AnHeC

AnHeC (I'm too fucking busy and vice versa)

Hi! My name is Anna, "You'd really like me if you got to know me. I've known me for years and I love me."

I really dig dissecting things

Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" - Corey Olsen

Give it a go! If you've never been a fan of The Hobbit, if you've never got what the fuss is all about or why I may scratch your eyes out when you say 'it's boring', give it a go! It's short and written in a very accessible way. I'm very, very fond of this book (which now proudly sits on my shelf). 

 

 

Something is wrong with me. Very wrong with me. I genuinely enjoy literally analyses more than books. Not always. But often. Like, how can you appreciate Jane Austin without giving it some thought and learning about particularities of the period? You can't. In short - I just love dissecting things. Breaking them into little pieces and attacking with a microscope. I pick at things. And poke them with sticks. And when those things break and fall apart? That's when the fun ensues! Gee, I wonder why nobody likes me XD

 

This book is great. Simple language, nice, logical structure. It also,rather virtuously, treats The Hobbit as a stand-alone work. Therefore, you will not be forced to go through pages upon pages of references to some obscure pieces of information mentioned in appendixes to appendixes at the back  of unfinished stories which didn't make it into SIlmarillion. Didn't make it anywhere. Napkin notes fished out of the trash and such.

 

Which could be fun, but I do genuinely believe The Hobbit is absolutely marvellous and often gets treated patronizingly. Unfairly so!  This is your chance to look at this book. Really look at it. Maybe you were forced to read it at school and didn't dig the concept of 'compulsory'? Maybe you've read it as a child, when you've had a totally different perspective? Maybe your brain is just so full of LOTR lore it short-circuted? Time for a reboot! Or you're dead to me! (I've never said I'll be nice about it, I don't think I could even if I've tried, even if I wanted to... My love, my love, my love... She keeps me waaaaaaarm)

 

 

15



Write what you know

Dateline: Jerusalem - Zion Falling (Volume 1) - Mr. Daniel Reany

Book won in a give-away.

 

Quite nice. Quite nice indeed. It's kind of an action book. You have a reporter, send on an assignment to Israel. He gets in trouble with like, you know terrorists. So mystery/action with a sprinkling of romance.

 

 

 

My thoughts? The best parts of the book were not the ones you'd expect. It starts with an amazingly vivid and captivating, even though there's absolutely no shooting. Why? You see, when an author writes about something he's familiar with he can really draw you in. And it shows. Daniel Reany worked with news, lived in Cairo, traveled Middle East, Africa and Europe. He also studied Anthropologgy and Egyptian Archeology (among other things). All of that shows. The realism when it comes to descriptions of places, down to details such as food, is marvellous. It feels authentic. And that's why it works. (I've even tried to google a name of a hotel. It turns out, it exists!)

 

Same goes for when characters start talking history. I love history. And I've thoroughly enjoyed those parts. Cultural and historical accuracy make it quite juicy.

 

Unfortunately that's not the gist of the book. There's also terrorists, and actions... And those parts felt generic. Not bad. But utterly predictable. Quite flat. Which is what brought the rating down.

Conclusion: when author writes about what he really knows and has experience with magic happens. First bits concerning workings of a news agency (or whatever you call it) had me craving more, more more! Bombs? Evil terrorists? Meh.

 

13



SPOILER ALERT!

The praise of the mundane

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

I don’t think I can be friends with people who actively dislike The Hobbit. I really don’t. Just like with the ones dissing Terry Pratchet. Or BBC Sherlock. Those cases seem to scream ‘irreconcilable character differences’ (and we all know where does that lead).

 

 

 

 

I find that what draws our attention at a given 'read' of a book is a cheap form of psychoanalyses :P Tell me what you've gathered from reading The Hobbit and... I'll totally pull a hasty judgement on whether you deserve my home-made, kick-ass cake. Or just a store-bought packet of biscuits (worst case scenario - I give them to you with a grump - oh yeah! It's that serious.) 'nuf said.

 

 

The Hobbit truly is a masterpiece. In many ways it is more impressive than the epic tale of Lord of the Rings. The simpler, shorter narrative seems to be much more coherent and yet remains as rich and deep in meaning (very intricate, every detail matters, layers upon layers of meaning). I'll try to (disjointedly) mention a few of those now.

 

 

 

some SPOILERS AHEAD!!! (DUH)

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, if one reads The Hobbit as an adventure story about defeating the dragon and saving the day it may seem somewhat underwhelming. However, the thing is, it’s not a story about killing the monster and getting the treasure. The title itself wonderfully captures this (and, like always always with Tolkien, it's not accidental. It carries meaning). It’s ‘There and back again’ not ‘The Demise of Smaug’ or ‘To the Lonely Mountain’. After all, we need to remember that the dwarves never even face Smaug (whose death is absolutely not the culminating point of the narrative, BTW). Sure, it matters, but it’s not the point. The story truly concludes when Bilbo comes back home. His return and how he views it is of much greater concern then the whole dragon business. It’s one of the indicators of his growth as a person through the whole journey.

 

 

It’s going to be a long review, so just in case you’re not up for a long read I’ll shortly present what I’ve always found to be the most amazing thing about this book (read just the first point).

