Thursday, October 29, 2015

Monkalong Part V/Finale: I have sold distant and uncertain happiness for present and secure

Here we are, the final post about The Monk. Let's jump right in, shall we?
I didn't actually expect Ambrosio to rape Antonia. I was a liiiittle worried when Virginia showed up and Lorenzo was all "If I wasn't so in love with Antonia, I would totally tap that" but thought "Well, Antonia's probably going to die but she's not going to get raped. Something is going to stop this." AND THEN IT DIDN'T. NOTHING STOPPED IT.
I was very upset reading this section.

I was trying to figure out how I would react to this in the post. It mostly amounted to me trying to think up exactly what terrible things should happen to Ambrosio. And then he was tortured by the literal Spanish Inquisition AND the literal Devil so. Fine. I approve of said punishment.

Good job, Alice, for calling from the beginning that Matilda was a demon THE WHOLE TIME. Or at least, that's what I understood, right? Something created by the Devil to get Ambrosio when he saw how faux-righteous and jerktastic he was, and he has been planning this for awhile. The monk sees one boob and then he's a couple months away from matricide and incestuous rape.
I wonder if the Devil knew it would all happen so quick. I bet the he had all sorts of other things lined up and is now just going to have to save those for someone who doesn't fold so easily. I hope he can use Matilda for other soul-stealing cos otherwise it seems like a waste.

We also got Agnes's story but we all already knew this, right? We knew that was her when Lorenzo found her, we knew she was trapped down there and starving. Then we get a whole bunch where Lewis tries to convince us that Virginia wasn't some homework he forgot about and then did on the bus that morning before turning it in and I did not care about any of this. I would way rather get some pointless Raymond stories. Or some more Christoval. He should have made another appearance. And the Bleeding Nun. Would have loved to see more of her.

This was a roller coaster that I was absolutely not anticipating. There was so much crazy shoved in a few pages. Thank you, Alice, because there is no way I would have read this if you hadn't hosted this readalong.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A society of Rain Men would be dysfunctional. A society of Don Tillmans wold be efficient, safe, and pleasant for all of us

Remember when Emily of As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) wrote about how great The Rosie Project is and then I read it and it was great? And then Simsion wrote a sequel to it and though he didn't call it Rosie and Don Take Mahattan, it was still pretty fun. Apparently even Bill and Melinda Gates are fans.

In the first book, Don Tillman is looking for a wife and in typical Don fashion, breaks it out into questionnaires and spreadsheets. He then gets pulled into a separate project to help Rosie identify her father and of course those two projects result in the unlikely pairing of Rosie and Don falling in love. (Spoilers, I guess...)

This book picks up with Don and Rosie living in New York. He's teaching at Columbia and she's a med student. Things are going well when Rosie announces she's pregnant and Don begins to freak out. Which is not necessarily the wrong reaction, especially for someone who does not do well when things are not following a carefully curated scheduled. Which I hear babies are TERRIBLE at following.

Don's reaction to finding out about the pregnancy:
I was happy in a the way that I would be happy if the captain of an aircraft in which I was traveling announced that he had succeeded in restarting one engine after both had failed. Pleased that I would now probably survive, but shocked that the situation had arisen in the first place, and expecting a thorough investigation into the circumstances.
This tips off a series of events where Don does what he can to try to prepare for the baby while Rosie is seriously worried he'll actually be able to bond with this kid. Then there are a series of wacky misunderstandings that keep building on each other and yeah, the book probably would have been a lot shorter if the characters actually stopped and took like 10 minutes to explain things to each other. But of course that doesn't happen.

I liked the book. I did. BUT it's not as good as The Rosie Project, though I suppose sequels rarely are.

