The Eagle Time Book Club: Now reading Whatever

The Eagle Time Book Club: Now reading Whatever
(04-26-2012, 11:56 PM)SleepingOrange Wrote: »Bob since nobody can get a copy of this

You have to like

Record a chapter a week and share it with the book club

Not sure if I want to do that - if not just because reproducing an entire book is a questionable practice, but also because I would like for people to discover the magic of magical cats on their own.


Of course that doesn't mean I can't give a LIVE IN DEPTH REVIEW, like a let's play only it's a book.



I never really knew what all went into actually publishing a book - the expansive list of publishers and regions on the first page tells me it's an extensive (though possibly automated) process. It feels good to know that India, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa all have their own unique offices dedicated to making certain this book can reach interested readers (or if you can't get it then at least they serve as a legal bastion against acquiring the novel).

Also this book was released in February 2011! For some reason I had imagined it being penned in the mid 1980's when everything was goofy and Charles was still in charge. Surely in these modern times we have grown past the need for detective crime novels featuring wizardry enhanced kitties? Wait...

Halfway through writing that sentence I realized that maybe my thinking is all wrong. Maybe it's only now that such a work of fiction can exist. It combines the three most popular genres from each of our prominent modern mediums: The CSI crime drama, the Harry Potter movies, and the unstoppable deluge of Internet cat videos. Perhaps Ms. Sofie Kelly is a true orator of our age, one who sees the great boons of our civilization and combines them in the most intoxicating way possible.

Okay, no. I have read the first chapter. This is not the case. Though her work does have an inspiring merit in its own way.

The last part of the "legal disclaimers" page contains a "publisher's note" which states the same little tidbit I've seen in countless films and stories and never really made much sense to me. It's where, right before your mystical journey, you are reminded that ALL characters, locals, and events are completely fictional. If they seem similar to an actual person, place, or thing well that's just a coincidence.

REALLY? So when our boxom (more on that later) protagonist is traveling through the seaside streets of BOSTON, I am to assume this is not at all supposed to be related to REAL BOSTON?

"What?" asks the befuddled publisher "there is a real seaside town called Boston? What a coincidence! I had no idea!"

"But," you press, "what about the cat who expressly likes Barry Manilow, the popular singer and heartthrob of women 40+? Surely that is a reference to the genuine article."

"Pfft." the publisher shrugs, curling up in the warmth and comfort of his blanket statement, "Cats. What'll they do next?"

Maybe the real disclaimer is that "hey if you got a problem with you being in the story you can't do anything because LIES."

There are a few more paragraphs talking about "author's rights and such" which actually is very politely worded, so thanks for that.

The adjacent page contains the "ACKNOWLEDGMENTS" section and starts with the phrase: "There are many people who have helped take the Magical Cats from an idea to a completed book,"

I read that as: "here is the list of people to kill." That may sound violent, but apparently vigilante justice is a core theme of this book so I can only blame the author. (okay maybe magical vigilante justice is a more appropriate term. So it's really just a magical hit list.)

A few of the names and statements stand out, like: "Thank you to my editor, [NAME REDACTED], whose editorial skills make me look good." (hey, just realized that sentence doesn't really contain a VERB but I am far from a grammarist so I can't say much ("make", doesn't count that is a dependent clause you red-inking heathen.)

What, I wonder, would this book be if it was not for the patient influence of [NAME REDACTED]? Would there have been a third cat? Did the editor read over the work and say "you have one cat too many. You need less cats."? Maybe it was just a jumbled mess of misspellings and incatations. Maybe [NAME REDACTED] is actually a hero who prevented an even greater evil from befalling the world. God bless you [NAME REDACTED].

And a big F* you to you, Ms. Bartlett, "who urged me to write this story" What the gratuitous swears were you thinking?!

People. When your friend or acquaintance comes to you and shyly says: "I've been thinking about writing a story about a pair of crime solving cats who are also magic." YOU DO NOT RESPOND IN AN ENCOURAGING WAY! You certainly do not URGE them to make their fever-dream a reality posthaste! You are not doing them a favor!

Should we make a PSA about this? Do we need a hotline? You people who engage in "blind, unconditional support" need to CHILL THE F* OUT BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. GEEZE.

"A special thank you to the Guppies; a more supportive group of writers doesn't exist."

I have yet to decipher who or what "the Guppies" are. I have a very strong suspicion that they are not actually "writers" but are in fact literal guppies. Perhaps a fishbowl of creatures forced to observe Ms. Kelly's frantic typing at her keyboard. Though it seems like they would have some problems with the cats she obviously owns.

