The Snobbery’s Naughty and Nice List 2012 Edition (Part V)

So I saw a comment in my twitter feed last Wednesday (the day the previous installment was posted), where someone was wishing that people would stop posting Best Of lists.  The bitchy contrary part of me immediately said (yes, out loud) “MAKE TEN MORE LISTS!!!!”  Now (and partially because Em is totally a bad influence) I’m trying to come up with increasingly ridiculous lists.  You might see some.  OR YOU MIGHT NOT.  You might also get a round of posts full of foul language after my dad makes me go see The Hobbit next weekend.  I DON’T KNOW YET.  You’ll have to wait and see.

ANYWAY, this post is going to cover things I read this year that I loved that didn’t make it onto the last list.

~o~

Mrs Claus with the Naughty List

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sj’s TIP TOP FAVOURITE Books Read in 2012

moers

ALL THE WALTER MOERS!

Susie DMed me in August, telling me she’d suggested my name to Tara as someone who might be interested in a blog tour she (Tara) was setting up for the upcoming Labyrinth of Dreaming Books.  “Have you/would you be interested in reading Walter Moers?” she asked.

At that point, I’d never even heard of him, but City of Dreaming Books sounded like something that was right up my alley, so I said I would be THE MOST INTERESTED, SEND ME ALL THE BOOKS! (um, paraphrasing)

I fell in love with CoDB within the first few pages.  Like, hard.  And then I got angry.  Because I couldn’t believe that NO ONE HAD BOTHERED TO TELL ME ABOUT THESE BOOKS BEFORE NOW!  There are very few authors who can write something that feels like it was written expressly for me.  The further I got into that book (and then subsequent books), the more I realized I was reading the exact sort of thing I’d ask someone to write for me – y’know, if that sort of thing were okay.

Walter Moers has been added to my list of “ZOMG, CAN’T WAIT MUST READ NAO!” authors.  There aren’t many on that list, so I hope he realizes what an honour it is to be there.  Hee.  Also, there are two other books already translated into English that I haven’t read yet, but I’ll be buying those for myself right after the holidays, when it’s okay to spend money on myself again.

Unless someone wants to buy me presents, then you can get me The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear and Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures.  Just sayin’.

~o~

My New Favourite Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde

I’ll admit that I’m a little bit of an asshole about this.  Not EVERY BOOK can be my favourite, but every time I finish one of these I say “Nope.  That one’s my favourite.  Forget the rest, this one is the best.”  I REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME!  Which kind of surprised me, because on paper, this book should have been one of my least favourites in the series.

It didn’t have ANY of the stuff I loved about the last few books, and it was set entirely in Swindon, which should have been the kiss of death…but somehow it wasn’t terrible.  No, in fact, it totally rocked.

I cried, I laughed, I wanted to punch things.  Isn’t that what we all hope we’ll get from our books?  That kind of emotional response, something that just makes you glad you know how to read?

By the time I got to the last page, I had a huge smile on my face and knew there was no way I’d be able to review it impartially.  Do me a favour, if you hate these books, please don’t tell me.  I get wildly irrational, and wouldn’t be able to pretend to be nice to you anymore.

He spent his life immersed in books to the cost of everything else, even personal relationships. “Friends,” he’d once said, “are probably great, but I have forty thousand friends of my own already, and each of them needs my attention.”

~o~

balrog

Obviously this summer wasn’t my first, tenth, or even twentieth time reading through Tolkien.  It was, however, the first time I’d attempted to read it with a group.  It was also the first time I’d actually tried to commit my thoughts on these books to writing.  Everyone that participated gives me warm fuzzies.  Thank you, so much for joining, for reading, for drinking along with the movies, for writing your own posts, and just for showing up to keep me from talking to myself.

Truly.  Thank you.  <3

(If you didn’t participate in the group read/watch, but are still interested in reading the posts and comments, click on the Puttin’ the Blog in Balrog menu right below the header.)

~o~

friends rule

So, this is a bit of promotion for some friends I love dearly and am incredibly proud of.  Volcanoes is Nicole‘s third book in her Grace Murphy series, and it’s her best yet.  I can’t review it because I’m FAR TOO CLOSE to it, but I can tell you that I love Grace (even when she’s an idiot) and I’m incredibly happy just knowing these books exist.

