Casino Royale

So, why have I been so few and far between with my posts? Well, there’s a reason. And unlike your dog that just got ran over by Fangzor’s monster truck through NO FAULT OF MY OWN (Send complaints to fangzor@fangzor.gov.uk), there’s a fun little reason behind it.

I just wrote my own little book. So if you’re the writer of Dancer of Gor or some other book I destroyed incomprehensibly, you can take out your revenge on Winnie-the-Pooh and the Angle of Dath.

Pooh

It’s a Winnie-the-Pooh parody I self-published. Owl gets his head blown off with a double-barreled shotgun in the first chapter, guaranteed! Fangzor already bought 300 digital copies for that reason alone!

By all means, buy it for your Kindle handheld or download it for your PC or Mac and the free kindle application. If it’s a paper copy you want, tough titties (an expression I’ve never really understood, unless we’re talking about Kim Kardashian’s silicone-alloy bullet deflectors). It’s only $4.99. If you don’t have an Infomercialan Arithmetic converter on your graphing calculator that you assumedly keep handy, that’s five bucks.

Spread the word if you can, as well. That never not helps. Right, Jo?

Jo: He said, as he posts my baby pictures to his facebook.

Shut up, they’re adorable.

Jo: The fifth one went viral, you know.

Really? D’aww. I only wish my books had such luck.

Jo: THE FIFTH ONE WAS THE TIME I DISSECTED THE NEIGHBOR’S DOG AND SHOWED IT OFF!

…and here’s the other question of the day: why am I not showing y’all Eve of Chaos?

Eve of Chaos

Y’know, THIS thing.

And y’know what? I tried to read it. On one hand, it bored me stiff. On the other hand, I couldn’t find much else wrong with it, despite the hot chick on the cover. So no dice. It’s not that bad of a book.

Fangzor: I’d still bang that main character chick.

That’s nice.

Fangzor: With a hammer made of weasels! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I WIN HAHAHAHA.

…Fangzor, are you aware that a meat grinder is nothing like a slip n’ slide?

Fangzor: Yeah, duh.

Well, I’m not so sure. Would you like to help me find out, by my sticking you in one?

Fangzor: I’LL BE GOOD. Geez.

Instead, I’d like to review a book that exemplified the ever-so-popular sexism of 1950’s Europe and the ever-so-popular character James Bond, in Ian Fleming’s first novel about the character.

Casino Royale

Some people ride into stardom on a white horse with a sword and shield in their hand. 007 came in a stolen taxi with a flat tire. But he showed up, and he became a star regardless. Ain’t that the cutest?

This book is–

Jo: Sexist.

I know, Jo.

Jo: You don’t know ENOUGH.

That is true, unfortunately. You see, I was reading it through in one night (it was a short book) and by the end, I was bored to tears with this pissy little secret agent and his romp through getting mad at people, getting his nuts thwacked under a chair with a stick (you’d think that section wouldn’t have bored me, but it did), and exciting card games.

But it was so goddamn flat and distant from human life. Bond is a very unrelatable character. At times, I felt more sympathy for Bond’s friends Leiter and Mathis, probably because Leiter either sustains heavy injuries or dies in the second book, but mainly because Bond was just such a stuck-up brooding dickweed who got all pissy about having to work with a woman like Vesper Lynd.

Jo: and?

AND after I read it, I looked at the reviews online on Goodreads–

Jo: And you found out it was sexist.

Dammit, Jo! I was getting to that.

Jo: Not quick enough for the brutality of the patriarchy. 🙂 WELCOME TO MY LIFE!

Whatev’s.

But I looked back through it – and damn.

“And then there was this pest of a girl. He sighed. Women were for recreation. On a  job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around. One had to look out for them and take care of them.”

That’s one quote, when Bond wasn’t in love with Vesper yet. Here’s another, from when he was:

“She was thoughtful and full of consideration without being slavish and without compromising her arrogant spirit. And now he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the tang of rape. Loving her physically would each time be a thrilling voyage without the anticlimax of arrival.”

Here, have a reaction image:

Literally me

Literally me.

Of course, this was normal in the 50’s, before Feminism really took off. Still, it’s very unsettling and untimely for a modern audience member like me.

Anyway, here’s the other problem I have with Casino Royale: it has a really wonky plot structure.

The first part of the book is exposition.

The second part of the book is trying to get to evil Soviet agent Le Chiffre.

The third part of the book is the exciting battle with Le Chiffre.

The fourth part… is a tense vacation with Vesper that ends with the line “the bitch is dead now.”

Essentially, beginning-middle-end-middle.

Dear dead Ian Fleming: you are not Bertolt Brecht. You can’t make up an arty new plot structure for a frickin’ BOND NOVEL. I know this is the first one, but jeez. Unless you’re trying to make some kind of parody of Bond, it ain’t working.

That’s all I have to say in that regard. Now I sleep.

Fangzor: sleep is for losers. I’m gonna stay up all night.

“Soft bunnies.”

Fangzor: zzzzzz…

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS

A heavily entertaining comic strip to describe the events of my absence.

Hello.

