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Showing posts from October, 2012

The Grapes of Wrath: The Endening

There're gonna be spoilers here. Because it's the end of the book. But first I would LIKE to say that due to being exposed to the stomach flu this weekend, my yesterday and today have been particularly fever- and sore muscle-ridden. I'm probably going to be blunter than usual in this post. Couple that with an unfortunately nasty text I received on the way to work, and my day was not looking too spiffy this morning, UNTIL I got to work and found this in the mail:

So basically, book bloggers are the best and I love you all.
What I did NOT particularly love was probably this book. There are definitely certain chapters I would read again and again, because it's Steinbeck and he's lovely, but there's just SO MUCH of his upsetness woven in here that I can't see it as much other than a desperate plea for people not to be assholes. And that's great. But I don't know that it can make for the best literature. When an author gets really emotional about their own…

Badass ladies in film and how our society is getting awesomer

There is a 30something professional couple that walks in front of me in the morning on my way to work. They walk extraordinarily briskly and sometimes hold hands and always kiss goodbye at the corner where I turn. If they ever break up, I will cry.

I watched the first four Resident Evil movies this weekend with my 16-year-old brother (the fourth is the best one). See, they really all bleed into each other, and the very end of the fourth is the setup for the fifth, which is WHY at the beginning of the fifth, I had no idea what was going on. "There's a boat? What? Hm? People are shooting? Ok." But it made me think about -- wait for it -- representations of women in action films and what this meeeans. Although it's really pretty much gonna be Resident Evil. 'Cause I just saw four of them.

The main thing that actually surprised me in the movies is that Milla Jovovich is, IMO, barely sexualized. True, she starts out naked in almost every movie, but that's more "…

The Grapes of Wrath: I HAVE BELATED THOUGHTS

So I've (basically) done the reading, and I have Thoughts on the 3/4 mark of Grapes of Wrath. Which shall be SUMMARIZED, because it's late in the day/week.
John Ernst Steinbeck, what are you doing. I know you were probably frustrated by how the people emigrating from the Heartland were being treated, and the destitution you saw, but SIR. It was the Great Depression. Things were bad in a lot of places, and not just with farmers, and not just because of tractors. And despite how this section was, in reality a lot of people are not nice. They just aren't. Which is why you can't paint the government camp as this utopian ideal of civilization. It's portrayed like heaven, and if someone is bad, they get kicked out. But if you want all of society to be like that, TO WHERE DO THE BAD PEOPLE GET KICKED? There are so. SO many problems with your ideal. It only works (MAYBE works) in a microcosm.
Chapter 23 is poetry. It's beautiful. Let us all respect chapter 23, except fo…

"This concept of 'wuv' confuses and infuriates us!"

Skipping readalong posts in my awesome readalong group (you really should join) is the worst, because not only do you keep optimistically thinking you'll finish the reading and be able to post, but you can't read OTHER people's posts because you're behind. And you can't blog about other things out of guilt (unless you're Tika). So here we are, Thursday and still no Grapes of Wrath post. What I WILL say about what I've read is that it's swell, but the government camp is absurdly idealized. ABSURDLY I SAY. 
So obviously I've been trying to read Grapes this week, and not a lot else has gone on other than Life Things (booooo). I watched the three aired episodes of Elementary, and get ON that, because Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu and their hilarious dynamic. And don't be all stupid and say you're upset because they're copying Sherlock, for the shows are COMPLETELY different. And *cough* I might like Elementary better. 
I've been contemplat…

Peter Gabriel: Helping Young Men Throughout the Ages

This post is brought to you by Josh Dallas's arms.


WELL. Did everyone have an eventful, cultured weekend? 'Cause, hah, I did. If part of eventful means traveling 20 miles on the Metra to Glencoe to see Hamlet, but then leaving again when the actress my friend and I went to see had an understudy. Because that happened. But I found a pinecone! And carried it back to Chicago with me, for we do not see such things here. On SUNDAY, my friend who works at our natural history museum took me in and I got to see extreme mammals (a subject dear to my heart, because GIANT ANIMALS FROM THE PAST) and Indian art/fancy jewelry. And then -- oh, and then, I met up with Beth Fama in Hyde Park, for she promised to show me the former sites of the 1893 Columbian Exposition, and show me she did! Her family is delightful, as is she.