 

 

 

THE MUNDANE

 

The most remarkable thing about this book has always been how it steers us towards appreciation of humble, everyday life. I like books that make me appreciate the normalcy I have. It’s a healthy attitude (considering I’m highly unlikely to become a successful assassin (risky) or, even more so, a wizard (slightly impossible)). Usually those would be books set in romanticized reality and focused on trivia of life (like Anne of Green Gables). It’s quite ironic that one of the best books to give us that perspective not only isn’t realistic; it’s full of magic, wizards, contains a whole slew of mythical creatures and has truly epic powers at play. Extreme end of the spectrum.

 

The ‘Back Again’ with its whistling kettle, eggs & bacon, comfortable armchair and lazy afternoons with a pipe is a constant point of reference for our hero. First, it was all he knew; then, as terrified he wished to just magically go back, it was a deeply missed escape; later it grew into a source of strength, something worth getting through whatever you have to face so you can come back to it. Something to ground you in a reality regardless of the chaos around.

 

The change of perspective is gradual. However, we don’t go from hating the dangers of the road towards the love of safety. Rather, we develop respect and appreciation for both aspects.

 

Furthermore, despite being a part of ‘big events’ Bilbo remains humble, more than that, he grows more humble as he learns more about the world. Pride and greed, cardinal sins which almost led to a disaster (war between good creatures of the world) are things he overcomes. Like with most things in this book, I could write an essay just on those, but there’s no time and space. The important thing to note is: at the end, when Gandalf confronts Bilbo about the role fate played and suggests to the hobbit he was just a tool, a part of bigger things, Bilbo is happy with it. He’s not upset about not being the centre of the universe. His answer is very practical and down to earth. And this gives him peace of mind.

 

Interestingly, Bilbo is not the centre of the events. He’s no great hero who saved the day (unlike, let’s say, Harry Potter). His contribution is significant. Without him things would have gone quite differently, but, just like in real life, it’s not ‘one person does all’. Actions of all characters, both good and bad, are what leads us towards the final outcome. The fact we can really feel that is amazing.

 

Obama Nods

 

There, now on to a few more bits. *sigh* I'm really bad at this. I feel like I'm just standing in front of you waving my arms and trying to get you to just read my mind already! See what I see! This is sad. *sigh again*

 

Banging Head Down Slide

 

TWO NATURES – PERSONALITY GROWTH (it’s all about balance, mate)

 

Bilbo has two distinct, seemingly contradictory, sides of character (coming from two different parents). A homey, boring one and an adventurous one which at the beginning remains completely dormant. It awakens gradually and, at the end, balances Bilbo’s personality out (it’s truly masterful. The series of subtle events and changes they signify can be traced if one pays attention.) Only at the very end does our protagonist gain a fuller view of reality. The way he lives and feels about things around him changed profoundly.

 

One example would be his very sense of self. At the beginning Bilbo is largely dependent on opinion of others. It’s pointed out he’s a very respectable hobbit (and he’s proud of it). And yet he gets upset when dwarves doubt his skills as an adventurer. He wants them to feel differently. During the journey this desire to impress others pushes him towards (quite often risky and unnecessary, even disastrous) actions. At the very end of the book we learn that his neighbours didn’t respect him anymore; he’s thought to be weird. He sings, writes poetry, meets with elves and receives strange guests, but what others think doesn’t bother him anymore. Along the way he learned more and more to disassociate himself from the opinion of others and not allow it to dictate his actions (useful in making huge decisions when dealing with war leaders and monsters, but also comes in handy in everyday life).

 

Additionally, at the beginning Bilbo was passive. He gradually becomes more engaged and the build up is truly wonderful. He goes from things sort of happening to him, being simply terrified, through taking actions when given no choice (mortal danger), through standing up to said perils in a more active way until he finally, willingly, knowingly makes a choice to go into a situation.

 

Deal With It Owl

 

He grows in so many ways in such a beautifully paced manner! It's remarkable. To write like this... (*sigh* I told you I'm bad at it... It's so haaaaard to write something positive... .... .. ... . Love me!)

 

Ignite

 

THE GOOD

 

One of the amazing aspects of the world introduced by Tolkien is the huge variety of good creatures we’re presented with. It’s worth noting, not all good is the same and absolutely every good has some faults. Hobbits are unable to view the world as a bigger place; they’re utterly focused on their own small reality, unable to grasp things which are not part of their experience. Eagles are cruel and ruthless; they help the main troupe of characters, but only because it accidentally happened to fit their plans. They have little care for others and their fate and simply want to cause trouble for their hated enemies. Those are wild creatures who live by the most merciless laws of nature. Beorn helps the dwarves, but not out of compassion. He’s entire life is shaped by the great violent hate he harbours for the goblins. He’s bloodthirsty. The elves of the forest are proud and quick to jump to (often wrong) conclusions. Thanduril wants to have more jewels and silver, but not out of simple appreciation of their beauty, but rather for the sake of gaining higher status (which he’s confident he deserves). Dwarves are greedy and think mostly of themselves. They jumped into the whole adventure without thinking it through or having any real plan. Humans, well, their emotions easily change; they go between groundless excitement to absolute terror and despair, always failing to accurately judge the situation. Moreover, Bard has his shortcomings, too; he’s not the perfect wise leader and after the death of Smaug makes a potentially perilous decision to begin the siege of the mountain (note, the people have no food or shelter. They are unlikely to survive it). Even the high elves of Rivendell are not the perfect, wise creatures we know from the movies; in the Hobbit they act like mischievous puppies. They love teasing others, making fun of them (yanking their chain) and have very little concern for small matters of this world (like some dragon killing people). From their perspective it’s all funny and trivial.

