*ALL the Viewpoints* – Differences in Style Series #3

Annnd I’m back *finally* with another of my “differences in style” pieces. The point of this series is largely to talk about different techniques/styles, while acknowledging a lot of these choices come down to different tastes. Since this is such a common topic, I’m going to be specifically talking about my personal views on viewpoints, some of the ways it can work well and some of the pitfalls of each POV. Let’s get into it!

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First Person Point of View

Kinda what it says on the tin. The benefit of First Person is you get to see the inner workings of one character (usually the mc). There is also “first person peripheral”, which means it’s not the narrator is not the protagonist, instead forcing the reader to view the story through a prism of someone else’s experience. As with The Great Gatsby, it can be used to great effect.

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Second Person Point of View

stolenThis can be interesting. Okay, I can’t lie, I don’t much like the use of second person for an entire book. Still, I will admit it can be intriguing for certain concepts, like Stolen, where it’s used to address a kidnapper. And I know a lot of people love how unique that is- so again, yay for personal taste!

However, there are lots of pitfalls. It can feel quite gimmicky, especially if there’s no clear reason for it. Also, one mistake I’ve seen is making it unclear who is being addressed. Also, unless it is a “choose your own adventure” book, it doesn’t really make sense to address the protagonist, who is a particular character, as “you” (I saw this in Half Bad and wasn’t a fan).

night circusOn the other hand, I love occasional uses, like the effect it has in Night Circus to make readers feel like the audience. Even better is when it’s used by a narrator to break the forth wall (gotta love Deadpool!)

 

 

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Third Person Limited

This is basically narration limited to one character (and largely encompasses the “deep pov” perspective as well). It’s great for writing more intense close ups of a single character.

Third Person Multiple

Basically as above, just with more than one character. Usually this switch is between chapters. The part where this can get tricky is when it comes to *DANGER UP AHEAD* head hopping territory. I’m going to say something controversial now: I don’t think it’s guaranteed to be bad. I think even this can be done well, in a way that’s not noticeable or makes sense. The biggest issue that can arise is that it can be confusing. Throne_of_Glass_UKHowever, I’ve seen people critique authors like Maas for this, and personally I think she sometimes uses it to great effect or for a reason (like a very intense romantic scene). Obviously I can’t argue with individuals who didn’t like it or found it disorientating, but I have to point out, since this is the whole point of this series, that this is a personal taste thing and I don’t always see it as a problem. Unless it’s unclear to me who is thinking what, or someone has knowledge of thoughts they can’t possibly know, then chances are I won’t bat an eye. I mean, there are exceptions to every rule (even when it comes to “not being able to read minds”, you can have a telepathic character in fantasy, so…)

On this POV, the only question that remains to be asked is: can a book have too many POVs? The answer is, well, yeah. Apart from the issue of character soup, if there’s no real differentiation between characters, all of them can blur together and become feast for crowsdisorientating. Not to mention how unnecessary it can be. Even with books I like, there can be additions that feel superfluous to the plot (*coughs* the later GOT books #sorrynotsorry). That said, the question of “how many is too many?” is entirely personal- what may not work for me, may work for someone else and so on. The only thing I’d advise is to make sure all the characters are relevant/add something to the story and it’s easy to tell them apart.

Third Person Omniscient

tess of the d'urbervillesThe *I SEE EVERYTHING* narrator. I’ve seen people argue that this cannot be mixed with Third Person Limited- I personally view this as poppycock, given a blend of the two types of point of view make up the likes of many a-great novel (I’m thinking of Hardy as a fantastic example, though there would be far too many for me to list). Yes, sometimes an omniscient narrator can see inside a character’s head- they’re all-knowing, it’s not implausible!

Accounting for Personal Taste

When it comes to my own choices, I’ve used most of these at different times- so I really don’t have a strong preference. I think the most important choice is what kind of story do you want to tell? When the focus is on “coming of age” for instance, I prefer first person. And when it’s an epic, I feel like it’s got to be omniscient to have that extra *oomph this shit’s important*. But that’s just me, everyone makes different choices, and they all work in their own way.

Other posts in this series:

Pared down vs Purple prose – Differences in Style #1

The art of Intertextuality vs Innovation – Differences in Style #2

And that’s all for now! Do you have a personal preference? Disagree or agree with anything I’ve said here? Let me know in the comments!