"And a big thank you to [VETERINARIAN], who answered all my questions about cats. Any errors or out-of-character behavior is due to my playing with the facts"

I found this statement puzzling, as why would a writer of cat-novels need to consult a vet concerning feline behavior. Then I realized that maybe she DOESN'T EVEN OWN A CAT.

I don't know how to recat to something like that. On one hand, it makes her seem like less of a creepy closeted lady writing fan-fiction about her own two pets. (which was really a huge part of the appeal). But then it leaves us with an even more troubling question: what is her motive? If not some sort of aggrandized fable of her own pets then what possible reason could this person have behind creating such a work?

I guess I'll just have to keep reading to find out.


So I have to hand it to Ms. Kelly; she has interesting chapter titles. A brief flip through the book reveals "High Pat on Horse", "Needle at Sea Bottom", "Shoot the Tiger", and (my favorite) "Step Forward and Punch". Now I don't know how literal these titles are (is there actual Tiger poaching in that chapter? Oh goodness maybe a magical TIGER is the real murderer and our protagonist gets to actually PUNCH it -IDE/Theory), but in the first chapter at least, there is hardly any evidence of slants or flying. It's the kind of title that's obscure but in a good way - the way that encourages the reader to invest slightly more in a story than they would have normally. It may have no more meaning than whatever two words she threw up on her "Create a title: Mad Lib" but it still serves its purpose. It gives the reader a hint of curiosity and a glimmer of hope before diving head first into the shallow muck of Magical Catlandia.

Okay. I have a confession to make. I have not actually set down to read a legit book in a long time. The fact that I am categorizing this paperback as a "legit book" shows that much. Most of my reading in the last year or so has been mainly in the form of adventures, grand battles, and other little story tid-bits found on these internets. While entertaining, they are a format completely different from these "novels", and many of my catiques may simply be due to differences in mediums, and not in the actual quality of the literature.

For example:

I do not have a vivid picture of the setting and characters presented to me immediately upon reading.

"Isn't that like, the VERY FIRST THING you're supposed to do in a story?" asks the reader of grandbattles and forumventures. "Where is the character description post? Where is the image showing their appearance and initial items of significance? How am I supposed to decipher what is happening without some form of expository introduction?"

I mean sure, it takes a while to get to know a character and setting and a little bit of having to figure all that out can be fun but it's not even until page 7 that you get a clear indicator of the protagonist's GENDER. (Okay maybe the references to yoga pants and long hair should have been clues, and it doesn't help that our esteemed author chose to write in the first person (you mean women don't constantly think "also I am a girl with breasts" to themselves? man if I was a girl I'd be thinking that all the time (more on that later))

but, Ms. Kelly, while the "what is going on in this book?" game can be quite fun it is only so when you are not DELIBERATELY MISLEADING YOUR READERS.

Okay, maybe I'm just an idiot but I was seriously asking myself: "wait, so does this like, take place on a farm?" Not because of any overt farm metaphors, but because of the continual reference to the murder and dismemberment of one "Fred the Funky Chicken". It is not until a good 500 words after his introduction that you realize Fred the Funky Chicken (oh and it must be typed out, like that, every time) is actually some elaborate catnip toy.

"Oh!" I realize, "This isn't some meaningless word-waste! This confusing and poorly described introduction is actually establishing a very important character trait for one of the catagonsits! Turns out Owen the cat's defining and identifying trait is that he LIKES CATNIP."


Now I KNOW this author does not own a cat. No actual cat owner would make the key trait of one of their feline companions "likes catnip" or even "really likes catnip". I've had enough Friends With Cats to know that descriptive cat words include: "picky", "boastful", "affectionate", "cunning", and "pissed on my couch". "Likes catnip" does not make the list.

(still don't know why she wrote this though)


I need to speed this up.

There is so much material here but...

like I am going to write more review than there is catbook.

So I guess lets hit the high/low notes in the form of


1. You don't need to clarify your cat said "meow".

This is assumed. While cats can make a variety of noises the default noises are "Meow" "Purr" and "hiss".

GUESS WHAT! Those sounds already have verbs that go with them!

Instead of writing: "'Meow,' the cat said." You could simply say "The cat meowed." Or (if you want to change it up) "'Meow.'" (If you opt for the latter, guess what? People will assume that the MEOW WAS SAID BY A CAT.)


(oh hey I can use quote boxes - that will make this much easier)
only on page two guys Wrote:"You have a problem, Owen," I told the cat [in reference to the chewing of Fred the Funky Chicken] "You have a monkey on your back...Or maybe I should say you have a chicken on your back."


