TTT: Freebies

TTT So, i have this thing. I tend to take things rather literally. If an answer or interpretation is needed, i will more often than not give a literal response. An example of this was a prompt in a 30 day writing meme that said to write about a time where someone puts their foot in their mouth. No, i did not write about some one literally putting their foot in their mouth–only because my partner preempted me, and forbid me to write that… he knows me so well.

To that end, when presented with this week’s top ten Tuesday of “Freebie” i had but one idea: Top ten books i got for free.

The Night Circus. A birthday (or christmas, i forget) gift several years ago from my parents.

Write. Borrowed from the library.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. Caught via BookCrossing and read, before releasing back into the wild.

Weird Lies. Won through a Goodreads giveaway.

Creature. A hand-me-down book that my mum no longer wanted.

Carter Beats the Devil. Recommended by and borrowed from my partner.

Endless Night. Informal book swapping shelf in Spain (so many years ago it hurts to remember).

The Godfather. A just-because gift from a friend.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. A book swap with What Hannah Read.

The Alchemist’s Revenge. Free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I love free books! How, where and why do you get free books? Am i missing any freebie opportunities?

TTT: Character Spin Offs

TTTWanting more from a book, a book that leaves the reader craving more, is a sign of a great book for me. And for me that will most often come in the form of characters. Characters make or break books as far as i’m concerned, and characters that I love or hate and want more of, will always make a book. These are some of the most intriguing characters i’d love to read more about in some capacity.

1. Zellaby and Lord Henry from The Midwich Cuckoos and The Picture of Dorian Gray, respectively.
This a towfer, but it’s also something i’ve wanted for a long time. A book entirely about Zellaby and Lord Henry sitting down over a pot of tea and talking philosophically. I want it so much, one day, I may just write it myself.

2. The women from The Godfather.
As much as I enjoyed this book, the sexism made me rage. All I wanted was a book from the female characters’ POVs, essentially showing that they were the ones really running the show. That they were so in control, they could pull the men’s strings without the men even realising it.

3. The ‘kraken’ (because they’re aren’t actually called that) from The Kraken Wakes.
I like stories where the villains have their own, valid, motivations. When it’s not as simple as good and evil, when there is grey area. And in books like that—like The Kraken Wakes—i find myself wanting to know more about the other side of the story.

4. Wednesday from American Gods.
I just found him immensely interesting. How in control, self-assured and mysterious he was. He was weaving this plot, knowing where all the pieces were and guiding them into the places he needed them to be. I would love to have experienced that from his point of view. Also, I just generally want more of him.

5. Clarisse McClellan from Fahrenheit 451.
This peculiar young girl who effortlessly helps turn Guy Montag’s life upside down. She’s in, what, two or three scenes early in the book and then she disappears. We never really find out much about her or what happens to her, but I would very much like to.

6. The deaf-mute in a top hat from Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters.
My favourite line in the entire story:
“An instant later, a silk hat materialised in the air beside me, considerably down and to the left, and my special, only technically unassigned cohort grinned up at me – for a moment, I rather thought he was going to slip his hand into mine.”
How could I not want, just, more of this man?

7. The Triffids from The Day of The Triffids.
Another, perhaps, misunderstood evil creature. Though they did plant themselves (a pun! Ha) on Earth and lay in wait for years before striking when the human race was at its weakest, so maybe not so misunderstood. Still, I love an interesting, complex, plant-based villain. I’d love to read their take over of Earth from their point of view.

8. Tim Vale from One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night and Be My Enemy.
Brookmyre is so bloody good at characters, even his secondary, supporting, fucking fleeting characters are so rich. I’d take more of any of them, really. But Mr Vale… a “security expert”… his back story is just dripping with potential, and I am more than eager to read about it. Also not impossible that he could, in theory, get his own book…

9. The house from The Haunting of Hill House.
I can include inanimate objects on this list, right? Though, ‘inanimate’ might not be a word that describes this house. The mystery surrounding it, the horrors it has contained. I want to experience that with the house, too, not only its inhabitants. Would it be less scary? More? Would it answer my questions, or raise further ones? I don’t mind what the answers to these questions are, but i’d be fascinated to find out.

