th, 2023

Started reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman...... / S. Morgenstern

....

I made the absolute unforseenly unthinkable horrifically naïve mistake of somehow unknowing, unwittingly, unwillfully obtaining the 30th anniversary edition. Which most generous includes a foreward commemorating 30 years....and even more generously decides to include the 25 anniversary commemorational foreword.

Which boils down over 50 pages of nonsensical tosh.

I think my main gripe...so...reality check. A guy named William Goldman wrote and crafted the Princess Bride....but has advertised it as an "abridged story by S. Morgenstern."
He's alleging this is just a story of a story he came across..........based off indisputable fact.
Naturally.

Now....I'm all for being as zany and goofy and whatnot....but I can't shake the feeling this dude is having a lark at our - the reader's - expense.

There is no conceivable reason to spend 50 pages yacking about a complete BS story about coming across an also BS story and whatever.

I'm sure it's somehow ironic on a multitude of levels....it's like....can we actually get to the story?

I kinda gave up reading these intros, normally I will read the heck out of forewards and things like that, you always can get some sort of insight or at least feel the author's gratitude of "Hey, thank you reader for giving a crap" but this just....it was talking in circles while spinning on a merry-go-round.

I think I get the idea or the suspicion...within his pre-story story, he talks about publishing another book, The Golden Temple or some horsefeathers...and it bombs. So I think his excessive usage of claiming this to be a story by "Morgenstern" is an elaborate attempt at crafting a safety blanket without just using a pseudonym, if that makes sense.
That way, if the book goes over well, he can go, "Hey, yes! I did that." And if goes bad or poorly, he can go, "Yeah, his work is a little dry, but oh well, I just transcribed it."

Anyway...skipped past that manoshia and just started on the actual story.
So far enjoyable.

Just was really frustrated with getting jerked around like that. At least that idiot Neil Gaiman had the decency to put his junk at the back of the book.
Seriously, he's another one. Never before have I seen a book or story with an ending, a post script, an appendix, a coda, a deleted scene, a final thought, and a peak.

Feels like some of these authors are aware this is probably their one big work and are desperate to hold, clutch, and claw onto any semblance of relevance.

I guarantee if Goldman were alive today, he'd be more than comfortable to have a pre-sequel-boot of TPB. (He checked out in 2018...which makes me feel a bit jerky...but...anyway)

I have spent more time complaining about his ridiculous intro than i have on the actual story.

I'll bet I could summarize everything I've heard in less than half the words I complained with.

Story opens on beautiful women and alluding that Buttercup, while not #1 isn't too far off. A shady Count pulls up and asks her dad about his cows. Farm Boy Westly shows them how to feed cows. Buttercup is jealous that the Countess was checking Farm Boy out.

THE END

So far.

Update
November 7th, 2023

This is a really weird case where I might end up saying to just go ahead and watch the movie. I think the framing device works better, the cast and crew do such a fantastic job.
It's not to say at all the book is bad, yeah, I'm still miffed over getting jerked around at the start....but the book very much plays out as it does on screen. Only a few notable differences so far, and it's not even differences per se, more like scenes that didn't make the cut that are whatever anyway, like the cow scene I told you about in the other entry.
There's a bit where the author describes Humperdink's zoo of death....which def doesn't sound like anything of relevance later on.
There are some mini backstories for Inigo and Fezzik, those were worthy reads.
I just finished the scene with the duel....again, I think the movie did it better. In fairness, it's hard to do an action scene like that proper justice in word....but I also think we need something more than just, "Inigo used capo ferro.....then he countered with berneoli...." Maybe something like, "With the speed of a cheetah, Inigo's sword slashed like lightning, making a feint for his adversary's head, though the man in black's reflexes were just as sharp as he ducked it and like a whirlwind tornado, twisted with a ferocious counter...."

Idk. Like I said, I'll give 'im a break.

