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Showing posts from October, 2013

Tweeting The L Word

Work is deathly boring today (Halloween pun kind of!), so here is my unsolicited post capturing pretty much everything I tweeted about The L Word, the show that carves your heart out with a spork, then throws its head back and laughs.

All you need to know is that Tina and Bette have been together seven years at the beginning of the show and are the cutest ever, and then Bette cheats on Tina at the end of season one and EVERYTHING GOES TO HELL AND THERE IS NO RETURNING. (...until season 5). Oh, and also Jenny is the worst.




TWEETS:

-How my day was supposed to go: clean room, get life in order. How my day went: watched 12 episodes of The L Word. So that's great.

-"I don't want a relationship with you; I just wanna be with you all the time." #stillwatchingthelword

-Wait, Bette and Tina make out while stuck in an elevator? Is this show fanfic on film? IS IT? (yes) 

-me: "GUESS WHAT I MARATHONED? The L Word." Doug (who has to talk to me all the time): "Noooooo!&qu…

Alice Paul is made of sparkly unicorns AND ALSO TITANIUM

Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot. If you have been TORMENTED about what book you should read about the women's suffrage campaign in America from the turn of the century to 1920, LOOK NO FURTHER.

If you haven't heard of Alice Paul, well, neither had I until my friend linked me to the Bad Romance suffragette vid that I have posted before, but ALLOW ME TO POST IT AGAIN because I was watching it every day back in June:



I watched it about 15 times before learning the lead in it is supposed to be Alice Paul. Alice Paul, whom the author says was as important to the suffrage movement as Martin Luther King, Jr was for civil rights. BOLD WORDS, MADAM. But her book bears them out. It moves quickly, and has the advantage of being written by a journalist rather than a historian. If you've read books by historians, I am so sorry. I love historians, but WE DON'T NEED THAT MUCH DETAIL. Mary Walton is excellent at picking out interesting pieces of information and putting them in…

Scary Book Recap Thing

Since it's Halloween week, I'm gonna do a recap of the very few scary-ish books I've read (that I remember). DON'T BE JUDGERS. Some people have different scariness triggers than others.

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova. I read this junior year of college, and whatever, People Who Didn't Like It, the first 4/5 is great. I just remember there's a rat-faced librarian vampire and he made me unable to read the book at night because I'd be afraid of him sniffing around and getting into my college apartment.


The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson. Read it 'cause I heard there were lesbians. Only lesbians if you squint. Boo hiss and not actually that scary. Also, I will never stop accidentally calling this book "The House on Haunted Hill." You know why? Because around 1999, The Haunting (based on this book) and The House on Haunted Hill (not quite based on this book) came out. I saw both and have been forever confused. Thanks, HOLLYWOOD.

Dracula, Br…

Marriage Equality in Illinois: It's 2013 and this is somehow still something we have to march for

Yesterday I went to a rally in Illinois's capital called the March on Springfield. For those who don't follow 8 million gay news twitter accounts, almost one-third of our nation's states have made marriage equality law, and Illinois still has not. Illinois, the liberal bastion of the Midwest. ILLINOIS, land of Abraham Lincoln, first state east of the Mississippi to grant women the right to vote in presidential elections, first state to strike down anti-sodomy laws -- we are now behind California, New York, New Jersey, all of New England, Maryland, Washington, IOWA AND MINNESOTA. Do you know how embarrassing it is to live in Illinois and have Iowa and Minnesota be more progressive than you?

The marriage equality bill passed our Senate last session, but they didn't have the votes in the House. There's a session going on right now, and the hope is enough work's been done over the summer to pass the bill. A lot of representatives are scared of how their constituent…

The River of No Return: "Why when we talk about time travel do we always have to kill Hitler or not kill Hitler!"

EVERYONE READ THIS BOOK.

The River of No Return is about time travel. An English lord in the middle of a battle in 1812 suddenly time travels to 2013, where he's taken care of by an organization called the Guild, who set up new lives for people who jump through time. In 1815, a girl named Julia is in a precarious situation, as her grandfather (who can play with time) dies and her asshole cousin moves in. SO MANY THINGS HAPPEN. But I don't want to spoil them, so that is the premise and you should read it.




The only reason I'm relatively sure the author did not write this after talking with me about how to write my favorite book is that the main character is a gentleman. An INTERESTING gentleman, but a gentleman nonetheless. But it opens with a lady, who could very easily have been a Mary Sue 'look how clever and witty I am' sort of character, but she manages to sidestep that — a fact for which I am most grateful.

I read it in like four days. Which is, as you know, ridic…

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is very long and very, very good

My first thought when looking at the page total for The Goldfinch was essentially 'Well, that's not gonna happen.' Because there are 706 pages in the eBook version (784 in hardback). You have to have at least a modicum of hubris to write a 700 page novel. It's not even like it's about the fall of Constantinople. No. It's just about "humans." Doing "kind of regular human things." And it doesn't help that the first chapter is one of those "Let's plunge you into a vague situation and give you almost no idea what's going on" in medias res sorts of beginnings.



BUT THEN. Then you get swept up in 13-year-old Theo Decker's life and don't want to leave.

There are certain works of literary fiction that go beyond the common reading experience, and give you something you feel you yourself have lived. At the end of one particularly relentless, emotional, ruthless chapter, I sat in my chair and just exhaled "Wow..." D…

Is it a good idea to read scary things?

