For the A-to-Z Challenge 2017 I’m writing all about myself. Every post will be some random fact or bit of information about me that you may or may not have already known. Maybe you’ll learn something! Feel free to let me know! ^_^
Let’s get one thing out of the way right here and now: when I was a kid I was an epic wuss. The scariest thing I used to watch was “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, and the scariest things I used to read were the “Goosebumps” books, and both would occasionally give me nightmares. I enjoyed kid-level scary stuff, but in general I couldn’t much handle horror. I remember I once, when I was about 8 or 9, I walked in on a friend of mine while she was watching Child’s Play, and I was absolutely petrified of dolls for months afterward.
That said, as I got older I got a little bit tougher and a little bit tougher…and then I started dating Jason, and things went from 0 to 60 real quick. You see, Jason was, is, and probably always will be, a horror aficionado. One of the first dates we had, he got me to watch Evil Dead 2 with him, and things just progressed from there. Before I even knew what was happening I’d seen more horror movies than most people I know combined. We went to the theater to watch them, we rented them (back when you still could rent movies), we picked them up on VHS when old rental places were getting rid of them, and bit by bit we amassed a collection of them on VHS, DVD, and Bluray, which now numbers in somewhere between 4- and 500 (I’ve lost count).
On top of that, being thrust so fully into the world of horror movies, I found myself gravitating more toward other forms of horror as well. I fell in love with Stephen King, among other horror authors, and began writing horror of my own. Jason and I would even play horror video games together sometimes, and although I’d become a little less sensitive to the genre by that time, playing Fatal Frame 2 nearly gave me numerous heart attacks.
Over the years I’ve become so desensitized to horror that very little really genuinely frightens me anymore, and believe it or not, I’m not necessarily happy about that outcome. Although it wasn’t the greatest being a little wuss who had nightmares all the time, the truth of the matter is that it can be very fun to be scared sometimes, under the right conditions, and I hardly ever experience that anymore now. There have been a few movies to genuinely freak me out in more recent years – Shutter, the original version from Thailand, scared the crap out of me – but there have also been plenty of supposedly super-scary movies that didn’t faze me in the slightest.
Mind you, that doesn’t change how much I’ve grown to love horror. It’s a part of me now, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. Everything from the genuinely terrifying to the absolutely ridiculous (I’m lookin’ at you, Apocalypse Cow) tickles my fancy, and I imagine it’s going to be that way for pretty much the rest of my days.
The year’s most well-publicized witching hour is rapidly approaching, and I haven’t yet talked about anything sinister or spooky. Shame on me! So let’s take a moment, if you don’t mind, to talk about scary books.
I love horror novels. They’re one of my absolute favorite things to read, and they’re the reason that my first published novel was a zombie apocalypse story. I love horror movies and scary video games as well, but there’s just something about a creepy book…especially if you’re curled up under a blanket, all alone, in a room that’s lit just well enough for you to read. The imagination runs wild and you start hearing things, feeling things… If it’s a dark and stormy night you might have an outright panic attack. I love that feeling, as funny as it may seem to some people. I love being scared. So what are some of the novels that have given me the maximum amount of shivers?
I have to come right out and admit that there was a time when I didn’t actually know that there was a book. I’d seen the movie multiple times and loved it, but it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I actually found out that there was a book written by James Kahn, and until the writing of this post I thought the movie was based on the book, but it turns out it’s actually the other way around. The novelization was adapted from the film’s original screenplay and both expands on scenes and adds new ones. Personally I probably love the movie and the book equally, but I also really love some of the added scenes that are in the book. A few of them gave me some good old fashioned chills, and I feel that Kahn expanded on a lot of stuff that made the book feel more adequately fleshed out than the film.
No, I’m not joking, and yes, this is a novel that is technically aimed at a younger audience. Neil Gaimen’s tale of the little girl who traverses to another world has a lot of the qualities of a book written for pre-teens, but it’s also exceptionally terrifying. Some of the things that occur in that other world (I don’t want to ruin anything because it is seriously, genuinely an excellent story) are downright horrifying and will give even grown adults nightmares. I’ve personally never been able to look at old-style buttons the same way after reading this novelette. Just trust me on this one, and although the movie is also excellent in its own right, take my advice and read the story first.
