Monday, April 16, 2012

The Graveyard Book ~ Neil Gaiman

Yes, I should be writing the papers I mentioned in my last post.  Oh well.

I listened to The Graveyard Book on audio back in January and have only, in the throes of procrastination, managed to get around to talking to you about it.  The book is about a boy whose family suffered violent murders which he only escaped because he happened to climb out of his crib and wander out the door into a graveyard inhabited by the dead.  The dead grant the small child protection, the Freedom of the Graveyard (meaning he can more wheresoever he likes), and a name - Nobody Owens (Bod for short).  He grows up there and gets into various scrapes and predicaments and things work out even though it seems like they shouldn't.

As for the book itself, I don't actually have that much to say.  It was...okay.  I listened to it, I was somewhat absorbed, it ended, and I didn't think about it much more.  It certainly wasn't a bad story, it just didn't do that much for me.  I have much more to say about the listening experience, which was rather odd.

Neil Gaiman is an excellent reader.  His accent and intonation are perfect for his writing, which I discovered when I read Neverwhere (which I apparently never formally reviewed on here - let's just say it's good).  The thing is, he's only got one voice of his own, and that one voice only has so many options.  Which means that he has to recycle voices from book to book, which is perfectly reasonable but supremely disorienting.

An analogy, for those who have seen The Good Girl with Jennifer Aniston: So you started watching it and you were all like, a night with Rachel Green, what fun.  And then she cheats on her husband and turns in her lover, resulting in his suicide, and you were all like WHHAAAAAAT?!  I can never watch Friends again.  Ruined.  RUINED.  You have been tainted, Rachel Green, by your other personalities.

It's like that.  The voice of Bod's sweet, trusting childhood friend is the same as Richard Mayhew's bitch of a fiancee in Neverwhere and it's just not right.  Not right at all.  And this was true for nearly every character.  It was like the whole cast of Harry Potter performed The Hunger Games.  Not right at all (and that was a terrible comparison, by the way, but deal).  I don't think that this impacted my enjoyment of the book (or lack thereof) all that much, but it was completely distracting and makes me wonder if listening to Neil Gaiman read his novels must always be a one-time affair.  And if listening to any audiobook reader must only be a fling, never to be repeated.  How sad.

Has anybody else ever had this experience?

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Hey there blog people.  I've been absent for a while, and probably should be right now, since I have two papers due on Tuesday.  But instead, I shall procrastinate and talk to you about the things.  The book things, that is.  I currently have four (I think) books to review, one of which I finished at least two months ago.  Oops!  Sneak peek: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was wonderful and while I loved the audiobook experience, I know that I will be buying a print copy as well because Jonathan Safran Foer deserves my money and I got the audiobook from the library (does anybody else prefer to buy new copies of books by authors that are currently living?).  I'm still reading The Six Wives of Henry VIII and I'm having one of those experiences similar to when I realized I was destined to marry my husband, by which I mean that I can't understand how I'm not bored of/annoyed by this topic yet.  Seriously, I'm rarely into non-fictionalized history, and I've been learning about the same two women for months now from various sources (haven't gotten to wives 3-6 yet) and I still want to know more.  Crazy!

Looking forward, the semester ends on May 1!  AKA, I will start reading at a much speedier pace on May 2, and also hopefully telling you what I think of books in reviews that are longer than a sentence apiece.  I'm still deciding what to read first: The Marriage Plot (I know, I'm the only person ALIVE who hasn't read this yet), The Game of Thrones (because I think my husband will literally wet his pants if he has to wait any longer to watch the show), or Alias Grace (since, you know, I just signed up for a read along [because we know how good I am at committing to reading endeavors {if you don't know, the answer is 'not very good'}]).  Thoughts?

I shall be back soon, my bookish companions.  Now back to statistics and spirituality (but not in the same paper).

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Real G's Move in Silence Like Lasagna

This has needed saying for quite some time.  It's time I put it out there.

Real G's do not, in fact, move in silence like lasagna.

My husband listens to a lot of rap, which I am not a fan of, except when the rapper says something so ridiculous to make a rhyme that I am fully justified in mocking it mercilessly for weeks to come until my husband gets so irritated that his face turns red and he switches to all classical, all the time, and I win win win.  Okay, that hasn't actually happened.  Yet.

Usually, however, he agrees with me that the line is ridiculous.  "Standin' at my podium, tryna watch my sodium" is undeniably ridiculous.  And "warriors" is not pronounced "warius" - you really can't argue the point.  However, the line titling this blog post has been a point of contention for some time.  It is ridiculous and flat out wrong on two counts, and here's why:

1) The grammar of the sentence suggests that a G's silent movement is akin to lasagna's silent movement.  And that's lasagna as a collective, might I add.  Now, we all know that lasagna can't move.  It does not, in fact, sneak off your plate.  But, to be generous, let's say that lasagna can move.  Humor me.  What kind of sound would it make?  One of two I would think.  Either it would clatter about, being in a glass or metal pan.  Moving independently, it would probably make a sound something like "splooch" as it glops to the floor.  Ergo, lasagnas are not silent while in motion and the comparison is wrong.

2) Okay, yes, I know that what the rapper means (but completely fails to say) is that the "g" in lasagna is silent, much like a G.  This is also wrong.  Imagine that "lasagna" was actually spelled "lasana."  Say it out loud.  It's not the same, is it?  Now try saying "nochhi."  Much easier to say than "gnocchi," right?*  That's because in Italian g+n=n-yuh.  Just because it does not make the classic American "gee" or "guh" sounds, does not in fact mean that that "g" is silent.  It's just covert.

There you have it - unassailable proof that real Gs' silence is in no way akin to lasagnas or anything therein.  And also that we should change the station because no, I will not let it go.

*To all you people that have never ordered gnocchi in restaurants for fear of making fools of themselves, the "gn" in gnocchi is pronounce n-yuh, like in lasagna, and the "i" is long, like the American letter "e."  Order away, my fellow munchers.
**Highly mocked song lyric from "6 Foot 7 Foot" by Lil Wayne