Tag Archives: literature

The Illiad Rebooted – Chapter 3

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The sound of a blaring ram’s horn tore across Sparta before it finally made its way to the king’s ears.

“What?” the king asked.

Leda stirred. “Could it be?”

The gold plated doors to the throne room opened to reveal a rather stern looking muscle bound, long haired warrior. He entered in the company six other warriors, three on each side.

Their uniforms consisted of little more than leather thongs and flowing capes.

A frazzled Tyndareus sprang to his feet. “Oh, thank the gods, ’tis Talos, general of the mighty Spartan army. What news do you bring?”

The Spartans marched in a stoic manner until they reached the throne. Then, they shouted a very guttural “oohrah” before falling to their knees before the king.

“My good king,” Talos said. “My good queen. Castor and Pollux approach the port in their ship.”

“And? Tyndareus asked.

“Umm,” the general said. “The wind is in their sails and their pace is steady?”

The king slapped his forehead. “For the love of Hera’s tucas, man! Is Helen with them?”

“Oh!” Talos said. “Yes! Indeed she is. I spotted the princess standing on deck.”

“Not trying to tell you how to do your job, general,” Tyndareus said. “But you might have led off with that.”

The warriors arose. “On your word, we shall escort you to the port, your highness.”

Leda stood up. “I must fetch our niece.”

“Yes,” a relieved Tyndareus said. “Collect dear Penelope so that our family will finally be together again.”

Three Spartans left the throne room with the Queen.

Meanwhile, the king, Talos, and the other three warriors departed.

As the king’s party moved through the hustle and bustle of the city, the king couldn’t help but notice the skimpy attire the warriors were wearing.

“Talos?”

“Yes, my liege?”

“Is it me or have the uniforms of the mighty Spartan army grown absurdly scant?”

“’Tis not you, my king,” Talos said. “A reduction in clothing is one of many changes I have made as of late to give the mighty Spartan army an edge over all challengers.”

“I never thought one could could go wrong with a good tunic,” Tyndareus said.

“All due respect, my king,” Talos replied. “But tunics are bulky and get in the way. Leather thongs allow for much freer movement.”

“And the capes?” Tyndareus inquired.

“Oh the capes are just badass,” Talos replied. “When our enemies spy the mighty Spartan army rolling up on them, they’ll be all like, ‘Damn, those bad ass Spartan muthafuckas be wearin’ the shit out of them capes!’”

“I see,” the king said. “And what other changes have you made?”

A miserable wretch covered in boils hobbled up to the party on his cane with a live chicken tucked under his arm.

“Huzzah!” the wretch said. “’Tis Good King Tyndareus! May the gods smile upon you, your majesty!”

“Step aside, peasant!” Talos said as he knocked the wretch over with his pinky finger and kept walking.

“A bit harsh, weren’t you?” the king asked.

“I don’t know where that lowly dog has been, my king,” Talos said. “He coughs on you, you get sick and before you know it I’m slitting my own throat to atone for my failure to protect the man the gods have selected to rule over Sparta. Now where was I?”

“The changes,” the king said.

“Ah yes,” Talos said. “I’ve given the men a robust schedule. Up before dawn for swordplay practice, followed by an afternoon of rubbing scented oils and lotions into one another’s rippling muscles, followed by an evening of slippery wrestling until we fall asleep.”

“That seems rather uh, homoerotic,” the king said. “Not that I’m judging.”

“Scented oils and lotions are good for the muscles, your highness,” Talos said. “It brings the gallons upon gallons of testosterone coursing through our veins to the surface and makes us stronger. I swear it has nothing to do with us enjoying putting our greasy hands all over each others’ firm, supple bodies.”

“I’m sure it doesn’t,” the king said.

“Also, I have trained the men to shout incredibly macho statements about themselves upon command.”

Talos snapped his fingers. “Spartans! Flatter yourselves!”

“I possess gigantic testicles forged from wrought iron by the hand of Hephaestus, God of All Blacksmiths, himself!” the first warrior shouted. “Ooorah!”