Update
November 12th, 2023

Been slacking a little on my reading.
So far Westly has defeated Fezzik and Vizzini....both of which more or less play out as in the movie. Except you get Fezzik's backstory, which is of course precious.
(But yeah, I'm heavily leaning on unless you loathe it for whatever reason, you can just watch the movie)

Update
November 17th, 2023

Still slacking. I can make excuses...but I think I'm just very disgusted with this author. I don't know why, but I'm quickly growing to loathe this guy. Like, there's the As You Wish reveal and it cuts to the Humperdink crew then cuts back...but instead of just cutting to a scene, this arrogant overtly self-aware waster of paper launches into a dissertation of why we don't get a proper reunion scene between Buttercup and Westly and EVEN INTERRUPTS THAT to go on some stupid long winded thing of oh well Morgenstern wrote this so I'm not supposed to write anything but I did - dude stfu. I don't know, but this dude seriously is ticking me off.
YOU ARE MORGENSTERN YOU IDJIT. YOU CONSTANTLY CALLING YOURSELF OUT DISTRACTS ME FROM PROPERLY IMMSERING INTO THE STORY.


This is definitely a rare case where I'd say watch the movie and forget the book.

It reminds me of the Uno meme where the Uno people try and correct the rules the players use and the players response was, "Thanks for the cards, we'll take it from here."

Like, the actual story material itself isn't bad. It's not great. And I don't think I'm entirely onboard with how the characters are portrayed. But it gets worse when this idiot keeps interrupting himself to prattle on about himself. Is it an ego thing? I think I was right earlier, probably a security blanket scenario.
Like, he's so bent on trying to convince us that this is an abridged work. It feels simultaneously incredibly insecure and enormously egotistical.

...

That actually almost makes it brilliant.

Update
November 22nd, 2023

Think Princess Bride might be one I give up on.

IN FAVOR OF A SMUT BOOK.

YOU HAVE FAILED GOOD SIR. FAILED.

You want a self-aware/meta book, Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

That man earned that identity.

Update
November 24th, 2023

Still reading TPB. Still highly unimpressed. This feels like an act of self-loathing to continue reading it. I'm being dramatic. I am a bit irked by Inigo. The guy proclaims himself to be not so smart/no so good with planning....and proceeds to deduce and plot on exacting his revenge.
Admittedly, there's a bit of clunky logic on his part, he learns from Fezzik that Count Rugen is the six finger man and Inigo for whatever reason seems to think he needs Westly's help in plotting the revenge.
I forget how it went in the movie....just seems really stupid here.

Update
November 29th, 2023

This is bad. I'm getting excited in the book cause I'm finally get near the end. I hope. Gods, I hope there's fluff at the end that I can slam shut and chuck aside.

Later

Finished it. Thank Odin. Didn't read the epi-sequal-log Buttercup's Baby and frankly I don't plan to. That book is a crime against readers. Goldsmith can go rot. Terrible framing plot device and some of the characters just...are very bland. Notably Buttercup herself. That broad is the definition of something I read from Louis Sachar's Holes: Pretty as a flowerpot and just as empty on the inside. Westly is an idiot by association.

Fezzik and Inigo are the only good parts. Inigo's passion for vengeance has more heart than Westly and Buttercup's silly highschool romance. And that's all it really is. A childhood crush that likely wouldn't survive "in the real world" but...I suppose we all need a fantasy to believe in.

Update
December 10th, 2023

Started a book called Quitting the Mob, it's a biography/semi auto on this guy named Michael Franzese...a mob dude from the 80s. Normally not into biographies...or really anything "non fiction" y'know? but the subject sounded interesting. Kinda get the impression this guy gets more juice out of the notoriety than what he prolly actually did...or is willing to admit to. As he has several books and I think also film documentaries all on this exact subject.
Haven't made a ton of progress in it yet.

Update
December 13th, 2023

Still Quitting the Mob.
So far not bad! There was an excerpt on the police harassing Michael's family that rang very true. His dad was also in the Mafia and on the police's radar.
It went something like, "No one ever instilled in me a prejudice against the police; they accomplished that on their own" through harassing and monitoring the Franzese family.
Yeah, these aren't good people wholly. But there's that line of using your authority to intentionally intimidate the gangster's wife and kids just because you can. Like wow, big man you lot are.
I'm sure 90% of law officials you see today aren't like that at all and I've befriended several ex-police and ex-military people and they're some of the coolest cats I know.
Anyway...

