Monday, April 29, 2013

I'm a wait and see kind of girl. More vulture than falcon

I've followed Chuck Wendig's blog and Twitter for awhile now. I can't quite remember when I started, but then again I usually can't remember what I had for dinner the night before so I mean, not unusual. I followed him for a long time before reading Blackbirds and I don't know exactly why I took so long.

Miriam Black can see death. One skin-on-skin touch and she knows when, where and how a person is going to bite it. So she's seen a lot of deaths, both gruesome and mundane, but she's never been a part of it before. That is until her name is the last thing on a dying man's lips. A man that didn't know her until she hitchhiked into his truck. What does she have to do with his death? Can fate be changed?

Miriam is a great character. She's cynical, foul-mouthed, and crass. Is she damaged? Sure. Did I mention she sees how people die? All the time. And she's found that whenever she tries to save someone she makes things worse. So yeah, if she wasn't damaged that would probably make her a sociopath. The book has enough of those, I'm glad the main character has feelings hidden underneath her tough exterior.

This book is suspenseful and violent and gritty and dark and twisted and violent. Oh did I mention violent? It's not gratuitous  it's what makes the story. And it's not to the extent of American Psycho as in, this one didn't make me feel physically ill. And the suspense. There were a bunch of those nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat moments, which can be dangerous to listen to on the train if you want to make your stop.

If you're familiar with his blog and Twitter (and if you aren't, you should fix that) then you already have an idea of his tone, his style. This isn't to say Blackbirds is anything like his blog. That was actually something I needed to get over at first. I knew this was a work of fiction, but it doesn't have his humor that is so prevalent on his other sites. That's not to say this book doesn't have humor in it. You need something to cut the violence (it has pleeeenty of that) but it's not the same laugh-out-loud stuff I was expecting. That said, the laugh-out-loud stuff would have seemed out of place. It took me a little while to stop looking for the humor, but once I accepted the story for what it was I was much happier.

Side note, do you see the cover for this book? It's AMAZING, isn't it?

Title quote from location 86

Wendig, Chuck. Blackbirds. Angry Robot, 2012. Kindle edition.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I knew I was different...I knew I was special

Another Friday, another Harry Potter post! And this time I'm back stateside so you'll get my normal incoherent ramblings. LUCKY YOU!

Thanks Alice for hosting this super-fun, gif-filled readalong and beware, there are spoilers ahead.
First thing, and I meant to say this in my last Half-Blood Prince post, but I forgot cos traveling. But anyway, for reasons my copy of HBP is the "adult version". As I've explained a couple times my HP collection is all weird and messed up, because I don't have a matching set so it was necessary that it doesn't match in a VERY SPECIFIC WAY. Since my second book was some weird mass-market paperback bought in Rome I needed the 6th book to also be a mass-market version. This is apparently really hard to find until I stumbled on a listing for the "adult version". Luckily, this just referred to the cover not being cartoony, and I didn't end up with some weird porn version of HBP. It's really just for adults who are self conscious about being seen reading a kid's book. Except HP is one of the most well-known book series out there, so these anxious adults are not fooling anyone.

Now, random incoherent thoughts!

Snape insulting Tonks's new Patronus -
Tell 'em, Snape. Wait, what?
See, anytime I start to think maybe Snape is kind of OK, and I cut him some slack for being sort of a jerk because of all he's been through, he does something like this and I hate him ten fold. It was bad enough him making fun of Hermione's teeth in front of the class. Now he's taunting Tonks about her depression, and his reference to her new Patronus means he KNOWS what's bugging her so much. Or at least thinks he knows, and either way, taunting her for this makes him a really terrible person
*Double spoiler, since this is about stuff that hasn't happened just yet*
So either he thinks the Patronus change is because she's sad her cousin was just murdered and Snape, are you seriously mourning the murder of a family member, even one you hated??? Or else he knows it's because of her feelings towards Remus and the danger he is in and again ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
*Extra spoiler stuff contained here. Normal spoiler stuff still below*

Does Dumbles know Parsletongue? When he and Harry venture into Ogden's memory a lot of what they hear is a conversation among the family spoken in Parsletongue, which I thought only Harry could understand. Did Harry break things down for Dumbles afterwards? Does Dumbles speak snake? Are memories subtitled? And building off that last one, if Ogden didn't speak Parsletongue and this is his memory, how they hell did he remember the hissing noises so exactly that Harry could understand it? I have lots of questions about the whole Pensieve concept. Apparently to the point that I'm missing all of the important information being told to us.

