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Showing posts from May, 2012

Lesbian Novels? More Like....Yeah, No, Lesbian Novels

I've read a WHOLE bunch of lesbian fiction in the last year, and I can't think of anything else to write about, so I'm just gonna list some and whether they suck or not. It should probably be noted that I am not into contemporary fiction overall (aw, but you knew that), so if it's a set-in-modern-times book it's already got one strike against it. Also because this is a minority genre, the pool of authors is already small, so the amount of good lesbian fiction is going to be WAY SMALLER than for other genres. Except for like, fiction for hermaphroditic Polynesians. Those people are fucked.
An Emergence of Green - The back of this says "From the moment she meets Val Hunter, Carolyn Blake's married life begins to unravel until she is torn apart by erotic depths she can neither resist nor control." Erotic depths, people. I mean, it's set in 1984, and not in a fun Orwellian way. More a "we're going to wear hilarious clothing seriously" way…

Alice's Canadian Adventure: Drunk Book-Buying and Eating Multiple Pieces of Cake

It has been so long, my blogging peoples. SO LONG. But I have returned from the wilds of Canada, and ne'er shall stray no more (false -- except for the returning part).
I told my totes BFF that we had to do something bookish or how could I blog about the trip, and she balked until we got drunk one night and wandered into Indigo Books.


I don't really drink, but my friend is an awesome influence on me, so most of the trip was that plus Designing Women. Oh, Designing Women. Will Charlene ever find true love? Will Mary Jo rise above her insecurities? Will Julia ever stop ranting indignantly? Will Suzanne stop having the most kickass smile ever? (yes, maybe, hell no, nooooo)
I bought People of the Book, because the hardcover was on sale, and We Need to Talk About Kevin. Drunk book buying. This is what it gets you. I also bought my friend a book about best friends that featured animal photos. All I remember is one of the elephants looked like it was trying to get it on with another ele…

Ready Player One: Full of Shininess and Unicorns (note: contains no actual unicorns)

Ready Player One is precisely calculated to make geeks and nerds slap themselves in the face with joy.

So it's the not-so-distant future, society's decayed quite a bit, primarily because of an energy crisis (those fossil fuels that take millions of years to make? yeah, we ran out of them), and our hero, Wade Watts, lives in a futuristic trailer park known as "the stacks" (because...they stack trailers).

He's obsessed with winning a contest begun by the world's greatest video game designer, recently deceased and worth ridiculous amounts of money (which is the prize, btw). What game did he design? Oh, ONLY THE OASIS, which is like World of Warcraft and The Sims, but way way awesomer? Look guys, the last video game system I played was the Super Nintendo. This is not my area of expertise. Basically the OASIS is an immersive virtual reality, and totally amazing and people spend all their time there because HEY real life is depressing.
And rather than spend a lot of…

Sci-Fi and Why I Know Too Much About It

I have a weird relationship with science fiction. I don't seek it out, and when I have, I'm usually not that interested in it (with stellar [hah! i pun] exceptions like Ender's Game and Fahrenheit 451, which should maybe count?).
But everyone's family influences them, and my dad is an aerospace engineer, and my older brothers are biochemists and motion graphic artists. And they all love sci-fi.
My dad was a teenager in the '50s, so the movie October Sky was basically him, minus the coal mining and father issues. So really 'was basically him' means 'he launched rockets with his friends.' In my parents' basement we have a wall lined with copies of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, as well as novels by Asimov, Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. Lately he's told me how much he loves Kurt Vonnegut (a lot, it seems).
My older brothers are six and four years older than I am, so I looked up to the oldest and hated the other growing up, but we st…

Top Ten Tuesday: Our Lives Apart from Books

Ok, this Top Ten Tuesday was hugely embarrassing, because I realized I do not go to that many websites. AND THE INTERNET IS SO VAST. But I remain within my tiny comfort zone. Alas.


Doing it backwards like Alley, because she's cool.

