Every so often I come across a meh book and renew my promise to get better at DNFing… but I never do. That’s why I decided to realllly think about how I could improve! With a great deal of research (into fun gifs) I’ve managed to write a comprehensive guide- enjoy!
Step 1: Crack open a book, hyped or otherwise, naively *brimming with excitement*
Step 2: Realise “huh, this wasn’t as good as I thought it would be”
Step 3: *Shrug shoulders* and keep reading- but this time with a growing sense of foreboding…
Step 4: Feel the boredom growing.
Step 5: So. Much. Boredom.
Step 6: *Start speed reading*, thinking that maybe it’ll get better, but begin to consider that this book may not be for you and perhaps you should just quit…
Step 7: But no! There must be a reason you picked it up in the first place! This must be your secret mission in life! You must PERSEVERE!! Continuing against the odds, you feel the weight of this uphill battle as you trek, page by page, deeper into this dreadful tome…
Step 8: With a sinking feeling, you wonder will there be a light at the end of this tunnel…
Step 9: …but there is only darkness…
Step 10: You wonder if maybe you’re only reading on just so that you can write that stinking review.
Step 11: And if this is true, you realise it may not be the best reason to keep reading… yet still you *agonise over the decision* past the 30% mark…
Step 12: Okay, that’s it, you’ve had enough. *Put the book down*
Step 13: You stay strong for approximately three hours.
Step 14: Then you cave and pick that bad boy up again!
Step 15: Ugh, you realise it’s worse than you remember.
Step 16: *Put that book down again*
Step 17: Leave said book on your bedside table for approximately three weeks.
Step 18: Eye book, thinking “maybe I’ll try it again”.
Step 19: Quietly put book back on the shelf, promising yourself this is not the end…
Step 20: …except it kind of is, because you’ll never pick that book up again until three years have passed and you’re looking for something to unhaul. You think to yourself “maybe I was wrong about it”, but nah, it’ll look better in an unhaul photo than a review… and so you announce on your blog that you never finished it and never will!
Aww what a cutesie title… for something that’s gonna get dark pretty fast 😉
My fortune– I must consult the stars to find out my fate! (I’d say I’ll be looking at tea leaves, but let’s be real, those are in short supply 😉 ) Oh you thought this post would be serious? Okay then, I can do serious…
*THE NEWS*- cos we need regular updates on how we’re all DOOMED- okay maybe too serious. How about something a little more upbeat? I know, thinking about food usually cheers me up, but oh wait…
All those recipes for things I can’t cook because people have been stockpiling and there’s no food left (people have even gone for the bananas!!!)
The TV guide– because even if you can’t plan your next meal, you can plan your next TV marathon!
Unfinished drafts– yes, I did write this one while staring at the page for a good ten minutes trying to figure out what to say next 😉
Instructions on how to WASH YOUR FILTHY GERMRIDDEN HANDS (turn on tap, lather up soap, rub for 20 secs while singing happy birthday… see, now you’ve ticked one item off your TBR 😉)
The government’s lockdown guidelines– which you will need to read over and over and over again to make head or tail of… annnd still be stuck on (both physically and metaphorically) days later.
Messages from loved ones– partly because we love them, mostly cos there’s sod else to do 😉 But on the positive side, mine tend to send me…
ALL THE MEMES! Frankly, the one good thing to come out of this situation!
Annnd I wish I could say this is an April Fool’s Joke- but it seems like this year, the joke’s on us! Also, clearly after a few days of being a cooped-up monkey, I’ve completely lost the plot! Hope you enjoyed this! Now go wash your hands!
I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, back when dating apps and websites weren’t a thing, there used to be Lonely Hearts adverts in newspapers. And I don’t know what it was about this format that made it inordinately funny, but those snappy little sales pitches always used to get me going. So that got me thinking- what would some fictional characters’ adverts be like? This is obviously a post designed to be taken very seriously indeed 😉
Jeremy Fisher– elderly gentleman, likes fishing. Insects are my passion and my dinner. Hopping to live in the Lake District.
