book meme [11-20]

Here’s the [1-10] part.

Here’s a full list of questions.

Let’s do this. YEAH!

11. A book you hated

Scarlet Letter. This must be said someday, because sometimes I feel like all of my posts concerning learning literature times are so lovely nostalgic and full of good vibes. Which is great, because learning about literature is awesome, but also, it’s a pain in the ass, and Scarlet Letter is the best example.

First of all, seriously, Hawthorne, I can understand historical drama and Puritans and so on, but what on Earth would make anyone wear a literal “scarlet letter” as a public punishment? Is it some kind of a bad grade metaphor? I know, symbolism and other smart stuff, determining your own identity, blah blah blah, but I don’t buy it at all. Srsly, Puritans. I am constantly amazed by how they made it in the wilderness, being weirder beasts than any bear or crazy stag they would meet there.

Together with the whole missing man drama. I am not even sorry for being insensitive, but when you are away and noone hears from you, you may be probably dead, so maybe better stay dead than play hide and seek. Also, the symbolism of Pearl makes me mad. I don’t say that she is a bad symbol, because it is a clear idea of what she must represent. It’s just it felt for me like  her only purpose of creation was to be a symbol of sin and its consequences. There is so much more to that idea, it could really be explored more.

Not to mention that I am just not the biggest fan of Hawthorne’s writing, so maybe that’s why I just couldn’t find this book enjoyable.

12. A book you love but hate at the same time

 You know what is the biggest problem with reading something good? As a writer, when you read some good stuff you probably will gonna hate it, because it was better than your own writing. I mean, I don’t claim myself being so sparkling awesome, but it appears to me that I hate some good writing, just because it is better than mine and that, my dear readers, is clearly the case with Every Bush Is Burning. At the same time, I am madly in love with this kind of storytelling so here I am. Perfect case.

No, no. I am not talking about this one:

You know what I hate and love about this book the most? IT IS DAMN FREE.  You can buy a fancy paperback on Amazon, naturally, but also get it from noisetrade.books (I mean it. Go there. Now. I will wait. Download. Leave a tip. Leave a 1000 of tips. Then come back and read the rest of this entry.)

Done? Ok, we shall continue.

Trust me, I have a very rare moments at which a book needs so much of my attention that I end up reading it till morning. Of course, this happens with my favorite writers, but I was not expecting it at this case. So I found myself genuinely surprised, huh. Mostly because I never knew this whole writing style of constant poking the reader by the narrator would make me so happy. On the other hand, just from the beginning of this story, you are 100% done and sure that the mysterious Jesus-guy is not the Jesus himself, but after some time you just keep yourself hoping that maybe there is a tiny chance for the facade to be true.

Yup, this book definitely makes your head a mess and is not afraid to laugh at you for that matter. At the time, it also teaches you about some important life lessons, that probably you would learn anyway, but maybe it is better sometimes to just watch the bushes burning and let it swallow your fears. Also, 10/10 points for use of religious symbolism and ideas in a way that did not made me feel better or worse about atheists or question my own beliefs and disbeliefs. At least not too much and in a tactful manner. That’s a thing I can respect. And love. And hate at once.

13. Your favorite writer

All praise the one and only John Steinbeck.

Flower crown says it all.

I must say I would not even dare to read any of his novels if it was not for me being made to by American lit teacher. I sat down, opened it, read, close, went crying to the bathroom. The next day the teacher asked us how did we like the book and I was all like “AWESOME”. I guess, none of us have seen it coming, neither me, nor my teacher or Steinbeck himself.

Later I discovered that, not only the book I read was soon to become my favorite, but also that my parents were rather not acquainted with this writer, so I must have given them this one to read and here we evolved into some little family mutual fangirling/fanboying circle for J.S. Funny enough, this situation was being held with all the other books of him I read and recommended to my parents.

So, yes, if you are in doubt, whether your writing is too subtle but too direct at once, read Steinbeck. Whenever you wonder around gloomy and spooky, read Steinbeck. Just in pretty much every case involving writing struggles, read what he said, because, dang, this guy had it all compassed and his style is hot like a Californian Sun itself.

14. Book turned movie and completely desecrated. 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. There is a great thing with great stories which allows you to share the same experiences with other readers but still in a slightly different way, according to your own imagination. When things are made into movies, especially so popular as HP series, it is hard to avoid the common imagination to influence your own. That is why I think HP and the Philosopher’s Stone was such a deal of desecration.