10. Jezebel - ALL THE HILARIOUS FEMINISTY THINGS. Plus one of their writers, Lindy West, is SO VERY FUNNY and I want us to hang out and watch movies while eating chocolate covered pretzels, and then she will make fun of the movies and let me have the last pretzels and it will be the best friendship ever.

9. The Onion - Oh, Onion. You have been my favorite for so long. Where else can I read the King Tut commentary Hey, Where Did All My Stuff Go? or Ghost of Anne Frank: 'Quit Reading My Diary'?

8. Are You Married, River? - Yeah. So. Uh. This is basically run by the Queen of the Doctor/River shippers, and it's one of the only tumblrs I check consistently. If something Doctor/River Song-related is worth reblogging, it'll probably be reblogged by…

"We have ways of making you pronounce the letter 'O'"

My family has the kind of ridiculous situation where three of the four kids were born within a week of each other (in different years, of course -- my mother is not some alien pregnancy monster). So this last weekend was Birthday Weekend, which mainly involved a dinosaur cake and me making tacos. Oh, tacos. Would that I could wear you in a locket near my heart. But eventually that would get really smelly. And not in a good, taco-y way.
My little brother got me a merchandised copy of River Song's Diary. I plan on using this to write adventures involving her and the Doctor while drunk. I don't trust my sober mind to be creative (note: all of these stories will, in all likelihood, end with making out).
In other news, Chicago has thus far not been destroyed by NATO incidents (we were told it might be) and I have still not gone to Canada. I've just been talking about it for ages because I am SO EXCITED. But Thursday-Tuesday of THIS WEEK are when I shall be eating poutine and othe…

Volcano? More Like...Sad Book About Things. Also There's a Volcano

Hokay, so people in the Classics-something group on Goodreads were approached about reviewing two Japanese novels. I looked at them and said I'd review the shorter one, because I am BU-SY watching Modern Family and don't have time for things like long books.
So, I'm not so into the Romantic concept of the pathetic fallacy (surely one of the weirder-named devices). The pathetic fallacy is the "treatment of inanimate objects as if they had human feelings, thought, or sensations" (thank you, Wikipedia). The shorter book I chose, Volcano by Shusaku Endo, kiiiind of does this.
Ok, so there're two guys, one who studied this volcano nearby (Akadake, which is SO much fun to say), and a former priest. And they're old. LIKE THE VOLCANO. And they're dying. LIKE THE VOLCANO. And they were formed by tectonic plates merging. LIKE THE--wait, no.
So the volcano doesn't necessarily have feelings, but it's treated like an extension of these men a lot. Like...a lot…

Alison Bechdel Wears Smart People Glasses

Two years ago, I was linked to a vlog called Feminist Frequency. The subject was the Bechdel Test, which succinctly is:
1. Does a movie have at least two women in it 2. Do they talk to each other 3. About something other than a man



At the very least, it's eye-opening about how for-granted we take a scarcity of women in film, despite us making up, what, 51% of the global population now?
This test was invented by Alison Bechdel in her comic strip 'Dykes to Watch Out For.' I did not know the latter; I thought it was in a scholarly paper or something. But then I saw she was coming to Chicago to speak about her new book/graphic novel, so -- ! She writes graphic novels! Very well then.
I picked up her first, Fun Home, as well as the newest, Are You My Mother?. They're both memoirs about her family: Fun Home is about her father and his possible suicide, and Are You My Mother? deals with psychoanalysis and her mother. I've read about half of the latter and all of the former.
Fun …

C.S. Lewis Is Disliked By Uncool People. You Don't Want to Be Uncool...Do You?