This is the Hellbrarian. There has been a lack of updates being I have been at school. However, I will now return to my duties as your faithful reviewer of terrible books.

You are probably wondering “what’s school doing in the Library of Agony?” Well, there are many unanswerable questions in the world… and that’s not one of them. See, school in the LoA is a euphemism for what happens when I go up to the Literary Devil when I’m drunk and tell him everything that’s wrong with him. Imagine a 500 mph rollercoaster ride through molten lava. But the only thing I can ride on is a strip of uncooked bacon. And it lasts for roughly a month, while I have a helmet on that lets me breathe every two minutes and forces me to watch Lifetime TV while Danny Elfman music plays backwards.

Yeah, it’s that, but multiply how horrible it is by a factor of “sandwich.” I still have to wait a year for my left testicle to come back from the pickling plant.

Anyway, where are my assistants?

Jo: Oh, thank goodness you’re safe! I had to run this whole thing by myself.

Then why weren’t there any updates?

Jo: I said “run,” not “update.” Besides, I tried to update the blog, but wordpress doesn’t work like Livejournal, so I had a really tiny heart attack and threw up a rainbow.

No worries. Fangzor?

Fangzor: I don’t have an excuse because I don’t give a crap, as usual.

That’s okay, because you don’t work here, you just hang around and bitch.

Fangzor: Yeah I do. I went into your excel sheet and added myself as At-Large Officer of Snake Porn.

Sucks to be you, I can delete that.

Fangzor: Au contraire, ma capitaine! I password-protected the sheet, and the password is Walrusdicks12345, so you’ll never guess it!

You just told me the password.

Fangzor: Well, off to hate myself some more! Heigh ho, heigh ho, they only tell me no…

Anyway, here’s what the next review is going to be about. It’s a doozy. See you soon!

My friend from the surface told me that if a book has a sexy lady as the focus of the cover, it’s by default bad. Prove me wrong.

Read it and Freak: Dollhouse, by the Kardashian Sisters, Part 1 of 2

WELCOME TO HELL, HELLBRARIAN!

Remember that deal I made with the Literary Devil? That if I died in the process of reviewing bad books, he’d have my soul? Yeah, that didn’t seem like a viable threat until now.

Fangzor: You sure about that? My grandpa tried to read a book about cheeseburgers because he was angry, then he got decapitated.

Jo: That was in the Mongoose Library of India.

Fangzor: Get out of my personal beeswax, you hot-diggety harlot!

Jo: But you told me. Five and a half times.

Fangzor: If you didn’t cut me off it would have been six, asshole!

GUYS. SHUT UP. We’ve got some serious shit to deal with today.

Jo: We do?

The Kardashian novel thingy. I’m about to read through excerpts and post my reactions, for the first part of this review. For the second part. I’ll do a formal review. If I don’t make it out alive — Jo, I give you the honor of carrying on my legacy.

Jo: So you’re passing on your eternal curse to–

You’ll like it, it’s fun. Anyway, I’ve invested in some armor and a sword to deal with this apeshiterectomy of a book.

We who are about to die salute NO ASPECT OF YOU whatsoever!

Fangzor: I’ll wait outside, out of some emotion other than cowardice.

Jo: Good luck, H. Because if I didn’t wish it on you I’d look like an accomplice. And that would mean no letter of rec.

Whatever, just get in the eternally-terribad book blast shelter. As for me, it’s go time.

“Chapter One: Kamille

Sitting in a café across the street from her family’s restaurant, Kamille Romero sipped her açai berry smothie and lifted her face to soak the sun. It was a deliciously warm day, not too humid for August in L.A. She had spent the afternoon in her favorite spa–not one of those New Age-y spas, but a serious, old-school spa run by a scary-efficient Romanian woman named bogdana. Kamille’s arms, legs, and bikini still stung from the honey-scented wax.”

“Luxuries, seriously? Ad far as Kamille was concerned, these were all necessities. Kat herself had taught Kamille and her sisters to take pride in their appearance and maintain a strict grooming ritual, including regular hair removal. Just because they were poor didn’t mean they had to be furry and ugly, did it?”

“But no, it was a superannoying text from her mother…”

“DOLL, WHERE R U?

Frowning, Kamille typed: MY SHIFT STARTS 430.

Kat replied: NO 4! GET YOUR BUTT IN HERE!”

“What? Kamille rolled her eyes. Her mom could be such a controlling bitch. Ever since she’d opened the restaurant four years ago, just after their father’s death, she’d put the girls to work. Which was not cool. At age twenty, Kamille was meant for something bigger and better than waitressing or busing tables. She just wasn’t exactly sure what that “something” might be. But her destiny was out there, waiting for her, as sparkly and spectacular as the Kodak Theatre on Oscar Night…”

“Kamille learned an important life lesson then: that money was power, and that no money meant no power.”

“(Kamille and Kass had a private joke that “PMS” stood for “Psychotic Mom Syndrome)”

“‘I think we should go with a risotto special,’ Kat was saying to Fernando. “Let’s do something with the new morel mushrooms we just got. How about some asparagus?’

