in honor of the SCOTUS decision … entertainment news!

so… it’s about that time of the week when i’m supposed to come up with an update, but to be honest with you, i’ve really got nothing here. granted, perhaps i am just all in a flutter over this recent Supreme Court decision upholding the Second Amendment as an individual right (cue the Brady people saying they need emergency money RIGHT NOW) or distressed that those raccoons keep trying to break into my car (seriously, they are all over that thing ever night now, though this MIGHT be partially my fault for storing pig ears in my car and leaving my windows cracked to tempt them) … but either way, it wouldn’t be right of me to just do nothing. so, in order to try and crack this slump, i’m going back to an old method of coming up with nonsense: making fun of and/or getting enraged by “news stories” on iMDB’s WENN news list. here we go!

Nimoy’s Ode To Larger Ladies
Star Trek star-turned snapper Leonard Nimoy is rallying against the unrealistic portrayal of women in the media – with a new book of photographs of fuller-figured women. The 77-year-old, who has launched a successful second career as a photographer, hopes The Full Body Project will help larger ladies come to terms with their bodies, and resist the pressure to slim. He writes in the preface, “The average American woman weighs 25 per cent more than the models wearing the clothes marketed to her. There is a huge industry built up around selling women ways to get their bodies closer to a fantasy ideal. The women in these pages are proudly wearing their own skins. They accept and respect themselves and I hope that my images convey that feeling to others.”

i admit the following: i was not aware that Leonard Nimoy had a successful photography career (i am much more familiar with his Civilization IV voice overwork). in fact, all i can tell from searching the internet is that he stopped acting to concentrate on his photography (voiceovers aside)… which appears to be limited to taking photos of large women in order to fuel their eternal quests to make their bodies full. so it turns out that Nimoy is a chubby chaser. and that’s fine, but really, is a book where a 77-year-old man declares his lust for larger gals really going to make the insecure girls out there think “yes, THAT is where i want my life to go?”

Kidman Upset By Breaking The Waves Film
Nicole Kidman was left so shattered after watching Emily Watson’s performance in Breaking The Waves, she cancelled a dinner engagement and went home to cry about the film. The actress still can’t understand why the Lars Von Trier film left her so emotional. Kidman tells the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, “I saw that film and I was supposed to go out to dinner afterward. I had to cancel dinner. I went home, got into bed, curled up in a ball, and cried. I don’t know why I had such a profound, deep reaction to that film, but I did. It disturbed my spirit.”

now, granted, this obviously came from some Entertainment Weekly fluff piece… but still, the one question i am left asking is: how the fuck does this qualify as a news story on ANY level? i mean, is it news that it makes me tear up when Dog gets killed in the Road Warrior? OF COURSE NOT. though i admit that i am curious about two things: a) how did this come up at all? i am assuming there’s a Lars Von Trier connection (she’s worked with him), but really, i admit curiosity about this. and b) if Breaking The Waves does that to Kidman, what the fuck would Irreversible do to her? i predict “suicide by striking her head against a wall repeatedly.” which i wouldn’t want to happen now that she’s willing to publicly talk shit about Scientology. also, uh, forget the part where i said the demise of a movie dog makes me all emotional. that doesn’t sound very manly.

Chimp Denied Hollywood Star
The chimpanzee star of movies Tarzan and Bedtime For Bonzo has been denied a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Campaigners were hoping 76-year-old Cheeta’s glittering career would convince committee members to grant him a special spot on Hollywood Boulevard in 2009. But he failed to attract enough votes, reports

well, what more can i say than… I DEMAND TO KNOW THE NAMES OF THESE “CAMPAIGNERS” IN ORDER TO PLAN THEIR IMMEDIATE STERILIZATION. though, if they’re old people, this might not solve the problem, in which case we’ll have to look into this “retroactive abortion” concept we’ve been kicking around the office here.