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Don’t Write X

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A couple of months back, I did a post about taste. But when I did it I was thinking more about readers than writers. Now, I don’t talk about this much, but I do actually write a lot (I know, what a surprise, the book blogger writes 😉 ) and I’ve thought an awful lot about what it can be like navigating the landmine of opinion pieces on what you should and shouldn’t write. I don’t know about you, but I personally think there’s a helluva lot of confusing advice out there, mostly of people telling others what to do according to their own taste. There’s a lot of “DON’T WRITE X”, “WRITE MORE Y”, “DON’T WRITE Z UNLESS YOU ARE Z”. In truth, I find it somewhat exhausting, especially since my view is pretty much write whatever the hell you like. To clarify, I’m not telling writers to ignore criticism (errr yeah, do that at your own peril I guess) and I’m not telling reviewers not to review (this is not me hanging up the bananas!!!), merely suggesting that sometimes a lot of the forceful generalisations are more a matter of taste. And I think some people would be well served if they knew that- which is why I decided to devise a list of instructions… on how to not take instructions (that made so much more sense inside my head). Here’s some of the ways you can avoid falling into the my-personal-taste-is-better-than-yours trap:

people pleaseDon’t try to people please. I know a lot of people go into it wanting validation from millions of people- however the thing is even if you get to be a bestseller, there will be people who hate your work. It’s a sad fact of life. One thing I’ve noticed whenever I do some piece where I talk about what I don’t like, like my least favourite fantasy tropes, is that someone will read what I’ve written and be discouraged. I always want to tell people that I am just one person and while I’m not going to pretend I’m  into things I’m not interested in, there are plenty of other bookworms out there who I’m sure will love it. This is something I try to do with my own work, because honestly I don’t see the point in pushing my writing on people who will hate it- that’s a road to ruin! So fly your freak flag and write whatever you like- just don’t make demands or be insulted if people don’t want to read your work.

colouring inDon’t try to do “paint by numbers” writing- I see a lot of people breaking down *exactly* how they think a novel should work. And while there’s a lot of good advice there, take it with a pinch of salt. Cos I’ve read some of the books based on those standards and yeesh– they’re boring. Again, this is my personal take, yet there’s no easy instruction manual when it comes to writing. Be prepared to mess up and to fail, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Incidentally, one way to get round this problem is…

read-fastDo read lots of books– I mean this is a no brainer, but I always have to put it in because there are still writers who say they don’t read and GAH I CAN’T EVEN! That said…

 

coolDon’t worry too much about being original– or being too original for that matter. I kind of wrote this one for me, because I have a freakout about this on a regular basis to be fair. But it’s silly, because, to use the corniest quote in the world “there’s nothing new under the sun”. I think it’s important to strike a balance- don’t be afraid to do something different, but don’t worry too much if something’s been done before. There are always those who will like either or both!

style orangutan logoDo understand that there are different writing styles and that *it’s okay* to employ one of the less popular ones. This is probably one of the issues of taste I see around the most and have been trying to address this for a while with my “differences in style” series (okay not recently, but I hope to rectify that soonish). I find a lot of people favour particular styles and then turn them into *universal rules*- which only work for said style. One of the best ways to combat this is to know about a variety of different techniques, so you can deliberately choose the best ones from your arsenal, rather than being subject to the whims of fashion or personal opinion.

bad writing gigDon’t get bogged down by pedants. Again, this comes from some criticism I see about a lot and usually comes down to things like specific word choice in world building. An example of this could be the widespread criticism of the word “hell” in Zenith, because it was space fantasy (which I personally didn’t agree with, since it was written in English and as one of the critiques said “every culture has an idea of hell”). We all have things that bug us, and that’s fine, we can’t help having pet peeves- however as okay as it is for someone to critique a word choice, I wouldn’t take it too much to heart.

choose books2Don’t steer clear of controversial content (aka “don’t listen to moral busybodies”). We all have our personal limits and every individual has content they don’t want to read, however, there are also people who take this one step further and say “my personal taste is more important than your art”. For instance, I have seen people saying things like “I object to the book because it has such and such theme”. Again, this is not to say you shouldn’t critique it, in whatever terms you like, yet it’s not a good reason to avoid writing about what you want. Even if it doesn’t resonate with one person, someone else will like it.

writingDo worry about your own personal experience- and don’t get bogged down in trying to make it universal for everyone. This is very similar to the last one, because I know there are a lot of people who will tell you “ah but it didn’t speak to *my* experience”. Well, I hate to break it to that hypothetical person: there are billions of other people on the planet. The idea that a book has to speak to every single individual experience is frankly absurd. The only reason to get offended is if you commissioned said book as a biography 😉 If you’re concerned that it’s not going to be “real” for everyone… good news, it’s not real! So this kind of goes back to #1- it’s not worth seeking validation from everyone. As cheesy as it is, you’re not writing for everybody, you’re writing for you.

And that’s all I have for now. I have a few more personal ones, but I thought I’d leave it there, or I wouldn’t be speaking to a universal experience- JK! 😉 Do you agree or disagree with any of these? And do you have any other ideas to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

3 Year Bloggiversary! Things I’ve Learnt as a Blogger

3 year bloggiversary

Hello all! Well, according to the powers that be over at WordPress, this just so happens to be my third bloggiversary! (well the anniversary of when I got the domain name- we’ll get to what a lousy blogger I was when I started out in a mo 😉 ). To mark the occasion, I took inspiration from Laura @LFBook‘s fantastic “Things I’ve Learnt as a Blogger” series (really recommend checking it out) and decided to share what I’ve discovered about blogging in the last three years!

