Tag Archives: literature

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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Romance Advice From William Shakespeare – Part 3

Do you believe in love at first sight?

That’s not a trick question.  I’m not going to ask you if I need to walk by again.

Do people instantly connect and have metaphysical fireworks explode in their hearts, or does it take time for love to grow?

Personally, I feel like the older one gets, the harder it is to feel those instant fireworks.  But what do I know?

Shakespeare believed in love at first sight.  And since this is a series about how to get chicks using the bard’s most romantic passages – well, if you meet someone and feel that instant connection, maybe you can recite this to said individual:

No sooner met but they looked;
No sooner looked but they loved;
No sooner loved but they sighed;
No sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason;
No sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy;
And in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage…

– William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Love at first sight or love that grows with time?  Is one better than the other?

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Romance Advice From William Shakespeare – Part 2

Dudes, you have no idea how lucky you are all to have me.  I’m here.  I’m taking time out of my busy schedule to inform you, the reading masses, how to use the writings of the most influential author of the English language, to score points with the ladies.

Bardin’ ‘Aint Easy

OK.  Look at me.  LOOK AT ME.  Take one night out of your life and woo your woman.  All to often men underestimate the power of woo.

What is woo?  It’s not easy to explain.  It’s the effort you put in to make your woman feel special and loved.  Frankly, if you have to ask, some other dude has probably wooed your woman away by now anyway.

Don’t half-ass it like you do everything else.  Your woman is not some rug that you can just sweep dirt under and then pretend like you actually cleaned the floor.  Look at your woman and pitch ridiculous amounts of woo.  Take all of your wooing skills and just send them straight into your woman’s general direction.

Shakespeare’s Henry VI dealt with all of the political power power plays and general nastiness that led to the War of the Roses.  What was that war about?   I don’t know.  One side had some roses.  The other side wanted roses.  So they fought over the roses.  What do I look like?  A history scholar?  We’re not here to talk about roses (although you should order your lady some in advance because they’ll be sold out by Valentine’s Day by dudes who thought of this stuff before you did).

We’re here to talk about this quote:

“She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; She is woman, and therefore to be won”

– William Shakespeare, Henry VI

Take a knee, dudes.  Listen – want a translation of what Bill just said?  Here you go – you can’t phone this shit in.  Your woman is beautiful and so you have to earn that right to be around all that beauty.  Get her flowers.  Sing to her.  Read her poems and shit.  Or if she’s not into all that, then do chores and crap without her complaining about it or acting like a martyr because you had to wash a dish.  Make your woman happy!

Happy Wife = Happy Life.  Woo.  Learn how to Woo.

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