Archive for the ‘literature’ Tag

The Terrible Teen Section, Part Two

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Hello to all elephants standing on mushrooms, caterpillar men also on mushrooms, and half-eaten bowls of raspberries sitting on my computer desk.
I don’t know if you recall the first time I went over the Terrible Teen Section. It was quite a while ago, and now I’m living in a different part of town and going to a whole different library. However, despite my best efforts, I have been unable to glean any information out of the librarians as to WHY, exactly, no matter where I go I just can’t escape the terrible teen section. It’s like it follows me. I can’t avoid it, it and its horrible books.
Don’t you know what I mean? Haven’t you ever walked around the teen section? All you get are blaring eyefuls of vampire-romance this and kissy-lovey-dovey relationship crap that. I feel like there must be good teen books somewhere, but they’re buried three hundred feet underground in a cave infested with man-eating bats in a treasure chest, and there’s a note that says ‘Only the Worthy Are Allowed Here.’
Because look. I’m tired of crappy books. I go to the library to find worthwhile books, not to gaze helplessly at the cover of “The Vampire Story Where They Make Out In A Valley Every Five and a Half Pages”. I’ve read that one. It’s not so good.
But I don’t know what to do about it. I think the world just needs stricter publishing cridentials, that’s all: like for instance, only publishing books that have at least some semblance of quality to them. If that happened, we’d never run into this kind of monstrosity:

Oh Gawwwd...

I mean WHY!?! Why? Why why why why why why whyyyy? This is the sort of thing that makes me want to find some sand and stick my head in it until I can face the world again, which would probably take quite a while. I just can’t believe people read this sort of thing. Granted, I didn’t actually open the book and read any of it (my brain would have been instaneously vaporized probably), but I can tell, all right, just by that cover. I can tell quite profusely that it isn’t the sort of thing I like to read.
What’s even worse about it was that there was a whole shelf full of these books, all by the same author, with titles that varied in degrees of utter horror. 1 being mild gagging sensations and nausea, 10 being instant vaporization due to exposure to lameness.

And then I saw this thing. At first glance, it doesn’t seem so horrible– and I agree, it isn’t. Until you read what’s over the title.

Is he a boy? Or… is he… a beast?
Omygawd I don’t care.

Now the last one is the worst, in my opinion. It outdoes Boys R Us in every way– which, I know, you wouldn’t think would be even remotely possible. But it does. There’s just something about it– I think it’s the complete and utter lack of any sort of creativity or originality. Everything about it goes against what I live for, what I fight for, what I would gladly die for, which is the appreciation of good books. Obviously whoever let this get published was not an appreciator. It’s just… it’s just so bad. It hurts me at a profound level. The frilly title, the models on the cover, it all fills me with a sadness I can barely explain. It’s like the worst after school special ever that two fifty year old men in suits think kids will like.
It is…

Everything is wrong with this.

Gah. Bleh.
(That’s the sound of me dying.)
No, but really. I mean, who lets this stuff get published? I think whoever it is, they need to be thrown into the underground cavern with the man eating bats and the treasure chest of good books and left there for a while to regain their wits.
I guess some people just don’t mind as much what they read. But I do. I most certainly do. I am a literature snob who goes around sneakily taking pictures of silly books in the public library and giggling to myself like an escaped lunatic. Maybe the point of all this isn’t that there needs to be less terrible books in the world, but that I need desperately to find something valuable to do with my time.

Oh, well. Such is life. Good-bye, and Blog-Reader, before you go– remember that there ARE good books out there, no matter how scarce, and that among the fields of First Dates and Boys R Uses and Werelings there can be found the shining golden form of something worthwhile to read.
Yours truly as never, mwahaha, ~Onceabasementdog


The Best Dream Ever and Mr. Rochester’s Mustache

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Hello to all people on unicycles crashing into fences, pears in baskets, railings, and curtain designers.

This morning I had the best. Dream. Ever.

I was substituting for the lead singer of Arcade Fire. We were playing in front of this enormous crowd– and the first song was Month of May, and I was totally killing it. It was the epic-est dream I’ve ever had– usually my dreams are just downright depressing, like for instance, that one I had a few years ago where a giant squid-woman was scooping people up and eating them, or maybe the one where I rescued a colony of mice living in a jail and then they ran out and fell off a cliff. The Arcade Fire dream was absolutely fantastic, in any case, and it would’ve went on longer if the Mother hadn’t walked in… just then… as I was having the most incredible dream of my existence… and woke me up.

(Here I twitch a few times.)

In other news, yesterday I watched the 1980-something version of Jane Eyre. It wasn’t good, nor was it especially bad– and I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed it more if MR. ROCHESTER HADN’T HAD A MUSTACHE.

The actor was annoying enough to begin with– he didn’t capture his character at all, at least in my opinion– but he would’ve been fine, bearable even, if he just didn’t have that fr-icking mustache. I realize it was the eighties, and everyone had a mustache and bad hair, but in Mr. Rochester’s case it just made him look like a loser! A mustache-bearing loooooooser! I tried to picture him without it, or to just ignore it, but it was impossible. Every time there was a shot of his face ALL I SAW WAS THE MUSTACHE. I mean, the lady playing Jane was absolutely perfect– but the mustache just ruined everything. Everything.

Now my view of Jane Eyre is colored by the mustache. If I ever read the book again every time Mr. Rochester says something all I’m going to think about is that thing on his face, that horrible thing on his face. I have to see the newest version, and cleanse my mind of the mustache– hopefully that Mr. Rochester doesn’t have one. If he does I might have to take matters into my own hands and make a version of Jane Eyre myself, where Mr. Rochester is clean shaven, God help me.

Anyway. It’s another stupidly hot day in Onceabasementdogville, and I do fear I shall melt into a puddle of gloop. It’s really just ridiculous out there. Things will start spontaneously bursting into flame soon.

