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Category Archives: reviews

Goodreads; Badcensorship.

Some of you may know that as well as blogging about whatever the hell tickles my fancy over here, I also review books. Yes! It is true! To hell with you, all the kids that mocked me for reading too much in school; I’ve made a nice little lucrative (in a non-paying sense) career out of it on my beloved interwebs! I have two places that allow me to spew my book-related thoughts whenever I feel the need; Insatiable Booksluts and Snobbery. It’s the perfect gig for me; no deadlines, I get to read what I want, and I get to tell people about amazing (or, at times, NOT-amazing) books that I come across (and there’s nothing happier for a reader than when you recommend a book to the faceless masses and someone takes your recommendation, reads the book, and loves it as much as you do. It’s an amazing feeling.)

However, there are some books that I read that, for whatever reason, don’t make it to either site, Either I didn’t like them well enough to write a full review of them, or they just don’t fit either site. For those books, I write a quick review at Goodreads.

Goodreads is perfect for me; I can keep track of what I’m reading, I can socialize with other readers, and I can write quick reviews of books that don’t deserve the full-review treatment. This is as much for me as for everyone else. I read a lot, and I like to keep track of what I read. I used to have a spreadsheet, but I lost track of that when it got insanely long. I like the graphic aspect of Goodreads, as well – sometimes I don’t remember the title of a book, but I remember the cover. I can just scan through what I’ve read lately and pick it out of the list.

I’m not a rabble-rouser over there. I know there ARE rabble-rousers; trolls who do various things like bait authors into getting into fights, or bait other reviewers, or if – GASP! – you disagree with their evaluation of a book, call you names. NAMES! Can you even IMAGINE the HORROR!

I don’t get involved in the drama. I don’t care for that nonsense. I’m there to write reviews so people can make educated decisions of books before they purchase or read them, and for my own records. That’s all. That’s it.

Recently, Amazon purchased Goodreads. There was a LOT of uproar over this. Up until this point, Goodreads was an independent site for readers. How would the biggest online bookseller owning the site change things? People threatened to leave, and people left, and people moaned, and people groaned.

I’m a big Amazon fan (although I’m not blind to their issues; I just like their prices and convenience.) I decided to wait it out.

Well, Goodreads dropped the hammer last weekend. I assume only the first hammer. We are, I would guess, going to be nailed with so many hammers in the coming months that we’re going to want a platinum umbrella when we visit the site.

Right before leaving for the weekend, they put up the following announcement, but they didn’t make it obvious; they put it up in the forums, where as few people would see it as possible.

In case you don’t feel like clicking, here are some of the highlights:

“**Delete content focused on author behavior. We have had a policy of removing reviews that were created primarily to talk about author behavior from the community book page. Once removed, these reviews would remain on the member’s profile. Starting today, we will now delete these entirely from the site. We will also delete shelves and lists of books on Goodreads that are focused on author behavior. If you have questions about why a review was removed, send an email to support@goodreads.com. (And to answer the obvious question: of course, it’s appropriate to talk about an author within the context of a review as it relates to the book. If it’s an autobiography, then clearly you might end up talking about their lives. And often it’s relevant to understand an author’s background and how it influenced the story or the setting.)”

“To clarify, we haven’t deleted any book reviews in regard to this issue. The key word here is “book”. The reviews that have been deleted – and that we don’t think have a place on Goodreads – are reviews like “the author is an a**hole and you shouldn’t read this book because of that”. In other words, they are reviews of the author’s behavior and not relevant to the book. We believe books should stand on their own merit, and it seems to us that’s the best thing for readers.

“Someone used the word censorship to describe this. This is not censorship – this is setting an appropriate tone for a community site. We encourage members to review and shelve books in a way that makes sense for them, but reviews and shelves that focus primarily on author behavior do not belong on Goodreads. 

“Some people are perhaps interpreting this as you can’t discuss the author at all. This couldn’t be further from the case. The author is a part of the book and can certainly be discussed in relation to the book. But it has to be in a way that’s relevant to the book. Again, let’s judge books based on what’s inside them.

“Some people are concerned about their “not-interested” shelf or variants of that. We are not deleting those; you are free to keep cataloging books that way. We are deleting shelves like “author-is-a-jerk”, as they don’t fit our guiding principle that the book page be about the book.”

“Thank you for all the comments so far. One concern that has come up in this thread is that the content was deleted without those members first being told that our moderation policy had been revised. 

“In retrospect, we absolutely should have given users notice that our policies were changing before taking action on the items that were flagged. To the 21 members who were impacted: we’d like to sincerely apologize for jumping the gun on this. It was a mistake on our part, and it should not have happened.

“Anyone else with reviews or shelves created prior to September 21, 2013 that will be deleted under the revised policy will be sent a notification first and given time to decide what to do.”

OK, so let’s see what’s up here.

  • We’re no longer allowed to discuss authors when reviewing books. I know this SAYS it’s ok if it’s relevant to the book; we’ll discuss that in a minute.
  • Any reviews violating this rule will be deleted.
  • Any shelves labeled offensively toward the author? Also deleted.
  • Goodreads will be making these decisions. How? Arbitrarily, it seems.

Goodreads went around deleting things before even telling anyone they were doing it. They say it was only 21 people; more than 21 people are reporting it happened to them. Who’s to say who’s telling the truth, here? The big, bad company, now owned by Amazon, or people who aren’t getting paid and just love to read and write reviews?

Here’s my issue.

I understand if you review a memoir or an autobiography or sometimes even a collection of personal essays you’re probably going to have to touch on the author. Goodreads states very clearly here they won’t censor that (HA HA IT’S NOT CENSORSHIP! says Goodreads! We’re just telling you what you can and can’t say or do, and what to think! IT WAS A PLEASURE TO BURN!) but who knows what they’ll do. If they find it offensive, it’s gone.

It’s a nice thing, to say the author and his or her behavior and personal beliefs have nothing to do with a book; that it’s easy, just judge a book on the content, not the author. It’s an easy thing to say. It must be nice to live in such a black-and-white world.

However, I just read Ender’s Game.

And I can’t, in good conscience, review Ender’s Game on Goodreads.

Because I cannot, utterly cannot, divorce Ender’s Game from the beliefs of its author, Orson Scott Card. It would be a betrayal of my own beliefs, and a betrayal of a number of people I care about a great deal.

Would my review, among a veritable sea of reviews for the book (which was written in 1985) be a drop in the ocean? No. Not at all. But I don’t betray myself, not if I can help it.

So I’m going to review Ender’s Game here, because this is a safe place, and no one’s muzzling me on my own blog.