 

Note, none of those groups are evil, but rather complex in their character and behaviour. They all show both their good and bad sides in this story, but I won’t say anything more about that.

 

dstfp

 

LUCK AND HIGHER POWER

 

Tolkien was religious. Luck and influence of some higher power are one of the important themes in the book. Every single event and its solution has an element of luck involved (starting with Bilbo finding the ring to the ‘eagle intervention’ at the end). The important thing; however, is that luck does not provide a solution on its own. It’s not a magical end of a given problem. Rather, Bilbo has to rise to the occasion when an opportunity presents itself.

 

Luck doesn’t detract from what Bilbo does. But for a happy ending both luck and initiative of a character are required.

 

Also, unhappy accidents tend to have incredibly important outcome (bring salvation from unforeseen dangers). Consequences are difficult to predict and all the unfortunate events end up being extremely good for our protagonists. If they stuck to their original plans things would not have worked out. We learn about avoided dangers throughout the book. The point is hammered in over and over again. This reflects in many ways great complexity of life, the incredible way things often work out and how people see them once they gain a different perspective.

 

Today, some people disassociate themselves from any notion of higher power and grand plans being in play; however, Tolkien was a religious man. A man, who lived through war. I’m pretty sure his life was full of things which amazingly worked out. Yes, I know we build those stories ourselves in our heads. Yes. But that’s how our brains work. Let’s not fight over that, shall we?

 

 

Even if you’re not religious, you can just marvel at the amazing (and well deserved) role chance plays in this book. Our lives depend more on luck and coincidences than many care to admit. It’s nice to see those things being an integral part of the story.

 

One last interesting thing to mention here – Rotter’s Locus of Control theory. To put it simply, belief in some outside force affecting our lives makes the existence significantly less stressful. The more you think every single event and outcome are results of your actions, the more importance you ascribe to your humble person, the more misery you have. Just a playful thought.

 

Interesting Reaction

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Tolkien wrote his book (just like C.S. Lewis) inspired by the experience of war, trying to make peace with it (and the realities of this world in general). He’s personal believes and experiences permeate the book. The book, which is truly masterfully constructed and magical. Funny how a book so reach in meaning was published for... children! And written in a way no one at the time could take as serious writing. Fairies? Dwarves? Really?! Get a job Tolkien! Get. a. job.

 

The use of humour lightening the tones is brilliant and makes the story more suitable for children. Unfortunately, quite many adults seem to get blinded by it and can neither appreciate the gracious combination of darker tones with laughter, nor are they able to look beyond it and analyse the story. Story, which grows darker until the tone becomes solemn at the least expected time. When the dragon is killed instead of typical celebration and glossing over the damages and loss of life we get a very serious and dark look at the aftermath of the conflict. Death and loss of human life are treated with attention rarely given to them in children stories.

 

Use of language is brilliant. Every title of every chapter is precisely just right. The masterful use of words is both delightful and impressive. Descriptions, alliterations, poems... There isn’t a sentence which doesn’t bring something significant into the story.

 

 

Star Wars animated GIF

 

 

The Hobbit remains one of the best books I’ve ever read. You can literally (and I'm using this word responsibly) open it on any page and start serious literary analyses – there’s enough material to go on for hours. It’s always a pleasure to read and re-read each time finding something new in the story.

 

 

If you’ve survived this 'review' in its entirety... congratulations! You can come by my house and I’ll prepare some tea (what an honour, I know, I'm a benevolent host). Did I convey my point a bit at least? Did I? *sigh* just go ahead and read some analyses of The Hobbit on the internet. There are people much smarter than me, and much better at expressing their thoughts, too. I just hope I gave you a pause, at least.

22 8



What the hell am I supposed to do with this?!

Żarna Niebios - Maja Lidia Kossakowska

Word count: about 100 000 words
Rating: A bit ADD




What is that? That, my friends, is a collection of disjointed stories scenes. Good stories. Well written stories. Set in a nicely designed world. But disjointed non the less.

What did I want? ANY cohesive narrative. I wasn't picky. I simply craved a solid, simple, one track story full of clichés and heavy with one dimensional characters and conversations. A good piece of uncomplicated fun. Naturally, in that case Kossakowska should never have been the choice in the first place. Her writing is always a delight, but she doesn't do conventional, repetitive, cardboard-cut-out stuff. Ever. It always has her own twist on it, with her quirks and word mastery to carry it out (you either like it or get bored. Or board, however you happen to swing. No judgement). However, usually there's some sort of a cohesive narrative to follow, even if it's not enough to satiate your taste. Not this time.

