Darth Pony

Ruling the galaxy is so overrated.

William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh

William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh (William Shakespeare's Star Wars) - Ian Doescher

It’s been a while since I last visited William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. When I read the Dramatis Personae and the rathtars were described as “jolly monsters” it felt like coming home. (And that was even before they started singing.)


Diving into one of these is always an adventure on multiple levels. How will Doescher Shakeaspeareanize this movie? What nerdy Easter eggs will he hide in the text? Do the rathtars have good singing voices? (The answers are: 1. Pretty damn well. 2. So many nerdy Easter eggs! 3. In my head they sounded an awful lot like the Three Tenors. It was magical.)


This is one of those books you may want to read at least twice. Once for the hell of it, and once more to see if you can find all those Easter eggs that Doescher teases in his afterword. I had to flip back through it right away to decipher BB-8’s dialog, which I’d been skipping over because it is not easy on the eye:


Zzwaflit blee roohblic bleeflib zilf blikflii,

Blox flirzooz blis blox flitblic bloozood flir

Reej zoodreej blee reej flirblip zzwaflit flirr

Bluuflir zoonflii flew blavrooq bleeflit blis!


Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like R2’s dialog, but when you realize what’s going on, it’s freaking brilliant.


Overall, this is a worthy addition to the series. It’s seriously Shakespearean Star Wars that doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s remarkably easy to picture the likes of Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver delivering these lines in classic theatrical fashion, but lest you forget it’s parody, there are the likes of the singing rathtars to remind you. I got a particularly good laugh out of the two Stormtroopers discussing the plot similarities to the original trilogy.


But I’ve gushed enough, and if I keep going I’ll start quoting entire scenes, so I’ll leave you with this bit of stage direction:


[Finn] salutes BB-8, who salutes in return using his droidly implements.



Reading progress update: I've read 168 out of 168 pages.

William Shakespeare's The Force Doth Awaken: Star Wars Part the Seventh (William Shakespeare's Star Wars) - Ian Doescher

Screw you, four-day migraine! I finished a book anyway! And it was good! And I'm counting it for the Festivus door!

24 Festive Tasks: DP's Tracking Post

Total Points to Date: 17


I forgot to add my Melbourne Cup bonus point, so I'm a point ahead of where I thought I was. Woohoo!



Door 1 - Día de los Muertos (November 1): 4 points

Door 2 - Guy Fawkes Night (November 5): 4 points

Door 3 - Melbourne Cup Day (November 6): 4 points

Door 4 - Diwali (November 7): 3 points

Door 5 - Veterans/Armistice Day (November 11): 2 points

24 Festive Tasks Door 5: Veterans/Armistice Day

Tasks 2 and 3 completed. Points = 2


Task 1:  Using book covers (real or virtual), create a close approximation of your country’s flag (either of residence or birth), OR a close approximation of a poppy.  Take a pic of your efforts and post.


Ehhhh. I think I'm gonna shove this one straight into the Too Hard basket. Mega kudos to anyone who attempts this. I'm still half blind from that Diwali cover task.


Task 2: Make an offer of peace (letter, gift, whatever) to a book character who has particularly annoyed you this year.


Dear Jace Wayland,

Though I hate you with the intensity of a supernova, 'tis the season to make peace with annoying assholes book characters. In that spirit, please accept this gift of a Costco-sized box of DNA testing kits so you never again have to angst over what kind of monster you are or whether that girl you want to pork is your sister.


Sincerely (sort of),



Task 3: Tell us: What author’s books would you consider yourself a veteran of (i.e., by which author have you read particularly many books – or maybe even all of them)?


After some thought, I'd have to say I'm a veteran of Ann M. Martin. Before I outgrew Kristy and Claudia and Mary Anne and Stacey and Dawn and Mallory and Jessi, I'd read 50+ Baby-Sitters Club books and at least four of the Super Specials. I don't think I've ever topped that in reading books by a single author/pen name.


Task 4: Treat yourself to a slice of poppy seedcake and post a photo. If you want to make it yourself, try out this recipe: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/poppy-seed-cake/ … or this one: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1629633/lemon-and-poppy-seed-cake ~Hmm. I'm tempted. We'll see.


Book:  Read any book involving wars, battles, where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover.

24 Festive Tasks Door 2: Guy Fawkes Night - Book

On the Java Ridge - Jock Serong


Some people on Goodreads are shelving On the Java Ridge as a thriller, and it is undeniably political, so unless someone protests I'm declaring it a political thriller and taking a point so something good comes out of my reading the whole thing. XD

On the Java Ridge

On the Java Ridge - Jock Serong

This is not a badly written book. I just hated it. I don’t do unrelenting bleakness very well. There is an important message in here about the moral pitfalls of nationalism and anti-immigration policies, and it’s impossible to miss as it’s delivered via industrial power hammer. It’s a message I happen to agree with, but damn.


If you’re looking for a sad yet ultimately hopeful, redemptive story about a refugee crisis, keep looking. If you’re looking for a 300+ page heavy-handed treatise on how politicians are the worst, human traffickers are the worst, entitled white surfer guys are the worst, and mercenary contractors are the worst, this is absolutely the book for you.