F*CK YOU. We here at EagleTime have a high standard for puns and joke related humor. If you can't make a joke worth reading then don't write it at all. (or at least conceal it under layers of censored swears and sarcasm to give you plausible deniability should anyone find it.) Weak ass, forced jokes like that gives that same feeling you get when someone accidentally spits food on your face. You're not really mad, because they probably didn't mean it, but it still breaks the flow of what you're doing and grosses you out a bit.

3. The boring part.

Every book has this. Almost in every chapter. It's that part of the book where the character is changing locations and every detail of the scenery and setting gets described to us. there some sort of scenery fetish community that just loves reading verbose descriptions of building architecture and the current weather? I mean, do people really read these sections and think "oh my what entertaining dribble! I can't wait for it to not be relevant to the story in any way!"? I can't be the only person that just glosses over these sections until I see some dialogue.

I think the really talented author is the one that can keep the pace and flavor of the story going during these typical "boring parts". Moby Dick, I think is an excellent example of where this works.

This book is not.


Theory: The author is a cat.

She does not seem to own cats because she doesn't, because she is one. This is also why she cares if cats "act out of character" despite their already being magical detectives. Asking a vet questions about cats? Cover for her true identity.
(05-04-2012, 04:12 AM)Not The Author Wrote: »Theory: The author is a cat.

She does not seem to own cats because she doesn't, because she is one. This is also why she cares if cats "act out of character" despite their already being magical detectives. Asking a vet questions about cats? Cover for her true identity.

I like this. It is the official first entry in the "List of motives" chart I am creating right now.


1. Sofie Kelly is actually a cat.

Now we'd have to identify exactly what type of "being a cat" she is. Perhaps she is just a regular cat at a keyboard (as opposed to being a regular cat in a ceiling or one of unusual length). She has mastered *cough* the english language and her first act of cat-typery is to create a very Mary Sue fanfiction where two self projections (one of whom embodies her daily struggle with nepeta (guess what that means "catnip" DIDN'T KNOW THAT DID YA (okay well I didn't))) are imbued with magical powers.

However, this concerns me. Are the "friends" listed in her acknowledgments actual people or other cats? Are they all lies? If they are people why did those people not report this literate cat to the proper authorities? If they are other cats then that means that there are MORE TALKING CATS IN REALITY.

Maybe she is just a cat who takes the form of a human. Maybe a giant skin-suit or robot or REAL MAGIC or something I dunno I'm not a cat. But this is even MORE CONCERNING. Now ANYONE who you meet could be a TALKING CAT IN DISGUISE. Maybe the phrase: "I'm more of a cat-person." has a terrifying double meaning us mere humans don't understand! Maybe all those stories where witches turn into cats are really the other way around!

Okay don't watch that. I know I didn't. I just searched "Salem Sabrina" and picked the one that looked most obnoxious. It's only purpose is to break us out of this terrifying cat discussion and lead into.


Ancillary characters

Admittedly, I was a little confused at the introduction of another non-cat character. I guess the novelty of the books' genre was such that I had assumed that any other characters were unnecessary. I had legitimately expected a book, where a woman does nothing but talk to her cats for 25 chapters.

I probably set my expectations too high.

Chapter one introduces 5 non-cat-non protagonist characters, the first one, Fred the Funky Chicken, is talked about non-stop for the first two pages until he is tossed into a garbage can. The second, Rebecca, is notable only for her role as Owen's (LEARN THE CAT'S NAME PEOPLE) "dealer" and the origin of Fred the Funky Chicken.

Gosh I hope she is the one who dies.

There is then generic library assistant whose name I'm not going to bother looking up. (Oh yes, our protagonist is a LIBRARIAN. A librarian who goes to work in yoga pants (either that or Cat Kelly forgot to have her change (you guys are going to see a lot of nested parenthetical statements (GET USED TO IT))))

Then we have two old men. "BUT HOW," you ask, "CAN YOU HAVE TWO OLD MEN? Wouldn't we get confused? I mean is there even a way to give old men distinguishing character traits?"

Never fear, cat-lovers! Sofie Kelly has made it very clear that these two elderly gentlemen are INDIVIDUALS.

One is a grumpy old man and the other is a kindly old man.

Kindly old man is a carpenter and grumpy old man is an actor.

At the end of chapter one OWEN (magically) appears sitting on grumpy old man's head.

That's some real SAT-UATIONAL HUMOR there!



So given that END OF CHAPTER SHOCKER, and combining it with the little story tid-bit they tucked in at the front of the book, I can assume that the "magic" of magical cats is that they can teleport?

Is a teleportation really that magical? I mean, I think with the myriad of abilities "magic" bestows merely moving from one place to another isn't that...wait...where have I...




