RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

Books, TV, and complaining, not necessarily in that order.

Explain to me how My Name is Earl and 30 Rock managed to have new episodes last night, and yet The Office curled up and died within two weeks of the strike's opening.  EXPLAIN!  And don't tell me it's because they had supersized episodes, because I thought they were planning for like 30 this year.

In related news, I would like to mention something I wrote in September while viewing season 3's Christmas episode for the first time: *weeps in corner*  I miss the teapot Christmas.  Can Christmas 2007 be full of snuggly Puppy Love?  *looks up hopefully through tears*

Writers, please remember that at least 45% of the reason I am not on your side is that you deprived me of Puppy Love Christmas.
'ER, 14.12, "Believe the Unseen"
It was nice to see Abby back, even in a pitifully boring episode.  I expected her to have to jump through some hoops when she came back, but I didn't expect quite so many.  60 meetings in 60 days??  That seems a little intense.  Dude, if you're not careful, you'll break her trying to fix her.  And her recovery seemed suspiciously quick given that they spent most of the season spiraling her in an ever more downward direction...but I won't argue with it.  I will be requiring a long, multi-chapter fanfic somewhere down the road detailing her time in rehab, though.

I find it amusing that Pratt decided to pull out the "I'm so hurt" card that she didn't confide in him, because...really?  I was not aware he and Abby were bosom buddies at any point.  In fact, I can't think of anything really connecting them other than seniority, and just because you work with someone for a long time doesn't necessarily translate to becoming good friends.  Besides, if she wouldn't talk to her husband or even Neela, why would she go to you?  It's times like this when I realize that even though I'll miss Abby like hell when Maura Tierny takes off, it makes sense from the character's point of view as much as hers.  There's less and less to keep her tied to County General, with all her mentors gone and Neela up and away on surgical staff.  Also, I've become kind of invested in the idea of her eventually moving to Croatia with Joe and Luka, especially since the latter seems so darn reluctant to leave it.  (I mean, how long does a funeral, even with the settling of an estate, actually take?)

I think I approve of her telling everyone the truth in the end, but Sam needs to remove the bug from her ass immediately.  Excuse me, but "Were you ever drunk at work?"  Spoken with such cutting malevolence, it's a little scary, and somewhat unwarranted.  You've worked with the woman for five years; you know she's a good person at heart; back off on the personal attacks.  How forthcoming were you when, among other personal problems, your kid was running around raising hell?  And the moral judgment is kind of funny coming from Miss Knocked Up At 15.  I get that drunkenness at work - if it happened - would potentially put patients in danger, but Sam's tone of voice made it seem like Abby had just announced a past fondness for lighting puppies on fire.   I don't understand the apparent hatred at all.  Plus, a word of advice: ABBY > YOU.  Sam's always been in my top tier of characters, but this season I am abruptly finding a marked dislike.

So no, I don't like it when she casually asks Tony "and Sarah" to the movies with her and Alex.  THIS, honestly, is what squicks me most about the idea of them dating: their having kids the same age.  You'd think this would make them an ideal match, and yet something about Sam having had hers so young just doesn't work.  Say what you will about Tony's juvenile behavior, but they just don't seem to be one the same level of maturity either in general or in terms of parenting.  And I cannot see her connecting to Sarah at ALL (yes, Sarah must always be a factor) - definitely not as a mother, ironic though that may be, and not even as a friend, because she seems to have been from the type of crowd that Sarah doesn't particularly gravitate towards.  I'm not even going to get into the prospect of Alex and Sarah liking each other and making it an even more tangled mess.  Look, I'm all for Tony dropping the bland and lifeless Julia, but this is not the way to go about it.  The preview actually claiming "The start of a new romance!" made me gag.

Let's see, what else...oh!  Loved the opening with Neela finding Harold in her shower, courtesy of Jas's sleepover invitation, just for the expression on her face.  I love that she had to rip the shower curtain open twice - the first time apparently not having been sufficient to believe that she was really seeing this - and that the second time included a long, appraising glance downwards, which appeared to leave her unimpressed  (although personally, I think that seeing Harold naked would scar me for life and/or feel vaguely pedophilic). But most of all, I loved her breaking up with Jas's love interests for her by dragging them both off to the side and reciting to Morris, "Thank you for a wonderful night.  It was great.  But please, stop calling me, and don't ever call again.  Ever," and then repeating the speech verbatim to Harold before calmly walking away and leaving the rivals to gape at one another.    

