Books, Recountings

recountings: batman does community service

I’m a big Batman fan – have been from the moment I peeked over my brother’s shoulder and saw Batman: The Animated Series for the first time. So a book about Batman? This should have been right up my alley. (My Crime Alley I’M SORRY, BRUCE!)

I should give you a head’s up, shouldn’t I? This post is going to go into FULL geek out mood and there’s going to be spoilers for the book. If comics and superheroes and disgruntled readers aren’t your cup of tea – perhaps you should skip this post. If they are: hello and welcome …

Batman: Nightwalker

by Marie Lu

THE PROBLEMATIC AND IMPROBABLE PREMISE

  • You are eighteen years old.
  • You’ve just come into your trust fund.
  • You are a billionaire.
  • You crash your car in order to catch a criminal, accidentally disrupting a police chase
  • You are sentenced to community service in an insane asylum that houses the criminally insane. For example serial killers and rapists and your friendly neighbourhood murderous nut-jobs
I KNEW Gotham’s justice system was broken
  • while there, you become drawn to Madeleine, a girl your age with a ‘canopy of eyelashes’ who has hair which ‘spills over her shoulders like a river of midnight’
  • who, coincidently, IS ACCUSED OF MURDERING THREE PEOPLE IN COLD BLOOD
*record screech* Yes. I know. I have many thoughts about this too.

THE LOVE INTEREST – BRUCE, OL’CHUM, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

Listen. Batman has made some questionable decisions in the love department. (*cough* Talia Al Ghul *cough cough*) Remember that episode in B:TAS where he married that literal plant lady?* At least he had an excuse for it – Poison Ivy had pollen’d him.**

Maybe the author was trying to continue this trend. But Catwoman exists (and that book in the DC Icons series doesn’t, okay?) and I have some objections to Madeleine …

a) she is described farrrr too much: entire paragraphs are dedicated to her, her hair, her eyelashes, her eyes, her face, her personality etc etc.

… her hair spilling behind her like a dark ocean.

page 117

b) remember that scene from Sherlock – the one where he’s deduces ‘your sister has a drinking problem and you’ve got PTSD and enjoy crumpets with raspberry jam for breakfast’? Madeleine does this. But about Bruce’s emotions. Through prison glass. Based on a handful of interactions.

This leads me to conclude that Bruce must have a VERY expressive face. Which is probably why he covers it with a cowl. OHMYWORD THIS IS WHY HE BECOMES BATMAN!!

‘FO SURE

c) She tells a disguised Bruce that she knows who he is because of his gait. (Does he walk like a sideways crab? Is he from the Ministry of Silly Walks?)

I HAVE QUESTIONS!

d) She’s written as so goshdarn cool and aloof. (Bruce is impressed with her because she doesn’t look at her interrogators. She stares straight ahead. I should do the same. Maybe I’ll blink once in a while. It’ll blow his mind.)

There’s more, but it’s all far too much. Far. Too. Much. Is she a Mary-Sue? Hmmm. She isn’t quite a cardboard cut out complete with glorious hair – it’s simply that I strongly object to her. And her hair. She quotes Sherlock Holmes to a future Batman. IS NOTHING SACRED?!!

BRIEF PAUSE FOR A FOOD ANALOGY

It’s like some cookies I once made. I thought to myself – you know what I like? Cookies. You know what makes them really good? Sugar and chocolate. *lightbulb moment* If I pour A TON OF SUGAR AND CHOCOLATE INTO THE MIX IT WILL MAKE THEM THE BEST COOKIES EVER.

They looked terrible, and tasted worse.

Madeleine is the cookie. Sugar and chocolate are the coolness factors. A blue whale’s worth of weight has been poured in. It doesn’t work. You can have too much of a good thing. In fact, you can have so much of it that it needs to be binned and you need to find a new recipe.

In fact, you need to actually use one.

I didn’t, and yes, I do have regrets.