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Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Before I even started, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t hold back. Aside from being a pretty frank person, I will admit that a lot of this came from being told what I could and couldn’t say IRL. Because I’m a contrarian I decided to stick two fingers up to the busybodies who wanted to tell me what to do 😉 And you know what, even though I’ve touched on some controversial topics over the years, some of which have made me nail-bitingly nervous, I’m glad that I did it. Granted, sometimes I have had to deal with people less than pleased about what I have to say- and you know what? That’s okay. I can deal with it, I’m a big monkey 😉 (also, I have bananas and I’m not afraid to use them 😉 )

On the flipside, I don’t regret the things I didn’t say. Yes, that’s right, I can actually bite my tongue sometimes 😉 As I mentioned in my Drafts, Drafts and More Drafts post, there are posts I’ve decided to shelve for various reasons. It can be good to weigh things up- for instance “will this gripey whiny post about some schmuck annoying me make me feel better?” If the answer’s no, I might just leave it.

Another thing I’ve learnt is to expect the unexpected. Not a lot of people know this, but the first three months of blogging this site was like a virtual graveyard. I’m pretty sure we all go through that at some point tbh. And it’s not like I was expecting anything to grow out of it- frankly the whole project started as a way for me to *shout into the void*. But man, I have to admit that when I started interact more, it became *so much more awesome*. Massive thank you to Zezee for being the first ever person to tag me in something and consequently share one of my posts (yes, I remember that sort of thing 😉 )  I was staggered after that when people started reading, commenting and actually enjoying the content. Which leads me onto…

Blogging is only as fun as you make it! Like I said, I was a lousy blogger when I started and while I had fun writing the posts, it got SO MUCH BETTER once I started to relax and try out new things. I really love making people laugh and if I can make just one person crack a smile, then that’s a good day 😀 I realised how much better blogging is when other people can get something out of it.

Speaking of my early days as a blogger, people are not lying when they say consistency is key. I mean, of course I started out doing that wrong as well 😉 And I may sound really thick for stating the obvious, but I took a while to figure out that when you post more, more people are likely to read *mindblown* 😉

Now I have to say to take that last one with a pinch of salt- because obviously IT IS OKAY TO TAKE BREAKS. (And yes, I’m writing that in capitals, cos I still sorta need to learn that one!) The thing is, blogging can be stressful, we all have lives beyond our blogs and heaven knows we can’t be online as much as we’d like to. In fact, I know that I’m going to have to take a break soon. And that’s *okay*. I still have to keep reminding myself not to apologise at the start of every blog for some misplaced guilt, cos contrary to what my British-brain thinks, constantly saying “sorry!” can be a bit of a pain.

Also, ARCs are not the be all and end all. I can’t be the only person that didn’t have the faintest idea what an ARC was when I started. But when I found out, it would have been easy to get swept up in the allure of *advanced review copies*. That said, I’m really glad I didn’t immediately jump on the ARC train. And, when I found out, I didn’t immediately jump on the ARC train. I let myself think about it for a whole year, before deciding that, yeah, I could fit about one a month into my schedule. Everyone does ARCs differently, which is cool, but I’m very selective cos of that. Even with this small number of requests (combined with how often I get rejected lol) I *still* manage to fall behind in the reviewing side of things, so I’m glad I have this strict rule in place. Especially cos it means that I do a happy dance every time I get an ARC 😉 Which brings me to…

Celebrate every milestone. Sure, I may not shout about everything all the time on here, but I guarantee that I’m SCREAMING WITH JOY INSIDE. Watching this teeny corner of the internet grow has been amazing and I so appreciate each and every one of you that’s makes the blogosphere the most wonderful place to be! And I wanted to say a personal thank you to everyone who nominated and voted for me in the Annual Book Blogger Awards. I’ve been too busy to get involved but it made me feel very honoured. And with that, all that’s left to say is…

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What have you learnt from blogging? Let me know in the comments!

My Complicated Relationship with Harry Potter

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Ooh this post is not going to make me popular. In fact it might be the most controversial post I ever do. Harry Potter has a certain sacred status in some bookish circles and there are those who won’t have a bad word said against it- and for obvious reasons. It’s certainly a cultural phenomenon and marked the beginning of many reader’s journeys. I’m included in that group- I owe a lot to Harry Potter and I vividly remember reading the first three back when I was seven. I often cite it as the *great origins* of becoming a bookworm, because although I know there were books that came before, none played quite as big a role as the Boy Who Lived.

my harry potters

My beloved Harry Potter books

And yet, I always knew that I would end up doing a post like this one day. Because my journey with Harry Potter has not always been, shall we say, clear flying. In fact, after religiously rereading Harry Potter as often as I could in my early teens, I’ve picked up only book 1 of the series a grand total of one time in the last seven years… Until last month, when I decided to reread the whole thing (to my family’s bafflement and consequent chorus of “again?!”).

