Category Archives: books I’ve read

What’s On My To-Read list?

I could do it really short and say – school books. In longer version – anything but school books.

 When I’m working on something, I tend to read a lot of scientific books how and why things work. It is important to me that if I give out the final work, it should be polished and shine. I’m far from perfectionism, but I very much enjoy fully thought through books, even if it’s mindless action.

 I am right now reading Shattered Silence: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter by Melissa G Moore and M Bridget Cook. It is – as it says in the name – a book about daughter of a serial killer. When I started researching my story, I knew there were stories out there that would seem too similar to mine if I didn’t pick them up and read them through first. This was one of them, but I didn’t get to it before now. I don’t read many biographies unless it is related with historical people or someone, who has already passed away.

 Bullies, Bastards and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction by Jessica Page Morrell is sitting on my shelf only inches away from grabbing distance so I would do some school work, too. Though the book itself looked slightly simple, when human character is involved, I still love it.

 I bought this book, because I wanted to study phenomena in modern literature that started bothering me some time ago. If you read Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky books – bad characters are bad. They perform their criminal acts with reasons that give no doubt – they are bad. But if you take modern genre literature, then often it seems that bad characters are simply good guys fallen from grace. Which itself isn’t far from the truth, but the load of excuses writers use to justify their actions is overwhelming. The worst cases I’ve put the book down, because I sense that the writer is afraid to show criminal as they are – bad. So I wanted to know what is causing this. Fear to show character one-sided? Fear to explore the darker fields of humanity?

 All the Men, All the Women by Herbert Lockyer is a book about men and women mentioned in Bible. I find it very ignorant if someone non-religious person says Bible should be left in the past, where it belongs. For European, Bible, we like it or not is the bases of our cultures and this includes literature. Most character types, plots or humane characters all come from it.

 You might not find count Dracula between those pages, but Judas Iscariot is often related with him and it is ridiculous to hear a teenager snorting in the middle of university movie night “Why do they mess up stories with religion!?”. You can imagine class full of educated students and lecturers’ faces to such question. She was quickly forgiven though – teenager after all.

 Moral Panics and the British Media, an article by By Ian Marsh and Gaynor Melville is an interesting article in Internet Journal of Criminology about media as crucial element in creating nation spread panic based on moral differences. This is for the book I’m working on.

 Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Macro Level: Groups, Communities, and Organizations by Katherine van Wormer, Fred Besthorn and Thomas Keefe (Jan 16, 2007). This one also relates with the book I’m working on. I have slightly older version of it from the library (Gates of Heaven!), but it will give me the over-all idea of how groups work-react in different situations. Before I began researching, I would have never even dreamed how deep and complicated groups can be! In general, yes, but how it is related to the size of the group on how they work out as a team, how leaders react and work – it was different than I expected.

 I know it drives me crazy when I have too much research and not a bit fun. So I’m rediscovering my old favorites, especially Diana Palmer. She has big collection of works and I enjoy reading her books from different decades. It gives interesting view on how her romances have changed over the years and especially her use of words and trends. Everything can help with the research.

 

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Today’s post is my response to the prompt on What’s On My To-Read list?, this month’s topic for the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Throughout the month, you can get to know twenty (or so) other writers from various genres and backgrounds and at various places in their careers.

 

Next stop on the tour is B.C. Matthews on August 21st, 2012.

 

 

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Laurann Dohner „Ral’s Woman“

 When I first took up this book, I had quite high expectations on it. For what, I have no idea. Perhaps, because it’s been published by Ellora’s Cave and there have been good books from them before that I did like despite their genre or writing style, but this one just blew me over and not in a good way. I am glad I got it through free offer, because had I paid money for it, I’d be one seriously offended customer right now.

 What follows is quite angry response to very weak book.

SPOILERS!  Continue reading

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As Advertised

I should make a list of all the movies that have caught my eye since summer. There seem to be quite many of them and they are harder to keep eye on. 

