Great Words

Words

Inspired by this post – The Most Annoying Word in English – I started thinking of the opposite, about the words I absolutely adore. The ones I would like to wear as a necklace. I wonder how many of them I can think of in five minutes.

Devoid, Ethereal, Ephemeral, Barren, Voracious, Vicarious, Blatant, Obstinate, Parsimonious, I used to like Sullen, but it sound a lot like Cullen so that’s off the list. Skulk, Flabbergasted, Ghastly, Surreptitious, Owl, Olfactory.

Time’s up. Fifteen words, only one verb. What does that say about me? Am I stuck in quagmire of inactivity?

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Books that Change Lives (Fear of Flying)

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2nd edition, 1978, the one I read

En Route to the Congress of Dreams or the Zipless Fuck

Bigamy is having one husband too many. Monogamy is the same.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, one of the books that changed my life. I read it some 15 years ago, when I was 12. It changed those few notions I had of life, love and sex – and I believe helped shape my personality. I will not say whether that was a good or a bad thing, it’s a fact. Let’s just say I realized that being a woman is not as simple and straightforward as I thought, and that love and pursuit of a mate is not all there is to it. Self-actualization got redefined.

To contextualize things. It was 1998, a small town, no computers, no smartphones, no Internet – the only source of information, aside from my parents’ library, were idiotic teen magazines. This is I guess why I still remember the honesty of the book. Jong’s vivid description and detailed comparisons of toilets in different countries – used as a cultural analysis – surprised me to no end. Writing about toilets? Really? I vaguely remember a scene of lesbian sex, but I clearly remember the shock. What I recall rather well is the relationship Isadora had with her husband, the coldness of it, the terrible absence of getting what you need from the person sleeping next to you, sharing your life. That freaked me out. I though marriage was love, understanding and all that jazz. Erica Jong made sure to burst that bubble for me. She showed me relationships are far from simple and straightforward and that the human factor invariably fucks things up.

Erica Jong wanted to give a “rallying cry for women who wanted the right to have fantasies as rich and raunchy as those of men.” Until I read Fear of Flying, I thought that was abnormal.

I think Fear of Flying is part of the reason why I hate 50 Shades of Grey and the idea that some 12-year old girl will think it somehow depicts life, love and sex. I cringe at the thought that a book which has no realism, no feminism and no sense of self will shape personalities. I’m not saying it will be a generational thing, but if only one person comes to believe what 50 Shades is selling, it’ll be a very, very sad world. An insulting claim from an article which pissed me off:

This was the erotic publishing phenomenon a la Fifty Shades Of Grey, selling over 27 million copies worldwide to become one of the top 50 bestselling novels in publishing history

Although, I would love to see the 40th anniversary edition marketed as something akin to 50 Shades of Grey, only to make all those fans who think E. L. James wrote something groundbreaking see what kind of books real writers with real cojones wrote in 1973.

Allow me to quote Goodreads:

Originally published in 1973, the ground-breaking, uninhibited story of Isadora Wing and her desire to fly free caused a national sensation—and sold more than twelve million copies. Now, after thirty years, the iconic novel still stands as a timeless tale of self-discovery, liberation, and womanhood.

Who wants to bet (hope) that forty years from now nobody will remember 50 Shades of Grey?

Let’s move away from my pet hate. This year, to mark the anniversary, I have decided to revisit Fear of Flying, and the reason why I’m reflecting upon it before I embark on the journey is to see just how much a 15-year gap has affected me as a reader, how much all the life between two readings is going to change my perception of the book.

I wonder, can Fear of Flying teach me new things, 15 years after the first reading? At the same time I wish I could forget about reading the book long enough to read it again and write a review. I want to find out just how much of an impact would it have on me in the digital world where sex is everywhere and kids don’t read about it surreptitiously but rather practice it (hopefully with some form of contraception).

Dark World Eye Candy

As a fan, I find it hard to curb my enthusiasm about the upcoming sequel. Understandably, I cannot avoid a post with those shiny new Empire covers.

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Some deviant artwork to brighten things up…

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I know there’s only a few people out there who prefer Thor to Loki, but we as a minority have our rights 🙂

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Let us all forget about Batfleck and look forward to the new Thor movie, shall we?

English Language Died in the City of Bones

Courtesy of futuregravestone.com
Courtesy of futuregravestone.com

 

  • Clotted-blood-colored robes” adorn the characters, and some of them have a “half-breed-tolerating ways” about them. Those bastards! They made me feel “as if [my] heart were going to slam its way out of [my] rib cage“. My slamming heart were really perturbed by Valentine’s “interior face“, it “tantalized [my] sight“.

I was lying on the beach, basking in the late-august sun, attempting to explain to my boyfriend what was wrong with City of Bones. “She wrote that the weapons room looked like something called the weapons room would look like”, I said to him, indignantly.