And as for Goodreads? I’ll continue using it, unless someone creates something comparable. There’s not another site out there that has the same functionality. But I think they need to stop fooling themselves: this is censorship, pure and simple. Not telling us what the rules are – or telling us, but not playing by them – and arbitrarily deleting our hard work because it doesn’t fit your rules, whatever they might be – this is censorship. Whether or not this was dictated by Amazon – my guess is yes, because it’s not good for a bookseller to have someone give bad reviews of books or authors, now, is it? – is irrelevant. We’re no longer welcome to share our real thoughts on things.

This scares the hell out of me, to be honest. To just do something like this, and think it’s ok? And to say no, no, this is not censorship?

Such a pleasure to burn.

I just finished Ender’s Game. Ender’s Game was a really wonderful book. I immediately got caught up in the story. I didn’t know what was going to happen; somehow, a book that’s almost thirty years old wasn’t spoiled for me, even though it’s a cult classic. There were two points at which I had actual tears.

Then what’s the problem, Amy? I can hear you asking. It was a good book! Yay! The world needs more of these!

The problem is that the author is a loathsome homophobe, and I can’t reconcile that with this book. It was bothering me the entire time I was reading.

Orson Scott Card doesn’t just disapprove of same-sex marriage and homosexuality. Orson Scott Card wants to BRING DOWN ANY GOVERNMENT THAT ALLOWS SUCH AN ABOMINATION. I wish I was kidding.

He also:

    • is a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), on whose agenda are things such as fighting against marriage equality, gay adoption, safe schools for LGBT students and the gay “lifestyle” as a whole;
    • has called same-sex attraction “reproductive dysfunction”
    • stated “Normalizing a dysfunction will only make ours into a society that corrodes any loyalty to it, as parents see that our laws and institutions now work against the reproductive success (not to mention happiness) of the next generation”
    • has equated homosexuality with pedophilia, and stated, “The dark secret of homosexual society — the one that dares not speak its name — is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally”
    • wrote a lengthy essay titled “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality” in which he admonishes gay people as nothing more than people who are giving in to sin and states that anti-sodomy laws should remain on the books, making homosexuality illegal in the U.S.

In 1985, he wrote a beautiful book about, among other things, a child forced to grow up far too quickly, and the grownups around him who use him as a blunt weapon for their own ends. Ironically, he also loaded it with homosexual subtext. But hey, it’s much easier to be shouty about the HORROR! the HORROR! of teh EVIL GAYZ! than to deal with whatever he has going on in his own closet.

I can’t reconcile this book with this hate speech. This really is a beautiful book. It’s full of huge thoughts and themes. It’s kind of groundbreaking; I could name a ton of books that have taken the lead from what happened in this book. The characters were fully-fleshed and relatable. I loved Ender. Utterly adored him.

But the man that wrote it hates some of the people I love more than anyone in the world. And he’s loud about it. And the last thing we need in this day and age is someone who had a podium and had the nation’s ear (the movie of this book is coming out in a couple of months) shouting hate-speech.

The book was about how we ill-use our children; I’d argue that teaching them hate from a young age is ill-using them, Mr. Card.

I won’t be reading the rest of the series. This book ended perfectly. I don’t need any more of his books. I just can’t divorce the author from the work. It hurts to do so.

I’m glad I met Ender. And, for what it’s worth? He’d find his creator’s views repulsive. The character you created, sir, has more compassion and character than you do. And he’s fictional. Do you see the problem here?

(For more on the Goodreads controversy, please read sj’s take, This is Me. Getting involved., Emma Wolf’s take, Where capitalism and art intersect, and Charleen’s take, Goodbye to Goodreads?)

Sources:

Orson Scott Card’s Anti-Gay Views Prompt ‘Ender’s Game’ Movie Protest (Huffington Post)
Ender’s Game, Superman and Anti-Gay Bigotry (Huffington Post)

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If you’re going to buy and sell me, you’re in for more trouble than I’m worth.

The weekend is over! Things happened this weekend. THINGS. Here are some things:

  • Opening night happened, a night later due to the blizzard. The blizzard, oddly, had a name. The name of the blizzard was Nemo. When did we start naming blizzards? Is this a thing we always did? If so, why was I not made aware of it? Also, isn’t Nemo an odd name for a storm? NEMO IS AN ADORABLE CARTOON FISH. Not a blizzard. (Also, the blizzard was more bark than bite. Did it snow? Yes. But not as much as they said it would. I think we ended up with maybe 6-8″? Tops? THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID. It made for a messy drive, and I got exhausted cleaning off the car, but otherwise, eh.)
  • That was too long to stay all one bullet point. ANYWAY, opening night happened. It went beautifully. The cast was spot-on, the lights and sound went off without a hitch (she says humbly, at least from the sound point of view) and the minute the cast came out for their bow, the audience gave them a huge standing ovation. I was so proud of the cast, and of friend A., who directed the hell out of that show. Then we had a champagne reception and everyone was so happy and complimentary, and I stayed up super-late and the review came out (not from the paper I review for, but for the other paper) and it was SO SO GOOD. You can totally read it. You don’t even have to pay to read this one. I think that’s because the Times Union has more money than my paper, I don’t even know. I was so excited to see this I texted friend A. in ALL-CAPS. ALL-CAPS TEXTING!!!
  • So after the show I stayed up way too late because there was a new Saturday Night Live but I might as well not have because both the host AND the musical guest was Justin Bieber and I JUST DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE BIEBS. What is the appeal of this boy? Really? He’s not overly talented. I mean, he seems nice enough, but he’s just a kid with a pleasant, vaguely-female face. And he wasn’t even all that funny. Mostly he just kept looking vacantly around during the skits. I think he was trying hard, but it wasn’t really hard enough. But teen girls are INSANE about this kid. I just don’t get it. I just don’t. I guess I am too old?
  • Then I went to bed and at first I could not fall asleep because I was way overtired but guess what happened? I SLEPT FOR EIGHT STRAIGHT HOURS. I didn’t even wake up once. I woke up in the same position where I crashed out. Like I was a dead person. I woke up and looked at the clock and went OH HOLY HELL. It felt AMAZING. Then sj told me I’d really slept for 5 years, not 8 hours, and be careful when I went outside, because there were flying cars now. That made me laugh and laugh.
  • Then we had our matinee, which also went very well. And then I went out and bought a burrito for dinner as a treat and now I am watching The Walking Dead and then I will go to bed and attempt to get close to 8 hours of sleep AGAIN tonight, and won’t that be grand? Yes. Yes, it will.

    ZOMG, there is a badass Daryl Dixon meme. I approve. I HAVE MISSED YOU MY WONDERFUL DARYL!

    ZOMG, there is a badass Daryl Dixon meme. I approve. I HAVE MISSED YOU MY WONDERFUL DARYL!

