Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Epic Calamity Challenge Pt.2


The game goes on...
And here we are with part two of the challenging task list Mrs. Vanquish had sent to me. This is Artsie speaking, and I'm all alone here... still.
(If you are new to this blog and don't know what this is all about, please check the related links at the end of this posting for your enlightenment)

Challenge No2: Recommend literature!
This is the task, in Mrs. Vanquish's very own words:
This task, easy as it sounds, gave me a hard time. 
I even admit that I missed Fanny. Honestly, If anyone knows what Mrs.V might enjoy reading, it must be Fanny. But she wasn't here, instead she was preparing part two of the Giggle-Giggle-Girly-Goof over at Let's Ride The Vanquish. As you all probably found out yet: I'm not the enjoying part of Betti's mind, so how should I know? In German one would say: I had to jump over my own shadow... you might excuse that I sometimes resorted to my memory of Fanny's reactions with one or the other of these books.

So Mrs.V likes Twilight - that much I know. Fine.
That definitely rules out Kafka. As well as my beloved Rilke and... and... and... Fortunately I remembered a few books of uhm... more basic quality which Betti read and thoroughly enjoyed - against my distinct protest. I tortured myself by re-reading them, and finally I was able to pick three which might be appropriate for the average Twilight lover.
I will not actually rate my recommendations. Instead i will answer three essential questions with each of the books: 1. Why Twilight fans would probably like it. 2. Why I think it's better than Twilight. And 3. as a rating-substitute: the number of times Betti read each of these novels.

Are you ready? Good. Here we go:

"The Shore of Women" 
by Pamela Sargent

What the hell is that? 
Breathe, ladies! The pic above shows young Arvil, the utterly adorable leading male character - in the way Fanny imagined him... as far as I remember. Uhm, I guess I have your attention now? 

Quick summary: In a distant future, women live in high-tech enclaves, keeping men outside in the wilderness to lead essentially neolithic lives, deprived of education, technologies and even the knowledge that there is another sex. They never saw a living woman in flesh but are taught that they are goddesses, since women have set up a sort of virtual-reality religion. There are shrines out in the wilderness, where men would come to worship "The Lady". And during trance-like VR sex, they are milked of semen which women use to reproduce in their enclaves through artificial insemination. Yeah, right: Eeek!

At the beginning of the novel, young Birana (the leading female character) is banned from the city of women into the wilderness of men, this exile assumed to quickly result in her death. The sudden appearance of a woman in flesh and bone however is a profoundly religious experience for the men who take her as a godly manifestation who has come to put their devoutness to the test. Birana meets said Arvil, an extraordinary sensitive neolithic man and - taking advantage of his religious feelings first - orders him to protect her, to feed her and to teach her the necessary skills she needs to survive. Of course, she will find out soon, that not all men are the brainless, barbaric animals she was taught they are..Much better yet, hu?

Why would Twilight fans like it? Because it is about a love against all odds. And because reading this one book feels like reading four volumes - in a good way.

Why is it better than Twilight? Because the tale told here is not only a tale of love and sexes, it is a rollercoaster ride through different ways how men and woman can be together, it is a thrilling adventure about the struggle to survive under impossible circumstances, and about the power of change and trust... and yes, there are lemons too.*sighs*

How often did Betti read this? Eight times. She recommends Mrs.V to read the German edition due to its often complex language. German title: "Das Ufer der Frauen". In case it is not available any more (it was written in the 80's), Betti is willing to bring her own copy to Munich in November. An English republication however came out just recently. 

"Schneewittchens Unschuld" 
by Maeve Carels

What the hell is that? 
Easy, girls! The pic is supposed to show Alex and Frank, the leading characters in this one, and yes: they are gay. Obviously. Still interested? For your own goods, I hope you are. 

Quick summary: (the title translates into: "Snow White's Maidenhood") Frank and Alexander have been the closest friends ever since their early childhood days.How different they may be - Alex dark and mysterious, Frank bright and easy to be with - they are inseparable, trusting each other unconditionally, and they know everything about each other. That's at least what Frank was thinking... until one day he discovers that there are still some secrets about his silent friend he didn't know. One of them: Alex is gay - this being revealed when one of his frequent lovers is found dead, brutally raped and murdered. Torn between insecurity, hurt, anger and wounded vanity, Frank tries to rearrange his friendship with Alex, and discovers surprisingly new feelings for him. The beginning of a (not all the time) tender love story...

