Friday, February 28, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Next Time


I went to a book signing last night; it was cool. I saw Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman live in a bookstore, and it was fun to listen to them for a half hour or so. Listening to writers is actually one of my favorite things, because you can just hear that they love what they do in their voice. It’s not like that all days, I know, but writers are people who seriously have to love their job to do it. Otherwise, they would not do it.

I got Tesla’s Attic signed, and I look forward to start reading it soon. I LOVE the Unwind Dystology, and I know that this is going to be awesome too.

I was a little guilty before going, though. I haven’t read Unsouled yet, even though I got it for my birthday and that was months ago. I want to reread Unwholly before I get started. So far I haven’t even tried picking it up.

I loved Unwholly the last time. It was terrifying, in some ways, and it tore my brain to shreds just to think about it (which makes sense, since I learned that Mr. Shusterman majored in psychology, so he knows how to do that). It’s the only book I can ever remember feeling a deep seated, passionate need to kill someone while reading it. I almost saw red, and suddenly it was as if my hands weren’t my own. I couldn’t keep going; the emotion bubbled through my brain and I couldn’t even decide what to do with myself.

I just wanted something dead.

I had to take a shower and a computer break before I could go back in. It was excellent, but no other book has seared my blood like that before.

I guess I haven’t started again because I’m scared.

What if it isn’t like that the next time? What if it’s a boring book, or I don’t care because I know what happens?

I should be brave. I’ll pick the book up soon. I’m going to have to.

I’m starting to need to.

I hope Neal Shusterman knows that he’s messing with my mind. It should give him some satisfaction, I should think.

Here is to not being scared.

What about you? Have you ever failed to reread a book the same reasons as me? Share below!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mythology Monday: Zeus!

Click it. Buy it... Then it Shall Possess You.

There is one reason I do not hate Zeus, and that is George O’Connor. His Olympians graphic novels are
probably the best thing that ever happened to me in terms of Greek Mythology. I’m kind of holding out on buying them because the series isn’t done yet and I would be so excited to have a box set when it’s all said and done.

So… I’m waiting for that one.

I met Zeus in Kate McMullen’s Myth-o-mania series. The overweight god was not only irrational, but very annoying. First impressions stick. I worked through other mythology books, continuing with the mindset that Zeus was the most wormlike creature anyone could ever have the misfortune to meet. He sucked.

By some chance I came across Mr. O’Connor’s Zeus, and I was hooked. I peered into a legacy which I had refused to see in any other light and saw something new.

Now, there’s an interesting thing about the Greek gods: they’re flawed. Sometimes they do good things, and sometimes they do terrible things—just like real people. When it came to Zeus, I refused to see anything but flaw, after flaw, after flaw.

For the first time, I read about Zeus and found he was not the villain I had always boxed him to be… He was a good guy, too. Zeus’s character in my books depended on the author, I realized, not on the actual identity of Zeus. Now I saw the King of the Gods through George O’Connor’s eyes. It changed me, as Mr. O’Connor’s books invariably do. I’ve valued Zeus’s character ever since.

So, let’s talk about him.


Zeus was the only of Cronus and Rhea’s children who was not swallowed at birth. Somehow the Titaness Rhea fooled her husband into believing that a great big rock was their baby, which he swallowed instead.

(I will stop for a moment to just ask the question: How on earth could Cronus possibly let this happen? I have seen babies; they are not like rocks. I know that the idea is that Cronus was too eager to get rid of the baby to stop and look at his son, but all the same, what if Rhea had been slipping him a mortal child? Wouldn’t he have wanted to double check, just to make sure? Considering all the things that happen in Greek Mythology, it very well might have been some other Titan’s baby. I do not know what Cronus was thinking. Of all the crazy stories in Greek mythology, I’m pretty sure this is the most ludicrous event I’ve ever heard of.)

Nymphs and delightful fairy goats raised Zeus until he reached an age when he could combat his father. With Rhea’s help, he cooked up a mustard-wine relish which caused Cronus to vomit Zeus’s five older brothers and sisters. Together Zeus and his siblings teamed up and fought a war against the Titans, won, and then divided the earth amongst themselves. The three sons of Cronus drew lots to see who would get what. Zeus won the skies, Poseidon the seas, and Hades the underworld—they’d share the Earth.

You could fill a book with all the things that Zeus did next. In fact, they have. Suffice it to say that he had something close to 114 children, and significantly more mistresses. However, he did marry his sister Hera and make her his queen, fathered several more of the Olympians, and did many godly actions. Wars, decrees, adventures, advice… All that good stuff.

(Read a book to learn more, seriously. Zeus seriously got around, and in more ways than one.)

Zeus is not only the King of the Gods, but the lord of the skies and god of justice and humans. His main symbol is the eagle, but he is also recognized by his lightning bolts, made for him by the Cyclopes.

Flickr Credit: Marcus Crafter
What I Like About Him

I used to hate Zeus because he was characterized to me as complete and utter scum. Now that I’ve learned a little more, I appreciate his sense of justice. He was in charge, and being in charge means making tough decisions and punishing both men and gods for their deeds. It’s hard to put justice above your own will, but that’s something Zeus has done many times throughout the stories.