“Is that true?” the king asked.

“I don’t know that it is not true,” Talos said. “Spartans! Continue!”

“I can snap the neck of a griffin with nothing but the tight muscles of my buttocks!” the second Spartan shouted. “Ooorah!”

“That’s true,” Talos said. “I’ve seen him do it. Third Spartan, report!”

“I crave man ass all night and day!” the third Spartan shouted. “Oohrah!”

Talos rolled his eyes. “Third Spartan, that’s not really a macho statement about yourself so much as an interest in an, um, extracurricular activity that the good king doesn’t need to know about.”

“I’m sorry, General!” the third Spartan said. “I’ll think about it and get back to you! Oorah!”

“How does making them shout macho statements about themselves make them better warriors?” the king asked.

“Would you want to go up against an army of Spartans with such massive egos to compliment their oiled up muscles?” Talos asked.

“I should say…” The king stopped to cough in his fist. “I should say not.”

“My king,” Talos said as he stretched out his hand. “Please, let me assist you.”

“No,” Tyndarecus scoffed. “I may be old but I’m not dead.”

“I understand,” Talos said.

The party reached the port and waited as the royal ship drew nigh.

“My king,” the general said. “Far be it from me to question your wisdom, but I hope you know that the mighty Spartan army and I are infinitely loyal to the royal family. Should you ever desire to give the Dioscuri a break, we shall relish the chance to rescue Princess Helen the next time she is kidnapped by a pervert, which, given the way things have been going, will no doubt be sometime around next Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest.”

The king smiled and patted the general on the shoulder.

“Noble Talos. Never would I question your loyalty to my family or to Sparta, especially when you and the mighty Spartan army have proven yourselves time and time again on the field of battle, but Helen is by far the hottest chick in the world and I’m sure you will understand that I just feel more comfortable when she is in the company of her brothers as opposed to an army of outrageously strong egomaniacs with oiled up muscles and gallons upon gallons of testosterone coursing through their veins.”

“Oh, you need not worry, your majesty,” Talos said. “We are not interested in Helen in that way.”

The king was taken aback. “Seriously?”

“No doubt,” Talos said.

“But aside from her kin, Helen is desired by every being with a penis,” the king said.

Tyndareus raised a quizzical eyebrow. “I thought you said you dudes weren’t into other dudes.”

“I did not say we were not, not into dudes,” Talos replied. “Besides, I thought you said you weren’t judging?”

“I’m not,” Tyndareus said.

“Mighty Spartan army requirements are very strict about interpersonal relationships,” the general explained. “If we were into dudes, which I’m not saying we are, we couldn’t very well run around advertising the fact that we are into dudes now could we?”

“Ah,” Tyndareus said. “So you’re saying that you’re all into dudes?”

The general threw his hands up. “I didn’t say that.”

“Well,” the king said as he watched the ship come in. “I appreciate the offer, Talos, but I can’t take the risk that one of your men might be a switch hitter.”

“Not gonna lie,” Talos said. “The ninth Spartan warrior isn’t so much into dudes or chicks as he is into anything with a warm hole of any kind.”

“TMI, Talos,” the king said. “TMI.”

The ship docked. A contingent of sailors attached a gangplank to allow the occupants to exit the vessel.

“Princess Helen approaches!” shouted the first sailor from the ship’s deck. “Avert your eyes!”

“Shut your eyes!” the second sailor shouted as he walked down the gangplank. “Princess Helen comes this way!”

“What’s everyone on about?” the third sailor asked from his position the dock.

It was too late. All but the third sailor closed their eyes. That sailor, upon spotting the glorious beauty of Helen as she strolled down the gangplank with her brothers in tow, immediately went cross-eyed, became consumed by an orgasmic fit, then dropped to the deck.

“Why didn’t anyone tell me the Princess was disembarking?” the third sailor asked. “I soiled my tunic!”

“We did,” the first sailor shouted from the deck with his eyes still shut. “Clean the shit out of your ears!”

Helen spotted Tyndareus.

“Father!” the princess cried as she ran over and hugged the old man.