As for me? Well. On the Java Ridge is one of those books that make me think the Australian literary landscape would change drastically if bars started lacing drinks with Xanax during convention season.

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

I'm kind of reviewed out after Halloween Bingo so I probably won't review this one. Anyone who has ever brought up Austen in my general vicinity knows it's my favorite of her novels and I love it forever with five uncritical stars. And it qualifies for a festive task, so yay!


I'm using it to complete the book task for Día de los Muertos: Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author.

24 Festive Tasks Door 4: Diwali

Stolen Songbird - Danielle L. Jensen Uprooted - Naomi Novik These Old Shades - Georgette Heyer Sprig Muslin - Georgette Heyer The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer

Tasks 1, 2, and 4 completed. Points = 3


Task 1:  Share a picture of your favorite light display. ~ I might be reaching here, but no man-made display has ever captivated me as much as the night sky (though lantern festivals come close).



Task 2:  Cleaning is a big part of this holiday; choose one of your shelves, real or virtual, and tidy / organise it.  Give us the before and after photos.  OR Tidy up 5 of the books on your BookLikes shelves by adding the CORRECT cover, and/or any other missing information. (If in doubt, see here: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/1782687/state-of-the-database-booklikes-database-halloween-bingo-and-a-mini-rant-with-pictures). 


I literally just rearranged my shelves and have no before pictures, so digital it is. I'm not sure how to track this, so I'll just list the titles I tried to tidy up. (Kindle editions only. Hope I didn't screw up any book data. Y'all might've opened Pandora's box with this task.)


1. Call of Poseidon by CP Bialois (Added cover and description, corrected ASIN and erroneous crediting of editors as authors)

2. Illegal Magic by Arlene Blakely (Added cover etc., corrected ASIN)

3. The Savage Blood by Tamara Rose Blodgett (Reported duplicate book entry with incorrect ASIN)

4. Stolen Peace: The Untold Story of the Spanish Conquest by Gloria Bond (Added cover and other book data, corrected ASIN)

5. Maggie Come Lately by Michelle Buckman (Added cover and book data, corrected ASIN)


Task 3: Eating sweets is also a big part of Diwali. Either select a recipe for a traditional sweet, or make a family favorite and share a picture with us.


I'll come back to this one.


Task 4: During Diwali, people pray to the goddess Lakhshmi, who is typically depicted as a beautiful young woman holding a lotus flower. Find 5 books on your shelves (either physical or virtual) whose covers show a young woman holding a flower and share their cover images.


See books at top of post. This was a struggle. Thank goodness for my small Heyer collection! I might be stretching it with a couple, but I'm reasonably sure I see flowers in that basket on The Grand Sophy's cover, and I think those are flowers in her hand on Sprig Muslin.


Book: Read a book with candles on the cover or the word “candle” or “light” in the title; OR a book that is the latest in a series; OR set in India; OR any non-fiction book that is ‘illuminating’ (Diwali is Sanskrit for light/knowledge and row, line or series)

24 Festive Tasks Door 1: Día de los Muertos

Tasks 1, 2, and 4 completed. Book read. Points = 4


Task 1:  Write a silly poem or limerick poking fun at the fiction character of your choice. ~ Since the arrival of new acquisitions is forcing me to rearrange my Star Wars books, here's a badly-crafted haiku in honor of Chewbacca:


Hunger is a beast

Yet the mightiest Wookiee

Cannot eat the porg


Task 2:  Share your favorite gravestone epitaph (you know you have one). ~ I do, but I can't for the life of me remember whose it was or what it said. While Googling in hopes of finding it, I found this: "What do you want your grave marker to say, Lola?"



Task 3:  Create an altar (either digital or physical) for your favorite book, series, or book character, and post a picture of it.  Inclusion of book cover encouraged. ~ Probably skipping this one.


Task 4: If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to your favorite dish and share a photo of it. ~ Might come back to this one if I can get up the energy (and ingredients) to make flan or find a restaurant or cafe in town that serves it.


Treating myself to my other favorite Mexican food for lunch today. I present to you the humble yet versatile burrito:



Book:  Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico. ~ Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Experimenting with Markers

I thought maybe I'd go with a festive Life Day porg wreath marker system. I just want to see how it looks posted.


24 Festive Tasks Door 3: Melbourne Cup Day

Tasks 1, 2, and 3 completed, +1 bonus for Task 1. Points = 4


Task 1Pick your ponies!  MbD has posted the horses scheduled to race; everyone picks the three they think will finish (in any order).  


One of my picks (Marmelo) came in second. That's one point to me!


Task 2:  Cup day is all about the hats.  Post a picture of your favorite hat, whether it’s one you own or not.


This is as close as I could find to my favorite hat. Many moons ago, I bought a similar Mokona hat as a gift for a friend, and I have forever lamented that the store didn't have two in stock.