(Then again, there is also the debate as to whether Zeus’s version of his will and justice were separate, but that is another debate entirely.)

On top of that, Zeus kept an eye out. He was an active person, he participated in wars and occasionally walked among men. He stayed on top of his kingdom and didn’t let it rule him, even when the other gods mutinied. I respect that.

Zeus was good at giving honor where honor was due, avoiding crises and making compromises. In other words, he was a good leader, and that made all the difference.

What I Dislike About Him

Zeus’s personal life gets a little more convoluted. Faithfulness was not his strong suit, which is perhaps one of the reasons he was most frustrating—if he had just kept it in his pants then half of the problems in Greek mythology might never have been.

But then what on earth would we read about?

It’s a difficult topic to touch on. Regardless, his marriage with Hera was tough, and that turbulence shook the world miles around.

Zeus is a tricky character as well, and on occasion did cheat the rules and make things hard for men and mortals out of selfish cause. He wasn’t the kindest or the wisest of gods, nor did he always make the right decisions.

I think I mostly hated him because he cheated in poker in Myth-o-mania, and that shredded my patience with him. Zeus, regardless of the story, has always been a bit too flexible and unpredictable for my taste.

Despite all of Zeus’s shortcomings, he’s always been an integral character, and perhaps an idea I’ve mistreated many times over the years. He’s never going to be my favorite god, but I know I can appreciate his role now and forever—Greek Mythology wouldn’t be the same without him.

What do you think of Zeus? Yea? Nay? Share in the comments!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Quotes of Quoting

I have this notebook where I write down things I like in books or movies. I think I have probably half of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium transcribed in that thing. I thought I could find ten tidbits worth sharing, and here they are! :)

“It was very sad to see my father cry, but I understood it, because sometimes a man has to cry. Even if he is a man.”

–Antonio Márez, Bless me Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya

“A good leader is someone who knows what he’s bad at, and hires someone who’s good at it to take care of it for him.”

–Halt, The Battle for Skandia, John Flanagan

“The most powerful weapon you have is the one inside your skull.”

–Jackson, Earthfall, Mark Walden

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes.”

–Mazer Rackham, Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

“We’re being led by an idiot with a crayon.”

–Commander Julius Root, The Arctic Incident, Eoin Colfer

“You are tasering Raven! This is not being a clever thing to do!”

–Franz Argentblum, Aftershock, Mark Walden

“Don’t be so hasty. There is always time for babbling.”
–Victor, Airman, Eoin Colfer

“A large rock is not the kind of enemy you can fight with a magic sword.”
–Percy Jackson, The Sea of Monsters, Rick Riordan

“Always trust that what you do will have its reward. Perhaps not when you want it, but when you least expect it.”

–Osiris, Pandora Gets Vain, Carolyn Hennesy

“Then let’s look on the bright side: we’re having an adventure, Fezzik, and most people live and die without being as lucky as we are.”

–Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride, William Goldman

Bonus Movie Quote!

“Kowalski: Casualty report.”
“There are only two passengers unaccounted for, Skipper.”
“That’s a number I can live with.”

–Kowalski and Skipper, Madagascar 2

What are you favorite book quotes? Share them below!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mary Tudor

Today is Mary Tudor’s birthday.

I know, everyone’s really excited that Bloody Mary would be 498 years old today.

Last semester for a history report I read Mary Tudor: Courageous Queen or Bloody Mary?, a Wicked Histories book which gave me some more insight on the infamous queen. For one thing, she was the daughter of the first queen, Catharine of Aragon. She was the only of her mother’s children to survive, and when King Henry VIII split with the Catholic church to divorce Catharine she was declared illegitimate.  She spent her childhood being shunted around and falling in and out of her father’s favor while her country fell further away from Catholicism—one of the few things which gave her any pleasure. She married a good Catholic, a Spanish king, but rather than bringing a happy alliance, she gained the contempt of her subjects and a few miscarriages. She lost Calais to the French, her people starved, three hundred or so Protestants were executed at her hand, and though her reign lasted only four years she is one of the most loathed characters in history.

I feel bad for her.

The tragic thing about Mary is that the entire time during her rule, she was trying so hard to do the right thing.

She believed that she had to bring Catholicism back to England, and restore her people back to the true faith. Unfortunately for her, King Henry VIII had taken all the land from the Catholics and given it to Protestants, and when it came down to it the Protestants didn’t really want to give it back.

Queen Elizabeth I, Mary’s half-sister who took the throne after her, executed way more people than Mary did, but that didn’t matter. People were being terrorized for their faith; they were scared. Mary’s popularity dived.

She wanted to be a good wife, so send Englishmen to die on behalf of her husband, Phillip II, because he asked her to. She didn’t just lose Calais, but she lost her people as well.

Mary’s life wasn’t really easy, nor did she ever have an idyllic “happily ever after.” Even her legacy was cut short, as Elizabeth ruled the country as a Protestant monarch. Sort of a bummer for Mary, although for the most part Elizabeth was a well-liked monarch. (I mean, they kept her around for forty-five years.)

Mary’s tragedy is that her best efforts to do the right thing essentially ruined her. That is probably one of the worst feelings in the world.

So… Happy 498th, Mary.