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I can't believe LJ Smith compared getting fired from writing the Vampire Diaries to being raped and then having the judge at the trial blame her for it.

I can't believe that, when someone commented on her guestbook in a very mature and levelheaded fashion about how offensive the analogy was to her, other fans - FEMALE fans, no less - rose up to defend LJ Smith, because geeze you guys, this is like losing a BABY (yes, the terrible first-world problem analogies to REAL traumas, let us compound them).

I hate this fandom. I hate it. And I'm really starting to hate this author.

Cannonball Read Updated List

Cannonball Read 2011 Thus Far...

1. The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan
2. The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan
3. The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
4. Night Visions/The Hellbound Heart, by Lisa Tuttle, Ramsey Campbell, and Clive Barker
5. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
6. Vampire Hunter D 6: Pilgrimage of the Sacred and the Profane by Hideyuki Kikuchi (trans. by Kevin Leahy)
7. The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One that Isn't, by Robert I. Sutton, PhD
8. Vampire Hunter D 7: Mysterious Journey to the North Sea, Pt. 1, by Hideyuki Kikuchi (trans. by Kevin Leahy)
9. Your Mother Was Right: All the Great Advice You Tried to Forget, compiled by Kate Reardon
10. Many Bloody Returns, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner
11. The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan
12. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith


Soooo behind. I feel like I forgot to jot down a book I read somewhere in there too, but now I can't remember what it might have been. Oh well. If I miss one, I miss one. Got many exciting books on the horizon now, so this should speed back up again, too, if I can get my lazy ass reviewing the ones I've already gone through.
Posting this here (in addition to on Facebook, where I normally post links and other quick things) mostly for sihaya09 - I know you especially love it when sane people triumph over crazy misogynistic homophobe dudes (and it doesn't get much more textbook than this particular dude).

I'd try to summarize it, but really, it has to be read to be believed. Both the horrific nature of the OP's complaining, where he manages to dismiss and demean women AND gay men in one fell swoop in a way made MORE offensive (to me) by its utter thoughtlessness, and the thoughtful, eloquent, and amazing response from a member of the BioWare team. That dev totally just schooled that boy.

"Straight Male Gamer" told to "get lost" by BioWare

I was gonna stop buying BioWare games because I'm really not enjoying their latest offerings, but... you know what, the uncommonly progressive attitude has won them a few more purchases on goodwill alone. Keep fighting the good fight (and maybe make better sequels in the future, although I'm in the minority for hating the plot of Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age 2 so what do I know).
The No Asshole Rule is one of those books that seems like complete and utter practical common sense, until you stop and take a good look around and realize just how many of us tolerate horrible people in the workplace. Why on earth do we all collectively put ourselves through this bullshit?

Well, Sutton tries to figure it out. I thought it was going to be just another dumb self-help book I could poke fun at on a long and otherwise boring flight, but you know what? It's actually a really useful book and I think everyone who works should have a copy. I'd say it's most useful of all for the people in charge - the ones with the power to hire and fire assholes - but Sutton offers some rather mercenary coping methods for the powerless trapped in a harmful work environment with assholes, too. The book is largely anecdotal in nature - how else can one REALLY quantify asshole behavior but through large-scale trends? Professor Sutton spent a long time gathering data from all walks of life, and found that as his reputation as "the asshole guy" grew, the research started coming to him. Everyone has a workplace asshole story, it seems, and some assholes apparently also came forward to try to defend their behavior (and I laaaughed and laughed and laughed).

I've noticed a great trend in business and management books lately that's increasingly disavowing the aggressive alpha male asshole trope of the '80s and '90s (greed is good!) and re-examining the idea that a more supportive and positive workplace is the REAL way to succeed. The evidence seems to bear it out. Sutton spends time on the pop culture trope of the asshole savant - though he doesn't mention any by name, House immediately comes to mind - who abuses everyone he (or she! there are some very powerful asshole ladies present too, lest anyone think this is a dude-CEO bash-fest) works with but hey, he's so good at his job that it evens out, right? Not in real life, as it turns out. Whatever good the asshole savant does is negated by how powerfully his or her horrific behavior towards coworkers negatively impacts the company. It makes sense, too - just imagine how the paid time adds up. Time managers and executives have to spend dealing with the fallout of dickish behavior, money spent on anger management classes for the asshole, money lost because employees don't come in to work, don't work as hard, take more sick days, need more health insurance due to stress...

