Monday, June 17, 2019

Musical Monday - The One That You Love by Air Supply


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of July 25, 1981.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of July 18, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

The thing I remember most about Air Supply is that my mother had their greatest hits album, and copied it onto a cassette tape that had Hooked on Classics on the reverse side. As a result, Air Supply occupies a space in my mind that is a cross between "Mom rock" and "classical music set to a disco beat". They were the near ubiquitous soundtrack to the middle-school dances I attended, at least until Foreigner came out with Waiting for a Girl Like You and drove Air Supply's songs out of the regular party rotation.

To a certain extent, Air Supply was Journey before Journey became Journey!, turning out ballad after ballad and dominating the charts with piles of syrupy love songs. On the other hand, Air Supply was almost a caricature of a band. I've seen attempts to parody them - most notably Paul & Storm's song Right Here With You, which is a riff on the video for All Out of Love and the video for this song.

To be blunt, I can't think of a way one could parody Air Supply more than they do themselves. The lead singer with his giant tiger head print shirt and Conway Twitty style perm. The other lead singer with his oh-so-very-earnest acoustic guitar, gold medallion, and shirt unbuttoned halfway down his torso. The soft focus slow-motion scenes of the pair of them cavorting with their girlfriends on a playground. It would simply be impossible to come up with anything more ridiculous than this video.

Previous Musical Monday: Ghost Town by the Specials
Subsequent Musical Monday: Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Stars on 45 Medley by Stars on 45
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Stars on 45 Medley by Stars on 45
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Air Supply     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Book Blogger Hop June 14th - June 20th: Dialing 3-1-1 in the United States and Canada Will Connect You to Non-Emergency Municipal Services in Most Areas


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Have you ever been called a "book nerd"? If so, how did you react?

I have been called so many varieties of nerd that I have lost count. Gamer nerd. Role-playing nerd. Comic book nerd. Science fiction nerd. Fantasy nerd. History nerd. Theater nerd. Even math nerd. And yes, book nerd as well. I'm sure there are numerous other variations that I have simply forgotten. To be blunt, I stopped caring about this sort of thing decades ago. I've been much happier since I became comfortable just loving the things I love and ignoring the people who just don't "get it".

We have a finite amount of time to love what we love. Don't worry so much about what other people think about your passions and just enjoy pursuing them.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, June 10, 2019

Musical Monday - Ghost Town by the Specials


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: July 11, 1981 through July 25, 1981.

One of the reasons I included the U.K. Charts in the 1980s Project is that the U.K. had weird songs reach number one in the 1980s. As further evidence of this fact, I point to Ghost Town, a quirky Arabian inspired song with creepy lyrics and a reggae beat. This is, however, a kind of cool weird, which sets it apart from some of the terrible weird songs that also reached the top spot in the U.K.

Ghost Town is kind of cool and kind of weird, but it is about a society in crisis - a dysfunctional country with no jobs, a neglectful government and not even any clubs or bands as a diversion, with basically nothing for anyone to do but fight one another. The fact that this odd but bitter and biting song reached number one immediately after the bland and almost insipid One Day in Your Life seems almost impossible, but that seems to be the U.K. in the early 1980s in a nutshell.

Previous Musical Monday: One Day In Your Life by Michael Jackson
Subsequent Musical Monday: The One That You Love by Air Supply

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: One Day In Your Life by Michael Jackson
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Green Door by Shakin' Stevens

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Specials     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, June 9, 2019

2019 Mythopoeic Award Nominees

Location: Mythcon 50 in San Diego, California.

Comments: This year's crop of Mythopoeic Award nominees features three different trilogies. Based on this, one might think that the selection committee has a hard time making up its mind, and consequently simply punted the decision by giving nominations to groups of books. This may be to offset the extremely narrow focus of some of the other categories, which seem to have the same collection of nominees show up year after year. For example, three of the nominees in the Scholarship in Inklings Studies category are returning nominees from 2018, as are three of the nominees in the Myth and Fantasy Studies category. The limited focus of the award is somewhat worrying, as it results in a very restricted, and consequently somewhat less than interesting range of nominees.

