The Appeal of Madonna vs. The Appeal of Lady Gaga

Gaga Wrapped

or
Gay Light Bulb Moment!

I think I’ve figured out what’s fundamentally different from Madonna and her protege-without-permission Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga makes bold statements with her words during interviews, her fashion and her performances, but her songs themselves are mostly standard pop music. She claims there’s a deeper meaning behind them and I believe it, but she doesn’t actually express that meaning. Poker Face might really be about bisexuality and Paparazzi might really be about media killing those with fame, but the lyrics of the songs themselves just suggest cliche sexy pop themes, nothing extraordinary. Even Gaga’s best music (and make no mistake, she has some great music) is still pop music that rarely makes a truly bold statement. Whenever she DOES attempt to make a bold statement, as with Born This Way, Speechless, or Dope, it comes off sounding inauthentic and forced, and a little cringey.

With Madonna, however, the message is right there in the music and doubly so in the performance. When she says “I’ve made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby,” she’s making a bold statement, and for the time in which she said it it was in incredibly bold statement. It’s the same with all of her music. With each new album she reinvents herself and chooses a new direction, and though there are plenty of standard love song and breakup ballads, she makes bold statements and follows through with them, rather than just hinting at them. Making her songs even more powerful are the fact that Madonna said the things she was saying and expressed her sexuality at a time when people didn’t openly flaunt their bodies on stage in an attempt to sell records. When Madonna rolled around grinding the stage on the VMAs, she was making an actual statement about freedom of sexuality, but when Britney Spears did it it meant nothing, it was a marketing campaign and she herself probably never put any thought into the performance. Madonna still has staying power, her newest album is ripe with fantastic pop music as well as messages that are sometimes hard to swallow, but always topical, and always true.

Madonna might not have the singing chops Gaga has, but Madonna reinvented pop music, and Lady Gaga is simply doing more of the same. I really love both artists, but even though Lady Gaga brings her own brand of weirdness to pop music, her open appeal to the gay audience (something that, by the way, every pop star since Judy Garland has had) has rallied crowds of fans around her who are so obsessed with her that they don’t even look at what messages she does try to send, and insist that Madonna is “tired” and “old,” but between the two of them, Madonna was the one who forever changed pop culture, and the one who continues to reinvent herself with each new album. Her voice hasn’t gone downhill, her performances haven’t gone downhill, she is still just as relevant today, as are her songs from the 80’s. In twenty years, I still think that “I’ve made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby” will have more of an impact that “Puh-puh-puh-po-ker-face-puh-puh-po-ker-face.”

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If Vision is the Only Validation, Then Most of My Life Isn’t Real

Personal Things

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks for me, my whole life has kind of changed, which is good because to be quite honest everything has SUCKED since moving to Georgia. When I last posted, I hadn’t started my job at Pottery Barn yet. Well, I’m happy to say I’ve been working there for about two weeks now and I really enjoy it. It’s a wonderful job. I was incredibly nervous for my first couple of days, but I got the hang of retail quite easily. There’s a lot to know about the store, and you need to be prepared to answer people’s questions, but luckily we all have headsets and no one is opposed to me asking questions. Altogether, it’s been a very cool job so far, I work evenings and I go in in the afternoon, so I deal with a good bit of customers for the first few hours, and the last few hours I mostly spend doing odd tasks for the managers or whoever needs my help, restocking stuff, and dusting/cleaning a bit.

Since my position is seasonal, I’m trying to go above and beyond if I can, in the hopes of being kept on after the holidays. One of the ladies I work with is really nice to me and is always giving me jobs to do and answering questions for me, and she used to be a manager and she asked me the other day what my intentions were after January, and when I told her that I wanted to stay on with the company she said she’d already talked to them about keeping me on, which is awesome. This is the only job I’ve ever had that I’ve really enjoyed going to, and I feel like I’m doing very well so far. On Tuesday I set a couple of displays on my own, and got some compliments from my manager which was a great feeling. So basically, things are going really well on the job front.

I also finally, after 3 years of driving around with a learner’s permit, got my driver’s license. The DMV in town is one of those with a huge parking lot in the back, and the first section was all about parking, at which I did terrible and knocked over a record amount of traffic cones. However, I did perfect on the actual driving-around-on-the-road portion of my test, and now I’ve been driving myself to and from work every day for the last week or so.

