Giveaway Post #1 – Strange Special Interests

This is the first of several giveaway posts meant to celebrate the second anniversary of my website and share the things I’ve been focused on this past year.


Giveaway Post 1

I have a ton of strange special interests.

For the past six or seven months, one of my most obnoxious interests has been cannibalism in fiction and nature. Normally, I’m a big baby. I can’t watch most horror movies and only made it three episodes into the Hannibal series before I had to turn it off. I don’t do body horror.

But then, I had two back to back hits with fictional cannibals and hello new conversation topic that made the people around me incredibly uncomfortable.

First, there was Cassandra Khaw’s incredible 2015 novella Rupert Wong: Cannibal Chef (a bit of a misnomer because he’s cooking people for ghouls, not himself but I LOVE the title).

Look, that was the book that made me a Cass Khaw fan before I got to know her and realize that she’s super sweet on top of having a delightfully dark mind. (Now I’m a lifelong fan!!) Cass has some of the most vivid writing and when applied to describing a character butchering and cooking humans for his ghoulish bosses, it’s truly an experience that I didn’t expect to have!Ghoul_Kaneki

Then I got into Tokyo Ghoul.

I swear that everyone in my department at school regrets the day I stumbled across the anime on Hulu and proceeded to watch the first season on repeat for like the next month before powering through the first manga series.

It was entirely my thing. I loved (most of) the characters, the way the fight scenes and other violent moments were rendered, and the fact that I wound up with questions about things like well… how being a ghoul would work.

In the series, ghouls can only eat food made 100% from humans so I had a lot of questions about how that would work and I was beyond obnoxious about it.

Despite the fact that I normally can’t stomach body horror or incredible gore, I literally could not stop talking about cannibalism in those two series. I had questions and thoughts about ethics/economics of cannibalism, people cheese, and bone bread.

It was well… pretty gross. I’ll admit it. I hyper fixated like nobody’s business for a while and it even became a running joke that if you needed an “expert” on cannibalism in the department (for whatever reason), it’d be me.

I’ve had strange special interests before. I was a criminal justice major before I switched to history for my first two degrees and my god if I told you all the things I fixated on during my undergrad period, y’all probably wouldn’t know what to do with me.

I’ve had an Ancient Egyptian phase, way too much of an interest in the workings of 1920s politics, and an early focus on horrible unexplained deaths spurred by a sixth grade reading textbook that my middle school probably shouldn’t have let us read. This new special interest – fueled by Cassandra Khaw’s gorgeously gory writing and the messy messy drama that is Tokyo Ghoul –is just one in a long line of weird things I’ve got an interest in writing/reading about.

Now I’m nosy and would love to hear about the strange shit that you lovely people have fixated on over the years.  So, respond to this post with a comment about one of your strange special interests (past or present) for a chance to win Kindle copies of Bill Schutt’s Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History and Cassandra Khaw’s Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef.

One person will win, but hopefully, we’ll all be entertained in the process!

(Giveaway is open to anyone with an Amazon account. This should work for folks that have an Amazon account regardless of where it’s from. Winner will be contacted via email the following Monday so make sure you leave a correct email address when you leave your comment. Comments are moderated but I’ll approve them promptly!)

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About Zina

Zina writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories and complaining about stuff. One day, she'll settle down and write that novel.
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6 Responses to Giveaway Post #1 – Strange Special Interests

  1. Diana says:

    Since you did recc these books to me, I am super interested in them!

    And after thinking over what weird obsessions I’ve had, I definitely don’t think I can top your post yet (although maybe in the future!) but my first thought kind of came to my obsession with the Muppets, and more specifically with Kermit and Miss Piggy’s relationship.

    I think what makes this weird, aside from the fact that I’m overly-invested in the happiness of two fictional puppets, is that I actually didn’t watch the muppets as a kid. The first muppets film I saw was in junior year of high school, and it was the one that was made in 2011. And I was obsessed! At around 16, I cried my way through the Muppet remake, then proceeded to purchase the three original Muppet films (The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and The Muppets Take Manhattan) as well as Muppets Most Wanted. Watching them all several times over, and then going through the original TV series.