…AND THEN!  The lovely Amy had a book of poetry published this year!  AND IT’S SO GOOD!  I don’t usually read poetry but Amy made me want to read more.  No, seriously.

Go buy both of these books.  Or not.  But I think you should.

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That’s all for today!  These are the books I loved the very very most in 2012, I hope you all had just as many new reading loves this year, too.  Thanks for reading.

Book Conversation – Wither

Meg and I both read the book Wither by Lauren DeStefano.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I read the book and Meg gave up on it less than halfway through.  The following text is a chat conversation we had about it.  We kind of tend to talk over each other quite a bit.  You’ll see what I’m talking about.

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sj:  I’m reading this book, and here are the problems I’m noticing - not just with this book, but with this particular genre.  These books are billed as YA, but they seem to be written in a YA style with adults in mind.  Like, “I’m writing this for grownups, but  I’m totes dumbing it down so people only think it’s YA!  I’m so brilliant, they’ll never figure it out!”  [laughs whole way to bank]

Meg:  Like they’re trying to pull an HP and appeal to everyone.

sj:  Kind of, yes - but I feel like it’s pandering, really.  The subject matter is such that teens wouldn’t really pay much attention to it, so it’s obvious that it’s written for all of the Army Wives out there that praise themselves for reading 300 books a year.

Meg:  Ugh

sj:  …but that’s because they never read anything with substance.  I feel like Lauren Whatsherface could be good if she stopped dumbing herself down.  Hell, most adults won’t understand -

Meg:  YES!   That was my problem with it!

sj:  …but then they can pat themselves on the back because they read a book that used the word tremulousness.

Meg:  Yeah, I wish that these authors would really stick to the audience they’re supposedly writing – if it’s YA, write for teenagers, if it’s adult, write for adults and don’t do the “pre-teen narrator with an adult mind” because it normally just comes off as being pretentious.  That was my problem with Wither, is that the main character thought like a boring adult.

sj:  Yes, exactly - she’s supposed to be fairly uneducated, and yet she speaks like she’s going for her Masters or something.  I think this book would have been better if it was written as an adult novel.

Meg:  Yes!

sj:  But it probably wouldn’t be as popular, and that’s the thing.  She knew that.

Meg:  Yes, exactly - so she pandered.

sj:  And so she either did it on purpose, or was encouraged to…which amounts to the same thing.  There’s no question in my mind that this author is talented, I’m just disappointed that it’s not…everything it could be.   I don’t think this is really worthy of being  TTified, I really don’t.  It’s a decent story and could be so much more if it were allowed to be.

Meg:  It makes me sad when people who are clearly pretty talented writers limit themselves so they can make more money.  I mean, I understand you have to make a living.  But just think of all the things we miss out on.

sj:  Yes, exactly.  EXACTLY, MEGHAN!  Like, that’s one of the discussions that Nicole and I have had, because even though I’m just the editor (my term, not hers) I have been trying to get her to at least submit her books to an agent/publisher whatever because I think that if she was marketed properly, Grace could be HUGE, but she doesn’t want to lose creative control.  Which I totally understand, I wouldn’t love Grace as much if she was told how to be, but I think she’s written something that you don’t see a lot of, unfortunately, which is a really strong female character that most of us can relate to.

Meg:  Yes.  Yes, exactly.  You know, other than Grace, I have a really hard time thinking of any really strong female leads that don’t end up dependent on a man to some degree.  Which is annoying, but at the same time I totally help perpetuate that by always choosing books with a male lead.  Like I realized… I don’t know if you remember this when we were discussing [soopersekritprojectname], and you suggested a female lead -

sj:  You know, I do too, and I know that it’s because I’ve been disappointed in female leads in the past.

Meg:  - and I was like “I wouldn’t want to read about that.”

sj:  HA!

Meg:  And why? Why can’t a girl be a badass without her ultimate happiness coming from being with a guy?

sj:  RIGHT!  We can totally talk to [another soopersekrit future project], I think.

