Reading

Tolstoy, my Birthday and the Number Nine

I've finally finished War and Peace!

I can honestly say that it took me a long while to get into it, but as things started to wind down I realized how invested I'd gotten in the various characters. It's still a weighty tome that I wouldn't recommend to casual readers, but if you're looking for a classic story to invest your time into then look no further.

On a more personal note, today (9/9) was my birthday. It just so happens that the 9th of September was Leo Tolstoy's birthday as well! While I didn't plan on finishing War and Peace on today of all days, I refused to let the chance slip by. So yes; I spent most of my 32nd birthday on my own, powering through the last pages of some 19th century Russian literature. 

Leo Tolstoy - If you're going to share a birthday with someone, you might as well share it with one of the most legendary pillars of your field!

Leo Tolstoy - If you're going to share a birthday with someone, you might as well share it with one of the most legendary pillars of your field!

And then I went to work, so yeah - today hasn't been the best birthday ever but I certainly got a lot done. I went and got myself some birthday presents as well, because that's just how we do these days. That's a whole other story that I'll have to get into at a later stage, there's a lot involved in it.

But anyway, I went down to JB-HiFi and grabbed a few DVD series that I've been keen to see. Since Netflix went all Negan on Australia, my favourite streaming sites have all been blocked so now I'm forced to go and buy DVD's like a common pleb. Life's really tough sometimes...

Anyway, here's what I picked up!

Not a bad haul, if I do say so myself!

Not a bad haul, if I do say so myself!

Wynnona Earp was a total mistake, I meant to buy the new Van Helsing series - I just saw the badass monster hunter chick at thought they were the same thing. My bad! It does look good though and it's gotten good reviews, so I'm keen to see how it plays out.

Zoo is a recommendation from a mate on Twitter, Z.E.D.D Radio - he told me that it's the single greatest post apocalyptic series ever created and that I should totally raise both my hopes and expectations for this fantastic series because there is a literal 0% chance that it will disappoint me. I am *super* excited!

(psssst! I know it's shit!)

(psssst! I know it's shit!)

After that gag real of a TV series we've got Taboo, now this one has interested me for a while now. It's created by, and stars, Tom Hardy - so I'm guessing that this is his big push into more artistic, less blockbuster, territory. I loved him in Bronson, so I'm very interested to see what he gets up to when he's not on someone else's leash.

Preacher - I've head people go on about it, and it sounds interesting, so I'll give it a go. This was really an impulse buy, I am hopeful though!

American Gods - I was a bit iffy about this, I read the book a while back but got the shits when I saw that they were changing the story to give Shadow's wife, Laura Moon, a bigger role. She's literally a cheating whore who died with some other dude's cock in her mouth, she doesn't need a bigger part. Shadow don't need that bitc-uuuuugh, sorry. I don't like cheaters. So as you can see, I'm still a bit conflicted about this, but I loved the book so I'm sure the show will be great.

Anyway, that's what I'm going to be diving into over the next few weeks. I'm renowned for my binge watching capabilities, so it shouldn't take me too long to get through these. I'll just have to keep my studies up for TESOL since that's the main goal in all of this.

One last thing before I sign off, however, since now is numerically the most suitable time to do this.

Just so you know... I have a thing with the number 9. 

Obviously the fact that I was born on 9/9 plays a role in this, then Tolstoy being born on the same day melds into this as well. And, just to give an example of how crazy this fascionation can get at times, add up all the numbers for the last page of War and Peace...

I'll just sit here and wait while you go get a calculator...

I'll just sit here and wait while you go get a calculator...

How crazy is that?! 

It's just a gimmick I use to drive certain mates crazy from time to time, but it's actually gotten kind of fun to see how many places it pops up. Obviously there's a whole lot more to it than just this, you don't make a trend with just a handful of occurrences after all. The number 9 plays a pretty important role in my upcoming novel as a numerological motif, and for those that read this - now you've got an idea of why.

Also, just FYI - there's also this amazing animated post apocalyptic film called 9, that was released 09/09/09. 

If you haven't seen this then you have to, it's a great movie.

If you haven't seen this then you have to, it's a great movie.

How doubly crazy is that?!

How this plays into my upcoming book will be revealed later on, so consider this one of those teasers for a trailer for a movie that isn't out for a while yet. It's not enough to tell you anything of worth, just enough to piss you off. Do you remember when the just did trailers, and not teasers? Gods, those were the days...

Anyway, it's late and I'm rambling and I've got to go read a the intro of a book about Shakespeare and the Eternal Recurrence before bed. Hope you all had/are having a great day, cheers for reading.

Peace

What I'm Reading and Why I'm Reading It

I love reading post apocalyptic fiction. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's reading this, but I figured it needed to be said because I haven't been reading much of it lately. 

That's my kinda town!

That's my kinda town!

See, when you start writing you also need to start reading; and a lot of the time that means reading books you need to read as opposed to reading books you want to read. I'd love to just sit back and work my way through the great, and not so great, post apocalyptic tales - but that wouldn't give me a very broad view of things. Sure, I'd get a pretty comprehensive understanding of the post apocalyptic genre, but I wouldn't be able to bring anything new to it. I'd just be one of those authors that regurgitates the same old tropes used in decades old tales that're no longer relevant in a modern context. 

I've read books in the Naturalism and Realism genres, just to study their styles of writing, random essays and texts to understand a topic a bit better, heck - I've even got a book about Shakespeare and Eternal Recurrence, because that's something that I'll need to know about for an upcoming project. These aren't books I'm reading because I want to, they're studies and examples of topics that I need to understand better in order to bring new ideas to my writings.

Which brings me to War and Peace...

No, not that Rufio lookin' kid from Sky High.

No, not that Rufio lookin' kid from Sky High.

Written by Leo Tolstoy and first published in it's entirety in 1869, War and Peace is a weighty tome that you could use to bash someones skull in. Coming in at 1215 pages (at least in my version), the book is a serious slog about the war between Napoleons France and Russia. This is not a book that I would normally read, but I need to do so for few reasons. 

  1. I'm a writer, and as it's considered one of the best books ever written - I have an occupational obligation to read it.
  2. I make a slight pun about reading it in an upcoming project, so I better have read it before the project is released.
  3. Bragging rights.

Alternating between the battles between France and Russian and the high society escapades of the Russian elite - it's pretty obvious where the title of the book came from. I definitely wouldn't say it's bad writing, but it's not that fantastic either. It's just solid writing all the way through... and there's a lot of it. Which, I guess, for the time was pretty impressive. I'm not sure it should still be holding the award for one of the best books ever written, we've had some great works written in the 148 years since, but history has a way of stubbornly cementing legitimacy. 

That's... sorta closer, I guess?

That's... sorta closer, I guess?

I'm currently somewhere in the 800's in terms of page count, I only ever read it while I'm at work, and I'll be glad when I'm done with it. As much as I'll be happy to tick it off my writers must-read bucket list, there are a lot of far more suitable books for me to be reading. Something with radiation or zombies, or maybe just some kind of virus that turns people inside out, I don't know. 

I'm not even finished it yet and already I can tell that I wouldn't recommend this book to just anyone to read. If you want to appreciate the craftsmanship of it's writing, then go for it, but if you're looking for a good story that won't take you months to read, then go read something else. 

I have a pile of books just sitting there, and they're waiting for me to pick one of them up.