#6degrees – from The Outsiders to His Sombre Rivals

Bookwyrm Knits did this association thing this month and I figured I’d try my hand at it. It was pretty fun making the connections.

 

 

I read the Outsiders, along with Rumblefish, back in my middleschool days. I don’t remember much about the books except thinking what a bunch of sad people the stories revolved around.  The local library, where I volunteered in highschool had several of her books.

The local library was where I found Way-Farer, one of my favorite books of all time and one I still rave about today. That cover, with that sword, that was just pure teen boy magnet. I’ve written quite a few posts on Way-Farer, so no need to go on here.

A sword on the cover leads to the next book, King’s Dragon by Kate Elliott. That was the first of seven in her Crown of Stars series. A 7  books series was not the longest series I had read, nor would it be the last, but it was the one that I realized that a long series isn’t always a good series. I finished it but ended up selling the hardcovers soon afterwards.

The opposite of a long series is not a short series. No, the opposite is the Standalone. A standalone that I really enjoyed in 2006 was Tim Powers’ The Anubis Gates.  Dealing with time travel, history and time paradoxes that aren’t time paradoxes, The Anubis Gates was fun, interesting  and had just enough history to show that Powers was a fan of history but not afraid to play around behind the scenes. He’s writing like history isn’t real.

What is real though, is war. What It Is Like To Go To War by Karl Marlantes was one of the few non-fiction books I read in 2011, if not the ONLY non-fiction book of that year.  Getting a soldier’s perspective is a good thing for civilians, as we just don’t know jack-squat about what they are dealing with. Marlantes being a Rhodes scholar as well as a Vietnam vet upped his credibility in my eyes.

The American Civil War was vastly different from the Vietnam War. His Sombre Rivals by Edward Payson Roe is set during that time.  A bromance where 2 guys both love the same woman but the unsuccessful one doesn’t whine or allow his feelings to destroy the friendship he has with both his friend and the woman. True Manliness. Probably the best book I read in 2015.

 

 

There you have it, 6 book associations from the early 90’s up until 2015.  You can see all the rules and blabberywhatnot the creators/hosters of this association thing put up (seems like almost everyone who starts something like this can’t resist making everyone else goosestep to their tune). I’ll probably check in at the original place every couple of months and see what another starting book is. It is fun to make these links 🙂

 

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Surviving a Bad Book – Prince of Thorns

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Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

2 Stars

 

 

Back in 2011 I kept hearing about this new up and coming author, Mark Lawrence and what a wunderkind he was. He was on the forefront of this new fantasy sub-genre, something called “grim dark”. I figured I had nothing to lose and dived into it.

Oh my goodness.  I was shocked, to say the least. Jorg was a 13 year old psychopath who raped and murdered his way through the book. There wasn’t a single good thing I could point to and it left me feeling betrayed and angry at Lawrence.  I don’t even remember any details about the plot, as Jorg dominated everything in my mind.

If I wanted that kind of entertainment, I can turn on the news. Seriously, there is enough horrible stuff in the real world, every single minute, of rape, of abuse, of neglect, of despair and of death for any sicko to get their rocks off. So why someone voluntarily reads this for fun is beyond me. What amazes me even more (in a bad way) is that someone wrote this. It boggles my mind that such filth was given the light of day. How does Lawrence go out in public knowing he penned, for any and all to read,  such things?

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And those strong feelings are why I’ve never read another Lawrence book since.  In the last couple of years I have heard good things about his Red Sister trilogy. Once the final book is out and if it doesn’t stoop to frenzied levels of despairing violence, I’ll probably give Lawrence another chance. But even if I like it, I’ll always remember that this guy wrote someone like Jorg.

 

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PSA: DNF – The Divisive Issue of Our Day

PSA

 

 

Last month I spoke up about Book Reviewers and the lack of integrity and honesty I found and how I thought most reviewers were crooks, swindlers, liars, cheaters and general all around ne’erdowells. I obviously didn’t include myself when thinking of those terms, as I am a Paragon of Virtue and the Rock upon which this Blog stands.

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Virtue doesn’t desert me because I tied it to a chair in my living room!

 

 

This month, I feel like discussing something with a little more nuance, something not so cut and dried. Did Not Finish.

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This subject is so open for discussion that I am getting primed just thinking about it. DNF’ing is the working out of each person’s philosophy behind their book reading. While not everyone is going to dive into the nitty gritty of all the why’s and wherefores, everyone at leasts thinks about DNF’ing and if it is for them or not. Once you’ve made the right choice and do DNF a book, then so many factors come into play that it is a veritable paradise of reasonings. I love complicated subjects like this because it shows the inside of a person on so many levels. On to the Bookstooge Philosophy of DNF’ing a book.