Oh hell, did I pick another one that had a movie? Is that telling? Never mind, it’s unimportant. The point is that this Stephen King story is just as freaky and terrifying in literary form as it is in visual, maybe even more-so. Some of the more horrifying scenes from the movie are actually made more heart-wrenching and nightmare-inducing by the fact that the novel version really gets into the main character’s head and gets us involved in exactly how he is feeling and reacting. My only complaint? Sometimes King jumps between reality and fantasy (dreams and the like) so often that it’s difficult to keep track of what is or isn’t really happening.
Each of these novels has warranted multiple readings for me, especially during the creepiest time of the year, but they’re far from the only chilling tales I’ve enjoyed, and I’m definitely always open to suggestions, so give me what you’ve got! What are some of your favorite scary stories? What gives you the biggest chill? Which ones gave you nightmares? Please share!
I’ve always been a reader, since I was a very small kid, but in recent years I’ve found myself reading less and less. Part of this is because I’m busy writing my own stories rather than reading stories written by others. Part of it is because I like quiet when I’m reading a good story, and it’s hard to get quiet in a house with a 4-year-old present. Part of it is that when I do get free time I’m usually more in the mood for a game or a TV show. However, part of it is just that I fail to force myself to sit down with a book, and that’s sad, because when I actually do sit down with a good book I usually end up engrossed and happier for having read it.
So, although I’m not making it an official goal or anything, I plan to try to read more in 2015. But the question then becomes, what do I start with?
There are a few obvious choices. For instance, I’ve been about halfway through “A Dance With Dragons” by George R.R. Martin for almost a year now. It’s not that it’s a bad book or anything (quite the opposite), but it’s HUGE, and I have this enormous hardcover version that isn’t exactly portable. Also, just a couple of months ago I read the first installment in “The Strain” trilogy, and rather enjoyed it, so it makes sense to continue on with the other two books.
But there’s also a slew of other books I have just waiting to be read. I got Stephen King’s “Revival” for Christmas, plus a couple more volumes of the “Complete Deadpool Collection” which, while actually comics rather than literary fiction, are really fun reads. Then there’s the most recent two additions to the “House of Night” series (which is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine), and I’ve got a number of other horror novels that I never got around to reading when I picked them up at various garage sales and flea markets. Or I could always be a complete goon and choose to curl up with the “How to Survive a Sharknado” guide.
With so many available options, I leave the decision up to you folks. Which book should I start 2015 off with? Should I finish “A Dance With Dragons”, or the “Strain” trilogy? Should I rip open one of the new books? One of the comics? Guilty pleasure? Any other suggestions? Let me know what you think!
Movies, television shows, and video games are all awesome, but for me there’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book, and that goes double for a good horror book. I love a book that can give me the chills, which is how I got into writing about monsters myself. Some of my favorites, which may have even influenced my writing style and preferences? So glad you asked.
When I was a kid I loved spooky stories, especially the ones about ghosts. I had a number of scary books for kids, but as many kids from my generation would tell you, it was all about Goosebumps. If you never read a Goosebumps book as a child, you’ve definitely missed out. The series by R.L. Stine featured short novels about every kind of ghoul, goblin, monster, and creature a kid could imagine. Some of my favorites included the killer ventriloquist dummy, and the Halloween masks that came to life and took over kids’ bodies. And then there were always the “choose your story” editions in which you got to choose how the story progressed by jumping back and forth between the pages (I usually died four or five times before finding the correct path). Those were the bomb.
But if you want to get a little bit creepier – while still maintaining the illusion of reading a “kid” book – you should take a look at Coraline. The short Neil Gaiman book appears, for all intents and purposes, to be a book for tween-aged kids, but it’s a lot creepier than you might imagine. Maybe it’s just the subject matter of a young girl traveling to an “Other” world and being essentially kidnapped by a creature with her mother’s face. Or maybe it’s the creep-factor of all the “Other” people having buttons for eyes. Or maybe it has something to do with that childhood pain of having something awful happen and no one believes you. Either way, the story is actually a lot deeper, darker, and more disturbing than you would ever assume by simply looking at the book cover. Trust me; it’s worth giving it a try.
