Top Ten Tuesday: Book-Related Facts About Me

toptentuesday

Image via The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, focuses on the book bloggers rather than the books themselves. But since talking about myself is not nearly as interesting as letting others do the honors for me, I’ve enlisted my friends to contribute!

Here are ten book-related facts about me, according to those who know me best! (All facts have been quoted via Facebook comments).

1. “You’re a bit of a grammar queen, who tends to correct people’s Facebook posts. Like mine, for example.”

2. “You love Greek mythology.”

3. “If there’s a sexist rich guy in a book, he automatically reminds you of Christian Grey.”

4. “You prefer the fresh smell of binding to the fluorescent glow from some lifeless e-book.”

5. “You hate when books end, and you’re left without any real closure.”

eatpraylovemindy

6. “You’re frenemies with Elizabeth Gilbert.”

7. “Ideal book: Dystopian feminist-centric romance novel based in an alternative universe where dogs and cats have equal rights as humans.”

8. “Ideal male leads to fight for the heroine’s heart and affection are played by none other than Tom Hiddleston and Jared Leto in the movie adaptation in three parts.”

9. “You love fantasy with supernatural types and fireworks at the end.”

10. “I know you may not kick stray puppies when you’re bored, but you sure do have some built-up tension towards Nicholas Sparks.”

All I can say is that my friends have certainly described me in a nutshell! Do any of their facts resonate with you as well?

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15 Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2014!

Hi everyone!

It’s been a lazy Sunday for me, after finishing my Christmas shopping and wrapping like a madwoman yesterday. Today, I’m just making some chicken and dumpling soup, organizing my stuff both online and IRL, and preparing for the last work week of the year before celebrating the holidays with family and friends.

I’m also reading my 15th and final book of 2013: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. It’s been an absolutely exquisite read so far, and I can’t wait to see how it all will end. What a fantastic way to close the year!

I also figured that since I’m reading my 15th book on the 15th of December, why not share 15 things I’m looking forward to in 2014? Sure, I could have picked 14 things to coincide with the new year, but I’ve always been a slight overachiever! So here we go!

1.     Celebrating my 25th birthday (on the 15th of September, no less!). One of my best friends is planning a surprise vacation for me, which I’ll find out about when we reunite for Christmas. She’s the perfect party planner, so I’m crazy excited!

2.     Paying off my student loan. My grace period ended last January, but in a year, I’ve managed to put over $3,000 to my student loan thanks to doubling the minimum payments and using my tax refund. I hope to eliminate the remaining balance so I can snowball those payments into my savings!

3.     Reading more books! Waiting for me on my bookshelf right now include Reached by Ally Condie, Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella, and When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro.

4.     Hollow City. The sequel to Ransom Rigg’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is finally being released on January 14th! Here’s to more creepy photos!

No shirt, no problem!

5.     The parade of pecs…I mean, of Greek myth movies. The Legend of Hercules (Jan. 10), Pompeii (Feb. 21), 300: Rise of an Empire (Mar. 7), and Hercules (Jul 25). Sure, they’ll probably hack the history, but hooray for chiseled chests and six-pack abs!

6.     The Hobbit: There and Back Again. I’m waiting to see The Desolation of Smaug with my family next weekend, but I’m pretty confident I will love it and this finale.

My Spidey sense is tingling 😉

7.     The Amazing Spiderman 2. Ok, last movie-related one, I promise. But it’s Andrew Garfield–’nuff said!

8.     The return of Community. Despite the drama off-screen, including Donald Glover’s early departure, I’m crossing my fingers for #SixSeasonsAndAMovie Cool cool cool!

9.     Game of Thrones, season 4. I realize that I’m wasting most of my bullets on the things I watch, but oh well! How could Peter Dinklage NOT make my list?

Blackjacks FTW!

10.     K-pop comebacks. Rumors are circulating that Korean girl bands 2NE1 and Girls’ Generation are planning to release albums early next year, and many more groups will be revealing new songs and videos. If you don’t know k-pop besides “Gangnam Style,” you’re missing out!