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What generally happens when I score a point in any debate

 

Now, my general Rule of Thumb is the Nancy Pearl Rule of 50 Pages or 10%. She summarizes it as such:

I live by what I call ‘the rule of fifty,’ which acknowledges that time is short and the world of books is immense. If you’re fifty years old or younger, give every book about fifty pages before you decide to commit yourself to reading it, or give it up. If you’re over fifty, which is when time gets even shorter, subtract your age from 100. The result is the number of pages you should read before deciding.

As a “rule of thumb”, that works out pretty well. However, I don’t subscribe to it as a “Law”. While there might be the Laws of Thermodynamics, there is no Law of 50. For good reason.

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Spongebob and I are in complete agreement on this issue. There is no Law of 50. 

Triggers, or the suchlike, are another good reason to DNF a book. Triggers can run the gamut from the emotional to the intellectual. Something that you’ve experienced in the past and can absolutely destroy you when reading about a like instance in a book, like rape for instance, is an emotional response that causes you do stop reading that book. Or perhaps the author starts espousing views about Aliens and Humans, ala Scientology and suddenly, nothing else they can say matters as your mind can’t accept such thinking (by the by, I’d dismiss any non-fiction author who started down that particular path). But the thing is, everyone has something that they hold inviolate, even if they don’t think long and hard about it.

For me, I’ve definitely got some DNF triggers that cause me to pull the plug like that

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  1. Blasphemy is top of the list. Similarly, the denial of Christ’s divinity (ie, His Godhood).

  2. Another one is the inclusion of sexual perversions. In this day and in our culture, that tends to be the one I have to deal with the most. It’s like a minefield now.

  3. Another one is rape or gruesome violence against women and/or children. My soul revolts against such a thing and I won’t tolerate it in my entertainment.

Those tend to be The Big Three for me.

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Other reason I have for DNF’ing a book can be summed up like this:

  • I hate every single character and wish they were dead. They have to be REALLY bad though for me to DNF because of that. Most likely I just won’t read any more by the author.

  • I’m bored. If I go into a book expecting to be entertained and I’m not, forget it. I read for fun and my reading time is as precious as gold to me. If an author wastes that, I’ll cut them off at the knees and enjoy doing it. But again, I have to be REALLY bored.

  • Social Justice bullshit. I have very little tolerance for that nonsense. The people who think that way and participate in such things are fools and I want nothing to do with them or their silly ideas. Mainly because there is no thinking involved and when you can’t even talk rationally to someone, there is no point in talking. Proverbs 23 says this: Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

And really, I think those additional 3 items wrap it up. I don’t DNF very much, even if I will rate a book extremely low and rake it over the coals.

Now, on to the part I’ve actually wanted to write. I don’t usually ASK for your opinions, as I’m almost always telling you MY opinions, but in this case, I actually DO want to know your thoughts on this issue. A lot. Write a comment, please. A short one, a long one, a post length one, a post with a linkback. Just something. If you don’t normally comment, take this time to carefully considering commenting for the first time. Do you DNF? If so, what causes that? There are as many permutations for DNF’ing as there are readers and I want to hear about them.

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Bookstooge in 100 Books

(I got the idea for a 100 Book List from The Book Jotter. If you read her post, you’ll see that I’ve changed things a tiny bit)

 

The following list of books are ones that have affected me through the years. Good and bad. While my About page is a good look at me as a man, this is a good look at me as a reader. These aren’t organized in any particular order nor is this list in any way a comprehensive list of all the books I’ve read. If you see a majority of books that I hate and you love, or that you hate and I loved, think long and hard about following me.

 

 

Books I have Hated: 50

Toll the Hounds

Catch-22

Earthman Jack vs the Ghost Planet

Light

The Midden

Obsidian Worlds

Venetia

The Night of the Swarm

Feeling Lucky

Walden & Civil Disobediance

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Think and Grow Rich

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

The Monk

Sullivan’s Sting

The Last Town

Free Ware

The Dracula Caper

The Boy and the Peddler of Death

Cadman’s Gambit/Sword of the Archon

Curse of the Wendigo

Threshold

We are Legion (We are Bob)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The Store

The Punch Escrow

The Wizard

Badland

Beyond Varallan

A Quest of Heroes

Sandworms of Dune

The Daylight War

Superman: Doomed

Inkheart

The Fog

The Singer’s Crown

The Last Day

Wolf Hunting

Curse of the Mistwraith

Demon Deathchase

New Moon

Empire of Ivory

The Omen Machine

Superman: True Brit

Germline

The Darkness that Comes Before

Tehanu

The Way of Kings

Flight of the Night Hawks

The Great Gatsby

 

Books I have Loved: 50

The Bible

What Adventists Believe

Way-Farer

Dune

Sentenced to Prism

Galactic Odyssey

The Sublimity of Faith

Mere Christianity

Science Fiction Hall of Fame Vol 1

The Phantom Tollbooth

The One Kingdom

Empire in Black and Gold

Gardens of the Moon

Icerigger

The Many Faces of Evil

Nicholas Nickleby

Ready, Set, Hut (Eyeshield 21 #37)

