Goodreads has the phrase "What did you think?" above this box every time you type in a review.
The thing with Walking Dead? I didn't think much. I mean...moreGoodreads has the phrase "What did you think?" above this box every time you type in a review.
The thing with Walking Dead? I didn't think much. I mean, it was fine, it moved the story forward about the normal amount. But the second I closed the book, that was it. I haven't thought about it since I did that and started typing this.
More and more it definitely feels like Walking Dead needs to be read at the pace of 3 trades at a time. I can't imagine reading it month-to-month as even the slim trades seem to not offer quite enough meat.
It's not really a criticism of the story, I suppose. Really, I wish that the publishing world were more flexible. I feel pretty strongly that Walking Dead, as a series, has seen enough success to write its own ticket, and I'd like to see it published in whatever format it's meant to be read. Maybe that means compendiums, omnibi, individual issues of varying lengths, whatever. I just can't help but notice they have more and more formats for the same stories, but I'm not really sure about the best way to read.
Content should dictate format when it comes to books. That's the summary here.(less)
Interesting little part in this book, an adult is reading a frightening picture book to a young child.
I'll summarize as best as I can remember.
Adult 1...moreInteresting little part in this book, an adult is reading a frightening picture book to a young child.
I'll summarize as best as I can remember.
Adult 1: Don't you think that book might be a little too scary?
Adult 2: It's okay. Picture books all do the same thing. They reinforce rules because the child in the story violates the rules and then ends up confronted with something scary. Although at the same time, it encourages children to break the rules. Because who doesn't want to have an adventure?
It's so funny because I was having a similar discussion with some friends yesterday.
I felt, as a kid, motivated to read stuff that was a little...outside the rules. If it had cussing in it, or if the characters were doing something they really shouldn't. Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen was a good example. When I looked it up, I found this review:
Seriously? This book was terrible! The first thing you notice when you pick up this book is the title 'Harris and Me'. Okay, that's not even proper grammar. SO obviously, the author is a thick-skulked baboon. Need further proof? Does he really expect me to laugh at someone hurting there balls or saying the word 'piss'? Because, quite frankly, it's not that funny all. If he says 'testicles' one more freaking time I'm going to shoot someone!"I said testicle and now I'm a famous author!" NO!!! That's not how it works!!!! Hey, Gary Paulsen. Ever heard of the Grammar Slammer Bammer? Well, he's coming for you
Haha, wow. So let me get this straight. You're upset because the book isn't called "Harris & I"? Listen, I don't know where you grew up, but kids did not talk like that where I growed up. By the way, nice typo on "thick-skulked". Did people call other people dum-dum where you growed up?
And no, I'd never heard of the Grammar Slammer Bammer. Who, I just learned (googled), is a character from a Canadian TV show. Apparently, on The Hilarious House of Frightenstein, the Grammar Slammer was a disembodied voice who would correct people's grammar, and the Bammer was a big purple monster who would threaten people who didn't talk good.
Which, actually, isn't that far off from real life. People really pick on grammar. And it makes me crazy.
Let me put a hypothetical to you. Which of these people is more "advanced":
Person A, who knows the "correct" way to speak, uses it, and corrects others.
Person B, who also knows the "correct" way to speak but tailors his/her speech to the situation, speaking with the style and lexicon of the person he/she communicates with, and never correcting grammar.
People, grammar exists only to make sure that the way we talk can be understood by others and for teachers to have something to mark off on papers rather than marking off the student's understanding of concepts. Adhering to grammar is not the way to develop a person or a student.
Proof? Okay. I had a professor in college who was a total grammarian prick. If you messed up something grammatically, he would force you to finish exercises from his own shitty homemade textbook. So, when I came across something that I wasn't 100% sure about, what would I do? I'd write my way around it. If I wasn't sure about the right usage, I'd cut out the word completely. I wrote in exclusively simple sentences to avoid a comma splice. The results were grammatically-correct shit.
I hate people who pick on grammar.
Further, picking on a story because you don't find the humor to be funny. Could this be because the book was written for school-age boys? I thought that shit was hilarious. Because I was a school-age boy. And because, well, I was tired of reading about people who were good examples and did everything right and made all the right choices.
Last night I was watching Army of Darkness. I know, this is all over the place, officially. But go with me for a second.
I was trying to figure out what appealed to me so much about the movie when I first saw it, maybe age 12 or so. And I think, although I couldn't have said it at the time, it was that the main character was my favorite sort of character. A fuck-up who just charges in anyway.