Lohan Refuses To Submit Name For Emmys
Lindsay Lohan has taken her name out of the race for consideration at the forthcoming Emmy Awards – because her guest spot on Ugly Betty was too “brief”. The actress landed a cameo role in the hit TV show, and was thus eligible to be nominated for the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series trophy. But Lohan insists she does not want to be put forward for the award just yet, because her character only graces the screen in one short scene. Her publicist Leslie Sloane tells the Los Angeles Times’ Gold Derby blog, “The appearance was brief. We made a decision to wait.” Instead Lohan – who plays a bully on the programme – will wait until the next season of Ugly Betty, when her character will have a more prominent role.

whew, bullet dodged! less deserving actresses won’t have to compete with a master actress known for her role in… uh… well, okay, mostly i think she’s known for trying to make her life a train wreck through consuming all of the nation’s drugs and showing her genitals to everyone, while also allowing her mother to get a television program that shows us where the problem(s) came from. meanwhile, Katherine Heigl is just pleased her writer-insulting attempts to inflate her own ego have been overshadowed.

well, i feel better. but since i don’t want to end on a totally negative note:

Swayze ‘Winning’ Cancer Fight
Cancer-stricken actor Patrick Swayze is “winning the battle” against the potentially fatal disease. The Ghost star was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year, but after undergoing treatment at Stanford University Medical Center in California and maintaining a healthy diet, he claims to be making a good recovery. He says, “My treatments are working and I am winning the battle. I am juicing (drinking fresh fruit juice) every day along with other treatments and all I can say is that it’s working fine and really well.”

great success! though i can’t help but be amused at the need to explain what “juicing” meant. i suppose there MIGHT have been concern that Swayze was on steroids or something.

the past is a foreign country: i listen to hip-hop records there

disclaimer for Smiles: talk of rap music approaching!

anyway, so i’m browsing the internet today and i gather that Ice-T and Soulja Boy are having an odd little internet beef, which i can basically sum up as Ice-T saying Soulja Boy killed hip-hop (which, while i grant the kid is a talent-free hack, is obviously depressed hyperbole) and Soulja Boy responding with 0.5% grudging respect for old artists, 0.5% reasonable “how should i respond to you telling me to eat a dick” questions, and 99% “Ice-T is VERY OLD” jokes. what this all reminds me is that i always find myself preferring to play rap CDs rather than listen to rap songs on the radio (partially because stations that play rap assume i ALSO want to hear a lot of R&B, which i don’t and which is a complaint for another time), and that those records are generally older, and that they make me nostalgic.

since we all agree that hip-hop died by the time the year 2000 rolled around and that the 1990s were the golden era of hip-hop, accordingly, i’ve chosen to highlight some of the records from the years 1990-1999 i like to give repeated listens to that are a little less well-known than the standard “well, i liked the Chronic and Doggystyle and Ready To Die and all that.” yeah, if you know shit about albums, then some of these are well-known, but whatever, you’re a much better person than i am. also, please note: i am not including Wu-Tang albums on this list, because they have a ton of awesome 1990s albums and things would get unoriginal.

Ice Cube, WC, the Pharcyde
the early 1990s: home of early west coast rap records that you probably skipped over in order to listen to the Chronic yet again

1990: Ice Cube – Amerikkka’s Most Wanted
actually, this album ALWAYS comes to mind when i turn on a hip-hop radio station, if only for the line “if you’re out there kicking it with the brothers/you don’t care about lovers.” exactly: fuck those goddamn R&B songs. but i digress. here we had a great mix of Ice Cube (or, to be more specific, pre-“fuck it” era Ice Cube, before he was in family-friendly comedies and all that) and the Bomb Squad, who have long proven their now-outdated notion of chopping up a ridiculous amount of samples (i can, for example, think of three songs on Fear Of A Black Planet that each claim more than ten different songs they sampled) to make a record kick some ass. anyway, the moment that always gets me about this album is any time a song has NO fucking chorus at all, just a beat and some samples and that moment of anticipation before the next verse hits. i love it.
song i most fondly recall: “the Bomb.” find me some fucking choruses on that.

1991: WC and the Maad Circle – Ain’t A Damn Thang Changed
sticking with our west coast theme for now, i remember when i first heard this album which, despite having a now-convicted murderer guesting on it, was less about gangster rap posturing and more easy-going: bitching about the police or your shady father seemed more sincere. okay, so i suppose songs like “Behind Closed Doors” and “Caught In A Fad” exist in more popular form in versions like NWA’s “Fuck Tha Police” and Ice Cube’s “Us” (if you see where i’m going with this), but maybe WC’s takes on these subjects are just sweeter, more honest, whatever.
song i most fondly recall: “Out On A Furlough.” seriously, tell me a gangster rapper from the modern day and age is going to have the balls to make a comic misadventure song like this one.