Some might say that it was predictable that I had a great deal of fun re-entering the *absolutely magical world* of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It gave me all the *warm, fuzzy feelings* I had the first time I read it. I felt like that seven year old again, rediscovering my love for the world building, the magic and the characters. Plus there was the added bonus of thinking about how well some of the “tropes” are applied here, being able to note how *phenomenal* the Easter Eggs are throughout and doing loose psychoanalytic readings (thanks to Dr Peterson!). It was an absolute pleasure to experience that childlike wonder as an adult.  

But I couldn’t reliably predict that would be my reaction. You see, part of me was expecting the same ennui I had four years ago to Philosopher’s Stone. And I had cause for even greater concern. I’ve said it before on hereHarry Potter was not just the first “big” book I read, it was also the first I critiqued. Specifically The Order of the Phoenix. I was ten when that came out and starting to be a bit more critical as a reader… and it was then that I started to find flaws. To this day, book 5 remains the one I like the least- heads up for when I review it, that’s where diehard Potterheads might want to look away! I did like it more this time round- nonetheless I will always have reservations about it.

A lot of people say that my generation grew up with the books and perhaps I just experienced a severe bout of growing pains. Either way, I have to admit that alas I did not fall head over heels for books 6 and 7 when I initially read them. For book 6, I largely had questions over the nature of Voldemort’s evil and was dissatisfied with the born that way element. And, sorry there’s no way to sugar coat this, I was disappointed with the finale. My response to the Narnia­-esque resurrection was pretty much “are you kidding me?” and I my too-cool-for-this teen sensibilities found the “love conquers all” aspect a bit lame (yeesh, I’m gonna get an army of angry comments for this- may I suggest if you do take that message to heart not getting too vitriolic about it?). I can only say that, while often viewed as more grim than the previous entries (debateable), my proclivity for darker books meant that I was dissatisfied that all Voldy did was break a few bridges and wands (and a few murders, let’s not forget those 😉 ). While the parallels with the KKK and Nazi Germany were initially shudder-inducing, the unwillingness to take this to its natural conclusion when they gained power left a lot to be desired in my eyes (what can I say, I guess I was a bloodthirsty 14 year old). If something is going to be dark, let it be dark.

Okay- phew- if you’ve made it this far into the post CONGRATULATIONS you’ve made it through my harshest criticisms. As an adult, I must admit, I’m far less critical of any childishness– if anything it’s a welcome reprieve and a comfort to know it never goes full out genocidal. Also, I can’t really hold myself accountable for every view I’ve ever held- I went through a phase of not liking Disney movies and, well, what the hell was I thinking?! Still, even though I no longer stand by a lot of the criticism in the last paragraph, I fear that any opinions I might have had, have now or might have in the future will elicit a response akin to “HOW DARE YOU SAY ANY OF THIS- CRUCIO, IMPERIO- AH FORGET IT YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR THIS WORLD- AVADA KEDAVRA!”

And that’s where I often worry about Harry Potter. Because not only am I afraid to talk about it, but I’ve seen other people discussing the pressures of the fandom (eg this fantastic article by Anushka) or even non-fans saying they’re too nervous to pick it up. That’s terrible! Why should we fear dissenting opinions? Isn’t being an individual something to be celebrated? Don’t people love the books for their appreciation of difference? What is even the point if we can’t get that right?

Maybe it’s the Ravenclaw side of me that can’t let things be- but I simply cannot respect a book I’m not allowed to critique, because that means I’m not allowed to get to the bottom of it. I have to take it apart, see what makes it tick, figure out the mechanics of the thing. I’ve spent my entire literary life dissecting both things I love and things I hate. Indeed, I’ve made a point in the past of pointing out that a lot of my favourites are decidedly not perfect. To me, that’s a mark of reverence to the book and the literature world in general.

Of course, you do not have to listen to other opinions, you’re entitled to disagree- just know I’m not trying to aguamenti cold water all over your favourite books, I’m merely trying to expelliarmus the idea that there’s only one view allowed.

So if you like that principle, stick around, I’ll be talking more about the books (I may refer to Rowling’s later comments and the movies, but at the risk of sparking a “Death of the Author” debate, I view those as interpretations). And yes, I have dressed my Orangutan up in wizard robes– I mean, I did once write myself a Hogwarts acceptance letter in green ink, posted it through the letterbox and then acted surprised when my mum gave it back to me- I don’t do things in half measures 😉

yer a wizard orangutan

Yer a wizard Orangutan!

So what do you think of criticising popular books? Do you support it? Have you been in my shoes? Or do you think I’ve overstepped the mark? Let me know in the comments!