The beauty of the fuck-up character who keeps moving forward is that you've got lots of opportunity for things to go awry, and you, as the viewer, KNOW that the character does nothing to help himself out. He makes things so much worse than they have to be. When you feel like a fuck-up and there's nothing you can do to stop it, it's nice to see other characters who fuck up, and it's nice to see that maybe, just maybe, if you embrace your fuck-up status and push forward, you might end up in big trouble, but you'll have some adventures, by god.(less)
The first half of the series was excellent. The second half flagged a bit. The ending works, and Dan Slott manag...moreAnd thus ends the Superior Spider-Man.
The first half of the series was excellent. The second half flagged a bit. The ending works, and Dan Slott managed to wrap up what would seem to be yet another impossible-to-wrap storyline.
I think what happened, for me anyway, is that the series started with the new Spider-Man doing things very differently. Showing the ways in which things could have been very different, maybe even a little better at times, for Spider-Man.
However, towards the end it started to feel like we were just saying, "You know the stuff that happened to Spider-Man Regular? Let's do that to this Spider-Man."
For example, the Venom storyline. We basically watched, again, a new Spider-Man go through exactly what the OG went through not so long ago. And it ended in a way that wasn't dissimilar. And the new Spider-Man came to pretty similar conclusions.
But hey, overall, AWESOME series. I recommend Superior Spider-Man for any comic book reader, wholeheartedly. Despite being a fanboy who loves the character dearly, the change behind the mask was earned by the time it was all said and done, and the story won me over.
Marvel has been willing to take a lot of risks with the Spider-Man books over the last few years, always returning to the norm eventually, but I appreciate the ride and hope they'll continue to take chances.(less)
If you want to talk like a villain, I have some handy hints for you.
1. Never call someone an "asshole." If you use a word like Asshole, you're missing...moreIf you want to talk like a villain, I have some handy hints for you.
1. Never call someone an "asshole." If you use a word like Asshole, you're missing an opportunity to use a far more villainous word. Dummies aren't dummies, they're imbeciles. Or dolts. Even if someone is really acting like an asshole, make sure to call them simpleton instead.
2. Never call Robots "Robots". They are automatons. Or auto-men. Or your army of robo-centric humanoids. Never, ever robots.
3. Never miss a chance to insult. Classic Darth Vader line, "Then he is as clumsy as he is stupid." Haha, I always wish I could go in the movie and high-five him for that one. Nothing like taking a mistake and using it to point out TWO flaws about a person.
4. Never be below the absolute boiling point of rage. Let's say you're Doctor Doom, and you're impersonating Daredevil's alter-ego, Matt Murdock. And let's say Foggy Nelson, your lifelong friend and confidant, comes into your office to deliver very important and relevant news. On the way in, he trips and spills a coffee cup on some papers.
Incorrect Response: Haha, oh, Foggy. Are you alright? No worries. That's why they make copy machines, right buddy?
Correct Response: You pig-headed dolt! Your imbecilic mincing about has ruined the plans for my new robonautnics. You and your simpleton ways have spoiled the plans of Doctor D- Matt Murdock for the last time!(less)
Has anyone time traveled in a fictional story, EVER, and then returned to say, "That was, all in all, a good idea"?
Time travel, we're lead to belie...moreHas anyone time traveled in a fictional story, EVER, and then returned to say, "That was, all in all, a good idea"?
Time travel, we're lead to believe, never works out. Shit's disappearing, we decide to make evil robots that are not only killing us but designed to look like demon skeletons for good measure. The best outcome is that you come home horribly scarred because, sure, you did manage to avoid having sex with your own mom, but will you ever look at her the same after encountering her as a lustful teenager who is constantly trying to get your pants off? That's just not something you bounce back from.
Hm. I'd never thought of it before, but 'Back To The Future' would have had a very different tone if Marty McFly were Martina McFly and her dad was trying to get all over her in the past. Just saying.
And by the way, Back to the Future IV, Marty goes back in time, is a decent father to Biff Tannen, changing the bully's life around and turning him into a decent human being who becomes an insurance adjuster and a regular MVP in rec league softball.
Am I the only person who, when offered the chance to time travel, will grab the nearest piece of furniture and use it to smash whatever weird time car or time door or whatever, whatever ridiculous way it's structured, am I the only one who would smash the goddamn thing to bits without ever stepping through? Seriously. At this point, I would think that EVERY comic book super hero would, upon seeing a time machine or even anything that looks kind of like it might be a time machine, smash it to absolute dust.
