Tag Archives: books

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…

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

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.

Read it and Freak – Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Another night shift at the Library of Agony, due to the fact that the Literary Hell time zone is subject to intense fluctuation. So, I’m doing this review from the library budoir.

See? Nighttime.

Jo: Translation: Mondays last as long as they frickin’ need to plus an additional 30 hours, the tides go in and out with every review, and for some reason I still am considered to have a 15-hour work week despite working for days on end.

Fangzor: And I have no idea when Sanford and Son is on anymore! That’s QUALITY entertainment.

Good for–

Fangzor: I mean, COME ON! Enough with this Kim Kardashian bullshit the tube keeps showin’. If I’m not allowed to bite her tongue off, then I shouldn’t be able to watch it!

I’m doing a review here, Fangzor.

Fangzor: Shut the hell up. Anyway, you know who we really need on TV? More Hitler. I mean, I hate the guy, but he’s actually funny when he’s freakin’ out in his speeches, wavin’ his arms around and shit. And he says a lot of stupid words. What the hell is a reichstag anyway? Some kinda sausage? That’s ACTUAL comedy.

Jo: Thanks for bringing up Hitler, Fangzor, now I have to go cry in a corner about the human capacity for evil for a “week.”

Fangzor: "ACH DU LIEBER POINTEN-MEIN-ARMEN VIENER SCHNITZEL TÜT-DIE FRÜT-DIE ACH RÜT-DIE GESUNDHEIT!" See, he's saying NOTHING and he makes more sense than this blog!

That’s called German. It’s a language, one that you are currently abusing like a harp seal. Would you like to be tied in a knot again?

Fangzor: I’ll be good.

Anyway, on to the book. A hideous thing called Eat Pray Love, which I’m sure you all know about.

But, seeing as I’ve got some paperwork to fill out for the heating bills (you’d think an occupant wouldn’t have to pay for Literary Hell to not freeze over), it’s time for another Read it and Bitch.

Fangzor: In case you forgot, it means this douchebag over here posts his reaction pictures as he skims through the book.

Jo: Okay, done crying. What book are we revivewing?

Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Jo: That’s in here? That’s my favorite book!

Well, it sucks.

Jo: Back to crying it is.

First World Problems: the Junior Novelization.

“I wish Giovanni would kiss me.”

“…given that I am a professional American woman in my mid-thirties, who has just come through a failed marriage and a devastating, interminable divorce, followed immediately by a passionate love affair that ended in sickening heartbreak.”

“‘Hello, God. How are you? I’m Liz. It’s nice to meet you.'”

“‘I’ve always been a big fan of your work…'”

“‘I am not an expert at praying, as you know. But can you please help me? I am in desperate need of help. I don’t know what to do. I need an answer. Please tell me what to do. Please tell me what to do. Please tell me what to do…'”

“Dear me, how I love a library.”

“He put me on a few different drugs– Xanax, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Busperin– until we found the combination that didn’t make me nauseated or turn my libido into a dim and distant memory.”

“After that experience, which was about ten years ago, Richard found himself praying all the time. His prayer was always the same.”

“I’m trying a different mantra, too. It’s one I’ve had luck with in the past. It’s simple, just two syllables.

Ham-sa.

In Sanskrit it means ‘I am That.'”

Jo: Calm down, H, Lit Satan says we can’t destroy any of the books!

Fangzor: And it didn’t actually call you a chicken. That’s my job. Fuckin’ chicken.

Whatev’s. Just… don’t buy this book, if you can help it. Other than the drippy spirituality, it’s pretty much a rich girl flaunting her problems. But I won’t go on about it for too long, since you likely know about it already.

Next up: something free from Amazon.com

Killing Lincoln, by Bill O’Reilly (and some other guy)

I’m never going to do that Harlequin Romance I keep promising, am I?

Jo: Patience, babies. Mama’s gonna review that book soon enough… as soon as Hellbrarian knows which one it is.

Fangzor: The broad reviews books? I thought it was just fatso over here that did that.

What is the snake still doing here? I thought I banned him for life.

Fangzor: I made myself an honorary resident critic of the library.

Only I can authorize that.

Fangzor: YEAH WELL YOU’RE A DOUCHE-A-LOSER.

LOL I'M A FUCKIN' SNAKE

Yeah, well… anyway I’ve got something that’s on the bestseller lists.

Jo: Bestseller? Are you sure fangirls aren’t gonna come after you? We can be pretty dangerous in large numbers.

It’s by Bill O’Reilly. I doubt he has fangirls.

Jo: That’s even more dangerous. His fangirls have double-barreled shotguns!

Well, we’re already in hell, aren’t we? And we’ve got a talking snake that can make anyone walk away due to lack of interest.

