Coinneach Da Reo,
A Character from The Witcher Saga by A. Sapkowski.
Painting by me: [Soukyan]
(yes, I take commissions)
Coinneach Da Reo,
A Character from The Witcher Saga by A. Sapkowski.
Painting by me: [Soukyan]
(yes, I take commissions)
I feel like “Death’s Acre” by William Bass (ISBN 0425198324; 320p.; Goodreads) goes together with the previous book “Beyond the Body Farm” very well. They feel like one book split in two, no matter which way around you pick it up. The only bad thing about it, is that I can say all the same things about this book, as I told of the previous one.
Dr Bill Bass tells a fine story of how it all got started. From the shabby spaces no one else wanted, to an angry janitor, who found an experiment body in his closet, to an acre of land somewhere behind a prison, and the need for a privacy fence. The experiments got more elaborate, sometimes going as far, as marking the flies, that’s how much those bugs are important when it comes to solving the crimes. They even helped a famous murder detective author write a book, by figuring what body leaves in the first spot of keeping, when transferred to another.
This is a book every murder detective lover must read, really. Dr Bill Bass is an amazing person, highly aware, and considerate of people around him, even if sometimes he seems to care about the dead a little more, due to the stories, and truths they can tell (remember the poor janitor?). It’s a great book, really.
All in all, if you read Death’s Acre, read Beyond the Body Farm too, for they go together perfectly. I can give this book 5 out of 5.
I waited for “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee (ISBN 0062382802; 513p.; Goodreads) even before it was released. Which is a mighty rare thing for a first book (or a stand alone, we’ll see), and not, say, second or third in the series. Luckily, I didn’t get disappointed either!
Henry Montague is a fine man, an heir to a fairly great estate, and a son of great disappointment to his father. He was kicked out of school for, allegedly, starting a fight. He dallies with anyone on two legs, men, and women. He’s rarely ever sober, and shows little to no interest in running the estate! His father’s last hope is a voyage across Europe on which he sends Henry out, together with a very strict guardian, his sister, and his best friend. With whom Henry is secretly in love with…
The tour starts out pretty boring at first. Their guardian keeps his word, and makes sure everyone’s in line. Henry can’t go party, he’s not allowed to drink, and he’s going crazy. Yet he’ll surely miss these simple days once adventures come uninvited. Highway men, pirates… And all due to a damned box he pocketed!
The story was very fun, and often – very funny. It was easy to read, and I’m real happy about everything in it. So I’ll give it 5 out of 5, and won’t mind a sequel if such comes to be.
Have you ever heard of Body Farm? If you ever watched series Bones, you likely did. And this book here, “Beyond the Body Farm” is written by Dr. Bill Bass (ISBN 0060875291; 282p.; Goodreads), creator of one of the very first such farms.
What is this body farm, you ask? Well, if you ever considered donating your body to science, and I dare being so brave as to say yes, please do, no matter how gruesome some things they might do to you post mortem might be, imagine the mark in science you could leave, instead of a mount in the ground. But if you had considered it anyway, without me kindly prompting you here, body farm is where one could end up. Bodies there are kept in various conditions for decomposition research purposes. Basically the “what happens if…” corpse edition. And what’s this macabre thing for, you then ask? Dr Bill will tell you all about it. How little it takes to learn so much about the life a body was leading!
Small things, things as the filling in your tooth, can identify you. Your skull can tell them what race, and possibly what sex you were, what was your approximate age. Any possible oddities or less common traits you had, might assure your family – it is truly you.
The book is very interesting, and I jutted down pages worth of notes. The author is not dry, he jokes, he even teases. Say, he tells us about the C.S.I. fans, and how series, and reality are pretty damn different, especially when it comes to time everything takes. But then adds: at least they taught people to not mess with the crime scene, in case of contamination, but rather wait for experts to roll in. I must give this book a 5 out of 5, it’s only fair.
I admit, sometimes I take books due to their intriguing titles, without even reading the annotation. It doesn’t happen often, really, but here it happened, with “Hunger: A Memoir of (my) Body” by Roxane Gay (ASIN B013PKAFOC; 320p.; Goodreads). I thought I’m taking a book on eating disorders. Turns out I took a book on people’s cruelty towards theirs, and other bodies.