  • Oh, at work on Saturday, at the answering service, some woman called all up-in-arms that her apartment complex hadn’t cleared her parking lot. I explained that we couldn’t page maintenance for that, because – per the apartment complex, in their OWN WORDS – “the clearing of snow is not an emergency that maintenance needs to be paged for.” She went BALLISTIC. “Do you know how much money I pay for this apartment? Do you know how much money I have in the bank? I COULD BUY AND SELL YOU. You are REQUIRED to call maintenance if I tell you to. YOU ARE MY EMPLOYEE. You are FORCING me to LIVE IN MY CAR. You will LISTEN TO ME WHEN I TALK. Don’t you DARE speak when you’re being spoken to.” Yep. This is the kind of thing I get at work, yo. I ended up hanging up on her after just repeating to her over and over I couldn’t help her per her complex and she’d have to take her complaints up with them when they opened again on Monday. “YOU WILL BE FIRED FOR THIS!” she screamed. Well, maybe, I don’t know. But probably not. I mean, it’s not OFTEN people are fired for following the rules of their jobs? But maybe. So I just told her “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more I can do for you, and this is fruitless for both of us, so I’m going to hang up now. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance.” She was still screaming when I hung up. Happy, happy, joy, joy. (SIDE NOTE: I pay half of what she does for the place that I live, but my maintenance people were clearing my lot when I woke up on Saturday. The whole lot was almost completely clear when I left. So I guess all the money in the world can’t buy you a parking spot, Lady McRicherson. Hope you liked sleeping in your Caddy. I know I enjoyed sleeping in my nice warm bed. Also, have fun buying and selling me; I don’t think you’ll make much. I’ve been used and abused, and most of my internal organs are either missing, just don’t work, or are completely broken and I don’t think are going to bounce back, so I can’t be worth more than about $1.27.)
  • Also, I bought a ticket to go see Stephen Sondheim talk at one of our local colleges in May. I AM GOING TO BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS STEPHEN SONDHEIM. I’m kind of hyperventilating about this right now. STEPHEN EFFING SONDHEIM YOU GUYS.

Tomorrow and Tuesday I’ll be at the theater again – we have auditions for our next show – and then I actually get to come HOME on Wednesday and Thursday! Well, I have to go grocery shopping one of those nights, and laundry the other night, but after that, HOME HOME HOME! It’s gotten to the point that when I come home, Dumbcat goes into a fury of happy. MOM MOM MOM YOU ARE HOME MOM! he says in his cheerful furry way, and then follows me around like a puppy, making chirpy meows like a bird-cat. Then if I actually get two seconds to sit on the couch, he curls up to my leg as if it is the best thing ever and purrs SO SO HARD. Also, earlier today he sneezed in my face. I think that might be the grossest. Why would your cat do that to you? MEAN.

This was supposed to be a music blog, wasn’t it? I was totally planning on posting about a music thing. I guess that will have to be tomorrow because it’s already getting late.

OH! Here is a story called “earlier in the week I was very sleepy.” So on Saturday I got dressed half-asleep and cleaned off the car and went to work. And after a few hours I went to the bathroom. As one does. And I was all, “why are these the most itchy underwear? These underwear are really itching me.”

BECAUSE I WAS WEARING THEM INSIDE OUT.

Yes. I went to work with inside-out underwear. Now, I probably could have fixed them, but it seemed like a lot of work to take off my big snow boots and pants and such in the grubby work bathroom and fix them so I totally went through my entire day with inside -out underwear. And every time I went to the bathroom I just looked sadly at them and said to myself, “this is really a total sign that you have just given up. You have completely and totally given up right now.” AND I DID NOT EVEN CARE ENOUGH TO FIX THIS SITUATION. IT WAS TOO MUCH WORK.

SO CHEERFUL! I was not this cheerful, but I was resigned about the situation.

SO CHEERFUL! I was not this cheerful, but I was resigned about the situation.

You will be pleased to know that my undergarments are on correctly today. And are much less scratchy since the lacy bits are right-side out, not wrong-side in.

They tell you the side-effects of not enough sleep are trouble concentrating, crankiness, forgetfulness, uneven motor skills, things like that. They do NOT tell you that you might space out and put on your panties inside-out and then just not have the energy to rectify the situation. I think there should be a PSA about such a thing. I mean, this would scare the kids, you know? Make them not as apt to stay up all hours partying and such? I mean, INSIDE OUT UNDERWEAR, you guys. This is not a laughing matter.

(The internet told me if you wear your underwear accidentally inside-out, you will have an especially lucky day. I didn’t. So therefore, your superstition is invalid. I TESTED IT. IT IS NOT TRUE.)

Also, I have read ALL the books over the past week; time in the light booth gives you plenty of time to read. Kindle-books and tree-books. We will discuss the pros and cons of both in a future post. All I know is, I read and read and read this week. I finished three books and am well on my way to finishing a fourth. Being able to read again? An absolutely amazing feeling. Just a brilliant one. Getting lost in a book was something I’ve been missing so much. And honestly I need to be getting lost in book-world, because I’m not having the best time in Amy-world at the moment, so it’s nice being in book-world. I’d almost forgotten that aspect of reading, and the main reason I did so much of it as a younger-me – it lets you not be you for a while. Thanks, books.

Two more days of theater hell, then only two more brief weekends of it. I’m the little engine that could right now. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.


Knitting up the raveled sleeve of care. Plus: THE BEST NEWS. ZOMG. With extra Z!

Day off TODAY, too! ZOMG, it’s like a whole WEEKEND happened! I have to go to bed early tonight, though. Early shift the next two days. Which means I get out early – that’s nice – but I’m so not an early morning person. I yawn and yawn and YAWN for like the first two hours. I’m really not at all meant to get up before 8. Or maybe 9. It’s kind of a thing with me.

Speaking of which: ok, so for the past…um, let’s see…twenty-five years of my life? I’ve survived on 4-6 hours of sleep a night. “Survived” being the operative word here. It’s not something I chose. It’s just the way my stupid brain works. For a while, I wasn’t even getting the 4-6 hours. First I tried to fix it with melatonin, because that’s what people said to do. What people? I don’t know, shit, PEOPLE. Boy, you’re questiony. Melatonin worked for a little while but then I had to keep upping and upping and UPPING the dosage until I realized I was taking like a billion times the recommended dosage so I was like, this can’t be good, I think I might be poisoning my gallbladder or something.

Recommended dosage: 1 pill. I was taking like 6 or 7. Probably best I stopped.

So then I tried Benedryl for a while but that just gave me a couple of hours of sleep a night and then I’d wake up all dried up because Benedryl is for allergies and I didn’t HAVE allergies and so therefore it was making me all dry and my nose started bleeding so that really wasn’t handy.

These are not a good long-term solution. Short-term, sure. Long-term, nope.

Then I went to the doctor and I was all, “hey. HEY. I think I might die because I haven’t slept in a VERY VERY LONG TIME.” And she gave me some pills and I’ve been taking them for about ten years now and they work. They’re not GREAT, but they work. One of my other doctors told me to ask for something else the next time I see my GP because what I’m taking isn’t really recommended for sleep or for human consumption anymore, so maybe I will. ANYWAY, that’s not the point of this narrative. Like I’ve ever stuck to the point of a narrative, ever. Sigh.

