Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Links! Links! And more links!

   So in my last post for 2013 I wanted to link to a lot of things that I found interesting and good.

   First up the blog Black Girl Dangerous, all the stuff that she writes is amazing and thought provoking. You can find it here: http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/

   The 8 tracks site for Bitch media, their mixtapes are all worth checking out, but I really liked their country one as well as their hip hopers. The have done I think 200 and it worth having a look at something that might interest you. You can find the 200 mixes here: http://8tracks.com/bitchtapes

   Lesley Kinzel. I am a huge fan girl of her, I love her writing, her politics, her fashion, her fat positivism, just really her. She writes a lot for xo jane (the us site), I have my problems with the site but never her, and her articles I always find interesting. I am going to link to a list of just her articles. Here is the link: http://www.xojane.com/author/lesley/allArticles?query=date 

   The interview between bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry. It is fucking amazing, that is all. I am going to post the whole thing including the questions because I also think their answers are really good. You can find the whole thing here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OmgqXao1ng

   I have also been obsessed with over the past month the song I Did it All by Tracy Chapman. There is something about her voice that gets to me in this song. You can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KB6pcjAityU

   I am also going to link to some articles by Flavorwire, I find them problematic a lot of the time. They however do some great lists of things that I would never have found without them. The 10 best young adult books for Grownups, here: http://flavorwire.com/77501/top-10-young-adult-lit-picks/

   And the top 20 Great Works of Latin American Fiction (That Aren't Gabriel GarcĂ­a Marquez), here: http://flavorwire.com/409886/20-great-works-of-latin-american-fiction-that-arent-by-gabriel-garcia-marquez/view-all/

   I also just want to link to one of their movie posts, 25 Movies by Female Directors Every Aspiring Film Maker Should See, here: http://flavorwire.com/410962/25-movies-by-female-directors-every-aspiring-filmmaker-should-see/view-all/ I still haven't seen Orlando or Fire both of which looks super great and interesting.

   Talking of movies I want to link to a post via the xo jane com site that I found interesting titled Sick Of The Hollywood Boys' Club? AREN'T WE ALL -- So Check Out These 10 Female Filmmakers Ruling Indie Cinema, you can find it here: http://www.xojane.com/entertainment/10-female-filmmakers-ruling-indie-cinema
   I also this year found a website that did a Read a Romance Month. They did short interviews with romance novelists about why they write it and they also did recommendations which were great, three authors per day in the month of August. It is always great to see romance novelists being proud of what they do and all of them I found really interesting. You can find the website here: http://www.readaromancemonth.com/

   I also want to link to the podcast Black Girls Talking, which I absolutely fell in love with this year. I get it from ITunes but you can find it their website as well and would strongly recommend their tumblr which you can find on their website as well. You can find it here: http://www.blackgirlstalking.com/  

  So that is 2013 done with, lows and highs but it's nearly over, time to look to the future. It always comforts me to say, nothing but good times ahead!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Bookclub! A Review

   I am going to do a review of all this years books that I did for this bookclub.

  January: Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. I absolutely really liked this book. The world building alone makes this a great book. There are some problems with it, but overall a wonderful novel.

   April: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. As previously discussed I had major problems with this, that led me to not finishing it. What I did find really illuminating was the discussion we all had about this book. I picked this because it had great reviews and knew nothing about it (which is what prompted me to read Ready Player One), I am not doing that again!

   May: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger. This is a really great light hearted book, and if you are a fan of Soulless her first book (which I was and still am) I think this will be your cup of tea.

    June: Quiet by Susan Cain. This is a really great at explaining introverts. Cain did a TED talk which made me think this was a good book for this. It has it's problems but overall I think it is worth reading and illuminating.

   July: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. This is a great introduction for me into the world of paranormal romance, there is still a problem with consent in the book however, which clouds my enjoyment of how well the werewolf aspect of the book is done.