Take my advice. As someone who has read a lot of comics and is not overly attracted to either of his parents. If you see a time machine, run at it, scream NOOOOOOOOO, and smash the shit out of it. Yes, some science nerd will be pissed. But what's he gonna do? Tell the police you wrecked his TIME MACHINE!? I think not.(less)
From Top Gear's most entertaining presenter, this book collects a bunch of short pieces Jeremy Clarkson wrote for the paper.
As an Ugly American, or at...moreFrom Top Gear's most entertaining presenter, this book collects a bunch of short pieces Jeremy Clarkson wrote for the paper.
As an Ugly American, or at least an Average-Looking American, I'll say that there are definitely a lot of references I didn't really understand. I don't blame the book for that. I mean, we're talking about London cultural references from 2001. Even the U.S. equivalents probably wouldn't make a ton of sense to people around here. If I compared a politician from 2001 to Limp Bizkit, well, let's just not even take it any further.
I wonder if Americans really are so bad about learning other cultures. Or, to put it differently, is this one of the few cases where it's not so much our fault?
A Forbes article from 2013 pointed out that the U.S. is the only "Advanced" economy in the world that does not have any mandated paid vacation. Additionally, U.S. law does not enforce any holiday vacation while other "advanced" economies mandate between 5 and 13, these in addition to the required paid holidays.
Apparently there are also 5 countries that pay HIGHER wages for vacation days to help offset expenses incurred while traveling.
When it comes to sheer size, it's no small feat just to get across the U.S. In fact, if you lay Texas over Europe, you'll cover parts of France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, and just a bit of Poland for good measure.
Texas is a big-ass state, but it's only 8-10% of the entire U.S. landmass, depending on whether you count Alaska and Hawaii.
I'm not trying to use the old argument that other countries are too far away. I don't know why they built Spain way the hell over there, but what's a fella to do?
What I am trying to say is that, culturally, your traveling miles go a lot further in Europe than they do in the U.S. You can make your way to a lot of very different spots with their own, much older cultures while actually putting far fewer miles under your belt.
The Dollar is about .75 Euros. It's been this way or worse since I've been old enough to travel on my own.
I'm not suggesting that any one of these factors should prevent Americans from exploring the world. When you consider, as is done in some of the book's last essays, how much easier travel has become with the rise of the jet engine, there's not much excuse.
...except when one considers that the average American is dealing with all three of these factors, at best.
I feel pretty strongly that most of the people I know, most of whom are Americans AT LEAST as ugly as I am, would be happy to visit places outside the U.S. for extended periods. Given the opportunity, many, many would go.
But I have to say, it limits the desire to learn about a culture when you'll only read about it in books and see brief glimpses on TV. It's tough to learn French when you figure you'll maybe get to Paris for four days sometime in your life. Or, [shudder] Canada.
I feel The System, The Man, The Whatever It Is in America really lends itself to jumping on a plane for a few hours, spending two days a couple states away, somewhere that has beaches if you don't have those, or somewhere that has nice beaches if you have suck beaches, and then coming back after a long weekend.
Anyway, for better or worse, Top Gear is my primary exposure to European culture at this point in my life. God help us all.
Last week I thought certainly that being at a library conference in Las Vegas, I would be the one to embarrass my colleagues. Maybe it would be the ti...moreLast week I thought certainly that being at a library conference in Las Vegas, I would be the one to embarrass my colleagues. Maybe it would be the time I was informed about swimming in the Bellagio fountain drunk or swimming in the Mirage volcano drunk or swimming in what I thought was a pool but was really just blue carpet. Drunk.
I'm not saying I'm much better than anyone else when it comes to decorum. Let's just get that out of the way. However, after a really good talk BJ Novak gave at the conference, a few of the questions he was asked by librarians really embarrassed me. Embarrassed the way...you know how it is when you go out to eat with your parents, and your mom says something to the waiter or does something that's really not that bad, but you just cringe?
Mr. Novak was gracious and handled it really well. He turned what could have been some weird shit into laughs. But honestly, a few of the questions still make me shudder when I think about them, and I have to say, for just a bit, I was pretty embarrassed by my colleagues.
Here we go.
Question: "Will you come visit our library in Montana?" Listen, shameless. How about you ask your super-specific, you-oriented question during the signing portion. It's a little unfair to ask in front of the whole group of people here. I mean, what's a person to say? "No, go fuck yourself"? Have you ever been to one of these allegedly fancy restaurants where the lady walks around selling roses? And she'll come to your table and ask if you want to buy one for your girlfriend? It's not like she is subtle about it. It's more along the lines of, "Hey, you cheap bastard, you don't think it's worth $9 for this dumb flower with no container?" And it's not like they sell flowers in the bathroom so you can make the decision on your own. They ask you right in front of your date. This is essentially what you're doing, and it's kind of messed up.