The Joys of Rereading

Once upon a time there was a monkey who loved to reread. But as the monkey grew into a great ape, she began to feel like she had to devour all the other books (and bananas) in the world that she had not yet laid her hairy hands on. If she wanted to get to the top of the TBR Tower, there would be no time for diversions into Lands of Reading Past. However, as time went on, she began to get reader fatigue and was plagued by incessant slumps. The BIG BOOK DRAGON lurking in the back of her mind began to stir- “what about all the treasure troves of books you’ve read in the past?” She realised that her longing for magical worlds could only be sated by revisiting some of the old books she’d neglected. So the great ape got off her high horse, put the fears of the towering TBR out of her mind and picked up a series she knew she already loved. And she lived happily, bookishly after (until the next bookworm crisis). The End.

Okay, that was admittedly a very silly opening, but you get the idea, I’m here today to talk about why I love to reread books. Let’s get into the JOYS OF REREADING!

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carry onYou get to relive all your favourite memories! I mean, that’s one of the most obvious reasons to reread. I have to admit that sometimes I finish a really *amazing* book, like Carry On, and I have to flip back to my favourite parts and reread them straight away. It’s almost like a compulsion to get all the feels all over again!

 

hug a bookRereading a beloved book is like greeting an old friend– you get wrapped up in the embrace of familiarity. It’s easy to fall into step with a favourite novel, because you know exactly how it’s going to make you feel. You know which parts will make you laugh and which will make you cry. And sometimes that predictability can be a good thing.

 

chill slothBecause it’s incredibly relaxing to revisit something where you’re not fretting too much about how things turn out. Favourite books are like comfort food- there’s something heartening about them- like a snuggly jumper or a hot bowl of chicken soup (yes, that’s my comfort food 😉 ). It’s such a great way to destress as well if you’ve got a lot on your plate.

happy-runningIt’s also a fabulous way to get over a slump, because SLUMPS ARE FOR CHUMPS and we all want to get back on that reading horse as soon as possible. Sometimes just reading something we’ve read before can help. I’ve often found when I’m really struggling, I’ll go back to an old favourite and just whizzing through it will make me feel like I’m back on track. Then I get to feel like a CHAMPION!! (well, sort of 😉 )

1984 bookAnd sometimes you might learn something new into the bargain! Some books, like 1984, are endlessly complex. And no matter how many times I say “oh it’s too dark, I won’t read it again”, I know there is so much more to learn there that I will certainly *have to* read it again in the future. Plus, on the same note, though this isn’t the most joyful reason, if you need to do an exam on a book, there’s no revision as good as reading it and then reading it again and again…

rememberAnother huge positive is you might have forgotten most of it. Then it’ll be like reading it fresh! Sometimes I reread books and it gives me that “ah I remember why I fell in love with this in the first place” feeling. Given that you’ve read it and loved it before, there’s a solid chance the second time will be just as impactful. And if not, you might learn something new about yourself.

 

pride and prejudicePlus, you might even change your mind about how you feel about a book you didn’t like. Obviously, the danger of reading a book you did like is that you might not like it as much, but the MASSIVE PRO of rereading a book you didn’t like is you might change your mind. There’s always going to be books that we try at the wrong time or couldn’t get into when we first read them. For me, that was Pride and Prejudice– but I was so grateful to be set this for A Level because it made me give it another shot- and you know what? Now I love it! There are definitely other books in the world that I would love to reassess and give them a shot at a higher rating 😀

And that’s all for now- how do you feel about rereading? Yay or nay? Let me know in the comments!

World’s Worst Superheroes – All *Your* Awesome Answers!

Hello all! I have a bit of a surprise post today- both for me and you- because this post is somewhat unplanned. Last week in my Reverse Q&A I asked the question “If you were the world’s worst superhero, what would your superpower be?” Your answers were all HILARIOUS! And at the lovely Katie @Never Not Reading’s suggestion, I decided to share all of them in a BIG BUMPER post! Everyone featured is linked to their blog, so you can check out all their amazing content! Plus, since it’s only fair, I’ll be giving my own answer at the end! Enjoy! 😉

Michael K @Tales from the Galactic Empires

I would save the world by turning people into bookworms!

matilda books

Yup, pretty confident that would save the world…

Daley Downing

My superpower would be remembering important stuff for other people, but not myself.

Everyday Strange

Can only read the minds of cats

scaredy-cat

Some “people” might not be happy about this…

Bookstooge

I could read a book in one glance but then would forget it. If I read it regularly, THEN I could remember it.

Book Beach Bunny

Bring all book worlds to life (which isn’t really lame but still…)

Suziey Bravo @Of all the books in all the libraries

Hm. Invisibility. Except not full invisibility. There’s a glimmering glow. Think Edward in Twilight lol

EdwardCullenSunlight

Yikes!

