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Showing posts from April, 2015

C2E2: Chicago's Nerd Power on Display

What went down on Saturday? C2E2 went down.



C2E2 is one of Chicago's larger comic cons. It's at McCormick Place, which is a giant convention center south of downtown, and nerds from far and wide gather to get things signed, walk around in costume, and go to panels about Lady Representation in Comics (note: not actual panel name).

My friend Doug and I went as Dr Sattler and Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park. IT WAS MY FIRST TIME COSPLAYING so everyone can just reserve judgment for next year when I am awesome at it. Doug put a dinosaur head on a sawed-off rake and dipped a mop-head in fake blood and carried that around all day, and I tied a can of Barbasol to my backpack and carried around a plastic cup of water. It was a loving tribute.



But this is the thing. This is the thing about conventions. People are there because they are EXCITED. They're real damn jazzed about everything that's going on, and you can wear whatever the hell you want, and someone will stop you and be so …

The Readathon Is Tomorrow and I Am MISSING It

You guys. I have to go to a convention downtown dressed as a character from Jurassic Park (HAVE TO) and so I am missing Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon. AGAIN. I think I've done it mayyybe twice? Maybe. And even then it was like, "I'm staying at my parents' so there're gonna be a lot of other activities" or "I'm mainly using this as an excuse to eat tacos all day." Although I'd actually call Taco Day a resounding success, so, that one's fine.




But I want you all to post all the pictures, and say what you're eating (and I guess reading), for looking at those will bring me much happiness.

I was thinking about it, and I think part of the reason I love readathons is also why I love conventions (and behold! they have conflicted!). Themed things are the balls. You get a theme and you're like "Okay. Okay. I know what I'm doing here." There is a specified framework, and AS LIFE IS CHAOS, a specified framework is much-appreciated…

Book Character Fanmixes: Taking It Too Far? Nope.

I used to make fanmixes. A lot. If for some reason this term hasn't seeped into the non-fandom population, a fanmix is when you make a music playlist for a character (or characters) you have FEELINGS about. It can be on whatever theme you want, as it is your fanmix, man, and you do you.

Some book-themed playlists inevitably snuck on in there, so here're my Literary Playlist subjects:

Antipholus/Adriana, The Comedy of Errors. 
BACK WHEN I FIRST MOVED TO CHICAGO, I saw a lot of plays. I didn't really know anyone, so it was just me shuffling myself from theatre to theatre and writing about it in my diary. And one time I saw Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 1940s version of Comedy of Errors, and shipped the married-but-fighting-all-the-time couple of Antipholus and Adriana SUPER-HARD, so I emailed the guy playing Antipholus of Ephesus, like an optimistic 23-year-old would, and said "There are no photos of you and Adriana. You should take some this weekend. Since the show&#…

Comics and Why I'm Now Into Them

I've resisted comics for a long time. Sure, I read Maus and Persepolis and Fun Home, but those are graphic novels, damnit, and do not count. Or they half-count. I don't know, the point is I tried comic books time and time again and ALWAYS found myself both bewildered and bored.

UNTIL.

When I was in NYC, I went to Forbidden Planet, which is a nerd shop right next to The Strand. Out of some obstinate feminist impulse, I decided every man in there assumed girls don't read comics and that I would prove them WRONG PERSONALLY MYSELF by walking around like I knew what the hell I was doing.

I wasn't reeeeally planning on getting something until I saw Princess Leia. 


Who doesn't love Leia Organa, princess of Alderaan (wait, if her parents are dead, is she queen? why do they keep calling her princess? someone check into this please) and an integral part of the rebellion against the Empire. 


This comic series takes place after Episode IV, aka A New Hope, aka the first Star Wars…

Villette Has Ended and Everyone Is Confused (Probably)

........wait.



So...ok.

Villette has ended and...huh.




I was totally set to talk about Lucy's drug haze romp through a carnival, but then the ending of the book happened and now my brain is just perplexed and trying to figure out what exactly Charlotte Bronte's game is here, because wait what.

What are we thinking about this. So Lucy is given everything she wants, and sets herself up a la Jane Eyre, down to the "oh, you suddenly got money from someone in your past who wronged you and are now a lady of independent means," and then the ending happens and it's this weird fizzle of a nothing. 

MAYBE IT'S EXTREMELY DARING. It's probably that. The problem in my brain is it reminds me, like some other things in Villette, of Wuthering Heights. Just this crashing storm and wild prose and weird imprecations to heaven and then this danced-around ending that reminded me also of the stories I used to write in 5th grade where everyone dies, only finally I wrote some postscr…

I Have Been Writing Things!

