30 Day Book Meme: Day 30

What book are you currently reading?

I am, as always, reading a bunch of books. One of them is the Luck in the Shadows series, by Lynn Flewelling. SO GOOD. It’s in the same setting as her top-notch trilogy about Queen Tamir II, but a couple hundred years later. It’s fascinating to see what’s changed, and to see how the events of the previous books affected the landscape and people in the newer ones. Awesome.

Wow, I made it to the end of the meme! Go me! This means my feed will get a bit quieter, but I have lots of things planned, so stay tuned!

30 Day Book Meme: Day 29

Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)

Character death is a subject I have some strong opinions on, as anybody who’s heard me rant about Joss fucking Whedon can attest.

The example I always use of the right way to kill off a character is Boromir in The Lord of the Rings. To sum up: Boromir is gradually seduced by the Ring and attacks Frodo in an attempt to take it. Frodo escapes and Boromir is horrified to realize how he has betrayed the trust placed in him when he was made a part of the Fellowship. A bunch of orcs attack and he dies trying to save Merry and Pippin. He fights valiantly, taking many arrows. He speaks briefly to Aragorn one last time, and the two of them reconcile the tension between them (a vast over-simplification: Aragorn is the heir to the throne which would otherwise be Boromir’s).

So, Boromir’s death enables him to regain some of his lost honor and go out doing the right thing on all sides. It’s a necessary, cathartic death (his actions toward Frodo were appalling and unforgivable), which makes it satisfying even while one grieves the loss of a man who, while imperfect, was in many ways very good and honorable.

Good stuff.

30 Day Book Meme: Day 28

First favorite book or series obsession

The very first was probably Dracula. Holy moly I loved that book. I read anything to do with it at all and was soon the foremost sixth-grade expert on the fellow. I could talk your ear off about the historical guy Stoker loosely based the character on (Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula, on account of his dad was nicknamed Dracul and the “la” ending meant “son of.” Aw, yeah. I still got it.).

I watched every Dracula movie my parents would let me get my hands on, along with every vampire movie they’d let me see. I read everything even loosely connected to vampires in the local library, and started amassing the formidable vampire-related book collection that forms the heart of my library’s Special Collections section.

30 Day Book Meme: Day 27

If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!

Hm. The answer to this used to be “vampires,” but with the current Twilight craze I’ve had to give that up. There’s just too much crap vampire fiction out there. I read a lot of crap stuff back when I first became obsessed with vamps, and eventually figured out how to tell if a book was going to be decent or not pretty quickly and started avoiding the crap ones.

It’s really diminished the number of vampire books I read these days, let me tell you.

I still read quite a number of them, though. The Harry Dresden books have a couple of vampires as recurring characters, and so do a couple of other urban fantasy series I read.

30 Day Book Meme: Day 26

OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending

Easy. The original final chapter of A Cl0ckwork Orange.

Needless to say, there are spoilers here. If you don’t want to hear about the ending to the book (and film), STOP READING NOW.


So, as originally written, our protagonist Alex goes on his horrible rampage, is brainwashed to be a good person, is basically destroyed by that, and is turned back into a little bastard of a thug. Then, in the last chapter, a far older and wiser Alex reveals that he basically grew out of his horribleness, and that humanity is good, blah blah blah.

It totally ruined the point of the damn book.

Fortunately, the American publisher realized this, told the author he was an idiot, and cut it, so that it ended with Alex being a horrible little bastard again. It’s a far more effective ending, and actually fits with the rest of the book. I’ve no idea why Anthony Burgess thought his sweetness-and-light ending was a good idea, but he was wrong.

30 Day Book Meme: Day 25

Any five books from your “to be read” stack

Hah! Try my “to be read” shelves. Or even, “to be read” bookcases.

I have a lot of books I haven’t read yet.

Anyway. Five picked more or less at random:

  • By Blood We Live, an anthology of vampire stories edited by John Joseph Adams
  • Reading in Bed, a collection of essays about “the glories of reading” selected and edited by Steven Gilbar
  • The Heart of Philosophy by Jacob Needleman (that bastard got me interested in Philosophy again, after I swore off it during college. I have shaken my fist at him in person for this.)
  • Charles II by Ronald Hutton
  • The New Annotated Dracula by Bram Stoker and Leslie S. Klinger

Why do I have a bio of Charles II up there? because he was a friend of the original badass rock star: John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. That was a man who knew how to party, and I’ve studied his life and works in depth. He claimed repeatedly to have been continuously drunk for a year. He was banished repeatedly, on one occasion for writing a rude poem about Charles and “mistakenly” handing it to him during a large event. He partied so hard that he died in his early thirties of what appears to be syphilis aggravated by cirrhosis of the liver.