My biggest problem with this book was the fact that Rosie didn't seem to make much sense. As I mentioned, Rosie is worried that Don won't be a good father because he won't be able to bond with the kid, but she never actually talks to Don about this. Or anything. The two of them hardly speak and I get this is supposed to be them drifting apart, except Don isn't drifting because Don cannot read subtle cues so it's really just Rosie slowly sneaking out because she KNOWS Don isn't going to pick up on little things like the two of them sleeping in separate rooms. I mean, I get her being overwhelmed with her work and also being pregnant and not seeming to have anyone to talk to but the things she expected from Don seemed out of character. I'm not saying her concerns about Don aren't valid, but she's one of the few people that understands how Don operates so a lot of the way we see her interacting with Don seemed out of character.

BUT OVERALL the book was entertaining and Don was still Don, who I've been picturing as Dr. Reid from Criminal Minds, so that's fun.

It may not be better than the first one, but I was still entertained.

Gif rating

Title quote from page 42

Simsion, Graeme. The Rosie Effect. Simon & Schuster, 2014

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Monkalong IV: since He had lost the reality of virtue, it appeared as if its semblance was become more valuable

It's Thursday which means it's time for another Monkalong post. (Thank you, Alice.)
Fair warning, I have had a couple vodka sodas, so if this post makes no sense, well, at least I have an excuse this week.

Remember how last week we were talking about how kick ass Elvira was (save for the whole copying the Bible by hand, except for the naughty bits, for Antonia)? I had fleeting thoughts that Elvira would end up coming to the rescue and saving the day. Except instead of that Ambrosio killed her because he is taking Matilda's "go big or go home" logic to sinning seriously. At least she prevented him from raping Antonia so that's something.
Wish Ambrosio could get stuck in gum
Since his first attempt (this week) at assaulting Antonia failed, Matilda convinces him to give Antonia a medicine that will make it seem like she's dead. Then he can steal her body and assault her at his leisure.

And of course this isn't the craziest thing to happen. If Lewis has aliens show up, I don't even know if I'll be that surprised anymore.

Theodore talks with one of the nuns who tells him that during the procession of St. Clare she'll tell him what happened to Agnes. Lorenzo brings a member of the Inquisition with him for this public declaration of guilt
had to be done
but turns out the guy from the Spanish Inquisition turns out to be one of the merciful ones. When the nun decries that the Prioress is a murderer and killed Agnes the crowd, who presumably don't know Agnes, goes NUTS and kills the Prioress and then decides to go after the rest of the nuns and burn down the convent while Lorenzo and Inquisition guy try to calm people down.

Lorenzo is helping hide a group of nuns when he hears a moaning. He follows the groans and finds his sister clutching a baby. Except he doesn't recognize her as his sister. She recognizes him but doesn't proclaim how she knows him but right? That's Agnes. She isn't dead but she is malnourished and faints before she can give any information. But Lorenzo drags her and the baby back up from the dungeon and eventually the riots subside and everyone can get to safety.

Lewis, you're one twisted guy. I can't even guess what's going to happen next.
Puppies instead of rape would be nice

Title quote from location 4841

Lewis, Matthew Gregory. The Monk.