So remember I got fired and I wasn’t working or doing…well…hell, much of anything for a while? So I had nothing to do but sleep. And I thought, well, there’s no way I WILL sleep. But I did. And whether it was depression or boredom or my screwed-up brain, I started getting some of the best sleep I’ve ever gotten in my life. 8-9 hours. Straight. Without waking up once. Deep and waking up all refreshed with the most tremendous bedhead and feeling like I was really refreshed, and not just like I closed my eyes one minute and opened them the next and hadn’t slept at all. So I thought, huh, THIS is interesting. But it’ll stop once I start working again.

Like a BABY, I’m sleeping. Like a damn BABY.

BUT IT HAS NOT STOPPED, YOU GUYS. I’ve been working these crazy hours at my part-time job, and as long as I make sure I get to bed early enough to give myself the 8-9 hours I need? I CAN STILL SLEEP THE WHOLE TIME. I’m getting SO MUCH SLEEP. Is it depression? Is it just a change in life, like hormones or something? Is it the stress of the last job is gone? I don’t know. I don’t know if I actually want to question it that much, to be honest. It is FANTASTIC. I can’t even explain. Unless you’ve dealt with insomnia, you probably won’t be able to relate. It’s like a huge weight being lifted off your shoulders. It’s like being able to breathe again when you weren’t able to before.  It’s like having this extra well of strength to draw from. IT IS SO AMAZING I CAN’T EVEN. So I’ve gotten better at not staying up late effing around on the internet when I know I can get to bed and will actually get a full night’s sleep. Like a grownup! Like a real, real grownup! Sleep, I will never curse you or screw around with you again. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH PLEASE DON’T EVER LEAVE ME.

It is true! I might love this “sleep” thing I’ve only heard tell of in the past more than ALL THE PORK-RELATED MEATS.

And, NOW, it’s that time…SHARING THE GOOD NEWS TIME! A while back, I alluded to some good news that might or might not happen. Then I never told you about it. That’s not because I forgot about it, it’s because I was waiting to hear. Well, I got the news today, so I can FINALLY pass it along. And it’s good. It’s super-good.

So, quick, pop-quiz! What are two of my most favorite things in the world? NO, not PEOPLE. THINGS.

If you guessed “writing” and “theater” you are CORRECT. If you additionally guessed “passing judgment on things” you are TRIPLE correct and get extra credit.

About a month ago, I got a call from a theater friend of mine. She’s a theater reviewer for one of our local papers, and she’s looking to retire in the next month or so. “So, what do you think, Amy, want to be a theater reviewer?” she said.

DO I WANT TO BE A THEATER REVIEWER? Um. Yes. Yes, I do. Thank you.

ME ME ME I’m gonna be a reviewer ME ME ME!!!

I get free tickets; I get paid to write something a fraction of the length of one of these posts; I get published both in print and online. And, in “things that would have made wee Amy so happy she would have done a happy dance” – YOU GUYS YOU GUYS I’M GOING TO BE WRITING FOR THE PAPER. Yes, just every now and then, a few times a month, when I get a gig, but still. I’m going to be doing something I’ve wanted to do since I knew it was a thing people did for a living. Both writing for the paper and REVIEWING things for the paper. These are both things I have always wanted to do. And they’re things I will be good at. I know I will. (No, don’t worry. The reviews will not be as long as my blog posts, nor will they have ZOMGs in them, or ALL-CAPS. I have to be PROFESSIONAL and ADULT in my reviews. And I can totally do that if they’re paying me to be. What? I can.)

Whenever I have to do grownup things I feel like I’m playing dressup. TRUE STORY.

I got my first gig last night, which will be in mid-October. I’m going to be slowly worked into the schedule over the next month or so. (There are two other reviewers over there so the three of us do all the reviews in the area.) I get to TRAVEL! Some of the reviews are in MASSACHUSETTS! I’ve never BEEN to Massachusetts! And, on top of the awesomeness of FREE THEATER TICKETS, I get PAID TO WRITE. What’s my ultimate dream in life? To live from my writing. I mean, I’m not really DOING anything to WORK toward that goal (I know, I’m like the most passive dreamer ever) but this is a step in the right direction. No, it’s not enough money to live from…but it’s enough money that, once I get a full-time job again, things will be more comfortable chez moi. And Dumbcat! Chez moi et chez Stupidechat.

Un chat c’est très stupide! Et très enjoué!

Getting paid to do something I love doing? That’s a move in the right direction. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m completely over the moon. I’d love to tell you all you could read the reviews, once they come out – and, well, technically, you can, but you’ll have to pay. I know! It is le suck. The paper is subscription only online. It costs $1 to read each article. So yes! You can read what I’m doing over there. But it would cost you $1. So that’s your call. (I’d post ’em here but what if they found out and fired me? I’m not doing ANYTHING to risk this job. I’d clean the floors of a newspaper building with my TONGUE for the opportunity to work there. Not even kidding you.)

Hmm. A worrisome thing I found is this.

Anyway, there’s my news. It’s not a job, well, not a full-time job, anyway, but it’s just about the most exciting thing to happen in Amy-town in a very long time. I’m ecstatic. So much thanks to my friend C., who thought of me for the job. I just want to hug her until her head pops off. NOT REALLY! No murdering of friends.

OK. I’ve been writing this for hours. Off I go! Happy days, all. I’m working mega-hours over the next few days so I’ll be around, but not much. Behave! As much as you can! If not, at least have fun!


I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.

Job interview day! I have/had two interviews today WHOO. Just got home from one and have another this afternoon. I am ALL DRESSED UP. Which means while I’m sitting here waiting to get back on the road for round two of “like me like me LIKE ME,” Dumbcat wants to crawl all over me and get me all furry. NO NO NO DUMBCAT. I don’t think job interviewers would be overly impressed by my skirt being covered in Dumbcat-fur. Well, they MIGHT. But it’s totally doubtful.

ZEE OH EMM GEE. I don’t…WHAT IS THIS. Dumbcat says, “Please do note maek craftes out of meh furres, moMMy, grohss.”

Anyway, the interview this morning seemed to go well, and I’m kind of keen on it, so fingers are crossed. As they have been for over a month now. I would kind of like to un-cross ’em at some point. SOMEONE OFFER ME A STUPID JOB ALREADY SHEESH. I’m going to get finger-cramps. Or, hey, I’ll also take a non-stupid job! A nice job. A very nice job. That pays money that I can spend on things. LISTEN. The first thing I’m buying as soon as I get a real paycheck? CHINESE FOOD. I am DYING for food that costs more than the store-brand and is TERRIBLE for me. And a bottle of wine. SIGH SIGH YUM WANT.

