Becoming critical

I remember I used to love every book I read. Now I find it harder to do so. Probably this is a consequence of reading a lot of books. I have a higher baseline of quality. I also have seen so many plots/ideas/character types that they don’t impress me or excite me anymore.

Whatever it is, I don’t like being that guy who has something negative to say about every popular thing that comes up. So I try hard not to be that guy, even if my brain is going ‘whyyyy do people like this so much??’ It’s just really annoying, isn’t it? When you are loving something and some doofus pipes up with ‘this is dumb and bad because abc.’ Even if he’s right, you just want him to go away.

So even if I’m turning into that guy on the inside, I will strive not to show it on the outside…

Game of thrones Season 07 episode 03

Things are really speeding along… and, I appreciate it.

We’ve seen plenty of battles, we don’t need to see another one. We’ve spent long enough waiting for Jon and Dani to meet, we don’t need any more travel sequences. Things are happening, and it’s great that the writers feel confident enough to get done what the story needs to happen without focusing too much on the trivial fighting of it.

We’ve been having more intensely awesome conversations, than intense battles.

Olenna’s final finger at Jamie was amazing, and a great way for her to go out.

Cersie’s revenge was terrible, and just her style– but both of these deaths, were not shown. We don’t need to be shown the brutality any more, after seven years of it, we can imagine. Now we can spend more time on the story, instead of just the exciting images.

Loving this season so far, and looking very much forward to more…

A likable “I”

I started reading The City & The City, by China Mieville and my disappointment at it being in first person was quickly quashed by the great writing and non-annoying character.

Too many times, first person narratives have the same arrogant, ‘quirky,’ snide, sarcastic character that everyone around them seems to love, but I want to punch in the face as I’m reading.

I suppose I haven’t read enough first person narratives. This one so far is a normal human character, not someone trying to force their personality down your throat in every paragraph. It’s nice. I can’t say that I ‘like’ him, yet, but this kind of writing certainly makes it easier to like the character.

Interested for more…

Odd people

I’ve been listening to Odd John recently, and the character is so ‘high above’ regular humans that he sees them as friendly animals. Hi arrogance is abbrasive, but his overwhelming curiosity and passion for knowledge makes up for it and makes him a likable character.

How to write terribly smart characters without being terribly smart yourself? Probably by leaving a lot of it up to the imagination of the reader… however, getting the mannerisms and way of speaking/acting etc right, could be difficult.

Maybe it’s enough for the character to be ‘odd’. Different ways of thinking would be reflected in different ways of acting, so getting to know some strange, off-kilter, or even somewhat mad people might be a useful way to write a super smart character…

Sometimes, you can’t tell one from the other…

1Q84: Long, rambling, long, repetitive, too long, doesn’t make sense in the end

I finally finished the 1300 page monster 1Q84 and am glad its over. This is a markedly different experience from a different very long book I read this year that left me physically aching for more at the end of it.

IQ84 is interesting, weird, creepy at times, creative and has some nice imagery, but it just goes on and on and on. There are large numbers of pages devoted to describing characters cooking dinner, brushing their teeth, taking baths, looking into shop windows, walking down streets, getting dressed, getting undressed, making coffee, cleaning house, and so on. I wonder if this book was written at the height of Marukami’s popularity and his editor was afraid to confront him, or something, because it is in desperate need of cleaning up.

The worst part is he doesn’t do anything with all these pages. The story still doesn’t make any sense in the end. It’s nonsense. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World was the same way, so maybe that is just Marukami’s style: pulling random stuff out of thin air and damn the sense of it. These stories both dealt with dual worlds, and characters that were connected across worlds as well. I wonder if he can write anything else… I’m not sure I have the patience to find out.

Word Peevs: we all have them!

Often times:   Why don’t you just say ‘often’?

Begs the question: 95% of the time you mean ‘raises the question.’

Familiar pronounced as Fur-miliar: Unless you are talking about your cat…

The problem is, is…: The thing is, is this is really annoying for me. The question is, is this annoying to anyone else?

Don’t get me wrong…: Whenever I read this, it irreversibly changes the tone of whatever I’m reading into a sing-songy newscaster kind of voice. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s what you’re going for, then do it! But otherwise, you might want to pick a less cliche phrasing.

Structuring sentences like this: “Turning in my chair, I vomited with irritation.” Instead of “I turned in my chair and vomited with irritation.” Or “I turned in my chair. Irritable vomit spewed forth.” Even worse is stringing the ings like “Turning in my chair and vomiting with irritation, I read this sentence.” Even worser if EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE is structured this way.

Scantily-clad: Another cliche, but this one particularly annoys me because nowhere else ever are the words ‘scantily’ and ‘clad’ used, except right next to each other. Please say something else.

And here are some from my writing/editing friends:

I’ll be there in three days’ time: Three days. Just, three days. Would you ever say “I’ll have three pounds’ weight of carrots please.” No, you wouldn’t.

For all intensive purposes: This is a double annoyance because the correct phrase, ‘for all intents and purposes’ is redundant.

Reply back or respond back: Could you reply forward, or to the left?

Unthaw: I have never heard this but have been assured it is a real thing people say when they mean ‘thaw’, not an ironic way to say ‘freeze’.

Alot: A lot, as in one lot of stuff. I have a bad feeling this will end up in the dictionary eventually, though.

I could of died: I may HAVE died just reading that. Please send help.

Definate: This is not a word. Please pay attention to the squiggly. It knows more than you.

Proberly and suposably: Probably you should read a book now and then. Supposedly it helps with understanding what words are.

Per se: I know some people who say this all the time, per se. I wonder, per se, if they know what it means.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more and post them as they strike me…

What are your word peeves?

Crime and Punishment

An exciting psychological thriller? A philosophical thinkpiece on morality? A tragedy? Mystery? All of these?

I quite enjoyed Crime and Punishment if you can’t tell. Some of the conversations were very intense, and ambiguous too–I was so intent on Rodion’s interactions with Porfiry, I could not decide whether he knew or not! It was so well done. I also just now learned that my favorite TV detective, Columbo was based on Porfiry! No wonder I loved those scenes so much…

This was a really amazing and entertaining book, and if you haven’t read it, or only read it in highschool, I highly recommend giving it a go!