“Oh my darling daughter Helen!” Tyndareus said as he wept tears of joy. “I am so delighted that you survived this week’s kidnapping.”

“The Dioscuri rescued me from the crusty old fucks!” Helen proudly declared.

“Castor and Pollux!” the king said.

The Dioscuri took turns hugging their old man.

“Father,” Castor said.

“Father,” Pollux repeated.

“My heart swells with pride that you have saved your sister from yet another weekly kidnapping!” the king said.

“Yeah,” Castor said. “Not like there was anything else we’d rather be doing.”

“Right,” Pollux said. “Now let’s go nap for five minutes before some pervert nabs Helen and we do this shit all over again.”

Tyndareus frowned. “What…what is that? Are you boys using sarcasm on your father?”

“No,” Castor said.

“We’d never do that,” Pollux said.

Seconds later, the queen arrived with the royal niece and her contingent of Spartan warriors.

“I can block out the sun with my monstrous phallus!” the fourth Spartan warrior shouted. “Ooorah!”

“Yes, yes,” the queen said. “We all know you are all super gay. No one cares.”

Penelope was a curvaceous young woman. Tight in the waist, splatow in the other place if you catch my drift.

“Mother!” Helen said as she hugged the queen.

“Oh Helen!” the queen said. “We were so frightened that you’d been done in by those crusty old fucks!”

Helen let go of her mother and embraced Penelope. “Sweet cousin!”

Penelope spoke in a monotone that belied a demeanor similar to what you modern readers might refer to as “depressed brainy goth chick.”

“Whoopee,” Penelope said as she let her arms hang at her sides, refusing to return the hug. “Helen’s back, y’all. Let’s all drop what we’re doing and talk about this for three or four hours. Hooray.”

Talos squinted as he looked out across the sea’s horizon. “My king!”

Tyndareus looked up and joined his general in staring at a small blip that eventually turned into a ship.

“Is it a friend or foe?” the king asked.

“It…it bears the markings of a ship of Ithaca!” Audax proclaimed. “Surely it carries a friend.”

Castor and Pollux looked at each other.

“Oh come on,” the first brother said.

“It has to be…” the second brother replied.

Penelope flashed a rare smile. “Ithaca, you say?”

The royal family and the mighty Spartan rmy waited patiently until the ship reached the port.

A strapping young man with a full beard stepped out onto the deck and grinned.

“Whassup, beatches? Odysseus all up in Sparta’s ass! Woot woot!”

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Literary Poop with Professor Nannerpants – Analysis of Walden by Henry David Thoreau

By: Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants, Literary Scholar/Simian Poop Flinger

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Good morrow, 3.5 readers.

My word, it has been ages since I have thrown anything at you, be it literary wisdom, fecal matter, or otherwise.

I have been so busy with life that I simply forgot this blog existed. (This is an easy feat seeing as it only has 3.5 readers.)

Ahh, how fortuitous that I should mention the hustle and bustle of life when the author I wish to discuss today gave up the turmoil of civilization to live a scant existence in the woods.

In the mid-1850s, Henry David Thoreau transported himself to Walden Pond in order to scale back his life and live in the woods.

Thoreau explained it best and I cannot do any better than he:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”

Oh life, how quickly you move. Why, 1980s scholar Ferris Bueller famously opined that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop once in awhile, you might miss it.”

But long before Ferris, Thoreau was even able to grasp that mankind was so wrapped up in the day to day grind of life that few ever stopped to enjoy life itself.

Observe Thoreau’s true passion for mortality here. “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”

Imagine life as a juicy steak. Thoreau loved his life steak so much that eating the meat wasn’t enough. He wanted to suck on the bones and get the little bit of sustenance inside of them as well.

Oh, 3.5 readers. We are all guilty of not appreciating life, aren’t we?

Yes, we have so many hopes and dreams and then before you know it you’re a middle-aged chimpanzee teaching at night classes for imbeciles at a community college and spending your free time writing columns for addle brained readers of WordPress book blogs that rarely, if ever, feature a book review.