Of course, you knew that eventually I was going to bring up Stephen King, since you can’t really talk about horror books without mentioning him. Well, the whole and honest truth is that yes, I do think King is an amazing writer, and some of his books have seriously scared the pants off of me. But the thing is, how do you pick just one? King currently has published something like 55 novels, plus nearly 200 short stories (which are compiled into book collections). Of those some-255 stories, over 20 of them have been made into horror movies. So yeah, clearly he’s got something going on, right? Well I haven’t read all of his books by a long shot, but if I’ve got to pick one today I think I’ll go with Cell. I know that it’s not a lot of people’s favorites, and I’m definitely not saying that it’s King’s best book or anything, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a different take on zombies, and I really liked the not-quite-concluded ending of the story. In fact, Cell is what I was reading when it suddenly occurred to me that, “Hey…I could totally write a zombie novel!”
And, of course, you know where I’m going with this. (I’m the master of the segue, admit it.) Maybe it makes me sound a little full of myself, but how can I honestly not talk about my own horror novel in a post specifically talking about horror novels? There were times when I wanted to throw the manuscript for Nowhere to Hide out the window, but I can honestly say that I do love the story and I’m very proud of it. I tried to work in as many creepy, gross, and disturbing moments as I could while still focusing on the whole point of the piece…survival. And because I love the book so much, and because I love all of you so much, for Halloween day only the digital copy of Nowhere to Hide is going to be free! So even if you aren’t sure you’d like it, why not try it out anyway? It’s free! So click the link and check it out quick, because by the time all the trick-or-treaters are in bed tonight the promotion may be over!
Do you enjoy scary books? Why or why not? What’s your favorite horror book? Favorite horror author? Have you ever had a book genuinely scare you? Please share!
September’s Horror Block was designed with Halloween in mind, since October’s block isn’t likely to be at our doors until a day or two before Halloween. Check out what we got:
Not a bad box, really, but a little disappointing to me personally. Let’s check out the breakdown:
Creepy Gorey Zombie T-shirt: Unfortunately this shirt is not my style, but it’s probably worth about $15 Pennywise (“It”) T-shirt: Again, not really my style, but worth approximately $15 Iron Maiden Rubber Mask: Surprisingly, this mask goes for about $20. I wouldn’t pay that, to be honest, but there you have it. “Savvi” Costume Temporary Tattoos: This pack of gory temporary tattoos goes for about $5 “Rue Morgue” Horror Movie Heroes book: The best item in the box, in my opinion, costs $15
Total approximate value of box: $70 Total cost to me: $33
So as you can see, the value is there. Having two t-shirts in one box really ups the value, as does the mask (which, I’ll admit, is a good quality mask, but I shudder to think of people spending that kind of money on part of a costume). Personally, though, the only item in the box that I truly like is the book. Neither of the t-shirts are something that either my husband and I will wear, so that’s like taking $30 off the value of the box right there, and the mask is something that will only be used once a year (if at all), so there goes another big chunk.
Long story short, this was probably an awesome box for some people, but for myself, it was actually a little disappointing. Here’s hoping for a better one next month!
When we are children there are literally a million ways to strike up a friendship, from asking to borrow a crayon to walking up and poking another kid you’ve never met in the back of the head. Kids are simple that way. Adults are trickier because we rely mostly on polite conversation to suss out some information on each other. We ask common questions that everyone can answer with a relative amount of ease, and one of those questions is inevitably, “What do you do for a living?”
Now, since I have a day job that is completely unrelated to writing, I’ve rarely had to experience the frustration that follows as one grits their teeth, struggles to keep their eye from twitching, and grudgingly admits, “I’m a writer.” I have, however, heard many horror stories and had a few minor experiences myself as a result of people actually catching me in the midst of writing. “Horror stories?” you may ask. Yes, horror stories. Because, the thing is, for reasons I’ll never quite understand, when people discover a writer they immediately plunge into a torrent of questions, many of which are extremely rude and annoying. It’s a strange thing, as though the profession of “writer” is automatically up for intense scrutiny.
Most writers will clench their jaw and try their best to answer the onslaught of questions with a smile plastered on their face, even though on the inside they’re screaming. So on behalf of my fellow writers, I present to the rest of you a list of questions to avoid and why we hate it when you ask them.
“You’re a writer? So, you don’t work then?” or “Oh, that’s cool, but what’s your real job?”