    This is all relatively mild, not normal, but mild. Then I started to dig through interviews starting way back in the 70’s and 80’s and watching the clips where I could, and reading the transcripts of the interviews where I couldn’t. (The Muppets wiki is a great resource!) Luckily for me, most of the interviews were either Kermit, Miss Piggy or both. Since my main fandom occupation is shipping, I became utterly obsessed with their relationship, to the point that I was getting upset to my friends about the levels of misinformation that was going on in real news site regarding the “breakup” of Kermit and Miss Piggy which you asked me about briefly once, lol. To which most of my friends were attempting sympathy, but generally wishing I’d shut up.

    Tragically, life responsibilities and other things got me distracted so I still haven’t watched the TV show that was on, and there’s a handful of episodes of the TV show and interviews I haven’t gone over, but tbh my friends are probably thankful for that lol.

    I hope you enjoyed reading some of this!!! Honestly just happy to have a chance to talk to you 🙂

    Like

    • Zina says:

      You are super freaking adorable and I love that you’ve just gotten so invested in Kermit and Piggy’s relationship. I loved the Muppets as a little kid (well… mostly the Muppet Babies), and I have also been super invested in Kermit and Miss Piggy’s relation ship since then.

      I really feel like your friends’ reactions to your Muppet shipping is super similar to my friends’ reaction to my endless conversations about cannibalism. Only you’re cute and that’s a darling special interest that doesn’t make your friends worry that you’re going to eat them if they ever run out of food!

      Feel free to hit me up whenever! I’m mediocre at responding to messages, but you have my explicit permission to be like “Stitch, go check your messages and respond to me” at any point. Bend my ear! I enjoy talking to you so much!!

      Like

  2. My current strange special interest is death. It started when I found out my community college had a Mortuary Science program (and now a Bachelors, aw yeah!), but it’s all snowballed from there. I follow autopsy blogs on Instagram and casually peruse them while I’m eating…. 😐 I have so many books about death now, omg.

    Less strange, but still hardcore special interest is military and civilian queerness in WWII. My bookshelves are crying from the load.

    Like

    • Zina says:

      Death is super interesting! Like I’m a huge wuss now but back in the day I was all about gruesome deaths in literature and history. I was so gross. I mean now, I’m super invested in Tokyo Ghoul and have yet to have a day where I *didn’t* talk about cannibalism so… I’m still gross, but back then I was somehow worse.

      Also, you should absolutely tell me things/rec me books about queerness during WW2. I’ve done some work on queerness in history, but it’s always been way before that era so I’m not at all well versed in how queer people lived their lives during the period.

      I’m prepared to spend money, tbh.

      Like

  3. hollyq says:

    I can’t believe the first comment from Diana is about the Muppets, because my first thought when I saw “strange special interests” was Animal, the drummer, and how he was my first crush when I was a kid (I didn’t turn out to be a furry. But I did wind up with a drummer). Animal was funny, but I think what I really loved about him was that he seemed unintelligent and all that, but he was a really good drummer. He wasn’t dumb at all, he was talented. I loved Janice the Fish just as much for the same reason, plus she was a rock chick who played with the boys and no one gave her shit about it.

    I have the death obsession. I find horror extremely cathartic and even liberating, to be able to look at your fears and mortality and to have fun with it. Dead people — ghosts, zombies, to a lesser extent vampires — are an obsession, and when I have lost people close to me, it amps up even more. I thought I would have an aversion to zombies when I lost someone, but it was just the opposite. I don’t know if that’s unusual, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zina says:

      I love the parenthetical aside about how you wound up with a drummer but didn’t end up as a furry. That made me cackle. That’s super cute, by the way, and I adore your love for Animal. Not a lot of people seem to think of him as their favorite muppet so that’s awesome!

      While I’m not a zombie person usually, I am a vampire one. If you ever want recs for vampire novels or films that might be up your alley, hit me up! We can trade recs!

      Like

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