Monday, October 19, 2015

It's only death. I mean, all of my best friends are dead

Neil Gaiman, I don't know what to do with you. I can't think of another author that I have such a varied opinion on. Or maybe it's really just based on a negative first impression (American Gods) because otherwise his stuff has been pretty great. Of course maybe it's the novels that don't work. I mean, Coraline and The Graveyard Book are book children's books, Good Omens was written with another author and Neverwhere is the novelization of the TV series. The point is, I like more Gaiman than I dislike, and I should probably stop claiming that I have mixed feelings about the guy and just go with AG was not my jam, but everything else so far has been. Especially The Graveyard Book which I loved waaaaaaay more than I was expecting. Love love love love love love love.
"It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child. It will," said Silas, "take a graveyard."
The Graveyard Book is essentially The Jungle Book. Or I guess, so I've been told, since I only know The Jungle Book from the 2 Disney versions (cartoon & live action). The story opens with a mysterious man Jack murdering a family. But he misses the little boy, who crawled out of his crib and out the door, eventually making his way to a nearby graveyard, where he's found by a ghost couple, Mr. and Mrs. Owens. They convince the rest of the graveyard to give him Freedom of the Graveyard and he's given the name Nobody "Bod" Owens.
If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.
The overarching story is about what happened to Jack's family and who is this man Jack, but the bulk of the book is made up of various adventures Bod gets into as he grows up in the graveyard. He meets a girl who comes to the graveyard, though her parents think he's just an imaginary friend. He discovers an ancient creature called a Sleer, gets captured by Ghouls, befriends the ghost of a witch, learns how to fade, and all sorts of shenanigans.
He decided not to tell anyone what he was planning, on the not entirely unreasonable basis that they would have told him not to do it.
The characters are so much fun. Bod is curious and kind. His caretaker Silas is creepy but takes his position caring for Bod seriously, the witch is demanding but watches out for Bod, and Jack is terrifying. Even if you could sort of guess how things were going to go, getting there was so much fun and there were a lot of tense moments.
There was something at the edge of Silas's lips that might have been a smile, and might have been regret, and might just have been a trick of the shadows.
I really didn't want this book to end. There may have been a few tears shed, which is not awkward at all when you're standing on the street waiting for someone to come pick you up (though at least I was out of the coffee shop by this point). I had heard great things about the book but wasn't rushing to pick it up since I figured it was a kid's book and I probably wouldn't be that into it and that is incredibly stupid of me because I could have read this so much sooner. Love love love love.

Gif rating:

Title quote from page 179, location 2138

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. HarperCollins, 2008. Kindle

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bookish Movies, Good Job Hollywood

Remember when I got all excited because the trailer for The Martian came out and it gave me SUPER HIGH expectations for the movie? And then like the next day (OK, 2 months) later I saw the trailer for A Walk in the Woods and YES MORE MOVIES MADE OUT OF BOOKS I LIKE.
I know it can be dangerous to get too excited about bookish movies because who knows how it's going to translate. Maybe the director or the screenwriter or the actors screwed something up. Maybe the story just worked best as a book and it doesn't matter who you have working on it, it's not going to work on film. Guess what?

First up, Walk, which between the two I was more worried about, because it's not like a straightforward story. It's got a story there, sure, but there's also lots of history and science woven in. And of course the part that makes it work so well is Bryson's tone.

Apparently Redford has been trying to make this movie forever, so it was in good hands. It's not exactly the book but it's actually a lot closer to the book than I would have assumed. It's got the humor, and I'm pretty sure Nolte was exactly how I pictured Katz and just never realized it. Sure, Redford and Nolte are much older than Bryson and Katz were when they did the hike, but it's fine. It still works this way and it's sweet and Kristen Schaal is amaaaaaaazing and THE perfect pick, even if her part is small. Well done, casting director.

Then there is The Martian and
I loooved this movie. Tom had the nerve to have to work both Friday and Saturday night so I was debating seeing it without him, but not really cos I'm not that mean. Instead we went to see the latest Saturday showing we could so we all got home at like 2am BUT DON'T CARE WORTH IT. The acting is well done. They didn't white wash the cast. The movie is long (2 1/2 hours) but it didn't drag, even when I already knew everything that was going to happen.

The movie has the same overall tone as the book, although we get to see a little more about how hard things are for Mark. In the book, we pretty much only hear from him based on what he's writing in his journal. The movie has those moments as well, via a vlog, but we also see him in quieter moments. FOR EXAMPLE when he's counting the potatoes he has while a massive storms whips around outside him. He's trying to focus on what he's doing and block out the noise, but the HAB is mostly canvas and you can hear everything. Will it hold? It's moments like this that give us a little more insight into how terrifying everything must have been for Mark, despite how upbeat he is.

Recommend both these movies. Ya done good, movie world, ya done good.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Monkalong III: You have bartered for momentary power eternal happiness

Here we are at week three of The Monkalong (thank you, Alice) and let's see if I can sum up my feelings for Ambrosio
How I wish I could go back to Raymond's ridiculous rambling, totally off-topic stories about bleeding nuns and murderous bandits. Instead we get Ambrosio being the worst. More than the worst. Worse than he was when we last left him.