1992: the Pharcyde – Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
whenever someone asks me why hip-hop isn’t FUN anymore, i point to this album. granted, it’s now 16 years old (christ, do i feel old), but it’s about the most honestly FUN album i can think of; “eccentric, comedic content” doesn’t begin to describe it. and maybe that’s why this group self-destructed all too soon after the album’s release (like, 3 years later). “Passing Me By” got some attention, but it wasn’t the first single and i think most people remember it from randomly showing up on Adam Sandler movie soundtracks and the like. if nothing else, there’s going to be something out there for the stoners to love, and you know THEY love to live in the past more than i do.
song i most fondly recall: “Ya Mama.” because i like to hear about people who supposedly have wooden legs with kickstands.

KRS-One, Coolio, Onyx
ah, back in the days when all of these artists got legitimate respect for their musical output…

1993: KRS-One – Return Of The Boom Bap
there’s a scene in the movie Clockers (spoiler: when Errol’s about to get shot) set to a song from this album that makes me remember said album, which THEN makes me think “hey, remember when KRS-One wasn’t constantly releasing terrible records that seem to retroactively ruin our opinion of him? boy, it was great when he wasn’t crazy!” here, we get a lot of still great KRS dropping tales of the old days and referencing his beloved work with BDP. oh, and having a nightmare about being a massive blunt getting attacked by weed-hungry rappers. there’s also a lot of DJ Premier going wild with the production, and you can never go wrong with a lot of DJ Premier.
song i most fondly recall: “Outta Here.” just for the “five thousand dollar love seat” line.

1994: Coolio – It Takes A Thief
sure, Coolio went on to make a bunch of shitty albums (yes, even the one with that “Gangsta’s Paradise” song on it wasn’t very good), and he’s mostly known as “that guy with the insane hair who was once popular,” but back in the day he was on the early-mentioned WC album, and then he made one of those albums i can listen to without feeling the need to skip tracks. it’s got crazy tracks (“Ghetto Cartoon”) and it’s got serious tracks (“N Da Closet”) and it’s maybe even got a single that you remember (“Fantastic Voyage”). it’s always sad to recall when artists made that one good album and then seemed to burn right out.
song i most fondly recall: “N Da Closet.” i really like those background vocals.

1995: Onyx – All We Got Iz Us
my favorite album of all time, hands down; you may know it as the album with “that awesome Last Dayz beat that got used for one of the battles in 8 Mile.” i would sum up the message of this album with “we hate the world, the world hates us, and we want everyone to die, but if that’s possible, then we want to die ourselves.” for some reason, Fredro Starr produced the hell out of this album when he hadn’t done such things before and would never do that that, but it’s great, brooding, grimy New York stuff: the faint soul samples, the insane call-and-response in the background at the start of “Betta Off Dead,” Sticky Fingaz going absolutely wild in his pre-Blade days.
song i most fondly recall: “Last Dayz.” one of the greatest beats ever created.

Chuck D, Psycho Realm, Gang Starr
yeah, that’s right, they let Chuck D make a solo album, despite the fact that he was the solo competent rapper in Public Enemy; i agree, it’s redundant

1996: Chuck D – Autobiography Of Mistachuck
i admit, it was really out of place to hear the track “No” from this album being played in a drug dealer’s SUV on the Wire, because i have money that says a drug dealer from Baltimore would NEVER rock this album in his car… but the track rocks and so does the Wire. and yeah, it’s weird that Chuck D made a solo album when you consider that he’s the lyricist holding down Public Enemy (i give Flavor Flav a lot of serious credit for his comedic counterbalancing of Chuck D and his hype man abilities, but come on). still, it was a secretly good album (sort of like Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age and He Got Game were).
song i most fondly recall: “Mistachuck.” it cracks me up to listen to the Clockers sample where members of Onyx are playfully bashing Chuck D be the start of this album.

1997: Psycho Realm – the Psycho Realm
B-Real found this group, helped get them this release, and then had to fulfill some obligations to the declining Cypress Hill… leaving half of Psycho Realm to get shot and paralyzed while trying to break up a fight at a Burger Stand; later releases featured less B-Real, less major label attention and were basically it for them being a successful group. still, we can’t leave a group with such a crazy obsession with gas masks (seriously, look at some of their album covers sometime) on the scrap heap of history.
song i most fondly recall: “Stone Garden.” because you know i have a romantic thing going on with the concept of death.