The anecdotes are the real shining point of the book, as Sutton provides both negatives and positives, so you get to see a GOOD workplace in action as much as you see a bad workplace in action. Here's one of each.

The good:
"Southwest [Airlines] has always emphasized that people are 'hired and fired for attitude.' Herb Kelleher, Southwest cofounder and former CEO, described how this works: 'One of our pilot applicants was very nasty to one of our receptionists, and we immediately rejected him. You can't treat people that way and be the kind of leader we want.' As Ann [Rhoades, former HR head at Southwest] put it, 'We don't do it to our people; they don't deserve it. People who work for us don't have to take the abuse."

There are actually lots of wonderful stories about Southwest in here, and in business school, Southwest was also frequently held up as a successful company that investors and employees alike enjoy being a part of, so clearly they're doing something right. This book kinda makes me wanna work for Southwest - anyone have an opening in the Detroit area?

But then there's the bad, and oh boy is there a lot of it:
"Another candidate is producer Scott Rudin, known as one of the nastiest Hollywood bosses. The Wall Street Journal estimated that he went through 250 personal assistants between 2000 and 2005; Rudin claimed his records show only 119 (but admitted this estimate excluded assistants who lasted less than two weeks). His ex-assistants told the Journal that Rudin routinely swore and hollered at them - one said he was fired for bringing Rudin the wrong breakfast muffin, which Mr. Rudin didn't recall but admitted was 'entirely possible.' The online magazine Salon quotes a former assistant who received a 6:30am phone call from Rudin asking him to remind Rudin to send flowers to Anjelica Huston for her birthday. At 11:00 that same morning, Rudin called her into his office and screamed, 'You asshole! You forgot to remind me to get flowers for Anjelica Huston's birthday!' This former assistant added, 'And as he slowly disappears behind his automatic closing door, the last thing I see is his finger, flipping me off.'"

And you thought The Devil Wears Prada was (mostly) fiction.

I really wish I could just burn the entire contents of the book into everyones' brains. Sutton talks about how to get rid of assholes by reforming them, or moving either them or yourself into a different workplace, and when you can't, he discusses coping methods. He readily admits that they aren't all healthy methods (one suggestion is to just stop giving a crap about your work, and that way it won't bother you when your work is abused, and work on getting out as soon as you can in the meantime) but that there really is no HEALTHY way to keep being abused, and that these are last-ditch coping mechanisms for people who for whatever reason cannot change jobs or leave immediately. He also reminds the reader to make a distinction between assholes and asshole behavior - all of us are an asshole at SOME point, and that's just human nature; the real distinction between asshole behavior and an asshole is how often it happens. He provides tips on how to stop being an asshole if you are one (and a fun little personality quiz to see if you might just be a total nozzle yourself), and provides the results of several fascinating studies on bullying, temperaments, and all that good stuff that psych geeks like me enjoy. Did you know that Southern men are nicer when everything's okay but get angry absurdly more often and more quickly than Northern men, even about the tiniest little slights like somebody bumping into you on the street? They theorize that it's a social behavior passed down from settlement times, when you had to react violently and quickly to any perceived slight to hold on to your land and status but had to be nice to everyone as much as possible when they WEREN'T after your land because you all had to work together to keep your shit. Fascinating.

I cannot rave enough about this book, and I don't know how I can possibly do it justice or tell you about all the cool little things I learned from it. I really think everyone needs to just go and read it right now. Studies show that negative interactions have a whopping FIVE TIMES the effect on your psyche that positive interactions do, so stop being assholes already and be excellent to each other.