Best Adult Fantasy Literature

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
The Arcadia Project: Borderline, Phantom Pains, Impostor Syndrome by Mishell Baker
Circe by Madeline Miller
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Innsmouth Legacy: The Litany of Earth, Winter Tide, Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Best Children's Fantasy Literature

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
The Chronicles of Claudette: Giants Beware!, Dragons Beware!, Monsters Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado
The Stone Girl’s Story by Sarah Beth Durst
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri

Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
The Flame Imperishable: Tolkien, St. Thomas, and the Metaphysics of Faërie by Jonathan S. McIntosh
There Would Always Be a Fairy Tale: More Essays on Tolkien by Verlyn Flieger
Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth by Catherine McIlwaine
Tolkien, Self and Other: This Queer Creature by Jane Chance
Tolkien’s Theology of Beauty: Majesty, Splendor, and Transcendence in Middle-Earth by Lisa Coutras

Myth and Fantasy Studies

Winner:
TBD

Other Nominees:
Celtic Myth in Contemporary Children’s Fantasy: Idealization, Identity, Ideology by Dimitra Fimi
Genres of Doubt: Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Victorian Crisis of Faith by Elizabeth M. Sanders
Gods and Humans in Medieval Scandinavia: Retying the Bonds by Jonas Wellendorf
Race and Popular Fantasy Literature: Habits of Whiteness by Helen Young
The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds edited by Mark J.P. Wolf

Go to previous year's nominees: 2018
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2020

Book Award Reviews     Home

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Book Blogger Hop June 7th - June 13th: The Romans Defeated the Etruscans in the Battle of Lake Vadimo in 310 B.C.


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: What's the oldest work (by publication date) you've read?

This is an interesting question, because it raises the issue of what one means by "published". I've read some very old works, but only in translation, since I don't speak Ancient Greek and my Latin is rudimentary at best. The question to be confronted is when were they "published"? Do we consider their publication when they were first written, or when they were translated? I'm leaning towards "when they were first written", but I can see an argument for the other position. of course, once you go back far enough, "publication date" becomes a fuzzy issue, mostly because there aren't really good records for when a particular story was first written.

For example, I have read the Iliad and the Odyssey, both in multiple translations. As far as I can tell, general consensus is that these stories were first written (as opposed to being recounted in oral form) some time in the 8th century B.C. I have also read Antigone by Sophocles, which is usually dated to some time around 441 B.C. This does take a somewhat expansive view of what a "work" is, as the Iliad is an epic poem and Antigone is a play. If we are confining the question to prose novels, another older work I have read is The Golden Ass by Apuleius, which is the oldest known surviving novel and is dated to some time in the late 2nd century A.D.

If we are only counting works of more recent vintage published in English, I have read Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, which was published in 1820.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, June 3, 2019

Musical Monday - One Day in Your Life by Michael Jackson


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: June 27, 1981 through July 4, 1981.

One Day in Your Life was a song out of time, even in 1981. Originally released in 1975, the song was rereleased by Motown records in 1981 in order to capitalize on Jackson's success with his Epic Record album Off the Wall. The fact that this song reached the U.K. chart in this decade is the result of a cynical cash grab by Jackson's former label - a label he dumped because he thought they were stifling his creative efforts. There is a kind of irony in the fact that as soon as Jackson gained some creative freedom and as a result garnered greater success than he had while under their banner, Motown attempted to profit from that success by proxy.

The difference between this song and the songs on Off the Wall is noticeable. There isn't anything wrong with it, but there isn't anything particularly memorable about it either. This song is kind of dull, even by the relatively bland standards of most of Jackson's music. I've never been a huge fan of Jackson's music, mostly because he always seemed to be making mostly safe, mostly middle-of-the-road choices presumably to be able to appeal to as many suburban teenagers as possible. That said, when compared to this slice of Wonder bread masquerading as a song, his music from the 1980s seems almost radical.

Previous Musical Monday: Stars on 45 Medley by Stars on 45
Subsequent Musical Monday: Ghost Town by the Specials

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Being With You by Smokey Robinson
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Ghost Town by the Specials

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Michael Jackson     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Book Blogger Hop May 31st - June 6th: Cassander Killed Alexander IV, the Nominal King of Macedon, in 309 B.C.