I’m seriously drooling at the moment. I WANT DUMPLINGS.

Job interview two was NOT as good. Let me tell you why. I showed up and it was CREEPY there. Like, I didn’t want to sit down in the office because I thought I would catch MRSA. (I’m not going to say where it was because that’s rude.) Then the first thing the interview lady said (she didn’t even introduce herself, odd) was, “This is a part-time position. Sorry it didn’t say that online. Also, we only pay minimum wage. Still want to continue with the interview?” Um. You couldn’t have CALLED ME AND TOLD ME THAT? (I got the interview after filling out an application online, and through a series of emails, no phone calls. Neither the online job listing or the subsequent emails said anything about it being part-time or how much the job paid.) So I nicely said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I wasn’t aware it was part-time, I really need a full-time position, I’m sorry to have wasted your time,” and she was all “no, whatever, the job listing’s wrong, whatever, see ya.” That was a waste of time, gas, and pantyhose, yo. Although, listen, it’s for the best. Because who wants to get MRSA? Also, I haven’t gotten minimum wage since college. I couldn’t live on it then and I wasn’t paying rent then, I was living in the dorm. I sure as hell couldn’t live on it now. I make almost twice that at my part-time job, come on! I feel TERRIBLE for whoever ends up taking that job, what with the minimum and the MRSA!

This is where the MRSA lives.

Here is a story. BFF works in HR. (Hi, BFF!) BFF said I should periodically check Craig’s List for job listings, because there are sometimes good jobs on there. And he’s right; there are. But also, there are SHADY things on there. That send you emails like “Oh we totally want to hier you click this lienk HERE” (yes, there are actual typos in the emails they send you, very classy) and the link when you hover over it is porn. Thank you, tricksters, for capitalizing on those of us who are not employed and are sad and desperate and trying to become less-so by sending us spammy porn-links and assuming we’re too stupid to know better than to click.

Today, there was a posting that said the following:

FIRST COME FIRST SERVE BASIS – CALL ASAP
WE CURRENTLY WORK WITH STUDENTS FROM: LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES AROUND THE ALBANY AREA!
PART-TIME/FULL-TIME AVAILABLE
GREAT FOR BUSY STUDENTS WHO ARE LOOKING TO MAKE EXTRA CASH AROUND THE FALL SEMESTER
NO BENEFITS INCLUDED
$12.50 base-appt.
Conditions apply – 17 w/ diploma is required

So the first thing I thought, of course, was that this was for prostitutes. Or at least those girls that work phone-sex lines.

Looking for a job has made me jaded and bitter. But I still randomly laugh at things like job postings that I think are for sex-industry workers.

Anyway, this is not ALL about jobs! No no no. Well, I guess the following is kind 0f job related. Someone’s doing a job and getting paid for it, all nefarious-like.

The amazing sj, my master musicologist and all-around kickass friend, alerted me to this story the other day.

Apparently, Todd Jason Rutherford runs a company where self-published authors can pay him for reviews. For $99, he’ll write you a review. For $499, he’ll write you 20. For $999, he’ll write you 50. Well, he won’t. He has a whole stable of people he pays $15 a pop to write glowing reviews of books they haven’t read for authors whose books aren’t good enough to get a good review on their own.

Or maybe they are. Think about it, seriously. Who’s buying these reviews? Who publishes a book, thinking it’s not good enough to get reviews on its own? Do you write a book KNOWING it’s terrible? Why would you do this? No one does this. Or do you write a book, and then it fails to get good reviews, and you realize it’s not going to sell any copies without them so you spend some of your hard-earned money on lies? Also, ALSO, who the HELL is spending $1000 on fifty reviews? If you’re doing this, you have the following problem, which is a saying my dad says a lot, and I got from him: “That guy’s got more MONEY than BRAINS!”

This is a very bad book; I think anyone could tell JUST FROM THE TITLE. ZOMG, what IS this? (Also, I don’t think you can still say “midget.” I don’t think it’s PC anymore.)

How far do reviews go, anyway? I think anyone with half a brain takes reviews with a grain of salt, especially if they’re written by someone you don’t know. The New York Times article with the SHOCKING REVEAL of this practice says about a third of all reviews written online are fake. People seem surprised by this. I was more surprised by people’s surprise, to be honest. I assume most reviews on public sites are one of two things: a., fake (written by a friend/family member, someone with an axe to grind, either pro or con, etc.) or b., biased. Aren’t all reviews biased, anyway? What works for one person doesn’t always work for someone else, whether you’re reading reviews for books, makeup, food, or lady-pens. (Please click this link; it’ll make your whole day. BIC! You made PENS for WOMEN? What the hell are you thinking? Our delicate fingers can’t handle a NORMAL pen? Our delicate eyes can’t handle all those bright whites and blues of typical pens? This is ridiculous. This link makes it a little better. My personal favorite is the tampon one.)

Ooh! LADYPENS.

As a book reviewer sometimes, it makes me sad that some of us are actually READING these books and giving them HONEST reviews while some people are getting PAID to LIE. Sure, that’s annoying. But we don’t live in the most honest society. People lie. Is this so shocking? Is it really? Does anyone read the reviews on Amazon and think, “OH THIS WILL BE AWESOME” when confronted with a shit-ton of five-stars for a book about alien swampmonsters?

Here’s my thought. Take it as you will. Let’s say you’re looking for a new book to read, and you’re scanning through Amazon. (I don’t know that anyone really does that when looking for a new book – at least among my friends, we all have to-be-read lists as long as our whole LIVES. I have a pile of books to be read that will take up probably the next six months of my life.) If you want to read the reviews of a book – well, great. You can. But first, try this. Read the blurb. Look at the cover art. Read a little about the author. Does it seem like something you might be interested in? Well, great. You can give it a shot, if you want. If you want to do further research, blogs tend to be a little less biased (well, if you find a good blog) than Amazon reviews. (And I find that Goodreads reviews are also less biasy than Amazon reviews – there’s still bias there, but Goodreads readers tend to be, for the most part, pretty intelligent, booky people. I like to read their reviews. I do scan the star-system over at Goodreads when I’m thinking about a new book, sometimes. I like to see how other readers have rated it. It doesn’t change my mind, but I’m curious about it. (Bonus points if my friends have read/rated it.)

