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5 Books You MUST Read

6 Oct

There are many more books that I’ve read that I can recommend than those that I can’t. I’ve put together a short list of books that are near and dear to my heart, hopefully getting a little of several genres. I’ve also included some runner-ups that I couldn’t include because of my genre and number restriction. The Bluest Eye, The Sound and the Fury, and Beloved were all pining for the same spot. And here we go…

Runner-up: The Bluest Eye, The Sound and the Fury

5. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King – This is a book I read when I was either in 8th grade or as a freshman in high school. I read it twice, both within a year of each other, but it has remained on my top list of books to tell people about. There are a few great things I love about this book. First, it takes the fantastical elements you’ll find in all historical fiction and combines that with the writing style of Stephen King. From page one you’ll be hooked, and soon after you’ll be lost in the characters that are spun so well by Mr. King. Secret passages and scandal make this book a must-read!

4. Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll – These books epitomize the wonderful place that vague meets descriptive. While I do prefer the former, I had to include both to do Carroll a justice. Whimsical in nature, the imagery of these books is the best kind of original. There is enough to decipher, here, that we can easily interpret and adapt to what we need this book to serve as. From the darker Through the Looking Glass adaptation of Disney/Tim Burton to the possibly drug-induced classic by Disney to the Czech stop-motion film Něco z Alenky (Something from Alice), we can find a little something for everyone.  We can look at this book as a child, curious about the world and tired of daily monotony, or as an adult in which we find a commentary on the contrast between adult and child that lends the former to reservation and control and that latter to excess and imagination. You can actually read these books online for free!

3. Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood – Now we’ve reached a place where our last three books are interchangeable in position based on my mood. This book I read in my 20th Century Fiction course about four years ago. It is a dystopian novel, which already places it high on my list of books that I like. This book serves as a commentary to the current state of the United States focused on our sexual needs and the decline of our fertility. Any book with sex as a theme is probably on my list of books to read, and this one deals a lot with sexual dysfunction. We get to see the contrast between how things stayed the same and how things are drastically different (think underground strip clubs vs. ritualistic fertility sex orgies) in a society designed to save the human race.

2.  Beloved by Toni Morrison – This is also a recent read, but is a beautiful and sensual novel in none of the classical ways. The premise of this book is very dark, but each word has a purpose. The flow of her words on the page is nothing less than sensual. Throughout the book Morrison alluded to the ending, and while my suspicions were correct, I did not imagine the book would end like it did. With nothing even close to a happy ending, the book still ended in the best way possible, and left me very satisfied.

1. Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg – I’m cheating by having this on the list, because I haven’t actually finished it. To give you an idea of what this book is about, let me list some key words for you: rape, sex, sexuality, race, gender, love, suicide, depression, oppression, police brutality, civil rights, poverty. Do I have your attention? You wouldn’t expect all of these to be able to fit into one book without being overwhelmed, but it is eye-opening how cohesive and spot-on Feinberg illustrates each of these struggles. One main character is faced with all of these challenges and more and you can’t help but gain a better understanding for how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. This a novel that will transcend generations and will continue to be relevant, even decades from now.

 

Have you read any of these books? Do you disagree with any of my choices?

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5 Books You SHOULDN’T Read

6 Oct

Without further ado, I present to you the books I would never recommend anyone read (I tried to get a variety of genres):

5. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – This was a leisure read I’ve been meaning to read since my freshman year of high school. I’d heard it was a good book, but like many books, never got around to reading it until recently. My opinion might have been different had I read it at a younger age, as it is a self-discovery coming-of-age type of book, and I did go back and forth between including it or not. For lack of a 5th book off the top of my head, I included it. My biggest reason is that this is the only book I’ve ever read that was worse than the movie hands down. I enjoyed the way the book was written, but sometimes lacking insight from an outside source made it a little too vague. If you’re interested in the story, I would recommend just watching the movie. The writing itself isn’t terrible, but again, its just a little too vague and sparse with detail to call it a need to read.

4. Maurice by EM Forster – I was required to read this for my 20th Century Gay and Lesbian Fiction course, an elective I took while obtaining my bachelors. While the premise seems like it would make a good novel, reading it was a very different story. It lacked excitement, and was predictable.

