Young people and their fantasy books. They gobble the stories up, even if the tales don’t make a whole lot of sense. That’s fine, as it keeps people interested in literature. It’s kind of how Shakespeare saved England from falling into a world of gambling, animal baiting, and paid fornication. Even the worst fantasy books work as a balance for all the more sinister potential pastimes of the entitled youth.

 

With that said, let’s look at some of the top fantasy titles for 2019.

 

  1. Taran (Immortal Highlander, Clan Scaraven Book 5):A Scottish Time Travel Romance

I know, it sounds really stupid if you just read the title. You have to keep reading to really appreciate the stupidity, but that’s only if your searching for some kind of reasonable explanation. This book begins with the classic first line:

Wading through the night’s drifts in the Great Wood slowed Rowan Thomas’s gait to a shivering shuffle.

In the very next sentence, the author calls the world “an overfilled snow globe.” Brilliance. The good news is that the existence of time travel will allow you to stop reading and return to a time before you began.

 

  1. Drums of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)

This seems to be an exciting tale that has to do with escaping the gallows and hard nipples. Here’s a taste from after a night bathing episode:

My breasts rose in the moonlight, cool white domes spangled with clear droplets. I brushed one nipple and watched it slowly stiffen by itself, rising as if by magic.

If that gets your loins going, as if by magic, there’s probably plenty more in the other three Outlander books.

 

  1. The Song of Achilles: A Novel

It’s like where the movie Troy came from without Brad Pitt.

 

  1. Wild West Allis: Every Story Ever Told About Mild, Wild West Allis, Wisconsin

The book’s not sure if it wants to be a novel or a collection of stories, but it’s different. It insults your intelligence overtly rather than because you’re too stupid to realize it. But it also takes you places in literature you’ve never been before. Like a fantasy of a fantasy book, but no slowly stiffening appendages / nipples. They stiffen fast in this book.

 

  1. First Lessons: A Strong Woman in the Middle Ages (A Medieval Tale Book 1)

There are no mirrors in this story so that readers can’t see the bad writing on the wall. Like this:

Her whole life, Aliya had dark hair, olive skin, and she’d never been over a size 8. Which is a perfectly average size when you’re five and a half feet tall. But instead, lying on the sheet, which should have been washed a month ago, was a doughy, fair-skinned body that looked like it took a size 16 or more. The body’s dirty nightgown had ridden up, and she saw that she was a natural blonde. Aliya fainted dead away, but that didn’t keep her from peeing in the pot.

Not lying, that’s an actual quote from the book. I hope it’s like that I Feel Pretty movie, only in the middle ages. Maybe all the dirty, smelly people will learn not to bully the fat, blonde girl. Keep reading if you want to find out.

 

  1. Outlander: A Novel (Outlander, Book 1)

It’s probably better than the newer one...oh, I’m wrong:

‘Mmmm. Your hair smells wonderful.’

‘Do you like it then?’ His hands slid forward over my shoulders in answer, cupping my breasts in the thin nightdress.

It seems like Titlander is more appropriate.

 

  1. The Miniaturist: A Novel

After reading the sample on Amazon, it’s clear this is a novel about nothing at all happening, ever. Or it’s a really long novel, possibly worth your time, based on all the great reviews. But those could all be really bored people with oddly long attentions spans. Good news? No talk of breasts and nipples in the sample section, so it’s safe there.

 

  1. Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction

Seems to be a collection of stories too boring for the Outlander novels but important to read so that the author can add a pool to her house. Maybe a bit like the Wild West Allis stories.

 

  1. Killing Commendatore: A Novel

There’s probably a good reason this book is #2 in Fantasy. More than likely, the following quote is an exception to the rule that this is a good book:

During the eight months after I broke up with my wife and lived in this valley, I slept with two other women, both of whom were married. One was younger than me, the other older. Both were students in the art class I taught.

Just hoping he’s not the main character. Then again, that whole idea of likeable, interesting main characters may be overrated, but this description of lovemaking makes one yearn for the cupping of breasts with stiffened nipples.

 

  1. The Lost Queen: A Novel

This does not appear to be a novel about a man performing song and dance as a woman. It’s actually about a royal who is lost, but most readers will be lost by the sheer number of realms, kingdoms, houses, and name pronunciations. That said, it’s undoubtedly a complex fantasy world. Just a gander at the number of Rh-names indicates how many times you’ll wish people were named Bob or Chuck: Rhydderch, Rhian, and Rhys. For all the G-lovers out there, you’ll have Gladys, Gwenfron, Gwenddolau, Gwrgi, and Garthwys. Can’t make this up.

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  • Duval or DuVal or du Val?
    I was just on an insurance website that listed DuVal as the county we're in. Some people go by DuWhatever, while others use DuSomething. Still others are du Frenchplace. So, I wonder what the deal is with Duval.


    Duval County is named after William Pope Duval, who was the first governor of Florida. He was an appointed governor, so it's not like the people of the state voted for him, but he did rule over Florida for twelve years. Duval himself went by Duval, as can be seen in his signature:

    Of course, Duval, regardless of how William spelled it, would have been du Val at one point. Just like duPont (as in Jessie Ball duPont), used to be du Pont, though I am sure some people around Duval County call it Dupont.

    One additional tidbit about William Duval's name is that he had three sons, with two of them going by Duval and one going by DuVal. Burr and John were Duval, and Duval County, Texas is named after Burr. Thomas, the obvious attention-seeking middle child, went by DuVal.

    To recap, the person specifically for whom Duval County was named was named Duval, not du Val, duVal, or DuVal. So, unlike St. Johns, which people from Florida changed because...lazy, Duval County is spelled correctly. With ONE u, not three.
  • Recyclable Plastic Bags as Beds
    Plastic bags CAN be recycled, probably even in Georgia. That's where a Girl Scout troop decided to save recyclable plastic bags from the landfill in order to build homeless beds. I'm wondering whether it's a good activity or not. I want it to be, really, but I have my reservations. My wife says it's me being cynical, but I just like to make sure the feel-good stories really make me feel good.


    First off, it seems like a good idea. Reuse or upcycle. Since you can recycle these bags, making beds out of them may not really be the best use, but if the bags were going to be thrown away, then it's cool. I just wonder what happens when the bed has served its purpose as a bed. I would think it could be hosed down and used indefinitely, but I'm not sure. But if the woven bags can still be recycled, then that's pretty sweet. 

    Plastics also leach chemicals. 95% of plastics will leach these chemicals when real-world stresses of sunlight or washing are added to the mix. The chemicals tend to be estrogen-like, so I don't really know if they're going to harm any homeless people, but it is something to consider. I don't know the specifics of which chemicals leach from plastic bags, and some are worse than others. Basically, beds made of plastic would likely be banned for normal human purchase, either as mattresses for homes or as camping beds. Surrounding yourself in a chemical bath while sleeping is probably not a great idea for most of us, but I can still see the allure of not wanting to sleep on the ground.

    In the end, I can't say using plastic bags as beds for the homeless is a bad idea, mostly because I can't think of a better material to be upcycled in this way. I guess you could fill the bags with Spanish Moss (which used to be used in mattresses), and they'd be softer yet much more flammable. 
    Actually, filling the bags with anything, like newspaper, might add to comfort or insulation, but the beds would probably less portable.  Besides, I am sure all of this is really about the thought counting more than the actual item being donated. And the work involved. Girl Scoutstrying to do good.