Song for the Basilisk

Bridge of Birds

Flowers for Algernon

His Sombre Rivals

The Art of War

Persuasion

Oblomov

Across Five Aprils

Crime and Punishment

Talion: Revenant

Akira 1

The Death of Superman

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

A Memory of Light

Dealing with Dragons

Hogfather

Bridge to Terebithia

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000

Count of Monte Cristo (abridged)

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Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians

Anne of Green Gables

I, Joker

Furies of Calderon

Wizard’s First Rule

Through Wolf’s Eyes

The Eye of the World

The Warded Man

A Wizard of Earthsea

The Hobbit

Revenge of the Sith

Magician: Apprentice & Master

The Dragonbone Chair

 

 

A Side Project

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Back in April I ran across this post about 100 Books. I’ve finally started working on my own version, which I’ve divided into books I hate and books I love. I’ll be linking each title to it’s review here on wordpress.  As such, I’ll be having to create whole new posts for about half the books as they were simply in my monthly posts from years ago.

What this means is that those of you who are subscribed to get an email every time I put up a new post will be getting a small flood of emails over the next few weeks. You might have experienced it already this past weekend.  Thankfully, this still advances my overall Site Update plans, so I don’t feel this is taking away from that project. That is already going slow enough, sigh.

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Just wanted to give you all the heads up. Once the Project is done, I plan on making the list one of the static pages here on WP, along with “About”, “Star Ratings” and “Review Policy”.

 

Carry on.

 

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Shooter VERSUS Point of Impact

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Shooter is a 2007 movie starring Mark Wahlberg about a sniper hired by the United States Government to prevent any chance of an attack by another sniper on a meeting between some politician and a religious figure.  He is actually used to plan the attack and double crossed and blamed. He goes on the run, hooks up with a dead marine’s wife who helps him out and turns the tables on the slimeball politician who set the whole thing up.

 

 

 

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Point of Impact is the first book in the Bob Lee Swagger book series by Stephen Hunter. Bob Lee is a sniper, hired to prevent the assassination of the president or vice president, double crossed, runs all over the country and eventually proves his innocence.

 

 

 

 

 

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I actually saw the movie before I was even aware of the book series. I saw it on an airplane either on my to California or on my way back from California. I don’t think I watched the whole thing, but I watched enough to know that I enjoyed it. I got it from the library and watched the whole thing and really did enjoy it. It wasn’t until ’13 that I actually got around to reading the book and comparing the two.

If it is JUST the book versus the movie, I like the book more but the movie had more action. However, the series of books devolved and I ended up stopping several books in and wished I’d just stuck with the first. The later books kind of ruined the first book for me, to the point where I’d rather own the movie instead of the book.

I found the book deeper, better plotted and much more interesting in terms of character in Bob Lee Swagger. He’s a Vietnam sniper who is just about the only guy in the world who can shoot “X” number of yards with some sort of rifle. He’s a gimp, in his mid 50’s or so and lives alone in the Appalachian Mountains.  He’s very smart and is smart enough to know when to get the help of people who know more about something than him. Such as a lawyer. Some big wig lawyer who knew his daddy also plays a big part and watching everything come together to prove Bob Lee’s innocence is a great thing.  The book is almost as much a legal thriller as anything else.

That being said, he’s not running around shooting off machine guns or hiding in the Antarctic or blowing up scumbag politicians’ houses. That is where the movie kicks butt. It is an action movie and makes no bones about being one. Mark Wahlberg does a great job of portraying a modern Vet with modern tools at his command.  The romance in the movie is upped quite a bit from the book and the character in the movie is almost portrayed as white trailer trash, where as in the book she’s a pretty upper crust woman. I think that was my only real bone of contention for story/plot change.

Honestly, it’s a tossup which is better in my opinion. I think it comes down to what you are looking for.

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Culling – An Exercise in Futility

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The Cull Master is Tired

 

I have been in the habit of culling, on a regular basis, all the “people” who follow me here on WordPress.  It’s a habit I’ve had to get rid of all the dead wood and scum bags that accumulate. Recently, I’ve been getting flippity flopping tired of it.  I am especially tired of dirtbag writers who follow me but who have nothing in common with my blog. And when I remove them and they follow me AGAIN within 24hrs, well, that tells me they’re just looking for attention because of what awful people they are.

And don’t even get me started on those “companies”, like Hastings Services. I removed those miserable sad sacks 15 times before they stopped trying.

But I’m done with that now. It is like counting the sands on a beach, never ending. So follow away you pieces of algorithms, you attention whores, you scammers. I simply don’t care any more.

 

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