The Cozy Pages

The ability to read ten books a day regardless of size

Kelly @Another Book in the Wall

It would be the ability to remember everything except what’s important.

Vera @Unfiltered Tales

Mind control

Meltotheany

Omg, it would have to be something with healing, but…. all I want to do is be able to fly! Haha

peter pan robin williams flying

Norrie @Reading Under the Blankie

Prolly setting fires to random things, randomly… by accident

fire

Beth @Reading Every Night

I’d want some kind of teleportation power, just because I’m kinda lazy

Kim @By Hook or by Book

A Speedster (I have fibro, neuropathy and am a total klutz, so being like the Flash wouldn’t be pretty!)

flash

Tumbling into Wonderland

Touch people and make them orgasm. Although, some people might not consider that the worst super power…

Samantha Duffy @Modern Witch’s Bookshelf

I am going to take a page out of my nerdish book and say my powers in my current D&D campaign; healing

Kristin Kraves Books

The power to be invisible but only when no one is looking- I feel like that would be a useless superpower!

invisible

Marina @Books of Magic

My power would be constantly reminding people of the things they need to do, like *zap* wash the dishes Jack.  *zap* pick up the dog poo Sally *zap* write your blog posts

Kerri @Carolina Book Belle

I would be able to make annoying songs get stuck in people’s head (Baby by Justin Bieber forever!)

 

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Tell me who doesn’t have this song in their head now? Her power works already!

Holly @Inkspy

Can detect marshmallow, but only when it’s five metres away. No more, no less.

marshmello

Zezee with Books

Detecting the perpetrators of silent farts in packed public places

Briana @Pages Unbound

Identifying different rocks from the any size piece.

Sahi @My World of Books

Able to read 24/7 and not needing sleep

This is One for the Books

Having my hair colour change depending on my mood, like a sort of mood ring

hair change colour

Maddie @Of Reading and Random Things

I’d probably have the ability to breathe underwater but end up living in the desert, or the ability to overthink even more than I already do haha

Aimee, Always

To be able fix cracked phone screens. Huzzah!

Carrie @Cat On the Bookshelf

Remembering the name of that song that was stuck in your head two songs ago.

Fictionologyst

Sleeping 😂

PrincessAuroraSleeps

 

Cherry and Jelly Beans

Know the exact time it hits midnight in every timezone and country.

Carrie’s Book Reviews

World’s worst…?? Hm, how about the ability to change the TV channel with the blink of an eye? LOL

Katie @Never Not Reading

I’m going to have to go with a classic Who’s Line is it Anyway joke: Captain Obvious.

captain obvious

Zuky the Bookbum

Being able to summon fruit whenever and wherever

The Paperback Piano

Being able to inflate balloons hahaha, I have no idea?

balloons

Birdie Bookworm

The Ostrich (because I like to bury my head in the sand)

Marie @Drizzle and Hurricane Books

WORST? Hmmm, being able to appear in the middle of the room at the most awkward moments?

walk in walk out

Adrienne Morris @Middle May Books

Being such a bitchy drama queen that villains would run for the hills.

Kat Impossible @Life and Other Disasters

I would be able to transform into a goldfish or miniature hamster or any kind of small useless animal. (My only real quality would be that I could always escape through tiny cracks)

Perfectly Tolerable

Running Away

run away

Aurora Librialis

My superpower would be making all cats want to cuddle me.

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Angelica @The Book Cover Girls

The power to stay up all night reading and still function on two hours of sleep!

Journey into Books

The ability to read really quickly.

read-fast

Lost Art of Reading

Running backwards at mediocre speeds.

running backwards

Word Craft

Tough tough …. Knitting.

Liis @Cover to Cover

Oh, hmm… knitting… I could knit woolly socks and jumpers and maybe get the villains to wear them and when they do they get so comfy they won’t want to villain anymore?

knitting

Jackie B @Death By Tsudonku

To give people eye crusties at will.

Kristen @Metaphors and Moonlight

Anytime there’s a prize wheel where you spin and get a prize, I almost always get the best prize lol. So I guess I’d be Prize Wheel Spinner Girl

wheel spin

Whit Reads Lit

Maybe making things smelly?

Frost at Midnight

Haha! If I truly were a horrible superhero, I would make everyone put their thoughts into words and let them say it out loud. No diplomacy and sugar coating things.

Midsize Anxiety

Glow in the dark uncontrollably (where flashlights are omnipresent; plus it may be a severe disadvantage when you want to hide from the enemy), restore electric power (we have power banks!), knowing people’s locations (we have GPS).

Shae @Cade Under Books

I would wake up precisely when a movie’s credits rolled… and the bad guys were attacking WOO SUPERHERO TIME

wake up

Nicole @Bookwyrm Knits

Knitting at consistent tension, LOL

Annnd now time for my response…. I thought long and hard and realised that there could be only one answer: the ability to steal bananas from anywhere at will- for instance you could be enjoying a banana on the other side of the world and *ping* it’s mine (I have a feeling this is becoming more of the worst supervillain power but whatever…) And my name would be the BANANA BANDIT!!