Oh, did I also mention that I’m driving to and from work in my own vehicle? My stepfather basically gave me this truck he’s had for a while, it’s now in my name and I’m insured, and I got tags for the vehicle and everything. So, between my own vehicle, my own insurance, my own license, and my own job, I’m feeling really grown up. Normally I would freak out and shrink and be afraid of all these changes, but it’s really not scaring me all that much. I’ve had some moments, like when I had my first midnight Walmart run all on my own the other night, and once I got to the stoplight at the nearly abandoned four-way stop I got so nervous that I felt like I was having an anxiety attack, but it wasn’t like my normal anxiety attacks, it was ACTUAL fear and anxiety, and once I got through the light it was pretty much alleviated.

In fact, that’s the way everything’s been going lately. Since I started having these issues with panic attacks, I find myself in everyday situations that I can’t handle, and ruin everything for myself with my complete lack of self-confidence, but this whole experience with driving and working and doing things for myself reminds me a lot of when I was a kid in elementary school: I was in behaviorally challenged classes because I had some issues, and they would set me up on a system where certain behaviors bring about certain rewards, and when I did well I would be so proud of myself and I’d actually experience positive change. I guess I’ve just gotten so used to nothing ever happening in my life, as a result of my own lack of faith in myself and refusal to really try, that I’m not used to the feeling of ACCOMPLISHING things.

I even found myself being annoyed at the other seasonal/temporary employees, because I’ve heard at least two of them complaining about the job: “There’s nothing to DO… This is so BORING… I still have another THREE HOURS…” I honestly haven’t felt that way. I like it when it’s quiet and I’ve even become comfortable when it’s busy, and I usually find something to do to make myself useful, and when there’s not much going on, I don’t really have a problem with wandering around, straightening shelves and looking busy. Underneath all of my reticence, I do actually have a really good work ethic, I do want to be an asset to the store. If I keep trying to go above and beyond, or at very least being helpful, I feel like I’ll gain the manager’s and my co-workers’ respect, and definitely be able to stay on after the holidays.

So tomorrow is Black Friday, a.k.a. the day after Thanksgiving, a.k.a. the biggest shopping day of the year. Luckily I’m a closer, so I’m coming in at 2:00 in the afternoon and staying until we close the store for the night at 10:30PM. I’m told it’s pretty crazy, as I would expect it to be, but at least I’m not working the Midnight Madness shift, and one of the manager’s mentioned that we shouldn’t have lines around the store like we did last year because so many other stores are having Black Friday sales as well. We’ll see. I actually was dreading this day when I was first hired, but I’m honestly not too intimidated by it now.

Breaks/lunches are going to be a little different tomorrow, we all have to bring a dish of some sort to work, I’m going to try deviled eggs, since I’ve made those before and they’re not too difficult, and they’re Thanksgiving-y. Altogether, things are getting better for me. I still haven’t finished submitting all the information I need to submit to the college I’m planning on going to (which by the way, I found out is NOT a community college whatsoever, it’s a 4-year military school, but I still want to go, and I’m even toying with the idea of taking out student loans if I have to), but it’s going to happen.

My “romantic” (read: desperate sexual) experiences leading up to moving to Georgia and since being here have been, to quote Grace Adler: “a revolving door of loser after loser.” I’m actually really bothered by the idea that some of the guys I’ve had bad experiences with (one of whom got so attached to me that he was convinced he was in love with me and became suicidal when I broke it off with him before it even began) might be reading this blog. It honestly disturbs me a little bit.

I’ve always been very compassionate, but really, the last few guys I’ve been with have been losers. They’re human beings, and they’re not worthless, but they’re not people that are going to enhance me in any way, and I’m tired of handing myself over to people I’m completely not attracted to and who are pathetic, emotional messes. I need a good guy in my life with some sense of responsibility who has himself together and can show me some real, functional love. I’ve seen myself in some of the guys I’ve been with in Georgia, and it was fucking scary. I’m done dating losers and people I’m not attracted to, giving myself up to people and feeling unclean and hating myself afterward. It’s not that these guys I’ve been don’t have emotions that matter, but it’s just not my responsibility to be there for everyone and to handle every person’s shit. I’ve made some really, really shitty decisions about my life since I turned 18: in the last 3 years I’ve had sex with 10 people, and only one of those people did I really care about, and only a couple of those experiences were actually PLEASURABLE, much less meaningful.

