Sunday, December 11, 2016

Reading List for November and Four Questions

I had originally planned to do these two separate posts last month--the Reading list for November and the Four Questions meme that Mago started, and then was picked up by Savannah, IDV, LX, & Scarlet. But I didn't have the time to finish editing or polishing the two posts as I got busy. So instead, I'm combining two posts into this one.

First up, the book review:

Reading List for November

Picking up from the previous reading list in September, I continue to enjoy the wonderfully creative and entertaining works of Neil Gaiman. I've managed to read three of his works and will continue to read more. And yes, there are also other books that I'm reading and enjoying for purely different reasons. But for sheer escapism and fantasy, I love Neil Gaiman's marvelous stories.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Honestly, I wasn't sure if I liked this book from the beginning to the middle. I generally stay away from books that try to build off the Bible or any of the established formal religions. Books that try to incorporate Biblical or religious texts usually end up as either poorly written conspiracy theories or terrible, ridiculous fan fiction. Either way, the results are awful and a waste of time. And as this book started to build to the climax, I still wasn't sure if I liked this book at all. It seemed different from the other works of Neil Gaiman, and I wondered if it's because of Gaiman's collaboration with Terry Pratchett in writing this story.

But my faith and patience was rewarded. Once again, Neil Gaiman (and Terry Pratchett) managed to surprise me and thrill me and thoroughly entertain me with the unexpected twists and character development in this story. And it's those surprises, creative plotlines, and memorable characters that made this story a great one in the end. This isn't just a story about angels and demons and Armageddon. It's a fantastic tale about growing up, fate, free will, time, life, death, and the impact of the choices we make and the roads we choose to take.

I liked this story. I was surprised at how much I actually liked the ending, especially as I wasn't sure how I felt about the book from beginning to the middle. But the resolution and storyline made sense and meant more once I got to the last half of the book when things started to come together. I enjoyed Good Omens. And I was thrilled to find that I could actually relate to what some of the characters were feeling and experiencing, especially in the end. I would recommend this book. Just be patient with the first half, because it'll all make sense and come together nicely in the last half. It was an excellent Neil Gaiman collaboration with Terry Pratchett!

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Okay, confession: I saw the movie years ago before I read the book. So I had some expectations, and I had preconceived opinions about what to expect and who these characters were. So I all ready pictured the characters in the book based on the actors from the movie. It doesn't always work, trying to match up the movie with the book, because they never do match! There're always some details that change, and some of those changes are significant.

And so it was with Stardust. There were definitely differences between the book and the movie, and thank goodness for that! Honestly, if I had to pick which I liked better, the book or the movie, I can honestly say that I actually liked both, even though they are very different in some very important ways, especially the ending!

To be honest, I like the movie ending better, because it was happy and inspiring. But the book was richer with more details and character development. And yet, I still felt that there was so much more left to be told in this marvelous story about magic; love; adventure; and quest for fame, fortune, and finding one's self and the truth. I honestly found myself wanting to learn so much more about these fascinating characters, and I wanted to learn about their histories and adventures in depth!

That's how you know that a book is a great book, when it leaves you wanting more, and I want so much more from this story about magic, growing up different, finding dangers and delights on a journey of many discoveries, and learning surprising truths about love, identity, family, friends, and happiness and life. I highly recommend this story, even if you have seen the movie, because the book weaves an enchanting and endearing tale of adventure and  coming of age.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

What a fantastic story this was! And I didn't know until after I had read it that it was actually a companion novel based on a television series Neil Gaiman had created. A book based on a tv series! How awesome is that?

This is a thrilling story about an ordinary young man who is thrust into an extraordinary world and finds himself having frightening and exciting adventures, and his world, his perspective, and his life change in the most unexpected and spectacular ways. I was mesmerized and impressed with the unique characters and stunning world, and I was thoroughly entertained by the fantastic storyline and engaging plot.

Once again, Neil Gaiman tells a magnificent and splendid story! And I want to read more and learn more about this wondrous world and the amazing, diverse, sensational characters who live in this astonishing world. I highly recommend this book, because it's a great story!