‘A morel-and-asparagus risotto, sounds delish,’ Fernando agreed. ‘Let me just check in the kitchen and make sure we have enough stock. I need to get in there and start prepping, anyway.’

‘Ask Kass about the stock, she’s back there doing inventory. I think she made a huge batch last night with the leftover roast chicken?’

‘My goodness, is there anything that girl can’t do?'”

“Kamille knotted her fists, stifling several choice swearwords. She was sick-to-death-tired of constantly hearing what a saint Kass was. It had been going on for years, and seriously, who cared? So Kass had been valedictorian in high school. So she was at the top of her class at USC. So she worked long hours at the restaurant, doing everything from waiting tables to organizing the bills to whipping up gourmey fucking chicken stock like some Rachael Ray clone.

Kass was a saint because she had no life. She didn’t date; she claimed she was “too busy.” She hardly ever drank, which meant that she was superboring during girls’ nights out. All she ever did was work and study, study and work. If Kamille did that 24/7, she could be a perfect, overachieving geek, too.”

WILL THE HELLBRARIAN SURVIVE? WILL I STOP TYPING IN ALL CAPS? WILL X FIND Y AND Z’S BABY SURVIVE? FIND OUT IN DOLLHOUSE PART 2!

Expert Interlude: Can Conservatives Write (Intentionally) Funny Stuff?

Let’s be honest: as unbiased as I try to be, the truth is that I, the Hellbrarian, prefer Democrats.

Jo: Preach, sister!

Fangzor: Which is short for Demolitions-Crat, and his political philosophy involves destroying things. It’s my political philosophy too. Which is why I’m totes getting a monster truck for my birthday.

Jo: Quiet, you bigoted breeder.

Fangzor: Jo, if I were breeding, perhaps I wouldn’t have such a plate of pissant problems.

Anyway, there is a reason behind my love of Democrats, and it’s not based on politics at all. It’s based on the abusive relationship that books have with me, where I wear a leash and am expected to lick what they spit off the floor. What I’ve noticed is that, when hardcore Democrats write humor, it’s funny. When hardcore Republicans write humor, it’s more often than not bitter and generalizing, and jokes come across more as strawman arguments. Granted, this is nothing against the Republican party in general – many Republicans have done great things. And among those great things, being funny is absent. Take these two political cartoons, for instance. I know I’m all about books, but this is shorter.

Exhibit A: Democratic political cartoon. Action, clever concept, and good execution. Generates a good chuckle unless you're offended.

Exhibit B: Republican political cartoon. Words rather than actions, whiny, and unrealistic. Makes Republicans nod in agreement - not laugh.

Fangzor: Are you kidding me? They’re both hilarious. Donkeys and elephants don’t talk!

Yeah, but you’re a talking snake.

Fangzor: Cripe, now I have to go re-imagine what humor is. I’ll need a pint of sulfuric acid and six thumbtacks.

How about no.

Fangzor: You’re not my mother!

So anyway, who better to give advice to GOP supporters on how to write comedy than a radio pundit? Please welcome Rush Limbaugh to the blog!

Jo: Yeah, I was meaning to tell you about that… I didn’t want to touch Limbaugh with a 100-yard dildo on a 900-yard stick, so I didn’t get him. But I got someone else. He’s the Indian version of Rush Limbaugh, different nationality and political party but same belligerent chutzpah.

Oh, whatever. Please welcome the, uh, Rush Limbaugh of India, Chakradev Kapur!

Kapur: Good evening to you, Hell-berry.

How was the trip to Literary Hell, Mr. Kapur?

Kapur: It is very fun to get through the flaming caves of death, assumedly. It was not for me, considering that I took the bus.

Fangzor: You do realize that the bus is actually a hungry dragon with mouths on the sides of his neck?

Kapur: NOBODY TELLS ME THESE THINGS!

Fortunately for the modern attention span of today’s Internetgoers, I have only one question for you, Mr. Kapur, and it is as follows:

How can supporters of the GOP write things that are intentionally funny?

Kapur: Oh, that is easy. For starters, I should let you know that my political party is the least popular in India.

Jo: And that is…

Kapur: The Touchable Advancement Movement, in your language. You may be aware that my country used to have a very prevalent population of Dalits, or “untouchables,” those whose families were said to have been disgraced by the Gods. But we believe that Dalits are not only good people, but that they are holy and must be groped, caressed, prodded, poked, and manhandled by the hands of strangers on sight.

Jo: You sexist pig.

Kapur: Fear not, it applies to men and women.

Jo: Well, if it’s equal opportunity molestation… how do I sign up?

ANYWAY, the Touchable Advancement Movement might be unpopular, but I understand that you are the most widely broadcasted radio pundit in India, renowned for your humor, correct?

Kapur: Yes. And what the GOP can learn from me is that I know I am capable of wrongdoing. I’ve said some things that I know politicians have laughed at me over. And what do I do? Embrace it. When I slip up or act out of line, I turn it into a running gag. Nobody is perfect, and the more you acknowledge your own imperfections, the more valid, and funny, you will be.

Jo: What about the Republicans who apologize to cover up the crap they say?