Meg:  Yes!  Like, even in Harry Potter, if Harry had been a girl would it have been as popular?  I don’t think so.

sj:  Because I know it’s a problem, you know it’s a problem, we all know (no, it wouldn’t) but we all keep feeding this cycle because we’re so used to there only being crap out there for women - or, with women as the main protagonist.  Like, even the Hunger Games -

Meg:  and ultimately, if a woman’s the lead, it turns into a love story.

sj:  - Katniss was totally dependent on Gale and Peeta

Meg:  No matter what it started as - Yes!

sj:  Oh, I agree about the love story -

Meg:  I mean, I don’t have a problem with romance, as an aside -

sj:  (obvs, we’ve read all the Sookie books)

Meg:  but when it becomes the FOCUS - Right?! (And enjoyed them)  I’m a hypocrite.  I want the best of both worlds.  Women don’t always have to be the dominant characters, but they shouldn’t always be dependent.  I’M INDEPENDENT, DAMNIT!  I DON’T NEED A MAN!

sj:  BAHAHAHAHA

Meg:  *insert inspirational song*  YEAH, FEMALE EMPOWERMENT

sj:  A Woman Needs a Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle?  but, yes - so that’s the problem I have with most of these books lately.  Clary needed Jace to make her feel needed and necessary - and I wanted to snaping punch her - and then in this…while it isn’t romantic love, Rhine NEEDS Rowan because she’s absolutely nothing without her brother.  Also - I gotta be honest.  If I knew I was going to die at 20 and nothing would save me?  I’d snaping live it up, baby.  I’d take this rich boy for everything he was willing to give me.  Just sayin’.

Meg:  Yesssssss.  Who wouldn’t?  Like, really - honestly.  We’re not all Mother Theresa.

sj:  I’D RATHER DIE THAN HAVE SISTER WIVES!!!!

Meg:  YESSSSSSS.  It’s just intensely annoying that all female entities in literature always seem defined only by their relation to something – lover, husband, brother whatever.

sj:  Yes, agreed.

Meg:  I can do stupid snape all by myself, thank you.  I don’t need ANY help.

sj:  HAHAHAHA, RIGHT?!

Meg:  I’m looking at HP pictures and it’s making me nostalgic.  sjazzles, let’s write another HP and make BILLIONS.  I want fangirls, sj.
sj:  AND FANFIC!

Some Pimpin’ for My Peeps

I have a lot of crazy talented friends.  I suppose I should clarify – most of my friends aren’t crazy and talented, they just have oodles of talent.  For realsies.  This morning I asked myself, “Self, what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t send a little traffic their way?”  These are all people I know outside of the blogosphere, some of them I’ve known for years, so you need to visit them immediately.

 

 

 

I know I’ve mentioned Nicole before.  She’s one of my best friends, is completely hilarious and may be a bit crazy on top of the talented.  She’s written two books so far with a kickass heroine, Grace Murphy.   Grace is a newly single mom – she’s unhappy with the way her life has turned out, but things are about to take a turn for the strange (and awesome!).  You can find the first book –  Huntress – here.  It’s currently available for only $2.99 in the kindle store, so please check her out!

 

 

 

 

I’ve known Jen Williams for almost eight years (holy crap, has it really been that long?!), back when she was just a bookseller and forumite.  In the years since, her short fiction has been published in a few different magazines and she recently put out a fantasy novella.  The Copper Promise:  Ghosts of the Citadel is the first in a four part series, the second should (hopefully) be out soonish.  You can buy TCP for your kindle here, it’s also a steal at only $2.99.

 

 

 

 

 

While I haven’t known Kate Sherrod as long as some of the other people I’m pimping for today, she’s a shooting star on my list of favourite people on the internet.  One of her resolutions for 2009 was to compose and post one ‘pseudo-Shakespearean’ sonnet per day.  Her book Suppertime Sonnets contains the best of that year, 14 lines at a time.  Suppertime Sonnets is available both as an ebook and in paperback.  The paperback is super inexpensive, too – only $6.99.

 

 

 

ANIMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!

