Welcome to Miscellaneous Monday, the post about everything and noting in particular.
Secret Circle, Episode 3
As usual, I'm a week behind in this show because I'm forced to watch it online due to my work schedule. Episode 3 was titled "Loner", in reference to our protagonist. Cassie is a loner in the way that TV likes to portray loners. By which I mean she's alone voluntarily--there's nothing obviously wrong with her. She's pretty, smart(ish), and more importantly, people seem to like her, despite the fact that she's deliberately stand-offish and a bit socially awkward. They like her on sight, without knowing anything about her. This bothers me a great deal, actually. The same thing happens with Bella in Twilight--she's the new girl in school, she's bland and awkward, and yet everyone can't wait to make friends with her. Anyone who remembers anything about high school knows that this isn't how things work. If you happen to be self-isolating or even a little shy, people mostly leave you alone. You might make a friend or two, but it is highly unlikely that the most popular kids in town are going to be clambering for your company.
I've come to the conclusion that this show is really two shows--a good fantasy show and a crappy (but marketable) teen drama, squished together like play-dough. Episode 3 was less bland than Episode 2, but it still gets caught up in silly and predictable relationship drama. I'm much more interested in the magic and murder than whether Diana and Adam's relationship will survive (HINT: it won't).
For whatever reason, I always enjoy the flashback heavy episodes, and this was a good example of that. The Winchester brothers were brought up in the most insane and dysfunctional manner possible. Catching glimpses of that is always fascinating. Furthermore, this episode was yet another example of Sam's fondness for making friends (special friends) with monsters. You'd think that if you're going to hunt monsters, "Don't Have Sex With It" would be rule number one. But I guess if everyone followed that, we'd have a lot fewer paranormal romances.
The Book Buying Dilemma
I dearly love book stores, but they seem to be disappearing. For a very long time our city had two Borders: one large one, and a smaller Borders Express. We also have a B&N, and one or two small independently owned places that cater mainly to used books and trade. The large Borders used to be my favorite by far. It offered great selection, was well organized, offered reasonable discounts, and the employees were fairly laid back but helpful. But, of course, both Borders shut down. I was left with severely reduced buying options.
Our Borders Express was taken over by Books-a-Million. At first this seemed like a glimmer of hope, giving me back at least one place to browse and buy. Unfortunately, the store sucks. Right away I had trouble finding the things on my list. Not because they didn't have those things, but because they put them in the oddest places. Several series were split up, with some of the books in "SciFi" and some in "Fiction". Or in some cases, the same author might be put in both "Romance" and "SciFi". It was explained to me that they put books in sections based on whatever arbitrary label they carry on the spine. The employees don't know and don't care how the books should really be classified, and they aren't even concerned with being consistent. Furthermore, my GOD are these people sales focused. Their entire mission is to selling you things, from their membership card to magazine subscriptions, most of which you probably don't want or need.
The end result of all of this is that I'm now without a bookstore that I really like. Our Barnes and Noble has terrible selection. The used book stores rarely seem to get new product. This leaves department stores and the internet. I love ebooks, and I do appreciate the ease of shopping online. But it isn't the same. Physical book stores allow you to browse in a way that no site, however impressive, can ever offer.
My solution? My loving fiance got me a new library card. It still isn't quite as nice as browsing new books to buy, but it's the best I can do for the time being.
Weekly Poll: Helpful Reviews
Thanks go out to those of you who participated in this weeks poll!
I chose this particular question because, after years of reading and writing reviews I've realized that there are about a million different ways to go about organizing a review. No one way is right or wrong, but there are definitely some styles that I personally find more helpful than others. For example, I'm very fond of the list format (31% of you agreed). People who are able to intelligently break their thoughts and criticisms into bullet points are awesome. I find this type of review easy to read and, when it's done well, very persuasive. Unfortunately, I can't seem to write "List Style" reviews very well--my brain doesn't work that way.
Interestingly, the poll showed that short, concise reviews are strongly preferred over long reviews. I don't really have a strong preference in this regard, but the results do make sense to me. People don't have time to read super long reviews. Plus, long reviews can often get repetitive. I often have to remind myself to limit the length of my reviews. It's hard to be concise when a book get's you really excited or angry.
Finally, objective reviews and emotional reviews both got pretty low votes. Personally I find overly analytical reviews to be dull and unhelpful, unless of course it's for a text book or nonfiction. On the other hand, I've read some reviews that are so emotional and subjective that they don't manage to convey anything meaningful. Angry reviews can be funny though.
Don't forget to participate in my new poll: Your Favorite Classic Monsters. Happy Reading!