This time it jumps from one scene, to another. From one set of characters to another. From one timeline to another. And no, it doesn't go back and forth between them to build one story. Or even a few stories. There's no story to speak of. Just hints of it. Tantalizing glimpses that in the end frustrated me, as they left me begging for more. It's just not nice. Not nice at all to turn someone on like this and then live them with no release. Truthfully, infuriatingly frustrating is the words that best describes my feelings towards this book.



It's the first part of what ended up being a series. Once I gather my collective shit together I might give the rest a go. A friend told me about two years ago it's her favourite series by Kossakovska. Could she be wrong? (Yes, very wrong. Very often. But hey, I can be nice. Sometimes. It's time for benefit of the doubt!) For now it just left me hot and bothered. I don't like it. Don't like it one bit.

 

12 2



Reading progress update: I've read 3 out of 512 pages.

Żarna Niebios - Maja Lidia Kossakowska

Oh, the sweet balm on my soul. After Lani Taylor disaster I need to recover. Bam! Kossakowska never fails. From the first words it's beautifully written and draws you in. *sigh of relief*

4 1



Wer zwei Hasen auf einmal jagt bekommt keinen

Dreams of Gods & Monsters - Laini Taylor

Word count: 154 000 too many


 

 

 

 

 


What a wast of time.
Is it a good romance? No.
Is it a thrilling action-packed adventure? No.
Is it deep and philosophical? No.
Is the writing poetic and enchanting, so that you revel in each and every word? No.
Is it funny? No.
...
So what the actual fuck is it?



I’ll tell you what, it’s a pointless, repetitive, boring piece of shit. In the three books combined you (maybe) had enough of a story for one book. Maybe. Ms Tylor has an astonishing ability to spew out words that don't contribute in any way to the story. A talented writer can describe a banana on 5 pages an make it thrilling. Yup. That's not Tylor. So not Tylor.

It dragged. And, in the end, it was going absolutely nowhere.

The book had potential. It could have been awesome, which makes me even more frustrated with the way it’s written.

All the plots play out clumsily and nothing comes out of them. In fact, at the very end is when the books could really start. Such a promise of adventure! Of tension! So much at stake! For a moment I even thought that there would be more books to follow, I mean, that was the most enticing ending in the whole series. And what do we find?

THE FUCKING END.



I rest my case.

9 1



Reading progress update: I've read 63%.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters - Laini Taylor

Could I care less? Probably. But that's not a hight praise.

 

Ms Tylor has an astonishing ability to spew out words that don't contribute in any way to the story. A talented writer can describe a banana on 5 pages an make it thrilling. Yup. That's not Tylor. So not Tylor.

8



Rating: Destined for redemption?

Days of Blood & Starlight - Laini Taylor





While this book started about as bland as the last one ended, soon things began to move. It wasn’t thrilling by any means, but decent. The action picked up, the main characters (lovey-dovey) were still separated, which is to what I attribute the change. Magical-pointless-love nonsense has been exchanged for actual plot development, character exposition and depth.

Despite my continuous contempt for the main teen drama-queen the whole picture perked up (even though, in the book, things got pretty grim.) Yes, it wasn’t perfect or thrilling, with all the, still, oh-so-dull inserts waved together with oh-so-pathetic underdeveloped characters I found really hard to like. Till the very end. Nope, still don’t like them. Especially Karou (basic bitch). But, things steadily improved.

Until finally, to my great surprise, the last 20% of the book finally hit it off. Action! Adventure! Danger! Finally, stuff was happening! It was a truly engaging experience. Pair that with decent writing and you have yourself a solid chunk of fun!



Unfortunately, the change came too late to sway my rating. Like a tired and bored Victorian lady whose husband (entirely by accident) during a night of underwhelming lovemaking, right as he was to selfishly reach the height, actually, to her surprise, started doing something which felt... good. Alas, he was done before she could fully give in to throws of passion and was left with an indecently incessant itch to scratch. As he rolled over and fell asleep. ‘Maybe another night’ she thought, as a small light of hope was lit up in her soul.



‘Maybe in the next book’ thought the reader, still reluctant, but hopeful, as she sat down to write a review.

12



Rating: Destined for oblivion (EDIT: it doesn't get better. Don't read this series)

Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor

What's the hype? I dunno.

 

 

 

Maybe that's because I haven't read much lately so I forgot how bad many currently published things are... Anw.

This book contained shitload (that's a technical term) of average/boring/stupid stuff I don't want in a book.

- Lousy romance (on pair with all the other magical-love/i-have-no-personality flicks)
- Flat main characters
- Stupid side-kick friends who have no point or charm
- And, above all, BORING



It was fucking boring. To death. Nothing happens. And then, oh god, we switch to a different storyline we don't give a single single fuck about. And that storyline is as flat and pointless as the main one was. Nope, even more so! Nothing happens. Nothing draws us in. Flat flatness of flatland flat.

 





Writing was decent, so that's nice.

Also, world building held such a promise! The magical side characters held so much potential! And all of that comes to nothing. Pity.

Could be decent, turned out to be utterly forgetful. I won't remember it in a week. If I wasn't trapped with this book during a flight/trip I would bounce away to do something more interesting. Like... stare at the sky! Wash the dishes! Call my annoying aunt! Go through old facebook photos of people I don't really know and have no idea why we're 'freinds'!