Been some late nights, kids. I wouldn't blog, but who else would take this space and write whatever comes into their head? Probably someone really lame. I don't even want to think about it.
C.S. Lewis. If you're a teenager and on your Christian intellectual high horse, this is what you read. You also read him if you're an awesome person, but that's beside the point.
Some people don't like him. We call these people "super-uncool," but they usually say they just don't like 'hit you over the head' allegory. Poppycock is what I say to that. Ok, so this allegory is mainly in The Chronicles of Narnia. Here's my deal with Chronicles:
The BBC made some really low budget movies of books 1-4, and I watched them ALL. THE. TIME. as a child. But did I get any Christian parallels? No. No I did not. This culminated in a scene betwixt my brother and myself where Aslan says "You know me there by another name," referring to our world, and I turn…

If This Blog Were a Superhero

It's Sunday night and this is naturally what I'm thinking about.
Alyson of Bathe is my nemesis. Always has been, always will be. And by 'always,' I mean 'since that time on twitter I asked if we could be nemeses, 'cause that's awesome.' Which was a few months ago.
Meg's blog is engaged to mine, so I guess she's the Kirsten Dunst/Maggie Gyllenhaal here, who ACTS in a vaguely feministy way, but isn't really, 'cause those movies are made by dudes. (note: Megs would totally be actually feministy)
Contractually Obligated to Like Books would be like Alfred the Butler, because she would sigh or make hilariously snobbish remarks about my chosen plans for the evening. Which would be something like Rescuing Rick Riordan's Books from a Lack of Editing (for serious -- they're wildly popular, and yet there are at least three errors in every book).
What Red Read and Devouring Texts are my sidekicks (sorry, guys — I'll be your sidekick if you w…

Friday Posts Require No Coherency. Thus Sayeth Me.

I had a dream about Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart last night. But I spent part of it telling him his fake vampire teeth were protruding and looked stupid. So I'm gonna go ahead and say that makes it okay and not think about why they were in my dream in the first place.
You know how sometimes you find a really good blog and you're like "WHY AM I EVEN TRYING THIS HAS WON EVERYTHING." By which I mean the internet. Yeah. That's also how I felt when I saw a particularly amazing Doctor/River vid. "WHY AM I SPENDING SO MUCH TIME ON MINE IT WILL INEVITABLY FAIL NEXT TO THIS." (oh WHAT'S that? you want me to link to my vid? why, surely: Doctor/River vid of Immense Sadness)
Yeah, so, I think we should keep trudging on despite these clearly superior specimens of internettery. Because what does the internet need more of? CONTENT. ALWAYS. ALWAYS MORE. This stream of consciousness isn't going to write itself. Wait...that's probably somehow wrong.
ANYW…

Virginia Woolf, Sugared Almond-Pelter

FIRST, regarding yesterday:




Now that's done.
14 days away from hilarious pictures of me searching for a maple leaf and then calling Toronto unpatriotic.
How do we all feel about Virginia Woolf? She's one of those authors whose non-fiction I enjoy, but whose fiction I turn at different angles with a puzzled look on my face.
This is basically all me at 19, though. I haven't read anything by her in years. So here's my almost-eight-years-out-of-date opinion:
A Room of One's Own. What a fantastic book. I mean, damn. Because what is Woolf not afraid to be? A snob. OH SUCH A SNOB. She basically says "You can't write well unless you have enough money and leisure time to do it, so leave off, Poor Women." But she offers convincing reasons for this! Leaving me going "Bu--oh, well you make some good points."
And in case you have not heard Virginia Woolf speak, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CLICK THIS NOW. Because it explains everything.
So after reading A Room of One…

George Eliot Wrote Rather Long Books

The many phases of George Eliot. First you think 'Oh, a dude.' But no. Then 'Wait, which is George Eliot and which is George Sand? And why was 'George' the preferred pseudonym for mid-19th c. ladies?' And then 'Middlemarch is SO LONG OMG' and then 'Middlemarch is SO AWESOME OMG.' Then 'Wow, that was not an attractive woman.' THEN, 'I shall now be reading all her books.'
I grant that this might not be the order for everyone. And I still have The Lifted Veil and Daniel Deronda, but I have read EVERYTHING ELSE she wrote. Which I will now be discussing.
Middlemarch - I read Middlemarch when I was 19 and got very, very into it. Its heroine, Dorothea Brooke, is my favorite literary heroine. Marian Halcombe now is a close second, but Dorothea is basically me at a very very conservative Christian age 19. 'Oh, I like horseback riding? Maybe I should give that up for God then...' And wanting to marry a great man in order to help him …

Summer and Grammar Dickery

So I've been a bit spotty in terms of blogging because I was singing in a competition last Saturday, and got stressed beforehand due to a chest cold that WOULD NOT LEAVE. And so you got things about Realism and Hugo, which apparently is not what gets people all excited. WHY ARE YOU ARE HERE?