I do not love Neela in Ortho.  What a bunch of frat boys...and a female equivalent...did anyone else think we'd just taken a wrong turn and wandered into Scrubs?  Because whapping hockey pucks around in hospital corridors seems, what's the word, stupid and dangerous.

Finally, I would appreciate it if people would stop talking about how Abby's final scene seemed like she was coming full-circle, and that it was a fitting way for her to exit if for whatever reason this ends up being her last episode.  Because no, no it wasn't.  Maybe it was okay, but if Kerry Weaver gets two goodbye eps, then so should Abby.  Mostly because no exit can possibly be satisfying without one last good showcasing of Luby Love.  I WANT A FINAL LUKA/ABBY SCENE.  WRITERS, PLEASE GET BACK TO WORK.  
This space should contain my thoughts on Grey's Anatomy, but I'm afraid they are not coherent yet because I got distracted writing something for my other blog, and then I decided what the hell - I spent this long on it, I might as well cross-post.  So here ya go. 

I was playing on The Daily Meme, and while in the pursuit of a fun set of questions to answer, I instead decided to fixate on just one, and expand it: Do you have any books you read every year/often?

Given that I am on a permanent quest to read 100+ new-to-me books annually, it feels wasteful to devote spare reading time to things that won't count on my list (I'm not budging on the new-to-me rule, so don't suggest it).  That being said, there are some books that have such a special place in my heart that I reread them anyway, mostly books I own because if I'm heading to the library, I want to check out as much list material as possible. 

Let me tell you about them, or ten of them anyway, in no particular order except that in which I glance over at the bookshelf. 

1. The Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
I will never stop rereading this.  While I am no longer quite so rigid about only reading the books in chronological order, and finishing the series before going back to the beginning, it is still a series whose lines never get old, whose stories are fresh every time.  The wound on Page 660 of Deathly Hallows is still too raw to go through, but everything before it is a veritable gold mine.  These books mean both comforting familiarity and thrilling adventure every time I crack one worn-from-use hardcover - common sense tells me to purchase a paperback set for general use, and yet it wouldn't feel the same, so I haven't - and even if their fame has blown their quality out of proportion, I cannot be convinced that these are not some of the best books ever written.

2. Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
I was 8 the first time I read this, only vaguely aware of its status as a classic, and it may be the book I've read more often than any other (save the one above).  It's hard for me to accept the idea that not everyone has read it, because it's such a huge centerpiece not only of equine literature, but anti-animal-cruelty literature in general.  I cannot make it through the book without tears in my eyes, despite its happy ending, but it's also one of my favorite books to slip into my hands.  I also find it ironic that my copy has only a plain blue cover, unlike any of the dozens of modern editions which all feature various handsome black horses.  It's Mom's old copy, though, so it remains treasured.

3. X-Files novel: Ruins - Kevin Anderson
All right, get your laughter out now.  You knew I'd find a way to work my TV obsession in here...but I swear it's not on purpose!  There have been several novels published for this series, but most of them are quite average.  This one's different; I can't explain it but it's a really fascinating blend of aliens, jungle monsters and ancient Mayan culture clashing with a corrupt modern-day Mexican government.  And if it happens to feature Mulder and Scully in the middle of it all, so much the better.  Lots of action and spookiness and amusing quips.  I originally discovered it shortly after tumbling head-over-heels into my obsession with the show, seeking anything and everything X-Files related, and it's sort of a December tradition.  Somewhere between the week after Thanksgiving and the end of finals, preferably after a snowfall and while procrastinating against final projects (all in the spirit of when I originally read it), I love to pull it out and dive into the perils of the Yucatan.  THEN I can concentrate on the end of the year.

