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Showing posts from May, 2014

Lady Audley's Rip-Roaring Secret Continues: "The indolent recklessness of intoxication" is my new favorite phrase

Oh man SO MUCH IS HAPPENING amirite? At the end of chapter 32, I was all "DAMNIT I should've ended the week's reading here," but then chapter 33 happened and BOOM.

Some of you might have noticed the possibly anti-feminist (but who can TELL in 1862) paragraph that mentions "pearl powder and Mrs. Rachael Levison," and I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU to look at this fun post about her. Also, maybe we should all become best friends with the author of that site? Maybe? Catherine Pope, call me. We'll do lunch over Skype. Because you live in England.

[I]f she thinks that I love her, and has been led to think so by any word or act of mine, I'm in duty bound to let her think so to the end of time
THAT'S SOME BULLSHIT, VICTORIANS.

The rest of the post will be a summary of what has happened with Lady Audley, aided by Liz Lemon GIFs as I have decided she and Lady Audley are the same person.

So Robert's away from Audley Court, but then finds out Sir Michael is sick…

High School Locker Lessons

Everyone's kind of a tool in their own special way in high school. And later in life you (hopefully) look back and say "Ha, look at how much of a tool I was back then. Thank God I'm only like that in different ways now."

I'm in a weird position, brain-orientation-wise, because I'm a big rule follower, but then I have my "hey fuck the rules, man" part of my brain, which inevitably gets shushed down at least a little by the other part. This was a much bigger battle when I was a conservative Christian, because while I felt like there was something not exactly right about all the things my Christian high school was telling us, I also felt like they were trying to follow the Bible and God, and maybe I should have some humility about this whole process and at age 17 maybe I didn't know better than all my teachers. Maybe.

But I had this other part that kept saying "YOU MUST RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, SELF." This primarily manifested itself on m…

Books What I Love a Lot

Since the ever-delightful Meghan at Little, Brown basically turned me into a bashful hedgehog, I'm going to go hide under a daffodil, but first mention some books I love. Aside from Game of Thrones. Because I'm now mired in book 2 and not prancing about in gleeful abandon, singing its praises, SO.



So the deal with Auntie Mame is that it's as great as finding a tub of toasted marshmallows and tiny kittens. Only I guess more sanitary. Whatever I'd still eat those marshmallows.

It's a book about an older, rich woman, narrated by her nephew Patrick. The whole book's written in episodes, which is the best because then you can flip back to your favorites, like when Auntie Mame visits Patrick's uber-WASP girlfriend and her parents at their summer home and everything is the worst but then Mame says All the Things to them and suddenly everything is sunshine and diamonds.

The movie with Rosalind Russell is stellar. And I think I saw it before I read the book. You should…

Lady Audley's Giantly Hidden Secret Readalong: "Is it *me* the flying female wants?"

We read more and SO much happened. By which I mean Robert got booted from Audley Court because Lady Audley didn't want him SNOOPING, he moved to Phoebe the Albino and Her Abusive Cousin-Husband's public house, he chased Lady Audley to London which she then departed from looking VERY SMUG INDEED, then he dropped Smaller George at a boarding school and fell in love with a girl who is of course totally not the socially acceptable version of her brother.


Oh, Victorian Age and siblings and the weird literary sexual issues pertaining to both. This subject was my JAM last year when I was determined to prove Helena Landless and Rosa Bud would, if Edwin Drood were ever finished, be opening a vegan bakery together, if you know what I mean. Despite lines like

'I can answer for you,' laughed Helena, searching the lovely little face with her dark, fiery eyes, and tenderly caressing the small figure. 'You will be a friend to me, won't you?'
Dickens put all the directly…

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland: "We were, postage-wise, suburban feudal subjects."

I gave Patton Oswalt's book Zombie Spaceship Wasteland 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads but you should still read it, and I shall tell you why.