10. IT from IT.
This villain I would just want to know more about. Its supernatural nature is evident, but no solid answers on what it is or where it is from are ever answered, only that it has been living in, feeding from and influencing the inhabitants of the town for hundreds of years. This is one of my favourite books, and it’s already pretty darn long, but I would welcome more.

The Godfather

gfTitle: The Godfather

Author: Mario Puzo

Summary: Tyrant, blackmailer, racketeer, murderer – his influence reaches every level of American society. Meet Don Corleone, a friendly man, a just man, a reasonable man. The deadliest lord of the Cosa Nostra. The Godfather.

A modern masterpiece, The Godfather is a searing portrayal of the 1940s criminal underworld. It is also the intimate story of the Corleone family, at once drawn together and ripped apart by its unique position at the core of the American Mafia. Still shocking forty years after it was first published, this compelling tale of blackmail, murder and family values is a true classic.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Review: I very much enjoyed The Godfather film. It has been a while since i watched it, though, so i can’t clearly compare the book to it. I do plan on re-watching it soon, so i guess i’ll see if i still like it as much now i’ve read and only 50% enjoyed the book.

I’ll try to start positive. I love a good bad guy. I love an intelligent evil character. And Vito Corleone was definitely that. Known as a reasonable man, one who would listen and be fair… he really wasn’t. He was just excellent at manipulating people. At sounding so reasonable as he issued his threats.

The mafia and five families storyline was the most interesting to me. The secrets and plots and revenge. It was entertaining. And i think the first half was better than the second. (And this ties in with my opinions on the films, too.) The first half, the action was spread nicely across the chapters. It was most interesting to read. The second half was slow going, then had all the action pay off in the last few chapters. I also prefered the characters in the first half. They seemed more real, more rounded and more genuine. By the second half they felt more two dimensional, too squeezed into roles, rather than being real characters. (Michael turning from an intelligent, rebellious youth to a man set on nothing but revenge is the most obvious example.) This could be put down to character “development”, as the book is set over 10 years or so, but i saw it more as laziness on the part of Puzo–he just didn’t bother writing the characters as well. By the second half of the book it was much more about the plot and what was happening, rather than the people it was happening to.

The book is also far too long. There are entire chapters of sub-plots that, as far as i am concerned, added nothing to the overall story and were entirely unnecessary. I didn’t give two hoots about Fontane’s singing and acting career, or his relationship with the wife he cheated on and left (which was ultimately her fault, apparently), or his friend who was determined to drink himself to death. I didn’t give two hoots about Lucy, who was one of the Corleone son’s mistresses with a gaping vagina, or how she ended up meeting a doctor who fixed that problem up for her, or the intricate details about the surgery involved in that. I’m still baffled and wondering what the point of any of that was.

I can’t put it off any longer. I have to talk about the things i hated and found unforgivable in this books: the sexism and racism. I don’t care when it was set and what culture is being represented. I don’t care if that’s how things were. The sexism and racism are not the point of the book, Puzo is not making any great point by including them. They are just little extras to help me hate every single character in the book. I was tempted to list examples, but that would take too long and make me too angry. The sexism is rife throughout the book, the racism blatant in the few times it is mentioned. My hate was on a medium-to-high heat the entire time. All the female characters are weak, either oblivious housewives good for nothing except cooking and bearing children, or mistresses, good for nothing but sex. And it’s not the fact of that that annoyed me so much, it was the blasé, commonplace of it all. The casual way it was talked about, the way it was accepted, by everyone. Just… i hated it, it was not okay.

Really, i wanted to give this book at least four stars. I did love the mafia families war plot… but the rest of the book was just so bad, so rage-inducing, that i couldn’t do it.

What i really want is the same book written from the female points of view, in which they really run the show. They are the ones manipulating their husbands and lovers, while allowing the men to think they’re in charge…