The Listicle Tag #2

I was nominated by Ally to do the Listicle Tag – thanks Ally!

RULES:

  • Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
  • Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that she can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.
  • Nominate as many people as you want!
  • Set those 5 people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!

Ally’s prompt: Books you’d like to rewrite (any number of books!)

Let’s stick with 5 – I could be here all day.

17645The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.  Let’s just get the Greek mythology one out of the way since you knew it was coming.  I so wanted to love this book, which is supposedly a feminist retelling of the Odyssey from Penelope’s perspective, with a focus on Odysseus’s execution of Penelope’s maids, but so much of it rubbed me the wrong way.  The treatment of every female character other than Penelope was pretty abhorrent – I struggled to find the feminist merit in a book that reclaimed one female perspective, only to demonize all of the other female characters.  I’m also a BIG Helen of Sparta fan, so any Trojan War retelling which places the blame for the war on Helen (as this one did) irritates me to no end.  Basically, I’d love to rewrite this, keeping Atwood’s characterization of Penelope and the maids, but pretty much reworking the way all of the other female characters are treated by the narrative.

157387The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox.  This is a sort of tender gay romance between a man and an angel who can only meet on one day of the year, set in early 1800s France.  I was so sure that I was going to love this book that I would have confidently included it in one of those ‘five-star read predictions’ posts that I did yesterday, but it ended up barely scraping by with two stars.  I just thought the execution was so messy.  There were so many background characters and subplots which ended up being ultimately inconsequential, and the extreme unlikability of the protagonist made it sort of difficult to root for the romance.  I’m obsessed with this premise though; I would love to keep the format of the book (each chapter taking place in the consecutive year) and cut out a lot of the filler material.

550720The Night Watch by Sarah Waters.  This is another book with a fascinating premise.  It’s set in World War II London (nothing unusual there) – but it’s told going backwards in time; so the novel begins in 1945 (or ’46… somewhere in there) and ends in 1941.  The problem with this book?  It’s only about 5 chapters, and each one is so long.  So basically, we’re in the 1945 narrative… and it keeps going for a hundred pages – now WAIT, STOP, we’re traveling back in time to 1944.  And then the 1944 narrative moves forward for a hundred pages – now WAIT, back another year.  Etc.  It felt so disjointed to spend so much time in a certain year only to be jerked backward somewhat arbitrarily.  I think I would have made different use of the backwards timeline if I’d written this novel… and it’s frustrating, because there’s so much to love, including a great host of LGBT characters.

cover-mischlingMischling by Affinity Konar.  I either want to rewrite this book or just stop it from existing tbh…. I found this so, so, so offensive.  It’s another WWII novel, this time about a fictional set of twins who were the subject of one of Josef Mengele‘s inhumane experiments in Auschwitz.  This was a subject I’d learned about in high school, and I was eager to delve into a fictional account of Mengele’s zoo.  Unfortunately, I thought this whole novel was basically an elaborate literary exercise for Affinity Konar to show off her prose (which I found overwritten and mostly rather vapid), and I thought the whole thing was mostly sensationalized garbage.  I just didn’t think the Holocaust was a particularly appropriate subject for what struck me as an elaborate creative writing exercise in trying to come off as literary~.  If I wrote a novelized account of Josef Mengele, I would try to do so with more sensitivity than I found in Mischling.  (Sorry, I know some people love this book, I just… really hated it.)

26893819The Girls by Emma Cline.  This one seems timely with the death of Charles Manson yesterday.  I admit to being morbidly fascinated by cults, so I’d been excited to pick up The Girls, 2016’s ‘it book’ of the summer about a young girl who joins a Mason-esque cult in the 1970s.  But man, did I not like the execution.  First of all, I thought the prose was terrible, and second of all, what frustrated me the most was how the protagonist (and therefore, the reader) was held at an arm’s length from most of the action of the story.  Evie was always on the sidelines of the group and never really a true part of it, so I sort of felt like… what’s the point?  I hadn’t learned anything about the psychology of what drives a person to join a cult other than what I already knew, which was not a whole lot to begin with.  For how little research was in here, I was shocked at this book’s rumored 2 million dollar price tag.  I’d love the chance to rewrite this story and really delve into the subject in a way that Cline hadn’t.

My prompt:

Top 5 books you feel like you read at the wrong time.  Whether or not you intend to give them another chance, what are some books that you think you’ve unfairly hated over the years because it was a case of the right book at the wrong time?

I nominate:

Chelsea & Steph & Hadeer & Marta & Callum

(As usual, I will not be offended if you skip it!)

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Listicle Tag

Thanks to Steph @ Lost Purple Quill for tagging me!  This tag was created by Not-So-Modern-Girl.

Rules

  • Create your own listicle tag, using the prompt from the person who tagged you.
  • Tag the creator of the post (not-so-modern-girl!) so that I can read all your brilliant posts and see how the joy of listicles is being spread.
  • Nominate as many people as you want!
  • Set those 5 people the subject/prompt of their listicle post!

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Steph’s prompt: Names! What are 5 different character names you love?

This is a really good question!  I feel like the fantasy genre has a lot of great names, but since I’m not a big fantasy reader let’s see what I can come up with…

  1. Andromache (The Iliad/mythology). Wife of Hector and mother of Astyanax, Andromache is one of my favorite underrated mythology ladies.  I love the way her name sounds, but more importantly, I love that it comes from the Greek for “man battler” or “fighter of men.”  Amazing.  Honestly, my top 5 could be mythology names alone.  But in an effort to branch out…
  2. Therese Belivet (The Price of Salt, Patricia Highsmith).  Pronounced ‘Terez.’  I’m not sure why I love this name so much, but I was really taken with it when I read The Price of Salt, and it sticks out to me for some reason.
  3. Daenerys Targaryen (A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin). She may not be my favorite ASOIAF character (Sansa Stark is my queen), but I’ve always loved this name.  I love all the Targaryen names, really – Rhaegar and Viserys and Aerys are also great, and they all go so well with “Targaryen.”  Naming is something GRRM does incredibly well.  How he hasn’t run out of ideas for new names by now, I have no idea.  Has anyone ever counted how many characters are mentioned in this series?!
  4. Marius Pontmercy (Les Miserables, Victor Hugo).  I mean, “Jean Valjean” is pretty great as far as names go, but I’ve got to go with Marius.  I love the sound of both Marius and Pontmercy, and love how they sound together.  This has been my favorite Les Mis name since I first read it years ago.  Incidentally, also my favorite character.
  5. Jude St. Francis (A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara).  This name is perfect on so many levels.  I love that ‘Jude’ is an androgynous name, which is appropriate given the ambiguity that surrounds the character’s identity (including the huge question mark about his ethnicity, etc); I love (and hate) the irony of Jude’s religious upbringing; and finally, of course, I love how it’s so painfully apt that Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost causes.  I was tempted to go with Willem Ragnarsson, a name I also love from A Little Life, but Jude St. Francis is too good.

Your listicle prompt: Villains!  Who are your top 5 fictional villains?

Tagging: Chelsea @ Spotlight on Stories // A Book Without End // Bentley @ Book Bastion // Hadeer @ Hadeer Writes

Or if you’d like to do it, consider yourself tagged!  Tag me back so I can see your answers 🙂