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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  • QR Code Interview Gimmick
    My kids' school created a pamphlet with a QR code that linked to the website, so I figured it could be useful to do the same thing when I bring in my resume to a job interview. Especially since I made a cool online resume that really looks a lot better than the printed kind. Plus, printing all that I've done over the last two decades would be a huge waste of paper (unless it gets me the job).


    I wonder how many people in the average interview will know how  to use the QR code. I didn't have the capability on my phone until last year, and it is kind of a gimmick, especially since you can usually just email links and whatnot. Then again, it's something different, and it might make me stand out a bit, so I'll print off the code along with some other important documents.

    I am sure plenty of people have used a QR code as part of their interviews, but I do think my online resume is pretty darn good, so it's more than a link to my Linkedin page. I suppose a link to a video of me would be even cooler, but that would mean making a video, and it's not like I'm trying to get a job as a videographer. Anyhow, feel free to use this idea as part of your next interview. Just like everyone started using student-written letters of recommendation after I introduced the idea back in 2002.


  • Who's Got My Back in Jacksonville?
    I've seen several political ads recently that focus on people who have the back of the police officers. I suppose that's a thing, but I am not a police officer (or a native of Jacksonville), so I'm kind of wondering who has my back as I settle in here.


    I assume JSO and JFRD have my back because it's their job. And all the military around here have my back in case Canada attacks. But I'm thinking about the everyday having my back kind of thing.

    In Milwaukee, I could count on some people, at least a little bit. Classmates from Milwaukee's John Marshall High School (91, 92, 93, and 94). Or Wilbur Wright Middle School (88, 89, 90). Or French Immersion school or 82nd Street School. Most of the people who might have my back in MKE are now cordial Facebook friends. Sure, our high school football team liked to say we went to war together and we were brothers for life an all that, but we're kind of distant cousins at this point, two decades since I've seen most of those old friends in person. That said, any meatheaded rivalries are now gone at least.

    I donated my time as a teacher at Menomonee Falls High School for 12 years, so there might be a few fellow teachers or former students who have my back. Then again, I didn't get a whole lot of love from many of the MFHS Indians back when I got laid off, so whatevs.

    People at church will have your back, generally, but it takes some time to build relationships. Same goes for fellow parents at your kids' school or new co-workers. Or new neighbors.

    I felt like my fellow baseball teammates in Wisconsin had my back when I played there, but that was also mostly the guys with whom I played for many years. Maybe it just takes a lot of time for people to really have your back, and you have to stay relatively injury-free.

    Family is forever, but I don't have any in jax. I bet that's fairly typical in this area with such a fast population growth in the area. Lots of new people without family, so probably a lot of us trying to figure out who has our backs, besides politicians, of course. Obviously, I have my immediate family, but that's a little different than the idea of someone having my back. Still, it's more than some folks might have.

    My wife's been fortunate enough to find a Meetup group with people who probably have her back. I have not found a good group to join myself, but that's one way to make new friends. Maybe not super close friends, though. I'm not sure. Meetups are hit-or-miss. Just like friendships. 

    I guess I'm glad I'm not in a gang or anything, even though gang members have each others' backs. But the cops and politicians don't have their backs, which is good. I suppose we can all relate to the appeal, especially if you grew up thinking no one had your back.

    I hope all people in Jacksonville find the connections that make them feel safe without having to join a gang, call the police, or vote for someone. That's my goal, anyway.