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Showing posts from September, 2008

"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle

Why I read it: Well, I didn't really, not this time through. I read parts of it to the boy, but then he moved on and read the rest of it and the sequel himself. It was about a month ago. I'm only mentioning it now because it's banned books week and I didn't really realize that it was a "most challenged" book.

Bookmark: Probably a Yugioh card or something.

Tastes like Chicken: This one for me is like Shakespeare or the bible. I've read it so many times, it doesn't compare to anything else. Other things compare to it (I almost wrote IT there, and that wouldn't have been good).

What I liked: Familiarity. I also liked that the boy finally read the thing.

What I hated: As an adult, and having probably read this book five or six times before, the religious content seemed heavy-handed. I never noticed that before. It seems just absurd to me that anyone would think that references to witches (Mrs Which) and crystal balls would be offensive. And also all that …

"Across the Wall" by Garth Nix

Why I read it: I'd just finished something else and had another book listed as "in transit" at the library, so I didn't want to start anything long, because the "in transit" book was a leaden tome at something like 838 pages, so when it was mine I wanted to be able to devote my full attention to it. There are holds after me, so no renewal available. I didn't want to have to put something down half-way through, and I didn't want to read my carry-around book, because a good carry-around book is hard to find and needs to be dragged out as long as possible. Short stories seemed like the perfect choice. I could put the book down at any convenient spot and not have to recapture characters or place.

I finished the book, and the library book is still "in transit"! Well done, TPL! (It's "Darkmans" by Nicola Barker, if the suspense is killing you).

Tastes like chicken: I've read pretty much every published book by Garth Nix except Th…

"The Priest: A Gothic Romance" by Thomas M. Disch

Why I read it: I liked the previous book I'd read by this author, so when I was at the library checking to see if what I'd requested was in (it wasn't) I got this instead.

Bookmark: Library receipt.

Tastes like chicken: Probably the only thing comparable for me would be his other book.

What I liked: The characters were very amusing. I was quite curious how an author could make a book work, when the main character was a pedophile priest. And it did work. I would say it helped that we rather drew away from the priest towards the end and took more interest in the other characters, and it didn't hurt that the priest... well, let's say that things didn't go too well for him.

What I hated: Two things.
I hated the author's need to wrap everything up with a tidy explanation at the end. He did this in "the MD" as well. Just be in the ridiculous, go with it, let the characters revel in the hell of their own making. Though I did rather like the resolution of the …


Today when I got to work I opened the internet to discover that David Foster Wallace had died. This made me very sad. While I only read one of his books, I enjoyed it very much. See this post. I'd meant to read Infinite Jest, but never gotten around to it. I guess I'm going to have to make a tag for writers who were seemingly suicides (I'm reading another Tom Disch book now).

Anyway, in one of the obits, I came across this article, which I found very amusing. And so, the next short story I write will be about lobsters.

Okay, I admit it, it was going to be anyway, when I'm finished this one I'm working on now, which will be probably tomorrow. That one is about funerals. I'm so cheery.

I got nothin' so I'll do a quiz

Your result for The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test...The CardinalYou scored 58% Cardinal, 38% Monk, 29% Lady, and 30% Knight!
You are the real power behind the throne. No one dares dispute or refuse you. Which is good because that's how you get things done. You are also, however, completely corrupt and highly immoral. This doesn't bother you in the least as you lounge around your rich comfortable surroundings, reveling in wealth and authority. Take The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test at HelloQuizzy

WM (waste management) truck

If only I ever carried my camera around everywhere I went, like your EG tourguide does, I would show a picture of the truck. On the side it said something like "We have preserved 17,000 hectares of habitat for wildlife". I'm sure it's not what they were going for, but the image that immediately popped into my mind was of bears, raccoons, seagulls, and maybe even crows traipsing over a garbage dump.

"Accidental City" by Robert Fulford

Why I read it: One of my coworkers, Nadine, lent it to me, and then several weeks later she gave notice, so I thought I'd better read it now, so I could give it back before she left. I would have gotten to it eventually, since I live here (the book is sort of a cultural history of Toronto), so it's the only city I can write about (set my stories in) with any real sense of authority, and it would be good to "understand" it from another perspective (historical in this case).

Also, after rather a long string of novels, I thought it was time to read some non-fiction.

There was a documentary I saw a little while ago, "Let's all hate Toronto". When I told Nadine that ultimately Torontonians hate this city the most, because we hate it every day, whereas people from, say, Vancouver, really only hate Toronto on special occasions, she said that was typically Toronto-centric thing to say. She commutes every day from K-W.

What I liked: I got a little self-righteous gl…

"Widdershins" by Charles de Lint

Why I read it:I finished the first two of the three books I took on vacation in two days, so when I found myself in a bookstore in North Conway NH (due to the boy's need for more Twilight books -- he'll be embarrassed that I mentioned that), I thought I'd pick something up. They had a shelf of ARCs they were selling for charity, and I'd never read an ARC before, so I thought that would be neat. I'd heard the name of the author before, though I don't think it ever appeared in the list.

Tastes like chicken: A cross between Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" and Emma Bull's "Finder", with a chunk of that short story by Kelly Link I read in a magazine a while ago thrown in (the one about the girl with a boy shadow, and the pocket universes).

Bookmark:White Birch Books complementary bookmark.

What I liked: For one thing, it made me want to take out my fiddle and, I don't know, try to tune it or something (I am a very crap fiddle player, and I…

"The Darkness the Comes Before" by R. Scott Bakker

Why I read it: I bought it a couple of years ago because the cover looked interesting. I started it a couple of months ago in the tub, but put it down again 14 pages in, and didn't pick it up again. (In this case, the long prologue seemed like a mistake -- this one seemed nearly unintelligible.)When I was packing to go on vacation, I selected it knowing I was unlikely to get through it when I had to go to work every day.

Tastes like chicken: The Black Rose/Shadows Linger? What I liked: For fantasy, the characters were non-standard. The wizard, for example, was described as portly.
What I hated: The author didn't seem to have much use for women in his world. There were three of note -- a prostitute with a heart of gold, the 61-year-old dowager empress (I forget her title) who is particularly despicable because she's always dressed as a vampire serpent queen geriatric skank, and a concubine who, though mentioned on the back cover, turns up about 80% through the book seemingly…

I forgot to mention...

Last Friday I finished the latest page-a-day project, a wretched novel that I will now put in a cupboard to ferment for a few months or years, in hopes that when I take it out again, it will somehow magically become, you know, good.

In the meantime, I am working on a couple of short stories until I decide what to do next.

"Great Expectations" Charles Dickens

Why I read it: A year ago, maybe two, I was documenting a product that had PIPs in it (or Pips, or PiPs, depending on who's writing). PIP stands for picture-in-picture, like when a news reader has a graphic over their shoulder on TV. So I was in a teleconference, and a senior manager said "Let's count how many times she says PIP." So we did. And every time I heard the word PIP, I thought of this book, so I started to read it.

Last year, when I was going through my phase of losing library books (It only happened twice, and I've done my penance) I wanted to have a "carry around" book. This would be something I could always find my place in, and if I lost it (because I owned it) I could always get a replacement, and not owe the library money. So I've been reading this book for quite a while. I read 100 pages on a business trip to Ottawa in May. I finished it on vacation.

What I liked: The easiest thing was that this book is so archetypal, even though I h…