   August: The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine. I think I picked this for a bookclub in the past, but had forgotten almost everything about it. There is a charm and a humour in this book that it pulls off, but there are quite a lot of constraints that cannot really translate in the modern day (as this is an adaption of Sense and Sensibility). I would say that it is a really fun book. I am glad I read it again. Oh and in other news Joanna Trollope has done a modern reimagining of Sense and Sensibility (same title) and what I've read of it so far it's pretty good.

   October: Anywhere but Here by Jenny Gardiner. I really liked how fun this book, and it is a road trip at it's heart which always appeals to me.

   December: The Bake Off by Beth Kendrick. I really enjoyed this book, especially the baking aspect of it. I am a sucker for that kind of thing. I thought that the relationship between the two sisters was really movingly done as well.

   That is a my bookclub review.

   A few things, this is my bookclub (that I am now naming Bossy Boots Bookclub, as I am the person doing the picking and writing the posts here in my blog). 

   Also I am going to post a list of potential books for February which is when I am going to start this in the new year, on the last Friday of that month. One has everyone is recovering from Christmas in January and it gives me a little time to think of some books in advance.   

   I have really enjoyed doing this so I am going to continue doing it, and hopefully you still enjoy it too!

   This week I am going to recommend the animated movie Howl's Moving Castle. I think that I have talked about this before but it's still a great film. The visuals alone are  fantastic. I have to confess unless you are familiar with the story it's pretty confusing but it's a great film with a great premise. I also really like that this is not a Princess Movie so already I am in.

   I would also heartily recommend the book that this is based on, same name by Diana Wynne Jones. It's really charming and really engaging. They are very different animals and in this case I don't think one is better than the other as they are so different, but both are very much worth your time.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Decency Should Not Be Given Points

   There is a trope in movies and TV that makes me mad. That is the idea of men being decent given points. I am talking about there is a big deal made of at the end of the pilot of The Newsroom, of Will McAvoy remembering his assistants name. That should be the level that we expect people to treat us, regardless of gender.

   I am talking about this idea that men being nice in media isn't really niceness at all, it is how we should expect everyone to behave. There should not be given points for acting like you give a shit about people.

   There are a lot of examples of simple respect being given to women as a thing to be celebrated, I am looking at you Sex and the City, Friends and Grey's Anatomy. Just stop it.

   I also really hate this thing in movies where a woman is with a guy that treats her badly and ignores the nice guy. Again just stop it. It's lazy story telling for one thing, and no one looks good in that situation.

    I say create people who are flawed but actually respect and care about the people they are with. Some romantic comedies get this right and a lot of them don't, but that is similar to all films really. I just don't want to see or read about another guy who remembers your Birthday or gives you a gift being put on a pedestal, it is what we should expect from the people in our lives.

   This week I am going to recommend Homoground - queer music radio on ITunes. This is a podcast that highlights music done by queer artists. I really like it, some episodes more than others but I found a lot of music that I would not have found otherwise including Sea of Bees which is an amazing band.  

Friday, 6 December 2013

Bookclub! The Bake Off by Beth Kendrick

   For this month's bookclub I choose The Bake Off by Beth Kendrick.

   So I really liked this book, what I really liked the most was this idea of perfection, that it sets you up to fail from the beginning. The two sisters in the book have reasons for not liking each other. I also really liked the reveal of the betrayal of what Linnie does to Amy. I also liked Amy's reaction.

   The bake off itself I liked and the characterisation of the people surrounding the competition. This book is about the sisters that it portrays and it was believable to me, and moving towards the end.

   I am going to do an end of year review on here, and talk about the books that I want to do next year, probably by next week. Anyone who wants to comment on The Bake Off feel free to so.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Some Things

   There are a couple of things that I have watched and read this week that I am going to talk about.

   Let's begin with the stuff that I didn't connect to. The Great Gatsby is up first I am afraid. What threw me off was how highly praised this book is, and my reaction to it really didn't match up with this.

   I think it's interesting to have a discussion about what doesn't work about books, but here I found it so difficult to even find a thread to understand. I just didn't understand what was so great about Gatsby, or why Nick finds him so interesting. I kept my promise of 100 pages, but I have to be honest I was hate reading the last 50.