Top that, Keith Richards!

30 Day Book Meme: Day 24

Best quote from a novel

Wow. I have read quite a bit of Oscar Wilde, among many other witty fellows. How the hell am I supposed to pick a single quote as “best”? I used to collect quotations from novels, films, and other sources, so you’d think it’d be easy, but really, it’s the opposite: I have a wealth of fabulous quotes to choose from.

So, here is a sampling:

“I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.” – Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

“Wherefore do ye toil; is it not that ye may live and be happy? And if ye toil only that ye may toil more, when shall happiness find you? Ye toil to live, but is not life made of beauty and song? … Toil without song is like a weary journey without an end. Were not death more pleasing?” – HP Lovecraft, “The Quest of Iranon”

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors and laugh at them in our turn?” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

There are too many to list from the Discworld books. There’s a big collection at L-Space.

30 Day Book Meme: Day 23

Most annoying character ever

Hm, a tricky one. I tend to avoid books with characters who annoy me. Generally, it’s relationships that bug me in books, not characters. An exception would probably be Rincewind n the Discworld books. He’s a wizard who isn’t particularly good at what he does and is basically a coward. I get that he’s a satire of the typical fantasy hero sort of character, but he just… doesn’t work for me. Thankfully, most of the time he shows up in books that feature a bunch of characters I do like: the faculty of Unseen University. They’re a bit of a satire of the stuffy college faculty set in the UK university system, and they slay me. That helps a great deal to make up for Rincewind being a stupid blighter whose chief talent is running away shrieking.

30 Day Book Meme: Day 22

Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)

This is a tricky one. The first thing that springs to mind is the relationship between Commander Samuel Vimes of the Watch and Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, in the Discworld books. The second is the one between Harry Dresden and the spirit Bob (he has an actual name, but as he’s an air spirit, it’s not really pronounceable by humans).

Both are borderline frenemy relationships, for which I have a definite weakness. Bob is essentially Harry’s captive — he gets Harry information, and has a vast store of his own knowledge. When Harry sends him out info-gathering, he has to be very, very clear or Bob will take the opportunity to hang out in strip clubs (he has a serious facination with human sex, in spite of lacking the necessary equipment to engage in it himself). There’s a real affection there, though. When it looks like Bob has been destroyed, or at least had his brain wiped, Harry is distressed for reasons beyond the loss of his best assistant.

With Vimes and Vetinari, things are even more complicated. Both men love the city they serve, but they are very different people and tend to get on one another’s nerves. Plus, Vetinari is highly intelligent and knows exactly how to wind Vimes up and point him in the direction he wants him to go, which Vimes finds aggravating. He can’t resist, though, because part of Vetinari’s brilliance is pointing the fellow at people he can’t help wanting to take down. Vimes takes a certain pleasure in annoying Vetinari whenever possible, which is frequently. There’s a very real respect between the two men, however. Some fans even go so far as to speculate that Vetinari is grooming Vimes as a successor.

30 Day Book Meme: Day 21

Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)

To answer this, I must confess a secret: I don’t just like Jane Austen, as previously mentioned. I am hopelessly fond of Georgette Heyer.

I know. Not very rock ‘n Roll.

But she has written easily one of my favorite relationships ever, that between Abby Wendover and Miles Calverleigh, in Black Sheep. Her niece (a flighty, spoiled thing raised by Abby and another aunt) falls for Miles’ nephew (who has lost all his money and is trying to get himself hitched to an heiress, which Abby’s niece conveniently is). Miles doesn’t really care at first (he’s mostly entertained by people getting into scrapes, if he even notices), but when he starts to care about Abby and sees how distressed she is, he puts in an effort.

He’s hilarious and charming and Abby is intelligent and witty, and together they’re hysterical. Black Sheep is one of my favorite Heyer novels.

I shall now go listen to my entire Led Zepplin collection to get my rock cred back.