I spotted Fast-Walking Couple again today after MONTHS of no sightings. There is a picture on twitter, because I refuse to keep that from their loyal fans. If I'm not invited to their wedding, I will be seriously displeased. And the wedding invitation shall be addressed to "That Creepy Girl Who's Blogged About Us for Over a Year and Is Much Too Invested in Our Relationship."



Now that it's nigh on Halloween, I've been thinking about scary books. Mostly because I almost never read them. And here's the thing. I obviously have one particular worldview. Everyone has a worldview. Mine has been heavily influenced by Christianity, because I became a Christian when I was 13 and, in case you were unaware, I tend to throw myself into things. So couple the boundless free time and energy of a 13-year-old with a new religion and BAM. Still trying to sort out the wheat from the chaff there (ahahahaha and that is a biblical reference in case you did not know, behold my sc…

Bleak House is the best and I guess this post has Oliver Twist spoilers

I've talked a lot this year about how Dickens was kind of an asshole but I still love him, only not so much him the person as the words, THE WORDS that flow from his blessèd pen.

Bleak House is his best book. No, I haven't read David Copperfield. Or Tale of Two Cities. Or Little Dorrit. Or...others. But it's still his best book. The way I came to Dickens is in high school I made myself read Oliver Twist, because I loved the character Nancy in the musical Oliver ridiculous amounts (she sings a song called 'Oom-Pah-Pah,' people) and thought the book would flesh her out more. Ehhhhhh! Wrong! Oliver Twist isn't just Dickens: it's EARLY Dickens, which means black and white portrayals of people and EXTRA flat female characters.


I wrote a paper on Nancy using an idea I stole from a Nabokov novel, saying that because characters in the Oliver Twist world exist on the good or bad side, and she is an in-between, she has to die. IT WAS A GOOD STOLEN CONCEPT, OKAY? But …

50 Works of English Literature We Could Do Without

Some time ago, I was wandering the stacks at the Chicago Public Library's main branch (eight floors! escalators! shiny things!), and I happened upon a book called Fifty Works of English Literature We Could Do Without, which I of course immediately checked out. I cannot recommend browsing library stacks enough -- this method also led me to the pamphlet Hunting the Highbrow by Leonard Woolf, which I now get to casually toss out that I've read. Ah, stacks.

Fifty Works was published in 1967 by three people about whom I've invented a backstory, most of which has since been proven false, but whatever.




The authors, in my mind, are three graduate students in England who are all so brilliant, bored and irritated by the undergraduates that they decided to start writing essays on why all the books the undergrads like are rubbishy ones. And then they said "Well, these are obviously excellent essays, so let's publish them." And of course someone published them. Because of t…

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Which Shall Be Truncated in My Case But MOVING ON

Here we are. The 24 hour readathon and the first time I'm putting any actual effort into reading for more than appx six of those hours. It's started out with a total bang, of course, as my Central Standard start time was supposed to be 7 a.m. and I arose at 9:30, then made tacos. So hours 1-4 have consisted of me eating many tacos and reading part of The Goldfinch.






All right, day. Let's see how you go.


UPDATE 2

Well. I guess now we're in hour eight, which for me is like...hour five? Anyway, I was getting sleepy from sitting on the couch in my pajamas, so I got dressed and took a walk to the Anti-Cruelty Society to look at kitties and puppies. The weather today is overcast but warm, which is my FAVORITE, so none of that No Going Outside shit. Of course, by going outside, I did have to deal with this:


Anyway. I am one giant chapter away from finishing The Goldfinch, which I have been reading on my phone out back of my apartment while wearing a hoodie I emergency-bought at an…

More Things I'm Reading Right Now

Right before the 24 hour readathon seems like a good time to stop and look at which books I've currently started and not finished yet (ah, so many). Fall seems to always kick into I Am Particularly Busy, Thank You mode, so I've read not very much? And I kind of have books I promised people I'd read and review in a timely fashion, so I am FAILING AT THAT, only not completely because I've half-heartedly brought them with me on the bus at various times and read like two pages before remembering I have Candy Crush on my phone.


Burial Rites, Hannah Kent. Little, Brown was all "Hey, do you want to read a book about an Icelandic murderess?" and I said "Ahahahaha yes, why are you even asking." And I've started it, and while I wouldn't be all "Omg the WRITING, people," it's good. It's a good book. And. Y'know. Most of the books (read: all) I read take place in North America/England. So this is a branching out.

BUtterfield 8, John …

Yes, Frances Willard was as gay as Oscar Wilde. But in a lady-way.

Yup. We're gonna do it. We're gonna talk about Frances Willard and gayness. Look, it's not a major part of her life, and it's definitely not the main thing she should be remembered for, but the fact that a line is being put out that she was totally straight is complete hogwash and it upsets me.




The thing is, I get when people say it's anachronistic to put the cultural concept of "gayness" onto a person from a century other than the 20th/21st. I get that. And usually agree with it. But Frances Willard is one of the gayest people in history. I have zero problem labeling her with that. The fact that she didn't have the language to describe what she was experiencing is upsetting, but she managed to have a seemingly full and satisfying life anyway, so I am happy for her.

And for people annoyed when gay people say that someone from the past was gay, here's the thing: When you're completely whitewashed from history, it is a matter of TOTAL DELIGHT wh…