I love Patton Oswalt. A lot. Stand-up comics have occupied a disproportionate section of my brain since I was 12 and Comedy Central Presents appeared, and with the advent of Spotify, you can hear all their albums without spending a ton of money (however, if they're doing the brilliant 'give me $5 for my album' thing that Louis C.K. started, DO IT, because most comedians are not J.P. Morgan -- in fact, he probably wasn't funny at all). I saw Patton Oswalt (from here on referred to simply as 'Patton' because 'Oswalt' sounds so cold, and also I want to pretend we're friends) on shows like Reno 911, but I hadn't heard his stand-up until recently and therefore I only realized a year ago that he. is. so smart.

He wavers between this intellectually elite, could-talk-circles-around-his-audience vibe, to ridicul…

Lady Audley's Really Big Secret: The Story of One Man and His Romantic Quest of Love

The book is pretty damn clear about Lady Audley and what she's done, but we have TWO HUNDRED PAGES LEFT. What else shall happen! 

We're just gonna lead with "prancing tits" because WHAT? Knacker's yard? Go home, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, you are drunk.

Ok, I have done some reading on the World Wide Web, and apparently a knacker is someone you'd bring your old sad tired horse to, and you'd be like "HE'S ALL USED UP" and the knacker'd say "Okay dokey" and "render" your horse. Damn. That was a job that people would have to do.

Searching "prancing tits" yields up exactly what you'd expect, and also resulted in me following the Tumblr Unintentionally Dirty. But upon further seeking-out, I discovered that it was slang for "a worthless or worn-out horse." So really this whole section is about being abysmal to horses.

Alicia's horse is named Atalanta. Do we need to re-read the story of Atalanta? (tldr: …

Nancy Mitford's Pigeon Pie: More Nazis and Some Retrospective Awkwardness

If you will remember, Nancy Mitford's first novel, Wigs on the Green was about Nazis, but 1935 Nazis when people were all "What-ho, this Hitler chap seems maybe not the best, but it's not as if he's committing genocide against his own countrymen and trying to take over the world."


CUT TO 1940, when Pigeon Pie was published (Mitford had published no novels in the interim). War had been declared, but no one (or at least not Nancy Mitford) was taking it seriously:

Rather soon after the war had been declared, it became obvious that nobody intended it to begin. The belligerent countries were behaving like children in a round game, picking up sides, and until the sides had been picked up the game could not start[...] America, of course, was too much of a baby for such a grown-up game, but she was just longing to see it played.
*mutters* "Saved YOUR ass."

Pigeon Pie concerns a will-o-the-wisp socialite who's trying to stay entertained in the midst of this war…

Mostly Consisting of Television Reactions

On occasion, we of the human race have nights where DESPITE the knowledge that we shall be sleep-addled lunatic zombies in the morning, we find ourselves wide awake and needing to watch some YouTube vids (probably Emma Stone interviews, because that girl sparkles).

I took the day off from work yesterday, and thus it was a day of auditioning, library visits, pancake-eating, and Luther-watching. Which ended roundabout 1:30 AM. THIS BEING THE CASE, I have some strong television opinions I will now be sharing.

The OUAT season 3 finale has happened. And all I can say is




It was a flaming pile of fail, and for something (acknowledged by me and many others who watch it as Not a Good Show) that one's invested so much energy in to act THAT way, it's like if you told everyone how much you love this one kind of soup. And how awesome the soup is and you're really looking forward to eating it. And you go to the restaurant and the chef makes the soup and brings it out, but then spits in i…

Syndrome E: "What sort of animal had be become in the jungles of Colombia?" and other fun phrases

The good folks at Penguin asked if I wanted to review a book called Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez. As Penguin is a fine publisher, I checked it out, and it turns out it's a thriller that did EXCEPTIONALLY WELL in France. Plus the concept -- people being killed and it being linked to cinema -- seemed worth reading.