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you read books over 400 pages?

Given that I read a lot of fantasy novels, the answer to this question is "yes". So many modern fantasy novels are so big and weighty due to their high page count that the term "doorstop fantasy" is fairly commonly used. Though not quite a common, lengthy science fiction novels are also not unheard of, and I read a lot in that genre as well, so that's another vector for books in excess of 400 pages to find their way into my reading pile.

Although not novels, I note that for decades the late Gardner Dozois produced very popular a "year's best" collection of science fiction stories every year, and pretty much every single one of those exceeded 400 pages in length, so regular science fiction readers probably have read a lot of long books.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, May 27, 2019

Musical Monday - Stars on 45 Medley by Stars on 45


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The week of June 20, 1981.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: June 20, 1981 through June 27, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

In 1981, disco was in its last death throes, but it wasn't going to go down without taking some good music with it. Apparently, what the world needed was a mash-up of the intro to Shocking Blue's Venus followed by snippets from the Archies' Sugar, Sugar, and then bits of the Beatles' No Reply, I'll Be Back, Drive My Car, Do You Want to Know a Secret, We Can Work It Out, I Should Have Known Better, Nowhere Man, and You're Going to Lose That Girl, all set to a common disco beat. It is a hypnotically horrific travesty, and a crime of epic proportions against good music.

The really weird thing is that this sort of thing is sometimes done by comedy groups to show how similar many pop hits are. For example, the Axis of Awesome has a song they call Four Chord Songs in which they run through a bunch of pop hits that all use the same four chords. Similarly, a few years ago, comedian Rob Paravonian went on a famous rant about how all modern pop music was basically just a disguised version of Pachelbel's Canon in D. The difference is that those groups are doing the medley for laughs, while Stars on 45 was doing it because they thought it was somehow a worthwhile way to present this music.

It isn't. This medley offends me to my very core.

Previous Musical Monday: Being With You by Smokey Robinson
Subsequent Musical Monday: One Day in Your Life by Michael Jackson

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: The One That You Love by Air Supply

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The One That You Love by Air Supply

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Stars on 45     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Book Blogger Hop May 24th - May 30th: The .308 Round Can Be Used in Hunting Rifles and Sniper Rifles in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you continue with a book even though you aren't liking it?

The answer to this question mostly depends on whether the book is a review copy or not.

If the book is one that I have accepted for a review, I will finish the book even if I don't like it. That way, when I write my review, I can do so armed with full knowledge of the contents of the book. I will point out that this is probably not really a good thing for books that are really bad - reading more just gives me more to use to highlight the inadequacies of the text.

If a book is one that I am simply reading for my own enjoyment, I will put it down if I'm not really enjoying it. Usually I don't even make a conscious decision to abandon a book. I just set it down, move on to other things, and lose interest in picking it up again.

The only notable exceptions to these tendencies are books that I am reading either to participate in voting for awards, such as books I am reading so I can cast a ballot in the Hugo Awards, or stories I am reading so I can vote in the WSFA Small Press Award, or books that I am reading as part of one off my reading projects. For example, I am currently in the middle of reading and reviewing all of the books that won the International Fantasy Award. I'll finish all of the books that won that award, even if I don't particularly like them.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, May 20, 2019

Musical Monday - Being With You by Smokey Robinson


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of May 23, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: June 13, 1981 through June 20, 1981.

The early 1980s were a time of transition for music, and this hit by Smokey Robinson seems to be part of that. It is rooted in Robinson's R&B background, but it seems to bear some Bee Gees-like influences from the disco era, but it also anticipates the smooth sound that many other artists will adopt in the upcoming years of the decade. Other than that, there isn't really too much to the song. The lyrics describe a man so entirely in love with a woman that he simply doesn't care about anything other than being with her. There's not really any subtext or deeper meaning than that.

Previous Musical Monday: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes
Subsequent Musical Monday: Stars on 45 Medley by Stars on 45

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Morning Train (Nine to Five) by Sheena Easton
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: One Day in Your Life by Michael Jackson

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Smokey Robinson     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Book Blogger Hop May 17th - May 23rd: 307 Is the Only Area Code for Wyoming, and Has Been Since Area Codes Were Created in 1947


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Which author would you most like to interview and why?