We walked around the University of Chicago, where I was only slightly bitter about them rejecting me (you see this blog, U of C? YOU COULD HAVE HAD ALL OF THIS). Also …

And Then There Were None (The Final, Non-Racist Title)

It is FRIDAY. And everyone's being all lame at updating, whereas I have genuinely finished a book, so updating ahoy! Also Sherlock and Irene Adler posted photos on twitter and they are making me SO HAPPY.



And I read the apparently BEST-selling mystery novel of all time! And one of the best-selling all-around books of ever. That is crazy. Only not so much, because And Then There Were None, formerly known as Ten Little Indians, formerly known as -- HEY I'm not writing that on my blog, is full of INTRIGUE and not a lot else, but intrigue is enough for a book as short and as intrigueful as it is.
I'd never read any Agatha Christies, and I bought this particular book in 2008. Which was four years ago if my stellar math skills are working properly. But the beginning...nope. If you go into Agatha Christie being like "Ah! An English novelist! Huzzah for finely delineated characters and rich description of the English countryside!" then as of page two, you will put the b…

Thomas Harris is probably the George Lucas of books

Reading Thru the Night just posted about Hannibal, which reminded me I've read ALL THOSE DAMN BOOKS. Except Hannibal Rising. So really just Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal. And I got some Thomas Harris feelings.


So I read Silence of the Lambs concurrently with Mrs Dalloway when I was 19, and omg guess which one I liked better? Hint: it wasn't the one whose style is described as "complex, psychological, intricate, and dense." It was more the one with the guy making a fleshcoat (ewwwww). Because Silence of the Lambs is awesome, ok? It is awesome. Red Dragon's kind of meh, because no Starling, and Hannibal is fricking weird because man-eating pigs (although I guess Grapes of Wrath has proved that correct, holy shit), and also -- SPOILERS BUT WHATEVS BECAUSE I DON'T ACCEPT HANNIBAL AS CANON -- Starling's career sucks and she basically has nothing to lose and the book for reals ships her with Lecter, and no.  
I ship everything. Except on 30 Rock.…

Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte would be the worst roommates

How hilarious would it be if Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen had to be freshman year roommates at college. 'Cause freshman year you've probably never roomed with someone before, so you're gonna be a jerk at sharing what basically amounts to a cell with them. My freshman year roommate and I ended up having an epic battle the night before first semester finals that ended with my Jell-O being dumped out of our minifridge and me sleeping on the floor of my best friend's room down the hall. I spent the rest of the week at my parents', studying for my British History to 1688 final by reenacting historical scenes with my Beanie Babies.
But that is neither here nor there, because the POINT is that Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen would have hated each other, because along with "She stares broodingly out the window ALL THE TIME" complaints, they would've been taking the same creative writing class, and Jane would've been offering criticism like "MAY…

Grapes of Wrath: The Part Where a Lot of Things Die

Thanks, Steinbeck. Thanks for this enormously depressing novel. I especially liked when you decided to kill the bunny. STOP IT STOP IT RIGHT NOW. 

 But for serious, this second section was excellent. I've already forgotten the hideousness of chapter seven in the wake of chapters 14 and 15. O chapter 15! That I might bask in your radiance now and forevermore.
66 is the path of a people in flight, refugees from dust and shrinking land, from the thunder of tractors and shrinking ownership, from the desert's slow northward invasion, from the twisting winds that howl up out of Texas, from the floods that bring no richness to the land and steal what little richness is there. From all of these the people are in flight, and they come into 66 from the tributary side roads, from the wagon tracks and the rutted country roads. 66 is the mother road, the road of flight.
I mean...I'm looking at a good deal of this warily, because he's really pushing his message, and I don't like …

The Tale of a Youth Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was (not really)

There've been too many orderly posts here lately. That's not what this blog is about. It's about stuff like THIS


Also books.

I'm gonna add a new tag for JLaw gifs so you all can find 'em if you're in need of EXTREME AWESOMENESS. For this has become a random repository of them.

I'm getting almost no reading done, 'cause opera, but what I HAVE been doing is watching Once Upon a Time, because fairytales. I mean, sure, Disneyfied fairytales, but fairytales nonetheless. And it's got an evil lady who is COMPLICATED, and -- look, can we stop saying we "actually" find the villains more interesting like it's some unusual thing, because almost everyone finds the villains more interesting. THE GOOD PEOPLE HAVE ONE THING GOING ON. With the evil people it's like "Ooh, how'd they get that way; they must FEEL things very deeply; oh they're such complex characters let me examine them."
I think it's highly impressive if an aut…

"Don't read The Grapes of Fucking Wrath -- do you want to kill yourself?" - my mom

GRAPES OF WRATH. Man, that beginning part was rough, huh?




