Author Archives: lydias

Plot Twists I Didn’t See Coming

Scifi Month banner. Shows #ScifiMonth hashtag and two planets in background.This month I’m participating in the Scifi Month challenge that was created by the bloggers at One More. Click on the link in that last sentence for more information or to sign up yourself. There is still time to pick a few of their prompts and join in if you’re interested.

Today’s prompt was “What can possibly go wrong.” The notes for it mentioned plot twists, so that’s the approach I’m taking with this post. 

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t very good at predicting how plots would turn out when I was younger. While this is something I’ve gotten better at over time, there were still some notable moments when I didn’t figure what was going to happen ahead of time despite all of the hints the storytellers threw my way.

Let’s see if I can talk about these films without giving away spoilers. I know most of this stuff came out years ago, but I’d rather let other people discover the plot twists for themselves.

The Sixth Sense film poster. It has five numbers on it. Numbers 1 through 5 are illuminnated and named the five sense. Number 6 on the post shows the outline of a child. No sense is named there. The Sixth Sense (1999) 

The protagonist of this film was a child psychologist named Malcolm whose newest client, Haley, was struggling to open up to him.

There was something strange going on in Haley’s life, but all the boy will say about it is that he sees dead people.

It was up to Malcolm to find out what Haley means by that and why he was so reluctant to go into detail about what’s bothering him.

The foreshadowing was incredibly well done, and there were a lot of hints about what was happening with these characters. I have no idea how I missed the twist in this film the first time I watched it!

Film poster for The Others. Image shows Nicole Kidman holding a glass lamp and staring off into the corner with a fearful expression on her face. The Others (2001)

This is one of my all-time favourite ghost movies. It’s set in 1945 and follows a young mother, Grace, who was raising two special needs children on her own in a large, isolated mansion while her husband was off fighting in World War II.

The children’s health problems made it dangerous for them to be exposed to any form of natural light, so Grace had her hands full looking after them and protecting them from harm. Grace hired a few local people to help her keep the house and grounds running smoothly.

The interesting thing about her new hires was that they dressed like they lived in the late 1800s and seemed to know a lot about her home. There were strange things happening in the house that made Grace’s children wonder if it was haunted. She scoffed at that notion, but her employees had other notions about it.

Once again, this film gave plenty of hints about what was really going on in Grace’s life. I loved the ending, but I also should have seen it coming in advance.

Moon (2009)

Moon film poster. Image on it is of an astronaut wearing a spacesuit and holding his helmet. Unlike the other films in this list, this one didn’t have any paranormal themes.

Sam, the protagonist, was an astronaut who had signed up to spend three years alone mining helium-3, a new source of fuel, on the far side of the moon. He chose this isolated job in order to make money to support his pregnant wife.

A couple of weeks before his term ended, there was an accident. When Sam went out to investigate it, he found something that should have never been possible: another living human being.

That plot twist was the least surprising of them all in this film. I only wish I could discuss the rest without giving away spoilers!

While I did figure out one of the plot twists ahead of time, there were so many more that I didn’t see coming. This is the sort of film I recommend to everyone from hardcore science fiction fans to people who brand new to this genre and hesitant to give it a try. It truly had something for everyone.

What plot twists in films, books, or TV shows did you never see coming?

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Strange or Useless Talent I Have

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Two orange cats standing and sitting on pavement surrounded by fallen leavesMy strangest talent by far is how attracted cats are to me.

Why is this strange? Well, I’m horribly allergic to them. Even hugging someone who has cat dander on their clothing will make me start wheezing and coughing. The more time I spend inhaling that dander, the worse my breathing becomes.

Therefore, I do everything I possibly can do to stay away from cats.

Yet I’ve had multiple experiences with cats who avoid the people who actually want to interact with them and move towards the one person who wants to stay as far away from them as possible.

I’ve actually started staring at cats on purpose on the rare occasion I meet them to see if a little eye contact will gently encourage them to pick someone else as their new best friend.

