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Notable Quotable # 116

The evening sun had rolled down and blown out in a bloody wad and the white, full moon had rolled up like an enormous ball of tightly wrapped twine.

  • “Deadman’s Road” by Joe R. Lansdale (opening sentence), The Living Dead by Various, pg. 299

A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

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Notable Quotable #105

Zombies pretend to be about how there are worse things than death. It isn’t true. Being one is an in-between state, and the way out is pretty much what you’d expect. Zombies are about how there are worse things than life.

  • “Everything is better with zombies” by Hannah Wolf Bowen, The Living Dead by Various, pg. 234-235A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

Challenges Update: The Final Weeks of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy

Yellow my youthful, yarely Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the really belated 11th (and probably final) update of Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy, in which I tell you the outrageous amount of stuff that has happened since my last update just before semester break that I have been itching to tell you!

I am determined to finally fill you in on the challenges, since in essence I have now polished them both off, however, I don’t want to bore my beloved Bookbaggers, old and new (I was flabbergasted that I gained a few new followers while I have been virtually silent, so thanks and welcome to the Bookbagger newbies 🙂 ) so I will keep it as short as my rambling mind and wandering fingers can manage, utilising the Mighty Numbered List and keeping to challenge-based stuff…mostly 😛

Ok, lets kick off the epic, shall we?

Short and Sweet challenge badgeThe MNL (Mighty Numbered List) will be getting a workout with this update, as in the four six weeks since my last update (jeez I had to check to confirm it had been that long!) I have finished all the remaining books in the challenge, a few of the short stories from my zombie anthology, and have tweaked something related to the challenge:

  1. I started Horn by Peter M Ball the weekend after my last update (along with Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins and The Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman) and by the time I fell sick on Wednesday I had read the majority of it. Then from Thursday to Sunday I was at home with nothing to do but drink lots of fluids and feel sorry for myself, so I of course read the shit out of everything and by Friday I had already polished off Horn and Deadly Beloved. Horn was another novella centered around cop-turned-murderer-turned-private-dick Miriam Aster, who I was introduced to in Bleed, and while I didn’t enjoy it as much (perhaps because I read Bleed first or perhaps because I had the order backwards, as while they’re not technically a series Horn was published a year or two before) but it was still a fun, exciting read that gave me some more insight into the character and Ball’s version of the Fey. If he writes more in this world following Aster, I will be a happy chicken 🙂 horn
  2. I had also been reading a lot of Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins before catching the bug, as It was a surprisingly witty and interesting pulpy-noir-style mystery with some funny, smart characterisation (especially the star of the show Ms Tree who takes shit from no one, has a fire-arm ready at all times, is unashamed of her sexuality and won’t shy away from confronting colleagues, lovers and crooks alike) and a solid story that kept me guessing. I actually enjoyed it more than many of the crime books I have read previously, including some which were “proper” crime noir published in the 1940’s, so not bad for a book I picked up at Coles for five bucks! I have since passed it on to my friend Scott, who has read the comic book series it’s based on, so I hope he enjoys it as much as I did 🙂 deadly beloved
  3. Since there was only one book left in the challenge – The Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby (artist) – I got stuck into that pretty much right away, and I finished it the next weekend. Being a Discworld novel it was of course hilarious, bursting with strange magics and altered laws of nature, but as this was a special illustrated novella it was also quite fast-paced and Josh Kirby’s colourful, mad-cap illustrations spilled from their usual place on the outside covers and popped up throughout the text or in stunning two-page spreads. After the last two Discworld novels (Pyramids and Guards! Guards!) it was nice to catch-up with the bumbling wizard Rincewind and his menacing walking Luggage, which were the stars of several of the earlier books. I also liked that the usual sinister bureaucracy of the wizards was mostly absent in this instalment, replaced by a sinister bureaucratic King of Hell who has forced his underlings to move away from the fire-and-brimstone style of damnation and onto the method of torture by mind-numbing boredom. eric
  4. Since Eric was the only under-200 pages contender left, when I finished Deadly Beloved I was back to picking from one of my original piles (one of two Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read piles as I already had a couple of Borrowed-From-Others and a library book on the go) so I asked my mum to do the honours and she chose Un Lun Dun by China Miéville 😀 I started it early the following week and have been loving it ever since! Unlike Kraken – which is the only Miéville novel I’ve read previously – Un Lun Dun is YA, so not quite as mind-bending, yet it is full to bursting with Miéville’s highly imaginative creations, enhanced by his quirky, detailed illustrations which are scattered through the text. Before I even reached the half-way point I had already pre-emptively put it on my list of Top 10 Books of 2014, so expect more blabbing on about it in the near future!ChinaMieville-UnLunDun
  5. Then when I finished Eric I picked another book from one of the Books-I-Own-But-Have-Yet-To-Read pile – one with books I’ve been meaning to read for ages, since Un Lun Dun came from the newer acquisitions pile – which was Dead in the Family (Book 10 of the Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood/Southern Vampire Mysteries series) by Charlaine Harris! I was pleased about the choice because I read the last book way back in 2012 and even though I have heard from fans that the latter books have lost their glow a little, I enjoyed Book 9 and either way I am determined to finish the series now I’m so close! So far I am about half-way through and I am enjoying it still – they aren’t the highest form of literature, but Charlaine Harris can weave an interesting supernatural tale with plenty of funny bits as well as some mystery, which occasionally is all I want (especially after reading A Clockwork Orange and I Am Legend recently)$2 plus $6.95 p&h!!! Gotta love eBay :)
  6. Finally, since the last update I have read 3 more stories out of the The Living Dead zombie anthology: “In Beauty, Like the Night” by Norman Partridge, which was about a media mogul similar to Hugh Hefner who hides away on his private island when the zombie plague hits, obsessively watching the zombified girls from his calendar shoot which became stranded/infected on the island; “Prairie” by Brian Evenson, which was only 4 pages long but was a really disturbing and unsettling tale of an expedition across the prairie during a zombie infection; and “Everything is Better With Zombies” by Hannah Wolf Bowen, which didn’t feature actual zombies, but was a touching story of friendship between a girl and a boy approaching adolescence and their game of chasing imagined zombies through the local cemetery. I read the last one the weekend before last and then I haven’t dived back into zombies since because I’ve been so caught up with my other reads, but I may read a story or two this weekendA bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?
  7. Lastly, I realised when approaching the end of the challenge that I didn’t have any more books under 200 pages to contribute, but I did have a fair amount of short story collections in various piles, so I’ve decided to make a completely new pile and when I finish The Living Dead I’ll pick a new collection 🙂 This means the Short and Sweet challenge still has some life in it, but it will be more like my Comic Companions challenge of last year, so won’t be updated once a week. Since I don’t want this post to be too epically long and boring I won’t list all the collections in the pile, but will save that for its own post sometime before I finish The Living Dead