   So two things, one Gatsby mentions St Olaf's which immediately made me think of The Golden Girls. Which at least made me smile. Also I was talking about this with someone who mentioned that it has homoerotic overtones, that Nick finds Gatsby sexually attractive which at least made it slightly interesting to read about these people.

   If the whole point of the book is to show how shallow these people are, I kind of understand it, but there has to be something else other than contempt surely? If it's the romance with Daisy I didn't care at all.

   I'm glad though that I got to read it, and have an opinion.

   Second up in my bid to watch all romantic comedies, I watched A New Kind of Love (made in 1963) with Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. I have Netflix, so that was the only reason I knew this film existed. I didn't even know the premise. So SPOILERS AHEAD is you even want to watch it.

   So Joanne Woodward is a head clothing ideas woman for a company, and is I guess kind of down on her luck with her love life. She and Paul Newman meet in Paris where he mistakes her for a call girl (which is still a high class prostitute, but never mind). Crazy mistakes ensue.

   This movie has no idea I think what it wants to say, it pretty bad from the beginning, including comparing women to cows. It really makes Paul Newman look like a douche by the way including I can't remember if he actually sleeps with his bosses wife or just flirts with her. He's pretty scathing of women in general. It has a weird song sequence that has nothing to do with anything.

   The whole thing was just strange. There was a couple of interesting things that I found about it though. Thelma Ritter is in it, and really good which is saying something for this movie. If you ever watch it, I think the scene between her and Woodward before her transformation is interesting. Ritter says 'Married? Who's talking married? I was married once, it just convinced me that there must be something more to sex than that.' Which is pretty daring for 1963, but they still make out marriage is the thing that everyone wants.

   The other thing that the clothes are amazing. I think I actually like more Woodward's clothes before she tries to be a call girl, there Is something very charming about her in her short hair and trousers.

   Now that I think about it this film is a lot like Pretty Woman which has got a similar icky premise. Prostitution isn't cute, sexy or fun. Trivialising it is a serious issue as well.

   Thelma Ritter though is amazing in this film, she's got something in this film, also this is Paul Newman in his prime, and what a prime it is. Joanne Woodward is also gorgeous and really wears those outfits well. So I wouldn't bother watching it but it has some things that are interesting to ponder on.

   The other thing that I read this week was Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster. I found myself really charmed by this book. You have to be with the narrator from the beginning, it reminded me of Anne of Green Gables actually, if you don't find Anne charming I don't think you can hook onto the book. The heroine of this though I really liked, and her humour and charm comes across in this. I think the book is helped by the fact it is in letters, the reveal of who is makes it less weird, and it is helped that it was written in 1912, but I really liked it.

   A couple of things that I wanted to mention in connection to the book, there are a lot of adaptions of it that I found on YouTube. I also bought on my kindle a reimaging of it called Thank you Mrs. M by Kate Rothwell, with the genders reversed, it's interesting and charming in it's own way.

   There is the film with Leslie Caron and Fred Astaire on YouTube. The dancing in the movie is amazing especially the ballet stuff. The costumes in this are all pretty cool as well. The premise of the movie come across as slightly icky, they do make reasons as to why he doesn't tell her who he is, but it's pretty thin. Lying the heroine doesn't make me think they should be together, it comes across as manipulative. It happens in the book too, but is softened by it being in one voice. It's a sticking point in the movie.

   I think though Leslie Caron is charming, it made me remember Lili that was made just two years earlier. The reason why I mention it, is that she has that innocent wonder about her in that too. She dances really well in Daddy Long Legs as well. The book is great and would encourage everyone to read it and Thank you Mrs. M as well. 

   On a very long post I am going to recommend Lesley Gore's You Don't Own Me. Such an amazing song and I still love it. Everyone should listen to an amazing song about a woman wanting to be herself. Here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNb-8gLcXLs&list=FLM-m5e8_2pMgMF9Hy-o-jdg