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Showing posts from October, 2015

There're a lot of kickass books out right now

Do you feel like there have been more great books coming out lately than normal? Like a weird abundance? 

There are so many amazing books out right now and I haven't been able to get through any of them or even start some of them. But let's talk about them really quick, because that'll make me feel like I am somehow making progress when I am in fact not doing that at all.

Drood by Dan Simmons. Some of you hate this. But it stars Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins and involves The Mystery of Edwin Drood which I love SO MUCH so even though it's the size of a small elephant, I want to read it.


The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua. I mean. It's a comic about Lord Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace and how she basically invented the first computer. What exciting times we live in!

The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age by Myra MacPherson. I recently listened to a Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast about Victoria Wo…

Monkalong: The Final Monkening

You guys. When Antonia died because of course she did since she'd been raped, this is exactly what I said to Matthew Gregory Lewis:



"WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS NOW USELESS WOMAN?" Lewis cried. "Oh, I'll just have her get murdered, 'cause since one dude violated her with his dick, now no one else can have her. She is literally ruined. I know it's 'technically' not her fault, but I think we all know it's her fault."


Antonia's dead, Matilda was a demon the whole time, and Satan threw shade at Ambrosio.

"Scarcely could I propose crimes so quick as you performed them."
#SatanShade

WHAT TO EVEN THINK OF THIS BOOK. It's just a giant exercise in "let's feel superior about Catholicism and also write the most salacious things possible." But! It's semi-famous and people still publish it. And now we know what, like, 50 Shades of Grey was in 1796. 

You know what else was published in 1796? Fanny Burney's Camilla and Jan…

Once Upon a Time: Swan Queen is the little ship that could (but won't)

I normally keep my feelings about Swan Queen aka Emma and Regina on the terrible ABC show Once Upon a Time out of this space, because BOOKS and so forth, but last night's episode (that I didn't watch but saw recaps of on Tumblr) was the Swan Queeniest and I can't handle that this show, after five seasons, still has not put these two women together.







If any of these scenes had happened with a guy and a girl, the audience would be clamoring for them to get together, but because it's between two women, the Swan Queen fandom has to deal with a ridiculous amount of harassment and negativity. It took ages to even get the show's creators to acknowledge Swan Queen as a thing, which is ridiculous because it's definitely the most active fanbase for the show (#motivatedlesbians). 

Even if you ignore the size of the fandom, the way the show has structured Emma and Regina's frequently combative relationship is textbook for enemies who end up banging. Let's see, new she…

The Monkalong, Week IV: What kind of crazy shit goes on in Denmark?

What've we learned from The Monk this week. You allow a lady disguised as a dude to live at your monastery and soon enough you and her are banging 24/7, you're making pacts with Satan and murdering older ladies with pillows.

Ambrosio! What a d-bag. What, sir, so your new awesome plan is to AGAIN DRUG ANTONIA and keep her prisoner in some underground crypt sex chamber? That's gonna get real boring real fast, and also, ew. You are terrible at life, and I do not like you.

AND WHAT WAS UP WITH CHAPTER III OMG. All the things happened in Chapter III!!! The Prioress's evilness is discovered! She is horribly mutilated and murdered by a mob. A secret chamber is discovered at the base of a statue! Agnes is found! And now they're running around like at the end of Phantom of the Opera and searching for the seemingly-dead Antonia (I assume) in the near-endless caverns. Don't tell me you didn't listen to the end tracks of Phantom or even think about them while reading thi…

The Maze Runner: Everything that usually happens in a dystopian YA book but that we always like

There is one girl in this book. And I liked it anyway.



That girl is also IN A COMA FOR OVER HALF THE BOOK. 

So, for those of you who also somehow avoided the plot of The Maze Runner until the end of 2015, it's like Lord of the Flies but with everyone being nice and polite (except maybe like two people. and also there's a maze). You (the main character, also known as Thomas) wake up disoriented in a metal box, which ends up opening in a big field called the Glade, which turns out to be....dun dun dunnn IN THE MIDDLE OF A GIANT MAZE. And there are runners who run through the maze. Will Thomas become a maze runner?? Probably!

This was awesome to read while working through harder stuff. It's eminently skimmable and the end feels like it actually needs a trilogy (or however many are in the series so far; I know it's more than three), because the story James Dashner is telling needs more than one book. 

Why are they in the maze! Who built it! Is there a way out! What're thos…

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell

Two weeks after finishing Sarah Vowell's latest book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, I'm trying to figure out why she wrote it. It certainly isn't for the reason many girls ages 14 to 35 will read it -- obsession with the Broadway musical Hamilton and a new desire to read about America's favorite fighting Frenchman ("Lafa-yette!") -- so why?