Now he and Rostilda are banging on the reg, because Rostilda didn't die because she tells him she knows of a way to live, if he says he wants that AND if he promises to never ask how she did it. Ambrosio agrees and apparently Rostilda wasn't a demon before, but she is now! Or at least she makes a deal with the devil, who she claims is now a servant of hers.

To make sure no one guesses that the super pious monk is a wee-bit less than celibate these days, he decides to rail extra loud about how people need to steer clear of temptations or they'll go to hell. Really laying it on thick. I am forced to assume every politician has read this far into The Monk and decided "Yes, this is a genius plan, and will never backfire."
But what He wanted in purity of heart, He supplied by exterior sanctity. The better to cloak his transgression, He redoubled his pretensions to the semblance of virtue, and never appeared more devoted to Heaven as since He had broken through his engagements. Thus did he He unconsciously add Hypocrisy to perjury and incontinence.

Though really, this is in part Rostilda's idea. At one point Ambrosio hears that The Prioress is going to extra punish Agnes for embarrassing her in front of Ambrosio, and he has a moment of pity where he considers talking to The Prioress and having her consider that whole mercy thing Jesus was talking about. But Rostilda says he can't do that, cos if he starts looking like he's soft on that sort of behavior, everyone's going to figure out what they're up to.

Redouble your outward austerity, and thunder out menaces against the errors of others, the better to conceal your own.

Ambrosio is apparently a "hit it and quit it" type of guy cos he is getting booooored of Rostilda and starts eyeing other ladies, eventually settling on Antonia. And I realize this hasn't been confirmed, but we're all in agreement that Antonia and Ambrosio are siblings, right?
Part of the reason he's tired of Rostilda is that he doesn't like it when a lady actually wants sexy times.

Matilda gluts me with enjoyment even to loathing, forces me to her arms, apes the Harlot, and glories in her prostitution. Disgusting! Did She know the inexpressible charm of Modesty, how irresistibly it enthralls the heart of Man, how firmly it chains him to the Throne of Beauty, She never would have thrown it off.

Elvira is seriously ill and Antonio is looking for someone to pray for her, and out of the goodness of his heart (or really, the thing in his pants) Ambrosio decides to give up his promise to never leave the Abbey and goes over to visit Elvira in person. And while he's there, I guess he'll get to see Antonia.

He keeps making regular visits, Elvira keeps getting better until one day, after visiting with her mother, he goes into Antonia's room and then assaults her.
She tries to fight him off and her screams were enough to call her mother over. And here's where I realized just how smart Elvira is

She judged that to unmask the Imposter would be no easy matter, the public being so much prejudiced in his favour: and having but few Friends, She thought it dangerous to make herself so powerful an Enemy. She affected therefore not to remark his agitation, seated herself tranquilly upon the Sopha, assigned some trifling reason for having quitted her room unexpectedly, and conversed on various subjects with seeming confidence and ease.

Naturally, Ambrosio vows vengeance against Elvira for ruining his attack. But we're not done yet, because there hasn't been enough crazy here. Rostilda knows all about Ambrosio's obsession with Antonia and is willing to help him get what he wants. By summoning the devil, obviously. Rostilda convinces him to go along with the plan using some pretty convincing logic (she does have the devil behind her, after all) that he was "planning the destruction of innocence" anyway, so why not just go 100%. Besides, he's not really worried about doing something terrible. He's really just worried about God being mad at him. And anyway, isn't God all about forgiveness? There's always time to repent and really, don't you want to make it something really BIG that God has to forgive you for. Make it worth everyone's time.

So, Ambrosio is now going to partner with the devil so he can get Antonia.

I can't even guess what next week will bring.

Monday, October 12, 2015

This whole idea of marrying for happiness and love is relatively new

Aziz Ansari and a non-famous guy (sociologist Eric Klinenberg) decide to write a, if-not serious then at least well-researched, book about what love and dating are like in the modern world, Modern Romance.

