Monday, April 30, 2012

It takes all kinds

I don't understand people who read a review of a romance novel and complain that the review contains spoilers. Hello, people? Are you telling me that you did not know the hero and heroine would end up together?!

Talk about being unclear of the concept!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dads say the darndest things

I'm pretty sure no other father has ever told his daughter that partial starvation is preferable to overeating.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Yo, girl: man up, dudette!

I can't stand helpless women. Really! I feel like they're traitors to the entire female race. It makes me want to strangle them.

Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm not a hard-as-nails, dyed-in-the-wool feminist. I like it when guys offer to help me carry heavy stuff or open stubborn jam jars. It's only logical to get their help at such times, since they're biologically wired to be tonnes better at doing these things than I am. And I don't mind being driven around by a guy, although if he's a bad driver, I'd much rather take over the wheel. Same goes if he drives like an uncle: slow drivers are frustrating!

But I digress.

I've tried and tried to figure out why helpless women annoy me so much. It's not just because they give the rest of us a bad rep and reinforce stereotypes that we've been trying forever to shake off. No, I think it's got more to do with the fact that (in my view) they're discarding their God-given brains and abilities and taking the easy way out instead, leaning on others to think for them and act for them. Not only is it a form of manipulation, it's also such a waste. They're pretending to be helpless, and people who aren't real drive me crazy.

Modern love stories seem to abound with helpless women. I'm not quite sure what Mills & Boon is doing, but here is a typical plot:

    Beautiful poor girl bumps into handsome billionaire or millionaire. He is either Italian, Spanish or Greek. Occasionally he is Russian but for some reason he is never French, American or Swedish (to name a few). Said millionaire is a known playboy and the poor girl is well aware that he is bad news: for one thing, she's out of his league, and for another, he will never commit to her. BUT SHE JUST CAN'T HELP HERSELF. Every time she comes within two feet of him, her brain turns to mush, her willpower evaporates and all she can think of is jumping his bones. The millionaire, on the other hand, is cynically used to girls falling all over him, but since he has the hots for her, he happily capitalises on her susceptibility. They end up in bed. She falls in love and agonises over it. Then she accidentally gets pregnant and dares not tell him because he might think she purposely tried to trap him into marriage. She runs away. He realises he can't live without her, and chases after her. Ta-da! They confess their love, and get married.

I've been reading M&B forever. They have been using this plot for what feels like the entire last decade, and it's getting old FAST. I know, I know, why don't I just stop reading, right? Romance is my personal guilty pleasure, for when I want something light and entertaining to read that won't tax my brain too much. But... urgh. I am so DONE with wimpy female lead characters who allow their hormones to lead them around by the nose. They are just as annoying as real-life helpless women!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adventures of an Amazon ebook buyer

I finally managed to get the Kindle app to cooperate with me. From which I have discovered:
  • I have some sort of obsessive personality (okay, I already knew this) that makes me want to download every single free ebook available.

  • That is, not those copyright-expired free books like the ones you can get from Project Gutenberg, but those that are limited-time free offers before they go back up in price. (eReaderIQ is your friend -- it tracks prices of Kindle books and updates the free list hourly).

  • Therefore, not only am I obsessive, I am also kiasu. Oh well... proof I am Malaysian? :p

  • Even after culling those with bad reviews and ignoring the genres I don't generally read, I still have almost 1,000 books in my library. Eek!

  • Which makes it annoying that I can't search my library by genre. Stanza has spoilt me.

  • I can't even search for books by title keyword or 'recently read'! I forgot the title of the one I was reading and had to scroll through the entire list before finding it again. *grumbles*

  • And then I can't properly delete a book from my library on the Kindle app. I can only "archive" books; to delete them, I've to go to Amazon's homepage and log into my account from there.

  • I'm deleting books? *gasp* But you never give or throw away physical books, Sunflower! Well, I choose my physical books carefully, but I'm allowing myself to experiment with free ebooks. After all, never try, never know, right?

  • Now you see how I ended up with 1,000 titles...

  • Oh, most riveting title I've seen so far: Vanishing Penis Mysteries. *snicker*

  • (I didn't buy it. Really, I didn't! It only had one star!)

  • Yes, I rely heavily on reviews and a good synopsis to influence my purchasing decisions. I don't really care about the cover of the book.

  • For people who are supposedly good with words, many authors are hopeless at providing a sypnosis or interesting product description. See this one, for instance:
      Short... Sharp... Surprising.  :0)
    Yes, very informative, thank you very much.

  • On the other hand, there are the wonderfully complex synopses that make my head spin and cause me to think, "This book sounds WAY too complicated for me!"

  • Then there are the ones with grammatical or spelling errors, which I always take to be a Very Bad Sign and a Portent of Things To Come.

  • I have to say the best and most hilarious sypnosis I've read so far has been this one. If the synopsis is that funny, how much more amazing must be the book be?!?

  • One thing I really don't understand, though: what's all the fixation with stating wordcounts in the product description? Are you writing essays for fifth grade or something?

  • When the product description doesn't help, thank God for reviews: many longish positive reviews give a much more useful and detailed synopsis of the story than the authors themselves.

  • And the one- or two-star reviews are usually illuminating. Any review that says "bad grammar" has me closing the browser page immediately. I already see enough bad grammar from students every day!

  • Even with all the careful choosing, I have to say I've ended up with some doozies, and have discovered that there is a lot of crap in the Kindle store :(

  • But at the end of it all, this is what I really want to know: Who the heck is Fiona?!? (After purchasing an ebook, this is the URL you get: