"Never knowingly be serious. Rule 27.” — Doctor Who
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August 23, 2023

Seven Things : Some Ramblings

01 - I have changed my post background color into a very light shade of blue. I've found the white to be too white for my eyes to read the text. If you're like me and have to look at the screen almost every single day, I think a less white background makes it easier. I also make bold text in the darker blue instead of the regular blue. Do people think about these things?

02 - Have you ever got a letter from your bank asking if you're still alive? They didn't word it like that but you get that message. I might have freaked out a bit about losing all my savings to the government as they will turn the money over to them if I didn't confirm my living status. I have no idea that if you leave your savings account untouched for two or more years, they would think you're dead. It's natural to think that way. We are constantly spending. And that's life. It has been months and I should have forgotten this letter but I didn't. It's kind of crazy but it made me think of my mortality and it sort of made me depressed for a week, maybe two.

03 - When a book is bad and everyone said is bad, then why does everybody wants to read it? I guess I can understand enjoying books that are bit trashy or even badly written but where is the enjoyment exactly? And why do bad books become so popular that everyone wants to read it? I enjoy writing reviews about bad books but I don't enjoy them as reading material.

04 - I don't like cursing in books, that is, mainly the use of the four letter F word unnecessarily. When a character is angry and they curse and use the F word, it's fine but using it for no other reason is sort of pointless. So yes, using the F word does suggest a strong dislike or strong emotions for something but most of the time, I find, it's totally unnecessary.
    I read or rather I half-read a book where the characters used two curse words, damm and sh*t over and over as if they had never heard of any other curses. Here the absence of the F word is surprising to me especially it's the sort of books that could easily use that word and it would fit in with the characters. So why are some authors so freely use the F word and others don't? I don't understand it. But I'm a prude so...

05 - I've come to think I am no longer good at my job. I keep doubting myself and thinking is this done correctly? I had to go research online to be certain everything is done correctly. (I'm a graphic designer by the way.) There's always a chance for mistakes. I corrected them but it doing so, it made me miserable. I would quit but I don't know. It's tough trying to make a living but I know I have it better than most people but it's hard to erase your own fears and doubts.

06 - Watching romantic comedies depresses me and I guess it's why I prefer watching crime and mysteries (or what I often refer to as crime and miseries). To enjoy a show is to immerse yourself in other people's lives and I guess other people's happy ending, especially of a couple, sort of make my life seem rather dull and meaningless as a single person. But I still somehow enjoy watching these romantic comedies but I don't watch them often.

07 - EBook samples — I used to go to book stores and randomly (well, I do go to the fiction section), and choose a book with a good title or an interesting cover and read a page or two but not the beginning, rather the middle of the book. With ebook samples, you can't do that. Ebook samples only offer the beginning of the book which are usually the copyright notice & such, maybe a dedication or some notes from the author, chapter listing and then a chapter or two and if there is a prologue, that too.
    You can judge to read a book by these beginning samples but I find it's not enough or rather, perhaps something from the middle of the book or quarter way would have been better. But I think they only offer the beginning of the book so that if you like, you can buy the book and continue reading. (I read mostly kindle books.)
    But I suppose a sample of the beginning of the book is better than none. I had encountered one or two books where the sample is mostly just copyright notices, some notes and a list of chapters but nothing of the actual book so you don't even get a sense how it is written. I think chapter listing is kind of useless as a book sample because most books just have chapter 1, chapter 2, etc so it's quite unhelpful.
Anything on your mind? Do share them in the comments.

August 20, 2023

Book beginnings I dislike

an opened book with 'Once upon a time...'
A good beginning is important because if I am not interested in what I'm reading, I wouldn't continue. Of course, it's all about personal preference because what one reader dislike, another will like. And I'm not saying I wouldn't read a book with these beginnings but I don't like them all that much. Here are a few book beginnings that I dislike.