I was irrationally angry at Mundungus for stealing things from Grimmauld place. Then I laughed when Phinny got all offended when he found out. Not that a portrait can do much but maybe he'll make some really scathing remarks at the guy or something. I feel like that's what he'd do even if he were corporeal.

Dumbles was a red head. Did we know that already? Regardless, I'm happy to see so many of my people wandering around these books.

How creepy is the scene with the cursed necklace and Katie Bell? Poor Katie. Maybe this is why you don't accept packages from strangers.

So now we're getting the start of the Ginny/Harry pairing and...well...
I don't remember having any particular feelings about this the first time around. Now I picture Rowling going "I should really give Harry a love interest that doesn't spend a bunch of their time together crying. But who to choose? Oh, Ginny's been hanging out over there being awesome, so that works." I mean, it makes sense and I could see Harry falling for his BFFs little sis who helped him fight at the ministry. But the whole thing just feels like an afterthought. Not like the Hermione/Ron pairing which was CLEAR from the start. Those two are adorably bicker-y.

However, before we can really get to Hermione & Ron, we have to watch Ron & Lavender. Poor Hermione, although she should really quit being so mad at him. Except I don't know I can blame her too much, if only because Won-Won and Lavender are especially annoying. Also "snogging" is an excellent term that we need to adopt over here.

I feel so bad for Lupin in these scenes. I forgot what he was up to the whole time in this book. And I can picture him trying to talk the werewolves into joining Dumbledore. I'm sure things are going as well as they did when he was trying to keep James and Sirius in line when they were all at Hogwarts. Lupin needs a hug. And maybe someone to buy him some new robes for Christmas.
Stop fighting it
I came veeeeery close to liking Scrimgeour during the Christmas scene, until he made it clear he wasn't just trying to make Percy see his family (which makes no sense because why would he care if Percy is fighting with his family except that I just want everyone to be happy, dammit.) But it's especially pathetic that Umbridge is still working for the Ministry. She went clearly nuts in the end and there were plenty of people to act as an anti-character witness for her. How the hell does she still have any job, let alone with the Ministry?

So love potions are wizarding roofies, yes?

The Apparition instructor's name is Wilkie. That is all.

What was Slughorn hiding in his memory??? AND WHAT HAPPENED TO RON?? You're making it very hard to stop reading this week.

Title quote from page 321

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Bloomsbury, 2005

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My parents were now a dim Italian and a performing monkey

Puppet Shows is a collection of short stories. It reads like someone just recorded every fever dream they had and then put them together in a book. Whether or not that sounds like something you'd like to read is up to you.

Personally, I'm not a fan of listening to other people's dreams, in the real world or in books. Maybe it's because I have trouble following them, or because they aren't nearly as interesting to the listener as they were to the dreamer.* I think it's the following thing mostly the "I can't follow them" thing because there is no logic to them. Things just happen and then suddenly something else happens and then a third thing happens that is unrelated to the first two things, the end.

As I said, the book is a collection of short stories, which is always difficult for me to review. Normally I review a couple of the stories. But these stories sort of blend together.(by being a series of non-sequiturs, not because they all reference each other) so I'll try to take this collection on as a whole.

