Sunday, October 7, 2012

Books I'm Waiting On

This year, I made a resolution that I was going to read as few books for fun as possible -- the better to focus on the chaos of college.

Well, I'm miserable.

The only "for fun" book I brought along was Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch, and I've already finished it. I'm itching for new books to read. I'll have to wait until Monday for the library to open, sadly. Specifically, I'm dying to read:

Ahh! Look at those costumes!!!
The Republic of Thieves is the sequel to Red Seas Under Red Skies, and what with the way that one ended, I need to read the sequel. It's not a want anymore. It is a NEED. RSUR was a fantastic second book, but the ending was just...depressing. While The Lies of Locke Lamora could be read and enjoyed by itself, Red Seas Under Red Skies is clearly a part of a series that is meant to continue.

So far, my only complaint about the series is that amazing characters from the first book got dropped for the second. That makes sense since it completely changes place, but I hope this doesn't become a pattern -- develop great new characters for each book and then abandon them for the sequel.

I'm going to find The Republic of Thieves and then Bastards and Knives and then whatever comes next.

UK cover of Envy
The second book I'm looking forward to -- also a sequel -- is Envy by Elizabeth Miles. It's the second of the YA paranormal/horror Fury trilogy about the Greek Furies and their victims. In Fury, Em cheated with her best friend's asshole boyfriend, Zach. Zach juggles different girls and hookups like other people his age juggle homework assignments. In the Epilogue, we see a beautiful blonde woman (just his type; see cover right) come up to him and give him an orchid -- the mark of the Furies. DUN DUN DUUUUNNN.

I haven't read any reviews of Envy because I want to be surprised, but I sincerely hope that this Fury makes Zach fall obsessively in love with her and then cheats on him a lot because that would be lovely, lovely karma.

Also, I think this series poses a lot of problematic questions about revenge, crime, and punishment, especially because the main characters are the Furies' victims. What deserves vengeance? Is revenge justice, or does it just add to the cycle? Will I end up liking Zach by the end of Envy? (I seriously hope not, but I'm willing to turn the first page with an open mind.) I loved Chase from Fury, after all, and he did something far "worse" than cheating.

The third book I want to read ASAP is The Kingmaker's Daughter, Philippa Gregory's latest War of the Roses novel. Having done Shakespeare's Richard III this summer, I am extremely interested to read Gregory's interpretation of the life of Anne, Warwick's daughter, daughter-in-law of crazy Henry VI, and later wife of infamous Richard III.

I loved Gregory's take on the Boleyn family, and her bold storytelling choices with The White Queen and The Red Queen. I didn't read Lady of the Rivers -- Jacqueline just wasn't a very interesting character to me -- but I'm dying to see how she interprets Anne. Like many historical women, she's often mis-imagined or callously dismissed by the people who write history...namely, men.

Obviously, Gregory writes historical fiction, not history -- but so did Shakespeare, and we have tons of misconceptions about historical figures thanks to him. Richard III wasn't a hunchback, did you know? Neither did he poison Anne -- she was always sickly, and came from a sickly family. In fact, he sobbed openly at her funeral. Also, Anne and Richard knew each other as children, and all the evidence points to a genuine romance. Once Anne was widowed, Richard rode to her home in the middle of the night to propose.

Also, Richard III fought with a warhammer in one hand and a sword in the other. The guy was a boss.

Yeah, Richard III was probably a horrible person for all that -- but I really want to read about him through his wife's eyes.

The Republic of Thieves, Envy, and The Kingmaker's Daughter -- forget reading for class!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The REAL reason we're all screwed in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse

I feel like a zombie lately.* Symptoms manifest most commonly in first period music theory class. Pale skin. Dark, baggy circles under my bloodshot eyes. Slack-jawed drooling. Blank stares. Groaning "Uhhhh...." in response to questions and conversation. Always looking for brains, more brains, brainsbrainsbrains. (I hear you're supposed to have those in college.)

I think I'm so sleep-deprived that my body and brain are staging a revolt. Hence the zombie-like symptoms. Not strange, then, that I'm thinking of the zombie apocalypse when I should be sleeping.

If the zombie apocalypse happens, we're all screwed. But not for the reason you probably think.

You see, we have nuclear plants all around the country. Maintenance of these plants is performed by highly trained crews of professionals who have to meet extremely high standards. For example -- radiation diving. It's a thing. Divers repair and maintain the parts of nuclear plants that are underwater -- intake pipes, etc. It's very dangerous and very important work.

What if those people fell victim to a zombie outbreak?

Cue the nuclear meltdowns. We'd all be screwed.

Say they didn't become zombies or die in the ensuing chaos. Even then, the zombie apocalypse would hardly be the time to start training new radiation divers. These people have to be fairly young and athletic for such a demanding job. They undergo years of training as professional divers, and specified training after that to work as radiation divers. Institutions providing such training would probably shut down. Divers might die as a result of age or accidents or zombie attacks. And in the middle of the zombie apocalypse, who the hell thinks "Oh, now would be a great time to get my diver's certification"?