Kapur: That, I am afraid, is just so that they can return to thinking they are perfect. But the more they acknowledge that they are unintentionally funny – the more that they can do so intentionally. The same applies to democrats, but let us face it, Jon Stewart does not claim to be a man who can do no wrong. Self-deprecation can help any sense of humor. That is why my books have sold millions of copies worldwide, especially “I am a Creepy Old Fart Who Likes to Touch People: a Memoir.”

Inspired commentary from an inspired pundit. Thank you, Mr. Kapur.

Kapur: Anytime. Now, as per my custom as a TAM Dalit, you are hereby required to shove your fists into my armpits.

Here’s the Situation, by “The Situation,” with special guest reviewer

Folks, I can’t do this next review alone. I would ask Jo to help me but she tried to do it alone before me, and she’s at the hospital from a badly lacerated taste in literature.

Fangzor: And I’d help him, but I like to watch him suffer.

So, I’ve brought in a guest reviewer. In all likelihood you won’t know him, unless you’re either a mid-90’s educational DOS game fanatic (like Fangzor) or a fan of stupid youtube videos that parody said DOS games (like me). Please welcome fellow creepy library guy, Ignatius Mortimer Meen, better known as I. M. Meen!

Meen: Why hello, bookworms! I'm back in action! And after this review I'll be back in obscurity, but for the time being, you're all fucked!

Fangzor: I beat your game like 237 times, man. You should make a remake where it’s harder.

Meen: Blame the developers, snakey. I’m just a child-hating magician who doesn’t know diddly squat about computers! I tried to read a Kindle the other day and it made me so mad that I enslaved a cat shelter.

All right, Mr. Meen, brace yourself. We’ve got quite the book to get through.

Meen: Brace myself? I’ve read books that are only created to teleport kids to my evil magical labyrinth. Bring it on, bitch!

"This book is made to order, but it isn't to be read!" - Theme Song to I. M. Meen

Meen: …Oh no.

Yep, we’ve got to read a Jersey Shore self-help book.

Fangzor: That guy’s AWESOME! If he were a snake, he’d be an anaconda or some shit like that. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anything.

Yeah, you would like him.

Fangzor: You know I only do it to piss you off, right?

Yes. I do know.

Meen: I mean, I feel like I’m responsible for this somehow. 

Pardon?

Meen: You have to remember, Hellbrarian, I’m an old bastard. I knew little Mikey Sorrentino when he was just a little boy. He used to study all the time in my library. Dinosaur books, mainly; he wanted to be a paleontologist, and he knew the names of all the known dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period. As anyone who plays my game knows, when kids are smart like that, it makes me BOIL WITH RAGE! So I sent him to the dungeon in my magic book, where he was tortured by trolls and goblins for about a year.

Good God, that’s harsh.

Fangzor: Yeah, I mean, being a smart kid should only be punishable by 6 months of troll torture, at most.

Fangzor… you suck.

Meen: Well, NOW I know it was harsh, because the second some goody-goody hero kid freed him from his cell, he denounced intelligence forever… and he became the abomination that wrote this book!

You little stinker. But I guess you’re living with the burden of guilt, so I’d say we’re all justified here. Anyway, let’s dive into this review.

Writing Quality: 2/10

Thematic Quality: 0/10

Reader Interest: 3/10

Overall Quality: 1.6/10

All right, this book – it’s the literary equivalent of that pink slime stuff you keep hearing about on the news. It’s not real, it’s just wrong, and when you look at it, you want to run away. But mainly, it’s also one of the least funny books I’ve read. If you want to read a self-help book on how to pick up chicks, the fact that the book itself is trying too hard even more than you should be a red flag.

First off, the opening of this book. Because if you make me want to stab a gazelle with a pistol or shoot a giraffe with a sword in the first pages, you don’t deserve to be an author.

“Friends, bros, countrymen, lend me your ears. For The Situation has come to give you the situation.”

Meen: This picture is at least 30 times as funny as that quote. And I don't strictly speak from my pro-child-terrorizing bias.

“In my twenty-eight years of crushing it, I have come to one simple realization: Life is a battle… Some will leave the field victorious with a hot chick on their arm, while others… well, do I really need to embarrass them further by writing about them here?”

Hold on a second there. Mr. Meen, from your perspective as an umptillion-year-old virgin, what’s your opinion on this?

Fangzor: He ain’t no virgin. I know what he did with those smart kids behind closed doors!

Now that’s just low, Fangzor.

Meen: It’s a common misconception – I have never and would never sexually molest a child, considering that I think they’re UGLY AS ALL HELL!

Anyway, Mr. Meen–

Meen: Right. The Situation seems to think that the quest for success in life ends when you acquire sex. Maybe this was true for cavemen. But now, we have other forms of pleasure. Such as–

Fangzor: Hanging around in libraries to kidnap children?

Meen: Actually, I was going to say that I collect funny-looking pottery from art fairs. 

I would quote from the rest of this book, but it would be redundant. It’s like this for all of its mercifully short length. Its main points can be summed up in three bullets, preferably to Sitch’s overrated abs:

  • I’m awesome.
  • This is how you can be like me.
  • Argh I’m such a man.

