Monday, April 30, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
(and, hey, don't read it if you don't want - its just a dark love story)
Monday, April 23, 2012
Depression came sneaking into my house yesterday. It hunkered down beside me and whispered in my ear. I know the things it said are lies, but still they eat at me. I've asked it to leave but its a sneaky little bastard. It keeps tiptoeing up behind me and catching me unaware. I'm doing my best to ignore it in the hopes that it will get tired of trying to manipulate me and go away. But I have a feeling its going to put up a fight.
Depression is a sneaky lying motherfucker and it sucks ass.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
But all the talk about Fifty Shades had me curious. Why the hell was this book getting so much promo? I decided to look it up on Amazon and read the excerpt. And...shit...I was hooked. I had to buy it.
It came Friday. I finished it this morning. (To be fair, I'm also reading two other books - a feat I don't recommend. It makes me scattered.)
I'm going to say one thing -- I've already ordered the next two books in the series AND I'm sitting here trying to convince myself I can wait for them to come in the mail. Honestly, I want to order them for my e-reader too, because I don't WANT to wait.
Fifty Shades of Grey is more than erotica. Yes, there's some racy hot scenes in it that will make your hair curl (and perhaps raise your blood pressure *clears throat*). Yeah. It's something. But that's NOT what makes this book phenomenal. It's the story. And, good God, it's a fantastic story.
Anastasia is just about to graduate from college when she takes her roommate's place interviewing businessman Christian Grey. Christian is ...oooh boy. Hot. Dangerous. Fascinating. Damaged. Just like Anastasia, I wanted to know his story. What makes him the man he is? How damaged is he? It appealed to that part of me that loved Jane Eyre and Rebecca and all those Victorian era stories with the innocent young girl trying to figure out the enigmatic older man who's fucked up. Yeah, except with a very modern twist, because Christian? Well, he's seriously fucked up.
They're not equals. Sexually, she's a total innocent. Romantically, he is. Emotionally? Well, he's rigid and stunted and in desperate need of learning that not everything can be controlled. And she's so unsure of herself in so many ways that she appeals to his need to control. She's light. He's dark. She makes him lighter. He makes her darker. Can they find a balance? A way to come together in a healthy way?
The story is very clever in that some of the most amazing conversations happen in emails which are both clever and funny. They lighten up what would otherwise be a dark dark story. The book ends on a cliffhanger that left me emotionally drained and desperate to know more. I'm invested in these characters. I need to know if they're going to work it out. And how they're going to work it out without Ana destroying herself. Can she find a way to accept Christian and his ... um ... unique likes?
This book has a heart. It has a soul. It has a story to tell. That's what makes it so good. And that's why everyone is talking about it. Do I recommend it? YES! But only if you can handle bondage scenes. (Trust me, there aren't that many and they're ... um .... interesting? enlightening? well written? *turning beet red*.) Shut up. And don't laugh at me. I'm a good little Catholic girl. ;P
I'm kind of shocked to say this, but this may have been one of the most enjoyable books I've read so far this year. Go forth and buy. You may wish to invest in something to fan yourself while you read. And don't blame me if it's too much for you. But you can definitely thank me for recommending it if you love it.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
(yes, its a little...um...graphic so I apologize in advance to anyone I might offend *cough* family members *cough*, but it's what popped into my head)
So, in deference to J.F. Lewis (should he ever come across this blog), I'll tell you why I love his books.
His main character, Eric, is an unapologetic asshole. But he's one of those assholes that no matter how much you want to be pissed at him or dislike him, it's impossible. He warns you he's an asshole and guarantees you will not like the things he does, and yet you can't help loving him anyway. Because despite his being one of those guys that just can't help but do stupid things, underneath it all he's a good guy. You know the type I mean, right? I dated one in college. He was a big, buff, wealthy, good looking guy who I knew from the start was going to piss me off regularly until I dumped him. (I helped him fake-cheat on his previous girlfriend so she would dump him.) Eric reminds me of him in so many ways.
Then there's the cast of characters that support the story: Tabitha, Rachel, Talbot, Fang, Marilyn and especially Greta. Each of them is essential to driving the story forward. Each of them is unique, cleverly created, and brilliantly integrated. And the "sub-characters" - the police, the thralls, the werewolves - as a whole and individually are well laid out, too. J.F. Lewis has created a complete world. That's incredibly hard to do.