Question: "Will you ask Mindy Kaling to write a picture book too?" Okay, the dude is here to talk about his book. And he mentioned Mindy Kaling, but COME ON! That's fucked up. This is a little like calling me and saying, "Hey, will you invite your brother to this awesome party across town? I don't have his number, but I'd love it if he'd be there."
Question: "How come celebrities aren't better advocates for the library?" This is a bad question for two reasons. Number one, it's pretty unfair to ask that of one person. What is he supposed to say? That would be like me asking you, "How come all middle-aged ladies don't like 80's metal?" All you can answer with is why YOU don't like 80's metal. Except it's even worse because you're asking him why celebrities aren't advocates, meanwhile he's speaking at your convention, gave away hundreds of copies of his book for free, and spent a good couple hours signing for every last person who lined up. So it would be like me asking why you don't like 80's metal, except I'm shouting it in your ear to be heard over the nose of the Quiet Riot concert happening in front of us live.
Number two, it's not so much a question as it is a demand. The question, "Why don't celebrities advocate for libraries?" in a roomful of librarians is actually the statement "Celebrities should advocate for libraries."
And let me tell you why I disagree with that.
The celebrities I like, the writers I enjoy, I enjoy the writing they do. If they can visit conferences and do PSA's or whatever, that's great, but ultimately I want people who are producing good work to keep producing that good work.
Along those lines, many of the writers I've tried to book for visits do very few every year because when they're doing visits they're not writing.
I think for those of us with regular jobs, it's easy to see someone like a writer or an actor as someone who has lots of free time. But I just don't think that's true. I think you'll find that most successful writers probably spend more time working than the average person who puts in 40 hours every week. Not to mention that the vast majority of those people spent decades doing 40 hours of work a week while spending their "down time" writing or acting or painting or whatever.
My point is, if it's a choice between getting another book from an author I enjoy or getting some kind of library advocacy campaign going, the efficacy of which I question anyway, then I'll take the content. I will. If people keep writing good books, the library will have plenty to do. If those good books get in the right hands, they'll inspire more people to create good work as well.
If you're a person who uses the word "meandering" as a way of criticizing a book, then skip this one. DO READ one of Poe Bal...moreThis is a damn solid read.
If you're a person who uses the word "meandering" as a way of criticizing a book, then skip this one. DO READ one of Poe Ballantine's other books because he is an excellent writer you should get to know, but what I'm saying is that if you've got a problem with a story that doesn't have a very clear, linear progression, this one might not be the right choice. If you're looking for a plot-driven novel with a Scooby-Doo reveal, take a pass here.
I don't want to just address criticisms here...but I've read a few things about Ballantine being an unlikable character. This, my friends, is a criticism I'm sort of over, in general.
I don't have to like a guy or agree with him to find his story interesting. Nor do I need my "characters" (in quotes because in this case the cast is composed of actual, real people) to present themselves as fully-formed people who know what the fuck they're doing.
I don't need them to be right all the time. Because honestly, I don't see a lot of point in reading something that's about being fair to all parties involved. A voiceless, dimensionless pack of pages that tells me what happened and then how I should think about what happened. I'd prefer to hear a more one-sided account of things. I'm a grownup. I understand that this is one person's perspective, and as an empathetic human I can understand that other parties would almost certainly tell the same story differently.
I don't have to share the point of view of a narrator to enjoy a book, nor does my enjoyment of a book mean I endorse the narrator's beliefs. Guys, if I want a book where the author shares my every belief and point of view, I'll have to write the goddamn thing myself.
What needs separation is whether you don't enjoy the character, the choices made or the character's viewpoint, or if you don't like the writing.
Is it the point of view or the expression of that point of view?
Yes, a character can come off as whiny or obnoxious, or the opinions can be so skewed and bizarre or touch on an issue close to your heart, and if that happens you'll never enjoy it. Just accept it.
But if a book is well-written, you'll read it regardless. Because although you might not agree with the point of view, its presentation is beautifully done.
Or maybe you won't. I don't know. I would just encourage readers to ask themselves before criticizing a book because they "didn't like" the characters. Did you dislike them because they said and did things you wouldn't do? Or that you think are bad? Or did you dislike them because the way they presented the material just didn't cut it?