They’re beautiful creatures, and I’d pet them if I could. But being able to breathe is more important to me for reasons I’m sure you all can understand.

If only there were a way to somehow cash in on this strange superpower of mine!

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Unconventional Bookmarks

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I’m modifying this week’s prompt a little bit because I’m the sort of reader who gleefully makes bookmarks out of all sorts of unconventional things when I read physical books. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I bought or used a traditional bookmark!

No, this post isn’t going to be about me using oreos and milk or a soft taco as bookmarks. None of the things I’m about to mention have damaged books in any way. They’re just a little off the beaten path.

1. Toilet Paper

It may be unnecessary to specify that this is clean, unused toilet paper, but I’ll do it anyway. Sometimes it’s the best available bookmark when you’re in the washroom reading, need to get up, and don’t have any other way to mark your page.

red maple leaf lying on a wooden floor2. Receipts

They’re bookmark shaped, right? Why not put them to use once you’ve bought your products.

3. Leaves 

Like the toilet paper, I only ever used clean, dry leaves. The bigger they were, the better.

4. Greeting Cards

They’re generally taller and wider than traditional bookmarks, but they seem to have about the same thickness. This is a good thing in my opinion. They won’t tear easily, but they also won’t damage the spine of a paperback.

5. Tissue Paper

I was desperate, and it did not work well due to how easily tissue paper tears.

6. Playing Cards

My family always had extra packs of playing cards lying around when I was growing up. Sometimes I’d grab a card as an impromptu bookmark.

How about all of you? What unconventional bookmarks have you used?

5 Ways to Fit More Reading Time In

When I was growing up, I either already knew where the books were or quickly figured it out after visiting a new place for the first time. Sometimes this involved me grabbing a book from my grandparents’ personal library and hiding out underneath the piano to read and nibble on a few crackers while the adults talked.

Since my father was a pastor, this also occasionally meant that I’d sniff out the books in other people’s churches when we visited them. I remember wandering around a particularly large church one day and feeling quite satisfied with myself when one of the doors I opened revealed a small bookshelf in that room.

Immediately, I sat on the floor and read to my heart’s content. All of the books remained in that room, and I put them back neatly where I found them when I decided that enough time had passed for anyone to begin wondering why I’d been away from the service for so long.

That is to say, I have a lot of practice in squeezing reading time out of just about any experience. Here are a few of my favourite ways to get through just a few more pages out while doing ordinary things.

While Waiting

Lego people standing in a tidy queue while waiting to talk to someone who is sitting behind a desk. I read while sitting in waiting rooms, queued up in line, or seeing if a store clerk could find that one last pair of jeans in my size.

There’s something about having a good book to read that makes this time pass much faster.

It’s easier to forget how long you’ve been waiting when you’re in the middle of an exciting scene.

On Transit

Woman standing and waiting for a subway car to stopOne of the nicest things about taking buses, trains, planes, or other forms of mass transit is that you can have a short or long block of time to do all sorts of quiet things in your seat.

I can’t read physical pages while travelling due to how nauseated that would make me, but I can listen to an audio version of a story.

(And, yes, audiobooks totally count as reading).

During Exercise

Woman listening to headphones while resting from a runObviously, this is one of those cases where an audiobook is going to be much easier to “read” than a paperback or e-book.

I have seen people reading novels while using certain fitness machines, though, and I like the idea of killing two birds with one stone that way so long as you do it safely.

One of the things I’m hoping to do this winter is figuring out how to combine reading and exercise in some way. I’m not yet sure how I’ll accomplish that, but it seems like it would be an interesting goal to try to reach.  Audiobooks aren’t the sort of thing I can sit and listen to, but I’m thinking they might be more appealing if I’m doing something else while listening to them.

When You Can’t Sleep

Woman counting sheep in her mind while lying in bed. Outside, a flock of sheep are literally jumping over a fence. Every once in a while, I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. When this happens, reading a book is a nice, quiet thing to do until my body decides to cooperate and go back to dreamland.