11.     Traveling to new places. I better boost my vacation fund, because the world is too big to sit in one spot for long!

Yummmm….

12.     Trying out new recipes. My “Nom Noms” board on Pinterest has a bunch of untested meals, and I’d like to get my cook on! I’m partial to anything with Nutella as an ingredient!

13.     Reaching 40,000 total blog views. And based on my stats, I should reach this milestone in a few months!

14.     Renewing my domain. I can’t believe I’ve been using bookclubbabe.net for almost a year! It’s been a wild ride!

15.      And of course, blogging! 2013 has been an incredible journey, and I know it’s only going to get better next year!

So what are you looking forward to in 2014? Let’s raise our glasses to another 365 days of awesomeness!

Book Review: Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

So have you ever read any ancient myths and thought to yourself, This is some pretty crazy stuff!

Of course you have! But usually those dry textbooks discuss bestiality and cannibalism like they’re just items on a grocery list. Don’t you wish someone could just narrate these stories with the outlandish attitude that they deserve?

Well, Cory O’Brien is on that, bro. Founder of BetterMyths.com, O’Brien rewrites ancient myths and other tales from the modern dude’s perspective in Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes (2013). The result? Hilarious!

Here’s an excerpt from his retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone:

So Demeter gets real depressed
And when Demeter gets depressed
all the plants die
and everything freezes
and being alive just kind of starts to suck
because she is the goddess of like
crops and seasons and whatnot.
And see, up to this point
no one has even heard of winter
but now they are getting nothing but winter
nonstop and out of control
24/7/365
except actually maybe only for several months
but either way
shit is intolerable.

Despite the title, O’Brien includes myths from around the world, from Norse and Egyptian, to Mayan and Hindu.

And controversially, Judeo-Christian. Now there’s absolutely no doubt that the world’s most popular origin story shares similarities from the religions that came before it. But I get that some people get a little freaked out when painting God with the same brush as Zeus and Thor.

And nothing against Thor, but I’m more of a Loki girl!

Putting all that aside, if you have even the smallest sense of humor, you’ll get a kick out of this version of Genesis:

On day four God invents the sun and the moon
and the stars
which begs the question
WHERE WAS THE LIGHT COMING FROM BEFORE?
And then he’s like “Oh shit, the moon.
Better go to sleep.”
This dude needs an awful lot of sleep for an omnipotent dude
which may explain why wars happen.

Now if you’re not impressed with these tidbits, don’t worry. It was really hard to pick some blog-appropriate excerpts, since this whole book is super profane and raunchy. I especially enjoyed the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh and the secret behind Scientology.

Not gonna happen, Tom Cruise!

There was also quite a twist toward the end. If you’d like to find out for yourself, by all means stop reading, but I can’t review this book without mentioning it and honestly, there are worse spoilers out there (I’m looking at you, “Game of Thrones” Instagram. Close call with those comments!)

O’Brien concludes with “The Prevailing Creation Myth,” aka The Big Bang. So I’m reading this with my fist metaphorically in the air as science finally gets recognized like it should…but then he ends with this:

Me, I don’t see much of a difference between
Science and Religion.
First off, in order to successfully apply science
there are going to be certain things that you’re
taking on faith

Although I’m placated by his assertion that he doesn’t agree with people trying to unconstitutionally place Creation Science beside evolution in schools, his attempt to play referee between scientists and fundamentalists trivializes the real issues at hand.

I absolutely encourage everyone to give themselves a proper education in comparative religion, to incite skepticism and doubt, and to question the ideological status quo. I also recommend that your spirituality be based on love and acceptance of others, not hate and fear-mongering.

But that’s the secular side of me talking, and my book blog is not the place for me to de-convert anybody. On one hand, I agree with O’Brien because I want the world to honor the freedom for–and from–religion.

On the other hand, I understand that this an arduous mission, and sometimes you need to stir up the pot and demand a voice…even when the majority would prefer you stay quiet. When it comes to fighting for equal rights, playing nice is not always an option!