Meen: This is not technically a real guide on how to get laid. It’s a guide on how to Jerseyshoreify yourself. Essentially, how to imitate, but not build on your own successes.

Fangzor: Who are you to talk if you never got laid?

Meen: Have you?

Fangzor: Nope!

Meen: Then don’t be a hypocrite, Snakey.

Fangzor: I’ll do whatever I want as long as it pisses you off!

So, as a lesson to all of you single guys out there: this is not how you pick up chicks. This, however, is:

  • Do whatever feminists tell you is okay
  • Look at women as something more than a milestone you have to pass
  • Eat bananas.
  • Don’t ask me why, just eat the goddamn bananas, it’s a trick my mama taught me.

And that, as they say, is that. Thank you for coming on the blog, Mr. Meen.

Meen: No problem!

You can go now, Mr. Meen.

Meen: Where?! BACK TO LIVING UNDER THE BRIDGE?!

Next week: Something from Amazon again

What’s with the wait?

School. Just a few more days, and you’ll have a brand spankin’ new review.

(And yes, in the Library I take online classes. Most of them are about celebrity autobiographies. Help me…)

Read it and Freak: Sweet Sensation by Gwyneth Bolton

Hi, it’s been a while.

Jo: By which he means like three days or so.

And no, I’m not working myself too hard.

Jo: His intern is another story.

It’s back at the night shift at the Library of Agony, and you know what night shift means… actually, I don’t think it means anything. Did I assign something to night shift, Fangzor?

Fangzor: I assigned snake porn to myself for the night and day shifts. Other than that, no.

Whatever. Here’s a Read it and Freak, and this time, it’s an urban romance novel.

Fangzor: And “urban” is the lit world’s word for black people.

Jo: Don’t be racist, Fangzor.

Fangzor: No, really. How successful can you be if you make a novel about a bunch of black people on a farm? Name one, that actually did well.

Jo: …I got nothin’. H?

I gotcha covered, Jo.

POW!

Fangzor: Yeah, well… name one book that did wellabout Black People that ride domesticated cheeseburgers on a toilet farm in space.

I can’t, because that would be stupid.

Fangzor: Stupid? …you racist.

It’s not the black people that are the problem in that pitch. But you know what, I’m not gonna even argue with someone who brushes his teeth with happy meal toys covered in Tang powder.

Fangzor: It’s my ma’s home remedy, and if you don’t like it, you can use all the fucks I give as dental floss.

…let’s just skim through Sweet Sensations by Gweneth Bolton and post my reactions.

(And a bit of a disclaimer: Some of these quotes contain a rather nasty word that begins with N, and it’s not numquam or nematode. But they’re the book’s words, not mine.)

“Dedication:

…To all the b-girls, femcees, hip-hop feminists…

Whoever said women didn’t contribute anything to hip-hop lied! This book is for all the women who love hip-hop and try to create spaces for women within the culture.”

“Prologue: ‘Superwoman’

That’s right, I turn ’em out

You know my style

Rack ’em, stack ’em

Watch my money pile

Turn ’em out, that’s the name of this tune

chick so fly, make all the dudes swoon

Gear so fresh, all the girls throw shade

They mad and stuff ’cause they know that I’m paid…”

“Deidre stared blankly into space. She felt as if she had to be in some parallel universe, the Twilight Zone or something, because there was no way she could have seen what she thought she’d just seen. Is it that easy to change the course of someone’s life? It can’t be, can it?”

“‘That’s all fine and well, but I don’t know why you all have to call yourselves niggers,’ she mumbled, fiddling her fingers.

‘It’s not niggers. It’s niggas. We’re taking that shit and defining it for ourselves.’

‘You’re defining yourselves as niggers?’ she asked sarcastically.

‘No, N-I-G-G-A-S, New Improve Gangsters Going After Society,’ Flex stated in a voice that suggested finality.”

“The irony of it didn’t escape him, as he figured Deidre must have had the same feeling about him when he spent so much time with Stacks trying to bring him down after Sasha was killed.

At the time Deidre had taken to pleading with him not to spend so much time with Stacks. She’d even voiced what everyone else had been thinking, that Stacks had something to do with Sasha’s death. When her pleading didn’t work, she’d started coming around when he was with Stacks and showing up at clubs when they were out. Flex couldn’t allow that to happen, so he’d had to stop her. Stopping her had made her leave him.”

“He desired her in ways he’d thought were long gone. Feelings he’d thought were buried came bubbling up when he least expected them. Even more he found himself wishing and hoping that she was experiencing the same wellspring of emotions– that he wasn’t alone. He needed Deidre to trust him and their relationship more than he wanted to admit.”

“Flex couldn’t contain the sharp breath that came with the hope that started to overflow his heart.”

*Thump*

Jo: Crap, he’s got alcohol poisoning again. Get the first aid.

Fangzor: Eh, let him die this time. Maybe it’ll teach him a lesson.

Jo: But if he dies, he won’t.

Fangzor: …sometimes my bullshit even amazes myself.

Next up: A ghostwritten celebrity book.