Ok, Imma need to look at East of Eden again, but that was 1952, and this was 1939. And it shows. I feel like this was written much more from a The Jungle, I'm-going-to-MAKE-you-all-sympathize-with-these-people standpoint. I mean, it's a million times better than The Jungle, 'cause that book is shit and this is Steinbeck, but he's got at least a bit of that, and it bugs me. Not a huge amount, because he's starting to fix it (for now), but enough.
CHAPTER SUMMARIES. Mixin' it up.

One. SO MUCH DUST AHHHH IT'S EVERYWHERE TAKE COVER IN THE COMMUNITY CENTER.

Two. Tom Joad is young and was in jail.

Three.


Four. Tom meets a former preacher and also maybe humanity's all supposed to be one great social unit. If only there were an "ism" to go with that way of thinking.

Five. Tractors are raping the land and knocking people's houses down.

Six. Oh no, Tom, please talk more about how technology takes som…

The Lifted Veil, aka George's Early Writing and Not Totally That Great

I've been meaning to read The Lifted Veil by George Eliot for a reeeally long time now. And it's super-short, so earlier this week, I was like "Oh, just do it."
It's kind of weird that this was published the same year as Adam Bede, because I overall like Adam Bede and its fanfic-like ways, whereas this I was like -- well here, let me ruin it for you: So it's all first person narration, and it's this guy who's like:
"Oh, I'm dying, but LET ME TELL YOU MY TALE. I got sick when I was young and afterwards I could read minds. Yes. Totally. I am not shitting you. But it was really annoying because ugh, people are dumb. And I had to hear all these dumb people's dumb thoughts. So I'm living life, trying to be a poet but somehow sucking at it, and then I couldn't read this one girl's mind, so she was FASCINATING, and hold up, I know this sounds like Twilight except for the vampire bit (although I was stunningly pale), but then we got mar…

"On Wednesdays, we wear pink"

Not gonna lie, I did my nails last night and I keep being distracted from writing and just STARING at them, because last night I did that fancy thing where you put three coats on and then a topcoat, so they look like Real People nails and not 'Alice just did one coat because then she wanted to play Super Nintendo' nails. So they are Very Shiny.

In bookish news, I would like to apologize to the lady in the Teen section of the Chicago Public Library yesterday. Look, ma'am, neither of us should've been there. We are not teens. But there we were, right when they opened at 1, and I'm sorry that I know how they organize their books, so I was the first to see that The Book Thief wasn't on the shelf and therefore the first to get up to the counter and request it. And I'm sorry they only had one copy left and that I'm probably going to let it sit on my bed for three weeks before returning it. But for YOUR sake, I will try to actually read it. Because I felt way g…

Grapes of Wrath: Before the Sadness

IT'S ON. Meaning it's Steinbeck time.

But first, I want to briefly address Illinois and how flat it is. I don't know how it is in your all's places of living, but I don't realize how completely flat my state is until I visit anywhere with an inclined plane, and am all of a sudden like "...wait, what?" IT IS SO EASY TO WALK EVERYWHERE HERE. I feel like I need to shock myself by going hiking in Vermont or something. Anyway. STEINBECK.

This month is the Grapes of Wrath readalong, hosted by Laura. Laura is awesome, and this readalong is being done by many awesome people. If you want to join, you can. There will be many gifs to combat the apparent sadness of this book.

The first post is always the pre-read ruminating post. Have I read Grapes before? A resounding NAY is my answer. BUT have I read Steinbeck before and do I want to have his tiny babies who probably smoke and ponder humanity's potential while unable to express themselves in words other than "…

J.K. Rowling and Televisiony Things

First off, if you missed Doug's post on Pride and Prejudice last Friday, check that out. Because Doug is awesome.

Second, The Casual Vacancy is kicking ass and taking names.



I think, lurking in the back of my brain ever since the book was announced was the thought that 'Um....I probably won't be that into it.' That has been proven FALSE. Because I started Harry Potter when I was 14, I couldn't read it critically. Could. Not. So when my professors would be like "Blah blah, Order of the Phoenix the worst one blah blah" all I could do was go "I LOVE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX THE MOST AND I CAN'T TELL YOU WHY."
But with THIS, I'm all a grown-ass lady and stuff, so it's like "Oh, J.K., your character details are what make us love you. THIS IS HOW YOUR WRITING IS MAGICAL." Because she somehow knows EXACTLY what to say to flesh out a character. I suspect I'd read this with a lot more reservation if it were by anyone other than her, …