BRUCE WAYNE – BATMAN IN TRAINING

I didn’t mind the Bruce Wayne in the book too much. I could see slight influences of the Animated Series creeping in. But these were drowned out by two undeniable truths:

  1. He falls in love with Madeleine.
  2. He is too well-adjusted

Listen, Batman – for better or worse – is always unless DC actually let him BE HAPPY FOR ONCE ultimately going to be that boy sitting beside the bodies of his dead parents. Lost. Alone. Hurting.

There wasn’t much of that in the book. It tries. But it felt a little clunky. As if it didn’t quite fit. Which is odd for a book about Batman. Most of the angst is about … something else. Or rather, someone else. Bruce has nightmares ‘haunted by shadows or dark halls or a girl with long black hair‘ and he does bond with Madeleine over having dead parents.

so really it’s almost canon

But I wasn’t sold on the idea that this Bruce Wayne was going to don a cowl and fight crime dressed as a bat, full of harnessed rage and never – ever – seeking therapy.

THE REST

  • I liked Bruce’s gym. It was VR and seemed really quite awesome.
  • The technology in the story was rather spiffing.
  • Alfred was in the story. Harvey Dent was given more character development.
  • Hanging out in Gotham was quite nice
  • The writing was good. (Even for the hair. It was very picturesque. I just didn’t understand why it was featured so prominently. Was it magical – like Rapunzul’s?)

Her long black hair hung straight and shining over her shoulders, glinting blue underneath the slivers of light slicing the floors and walls.

PAGE 180

TO SUM UP …

I guess we all have an idea of how our fictional heroes should be portrayed in our heads. What I might think is authentically Batman, others might think is terrible and wrong. And vice versa. And that’s okay.

I don’t usually venture too far into the world of YA genre, so perhaps my views are already slightly skewed. Perhaps Madeleine is the way all YA heroines are written. Either way … this book wasn’t for me. I enjoyed a few parts of it, and was terribly frustrated with the rest.

goodreads // amazon

… you know what I have enjoyed though? Batman GIFS. There’s a veritable multitude!

Happy Reading!

*Batman: The Animated Series, Season 4, Episode 22 ‘Chemistry’

** YES, THIS IS A TERM I’VE JUST MADE UP. NO, I HAVE NO REGRETS.

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Books, Life

books. packing. travel. decisions

Next week, I return to Eastern Europe for five months. I want to pack as simply as possible. And by that I mean ‘pack as many books as I can possibly jam into my bags’.

Here’s a handy little guide for you so that you too can fill your bags with as many books as possible …

i’ve done this before #noragrats
*** DISCLAMIER ***
I know, I know – just take a kindle, you can take hundreds of books that way. Sure. Do that. I have done and will do … but I also take physical books with me.  BECAUSE I HAVE TO OKAY???

HOW MUCH SPACE DO I HAVE?

  • a carry on case
  • a laptop bag

CRITERIA:

THE BOOK MUST NOT BE A STOOPID CHOICE

Weight and space are limited in your bag, so you need to take books that will be useful, that you can reread or that will take absolute yonks to consume.

For this reason, I’m taking two books on teaching and grammar and a book with creative writing exercises.

THE BOOK MUST NOT BE TOO HEAVY

… or it can be. (Rules are made to be broken, or so the saying goes.) I’m taking a 500+ page hardback about Calvinism with me. I’ve been wanting to read it for years and now is the time.

But – if you can – try and avoid hardbacks. If the book is thick – having it in paperback could be the way to go. I’m doing this too – taking The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore with me (600+ pages. Also I’ve just sniffed them and is there anything better than the smell of books?)

i just REALLY love books, okay?

THE BOOK MUST NOT BE PRICELESS

though i’ve just learned that i’m missing one so OOPS

Travelling with your books is dangerous – for the books, at least. Though you try your very best to keep them in a pristine condition … it’s quite impossible sometimes.

So choose a book you’re not happy to be battered, but you’ll at least be okay with it turning up a little worse for wear.