Not you guys. You guys are great.

WHAT IF LIFE IS TOO HARD?

Millennials, I hate to pile on to the abuse you take from society, but yes, with your “safe spaces” and your “trigger warnings” and your overall attempts to baby proof your entire lives, you truly are the worst.

You may be inclined to think that if your life is difficult then it should provide you little enjoyment. Thus, you shouldn’t be bothered seeking any.

Wrong! Thoreau tells us:

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”

You only get one life, 3.5 readers. After that, it is kaputsville. Would you rather spend that life in a French villa surrounded by super models?  I wouldn’t it. They’re not very hairy and they never enjoy a good poop fling.

But perhaps that sounds interesting to you human weirdoes.

Ultimately, just as Thoreau points out, the sun shines on a poor house just as it does as a rich one. Even in your darkest times and lowliest hours, happiness can be found.

Are you experiencing as much happiness as you’d like? No. Does that mean you should just forego happiness then? Of course not. Why does everyone have this ridiculous “all or nothing” attitude?

3.5 readers, I confess even during that very depressing time period I spent trapped in a cage as one of Dr. Hugo Von Science’s lab chimps, I would still find the time to cheer myself up by throwing a turd nugget at the good doctor’s head.

He would then attach electrodes to my cranium and zap me with thousands of volts but it was worth it.

Ahh, good times. “Memories, like the corners of my mind,” as Babs Streisand would say.

3.5 readers, I see the curtain being pulled on my lecture here, so allow me to leave you with a final question:

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ONE TO ACHIEVE HIS/HER DREAMS THROUGH HARD WORK?

It is difficult to say.  Many have given their dreams their all and come up with nothing but poop in their hands. (Never a better time to become a poop flinger I say.)

Others have given their dreams little effort.  Hell, that sexy human you just saw in a movie probably got her start by walking around looking hot and some Hollywood agent casted her.

All I can do is speak from experience.

As I wasted away in that lab cage, I dreamed of becoming a world renowned literary scholar.

And so I worked.  And I studied. And I posed as a tiny man with a hairy overgrowth problem until I was hired to be a renowned literary professor.

And then I allowed myself to become associated with this foolish blog.  So discredited was I that it is now community college for me forever.

Sigh. Community college.  Don’t get me started.

I can’t answer the inquiry.  But here’s what Thoreau said on the matter:

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

If you put hard work into your dreams, are they achievable 3.5 readers?

What say you?

Fling your poop in the comments.

Class dismissed.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – What is your favorite Shakespeare Play?

Good morning 3.5 readers.

Did you know that this year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death?

Too soon, Bill. Too soon.

As you avid 3.5 readers may be aware, the Shakes-meister is a friend to the Bookshelf Battle Blog.

When I died on the toilet after eating a lightning infused toaster pastry, I met him in the afterlife. He was assigned to be my spiritual guide.

But enough of my bragging.  The next time I talk to Billy Shakes (he still calls me from time to time, it’s a little creepy) which one of his plays should I tell him is your favorite?

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Literary Classics with Professor Nannerpants – When I Was Fair and Young – The Poetry of Queen Elizabeth I

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Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants – Esteemed Literary Scholar/Poop Flinger

Good Day, 3.5 Readers.

Class is in session so take out your notebooks and start flinging your poop.

In my very first lecture, I should like very much to discuss one author of the Elizabethan era – Queen Elizabeth I herself.

When she wasn’t busy running an empire, she was quite a wordsmith I’ll have you know.

Take a gander at one of her finest poems:

When I Was Fair and Young

By: Queen Elizabeth I

When I was fair and young, then favor graced me.
Of many was I sought their mistress for to be.
But I did scorn them all and answered them therefore:
Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more.

How many weeping eyes I made to pine in woe,
How many sighing hearts I have not skill to show,
But I the prouder grew and still this spake therefore:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

Then spake fair Venus’ son, that proud victorious boy,
Saying: You dainty dame, for that you be so coy,
I will so pluck your plumes as you shall say no more:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

As soon as he had said, such change grew in my breast
That neither night nor day I could take any rest.
Wherefore I did repent that I had said before:
Go, go, go, seek some other where, importune me no more.