I remember watching the movie for the first time. As long as I found the actors enjoyable and the soundtrack okay, I remember this drilling thought in my mind, whispering to my ear “This is not how we remember it, isn’t it?” I don’t want to tell you that the movie is that bad or that you should not watch it because they are two different things with the book, but I must say, they are two different worlds for sure. In the movie things just were not that magical, astonishing and scary at the same time as I remembered them from the book.

Maybe it is good for my imagination, maybe bad. I don’t know, it might mean I am a bad fan, because I see how the franchise evolved and, on one hand, I am truly happy for both, the story and the creator. However, after coming to minds that what I’ve watched was not how I imagined Harry’s adventures, I still reject watching all the following movies.

15. Favorite male character

Hercule Poirot. I read too much Christie to omit this fact. Hercule is just such a charming persona. He is respected, artful and chivalrous. Among all he is also very graceful, damn it, he even dies gracefully (and with an unexpected spin). He is a kind of a detective you would like to meet on a long trip by train in Europe or in an old seaside motel. Maybe I liked that he used to travel so much and meet so many interesting people? Though, I think for him every person was an interesting one.

This is just one of those characters that I would like to invite for a cup of coffee.

Maybe his working methods were a little repetitive, but the way he used to reveal all the crimes was just astonishing every-single-fucking-time. Also, he had a good taste in music, literature and women. He also loved good company and I couldn’t help but love the way he used to make fun of his police friends. All that with this spooky well-mannered pace. One could learn a lot from Hercule, if they were listening attentively enough.

16. Favorite female character

Estelle from Rape Fantasies by Atwood. This whole short story included in Dancing Girls is told by her and you can find there everything so true to nowadays circumstances, you cannot believe it was written in 1970s. Estelle is incredible. She is funny, has this dark sense of humor and sarcasm. You can see at once that she is a woman who takes no shit. Estelle is also very clever, although she has her own ghosts of fear haunting her each time she goes out.

Estelle is also very rational. She can easily border between aggression and unrealistic expectations, and won’t even try to avoid making fun of anyone for that. On the other hand though, she projects some of her own even less realistic visions on her own “rape fantasies”. Among all, she is just this great voice of women, who just have enough of postfeminist shit bombarding their faces and also, those of them, who would just really like go out for a drink one night and do not even care.

Hint: shall anything happen, try over talking the opponent to death.

17. Favorite quote from favorite book.

I have many favorite books, so for this question I chose:

This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.

– Hemingway E., Moveable Feast

18. A book that disappointed you.

Casual Vacancy. You know, I don’t say it was a bad book. It was quite entertaining after all. Though, you all know I love J.K.R. and initially I was hoping that, after what HP did to my mind, the crime and mysterious (not, mystery) story will made me gasp and roll and eat my nails out. The first chapter really did, though. It was intriguing, and what followed at first made me mindfucked even more. Though, then it was getting… boring, to say at least.

There was still some dynamics and “shit was clearly going down”, but I did not feel involved in the story anymore. Maybe it’s the case that I have nothing in common with English suburban areas and their problems, but, the heck, I have nothing in common with owls bringing mail either. And I know it’s silly to compare HP to anything else JKR wrote, but come on. Who didn’t?

The worst is, you could feel Rowling’s hand on this story. Sometimes a person has such a great style you would not mistake it with any other. So, when it was imminently visible, you could only feel more bad because of this huge part of wasted potential. For me this book could be much more darker and hardcore and it really would not make it less suburban or lose any of the charm.

19. Favorite book turned into a movie

Midsummer Night’s Dream. I am aware it is not as much a “book” as more of a play but for Thor’s sake, you should see me watching MN’sD for the first time in my life. I got lost in a brand new world with a wide smile. Oh, just watch this fabulous 90s style trailer

I love everything about this movie: the way it makes a pun on the play, the way the play was making one on its audience and readers, this 90s kind of a blurred vision of fantasy, the cast, everything! I like how cozy and unreal at the same time all the scenes are, while still embracing this atmosphere of a hot, crazy summer night. You see, this is a difference between good and bad adaptation: it does not destroy my own vision of the story, but it gives it a proper frame.

20. Favorite romance book.

I don’t read romances, so instead, I shall give myself an award:

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