Thursday, May 16, 2013

What's Better Than Romance?

Bromance, that’s what. Yeah, you heard me. No, don’t argue. It’s way better. Shush.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve done a bit of reading in the past few weeks. Probably the most influential—to the point that I’m already re-reading it—were the "Infernal Devices" books. If you haven’t read them and you like paranormal, adventure-y, steam-punky sort of books, I highly recommend them. They will eat your life away, I promise.

With that introduction (shameless plug, really) out of the way, I would really like to talk about bromance. Because there was some major bromance going on between Will and Jem. Heart jerking, tear inducing bromance. And I enjoyed every second of it.

For those wondering what bromance is exactly, Urban Dictionary—a VERY reputable source, I know—says it is “the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males.” However, bromance, to my understanding, is a fairly new term. And finding literary bromances was not all that easy at first. 

TV and movies have TONS of them. Shawn and Gus of "Pysch", JD and Turk ("Scrubs"). Julie Plec said once in an interview about "The Vampire Diaries" that her vision for the show is not about Elena’s various relationships but focused on the ups and downs of the Salvatore’s brittle brotherly love. Then, of course, there are the characters of Jason Segel and Paul Rudd in “I Love You, Man.” It’s everywhere in our culture.

Here are a few of the literary bromances I (with the help of others) came up with:

Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley- Yeah, I’m pulling the “Harry Potter” card early. But really, I can’t help myself. Harry Potter was my childhood; I grew up with Harry and his pals. When I think of how a friendship should be, tumult included, I think of Harry and Ron. The fact that they are both male just makes it that much better.

Howl and Calcifer- I don’t think I’ve ranted about how much I love, love, love Diana Wynne Jones’ “Howl’s Moving Castle” on here. It’s my go to book whenever I want to read, but I don’t want to invest myself into something new. And despite reading it a million times, it still manages to keep me on my toes. Pretty great for a “kid’s” book.

I think one of the reasons I love it so much is because of Howl and Calcifer’s relationship. Calcifer is the only one who understands (mostly) why Howl is the way he is. While he might not be all that helpful—and somewhat self-serving—in aiding Sophie to break Howl’s curse, he does care about my favorite literary Welshman quite a bit. I mean, who wouldn’t want a fire demon/fallen star as your best friend?

(I feel like now is the time to add that Will Herondale, mentioned above, is also a Welshman, looks like Howl, and has a best friend that puts up with his “people issues.” I see you, Cassandra Clare, I see you. Maybe.)

Louis de Pointe du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt- A friend of mine and I debated for some time over whether or not these two vamps have a true bromance. Granted, there is a lot of sexual tension between dear Louis and Lestat, but there’s a lot of sexual tension across the entirety of “The Vampire Chronicles.” Like, every character. Either way, sexual or not, these boys definitely have a complicated relationship.

Romeo and Mercutio- Thanks to Baz Luhrmann, I will never be able to envision Mercutio as anything other than a black man in drag. That does not, however, change that Romeo and Mercutio’s relationship is totally bromantic. Even Shakespeare had it in him, guys!

A third of the Fellowship of the Ring- Sam and Frodo, duh. Merry and Pippin, hell yes. Legolas and Gimli, two total opposites brought together by battle and a common goal? Psh, now we’re talking. What I love about all three of these bromances is that each individual would go to the end of Middle-earth (and do…) for their other half. Bromance, pure and simple.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson- A good bromance should be a frustrating one. One that you could never, ever live without. But should you want to strangle your “other half” on a daily basis, fear not. As long as you’re there to pick him up out of the gutter when it’s all over, you’re still the best friend a guy could ask for.

I could go on for hours. Calvin and Hobbes (adorable), the gentlemen from Count of Monte Cristo (a bromance turned sour), Loras and Renley from Game of Thrones (debatable), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (hilarious), Sixsmith and Frobisher (though definitely intimate) in Cloud Atlas, and I like to think (though you don’t get too much of it in the actual text) that Messiah and Zak have a pretty bro-tastic relationship…the list keeps going, trust me.

So, who are your favorite bromances? Why do you think bromance is so popular in our culture? Thoughts? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Confessions Of A Serial Reader

For those of you who do not know me, it is important to know that I am a "serial reader." I very rarely read stand-alone books. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them, I just find myself more interested in stories that carry over several volumes, or at least have familiar characters or the same “world.”

Now, when I say “interested," I really mean “obsessed.” Tragically obsessed. To the point where I don’t stop reading until every page has been read. While I won’t go into all the reasons that this is actually a charming characteristic (I will not defend myself!), I do want to note some of the reasons it can be harmful.

It hurts the pocket book:

Personally, I don’t think I spend all that much money on literature. I know for a fact that there are people who are far worse than I when it comes to buying books. Generally, I try not to buy Kindle versions (of anything) that are more than $5, and, generally, I’m good about keeping to it.

My problem is that I have no issue throwing down any amount of money when it comes to series books. If I read a book and liked it and there are more of them, I can almost guarantee that I will by all of them. Instantly. It doesn’t register that I just spent $60 on books until I get the email bulleting my purchases. Oops.

And before anyone says anything, I’ve tried the library. I’m just too impatient. Damn you, instant gratification!

It hurts the love life:

Nothing gross, guys. Okay, maybe a little bit. Point is, my boyfriends HATES it when I become engrossed in a new series. Mostly because he knows that he will not be having any conversations/snuggle time/quality time of any sort until I resurface once finished. While, I’d really like to hold this against him, I suppose I can’t. Not really, at least.

I feel like I should note, however, that during my last spell of bad girlfriend-ness, he bought me a Kindle Paperwhite. Now he can’t even turn off the lights to get me to stop reading. He must really love me.

Most importantly, you start to notice all of the words/phrases an author uses over and over again:

I will give some examples: in Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, Ash is always “raking” a hand through his hair; Cassandra Clare’s characters (The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices) all have “bow lips,” insanely angular cheekbones, and “unhitch” themselves from walls and doorways; Harry Potter “stops dead” more often than not; and in Game of Thrones everyone’s insides “turn to water” in intense situations.  

I don’t know who to be upset with. Is this an editorial issue? Is the author’s fault for not noticing the recycled and over used phrases? Or is it my fault for reading the series at an all-consuming pace? It might be because I also write—and, by no means, I am not above this sort of “mistake.” I am equally (if not more so) guilty as any of these authors. Hell, I’m bad enough within the confines of this blog.

All in all, it doesn’t really matter. I enjoyed all of the series listed above immensely. If I hadn’t, you wouldn’t be hearing about them.

So question(s) of the day: What are your favorite books series’? Do you read them in measured doses or like the world is falling down around your head? Have you ever noticed annoying repeats? WHO-WHAT-WHEN-WHERE-WHY-NOW!

All I Seem To Do Is Fall Behind

Well. It’s been…four weeks since my last post? A crappy post at that. To say I have no excuses would not be exactly true—I do, but I seem to give nothing but excuses here. House, blah blah blah, weddings (not mine), blah blah blah, reading 8 books in the course of two weeks, blah blah blah. It gets monotonous, eh?

But guess what? You’ll get to hear all about it in the next few days. Because I’m making up for lost time, damn it. And you’ll like it.

So, stay tuned for actual content.