I’ll never understand this myself, but unless you’re an extremely well-known author like Stephen King, or you work as a screenwriter for a popular TV show, people don’t seem to consider writing to be a “real” job. Correct me if I’m wrong, fellow artists, but I feel like writing is the only one of the arts to enjoy this stigma. There’s just something about writing in particular that makes people imagine that it can be a hobby, but not a career.
So let me clear things up: writing is as much a job as anything else. It entails a lot of hard work (more on that later), and if you want to be good at it you have to spend a boatload of time on training, research, practice, keeping up with business trends, networking with peers and important possible business contacts, and, oh yeah…the actual writing.
Just because something sounds fun and easy doesn’t mean that it is, and just because what someone chooses to do with their life isn’t a 9-to-5 with a regular bi-weekly paycheck and benefits doesn’t mean that it isn’t a job.
“What’s your story about?”
Non-writers, I know you think this question shows polite interest, but the question itself is an ignorant over-simplification. This question implies that an intricately woven tapestry of characters, setting, and plot line – something that may have taken months or years to construct – can be easily explained in a couple of sentences. But trust me, non-writers, it is no easier to give a brief description of what we’re writing than it is for a mathematician to explain calculus to someone who has never done it before. It makes us sweat, because we’re caught between making our story sound stupid (“Uh…um…it’s about zombies.”) or putting you in the position of listening to the entire life story of the novel so that you understand what it’s truly about.
If you’re honestly curious about what the writer is writing, a better question would be, “What kind of genres do you write in?” or “Are you working on anything special right now?” If the writer wants to talk about their current work-in-progress, questions like these will pave the way and let them know that you’re actually interested, not just being facetious.
“Have you made any money writing?” or “How much do you make writing?”
For the life of me I’ll never get why people think that this is an okay road to go down. With pretty much any other profession on the planet it is considered extremely rude to ask someone how much money they make (unless you’re already good friends and are comfortable with that kind of sharing), and yet people are constantly asking this of writers. It not only comes off as rude and nosy, but it immediately gives off the impression of disbelief in the writer’s ability to earn a living, which is much, much more than rude.
Do everyone involved a favor, non-writers, and just never bring money up. It’s none of your business and it can come to no good.
“Can I read your book before you publish it?”
No. No, no, no, no, no. There are so many things wrong with this request, but I’ll go with the one that everyone (hopefully) should be able to understand: something for nothing. Would you ask an architect to design a building for free? Would you ask a doctor to do surgery for free? Would you ask an electrician to wire a house for free? The answer in every case is a resounding NO, because it is ridiculous to ask someone to use their time, energy, education, and experience to do something for you for free. It is no different to ask a writer to let you read something (for free!) that you know damn well they’re trying to earn a living with. If you’re really that interested to read, go out and buy the damn book.
“Do you really expect to make a living as a writer?”
Here’s the thing…you can take any highly successful profession on the planet and there will be people who failed miserably at it. Young people with excellent GPAs will flunk out of med school because they can’t handle the pressure. Incredibly intelligent lawyers may fall apart on the stands because they’re no good at public speaking. Genius engineers may make a tiny mistake in their calculations that end up costing companies millions.
I get that the artistic fields (art, writing, music, acting…) are extremely difficult to break into and that the idea of the “starving artist” is a thing for a reason. But that does not give you the right to talk down to a writer because you think their ambitions are too high. Unless you are this particular writer’s parent and you’ve got them bumming in your house rent-and-bill-free, it is absolutely none of your business how they choose to spend their time and whether or not they’re going to be able to survive as a writer.
“Do you really think that self-publishing is the way to go?” or “But you’re not really a real author until you’ve been properly published, right?”
First of all, non-writers, I’m willing to bet that the majority of you don’t know much more about publishing than it’s how books are printed. Therefore, I forgive you for not realizing that there have been enormous shifts in the publishing paradigm in recent years. I forgive you for not knowing that trying to get traditionally published these days is like trying to convince the judges at a dog show to let you enter your cat in the competition. I forgive you for not being privy to the fact that traditional publishing can take so long that your book’s topic may no longer be marketable by the time you’ve gotten it in print. I’ll even forgive you for not being aware that many, many very successful writers have been self-publishing in recent years as trends shift and they realize that self-publishing allows them the ability and freedom to control more of the creative process, distribution, and marketing than ever before.
