Tag Archives: literature

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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Happy World Poetry Day!

Tales of ogres, dragons, and elves,

You’ll never know what you’ll find

On my bookshelves.

Something something something schmattle…

Welcome to the Bookshelf Battle.

My feelings of anger

Are not petty.

Let me tell you

How I Despise the Yeti

Hey 3.5.  Happy World Poetry Day!

Here’s three of my poetry discussions:

Invictus

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

The Road Not Taken

Have a favorite poem you’d like me (or the Stupid Yeti) to discuss on bookshelfbattle.com? Drop it in the comments.

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Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain!

Written to honor President Abe Lincoln after his assassination, Walt Whitman’s  O Captain!  My Captain! compares the end of the Civil War to the end of a long ship voyage, and Lincoln to a journey weary Captain. Makes sense, as Lincoln did guide the nation through some very choppy seas.

O Captain!  My Captain!

By: Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

The poem is often used as a tribute to leaders in general, and was prominently featured in Dead Poets Society, starring Robin Williams.

Fun fact – a Walt Whitman poetry book carelessly left on a toilet tank would go on to play an important part in AMC’s Breaking Bad.

So, good for you, WW, you honored a great president, and you were featured on a cable drama.

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Romance Advice from William Shakespeare – Part Four

Shakespeare was an intense dude.  Most people were intense way back when.  They put on twenty pounds of clothes just to go out to eat and they used twenty words to say things where one would have done just fine.

The Bard’s words are beautiful, but they aren’t as easily understood by today’s modern English speakers.

So first, study Shake’s immortal love sonnet below, and after that, I will translate.

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?  (Sonnet 18)

BY: William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

OK.  And now for the translation.  Are you sitting down?  Good.  For I will now translate this masterpiece of old English into modern language:

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?  (Sonnet 18)

BY:  William Shakespeare

TRANSLATED BY:  Bookshelf Q. Battler

Damn baby, you be fine!

And there you have it.  The Bard’s words brought forth into modern times.  ‘Tis a beautiful thing.

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