Don't hold your breath. It's just your average read passing through.

11 2



9



Sentence: This book is bad and you should feel bad

Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous! - Rory Freedman, Kim Barnouin



"You are eating high blood pressure, stress, and adrenaline. You are eating fear, grief, and rage. You are eating suffering, horror, and murder. You are eating cruelty. You are what you eat. You cannot be thin, beautiful with a glowing complexion when you eat fear, grief and rage"



*I'm mentally slapping the shallow, selfish author so hard*


Ok, I took a break from my crazy life to read this annoying piece of shit. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for vegan diets. It's an interesting concept and I'll gladly learn something about it. If you like that too, do yourself a favour and stay the fuck away from the 'skinny bitch'. Stick with Dr. Neal Barnard or Dr John McDougall or whoever tickles your noodle.

See something interesting about those guys? Yes, they're actual doctors who have spend decades on research. Who's Rory Freedman? Fuck me if I know. She's not even on wikipedia (that's low). That's just the tip of the iceberg. A small, inconsequential thing. After all, one can possess knowledge without having a degree, so I won't write you off just yet. But having no qualifications on top of, well, EVERYTHING makes me even more pissed. It made me so pissed I've felt the need to review a book even though I barely have time to sleep and eat.

What's the phenomenon of this little atrocity? I'll never understand.

In short:
- it's annoying
- the science is wrong (or incomplete) far too often
- there's little substantial content
(half a book is a filler, really. Just a list of vegan products. Half. A. Book.)

There, if you don't feel like reading my long-ass rant, that's all you have to know.



THE TONE:

Rory, "your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!". Fuck you!

This book tries to be sassy and bad-ass. Instead it comes off assy and just bad. It's insulting, boring and enraging at the same time. Congratulations!

I guess the bitch wanted to be cool, like Larry Winget cool. She failed. Miserably. Do you know why, Rory? Because he was careless, aloof, sarcastic but generally laid-back. Whereas you are prissy, pestering, whiny, overconfident, disrespectful, 'superior' and ignorant.

It's the combination of superiority and disregard for others combined with ignorance that gives you that special 'dumb, self absorbed bimbo at the mall' effect. It doesn't make you sound cool and sassy. It makes you sound obnoxious.

When you speak with such sense of superiority and self-righteousness AND manage to get the facts wrong... I've almost quit on the first few pages. Insufferable.



THE FACTS:

I'm not an expert. I poses only 'an approximate knowledge of many things'. However, sometimes I go a bit nutty and start digging.

Some of the facts were just... wrong. Or only half right. Now, I've noticed it at parts concerning topics I'm more familiar with. The rest seemed to make some sense, BUT (!) this is what scares me. Cause if I knew less I might have just bought into some of this... this shit. There's no other way to put it.

She knows nothing, she quotes nothing (no studies, no authorities), and she says things even I know to be incorrect.



THE CONTENT:

Is nothing. Half of the book is some shitty product list. HALF. Like I can't go to a store and have a looksie. You've made me pay for shitty content. And I know why you've done it. You got paid for every single worthless word. Yes, why not list a product, a brand, a particular name and a store. Now repeat 800 times? With all the respect, go fuck yourself with a sharp stick.





THE ETHICS:

This I think she gets quite right. Not totally, but hey. History and morality and politics part is decent. It's even interesting.

However, even that is spoiled with inappropriate remarks. You just can't go from describing inhumanities of a slaughterhouse, diseased animals, cannibalism, mutilation, torture, puss, hormones and pesticides to something as shallow as 'your skinny ass'. There's time and place for everything. And this bitch misses the mark so hard she could be a stormtrooper.

How can you write about the transport conditions, about how (apparently) US has no regulations, so animals travel in trucks full of their own shit and piss. And when it's cold their feet freeze to the floor and then they are just violently ripped off, often resulting in injury. Sometimes even a leg will be torn off. And after something like that you speak about glowing complexion?! WTF is wrong with you?!

No, it doesn't make you sassy and cool. It makes you a self-obsessed piece of shit. I read this, and in my mind I see a blond, bleached woman with fake tan, fake nails, fake boobs, heavy make up, wearing a slutty outfit, chewing gum and rolling her eyes as she proceeds to ponder complexities of life. Such as 'OMG, I don't care my boyfriend's mother had an accident. I mean, she's not dead! And we were supposed to go to this expensive restaurant. How can he be so selfish and, like, not take me! We've been waiting for 2 months!'








*Bonus round! Factual fallacies I've noticed and still remember!

essential amino-acids (aka protein)



This is so basic I can't even... EVERY SINGLE PLANT CONTAINS ALL ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS! There. I've said it. Don't believe me? Go to wikipedia, check the 9 acids. Go to any site about nutrition and start checking. Any plants. I've spend hours looking for a plan that wouldn't have them all and couldn't do it. Even fucking lettuce, damn it.

So, variety is covered. Quantity? Bitch, there's no such thing as protein deficiency. It just doesn't fucking exist (apart from people who are starving) If you eat enough calories, you get enough protein. We need very little. Think about it, have you EVER heard a bout someone getting sick or being taken to a hospital upon which they were diagnosed with a protein deficiency? Eating vegan you will, by default, consume more than you need.