Trust the reviews written by the people you know and trust. I trust that Susie and sj aren’t going to steer me wrong. They know what type of books I really enjoy, and they know what I hate, and they are my friends, and we have similar taste (well, we don’t always like the same things, but we have high standards in what we like, and that goes a long way.) I have a handful of other review blogs that I read and make me add books to my pile – I don’t want to list them all here, because if I leave someone out, well, I don’t want to hurt feelings. But there are probably 7-10 blogs that I read that I know write consistently intelligent, well-thought-out reviews. I still read them to see if the book is something I’ll be interested in – I’m still not going to be interested in a book about, say, golf, or boxing, or something (well, unless it’s REALLY well written, I don’t rule anything out in the world, life’s too short) but if they give it a good review, and it’s something I’ll be interested in? Odds are good that’ll make it onto my to-be-read list. My friends C and R also know when I’ll like a book and I trust their recommendations. BFF has similar taste and recommends me books (I’ve lost count of the times I’ve mentioned “I’m reading (whatever)” and he’ll say, “ME TOO!” This also works for television shows. We’re well-matched, me and my BFF.)

So, yes, I listen to the people I know and trust. Here’s a secret, though, ready? Guess who I know and trust most? Me. I 99% of the time know, going into a book, if it’s going to be up my alley or not. Not whether or not it’s going to be the book that CHANGES MY LIFE or whatever, but I know if it’s got all the hallmarks of being something I’ll enjoy. An author who’s written other things I like, or subject matter I like, or published by a publisher I know and trust – I trust my judgment, and I don’t pick a ton of terrible books. (I’ve also gotten better at just stopping when they’re so so bad. Again, life’s too short and my TBR list is too long for bad books.)

Would it surprise you at all that I have this on a teeshirt? Because I do.

So! There is CHICANERY in the book-review world! I totally thought, for a minute, “huh, I could use $15 a review.” I AM POOR GIVE ME A BREAK. Then I decided, nah. My good name and being able to sleep at night is worth more than $15. (Although, listen, I don’t hate the guy who started this service. He’s apparently making $28,000 a year month (THANK YOU SJ! You know, I meant to say month? But I think I couldn’t wrap my mind around that kind of money, considering I’m living on store-brand Cheerios at the moment.) And people are paying him to provide this service. He’s not the asshole here. The authors who are paying someone to lie up their book? Those are the assholes. Sorry, authors, it’s true. If you wrote a shitty book no one can/will write a good review for? That’s on you. WRITE BETTER BOOKS.)

(The title is a Nietzsche quote. I’m not really all that upset. Don’t fret. I didn’t believe most of the reviews to begin with.)


“Truly, I am a marionette and he is a master puppeteer.”

Today we have to discuss something VERY SERIOUS. That affects ALL OF US. Are you ready? Are you ready for something very serious that affects all of us? 

What is it, Amy? What affects all of us? 

Bad porn, is what. 

Listen, I just finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey, and people who purchased this and are reading this and are all het up about this, we need to have a discussion about why this is a VERY BIG MISTAKE ON YOUR PART. 

I’m not giving you the Amazon link to this because I DO NOT THINK YOU SHOULD BUY OR READ THIS.

Now, I am not a porn connoisseur. I couldn’t honestly care less about porn. I know it exists. As long as it’s not being waggled in children’s faces or the cause of crime against women or whatever, porn, you keep on keeping on. Everything has its place. Even porn. I’m a firm (heh, firm) believer that everyone has their kink, as as long as no one gets hurt, you do your thing. 

However, there’s PORN, then there’s Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Oh, don’t even get all technical with me and say it’s erotica, or even literotica. What it is, my little cauliflower florets, is one of the worst books I’ve ever read in my entire life. And I have read a LOT of books. A LOT a lot. 

First, can I just explain, please, why I read this book. It was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and I didn’t even read the article and I was like, huh, must be interesting or something, and I put it on reserve at the library. Then I heard it was getting banned all over and I thought, well, NOW we KNOW it must be interesting! If someone tells me I’m not ALLOWED to read something, then I REALLY want to read it. Then people started telling me what it was about, and I thought, huh. Well, who cares, I don’t mind erotica. I read all of those stupid Ann Rice Sleeping Beauty books. Those were pretty steamy. 

Oh, in case you live under a rock or maybe in the outback or something, Fifty Shades of Grey is about two people in a consensual BDSM relationship. Plus some other stuff. We’ll go more into that later. Also, do I have to tell you that a., there are going to be spoilers here, and b., WE’RE TALKING ABOUT SEX STUFF TODAY? So kids, go watch a Disney movie, or something, and people who want to remain unspoiled for the book (I think most anyone who wanted to read it have by now, though) you can go read my archives or something, I suppose. 

See? Nice. Go watch this, kiddos. Don’t keep reading, you’ll get a complex.

Moving on. I was not at all comfortable with the older women in my office who decided to have a conversation about it with me in the lunchroom before I’d even read it, though. I’m not friends with these people. I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT SEX WITH YOU.

OIder lady 1: Amy, you like to read. Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?
Me: Nope.
Older lady 1: You should. It’s about…(whispers) SEX.
Me: I’ve heard. I have it on reserve at the library. I’ll read it someday.
Older lady 1: All KINDS of sex. KINKY sex.
Me: Mmm-hmm. (Frantically reading book, eating sandwich, trying to look busy so the conversation would stop)
Older lady 1: SO MUCH SEX. I was wondering, where’s the plot? Because there was SO MUCH KINKY SEX. People were TYING PEOPLE UP!
Me: Oh? Huh. (Reading! Eating! READING!)
Older lady 2, walking in: Hey, ladies! What are we talking about?
Older lady 1: Fifty Shades of Grey! It’s a book about ALL THE SEX!
Older lady 2: Oh! Wow! (sits, settles in for a long discussion)
Me: I…um…have to get a thing from the place. (leaves in a hurry) 

(SIDE NOTE: I don’t MIND discussing sex, just not with women old enough to be my mom that I don’t know very well and don’t like all that much. And not in the work lunchroom. That seems unsanitary. That’s where the FOOD is.) 

OK. So. Fifty Shades of Grey. Why’s it so bad, Amy? Is it the sex? No. The sex is fine. Is it the subject matter? Nope, like I said, whatever, there’s a place for porn (or erotica, or literotica, whatever) and great, good, you go, book, you go. 

Here’s the problem. 

IT IS ONE OF THE MOST POORLY-WRITTEN THINGS I HAVE EVER READ. 

Here’s a quick rundown. Anastasia Steele, a very, very clumsy girl about to graduate college, is roped into interviewing Christian Grey, a very rich businessman. They dig each other. They get together. He’s into being a dominant! He wants her to be his submissive! He has ISSUES! In his own words, he is “fifty shades of fucked up!” Plus, his last name is GREY! HENCE THE TITLE YO! 

Will these two crazy kids make it work? Oh, will they? I CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT! Oh, wait, yes. Yes, I can. I can wait. I can SO WAIT. I can wait FOREVER. 

I assure you this single photo is a billion times sexier than the entire series. And I didn’t even read books two and three.

So I got the book from the library. I was a little worried it would be sticky. You don’t know what people do with library books that are NORMAL, I don’t want to know what they do with PORN. 