Why is Aziz writing a book that involves graphs and stats and whatnot instead of a memoir or the like, as with most other comedians? He said basically that he didn't want to write a comedy book because he'd rather write new material for his standup and if he's not writing new material than he would just be repeating what he's already said in his standup so it wouldn't be anything new. But this was something that interested him, given he is dating in the modern world so hey this seems like an interesting topic.

I heard good things about the book from Alice's review and then listened to Aziz on one of the Freakonomics podcasts and then the book was on sale so stars aligning and whatnot, I read the book. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Which was expected.

It was an interesting book looking at the ways dating has changed, from the time just a couple generations ago when you would probably marry the guy down the street cos well, he seems nice enough to now when if you don't find your soulmate your life is meaningless, and the pros and cons of each.

I can't say I had too many opportunities to relate to all the online dating bits, given that I met Tom while we were in college and, much like the people from the nursing homes they interviewed, he lived in my building. First a few floors down when we first met and then by the time we were dating he lived across the hall and I have told him that much of our first getting together was a matter of convenience because I am a true romantic.

But that's fine cos it's not written in a way where you need first hand experience with these things in order to understand and enjoy, though I am sure you can probably get a little something extra out of those parts. And I am also a fan of sociology, so this was very much my thing.

I actually have a friend that went to one of his shows that was later used as part of this book. Not directly but as I was reading I remember a friend saying she went to a show but instead of it being standup he was talking to people about online dating. And also that he pretty much spent the whole time talking to two people so perhaps not the most statistically sound way to get information. But there enough other parts where they seem to be citing actual statistical evidence vs. anecdotal stories.

So yeah, this was excellent and I'm glad it followed the not-so-successful Intern's Handbook cos ugh.

Gif Rating:

Title quote from location 291

Ansari, Aziz and Eric Klinenberg. Modern Romance. Penguin Press, 2015.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Monk part II: You possess my heart, but use not my gift ignobly

It's Thursday which means its time for another Monkalong post. Thank ya Alice, our fearless readalong leader.
I thought Part I of The Monk was nuts. Lewis wastes no time throwing us right into the temptation and craziness. So I thought maybe, just maybe, this next part would be calmer as we're dealing with the aftermath of Ambrosio and Matilda's transgressions.


Lewis doubles down on the insanity.
More insane than Neville looking like this
We spend most of the time with the Marquis Raymond (Agnes's baby daddy*) as he catches Lorenzo up with how exactly they got to where they are now. And OF COURSE the story is insane.

Raymond travels around under a fake name, so he can learn if people really like him for him, or just like him for his name/title. While traveling one night his chaise breaks down in the middle of the woods with nothing around for miles, because Lewis is the grandfather of urban legends. His servant tells him that coincidentally they are right near this guy he knows so don't worry, Raymond/Alphonse can spend the night there.

The man of the house, Baptiste, is very happy to have them, but the wife (Marguerite) seems cold and rude and Raymond tells Baptiste how sorry he is that this guy has to be married to such a bitch. Except that "bitch" later saves Raymond's life, so maybe she's owed an apology.

A baroness also gets a flat tire, or whatever is causing these breakdowns outside the house, and also ends up staying. Marguerite keeps acting weird, hissing at Raymond to check the sheets. Which he does and turns out THEY'RE COVERED IN BLOOD.
Marguerite does NOT fuck around when it comes to hints that something bad is going to happen. He then overhears his servant talking to Baptiste and they are the robbers everyone keeps talking about and they're planning on killing everyone and taking their stuff once the rest of the gang gets there.

Marguerite also warns Raymond not to drink the special champagne because it's drugged and he almost blows the whole thing but pretending to take a sip and then pretending to throw it all up (what?) and yet they still think he drank it all, which makes no sense. Then Marguerite has to remind Raymond to pretend to be passed out or they'll figure out he didn't actually drink it.