01 - When a character wakes up and shows us how their morning or day routine with a bit of backstory — Unless they get eaten by a dinosaur about a quarter-way through or something, I would find this beginning a bit boring. So yes, a main character's life can be interesting but if that's all there is, I guess I got too short attention span to enjoy such a beginning.

02 - A dream sequence
— Any dream, no matter how exciting, is still a dream and so it wouldn't really be the story even if it show the fears/aspirations of the main character. Also, I find this way of starting a book as some type of fake out by making the reader think one thing and then boom, it's all a dream. Who likes that?

03 - World building right from the start
— Much like #1 but with more focus on the setting and how that world works. As much as I like to know about a world, I wouldn't want to read a whole bunch of info dump right from the start.

04 - Start with an exciting event from a character's point of view whom we will not hear from again — To be clear, we do hear from this character again but not in the same way. This character is more of an ignitor, someone involved in a single event which impacted the story or is the story. For example: We get to witness a character's murder but that character is never heard of again aside from that he had been murdered and his murder is the start of the story or is the story.
    I was often disappointed to have read such a good start but the rest of the book was often dull. And sometimes this beginning makes the reader get attached to the character but the character is not in the story which is disappointing. So maybe not all books with this beginning have a dull story but I haven't read one that wasn't.

05 - Start with a future scene
— This one I had read so many times that I'm beginning to find this annoying. A future scene and then start the story some hours/days/weeks/months/years before that scene. I see this as an editing kind of beginning because this is used a lot in television shows which works fine because it usually takes half an hour or an hour to get back to that scene but in book form, it either takes 200 or more pages or it takes the entire book which if you calculate reading time, it could be 7 or more hours. Who has the patience for that? And besides that, this future scene can be confusing sometimes because it has no end or beginning. But I'm not saying I wouldn't read a book with this beginning, I just wish readers didn't have to read so much to get back to this future scene.

How about you? What book beginnings do you dislike? Or are you a reader who can enjoy all book beginnings?

August 12, 2023

How much bad writing can you tolerate?

opern book, three book stack and cup of tea
I read a sample of a fantasy book which was so badly written (odd and confusing sentence structure, unfinished sentences, repeat of unnecessary words, even an error on the book title, etc.) that I started correcting it as I read. Then I went to check on the reviews and there were 300+ good reviews and only 14+ people said the book needed editing. Is this the norm now? How could there be 300+ good reviews for a book this badly written? It was a 600+ page book which means there would be a lot of grammar errors that cannot be easily ignored. So I like to know: how much bad writing can a reader tolerate or how much bad writing can a reader tolerate before they give up on a book?
    For me, if I am correcting the writing that means I'm not focusing on the story so I would give up on that book after a few chapters or when I had enough. I would tolerate a badly-written book if I can enjoy the story but it is distracting when the writing needs to be re-read a few times to correctly understand what was written. Bad writing is bad writing, you can't hide that.

As a reader, how much bad writing can you tolerate? Or how much bad writing can you tolerate before you give up on a book?

August 03, 2023

Fiction: Sandwiches, flatware & murder

typewriter and cup of flowers
This month's Words for Wednesday prompts are provided messymimi over here. This week's prompts are: flatware, season, resist, combine, second, breakdown and/or bottom, shame, spine, dinner, offense, front. I don't know what prompted me to write this story. Perhaps from watching too many crime shows or perhaps the prompts? I used all the words.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fiction: Sandwiches, flatware & murder