Fangzor: Oh fuck you, you’re grounded!

You’re my father now?

Fangzor: GAH, you’re impossible. If anyone wants me I’ll be in the corner, harassing a cookie crumb.

Killing Lincoln, everybody. (I don’t like Bill O’Reilly that much, but I’m going to stay bipartisan here, for literature’s sake.)

"During a showing of 'Our American Cousin,' Abraham Lincoln laughed at a line of dia-- alright fuck it, WE'RE DOIN' IT LIVE!"

What page/chapter I survived until: Read it on Kindle up to about 12%, print length is 360-something pages

Boredom: 370 out of 500 video game breaks

Needless Description: 237 out of 500 meditative epiphanies on a petunia

In the place of the Cruddy Metaphors rating will be: Adjective Abuse: 500 out of 500 obscenely pitiful thermonuclear donkeys

Thematically, Just Plain Wrong: Thankfully, 0 out of 500 skinheads setting endangered rhinos on fire

Trial by Grammar and Spelling: 50 out of 500 ded heretix on da wheelz of fiya lol

The gist of it: Me Bill, that Lincoln, that Booth. Me good, Lincoln good, Booth FUCKING HORRIBLE.

All right, I won’t claim to be a history expert. In fact, my understanding of the Lincoln-Douglass debates is that they were really boring and they looked something like this:

"FOURSCORE AND SEVEN DAYS AGO, MY OPPOONENT DEFILED PATTY MAYONNAISE."
"Oh boy, that would have been fun!"

Jo: You don’t know about the debates?

Not really.

Jo: Oh, that’s easy. See, Douglass had all these repressed sexual urges towards Lincoln–

I’m not looking for the fangirl angle on the situation. Anyway, I’m not a history major, but I do know how a history book should work, as do I know how a thriller should work. This book touts itself as a historical thriller, but the two genres seem to cancel each other out, and what’s left is Mr. O’Reilly (and his co-author gremlin he bought at Diagon Alley) expressing extreme frustration at the fact that he can’t go back in time and shove corkscrews in John Wilkes Booth’s ears.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at how a good historical book would have written the opening:

On March 4th, 1865, despite the intoxicated speech of his running mate, Abraham Lincoln gave his second inaugural address and took the oath of office.

It’s to-the-point and we get what happened right off the bat. This is good, because we’re going to have to take in a ton of this information.

So how doe the opening go?

The man with six weeks to live is anxious.

He furls [Jo: HIS BROW IS A FLAG?!] his brow, as he does countless times each day, and walks out of the Capitol Building, which is nearing completion. He is exhausted, almost numb.

Fifty thousand men and women stand in pouring rain and ankle-deep mud to watch Abraham Lincoln take the oath of office to begin his second term. His new vice president, Andrew Johnson, has just delivered a red-faced, drunken, twenty-minute ramble vilifying the South that has left the crowd squirming, embarrassed by Johnson’s inebriation.

So when Lincoln steps up to the podium and delivers an eloquent appeal for reunification, the spiritual message of his second inaugural address is all the more uplifting.

See that? That’s a man telling us what to feel, not showing us so that we can feel it for ourselves. For all I know, Andrew Johnson could have been a cool guy whose drink was spiked, and Abe might have missed the mark with an audience only clapping for tradition’s sake. We have to be the judge, not O’Reilly. It goes against everything writers have been taught.

"If I see any of you telling, I will shove bricks up your inbred nostrils."

It’s like this all the way through: we’re told who to love, who to hate, and who to feel sorry for, in a tidal wave of bad adjectives that threatens to pop out of my kindle and drown me in all the uses of “terrible.” It’s the most one-sided depiction I can recall of a national tragedy since I saw Fox news for the last time – oh, wait, this is a Fox news guy we’re talking about  I’M TOTALLY BIPARTISAN GUYS!

I mean, really – let’s say Bill O’Reilly wrote a book about Greek Mythology. Here’s how it would go.

When Zeus found out about Prometheus, his brow became a swimming pool of God sweat. He was angry beyond belief. He would have struck his wife but she had nothing to do with this. It was very tempting.

However, he did formulate a very well-laid-out and completely justified plan, that influentially would set the stage for many torture methods for years to come. He chained Prometheus to a rock, and told a crow, who was just doing his job, to pick out his liver for all eternity. Prometheus sat on the rock and whined, whined, whined – even though it was entirely his own fault for taking something without asking.

That was painful to write. It’s more painful to read. Stay away from it, for your own good.

Next Week: The shitfest that is Eat, Pray, Love

Enter the Snake, then a photographic review of The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

You’re probably wondering how I do these book reviews so quickly. Well, truth is, I don’t. Some of these books are things I’ve read already. So, in order to read more horrendous literature, I’m going on a thousand-year hiatus. So, it’s been fun, but–

Jo: H? We got company.