(Editor’s note: No, I didn’t *actually* get alcohol poisoning. God, people. Get a grip.)

Expert Interlude: Are “Tear-Jerker” Books Necessary?

Good afternoon, those who are safely in the realm of the living. I sure as hell ain’t. Anyway, ever since the previous entry on a TESLA book (Tear-Extracting Surgical Lacrimotherapy Apparatus) by the name of The Notebook, the Library has been flooded with fictional complaints:

“Y u such a hater helberryn. Teh noat boox is entairly neckassary. I tteechs us abt luv. Since early, Larry frum Texas”

“OMGGGGGG! h8 u hellbr , u sux11111!!!!!! -Jim e”

“Such sinister devilry came from this blog,
That e’en Aristophanes’s birds and frogs,
With all of their frivolous happ’nings at will,
All took up the musket and rallied to kill.
The Agony Library must be destroyed,
For terrible hexes with words thus deployed
Have taken the Sparksish repute and thus tarnish’d,
Like white before paint, and paint before varnish.
Regards,
T.S. Eliot”

Fangzor: Like I give a rat’s ass what they think about our library.

I don’t expect you to, Fangzor. You don’t technically work with us, you just hang out and be a jerk and look at African Boomslang porn on the computers.

Fangzor: No I don-- AWWW YEAH!

Jo: Anyway, we’ve got a special guest today, to discuss whether or not TESLA books are necessary.

We do? I thought we were just going to yell at our critics, that’s more fun.

Jo: I’ve got a real Lacrimosurgeon who uses TESLAs. He’s from Holland, and traditional, non-literary, highly-invasive tear harvesting surgery is still legal there.

Is that so? What’s his name?

Jo: Dr. Rijk Stentrooteld, LD. Come in, sir!

Dr. S: Hello, sir. I trust that you are the Hellbrarian?

…yes, I am. Um, Jo, are you sure this is a Dutch doctor?

Fangzor: Yeah,  he’s the spittin’ image of–

Dr. S: Rick Santorum, I am aware. It’s entirely coincidental. Besides, the entire Stentrooteld family is Marxist by nature, and I published a book of dead baby jokes in college.

How can I be sure that you’re not Santorum in disguise?

Jo: I did run a background check, H– Rick Santorum sued him in 1999 for trademark infringement.

Alrighty then. We’ve got a few questions for you, Doctor.

1. How can you differentiate between a well-written sad story and a TESLA book?

Dr. S: This sounds easy enough. It is true that a story can be sad as well as good. But they are of little or no use to those of us in the field of lacrimosurgery, because they produce more of a fulfilling feeling than actual profit-creating tears. A good story must have a clear-cut message to go along with its writing. If it does not, and the only clear reason that the book was created was to make people cry, then I can use it on my patients as a TESLA.

2. Can you recommend any good TESLAs for me to review?

Dr. S: Well, you already reviewed a Nicholas Sparks book. He’s the master of the TESLA. We look up to him like other doctors look up to Hippocrates. He is not a bad author if you take into consideration his contributions to our bank accounts – he does what he does well.

Oh, well then… I apologize for offending you with my previous review.

Dr. S: You did not, really.

Fangzor: We didn’t? Crud.

Dr. S: Lacrimosurgery is not popular outside its pre-existing following, we’ve come to expect this sort of thing. Anyway, if you want more TESLAs, I suggest you look at Harlequin Romance Novels, as well as Jodi Picoult. That woman can work wonders with tear ducts, and it’s earned her a lot.

I just might take you up on some Jodi Picoult in my next review.

3. Do you know any other prominent lacrimosurgeons?

Dr. S: Ah, yes! This is the kind of crowd I hang around:

Dr. S: The Medic from Team Fortress 2 used to be a lacrimosurgeon, but his license was revoked when he became careless with the rusty chainsaw incisions.

Dr. S: Dr. Disney was not only the world's best pediatric lacrimosurgeon... he was also the only one.

Dr. S: Poor old Dr. Thor thought lacrimosurgery was done with a magic hammer to the face. Two guesses as to where his license went.

And now, the question that’s been on everyone’s minds, except for those without this question on their minds:

4. Are TESLAs necessary, for reasons other than acquiring money?

Dr. S: Absolutely, for two reasons: One: Sometimes, people are going through a bad breakup, or a death in the family, or whatever else, and they use us as sort of a catharsis. Two: Without TESLAs, the fangirl community would die of starvation.

*BLAMMO!*

*insert awkward silence here*

Jo?

Jo: Yeah?

You just killed Dr. Stentrooteld. With a combat shotgun. In the Library of Agony.

Jo: We ain’t playin’ Clue, H.

Fangzor: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. You should be a comedian, Jo. Just stand on a stage, say “how’s everybody doin’ tonight,” and blow all their brains out with a sniper rifle. That’d be hilarious.

But why?

Jo: Lacrimosurgeons and TESLAs are the reason we’ve been crying our eyes out next to our TVs and deviantART accounts all these years. The entire fangirl and fanboy community is a sea of addicts, and they’re the drug dealers. The less of them there are, the less of us go apeshit.