The Little Mermaid– Danish singleton, just searching for my voice and to be part of your world. Likes long walks on the beach. Excellent swimmer.
Voldemort– charming chap, with distinctive features. Wizard in the bedroom (and everywhere else). Favourite song: who wants to live forever. Very attached to pet snake. I will choose you Potter…
Count Dracula– nobleman from Transylvania. Seeks another future spouse to be eternally by my side. Loves: hosting guests, sordid affairs, black capes, bats, drinking (blood). Dislikes: mirrors, stakes, garlic, daylight.
Smaug– smoking-hot, feisty bachelor. Will warm the cockles of your heart (and set you on fire). Meat eater. LOVES GOLD.
Cersei Lannister– killer queen, who likes to keep things in the family. Looking a tall, blond, handsome, twin-spirit that shares the same values and birthdate (hey Jaime, need a hand 😉 )
Dorian Gray– gosh I’m so beautiful, have you noticed how beautiful I am? I really am a marvel to look at (don’t go in my attic)
Miss Havisham– I have the wedding dress already (may need cleaning). Likes entertaining children. I will wait for you…
Gollum– my preciousssss… I wantsss you for myself…
Bella Swan– teenage girl seeking elderly man for committed relationship… maybe, I’m not sure, *bites lip*. I might want to keep my options open (unless you want to kill me, then I’m game!). So bland you can project all your desires onto me. Likes very specific literature that I will contrive to fit my life/our relationship… Oopsie I fell over.
Iago– very accomplished man, somewhat overlooked by those who should pay me respect. Prone to fits of jealousy. Seeks woman who can help with evil schemes.
Ebenezer Scrooge– bah humbug! What is the point of celebrating our love for each other when there is work to be done? Then again, I seem to be haunted by my longings…
White Rabbit– I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. No time to say hello, goodbye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!
The Librarian– ook? *presents banana*
And that’s all I’ve got for now! Do you have any lonely hearts for literary characters to add? Let me know in the comments!
What a STUNNING and BRAVE and MAGNIFICENT creature Titania McGrath is. It is an absolute pleasure to bask in her tweets that liberate us from reality and hear to her shrieking *ahem* spoken word poetry. We are all blessed to breathe the same air as her (except that we probably shouldn’t do that cos that is stealing air from minorities). We, the undeserving, are fortunate to merely be able to listen to this goddess of progressivism preaching how much better she is than us. Her wisdom is undeniable.
“It is no exaggeration to say I would rather be living in a Soviet gulag than a capitalist country”
Of course, it can come as no surprise that Titania experienced *horrendous* abuse from an early age, being brought up by wealthy parents and privately educated (the horror, the horror!). Worse still, she recently faced a twitter ban by the evil Nazi capitalist overlords over in Silicone Valley! I now thank my lucky stars that I have never experienced such inhumane treatment!
“That’s the wonderful thing about identity politics: you never have to explain yourself, or even develop your thoughts into what right-wingers call a “coherent argument””
Are we not all oppressed though? Titania teaches us that anything can be a form of oppression if shouted about loudly enough. I for one would love to share my invisible disability of extreme laziness but I’m afraid I’d have to get out of bed early to do that (#slovenlypride). But really, I recognise that my biggest obstacle in life comes from being a woman (obviously) and that even my cartoon depictions of myself are oppressed by the patriarchy (obviously) since no one recognises I’m a woman unless I put on a dress!
“When women are valued more than men, then and only then will we have achieved equality.”