His books are beautifully paced. They're laid out like out a complex puzzle. They all start off with Eric, who is dealing with memory loss, trying to win back his lost love, trying to deal with his current sex interest, trying to handle his business, trying to handle Greta (who may I say is both the scariest and funniest vampire on my bookshelves). With each character, the story takes shape and picks up energy, and then he brings in Greta.
Greta is nuts. Insane. Crazy. And a catalyst. When she enters the story, all bets are off. Whatever Eric thinks is going to happen with his half-assed plans (because with his memory loss, lets face it, his plans are in trouble from the start), well....things just aren't going to work out quite the way he thinks. He can plan it, but each character affects how his plans are going to work out - and Greta, well she can send them spinning out of control.
It's at that point - for me at least - when the books start to roll. It's different for each book, though - by that I mean it doesn't occur on page 50 or whatever. The momentum builds fairly quickly, and then wham! The book is off and running.
The action is insane - and I often have to pause because I find myself wanting to go back and re-read chapters. Not because he's lost me, but because they're so enjoyable. In fact, reading his books probably takes me longer than any other book because I do re-read them while reading them. Yes. J.F. Lewis makes me want to savor each chapter in minute detail. I can honestly say, he's the only author whose books make me want to do that. (I do re-read portions of books that I love, but only after I've finished reading the book.)
His books make me laugh, cringe, laugh, panic, laugh more, and freak out occasionally. I want to grab Eric and shake him, and then give him a hug. I want to hang out with Greta and run screaming from her at the same time (although either way, I'd be DEAD). I want to smack Marilyn upside the head. I want to tell Tabitha to grow up and stake Rachel even tho she's not a vampire. I want to cuddle up to Talbot and learn more about him (he fascinates me). I want to live in that bowling alley of craziness.
If you haven't read the Void City books, I recommend them. Because J.F. Lewis writes his books in the same way Eric lives his life - unapologetically.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Especially the techno-discussions - they freaking kill me. And kiddo accepts nothing less than my full and complete attention when discussing them. In fact, right now we're discussing C++, Visual Basic, newbs and oh hell, I don't fucking know.
Anyway, I never posted the books I read in February or March. (What kind of loser blogger am I?)
Here's the list. Unfortunately, I'm going to keep it simple, because I'm losing my marbles...remember, my rating system is 0-6 stars.
0 = didn't finish, didn't want to finish. This book is not for me.
* = didn't read entire book, skipped large portions, read the end. Won't read additional books.
** = read book, but may have skipped portions. Probably won't read additional books.
*** = read entire book, liked it. Will read additional books.
**** = read entire book, loved it. Will definitely read more books.
***** = fast read entire book. Loved it! Will read every book written by author.
****** = couldn't put book down. I am a fan girl for life. Will follow on social media for book news.
(Yes, I am weird. But I'm not creepy.)
Sunday, April 8, 2012
So yesterday was Anime Boston, which for those who don't know is a convention for fans of Japanese Anime (animation) and Manga (graphic novels). Its held at the Hynes Center in Boston, attached to the Prudential Center which is attached to Copley Place. The people that go to Anime Boston are pretty amazing. Most of them are very into Japanese culture in general. They're also kind, respectful, friendly, helpful and welcoming. And geeks. Oh my goodness (as a geek myself) I can say they are geeks. They cosplay - which means that they dress in carefully handmade costumes of their favorite anime/manga/game characters (often perfect down to the tiniest detail). If their character carries a sword 3x his body size, then they craft a sword 3x their size and lug it around with them. (And yes, this is allowed - guns, swords, whatever - there is no violence at Anime Boston, just fun and acceptance.) If their character has wings that are 4x his width, they create wings 4x their width. (Yes, there was a girl with wings that spanned 20 ft. & no one gave her a hard time at all!) Boys dress as girls, girls dress as boys - and nobody cares. There are gothic Lolitas, steampunkers, cyberpunkers, soldiers, gods, pokemon, digimon, domos, and more. 17,000-20,000 people fill three stories of the Hynes and spill out into the Pru, the Copley, and the streets outside. They travel the subway system in full costume. For this weekend and this weekend only, they gather en mass and enjoy the freedom of being who they are and expressing themselves without being bullied.
Strangers hug each other and compliment each other's cosplay outfits. They take pictures with each other. They laugh and sing and shout out to the crowd "Marco" and the entire crowd replies with "Polo". They gather around the manga/anime booths and have intense discussions about their favorite series.