Now onto the other challenge which also had major action:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeWhile I was sick and during my holidays I got fully sucked into the end of Brisingr leading to this happy result:

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending0 Pages – Finished 😀

Pages remaining: 0

Brisingr:

Brisingr197 Pages
(67 pages one week; the remaining 128 the next)

Pages remaining: 0! 😀

Total:

197 Pages

Pages remaining: 0

I now know why my bro was so insistent I read this book as Paolini’s skill as a writer has improved immensely from the first book – and even from the second – and I found myself hunched in my seat gripping the book, eyes wide, while gasps and yes, even tears burst forth from me inexplicably at various points. I know that if I hadn’t done this challenge I likely would’ve been even slower with this huge fantasy epic (as it was I still had it on the go for over 8 months!) so I am very happy I challenged myself.

I was then finally able to pick a new book from the Borrowed-From-Others pile and I picked one that I borrowed from Sarah a while back and have been wanting to read ever since she told me about it – Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey. I started it around the same time as Un Lun Dun and I have been loving it just as much. In fact it also got pre-emptively added to the Top 10 Books of 2014 list before I was even half-way, so I really have some great books on the go at the moment 😀

BlackFeathers

I think I’ll leave it there Bookbaggers so I can finally post this really belated update! I also read a few comics, but I’ll save that for another post and leave you with a few words.

Like many of you, this week I have been trying to come to terms with the shocking death of Robin Williams. As I’m 27, Robin was a pivotal figure in memorable films from my childhood, such as Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, Hook, Patch Adams, and Aladdin and it has been hard even fathoming that he is no longer in this world. I have tried to stay positive (as I usually try to do in most situations anyway) and think that at least where ever he may be he is no longer suffering and perhaps his death helped others contemplating suicide or suffering silently from depression.

This is not a cheery way to end the long-awaited update, but I couldn’t put something up this week without saying something and sharing with you a video which not only shows Robin’s talent, but pays tribute to him in a positive way:

Robin – we never have had a friend like you before and probably never will again. You will be truly missed by a big percentage of the world, and I hope that you are at peace.

On that note its goodbye for now Bookbaggers – until next time:

genie and carpet

Challenge Update: Week 7 of Short and Sweet & 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy

Bonjour my beauteous, benevolent Bookbaggers!

