i think i'm so funny.
i'm currently laying WIB out novel-style, in spite of the fact that a) it's a first draft, b) it's not even done, c) i don't really know how i'd want to have it laid out, really, i'm just fucking around with A5 paper size in Google Drive, and d) i don't even want to print it. It's not that kind of story.
But it brings me the Dopamines to see it laid out all book-like, and I figure it's practice for when I finish Closerverse and go to print that shit, so like, it's whatever.
anyway have some great bits from the front pages i'm currently adding
"Dedicated to dinosaurs, space, the ocean, and the endless sky. Yes, I know those aren’t people. I don’t know. I don’t dedicate things for a living, and if I did, I wouldn’t be here today. The head of King Deiya will be visible later to prove the veracity of my claim— oh, whoops, wrong section."*
(on the content notes page) "I’ve done my best to treat these themes with the respect and importance they deserve, but this book is told largely from the point of view of a character with a deeply dysfunctional relationship to himself, his friends, bodily harm in general, and just, like, everything, ever. If there’s a bad thing that it’s possible to be completely weird about he is weird about it. And he is the one the story is told through. Sorry."
(on the characters list page) "Rex ket’Aothea - the “meanest bastard this side of the Northern Wastes” (self-titled)"
*Context for this line is that when Rex announces he's taking over the country publically, he pulls out Deiya's heart, a blue glowing orb, and holds it up and then says "For—for those of you who can’t see, and for the record, because I know someone is taking notes, the heart is a blue orb. It glows. Uh, kind of pulsatingly, like a heartbeat. It looks like a crystal, I don’t know. I don’t describe things for a living, and if I did, I wouldn’t be here today." I genuinely don't know who to dedicate this book to, given that I'm pretty sure it would come over like an insult no matter who i give it to because it is so unabashedly, delightfully stupid and I love ragging on it, so this works lmao.
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Book Review - Summer Summary 2020
I didn’t get around to doing an individual post for the books I read in June/July/August, so I decided to choose a dozen that I read over the summer... I’d separate the wheat from the chaff for you so to speak. Though like you’re about to find out, that doesn’t necessarily mean they were all good by any means...
My girlfriend got this for me to “tide me over until Midnight Sun”. Between you and me, I think she was taking the piss. Anyway, Crave is very... standard fare paranormal YA school romance with the added flare of being written by an adult erotica writer, meaning the rhythm and tone of this novel is fucking bonkers. If you want to read the novel without reading the novel, just take Twilight and the entire Vampire Academy series, shove them in a blend, and force down the sludge you get from that. Normal Average Girl Goes To Secret School In Alaska For Vampire, Werewolves and Dragons. That’s this book. It is so big and so so so bad. I finished it out of spite, please don’t do that to yourself. Unless you are really craving (hurr hurr) some top tier trashy paranormal romance, in which case... no judgment.
The Last Firehawk
The Last Firehawk is a Scholastic “Branches” series, written for beginning readers (grade 1-3ish, depending on the child’s reading level). It has short stories, big text, and awesome pictures on every page. Guys. I unironically am adoring this series. It’s simple and is introducing children to a number of classic elements in the fantasy quest genre, but it is so charming. Friends Tag and Skyla discover a firehawk egg, and species that is supposed to have disappeared long ago. When Blaze hatches from it, the three are tasked with going out and finding the magical ember stone which was hidden long ago by the firehawks and which could be used to defeat the evil vulture Thorn and his dark magic... I read the first two books to second graders who ate it up and read the next four books because I personally wanted to continue the series. If you have young readers in your life (or just want a fun kid adventure) then please try these they’re the literary equivalent of nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie.
Lupin III: World’s Most Wanted #3
All the kind people that still follow my tumblr and haven’t tried to murder me because of my Lupin obsession are not going to be surprised by this one. I finally read one of the manga for this series and honestly I’m delighted. Somehow even hornier than the show, but hilariously funny. I felt like I was reading a more adult version of Spy Vs Spy. It’s a bunch of short, individual bits/adventures with lots of visual gags and an artstyle that is really different and delightful.
River of Teeth / Taste of Marrow (American Hippo series)
I’ve talked about River of Teeth before, but I finally finished the American Hippo duology and need to sing its praise. This is an alternate history series composed of two novellas that explore the question What would have happened if the States had decided to import hippos as livestock...? Anyways, my pitch for you: queer hippo cowboys. That’s all it took for me to read it. You have a gay gunslinger who loves his hippo to death, a nonbinary explosives-expert / poisoner who is the main love interest, a fat con artist who spoils her hippo and is the only voice of reason in this entire series, and a latina mother-to-be who is the scariest assassin in the entire series and is obviously scheming. The four of them are brought together on a job to deal with the Mississippi’s feral hippo problem.
IT’S A QUEER HIPPO COWBOY HEIST NOVEL GUYS I DON’T KNOW WHY I’M STILL TALKING AND YOU HAVEN’T JUST GONE TO READ THIS YET.