And there you have it. My belated reading list for November. And I'm still going to look up and read more Neil Gaiman, because so far, I've enjoyed reading all the books/comic books he's created, and I look forward to discovering what other masterpieces he has written. If you haven't read anything by Neil Gaiman, then I highly suggest that you read any of the books that I've reviewed so far. All the Gaiman books that I've read have been fantastic and entertaining. Check your local library to see if you can get your hands on these great books or find other wonderful books to enjoy.

Until next time, I wish you happy readings! And if you've discovered other great stories or authors in your reading, then please feel free to let me know so that I, too, can share your great finds and discoveries. Thank you.

Four Questions

Simple enough. Here are four questions, each requiring a list of four answers.

1. Four Favorite Foods:

I luv all sorts of food, so it's very hard trying to limit myself to just four. But right now, maybe because of the cool weather or I'm just longing for some comfort food, all I can think about is chicken:

(1). Fried chicken--my favorite meal, the standard Sunday family meal when I was growing up. And while I've had it made spicy; marinated in buttermilk; breaded and heavily seasoned with all sorts of herbs and spices; oven baked; and even air fried; the original, simple salt and pepper and flour seasoning before frying is still the best version.

(2). BBQ Chicken--and pretty much anything BBQ is delicious!

(3). Roasted chicken--I luv the crispy brown skin and drippings, especially if the drippings helped cook and flavored the roasted or fried or baked potatoes; or the drippings are used to make a delicious, rich, savory gravy.

(4). Fried egg or egg salad sandwich. I like my eggs well cooked--scrambled, fried hard, or hard boiled! No runny, no soft boiled, no over easy eggs! I don't need the messy, gross, uncooked, salmonella reminder that the egg is really the product of a hen's period! That's right! When you lick and suck raw eggs, you make yourself into a chicken tampon or maxipad! Pucker up!

2. Four Favorite Drinks:


(1). Water--as long as it's safe and clean, nothing quenches my thirst like good, refreshing, cool, clean, safe drinking water.

(2). Tea--iced, hot, warm, room temperature, so long as it's fresh and sweet, I'll drink it! I especially love iced tea with berry juice or fruit juice! And iced tea (and all teas!) should be sweet!

(3). Coffee--hot, iced, warm, room temperature, I'll drink it so long as it's fresh and sweetened with lots of sugar plus milk; or creamer; or even ice cream! I need sugar and some sort of creamer in my coffee!

(4). Fruit juices/drinks--Lemonade, cider, fruit juice, so long as it's sweet, fresh, and refreshing, I will drink it! I also like the artificial flavored stuff--like the purple drink mix and the Sunny Delight orange flavored drink. Growing up, I loved apple juice, citrus juice (orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, etc.), and grape juice. But lately, I've been drawn to the tropical juices--mango, pineapple, guava, and coconut. It's probably my subconscious mind wanting me to go somewhere warm, sunny, and tropical with beautiful beaches to escape the cold winter!

Alcoholic drinks:

(1). Riesling--I love the crisp, refreshing taste of this sweet, white wine. Goes with everything--including nachos!

(2). Ouzo--my fave liqueur! Yamas!

(3). Vodka--goes with everything! Including nachos!

(4). Eggnog--because it's the Holidays, and you need some extra cheer to push past the stress of pesky holiday crowds and annoying relatives at the dinner table.

3. Four Places I've Been:

(1). Inside a tomb (several of them, actually!). The biggest was the Great Pyramid of Giza (aka The Great Pyramid of Khufu), the last remaining intact wonder of the ancient world! It was very hot, very humid, and a very steep climb inside to reach the burial chamber. Unfortunately, there was no mummy, no sarcophagus, no papyrus, no carvings, no jewels left in the huge tomb! All the good stuff, like the wall coverings and riches, were in museums, especially foreign (European and American) museums!

(2). Repeatedly sliding in and out of slippery tunnels and plunging down into wet holes--I love water parks!

(3). In the back of a police car--the seats are hard, uncomfortable plastic!