What I will not forgive you for is asking questions like these when you know damn well that you have no idea what you’re talking about. Do your research first, and then maybe we’ll be willing to have a nice, sit-down conversation about the virtues of each method of publishing.
I could keep going, but those non-writers who are reading this right now are probably already frowning at their screen and coming up with counter-arguments for why I shouldn’t be so uptight and just be happy that they’re interested enough to ask questions in the first place. So with that I conclude my list of super-frustrating inquiries and open up the floor to my fellow writers. How about it, guys and gals? What questions do you just hate to be asked as a writer?
So here we are, on the first week of the second half of the year. It’s time for another accountability post, and I’ve got a confession to make.
That confession is: I have almost nothing to report.
I have done almost no writing, absolutely no editing, I’ve been eating terrible amounts of junky food, and the only exercise I’ve gotten is chasing the baby around. In fact, I’ve really got pretty much nothing of note to report.
Do you want to know why?
Because I’m home. I’m home for a while, with no threat of leaving again any time in the near future, and I’m enjoying it.
I know I can’t slack off forever, but I’ve been having a blast just being mommy and wife. You want to know what I’ve done this past week?
I arrived home on Wednesday and spent the rest of that day just rolling around with my daughter, enjoying the way she turns into a little barnacle when I come home.
On Friday my husband and I packed the baby into our car and we went shopping. We bought presents for my father and his mother (birthdays coming up), grabbed a stuffed Big Bird and Zoe for the baby (which she became extremely attached to), bought some games and fun stuff for ourselves, and picked up a couple of things that we can put away for the baby’s birthday or Christmas.
The next morning, on Saturday, we drove down home for the niece’s birthday party, where we ate barbecue, Ninja Turtle cupcakes, and ice cream cake while the kids had an absolute blast in the pool.
Sunday we took the baby to the parade for the Festival of the Strait (where she received a ton of candy), then I took her to the recreation grounds where she absolutely lost her mind in a giant Disney Princess bouncy castle with a huge slide inside, and in the evening we took her to the free concert after which she “ooh”ed and “ahh”ed and giggled like a maniac at the fireworks.
And yesterday we recovered by staying inside and relaxing.
Doesn’t that all sound awesome? Because it totally was. And during none of it did I worry about writing, editing, eating well, or exercising. Perhaps I should have…but I didn’t. So you’ll excuse me (I hope) when I tell you that I wrote a grand total of 1010 words in the past week, did not so much as glance at any editing, and probably gained a pound or two worth of ice cream cake.
Sorry, I was busy enjoying LIFE!
With that said, I do know that I’ve got to get down to business at some point (even if I have a ton of other things coming up…wedding…visits…more festivals…), and with that in mind I have a few things to mention.
First of all, I’ve gone on a bit of a learning kick. I know that my zombie apocalypse story isn’t the “next great American novel”, and I know that I myself still have a ton to learn about being a good writer, so I’m taking it upon myself to start actually doing the research. I’ve purchased three books to start myself off with: Kristen Lamb’sRise of the Machines
Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way
Stephen King’s On Writing
From Kristen I hope to learn how to build a viable author platform (which, a year ago, I didn’t even know was a thing). From Julia I hope to learn some tricks and exercises to make myself a better, more efficient writer. From Stephen…well, I just hope to learn something because I love his writing and in case you haven’t notice, he’s been a wee bit successful.
I’m halfway through Kristen’s book right now, and already learning a lot, so if anyone has any suggestions for some other craft books I might want to read after these three, please feel free to let me know!
The second thing I want to mention is a bit of a vanity thing…upon publishing yesterday’s post I noticed that today would mark my 300th post on this blog. It may not be one of those super-satisfying numbers like 1000, but this is a big deal to me. A few months ago I surpassed a year of doing this blog, and now I can officially say that I’ve written several hundred posts. How awesome is that? Maybe I have a little bit of persistence in me after all!
And with that, I bid you adieu for the day. I have a lot of things to do, the least of which is definitely not jumping on my daughter’s bed and helping her cuddle all her Sesame Street characters. Ta!
