Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Shouldn't Be Allowed to Write This Without Adult Supervision

The best part about fall is piles of blankets on the bed, the warm little cocoon you make for yourself against the outside world, an excuse to wear scarves and long-sleeved shirts and the ability to walk for nine miles and not die of heat. The best part of Fall is chilly nights and warm enough days, chilly toes and other romantic notions that come into your head when the thermostat starts to finally dip.

The worst part about fall is your alarm clock going off at 6:30 in the morning and it seems like it's still as dark as midnight outside, and the world outside your little cocoon of warmth is frigid and you know you have to get up, and it is going to be one cold race to make it into the shower before your brain registers your cold little toes. Also our water heater doesn't stay hot long enough for me to have a nice long shower.

Stupid fall. I have invented so many new swear words during fall and winter, and don't even think that's a coincidence.

In any case, Jason and I overslept like woah thanks to that aforementioned cocoon of warmth that exists in the mornings in our bed on our days off. I'm talking like ten hours. Jeez. I'm not sure if I'm impressed or disappointed in us or impressipointed which is a word I just made up.

So, being reasonable people, we decided a walk for lunch was in order, and walked down to the Swamp Rabbit Cafe (it's a nine-mile round trip - well, close. What can I say, we're kind of ambitious). I decided that if I was going to do that much walking, I was going to make my food worthwhile, so I had an egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich on foccacia. And it was, well, 'worth it' does not even begin to describe the delicious. I asked for "the largest cup of coffee you even have", and I ended up making that coffee last most of the way back home, too.

Since apparently "the largest cup of coffee (they) have" was not enough caffeine for me, when we got back I made myself a yerba mate latte using this tea (my current absolute delicious favorite), honey, and steamed milk. I just barely held off making a run for fried chicken, because who walks for nine miles and doesn't crave the least healthy thing they can imagine?

Recently read:

This Book is Full of Spiders is the sequel to John Dies at the End. John Dies at the End is a novel by David Wong (the pseudonym for Jason Pargin) and was originally available in its entirety free on the internet.

Because Jason always always always brings this up, when it was available for free he read it, loved it, and tried to get me to read it. I demurred, for one reason or another. I continued to demur, always for one reason or another. He has probably told me to read the book online over fifty times. I never got around to it.

Finally, when the book was out in print and no longer available online, I decided to read it and bought us a copy. I brought the copy to Jason and said, "Look, it's out in print now! Let's buy it so I can read it!"

And Jason's brain exploded. But he forgave me.

So when the sequel came out, I decided to read this one right away.

In any case, John Dies at the End was online to start with.

 It was something Pargin did at his mind-numbng data-entry job, just trying to pass the time. One regular reader turned into two, then four, then fifty, then a couple thousand. It took off, was published, sold well enough to warrant a sequel and the sequel has made the Bestseller's list after coming out on October 2nd. The first book has been turned into a movie because it is the kind of insane ridiculous horror monstrosity that needs to be a movie.

I read This Book is Full of Spiders in one day.

Technically, I read the whole book in less than fourteen hours.

Here's my review as posted on Amazon (cleaned up a bit, since, you know, I do swear like a sailor who stubbed his toe on a crocodile occasionally... which is my way of saying please don't read the review on Amazon if you still have some image in your mind of me as a classy lady.

This is definitely a step up in Wong's writing skill. I read John Dies at the End and was incredibly impressed - I described it to people who asked about it as "Like Stephen King with a sense of humor. And actual writing ability. And also if Stephen King's books were ever actually scary. So... really not like Stephen King at all, but like... David Wong. He writes just like David Wong." I stand by that assessment.

Second novels sometimes fall prey to what they call the "sophomore slump", but I have to tell you, Wong just ramped things up in this one. Literally, kind of.

This Book is Full of Spiders really added to the challenges Wong puts in front of himself when it comes to writing - the point of view skips around, timeline skips around, and setting skips around.
The best part of the book, in my opinion, is Wong taking on John's point of view. In JDATE, everything is told from Dave's point of view, it's first-person, and it doesn't deviate. In this book, we get Amy's point of view, Dave's, John's, and other things entirely get in on the show (I don't want to tell you who - it's one of the best chapters in the book and I prefer to leave the surprise).

However, like I said, John's point of view is where Wong's writing really shines. John and Dave are friends and have known each other forever, so their thought processes aren't dissimilar, but in JDATE there's always this underlying sense (because it's how Dave sees him) that John is basically untouchable. No matter how much he drinks, what random drugs he does, what random women he sleeps with, nothing sticks to John for long and nothing throws him off - at least from where Dave is standing. In TBIFOS, we discover that Dave's version of John is not JOHN'S version of John. He becomes really three-dimensional and inside his mind is quite a BIT different than how Dave assumes his thought-patterns work. There were a couple spots in the book where I just sat back and went, "He's a real person and I don't know if he's going to be okay... and I don't know how I feel about that. Well played, Wong."

Dave also excels at pushing the action and pacing so that by the time we reach the final third of the book, you almost feel like you have to read fast or the action of the book will occur before you get there. Considering it's a book and it is literally impossible for that to happen, I'd say getting the reader to feel that way is impressive.

Amy also gets fleshed out further in this book, and I like her quite a bit as a character. She is, in essence, a basically normal person who gets to make the kind of faces people would really make if things like this began to happen around them, but she's also - smart, stubborn, and capable of handling herself and her problems more adeptly than Dave is at handling his own. She's never a damsel in distress, really, even in the scenes where she is in actual distress, and I'd like to give Wong a hearty THANK YOU because that shit routinely drives me nuts in novels.

I wish I could write all this down and send it to Wong himself somehow, but I suppose that would sound entirely too much like I'm taking up creepy fangirling, and that's definitely not the plan. At least not yet.

I will say, though, that this was definitely an excellent follow-up to JDATE, well worth the full hardcover price I paid at a local indie bookstore.
You don't really need to have read JDATE to get this book, but you should anyway, because David Wong needs more money, and I support the campaign to give it to him. Also JDATE is a great book - but this book is better.

So there you go.

If you can't handle horror, spiders, obscenity, violence, or really classless jokes, you shouldn't read either of the books. But if any of those things are up your alley, trust me, these books have my most seriousfaced recommendation.

I know you can't see it, but I am very seriousfaced right now.

At the moment, Jason is out with some friends of his doing nerdy friend things, and I am here debating hot chocolate and listening to the soundtrack to The Lion King musical.

And I'm wrapped in blankets, but my toes are still cold. Oh, well.

I'll survive somehow.

Through the power... of music.


  1. Our hot shower water ran out fast too. I turned the temp up on the water heater by 5-10 degrees (they don't recommend it because if people aren't careful and you have it turned too high you could in theory burn yourself, but i have yet to scald myself with the shower)

  2. Jason maintains that the problem here is my long showers, but considering that currently my showers are running less than fifteen minutes because -the hot water starts running out in ten minutes- I'm going to say it's not due to long showers.


    Maybe I should just start taking more baths.


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