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24 June 2014 @ 11:32 am
Argh, another weekend over...  
Still working on the drabbles from last week. Slowwwly. I finished one, and have the House one almost ready. I will get to them, though, in and around working on this next week's Idol story, which is "Open Topic," so... Idol inspiration could come at any time. Or not. Ulp!

I finished The Dog Stars while on vacation. It was a good post-apocalyptic story, though I nearly quit on it because of the prose style. Sentence. fragments. Why? I understand that the author was aiming for a stream-of-conscious style, but there are other ways to execute that without being quite so annoying. Commas! Quotation marks for when people are speaking! Don't make me re-parse sentences on a regular basis, just because you want to be deliberately weird. :(

Still, I enjoyed it the book. The main character, Hig, fancies himself a (failed) poet, and he contrasts well with his co-survival partner, a closed-off, paranoid gun-nut named Bangley. Bangley will grow on you, believe it or not, in sideways fashion. There is hope, love, and pain in this story, and it explores the question of whether living just to live is enough. I loved the dog in the story, and I'm not at all a dog person, so that tells you something. And Bangley's tirades about, "Christ, Hig, are we recreating out here?" are just conceptually funny. Worth trying-- give it at least the first couple of chapters.

I read Chuck Palahniuk's Damned, and in addition to the gratuitious grossness and 'wackiness' there were a couple of distinct moments of, "I don't believe the character would do this." Ugh. The only other Palahniuk book I've read was Haunted, which I forced myself through and utterly hated. HATED. This one was less bad, though the open-ended "Yes, there's a sequel!" conclusion didn't help. Many who love Palahniuk really dislike these more recent books, so I should probably give one of the earlier ones a try before just swearing off of him. But again... ugh.

Still trying to slog through American Gods (and still not thrilled). I just started The Boy Who Shoots Crows because the summary sounded good and our library's ebook service recommended it, but when adult main characters talk about their "mysterious attraction" to people they've just met, and "what is this feeeeeling," I begin to suspect a romance novel in disguise. I'll give it a few more chapters, but it's not looking good.

Some political vids to share, because these satire skits on the situation in Iraq carry a lot of truth: The Daily Show: Middle Eastern Politics, A Love Story, and The Colbert Report: Battling ISIS Militants in Iraq (key snippet starts about 6:00 in, but the whole segment is good). Sorry about the leading ads in both, but the videos are worth it. The Daily Show one is pure humor, but the Colbert one is genius. I think ours is probably one of the few families that finds The Colbert Report consistently funnier than The Daily Show, which is probably large-scale sacrilege. Also? I miss John Oliver as guest-host (more sacrilege)!

Summer plans? Besides those of you who are reading through SPN Big Bangs?

Es'kaeska818 on June 24th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
I can't help but admit that not being thrilled over American Gods feels like a travesty o.o Admittedly, the first time I tried to read it, I gave up about two chapters in, but I was only a teenager at the time..
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 24th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
I loved "The Anansi Boys," but that was kind of despite the premise.

The use of the premise is much more heavy-handed in American Gods, and then there's all of the more graphic sex stuff (that makes me sorry I let my teenaged son read it) and honestly... I'm pretty happy with Shadow's part of the story, but every time Wednesday shows up I inwardly groan.

I did have someone else on my f-list say that she felt much the same about it, while loving Anansi Boys.

Different strokes, I guess! Sci-Fi/Fantasy is some of the most variable stuff ever. One person's "Yes, this is genius!" is another person's "Dear God, WHY." As in, I just can't muster interest in Tolkien and almost all Spaceships/Weapons/Conquest Sci-Fi stuff bores me, but Elizabeth A. Lynn and (earlier) Ursula K. LeGuin are both usually great authors for me in those genres. Whereas my son doesn't like that last kind of Sci-Fi/Fantasy at all.
Es'kaeska818 on June 24th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
Huh, that's interesting. I didn't actually enjoy Anansi Boys that much! Wednesday is definitely a jerk, I won't deny that.

And I'm totally with you on Tolkien (I did enjoy the movies though) - he just talks too damned much about stuff I don't care about! XD
n3m3sis43n3m3sis43 on July 5th, 2014 04:11 pm (UTC)
I loved Anansi Boys and can't seem to drag myself through American Gods.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on July 5th, 2014 06:48 pm (UTC)
Hah! So it wasn't just me and tsuki_no_bara who liked Anansi Boys better.

They're such different books. One is funny and ironic and a little bizarre, and the other is "OMG, I am serious stuff! This will be my epic!" and unhappy events and betrayal and crudeness and vaginas that eat men, and... Ack.