She liked her flatware to be useful for any occasion or season. Knives were especially her favorite kind. They were well made and practical. The steak knife, for instance, was considered to be the sharpest of all table knives and perhaps the most useful. Two years ago, a steak changed her life. Since then, she preferred her steak knife to have a 6.5 inch blade with a smooth handle.
    A month before the wedding, she had resisted visiting the house but the stress of making decisions by herself combined with losing her one and only assistant was enough for her to have a breakdown. But then she reminded herself, no one would notice if she moved a sofa six inches closer to the window. But no matter how she reasoned it, she knew if she didn't go and check again the things that worried her, she might go crazy.
    While standing on the front steps and holding the house key in her hand, she had a strange feeling she should not go in and yet, her feet carried her up the few steps and her hand unlocked and opened the door.
    She entered the small entryway, took off her shoes and stepped inside. There was no one there but the furniture. But something caught her eye. At the bottom step of the stairs that led to the second story was a red, silk dress. Something she would never wear.
    She paused and stared at the dress. Was it shame that first entered her mind? No. Nothing like that. She was slightly embarrassed but that was natural. People often thought she was a complete prude and someone lacking a spine. They never thought she would take offense if you did something bad to her or against her. She was too proper, too kind, too weak and too meek but full of goodness. She was known for her perfect but stylish interior designs. And sandwiches. She made the most delicious sandwiches. Everyone wanted her sandwiches for their wedding. Everyone liked her but no one knew her.
    A noise made her looked up at the stairs. An intruder perhaps? She went to the kitchen where everything had been meticulously arranged. First, she studied the cutting knives and then the table knives. Yes, one of those will do. She returned and climbed the stairs.
    They were in their nightclothes in bed with the sheets halfway over them. Their eyes were staring up at the ceiling. At first, she thought they were sleeping but who sleep with their eyes wide opened?
    Hours later, she sat in the livingroom answering questions after questions. The police were quite inquisitive. Yes, she knew the couple, she was their decorator and wedding chef. Naturally they gave her a key. She got the knife from the kitchen because she feared there might be an intruder. No, she didn't know the couple was going to be there nor why they were there. They weren't to come until next month after their wedding. As for the sandwiches, they wanted some samples but she sent them yesterday to the husband-to-be's office. No, she didn't know the couple too well, probably six months but she heard the man had a violent streak. After the police had exhausted her, they let her go home.
    A few weeks afterward, she saw them on the news. They showed the picture of the not-yet-married but dead couple in their wedding photo. There was no foul play and the police concluded it as murder-suicide. The woman stabbed the man with a steak knife and then herself. Rumor was the man was cheating on her.
    Yet, another murder solved. She was beginning to be good at this. She should probably change careers. It did bore her sometimes how predictable the husbands and wives-to-be were. Especially the man. She would always know which ones would go bad after the wedding. Still, she loved decorating houses and  selecting flatware was a delight to her and until she lost that enjoyment, she would continue on. First, she must make dinner to celebrate another failed marriage averted and to perhaps test out a new butter knife.

August 01, 2023

July 2023 - a brief review

drawing-girl reading
home 2, 2023
01 - July was an okay month. The first half I was busy with work and the second half I was just having a lazy summer. It's hot here on my side of the world, very hot with rain and thunder storms every few days. It's like mother nature decided to combine summer with spring. I don't mind it all that much. Sure, it's weird to suddenly rain when it's bright and sunny but what can we do?

02 - I re-read a lot of books. When I re-read a book, I skip the parts that I dislike. I don't think re-reading them would make me like them even if I keep re-reading a few hundred more times. I do find I enjoy re-reading classic books more than the modern releases but maybe because of the archaic language though everything is longer. In such a rush-rush world, I don't mind long books.
    I also re-watch a lot of old tv shows and I may have seen some movies but they were forgettable. Not to say I didn't enjoy them, just that sometimes when you consume familiar things, your mind kind of already absorb everything without too much thinking. I'm sure I did others things but I don't remember. I think I was kind of distracted for no reason..

03 - Have blog, will attempt to blog: that's my motto in July. According to my blog archive, I only posted three posts in July which isn't bad. At least it's more than two. I hadn't a month where I posted below three posts which I kind thought is a good thing. So yes, I'm blogging less and less but I've accepted that's the way it's going to be and that's that.
How was your July? I hope August will be good to you.