1998: Gang Starr – Moment Of Truth
i would like to take a moment to send a big “fuck you” out to all those kids who came to Baltimore to see the RATM/Gang Starr tour and then walked away from the stage to hang out in the hallway(s) because RATM wasn’t on stage yet: you fucking idiots missed a great fucking show! anyway, we all know who Gang Starr is and who DJ Premier is, but with them being officially defunct, i get to thinking about the good old days when they weren’t and were, instead, dropping quality albums. Guru may be a fairly monotone guy, but he sounds very alive over Premier’s work.
song i most fondly recall: “the Militia.” because Freddie Foxxx’s verse is the definition of killing it with a guest appearance.

Pharoahe Motherfucking Monch
…what happened?

1999: Pharoahe Monch – Internal Affairs
in 2007, after eight long years of waiting, i finally got Monch’s sophomore album Desire in my hot little hands on my birthday… and, i have to say, the word “disappointment” does not do it justice. but then again, it’s also being compared with Internal Affairs, a ridiculously awesome affair in which Pharoahe Monch proves that this lyrical abilities are too developed for anyone to copy. well, maybe Sean Combs when he’s paying for ghostwritten songs, but that man is ADEPT at copying others for his own personal profit. this album was back in the days when Rawkus was waving the independent banner high and guys like Mos Def were breaking out for reasons that had nothing to do with acting in the Woodsman. good times.
song i most fondly recall: “Rape.” they ain’t fucking it right, indeed.

so there you go. Smiles, i promise to NOT talk about rap again next week, okay?

in which i again steal Bruce McCullough’s ideas (again, sort of)

well, it hasn’t been exactly a year since the last one of these (though i admit that times were better then), but it has been awhile, and this has reminded me of just how long that fucking cardinal has been messing with my cars (and other nearby cars as well, to be fair). since animals have been again messing with my automobile, well, it’s time for another edition of me stealing from a sweet skit from long ago (and this should explain the purpose behind the whole “in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s ideas (sort of)” thing, in case you never got that reference).

and now, janklow with an open letter to those raccoons that may have gotten into his car the other night.

seriously, raccoons, stay out of my car!

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerks or something? it’s MY car! true, i did leave all my windows open (well, the three that work, anyway) because of the hot temperatures that have been so prevalent recently, so maybe you took that as some sort of challenge to your raccoon masculinity (or raccoonity or whatever). and true, we have stopped leaving old dry cat food around these parts because all of our sweet, appreciative stray cats have all died (which i am sure was a shock to the team of fat, flighty raccoons that were making a living eating the hell out of it). but when i realized that your team of raccoons had left a ring of muddy prints all over the car as you sought to enter the windows (and, let’s be frank, i assume you guys got in there, messed with my radio and smoked all my cigars), i admit that i thought- no, fuck that, i know who does this kind of thing: RACCOONS! now, i want to punch you guys in your faces (or make you my pets and give you names like Bandit and Raider). also, i gather that the cat around here that hates me (but is super soft and fun to pet) also hates you, but probably won’t help me kill you guys or anything. what are you guys – some sort of PRICKS? some sort of idiots? some sort of thieving machines? you washing bear losers! JERKS!

seriously, i feel totally violated here, and these raccoons need to be punched ASAP. other things that need to be punched in the face real, real hard:

-Hillary Clinton. Hillary, Hillary, Hillary… look, you’re older than me, so you’re not supposed to be part of the generation FOLLOWING me that i hate so much, based mainly on their belief that their self-esteem is the most important thing in existence and that they’re entitled to anything they want in life. but you ARE close to the generation that’s raised these whining brats (and the generation that put all that self-esteem bullshit into the curriculum), so maybe i shouldn’t be surprised that you feel so goddamn entitled to being the next president that you don’t think you have to run a campaign to win the office… or don’t think you have to refrain from talking about the assassination of your rivals… or don’t think you have to CONCEDE when you fucking LOSE. but hey, i think you might have needed that punch in the face back in like 1996 or so.

