Helen, the Hermit

Debbie's Last Post About Goodreads

I couldn't have said it better

"A cheerful thought before closing the coffin lid on goodreads all the way:

Maybe, just maybe, some of the STGRB bunch are able to spend time creating all these sockpuppet posters and followers on goodreads because the proper legal actions were taken.

Maybe they are posting from behind bars."


Source: http://donealrice.booklikes.com/post/547894/post
Reblogged from Debbie's Spurts

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 3 - Your Favorite Series

The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes -  Arthur Conan Doyle Blood Price - Tanya Huff The Colour Of Magic - Terry Pratchett

I don't like series.


I suppose I could deal with mystery novels that can be read as standalone, but the thing is I used to be on a tight budget until recently and did not want to spend money on something that is less likely to have a reread value.


But while such examples might technically count, I believe that's not what's on one's mind when one says "series".


The string of novels in a single continuity. Following the same characters more often than not. Or, at least, chronicle a sequence of events. Where you have to read the next book to get closure, and have to have had read the previous ones to get what happened. And let's not forget the cliffhangers.


And I will never ever know how anyone can be so arrogant to presume they will be able to produce several books of decent quality on the same subject, couple of years apart. Even many series of standalones lose steam along the way.


I won't count trilogies/quartets/quintets here.


Naturally, there are a few exceptions.


I'm reluctant to call Doyle's Sherlock Holmes opus "series". But it is one technically.


In Terry Pratchett's Discworld, books are standalone, but there are a few where knowing previous events helps (but is not necessary, in my opinion), forming several sequences under one large hat. It's one of the few that's solid overall, even though it has its ups and downs - but it's not a steady decline.


The only "series" in the style that is popular nowadays that I like so far is Tanya Huff's The Blood Books.

Satantango, page 54

Satantango - László Krasznahorkai, George Szirtes

So, doing nothing, he simply remained on the alert, careful to preserve his failing memory against the decay that consumed everything around him, much as he had done from the moment that he – once the closing of the estate had been announced and he personally had decided to stay behind and survive on what remained until “the decision to reverse the closure should be taken” – had gone up to the mill with the elder Horgos girl to observe the terrible racket of the abandonment of the place, with everyone rushing round and shouting, the trucks in the distance like refugees fleeing the scene, when it seemed to him that the mill’s death sentence had brought the whole estate to a condition of near collapse, and from that day on he felt too weak to halt by himself the triumphal progress of the wrecking process, however he might try, there being nothing he could do in the face of power that ruined houses, walls, trees and fields, the birds that dived from their high stations, the beasts that scurried forth, and all human bodies, desires and hopes, knowing he wouldn't  in any case, have the strength, however he tried, to resist this treacherous assault on humanity; and, knowing this, he understood, just in time, that the best he could do was to use his memory to fend off the sinister, underhanded process of decay, trusting in the fact that since all that mason might build, carpenter might construct, woman might stitch, indeed all that men and women had brought forth with bitter tears was bound to turn to an undifferentiated, runny, underground, mysteriously ordained mush, his memory would remain lively and clear, right until his organs surrendered and “conformed to the contract whereby their business affairs were wound up”, that is to say until his bones and flesh fell prey to the vultures hovering over death and decay.


Yeah. That was a single sentence.


(Inner hater of Strunk&White purists is dancing with joy.)

30-Day Book Challenge: Day 2 - A Book That You'Ve Read More Than 3 Times

The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

Throughout my early teens, I used to reread The Lord of the Rings three times a year.


What can I say? Timeline-wise, I should belong to Potter generation. But upon the completion of The Hobbit, my goal was to obtain the follow-up ASAP. So I was scouring the stalls for Tolkien and Hesse (some combination) and skipped that book with silly cartoony cover and back blurb that talked about some magic school. It looked so...for kids.


I'm sorry, but I REGRET NOTHING.


Ever ran into something that seems made just for you? That's what The Lord of the Rings seems like to me.


(Actually, my favourite Tolkien book is The Silmarillion, but I rarely reread it cover-to-cover. Overall count goes to LotR.)


30-Day Book Challenge: Day 1 - Best Book You Read Last Year

War and Peace - Henry Gifford, Aylmer Maude, Louise Maude, Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace, hands down. I'm still very, very late with the review - I thought I'd to it on my and author's shared birthday but again, other stuff happened.


What helped me get through this giant was the rule I set. I just started internship and had about an hour of commute one-way. I decided to read only on train or while waiting for one on the platform, and finish the chapter at home I didn't end it on the train. A little less than two hours, five days a week. I finished it in four weeks exactly, cover to cover. Your average highschooler back home (my class got assigned Quiet Flows The Don as the final-year-epic-length-Russian-book instead, but I've heard other experiences) is not able to finish it in two-and-half months of summer break.


(Yes. Yes I was carrying the brick paperback around in my bag. Yes, I'm probably insane.)


Anyway, I liked it way more than I thought I would. I definitely liked it more than Anna Karenina. I should give my father's favourite - The Cossacks - a try one of these days.

For some reason, this post went missing.

Source: http://www.tumblr.com
Reblogged from Archer's Asylum

The Filk Song, as requested



 Every star you rate  

 Every shelf you create  

 Every writer you berate  

 Every status update  

 STGRB will be watching you


 Every single byte  

 Every review you write

 Every new site

 Every perceived slight

 STGRB will be watching you


 Oh can't you see  

 Your praise belongs to me

 How my poor heart aches

 With every list you make


 Every screenshot you take  

 Every book you forsake  

 Every discussion in which you partake  

 Every reputation you break  

 STGRB will be watching you


 Since you gave me one star I only complain

 I dream at night, I can only see disdain

 I cry "bully" but it's you I can't restrain

 I feel so hurt and long for the financial gain

 I keep calling stars, stars please...


