Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

angelfall, angelfall, damage and propinquity

Posted by Hippobean at 1:57 PM 0 comments
Rarely these days would one find a good book to read that would satisfy our enjoyment and literary hunger. The YA trash we find today were merely written for money and fame greed. The poorly structured sentences that awkwardly reveal inconsistent plots make one cringe, characters that bored you to sleep, subplots created only to fill the required number of words, and for those who declare these books as the best they've ever read, the Hippo could only cringe more. And if you call their writing juvenile, the authors simply laugh at you on their way to the bank. However, this year I found 4 satisfying books that almost mirror the old classics, almost as good in terms of writing, creativity and story lines.

a snowy white feathered winged angel who 'was this perfect since the beginning of time', would steal every reader's heart with his adonis looks (broad shoulders rather then 'the way his pants hung on his hips'), liberal sarcasm, witty jokes and at times well deserved arrogance. Though, this angel is the kind of the bad guys, so I'm not sure if he could be called the story's protagonist. A kick ass heroine, very much in the same caliber as Katniss but with even a more fantastic name. Angelfall, Penryn and the End of Days and World After will melt your heart, make you laugh, and make you look at the angels in a very different way. The writing, although not literature, is not bad, and far far better than the likes of E L James, or S Meyer or D Brown. Give it a shot, and you'll love Raffe too. However, I hope the author has the sense to end the story in book III. If she falls into greed like so many others before and prolong the series into 5, then the next books would be nothing but simply fillers and a big shame.

Although with the same title, this one is Dante's Inferno comes alive. The 7 circles are the same as depicted in the poem, with all its distintive creatures in every circle, plus the Fallen and horrifying demons. Reading Dante's poem was like watching a documentary of Inferno on a giant monitor. Reading Angelfall, a Novel of Hell, was like inhabiting inside the Inferno. Names like Mortuus, Socius, and Militus just cracked me up. Book I starts with Aristotle and Book III ends with "I'm Dante. Dante Alighieri.". Everything was so classical greek, but with a touch of modernism when the 20th century jean and tshirt donning american arrived at Limbo. and my beloved centaurs with all their polite protocols. Incredible fiction. Gory, violent, agonizing terror, cliff hangers. good writing as I've not seen in a long time. Cant wait for the final book.

Most had said the story in Damage was ordinary (adultery, middle age father discovers lust and falls for son's fiancee), the writing stilted and clipped, hard to read and follow, first person's perspective of a middle age man sounding like an adolescent girl's. I found none of these. The short to the point dialogues emphazised the coldness of the narrator's life and relationships. When the narrator got more involved, his sentences were right up there to support his emotions. This writing style took a bit to get used to but i found it appropriate. Does the narrator sound like an adolescent? absolutely but it absolutely reflected the state the main character was in. Although the story and the writing had their own flaws and Josephine Hart was no Daphne du Maurier or Pearl Buck, she had her own command of the language to narrate her own stories. The Hippo is currently reading another of her stories.

17 years before the Da Vince Code but 3 years after Holy Blood Holy Grail, there was Propinquity. Although the story is not the same, the essence of it is. a thriller without an antagonist, a bit of historical fiction with a hidden message. the narrator went from propinquity, to temerity to serendipity, a growing up story as well. cant pigeonhole this one into a single genre. That's what I like about this one. The writing (australian?) is also a bit unusual, lots of words I wasnt even familiar with. The way he strung the sentences together sometimes required a second reading to make the meaning clear and relevant. Very refreshing and I cant say i didnt like it. And the Hippo has always had a soft spot for characters with dialogues, such as, "So... why arent you in love with me? dont be so rude. why dont you love me? Because you're rude and because i like you instead."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

haiku and tapas

Posted by Hippobean at 11:59 PM 0 comments
Perhaps no one has captured the essence of the Hippo Place better than this runner-up Haiku by Tomaso:

Ancient Latin and modern words
Mountains, deserts and cities
The world is captured in these pages

This year's xmas party was held at the clubhouse and the game was a Haiku contest about the Hippo website. The food theme was creative tapas. For her guests, the Hippo prepared manchego cheese with quince paste, along with sardines and surrounded by olives; artichokes and Norweigian smoked salmon garnished with cubes of feta cheese and more olives; cannellini with sundried tomatoes tossed with red onion, rosemary, thymes and sage and a pinch of lemon; and pan fried linguiça. For the main course, the Hippo made a chicken tagine with carrots, eggplants, zucchini and turnips, topped with garbanzos and fire dried raisins. Her guests brought oven baked brussel sprouts, pan fried garlic mushrooms, sushi variety, chorizo stuffed in dates wrapped in proscuitto, lamb chops, stuffed mushrooms and eggs. To wash it all down, we had 2 bubblies, my favorite Coppola Director's Cut Pino Noir, a Thai mangosteen (passion fruit) rose, and a sangria of strawberry soda and tempranillo. Since we're celebrating 3 bathdays as well, I've ordered a 10" chocolate raspberry cake from Copenhagen, with a pear pie and egg tarts. We even made turkish coffee. And the hostess presented gifts for the 3 bday celebraties, 2 fossils from Maroc, a Touareg shrawl, and a pair of fingerless woolen gloves. The bathday boy and girls blew their respective decades candles (a 5, a 4 and a 3). Since every Hippo party had gifts for the guests, she offered each a small xmas gift. Then the game began with every one reciting their Haikus, written about the Hippo website. As usual, D and M won and received a gift of notebook and pen. How appropriate. For the 16 seater clubhouse theater pleasure, we watched the first 3 episodes of Fawlty Towers ("manuel towers, thank you, have nice day. you, orallymen, you work. who is man with beard? thank you very much for the beautiful gift. after coming here, leaving my 5 mothers and 7 brothers. que? He's from barcelona"). The day ended with several rounds of billiards.

Another year, another xmas bathday party, another clubhouse party. They just get better and better.

Xmas 2013 Clubhouse pictures:

2013 xmas clubhouse party

And ...

Haiku winners:


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