Lost Boys Drinkalong #DrunkOfUs

YAY, IT IS DRINKALONG DAY!

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve pretty much been looking forward to this since the LAST drinkalong.

Tonight we’re watching The Lost Boys, which is really only (contrary to popular belief) the SECOND BEST teen vampire film of the 80s.

I put the whole drinking game portion of preparation off for too long, but luckily the lovely folks over at Drinking Cinema have us covered.  I’mma suggest you don’t follow all of these rules, though.  Maybe pick a few and stick with them.  I refuse to be responsible for your inability to hold your booze.

If this is your first drinkalong, WELCOME!  All you need to do is have a copy of the movie and a twitter account.  Alcohol isn’t even necessary!  Just pop open the countdown timer up there and press play when it gets to zero.  SUPER EASY.  Use the hashtag to tweet your thoughts (when you have them).  I will storify the conversation when the movie is over, or tomorrow, depending on how drunk I actually am.

Make sure you guys wish a happy birthday to drinkalong regular @noitsachicken.  Her birthday was yesterday, but still.

See you all tonight at 10:45E/9:45C!

(Oh, and we were talking about doing the movies of John Hughes next.  Anyone have a preference as to where to start?)

 

I thought I was cheating, but I didn’t really.

REALI don’t know if you remember, but when I did the 30 Day Book Challenge a few years ago, I talked about how Gerry Bartlett’s Gloriana St Clair series is totally a Guilty Pleasure (idk why I made that a proper noun, I’m a complicated woman.  Shut up.) for me.  They were and they still are.

I was annoyed with the last book (and honestly, I can’t even keep the titles straight so I don’t remember what it was called) because it wasn’t enough that we were dealing with ALL THE VAMPIRE SEX, and that there were were-EVERYTHING, but she brought in the gods of Olympus and there was much eye-rolling.

I got over it quickly, apparently, because I can’t remember much.  And I can’t really remember much about any of these books EVER, so I don’t really know why I keep reading them.

But I do.

So, last night Heather and I started reading Pontypool Changes Everything, but I was pretty trashed from the drinkalong and got about a paragraph into it before I realized that I was FAR TOO DRUNK for Tony Burgess’s particular brand of mind-fuckery.  I started Real Vampires Know Size Matters instead.

Which was pretty perfect for drunken reading (you guys all read when you’re drinking too, right?).

I wouldn’t recommend it for much else, though.

This is the tenth book in the series (POSSIBLY the last cos something FINALLY gets wrapped up), and by this point they’re all pretty much the same story.  Glory whines about not being a size six.  Her looooooong term boyfriend Jeremy Blade (yes, really) gets jealous cos all the other vamps and weres in Austin want to fuck her.  Someone is less than enamored with her, and tries to take her out, so everyone from all over hell and half of Georgia comes to her rescue because she is just. so. irresistable.

Again, I don’t even know why I still read these.

wish_i_could_quit_you

But I’ll be there for the next one (assuming there is one).

What’s the series/author you just can’t quit?  I know we talked about series we HAVE given up on last week, but what do you keep reading no matter how bad it gets?

(Oh, and there’s a voodoo priestess in this one that controls zombies SO IT TOTALLY COUNTS FOR ZOMBRUARY!)

zombruary

Dead dead. Real dead. Double dead.

double dead

Remember when I said last year that @KateSherrod had needed multiple showers after reading Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black books?  That was NOTHING compared to the showers, brain bleach and other necessary mental hygiene adjustments one will need after reading Wendig’s zombie+vampire+zombie vampire novel Double Dead.

I am not kidding at all, this book is GROSS.  But still somehow charming? Seriously, this was how I read this book –  “HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Ew.  Seriously, ew.  But still.  HAHAHAHAHA!”

Our hero (?) is Coburn, a “Noo Yawk” vampire that wakes up from a loooooong forced sleep to find that the world has been primarily taken over by zombies.  There are few humans left, which kind of means REAL death for Coburn, since the “blood” of the walking dead isn’t sufficient to power him.