-Kimora Lee Simmons. for which, i admit, i will need to enlist my sister’s help, because i can’t exactly be running around punching girls in the face. it doesn’t play well in the media. but let’s be clear: as much sass as i give Russell Simmons, when you’re running around saying things like “when you get married, you’re forced to drink the milk long after it’s spoiled.” i was unaware your suffering was so immense, Mrs. CEO of Baby Phat. but i just have two questions: 1) did you not know Russell Simmons was an old guy with money when you married him, and 2) did he or did he not make you what you are today? seriously, now.

-Troy Duffy. seriously, having re-watched Overnight again recently, i have this to say to anyone out there who hasn’t seen that hilarious documentary but who, at the same time, really likes that Boondock Saints movie: Troy Duffy is the kind of guy you really want to punch in the face. and if you watch the documentary, you will NOT disagree with me on this one. granted, he’s become sort of a failure (and makes no money from the DVD sales of the film), but i really want to use a time machine to go back and sock him in the face back when he was being more actively worthless (though i am sure his life is of no great consequence now).

ranking the works of everyone’s favorite homosexual nihilist

or most of them, anyway, because i’m not going to rush out and pick up any of his non-fiction just for the sake of this article, and i’m not going to be reading Snuff until such a book is available in some sort of trade paperback form, which it won’t be for some time. anyway, rather than go on about Chuck Klosterman (for fear of a severe beating), let’s talk about the work of another Chuck that a small number of us like: Chuck Palahniuk. sure, he’s a crazy homosexual nihilist (as noted above) and his books seemed to be stamped out in cookie-cutter fashion nowadays, but i find i read them anyway and am thus qualified to rank them in some fashion. so let’s do that, okay?

Chuck Palahniuk, the man, the myth, the legend
i’m not sure how great of an author Palahniuk is going to be considered, but those are utterly AWESOME sideburns

08. Diary
rough plot synopsis: a waitress-slash-artist paints some things that involve magic; who cares.
easily the worst of his books; i can’t even recall anything i really enjoyed about it off the top of my head, and the best thing i can say for it is that the subsequent works in Palahniuk’s catalog (Haunted and Rant) have been better. the book’s been trashed as flawed and inconsistent (and it really is) and i have to say, in all seriousness, that it’s the stupidest of his concepts and it’s the book you read in an author’s catalog when you’ve read all of them but one and you simply HAVE to finish all of them. you choke it down, you feel no better, and your achievement is empty. welcome to my world, insect.

07. Rant
rough plot synopsis: a collective and conflicting oral biography about a guy who’s maybe a serial killer of abnormal method and maybe a time traveler?
confession – i have yet to read 100% of this book; still, i know exactly where it’s going to end up on this ranking list. i don’t want Palahniuk to write sci-fi (or whatever he thinks passes for it), but i’m not sure what “new” thing he should try (i guess the answer is going to be “writing about pygmies and massive gang bangs”). still, while this book is a serious improvement on Diary, it’s also a weird sci-fi novel in that it seems to be a standard Palahniuk insanity fest that then transforms into a weird dystopian future thing complete with crazy “future technology” and Chuck-styled future games based on current peoples’ behaviors and, well, time travel? maybe? i have to say, in the words of Smilez, “anything involving time travel is never good, not even Star Trek.”

06. Lullaby
rough plot synopsis: narrator goes on a quest to resolve SIDS, which apparently is due to a random book that contains a spell; really not as ridiculous as it sounds.
given that this was Palahniuk’s attempt to step away from previous work and write a horror novel, i have to give credit to the notion of doing so; it was either than or become completely redundant, i’m sure. that said, i’m not sure his skills are as good at horror (which might be why he was so redundant) and this book also has the annoying concept of ending as if there could be a sequel to it when you know there won’t be. i’m sure that seems like a weird nitpick, in that many works are somewhat open-ended, but let me say this: if this was a film (and i’m sure it will be one day), when it ended, you’ll scream at the screen “oh my god, could they more blatantly telegraph the sequel?” so this is on YOU.