I’m ready to get some good things going in my life. I’m ready to have the things I want and have friends and have a fucking LIFE. I’m done dreaming, I’m taking action now. I’ve started, and I’m not going back. Being a kid isn’t worth it, I much prefer being an adult.

Entertainment Things

Finally, Lady Gaga is giving us a better album cover for Born This Way. It’s the cover of a 3-disc compilation called Born This Way: The Collection, which compiles the 17-track version of Born This Way, a DVD of HBO’s The Monster Ball, and a new remix EP called Born This Way: The Remix, which features remixes of singles as well as album tracks. I will probably buy this, because this is the first time The Monster Ball is being officially released, but the thing that makes me the happiest is that I can finally get rid of that second disc of remixes from my deluxe edition of Born This Way, and more importantly, I can get rid of that awful motorcycle cover. I’ve always said that the photo on the back of the booklet, of Gaga in the gooey sort of afterbirth dress, should be the album cover, and now sure enough she’s giving us an even more fabulous gooey photo. I’m going to be honest, if this had been the cover of the album, I probably would have liked it more. Presentation is important; Lady Gaga of all people should know that. So here’s the cover! Change your iTunes album artwork with pride.

The only other entertainment news I have is that I have discovered Sam Sparro, who is known for his 2008 single Black and Gold, which has been covered by Adele, Ellie Goulding, and Katy Perry, but none of them compare to his original. Sam is a sexy Australian gay boy endowed with a set of vocal chords that make panties and undies alike drop, whose swag is turned up to the max and who is extremely sexy to boot; he’s a really talented singer and producer, and I highly suggest checking him out. Here’s a picture of mister hotness to persuade you.

Day-um.

Put Your Paws Up

So I’ve moved back into my mom’s house and I’ve been here for about a week so far. Today is my 21st birthday and I’m feeling pretty low. That’s mainly because my mom is now back on the Christian train. Right now, I don’t have the energy to attack Christianity the way it’s attacked me and anyone else who has the courage to embrace who they are.

But in a rare act of serendipity, Lady Gaga’s new album, Born This Way, is released today, May 23, my 21st birthday. I’ve known this for a while, but it wasn’t until just now that I realized that I think the universe set this all up just for me.  I think the universe brought me back here to experience what I have in the past week, like having my 9-year old little sister tell me that I’m wrong for “choosing” to be gay, hearing my mother say that we’re not allowed to say the word “transgender” around my sister, and that I can’t talk about my sexuality because it would be detrimental to her.

This has been a heatbreaking experience for me, more so than it ever has before, because for the last few months I’ve been away from my mother, and I’ve been surrounded by acceptance and freedom, but now more than ever, this place has become a breeding ground of resentment and hatred. I’m not even mad. I’m just… sad. I’m truly sad, because my mother, who has within her the chance to be an incredible person, because she’s filled with love and compassion, is allowing herself to become a part of something that oppresses and hurts people, like me, her own son. I don’t hate her anymore. I feel sorry for her, because she can’t love herself enough to find happiness and peace within, but looks to some idea of a god in the sky to validate her. She believes these silly, fairytale lies, and she thinks she’s happy.

But she’ll never know for one moment the fulfillment that I have in being free, and loving who I am. She’ll never know what it’s like to embrace yourself, every part of yourself, all of the sticky, gooey, hot, dark, dirty, smelly places within yourself where your anger and your fear and your love and your compassion all exist, and you accept them all, because they’re all good, and they all of them make you whole.

And so, the Universe set this all up, not just for me, but for everyone who is surrounded by people trying to throw shame on them. Today, I embrace who I am, I put my paws up and I proudly declare, I was born this way baby. I’m sad, but that’s okay. I love myself. And I know that I experience life on a level she doesn’t, every day, because I love myself.

I still have resentment in me. I have a lot of resentment in me. That’s okay. I think I’m starting to understand that a large part of my resentment is just sadness. Sadness that I’ve been treated wrongly for who I am, and sadness that so many people have been pushed beyond what they can humanly abide, because the people around them wouldn’t accept them who they are. On this day, when I celebrate my life, I celebrate all of who I am.

