Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2016

Master and Margareadalong: Everything is on fire

I...okay. All right. So. This book.



Master and Margarita...is...a book that is loved by very many people. About the Soviet Union, and Satan coming to Moscow. And some people seem to really really love the cat demon, because he's featured on every damn version of the cover.

I feel like, much like how some people only can capture a displeasing soapy taste when they try cilantro, some people are made for Russian literature and others are not. I am inclined to think I am in the latter category, if only because while one can go on about context needed, etc, I still find Restoration comedies enjoyable/sometimes horrifying, and I'm sure I miss out on at least 50% of their references.


Not that I enjoyed none of this book! Satan's Grand Ball was v. interesting. Mainly because it had historical figures in it. I liked Natasha muchly. But I thought the cat was annoying as shit, the Pilate chapters were insanely boring, and the Master kinda sucked. ALSO THERE WAS RACISM. Which, y'know…

Timeless: PERIOD COSTUMES AND TIME TRAVEL

You guys. I am totes into NBC's Timeless.



Ok, so you've got the dissatisfied-with-her-job-and-life lady history professor (Lucy), the stoic military dude whose wife has died and he's got a lot of SILENT FEELINGS ABOUT IT (don't know his name), and the tech guy (Rufus), who legit says "I am black; there’s literally no place in American history that would be awesome for me."




A mysterious man steals the main time travel ship that some other mysterious man (rando billionaire) was building, so they recruit these three people to take the other, lesser time travel ship and chase after him and try to stop him from DESTROYING AMERICA.

As the New York Times's review says, "'Timeless' isn't good, exactly, but...it combines enough goodish elements to be enjoyable." A-greed.

In the first three episodes, they've visited the Hindenburg; the site of Lincoln's assassination; and Las Vegas in the 1960s. This week: something with Nazis! 



Look, do …

Master and Margareadalong 4: What is even happening

So...Margarita attended Satan's Grand Ball. And everything was rull weird.


Like a fairytale, it was all a big test and Margarita was suddenly in an insane situation and just had to do as she was told, if she did it, she'd be rewarded. This is legit what happens in every fairytale with a test. The people who don't do what the magical sprite or whatever wants them to do get punished, and the lazy youngest brother who just goes with it gets to marry the princess. With Margarita here being the lazy youngest brother. Only she doesn't get to marry the awesome Natasha who just wants to be a feminist witch.


All the creepy dead people at the ball seem to be actual murderers and criminals from history. There're some good annotations here, and apparently this book is covered in freemason symbolism and we've missed it this whole time and OH WELL I'm just glad we're getting through it. 

Then there were some more Jesus chapters, and aight.



p.s. nsfw, but I love this Nata…

24 HOUR READATHON!

IT'S THE 24 HOUR READATHON, which means I will read for approximately 3 hours today, but I will TRY to read more. I'm just not that good at committing to these things, you guys. But I keep trying. Yep.

5:40 P.M. Sunday

SO. Busy weekend. Saw an amazing play called Miss Holmes at Chicago's Lifeline Theatre. Oh man. So great. Sherlock Holmes as a lady and infused with 19th century feminist issues, plus references to both Jack the Ripper minutiae and The Yellow Wallpaper

I finished The Lunch Witch, which it turns out was more for like 8 year olds, and my taste in children's fiction runs to middle grade, so more like 10-12 year olds. It was fine. THREE OUT OF FIVE STARS. Maybe more if I were eight.

I read about half of a book of Shirley Jackson short stories, which wasn't even on my LIST, but matched my theme of #Hallowreads. I've always felt like I was one step away from liking Shirley Jackson. I tried with We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill …

Women's History: Those Who Rose Up and Said 'Fuck This Bullshit'

The other day, I decided to lay out all the women's history books I had in my room (minus my Emma Goldman books, which have their own shelf section).



My path to women's history wasn't extremely wendy, but I somehow wasn't expecting to be on it. When I was five, my family went to England. I learned about Henry VIII and his wives and got really into them (and drew some EXCELLENT five-year-old-child pictures of them in my journal, but that's for another time). 

Then I feel like things kind of stagnated except for random things, like PBS aired a Catherine the Great biopic in the '90s and I asked my mom for a biography of her. I was kind of too busy memorizing dog breeds and planning my soon-to-be-thriving full-time dachshund breeding business to care about women's history.



"Women are interesting because they overcame more" was the explanation I gave to myself in high school while I angstily worried in my journal that the reason I listened to women singer…

Master and Margareadalong 3: Does anyone wear pants in this book?