I read about thirty pages and was in tears of laughter about how badly it was written. I scared the cat. I was talking to the damn book. OUT LOUD. 

First, I was only a little way in before I said, “Huh. What’s going on here? Ana seems a lot like Bella from Twilight, with the self-doubt and the clumsiness. Is clumsiness the new black? If so, I am on the CUTTING EDGE OF COOL since I fall down ALL THE DAMN TIME. Where’s my knight in shining armor, I wonder?”

Oh my NOOO! Look at poor clumsy helpless BELLA! (Man, did I hope this truck was going to hit her. It didn’t. I had sadface.)

Then someone on Twitter pointed out that the book started as Twilight fan fiction, and the Twi-hards were all, “Um…naughty! But titillating!” so the author just changed the names and published it. 

Listen, had I known that, I would NOT have read this book. I hate Twilight. HATE. With the fire of a thousand suns HATE. 

Also, it says something that even Stephenie Meyer was all, “Um…yeah. No. No, this isn’t…good for her, but…no.” 

So even though it was the worst book ever, based on one of my least-favorite series ever, I kept reading. Why? To be honest, I wanted to blog about it. It’s the main reason I do anything hilariously awful lately. 

Here are some (and there are many) issues I have with this book. 

Argh 

One of the only times that “argh” is permissible. Plus, it’s Joss, he can do whatever he wants.

At least twice that I counted, in the middle of some very “hot” sex (the sarcastic quotes are because there’s nothing hot about the sex Ana and Christian had, ever, except, I suppose, the temperature when they were having it in a bathtub) Ana made the noise “argh.” Now, I’m pretty sure if you make the noise “argh,” you are a., a pirate, b., tripped over an ottoman, c., foiled again, curses, d. doing the Mutant Enemy Joss Whedon credits and saying “grr, argh.” You’re not in the throes of passion. (She also made the noise “Aaaaah!” and “Aaaaagh.”) An easy fix? “Ana moaned.” See? See how much more sexy that is? NO ONE WOULD SAY ARGH DURING SEX. If I was having sex with a guy and he broke out the “argh” I would laugh so hard one of us would roll off the bed, I’m not even kidding. Oh, you want an example? HAPPY TO OBLIGE. Let’s take this. The Bloggess had her laptop stolen. So she wrote a post entitled Aaaaaaargh. THIS IS AN APPROPRIATE USE OF ARGH. Not during SEX. Not during something you’re ENJOYING. (Well, I guess unless you have a charley horse. Not that this has ever happened to me. OK FINE ONCE IN COLLEGE. And it was the WORST. Talk about something that took me by surprise. GOOD GRAVY.) I don’t take a bite of cereal in the morning and go “ARGH!” unless  the milk’s gone bad. Who does this? The answer is no one. No one does this.

Euphemism 

Oh, I’m pretty sure this was utilized in the writing of this book.

I’m not saying I needed a clinical textbook or anything, but the only body part that was referred to by its proper name (I’m of course referring to our swimsuit area body parts, don’t be ridiculous, of course she said “arms and legs” or whatever) were breasts. Everything else was all “throbbing member” and “the juncture of my thighs” and “the place where he was both velvety and hard, what a titillating combo” and “my warm and wet place.” ZEE OH EMM GEE. Here, look what you can do in print without the world exploding, ready? Penis. Vagina. Clitoris. WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHAT WILL HAPPEN? Nothing, is what. I’m not saying porn would be hotter with “he then inserted his penis into my vagina” – that sounds a little too much like a sexual how-to pamphlet in hell – but it’s amazing to me that you can make it through an entire 514-page book riding on a boat made of euphemism. They’re just words. I mean, you had these people whipping and chaining and such, and you’re quailing at the use of “vagina?” Please. 

Britishisms 

Yep, this about sums it up.

Ana made a big deal about being country mouse and never having left the continental United States. Christian was well-traveled, but grew up and lived (as did Ana) in Seattle. However, for some reason, the two of them said things – constantly – like “have a tidy-up” and “well-remembered, you” and “well played.” Hmm. Why would Seattle denizens speak thus? OH. BECAUSE THE AUTHOR IS BRITISH. I really got the feeling the closest she’d ever been to MERKA was to watch a couple episodes of Dallas one time. If that. Maybe.

GIGANTIC THESAURUS WORDS 

No one thought: they pondered. No one was interested: they were titillated. No one was wordy: they were verbose. No one was moody: they were sullen. This woman never met a three-dollar word she didn’t just love, she rode until it was all up in a lather and then she, for good measure, beat it into the ground while cackling like a crazy. Oh, sorry, like a banshee. Or an utter lunatic. Or an institutionalized harpy. I KNOW BIG WORDS TOO. And I know there’s a time to use them. It’s not always in your bad porn. We still know it’s bad porn, lady. 

“inner goddess”/inner monologue 

Mine likes to wear pajamas and loaf. A lot of loafing.

Listen, Ana was annoying. The MOST annoying. The whole book, unfortunately, was from her point of view. We constantly had to listen to her inner monologue. And at least once on a page, you had to hear what her “inner goddess” was thinking. “My inner goddess was doing cartwheels.” “My inner goddess was hiding behind the couch.” “My inner goddess was doing a sultry samba.” WHO TALKS LIKE THIS. I don’t have an inner goddess. If I did, you’d get “Amy’s inner goddess is eating Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food out of the container on a couch covered in cat hair while watching Celebrity Rehab.” 

I think everyone was schizophrenic 

Yes, I realize Jack wasn’t a schizophrenic in this movie, but I love this picture so much. Let me have it. I just read a really awful book for you. Thanks.

I know. People are unpredictable and wild! That’s nice. It is. Thing is? People aren’t. Not really. Sure, people do things that are out of character. But these things usually point toward something being wrong with them. How many times has a friend of yours done something weird, and you’ve said to a mutual friend, “That’s unlike Frank/Francine. I hope everything’s ok with him/her.” Probably you have. I know I have. People are, for the most part, a predictable species. NOT IN THIS BOOK BUCKAROO. People say one thing and do another! People say they want to be beaten with a belt, then get mad at their boyfriend for actually going through with it! People say they don’t want a relationship and then two pages later say, “All I can think about is being in a relationship with you because I love you now!” I can’t take anything seriously when it’s this all over the board, I really can’t. 

Stilted writing of unnecessary scenes 

Pretty sure we’d find this in the author’s house. Only with glitter stickers on it. Of hearts and shit.

There were page-long descriptions of “I decided I might be hungry. But what might I be hungry for? Maybe an omelette. I don’t know. Was I in the mood for an omelette? My inner goddess wanted some fruit. I decided to make some pancakes. I didn’t know where the bowls were. I looked in the cabinets. I found the bowls. I put the bowls on the counter.” ZOMG IF I WANTED A BLOW-BY-BLOW I’D VIDEOTAPE ME MAKING DINNER. I don’t care. I don’t CARE! There’s an old rule of thumb – if it doesn’t further the story, you don’t need it. Apparently, E. L. James was too busy masturbating to thoughts of Edward Cullen to read any “how to write something that doesn’t suck” manuals. Sorry. Was that totally the grossest and all the TMI? Wait until I get to my next section. 