There are panels and workshops and video showings and dating games and contests and shopping. Oh my God - the shopping! You can find pretty much anything you can imagine that geeks love. (I even saw amigurumi Star Trek characters.) I purchased a beautiful leather hand-made steampunk hat with a huge plume of peacock and chicken feathers; a t-shirt that bears a cartoon of a bunny chewing on a human skull with a background of bloody screaming faces that says num num num; and an amigurumi zombie cat. The kid bought a handcrafted fedora, anime poseable figures, shirts, a hat with cat ears, keychains, posters, and...geez, I can't remember it all. Yeah, it was a good day.
I LOVE Anime Boston. I love it because it's a place where a 49 year old mother can walk around with her 17 year old son, wear a steampunk hat & a gaming themed shirt, and join in with all the other geeks - and nobody thinks that's odd. And yes, there were more parents hanging with their kids there than you might think. These kids high fived me and complimented me on both the shirt and the hat (which did not go together). They even complimented my hair color. Strangers chatted with my son and didn't care that he struggles socially. In that crowd, he was connected.
Today was a day of recovery. We're both exhausted from two fantastic days where we gorged ourselves on a culture where we both fit. Thank you PAX East and Anime Boston for seeing the value in creating places where people - who often feel on the fringes of a society where they don't quite fit - can be with other people just like themselves, and be reminded that they are not alone. They are part of a huge group of equally unique people who accept them unconditionally.
That's all. Happy Easter. Happy Passover. Happy Spring.
Friday, April 6, 2012
For those who don't know (and don't follow my tweets), PAX East is an enormous gaming convention. If you can think of the gaming company - and I'm talking computer games, XBox games, Playstation games, Wii games, board games, D&D type games, card games, etc. - the likelihood is they were at this convention. So were about a billion gaming geeks.
We only managed to snag tickets for PAX today, but I'm so glad we went. Kiddo doesn't do well for long in crowds or in lines - and if we wanted to play a game, standing in line for as much as an hour (or maybe more) was guaranteed. So we settled for walking (or shuffling along with the crowd) around and watching other people play games. And...it was cool. My ADD kicked in numerous times ("oooh shiny") - as I saw game dice, tee shirts, and everything you can possibly imagine that goes along with gaming - and from the games themselves. There were some that I can't wait to get my hands on.
Most of all, tho - I (of course) love the shopping.
The most awesome items for sale? Customized, hand crafted tables for setting up Dungeons & Dragons games. I can't even begin to describe the sheer beauty of these pieces of furniture. There were also coffee tables built to put your 50-60 inch touch screen television in. OMG, people! I nearly wept over them.
I ended up buying a beautiful, handmade wooden sword from the furniture booth - they had swords, knives, a 'sword in a stone' (wood and stunning), and all kinds of wood items. Of course, kiddo needed one as well. We could probably battle with them, but I'd rather just enjoy it. It's three feet long and stained to match my woodwork. I'm going to see if I can find something to mount it in my family room. And yes, I will probably play with it. I'm a kid myself that way.
I also bought a tee shirt. It looks like the cover of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree, only instead of a kid, it has Link from Legend of Zelda - and on the tree it reads 'The Deku Tree'. It's a totally totally geeky piece of perfection.
Surprisingly, kiddo lasted 3 1/2 hours - I would have thought from the noise level and crowd motion, he would have been in brain overload 15 mins. in. But he was having too much fun.
The final thing I want to say about PAX East is this....if you ever get the chance to go to a convention for geeks (PAX, AnimeBoston), I highly recommend it, if only to experience the people. Nobody is rude at these things. If someone bumps into you, they apologize and ask if you're okay. People talk to each other and call out friendly greetings to other people they don't even know because they like their tee shirt or hair color or costume. If you drop something, people will chase you down to return it to you. Geek cons are filled with the best of humanity. They are what the world should be.
After PAX East, we headed to MicroCenter - the best place to buy anything computer related in the entire world. Its in Cambridge, right next to the Charles River. The ride in along Storrow Drive is lovely with the sun shining off the water. And today there were teams prepping their sculls for racing.
Tomorrow is Anime Boston, another favorite con for both kiddo and me. Picture 17,000 people dressed in cosplay singing, high-fiveing, shouting out to each other and just enjoying being together and being themselves in a bully-free zone. Again, the world should be this way. I'm going to be exhausted by Sunday, but I can't wait to soak it in.
Happy Easter, Passover and Geekdom everyone!