Nuclear meltdowns. We'd all be screwed.

To say nothing of the rest of the staff that keep nuclear plants running on a day-to-day basis. What if something happened to them?

Meltdowns. Disaster.

Of course, the government might decide that the best thing would be to let the nuclear plants blow, hopefully wiping out the zombie problem while the survivors huddled in an underground lead bunker, Dr. Strangelove style.

We'd all be screwed.

What if the government-protected survivors emerged only to find that the nuclear meltdowns had only created radioactive super-zombies?

We'd all be really screwed.

All right, I'm sure there's some government emergency plan to implement in case of the zombie apocalypse. It probably involves shutting down nuclear plants. After all, dealing with the loss of electricity is preferable to dealing with the consequences of nation- and worldwide nuclear disaster.

I want to be on the committee that decides things like this. They probably have a science fiction consultant.

*I hear they usually call that depression.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

If You Can't be a Good Example: Taking Care of Yourself

This blogpost is going to be something of a PSA, inspired by Kiersten White and Ilana at Mommy Shorts. (They're both pregnancy PSA's, but no, I'm not pregnant.) Mainly, I'm writing this because I don't want other people to do the same bad things that I have done. What's the phrase? "If you can't be a good example, then be a warning." Ahem. I hereby acknowledge my hypocrisy before you even read this. I'm working on it, OK?

Anyway, it's my blog and I can write what I want! Nyah. Ahem. So. Down to business:

I went to the doctor yesterday.

Wait, let me repeat that. I went to the doctor yesterday, instead of ignoring my symptoms in the hope that they'll go away, or in the delusion that I can take care of them myself. I know no one wants to go to the doctor, but I have been practically pathological about it to the point where it's almost self-destructive.

To give an example: One time in high school, I knew my parents would take me to the doctor if I told them what was really wrong. I didn't want to go because I knew (or at least, I thought) they wouldn't believe anything was wrong. But I still wanted to stay home from school because I was feeling terrible. So I kinda gargled and swallowed a mix of mouthwash and bleach-based bathroom cleaner until I was feeling and looking sufficiently nauseous.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I wasn't always so terrible about this. However, childhood doctors didn't exactly inspire me with confidence or leave good experiences to think back on whenever I considered getting help for sickness. Didn't help that when I went to the doctor, they'd always look me over and say nothing was wrong. "She's just acting up again." Add that to the fact that I'm also one of those people who is perfectly fine with needles but starts to hyperventilate anytime someone comes near me with a throat swab, and...let's just say that I wasn't the most popular patient.

And then I went to the lady doctor for the first time, and all was magically revealed. "THIS is what's wrong with you!" "OH." *lightbulb* Mind you, I had to put my foot down to even get this appointment in the first place. "You don't need to go to that doctor! You haven't had sex yet! You're a virgin, aren't you? Aren't you?!"

Regardless of sexual experience or lack thereof, you should go to the lady doctor at eighteen, if you haven't already. This will doubtless seem extremely obvious to some of you, but it wasn't to me. Sex ed in high school was pretty thorough. Actual sexual health education wasn't. And in college, both are pretty much nonexistent.

Dear young women of high school and college age (like myself), please be aware: if you come from conservative families, you may encounter some difficulty in seeing the lady doctor. In being allowed to see the lady doctor. Do not let this deter you! It's a very basic women's health checkup that needs to be taken care of for peace of mind if nothing else. Virgin or not. NEWS FLASH: virgins can get sick too!

If you come from conservative families, you may also have to have a fight with your mother over medication. Again, do not be deterred. I wasn't. (Yes, I do take birth control for medical reasons. It's nothing to be ashamed of. You can imagine how I feel about the political agenda on its restriction.)

Even then your mother might passive-aggressively let you go off to college without the medication that's supposed to correct hormonal imbalances. Just because it's, gasp, birth control.  Even if you go to a women's college and don't have a boyfriend and aren't in the habit of random hookups. Even THEN your mother may be determined to deny you access to your medication...even if she would never admit that that's what she's doing.

She was all "Don't worry, I'll get this filled and send it to you the first week of school" and I was crazy enough to actually believe her and trust that she, as a WOMAN, as the woman from whom I inherited these hellish hormones, realized how important it was.

Anyway, it's October now, but she delivered eventually (with lots of nagging). As I said, stand firm.

Take care of yourself. Know what "taking care of yourself" means, and how to do it, and when to seek professional help. Fortunately, ever since I got a bad case of mono last year, I've been (trying) to pay more attention to my health. DON'T be like me...meaning, don't poison yourself because you don't want to go to the doctor.

Also, vote. 

Review: Style by Chelsea Cameron

A book I read was good, and I want to share it with you all via a review! :) I'm reading more of Chelsea Cameron's stuff, and this...