Petals to the Metal (The Adventure Zone series)
The graphic novel adaptation to the McElroy family’s DND podcast The Adventure Zone. Most of you are probably aware of this? It’s a great adaptation, it hits all the important beats, shows off the characters really well, and still gets lots of good gags in even while condensing entire arcs into single book stories. This one is probably my favourite so far just because Petals to the Metal was one of my favourite arcs in the show... but you can also see how the art has improved and the chaos of the race is fun to see drawn out.
If you like The Adventure Zone but haven’t tried the graphic novels yet -- would recommend! If you’ve always wanted to listen to The Adventure Zone but don’t have time for such a long series or struggle to focus on podcasts then pick up the first book of this series (Here There Be Gerblins) and try reading it! It really is an enjoyable adaptation.
Pony to the Rescue (Pony Pals series)
I continued my April/May theme of reading old-school chapter book series to combat Covid Brain Fry, so I picked up a few Pony Pals books. I read these as a kid and always enjoy them -- there’s just something so appealing to a child about having a horse. It gives your child characters a level of independence and ability to explore that you wouldn’t get otherwise. These books definitely read young, but they were nostalgic to revisit.
A really cool middle grade horror novel I picked up. Maybe it’s because I live around a lot of corn fields, but farm/scarecrow themed horror absolutely does it for me. One evening, after seeing a woman try to destroy a strange, old book, eleven year old Ollie doesn’t stop to think, instead stealing the book and running. That’s how she becomes wrapped up in the strange, sinister story of a cursed family and creature called the Smiling Man that seems to live out in the foggy fields. While unsettling, Ollie tries to remind herself that it’s just a story... but this becomes more challenging when her school bus breaks down one day out their own set of fields, and a fog is rolling in...
“Avoid large spaces. Stick to small.”
Snot Girl #1 - #2
A Canadian graphic novel series by the creator of the Scott Pilgrim series! I love his work so I decided to give Snotgirl a try, even though it’s not generally my genre. I’m glad I did! First book took a while for me to get into, but by the time I hit the second I was really wrapped up in the mystery and character development. Snotgirl is about Lottie, a self-consumed fashion blogger whose biggest struggles are dealing with her allergies, frustration with her fellow-blogger friends, and how entirely her self-esteem is tied to her “beauty” and how people view her. But everything shifts in strange and horrifying ways when Lottie starts taking a new allergy medication, meets a new friend... and then witnesses that girl’s death. Or does she?
Seriously, or does she? I have no idea, I need to read the third book. This book is full of intrigue, complicated relationships, murder (or not?), and a healthy dose of magical realism to keep you guessing. If you like slice-of-life, crime, and abstract reality then this series is world a try. Plus the art is gorgeous.
Summer Wars #1 - #2
I recently rewatched Summer Wars (still one of my favourite movies) and decided to read the two-book manga adaptation. It was a really neat little adaptation. The creator of the movie gave the writer free range to tweak things to fit better in a manga format, which means some movie elements were allowed to fade into the background, whereas other aspects were fulled into the forefront and fleshed out to a greater degree. It was very cool, it kept the same story but gave you new things to think about which I wasn’t expecting. Reading this as a stand alone works just fine, but honestly if you’ve never watched the movie Summer Wars you should give it a try! It’s a great mix of slice-of-life, sprawling family dynamics that I relate to a little too well, cyber adventures, and fantasy. Super feel good.
This One Summer
Okay, last graphic novel, I swear. This One Summer was... weird and intense. It’s a coming-of-age Canadian graphic novel that follows a pair of pre-teens who meet up like they do every year at their family’s summer cottages. You see them both in the awkward phases between childhood and growing up to become teenagers, as they’re confronted with things like maturity, friendship, self-esteem, family problems, and sexuality. A beautiful read, but probably the heaviest out of all the books on my list.
Wild Thornberrys Novelization
I rewatched The Wild Thornberrys movie with my girlfriend earlier this year, and decided I wanted to hunt down the chapter book novelization because I’m kind of a sucker for novelizations. Honestly, this was about what you would expect from the era. 90s/00s novelizations, especially young novelizations, are generally just a transcript of the movie without much thought or effort put into them to make them anything but. That’s what this was. It was fine, and it really let me revisualize the entire movie, but honestly you’re probably better off just rewatching the movie unless you also really deeply love The Wild Thornberrys.
I saw that Netflix had done a funky looking adaptation of The Willoughbys and I decided I needed to read the book first before watching the movie. This was a little bizarre, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Over all, I think it was a net-positive experience. It’s an obvious satire on classic children’s novels, especially the likes of Mary Poppins (real Mary Poppins, not the Disney version) and while a little heavy-handed, it does a Series of Unfortunate Events vibe that redeems it. The story is about a group of horrible children (The Ruthless Willoughbys) who decide they are sick of their parents and would rather become Worth Orphans... and to do that, they’re going to have to dispose of their inconvenient parents, obviously. Conveniently their parents are also sick of having children and decide to do away with them as well. The Willoughbys sets up three (or four?) different subplots that are gradually woven together through a series of schemes and exploits. It’s definitely more ruthless (hurr hurr) than the Netflix version, which tried to make the children more sympathetic, and in some ways I think that’s a definite point in the novel’s favour. I’m not sure I would go out of my way to recommend it, but it was a fun romp if you want something short and off the wall (and a lot more fleshed out than the Netflix version).
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