4. All Creatures Great and Small (quartet) - James Herriot
This is where my love of vet autobiographies all began, and it's all thanks to my former best friend.  She'd always have these books lying around her house in the country - I think they were one of her frequent rereads, too - and one day I started reading and couldn't stop.  Having read them once, they're now the kind of book where you can flip through and read a chapter or two at random, just for fun, if you don't have time to go all the way through.  Somehow, they always seem new.  The scenarios described were old when he started writing and some of the treatments are positively outdated by now, but that isn't important.  It's just heartwarming to tumble back into 1940's Scotland (maybe not so "warm" when reading about lamb deliveries on freezing early spring nights), with the charming Scottish vet and his adventures in both large and small animal practice - owners as much as animals.  I don't think I will ever get tired of these anecdotes.

5. The Incredible Journey - Sheila Burnford
Apparently I really like crying, because this book gets to me worse than Black Beauty when it seems like one of the pets isn't going to make it home.  And yet, despite the vast (well, ample) array of dog books on my shelf, this is the one I always reach for, ready to hear about the arduous trek across Canadian wilderness.

6. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
I do not read this nearly as often as I mean to; I don't think I've picked it up in 6 or 7 years but I rather cherish my wrinkled-spine Scholastic "Apple Classics" paperback, a 9th birthday present (as inscribed by Mom and Dad on the title page).  I love the March sisters, all of them (especially Beth), and the whole era just fills me with happiness.  I'm happy to lose myself in the lives of this family, easy to do given the massive amount of material there is to chew on.  Strangely enough, I have never read the sequels - it's been a lifelong goal of mine, but I've never gotten around to it.  I think it's because I'm still annoyed with Jo for not marrying the man she was CLEARLY supposed to.  Um, anyway, this list is proving harder to write than I thought.  It's forcing me to THINK and be ELOQUENT, and in protest of this unexpectedly academic aspect, I am just going to end on the note that this is a marathon read, but I love wrapping myself up in it and exploring all the details of their daily lives. 

7. Black Unicorn - Tanith Lee
This has a special place in my heart for being the first, and still one of the few, fantasy books I've ever enjoyed.  My former best friend and I each bought a copy at a first grade elementary school book fair, so it's got that memory going for it, and even though there is much more to do with sorcery and the people of faraway lands than the unicorn itself, I love the clever protagonist.  The sequels aren't nearly as good, but this book is like a familiar friend for the times I want to take a dive into a world of magic completely unlike Harry Potter.

8. Wild Animals I Have Known - Ernest Thompson Seton
This is a childhood book of my mom's, sporting somewhat fragile binding and delicate spine on its classic 60's Whitman Publishing cover, featuring nine notable individuals ranging from a rabbit to a sheep-killing dog, gathered from old stories and retold.  Most are from the perspective of humans; a few of the smaller creatures are 3rd-person narratives of strictly animal interaction.  It's rather depressing overall, as the preface explains "The fact that these stories are true is the reason why all are tragic.  The life of a wild animal always has a tragic end."  But "Lobo, King of Currampaw," old Silverspot the crow, and the pacing mustang are timeless, sweeping figures.  ...I just read half the stories again while sitting here.   That's how addictive they can be.

9. Weetzie Bat - Francesca Lia Block
This is the only one on the list I don't own, which I really MUST remedy at some point, because even though I've only read it two or three times (in < 2 years, though) I love its sentences all dripping with rich imagery and figurative language.  In ordinary writing the story would be nothing special, and perhaps even annoy me, but it's the picturesque landscapes she paints that seal me in.  It's here that I realized what style of writing I loved best in short fanfic pieces, and eventually coined the phrase "word art" to describe it.  This book is the original word art.  Reading makes me giddy - it's kind of like catnip.  For the human brain.

I'm having a hell of a time choosing a perfect 10th book, so rather than do the smart thing and just pick one at random, even if it's not the best, I'm stopping my list at 9.  Mostly because I have been poring over this topic since midnight and now it's 2:41 AM.  Later, when I have more time, I might make a list of books I'd like to reread more often, because I notice a severe lack of general YA novels on this one, and that is not at all proportionate to my general interests. 

P.S. I think it would be really, really great if y'all did this too. You could limit it to 3-5 books, and/or be considerably less detailed in your explanations, but I'm curious to know your answers - not necessarily the best books you've ever read in your life, but the ones you have read most often.
Tags: books, er, the office, tv commentary

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