Why would Twilight fans like it? Because it is basically a highschool scenario. Because there's a tortured young man, hiding his true nature and some dark secret. And his lover/friend and personal sun. They both are portrayed so heartbreakingly beautiful, one can't help but fall in love with them, gay or not. And they will stay with you long after you've put the book aside. (Hint: Frank, of course, is bi - just saying.) 

Why is it better than Twilight? To be honest, it isn't.It is just different, more grounded - but it gets you in a similar mood nonetheless.There are lemons too - homoerotic, of course. I was astonished about the... uhm... effect those bed scenes had on Fanny. She obviosly enjoyed them very much.

How often did Betti read this? Three times. I apologize to the English/American readers here - this book is only available in German as far as I know. But I really couldn't skip this one for Mrs.V. And it's her task, after all.

(Added WE, Oct 14th:) After the first comments I see it was kinda mean to recommend a German book. I will make up for this when I'll answer all comments in the recap. Like last time, I'll have a little gift for all non-German-speakers.

"Lisey's Story" 
by (a surpringly different!) Stephen King

What the hell is that? 
No prejudice, please! The German edition's title was just that: "LOVE", and after reading this extraordinary novel, I can honestly say: I never read anything better describing what true love between man and woman is all about. It still is a King, though. Will you give it a try anyway? Damn, you should! 

Quick summary: (Not my own words this time. I'm quoting novelist Nora Roberts here - for she tells it as it is!) 

"With Lisey's Story, King has accomplished one more feat. He broke my heart. It is, at its core, a love story - heart-wrenching, passionate, terrifying and tender. It is the multi-layered and expertly crafted tale of a twenty-five year marriage, and a widow's journey through grief, through discovery and - this is King, after all - through a nightmare scape of the ordinary and extraordinary. Through Lisey's mind and heart, the reader is pulled into the intimacies of her marriage to bestselling novelist Scott Landon, and through her we come to know this complicated, troubled and heroic man. Two years after his death, Lisey sorts through her husband's papers and her own shrouded memories. Following the clues Scott left her and her own instincts, she embarks on a journey that risks both her life and her sanity. She will face Scott's demons as well as her own, traveling into the past and into Boo'ya Moon, the seductive and terrifying world he'd shown her. There lives the power to heal, and the power to destroy. (...) Lisey's Story is bright and brilliant. It's dark and desperate. While I'll always consider The Shining, my first ride on King's wild Tilt-A-Whirl, a gorgeous, bloody jewel, I found, on this latest ride, a treasure box heaped with dazzling gems."

Why would Twilight fans like it? Because it is about love, love and nothing but true loveAnd a relationship that cannot be understood by anyone outside, which is the reason we are allowed to see it through the very eyes of Lisey and are left in awe. And there's big time supernatural stuff, of course.

Why is it better than Twilight? Oh god, don't get me started. There's no doubt Mr. King wrote a lot of nonsense in his long carreer. But even when WHAT he wrote was bullshit - the man always knew HOW to write. Even if you didn't like him until now because mayby horror stories creep you out... just trust me and read this one. (No lemons - sorry!)

How often did Betti read this? Three times. I inserted the German cover here, just because of the title - it just has to be "LOVE". And Betti allowed me to add that she actually cried (hands down!) while reading through this blogpost because she was reminded of some of its heart wrenching scenes, so... well, it's just like that.


As always, I thank you for your polite attention.

I appreciate it even more, since there's no Rob in this post. Of course I promise to reply to each and every comment like I did the last time. And I hope to see you again next Wednesday for the tattoo challenge - which scares the shit out of me. A tattoo design... such a big responsibilty!

Please don't miss part two of Mrs.V's and Fanny's epic "Book vs. Movie discussion"! See link below.

Sincerely, Artsie


Related links:


How did this all start? 

And finally: 


Honolulu Girl from Trueblood Twilight said...

Wow. Again an amazing post Artsie!!
I'm actually really bummed that the story about Alex and Frank is only in German. It really sounds good. I will definitely pick up The Shore of Women and I have never read a Stephen King book but my husband has read several and loves his work. So I plan to pick that up as well. Thank you!!

Mrs. Vanquish said...

I read a lot, I mean really A LOT but those three I never had in my hands! So I am very hooked and I promise you, I will read them all.

The Shore of Women: The pic is awesome and the summary sound interesting.

A gay lovestory? never read one, but I am willing to try.