Choke, decent, not great
Sam Rockwell is doing his absolutely best to convince me that nothing good can come from a movie adaptation of Choke

05. Choke
rough plot synopsis: chronic foster child grows up to become a con man and absorber of conspiracy theories. also, there’s something about Jesus in here or something.
Choke isn’t bad, so maybe this ranking is due to the fact that i read much of it while having some serious car repairs done back in the day, which never puts you in a good, enjoyable mood, but i think this was the point where i said “okay, if Palahniuk doesn’t mix it up a little bit, his career is going to be a slow downhill slide from better to worse”: the random facts and ridiculous scenario(s) entertain, but no longer feel completely original. still, this book would probably come off a lot better if it was your second or third of his works… though that would probably punish one or more of the works further down on this list. and i have to rank it higher than Lullaby, because while Lullaby is a better concept, Choke has better execution.

04. Haunted
rough plot synopsis: 23 short stories supposedly connected by an overall concept, but this is a very nebulous claim.
if you heard of the story “Guts” that was supposedly making all these people faint (hey, let’s assume that is true), then this is the book that contains it. really, it’s sort of like Palahniuk wrote all these decent but short stories and then, rather than just making a book of short stories – a completely valid concept – he decided to shoehorn them into a somewhat lame overall concept, which doesn’t really work. and then there’s the matter of the stories sort of being a gross-out competition wherein it’s just piling outrage on outrage in the hope of effect. now, i grant this sounds pretty negative, but i DO think that removing the writer’s retreat nonsense would make this a crazy-but-solid collection of stories. but that’s just me.

03. Invisible Monsters
rough plot synopsis: disfigured girl and pre-op transsexual share a wild adventure across the US wherein drugs are taken and lots of people get shot. sort of like Thelma and Louise, but more awkward.
since this is actually Palahniuk’s first novel (i do not grant exceptions for books he did not attempt to publish and then re-worked), it’s a good “cool” choice for your favorite of his works … but honestly, i think Fight Club took off not so much because it was more disturbing (despite Palahniuk’s claims/attempts, it’s not) but because it’s just a better all-around book than this one. maybe i’m a moderate here, but i wouldn’t be phased by the synopsis, in that i didn’t think the subject matter was THAT bad, but let’s just say this book is not about guys punching each other in a basement; the homoeroticism is more directed at “being beautiful ladies” than “grappling with sweaty men.”

02. Survivor
rough plot synopsis: yet another satire of commercial culture, where the protagonist is a member of a death cult waiting for a sign he should commit suicide when he is swept into mainstream culture and becomes a pop icon instead of becoming a terrorist (joke’s on you, Fight Club protagonist).
a solid follow-up to Fight Club (if a little similar in terms of ranting about popular culture), it strikes me that people who prefer Survivor to all of the other books on this list generally do so because they think things mocking religion are awesome … which is fine, but which should be based on “hey, this book is awesome” instead of “hey, they’re mocking religion, awesome!” luckily, the book is more the former even if there are a lot of fans who find themselves in the latter category (or who get put their by me regards of their personal feelings). hey, any book that makes fun of the contradictory nature of prophylactics lined with topical anesthetic is alright with me!

Fight Club, still the best
i don’t think Palahniuk’s homosexuality has anything to do with arranging a work filled with shots of Brad Pitt sweaty and half-naked, not at ALL

01. Fight Club
rough plot synopsis: an unnamed protagonist who struggles with consumerism and masculinity in modern culture forms a series of underground “fight clubs” (hence the shocking name) and then sort of becomes a terrorist or something.
it might seem a little trite to rank the book that made Palahniuk so famous and which was made into a quality film as the number one choice, and that i should probably establish some better literary (or pseudo-literary, i suppose) credibility by picking a lesser-known (whatever that means when talking about a famous writer) work as his best… but no, no, Fight Club is the pick. it’s got the best plot, it’s got the best quotes, and it’s probably the least flawed of anything Palahniuk’s written. and really, for as crazy as it probably seems to people who still don’t know much more of his work, it’s the most plausible and least ridiculous of all of his books. honestly, beyond the pretty straight quality line of FC-Survivor-IM, it’s all pretty much been downhill since this work, or, if you prefer, since Survivor. so even though you won’t look as cool because the cover of your paperback will probably have a movie tie-in on it, this is where you should start with his works. i just hope they don’t actually make a musical version of it.

so, there it is. i’d recommend #1-3, #4 if you really dig gross-out fiction, and then #5-7 if you’re smitten with the first three. but Diary… well, you read the brief review. so it goes.