CAAATS! *shaky fist*

Dear beloved OTHER cat: I know that my toes wiggling sleepily under the blanket look a lot like a wiggly cat toy, and I don't mind you pouncing on my blanketed toes all night long - it's a covered blanket, whatever, I don't care. However, the next time you get the urge to slide your paws underneath the blanket to get MY ACTUAL TOES and take a chunk out of them with your little tiny ginzu knife syringe claws, PLEASE STOP AND EXAMINE YOUR LIFE CHOICES. And then I won't have to wake up screaming in pain and you won't have to run for the hills in terror because your mistress moved suddenly and made loud scary noises. Deal?
One day in the distant past (not that distant), a little boy in Japan saw his very first Hammer horror film, and he loved everything about it. When he grew up and entered the magical 80s, he decided to bring that flavor to the Japanese reading public, but with his own distinct flair. Out of what I can only assume was some kind of drunken late-night movie marathon came the Vampire Hunter D book series, and if your only exposure to that name has been through the anime that used to air on TBS late at night in the 90s, boy are you missing out.

Vampire Hunter D is the bipolar love-child of Mad Max, Hammer horror, and lone cowboy movies, and it WORKS. Kikuchi makes an incredibly imaginative and fantastic world that mirrors things you've seen before and yet retains its uniqueness. I love these books despite their few flaws (I'll get to that in a minute), and you'd hope so, since I'm on book 6 and all.

Since each novel can really stand on its own, spoilers aren't much of a problem. The books are set in the distant future, long after two major events have happened: 1. A nuclear holocaust destroys most of the planet and 2. the vampires decided that they'd had enough of our shit and rose up and took over what was left. Under the reign of the vampires, the world very briefly became a utopia of science and the arts - at least for vampires, as humans were mostly relegated to food supply or slavery. Since vampire scientists had an eternal lifespan, huge leaps were made in the sciences, and genetic engineering became commonplace. The vampires started creating artificial lifeforms, some for practicality or experimentation (all kinds of bizarre mutant critters) and some just for kicks (like unicorns and werewolves), and messing around with human genetics too, not to mention all kinds of experiments in just about every field.

And then they disappeared almost overnight. The large cities were left mostly intact, and humans were able to pick up the pieces and figure out the technology, but the rest of the world consists of The Frontier, which is a bizarre mix of future tech and barebones Old West living. Life on the Frontier is harsh, and the Nobility still lurk in musty old castles somewhere on the outskirts, terrorizing and occasionally abducting villagers. People have been genetically altered (though they don't know it), rendering them physically incapable of learning or retaining what a vampire's weaknesses are, save for daylight and running water. Vampires and all the other monsters terrorizing the Frontier give rise to Hunters: merciless soldiers for hire who go from town to town killing them - they're a necessary evil, because they're usually barbaric assholes who cause as much trouble as they fix, but they do the job they're paid for. The best vampire hunters are dhampirs, children of vampires and humans. They're not uncommon, and their in-between-ness and heightened abilities make them perfectly suited to hunt vampires, but because most dhampirs sooner or later succumb to the vampire half of their nature and start killing people, they're treated like crap, paid quickly, and god help them if they don't get the fuck out of town as soon as they're done. D, however, is something a bit more than the norm, though each book hints only slightly more at how and why, and D's exact nature - as well as what he's ultimately looking for - is the greater mystery that ties these books together.

In each novel, D comes to a new frontier town, either by chance or - more often - because he's been called there for work. Tall, dark, silent, and dressed all in black (and gorgeous, as all vampire offspring are), he inevitably attracts all kinds of attention; men hate him, women swoon, and there's almost always a plucky young girl who wants so much more than this provincial life. There's almost always a Noble involved somehow, and D inevitably fights his way through a vast array of fantastical creatures before revealing the evil (or sometimes not so evil) plot at hand and saving the day. Nobody in town much likes strangers, though, especially not strangers who make them look bad by comparison, and more often than not, D spends as much time dealing with hatred and prejudice against him as he does doing the damn job they've paid him to do. He's a tragic figure with no home, but he barely talks and he never complains, so he's very The Man With No Name about it.

In THIS particular book, D ends up crossing an uncrossable, deadly desert, and by chance he ends up in company with an old woman whose specialty is finding children abducted by vampires and returning them home (even though most are eventually killed because the distrust of anyone touched by the Nobility is just too strong) and her latest recovery, a young girl named Tae, and two Hunter brothers, one brash and macho, the other quiet and thoughtful. Stuff happens, and they find out that the desert is a lot more than it seems, as is Tae - and that's really all I can describe about this particular book without giving anything away.