If you don't know that, you're not qualified to talk about nutrition. EVER. Not even with your friends during brunch. Much less write a book about food and eating. Fuck off.

*Read a story about where currently popular standards for protein consumption came. You'll be amazed by the power of bullshit.




Sugar = fat.



No, it doesn't. Fat = fat. Have you EVER read a paper on how fat, sugar and protein are dealt with in our bodies? What differences there are?

Let me tell you, your body does NOT readily turn sugar into fat. The process is not efficient. The loss of energy is about 40% if I remember correctly. And that's a last resort, because first it's simply stored as glycogen in liver and muscles (yes, you can carry a few pounds of sugar on you before your body starts to turn excess into fat)

Fat to fat conversion, on the other hand, is unbelievably easy. And since sugar is the preferred fuel of cells... It gets used up and fat gets stored. This is why high-carb low-fat vegan diet is a thing. Low-fat being a pretty important factor.

Unlike the author I'm willing to link one article (McDougall is solid) and one study.

http://fanaticcook.com/2014/03/24/exc...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10...

(Yes, I actually do read research itself. Not just articles written by unqualified, pathetic, confused 'health experts' on some silly website or in a stupid magazine)

The thing is what sugar?


So
- natural sugar in food (fruit etc.) is good. (yes, fruit is good. No, you won't get crazy insulin spikes)
- refined, processed sugar (the word processed should be enough) is bad

What does the author do? Put fruit in the same category as white sugar! Now, how can ANYONE with a shrivel of knowledge take this bitch seriously.

The rest of shit she had to say about sugar was also inaccurate (not completely wrong, unfortunately. If you know little about nutrition you may even believe it. Do NOT!)

There's no point in explaining all of that here, just believe me she has very little fucking factual knowledge. She says 'sugar is the devil'. Personally, I think self absorbed, ignorant bitches writing about nutrition are the devil here.






whole wheat is good


Die in fire! This one is less obvious, but trust me. No, it's not better for you. No, you actually can't absorb the minerals from it any more than you can get iron by licking a car door. Your body just doesn't utilize it.

The kind of flour doesn't matter. What does is if it was made with SOUR DOUGH (or however the fuck you call it in English).

Have you ever wondered why humans through the history never simply ate grains, but instead had those complex processes of utilizing it? Fermentation, brewing alcohol... Nobody eats it straight.

Oh, wait, a cows do...

Because cow has 4 fucking stomachs (or was it 3?)! We have one, and grain contains something I can't name in English (sorry). It's bad for us. We don't digest it well (no, I'm not talking bout gluten). We have one stomach so we have to destroy it before ingesting food. This is what sour-dough does.

No, yeast is not the same. No, you can't speed up the process. Properly made bread is healthy. Most of what you get in stores is shit. But white/whole wheat makes no difference. Well, whole wheat puts more strain on your stomach, so there's that.





I could go on, and on, and on. Just trust me, don't use this book as a source of reliable information. Go, read something else. 

8



question about grammar

Ok, this may be a bit weird but....

 

Is collocation 'afraid about' correct? And, if so, in what context could it be used?

 

example:

 

I'm not afraid about your soul

or

I'm not afraid for your soul

 

???

Seriously, because I've been arguing with someone for a few hours. And the chick still maintains 'afraid about' is totally fine.

 

Other example: "I'm afraid about the train. It might not come on time and we'll be late" Is it really the hight of correctness?

 

5 30



Green kept it simple, and that's why, in the end, it works.

Looking for Alaska - John Green

Word count: about 70 000

Rating: An interesting ride (even if a bit defective)

 

I have a question. Why do all teenagers study when the author has no better story-filler to give them? Why not sleep all day, play video games, do crack and mess around with hookers or go on a killing spree? Or just watch cardboard exist? Real people don't go 'oh, my main story is on hold, well, I better study for now'. Seriously, In so many books the best thing for grades is to have no life. It's like poor teens absently gravitate toward books when otherwise unoccupied. Have you ever played the sims? Do you know what sims do when you give them no tasks? THEY FUCK AROUND! Not give in to the primal urge to pursue an academic career! 

 

 

In general, I'm confused. I couldn't decide on the rating for the longest time. Now I have to justify why I rated it so high despite some issues.  As far as first books go, it's a fine work. Green kept it simple and that's why, in the end, it works.  Focused, one track story and consistent, fairly logical and realistic (even if simplified) characters is a really good going.

 

Now, let's start with the flaws, shall we?

 

- A difference between a prank and being an asshole.

 

Maybe I'm not fun. But I don't think endangering someone's health/life or destruction of property can be considered a prank. I know the line is very thin. I know. But for me pranks are, in the essence, harmless. And fixing the damage does not take months/years.

 

Which gets us to some blatant moronic unrealism. John Green, what the actual fuck?! I know teens can act without thought. I know they can be self obsessed, selfish, rush, overly dramatic, narrow-minded and so on, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone stupid enough to pull some of the shit described in this book.