If you didn’t answer, what your worst superpower be? And if you did, which ones do you think could make the best “worst superheroes” team up? Let me know in the comments!

What the Hell is going on with DC?

*Warning if you like the movies, now’s the chance to look away!*

monkey at the movies 2

After my post yesterday, you would be forgiven for thinking that I was a massive fangirl for the DC Justice League movies. That couldn’t be further from the truth. As much as I love the characters and even think some of the performances are stellar (as Book Beach Bunny said yesterday, only Jason Mamoa could make Aquaman cool), there is way too much I hate about these movies. Not to say that they’re abominable or you shouldn’t like them… I just… GAH! These films piss me off.

Oddly enough, I never planned on doing a post like this. In fact, the first film came out before I even thought of having a blog. I did write a long ranty response to the second film in my notebook when I watched it, however that was before I ever thought of talking about anything other than books on here. Then the latest film came out and I. Just. Couldn’t. Take. It. Anymore.

I’m not referring to all DC films, especially because I haven’t seen them all (I couldn’t make it more than half an hour into Suicide Squad and I still haven’t got round to seeing Wonder Woman yet, though I want to and actually think that will be pretty good) so I’ll only be focusing on Man of Steel, Batman V Superman and Justice League. Let’s get into this shall we.

Man of Steel was far too Flimsy a Film

man of steelSuperman is probably one of my favourite heroes and while, yes I’m one of those people who actually enjoys the old Christopher Reeve films (they’re fun!), I was not adverse to a darker remake. I mean, I am completely in love with the Dark Knight trilogy and wasn’t looking for a carbon copy of something that had been done before- that would be boring. And yet, somehow this managed to be boring. And frankly, that’s the worst cinema sin imaginable.

I won’t say it’s a terrible film, it just suffers from the same issues that plague the series- starting with the fact that it’s trying to be too clever for its own good. Frankly, no one was asking for a convoluted backstory for Superman- even the old movies summarised in a few minutes! Why, oh why, did this have to focus on such a bloated history? A history that incidentally becomes irrelevant to the rest of the movies (showing how sloppily this was all put together). No one thought- hey, if we’re inserting a done-to-death-chosen-one trope, through the whole pointless codex stuff, we might have to refer to that in later movies. Nope- it’s only there to serve to make this movie longer. G-r-e-a-t.

And although this is making my review all over the place, I have to add that this didn’t help the flow of the story. The constant flashbacks and non-linear nature made it feel jumpy and made it harder to invest in the story. A story which was already hard to get into thanks to an overly-broody hero, a meh villain I wasn’t scared of and a complete lack of tension.

The lack of tension was up there as one of the worst things about the movie. Even while all the grand-scale-action managed to wipe out most of Metropolis (which also obliterates Superman’s primary goals as a character, but whatever) this movie still failed to get my heartbeat to rise above its resting state. Cos, contrary to the Michael-Bay school of thought, *explosions* does not create tension. You need to actually care for *someone* in the story for that to work. And vague threats about wiping out all of humanity doesn’t matter either if you can’t capture that sense of time running out.

Still, even though I’m being super negative here, I didn’t completely despise the franchise at one point until I heard the title for the next one…

No One Wins in Batman V Superman

batman v superman dvDavid S. Goyer (a writer for the film) once said that “Batman Vs. Superman is where you go when you admit to yourself that you’ve exhausted all possibilities”. And isn’t that the truth. To be diplomatic, I’m not opposed to the idea (though it has the juvenile aspect of “who would win in a fight, a ninja or pirate? We all know the answer is a ninja pirate 😉 ) I simply think it’s a shit title.

Where Man of Steel spends tons of time on backstory, this gets you up to date in about three seconds. And I don’t just mean Bruce’s parents deaths, I mean why he hates Superman, the whole deal. There’s about three different openings at the start of this moviestellar film making there *heavy sarcasm*. Each scene is delivered to us like *here, have some exposition*. Not only does this feel ridiculously choppy and cobbled together, it doesn’t even provide the best motivation for Bruce to fight Superman.

But whatever, the title says they’ve got to fight, so they fight. And of course, Batman is totally beating Superman… Wait, what?! Oh yeah, that’s cos even though the writers tried to give Superman an actual motivation for stopping Batman (aka in this version Batman is a murderous psycho) they kinda give up on that and kidnap his mother. So yeah, Superman’s not into fighting at all- but don’t worry too much, they’ll be a nice coincidence to break it all up anyway.

