Unreliable Narrators: Bereaved British Youth & Undersea Monstrocities

I didn’t intend to set up my books as back-to-back unreliable-fest, but that’s what happened. The first book is about a person with a mental disability; the second book is a clusterfuck of crazy. (And not in a good way.)

Let’s check it out.

Schizophrenic-Narrators

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

A young boy accidentally causes the death of his older brother, who had Down Syndrome.

The surviving boy grows older, and develops schizophrenia. He sees/hears his dead brother.

The book treats the protagonist sympathetically. He has to deal with his mentally unstable mother (who has a bit of Munchhausen-by-proxy). He suffers from guilt. His only friend abandons him. All he has left is his grandmother.

He winds up in the system. He’s on welfare. He has to take medicine with horrible side effects.

But he’s really likeable. You root for him. The book is beautiful and sad and thoughtful.

The Deep by Nick Cutter

Hot mess express.

I should have known by the fact that the blurb on the front is about another book entirely.

Another clue: the fact that the front type says “Save your last breath to scream.” Ugh.

It’s like Stephen King’s It and Michael Crichton’s Sphere had a boring, unoriginal baby.

The first 100 pages or so are awesome. They read a bit like Crichton. Then, oh god why.

Five Fandom Friday: My To-Read List

Between people tossing things at me and my inability to resist the siren call of Barnes and Noble, half my library is a “to-read” list. For today’s Five Fandom Friday, I’m going to try to whittle this down to the five I hope to hit soonest.

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Batman: The Killing Joke is apparently one of the Heavy Hitters of Batmandom. And I love Joker. Totally haven’t gotten there. My god, it’s a comic. How long could that even take me?

Station Eleven. Hey, sci-fi geeks, it’s a post-apocalyptic tale, full of artists and prophets and Star Trek quotes. It’s been compared to Cloud Atlas.

Gravity’s Rainbow. This book has been scowling at me for the better part of a decade. The protagonist’s been Pavlovian trained to respond to bombs with his genitals (???) and people are chasing him (???). It’s won numerous awards. It’s notoriously difficult. My dad gave me a Reader’s Guide to read along with it. Ugh. Seriously. I’m not afraid of hard books, but it’s hard to push them to the top of the list. (I did, however, love the notoriously un-finish-able Infinite Jest and recommend it harder than you can imagine.)

Kornwolf. Amish werewolves.

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. The Sedaris siblings are perfect. Can they bring me into their family?

The Week In Media: Themes of Identity

Hey guys, it’s time for that totally-not-regular update on what media I’m soaking up!

As I was compiling this list, I realized they all had a common theme:

Identity.

IdentityMaking identity up, taking identity on; escaping who you are, becoming who you are.

Yes, I even mean this for the Oreos I ate.

Read on.

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Eating:
Red Velvet Oreos

Imagine a man in a taste laboratory. He hasn’t left in years.

He has a Pinterest board full of pictures of red-velvet-flavored confections. He yearns for red velvet, but he has no idea how to create it.

No matter. He’ll make it up.

The resulting flavor is not red velvet. It is a Platonic ideal of the notion of red-velvet-ish things.

I will not say that Red Velvet Oreos are icky. They are actually a bit tasty. However, their flavor not, really, red velvet, when it comes right down to it.

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Listening:
Sia: 1,000 Forms of Fear

Sia wears a giant wig and a variety of masks to “conceal her identity.” A quick Google of “Sia no mask” shows her face, so it’s not technically a mystery. It’s more of a schtick. At worst, it’s a cry for attention. At best, it’s a comment on the meat-grinder of celebrity.

Her weird antics sometimes distract a bit from her music. You might think of her “as the chick with the wig.” But she’s so much more than that.

I can’t stop listening to this album. Her voice is distinctive, and pain-filled, and elegant. This is a beautiful collection. Give it a whirl.

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Watching:
Kingsman: The Secret Service

An English spy ring (not run by England itself) recruits new members every time one of its “knights of the round table” dies. Through a series of “ugh”-level plot mechanics, a former recruit’s son gets recruited when he comes of age. This youngster is part of the subculture I have heard referred to as “chavs.”

The English spy ring has to battle against environmentalist-lunatic Samuel L Motherfucking Johnson. He performs the role with lispy zest. He plots to save the Earth by…

You know what?

Let’s not focus on the plot, okay?

It’s not the point. Whatsoever.

This movie is about shit blowing up, crazy technology, sexual innuendo, outlandishness, and Pugs.

It’s like Get Smart had a baby with Kill Bill and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. A three-way baby. That’s scientifically possible now.