 

I'm talking about one situation at the beginning. No one would be stupid enough to take revenge on a guy by putting his a random guy's life at risk. Yes, because you suspect someone did something you disapprove of, you're going to almost kill a person that had nothing to do with said actions/events and doesn't even know a guy you blame? Seriously? Would anyone, ANYONE, no matter how self-absorbed and lacking imagination be that stupid?!

 

And that's just one of many delightful senseless, unrealistic annoyances.

 

Including

 

 

- Seriously, can you find any teens (not just boys) that don't watch porn? Who read porn magazines? And who don't know what a blow-job is? Couldn't you, like, google it when you've first heard of such a confusing thing?

 

And no cellphones on campus?

 

Who uses payphones? Do they even still exist?

 

Why no one had ANY electronic devices?

 

 

- Is it even possible to have literally no friends? I get it that you may not love them, but to have no people to casually hang out with, at least during school? Do you put babies heads on spikes or something? I mean, I'm an antisocial, shy introvert (and a mean bitch). I'm horrible at human interactions and even I had some friends (whom I didn't really like all that much, more like tolerated, but you do what you can at the time). At this point my rating was around 1,5 stars.

 

- Do people really have nicknames? Is that a thing in the USA? I'm curious. Please, let me know.

 

- On the subject of me not being fun... could you STOP LITTERING! I dare you, I double dare you motherfucker. Throw a cigarette butt on the ground one more time and I will shove it up your ass so hard, and so deep, you'll feel it at your tonsils and be able to take one more puff.  Your last. I know that teens littering is not unrealistic, just rage-inducing (told you I'm not cool).

 

 

 

 

 

 

To sum up my rambling that didn't say much at all:

 

Many people were annoyed by our resident manic pixie dream girl. I wasn't one of them, partly because of the shift in how I perceive books. I no longer have to like the characters, I just want a well written, well put together and logical story. Did I like Alaska? No. I didn't. But I knew people similar to her. And I admired them, envied them and hated them in equal measure. In this particular book the use of the trope is fine. Especially since she's not a perfection he pursues, but a moody teen that sometimes annoys the shit out of Pudge, but has great tits, and hormones... well, they do their thing.

 

Is she realistic? Yes, manic pixie dream girls are among us (or rather that's how some guys idealize some girls, it's all perception, Alaska isn't perfect). Were other characters realistic? Yes, actually. They were flawed, but not without redeeming qualities.  And they were very much teenagers and acted like it (which for many is enough of a reason to shoot at them with AK47).  I'd say they were two dimensional, not totally flat, but not a full blown people yet. Just enough to carry a one track story.

 

And that was one of the greatest strengths of this book. It was focused, didn't stray from the main lain. Simple, to the point. And it works. That's why the rating is so high.

 

The story wasn't a typical, senseless YA romance (I'm looking at you, countless authors). It actually managed to surprise me (*gasp*). And the countdown got me really curious. It's not a bad book at all. Yes, writing got awkward and times. And yes, it's short and therefore there isn't much space to expand characters, but I thought Miles was portrayed in an overall realistic manner. Did it make me love him, admire him? Hell no! But I gladly joined for a ride.

 

The ending was a bit too philosophical, but within reason. Come one, you sometimes have thoughts like this too :P And it's not like we were bombarded with those through the book.

 

 

 

 

19 3



Read during an intense exam session at my uni. WARNING! The incoming review may not be very objective.

Declaration of Courtship: A Psy/Changeling Novella - Nalini Singh

word count: 30 /35 000

rating: no nonsense, a short romance that goes right to the point

 

 

*My rating takes into account the length and what can be expected of the story like this.The limitations.

 

Writing: Nalini Singh spoiled me. Sometimes I forget how good she is, and then I start reading Looking for Alaska and become aware of the differences in style. Just saying.

 

Characters: Finally! A romance between a submissive and a dominant! I've been waiting for this one since book one. Why? Because reading about all those strong, dominant, or simply uber powerful characters makes you question some of the supposed dynamics of the pack. You know, the whole 'everybody's important, submissives have their place'. So it was nice.

 

Story: One of the benefits of having a submissive heroine was that, even though the story is short, it focuses on developing a relationship, rather than having one out of nowhere. She couldn't just jump into a relationship with a powerful lieutenant; her wolf would grovel in submission. That's why he had to ease her into it. And that was nice too.

 

 

13 2



Big news, unrelated to books, but I'm out of my mind with joy :D

Part of the reason why I'm so busy (apart from teaching at school, studying teaching 2 languages (out of which I didn't know one at all)) was that I was trying to arrange my Erasmus student exchange. New program is in place, and with it, new paperwork and chaos. It's been insane, but today I can finally say I'm 99% positive I'm going :D It's big, because I'm from a poor country and Norway is expensive. Very expensive. I was almost certain I simply won't be able to afford it. And now it looks good ^^ With a nice scholarship and a my own room in a dorm. So I'm a bit hyped right now (squealing like a slaughtered pig). It's so nice when things in your life work out ^^ So, in August I'll be starting a new semester in Norway! Hurray me!

 

 

 

29 28



An impressive beginning of a series with one, seriously crippling flaw.