I had wondered, Mr. Hussie, why, when applying the label "Omnipotent" to your characters, do you merely gift them with the ability to transport objects?

I mean COME ON. You could do SO MUCH MORE. Omnipotent is the kind of phrase or ability that invokes those deep philosophical questions like "Can a magical cat make something so magical that they can't even magic it themselves???" Why is it that such a potentially critical character-trait is so poorly underdeveloped?

I would love, love, to attribute Mr. Hussie's lack of creativity to his studying and reading of this very magical novella, but back in Feb '11 when it was first flying off the shelves we were so deep in contrived-troll-analogue-for-bullshit that his ongoing misunderstanding of "omnipotence" simply failed to register.

Maybe the connection is much deeper and more subtle than foreknown plagiarism. Maybe these two well renowned authors, when deciding to apply these broad sweeping terms to their characters, due to some level of shared subconscious default, looked at the endless possibilities of the word they had typed and said: "Awesome, these guys can teleport ANYWHERE now!"

And with that they were content.
Last edited by Mod-S4; 05-20-2012 at 05:23 AM. Reason: Please do not post your size for opinions. Thanks.
Ahahahaha g0m. That video is priceless.

Really, perhaps it's mostly me, but I tend to derive a bit of sadistic pleasure from the misguided emotionally-laden efforts of struggling individuals (a simpler descriptive term for such works is "creepy" or "sad"). (If you want to watch another great example of a video like that just youtube search for: "Dating the Asian woman- the impossible dream" (I have linked to that enough though, you should already be familiar)) Really, it's the same thing that draws us to a book like catbook. The concept and cover art all scream of someone who genuinely thought: "this is a good idea" and then took the effort to turn it into a reality.

Of course, things are really more complicated than that. The people who've made that video (and catbook) are not 100% grade-A morons because,

1) There is some measure of talent that making a video/book/talkingcatlips of that nature takes (that I am not familiar with).


2) I do crap like this, ALL THE TIME.

I mean, we all do. We all have moments where our personal perspectives are so out of touch with social norms (and even hard-fact realities) that we manage to say/do/believe/admit to something completely ludicrous (though few of us manage to memorialize it in print/video form).

I suppose that's all part of stepping out there...Okay I'm dancing around my point

My point is that instead of reviewing this next chapter I've decided to do what Slorange suggested and put out a LIVE READING of CHAPTER 2. This could very well be one of the aforementioned examples of me making a complete fool of myself (something which I excel at) so maybe you may get at least some form of that same sadistic pleasure while listening.

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man somebody should update that thread title.

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Thanks Schazer for your swift and modly thread-updating response!

So guy's I've decided this is way better when I have someone reading this with me, and not just me by myself.

If anyone is interested, I can set up a little something where I scan the pages to you and we do a live-co-reading via skype or commenting thing of your choice.

Or hey, if someone would be interested in doing one by yourself, I'd love to toss a couple of pages your way! Not right to hog all these cats.

So yeah, if you're interested post here or PM me or talk to me if I happen to be on IRC (it's like a shooting star or a plane crash- yeah sometimes it happens, but it doesn't last long). If there aren't any takers I'll just toss part 3 of 3 up here and keep on goin!
Bumping this thread because oh man I just finished Sirens of Titan. I always forget that books make me cry, I'm bloody hopeless. For the guts of it, it was super-nihilistic (deterministic?) in that time-traveller-infested causal-loopery-fuckery thing Vonnegut does.

I suppose the other main message was "even if your whole destiny is controlled from on high, or hell even if it utterly isn't, staging a silent protest against the world and refusing to engage in any of it isn't worth it."

Which, while phrased exceptionally poorly by me, is still the kind of message that slaps someone like me in the face.

Lovely read sped along by snappy writing, would recommend.
I just finished off Red Storm Rising on the suggestion of a friend. It was pretty excellent, far better than any of the other Clancy novels I've read barring maybe The Hunt for Red October. I'd suspect this is mostly due in part to the fact that he really only has three or four actually good novels, this being one of them. It certainly doesn't help that the newer ones are usually written by ghostwriters who can never just seem to pin down the style.

Other than this, I read the first of The Dark Tower series. I've been told not to read past the first book, though.

Oh god there are two book threads and this was the one I was told to post in.
I got the impression at the time this was supposed to be less a general book thread and more "Talk about the books that we're reading as a group" sort of virtual book club. Like it says in the title.

But who knows, who cares, it's not like the forum's big enough to have a problem with redundant threads.
A couple people talking about how we should read more so I'm bumping this thread. Would anyone be interested in bookclubbing something in the nearish future?
I could and would read Catch 22 again
I'm in. Recommend me some things you guys are discussing in irc, i recognise nothing
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CATCH-22 is a big sprawling comedy set during World War II. I haven't read it since high school (it's one of many books I read after it got referenced in an episode of Lost) but I liked it a lot and I want to reread it soon.