3. Firestarter by Stephen King – I recently read this novel, and for the first 200-250 pages I had to force myself to pick up the book. Again, the plot seemed interesting enough (college experiment goes awry and leads a couple to develop psychokinetic powers, the offspring of which causes them to go on the run to avoid being a government experiment), but until the very end of the book it was a struggle to maintain concentration. The book also jumped around a bit between characters, but often in a way that interjected boring dialogue between what would otherwise be an interesting storyline. I would like to say that the last 100 pages or so were worth the wait, but that would be a lie.

2. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad – This is a book I read in high school, as part of my AP Literature course. Described as heavy and a difficult read, I wouldn’t disagree. If I was to revisit the book almost 10 years later, I can’t say that I would like it any more than I did at the time. If I remember correctly, the metaphor was thick and instead of contributing to the books purpose, detracted.

1. War of the Worlds by HG Wells – This is a book I read in high school, probably as a sophomore or junior. The lore surrounding the book itself, along with a love of the classics led me to its pages. This is a book that makes the bore of Firestarter look like child’s play. The details Wells uses are descriptive to the point of excess, making his sentences frequently take up an entire paragraph, and sometimes even spanning multiple pages. To err on the side of caution, this book didn’t get interesting until the last 10 pages (I want to say 4, but that could be an exaggeration).

 

5 Books You MUST Read

 

As someone who loves a good book, I actually welcome you all to read the above, especially to be able to discuss my statements. Which of these have you read? How did you feel about them? 

Aside 28 Feb

I would make sweet, sweet love to David Duchovny. And by “sweet, sweet love” I mean I would fuck him so hard.

No Apologies Needed

8 Jan

 

Please watch this music video if you haven’t. I want you to watch it before you read what I have to say.

And of course, as you all should know, I love Shia, but my frustration has little to do with him.

This video that you just watched, in case you were unable to tell, is interpretive dance. The job of the dancers, Shia and Maddie, is to give a message to the audience of the emotions that fill the story line. It is the job of the audience to interpret it, and because we all have different perceptions and realities, each interpretation with be undoubtedly different.

But Sia, the creator of the video, just apologized for it. To me, that is an abomination; you should never apologize for art. If you need to apologize for something, apologize for the underlying emotions, apologize for your story, apologize that you had no control over how life played out, but under no circumstances should someone apologize for art.

She apologized because of the pedophilia tones that some who watched this video perceived. Here is a Rolling Stones article detailing a little bit about the apology and complaints.

What bothers me most about all of this is that I don’t see anything that even whispers pedophilia or child molestion/abuse. I see personality. I see a joking, teasing child and a curious, wary adult. I see a strong man looking for escape, and a young girl not yet clouded by the fog of adulthood. At no point do I see anything perverse.

This screams to how our society sees men, and how our innocence is so lost that the only thing we can see in an interaction between a girl and a man or a man and a woman is one of sexual regard. Had Shia been played by a woman, no one would have thought twice.

And if it is the dancers in question, I can’t begin to imagine that these two people had anything more than a professional interaction.

Was Sia correct in apologizing for her video and casting choices? At which point did you see pedophilia, if you saw any at all? What do you think this says about you, and our culture?

The Selfie Game: Winner

6 Dec

Thanks to the [few] people who played the selfie game! I’ve posted the winner and the break-down of which pictures were selfies and which ones weren’t below.

First, as you may have expected, there was a deeper reason to me making a post riddled with pictures of myself. The reason is that the term “selfie” carries the connotation that every picture is for self-absorbed reasons for people who have no friends, and must resort to make duck-faces in the mirror (see above picture). The truth is that a good picture is a good picture. Most of the people I know don’t know how to take a portrait of someone else, and I often find myself doing things alone. I’m perfectly okay with that, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want a good picture of me doing these things. Instead of awkwardly asking a stranger to take a picture of me that will end up either accenting all the wrong features, or too blurry to make out, I just take a selfie.

Or, if there are two of us, and I want a picture with both of us in it, it is just as easy to flip the camera around and take one of both of us from a flattering angle, than to set up a timer and hope for the best.

The point: before you scoff at “selfies” think about if it is actually the self-portrait you have problems with (and why, because that’s really weird), or the fact that duck faces and mirror pictures are poor quality and not flattering.