Althoughhhh when I say everyone is oppressed, I’m not really talking about everyone. Straight white men don’t count. Even if they’re living in a dumpster, they have privilege. I mean, that goes without saying. I actually bought a copy of this book for my brother’s birthday because he needs to feel SHAME for being born male and having the audacity to stay that way. Maybe he’ll learn his lesson from our Great and Glorious Saviour, Titania McGrath! And on that note, given that I don’t have the power to award this book a Nobel Prize, I shall have to give it the equally prestigious award of 5/5 bananas:
Okay, I think I might have blown my cover by engaging in the imaginary free market with that endowment 😉 Of course, *disclaimer time*, this book and my review were satire. I’m afraid I must break character or you’ll all think I’ve gone totally bananas. Surprising as it may be, Titania McGrath is a fictional character invented by the hilarious Andrew Doyle. Having said that, if you’re worried about authenticity, this was replete with plenty of bonkers things real-live-people have actually said. Woke was an amazing antidote to some of the barmy media out there- I was belly laughing and chuckling throughout- so job well done! (and yes, I did actually buy this for my brother’s birthday and he thought it was brilliant too!)
Alright, did I fool you? Did you think I’d lost my marbles? Do you think you’ll pick this up? Let me know in the comments!
Well hello everybody! So, two things have been irritating me lately: 1) people calling things pretentious when they’re not actually pretentious (no beautiful writing does not automatically equal pretentious) and 2) pretentious people being pretentious (usually the same people labelling things pretentious when they’re not). Which is why I’ve decided to do the totally “mature” thing and make THE MOST PRETENTIOUS POST IN THE WORLD just to set the record straight/show that anything you can do I can do better (*yes this is satire, thank you for noticing* 😉)
Alrighty then, let’s get into this discombobulation of an articulation of my emancipation from the oppressive forces that is the English language. Yeahhh look at all those “ations” going into my word salad- myself is a veritable genius 😉 Hope yourself likes myself’s use of hypercorrection there. Thusly, myself thought I’d share my hypnotic-transcendent-mind-boggling-patriarchy-smashing-dominative-sociocratic art with you- enjoy/be amazed by…
Crease in the Wallpaper
A reference, of course, to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s work, using shades of light and dark to obfuscate the question is anything even real? The fact that you can barely even see it represents how we are blind to the evils that exist in society purely to oppress us.
As the title suggests, this is a powerful piece reflecting on the wounds society invariably and unwittingly inflicts upon us with is shadowy gaze and accidental touch.
Like my hopes and dreams after this post- completely deflated.
I’m a monkey, I just really like bananas. Also *symbolism* which you’ll have to figure out for yourself.
And my favourite:
I am poor. Send help.
(unfortunately/fortunately we temporarily got rid of the rising damp in the bathroom so you can’t see that in all its glory)
(NB: though I have been forced to use the typical trappings of frames that society superficially demands I use, this is only so that you take me seriously in an increasingly unsympathetic world where artists go underappreciated, NOT because I am a “total wanker” as critics claim.)
(NBB: all the photos are raw and unfiltered… except for the ones where I’ve used filters)
Wowwww what a treat that was for the universe. Now let’s get onto my poetry. Alas- there won’t be a live performance of me accosting-strangers-on-a-street-corner à-la-nouveau slam poetry style, so since you are robbed of that, you’ll have to use your imaginations to witness me shrieking wildly *in your mind’s eye*:
infinite forevers And
THE END! Finito! *Takes bow*
I sincerely hope you did that justice by picturing me just like this:
One day some lucky sod’s gonna be studying that prestigious work of art for GCSE. And on that beautiful note, I’ll love you and leave you 😉
So, I was reading a book recently by an author that just so happened to get an honorary degree at my graduation and it brought back memories of that “auspicious” occasion. I thought I might recount what I remember of the Dean’s speech, for your amusement, since it left a distinct impression with me:
“Ah- what a charming but irrelevant non-denominational hymn we just heard from the obligatory choir. Greetings graduating class of… err wow is that the year already? Time really does fly by, but this speech won’t, so get comfortable!
“You are all people. You have all had- uh- experiences. Some of you, for instance, had cereal for breakfast. And if you did not have cereal for breakfast, you have probably had it at some point in the past. Unless you are a celiac- in which case I’m surprised you made it this far- just a joke! Just a joke! Please god, don’t get me fired!