The stories actually started out normal enough. Well as normal as a story about a boy raised by a talking racist monkey and an Italian organ grinder stereotype after his drunk and abusive Klingon loving father spontaneously combusted, leaving him an orphan. Yes, that's the part of the story I could follow. You tell me that this is the story, fine, I can get behind it. Maybe set up a few rules so I can follow this twisted world, but I can get behind this. But there are no rules and there is no reason and suddenly a guy having an awkward dinner with his racist grandfather when General Tso appears out of no where and murders the old man. And that's it. Story over. There's no rules and no explanation and I spent a lot of this book dealing with literary whiplash as I tried to catch up. Eventually I realized there was nothing to catch up to. I was there, I just had no idea where "there" was.

After finishing the series I read a couple people refer to the stories as "slapstick" and similar to a Punch and Judy play. I an see that. At least from what I know of Punch and Judy, which isn't much. There's a lot of violence but it's so ridiculous it's nothing you can take seriously. That doesn't mean I'm enjoying it, just that it isn't disturbing violence. It's like watching The Three Stooges. If you find them funny, this might be the thing for you. Maybe. I know as much about the Stooges as I do about P&J so, yeah.

For example, there are lines like this, which happen during a strange dinner party with a couple doctors and patients:
"Doctor Milano noticed three men bouncing around the room, hooting like Daffy Duck, until Doctor Rossi hit one on the head with a frying pan and shot the other two with a tranquilizer gun."

So yeah, if you like slapstick violence, crazy non-sequiturs, and a general feeling that you're listening to the rambling fever dreams of someone tripping, this could be a book for you! Unfortunately, it was not the bok for me.

*Please read the Cracked list 5 Things You Love to Discuss That Nobody Else Cares About to see I'm not alone in this.

Title quote from page 9

Frissore, Michael. Puppet Shows. AMuse Me Publishing, 2012. ebook. I agreed to read this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I am back. You can stop holding your breath now

I have returned from my trip across the ocean and what was it like?

And what's it like now that I have to come back to the real world?
Except I am happy to not be living out of a suitcase. And also to be back with Boyfriend+ who will need to come with me next time so we can do London together instead of just comparing notes.

Note: All pictures below were actually taken by my aunt because I forgot to bring my nice camera with me. I did take pictures because my awesome friend lent me her camera. And then I forgot to dropbox myself those pictures so she's going to do it for me but she hasn't yet (probably because I haven't pointed out to her that I didn't do this myself, oops). I am so good at capturing memories...

First, I flew into Dublin. This should have been fairly straightforward, but nothing can ever go exactly as you planned, can it? My aunt and I were making this trip together. She lives in VA, so she was going to connect through JFK and she and I would meet at the airport and then continue on to Ireland. Except the flight to NY was delayed and delayed (and eventually cancelled) due to weather in my area. What kind of weather? Well, from what I could see beautiful skies and little wind. Jerks. But anyway, she missed her flight. I tried to see if I could change my flight and just fly out with her the next day, but that would have cost me about twice the cost of the original ticket, so that wasn't going to happen. So I went out Weds night by my lonesome.

When I got to Dublin it was raining so I went straight to the hotel and was VERY happy they had a room available for me so I could check in right away. I was planning on dropping my bags off and going into Dublin but all I wanted at this point was to shower and take a nap. And besides, I've been to Dublin a few times. Had the weather been nice I would have gone in and just wandered around. Instead I decided sleep is awesome so I mostly hung out around the hotel (not in city center) and rested. It was touch-and-go that night if my aunt was going to be able to make her second flight, because now Atlanta was having weather problems and WHAT THE HELL? I went to bed not entirely sure if she'd make it in the morning, but luckily she did. She got to the hotel pretty much in time to check out, but at least she got free breakfast and a shower before she and I wandered around Dublin.
We didn't have too much time in the city because we were due to take a bus up to Belfast to meet up with my friend* who is living up there. As I said, I've done the city before so I was fine with just wandering the streets and my aunt is flexible so it was nice to be able to just walk around and not have a schedule or plan to stick to.

