the Little Red Reviewer

Bookthoughts, a funny, and a photo.

Posted on: August 15, 2012

No review for you this evening, but hopefully my post will still be entertaining.

I’m about half way through Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Song for Arbonne (working my way up to Under Heaven). It’s been about ten years since I read this, and it’s just a beautiful as I remember. It’s a long, rather dense book, but oh is it amazing. If you’ve never read Kay, I highly suggest starting for A Song for Arbonne, or The Lions of Al-Rassan.

There’s a tiny little scene, about half way through, in a tavern, during a country fair, where some foreign traders challenge the local musicians for a song. It’s a fairly tense scene, and everyone knows that war is on the horizon. I’ll go into it in further detail when I write the review, but understand that in the country of Arbonne, music is everything.  And most of their music is of the romantic / love song variety. So this elder musician gets up, apologizes in advance that he isn’t going to play a love song, and plays an older piece, about a famous musician of Arbonne who had traveled north and was missing his homeland. After finishing the song, the musician then states that he did in fact, play a love song.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen the movie The Sound of Music. Yes, that old Julie Andrews movie. You know that scene, near the end, at the music festival, where Captain Von Trapp plays Edelweiss*? When I was a preteen, I fell head over in heels in love with Christopher Plummer** thanks to that scene. When I got a little older, and understood what that scene was actually about, I cried right along with him. It’s that kind of love song that the elder musician is playing in the scene I described above. And he is singing it in a similarly tense political environment as well.

Speaking of love stories, I happened to be reading A Song for Arbonne while at dinner at restaurant. The waitress says “what are you reading?” and not wanting to get into it (because I’d just read the above mentioned scene and was feeling a little raw) I simply said “oh, something old”. She said she’d recently had a birthday and had received the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, and even though she didn’t usually read romances, she was really enjoying it. The woman at the next booth saved me having to respond by turning right around and gushing that she too was reading 50 Shades, and wasn’t it, like, the best thing, ever? And, since she had just started dating a new fellow, she had asked him if he’d want to try some of the things in the book! The fellow she was sharing a table with visibly blushed, so I’m assuming he’s the guy she asked to tie her up and whip her.*** Dessert, anyone?

The gal at the table and the waitress are going on and on about how they wish whats-his-face Grey was real, and that he sounds so sexy, and that ohmygod it’s like such a good love story!

I interrupt their valleygirlish conversation with “it’s not a love story”. And receive in response a curt “no, it really is.” Ok, I admit it, I ain’t no 50 Shades expert, I’ve only read the cliffsnotes****. But sweetheart, if you want a love story, I got two words for you. Ok, it turns out I got four words. The first is Edelwiess, and the next three are Guy. Gavriel. Kay. Yeah yeah, I was the conversation killer. But I kinda wanted my check so I could get outta there.

So there’s your funny. And here’s your photo. Sorry it’s blurry, I took it “in the wild”, and had to wait till the clerks deserted that particular aisle in the bookstore. And yes, I’m bragging. Cuz i’m just an attention whore like that. ;)

*thanks IMDB, for wrecking my fantasy. It’s not him signing, and he didn’t even like the song.

**interesting. I think I just figured out why I have a thing for older men, and a thing for men in Uniform.

*** Fellas, now really. Is that a turn on? When a girl you’ve been on 2 dates with asks you to spank and whip her because she wants you to be just like whats-his-face Grey (a fictional character who has commitment issues)?

****Sorry Trev, I didn’t give those ladies the website for the what is now going to be known as The 50 Shades cliffsnotes. Although I really wanted to!

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28 Responses to "Bookthoughts, a funny, and a photo."

I could make my man blush by referencing some scenes from GGK books.

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that should be the new tests for book-ish ladies who are dating someone new: do you like GGK? do you ming if i read some scenes out to you, to see if you blush?

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Oh! I got King of Thorns in the mail today and never read the back! *goes to do so* How exciting! I am pretty sure I read the first book because of you. :)

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I’m suddenly really, really humbled that people went out and spent their hard earned money because of something they read on my blog.

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Am I the only one who thinks it odd that women are now almost encouraged to discuss their porn habits in public, with complete strangers. I mean, is it because it is *only* a book. If it was a bdsm film that some guys were watching would it be so great?

(I am aware that there are other issues at play here, patriarchy, male gaze, power relations etc, I just want people to stop telling me private details about their sex lives.)

I have been meaning to do a reread of some GGK for ages now. Both Arbonne & Al-Rasan are high up on that list. Such great reads.

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I’m completely with you. I got no problem with adult entertainment, but I’m not interested in hearing those kinds of details from complete strangers!

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Hah, I just finished and reviewed PRINCE OF THORNS (I ADORED it), and I ran out and bought the hardcover sequel…when I saw your quote o the back cover I grinned form ear to ear. :D Well done Red!

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I just read and commented on your PoT review, good stuff man!

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And yeah, Kay does love stories (and sex scenes) right. Good ol’ Toronto boy too. :D

LIONS OF AL-RASSAN has such a phenomenally realistic love triangle.

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Canadians write the best damn stuff.

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I just suffered through 50 Shades and still haven’t quite gotten around to writing my review, because I need to cool off a bit before I write or else the whole thing would be written in screamy caps lock. BDSM in a book is just fine, but I like my porno novels to be well-written, thank you.

The cover of the GGK novel reminds me a lot of the art in the Disney version of Hercules.

Congrats on the cover mention on Prince of Thorns! I’m impressed!

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I vote for SCREAMY CAPS LOCK!! negative reviews of that book are hilarious! I’m waiting for Chelsea Handler or someone like her to do an entire Comedy Central show that just bits of negative reviews of that book. Because yes, I am very mean. ;)

I love these older covers of GGK novels, with the old style embossing that you don’t see much of anymore. I never thought about it, but yes, it is a little like the Disney Hercules! I really liked the style of that movie, I wish Disney had done more like that.