:::Sniff Sniff:::

:::Blows my nose in a hanky:::

Oh Elizabeth.  I know your pain, girlfriend.

When we’re young and beautiful, the world feels like it belongs to us and we’re convinced this feeling will last forever.

For the young, there is always plenty of time.

Plenty of time to tell a potential mate to take a hike in the hopes that a better mate is on the horizon.

Even your humble professor is guilty of this. I once told Miss Tiddlywinks, a fellow lab chimp who had the hots for me, to hit the bricks.

Sure, she had a luxurious coat and was eager to please but I convinced myself that I could find a woman capable of throwing larger piles of poop.

Alas, in my middle age, as I cry myself to sleep with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one paw, the remote in the other while watching old reruns of Gilmore Girls and wondering where the time went, I wish Miss Tiddlywinks would burst threw the door and throw her small, pathetic piles of poop at my head.

You never know what you have until it’s gone.

Yes, students.  That is a sentiment felt not just by the lowly masses but even by people as high and mighty as Queen Elizabeth I.

Of course, who can blame her?  Her father, Henry VIII chopped off so many of his wives’ heads in search of a son to be his heir and in the end, Elizabeth was left to the job of keeping the throne in the Tudor family.

Like anyone, she surely desired love and romance but she knew that marriage would have led to a man coming in, taking over, becoming the King, and acting like he owns the entire country she’d inherited just because of his insipid penis.

Oh penile domination, how many countries will you tear asunder until your demonic hunger for power is satiated?

Close your eyes, 3.5 students.

Picture a young, hot Queen Elizabeth.

She’s in one of those gigantic dresses rigged up with a series of iron bars, ropes and pulleys to make her ass look scrumptiously fat.

Her hair is done up so high it touches the ceiling.

Her face is coated with a thick slathering of milky white, lead based paint.

She’s hip.  She’s cool.  She makes all the hearts of men at court go pitter patter.

But she sends them packing.  She bides her time. She’s not going to give up that royal booty to just anyone.  She’s waiting for a true love she can trust not to take her throne from away from her.

It was the late 1500’s people.  Men just weren’t as cool with working women as they are today.

Alas, time moved on for Queenie.  She got old.  “Her plumes were plucked.”  She lost her looks.

Men are such visual beasts so ruler or not, few men were willing to get busy with an old broad with plucked plumes.

And so, Queen Lizzy poured her heart out into this poem, lamenting the loss of men she’d told to get lost back in the days when all the men of the realm wanted to get their grubby mitts all over her royal badonka donk.

Moral of the story, 3.5 students?

If you’ve got it, flaunt it…then use your bait to hook a tasty fish before they start swimming out to sea.

Because you never know when your bait will shrivel up, dry out and leave you with an empty hook.

Class dismissed. Throw your poop at will.

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Literary Classics with Professor Nannerpants – An Introduction

Good Day 3.5 Readers.

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Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants – Esteemed Literary Scholar/Poop Flinger

In the first year of this ridiculous blog, Bookshelf Q. Battler took on the role of a cool, hip online literary lecturer, educating his 2.5 readers (his stats weren’t as high then) about classic novels and poetry in a fun manner.

In year two, he turned the blog into a chronicle of his life as a magic bookshelf caretaker/yeti fighter/human selected by an alien despot to change the world through his writing.

Personally, I found that change to be tres blasé and ever so derivative. If I had a nickel for every blog about a magic bookshelf caretaker/yeti fighter/human selected by an alien despot to change the world through his writing I’d be a fabulously wealthy simian.

Now in year three, BQB has turned his attention yet again to actually writing a novel in an effort to appease the Mighty Potentate.  Occasionally, when he is unable to think what his novel characters should do next, he writes top ten lists implying your significant others are all manner of horrible abominations and helps his staff of malcontent columnists spread their ridiculous opinions.