It wasn't my favorite book, but it was a good continuation of the series, and a little more is revealed about what D's looking for in the long run; there's also a lot of fascinating world-building, like more information on some of the vampires' experiments and technology, and the depressing revelation that nobody's actually seen the sea because you have to go so far through monster-infested wilderness to reach it that nobody can make it there. My only two complaints about ALL the Vampire Hunter D books are these: I don't need to hear how pretty D is 5 times a chapter (usually accompanied by women drooling and swooning and men going a little gay until he leaves the room), and you don't need to constantly remind me how hard life on the Frontier is through the regular use of rapey overtones. I GET IT. For people with trigger issues, there's really only one book where it's BAD bad - most of the time there's a little bit of groping and threatening and then something interrupts the would-be rapist, or it's past rapes mentioned after the fact - but still, I hate the notion that men as a whole just stop giving a shit about women's well-being just because life is hard. Like animal torture/killing, rape is a "Look! Life is hard!" crutch that too many writers, in both novel and film, lean on.
I read Coraline while locked in the bathroom with our two cats (the movers were taking all our stuff out and the cats panicked if they were left alone, so I ended up babysitting them in the only room in our old place that had no stuff to be removed), so I wasn't in the most comfortable spot in the world, but it did add a kind of childish ambiance to the proceedings. I've read a lot of Neil Gaiman before, but Coraline was the only case where I saw the movie adaptation before reading his original work. Like with my reading of The Hellbound Heart, I was afraid that my love for the film would somehow taint my reading of the book (or, worse yet, that the book would be so superior that I'd stop loving the movie), but - just as with The Hellbound Heart - I found that reading the book only enhanced my love of the movie, and neither did the movie interfere at all with my ability to enjoy the book.

For the few of you out there who didn't at least see the film, here's the basic plot: Coraline moves to a new flat with her parents who, while not abusive, seem to always be too busy to spend any real time with her outside of mealtimes. While exploring the house out of boredom, she finds a small door that leads to a brick wall - her mom makes the practical suggestion that it was probably bricked up when they divided the house into flats, and nobody owns the flat next-door right now anyway. Several mysterious warnings hint at the insidious nature of this little door, but boredom wins out. Coraline is eventually unsatisfied with this resolution, and - with the aid of some sinister rats - she finds the door open one night and steps through. On the other side, she finds her Other Family, headed by her Other Mother, and in this other world, her parents devote all their time to her, the neighbors are all exciting and inviting, there's tons of food just the way she likes it, her room is beautiful, the toys are alive and just itching to play with her, and she can have anything she wants. The only problem is that her Other Parents have buttons for eyes, and if she wants to stay there forever, she must let them sew buttons into her eyes as well. When Coraline says no, she finds out that there's much more to the Other Mother than she could ever dream, and - with the help of a feral cat who can travel between her world and the Other World - that she has a big fight ahead of her if she wants to return her life to normal.

I quite loved reading this book. It was simple, and short, but I was in the right mood for a scary fairy tale, so it worked. There were some things I thought the book did better, and some things I thought the movie did better, but both were excellent. As a child, I used to have frequent nightmares about my mother disappearing and being replaced by a double whose only difference was in her eyes; in those nightmares, I inevitably always went on a desperate quest through the city to try to find and retrieve my real mother, so I didn't have any trouble digging back into my childhood and relating to Coraline and her predicament. I definitely love that Neil Gaiman isn't afraid to spook kids a little - I think it's healthy to learn how to cope with fear in a safe environment and to deal with the issues that it brings up, so bring on the reasonably spooky, kid lit - and even I found myself getting a little tense here and there. It didn't profoundly change my life or anything, but I was so engrossed in the book that I forgot that I was sitting on the floor of a small bathroom with two terrified cats huddling behind me, so that works.

Cannonball Read Book List Update

Updated list of things I've read for CBR...

Cannonball Read 2011 Thus Far...

