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Showing posts from October, 2014

The Omen: Happy Halloween! (by Doug)

My co-worker and friend Doug is back, and not reviewing 19th century literature for the first time, but rather a book he was given by his friend because he actually wanted to read it. What? So here's Doug with The Omen.

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This is the 5th article I’ve written for this blog, and it’s finally for a book that doesn’t make me want to reach down my throat and start rocking a pair of outside lungs. I like Damien Thorn more than Elizabeth Bennet, Catherine Earnshaw, Jane Eyre, or Elinor Dashwood, and that kid is literally Satan. I imagine most of you weren’t aware that The Omen was a book first. That’s probably because it wasn’t. David Seltzer wrote the movie, and then wrote the book to promote the film. I know from experience that this is a formula that strikes gold every time.


I have not seen this movie. I mean, between The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, and Tremors 1 through 4 plus the series, who has the time?! … I have the time. I have lots of free time. I should probabl…

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale: "I'm pretty sure if Diane Sawyer were here, she'd say, Kippy Bushman, you are an actual genius with incredibly smooth moves."

Kathleen Hale's kind of nutty. We all know that. I started liking her when she responded to that 'Against YA' piece from last June with this piece of brilliance. "This woman is hilarious," said I. "Does she have any books out?"

And yes. She does. It's called No One Else Can Have You, which, when I was creeping on her Instagram feed, I'd thought was just a very funny slogan on a baseball hat she was wearing. But no. It was book promotion.



You can tell through her Instagram, Twitter and various articles (particularly this one about killing feral hogs) that she's a bit off. So it wasn't a huge surprise to me that she went to someone's home and was a big weirdo to them. I think I assumed people just knew that that was a Kathleen Hale thing, and not some "All authors could think this was ok!" sort of thing.

Anyway. I ordered her book. From her. Because that way she would draw in it, and what is the point of owning books anymore …

We should all fall in love with Washington Irving

Halloween is in three days, so I obviously decided to pick up The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. My last memory of it was skimming it in my local library, hoping it would be similar to the Tim Burton movie despite KNOWING the Disney version was far more in line.


LITTLE WAS I TO KNOW that my teenage self was an idiot who did not appreciate finely-tuned prose and a near-paradisiacal level of vocab choice. Washington Irving, I want to know you better. And then probably have your babies. And also go on the tour of your house, because the tour guides are "dressed elegantly in hoop skirts or formal dress of the time" and that sounds super-fun.


So he's part of Romanticism, but he's part of American Romanticism, which isn't nearly as stupid as English or German. All it did is make him interested in folk stories and write really, really well. So bravo, American Romanticism! Now let's look at The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

He begins with:

In the bosom of one of those spacious cove…

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix: I am never going to an IKEA at night

There's been a lot of chatter about Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix, mainly because it looks like an IKEA catalog and that is SO COOL. Not to lick Quirk Books's boots, but I keep being completely charmed by them and their publishing decisions (also they look especially lovely today). 

They sent me a copy of this to review because I asked one of their staff members if I would like it and she was basically like "TOTES."


After being burned by things like the book Night Film and countless episodes of Scooby-Doo, I worried there'd be some "It wasn't really haunted after all!" tomfoolery happening, but REST ASSURED, the faux-IKEA in this book is haunted as shit. It just takes some time to get there.

So the main character, Amy, has a dead-end life and works at America's version of IKEA, which is called Orsk. But weeeeird stuff's been happening at Orsk overnight, so the Totally Into His Job manager makes her and another employee stay overnight to try to fi…

The Island of Dr Moreau: Well. I was not expecting that.

What could it mean? A locked enclosure on a lonely island, a notorious vivisector, and these crippled and distorted men?...
H.G. Wells's The Island of Dr Moreau has been relegated to campy film status like The Invisible Man, but Wells was about so much more than that. What I did not know going in were the themes he deals with -- I just knew "something about an island with messed-up animals."


What actually happens is there's a guy in a shipwreck who gets picked up by a boat with weeeeird passengers that look almost -- ALMOST -- inhuman. And there's another guy on the boat named Montgomery who's all cagey about where he and his weirdo passenger friends -- and also a llama, puma, and a bunch of rabbits -- are going. But the drunk captain of the boat HATES Montgomery and his weirdo friends, and makes him AND the shipwrecked guy get off at Mysterious Island, where an older dude with white hair meets them. GUESS WHO THAT GUY IS (hint: he's a doctor).

So Shipwrec…

Why did we forget about John Grisham so quickly?