Ironically, BQB has found that his first year posts are the most searchable, most likely by high school or college English students writing papers about the classics.

(And between you, me and the four walls, 3.5 readers, if any of these kids are citing Bookshelf Q. Battler in their papers and getting A’s then I weep for the state of our education system.)

Ahh, but I do drone on, don’t I? This is where I come in.

Have you ever heard of the old saying that if you were to lock a thousand chimpanzees in a room filled with typewriters, one of the chimps would eventually produce a clean, error free copy of Hamlet?

I am that chimp.

It all began as an experiment at the Advanced Science Institute of Science University.  BQB, literary lover that he was, was studying under the esteemed Dr. Hugo Von Science (they were still friends in those pre-East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse days.)

As part of a research project, BQB rounded up a thousand lab chimps, locked us in a room with a thousand typewriters and over the course of a year, my colleagues produced:

  • 179,854 pages covered in doody
  • One clean, error free copy of a James Patterson novel.  Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman were immediately cast for the movie version.
  • One typo laden copy the collective works of Digital Underground. “The Fumpty Fance is Your Fance to Do the Fump.” Oh chimps, you try so hard and yet you fail, for there can only be one Humpty Hump.

And finally, I was the first chimpanzee in the history of the world to prove the assertion true.

I typed a clean, error free copy of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

And then I smeared it with my doody.

BQB got an A+ for his project.  Dr. Hugo had other plans for me.

Curious about my abilities, the mad scientist performed all manner of tests on my brain.

Dr. Hugo wanted to know if it was possible to educate a chimpanzee.

So he hooked my head up to electrodes and forced me to watch PBS for three weeks straight.

So many documentaries.  So many British TV shows.  So much Masterpiece Theater.

During a storm, an errant thunderbolt zapped the Science Institute, sending a current to the electrodes, which in turn, shocked me.

This left me with the ability of speech….in a British accent.

I used my newfound skill to plead for my freedom with Dr. Hugo but he would not have it.

Bookshelf Q. Battler proved to be kinder and when the coast was clear, he left my cage door open.

For many years, I traveled the world, experiencing all that I could.

Highlights include:

  • Climbing Mount Everest.  What a waste of time.  There’s nothing to see up there.
  • Visiting my friends and family in the jungle.  Alas, Thomas Wolfe was right when he said you can never go home again. All those chimps wanted to do was laugh and throw their poop. Sure, it’s fun for the first five minutes but after that I’m the only one who wants to talk about the collective works of Lord Byron.
  • I was briefly a member of Congress.  I had to quit because everyone there was better at poop flinging than I was. (I’m not even joking.)

And finally, by donning a disguise, and holding myself out as a hirsute little person from London,  I was able to convince a renowned university to accept me as a student of literature.

There I stayed for many years, immersed in my love of the written word, obtaining a doctorate I used to obtain a position as a professor of the classics at the same aforementioned institution.

Note that I haven’t said which one as I continue to hold this position and I don’t wish to be outed as a chimpanzee. I think I’m safe though as only 3.5 individuals read this blog.

Long story short, BQB would like to continue to put his stat counter on the rise by increasing this blog’s search ability amongst students in their late teens to early twenties who stayed up all night smoking refer and playing video games and need to whip up a last minute paper about Longfellow in order to do their parents proud by pulling down a C-.

Under my alternative name, I have written articles in the world’s premiere academic journals.  Thus, I loathe the idea of having my work appear in a poorly studied blog.

Yet, I do owe BQB a favor for helping me escape.

Naturally, I won’t use my nom de plume so I will use the name I was given back when I was but a lowly lab chimp.

Horatio J. Nannerpants.

Yes. Based on the filthy stereotype that chimpanzees love…excuse me I have to finish this banana.

Oh…oh yes! Oh sweet, sweet curved yellow potassium stick! You are better that hot sweaty chimpanzee sex!

Pardon me.  Where was I?

Oh yes. Class in now in session, aspiring literary scholars.

And by the way.

That’s Professor Nannerpants to you.

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Happy World Poetry Day

Who is your favorite poet, 3.5 readers?