My point being, I’m sure each of your journeys, while entirely dissimilar, ultimately bears some resemblances- however small. You have all raced, or in some cases strolled, to the finish line. Now you have arrived, I want you to take a long hard look in the mirror and feel proud. Or not. It is entirely up to you- this is in no way me harassing you to do something you don’t want to do.
I myself am incredibly proud to stand in front of a room of strangers and pronounce them all adults- except for the screaming baby in the back who is perhaps getting ahead of the game a couple of decades early? It was very nice to meet- err I mean mentor- you all.
Now I’d like you to queue up at the front to be boinked on the head with a mystical, space bonnet! (this is a real custom guys)
NB this was satire- *surprise*- so I have to say this wasn’t the actual speech read at my graduation- but it’s close enough 😉
And to anyone graduating this year, congrats! (and if you graduated once-upon-a-long-time-ago, give yourself a pat on the bat, cos there shouldn’t be an expiry date on self-congratulation 😉)
So I watched the movie version of Every Day and *wowwww* I had thoughts on it- so rather than doing a review, which would inevitably get me in trouble with book-stans, I thought it would be more fun to do my own honest version of this “super progressive” horrible story- ya know, to get myself in EVEN MORE trouble with book stans 😉 For people that don’t know this book, the basic plot is that a spirit called A takes over a body every day- there’s a bunch of complicated rules for this, but all you really need to know is A can possess anyone in the same age category- which sounds like an okay premise… until you realise it’s YA so there *has to* be a love story. Cos of course. Now you can probably see the problems that might arise here- however for the sake of entertainment (and in case you can’t see the issue), I’ve decided to rewrite this with a relatively sane human being as the female lead (I know, that’s so out there, it’ll almost make this story almost unbelievable). Enjoy! (or ya know, throw rocks in my general direction cos SATIRE IS EVIL!)
“Oh hello there, I didn’t see you. Wait- why are you staring?”
“Because I am your boyfriend.”
There is a peculiar glint to his eye and glitter in his hair.
“Er, yeah, I know. What’s the matter with you? Did you dress up as Edward Cullen today?”
He smirks at me, like he knows something I don’t…
“Do you want to skip school?”
“Is this what we usually do together?”
“You’re being weird.”
He bends his head to kiss me and I decide to just go with it- after all it wouldn’t be the first time and it seems like a better idea than talking at any rate. He stops and pulls away, gawking at me with peculiar intensity.
“Can I tell you a secret? I am not your boyfriend- see ya!”
His eyes roll into the back of his head. There’s a gurgling sound in his throat, like rattling chains. Then he looks up at me, the picture of innocence.
“Wh-what just happened?” he asks.
“You tell me,” I reply shakily.
But he does not have an answer.
The barrista is giving me side-eye. She seems to gulp several times, perhaps on the words can I take your order… but then she does something unexpected.
“I have something to tell you,” she murmurs in my ear, her voice unnaturally hoarse, her eyes carrying a red glint.
I blink. “Do I know you?”
“You did yesterday.”
“Excuse me,” I say, but the weirdo is already walking away.
I can’t be sure- but I think I see glitter in her hair.
I was in Chemistry when it happens again.
The bloke in front of me has one of those forgettable faces- maybe that’s why he looks like a total stranger. Or maybe he’s another wacko. I hedge my bets by saying nothing.
“Let me formally introduce myself. My name’s A. I’m a spirit that jumps from body to body.”
“Righhhht,” I say, edging out of my seat.
He blocks my path.
“Oh I know you don’t recognise me. But that’s okay- I know you. I’ve been… seeing you around a lot lately.”
I half laugh. “Next you’ll be saying you’ve been watching me sleep.”
He stares at me pointedly, a red gleam in his gaze.
I kick him in the shin and flee- what else was I supposed to do?