The sex isn’t at all sexy 

I’m fairly sure this isn’t the face I was supposed to be making when reading the sex scenes. Yet it was pretty much my reaction.

There’s a lot of sex. Don’t get me wrong. A LOT OF IT. Like, every few pages, someone’s getting a throbbing member thrust into a wet and warm place. But it’s not sexy. From the time Ana loses her virginity (the pain of which? “a slight pinch” – um, ok, good for you, darling, not how I remember it, but fine) to the most DISTURBING TAMPON SCENE YOU CAN EVEN IMAGINE (I’m not even going to go into it, but watch this totally amusing fake YouTube book trailer if you want a hint, a gross, gross hint) to the BDSM scenes, which I suppose would be sexy, if I didn’t hate both Ana and Christian so much I wanted him to accidentally choke her out, have to bury her in the backyard, and then get caught and locked up for life, you get all the non-sexy sex you could desire. With a lot of “my inner goddess swooned” interspersed. Oh, and she never has an orgasm. Instead, she “shatters into a million pieces and slowly puts herself back together.” EVERY DAMN TIME. That’s another word the author is afraid of. Orgasm. ORGASM IS A DIRTY WORD YOU GUYS. Nipple clamps and fisting are on the table (heh, on the table) but not orgasm. (I just checked, and yes, she does say it once and a while. I apologize. Not OFTEN, but apparently it’s not the naughty word that penis is. My fault. So sorry.) 

Also, there was a lot of “he pulled at my nipples until they elongated.” As in, more than once. In multiple sex scenes. Um. OUCH OUCH OUCH. THAT’S NOT WHAT THEY’RE FOR. They are not Silly Putty. You cannot transfer the comics onto them. THERE ARE NERVE ENDINGS IN THERE. 

I wanted to punch every single character in the neck three times a page 

Ana was a useless waste of space who went into the relationship expecting this guy to change even though he told her exactly what he was looking for (granted, he acted like a schizophrenic with the changing of his mind, so maybe that’s why she was fooled.) She also fell down a lot and ran into things and almost got hit by a bike. Christian was a control freak who was sexually abused as a teenager and most likely abused as a child (that was hinted at but not explained. YET.) Ana’s mom talked like a pre-teen. Ana’s friends were either controlling bitches or would-be rapists. And that’s pretty much everyone in the entire book. There’s no one to root for. NO ONE. 

No one talks like this, NO ONE 

…and here’s another reference book she used. Used WRONG.

People say things like “WHOO all this UST in the room!” and then I have to look up what “UST” is and it’s unresolved sexual tension. WHO THE HELL TALKS LIKE THIS NO ONE NO ONE. Or, how about Christian’s brother’s term of endearment and goodbye to his girlfriend, which Ana and Christian adopt as their own: “Laters, baby.” LATERS, BABY? Oh, no. Oh, my, no. Also, there’s a lot of “I bit my lip” and then Christian goes BATSHIT CRAZY all “Don’t DO that, you KNOW how that affects me, I WANT TO BE THE ONE BITING YOUR LIP.” What the actual hell? And the title? The title of this post? Direct quote from the book. THAT IS SOMETHING ANA SAYS TO HERSELF DURING SEX. You know, because when you’re in the middle of all the sex, you think of a sentence as clunky as that. Or, OR, when Ana and her overbearing roommate and BFF (why? who knows, Ana’s a douchenozzle) were talking about how Ana lost her flower to Christian: “Kate looks wistful. ‘Yeah, took almost a year to have my first orgasm through penetrative sex, and here you are…first time?’”If my BFF said “penetrative sex” to me, I think I would throw something at him, possibly the television remote, and then laugh until I had a choking fit. Who says “penetrative sex” in a casual conversation? That’s the kind of thing someone says in a safe-sex talk at the local Planned Parenthood, or something. Not two BFFs sitting around shooting the shit. I feel like this author was raised by wolves. Wolves with nothing to read but thesauruses. 

THERE ARE TWO MORE OF THESE 

Why. Why. WHY.

The book ended on a CLIFFHANGER ZOMG (let’s be honest, I didn’t give a shit) and there are TWO MORE OF THEM. Fifty Shades of Greyer and Fifty Shades of Suck My Soul Out Through my Nose if I Have To Read Any More of This Shit. NO THOSE AREN’T THE REAL TITLES. Am I going to read them? No. No I’m not. Life’s too short. I assume, with no prior knowledge, that most likely Ana and Christian end up happily ever after, with her accepting his lifestyle as her own, with some modifications, or something like that. It’s not like this woman can write or come up with anything original. OOH! Maybe someone has a magic sparkle baby like in Twilight! That’d make me want to read more!* (*no it wouldn’t) 

Now, listen. I’m not completely against this book, for two reasons. Two. And only two. And to show you that I can be UNBIASED, I will share them with you. 

The power of viral marketing 

This woman published these with a tiny e-pub house in Australia, and with the power of viral marketing and word-of-mouth, they’re topping the bestseller lists. That makes me want to vomit until I’m sore, but that’s not the point. The point is, whoever’s marketing her books is doing one hell of a job. Or just people talking did this, I don’t know. Whoever it is, or a combination of both? Kudos. These terribly written pieces of trash are the it thing. Undeservedly so, but they are. And that’s impressive. Now let’s use our powers for good and get some GOOD books on the bestseller list, what do you say? 

Getting women to talk about sex more openly 

I know I was all ew ew ew earlier about the ladies in my lunchroom (and I’m still ew ew ew, that hasn’t changed) but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with women feeling like they can openly discuss sex. If this terrible book makes them feel like they can do that? Well, fine, then it has served one purpose, and now we can use it to prop up the short leg on the coffee table. Seriously, sex isn’t dirty. There’s a time and a place for it (and if you’re a stranger and you think we’re going to talk about it on Twitter, hit the road, I’M TALKING TO YOU DING DONG JOE) but sure, it’s not something women should be ashamed of talking about. Men talk about it all the time. Women should feel free to do so, as well. So, yeah. Just – there are better books, sexier books, that you can read. You know that, right? OK, good. Just checking. Go read those. Because I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to slip into a sexy frame of mind when the writing is so bad in a book it makes me laugh until I’m crying, you know? 

Goodreads really needs an option for .00001 stars, because giving this one star really didn’t give me the satisfaction I wanted. 

For additional awesome, please to visit this Tumblr, which has provided me with hours of entertainment.  

My inner goddess is hungry now and I think I need a sandwich or maybe some wasabi peas. Laters, baby.


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