I will preface this answer by pointing out that I don't really do interviews. I have never actually done an interview for this blog, and I have no current plans to do any in the future. That may change at some point, but for now, I just don't really have a lot of interest in doing them.

This is the point where I would normally say "Ursula K. Le Guin" due to my deep and abiding love for her work, but she has left us, and isn't available for interviews any more.

My usual second choice for things like this is Samuel R. Delany, but when I thought about that for a bit it occurred to me that there are already lots of interviews with Delany. I'm not sure I could add anything new or interesting by interviewing him. The same holds true for many of the popular authors one might think of to interview. Sure, people like John Scalzi, George R.R. Martin, Ann Leckie, Seanan McGuire, and Neil Gaiman are interesting and always seem to give good interviews, but interviewing them is like covering well-trodden ground. There probably isn't a whole lot that one can learn in such an interview that is really new to the world.

I think that if I were to interview an author, I would pick someone whose work I love, but who may not have gotten all the exposure they should have. Perhaps someone like Tom Doyle, or Day al-Mohamed, or Ceallaigh MacCath-Moran, or Hildy Silverman. If I can't use this platform to highlight authors who are excellent writers but just don't seem to get all the love I think they deserve, then there really isn't much of a point to having it.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, May 13, 2019

Musical Monday - Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: May 16, 1981 through June 13, 1981 and June 27, 1981 through July 18, 1981.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: May 30, 1981 through June 13, 1981 and July 4, 1981 through July 11, 1981.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

A remake of a 1974 release originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon, Bette Davis Eyes is the first hit song I remember becoming tired of hearing. This song spent nine nonconsecutive weeks at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart (interrupted in the middle by the Stars on 45 Medley) and was the biggest hit of 1981. The song received near constant radio airplay: I'm convinced that there were times when you could have listened to this song and this song alone if you switched radio stations strategically throughout the day.

I think that it is pretty clear that what made Kim Carnes' version a hit was the synthesizer riff. DeShannon's original version is essentially a big band style song, which thematically fits the lyrics much better, but that version of the song not only had no impact on the charts, it appears that it wasn't even released as a single. Carnes' version, on the other hand, reached number one in more than twenty countries. The synthesizers on Carnes' version do give the song an ethereal, almost dreamlike quality, but they also make it sound quintessentially early 1980s.

The other thing I am struck by is just how old the references in this song were when it became a hit. Bette Davis Eyes references three actresses: Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, and Jean Harlow. Harlow died in 1937, and while the other two actresses were still alive, their heydays were long in the past. Garbo had not appeared in a movie since 1941, and all of Davis' notable roles were behind her. In her career, Bette Davis won two Oscars, and was nominated eight more times, but her last nomination was in 1963. By 1981, Davis was mostly relegated to small roles and cameos, although she did regularly continue to work on the small screen well into the 1980s. Essentially, Carnes sang a techno-themed version of a song featuring three actresses who hadn't been part of pop culture for several decades. And somehow this became a huge hit.

Previous Musical Monday: Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants
Subsequent Musical Monday: Being With You by Smokey Robinson

Previous #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Morning Train (Nine to Five) by Sheena Easton
Subsequent #1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Stars on 45 Medley by Stars on 45

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Being With You by Smokey Robinson
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Stars on 45 Medley by Stars on 45

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Kim Carnes     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Book Blogger Hop May 10th - May 16th: In 306 A.D., the Synod of Elvira Declared That Killing With a Magic Spell Is a Sin


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you have a favorite classic? When did you read it? High School or as an adult?

The first question one has to answer is "what is a classic novel". For example, is Catch-22 a classic novel? It has been the subject of frequent academic study which seems to be one of the prime indicators of being a "classic", but it was published in 1961, which seems to recent to qualify for "classic" status. The issue one must confront is whether age is a primary determiner of whether a novel is "classic" or not?. Foundation was published in 1951, well before Catch-22, but outside of science fiction circles, pretty much no one regards Foundation as a classic work of literature.