I was Born This Way 🙂

The Benefits of Traveling With A Shapeshifting Sharpshooter

Okay, we have a lot to cover today. First, we have some Lady Gaga news. A few months ago, The Remix, an EP of remixes of various Gaga songs including all of the singles up to that point, was released. The international version was released first, this contained remixes of all of her radio singles, two or three each, more for the newer songs, presumably because the newer remixes are just better in general. The cover art was one of Gaga’s shots from her David LaChapelle photo shoot, where she’s completely naked, but covered in scraps of paper with words written on them.

The Remix was then released in the UK with an alternate cover featuring Gaga in a nice white-and-pink lace outfit (these two covers are two of my favorite Gaga pictures) and a new tracklisting, containing some songs that weren’t singles, and some that weren’t yet singles (a remix of The Fame from the first album, and Alejandro and Dance in the Dark, neither of which were released as singles yet, and the latter of which is considered to be the next single from the Fame Monster. I think Alejandro should have been Monster or even So Happy I Could Die, but that’s just my two cents). Well, The Remix is now set for a US release date, which I’m surprised I didn’t anticipate, I guess I just assumed it was an international thing. The US cover art will be the same as the UK, pink-and-white Gaga, which I personally like more at the moment.

At any rate! The US release has notably the shortest tracklisting so far, and unlike the previous two releases, contains one remix of each song. I’m now going to give you the tracklisting and some of my thoughts.

One night, Gaga sat idly at the dinner table, looking for inspiration, when she thought she'd try putting the doily on her head. The results were fantastic.

1. Just Dance (Richard Vision Remix)
2. Poker Face (LLG vs GLG Mix Remix)
3. Lovegame (Chew Fu  Ghettohouse fix featuring Marilyn Manson)
4. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) (Frankmuzik Remix)
5.  Paparazzi (Stuart Price Remix)
6. The Fame (Glam As You Remix)
7. Bad Romance (Starsmith Remix)
8. Telephone (Passion Pit Remix)
9. Alejandro (Sound of Arrows Remix)
10. Dance in the Dark (Monarchy `Stylites Remix)

I don’t really like remixes in general, but for every single, Gaga releases some kind of remix EP. They tend to get better as they go along. For instance, I hardly like any of the Just Dance remixes, the Richard Vission mix is the one included here, and from what I can remember of it I’d prefer the original. They went with the obvious Poker Face remix, the LLG vs GLG mix, and no, I have no idea what that stands for, but this mix is very similar to the original. My favorite Poker Face remix is the Jody Dean Broeder mix.

An unlikely pair, or a perfect match? You decide.

Next we have the Ghettohouse Fix featuring Marilyn Manson for Lovegame. If you haven’t heard this mix, you should, it’s a more fast-paced version of the original but musically not too different, and it actually features guest vocals from Marilyn Manson (he screams “Fame!” in the background and sings the second chorus alone). Eh, Eh is next, and this is my least favorite Lady Gaga song. I seem to get the idea that I’m not alone in that opinion, I find Eh Eh to be annoying for the most part, it sounds like aggravating 80’s glam-pop palm tree music to me. I’ve heard her do a live version with the piano that’s much better, but anyway, addressing the remix, I haven’t heard this one, but most remixes of Eh, Eh are pretty much as undesirable for the original in my opinion, but you decide for yourself. Hey, I can’t be expected to like every single song.

Ah, now we get to a good one. This is in my opinion possibly the best remix to a Lady Gaga song, and it really takes the cake as remixes go: the Stuart Price mix of Paparazzi. I love this version, it actually made me tear up a bit when I first heard it, it just has such a tragic and beautiful feel to it, it’s one of the remixes that shows off how dark Gaga’s songs actually are musically, but you usually can’t tell beneath the pop effects and instrumentation. This remix is a must-hear. Go listen to it on YouTube right now. Or maybe when you’re done reading this.

There’s a remix of The Fame, which in general is not my favorite song. We now move into songs from The Fame Monster, and at this point you may share my opinion (especially after just listening to The Fame) that The Fame Monster is so much better than it’s predecessor that it’s ridiculous. It’s like Gaga’s ability got ten times better over the course of one album. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that she was able to work with bigger and better producers on this album, but nontheless, a direct comparison between The Fame and Bad Romance absolutely cements my point. Well, at least to myself. A lot of the songs on The Fame (The Fame for instance, Money Honey, and Summerboy to name a few) felt like filler.