Welcome to the 7th update of my Short and Sweet and 1000+ Pages of Epic Fantasy challenges, where once again I have nothing exciting besides to tell you about, so I’ll probably end this post with some frivolous videos and GIFs ^_^

But firstly:

Short and Sweet challenge badgeSince the last update I have started two new books in this challenge, so a Mighty Numbered List is fitting more than ever:

  1. I have been reading Bleed by Peter M Ball heaps this week because I’m really enjoying it and it makes a great commute and lunch break book (although I think I’ve gotten a few odd looks from my co-workers over the cover art 😛 ). I almost got carried away and finished it last night, but it was already my bedtime and I knew if I kept going I would be too tired this morning, plus I probably wouldn’t have slept well as finishing a book perks me up too much. So, to save myself from a zombie-like Friday, and also to savour the end a bit, I’ve left the last couple of chapters which I will probably read sometime this weekend and pick a new one to share in the next update 🙂Bleed
  2. This morning instead of plunging into Bleed (again with the savouring) I started A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, which I have been avoiding on public transport and at work because I wasn’t sure if it would be too intense. Prepared with a Britpop channel on Pandora, turned down to a dull roar I started it on my bus and right away I was sucked in. I was right about it being intense (definitely not a lunch-time read!) but it was fine for the trip to work (after all, I read most of High-rise by J G Ballard to and from work, and that certainly wasn’t tame) and the most bizarre and interesting thing about it is the language. Burgess has created a unique form of urban slang – akin to cockney rhyming slang but with some Russian and other influences chucked in – which is used liberally by the main character, Alex, to replace many common words. I found today that there are a dictionaries online, such as this one which give the English translation of the slang, however much of it can be discerned from context, or on a second or third encounter of the word, so generally I knew what was going on. Plus the bizarre words, paired with strange fashions and other clues, makes it more clear that you are in a futuristic world where society has changed. So far I am loving it, so hopefully I will get some time to read more over the weekend.a clockwork orange
  3. Lastly I read 2 more stories out of The Living Dead zombie anthology on Sunday. The first I had been looking forward to from the start since it’s by one of my favourite authors – “Sex, Death and Starshine” by Clive Barker  but pretty early on I realised why the title and story were so familiar – I had already read it in Books of Blood vol. 1-3! I still enjoyed the story, which followed the preparations for a final performance of Twelfth Night by a lacklustre collection of thespians before the old theatre is demolished, which is changed for the better (mostly) when the director is visited by a man from the theatre’s past. This story sort of went back to the more sinister zombies, albeit ones that still had their wits about them, and being Clive Barker had this creepy undercurrent all the way through. Afterwards I read the next tale – “Stockholm Syndrome” by David Tallerman – because it was quite short, and here we really got back to traditional zombies, with the narrator barricaded in his home and talking about a particular zombie he could see outside. Even though it was short, it was quite chilling, maybe because of the narrator’s voice, which held a sort of admiration and respect for the zombie he was watching, or maybe because I had much more controlled or humanised zombies leading up to it. Either way, it was a creepy one…in a good way 🙂

     A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

The contenders list remains the same as last week (for now!):

i am legendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson

hornHorn by Peter M Ball

deadly belovedDeadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins

ericThe Illustrated Eric by Terry Pratchett (writer) and Josh Kirby

Now onto my other exciting challenge:

1000+ pages of epic fantasy challenge badgeI read heaps of these again on Sunday, easily making my new quota of 50 pages from each, and getting excitingly close to the end of one 😀 :

The Sending:

Maruman on the cover of The Sending72 pages (3 chapters)

Pages remaining: 125

Brisingr:

Brisingr55 Pages (5 chapters)

Pages remaining: 338

Total:

127 Pages

Pages remaining: 463

The Sending is getting so exciting that if I manage to get enough time on Sunday (I am throwing a birthday party for one of my close friends, Nay, on Saturday so may be recuperating Sunday) I could just read to the end, but if not this challenge will be down one book in a couple of weeks, and considering what’s happening in Brisingr I doubt it’ll be far behind!

Since last time I also read my two other randomly picked Free Comic Book Day comics – Courtney Crumrin was a rare first issue where most of the free comics are zero issues/teasers and introduced me to an interesting YA supernatural story which I want to continue with more than any of the others I’ve read so far. At the back was a promotion of the half-dozen hard cover volumes which already exist, so I’ll have to see if the first one is in one of my friendly neighborhood comic stores 🙂

Courtney Crumrin

The other one – Spongebob Freestyle Funnies – was pretty much what the name suggests, a collection of short comics starring the lovable underwater-pineapple-dwelling sponge and his friends, drawn by different artists and it was a nice way to spend a few minutes one afternoon before Sarah came to visit.

Spongebob Freestyle Funnies

Well, that’s it for now Bookbaggers 🙂 If you haven’t already check out my newest regular feature posts Collective Nounitude: Zombies and Adventures in Etymology: Syncopation, and I’ll be back next week with a new update.