I may be an activist, but here I’m Book Club Babe first, reviewing books so you can decide whether to check them out for yourself.

My verdict? If ancient myths tickle your fancy, and you’re already familiar with a large number of them, I think that you’ll find Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes amusing. O’Brien’s blog also covers literary tales from Shakespeare, Tolkien, Dante, and Dickens, so there’s plenty more chuckles for bookworms.

In fact, I think that a blog is a better medium for these kinds of re-imaginings, since the experience of reading them in this book suffers from slight monotony. Great in the beginning, but the point is belabored once you get accustomed to the comedic style. Probably better to read in short bursts!

Thus, this book was fun to read for a while, but now I better get back to the witty humor in Catch-22!

No Flying Spaghetti Monster, O’Brien? For shame!

2011 Book Review Catch-Up: Part 3

The time’s come to review my final two books of 2011, which I read this past summer. Both books are young-adult fiction, Abandon by Meg Cabot and Matched by Ally Condie.

Abandon by Meg Cabot (Rating: 4 out of 5)

One of the first books I reviewed on this blog was Cabot’s vampire sequel Overbite, which I would not recommend unless you absolutely cannot get enough of anything vampire-related. However, I have read almost every single one of Cabot’s novels, and for the most part I love them to bits. Her most famous series, The Princess Diaries, is excellent, and I also love her Runaway and Queen of Babble trilogies. So naturally, when I heard that she’d be releasing a novel during the spring based on the ancient Greek myth of Persephone and Hades, I was excited. I wrote my 20-page senior project on two poems about Persephone (Tennyson’s “Demeter and Persephone” and Swinburne’s “Hymn to Proserpine,” which I’ll probably discuss in a Masterpiece Monday sometime). As a Classics minor, I was ready to get my nerd on with this modern adaptation.

Persephone and Hades are reincarnated in this story as 17-year-old Pierce Oliviera and her love interest John Hayden. After a near-death experience a couple years earlier, John is determined to bring Pierce back to the Underworld. The novel suffers from weaknesses seen in other Cabot works, namely predictability and cheesy dialogue. However, she nicely infuses folk tales from Florida’s history and incorporates other mythical elements like the Furies. While many might find Pierce annoying and John more of a kidnapper than boyfriend material, I didn’t mind it because their relationship should be more like Phantom of the Opera at first, because what girl with any brains would willingly choose death over her loved ones? (*cough*Bella Swan*cough*). I could be wrong, but I trust that Cabot will have their relationship grow some more before Pierce makes her decision. Can’t wait for the sequel Underworld to come out in May 2012!

Matched by Ally Condie (Rating: 4 out of 5)

This dystopian novel which was published last year ponders the idea of having the government choose your significant other. At her Match Ceremony, 17-year-old Cassia Reyes is partnered with childhood friend Xander Carrow, which proves to be a rare match since they live in the same borough. All the teenagers receive a microchip with their match’s personal information, but when Cassia insert hers in her home port, another boy named Ky Markham pops up on the screen. Unfortunately, because Ky is known as an Aberration for a crime his father committed, he’s not supposed to be matched with anybody. So what explains this anomaly?

In this world, people survive on soma-esque pills to cure anxiety and erase memories, all their time is scheduled, and they are euthanized on their 80th birthdays. Only 100 poems and 100 songs have been approved to exist, but Cassia comes across a forbidden copy of Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” which sparks her need to rebel against the system. While some may call this yet another love triangle tale like Twilight, I enjoyed the mystery–and of course the literary references. I’m looking forward to its sequel Crossed, which I received for Christmas. Keep an eye out on this trilogy, because Disney bought the film rights before the book was even released! What’s up with Mormon authors like Ally Condie and Stephenie Meyer making major bank on their young-adult novels? Coincidence? Or should I seriously think of converting to board this success train? Well, either way, Matched was worth its hype, and I hope Crossed doesn’t disappoint!

Now that I’ve caught up, I’ll be posting my master list of 20 books, from best to worst, by Thursday. Hope you enjoy it!