Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday Stumblings


These links are articles I've read this week that have impressed me or challenged me in some way. They've made me think, or enlightened me, and sometimes, they've pointed out a problem that I think needs to be solved. They all have one thing in common- I stumbled upon them while browsing the web, thinking that I wouldn't read anything particularly interesting, and was proven wrong.

Reading and Writing

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The archetype of  "Girls Underground"
 A post identifying an archetype found in many fairytales, books, movies, and TV shows, this is a thoroughly intriguing read. 

 Death of Bees Captures a Grim, Gory Coming-of-Age

"Left on their own in Glasgow's Hazlehurst housing estate, Marnie and Nelly attempt to avoid suspicion after the mysterious death of their parents — at least until Marnie can become a legal guardian for her younger sister." An NPR interview with the author of The Death Of Bees, a new bildungsroman that seems to be both humorous and dark.

Why I Believe 99 Cent E-books Are Bad for Authors and Readers 
  I've always been a little leery of those .99 cent deals you see on Amazon's Kindle store. This article puts those ill-formed thoughts into words better than I ever could.

Social Issues

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 All the (Real) Geek Girls

The idea of the Fake Geek Girl (aka the idea that most girls who say they're geeks are not real geeks but are just posing as such to attract geek guys) is one of the silliest that I've ever heard. This article points out the reasons why there's not one standard for what a "geek" should be.

The Psychology of the Fake Geek Girl
Why do people believe in such a thing as a Fake Geek Girl? This article talks about the damaging ideas behind the belief in the stereotype.


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When we blink, we're not only cleansing our eyes, we're reflecting and examining. 

In Europe and Australia, a short film entitled Black Angel was shown before the Empire Strikes Back. It was lost, until quite recently.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Les Miserables: A Review

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So, I and my sister Lydia from A Tardis-Traveller's Guide to the Whoniverse went to see Les Miserables. We got into the theatre, and suffered through at least nine somewhat stupid previews. Then, the familiar strains of "Work Song" burst through the theatre, as the camera focused on a shipyard full of convicts. I looked over at my sister, and we both nodded in unison.

      Hugh Jackman's performance as Valjean was wonderful, in that he integrated his acting into his singing, and at times, I found it hard to watch his highly emotive performance in "What Have I Done" and "Bring Him Home." As the lead, he performed well, and was a compelling Valjean.

      Unfortunately, Russell Crowe seemed to be struggling with his singing in "Stars." Instead of pressing the urgency and vindication Javert ought to be feeling, he seems to be trying to reach the notes of the number, thus not conveying much emotion through his singing.

      Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, was an excruciatingly believable Fantine who conveyed her desperation to not only stay alive, but to keep her daughter safe at all costs. Her performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" was tremendous, and though she has relatively short screen time, she is captivating in the role of Fantine.

Throughout the film, the director integrates sections of the book, in events such as Cosette and Valjean's fleeing from Javert, and in the camera shots, Hugo's presence is also felt. The sweeping aerial shots of  Paris recall Victor Hugo's unflinching descriptions in the book. The section at the beginning of the second act, which involves Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) running through the streets of Paris with his compatriots, call to mind the chapter on the Gamin (street urchin) of Paris: the discarded Elephant statue in which Gavroche sleeps also makes an appearance.

Influenced by both the musical and the book,  despite the sometimes flawed harmonies and deleted lyrics, this movie is a thrill to watch.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Books of 2012

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I did a little reading this year... here are some of the specifics: how many, and how much I liked them!

How many books read in 2012?
Didn't keep an exact count, but more than one hundred were read.

How many fiction and non fiction?
Mainly fiction... perhaps one third were non fiction.

Male/Female author ratio?
Half were male and half were female.

Favourite book of 2012?
I had many favourites, but some of my most loved this year were of the following:

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Anathem by Neal Stephenson
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
Valiant by Holly Black  
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Neuromancer by William Gibson
Every Day by David Levithan

Catspaw by Joan D. Vinge

Least favourite?
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (find my review here). I did want to enjoy it, but just did not care for it!

Longest and shortest books?
Anathem was the longest at 981 pages, while The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish was the shortest at 85 pages.

 How many books from the library?
Almost all were from the library.

Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author?
I discovered Margaret Atwood, and read seven of her books: first The Handmaid's Tale, then Alias Grace, her MaddAdam trilogy, Catseye, and The Blind Assassin.

Favourite character of the year?
I really liked Case in Neuromancer, Erasmus in Anathem, and Karou in Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading?
France, Japan, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, many different planets and worlds.

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation?
Catspaw by Joan D. Vinge, Neuromancer by William Gibson, and Anathem by Neal Stephenson.

Which author was new to you in 2012 that you now want to read the entire works of?
William Gibson and Neal Stephenson

Which books are you annoyed you didn’t read?
I wish I could have read Psion by Joan D. Vinge, but unfortunately it did not arrive via interlibrary loan.

 Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read?
  The Poisonwood Bible,The Sound and the Fury, The Sun Also Rises, and The Handmaid's Tale.

What books are you planning to read in 2013? 
Ulysses by James Joyce, and Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor.

Happy reading in 2013 to all my followers!