  1. Albert Nobbs
  2.  The Jung movie?
  3. Sherlock Holmes second movie?
  4. huh?…

 Ok, so I rather not. As it turns out I’m not much of a list maker anymore.

I did happen to read a book though. “As Advertised” by Jaime Samms. I’m planning bromance story for Nano, it does require I read in the field, like I don’t take this sort of books up unless I feel acquired for the job.

I started reading a different story, a Victorian era MM romance, but after 10th page, which are short, it simply dragged. The MC left me with feeling empty, annoyed. He was a man, who bragged of his odd position, his constant change of personal help, and how they didn’t like him being from lower cast than who they usually served. I stopped reading on spot where some obnoxious fellow told him they aren’t in the same league, which he simply replied they’d see each other later on the ball. I felt like the entire story was dragging towards one goal – he needed a lesson in humility and some married-off-gay would provide him with one.

So I changed for something modern. I was already thinking dismissing it too (the way they talked was nice, but slightly unreal or what do I know?), but then out of a blue the conflict rose and after that I kept reading until7 inthe morning when I had to get up again and come to work. I was slightly disappointed by the ending though. The hints gave the twist away too early and the response by the MC was slightly too easygoing for such news. Too idle I guess. Still, it was far better than I expected and I actually liked the characters, though understanding what they looked like was tricky, not to mention one guy change eye color… Now I know I need to be extra careful with my stories on such small details as it really knocked the mood.

But this reading through night days should be over. Keeping myself up thanks to this is not as pleasent. But I don’t regret it. I liked the book and it is still echoing through my head, so in this light it was worth it.

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Banned – it’s worthless word

Reading the latest news on fairy tale land, a.k.a list of books that are banned for one reason or the other. I am amazed how fast grownups judge children’s books by one event in their life.

 Here are few reasons why those children’s books were removed:

 …It allegedly undermines religious beliefs
Fairy tails always undermine the religious beliefs! Because they are about moral norms! They adapt through time and culture and this is what makes them so good to teach morals. They are suppose to make you think if you would take the same action as the hero or heroin did. Every book out there that isn’t Bible will undermine Christian beliefs, because it gives you new perspective. Same goes for Quran or Hindu’ holy text or on any other holy text out there. That’s what’s suppose to show you “how bad the rest of the world is and how good it is that you chose to follow your path” or “wow! Amazing what the writer has come up with! How different point of view!”. I just find it offensive how people try to get books banned on bases of religion.

 

…Due to its excessive violence, negative portrayals of female characters, and anti-Semitic references
From this I see that people are not aware of the interesting side of the fairy tales – most of them take place few centuries back. Though I do like the modern stories just as well. That negative portrayals of female characters is one of my favorites here. After reading interesting book called “Moulding the Female Body in Victorian Fairy Tales and Sensation Novels”  (I suggest it if you find it in the library or don’t mind the salty price), I realized that it was the uneasy feeling the tails give you that play the main role, not the offensiveness itself. For example the original Beauty and the Beast story, there is one line that makes me freak every time I read it: “I shall go willingly and will be happy, because I can show through this how much I love you, father.” This meant I really disliked the character until I realized that if in 1740s, when the story came out, it probably sounded sincere and thus had a meaning that nowadays acts like a warning – you don’t want to be her if she acts like that. It’s foolish. Times were like they were when Andersen wrote his stories and he expressed the truth. The way things were – chilling and uninviting. To rise it to our standards today and start yelling something on feminism is so wrong it just IS wrong. Take it as a reality check – if you recognize through these yourself, it’s time to act and rid yourself from the problem or suffer like they did. I took Andersen’s fairy tales up each time I wanted to cry.

 …It teaches children that it is acceptable to kill witches and paints witches as child-eating monsters
Hansel and Gretel. Long story short- ummm…. Nobody is bothered that the witch was a cannibal? But it bothers that it teaches your child that if you are in rough, then do something about it? I do agree with depicting witches wrong, but come on – there has to be a bad force in the story or there is no story!

 …Due to themes of witchcraft, wizardry, cults, Satanism, death, hate and dark content
Harry Potter! I have only one thing to say. It.Is.A.Story.