Roxane, this wonderful woman tells us her nightmare of a life story of violence, rape, abuse, and the need to hide that followed. She ate to make herself a fortress. She ate to become bigger, unattractive, invisible in her own way. She ate, to have a wall between herself, and violence human beings have for each other.
Roxane is Super Morbidly Obese. She tells us why it happened, and then goes on on telling how people treat her due to the space she takes up. How WE treat people who are obese, fat. For instance, she buys two seats in an aircraft, and still has to tell the person in the third seat that no, they cannot put their bag on the spare seat, that she paid for that seat, and she needs that space. You can imagine, some, if not all, do take offence. She has to go as far as google restaurants, to make sure there’s space to accommodate her, and that the chairs won’t be flimsy artworks, more suitable to look at, than sit.
The story is really, really interesting. At times, tho, it was so very hard to read. I really don’t understand where do people who are able to put others through so much violence, and torture ever come from, who raised them? Who gave birth to those animals? I only know one thing: I hope one day each one of them falls on their ass, and finds a broken bottle underneath, or something. To Roxane Gay, and her wonderful Memoir I give 5 out of 5.
I speak of V.E. Schwab‘s Shades of Magic often, and with pleasure, for they’re truly among my very top favorite books of all times. But not all the reasons to talk about it are good.
Russian editions of Shades of Magic were censored. Queer part of the plot was redacted out, without author’s permission or knowledge. Which leads author to consider canceling the whole contract.
I don’t much follow the love lines in stories, for they’re mostly the same regurgitated things. Not in this case. Here there was no “no, you have betrayed me, I never want to see you again!” thing. Instead two adults sat down, spoke it out, considered it, and all things weighted – decided where to go on from there. The only thing that they could’ve had any issue with is of course the fact, that both these characters were men.
The story is not about queers. The story is not about homosexual love. The story is not even about love. It’s about magic, human nature, wishes, adventures, and so on. So in a world full of magic, rising dead, and portals to other worlds – here, apparently, can be no gays.
“Oh, that’d be too much!” – Said a man on his unicorn.
For next Friday I have you a very nice queer-plot book thus. Because love is love.
There we go. I finished Howl’s Moving Castle trilogy, with “House of Many Ways” by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle 3; ISBN 0061477958; 416p.; Goodreads). Now I can honestly tell you: if you like Howl’s Moving Castle movie, but you’ve no time or will to read – first book is more than enough. The rest is not to bad, but it’s far away from everything.
Young book worm, miss Baker, whose name is too difficult for me to spell, so I hope she won’t mind being Baker, has got an opportunity of her lifetime. She’ll get to house-sit her wizard uncle’s house. Wonderful garden, no unnecessary chores or rules, and a wonderful library to that. Yet, not even a whole day has passed, and she already had to run away from a monster in the garden, caused soap to make a storm of foam, had to backtrack in the house, being unable to find places, and got tricked by some books in the library.
Speaking of libraries, her adventures don’t stop in her uncle’s library. She gets accepted to help the King himself tidy the royal library, where King hopes to find clues as of why their resources are draining so rapidly. Someone’s stealing, surely, and as miss Baker starts realizing that, she meets no other than Sophie Pendragon herself, there to investigate undercover.
It’s a lovely book, with funny hints to classy detective. I can give it final firm 4 out of 5, but really, if you don’t feel like reading everything about Howl’s fam – it’s okay to stop with the first book. I’m glad I finished it tho.
Ah, Eddie. It’s hard to not love this wonderful person, with his simple, honest humor. Once I laughed to tears when he cracked a joke about printers, I’ll add the video below if I can find it. So when I saw his memoir “Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, And Jazz Chickens” (ISBN 1611764696; 368p.; Goodreads), I grabbed it right away. Because, come on, it’s the one, and only: Eddie Izzard.
This is the type of memoir I like – about everything, in details, from the beginning, with fill-in’s, and explanations. Eddie Izzard seems to be a mighty flexible person, able to adjust to almost anything. Starting with his career as street performer, then stand-up comedian, writer, TV star, and so on, and to this day. He followed his heart, and so today we know him both as cold hearted killer in, say, Hannibal series, and as that wonderful transgender comedian, a man in a dress on stage, killing it!