But as I was saying, Bad Romance is our next track. My personal favorite mixes of Bad Romance are the Skrillex mix, and the Bimbo Jones Remix, but after giving the Starsmith remix a listen I actually enjoy it too. It has a very fashion show feel to it. Kind of like all the music in The Devil Wears Prada. Did anyone else notice that all the songs in that movie were very relaxing fashion pop? I find them relaxing anyway. They opt for the Passion Pit remix of Telephone, a very lengthy but very pretty remix with a lot of slow instrumental sections. I haven’t heard either of the final two remixes; Alejandro finally grew on me after a bit, it was my least favorite song of the album for a while though. I’m ready for Dance in the Dark to be released for radio, both because I’m tired of hearing “Ale-ale-jandro Ale-ale-jand-a-ro!” and because Gaga will have reached her 4-single minimum, and maybe we can get the new album sooner.

Did I mention she’s completed her third album? She’s just waiting to release it now. If The Fame Monster is any indication, her albums are growing quite exponentially better. I probably would have preferred that The Fame be as brief of an album as The Fame Monster, some tracks (like The Fame, oddly enough, Money Honey, and Summerboy) just felt like filler, and weren’t very interesting. The Fame Monster is so much more engaging of an album.

So there you have it. Let’s review. The Remix will be released in the US, white cover, ten tracks, one remix each. The Fame Monster’s fourth single should be Dance in the Dark from what I understand, and I think the public will react well to that one, and besides I’d like to see a video for that song. Hopefully it will contain less cutscenes. Short films are good and all, but maybe we should keep it down to a shout, Gaga. Finally, the third album, currently untiltled from what I understand, is complete and just waiting to be released. It has been mentioned that it won’t be out by Christmas though, so it’s most likely going to be a 2011 release. Somehow, though, I just don’t think that makes much sense, unless they’re planning five singles for The Fame Monster or something.

Anyone bored from all my overly detailed statistics yet?

I got a new book! Since I plan on focusing on music and literature when I go to college, I do want to be somewhat well read, and besides that I just enjoy reading “the classics.” For one, because I enjoy a good book, and I’m tired of looking in the teen fiction section for something good, because there’s very little there that’s truly gripping. And besides, I’ve been though the Twilight series, and I’m not going back.

I have read at least one staple of classic literature, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I bought it when I was still in my vampire phase, but didn’t actually read it completely until later. It was a surprisingly witty and romantic book, I really enjoyed the dialogue. Everyone was so polite and corteous, and it wasn’t boring or dry, it was in fact very engrossing. Most of the book centers around the two female characters, each of whom are preyed upon by Dracula, and after the first few chapters of the book, Dracula himself only makes about two or three appearances before the end of the story. I have to admit I found the ending a little anticlimactic, but altogether it was a very interesting book, I very much enjoyed the characters, and especially the good English spoken amongst them. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent a good deal of time in teen fiction novels, most of which are written with a lot of slang, and that tends to annoy me after a while.

This version is zombie free.

Apart from Dracula, I’ve also gotten ahold of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. It seems to be a pretty quick read, but I haven’t finished it. I’ve read the first couple of chapters and found them very interesting and easy to follow. And so now I have added one more volume to my collection of classic literature, a quaint little paperback copy of Pride and Prejudice. I’ve gathered that many Austen readers prefer Emma, but I’ve been told that you can’t really appreciate the novels humor if you’re not already familiar with Jane Austen’s style.

I was honeslty hooked from the first sentence. I’ve only read the first chapter so far, but I think it’s going to be a great novel. The characters seem to be very witty, and it feels like a very fun book. I would like to venture into Dickens eventually, and perhaps try my hand at the Divine Comedy, which of course our society of dark, vampire-loving youth have grappled on to, but it might be like Dracula, and turn out to be fantastic. Good literature is good literature, a fan base doesn’t change it’s power. There was an episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart where the guest was promoting a book about Heaven, and society’s various perceptions of it. She said that her personal favorite interpretation of Heaven was Dante’s, in which the main aspect was that there was a brilliant light through which everyone was intimately connected with God. I’m probably not phrasing it as well as she did, but what she described did sound very beautiful, and I’m sure the Divine Comedy is an inspiring piece of literature. I’ve only glanced over it, and from what I can tell it seems to be written in verses. I have a feeling that might cause me a bit of aggravation, but I’m sure I’ll get over it if I ever read it.