Until then here’s the random frivolity I promised 😀

Firstly a bunny who looks inadvertently sinister munching on some raspberries:

bunny eating raspberries

Yet still adorable despite its raspberry blood lust 😛

Then this adorable Bull Terrier trying to figure out what this crab is about:

I had a Bully cross growing up who was dumb as a post, but a very sweet dog, so despite their occationally bad rap I love their adorable boofy faces ^-^

I had a Bully cross growing up who was dumb as a post, but a very sweet dog, so despite their bad rap I love their adorable boofy faces ^-^

And lastly this video, which actually isn’t frivolous but a genius idea which addresses multiple problems we’re now facing as a society:

I’m planning on supporting the project next pay-day, and if any of my lovely Bookbaggers want to do the same they can here.

Ok see ya!

waving doctor

Collective Nounitude: Zombies

collective-nounitude-banner (1)

Zombies

Zombie Apocalypse by  Joe-Roberts (DeviantART) used with artist's permission. Check out more of his work at joeroberts.co.uk

Zombie Apocalypse by Joe-Roberts (DeviantART) used with artist’s permission. Check out more of Joe’s work on his website: joeroberts.co.uk

Most Common:

A Horde of Zombies

(this wasn’t the most common in my searches, but from my experience “zombie horde” is commonly used in books/movies/TV so is the one most people would use/think of and since this isn’t a very official collective noun and a couple of people in forums also agree with horde, I’m sticking with it :P)

Alternatives:

A Stagger of Zombies

A Moan of Zombies

A Shamble of Zombies

A Thriller of Zombies

A Shuffle of Zombies

An Apocalypse of Zombies

A Plague of Zombies

A Splatter of Zombies

A Shudder of Zombies

A Hunger of Zombies

A Reek of Zombies

A Shaun of Zombies (Ha!)

A Lurch of Zombies

A Fondness of Zombies

A Zeppelin of Zombies
(well, that’s a terrifying thought!)

A Rotting of Zombies

A Copse of Zombies

A Morgue of Zombies

A Scourge of Zombies

A Death of Zombies

A Sizwe Dhlomo of Zombies
(I had to look this guy up to see why this makes sense/is funny. Apparently he’s a radio/TV presenter and businessman in Africa but I have no idea why someone thought his name would be a good collective noun for zombies O.O)

A Graveyard of Zombies

A Scathe of Zombies

A Stumble of Zombies

A Munch of Zombies

A Chuckle of Zombies

A Bloodthirst of Zombies

An Implacable of Zombies

A Scrum of Zombies

A Decomposition of Zombies

A Shawn of Zombies
(someone already beat you to it guy – and with the right spelling :P)

A Simonpegg of Zombies
(lots of Shaun of the Dead love in the world of collective nouns for zombies!)

A Romero of Zombies

A Swoon of Zombies

A Stench of Zombies

A Brains Trust of Zombies

A Fester of Zombies

A Daze of Zombies

A Shaaamo of Zombies
(I also had to look this one up and I still have no idea what it’s meant to mean…)

A Vexation of Zombies
(I love this one because it sounds like what proper Victorian ladies/gentlemen would pick for a collective noun – “Oh my, these undead are rather vexing aren’t they? Not at all seemly and they do ruin ones tea break most awfully” – plus it comes from this fantastic poster of Supernatural Collective Nouns which has so many rippers!)

My suggestions:

Man, there are so many good suggestions I don’t know if I can come up with any more!

Here goes nothing:

A Herd of Zombies

A Nom of Zombies

A Knash of Zombies

A Void of Zombies
(this may be my fave suggestion because it makes me think of creepy empty eyes, with matching empty brains, plus I know if zombies were a reality I would certainly be avoiding them :P)

Zombies RAR by seandunkley used with artist's permission. Check out more of Sean's work on his Tumblr page - http://seandunkley.tumblr.com/

Zombies RAR by seandunkley (DeviantART) used with artist’s permission. Check out more of Sean’s work on his Tumblr page – seandunkley.tumblr.com

 Reason for choice:

Mainly curiosity, but also because I’ve been reading The Living Dead zombie anthology a lot, and watching The Walking Dead on Tuesdays 🙂

A bunch of different zombie stories by different authors? What's not to love?

Sources:

collectivenoun.co.uk

all-sorts.org

Wiktionary

Wondermark
(home of the Supernatural Collective Nouns poster 🙂 )

timkanebooks.com
(stumble of zombies, but also has some other great suggestions for horror creatures)

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Notable Quotable # 90

Some things that you could try with zombies, but which won’t work:
Panic.
Don’t panic. Remain calm.
Call the police.
Take them out to dinner. Get them drunk.
Ask them to come back later.
Ignore them.
Take them home.
Tell them jokes. Play board games with them.
Tell them you love them.
Rescue them.

  • “Some zombie contingency plans” by Kelly Link, The Living Dead by Various, pg. 38the_living_dead