I’m bringing a paperback set of the Pit Dragon Chronicles by Jane Yolen. I paid a dollar a piece for them so if they get a little worn, I shan’t be too concerned.

THE BOOK MUST BE A HEYER

Because OBVIOUSLY.

I nearly considered leaving her behind as I have many on my kindle HOWEVER … this moment of profound foolishness has since passed and I’m taking Frederica with me. (Cotillion may slip in or replace it, I’m not sure.)


I may not actually finish all these books – I will be teaching, after all, and life will be moderately busy. But having my books about me is the same as being surrounded by friends. And I adore my friends.

Also, I’ll be taking my Bible, a book I borrowed from someone, and a few notebooks.

… I don’t have a problem. I just have priorities. And who needs clothes anyway?

Life

2018 – not all the things but some of them

I haven’t finished a Dickens yet but I’m on the way. I’m a couple of chapters in and actually … I’m really enjoying it. Dickens writes well – who knew? 

(Me. I should have done.)

travel

  • Canada – came home in July
  • England – home
  • Moldova – taught for three months
  • Various Airports – Vienna, Frankfurt etc
  • Gotham – not yET BECAUSE 1) HOW DANGEROUS WOULD THAT BE AND ALSO 2) IT’S FICTIONAL. LIFE IS HARD.

writing

HAHAHAHAHA.

It has been a bad year for my writing, to be honest. No books have been finished. A handful of short stories have been completed. One or two have been submitted to competitions. (One honourable mention, but that was all.)

In short: for someone who considers herself to be a writer … I’ve done a poor job of being one.

But on the plus side, I’ve really started to deep dive into the ‘behind the scenes of writing’. Usually, I just go by instinct: sit down, and write. BOOM! Story done. (Or not.) But now … I’m really pondering what goes on with characters, with plot, heck – even with grammar. It’s really fascinating and for the first time in a long time I’m getting excited about writing.

I’ve always been excited about stories and consuming them but writing? Yeah. I’m a bit chuffed and looking forward to what I can do in the New Year.

reading

This was always going to be more successful than my writing. Goodreads lists only a fraction of what I’ve actually read. I’m kind of awful that way.

I’ve read a lot more factual books this year – and I’m glad that I did. Particular highlights were a book on the history of China and a history of eclipses (I really enjoyed that one!)

personal

  • haven’t solved any murders
  • haven’t captured a dragon (and trained it. obvs)
  • haven’t fulfilled my destiny and brought about MAJOR prison reform (I shouldn’t have read Narconomics, should I? NO RAGRATS!)
  • haven’t learned how to function without spell check
  • haven’t become a black belt in ballroom dancing (this was never an ambition but I haven’t done it so I thought I should list it here.)

what i hope for the next year …

  • more writing projects completed (maybe a novel! Maybe several short stories!)
  • finish teaching in Moldova
  • find a job back home (post-Brexit BAHAHAHAHA. Oh gosh. So doomed.)
  • learn how to say ‘no’ to things (it’s harder than you’d think.)
  • more blog posts per month

happy reading, God bless, and happy new year, everyone!

also, if anyone has read a dickens this year then … please let me know which one it was and what did you think and what was your favourite quote etc etc ALSO HOW WAS YOUR YEAR?????

I think I just rambled, Life

tales from a past icicle: layers. lots of layers

In keeping with the theme of the season (the theme? It’s cold. The season? Winter.) here is a little something I wrote whilst living in the wilds of Canada …

As much as I very much wish I was an early bird, I think I’ve come to the hard conclusion that I am not one.

I wake at 5:00 am, four alarms later and I’m stumbling out of bed and into the bathroom. Cleaning, teeth brushing, make up applying follow in very. slow. order. (In this, I can safely say that I will never be accused of being too fast) and then I’m dressed and downstairs at 5:35 am for breakfast.