That’s really all that I have to mention today, I had some other things I thought I might share my opinions on, but I’m not exactly in an articulate mood, I’ve been staring at television and computer screens for the better part of the last couple of days, and my head is a little to swimmy for me to put together any good reviews on anything.

Warning: the next couple of paragraphs deal exclusively with Final Fantasy VII. If you haven’t played the game, you probably will be lost and bored.

Random information! I’ve restarted my file on Final Fantasy VII. Why? A few reasons. First, because I was adventurous this time, and didn’t use any of my normal characters (my favorite party tends to be Cloud, Vincent, and Cid); I went with Tifa and Nanaki. Both are characters I like and who I’ve never completed the game with, but altogether, though I do enjoy Nanaki, I found him to be a little anticlimactic. His weapons are few and far between, his double materia growth weapons are all found nearer to the beginning of the game and don’t have a lot of power, and his Limit Breaks, while not bad, just weren’t satisfying enough for me. Tifa’s limit breaks are really cool, she’s the only character in the game who uses every limit ability consecutively, and she wasn’t a bad character, I may use her again but I have a feeling I’m going to revert to my classic party this time; she may travel with me for a while until then, I’m not sure yet.

Aside from that, I used Materia that I never normally used this time. I’ve always been very focused on magic materia, and rarely ever used the character’s physical attacks. This time I minimized magic usage, for the most part I didn’t own more than one piece of each magic materia (previously, I’ve always gotten two or three Lightnings, Ices, and Fires). I also equipped things I normally don’t, like Cover and Sense, just for the fun of it and so that my stats wouldn’t be beaten up by all of the magic materia. Once you start getting the powerful magics and summons, they really starting draining your attack power. Another reason I want to restart is because I failed to get the Huge Materia from outer space, which means that if I wanted to master all of the assist materia and fuse them, I wouldn’t be able to, and I also didn’t get Bahamut ZERO. I tried twice, and it was very aggravating both times. Next time, I’m just going to look up the combination to get the Huge Materia out on Game FAQs or something, Cid was a real pain.

Oh yes, there’s another reason I want to restart: I didn’t use Cid. Upon the party’s first meeting with Cid, he’s a mysogonist pig and a cruel bastard. But I can’t help it, I just like Cid. I usually even think that cigarette in his mouth at all times is gross, but I don’t care, I just like Cid. Besides, he’s one of the only characters with a weapon that has triple materia growth, so when it comes time to level up materia, you really need to include him in your party whether you’ve been using him or not. Besides, he is one of the character’s you’ll be controlling for a little while, and I’ve found that having Cid on your party and not including Tifa is much easier than the other way around.

Because who else in your party transforms into a minotaur or the Frankenstein monster when they get mad?

I do like controlling Tifa though, and using her in the chocobo races, but I think I’m going to stick with my classic party of Vinent and Cid. Vinent just looks cooler than everyone else in all of the cutscenes; he has a cape on for crying out loud! Just look at his sprite: fully covered in a cool red getup, cape following him at all times, lots of gymnastic moves, and his Limit Breaks are one of the game’s most unique sets. I can’t help it, I felt weird not using Vincent or Cid. Although, I have been giving thought to including Cait Sith in the party, but I think if that were to happen it would just be temporarily; for instance, until I get Vincent and Cid, I might just use Yuffie (I like her sprite too) and… well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go crazy and actually use Barret for once! But probably not. He’s an eco-terrorist for crying out loud! Besides, his racist stereotype antic are kind of annoying.

And those are today’s thoughts. Perhaps I get a little to engrossed in details, but I enjoy my details, I have to be knowledgable about something, it might as well be the things I’m interested in. My reading list is getting larger and I still have hardly finished any of the many books I own, if I count all of my books that I’ve begun and need to finish, the list is: The Rivers of Zadaa, Animal Farm, The Looking Glass Wars, Vampire Hunter D, The Vampire Lestat (stopped reading that one a long time ago), Memoirs of a Geisha (looking forward to that one), and Redwall. There are certain books I want to finish (The Looking Glass wars, for instance) just to have them finished, so I can tuck them onto a shelf and be done with them. I did it with The Innocent Mage, didn’t I?