When Eddie was still a child – his mother died. He loved her, and still does, very much. Father, unable to care for children, and work at the same time, sent them to boarding school. Eddie, with his poor health, and away from home, and loving parents, felt quite abandoned. Add his gender identity to it, and you get a fairly poor cocktail. Yet his spirit was ever so wonderful, and his wonderful childish discoveries were everything, I tell you. For example, one time someone told their class there’s a spot in, I don’t remember now, either a better class, or even a higher class, and so they asked whether anyone would like to pass there. Before little Eddie could even roll this thought in his head, some kid just raised his hand, and bam, that was that. Eddie thus came to conclusions: if you just learn to raise your hand real fast, one day you might even become the president of some country!
The memoir is full of everything, as I already mentioned, including the backstage of comedian life, what it’s like, how are the people. The only problem people might get with it: Eddie has a mighty complex way to telling his story, full of long sentences, side clauses within, explanations, and even footnotes. It’s not an easy book, is what I’m saying. But oh how worthy it is, 5 out of 5, there’s no way I can give less.
Even the best of the books sometimes take forever to be read. “Juliet Takes a Breath” by Gabby Rivera (ASIN B01ATCAZHQ; 276p.; Goodreads) is one of those books. It has a mighty important topic, so you can’t exactly skim through it. But then, as contemporary, it also has a very limited variety of characters, their personalities, so I accidentally overgeneralized that too. Anyway, let’s get into it!
Juliet is a Puerto Rican from Bronx. After reading an empowering book by a leading feminist voice, she decided to try her luck in learning more about life as a woman, her history as a woman, her battle as one too. But by getting her internship to go help this said author, her new hero, Juliet soon finds herself in a whole lot deeper waters than she ever thought she’d be in. For one, when if not now to come out to her parents as a lesbian? If they react badly, she can just get on the plane, and be in Portland for her studies in a few hours. And, of course, that’s exactly what happens…
With aching heart Juliet detaches herself from her Bronx life, from life in a big close family, and plunges into the world of open-mindedness, and whole different kind of judgement. It’s fine to be what you are. It’s not fine at all to now know what you are. It’s not okay to be ignorant. Thus another quest begins, one of finding identity in race, gender, and sexuality.
Here’s a real great thing about this book: it touches several topics, and I’ve not yet found anyone who took same things from it as I did. Some people concentrated their attention to the family relation, the “it’s just a phase” point. Others wondered on why not a single straight person seemed to understand that love is love. And there’s many more. So I give this book a 5 out of 5, well deserved. And, guys, at least read the first chapter to not be those jerks. Arguments men make against homosexuals sound at the very least ridiculous when such guys do absolutely exist. (I’ll go as far as I say that homophobes seem to be afraid of other men treating them the way they treat they treat women)
I love Amy Schumer stand-ups, and I love the reactions of people who’d watch them with you. I could give you a long why’s-that story, but maybe next time. Right now, let’s talk about her biography “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo” (ISBN 1501139886; 323p.; Goodreads). I can’t say I enjoyed it much, but it really had some super good points, that made it worth the while.
I love how this wonderful comedian owns her truths, and shameful moments. Instead of letting you call her out, she’ll go ahead, and stand up to tell you about it herself! And it’s great not only on a personal scale of her, me, you. It’s important in a larger scale of the world too. For instance, she mentioned the stigma in America of Old Money vs Young Money. Old Money equals being born into money. You’re a rich refined kid in a fancy car, with little understanding of what this poverty thing is. Young Money is the kind you made on your own, being born average, or in said poverty. Amy bravely admits acting like trash who just won the lottery, not wanting for anything, not saving now, when she could, and instead eating dumplings for months to come later, when she couldn’t. But then she mentions the other aspect of Young Money. The giving aspect. Someone with little to no understanding of what it’s like to need, let alone want something will not feel the same joy Amy had when she finally could afford to give her sister a 10k check. I mean, I guess they could be that good of people, and feel joy, but how many rich people with sense of generosity do you know? Old Money and generous? So here Amy Schumer stands: you can’t judge me, I already judged myself, we’re done, time to move on!
And that’s just one of the great examples. There’s plenty of less good-humored ones, less funny, and even truly sad episodes. Like her broken family, sick father, mother who can’t seem to find her spot in this life, the forced cynicism, ought to protect from attachments to people who will inevitably leave your life anyway.
And while I see great value in this book, and respect Amy Schumer, I can’t say I enjoyed this book as much as I did some other biographies of wonderful women out there. But I guess that’s the thing, right? She passed a good message, and you don’t have to like the way it was given, to see the value in it. 4 out of 5 to the girl with the lower back tattoo.