He squinted against the sun and said that it sounded cool, like something Bujold would write. I realized he was right. I went over my notes and read to him: “The weapons room looked exactly the way something called the weapons room sounded like it would look.

His blank stare and my smirk were enough to dismiss any relation to Ms. Bujold’s writing.

The conversation continued due to my general confusion about how raw meat feels. I was trying to imagine how a peace of veal feels when its uncooked state. Apparently, Cassandra Clare has amazing emphatic abilities which extend to a piece of raw meat.

Her face felt like one big bruise, her arms, aching and stinging, like raw meat.

How does “The demon, turning, caught her a backhanded blow that sent her spinning to the ground” work for you?  Because it sure as hell had me thinking something along the lines: What the fuck just happened? How exactly do you catch someone a backhanded blow? Would Pete Sampras know the answer?

People in this book are “grinning grins” werewolves are “howling howls“. Some of the characters are “savoring the rich savory-salt taste”. There is some surprise at people retaining their eye-colour during a 15-year period: “He bore little resemblance to the handsome boy in the photograph, though his eyes were still black.” Masterful use of all the 50 shades of the English language.

Note this “I determined to look for her“. It felt wrong, it felt unnatural and forced. I admit, I had to look up why it felt so wrong, and according to thefreedictionary.com determine is both a transitive and intransitive verb. When it is used as a synonym of “decide” it is intransitive.

I could keep on writing about other stuff, like the fact that Cassandra Clare has an attention span of a gnat and keeps forgetting about stuff she wrote only several pages ago, but I won’t. Because I wrote about it here and because then I would have to put a subtitle to this post, something like Literature Died in City of Bones, and that would be superfluous because I think Literature generally shares the burial ground of Language.

For a more detailed review check out the one my friend wrote (we read this crap together, as a part of our MiniBookClub).

I do not consider myself a measure of all things, and even though I cannot understand it, there must be a reason why people like this book. So, here’s a review written by  Pau C. who thinks City of Bones is “a must-read to anyone interested in modern fantasy and romance“.

EDIT: I beg of you to read this review on Goodreads. It’s so very wonderful and the author has a blog here http://chocopal.wordpress.com/

Me (a reader) and My Reader

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In the dead of the night, when my boyfriend is fast asleep I normally spend my time with Sony PRST1. Since I live in a tiny excuse of an apartment there is no chance the aforementioned boyfriend could sleep while I read so I’d gotten myself a booklight. It worked perfectly until shortened nights threatened my relationship with Sony. Obnoxious flying creatures were drawn by my booklight, a beacon of knowledge, a key to other dimensions. Those nosy things started crawling all over my Sony, turning pages and highlighting words – words which warranted no highlighting. So Sony and I were on a break for a while, but it would appear that, as the shadows of the night elongate and the summer nears its end, the flying little buggers have lost interest in what I am reading. Or maybe they have concluded I have abysmal reading preferences.

Russian Winter Triumphs over Olympism?

Maybe you’ve heard of something called the Olympic Charter? Well, it is the codification of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, apparently.  The Principles tell us that Olympism is a philosophy of life, that is “seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.” It’s goal is tois to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”

And my favourite:

Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.

Stephen Fry at a protest in London over gay rights in Russia. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA
Stephen Fry at a protest in London over gay rights in Russia. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA (source: theguardian.com)

Allow me to state a few more facts.

August 9th

The International Olympic Committee is waiting for more clarifications from the Russian government on the anti-gay law that is overshadowing preparations for the Winter Games in Sochi, IOC President Jacques Rogge said Friday.

August 16th

The United States Olympic Committee, seemingly backtracking on an earlier statement – and now outright contradicting the International Olympic Committee – says Russia’s draconian new anti-gay law is inconsistent with fundamental Olympic principles.

August 22nd

Russia has given assurances its anti-gay “propaganda” law will not affect the Winter Olympics, says International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has released a statement saying it is content with the reassurances given by Russia over an anti-gay law signed in June for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

August 23rd

A decree banning demonstrations and rallies has been signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and will take place over the duration of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

I think Freddie wants a word with you.

I had a dream
When I was young
A dream of sweet illusion
A glimpse of hope and unity
And visions of one sweet union
But a cold wind blows
And a dark rain falls
And in my heart it shows
Look what they’ve done to my dreams

City of Bones is rubbing me the wrong way

My book buddy wrote about how City of Bones is rubbing her the wrong way. I also feel very wrongly rubbed by this appalling book.

My review will come. And it’s not going in the Nutshells category. Oh no.

Manga in a Nutshell – ES (Eternal Sabbath)

I hate writing about things like chapter numbers, summaries… You can find that, and read the manga here.