Marguerite and Raymond overpower Baptiste and murder him, and then get away with the passed out baroness, though sadly the servants staying in the barn are all murdered. But the rich people got out, and that's what matters.

Maggie then tells HER story about how she had married this other guy who was great, but a robber and that sucked and all. But then he died and the other robbers in the gang said she couldn't just leave and had to marry this asshole and she never got to see her kids and was kept a prisoner in the house. Now that she's free she decides to join a convent and asks that a couple strangers take care of the kids she LITERALLY JUST GOT BACK. And so her son Theo ends up traveling around with Raymond.

Raymond ends up hanging out with the baroness for awhile, where he meets Agnes. Agnes has been promised to the church since birth but they fall in love anyway. Except the baroness ALSO falls in love with Raymond. She declares her love for him but when he confesses that it's been a BIG misunderstanding and he's actually in love with someone else she gets RUHL pissed RUHL fast.
Agnes and Raymond make plans to run away together and the plans are insane. They involve Agnes dressing up like a BLOODY GHOST NUN and since everyone is super afraid of blood-drenched specters, nun or not, they figure this will totally work, and how convenient that this ghost apparently only shows up once every five years, but in a few days, it will be that time. Also they leave all the doors open for her so the ghost can move easily around the castle, even though she is a ghost. But it's for the best reason:

On that night the Porter always leaves the Gates of the Castle open, out of respect to the Apparition: Not that this is thought by any means necessary, since She could easily whip through the Keyhole of She chose it; But merely out of politeness, and to prevent her from making her exit in a way so derogatory to the dignity of her Ghost-ship.
"The Dignity of her Ghost-Ship" sounds like a song from a Mumford and Sons-like band.

They make plans to meet but instead of grabbing Agnes, Raymond grabs the ACTUAL ghost nun. He's not there to meet Agnes, who is super embarrassed that she has to go back to the castle and ask to be let back in, and everyone figures out what she was trying to do because ghosts don't need to knock.

Meanwhile, Raymond is now being haunted by this ghost. This mysterious figure shows up one day to tell Raymond that he knows how he can get rid of this ghost. It's actually an ancestor of Raymond's and she's pissed that she was never properly buried. Then we get bleeding ghost nun story, about how she was mistress for this one baron, but then decide she wanted his brother so she murdered baron number one and then was killed by baron's brother and her bones tossed in a pit. Raymond has to retrieve the bones and give them a proper burial at home in order to be free of her.

Agnes is now at this convent and Raymond finds her and disguises himself as a gardner. There are clandestine meetings and some sexy times but they are caught again! Agnes is pissed at Raymond and all seems lost until it turns out she's pregnant so she's decided to forgive him and they make the plans with the note left in the church where Lorenzo found him and now we're all caught up.

Lorenzo agrees to help Raymond (cos they're besties now) but the prioress won't let Lorenzo see his sister. Because she's busy torturing her because Ambrosio ratted her out. Eventually Lorenzo gets a note from a bull (or a papal bull, but I like my image of a bull pope) that will let Agnes not be a nun anymore but the prioress tells her "Oh yeah, sorry, I actually can't let you see your sister BECAUSE SHE'S DEAD."
Also there's a bit about Lorenzo going to ask Antonia's mom (Raymond's sister-in-law) if he can marry Antonia but Elvira says that he can but ONLY if Lorenzo's uncle agrees to the union and this part is so not interesting compared to ALL OF THE INSANITY THAT JUST HAPPENED.

I have no idea what's going to happen next. I assume Agnes isn't really dead. Actually, there were a few poems thrown in throughout this section and honestly they could (and prob did) tell the entire story but no, I did not read them. But beyond that I don't know that I can make any claims cos I would have never guessed "bleeding ghost nun" would be a major plot point, yet here we are.

There were so many good parts I highlighted to talk about but this is already super long so I will stop here. Will the insanity increase next week? I hope so.

*Right after I wrote this I turned to Tom to ask a "very important grammar question:" is "baby daddy" hyphenated? He looked at me, shook his head, told me he loved me, and went back to work. Which did not answer my question at all.