Good for us. Tell ’em to fuck off.

Jo: Said company’s a talking snake, named Fangzor. He’s pretty insistent, and angry.

Talking snake? Anything’s possible here, I guess. Whatever, send him in.

Fangzor: Blow it out your ass. I’m looking for a job. Hire me.

All right, first off, if you’re looking for a job, even in the LoA, “blow it out your ass” is really not how you address me. Second–

Fangzor: Better idea, I’ll do the book review for ya.

Give me back my keyb–

HEY DOUCHE-A-LOSERS. IT’S FANGZOR. I’M THE GUY THAT RAN OVER YOUR LAWN ORNAMENTS ON MY TRICYCLE, AND NOW I’M TAKING OVER THIS BLOG. DEAL WITH IT.

HERE IS MY ENTRY REGARDING THE QURAN AND HOW MUCH IT’S A PIECE OF CROSBY STILLS AND NASH HIPPIE QUASI-BUDDHIST GARBAGE. FIRST OFF, ALLAH. WHAT THE FUCK’S HIS DEAL? SECOND OFF, MOHAMMED. WHAT THE FUCK’S HIS DEAL? THIRD OFF, THE ANGEL TALKING TO MOHAMMED. WHAT THE FUCK’S HIS DEAL? FOURTH OFF–

NO. WE ARE NOT GETTING SUED. FUCK OFF, SNAKE.

Fangzor: Dude, that hurts. Why you gotta tie me in a knot, bro?

Because you’re a god-awful, sociopathic, green length of vermin sent by the Literary Devil to piss me off, and by God, it’s working!

Fangzor: Tell you what: if you untie me from this knot, I’ll tell you how to review books quicker.

Jo: Don’t trust him, H!

Fangzor: She’s right, it’s probably a dumb idea to trust me. But you’ll do it anyway because if stupid things came from potatoes, you’d be Idaho.

Jo: Oh, he’d never do that!

All right, I’ll take you up on this offer.

Jo: Oh dingofuck!

Fangzor: All you gotta do is this… skim a crappy a book, and make notes and reaction pictures as you’re reading it!

That’s a GREAT idea! I’ll call it a Read-it-and-Freak post. Thanks, Fangzor.

Jo: But I thought he couldn’t trust you.

Fangzor: Still true. I took his wallet.

All right, everyone, here’s our first Read-it-and-Freak. Without any further ado, let’s open up… THE SHACK!

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Apparently I published this little ahead of schedule, so… bear with me. This iPad that Jo gave me is going a little haywire.

Jo: That’s because it’s on fire, you silly antelope.

Fangzor: What the fuck kinda lamesalsa insult is that?

You learn to live with ’em at this point, Fangzor.

Foreword:

Who wouldn’t be skeptical when a man claims to have spent an entire weekend with God, in a shack no less?

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A couple of final disclaimers: Mack would like you to know that if you happen upon this story and hate it, he says, “Sorry… but it wasn’t primarily written for you.”

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Chapter one: A Confluence of Paths

March unleashed a torrent of rainfall after an abnormally dry winter. A cold front out of Canada then descended and was held in place by a swirling wind that roared down the Gorge from eastern Oregon. Although spring was surely just around the corner…

20120324-142145.jpg

Mack stiffened as a wave of nausea rolled over him and then just as quickly mutated into anger. He purposely thought about the shack as little as possible and even when he did his thoughts were neither kind nor good. IF this was someone’s idea of a bad joke they had truly outdone themselves. And to sign it “Papa” just made it all the more horrifying

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Chapter four: the Great Sadness

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His gaze went to the ground. He again felt a million years old, almost wishing he could somehow turn himself into a big unfeeling rock.

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“But God doesn’t do stuff like that.”

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Chapter 8: A Breakfast of Champions

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Jo: H! Calm down! We don’t eat the books. That’s against the terms of the agreement.

Fangzor?

Fangzor: Yeah?

This was a downright terrible idea for a way to review a book. I didn’t get the gist of it at all.

Fangzor: Good, it’s overemotional tripe about God and stuff.

Well, I know you don’t like gods that much, at least not the Islamic–

Fangzor: Hey, my grandma’s a Muslim. I just like pissing her off. And trust me, if you read this book all the way to the end, you’d regret it, deeply.

I believe you… from what little I’ve seen, it’s pretty bad. Still, since it’s Christian fiction, I don’t want to touch it too much, otherwise the Bible Belt’s gonna be on me like a sexually frustrated dachshund.

Next week: harlequin romance, for realz.