On the subject of Batman, I will probably get into trouble for my seriously unpopular view here. I think Affleck’s Batman sucks. He’s just Affleck as Batman (aka I never lost the sense that it was Affleck- the best performances make you forget they’re an actor altogether). I’ve nothing against the actor, yet I cannot deny that I didn’t buy his performance *at all*. Nor did his swanky suit and CGI convince me either.

And here’s another unpopular opinion, I actually thought the ending was worse than the beginning. While it was flawed, certainly, I did actually like seeing Lois do some investigative journalism and Batman supposedly-being-smart by coming up with a plan to take down Superman. Even if the plot points weren’t ironed out and Eisenberg’s Luther was GOD-AWFUL, I at least cared about the outcome of the fight. However, the writers didn’t have the courage to follow through with that story and had to stick a massive alien villain into the ending. Lois goes from vaguely interesting to completely useless and Batman and Superman are friends again- sarcastic yay! Oh with Gal Gadot shoehorned in too (don’t get me wrong, I love her as Wonder Woman, but she barely belongs in this movie). I think the impact of the (MAJOR SPOILER WARNING) death could have been that much more powerful if Batman accidentally/not-so-accidentally killed him (providing they had better reasons to fight).

At this point, I’ll be frank, my frustration with how this could have turned out became a steady dislike. I don’t think I’d have hated it so much had it not been for whichever smart Alek thought “we’d better put a monster in the end of this movie!” If they’d focused on the ideas, the actual titular fight and given some good motivations, this could have been interesting. Buuut they’d already proven that stupid plotlines were the way to go with the first movie, why stop there?

There was no Justice in Justice League

justice league cover 2*Spoilers for Batman V Superman*

Where do I even start with this one? On the plus side they got over their need to make all the colours so dark you can’t see anything. The downside is the plot is terrible. Bruce Wayne *feels* an attack is coming, so he gets to work in forming the Justice League. I wish that last sentence was a joke, but it gets so much worse. As per the last two movies, there are no decent reasons or build up for the villain. We’re just supposed to accept that the villain is the villain and the heroes are the heroes cos *reasons* (and some awful speeches). The heroes get to resurrect whoever they like (though not Superman, we’re told a million times to remember he’s dead…). And if the baddie makes obvious mistakes, like not going after the easiest target (a magical box thingy, more lazy writing there), then we have to accept it like good little chumps who bought the extortionate cinema tickets.

Except I watched it pay-per-view, because I’m not that stupid with my money (and can’t afford to watch films I actually want to see on the big screen). Anyway, why’s that all relevant? Well, because I was so bored that I wandered off to do chores for a few hours halfway through this movie. Sorry, pow pow pow, *insert fight scene*, *insert dumb joke* wasn’t enough to keep me entertained for hours on end. Especially because I couldn’t care less about the characters.

And here’s the real issue. Half of this comes down to a heavy reliance on most people knowing the characters already; the other half is, in my view, that Zach “my batman could get raped in prison” Snyder doesn’t actually get why people are watching these movies or why people love these heroes. One thing I love about DC is the deep questions  and the human struggles at the heart of their narratives. Unfortunately, they forsook the fundamental rule about storytelling in creating these movies because there’s never any real stakes. Nothing about this feels personal and the story is consequently a random sequence of events– not the great epic they wanted it to be. Maybe they should watch a Marvel movie for ideas (I should clarify, I’m not a Marvel fangirl, I just like good movies, not shit ones).

It would have been great to focus on some of the characters backstories here. For instance, Cyborg could have been the central focus of this film, since he actually has some connection with the central problem in the movie and has story arc worth developing here. But no, an unfocused team-up is what they went for and this meant that a lot of them felt underdeveloped (though #notall- I got a clear sense of Diana without having even seen her movie yet). They throw in references to a ton of different movies they want to make and hope we’ll get the message there’s a *bigger picture*. Yet no matter how many end credit scenes you tag on, this will never feel like a great series (incidentally the ending scene made me think: ooh the shit Luther is out, I bet he’s coming to ruin another movie…)

One other hugely jarring factor that I can’t overlook is that it flip flops on tone every two seconds. Partly because they seem incapable of making up their minds about how the characters should act, so you never feel like you understand why they go from naught-to-moody-to-jokey in the course of a quick minute. And I get that a lot of this is down to having more than one director, but that’s really no excuse for the overall effect to be so jarring. It goes from taking itself realllly seriously to making bad jokes. Even though the whole series could have done with a more light-hearted touch, I can’t forgive how cheesy and dumb the so-called humour is. Every time they made a joke I was deadpan; every time they said something serious, I laughed. So yeah, crap jokes don’t let you off the hook here.

It’s the sloppiness of the script and story that I have a problem with– not the careless CGI beard stuff (though that was badly done). It’s the fact that this rush-to-the-justice-league ended up being a combination of cringey and dull. And that’s why I am not a fan of these cashcow movies.

My rating: a banana peel

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So dare I ask: how do you feel about these films? Love them or loathe them? Let me know in the comments!