The next day my friend took us up along the coast road to go to the Giant's Causeway. My aunt is a geologist so she was super excited. I don't understand science or rocks enough to fully appreciate it like she did, but I did like it up there. And luckily the weather held out just long enough so the rain started right after we left. OH and we did this CRAZY rope bridge thing and I thought the wind was going to knock me to my death so that was fun. Fun cos you know, it didn't.
 We then headed back to city center to meet up with my cousin who had flown into Dublin from Paris that morning and was taking the train up to us. She's been living in France for the past year, and visiting her was a big part of this trip. Why didn't we visit her in France if that's where she's living? An excellent question. So anyway, she gets up to Belfast and then we spend the night relaxing and drinking wine and I freak out a little as I realize I've essentially locked myself out of all of my Google accounts. Go me.

The next day we head into St. George's Market and we had planned on taking a Political Taxi tour, where they explain to you all of the stuff going on in Belfast that makes it a bit shooty up there. Except none of the tour companies were answering their phones, so my friend ended up driving us around, taking us the the Peace Wall and she is an excellent tour guide. Also she could have made up everything she told us and I'd never know.
My aunt, cousin, and I then had to catch a bus back down to Dublin because we were flying out to London the next morning. London was great and I loved it there, probably because it reminds me a lot of NYC, but with a Globe theater. And OF COURSE we did a tour of it. That was one of the first things we did when we got there. We also walked around a lot, did a hop on/hop off tour of the city, a river tour thing, visited many pubs, and did some shopping. 3 days was not enough time and I'm ready to go back please!

This is where we began to part ways. My cousin was staying in London to meet up with friends before heading to Berlin. My aunt and I flew back to Dublin together but she stayed in the city so she could fly back home the next day while my friend picked me up at the airport, and she and I made our way over to Galway.

I did no sightseeing in Galway. My friend's family is from the area and I've been out there a bunch of times before to visit with her and her family. I love the stuff out there and everything is beautiful but we wanted some time to just hang out. So we spent some time in Galway city center, went to a spa (my birthday gift!), went out for a pub crawl so we could hit up all of the bars we used to go to, and then just hung out around the house. It wasn't enough time but then again it never is.

The last day was a looooooong day. I woke up at 4am GMT so we could drive the 30 min into Galway city center so I could catch a 2 and 1/2 hour bus ride over to Dublin so I could catch a 7 hour plane ride back to NYC. Boyfriend+ greeted me at the airport with mac and cheese (which beats the hell out of flowers) and I came home for a 20 min power nap before heading back into the city for dinner and a movie. It's the Tribeca Film Festival and before leaving for vacation I said OF COURSE I'll be fine to go to a movie the night I get back. Because I don't understand jet lag or the fact that at 9:30 movie is roughly 2:30am in the timezone my body is in. But I got mofongo for dinner, the movie (Trust Me) was good and included a Q&A with the cast and almost made it worth it that we didn't get home until roughly 2:30am ET, at which point I crashed. And now I'm hear trying to make it through my Google Reader and ignoring my work email until tomorrow when I don't have a choice but to confront that inbox.

Also I have a BUNCH of reviews I really need to get to. Here's what I will eventually get around to writing. I figure if I tell you then I'm more likely to a) remember them all and b) actually do them

Puppet Shows by Michael Frissore
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig
Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

*My friend who recently started a blog My Brown Bagged Lunch which is about nutrition and finances and travel and other intelligent things.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince part 1. Still no title quote

Happy HP Friday, everyone. This is going to be another quick post as I’m still out of the country. I’m actually sitting in a bar in Galway typing this up right now. Or at least starting this post. Anyhooo

Thanks Alice for hosting this and thar be spoilers ahead.

So, I didn’t finish the reading this week. Or in my case, the listening. I think had I actually had the book itself instead of just the audio I may have finished it. I can listen to the audiobooks if I’m on the move, on a train or a plane or something. This week though I’ve had a lot less travel time, which means a lot less time to just sit and listen to the story. I’m doing well this week.

