So yeah. I need to get my buffer built back up. I've been so busy battling flies, bees, and spiders in here (how they get in through the packing tape on the windows is anyone's guess) that I haven't written anything. Luckily, I now have something to write about! Normally I review after I'm done with a book, but here you'll get an "in-process" ramble.
1.) A Game of Thrones: You know that feeling when you instantly fall in love with a book? Yeah, I got that feeling. It's long and ramble-y in places, but I just can't. Stop. Reading. I've had the book for...oh, maybe a week, and I'm already halfway through. Martin does such a wonderful job with his descriptions, everything adding detail and color and life to this book. (Or not-life, if you're a White Walker.) The characters are so real. I feel like I know them as well as my own family, with all their virtues and vices. This is when you know the book is a success. If you haven't started on this series, do it. DO IT NOW.
2.) Bullies, Bastards, and Bitches: I've only dipped into this briefly, but already I think I'm going to enjoy it. Referring back to my "virtues and vices" comment above, the book is about writing villains and anti-heroes, and how to make them believable. We are often automatically drawn to the villains, even the truly horrible ones. Often the villains are the ones that cause the plot to happen and are the impetus for the heroes to act. Some fans try to justify this by coming up with excuses for the villains' behavior (also known as Draco in Leather Pants syndrome); but me, I'll take them bad, the badder the better. (I should note that I was abducted over on Team Pendergast and assimilated into the Diogenista Collective. I'm not sure how, but now I want to drink absinthe and look at red jewels. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.) Also, when you try to show how depraved your villain is by having him drink whiskey after having a milk shake, you just look silly. (They really need to find a way to infuse chocolate ice cream with Jack Daniels.)
3.) The Faerie Queene-I've been trying to read more poetry lately, and I got a book that shows a reprint of the original text of Spenser's Faerie Queene, complete with odd spelling and all. Allegory had fallen out of favor with poets by Spenser's time, but he felt it was the best method of conveying his ideas. I don't know much about what his allegory was meant to be (beyond Queen Elizabeth), but I think I'm going to enjoy the poem first of all and then study up on the rest of it later. It's a bit difficult reading it with the strange lettering (v's are often written as u's, etc.) but so far it's still a lovely poem.
4.) The Adventures of Robin Hood and Some Merry Adventures of Robin Hood-I discovered that much of the original Robin Hood legend had little to do with stealing from the rich to give to the poor. While the Merry Men do this, it's not their purpose. All of them are outlawed for some reason. In every story, Robin is somehow tricked into breaking the law (usually impetuously showing off his bowmanship by shooting a stag in the king's forest). I also liked that Maid Marian wasn't so much of a damsel in distress as she usually is. While she does get herself kidnapped a couple times, she keeps her wits about her, just as often helps Robin out of trouble, and is perfectly happy to disguise herself as a page and live in the forest with Robin. (Although that's more of an open secret among the Merry Men). It's fun to look back at the older legends and see how they've been changed by every culture.
5.) The Wettest County in the World-Unfortunately, I had to send the CD book back; my borrowing time was over. I'm hoping to find a Playaway version. (And new headphones.) This tells the story of the Bondurant brothers in Franklin County, VA. As I said before, this particularly interested me since I grew up so close to Franklin. (Craig County's a hop, skip and jump away.) I remember stopping at a gas station in Franklin and they had T-Shirts for sale that said "The Moon Shines Over Franklin County". (I regret to this day that I did not buy one.) Moonshine has been a big thing in Franklin, and the Bondurant brothers were part of a huge fight during the Prohibition when the local law enforcement tried to take part of the profit in exchange for protection from harassment by the law. The most interesting thing I found was that the movie Lawless wasn't that far off from the book, which surprised me. (Especially the discovery that, really, Shia LeBeouf playing Jack was far more accurate than I ever thought possible.) Also, the descriptions of the countryside in that area are spot on, and they kept talking about going to Roanoke, which is pretty much what you do when you're in those rural areas and you get bored. Go to Roanoke. (And stop by Orange Market for a giant drink and chocolate Zingers.)
Oh, Orange Market, how I miss your tiny bathroom. No, wait, I don't.