Sunday, 27 May 2012

Change

           I'm moving house soon (in about a month), and I am scared about things, but overall I think my past with moving is clouding this issue. The one thing that has been really good about this experience is getting rid of stuff.

         I have so much crap in my flat. I am a lover of books and have a lot but I have finally had to make the decision based on do I love this enough to have the stuff carted to where I am living? A lot of books have made it to a charity shop, bags and bags of them to be honest.

         This also means that I have to go through all the music i have, the DVDs that I went through and a lot of them have now gone. I made this decision as I said before based on do I want to haul this stuff a good distance away? If the answer was no then it went.

         I also realised some of the habits I have particularly with series, I buy some on the basis of two or three episodes that I liked, this does not justify me moving it, so a lot of that stuff went.

         Doing this has been actually good getting rid of stuff that I don't need. The worst thing has been going through stuff that I have for a long time. Stuff that I have kept for sentimental reasons or things that I have to keep over time, like my notes for this book that I am writing and all my fabric and wool that I have. This isn't all that big in the grand scheme of things. It still means that you have to go through paperwork and old stuff that you didn't realise you even had. then you have to make a decision whether you want to have it in your life.

         Really this has been a exercise in what is important to me, and what I really need with me. Broken mugs and DVDs that i never watch aren't important. Increasingly stuff isn't what I want to keep (though I am never giving away my copies of Bet Me, Pride and Prejudice, MatildaThe Rose Revived or Clouds Among the Stars). There are films and CDs that I will always keep, and I even still have the first album that I bought on tape. This is stuff that is linked to something that I want to keep.

        Things do not have magic in them, and in the end I would rather have stuff that I really like and watch again, read again and experience again rather than having something that does not connect with me. The experience of making these decisions has really made me realise that you can't take the things you have done with you. That and no one needs half the stuff that I have been holding on to.

        i still have a ways to go and I have a month to get everything packed up and ready to get everything moved. Getting rid of stuff hasn't been all that hard, so I think change won't be as scary either. I'm still going to be reading a lot of boks, just not buying them hopefully!

Regretting What I Said

          Regretting What I Said is a song that I absolutely fell in love with this week. There are two version of this song that I have found on youtube. I think I like the version by Octave (an acapella group) the best.

         I think I've gotten a bit obsessed by this song as it really appeals to my sense of humour and particularly sarcastic female driven songs. I love it a lot, Christine Lavin is really talented, and I highly recommend this song.

        

Thursday, 24 May 2012

What I am reading this week

            So I have been neglecting my book addiction but I am getting back on the wagon. I am really happy that I have recently got Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder. I have read (well let's face it devoured) Poison Study and Magic Study. I have really enjoyed the series. This is the best benefit to having a genre recommended to me, is that I get to read awesome books that i would never have read before.



            I am really excited to read this, as it's the last in the series, I want to say that series that have a romantic element to them can get a little too involving but this has pulled it off. I also wanted mention that I really liked these books, but there is an element of violence, particularly with a sexual overtone in what happens to the heroine. This made me feel really quite uncomfortable but the world building and the way Snyder writes did make me overcome my objections. I have a hard time with how any violence is depicted but I have to say I like her voice too much, it remains however problematic for me.


          I have also got Graceling by Kristin Cashore, have not read it yet, but I am really looking forward to reading it. I have heard great reviews and was bought for me by my sister, so i will be very happy to read it as soon as I can.


          I also re-read this week The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt. I think this may be my favourite of her romances in that Prince series. What I really like about this book is that it deals with imperfect people. It also really looks at sexual needs that women have. This is a book that has two prostitutes in it, and I feel it examines the choices and results of them well. Elizabeth Hoyt is an excellent writer. I have always liked this book and its strong female characters.



          I also wanted to briefly talk about Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti. I liked this book immensely. I would also like to give a shout out to the essay by Peggy McIntosh that Valenti mentions (goggle her name and the essay about race will come up). It is one of the most honest things i have read about white privilege I have read for a long time, and I am thankful that I got to read it.

          This is a book that looks at why being a feminist isn't a dirty word and that it is in fact cool. I like that angle a lot, and it covers a lot. I would say read it and make your own mind up, but I like how it frames the discussions.

            And finally there are a couple of books that I am looking forward to reading in the future (but it will probably be a couple of weeks till I get hold of them). To pleasure a Lady by Nicole Jordan, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Perzig (I really like reading about philosophy in an accessible way, one of the reasons I loved Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder so I think this will be good), and Jasper Fforde has a new Thursday Next novel already out I think, but that may take a while longer for me to get a hold of, but I am very excited at getting to read it. I have got a lot books on my shelf to read so I am excited at getting started.           

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Privilege

          I got really angry this week, and not in a constructive way, in a seething I want to knock your block off and take a hammer to my computer screen way. I wanted to instead of going to prison and replacing my computer talk about what made me so angry.

           I was listening to some podcasts (I don't want to name the podcasts) but in general they do the same thing they talk about popular culture and also talk about the film industry. I like films (I own about 300) this means I have always liked seeing films and I do enjoy talking about films. I really don't like what I was listening to, now you may say just stop and I have done now, but I don't have many options on podcasts, not many women do podcasts on this particular subject or I have not found them.

          When reviewing a film I don't want to hear you pour scorn on a genre, rom-coms in particular get so much flak, and now my anger is coming to the fore there are bad rom-coms as well as good ones. I really don't think anyone decided to make a bad film but you know what don't blame the genre, blame the acting, blame the direction or the writing, or the photography or I know this is a big step don't blame, it just makes me want to scream at you. If you think it's bad then explain why in a constructive way.