I'm probably the biggest lit nerd in this community, but I'm terrified of recommending books. I've been using my Amazon wishlist to track the things I want to read, and my Goodreads to track what I've already read. (Both of those links should work? Lemme know if they don't.) Also, here's a list of books referenced in Lost.

I dunno what kinda stuff we'd want to read. If we wanted to do something genre-y, I'd suggest Watership Down, which is one of my favorite fantasy books, criminally under-read, and I haven't read it in a while. It's about bunnies, and Sawyer reads it in season one of Lost.

If we wanted to do something more capital-L-Literature-y, I'd probably suggest something by Toni Morrison, because I love her and want everyone to read her stuff. Maybe Jazz, cause it's one of the less heavy ones, and I've been meaning to reread it.

And I'd be down for pretty much anything else. I have two books going right now but I want to be done with both of them by the end of the month, so I'm wide open after that. In general, I want to read more women and writers of color, and also more trashy/popular literature (hence the Gillian Flynn at the top of the Amazon wishlist).
I want to recommend a book I just read! I will also offer to send said book to anyone who wants to read it, on the condition that either a) you send it back or b) you send it on to someone else who wants it.

While I was at the "American Book Centre" in Amsterdam I grabbed a bunch of natural history+nonfiction type books (all but one of them written by ladies!), and on the plane ride home powered through Naming Nature, by Carol K Yoon.

It's a crash course (the author's personal trajectory, tbh) through taxonomy's history, from Linnaeus through to molecular systematics and the dreaded cladists. A lot of the folks in the biology department at my university were molecular taxonomists, so actually getting some context behind what they do finally made a bunch of stuff click.

The author bemoans the modern world's ills and the wider public's detachment from the natural world too much, eye em oh, but I can kind of get behind her points about how the democratic nature was taken out of natural history/biology.

If you like anecdotes about dusty old scientists like Linnaeus that make them seem more like real human beings, though, this book is great for that! The story of taxonomy is cooler than you'd expect, because the Truth hurts in a weirdly existential way, and we get to see nerds getting passionate and rude over things like that.

For me with a biology background it immediately demystified what the various schools of taxonomy are about, so I'd definitely recommend it for the biologists on the forum. Even if you're not (especially if you're not, even) I would be very happy if you wanted to try this book! I'd be happy to talk through concepts if a keen reader wanted to.

I also picked up: A Sting in the Tale, about some british nerd and his beloved bumblebees,
The Soul of an Octopus, which is probably about the author being captivated by cephalopods and their weird alien intelligence, and (once I get it back off Plaid)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which is easily my strongest recommend off this list for anyone to read, sciencetypes or no. I should rave about it once I get it back and finish reading it through myself, BUT I'm happy to send this one around if anyone wants to tackle it.
I can second the book about Henrietta Lacks, since I'm the reason Schaz hasn't finished it (i stole it before she left :v). Really, really interesting read and I I was left thinking about it for a while after I finished it.
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Hey friendly reminder: Vonnegut is still really really good
It’s just a coincidence, but my sig for the past month-ish is an oblique quote from Cat’s Cradle.
sea had swallowed all. A lazy curtain of dust was wafting out to sea
I was wondering why it sounded familiar.
To me it bore a striking resemblance to FFXIV’s Maelstrom motto (Till Sea Swallows All). Not just in phrasing, but in subject matter.

In the game, it references a mythological civilization-ending flood that happened once before and—legend has it—will finish the job when it finally happens again; like many such catastrophic floods found in the world’s mythoi, it happens because the sins of the people are too great for eh, let’s say, the earth or whatever “powers that be” to bear it (in this case, a war of magic that was getting out of hand and likely to end life itself).

Cat’s Cradle takes this kind of myth and kind of turns it on its head in some ways: it’s an obvious man-made disaster in the works, the action happens on some island that’s got everything and nothing to do with the Cold War, and

Not the only time a video game has made me think of the book, either. There’s a visual element at the end of Mother 3 that reminded me of the exact same chapter.
sea had swallowed all. A lazy curtain of dust was wafting out to sea
I just finished reading "Ella Minnow Pea" by Mark Dunn, which is an excellent story (told through a series of letters) about a girl, Ella, and a ludicrous development in her country of Nollop (a fictional place founded by the creator of the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog").

Further description (although still not letting loose any substantial spoilers):

This story is funny, touching, and speaks to the importance of language- down to the last letter. I definitely recommend it.