(4). Inside a submarine--it's amazing how cool this engineering marvel looks and how incredible it was to build and operate. We got to tour one during Fleet Week. If you live near a port or have access to a Navy ship coming into port and offering on board tours, go and see the ship! Whether it's a submarine or a regular naval ship, they're all brilliantly engineered vessels and quite spectacular! Having seen the submarine and several naval vessels, though efficiently laid out and well planned, I'm surprised at how tight and small the spaces are--I had to duck several times to avoid hitting my head. And I'm impressed at how fast those sailors maneuver in and out comfortably in those tight spaces! I'd need to wear a hard hat daily to protect my head if I had to live and work on a navy vessel!

4. Four Names That I've Been Called:

First up and out of the way, I'll leave out any offensive and foul language that have been addressed to me over the years--and most recently as I successfully pushed and battled my way through the holiday sales mob to grab the only in demand items half off at the store.

(This message is for the mean, disrespectful bitch who was a total jackass to the staff and the rest of us waiting in line for the store to open:

In your face, you rude old lady! I'm a helluva lot faster and more nimble than your beeping scooter! And I didn't really need that second item; I just took it, because you were an awful c*nt to the staff while we all waited in line, and I knew you wanted that item, and I took the extra just so you wouldn't get it, you foul creature! And it was so wonderful to see the look of frustration on your face and to hear you curse in anger when you realized that the item you wanted was gone. I didn't even buy that second item. I just gave to another grateful customer who was farther back in line and thought the item was sold out. It certainly made his day--and mine! Ho! Ho! Ho!)

And now, four of the names of I've been called, limited to names granted to me by friends. Real friends are honest and care enough to tell you like it is, and they know who you are (flaws and all) and luv ya anyway.

(1). Good Time--is what people call me, because they enjoy the pleasure of my company. I'm easy going, friendly, and down for just about anything--a bit reckless, adventurous, hard headed, with a twisted, somewhat wicked sense of humor. I'm both on the Nice list and the Naughty list!

(2). Whore and/or Slut--and many other related terms--are the two most common names my good friends call me. Yes, there are messages and voicemails and rare letters from close friends that begin by addressing me as "Hey, whore..." or "What's up, slut..." And I can proudly say that I've earned those names! Usually in relation to the above (1). Also, in my line of work as a service professional, I'm proud of providing exceptional, professional, personal service that ensures that the client comes first and has a very wonderful, pleasurable, outstanding experience. A happy customer is a repeat customer!

(3). Nerd and/or Geek (and occasionally, Freak)--are titles that I've proudly earned and wear with pride! Where I come from, being called a nerd or geek is a badge of high honor! Because everyone wants to be smart! No one wants to be labeled as stupid! And being called a nerd means you've earned respect for being smart! And I like being called smart! I'm proud of being a Nerd and a Geek!

And there's nothing wrong with being called a freak--that just means you're unique, one of a kind! You aren't monotonous, boring, or drab; you're loud, lively stereo; you're living colors; you're a rare gemstone in a dark cave full of rocks! Be proud of being different and embrace your individuality! Be the best you that you can be! Live your life the way you want to live!

(4). Ninja Assassin--My friends originally called me a ninja, not for my martial arts or spy skills, but rather for my disappearing skills, especially when it comes to breaking up with people. Let's be honest, break ups are hard, and they are even harder when dealing with crazy people.

After surviving two different, painful break ups--where one harpy actually threw hard, heavy and sharp objects (like chef knives and a cast iron skillet!) at me, and where the other angry, psycho person that I was breaking up with clawed me, I've learned two important things. One, getting scratched from furious anger is a lot more painful, bloody, and absolutely no pleasure at all compared to getting scratched on the back during the heat of exquisite passion. Also, crazy people who like to do extreme and dangerous things to please you in bed are also likely to do extreme and dangerous things in an attempt to kill you in the the kitchen, especially when you piss them off by breaking up with them.

The second and the most important lesson that I learned is: All break ups are painful, and they are especially painful to me! So I developed and mastered the skills of the sudden, silent break up, where I completely cut myself off from the person that I am breaking up with--no contact, no going back to shared places and sentimental spaces. I completely disappear and remove myself entirely from the other person's life. I've gotten so good at disappearing that a few have actually wondered if I was real or a figment of their imagination. And some have actually questioned their sanity, wondering if maybe we weren't really dating at all and they were just reading too much into it.