As we plough through the overcast but fallishly festive month of October, we continue this weird, weird book.

This week, more people went to jail, more people were slapped around by Satan and his minions, and there was a weird Harry Potter-feel to some of it. Also the housing crisis continues to be made fun of, which makes me think I need to read about it. As a modern lady living in Chicago, my mentality is kind of "well......but there're lots of apartments here." Was it just a bunch of people moving to Moscow and they have no apartments to house them, or was it a specifically Soviet thing? If it's the bunch of people moving to Moscow thing, then that makes more sense for Berlioz's uncle being told to go back to Kiev.

Meanwhile, Margarita's doing this:



Satan and his pals are being suuuper nice to Margarita. Maybe because she doesn't give a fuck about anything except finding the Master. And also she's really good at sucking up to people. And by the end …

Master and Margarita: "Who would let Styopa on a fighter plane without shoes?"

What happened in Master and Margarita this week? A bunch of people got disappeared by the devil (Secret Police), Apollonian and Dionysian values got compared (apparently), and there was more Jesus stuff.

AND THE MASTER SHOWED UP. Finally. Did anyone else almost immediately google to see if you could buy his hat? Because I did and I cannot find it, which seems RIDICULOUS. Anyway, I assume the woman he was obsessed with and whose flowers he hated is Margarita, and also that the Master is essentially Bulgakov (further research has supported this), which means our two main players have finally shown up. Does it feel a bit like a chess game where all the pieces are being strategically placed around? Yes? No? Maybe?

Anyway, I found this (again, from Middlebury's fine site), which I liked very much. It's addressing the chaos at the theatre in chapter 12 (bolding my own):

Apollonian vs. Dionysian: The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche is very difficult to understand, but it appears to be…

I'm Just a Person by Tig Notaro: Funny People Writing Sad Things

I have loved Tig Notaro since I clicked on her first album one night before bed while browsing Spotify and proceeded to laugh until my stomach cramped. Then, of course, her 'Live' album was released and that was a huge deal, and thank God more people know about her now. Have you seen her just push a stool around a stage for an uncomfortably long period of time? The things she does with comedy contribute to it as an actual art form, and I am unbelievably impressed with her.



So she wrote a book. That's cool. Lots of comedians writing books these days. It's not a funny book though, because it deals with her terrible terrible four month period that's described in Live. It's basically Live, but much more detailed. 

It's pretty short. It makes you think about life. It's probably more meaningful if you've suffered a recent loss, or dealt with anything pretty traumatic, which KNOCK ON ALL THE WOOD IN THE LAND, I've been spared from for quite some time.

As …

A Guinea Pig Pride & Prejudice: GUINEA PIG ALL THE THINGS

You guys. Imagine the scene. I'm at Volumes Book Cafe with a group of writers from Book Riot. I turn the corner. And I see a picture of a guinea pig dressed up like Elizabeth Bennet.


You know how sometimes, something strikes you as unspeakably hilarious that perhaps confuses those around you? Every new page I saw in A Guinea Pig Pride & Prejudice had me doubled over in paroxysms of laughter while my fellow Book Rioters stood there, staring at me. BUT I DID NOT CARE because guinea pigs were wearing bonnets.


Bloomsbury, who publishes this, has done an A+ job on promotions. Mainly because they have a tumblr for it and also made a very very serious trailer:




Guinea pigs wearing bonnets is my new favorite thing. Guinea pigs being said to emote at all is hilarious because they are the Bartleby of rodents, and if they could say anything it would most assuredly be "I would prefer not to." Because they very clearly just want to sit there and do nothing. Which is why you can put b…

Master and Margareadalong: The Master and Margarinning!

Wow, I sure did not have any idea what this book was about. Mostly because I 100% thought it was about a ship's cat. If someone had told me it "concerns a visit by the devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union" I PROBABLY WOULD HAVE PICKED IT UP SOONER.

Is a cat involved? Yes. But a shifty cat.



The book begins with a poet and his editor, because #Russia. They're in a park. This park:




How much does Russia love this book? A SHIT TON is the answer. They still love Patriarch's Ponds, (or, if you're talking to your brother-in-law and forgot the name, Patriarchy Park) pretty much solely because of this book (although that's according to masterandmargarita.eu, so take it with a grain of salt) AND they have put up this amazing sign that is now 90% of the reason I want to go to Russia:


On June 20, 2012, the connectedness of the Patriarch's Ponds with The Master and Margarita was again illustrated when a unique road sign turned out to be placed there overnight.…