          Also a chicks film, it's called so because it is promoted towards women, why be so dismissive of this? If it is marketed towards men, what is that called? Oh that's right just a film, or a thriller or a drama. Admittedly films like Dodgeball and The Terminator I think are promoted towards a male audience but its not like I have not seen both films and have liked both. Why do people say its not geared towards us so therefore we're are not going to like it? I'm pretty sure Tangled was not promoted towards men over the age of 13, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy it.

          I am sick of that excuse. The reverse is true much more, that films are promoted towards men, where are the films that are promoted towards both? It reminds me of the quote by Pamela Regis in her book A Natural History of the Romance Novel she says:

Jane Tompkins notes that in our culture "stories about men ...function as stories all about people,"

          She also says in that particular part of the book that women find it easier to cross the boundary, by identifying with the male hero, that is how we are taught to view the world. Men find it much more difficult.

           I get it. We live in a world that values the straight white able bodied man, that is the view that is held more often than not as a base note. Fine, that does not mean that you do not acknowledge it. This does not mean that we don't have to look outside that view and that does not mean that men cannot identify with women, after all the reverse is true. There is not just the hero, the heroine is there too.

           I also want to say do not comment on people's bodies and do not qualify whether you liked a performance on the basis of whether you would fuck them or not. One I really don't care whether you want to fuck them, second nobody should be treated as an object. You do not get to judge someone on what they look like whoever they are. No person's body is public property. On the first point, are we really reduced to this that we are basing women's worth or whether you get an erection or not. Really get bent. Sexual attraction to someone has no baring on whether the film is good or not.

           I do not want to listen to another man reviewing a film in that patronising way that means that their opinion is the only one and the right one. I have news for you whether or not you like a film is completely subjective. I genuinely like Stick It I hate Citizen Kane. I do not expect other people to have the same opinion as me.

          I want to finish by saying there is another podcast that I will always like. The Popcorn Dialogues. This is a podcast that talks about films and started out with romantic comedies. They talk about their definitions, craft, story, plot and character. The show is hosted by Jennifer Crusie and Lucy March. I have learnt so much about character, story, structure and how relationships are arced. It taught me a lot about expectations and the two hosts are strong, intelligent writers that I respect and like. I have also learnt a huge amount by seeing romantic comedies from the 1930s to the present day, and now mysteries (this is the genre they are focusing on at the moment). It has been such an educational and illuminating experience. Now this is a podcast that I want more of, and my rant is now over, I'm putting down the hammer.

Laura Lockington

          I have a specific taste in romance particularly English romances that feature lives that i could never have. Laura Lockington has a very distinctive voice and it really appeals that the book that I have read of hers really fulfil a whole world being built around friendship and a different world.


        The two book that I want to recommend this week are Capers in the Sauce and Stargazy Pie. I think the former just a nose in front. These books do have romance in them, but for me they are about the world surrounding the heroine of both books. They weave a twisting but ultimately happy road surrounded by characters I cannot help but love.

         These are the books that mean comfort to me in the best way. Best of all they are really funny, I love her voice. Really great books.  

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Titles

           I was thinking about titles this week. I was thinking about how we define ourselves. Then I realised that we define ourselves often in relation to other people. My surname is the same is my fathers. When women get married their names change, though this is changing but I think most are still called Mrs in letters etc. Being known as a Miss is really about your marital status. Feminists have across the land continued to fight for the title of Ms. I wonder though is that really a solution? After all I feel you get called Ms when you are grown, not when you are five.

        I think it should change. Why have a title at all? Just call yourself by your name. I then realised that my surname is a male thing. I feel unsettled by this in a way. I feel like I have been owned all my life.

       Maybe I should not get hung up on this, but it's like that tradition of having your father give you away at a wedding. Why should he? Is this what we all think that we are owned? And it's not the same for men, they are not given away by their father, they do not give up their name when they marry.

       Of course now there is a choice. You do not have to give up your name, you don't have to be given away, you don't have to wear white and be in a church to get married in the first place.

       I think my own issues with marriage itself will wait for another post. Those who do get married and are happy, that is their choice. That is what feminism means to me, supporting all women in whatever choice they make. I don't think it makes you any less of person to be married and be with someone, if you wanted it, then go for it!

       I think it rubs me up the wrong way, to be connected to someone your whole life, but most of all I was not consulted on it. It is my name and I guess I'll just have to live with it, unless I change it by depol. I guess I've gotten used to it, and it does connect me to my siblings. With the idea of ownership, does anyone really own anyone else? It would be a pretty horrible world if that was the case. 

       I guess titles are just tricky things to deal with, and I don't think it really defines you whatever does, it doesn't have to be your name.   
      

I've Got Your Number

           I got the audio book this week of I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella read by Clare Corbett. It really is a great reading of the book. I think it helps that the book is first person so you are in the deep into the voice of the heroine from the start.


         I like Kinsella as a writer and have done for a long time actually. I have liked a lot of her other books, but the audio one of this book really got me, and it's because of Poppy the heroine. This is her story and I think it appeals to my sense of humour.

        There are a lot of coincidences in this book, but I like how the world is painted. Most of all I think audio books are very hard to pull off, so hats off to Clare Corbett, she does a fantastic job on this book.