Update
December 31st, 2023

Still working on my Mob book. I know, I'm going slow. But I'm enjoying it, it very much has the read of a first person fiction novel sort of thing. There's a lot of these non-fiction biographies that just drone on and on and are boring as fowl.
There are a few parts where Michael's detailing his various loan schemes and it slightly goes over my head.

Update
January 19th, 2024

Getting towards the end of my mob book. Again, slow. Didn't even read any of it today.
Michael's in prison and I can't help but snicker and think how all these biography books on interesting people - people I deem interesting - eventually wind up in prison. Usually at the end of their story too.
Poor guy's bouncing around going through the system, think the government wants him to testify in some scandal involving bigger fish.
Still kinda vague on "how" he quits the Mafia and even vaguer of how he let on about his "business" to his second wife.

In other news, I went ahead and ordered two books for my next reading. One is ....something a Tea Time of Cosmic Space Time Proportions...Idk. It's got a Thor ref, lemme have it. The other is the second Court book....since my erstwhile barmate isn't going to bring it in anytime soon. But that's a vent topic!

So it's an ebay race to decide which I read first.

Update
January 21st, 2024

Finished Quitting the Mob.
Still kinda vague on "how" he quits the Mafia and even vaguer of how he let on about his "business" to his second wife.
Again, yeah, vague.
He kind of alludes to earlier when his father (also a Made Man) had troubles with the law and such and never properly sat down and explained to the family what was up.
It's a weird subject to broach I suppose. And probably why the Sopranos episode Highschool is considered one of the best TV episodes specifically for the scene where Meadow asks her dad, "Are you in the Mafia?"

That and this strongly showcase the generational changes / evolution of the Mafia in general.

Older generations of mob members strictly enforced their rules and law. The usual sort of junk, no drugs, no ratting, no hitting someone Made without permission, you belong to the Family now, blah blah...

But it sounds or is implied that as the generations continued along, these rules became blurred, like a yarn of string, toyed back and forth.
Michael claims to have joined without "making bones" (ganking someone) and simply ran white collar crimes/scams (tax fraud, loan sharking).

When finally captured, the government wants him to testify on some non-members and he rationalizes since other made people have testified, then he more or less is safe to.

There's nothing cut and dry, he doesn't leave without a proper blessing, nor does he make a dramatic guns-blazing escape.

He more or less just goes in, testifies, and claims for the media that he's out.
I had suspected...and still do...that profits of his book (published in the early 90s) were rationed off to his Mafia Family. Giving them their cut, so to speak. He gets out but still contributes.
No mention of this in the book of course.

Update
January 26th, 2024

So...uh....been a week and I'm still waiting on my books. Think one is coming from Colorado. But yeah. Both ordered on the 18th and STILL WAITING.
Been reading the Spidey newstrips in the intermezzo and there's this one plot where Dr. Doom...for reasons only known to Doom....decides to try and gaslight Spidey into thinking he's insane and tricking him into revealing his secret identity.

I'm kinda irked because...well....Spidey should be too smart for this sort of shtick......MOST BECAUSE THIS EXACT PLOT HAS BEEN USED BEFORE BY MYSTERIO.

There's even a pair of panels that are mirror images of each other!!! Spidey walks into the shrink's office....and the entire office and doctor are upside down. It's fun effect....and even funnier after you know that these villains legitimately committed to nailing furniture on the ceiling and set in them....all for a quick shock factor for Spidey to bawl about.


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I do enjoy the upside down text box in the first one.

Update
January 29th, 2024

In a plot twist no one saw coming, both books arrived on the exact same day.

So I did a blind pic of them packaged and asked a mate which I ought to read first and A Court of Mist and Fury won out.

Admittedly, for my own dumb reasons, I was sorta hoping it would. I know I would've rushed or dissed the Tea Time book if that one won. I do want to read it, but I don't want to force myself or make it seem like a chore.
People do crazy things and all that...

Only about 50 pages in. About three months has passed between the first book and Mist and not too much has happened. Feyre and Tamlin off-screen became engaged and have been setting up wedding plans, with the help of a new character, a High Priestess chick named Ianthe who is a childhood friend of Tamlin's....and also the exact opposite of celibate.

Basically, she's a Roxanne.

Roxy: Hey!

I mean that in the most endearing way possible, cherie. Although I'm pretty sure she's also a walking red flag.