I’ve been surprisingly busy over the past 48 hours, getting settled into camp, adjusting to some new duties at work, scribbling out as many words as I can during my off-time, and working in a decent exercise. As a result I didn’t have time to pluck out a blog post for today, but since I hate missing days I decided to share (again) something I once shared about a year ago during a blog challenge.
I Write Like is a very amusing little site that “analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers”. I don’t know how accurate it is, but if nothing else it is quite amusing. I’ve input pieces of everything from my zombie apocalypse novel, to my supernatural romance, to my fan fictions, and have gotten a number of different authors ranging from Stephen King to Mark Twain. This time I input this blog post and got Cory Doctorow, whom I’ve never read, but he seems to have quite a few good reviews so I’ll take it as a compliment.
Anyway, give it a try and see who you get! And please share!
9. Writers in your life and how they’ve inspired you
This idea could go in a few different directions…are these writers who are in my life, in the literal sense, or just writers who have influenced me? Let’s start from the beginning and list a few based on both possibilities.
In my life:
My best friend Kelly. She’s not a writer in the literal sense, but when we were young we both wrote a ton of stories and she influenced me in a motivational way. I always wanted to write at least as much as she did, and I wanted to write things that she would find interesting. 🙂
Ann M. Martin, author of The Babysitters Club series. I read almost every single one of those books when I was young, so she absolutely influenced my writing style in those days.
In my life:
The various writer friends I’ve met through blogging and participation in NaNoWriMo. As with my best friend, these people motivate me to keep writing. There’s something about “competing” with people that really helps me to write. Every year during NaNo I write like a maniac, all because I’m racing with friends to finish first.
Any number of authors: Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, C.S. Lewis, Douglas Addams, and a ton of others. I love to read, and everything I read gives me ideas to incorporate into my own writing style. I’ll never stop reading because the day I do is the day I stop learning, and the day I stop learning is the day my writing starts to deteriorate.
I recently read a blog post (I can’t accredit you because I’ve forgotten who it was, so sorry! Let me know if you happen across this so I can link you back!) talking about the inevitable move of books into digital media. The post gave examples of digital progress, like how camera companies died out by refusing to believe that people really wanted cameras in their phones. The author of the post then went on to explain that the big publishing companies are putting themselves at risk by neglecting to embrace the digital revolution. The quote (not verbatim) that really got me was this: “Do people really prefer reading on paper? The answer is no.”
While I obviously can’t speak for everyone, while I was reading this post I found myself practically screaming, “THE ANSWER IS YES!”
I’m not a particularly old-fashioned person. I love gadgets, I embrace technological advances. In most cases I prefer the digital version. I’m a techy. But this aspect of my personality does not extend to include books.
Call me crazy, but I love my bound-paper books. I have a small library in the guest room of my house full of Stephen King novels, manga, the full Harry Potter collection, and a ton of others. I love seeing them all there on their shelves, but more than that I love sinking into a hot bath with one of my books, or curling up in an armchair with a book and a hot chocolate. I love the smell of the paper, I love turning the pages manually, I even love the way the books I’ve had since I was a kid are starting to turn yellow and come apart from their bindings.
I’m not completely ignorant to the idea of e-books. I do have a tiny collection on my iPhone; books that I suddenly had a desire to read but wasn’t near enough to a book store to look for, such as Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. I also have an ebook or two by my fellow bloggers who were having “get-my-book-for-free” days. But if I’m honest, reading these books off my iPhone screen drives me nuts. Some of you might say, “Well that’s because the screen is itty-bitty! Buy a freakin’ Kindle!” But that’s not the problem, I promise you. I’ve downloaded ebooks on my laptop, which has a 17″ screen, and it bothers me just as much. I don’t know if it’s that technological glow that bothers me, or the page ‘swiping’, or the fact that there seems to be so many fewer words per page to make it easier to see. I suppose it could be a culmination of issues. The fact, however, remains that reading a novel from a screen bothers me. Somehow I just can’t get into it. When I’m holding a book I can find myself sinking into the world enclosed within. When I’m holding a little screen with a faintly glowing background staring up at me all I can think about is the damn screen.
I realized that I’m probably a dying breed in this. I understand the appeal of having thousands of books in one handheld device, and I can definitely see the reasoning behind why we should be moving in this direction, but I just can’t get over my personal abhorrence to the whole thing. Give me my books or give me death!
(Well, maybe not death, but you get my meaning. :P)