As a result, my dating life is mostly booty calls and the guy the other person calls to get over a break up or to have a good time. For a good time, call me, text me, leave me a message. For a deeper, more meaningful relationship, talk to Jesus. I'm a playdate and a playmate, and I'm perfectly fine with that.

What I am not fine with and have a problem with is the recent discovery that I am now known as the love assassin! And given the evidence, it appears to be true! My friends have just brought to my attention the number of their relationships that I have inadvertently destroyed, because of an observation that I made or a comment that I said that poisoned, strangled, or killed their relationship! Good gawd, I am a love killing machine! And I didn't even realize that I was destroying relationships left and right and all around me!

Hey, I just tell it like it is! If I point out that your new lover is an idiot or a liar or a phoney, I'm just speaking the truth without thinking. Sometimes, my mouth is a lot quicker than my brain, especially when I've had a few drinks! It is NOT my intention to break you up! And whether you decided to keep dating or dump that loser, liar, or leech is entirely up to you!

Although, in retrospect, I have to admit that I might have been a little harsh and careless, but I seriously did not set out to destroy relationships! Those idiots sabotaged themselves. I didn't push them over the cliff...I just walked with them to the edge and they threw themselves off! But that's a post and thoughts worth pondering and exploring some other time.

And that's the end of the four questions meme. If you would like to tackle the meme yourself, then please let me know so that I can come over and read your answers. Until next time, I hope you find some time to relax, and enjoy a good book in a good place. And may you find the time to enjoy some good food, good drinks, and good company. Stay safe and stay warm!

Related Links
Reading List for September


  1. Oh FFS!!! I was just tucking into my runny boiled egg with bready soldiers.... THANK YOU FOR THE HEN PERIOD REFERENCE!!
    Meanwhile, I'm so curious to find out what you did to make your ex girlfriends so angry.... but actually I think I kind of know :-)

    1. Scarlet, Sorry about breakfast--sometimes, I can't help going a tad too far with my twisted, wicked sense of humor.

      As for the exes, I knew early on that they were volatile, which I mistook for passion. I was young, stupid, didn't know much back then. We were just incompatible, which was made very obvious with their aggressive overreaction when I ended the relationship and they, in turn, tried to end me.

  2. Neil Gaiman - Yay! You have reminded me to re-read Good Omens as I haven't read it for a year or two. Last year a friend lent me American Gods, which I loved (and I'm looking forward to the TV adaptation), but I haven't read anything by Neil this year. Must rectify that.
    I don't know if I'll read Stardust, though. I absolutely love the film, and I don't want anything to spoil it, or create comparisons. I remember when I read The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike because I loved the film, and getting through that book was such a chore - I felt it was nothing like the film, and I couldn't believe I'd wasted my time with it. I don't want the same to happen with Stardust.
    You'll probably get to it, but Smoke and Mirrors (a collection of short stories) is full of weird and wonderful tales, and an ideal book to read when you may not have much time to sit and go through a novel.

    Oof! I've worn myself out with such a long comment. I've just got enough energy left to say that aside from "Ninja Assassin", none of your nicknames needed any explanation - I can EASILY believe how they came about!

    1. IDV, Good Omens turned out to be a nice surprise, and American Gods renewed my respect and admiration and awe of Neil Gaiman's talent and creativity.

      As for Stardust, I do prefer the ending in the movie because it felt happier and more complete. Though the book does contain richer details and a more complex, enchanting story, the ending felt like there was more left unsaid; there was so much more that needed to be explored instead of just hinted at or summarized in the book. But I did enjoy the book for enriching and fleshing out the marvelous world and wondrous characters portrayed in the movie. And I totally agree that the Witches of Eastwick is a great movie! Thanks for the heads up on what a downer the book is.

      As for the nicknames, I am known for being pretty easy going and always down for a little fun and adventure. I'm proud of my nicknames--I earned them. But now that it's been brought to my attention, I have decided to make more of an effort now to be nicer and more careful/cautious when dealing with the idio---, er, people that my friends are dating.

  3. Replies
    1. And you're sugar because you make things sweet!