What’s a hungry vampire to do?  Well, make friends with a fluffy little dog and somehow find himself as shepherd to a road trippin’ flock of blood donors, of course!

“Shhh,” he said. “Chill the fuck out, pup. Last thing I need is for you to call a gaggle of undead assholes my way. Is it a gaggle? What is it? It’s a school of fish. A murder of crows. A parliament of owls. What’s a bunch of fucking zombies? A cluster? A cadre? You know what? I’m going to go with a fuckbucket of zombies. Sound good to you, pup?”

Double Dead would have made my best of list for last year, if I’d read it before all those posts were written.  As it stands, though, I’ll have to make sure to include it for 2013.

Definitely not for everyone, but if you don’t mind some stomach churning gore and intensely disgusting situations that will make you laugh at the same time as you’re trying not to puke – give this one a try.

If this book were a movie, it’d rate about 9/10 on the Faces of Death gore scale.  I’ve learned that Wendig has a knack for making his readers uncomfortable, yet still keeps us coming back for more.

4.3/5 on my own personal book scale.  Maybe higher since I’ll never look at WalMart the same way again.

Thoughts on Justin Cronin’s The Twelve

Once again I find myself unable to actually review this book.  Since it’s a newer release, I certainly don’t want to spoil it for those of you that are looking forward to it.  Seriously, there are no spoilers in this post.

I’m sure you remember my massively edited post for The Passage.  I did not particularly care for it [the book, not my post - dur].  Mostly because I felt that it was both too long and not long enough at the same time.  I realize that sounds rather contradictory, but what I wanted was for the author to take his time with things, instead of just plunging us into new things…but not to drag on with unimportant details.

Was The Twelve better about that?

Kind of.  It’s definitely not going on any end of the year lists for me – unless they’re super snarktastic – but it was shorter, so that counts for something, right?

No, but really, as I was reading, I realized what I think the root of my problem with this series is.

Justin Cronin’s primary background is in the literary sort of fiction.  In fact, he states in the introduction to the first book that The Passage was really only written on a dare from his (at the time) 8 year old daughter.

Indeed, if you look at the Amazon rankings for that first book, you’ll see that it’s #1 in LITERARY fiction for Kindle, and #2 in ALL literary fiction.

I’m currently reading Philip Pullman’s soon to be released retellings of some of the Grimm Faerie Tales (review on that in a few days), and in the introduction, he has this to say about why faerie tales work:

A good tale moves with a dreamlike speed from event to event, pausing only to say as much as is needed and no more. The best tales are perfect examples of what you do need and what you don’t: in Rudyard Kipling’s image, fires that blaze brightly because all the ashes have been raked out. The opening of a tale, for example. All we need is the word ‘Once . . .’ and we’re off.

I bring this up now (even though I intend to expand on it further when I actually review that book) because most of his introduction here was a kind of lightning strike to that section of my brain that always wondered “Wait.  Is there something wrong with me?  This is something that EVERYONE ELSE loves, why do I not?”

I realized while reading this book of faerie tales that  it’s just because I don’t like most literary fiction.

And therein lie my problems with Cronin’s The Passage series.  It’s another example of literary fiction disguising itself as genre fiction, and I can’t stand that.  You may (or may not) remember that this was also my problem with Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, that was literary fiction disguised as sf – this is literary fiction disguised as fantasy.

Yes, I realize that these books are getting all the props for making vampires scary again, and I can appreciate that.  I really can.  It’s about damn time.

But I’m too much of an unrepentant genre geek to enjoy it.  The story drags in too many places with too many revelations of motivations for actions that happened 500 pages ago, and by that point I’ve already forgotten what’s supposed to be being explained.

Will I be reading The City of Mirrors when it comes out in two thousand effing fourteen?  It’s likely.  But then I’ll just rant because I can’t remember anything from the first two, and I’ll refuse to re-read them.