A is a girl today. And yes, I’ve decided to just go with the whole A thing- if I’m being punked it’ll make for better TV. Besides, there’s that whole red-eye thing.
“Do you have a type?” she/he/it says.
“I’m not attracted to you,” I reply flatly.
“Who cares! I’m attracted to you. Are you too up yourself to be with me?”
I roll my eyes so far back into my head I feel I must look like the scary one. If only.
A does not bother me today. Thank god.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t around yesterday, the kid I was in was having a lung operation. Wait- why are you running away again?”
I track down one of A’s victims. It was all over the local news: boy wakes up in ditch and claims he was possessed by a demon. They’re saying he’s crazy, looking for attention. I know the truth.
“I think he might have been the devil,” the boy whispers.
“You’re probably right,” I reply incautiously- then look around. I grab a pen and scribble a note in case it’s listening: “It’s stalking me! Send help!”
“Do you not like me cos I’m fat today?”
“Do you not like nose rings? At least I have a great butt!”
It’s inside me. I watch from behind my eyes as A stares at my naked form in the mirror. I am helpless, exposed, furious. Perhaps it feels it too. A opens my mouth and screams:
“WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME!”
Mum comes upstairs.
“Sorry, I’m not available to chat right now,” A hisses with my stolen tongue and slams the door in her face.
Boy, am I going to pay for that later.
“Look I’m sorry I landed you in a psych ward. I may have taken things too far.”
“It’s okay,” I say, even though my hands won’t sit still. “I’ve spoken to someone about… you.”
“Is this the part where you tell me you never want to see me again?”
I close my eyes, remember what the priest told me and repeat it word for word: “I’m asexual,” I say with as much confidence as I can muster.
The shock is visible on the demon’s face; the red glint and glitter instantly begin to fade.
“Forgive me, I should have a-s-k-k-k…”
But it’s too late. I’ve said the magic words. The gender-bending demon is banished by the supreme power of progressive top trumps. The end!
NB this isn’t a critique of the book cos I haven’t read it and NOT GONNA READ IT- even if you pinky swear it’s better than the adaptation. And, having read reviews, both the book and movie seem to believe that having the protagonist say “but you stalked me and kissed me against my will” somehow makes it a-okay. Sorry, no. Pointing out a problem doesn’t fix it. Ultimately, the creepy spirit violated many, many people’s consent. And no amount of pointing that out is gonna erase it. If you love this book, then fine, I’m sure I won’t convince you otherwise- but, yeesh, this went so far over the line for me. I’ll get off my soapbox now 😉
Okay so a while back I did a post about how (not to) criticise a book blogger. And now I thought it would be fun to do a connected post… this time on how to actually write a review! Disclaimer, I do believe in the “your blog, your rules” mantra (phrase courtesy of Drew), but I thought it would be entertaining to address some of the ways we as book bloggers *may make mistakes* (I know, shocker, we’re not all perfect deities incapable of blunders 😉). And if you think I’m letting myself off the hook, this will be a confession post of sorts, cos I’m gonna admit to doing a ton of these!
Not putting any spoiler warnings- just lay on all the spoilers! No one will mind. In fact, the best thing to do is to put a helpful tag at the top that says, “this book contains” with all the spoilers. That way, no one will miss it!
Don’t tell people what it’s about (*coughs awkwardly*- yeahhhh I’ve done this- though, in fairness, I try to put a one line synopsis these days)
I will automatically tell you it’s good because: it’s my taste, it’s got diversity, it’s by a minority/woman/by another human being. In fact, I’m not going to tell any information about this book except give you a laundry list of worthy traits. This is not a review, this is an opportunity to virtue signal.