Title quote from location 2043

Lewis, Matthew Gregory. The Monk.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Now, let's go kill someone, shall we?

I can't remember when I first heard about The Intern's Handbook. It's about an assassins-for-hire business that hides their hit men as intern's because "interns are invisible," not important enough for people to take note of but they tend to get access to important places and people. The story is about star hit man John Lago talking about his "last big job" writing down his story for future employees of the company.

I like the idea of it, but overall this didn't work. But like Zombie, Inc. it doesn't really live up to a cross-section of office satire mixed with ridiculous action. (Book world, WHY CAN'T YOU JUST LET ME HAVE THAT?)

John makes a big deal about how it's important for interns to not stand out and then he IMMEDIATELY makes himself stand out because OMG he's the best you guys. And then it shifts to just being a ridiculous action story, which could be OK if done well and if it didn't come off as the type of thing that would be popular with the MRA crowd, if only for lines like this:
If you are a guy, you have to embrace all things that go against your nature: thoughtfulness, sentimentality, caring, listening, and purchasing expensive gifts. If you are a girl, you have to embrace all things that come naturally to you: emotional cannibalism, psychological manipulation, and insatiable greed. Back to animals. Men = confused and desperate for pussy. Women = powerful because they have the pussy. The quest for love is shockingly similar to tracking a kill.
Don't worry, it does have a female character. A Strong Female CharacterTM who is "not like other women".
The story itself is nothing special. It's every action story you've ever seen/read. This could have been taken in a different direction, something that I think could have made it more interesting. So I guess, instead of telling you more about the actual book (cos eh) let me tell you what I wish happened.

John goes into how he go this job and we find out he was in foster care and had the typical Tragic Home LifeTM. We also know that this is John writing down his story. SO WHAT IF this is actually John, a scared kid in a foster home, writing what he wishes could happen and he could be, which is why things are ridiculous and he is the super smooth, best-of-the-bunch all the time. You get hints of this because John writes about how awesome he is all the time, but then also talks about how his team has to come up in and clean up after him or how he gets most of his information and ideas from Alice (aka Strong Female CharacterTM).

I would even accept that John actually does work for this company but is himself an intern for them. And not a super cool assassin-intern. An actual intern. Which could explain why he knows SO MUCH about coffee and goes on about it for awhile.

Anyway, no, this book was not my thing. If you couldn't tell.

Gif rating:
P.S.: This is minor, but since at this point I was annoyed at the book, it stuck out. So either the author messed up and at one point says this airport is in Long Island but then later forgets that and says it's in New Jersey. OR the author thinks Long Island is in New Jersey. Possibly mixing up Long Island and Long Beach Island. The point is, someone should have caught that or else this plays into my "John is making shit up" in which case, error would have been accepted.

Title quote from page 33, location 507

Kuhn, Shane. The Intern's Handbook. Simon & Schuster, 2014. Kindle.

Friday, October 2, 2015

September Reading Wrap-Up

This week has thrown me. I think it's something at work cos there were a few of us who could not figure out what day it was or the fact that September is over. Maybe it's because October means another quarter has ended which means things are about to get super busy for a couple weeks and we are all in denial about that. But regardless, multiple times on Wednesday myself and others said "...but wait, October is tomorrow? How the hell did that happen?"

I did not get quite as many pages read this time around but still a respectable number. See what happens when I can't play around online during my commute because NJTransit has somehow made the entire line a deadzone? Now, shall we look at some stats?