 …It was “pornographic” and contained “satanic pictures.”
I thought long and hard where in Little Mermaid is this satanic picture it refers to? Pornographic? Only to those, who don’t dare to see themselves in the mirror. But satanic? She turns into angel in the end and she stays truthful to what she loves. Am I missing something here?

…The book was violent because of the actions of the wolf … The teacher questioned the appropriateness of the little girl taking wine to her grandmother and her grandmother later drinking the wine.
With Little Red Riding Hood… Everybody is concerned that the big bad wolf eats the people, but nobody cries out to the wolf: “Don’t talk to that girl! They’ll cut you up, fill you with stones and toss you in the well!” I don’t know which was worse – that he ate them or what they did to him after it.
I’m not even adressing the second part of this allegation as I just don’t see the point. If every book out there would be banned where children carry alcohol for one reason or the other, we would have very tiny book shelves. In Tom Soyer they even got drunk!

At some point it was very popular to give the fairy tales some life based meaning. So it was that Red Riding Hood was suppose to be a story told by women to their daughters, who just hit puberty, to warn them of horrors what will follow if they talk to strangers. 

Oh I know how to ruin fairy tales for grownups so bad they think twice before telling the story again. Yet I adore them each time more after I’ve read another scientist’ research on what they could mean. A whole new world grows out, I can say that much, a whole new perspective.

 Even more I urge you read every one of those books and fairy tales that are “banned” because somebody found them offensive. Learn what they are and why they are written the way they were and find out why they were banned. It’s worthless word.

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Book sells

Book sell Visited a book sell few days back and got some nice books from there. Mostly fairy tales and few others, but I couldn’t spot anything I would imagine using more than once. Fairy tale books however are always useful.

After that, though no money, I spent some evenings scanning the book stores to see what they offer right now. I wasn’t planning on buying any, but it cheered me up to see that this line hasn’t dried out either. There was one that caught my eye. The Strain trilogy Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan. I didn’t see the first book anywhere and I don’t even know exactly what it talks about, but I know I want to read it. The whole series. I ordered it that evening, I’ll spend the first euros from my salary on that. I don’t think the third book has been released yet. Even better – more mystery and thrill.

 Our local library has a nice shelf, where they put the books that haven’t been taken out for long time or are basically outdated. I had no particular book in mind when I went to library today, but came out with two. One being “The Stepford wives” by Ira Levin. I’ve seen every movie version dozen times and knew they were based on a novel, but I’d never guess it was so close to home. Had I known, I would have read it long ago. Now I have it and I’m planning on reading it as soon as I can keep my eyes open in the evening more than 6 seconds.

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Beginnings

I’m reading Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell right now and I just finished the chapter on Beginnings.

 

The weather was so damp of heat it filled my lungs with water. I could feel it bubbling in my lungs and it made me cough.

Typical of me – to catch a cough at midsummer. Maddy looked at me with concerne, but I explained I swallowed a fly. They didn’t have to know the cough hadn’t left me since I had pneumonia in February. It always brings up the ugly topic of returning to doctors, who think it’s psychological rather than physical.

I kept reading my book, knowingly flipping the pages. Perhaps too often, but my mood was ruined. The crickets kept singing and the wheezing sensation in my lungs grew. I knew I had to go inside as soon as possible or I’ll be coughing the whole upcoming week.

“I’ll make some tea,” I searched for an excuse, “you want one?”

“Darling, it’s 37 degrees out here! Who would want hot tea?”

I was already up from my bolstered pillows, eager to leave.

“I would,” I said, “just felt like having one. Black, with lemon.” I sensed cough come up, but forced it down. “And a tint of sugar while I’m at it.”

She laughed like the wind we were missing so much, soft and clear. “In that case, darling, make me a cup, too.”

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What do they actually want?

!!! M-rating all the way! Mature eyes only!

“What would this guy’s actual fantasy be? What would he not ask his girlfriend do and he would ask this woman to do? What is the biggest taboo for the character? For a man? Continue reading

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