The month of May has been upon us for a good solid week now, and Chicago's weather is vaguely reflecting that. With May comes the approach of summer and reading outdoors/getting sunburned while reading outdoors and all sorts of lovely things of that nature. BLOGGERS, where do you like to read in the summer?
Because we're right on the lake, and not a crappy city, Chicago has a decent number of parks. I like Milton Olive Park, which is RIGHT next to giant tourist trap Navy Pier. You can also sit right in front of the lake down by Buckingham Fountain (this is a giant, giant fountain that's placed kind of in the middle of nowhere), but there is nothing to put your back against, because t…

I'm French. Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king?

I'm going to talk about something I don't have a lot of background in (oh aren't you just SO excited already?). And that subject is the cool thing that happened in France in the mid-19th century.
Okay, so let's talk Romanticism. We have the Enlightenment, where everyone gets VERY jazzed about Reason and Science and the Progress of Man, and we have hilarious authors like Swift, Fielding and Pope. Then those people have kids and the kids say "Fuck this science shit!" And then they go off and contemplate the beauty of a daffodil.
And this hit Germany first. Why, I don't know. Again, this is all cursory knowledge that I've decided to take and write assertively about. As is usually the case here. SO, from Germany it travels to England, and creates a bunch of emo poets. And as time creeps on, the Romantics have kids and THOSE kids say "Fuck daffodils!" and they decide to be REALISTS.
What's oh-so-interesting about France in the mid-19th century …

Canada and the Betterment of Society

So, I was mainly trying to be hilarious yesterday, and everyone showed me up by being sympathetic and kind. So thanks, you nice bastards.
I am going to Canada in 22 days! Huzzahs all around. After making a very definite decision that this was going to be my 'non-historical' trip, i.e. where I don't try to visit every place where Someone Once Sat, it turns out I am going to Toronto the weekend of the War of 1812 BICENTENNIAL. And the way they've chosen to celebrate this is "ALL HISTORICAL SITES ARE FREE!!!"
...
I'm pretty pissed off about this, actually, because my plans were to drink with my best friend on her couch and not feel guilty about it. Possibly while watching medical documentaries. And now it looks like I have to tour some harbors. Oh, sorry, "harbours." Damnit, Canada.
Speaking of Old Things, I'm pretty sure this is how it would go if I ever time-traveled:
Me: *arrives in 1910* *passes out* *ten minutes later* Me: OMGTHEPAST OMG LOOK AT …

Books I Have Decided On for Moping

It has been decided (by me) that today is Moping Tuesday. So this is me moping.


I've looked up books for moping in my own reading history, and they would be the following:
1. Catcher in the Rye - OBVS. The world is terrible and all the people in it are terrible (except for a couple of them) and what can you do? Nothing, that's what. Except maybe run around with some kids who aren't as terrible as everyone else.
2. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Oh look, everything horrible ever, plus a heroine you don't care about. "But is there a 2 a.m. baptism of a dead baby?" you ask? YES.
3. Ethan Frome - This was the ultimate emo book for teenage me. THEIR LOVE, IT WAS CONTROLLED BY FATE. Damn you, fate.
4. East of Eden - Things suck and people die, but there is HOPE. Somewhere.
5. Fahrenheit 451 - The world's probably fucked, but at least there'll always be some people who like books.
6. Main Street - Life sucks. No, it's really, really awful. Mainly because of mo…