Number of books read
How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe by Charles Yu
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche 
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
Us by David Nicholls
People I Want To Punch In The Face by Jen Mann

Number of pages read

Percentage of fiction read
33% - first time this year non-fiction has surpassed fiction

Percentage of female authors
50% - well, look at that

Percentage of white authors
Percentage of US authors

Book formats
ebooks: 67%
paperback: 33%

Percentage of rereads
17% - I had such a good time re-reading A Walk in the Woods I decided I needed more Bryson

Percentage of review books
0% just...nope

Books by decade
2010s - 100%
...seriously, every book was written within the last 5 years
Books by genre
Essay - 33%
History - 17%
Lit Fic - 17% (this is pretty much my "I have no idea what this book is but it's fiction so...")
Sci-Fi - 17%
Regular Sci - 17%

Resolution books
How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe  - author isn't white!
We Should All Be Feminists - author is neither white nor from the US!
Us  - author is not from the US!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Mercy would here be criminal

Monkalong post one and I have actually managed to get the reading for the first post done on time!

I never know what to talk about in these first posts so why don't we start with what I knew about The Monk before starting the book:
Alright, good post.

So yeah, I didn't know anything about it other than Alice (aka Reading Rambo) said we're doing this readalong and yeah. I figure even if the book is not my thing the readalongs are always fun so it doesn't really matter what we read. Good thing so far this book is kicking ass.

First things first, we're all agreed that Aunt Leonella is the best, right?

Antonia, why do not you speak, Child? While the Cavalier says all sorts of civil things to you, you sit like a Statue, and never utter a syllable of thanks, either bad, good, or indifferent!
My dear Aunt, I am very sensible that...
Fye, Niece! How often have I told you, that you should never interrupt a Person who is speaking!? When did you ever know me to do such a thing?
The best.

(Also, does everyone's version have lots of words capitalized? Like not just first words of sentences and proper nouns? Is that a thing?)

So we have Antonia being boring and pretty, and Leonella being awesome and pushy and then two guys (Lorenzo and Christoval) being boring and falling in love with Antonia because of course. They, along with the whole of Madrid, are getting ready to listen to a sermon by the mystery priest Ambrosio. He's essentially a saint, having grown up with the monks after being left on their doorstep.

Too great severity is said to be Ambrosio's only fault. Exempted himself from human failings, He is not sufficiently indulgent to those of others

So you just KNOW he's going to have a fall from grace.

We transition from Lorenzo and Antonia via Lorenzo's sister, the nun Agnes. He falls asleep at the church and when the nuns come for confession he sees a man hide a letter, later picked up by his sister. But Ambrosio finds the letter and reads it cos being practically a saint means not respecting other people's mail. The letter informs Ambrosio that Agnes is planning on running away
with Antonia's uncle relative

because she is PREGNANT
Ambrosio tells the head nun who I believe literally dragged Agnes away promising various harsh punishments while Agnes yelled curses and the priest

Then we move into the next part of the story where Ambrosio thinks he's the best (Pride told him loudly that He was superior to the rest of his fellow-Creatures) and he even has this novice monk Rosario that is fawning over him.

Then it turns out that Rosario is dun dun DUUUUN...A WOMAN! Whaaaaaa?
She is madly in love with Ambrosio who agrees not to turn her in because she threatens to kill herself so yeah, lots of stable people here. He agrees to give her three days before she must leave and she agrees if he'll give her a flower but then he's BIT BY A DEADLY SERPENT and the Monk-doctor tells him he will totally be dead in three days. Except, he isn't. The swelling is gone and everything looks fine. But Matilda/Rosario is saying ominous things about how they'll never see each other again after three days and in truth she sucked the poison out so he could live. She uses the fact that she's about to die to convince Ambrosio to sleep with her and he does it because she reminds him of this version of the virgin Mary who has been giving him impure thoughts.

He forgot his vows, his sanctity, and his fame: He remembered nothing but the pleasure and opportunity.

We are only like 20% in and already Ambrosio has given into temptation. Lewis does NOT mess around.

What is going to happen with Ambrosio? And is Agnes OK? Is Leonella going to show up again and keep hitting on Christoval? Will the gypsy curse prove true and Antonia be killed? (Oh yeah, there's a gypsy curse. And a nun curse. THIS BOOK IS NUTS) How many more "gasp" gifs can I find, cos I'm thinking I'm going to need some more if this keeps up.