Spoiler tags

For everyone who doesn't want to mark the entire post as the spoiler and can be bothered to tinker with html, I found a simple code here:




(Click on "view source" icon to the right to get the clear html popup.)


Not ideal, but it will serve for now. If you use multiple ones, be sure to give them ID. (Where it says "spoiler" or 'spoiler', just add something, like make it "spoiler01"/'spoiler01'.)


If I find a better one, I'll let you know.


I also want to apologise to anyone following me in case my imported reviews from GR pop up on their dashboard; I don't have time to fix them as they come up. Please bear with me for a little while.

Casino Royale (James Bond #1) by Ian Fleming

Casino Royale Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) - Ian Fleming

I need to think about this. Yeah, you read that right. James Bond can actually make you exercise your little grey cells.

Within a Budding Grove (Remembrance of Things Past #2) by Marcel Proust

Within a Budding Grove (Remembrance of Things Past, #2) - Marcel Proust,  C.K. Scott Moncrieff

I liked Swann's Way better. I think that the flow there was smoother. Or it could be that I did not care much for the subject matter of this volume.

The Goodreads Killer by Dave Franklin

The Goodreads Killer - Dave Franklin

Not rated because the important matters related to this book transcend anything that could be evaluated in terms of like-dislike.


On the surface, it's a very bad "my first story" -style romp that requires suspension of disbelief beyond that necessary for consuming The Eye of Argon. But then the twist kicks in and it's revealed 

that it's all a hallucination of a mentally disturbed writer.

(show spoiler)


Thus the ambiguity that divides the readership is born: is this a parody/satire or a malicious threat masking as one?


read more

Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Faust - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This Kindle edition contains only part I, but it says nowhere that the other one is missing. Even worse, it's not available. Same thing with most of the other free editions, including the one on Project Gutenberg, illustrated and not. Be careful. If it ends with

Gretchen/Margaret dying, it's only the part I.

(show spoiler)

Now, this edition has a very good foreword, but it doesn't make up for this. Maybe the old editions that are public domain only had part I for whatever reasons and presented it as the entire work to the public back then, but surely a note of some sort could have been included on the part of the transcriber, on Amazon at least.


The Sheik by Edith Maude Hull

The Sheik - E. M. (Edith Maude) Hull

I'd really, really like to think that this book was supposed to be a stealthy deconstruction of abusive relationships, shuffled into exotic parts because it would have been easier to present a "barbarian" than an Englishman as an abuser;

(and then there was a Take That moment where the vile beast turned out to be (half) Englishman after all)

(show spoiler)

a look into what pushes a woman to persuade herself into caring for the abuser and consequently a very fine presentation of how Stockholm is developed preceeding the incident that defined the syndrome by decades. And then, unfortunately, Poe's Law struck and the lowest common denominator took it seriously.


The above paragraph proves that I'm an idiot who can't learn better even after everything that came to pass. (Yes, unfortunately, I'm 99.999% sure that the author played "The Taming of the Shrew" straight and saw nothing wrong with it.)


I'm not sure what made this book easier to go through than more modern entries. Maybe it's that I knew what was coming. Maybe it's the lack of standard purple prose or, thankfully, period-imposed censure that left us without graphic scenes of rape that our heroine "enjoys despite herself". Maybe it's just my brain refusing to believe a woman would write this, grasping at the straws that spawned the first paragraph of this review.


If you can stomach the idea, read it ironically. Or read it to see how little (<0.0000000000000000000000000000000001%) has the Romance genre improved even after three waves of feminism. And then let's weep for the humanity together. You bring the tissues, I'll bring the Belgian finest.

Maurice by E.M. Forster

Maurice - E.M. Forster

I had problems with deciding how to rate this book. It’s very much a draft, and not even the kind that is ready to be sent to the publisher. I should let it be because it was published posthumously. I have read even more broken posthumously-published works. But those were quite obviously collections of writings, as opposed to Maurice, which we’re supposed to read as a novel. I just wasn’t able to ignore it to the point it makes this a five-star-level enjoyable.


It’s possible that Forster never intended it to be published. It feels very personal. Particularly the ending. But then again, the ending is the one of the things I liked the best, even though it would have had me shaking my head in any other romance.

Yes, it’s unrealistic. But knowing the background, one cannot fault Forster for desiring it. And as silly it is, I really hope they lived happily ever after in that forest. So, no complaints from me about the wistfulness from me.

(show spoiler)



read more

The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

The Fifth Head of Cerberus: Three Novellas - Gene Wolfe

There is something very unsatisfying about The Fifth Head of Cerberus.


As far as SF goes, it leans more towards the “speculative” than “science” end of the dual abbreviation. I’ve heard praise about the lack of infodumps prior to reading, and it’s mostly correct. The lack of details was not the problem here. The too blatant deliberate obfuscation was.


I’m not sure what exactly The Fifth Head wants to do, but I'm sure it's trying to be very, very clever. Trying is the key word here. It’s trying so hard. To be deep. To be elusive. To be revolutionary. But I’m just not seeing any substance under its rather transparent style.


read more

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