(An illustration of du Maurier's grandfather's, a parody of Camelot)

The Gift of Madness

Here I am with the next installment of the sugar challenge! I’d wanted to arrange things so that all my Russian reading would kind of coincide — because I will in fact be reviewing House of Special Purpose on the heels of my character discussion from Sunday — but I already had this book from the library and therefore things are going to be less thematic than I would like. However, I am proud to report that it’s finally not an abysmal disappointment and I have some nice things to say at last!

Week nine, A book by a female author.

I had initially considered this book for several different locations on the challenge — including thriller, classic romance, and short stories, as I found out more about it — but in all honesty I couldn’t be happier about keeping it where I initially put it in my first iteration of the challenge. Because with it being “book by a female author,” I really want to focus on the author. Without further ado, I give you . . . some of the most fundamentally brainscamming short stories I’ve ever read from a truly mad mind.

Continue reading


Day 13: Favorite Male Book Character

Somehow, I’ve always avoided using Star Wars books when it comes to answering book questions. Perhaps because I’ve always kind of taken them as “not quite books,” because Star Wars is, to me, this overarching thing that transcends its medium. But with Zaphod Beeblebrox already covered, I turn without shame to a book character I have underrated up until last year. A character who, the more I read of him, is a character I would no longer hesitate to say is the one I’d have brought out of a book and into real life if that were an option.

But first, because you know me very well and I wouldn’t want to disappoint your prediction, a little prologuery.

Continue reading

Shrewsbury Station

Day 12: Favorite Male Character in a Movie

And continuing the trend of over-analyzing this . . . initially wasn’t going to go this direction because this character appears in a movie and a book, and I would’ve liked this to be more purely movie since it specifies movie; however, I’m not as keen on his character in the book. I almost skipped it again because I talked about Jurassic Park in the last iteration of this challenge — and I think I even could’ve justified him in the same slot as JP last time, because I actually like both* Jurassic Park movies equally, and no one else in the world seems to.

Of course, by now, you quite probably have guessed who I’m going to say. After all, is there more than one guy in both JP movies to like? No. There is not. But I’ll still do the reveal after the jump for the sake of tradition if not of suspense.

*Throughout this post, you will no doubt notice my dogged repetition of both when referring to the JP canon. That’s right; there are two. There are two books, there are two movies, and there are no further sequels. Period. End of the discussion.

Continue reading



This is a very, very special post. Which you may have noticed because today’s post is not part of the man challenge, which ended up being yesterday, because it was more important to observe something today — and also, I try to restrict myself to one post per day. It’s not clear to you now why I do that, but back when I started blogging, sometimes I posted about five times a day, and that is part of what’s driving me insane right now.

I can post it! I can post it 12 times!

I can post it! I can post it 12 times!

It’s related, I promise. February, as it turns out, is a surprisingly important month on my calender. I find that interesting because back when I was writing The EmJay Zone newsletter, I had a lobby where I tried to get people to abandon “February” because it has a stupid number of days and is hard to spell, and call it “Jadeuary,” after my Star Wars nickname, Mara Jade. But there’s two major anniversaries for me this month — one, I saw Star Wars: A New Hope for the first time ever on February 12, 1997, and two, I wrote my first blog post on February 14, 2005.

Continue reading

Even I could read this one.

The Hawkguy :#)

Now look what I did to myself. What a spiral! First Michelle gets me to watch Rifftrax: The Avengers because she says Jeremy Renner is hot. Then I start griping about Hawkeye not getting more screen time because he’s hot. Then I’m looking up deleted scenes on YouTube. Then I’m writing a post on my blog about how I think Hawkeye deserves more than 12 minutes of screen time. And then I’m spending $25 on comic books. Me! The person who can’t stop emphasizing how difficult I find comic books to read and how much I don’t really care for them!

Yes, kids, shortly after I wrote that post, I decided I couldn’t live any longer without deaf Hawkeye and bought Vol. 1 & 2 of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, containing the first 11 issues of an apparently critically-acclaimed comic series. This is what happened. (Part of the 2015 Sugar challenge.)

Week seven, A graphic novel.

Continue reading


Original Waltz

If you go back and check on my Sugar Challenge post, you’ll see things have already gotten a bit out of order. I’ve made some adjustments. Due to various weather, library deliveries, and Amazon purchases, some slight rearrangements have taken place — and I’m doing another one of these tomorrow because thisĀ is the 7th week of the year and I should have seven reviews out.

But this one was surprisingly easy. I have a goal of seeing every movie based on a book that I’ve read, and reading every book that was turned into a movie that I’ve seen. So all I had to do was go through my to-read list looking for a book I particularly want to read based on a movie. The legwork was already done! And I knew just what movieized book I really wanted to go for.

Week six, A book that became a movie.

Continue reading

Hello, the truth? Are you out there?

Day Ten: Favorite Male Character in a Scifi Show

At first, I went at this question all wrong. I tried to think of a “scifi or supernatural show” that I like, and then derive a male character from it. I’ve already talked Voyager — and goodness knows, Tom Paris, Harry Kim, the Doctor, and Tuvok give me ample material — there’s MST3K (Mike and Crow, anyone?), TNG (Data and Geordi FTW!), DS9 (Odo! Bashir! Quark!), Firefly (The man we call Jayne!) — heck, I don’t watch a lot of TV, but the shows I do watch are invariably scifi in nature.

Clearly this gave me far too much material. And anyway, I’d already talked about some of those shows. I wanted it to be a character I really like on a show I really like that I haven’t really gone on about much. I dislike repeating myself, you know? And then I realized, well, the answer was fairly obvious. What’s one of the only shows I do own? And who’s the character that is the only reason I ever watched said show?

Continue reading


Day Nine: Favorite Male Character in a Drama

One of my favorite movies of all time, a perfect movie with endless rewatch capability, and a movie I honestly never expected to like.

A big story.

A big story.

Big Fish is a Tim Burton picture that, oddly, does not include a heavily made-up Johnny Depp, although Helena Bonham Carter does play a weirdo with eccentric hair. In fact, none of the usual Tim Burton tropes appear in the movie, which is probably how it manages to be the only Tim Burton movie I love. It tells a story of a young man called home because his father is dying. This would be a troubling time for anyone, but it’s especially troubling to him because, well, he just can’t care about his father. His father has never told him the truth about himself, so he feels that he doesn’t know the man — and how can you mourn the passing of someone you do not know?

But in the course of the film, as his father’s tall tales are related to us, not necessarily in chronological order or by the same narrator, we begin to get a picture of who Edward Bloom is, and so does his son, until finally the storytelling father and truth-craving son realize that they are truly the same. Truly family. And as he takes on his father’s legacy to tell the last great fish story, realizing his heritage as his father’s son, we the audience also decide that truth is in the eye of the beholder. Until we see the funeral, and a glimpse that perhaps . . . perhaps there was more truth in those tales all along.

Continue reading


Sherlock, Ho

There’s a very good reason that I prefer books I already own when doing challenges. I know it’s not an obvious preference because the last several reading challenges I’ve done have all centered around books I’ve never read before that I also don’t own for the obvious simple reason that all my books are in storage and probably will be until I die of old age ten hundred years from now because omfg what is the point!!!!

Ahem. Anyway, what I meant to say before my consciousness snapped there for a second is that I prefer books I already own because then neither the library delivery nor the weather can screw up my life by delivering things late, out of order, when I can’t pick them up, or prevent me from getting them. All of which happened, causing the book for week 8 to become the book for week five.

Week five, A mystery or thriller.

And I think I’ve established how I feel about thrillers, so this book was a mystery. Proceed.

Continue reading