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review 2017-08-19 21:09
Great take on the Cycle
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

It was gloriously awesome. How much of the merit goes to Gaiman and how much always belonged to the myth compendium has little bearing in my enjoyment.

The stories are tall tales indeed: huge, fun, magical, gruesome. The characters are as great as flawed: Odin lies, cheats, seduces and steals; Thor is a block-head to which every problem is a nail (hah); and Loki is the charming psychopath. All this is more or less merit of the Edda.

The book is a fast read, very approachable, very engaging, and the order of presentation and building makes it easy to follow the names and elements. The text is cheeky, and has many little asides that had me in stitches, turning wistful and lyrical as we come to the bittersweet end. All this, plus some nuances to the dialogues that made them hilarious (or creepy, or bittersweet), was Gaiman I reckon.

It is a book I want to buy. I want to re-read it, whole and by pieces. Have it as a reference. Read from to my children. Also, as an object, it is a beauty. Full stars.

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text 2017-08-18 05:10
Reading progress update: I've read 126 out of 256 pages.
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Even the good Poetry Mead, Eew?

 

Also, fun fact: first types of fermented beverages were made with spittle. Chewed sweet fruits, or spit on honey. Yay for modern fermentation and distillation processes?

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review 2017-07-30 16:12
And the cover is so pretty...
Realms: The First Year of Clarkesworld Magazine - Jeff VanderMeer,Sean Wallace,Elizabeth Bear,Caitlín R. Kiernan

... which is not a word I would use for what's inside.

 

This is not to be read in one sitting. For the most part, the tales in this collection are  upsetting, full of triggers, dark, squicky or all of the above, with some beauty thrown in for flavor. I found about half of the stories very interesting, immersible, though provoking; half I did not quite get; about a quarter were absolutely disgusting; maybe a tenth were just mind-blowing awesome. And almost none could be ascribed to just one or two of those categories.

I'm not totally sure of my rating, I don't know that I really liked experiencing these in a couple of days. But the independent shock value of each piece is really something.

- A light in Troy: Gutting. Specially because it's left there. But maybe for the same, a bit hopeful.

- 304 Adolf Hitler Strasse: Sickening. Take-that to slash too. Recursive. My brain hurts a bit.

- The Moby Clitoris of his beloved: first, WTF is that title (same as above, actually). It was... ick

- Lydia's Body: Well, that was uncomfortable *grimace* You can see it going wrong, and then it turns a 180 and goes worse.

- Urchins, While Swimming: It's Valente. Beautiful and bittersweet.

- The Other Amazon: Meta. A readers' wet dream.

- Orm the Beautiful: Jewels, dragons. No possible loss. But damn was it beautifully bittersweet.

- Automatic: grim

- Chewing Up the Innocent: The agony of the (creepy) artist and mid-life crisis. Little good can come out of it. And it is still oddly hopeful.

- Attar of Roses: Creepy like the smell of wilting flowers at cemeteries

- Clockmakers Requiem: I did not understand that one at all, but I liked the strange world it painted.

- Something in the Mermaid Way: AH! God!

- The Third Bear: That was pointlessly cruel.

- The First Female President: Well, talk about cruelty.

- There's no Light Between Floors: Sad and claustrophobic. Those that forget history and all that.

- Qubit Conflicts: I don't know that much about programing for this, but it IS heavily ironic.

- The Oracle Spoke: That's a terrifying concept.

- Moon Over Yodok: It doesn't say it, but, Oh, my God. She's the rabbit, and she made him her soup. So sad.

- I'll gnaw your bones, the Manticore said: Loved it, for the questions it raises, and for the departure from the all around dark cast.

- Transtexting Pose: Wait, what? Also, squick.

- The Taste of Wheat: Mystical, but ew!

- The Beacon: "Ant's life" and Armageddon and drastic changes in social mores. Awesome-sauce.

- The Ape's Wife: Nightmarish collection of might have beens and excellent exploration. Bonus point for putting me to search for "The thunder, perfect mind"

- Lost Soul: I admit I though it would go deeper. Still:

Are you surprised?” Bela said. “You ought not to be. Did you not know that every woman has a soul that belongs to her alone?

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review 2017-07-24 09:52
I don't think I'll be watching this movie
High-Rise - J.G. Ballard

I was trying to explain what this was about to mom on WA, alienation, communication through violence, descent to barbarism. She said "Ah, sounds like Dogville". I left about a third in on that movie, and I don't think I'll be watching this one. It sounds like I did not like this, and, well, uncomfortable as it is, I though it bloody amazing. It's just that the madness that slowly creeps in, and has you partially numbed by the time the heavy stuff crashes in, would not have time to come to full effect in the span of movie time, and would make the impact of violence unbearable.

I realize what I'm saying is creepy as fuck, just as I was aware reading that while the characters are slowly inured to the rising wilderness, the reader is inured to the rising level of brutality. And you kind of welcome it, because you wouldn't be able to cope with it otherwise. I found, about 30 pages from the end, that I had felt more of an impact by the bottle throwing (that first act of violence perpetuated) than what was going on by the last third. Familiarity breeds contempt and repetition indifference.

Yeah... creepy as fuck.

Also, the first third or so was masterfully disquieting. In the context of that first line, which, for the unwary and squeamish, is:


Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months.


every little war waged inside a big building takes an ominous shade. I lived in a building much like the one in this book for three years while a student. It was waaay outside of my money-bracket (hell, my parents money-bracket) but the old land-lady let me share her apartment for peanuts so she could have some company. I can tell you all the petty disputes and territoriality are true to life. Though they usually don't get this bloody (except for suicides. Those were an issue on Friday evenings).

Lastly, the symmetry. 3 for each, then 2 for each, then 1 for each (though he kinda cheated at the end), and one for what's left. I don't quite get what was going on with that clean-up at the end, though. End of settling pains?

That's that for my horror roll. I think I'll pick some regency romance next.

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review 2017-07-23 05:51
Nothing happy about it, yet...
The Gunslinger - Stephen King

Well, I... Shit. This is ambitious as fuck, in the fiction and existential department.

I don't like Roland, and I get that lofty ideals are useless from his position. But it's... He reminds me of that adage, the third part of which is that a man with only one reason to live is the most dangerous man in the world. His type of drive, his dogged pursuit, puts me in mind of a slow going bulldozer, and also of persistence hunting. All scary concepts. And his name, wasn't there an old poem...

It was dreary, and weird, and heart-breaking. And I'm puzzled and will continue reading.

 

This finishes my BLopoly double roll, and puts me almost halfway the 24 in 48 readathon.

 

 

The seven hour stretch was this book in almost one sitting. I had to take a break after Jake.

 

I'll roll again in a bit and maybe continue onto the next book. The neighbor is having a loud party with karaoke.

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