1. The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan
2. The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan
3. The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
4. Night Visions/The Hellbound Heart, by Lisa Tuttle, Ramsey Campbell, and Clive Barker
5. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman
6. Vampire Hunter D 6: Pilgrimage of the Sacred and the Profane by Hideyuki Kikuchi (trans. by Kevin Leahy)
7. The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One that Isn't, by Robert I. Sutton, PhD
8. Vampire Hunter D 7: Mysterious Journey to the North Sea, Pt. 1, by Hideyuki Kikuchi (trans. by Kevin Leahy)

Now I just need to get off my lazy butt and review 5-8.
I'll be honest, I bought this book because I wanted to read The Hellbound Heart and the used bookstore didn't have a standalone copy. Not to disrespect the other two authors in this collection, of course - it's just that they were more of a bonus for me than any part of the original goal.

So let me very quickly get through Lisa Tuttle and Ramsey Campbell - Lisa Tuttle likes weird sex, Ramsey Campbell likes creepy trees.

Okay, I guess I owe them a little more than that. Just as with any story anthology, some of their short stories had me engrossed while others just sort of had me grossed out. But really, I'm here to talk about Clive Barker. Sorry guys. I can safely say that I was not at all disappointed. This was one of those rare occasions where my love for the movie hasn't been tarnished or destroyed by my eventual reading of the source material (Night Watch fell squarely into that category, sadly); both were a great story with slightly different details.

A quick plot recap: Beautiful Julia and her husband Rory move into a lovely London home that his family owns. Julia has a secret - she banged his brother Frank right before their wedding and has never gotten over him. Frank has gone missing, but nobody notices much, because Frank is a thrill-seeking hedonist and amoral criminal, so it's not unusual for him to disappear. As we find out in the opening sequence of the story, however, Frank died in the same house not long ago, after opening a mysterious box that led him to a world of unthinkable sensations - it's just Frank forgot that pain is also a sensation, and now he wants out from his eternal torture. When Rory cuts himself and bleeds on the spot where Frank died, and where a bit of him (guess which bit! guess!) still remains, Frank finds a way back, but he needs blood, a lot of it, and Julia is just desperate enough to help him get it. Through a series of rather unfortunate events, Rory's sad, pitiful friend (who longs for more) Kirsty finds the box and also summons the creatures within, but strikes a bargain with them - save her own soul (after all, she didn't know or care what the box was, and isn't actually interested in what they have to offer) in exchange for finding and unmasking the escaped Frank.

I thought it'd be weird having a Hellraiser without Pinhead, but it was pretty cool. Barker's descriptions of all the bizarre self-mutilation that the Cenobites undergo were fascinating, and the "original" Pinhead - a female cenobite, and with jewels on the end of each pin - was pretty rad too. It was hard to switch my brain to Kirsty being the wistful friend-who-wants-more instead of Rory's daughter, but it definitely made Frank's attraction to her way more palatable (though really, it would make sense for Frank to not give a crap about things like blood relation where sex is concerned). The lack of a boyfriend made Kirsty seem a lot stronger as a character, too, since she really was completely and utterly alone, and her transition from the pity case to the final girl was pretty fun to read.

My favorite thing about the book, however, was getting a more in-depth look into the world of the Cenobites and how it functions. One limitation of movie adaptations is that you tend to lose a lot of those little informational asides, character thoughts, and narratives that help you visualize things when you're reading; you can add them in with things like flashbacks, trying to make the visual representation as informative as possible, or voiceovers (shut up, I love the voiceovers in Lynch's Dune, I know I'm the only one), but you're going to miss something sometime. Reading the book has only enriched my love of the movie, since now I know a lot more about where they came from, what they're all about, and what actually HAPPENS to you once you're there. One thing that I do think the movie failed to get across, though, was the Cenobites' elegance; they came across as incredibly elegant, a little playful, and (in their own creepy mutilated way) beautiful in the book in a way that just didn't come across on film, where they seemed a little more brutish and serious.

I'd absolutely recommend The Hellbound Heart to any fan of Hellraiser or horror novels. It was a great read and, Clive Barker's continuing obsession with boners aside, I couldn't put it down.
I read The Magicians on Pajiba's recommendation from an earlier Cannonball Read review a year or two ago, and while I wasn't quite as blown away as the reviewer who read it then, I did feel, in the end, like my hard work had paid off. The beginning was fun and interesting, the middle was an absolute nightmare to slog through, and just when I thought I was going to throw the book back into my carry-on, the final third rewarded me with the plot I'd been waiting for. I gave it to my father to read after I was done with it, and he later called me to ask "Does anything actually happen in this book?" When he finally finished it, he was happy to get to the final third but still didn't feel like the end portion was worth slogging through the rest for. So, fair warning, it's not a book everyone's going to enjoy. I wasn't even sure it was a book *I* was going to enjoy until I was almost done with it.