I did't know SK could actually write a love story, ok this is really impressing! And Betti cried? What does that means for me ? That I have to lock myself while reading it, and that I eventually need tons of Kleenex? ..very likely...

Thanks so much for these recs, I see you really took it serious, that is awesome.
Well, and thanks for not choosing Kafka, I hate him - or better I never got him. Although I had German "leistungskurs" Kafka was the worst mark I ever got in German, so we don't have a good relationship.

*bows* and I hug Fanny since you probably don't want to have a hug


rpfangirldc said...

Interesting... Although recommending a German book that's only in German is sort of mean to those of us who can't read a lick of German. LOL

Fire Crotch said...

Okay, so I definitely will be reading #1...not sure about #3 and #2 would be quite the challenge...maybe I should try it. If you haven't read some John Irving...I recommend pretty much anything by him. Son of the Circus is kind of out there, but I really liked his most recent book. He's kind of weird but a great storyteller.

SBGDGT said...

I am going to look into Shore of Women some more and definitely put Stephen King's book on my Books to Read list for sure! I have to catch up on my John Saul first cause I abandoned him for Twilight. Yes, Artsy, Twilight... BUT I am taking your recommendations to heart! Thank you! :)

itsjustme said...

The first recc has my interest peaked. I shall look for it. The 2nd sounds good too, but alas, I'm in the states. However, I am a diehard King fan. His books are never really about the "boogie man" his works are important b/c they are about the demons inside of us. I read Lisey's Story twice. *sigh* Yes, this is a love story. However, I also believe it is a story of the different levels of madness. Scott is crazy, his dad and brother were crazy. Lisey is crazy, her sister, the stalker. The point, I think, is that we are all just a little bit fucked up. The unconditional love of another may not save our sanity, but maybe our souls. Ok, I'll stop now. Awesome post!

Smuttier Than You said...

Oh Artsie! Thanks fo the recommendations, I needed some new material as I'm just about convinced fanfic is turning me into a borderline "innapropriate" smuthound, if there is such a thing. Although the hubs did enjoy the, er, wake-up call I gave him when I got in bed last night/early this morning *smirk*

uhyesplease said...

Hey Artsie!

So, I'm adding these to my book que. I'm also a big Stephen King lover....have you read the Gunslinger series? Wow - finishing those made me feel like I finished a marathon. Gutwrenching..... But I don't really like the scary stuff either.... I mean, it's hard enough to go to bed w/o thinking there are dead things lurking below your bed, or consuming your pet, whatever... ;)

I'm sad that 2nd book isn't in English. Guess I'll just have to find me some good slash some other way!

And the first book looks super interesting - I love sci fi - and sexy scifi is a bonus!!!

Thanks for the recs!!!!!

Susie From ApplesnFeathers said...

Artsy this was an interesting choice in books. I was thinking it would be something a little more aristocratic but I see that you do at least share Betti's amazing reading tastes(excluding Twilight Saga of course) I've read "Lisey's Story" and I was as moved as Betti was and it does suck that we American's can't get our hands on "Schneewittchens Unschuld" because it sounds absolutely beautiful. I actually enjoy alot of gay/lesbian independent films although i'm straight they intrigue me with their struggles. After I get done commenting today I will be going over to some online bookstores to get my hands on The Shore of Women. Why have I not heard of this before! It sounds amazing! Thank you for the great recommendations. I really do love books and as big of a fan of Twilight that I am I can't read just those four books for the rest of eternity lol. I'm looking forward to the tattoos...I could use a new idea for a new ankle tat!!

One Pushy Fox said...

Artsie, I hope you won't be offended when I say, "You rock my socks!" I'm so looking forward to reading books #1 and #3 (I know very little German, although, crazy side note, my favorite German word is Schlüssel, I giggle everytime I hear it). Thanks for broadening my horizon beyond Twilight. :)

Mrs. Robward said...

So Ms. Fanny you mean to tell me that you are saying we should read actual books? Books that have real paper pages that you have to turn? What a travesty!

Well not really, but truth of the matter is I have not had an actual book in my hands, (besides my Bible), since reading the Saga.

I absolutely love to read. After having my 3 kiddos I quit reading until Twilight came along & now that I abide in the world of fanfic, I wonder why I ever stopped.

STEPHEN KING! One of my all time fav authors!

Thanks for all the reccs. Will I ever get to reading them? Maybe someday, but I promise you this, when I get the urge to read a real book, I know where to go!

Mrs. Robward