It’s difficult to write about something that you consider perfect, and this manga falls into that category. What I love about it is its ability to use the supernatural basis of the story in order to question the definition of humanity and morality. Eternal Sabbath deals with that primordial question of good and evil and whether these are clear-cut categories or they depend on the life of the beholder.

The characters are superb, remarkably life-like, whether human or animal-like. The metaphor, the questioning of basic tenets of society will not escape you. However, if you’re not particularly into this stuff, you’ll enjoy the amazing artwork, eerie atmosphere and great action scenes.

Eternal Sabbath has it all.

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A/N: This post introduces a new category – Nutshells – where I try to say as much as possible about something in 150 words or less. Why, because brevity is the soul of wit or whatnot. TAlso, this note is not included in the word count 🙂

Top 5 Wallpapers – Top 5 Anime(s)

The best way to tell you which are my favourite anime(s) is to mask my list as a picture post. I’m probably gonna review these as soon as my priorities are no longer centered on my vacation. My favourite? No. 5 – Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

1. Cowboy Bebop

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2. Rurouni Kenshin

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3. Trigun

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4. Mononoke Hime

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5. Legend of the Galactic Heroes

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SOURCES: zerochan, minitokyo, onlyhdwallpapers, deviantart, wallpapervortex, Good old Google Search

Bleach – Admiration is the furthest thing from understanding

I was told Internet people love lists and visual content, so here’s one such post.

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1. The Main Character is someone you can relate to and care about. Kurosaki Ichigo is at the same time funny and brooding – never actually failing to be cool and kick-ass in the process. Kurosaki Ichigo is by no means special or different – he follows the shonen tradition. He’s a high school boy with a tragic event in his past. An ordinary boy with an extraordinary ability which becomes more and more prominent as the anime (or manga, if you will) continues. Of course, there’s darkness within, which is one of his biggest enemies.

This is pretty much basic main character description for any shonen anime (or manga, if you will). Take Naruto – pretty much the same. Sometimes it’s a God given talent, sometimes it’s a talent which was forced upon the character, and sometimes it’s just sheer stubbornness and amazing strength. To draw a parallel with an ongoing anime, there’s Shingeki no Kyojin, where the hero, Eren, is again a boy with a tragic past who becomes the best, if not the last, hope for the survival of the human race under Titans’ attack.

2. Character Developmentthere actually is one. They change and gradually become all they can be. Albeit simplistic, there’s a psychological and historical basis for pretty much every one of the characters. In my opinion the most important thing every author has to be aware of one fact – t – willing suspension of disbelief can only go so far.

3.Regular New (Cool) Characters Introduction – every 15 or so episodes we are introduced to awesome new characters. Just when you get a bit weary, and things start getting a bit repetitive, Bleach shoves characters like Kuchiki Byakuya and Abarai Renji down your throat.

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4. Story – honour, strength, friendship, family. An „ordinary“ boy and his mates against the overwhelming supernatural force. Yes, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. However it is done splendidly, and after a while you realize that you’re breathing and bleeding as the story unravels.

5. Comic ReliefBleach never fails to hit you with something funny amid all the angst and pain. I love that. It’s rarely in the center – mostly it serves to break the tension.

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6. Normal Life Story-line – these guys go to school, they have friends and they try to keep up an image of being normal. This is something I enjoy, because as much as the story is supernatural, it makes the characters and the story more plausible.

7. Limited Number of Irritating Characters – there is only one irritating character in the first 63 episodes, and she has enormous boobs which pretty much nullify the irritation. She is also a center of latent lesbian interest of her two classmates and a certain kinky soft toy is rather interested in her, so she’s bearable.

8. Fanservice – there is no decent anime (especially one of this scope) which does not offer a reasonable amount of fanservice. In Bleach, there’s fanservice aplenty and I respect that because it makes me feel respected (good God, I really do sound like a major geek, don’t I?).

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9. Feeds the Monster – you have to feed the greed. You can’t have 15 episodes without the main character doing something absolutely awesome and growing even stronger than he was. True, this can be really difficult to achieve when an anime runs for 300 plus episodes, however it’s your obligation.

10. Awesome Bad Guys – last but not least. Without a decent opponent, our hero cannot shine. And Kurosaki et all do have some formidable and scary opponents.

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I cannot imagine an anime fan not at least trying to watch Bleach. However, I’ve only just begun watching Naruto and I have been an anime fan for over 10 years, so everything is possible. Here’s a few randomly positioned video clips because Internet people love video material, apparently.

When it comes to what to watch, I can honestly recommend first three seasons (ep 01 – 63) which comprise of: The Substitute (ep 01-20), The Entry (ep 21-41), The Rescue (42-63). Season 4 (Bount Arc) is a horrific filler season which made me waver and abandon Bleach for a while. After that, everything is a blur which I aim to clarify in the following months and come back with additional info.