The stuff I choose to read at these late or early hours isn’t the same sort of material I’d read in the middle of the day.

Calm stories are good.

Poetry is soothing.

Action-packed thrillers are not so helpful for my overactive imagination at those hours. But to each their own on that topic!

Instead of…

Birds sitting on concrete statues on a foggy dayI’m going to leave it up to you to fill in the blank here. My answer to this question would be TV shows that I’ve lost interest in. While I understand if a show has the odd episode that doesn’t meet my expectations, I’m not the sort of person who will keep watching something that lost my enthusiasm one or more seasons ago.

There are too many other interesting things in this world to stick with stories that no longer grab my attention the way they did in their first episode or season.

How do you squeeze more reading time in?

Dystopian Novels Everyone Should Read

 

Over the course of the next few weeks I will be participating occassionally in the Scifi Month challenge that was created by the bloggers at One More.

Click on the link in that last sentence for more information or to sign up yourself. There is still time to pick a few of their prompts and join in if you’re interested.

Today’s prompt was Future Imperfect. That is we’re supposed to pick something related to dystopian or utopian stories. Therefore, I’ll be talking about some dystopias that everyone who enjoys science fiction should read.

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin book cover. Photo shows a mountain and some scrub brush.

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

Why everyone should read it: What could be more frightening than living in a world that was forever altered every time a specific person had a vivid dream? I don’t know about all of you, but my nightmares would be pretty scary if they came true.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell book cover. Image is of an eye peering down a hole.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Why everyone should read it: I try to avoid politics on this site, but this book’s message about totalitarianism is just as relevant now as it was when it was first published.

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham book cover.

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

Why everyone should read it: If you don’t fear nuclear war yet, this book might make you change your mind about it. The plot is set generations after a nuclear war. Radiation continues to kill people, though, and society’s response to it has changed all sorts of things about the ways in which people live.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood book cover. Image is of a woman's face and a flower.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Why everyone should read it: Bioengineering is fascinating. The other interesting thing about this book is how few characters it had. Nearly every human on earth had died from a plague when the events of it happened. Many of the animals and plants that humans had tweaked in some way were still alive, so it was like getting to know humanity without meeting many people at all.

The Book of Dave by Will Self book cover. Image on cover is of an etching of a car.

The Book of Dave by Will Self

Why everyone should read it: It’s set five hundred years from now and has amazing plot twists. I first read it at a time in my life when I wasn’t very happy for reasons that seemed almost impossible to fix. Reading about what the future might be like – as dark as that future was –  somehow made me feel better. This book also had some thought-provoking things to say about how we interpret old texts and why it’s so important to take the cultures they came from into context before deciding to base our lives around them.

The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper book cover. Image is of top of a building, a woman standing in profile, and a full moon.

The Gate to Women’s Country by Sheri S. Tepper

Why everyone should read it: One of the reasons why I take long breaks from the dystopian genre has to do with how poorly women are treated in most of them and how strong the assumption is that all women will have awful lives in that setting. This Feminist spin to the genre was a breathe of fresh air.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Books I’ve Recommended & Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. As I mentioned in an earlier response to a Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge, I’m hesitant to give or take book recommendations unless I’m sure that they’re actually tailored to the person who is receiving them. That is, I think recommending a book is sort of like setting a friend… Read More

10 ASMR Videos I’d Recommend to Beginners

As I said in my first post on this topic: Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a calm tingling sensation that some people feel at the back of their their scalp and down on other parts of their body after being exposed to certain types of auditory stimuli. ASMR is used for relaxation purposes…it’s similar… Read More

Glimpses of Horror: A Review of Regretfully Invited

Title: Regretfully Invited: 13 Short Horror Stories Author: Jan L. Mayes Publisher: Self-Published Publication Date: 2018 Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Historical, Contemporary Length: 86 pages Source: I received a free copy from Jan. Rating: 3.5 Stars Blurb: Find out the answer to this question and more with this 13 story bundle of creepy, horror… Read More