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RIP Harper Lee

The author of To Kill a Mockingbird has passed away at age 89.  She gave us Atticus Finch, a sequel that came out last year, and she was Truman Capote’s homie.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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A Guide to the Bookshelf Battleverse – Part 2 – The Magic Bookshelf Characters

THE MAGIC BOOKSHELF CHARACTERS

The tiny literary characters who call BQB’s bookshelf home come and go.  They’re free to hang out on the shelf as they please, or to open up their books and return to the pages of their stories as they see fit.

Regulars, or those characters who prefer hanging out on BQB’s shelf (often spreading out to the rest of his house to eat all his food and break all his stuff) include:

THE INCORRIGIBLE MUNROE

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The protagonist of Alexander T. Buttercross’ novel of 1920’s angst and ennui amongst the upper class, Sidney Munroe spent most of his waking hours developing a larger than life persona, chasing money and spending lavishly on parties at his luxurious estate outside of Chicago, all as a pretense toward becoming a great man that could win the heart of his lady love, the cold and aloof Jenny.

SPOILER ALERT:  Since Munroe croaks at the end of The Incorrigible Munroe (and doesn’t even get to score with Jenny), he much prefers hanging out at BQB HQ all day, watching BQB’s cable and running up BQB’s cable bill with pay per view movies.

As a habit, Munroe often refers to BQB as “Young Duffer” (as he usually does to everyone else).

On the outside, BQB and Munroe couldn’t be more different.  Monroe is cool and handsome.  BQB is a nerd.

However, they have long been fast friends, bonding over how much time they spent feeling sad about women who couldn’t give a crap about them (i.e. Monroe over Jenny and BQB over Blandie.)

They spent many a night crying to one another over their woes until they both found chicks over the summer of 2015.  (More on BQB’s chick later.)

Monroe’s currently canoodling with:

ANARA “ANNIE” MISTWAKE

Queen Anara "Annie" Mistwake and her horse before it was transformed into a damn pegasus.

Queen Anara “Annie” Mistwake and her horse before it was transformed into a damn pegasus.

Annie is one of 10,985 main characters in Joel L.L. Torrow’s epic fantasy series, A Dirge of Murder and Betrayal.  BQB has long been an admirer of Mr. Torrow’s work, especially his ability to polish off a dozen characters every day before breakfast.

Though he’s known her for years, Annie insists on introducing herself to BQB with each and every one of her titles, and she does this every time she sees him, even if she leaves the room to get a snack only to come back five minutes later.

This introduction goes:

“I am Anara Mistwake of the Family Zoovarin, Keeper of the Legacy, Shimbala of the Lowlands, Destroyer of Demons, Aunt of the Pegasus, Queen of the Kingdom of Wentzlendale, the Mountain Clifftops, and the Impenetrable Isles, Protector of the Enchanted Gem, and the Oligarch of the Forbidden Fields.”

Imagine hearing that twenty times a day.

Depressed over losing her husband to a pack of fearsome ogres, Annie sought comfort by throwing herself at Munroe, who did not complain one bit, Young Duffer.

TESSA FIRESWARM

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Tessa is by far the most unruly of all the magic bookshelf characters, shooting explosive arrows all over BQB’s home with reckless abandon or concern for the consequences.  She’s the main character of Arrowblast, a series of Young Adult novels in which a band of plucky teenagers with little to no battlefield experience or training manage to take down the cruel and unjust ruler of an unjust dystopian future regime.

She’s like the angsty teenage daughter BQB never had (or at times, wanted), except when she gets mad, she blows shit up.

THE CROSSANTIER CHILDREN

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Stars of the fantasy book series in which a group of French siblings wander down a mysterious hatch they find underneath their laundry hamper, only to find themselves in a magical world where they must battle a hideous crone with the help of Jesus in the form of an Aardvark.  Who among you didn’t spend a portion of your youth with your nose buried in a copy of The Aardvark, the Crone, and the Hamper Hatch?