Remember how on Thursday, John Grisham defended his friend who was in prison for looking at child pornography and said the sentencing for that was too harsh, and also that prisons were full of 60-year-old white men? Remember how that horrible statement happened by a bestselling, internationally-known author?


So two days after that, The Guardian posts Kathleen Hale's piece about internet stalking and then visiting the house of someone who negatively reviewed her book, whom she suspected was not who they claimed to be, and who was also some kind of Goodreads bully (according to her).

Guess what everyone completely forgot about.

And WHY. Why are we all continuing to talk about Hale and getting SO MAD ABOUT IT and Grisham apparently gets a free pass? I mean, I could go into how women are easier targets, but I think it's more related to the idea that her transgression more directly strikes book bloggers/reviewers. "This could happen to ME; I shall be infuriated by it," as…

TV over the Weekend and Can We Please Do Another Minithon?

There are weekends when there is a 24 hour readathon and you make a valiant effort (I have never succeeded in this) and then there are weekends when you read for 20 minutes and then decide to watch four episodes of the CW show Reign (I have always instead done this).

Well, not that show in particular, but its basic equivalent and OH HOW MUCH I LOVE REIGN NOW and it will get its own post later and you should all probably start watching it because season 1 is on Netflix and then we can discuss the intrigue and also whether we think Kenna is bright and ambitious or just a skank.


I'm close to being done with Horrorstor, The Boundless, and....probably some others. But those two for SURE. 

The problem with reading Horrorstor is I cannot comfortably fit it in my purse, but it's scary to read at night, so I have like a 20 minute window after work before it gets dark, so it's been slow-going. I know it takes place in basically an IKEA and that I do not live in an IKEA, but I'm al…

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner: A Book That's STOLEN MY HEART (ahahaha not really)

I think it was Elizabeth Fama (I want her book covers as posters) who told me to read The Thief. AND I TRIED TO TAKE THIS ADVICE. But the library kept not having it. Then it finally had it, I checked it out and -- oh it's in first person.

You know when you go into something expecting one thing, and because it's NOT that thing, you're like "I CANNOT DO THIS." Even if the thing is really good? Yes, so I had to put The Thief down for a couple months, and only the other week when I was noodling around Oyster did I pick it up again.

It's a YA/middle grade book about a thief (ah-ha!) who's basically in Ancient Greece, but it's a place called Sounis, which is right by the kingdoms of Eddis and Attolia. Said thief ("Gen") is in prison. For STEALING something (surprise!) and is basically just languishing away in misery and filth when the king's adviser comes and gets him! "I need you to steal something for me" is essentially how it goes…

P.D. James's Cover Her Face: More like Cover Your Eyes, amirite? 'Cause it's not good? Yeah.

GUESS WHAT I HAVEN'T BEEN DOING? Reading. Ahahahahaha.

Ok but seriously I've started again, but I started with the WORST thing because I decided to finish P.D. James's first book, Cover Her Face.


HERE'S THE THING about Cover Her Face. Actually multiple things:

1) The title is weird.

2) It's probably not P.D. James's fault, but this book is set in the '60s and I kept thinking it was the '30s because it's all about a murder happening to the servant of a wealthy English family and they act like it's the '30s all the time.



3) I was going to say maybe this is because P.D. James is rich as balls, only Wikipedia assures me she was not at this time of her life (even though her current title is "Baroness James of Holland Park"). 

4) This book cannot decide on a POV, and it's one thing when you're like "I'm gonna alternate viewpoints in a clear way!" and it's another when you're like "Doop dee der, how about no…

2014 Reading Thus Far

We are 3/4 through the year! That's a little exciting. And through the magic of Goodreads, I know what I've read (oh, thank you, Goodreads, for no longer making me keep a bedraggled piece of paper in my book journal as my tallying sheet). SO. How's it going, 2014.



So far I've read 48 books this year. Last year was 61, so...ON TRACK TO BEAT THAT. I am competing with myself. It is fine.

I have one 1-star book (you'll never encounter it, so don't worry about it), two 2-star books, and a MILLION 3-star books, because that is my "I liked this just fine" rating. Maybe I even SUPER-liked parts of it! But it is probably not going to stay with me in any lasting sort of way.

Then 13 4-star reviews, and y'know what, I think I stand by them. That means I reeally liked them, but would I read them again? Probs not. Are they important to my overall life? Mayyybe not. But I very much enjoyed reading them. I mean, how many people are going to say Behind the Cande…