In other words, there is no possibility of taking a walk today. Yours as untruly as never, (did I use that one already?), ~Onceabasementdog.

‘On Seeing Mr. Rochester’s Mustache’

‘Twas a day in the middle of a hot, lonely summer,

And all things considered, my life was a bummer.

We rented Jane Eyre, assuming it would be fair,

But all was then ruined by the thing on his face

That was hair.

The girl playing Jane was fine, I exclaim!

But the mustache was torturing me with intense mental pain.

I must needs discover who casted this man,

And then went on to suggest a mustache was an excellent plan.

Charlotte Bronte frowns down on the mustache,

And… I send my regards to my dear friend… Eustache.

(Well? You go ahead and tell me what rhymes with mustache.)


Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Hello to all enormous Norton anthologies of English literature, crows cawing from trees, and hamsters in hamster wheels.

To me, the ‘OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR’ message that you see on most or every car mirror has always seemed needlessly cryptic. I have to sit down with a clear mind if I even want to understand what it means. So okay, let me get this straight… these objects, these things I see in this mirror, they are closer than they appear. So that means when they’re not in the mirror, they’re farther than they appear? No, no… wait a second…

I believe it means that things you see in the mirror are closer than they actually are. But who has time to figure that out when it’s worded that way? Like, okay, you’re driving down a dark highway out in the country somewhere, and an enormous eighteen wheeler is zooming up behind you. You check the mirror, thinking, ‘Doesn’t it say something important on the mirror?’ and in the oncoming light of the truck’s headlights you read the message, and while you’re trying to work out what it means… CRASH-BOOOOM!

Turns out the object in the mirror was much closer than it appeared.

Why can’t they just say, ‘THINGS IN THE MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY LOOK.’ Why does it have to be poetic and complicated? Did they get John Milton to write that? Hey, Milton, can you write us a message for the car mirrors? And Milton says, ‘Sure thing!’ And then it turns into a poem that goes on for dozens of pages. They couldn’t fit the whole poem on the mirror so they just took the important part, which was ‘Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear.’

I don’t know if the car companies realizes this rhymes and is strangely difficult to understand.

In other news. Sorry for the long blog-strike. Except it wasn’t really a strike. Well, you can picture it like a strike if you want to, that’s more fun, with all the keys on my keyboard walking around with little signs and demanding to be treated more fairly. Because honestly, I work them pretty hard, with all the stories and blogging and so on. But don’t any of you get any ideas. Yes, I’m looking at you, comma key.

In other news, I’ve been biking and playing guitar and fooling around on a website where people upload stories. (I have an account; if you’re at all interested I’m called SweeperOfChimneys and I’m on FictionPress.) I like sneering at all the junk people put up there and thinking, ‘He he, I write better than you.’

I’ve been reading a lot lately, too– I just got through Blood Red Road by Moira Young, which is a Hunger Games rehash with an evil king and a girl with a pet crow and stuff. It was all right. I also finished A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I highly recommend. Shakespeare is unbearable in school but on your own it’s pretty neat. And hm, what else have I been up to? It’s so hard to dredge out anything exciting to write about. I went to Harvey’s the other day. Had a veggie burger and some onion wrings. It was good.

I can’t wait for Cassandra Clare’s new book to come out. I’ve lost faith in the modern-day series, which is chock-full of gushiness, but the other one is really cool. I want the Advance Reader’s copy and I may just have to bribe the ladies at the local bookstore to read it when they get it. Last time I asked to read the early copy of a book I wanted and they said someone else was reading it… but maybe a couple bucks’ll change that this time.

I wish I had more to say. I never do. My friends will groan when they know that I can open up the three respective Kane Chronicles books at the Anubis scenes like, without having to search through it any. And this gushy scene is here… and THIS gushy scene is here…

Have a good week, my friend Blog-Reader! May the force be with you, but not too with you, because then you might turn mad with power and use it for evil. ~Onceabasementdog


A Monster Calls… Depressingly.

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Hello to all trees crushing churches, pigs from outer-space, people with funny suits and computer speakers from 1987.

Yesterday I read a book. I read lots of books; however, I rarely read books about living yew trees that talk to people and tell stories and are INCREDIBLY DEPRESSING. A Monster Calls is a book by Patrick Ness, author of the tremendously cool series Chaos Walking. This book is a 200-some sad picture book, so sad, so incredibly sad that you will very possibly feel like crying… or rewriting the ending, like I did. And Conor could finally face it, his mother’s death. Wouldn’t it be better if it ended like, And Conor lived happily ever after in a flying castle with his friends and there was never another depressing day to be had. Ever. Then they all went and got ice cream and there were puppies and butterflies falling from the sky.

A Monster Calls is fantastic. Patrick Ness is a great writer and, though melancholy, the book is quite entertaining and brutally honest. The best part is the illustrations, which are dark and strange and sometimes alarming. It’s a lot to take in three hours of furious page-turning, and it leaves a bittersweet (mostly bitter, not very sweet) taste behind. But the monster, which is a yew tree but not a yew tree but not real but real at the same time, is possibly the funniest part of the whole thing, which is ironic since it’s also the scariest and darkest part of the whole thing. The stories it tells to Conor are interesting, and the whole thing is like a half-daze of frightening images and wordplay: all very lyrical, like a long, dark poem about a dying woman and a struggling boy and a darn freaky living tree that crushes things.

I reccommend it, if mostly for the artwork. The story is good on its own, but the images that Jim Kay conjures up really makes it what it is. Four stars out of five, I say.

So ends my review of one of the most interesting yet horribly, horribly sad books I’ve ever read. Let’s read the Clifford the Big Red Dog Valentine’s Day book next. Please.