Also I’m still angry at JK at this point cos of the whole ending to OotP. Which is roughly how I remember the reading going the first time around. How was it for those that had to wait for the 6th book to come out? I read 3-7 straight through so I didn’t have any time in between to speculate about what would be happening or really come to terms with the (SUPER AMBIGUOUS I STILL DON’T BELIEVE IT) death of Sirius. Of course that does mean even this time around I get all choked up whenever Harry gets choked up about Sirius’s death and then everyone’s sad again.

But at least this time Dumbles has realized maybe keeping Harry in the dark is a bad idea and has started letting him in on details. Plus this means more scenes with Dumbles and I love the way he had the glasses of brandy? whiskey? whatever smacking the Dursleys in the head when he was hanging out there waiting for Harry to get packed.

Then they go try to talk Slug-man into coming out of retirement. I did like his disguise and also the fact that he's just breaking into random Muggles homes to hang out there, which is creepy. And he says pompous things about all the amazing people he has inspired, but it's nice to see a Slytherin that isn't awful to the core.

Back to the Burrow and we learn that Arthur's private nickname is Mollywobbles (or that's what it sounded like) and that's adorable.

Oh and Fleur's hanging out, saying awful things even though it doesn't sound like she means to and maybe the others should be a little nicer to her or maybe tell her to shut up a bit. Tell her to shut up nicely and maybe call her a berk a few times. Family relations, I will fix them.

Aaaand, that's as far as I've made it. Whoops. But I'll be all caught up for next week. Probable promises. Also I will be able to actually visit everyone else's blogs. I will dedicate Sunday to that. Or you know, I won't but I'll sure think about doing it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

There would normally be a quote here but I listened to this on audio so...

It was Harry Potter Friday! And I missed it, but let me briefly explain. See one, I am currently in Ireland (more specifically at the moment I'm in Northern Ireland, in Belfast) so that already was going to get in the way of this being a normal HP post. Second, I am SO SMART and decided to turn on that 2 step verification on my Google accounts. For those of you that don't know it, it means the first time you log in on a new machine, Google sends a verification code to your phone. You type that code in and you're good to go. You know, assuming you're not currently out of the country with a non-working cell phone. If you are well then SOL for you, isn't it? I had Boyfriend+ get into my account on one of the computers at home I've set as safe and disable that so I can be here. YOU SEE WHAT I DO FOR YOU GUYS. Also for me.

Anyway, onto the post, yes? (Thank you Alice for hosting and watch out for spoilers)

So normally I write down notes as I'm reading, and then I just sorta post that (hence the messy posts I've been putting out). This time I don't have any notes so this might be more coherent but will inevitably leave a whole bunch of stuff out.

There's a reason I've never made it past this book when re-reading the series. It's this stupid ending.

The whole time I was reading, remembering how great it was I knew this ending was just waiting, mocking me. It's like that Sesame Street book The Monster at the End of the Book, only instead of getting to the end and finding an adorable Grover, you find the death of Sirius and things are all sad and horrible, the end.

Oh but it's not the end cos then we watch Harry deal with the death and guilt and it's horrible again. DAMMIT JK, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US?

I didn't quite cry during these scenes. I was first on a plane, then a bus, so I tried to hold it together. I don't remember if I did the first time I read it either because it comes as such as surprise and then you're just in denial that he's gone because  JK decided to write the most ambiguous death scene ever. Which meant I pretty much spent the rest of the series until the end convinced he was going to come back. Did I mention I'm excellent at denial?

I should mention some of awesome scenes, because there are awesome scenes. (Even if I wanted to SCREAM at Harry the whole time he's insisting on going to the Ministry and If you had just bothered to practice Occulmency LIKE YOU SHOULD HAVE then maybe this wouldn't have happened. Oh look, I'm back to the bad parts. Dammit.) Neville, and Luna, and Ginny kick so much ass at the Ministry. They're so badass and so willing to help Harry and put themselves in danger. They rule. They just throw themselves into this thing full force. Even Luna who hasn't known Harry for years and Harry & co aren't even particularly nice to her. Yet she's still there in the thick of things because she's great.