Tessa is not a fan, thus BQB finds himself having to save the Crossantier children from being blown up on a regular basis.

ATTORNEY’S NOTE

At this point, BQB’s attorney, Delilah K. Donnelly, finds it necessary to inform you that any similarities you may have found between actual books is either unintended, some nonsense you made up in your dumb head, or more likely, just for parody purposes only.

However, the following characters hail from books whose authors have been stone cold dead for ages, thus leaving them free to let it all hang out on the magic shelf:

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND DR. WATSON 

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Much to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s dismay, Sherlock and Watson run around BQB HQ all day long, solving mysteries and taking copious notes on all of BQB’s activities, right down to his bowel movements, as Holmes is nothing but thorough and believes that even the most seemingly inconsequential detail could one day become a case cracking clue.

THE THREE MUSKEETERS PLUS D’ARTAGNAN

D'artagnan not pictured.

                   D’artagnan not pictured.

The Three Musketeers Plus D’Artagnan wander around BQB HQ, claiming all of BQB’s shit (from his remote control to his bathmat) in the name of the King of France and looking for agents of the Cardinal to pick fights with.

For years, BQB has been asking them why they’re “The Three Musketeers” when there’s four of them for years.  They’ve yet to provide a satisfactory answer.

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Book Review – A Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger (1951)

Hey 3.5 Readers,

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Buncha phonies.

Alien Jones is taking a Sunday off so I, your humble blog host, Bookshelf Q. Battler can provide you some commentary and analysis on the controversial classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.

Yes, once in awhile an honest to god book review happens here on the Bookshelf Battle Blog.

I’ve heard about this book my entire life, but only about how controversial it is, how it was banned and considered subversive when it first came out.

I never knew what it was about, but given all the negative hype, I assumed it must be something awful that would turn me into a crazed wacko hippy or something.

So when I finally cracked it open, I was surprised to find it’s just about a kid wandering around New York City in a dazed and confused manner.

Even more surprising?  It is equal parts sad and hilarious.

The protagonist?  One Holden Caulfield, a highly opinionated wayward youth whose soul is a bottomless pit of complaints.  From his friends at school to random people he meets, from Hollywood to New York City, everyone, is, to Holden “a phony.”

It took me a moment to get used to 1951 speak.  If this novel is a barometer of culture during the middle of the last century, then apparently youngsters of the time said some pretty bizarre things.

How to Speak Like Holden Caulfield

  • Phonies – Everyone’s a phony.  Hey you!  Yeah you, the only one reading this review!  You’re a phony!
  • And All – Pretty much thrown in at the end of every other sentence.  “So then I went to the park and all and there were some people there and all and I sat on a bench and all…”
  • Madman – Used to describe anything out of the ordinary.  “Those marbles bounced around like madmen.”
  • Goddamn – I don’t know if kids in 1951 said “goddamn” a lot or if Salinger didn’t think he could get away with dropping more than a few F-bombs without being kicked out of the country or something.
  • Really Was – In case you don’t believe him, Holden reminds you that he, she, or it (whatever or whomever he is discussing) “really was” whatever it is he’s saying they were.
  • Put them All Together – “So I went to the bar and all and the waiter was a real goddamn phony.  He really was.  He handed me a gin and tonic and I drank it like a mad man.  I really did and all.”

Continue reading

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#womeninfiction

#womeninfiction is trending on Twitter.  Do you remember Twitter?  It’s that thing I need 4000 followers on before I can kick the World’s Smelliest Yeti off my couch.

I chose Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones.  And actually, I’d also have to give props to Catelyn Stark.  Kind of a toss-up, really.

Wait, what about Daeny?  It’s a triple toss-up.

The Yeti chooses Olga from Olga’s Stewstravaganza and Olga’s Stewstravaganza II – Electric Stewgaloo.  

Alien Jones chooses Princess Leia and he argues this counts because Leia appears in Star Wars books.  I can’t argue with his impeccable logic.

Who are your favorite literary females?

Discuss in the comments.  Also, follow @bookshelfbattle to save me from the Yeti scourge.

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