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My co-workers are all in love with 50 Shades and I refuse to even talk about the books with them let alone read them. And if I have to hear, “You read everything why won’t you read these books?” one more time I may throw a stapler.

Anyway. Congrats on the cover blurb! Very exciting. :)

Guy Gavriel Kay has been on my list for so long but I’ve yet to get to any of the books. I must change that.

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Just curious. In the photo, it shows Prince and King. Is there no middle book, Queen? Just seems logical…

Congrats on the shout-out. I had one of those once, too, on the back of a NESFA collection of Poul Anderson short fiction.

As far as 50 shades goes, I’d no more read one of them than I would one of the Twilight books… both aimed at the same mental level, in a way. There’s titillation, and there’s trash. I haven’t tried Kay, will have to try and rectify that soon.

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Congratulations for the cover blurb! So if we ever meet in person, will you sign my book? ;)

Also, I’ve added LIONS OF AL-RASSAN to my TBR pile from one of your earlier posts. It’s in my paperbackswap wishlist, I hope it’s posted soon! (By the way, PBSwap is an *amazing* book swap site, for those of you interested.)

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Gina, I agree, I’m on it too.

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I remember that scene in the tavern and it’s exactly the same feeling as Edelweiss or when everyone sings the Marseillaise in Casablanca (goosebumps!). GGK likes to write about love of place, doesn’t he? Tigana is still my favorite on the topic.

Recently read Under Heaven and at some point still this year would like to re-read The Lions or Tigana.

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What an excellent blog! Discovered it via http://futurewired.wordpress.com/2011/07/10/literary-and-genre-fiction-cloud-atlas-and-never-let-me-go/ ; Thoroughly enjoyed the article and then found this, a site that naturally suits my own interests and leanings. The comments above about 50 Shades of whatever; funny. Too much sharing is not a good thing.

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I think this post just made my weekend.

*** No, it’s not a turn on. Well at least not on the second date. If that is the point that you start, where do you go to keep it interesting? Perhaps I’m a prude; spankings and new additions to the bed room are great when things are on solid ground in a relationship and getting stale. (That said, if you’re having good sex to begin with and you’re into your partner I’d have to question what I just wrote.)

I do think it’s great that people can talk about sex casually in a restaurant as if it were a baseball game. It used to be taboo of the highest order to talk about in public back in the old days of ‘men only think with their junk and all women hate orgasms.’

Oh yeah… GGK; he’s pretty cool too. Only read Ysabel and that related trilogy. I’ve been meaning to check out the rest of his stuff ever since.

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2nd date, a woman asked to be spanked? Honestly, that could work, at least for that moment. Depend heavily on what she looked like as well. As to going forward, beyond that moment, I don’t think so. An occasional spanking would be okay, but not a regular, part of our life exercise.

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OMG I am sick to goddamn death of 50 Shades of Shit. It’s everywhere. I was in a bookstore today and the full book chart is now just crammed full with similar tosh! If we were going to have a book take the world by storm why couldn’t it at least be decent – now we all have to suffer utter naffness to infinity and beyond Christ on his throne we’ve only just started to calm down with the vampires and werewolves and now Miss Whiplash takes the market by storm (little rant over!)(and I meant to type all that in SHOUTY CAPS but forgot to put the lock on)
I must admit that the one star reviews on Amazon are actually a source of great entertainment though and I lost a good hour reading those. Very funny. Not to mention the 50 Sheds of Grey guy on Twitter.
I can’t believe you had a crush on Plummer in that film – because I did, i had a bit of a laugh out loud when I read that (or I snorted in a very unladylike fashion).
Nice with the quote :D – I’ve just sat down to a glass of wine and King of Thorns. Looking forward to this (the book that is – not the glass of wine! Although, for clarity, I’m sure I will enjoy the wine).
Lynn :D

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bwahahahaha!!! i am laughing so hard I’m crying!! Lynn, have I told you lately how much I adore you?

there is no escape from 50 shades of shit!

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Adore? I’m about ready to propose.

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I read “Under Heaven”, but not any of GGK’s other work. Sounds like I should fix that some day. It really throws me when strangers ask what I’m reading in public, for some reason. I think my usual response is a dazed, “Um, just some book.” It is really weird, though, that she gathered from you reading a book, in general, that you would be interested in 50 Shades.

I haven’t read the 50 Shades series, so I’m no expert, but I’m betting I would give them the same review as Twilight: “Oh, I can see how some people might enjoy it. You know, if they’d never read a book before.”

(All of my knowledge of that series comes from this romance writer’s chapter-by-chapter review mockery: http://jenniferarmintrout.blogspot.ch/search?zx=a8fa9c91293eeced, which I stumbled onto by chance one day. It’s amazing how hilarious reviews of terrible books can be!)

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Also, the blog is not really safe for work, though I guess that was probably clear from the “romance writer reviewing 50 Shades” description.

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I’m now addicted to that Jennifer Armintrout blog, btw!

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[...] Vintage SciFi Not-a-Challenge Bookthoughts, a funny, and a photo. [...]

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Thanks for this! Practice your Crank!

The comment I hear most often about 50 shades is that it is very bad erotica. My husband witnessed a co-worker fight over the book: gaggle of ladies were gooshing over the Grey Whatever, and another woman comes up and puts the smack down–she’s normally quiet about her private life, hobbies, interests, etc–she tells them This is poorly written garbage. If you really like Erotica come talk to me and I’ll lead you to the Dark Side with some authors who know how to write.

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