On the other hand, books like As I Lay Dying and Light in August were published in the 1930s, and very few people would question their "classic" status. The same holds true for The Sun Also Rise and A Farewell to Arms, both published in the 1920s. But is the difference between being a classic or not really just thirty years of age? I don't know.

Alternatively, one could go back to the nineteenth century to look for a "classic" novel, since some people seem to think that anything published in the twentieth century or later is too recent to be a "classic" - perhaps something like The Three Musketeers or The Count of Monte Christo, which were published in the 1840s, although those books may not be regarded as "classic" literature by some despite their age. What qualifies as "classic" seems to me to be mostly in the eye of the beholder.

So, with that in Mind:

If Catch-22 by Joseph Heller qualifies as a classic, then that is my favorite classic. I read it in high school, but not as part of the high school curriculum.

If Catch-22 isn't a "classic", then Light in August by William Faulkner is my favorite classic. I read it in high school as part of the school's curriculum (I believe in Fifth Form English class).

If a classic has to be written before the twentieth century, then The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is my favorite classic. I read it in high school, but once again, not as part of the school curriculum.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Monday, May 6, 2019

Musical Monday - Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants


#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: May 9, 1981 through June 6, 1981.

New Wave music of the early 1980s was weird. Sometimes that weirdness resulted in brilliance. Other times, it just resulted in weirdness for weirdness sake. This song has always seemed to me to be the second kind of weirdness.

I must admit that I didn't get the appeal of Adam and the Ants back then, and I don't get their appeal now. Their popularity was then and remains now, completely inexplicable to me. The music was kind of mediocre, the were lyrics pretentious for pretentiousness's sake, their personal style was "shocking" in a boring way, and Adam's singing voice topped everything off by being thin and annoying.

This specific song is a prime example of everything inexplicable about Adam and the Ants' popularity. The lyrics are Adam basically chiding people for their fashion sense while wearing an incredibly ridiculous get up himself. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be some sort of subtle dig at traditional clothing, or a criticism of pop style trends, or something else, but the irony in the fact that these lyrics are sung by a trend-chasing front-man seems not to be noticed by anyone in the band. Self-awareness seems not to have been their strong suit.

Previous Musical Monday: Morning Train (Nine to Five) by Sheena Easton
Subsequent Musical Monday: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Being With You by Smokey Robinson

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

Adam and the Ants     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Book Blogger Hop May 3rd - May 9th: "305" Is a 2008 Movie About Five Spartans Assigned to Guard a Goat Path


Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Which book do you wish you'd written?

A Wizard of Earthsea

I definitely would pick a book by Ursula K. Le Guin. I've made no secret of my love of Le Guin's writing, although Le Guin poses something of a problem for answering this question because there are so very many excellent books of hers to choose from. I would be completely satisfied with having written The Lathe of Heaven, or The Left Hand of Darkness, or The Word for World Is Forest, or any number of other books, but I am going to pick A Wizard of Earthsea because it is one of the books that formed my understanding of what fantasy fiction can be.

My foundational fantasy authors were J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and Ursula K. Le Guin. These three authors, for better or worse, shaped my view of what constitutes fantasy fiction. While I still adore Tolkien and Alexander, their fiction is more or less an outgrowth of previously existing British mythical roots. Tolkien's fantasy is heavily influence by Anglo-Saxon and Scandanavian myth, and Alexander's primary work of fiction is based in large part on Welsh myth. Le Guin's fiction, on the other hand, is more expansive, and breaking free of the Eurocentric rut that fantasy fiction so often falls into. She changed my view of what fantasy fiction could be with her Earthsea series, and the book that started that off was A Wizard of Earthsea. Le Guin showed me that fantasy fiction could move beyond Western-based tropes.

It also doesn't hurt that A Wizard of Earthsea is a brilliant story. It is simultaneously an excellent coming of age story, an example of superior world-building, and a fantasy quest that somehow hits all of the expected notes while being unpredictable at the same time. The book is beautifully written while remaining accessible to juvenile readers. It is, to put it bluntly, a masterful piece of fiction.

And those are the reasons why this is the book I wish I had written.


Book Blogger Hop     Home