I usually avoid translated works. I took a translation theory class in college, and the main thing I took away from it was you can never perfectly translate something. The same words carry different weight in different languages. What if I wrote something and called a person a tool? (as I am wont to do) German probably has a rough equivalent, but it's not going to have all the cultural things attached to it that tool was. When we hear a word, we have the weight of our society's history linked with it. So will you be reading the exact same thing in translation that people read in its original language? No. But you can get a pretty decent approximation.


Books like …

"Alicia, don't be German!": Lady Audley's Big Secret Continues

MORE CLEWS.

So last week I was totally taken in by Helen Talboys being dead, and then you all were like "SHE'S TOTALLY NOT THOUGH" and now I'm slightly disappointed in Braddon, but willing to see how this plays out, because it's honestly seeming more and more soap opera-y every second.



 I had to look up what filberts were (they are nuts!) and who Izaak Walton was (a fisherman!) but otherwise things seemed all right, comprehension-wise. Except for the fact that everyone in this book is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS and it makes you realize what an amazing writer Dickens was, because damn, this is dated.

What the hell is going on with George and his son? Because I do not like it ONE BIT. He goes to Australia for the boy's entire life, comes back and then is all "Naw, he's fine with his grandfather; that seems like a good thing, that relationship with a drunken old man. Probably'll give the boy character." What are you doing, George. Think about your lif…

Game of Thrones: Direwolf Puppies and Plot Twists Are Apparently the Way to Hold an Audience

Game of Thrones the book (unclear about the show) is amazing. Let's recap why.

A MILLION FAMILIES. Fighting for the throne. I think there're actually like four as of right now, but if gifsets on tumblr have taught me anything, it will soon turn into a million.

CHANGING PERSPECTIVES. Wilkie Collins started it and George R. R. Martin is going to finish it. By creating a serum that allows him to outlive the last man on Earth and therefore ensure that no one will ever be able to read his complete series. Such seems to be his plan. But changing perspectives of characters is a similar device to short chapters re keeping the reader's interest. Don't like what's going on? Wait 20 pages and your ENTIRE LANDSCAPE shall change. Good one, GRRM.

DIREWOLVES. No one in their right mind would refuse a direwolf. Well. Maybe if a direwolf had killed your parents. And as you were lying there, weeping over their direwolf-mauled bodies you yelled "IF THERE IS ONE THING I SHALL NEV…

"Do the Backstreet Boys count as a band?": Growing up bandless

"Everyone has blind spots," goes an extremely accurate quote from The IT Crowd.

Growing up, I not only didn't hear music like The Beatles and...other groups I don't even know the names of, because non-musical theatre music is beyond my abilities, but I don't remember hearing any bands at all. All my knowledge of what was popular at the time came from the Wayne's World series (particularly the second since it has that concert where people seemed to be really excited about this band Aerosmith), and from my oldest brother. He had all the CDs. I didn't listen to them, but I knew names like Pearl Jam, En Vogue, Salt-n-Pepa, Blues Traveler, and R.E.M. because of him. He gave me my first CD — a discarded Janet Jackson single of his called "If" which has FILTHY lyrics that you fortunately can't understand at all. Fortunately because I was eight and it became my favorite song.


This lack of knowledge came about because growing up, my mother would play…

Lady Audley's Super-Secret Readlong Week 1: Bales of Stupid Wool

Oh wow, is it time for...LADY AUDLEY'S SUPER-SECRET READALONG?

It is, and if you forgot, it's okay because I did too until Laura reminded me on Tuesday. But it was only FOUR chapters, which was about 23 pages, so...you could just knock that out right now. ANYWAY.

Our story begins with a description of a house, which is an attention-grabber if I've ever seen one. Maybe you should've joined some kind of a writing circle, MEB. 'Cause if I'd been in it with you, it would've been like:

"You're, uh....you're STARTING with the house description?"

"Well, when I read books I like knowing right off where I am, so this'll set people up nicely."

"Yeah, but...y'know, if I picked up a book and the first two pages were a really boring description of a house, I'd probably put it down."

"What if it had 'SECRET' in the title?"

"...I'd give you two more pages."

I realized in the first few chapte…