I would say more but I am apparently holding up things. It seems some people want to use their time in a new country to go sight seeing or something like that.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fear not! For I shall return shortly

Guess what, Ireland! I will be landing on your shores soon!

Normally I wouldn't make a post about this, because I'm paranoid that if I tell you guys where I'm going before I go there people will decide "She's gone! Now is the time to rob her! I've always wanted used Ikea furniture and a mismatched Harry Potter set! Huzzah!" Which I understand is more than a little crazy. Why the change of heart this time? Well I'm heading east, but Boyfriend+ is not. So, would-be-robbers, he will most likely notice if you sneak in and start moving things around. Maybe don't do that.

For those taking part of the Harry Potter readalong, WORRY NOT! There will still be posts, as I will be hanging out with my friend while I'm overseas and I've already told her of my internet needs. My posts may just be late and my commenting may be slim. I apologize in advance.

Now to the important part of this post, what books will I be taking with me on this journey? I have a couple long flights ahead of me, plus relaxing time. So I want to make sure I'm covered. Here's what I've got:

Finishing up Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Starting Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Both of the HP books will be audiobooks because an iPod travels better than large paperbacks

And now for my other books, all on my Kindle cos this is the best part of eBooks. Easy for packing
Moranthology by Caitlin Moran which I started this morning, because it was on sale and I finished Blackbirds

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella which is not my normal choice, but it was also on sale, and a bunch of trusted people have recommended it. Plus light reading is in the theme of this trip

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin which is the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones series*. I bought the last one before a trip so it seems like the thing to do. Plus it's roughly a billion pages long, so I shouldn't run out of book.

I'm probably being overly optimistic about how many books I'll get through. But whatever, we shall see

And so farewell people. I will be back soon with pictures of important Irish pubs and London landmarks. If I remember to take pictures.

See you all soon!

*If he wanted the series to be known as Song of Ice and Fire then he should have gotten them to name the TV show that. But he didn't because Game of Thrones is a way better name.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The thing about growing up with Fred and that you sort of start thinking anything is possible if you've got enough nerve.

Happy Harry Potter Day everyone! We're now up to part 3 of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix and SO MUCH IS HAPPENING. First up

1. Thank you Alice for hosting this readalong
2. Thar be spoilers, so be prepared

Remember last week's post that was incoherent and an overall mess? Get ready for another one! But there are a BILLION things going on in this section so it can't be helped.

Hagrid's lesson on thestrals is very cool, except for the fact that the majority of the class can't actually see them. Perhaps more of the lesson should have been something the other students could have enjoyed. Or maybe he could have provided pictures or something

Uh oh, Sirius has been drinking alone. This can't be good. Is Lupin staying with him? He needs a roommate that is not Kreacher. I mean look how insanely happy he is when everyone gets to hang out for Christmas. Also was there any reason that even if Arthur hadn't been attacked that Harry couldn't have hung out there for the holidays?

Also his argument with the twins about why they can't go to St. Mungos was accurate if insensitive. The twins retort that he's not doing anything but staying safe at home was cruel but understandable. Thank you Rowling for giving us lots of grey area in good people being mean. It's a nice comparison to the constant awfulness of the Slytherins.

"'Doctors?' said Ron, looking startled. 'Those Muggle nutters that cut people up? Nah, they're healers.'"
Hey wizarding folks, maybe lay off of how awful you think Muggle doctors are, with their primitive healing methods. I guess you guys have all the normal diseases sorted out, so you just have to worry about magical maladies. Oh and way to share your secrets with the Muggle community. But I know, you guys don't want to be bothered by having the Muggles ask you for help all the time. Way better they just deal with shit like cancer on their own. This readalong is really making me think that, as a whole, wizards are jerks.