Use lots and lots of exclamation points and ALL CAPS and bold and italicising (guilty as charged of all of these)
*Insert nitpicking rant about things that will interest no one but the reviewer or people that read said book and hold the identical opinion* (guilty again)
Say something disagreeable and then beg forgiveness immediately after (c’mon we all do it- it’s like a retroactive “no offence but…”)
Complain about the book for the entire review- but gotsta get those arcs, so give it 5* regardless! (to be fair, I’ve only ever seen this on booktube a while ago, but it grates on my nerves to this day)
Justify the rating to the point of absurdity. Just keep going and going and going- repeating all the points until the reader is exhausted and has no interest in what you have to say anymore (*ahem* yeahhh I have been known to waffle)
Annnnd that’s all I’ve got for now! I’m sure I’ve sufficiently offended plenty of people/exposed my failings to the world- so I’ll let you be the judge now- do you have any awkward blogging faults? Or is your blogging technique perfection? (in which case, TIPS PLEASE!!!)
BREAKING NEWS: A presumptuous primate was seen in Northern Ireland, ahead of Game of Thrones returning to the small screens, wandering around the sets in search of dragons- J. Ourno reports.
It’s journey appeared to start in the usually tranquil Dark Hedges aka The King’s Road:
It then went onto the Riverlands and even invaded the legendary Winterfell.
Locals were perturbed by this monkey madness saying: “I don’t care if they say Game of Thrones has been good for tourism- if we go letting any old ape into Northern Ireland, soon we’ll have all sorts of monkey business and gorilla warfare going on. Where will it end?”
We managed to catch up to said orangutan, who had this to say: “I only went on a day trip. Personally, I thought I fitted right in and don’t know what all the fuss was about 😉 I think it’s all bananas!”
Sky, HBO and the production team for Game of Thrones were unavailable for comment.
I’ve been doing this nearly four years and I’ve received a lot of advice in that time- some of which has even been good 😉 Nonetheless, thanks to all the bad advice, I now think I also have a good idea of how not to approach a book blogger. So, I’ve compiled a “useful” list, for all those not in the know, of all the best ways to make a reviewer irate.
NB *please note, this is all in good fun, take this satirical piece seriously at your own peril* 😉
Correct the reviewer on their opinions because their opinion is wrong and yours is right and soon they’ll understand that. Don’t be constructive and give reasons for your disapproval- it’s preferable if you use ad hominems like “you’re thick as pig shit” or more pretentious terms if you can manage it. Remember you can use a thesaurus on the internet and it doesn’t matter if your insults make sense- just try to find the longest word possible (like floccinaucinihilipilification or supercalifragilisticexpialidocious… although that second one’s more of a compliment 😉 )
When you critique a review, don’t bother to actually read the review– remember your opinion is valuable and the reviewer is bound to listen to you, even if your suggestion makes no sense in the context eg “in the future you could write what genre it is” in a review that states as much in the first line- this will leave the baffled reviewer reading and rereading their work, trying to figure out what the hell you meant- which is what you want!
Ask the reviewer why people are reading their review– make sure you say this in an as aggressive tone as possible- preferably in ALL CAPS example: I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE READ THIS TRASH!
Get insulted on behalf of the author for negative reviews– particularly if the author is a millionaire. Remember to take any criticism levied extremely personally- cos your hero’s honour is at stake and you must defend it! If they knew you existed, said author would probably thank you (or, you know, not).
Critique the blogger’s layout– cos why not- if it’s offensive to your eye then it must be bad and if you don’t like the images they used, they have to know about it dammit.
And my favourite: if you don’t like what a blogger has to say- harass them on twitter. This will not only show the world that you’re a *good person* but is a great way to change someone’s mind (also mind you don’t listen to any counter arguments they offer because you are a GOOD PERSON and they are a BAD PERSON). I have to add that this is an incredibly convincing tactic, cos I’m sure “YOU’RE WRONG, I KNOW YOUR LIFE EXPERIENCE BETTER THAN YOU DO!” has convinced many people in history (particularly when coming from strangers).
Annnd *ouch*, I think I’m feeling the sting of my own sarcasm after that. What do you think of this list? Have you any other “helpful” criticisms to levy at book bloggers? Don’t be shy! And Happy April Fool’s!