[eta] Thanks to Heather for slogging through this one with me.  She made it almost bearable.

I do have spoilery things I want to talk about, but I’ll add them on at the end on goodreads where I have access to spoiler tags.

Thoughts on Justin Cronin’s The Passage

I’m starting writing this now, before I’m even done with the book because I have a lot of things I want to talk about before I forget.  I don’t think this will even end up being a review at all, which is why I’m not titling it as such.

Listen.  This book…if you follow me on twitter or are my friend on GoodReads, you’ll know I’ve been struggling with this book.  It’s not because it’s terrible, because it’s not.  It’s more that I feel like it has a lot of unfulfilled potential.

David asked me on one of my gr status updates if I thought it might be my editorial eye that made me more willing to continue, because I was able to sift through what was and wasn’t working.  The more I think about this, the more I realize that he’s right.

The Passage could have been brilliant.  The problem here is either that Cronin’s editors and publisher let him down, or he let himself down by trying to fit TOO DAMN MUCH into the almost 800 pages of this book (and, actually, my ebook is over 800 pages, which is one of the reasons it’s so daunting).

It seems that lately, in the publishing biz, trilogies are the thing.  Forget the lengthy sagas or (god forbid) the standalone novel, no one wants those anymore.  Three books and tap out.  Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like that’s the current trend, and I think it’s detrimental to authors AND readers.

I know I’m in the minority with regards to this book (although the further I get, the more people I hear from who say they either gave up on this one, or WISH they had), but I don’t think I’d have struggled as hard to get through it, had this first book been broken into two or three novels, instead of one giant Epic Train Wreck.

Because when it comes down to it, that’s what this book feels like.  We aren’t given enough time to acclimate to one group of characters before we’re moving on because they’re all dead.  What the hell?  What was the point of learning 50 names if NONE OF THEM are important, after all?

If this book had been split up, we’d have had a chance to get to actually KNOW AND CARE ABOUT these characters so that the inevitable deaths meant something to us.

Conversely, if some of the irrelevant things that don’t actually end up meaning anything had been removed, this book could have been cut down to a much more manageable 400-500 pages, and it would have been so much better for it.

~o~

So, I just finished.  All of that up there is totally irrelevant now because I’m pissed.  That was the stupidest book, and I can’t believe I wasted my time.  Even up through the last 15 pages, I was thinking “You know, if the second book is better, maybe I’ll give it a chance.”

Now I’m just mad and wishing I had a physical copy of this book to burn.  Ugh.

~o~

SO.  That first part is what happens when I start talking about a book I haven’t finished.  The second part is what happens when I finish a book and start writing about it while I’m still SO ANGRY ZOMG.

I’ve had several hours to cool off, and while I’m still angry, I’m not all capattack and sweary like I was when I finished yesterday.

This was me when I finished reading (Heather D, avert your eyes):

Am I still mad?  Yes.  Do I hate this book with every fibre of my being?  No, that’s reserved for the work of Chuck Palahniuk, thank you very much.

HOWEVER.  I guess I just don’t get it.  I don’t understand how this was, like, the most TALKED ABOUT BOOK of 2010 (which is probably why I avoided reading it until now), I don’t understand why the majority of the ratings and reviews I’ve seen are so positive.

As I said above in that crossed out part, this book COULD HAVE BEEN so excellent.  I kept noticing little parts that would give me shivers and parts that were just so well written, I could ALMOST see what everyone was raving about.

The majority of the book, though (at least 75%) was confusing, boring, and really in need of both paring down AND fleshing out.

So, I’m asking.  I need those of you that have loved this book to explain why.

(DO NOT tell me that it’s because it’s just like The Stand.  I will be very tempted to call you a liar.  I’ve read The Stand many times, and the only similarity between Cronin and King is that they both need to let their editors do their effing jobs.)