Let's get the plot out of the way: Quentin is a math genius getting ready for his illustrious college career while secretly pining for the magical world of his favorite childhood books, the Fillory series (basically Narnia). His plans are completely altered with the sudden death of an interviewer and a mystery packet that leads him to Brakebills, a secret magical academy in New York. There, he learns magic, makes friends, and makes mistakes. After graduation, he and his friends move to New York City, where the reality of nearly limitless powers drives them into a life of bored hedonism and idleness, until an old classmate reappears and embroils them in a new discovery, one which leads them to the magical land of Fillory, where all is not right and fiction has become something far more terrible.

The beginning was great - like with Percy Jackson, I had the "Yay, this is fun!" reaction that everyone expected me to have with Harry Potter. There were a few loving pokes and jabs at the Potter books, but nothing malicious - I read them as very playful and cheeky, and a humorous way to note the differences between Rowling's world and Grossman's and point out that, yes, he knows they're similar concepts, thanks. In Grossman's world, however, magic is not fun and flash and pseudo-Latin, it's detailed formulas and repetition and minutiae, which is why only the most dedicated, focused, and brightest minds can even pop off a simple spell, much less excel at it. Quentin runs a very human gamut of emotions, starting off at excitement and ending in the feeling that this wasn't what he felt he'd been promised (Quentin's childish expectations - and the moment when he finally grows past them - end up being a far bigger plot point than I expected); having just recently finished grad school, with undergrad not far behind that, I can say that I know very few people who HAVEN'T felt that way about college, so for me it was an apt metaphor. Along the way, Quentin makes friends with an upperclassman, finds a love interest, and befriends (then clashes with) an outcast. Fun things happen, and terrifying things happen, but little by little he plods toward graduation, and Grossman does a good job of making you feel the passage of time without bogging you down too much - I really did feel like I'd gone through an entire college education's worth of magic school with Quentin in a brief few hours. Although he is warned all the way through that most magicians taper off into a life of idleness after they finish school, Quentin is determined not to fall down that path - so of course that's exactly what he does. As a liberal arts major who swore she would but ultimately didn't use her degree for a goddamn thing, I can relate.

The middle is where this book was really, really difficult for me. It chronicles Quentin's fall into boredom and idleness as he and his school friends all live and party in Manhattan, and while I get that it's there for emphasis - I mean, what would YOU do if you were young and hot and had limitless power and had exhausted all your more exciting options already? - it was still dull. I was ready to put the book down on several occasions, except that I was stuck on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit and had very few alternatives but to keep reading. I'm glad I did, but again, not everyone will feel that way.

Just as Quentin seems poised to completely wreck his life - and right after a particularly terrible (but all too realistic) act on his part - an old classmate comes into their lives, offering the prospect of adventure, and more importantly, something productive to do with their lives. There's some more very dull (well, for me) interpersonal conflict and group dynamic nonsense as they work out their motivations for going along with the plan and people go through identity crises and whatnot. Then the group ends up venturing into barely-heard-of territory, and finally into the land of Fillory, where it seems as though Quentin's childhood dreams will finally be fulfilled - and where, as it turns out, all of his worst nightmares have been waiting all along. This part of the book rocked, and while it initially goes into completely expected fantasy trope territory, it soon takes many an awesome twist and turn. Even better, the part where I would've thought the book would end turned out to only be the beginning of Quentin's personal quest, his growth as a man and a magician, and some absurdly profound life lessons. I can't really go into detail about this section without spoiling something, and so I won't; suffice to say that Grossman does a pretty damn good job of portraying, in a poetic fantasy way, that moment when you realize (and come to terms with the reality) that there are no do-overs and that your life is what it is - live with it. And then, just when the book seems about ready to end on a bleak and nihilistic note, the promise of more adventure comes.

Although this was a tough read to slog through, I'll still be getting the sequel once it comes out. I have a feeling that Quentin's real adventures are still around the corner - or does that make me as childish and deluded as poor Quentin after all?