Fair enough.

Jo: What? Aren’t you gonna fire me for killing someone on the job?

Nah, not really, both of you are fictional anyways.

Jo: Cool.

The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks

Jo: H! I got a new book for ya.

Be right back, banging my head on the wall in joy.

Jo: Oh come on. It shouldn’t be that bad this time… I found it under a section labeled “TESLA.” And it’s called The Notebook. So it might be about Nikola Tesla’s lost inventions!

It's true, he was an amazing badass.

…this is what I feared.

Jo: I thought you liked crazy science!

I do. But TESLA is one of the Literary Devil’s many acronyms here.

Fangzor: Y’all should use the Dewey Decimal System before I have to choke a bitch.

Go ahead and choke a bitch then, unless you want to organize it.

Anyway, Jo, TESLA the acronym stands for Tear-Extracting Surgical Lacrimotherapy Apparatus – a thing created for the sole purpose of making people cry, to create the illusion of true quality and generate revenue for the practicioner.

Jo: Oh yeah, I was wondering why there was a kissing couple on the cover of the blueprints to an earthquake machine.

Fangzor: The real earthquake machine must be in the bed, ifyaknowwhatimean. They’re having sex, ifyaknowwhatimean. He’s putting his–

Jo: We know what you mean.

Non-literary "manual" TESLAs, usually involving instruments like the ones above used on the tear ducts, are currently banned in 39 states and 20 countries.

Fangzor: That traditional TESLA picture looks awesome. I want that done on me sometime. Maybe then I’d “grow a pair” like people keep telling me to.

No, you don’t. Anyway, Nicholas Sparks is one of the more famous creators of literary TESLAs. And here is a review of perhaps his most famous TESLA:

This book is actually about old people. Those two young people on the cover are spies.

Writing Quality: 5/10

Thematic Quality: 1/10

Reader Interest: 0/10

Overall Quality: 2/10

Let’s take a look at how this book opens, for starters.

“Who am I?”

...I'M JEAN VALJEAAAAAN!

“And how, I wonder, will this story end?”

"OBJECTION! Your honor, there is no story as of yet for which we can make any speculations regarding the ending!"

“The sun has come up and I am sitting by a window that is foggy with the breath of a life gone by. I’m a sight this morning: two shirts, heavy pants, a scarf wrapped twice around my  neck and tucked into a thick sweater knitted by my daughter thirty birthdays ago. The thermostat in my room is set as high as it will go, and a smaller space heater sits directly behind me. It clicks and groans and spews hot air like a fairy-tale dragon, and still my body shivers with a cold that will never go away, a cold that has been eighty years in the making. Eighty years, I think sometimes, and despite my own acceptance of my age, it still amazes me that I haven’t been warm since George Bush was president. I wonder if this is how it is for everyone my age.”

See this? It's a board -- not to be confused with my state of mind one page into this tripe. That's spelled differently.

Unfortunately, I did read through it. So did Fangzor.

Jo: I wasn’t allowed to read it because the Hellbrarian is running out of pillows for me to cry into.

Fangzor: Yeah, well, the TESLA effect didn’t work on me, or the Hellbrarian.

Yeah. But I only cry at Disney movies, and you only cry at the Care Bears movies.

Fangzor: Hey, it’s some pretty depressing stuff!

Fangzor: No really. I was crying for the chumps who animated that crap.

Oh, that makes more sense.

Back to the book. There’s no real message to it, other than if you try really, really hard, you can make your old wife with Alzheimer’s acknowledge your existence again.

Fangzor: Which is a load of hooey. If you wanna do that with your old wife, you have to smack her on the ass with a live trout and recite William Blake poetry. It’s a technique my granddad taught me.

…whatever. Like I was saying, the only thematic purpose this story serves is to make you cry. If it fails to do that, you won’t take anything away from this book. The writing isn’t good, the emotion is all cheesy BS, the main characters are first-world-problemites – it’s about as necessary a book for the human race as cocaine is necessary for anteaters. What I took away was a great deal of wasted time – but thankfully, it was short. Still, I’d recommend avoiding completely.

Fangzor: Or, if you want a more authentic experience of TESLA, take a crazy straw, shove it in your tear duct, put the other end in your mouth, and suck.

That defeats the purpose of TESLA. There has to be a practicioner carrying out the procedure who you have to pay.

Fangzor: Yeah, so, you can pay yourself and double your money.

Money doesn’t work that way.

Fangzor: I’M A SNAKE, SO FUCK OFF.

Jo: There are times when I wonder why I took this internship over the pink slime factory job…

Next up: something else drippy

The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

It’s official, I’m usually late to the party when it comes to stupid books that are popular. This is due to many possible options:

  1. Jo spilled coffee on my time machine.
  2. My time machine is actually a moist towlette.
  3. Jo spilled coffee on all my moist towlettes.
  4. I don’t even like coffee, what the hell.
  5. I hate numbered lists.
  6. Jo writes my numbered lists.
  7. I am the Hellbrarian and I have negative three testicles.

Jo?

Jo: Yeah?

You are permanently banned from writing numbered lists.