Here is the breakdown:

Rules: Tell me if each picture IS a selfie, or is NOT a selfie.

selfie4

1. Selfie (I absolutely loved this door)

selfie6

2. Selfie (Went on a solo photography trip)

selfie9

3. Not a selfie (however, I do have a picture like this that was a selfie – not as good as this one)

selfie7

4. Selfie (LOVE this picture – some lady took a picture of me just before this, wasn’t half as good)

selfie13

5. Not a selfie (llama kisses are the best kind of kisses)

Bonus: My blog picture, to the right – selfie

selfie1

6. Not a selfie

selfie2

7. Selfie, taken by me (not the best picture of either of us)

selfie8

8. Selfie, taken by me (love this picture BECAUSE its not the best of either of us)

selfie12

9. Selfie, taken by me (GO RAMS!)

selfie16

10. Not a selfie (nor was it taken by the other girl)

selfie3

11. Not a selfie (one of the best pictures someone else has taken of me, ever)

selfie10

12. Not a selfie

selfie14

13. Not a selfie

selfie15

14. Not a selfie (I was also in this picture to her right, and it was me who took the picture)

And the winner is…..

AMY!

Thanks for playing everyone! Amy (who only missed ONE) will receive a $10 Amazon gift card, as well as a home-made purse organizer to keep all of her necessities sorted and on hand whenever she needs them!

The Selfie Game

21 Nov

Come one, come all!

With the rise of social media, comes the rise in attention to the selfie. Selfies have existed probably as long as the camera, but without a way to post them for the world to see, they went undetected for years.

Take a look at this famous selfie from 1991 by Thelma and Louise.

I did some research via UrbanDictionary to figure out just what constitutes a “selfie”, but the only thing that seems to be true of all selfies is that, of course, you take them yourself. So lets play a little game….I’m going to post some pictures of yours truly, and I want YOU to tell me if they are a selfie or not!

Here we go.

Round 1: Pictures of just me

Rules: Tell me if each picture IS a selfie, or is NOT a selfie.

selfie4

1.

selfie6

2.

selfie9

3.

selfie7

4.

selfie13

5.

Bonus: My blog picture, to the right

Round 2: Pictures of me, with someone

Rules: For each picture, tell me if you think the picture IS a selfie (taken by me) or is NOT a selfie (not taken by me). If you think someone else in the picture took the photo, tell me who.

selfie1

6.

selfie2

7.

selfie8

8.

selfie12

9.

selfie16

10.

selfie3

11.

Bonus Round: Pictures of others

Rules: Tell me if you think the picture IS a selfie (taken by someone in the picture) or NOT a selfie (taken by someone NOT in the picture)

selfie10

12.

selfie14

13.

selfie15

14.

Winner gets a prize! A secret prize. Answers to follow (probably next week).

The Consequence of Facebook on Friendship

2 Oct

Have you ever been scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see something like this:

Hey everyone. I just deleted a whole bunch of friends, and if you are friends with Milly Anderson, please delete her. I don’t want to associate with people who associate with her.

Surprisingly, it seems to happen a lot.

If you know anything about me, you likely know that I am not afraid to remove toxic people from my life, and that includes Facebook. I have two methods I use very frequently:

1) If we are good friends, or I would generally like to keep in touch with you and Facebook is the best way, but I don’t like your posts I will unfollow you.
2) If we are not good friends, and you continually post offensive or negative posts I will delete you.

It’s relatively drama-free.

The consequence of social media is that even if you do this, your business may (or may not…people really, really  don’t usually care about your life and aren’t going to inquire) be spread through other people who are still on your friend list. This is where people ask others to delete Milly Anderson or face losing a friendship. But your business still might be spread.

That isn’t okay. I’m sure Milly is an okay person and has every right to have friends that you do. This isn’t to mention that this is an ineffective way to stop spreading information.

It’s the internet. Unfortunately, some people are awful and they deserve to be deleted, but its not fair to try to govern other people’s lives and relationships. When I remove people from my friend groups (offline), I acknowledge that I can’t make others not be friends with them. That isn’t my choice to make.

What is the motivating factor behind asking people to delete people just because you are having issues? Do you think it is effective, and have you ever done it? Do you do that in offline relationships?