Vowell states that in 2003, when France "refused to back an American resolution for military action against Iraq," thus ensuring the unfortunate emergence of "freedom fries," she stopped at a house museum where Melville wrote Moby-Dick while she was attending a wedding (sounds like a pretty Vowellian move), and she noticed a tiny silk dress on display that Melville's wife wore as a two-year-old when she was "presented to the Marquis de Lafayette" on a return visit of his to Boston. She was struck by how this apparently meant so much to the family, they kept the dress and the sto…

Monkalong III: So much talk of delights in people's bosoms

I'M SORRY FOR ENDING THE READING THERE I DIDN'T KNOW.

You better fix this, Monk. Holy shit. 

So basically, in this section, the monk Ambrosio and Matilda bang a lot, then he immediately gets sick of her because she's too slutty (MEN), then after talking to her for 10 seconds he's really into Antonia who we're all assuming is his sister, and now Matilda's summoned Lucifer to help Ambrosio roofie Antonia with a myrtle branch and maybe rape her.



Positives from this section:

1. Antonia's mother Elvira is a badass and somehow defies Lewis's usual disgust with women over 18 by being clever and prudent and awesome. Instead of throwing Ambrosio out the second she realizes he was making sexual advances towards her daughter, she uses grace and tact to get him the hell out of her house. It is spectacularly done.

2. The silver mirror that Matilda was given by her enslaved fallen angel is a smartphone.

A confused mixture of colours and images presented themselves to the…

More bustles and corsets, please

I recently saw the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which is based on the Criterion Collection film Kind Hearts and Coronets (starring a young Alec Guinness), which is in turn LOOSELY based on a 1907 novel named Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal. The musical was fairly adorable and twee, but not my favorite ever. AND YET, this morning at 6 AM I found myself on AO3 reading the scant offerings fanfic writers have decided to dedicate to it. I have thought about it and decided this is entirely due to the dresses of the 1900s.


There are TWO main women in the show, and the way their rivalry is decided is delightful (I shall be reading the book to see what happens there). They also both have fantastic dresses. At this point, it seems if you put a lady in a dress anywhere from the 1870s to 1910, I will watch whatever she's in. Unless that woman is Keira Knightley, because I am done with her being cast in All Things Period and SHE'S NOT EVEN THAT GOOD cast …

5 Times Edith Wharton Looked Pimpin'

Starting it off with some ruffle layering, nice, nice. She doesn't seem too into it, but she knows she looks awesome and that the bustle's working for her.

DAMN let's examine this photograph. Not only does she look like she wants to get the hell out of this picture, her corset's kickass, the stripes on her skirt are A to the +, her gloves make her look like a lady, and she's leaning on some random banister FESTOONED with things. Who gazes off into the distance with a slightly pained expression (could be the corset) while wearing an outfit that awesome? Edith Wharton. She is done. She is over it. She will write a withering short story about this incident later this evening because she can.

I CAN'T EVEN WITH THIS. Wtf is up with her dress! And then she's got her hands in a muff the size of a wolverine! Who can pull that off -- Edith Wharton can.

Omg. Do I even need to talk about this? Because this is turn-of-the-century classic author and brilliant human Edith W…

The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner - A book I am choosing to read

Do we all know who Gerda Lerner is? No, of course we don't. Gerda Lerner was a feminist historian who said some really kickass things, and whom I discovered through the glory that is Tumblr.

The whole wonderful gifset is here, but here's its essence:




WHY WOULDN'T YOU WANT TO READ A BOOK BY THAT LADY.

So in 1986, she published the first of two volumes, The Creation of Patriarchy. Ever since reading Hanne Blank's completely wonderful Straight: A Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality, I've been extremely interested in the idea of 'doxa' or 'this is right because it's how things are and how everyone knows it should be.' WHICH IS A CULTURAL CONSTRUCT.

Gerda Lerner looked at how our culture is set up and HAS been set up for millennia and said "Well, I wonder if we can trace the roots of patriarchy," and then she spent seven years researching and writing a book about it. A lot of which centers around Mesopotamia, because apparently there&…

Monkalong II: If you're a lady over 40 in this book, you're probably already dead

EVERYONE HAS A STORY. And Don Raymond certainly has one. Which he would like to tell you about. In excruciating detail.


So the section (which I'm sorry we had to read all of, but we had to get through it eventually) is Don Lorenzo's BFF Don Raymond's endless story about how he got around to banging Don Lorenzo's sister. THAT WAS FOR REAL THE REASON FOR IT. 

Basically, he almost got murdered by some banditti in the forest, then he saved a baroness while his servants were stabbed to death, then he fell in love with the baroness's niece, but the baroness was in love with Don Raymond (which is obvs pathetic because she's over 40 and M.G. Lewis is not on board with that age being a thing for women)

Main things we should note:

1. The wife of the banditti leader, Marguerite, makes "a sallad." So apparently that was a thing in the 18th century. And now I want to look up the history of salad.


2. Don Raymond is a dick for not telling Agnes his real name. Like, ye…