Jo: Woohoo! Now I don’t have an adequate outlet for all my pent-up rage!

Anyway. Here’s a review for the self-help book to end all self-help books. In a violent shootout. Many innocent Chicken Soup for the Souls were gunned down that day…

Fangzor: Dude, you said something funny. Since when did you start being funny?

Since I mentioned guns, and you’re an NRA fanboy, despite the fact that you’re a snake, with no trigger finger?

Fangzor: Shut up, guns are funny.

Fangzor: *insert raucous laughter here* THIS IS EVEN BETTER THAN A YOUTUBE CAT VIDEO!

Anyway, here’sThe Secret.

For centuries, the wealthy and successful have been holding on to the knowledge that Garfield likes Lasagna.

Jo: And check it out, everyone! I’ve custom-tailored a new rating system for our books! One that’s more tolerant and forgiving of the mistakes authors make!

Yeah, except… that’s not what this blog is about.

Jo: Well, look at it this way. I did something besides watching Sailor Moon for hours on end in the bathroom!

Fair enough.

Writing Quality: 4.5/10

Thematic Quality: 1/10

Reader Interest: 2/10

Overall Quality: 2.5/10

…Actually, you know what? Jo’s right. I don’t want to review this book how I think it should be reviewed, even though my experience of reading The Secret can be described in the following picture.

In fact, I think I'd rather be a slave to the Tsar yanking a giant boat down a river than read this again.

Frankly, calling this book out as the amount of moldy St. Bernard shit that it is would be like shooting fish in a bucket. So, I’ll have mercy and be nice for a change.

Jo: Thanks, Hellbrarian.

You’re welcome.

The book starts off dropping very mysterious and obscure hints as to what the “Secret” is, explaining the amount of success the author’s had ever since she discovered the Secret in an old book. She made a movie about it and people liked it.

“As the film swept the world, stories of miracles began to flood in: people wrote about healing from chronic pain, depression, and disease; walking for the first time eer after an accident; even recovering from a deathbed. We received thousands of accounts of The Secret being used to bring about large sums of money and unexpected checks in the mail…”

You know what I really, really like about this book? Rhonda Byrne is not so afraid of her habit of patting herself on the back for fake BS that she has to mask it. She’s shameless, and it makes her a really convincing tragic hero in the style of the Greeks, except she makes it out just fine in the end – a true ironic juxtaposition!

Fangzor: Great job, Jo, you broke him. Has the warranty expired?

There’s also the whole concept of her capitalization of “You” at certain points, which she explains:

“The Reason I did this is because I want you, the reader, to feel and know that I created this book for you.”

Right off the bat, Byrne attests to the gullibility of the American public to believe that a product created for the masses is custom-tailored to the individual. And that’s… dramatic irony! Or something!

Then, after a few pages of excellent Futurist poetry, reminiscent of the Italian Neoplasticists (by which I mean: text without meaning being the text of the future), the author tells us what the secret is:

Wherever you are– India, Australia, New Zealand, Stockholm, London, Toronto, Montreal, or New York– we’re all working with one power. One law. It’s attraction!

The Secret is the law of attraction!

Everything that’s coming into your life you are attracting into your life. And it’s attracted to you by virtue of the images you’re holding in your mind. It’s what you’re thinking. Whatever is going on in your mind you are attracting to you.

So, much like Bokononism Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, the author creates a belief system that is inherently impossible and false, but the public believes it anyway! It’s a dystopia novel in and of itself, under the guise of a self-help book! It should be placed alongside Brave New World and even The Hunger Games! We’ll believe anything the telescreen tells us, even if it’s that thinking about stuff makes stuff happen!

Jo: H, do your ears normally shoot sparks like that?

Fangzor: Yep, we’re gonna have to get a replacement.

And because the public is inherently stupid, the rest of the book is spent explaining the same thing over and over again so that it gets into our thick skulls for sure! This is the same thing as the noise at the end of a late-in-their-career Beatles song! Just think of I am the Walrus! Except instead of random King Lear quotes, we’ve got this:

“Thoughts are magnetic, and thoughts have a frequency. As you think, those thoughts are sent out into the Universe, and they magnetically attract all like thinks that are on the same frequency. Everything sent out returns to the source. And that source is You.”

See? We send out magic signals to everything in the world! We’ve got psychic powers! In fact, I’ve got a picture of you:

See that? It's Mewtwo from Pokémon! He can cut you in half with his mind because he's got psychic powers blowing out his ass and nostrils! And HE IS YOU!

And you know what? He isn’t you, in reality! Yet you believe he is you in a symphony of contradiction! This is the truth about human nature! Rhonda Byrne is the tragic hero preaching to a WORLD of tragic heroes! IT’S A MASTERPIECE! I LOVE THIS BOOK! I

*and then, I fell down on the floor*

LOOovasdiddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

Jo: Yep, I broke him. Sorry.

Fangzor: Sorry? I think it’s cool. His brain’s gonna implode in a few minutes from pretending to like this book. It’s awesome.

Jo: Shut up and get the neurosurgery kit.

Next up: something ELSE from Amazon.com.