Naked in Death - J.D. Robb

word count: about 85 000

rating:  I love the series, but this book deserves 2 stars (for one reason only, but don't run away, this series is totally worth it)

 

I've decided to re-read the series. Yes, a series that has like 50 books in it. That's how fun it is. So now I have some explaining to do regarding the rating.

 

the story itself & writing - easily 4 stars

romance (in this particular installment) - 2 stars (Way too much, way too soon)

*fun factor of getting emotionally attached to the characters and stuff - 5 stars

 

 

 

Now, if you want more detail, here they come. (*review of the series as a whole and of this part)

 

 

This series contains a serious amount of action. A lot is going on, and romance is never the main focus. It happens, as it in my humble opinion should, on the sidelines. Just like in real life.

 

The action itself is great. Who doesn't love reading about a cop solving crimes? A kick-ass cop with a sharp wit? Well, I do. And I appreciate the whole series, and this book, immensely.

 

 

Nora Roberts sure can write. Here, she showed not only her capacity to tackle different types of stories, she managed to combine crime, mystery, romance, a bit of erotica and all that set in the future! Everything combined so effortlessly the shear awesomeness of the act caught me unaware. To think I picked this book up by chance. Damn it! I could've missed one of my favourite series!

 

 

Writing itself is a marvel. It's not poetic, don't get me wrong, but it's impressive. It's competent, the vocabulary is extensive enough for me to pick up a new word once in a while, but not so complex I have to be joined at the hip with a dictionary. After all those crappy YA, PR and the 50 shades fallout, reading a book with such competent writing is a joy. But it's more than that. It sucks you in. The writing does it's job, it doesn't distract you by being either crude or extravagant. It flows effortlessly carrying you through the story.

 

 

And the story? Boy, no boring set-up, no annoying expositions, no in-your-face world-building. The story kicks off from sentence one and doesn't slow down to shove necessary info down your throat. Things happen and you're left to figure stuff out by observing the environment. I mean, it's set in the future, and yet characters don't stop to give you history lessons. They mention the name of some event in passing, as if it was the most obvious fact, and you're left to piece things together. Over time - it's not just doable, it's exciting. You get just enough of everything.

 

Why is it so important? Because when you don't care about the world and characters you don't want to hear all the boring stuff. And certainly not all in one go! You simply don't give a flying fuck. And Nora Roberts gets it. In next books more info will come, sure, but it's never an obligatory annoyance you have to suffer as a matter of course. Brilliant. The world-building is brilliant.

 

And character-building/ development/ introduction are done in very much a similar manner. No need to flood a reader with a torrent of boringly served details, better have him begging for every single drop of information later. Over the course of books we get to love and know characters, but it's a natural progression. I can't even begin to tell you how much I care about them all. Because of all the conversations, all the events, I grew to love them. Do I even have to tell you there's a lot of showing, and no telling? Yes, we get characters that are consistent, distinct, and convey their personalities through words and actions. Could we want more?

 

 

Yes, we could. And more we do get indeed! I love the crimes, I love the investigations, I love the inner workings of the NY police. Those books are really nice action.

 

But that's not all. Sex - my, oh my, keep on reading, because when Ms Roberts decides to write an erotic scene it sure as hell deserves attention. Women knows what she's doing. It's not hard-core BDSM porn. It doesn't dominate the books. Sometimes there's little detail, sometimes more, sometimes the focus is on emotions and thoughts. But it's always a satisfying part of a story, never a tasteless sex for sake of putting porn into your book. And she's done it before it was cool (or rather before it spread like a plague - 50 shades, I'm looking at you). The progression and development of the relationship is a joy to follow.

 

 

POV - we're following thoughts and actions of Eve Dallas, an NYPD detective.

 

From time to time Roberts will introduce a paragraph in a point of view of Roark, but it's not disturbing, and certainly much better than diverting the attention from Eve for a whole chapter would be. We get into his head, but only as brief visitors. And that's enough. Just read it, you'll see.

 

 

 

 

So where's my problem?(contains minor spoilers, but seriously, the genre is 'romance' among other things, so if I tell you that two people get together it's hardly a spoiler)

 

I guess that Ms Roberts had no idea the series would turn out to be such a success, so she pretty much wrapped it up in book 1.   The love happens way too fast, way too soon. It should have time to grow over a course of a few books, instead they get together almost at Twilight speed (like after 3 conversations or so). I have no problems with sex and sexual attraction, but love? Roark's feelings have no basis. Fascination? Yes. Desire? Sure. Curiosity? No problem. All of those I accept. But too serious too soon never works for me.

 

 

Don't get me wrong. I love their relationship (in general), and in later books I sort of came to accept it, but the way it started? Rubs me the wrong way. It's so at odds with how excellent this book is, I'm baffled. It's not horrible by any stretch of imagination. It takes a small part of the book, but with how good everything else was it gets on my nerves.

 

 

 

5 stars is a general rating I'd give this series. Not an objective one, a personal one. It has pretty much everything I could want. Drama, romance, sex, crime, mystery, action, dark past, wit, fun characters (except for Mavis, I can't stand the type, but it works)...  If it floats your boat you'll have a lot of fun. If it's not the type of a book you like, move along, but I'd still advise you to give this one a try before abandoning an idea.

 

 

 

 

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