Task 3: The coloring of the “horse of a different color” in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz was created by rubbing the horse’s fur with jello. What’s the weirdest use of jello you’ve ever come across?


The weirdest use of jello I have ever seen was at a church potluck where a woman (who clearly hated everyone, as you will see) put cabbage and carrots in green jello, covered it in a quarter-inch-thick layer of mayonnaise, and called it a jello salad.


Task 4: Have you ever been to or participated in a competition involving horses (racing, jumping, dressage, whatever)? Tell us about it. Photos welcome, too!


The closest I've come is Task 1, so I'll skip this one.


Book: about horses or a horse on the cover.  Books with roses on the cover or about gardening; anything set in Australia.

24 Festive Tasks Door 2: Guy Fawkes Night

Tasks 1, 2, and 3 completed. Book read. Points = 4


Task 1:  Burn a book in effigy.  Not that anyone of us would do such a thing, but if you HAD to, which book would be the one you’d sacrifice to the flames (gleefully or not)? 


Okay, my soul rebels at the thought of burning books, but if the Apocalypse comes and the power goes out and never comes back on again, the first book I'm throwing on the fire when I run out of other combustibles is Terry Goodkind's The Law of Nines. It will probably smell like pretentious white male and lack of self-awareness as it burns.


Task 2:  List your top 3 treasonous crimes against books.  Not ones you’ve committed, but the ones you think are the worst.


1. Burning books.

2. Censoring books (actual censoring, not authors whining about "censorship" when they're called out on problematic content and/or shitty writing).

3. Borrowing a book and then reading it on the toilet. (Keep your poo particles to yourself, people!)


Task 3:  Share your favorite / most memorable BBQ recollections or recipe, or your favorite recipe for food “flambé” (i.e., doused with alcohol which is then set aflame and allowed to burn off). 


My favorite BBQ recipe is s'mores, and before you tell me s'mores are a campfire thing and not a BBQ thing, you should know that resourceful children who got a lame backyard BBQ instead of a weekend camping trip don't care if you don't want melted marshmallow all over your grill. (This may also tie in to one of my favorite BBQ memories...)


Task 4:  Find 5 uses of the word “gunpowder” in book titles in contexts other than for blowing up things or shooting people (e.g., Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs = tea). ~Might come back to this one. It's going to take more research than I initially thought.


Book:  Set in the UK, political thrillers, involving any monarchy or revolution; books about arson or related to burning.


Book read: On the Java Ridge

Rules for a Knight

Rules for a Knight - Ethan Hawke

Chicken Soup for the Chivalrous Soul.

Halloween Bingo Post Mortem

This was my first year participating in Halloween Bingo. I watched from the sidelines for a couple of years because the rules confused me and I didn't think I had a snowball's chance in hell of reading enough books for a bingo anyway. But this year I've been trying to come a bit further out of my shell and interact more, and one of the ways I wanted to accomplish that was to participate in some of the Booklikes games run by amazing Booklikers like Moonlight and Obsidian Blue. (Thank you both so much!)


So I took a chance and dived in, thinking I'd probably read my usual 4-5 books a month and maybe get a bingo if I was super lucky.


And then I got into the competitive spirit, ditched half my hobbies in September, ditched all my other hobbies in October, and read like a fiend.


I read twice my average number of books in September. I read three or four times my average in October. I have no idea if all those stories will stick in my head (I hope so. Some of them were really good!), but I shocked myself and got a full bingo blackout and had a blast doing it.


So thanks, everybody! And Happy Halloween!


Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines - Philip Reeve

In a distant post-apocalyptic future, what’s left of humanity lives on mobile cities, traveling the wastelands of a devastated Earth. Resources are scarce and Municipal Darwinism rules the day, or in other words, “It’s a town eat town world.”


The world building is fantastic and the characters are complex. The story is part sci-fi, part steampunk, part revenge fantasy, part coming of age, part biting social commentary, part . . . Okay, there are a LOT of parts, but they all fit together really well, I promise.


The sudden POV skews and occasional (totally unnecessary and jarring) tense changes drove me batty, but overall I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to the sequels.

The Eye of Argon

The Eye of Argon - Jim Theis

Wow. So this is the infamous Eye of Argon. I’d heard things—hilarious, unbelievable things—but I wasn’t prepared for the reality. I was not prepared. Wow.


I read this so I could follow along with a bookish podcast that’s sporking it (372 Pages We’ll Never Get Back). It deserves every bit of notoriety it’s garnered over the years. I can’t really describe it in a way that would do it justice. The Eye of Argon is something one needs to experience for oneself in order to truly understand it. Or at least partially understand it, which is the best we can expect what with it being nearly incomprehensible and all. But who among us can honestly claim our teenage scribbles were any more coherent? Well, okay, a whole lot of us could probably claim that. You know, I don’t know where I’m going with this. Best not to dwell. This way lies madness.


Thank you, Jim Theis, for your unwitting contribution to fantasy literature history, which I am giving five stars. Though you’re no longer with us, your legacy lives on. I enjoyed it immensely.


Iyck! ♥