Things elsewhere! Specifically on Book Riot. I did two guest posts and then an official one today. What! Excitement.

The two guest posts ARE:

So You Want to Properly Celebrate Women's History Month

On Asking Authors to Sign My Books With Their Favorite Word

AND NOW my new post with my name on it and everything is (title does not appear in post):

Reading's New Golden Age: Suck It, Movies

Unrelatedly, I just bought a FANCIFUL AMOUNT of comics, but that is for another post, because what? Comics? Surely that is not you, Alice. And it is NOT, and yet it is happening. Fortunately it is also happening in time for C2E2, one of Chicago's many nerdfests, and THE ILLUSTRATOR FOR A COMIC I THINK IS BEAUTIFUL IS GOING TO BE THERE. And I am going to bugggggg him at his booth and it will be wonderful.

You guys remember C2E2 last year?


So Book Riot and comics. Both very exciting. I honestly can't say which I'm more psyched for, because all I want to do right now is go home and finish v…

Aquarium by David Vann: Bring a crown of roses, for this book and I shall wed

THIS BOOK IS SO DAMN GOOD.



I only put it on hold at the library because Emily said it had fish pictures. I'm not even a huge fan of fish. But I like pictures.

However, since what mainly stuck with me about the book was "fish pictures," I didn't remember anything else about it, and somehow thought it was for eight-year-olds. Hey, guess what, no. IT'S FOR THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE, SO GLORIOUS IT IS.

It's about a 12-year-old girl! Named Caitlin! And she lives with her mom in a cheap apartment and she goes to the aquarium every day after school until her mom can pick her up, and she meets an old man there and oh the relationships in this book. David Vann, I will read all of your books. And maybe track you down in Alaska and make you get coffee with me because ahhhhhhh I love Aquarium so much.

Why do I love it? Because he'll be writing this 12-year-old girl's story, and nobody's exactly good or bad because they're just people and humans are flawed but som…

Villette: What.

...I think I'm done with M. Paul. I could handle baaaaaaaasically everything else. The censoring art and literature, the little rages he got into, the locking her in an attic, but what I CANNOT COUNTENANCE is him finally calling her his damn sister (which, y'know, FINE, even though you've been flirting with her for hundreds of pages and that's some bullshit), but then immeeeeeeeediately ignoring her because apparently his priest told him to? What. WHAT. He didn't even tell her "Oh, I've decided it's better we not actually have this close relationship even though I just said otherwise." No. He just ignores her like a fucking five-year-old. UP WITH THIS I SHALL NOT PUT.

If I'm being extra-sweary it's because THIS DESERVES IT. My Kindle note for this event is:

THIS IS BULLSHIT. You can't be an asshole about guys who are paying her attention and in general be a shithead about her being pretty and then tell her she's your sister and then…

Thérèse Raquin: A deep dive into the misery hole

In 1867, Émile Zola decided it would be a spanking great idea to write a novella about man as an animal, purely motivated by animal instincts. He was 27 years old. Think about 27 year old guys. Yeah. Pretty terrible, right? Now make them a French author who's decided man is a series of impulses. Ugh. I know. The WORST.



Thus was born the novel Thérèse Raquin. I'm gonna spoil the hell out of it for you, because I don't think you should read it, but the story's kinda fun. It's about a bourgeois woman in a marriage of convenience (convenient to everyone but her) who has an affair, and she and the guy she's affairing with kill her husband, and then it just kinda goes downhill from there.

While other French literary luminaries like Honoré de Balzac and Victor Hugo felt and expressed sympathy with all of humanity, albeit in their different ways (Balzac with realism and Hugo with romanticism), Zola's just a pessimistic, critical sonuvabitch. He was born 40 years aft…

The Scarlet Pimpernel is not what we call "good"

For today, I have retooled an old post where I complain about The Scarlet Pimpernel. Please bear in mind that I still love the musical, as it is both terrible and awesome. But the book? No no.

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. This book is ridiculous. RI-DICULOUS. And if you have no idea who he is and for some reason want to read the book and be surprised, read nothing more of this entry. Every brief summary I've read of the movie/book has immeeeediately revealed his identity, so I'm now regarding it as not-that-big-a-deal.

Okay, so this book was published in 1905, which basically explains everything. 1905 in England, so it's not even like the authoress had Edith Wharton to lean on for female 'I'm going to write well' support. Er, unless Wharton was in England at the time, as she sometimes was, but let's ignore that. The writing is embarrassingly turn-of-the-century British/not-very-good.
The first half only talks about those damned French and…