 

Breaking away from my author friends for a minute, I’d love if you’d all check out my amazing hooker friend.  No, she’s not a prostitute, she’s a crochet wizard!  I’ve known Mo almost as long as I’ve known Jen up there, and she constantly amazes me with the things she manages to create out of yarn.  A few years ago for my birthday, she made me an awesome Ravenclaw beanie and scarf.  I wore it to see HBP in the theatre, even though it was July and roughly a billion degrees outside.  Every time I wear it, I get compliments.  Don’t you want to get compliments on your cool stuff too?  You can visit her Etsy shop or her facebook page.  She’s currently offering free shipping on all US orders, so take advantage of it while you can (see her Etsy page for the code).

 

 

And finally, I’d like to end on a philanthropic note.  Heather (over at Becoming Cliche) is trying to raise some money for a village in Madagascar that has pledged to help the Turtle Survival Alliance protect the dwindling radiated tortoise population.  In exchange, the TSA is building a school for the children of the village.  The building is nearing completion, now all that they need are furniture and school supplies.  $1800 (USD) is all that’s necessary to furnish the entire school (plus, another few hundred for the supplies), and Heather has already helped raise over 25% of the necessary funds, and it would be amazing if we could help her raise the rest.   These tortoises are disappearing after being hunted for meat and the illegal pet trade.

Please.  If you can spare a few dollars, every little bit will help.  More information and the link to donate can be found here.

 

These lovely ladies would greatly appreciate your support, please take a look at their spectacular work.  Thanks!

The Snobbery’s Naughty and Nice List – 2011 Edition

This was originally just going to be a best and worst of the year post, but Meg told me that I had to call it a Naughty and Nice list so that she could imagine me as Mrs Claus.  [sigh]  Fair warning:  Not everything on here came out in 2011, but that’s when I first became aware of/subjected myself to it.  Jumping right in!

 

NAUGHTY

The Time Traveler's Wife

 

 

This book was recommended to me by roughly eleventy billion people, which was one of the main reasons I put it off for so long.  I hated it.  I was really glad that it was such a quick read because I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  I wanted to smack each and every one of the friends who told me I’d love it, and I was seriously considering never speaking to any of them ever again.  Yuck.

 

 

 

 

 

Inheritance

 

 

I already made my feelings about this book pretty clear here and here.  I really don’t want to talk about it any more.

 

 

 

Pepper Spray Cop Meme

 

 

 

This isn’t the worst example of this, but it’s still pretty bad.  I was so horribly offended when I saw one of my favourite books defaced with this meme that I started hiding everyone who posted this crap so that I didn’t have to look at it anymore.

 

 

 

 

George Weasley's Magic Ear

 

If you’ve read these books, you’ll know why it bothered me so much to see George Weasley with two ears again in Deathly Hallows, part 2.  His ear was cursed off by Snape at the beginning of the book, and he was told that it was impossible to regrow using magic.  For those of you who want to tell me that this is Fred, I say:  NUH UH!  FRED IS ALREADY DEAD AT THIS POINT!  Out of all the things that upset me about the movie, this was probably the biggest.  Naughty list for you!

 

 

 

 

 

NICE

Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

 

 

For suresies, this wins Album of the Year for me.  I can’t listen to music with lyrics while I’m editing, reading, or doing anything that requires my attention, so this one got a lot of play.  My favourite track is Postcard from 1952.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pottermore!

This could have easily also gone on the Naughty List (mostly because of frequent downtime), but it’s just so much fun.  JK Rowling says I’m a Ravenclaw!  I knew it!

 

 

Don't click unless you're ready for major spoilers.

 

 

 

 

#83 was the best issue of The Walking Dead this year, BY FAR.  This issue prompted so many letters to the Letter Hacks column, most of them screaming “I hate you, Kirkman!  I’m never reading your stupid comic again!!!”  You know it must be good if it evokes that kind of response.

 

 

 

 

 

Rifts, click to visit Amazon

 

 

I have a difficult time writing about books that I like, especially when I’m so attached to them.  Not gonna lie to you folks, Nicole is one of my best friends.  I’d still tell her if I thought her book sucked, though.  It doesn’t.  Really.  Go read it.

 

 

 

 

 

RP1 = Major Geek Love

 

 

Another instance of not being able to fully express why I loved something so much.  This was one of the best books I read this year.  I hope Santa brings me the hardback for Christmas, since I only have the ebook.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to look at the things I loved and hated this year!