Roxy: You're a red flag.

<3

Sorry darling. But I'm def willing to bet she has some sort of plan or scheme on getting rid of Feyre. No one is ever that helpful without incentive, y'know?
And Lucien is a bitter banana she evidently escaped the angry redhead...Amaranatha by skipping town...essentially abandoning her people.

So yeah, red flag.

The stuff with the wedding happens fast. Like by 40 pages, the wedding is occurring (along with other ahem things).
It's made somewhat clear that Feyre is having reservations. She's feeling trapped. Like a glass slipper to be protected and admired, but not to be worn or used or allowed out etc.
On cue, the dude she made a shady deal with, Rhys, appears as she's literally walking the aisle and contemplating how to back out.
Mentally, I was like, "What a total jerk.......I'm kinda here for it. Cause I'm a jerk!"

Jerk was not the exact wording I used....but for G sake. :P

So yeah, she's absconded to the Night Court atm.

Update
January 30th, 2024

Only read a tiny bit. Feyre says the night court is beautiful, blah blah.
Rhys says he wants to teach her to read and how to shield her mind....from him.
She naturally rejects this, because she's distrustful and a self-sufficient woman.
...
That came off sounding a tad questionable.
Highly distrustful and...almost, in a weird way...ignorant? I dunno.

But I have to say, Rhys mentioned in the initial deal, or teased rather, that he would do as such with the reading.

Now, as I said, three months have passed between books. One of the trials Feyre did involved having to read and decipher a riddle....which she was unable to do and Rhys had to mentally spoon feed the answer.
A life or death trial.

So afterwards, when it's all said and done...what was she doing for 3 months? She wasn't allowed to venture out and what Tamlin and the others didn't think it prudent to teach her

Cont'd....

Soz, had a moment...where were we?

Ah yeah. Tamlin and his idjits. So they don't want her to "do" anything like, check on villages, or go hunting or whatever....but they don't want to give her anything to do like learn to read? Red flag, bro. Red flag.

Read a little more today and yeah, Rhys says they're keeping her in the dark. The King bro who was in charge of Amarantha is looking to settle up a war and Tam hasn't said jack to Feyre about it.

Rhys also thinks in resuscitating Fey the way they did, (each of the High Lords....re-lifing her) she may have gained a fraction of their powers. He mentions she's stronger than normal fairies.

I had some very scummy uncomfortable feelings about Rhys in the first book, though I did catch on fairly quick that 'twas a ruse, of sorts. But here, he's becoming intriguing, as a pot stirrer type. And the only one on the island that knows what he's doing.
That Navarro type where something shady is eventually bound to happen, but for the moment, a temporary alliance mightn't be out of order.

Did I mention Morrigan by the way? SHE is a Roxanne. And that I mean with utter affection, cherie. She struts in with that air of confidence, knowing she OWNS whatever place she walks into.

She's Rhysland's cousin....who also somehow avoided being taken prisoner.

Can't quite decide if she's going to be shady or not.
Ianthe feels like a given.

Morrigan / Mor....maybe not. I love when you have shady people that're more honorable than the Captain American boyscout types.

Kinda says...yeah, you can be rough around the edges but still be a good person.

Update
February 5th, 2024

Only a few dozen more pages ahead.

Feyre feels trapped by Tamlin, who all but has said as much that she'll never be allowed to leave or do anything of substance aside from being a trophy wife.
She tries to chase after him...only be literally trapped in the manor. In a fit of frustration, she has a burst of power and....blacks out and wakes up in Rhys's Court where he says Mor came in and took her here on learning of Feyre's distress (Fey and Rhys have a mental tattoo bond thing).

He offers her protection/shelter and starts to go, but she insists he take her with him so he shrugs, says keep a secret and takes her back to his secret secret city that has evaded notice and capture for thousands of years.
Now she's about to have dinner with him and his "Inner Circle"

Kinda figured she'd leave Tamlin at some point. He's kind of an idiot for thinking she'd be content to just sit around as a "pretty thing"
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Felina
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Re: The Book Thread!

Post by Felina » Mon 12th Feb 2024

oh my god you've been writing in the same post for years
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I'm not hiding anything :p except SECRETS...
Shh... SECRET makes a woman, woman

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