And then I have to apply more layers than rock layers in geology for venturing forth to catch my bus – which leads me to a Very Important Issue that I will a-dress (ba-dump) here:

ON WEARING A JOLLY BIG AMOUNT OF LAYERS

by A BITTER ENGLISHWOMAN

I used to think that I had to cover up (oh! the irony!) the amount of layers I wear. That I should be ashamed of wearing more clothing than a charity shop possesses. That I should tough it out and be a brazen:

‘Is it minus forty? HaHA! Gee! I didn’t notice. This t-shirt and coat is making me feel a bit overheated actually.’

(A breezy laugh ending with an accidental snort accompanies this announcement.)

WELL NO MORE!!!

I am finished with this self-imposed shame. I am no stranger to the damp winter cold of England, but the deep, deep depths of cold here in Montreal? No. I am not used to it. But, I’m adjusting to it. Slowly.

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(And I’m very proud of myself when I don’t have to wear gloves and it’s minus ten and pfft? What is this? A mere chill breeze, mortals!)

(I was wearing a heck of a lot of layers at the time. And the sun was shining.)

(So it probably doesn’t count.)

Things I’m used to:

  • Watching the rain
  • Living with the rain
  • Dodging puddles of rain water
  • Discussing the rain
  • Singing in the rain
  • Scurrying in from the rain

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Things I’m not used to:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Freezing rain
  • VERY VERY COLD COLDNESS

A little part of me wistfully longs to wear a beautiful coat with shape, elegance, and style, but right now? I wear a gazillion amount of clothing when I bus to work. It’s cold. I want to be warm. Being a human icicle is not a life goal.

giphy-15.gif

I will always be a tiny weeny bit embarrassed. It’s hard not to be. (COME ON, I’m wearing one coat, one hoodie, one fleece, one top and one vest – and that’s just for my top half.) But, I’m not going to apologise.

Nope.

Because yes, I’m wearing snow pants when literally no one else is … but if the wind blows sharply or the heavens sends its sparkling dandruff down … I shall be prepared.

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Books

recountings: the gift of fear

Welp. I’ve read an array of factual books. My gosh. What is wrong with me?!

320146

The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence

by Gavin De Becker

In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker [..] shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger – before it’s too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker [..] offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, including: how to act when approached by a stranger; when you should fear someone close to you; what to do if you are being stalked; how to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls; the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person; and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life

I am a worry-wart. There. I confessed. My imagination often leaps to the most dire and illogical consequences and presents them to me in technicolour glory: do this, it says, and you’re probably definitely going to die.  

As a perennial worry-wart and self-targeting-fearmonger, reading this book was rather freeing. I learned some things …

1 // Say No.

Mean The No.

I am a polite person. I hate embarrassment and hurting someone’s feelings. But sometimes you have to say no. It doesn’t matter if you come across as impolite or rude … what matters is this:

you don’t owe anybody anything

If you’re a) asked out or b) approached with a question that makes you uncomfortable … you can say no. You don’t need an excuse. You don’t need to apologise for not wanting to do something. Say no. It’s okay.

2 // Listen To Your Gut

Image result for listen to your gut gif

It’s common sense – but if you get a certain prickly sense of this person is bad news ABORT SITUATION ABORT!! then you should probably listen to it. Don’t reason the feeling away. Investigate the matter. At a distance. A very distant distance.

However, if your gut tells you: I need a bar of white chocolate STAT … then that’s your stomach calling and you need a bar of white chocolate STAT.

3 // …

Related image

The Abusive Person Checklist Reminds Me Of Some Romance Novels Leads

‘… he had a bad childhood/his mum didn’t love him enough’ is not an excuse for abusive behaviour. It may be a reason or a cause, but by golly, abusive behaviour should never be excused, but, so often, it frequently is.

The course of true love shouldn’t be covered with mental and/or physical bruises – Shakespeare (Possibly.)

I’m sorry, Phantom. You have problems.

_Rt2uY
so. many. problems. you need ALLL the therapy

borrow // buy // steal