Ginny and Phineas yelling at Harry for getting all angsty again:
Phineas may be a jerk but he's right that maybe Harry should trust Dumbles, even if Dumbles won't let him in on every detail. And YES GINNY for reminding Harry that, oh yeah, Voldie actually possessed her too, so maybe quit playing the "No one knows what this is like" card.
"I didn't want anyone to talk to me," said Harry, who was feeling more and more nettled.

"Well, that was a bit stupid of you," said Ginny, "seeing as you don't know anyone but me who's been possessed by You-Know-Who, and I can tell you how it feels."

Harry remained quite still as the impact of these words hit him. Then he turned on the spot to face her.

"I forgot," he said.

"Lucky you," said Ginny coolly.
 Scene with Neville at St. Mungos I HATE YOU. Quit making me tear up on the subway.
And MAN did I want Harry to just deck Ron during the whole thing.

Remember last week when we're all like "Hey wait, why does Hermione have a hard time saying 'Voldemort' given she's Muggle-born and all?" Well she apparently heard us and is completely over her sudden problem saying Voldie's name. Not only that, but she's getting all angry at other people who don't like saying it.

Harry's date with Cho is adorable, even if he ruins it by being a dumb boy. I remembered Cho being all lame and moody and weepy for no reason, but this time around I'm totally on her side. Sorry Harry, you are clueless and you clearly need Hermione there to lead you through basic human interactions. Except for her comment that Harry should have told Cho he thought Hermione was ugly. That was a stupid comment that plays into the "All girls are catty and hate each other" thing. Reassuring Cho that he actually wants to be on his date with her and NOT escape immediately to his friends is good. Insulting his friend to play into Hermione's assumed insecurities of Cho is bad.

So Lee Jordan got the same punishment that Harry did. Why isn't he telling anyone about this? I (sorta) get why Harry won't tell anyone, but Lee doesn't have any reason not to share. And if she's using her crazy quill on Lee and Harry, there's no reason to believe she's not doing this to other students as well. How are no teachers noticing this?

Ron, listen, you're going to need to stop suspecting Snape. I understand, he makes that as difficult as possible but you have been proven wrong over and over again. Maybe you just back off this theory.

That clever name for the DA club doesn't seem so clever now, does it? Except Dumbles seemed fine with it. Even when he's hexing people and fleeing from the law, he still Twinkles.

I really wish the students would get over the whole "points for our house" thing. You'd think at some point, like when Malfoy & co became part of the Inquisitorial Squad, that these things would stop mattering. Or maybe keep pretending you care around Malfoy so he just uses that to punish you. But given house points ultimately determine the decor for the final feast, maybe don't get so bent out of shape about them.

Harry seeing Snape's memory in the Pensieve: This is a pretty depressing scene. You see James and Sirius being assholes to Snape, who sucks but wasn't being a dick to them at the time and didn't deserve what James did to him. However, given that these are Snape's memories, I don't entirely trust them. Not saying that what happened to him didn't happen.Were the Marauders assholes as teenagers? Probably. Most teens are. Were they the super assholes Snape remembers them as? Maybe but since we're seeing this through a Snape filter, watching Snape's memory, probably not. This is probably why I can still heart Sirius despite this scene. Even Sirius admits they were "arrogant little berks"** and "a lot of people are idiots at the age of fifteen."

Related! That scene where Harry is talking to the remaining Marauders about their teenage behavior, I kept thinking about Megs comment on Sarah's post about Lupin and Sirius being the cutest couple. I may love Sirius but this is the couple I'm shipping. Even though I know how things turn out.
More Related! Jenny (once again) wrote an excellent defense of Sirius which you should read but she also points out that Lupin can't afford gifts and odds are the books from him and Sirius were probably bought by Sirius who just added Lupin's name to the tag. And this is just more evidence that these two are the cutest couple.

Also, there is a GREAT article about Snape's Anger over at MuggleNet that I found when someone* that everyone should read but BE WARNED it includes spoilers from the whole series.