I did finish it, but I still enjoyed the other far more.
I'm Mulder, She's Scullyrunedgirl on June 25th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC)
My summer is getting in the way of reading any big bangs, so far. Frustrating!! But I suppose a busy summer isn't the worst thing in the world, since much of it is good stuff. Just alot of it :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 25th, 2014 05:39 am (UTC)
Good busy is usually worth it, in the end. It's definitely better than boring slowness.

I hope you're having fun, of one kind or another. :D
Trigger Warning: Lifematchboximpala on June 25th, 2014 07:08 am (UTC)
I read The Dog Stars on the recommendation of my father. My reaction upon reading was lukewarm.

I loved American Gods.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 25th, 2014 07:41 pm (UTC)
I liked the unfolding of the story in it, and the relationship between Hig and his dog. Hig himself was a little bit of a twit, but goodhearted. If the prose style bugs you, though... there's no improving that!

Most people seem to love American Gods, but since I'm still pushing my way through (at halfway, even), it's unlikely that I will be one of those people! I loved "The Graveyard Book." "The Anansi Boys" was funny and captivating, and I liked "Neverwhere" well enough. But I think Gaiman is very much a hit-or-miss author for me...
Trigger Warning: Lifematchboximpala on June 26th, 2014 02:13 am (UTC)
I was completely sucked in by the Sandman series, but I agree that he is not always on form. I do hope you have read Good Omens, because that is brilliant.
ecosopherecosopher on June 29th, 2014 05:45 am (UTC)
I really need to read more Gaiman. I need to read more in general, I think...

I'm the same as you with Colbert vs Stewart. I find Colbert to be a lot cleverer. I think it's because I like satire better than just humour. Satire is one of those things I'd like to be able to write, so I feel particularly in awe of people who can do it well.

Have you seen any of Oliver's new show? I've only watched a couple and it's not bad. I especially liked the segment on climate change denial :D

It's got cold here in our neck of the woods! I know the reason we moved south is to get away from the heat, but brrr! Haha.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 30th, 2014 09:17 pm (UTC)
I think my son and I like satire better than just humor as well. Colbert's show was what prompted him to blurt out, "God, I LOVE satire" at one point.

I'm so dreading Colbert's departure to be a late-night TV host. Lots of people can chat with celebrities, but only he can be the character known as Stephen Colbert. :(

I haven't seen Oliver's show-- it's on HBO, and that isn't one of our subscribed cable channels. Why did Comedy Central let him get away?

I know you won't miss the summer temps from your old house. For the winter, well... at least it doesn't snow? Typically? We're watching 'Fargo' on TV, and it is bringing back horrifying memories of the three winters I spent in Illinois. The U.S. Midwest is an awful place to be in winter. Not as bad as Siberia, perhaps, but very little is. o_O
n3m3sis43n3m3sis43 on July 5th, 2014 04:09 pm (UTC)
I love Palahniuk's older books and have been reluctant to read any of the newer ones because of their less than warm reception. Read Survivor. Or Choke. Hell, read Fight Club--I hated the movie but loved the book.

(Although gratuitous grossness is kind of a thing with Palahniuk, soooo...)

Edited at 2014-07-05 04:10 pm (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on July 5th, 2014 06:52 pm (UTC)
It's good to hear from someone who likes his books, but can also weigh in on the grossness.

I have such hatred for gratuitous grossness. I often feel as if the author has an inner 10-year-old boy trapped inside that really needs to grow up.

Though with Romance novels, sometimes I feel it's an inner 13- to 14-year-old girl that needs the same. But that's partly just me hating the genre, I think. ;)
n3m3sis43n3m3sis43 on July 5th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
I mean, I probably do have a 10 year old boy trapped inside that really needs to grow up. So you might have a point there?

Cannot. Stand. Romance novels. Yuck.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on July 5th, 2014 07:39 pm (UTC)
I wonder how many engineers, of either gender, DO like them?

It's kind of like, "Your algorithm (genre-formula) is trivial, and it bores me."

Also, there's the eye-rolling...

But again, if you're a female engineer... you likely have already rejected many of the behaviors/societal-roles tied to women, and they just seem stupid and limiting to you. And maybe also don't make sense.

But perhaps (so like an engineer) I'm also overthinking this. ;)
n3m3sis43n3m3sis43 on July 5th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC)
Overthinking is a pastime of which I am very fond.

I did not grow up being very (stereotypically) girly. Having worked with mostly males since age 22 has not necessarily made me much girlier. Also, I'm sorry, but even beyond the shitty "plots" ("algorithm" is so much more accurate), there's the whole sexiness fail thing. THE WAY YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT SEX, THAT IS NOT SEXY.