*If this was you let me know and I'll update this post to give you credit.
**I assume this should be "arrogant little jerks" but you know what, let's embrace this typo and just write it out exactly as it's in my book. UPDATED cos my 3 seconds of internet searching yesterday didn't tell me this is a word. But you guys telling me it is plus 6 additional seconds of searching say "oh yeah it's a word and it kinda means 'cunt but in a friendly sort of way'" so now I find it twice as hilarious.

Title quote from page 655

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. Scholastic, 2005.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Top Ten Characters I Would Crush On

Today's Tuesday Top Ten (hosted by The Broke & The Bookish) is Top Characters I Would Crush On If I Were Also A Fictional Character. First up, why do I have to be fictional to have crushes on these characters? No I'm sorry, the fact that these people are fictional does not stop real life me from having my crushes. So let's change this to "Top Ten characters I totally have crushes on even though they are fictional and I don't know why you keep bringing that up like it makes a difference." In no particular order, let's do this

1. Sirius Black from The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling - I'm taking part in the Harry Potter ALL THE GIFS readalong so Sirius is on the brain and I LOVE HIM. You can try to keep pointing out his faults like it will change my mind or something (Alice) but sorry, nope. Love him. Even when he's all angry and pouty about being stuck at Grimmauld Place he's stick pretty great. And yes he has his faults (wreckless and rash and proud) but I can't hear them over his awesomeness.

2. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - OK, so I feel like this is an obvious one and will probably show up on everyone's list but don't care! I enjoy the fact that he sucks at declarations of love (Against my better judgement and the fact that your family is SO LAME, I still like you? You like me? Please check yes or no) and is witty little remarks.

3. Lincoln from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - What a super sweet nerd. Sure he's not the most outgoing, considering he spends most of the book reading the emails between Beth and Jennifer instead of actually talking to them. But it's cute and not stalkery, I swear.

And because I can't think up enough guys, here are some of my major literary lady crushes

4. Marian from The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - Marian is the best. The best. She's so smart and you need a mystery solved? Marian's got this, all while deflecting criticism (ladies can do things?) by pretending she's just meek and mild. AND she's part ninja/part velociraptor. Well, not in a literal sense. That would have made a whole different book. But her spirit animal would be a ninja velociraptor.

5. Thursday Next from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde - Thursday kicks ass. She investigates literary crimes oh and also spends half her time living in Book World sorting out mysteries there. She's smart and can fight if she needs to but most of the time she can think herself out of whatever crazy situation she's gotten into. She and Marian together would be a force.

Aaaaand that's all I got. I really thought I'd do a better job with this and apparently not. I'm probably missing some big names, and thus will have to amend this after I see other people's lists.

Here are some people I thought of AFTER publishing this post.  

6. Jonathan Strange from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - I considered him for my original list but ultimately left him off. I can't totally remember why. Something about him being a little crazy. Except I mostly wrote this list LAST week cos I mixed up the weeks for this TTT topic. I can't remember my reason for leaving him off and I do like the guy. So can do magic, very clever, super devoted, all good reasons to add him to the list.

Monday, April 1, 2013

March reading wrap-up

Another month come and gone. I'm always a fan of March because it's got my birthday in it. And my grandma's (we share the day). And Boyfriend+'s. And my other grandma's. And my cousin's. Pretty much lots of kick ass people in my family have/had birthday's in March. Good times. This year I celebrated by eating a lot, which is basically the best way to celebrate. That and my mom and I went to look at wedding venues so hey, I was also productive! Kinda!

Let's see how this month's reading went.

Number of books read
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
The Financial Lives of Poets by Jess Walter
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

Total pages read

Percentage of fiction

Percentage of female authors

Percentage of white authors

Percentage of US authors

Percentage of eBooks

Books written by decade
2000s - 100% huh, I...I did not realize this

Look at that, I FINALLY read a non-white person. Though it was an intentional thing as I was getting sick of my pathetic "all white people all the times" stat and wanted to fix it. It worked out nicely that Butler's Fledgling was suddenly available. So naturally it was meant to be. I did not expect that all of the books I read were all written last decade. Whoops. My next stat to work on.