Aurora Leigh Part Three Which I Didn't Read, Oops

   My body has been attacking me and term papers etc are heaping up and so I have to admit that I did not read this weeks section of Aurora Leigh, and I am sorry.

   What I DID read was Alice's and Jenny's posts about the last part and here are my impressions:

  • Once again EBB goes off on how good, pure, noble, etc poetry is, and how it transcends everything else. At some point I feel like we'll be like "we get it, Elizabeth, poetry is good." 
  • Romney is a fake-woke bro and is also: the worst. Also he gets married too much. 
  • England has always hated France and probably always will? Remember reading Villette and Lucy Snow is like "I hate three things: France, Catholics, and everything else"
  • Victorians were the worst AND I always get mad when people are like "I was born in the wrong generation!!!!!!!111!" because really? You think so? 
   I'm going to do my best to read this difficult book in time for the last post. Who can say if I will be successful? Only time. 


Aurora Leighdalong, Books 1 & 2

   And so begins our foray into a novel-in-verse about a woman who becomes a poet, and so far, it is equal parts delightful and impenetrable. So many thanks to Alice and Jenny for organizing.

    A RECAP: Aurora Leigh is born in Italy, and is an orphan by the time she's 13, at which point she's shipped off to England and to grow up in her aunt's care but DON'T WORRY, this aunt isn't as bad as Jane Eyre's aunt. She grows up rather under the aunt's thumb and her cousin visits sometimes, then she talks a lot about how much she loves nature and then she finds her father's book collection in her aunt's attic and spends the next ~fifty thousand pages talking about how amazing poets are and how they are closer to God than the rest of us.

Aurora and Chuck would get along, I think

   She starts writing poetry, but then on her twentieth birthday her cousin Romney finds her book of poems (which she hid in a tree near a stream, of course) and first tells her that women can't be poets (even though he didn't read anything she wrote so like...get stuffed, Romney. Although I am glad you did a small amount of privacy-respecting), does some general insulting, and then proposes to her. Aurora is like "hell no," and I applaud her.

Aurora reacting to Romney's proposal

   Her aunt is like "gurl you're going to be poor when I die, marry your cousin to secure your future," and Aurora is still like "hell no," and honestly I respect her resolve, also cousin Romney is v rude. Six weeks later the aunt dies from...sitting? and Romney tries to give Aurora a bunch of money and she's like "keep it, I'm outta here" and goes to London to be a poet.

   At one point Romney says, "When Egypt's slain, I say, let Miriam sing! / Before...where's Moses?" and honestly Romney, you need to read the Bible again and then you need to start getting better opinions. I feel like he's going to come back as a romantic interest for Aurora, and I'm mad about it. He's rude and mean, and I don't like him. I do like Aurora, and how she's very principled and does things like preserve ivy crowns in a drawer because PERSONAL SYMBOLISM.

   A lot happens, and a lot doesn't happen. During the nature and poet parts I was like "please, EBB, spare me" but there are so many good lines in this book that I can't complain. If reading this first portion didn't remind you of Bright Star then I have to assume you haven't seen Bright Star, and I feel like you should because it's a good movie, and very pretty. Look at these gifs and tell me that's not Aurora, I dare you.


Sometimes all you can do to make yourself read again is find one subject that holds your attention and lean into it with all your strength. My reading resolution of 52 books a year has been a true challenge in both 2016 and 2017, and so far this year I've only managed to squeak through 14. But, a few of those books lately have gone more smoothly, have held my attention more firmly, have kept me coming back to them and working through them. What an enormous relief. They've all been books about magic and witches, magic and witches. If there's a woman in them learning her own power through magic I'm there.

16 hour long audiobooks? Put them in my ears, as long as there's stories about Baba Yaga and spell-casting. Ebooks when I don't usually make good use of my Kobo? I'll pay attention as long as someone is researching the Salem Witch Trails while simultaneously discovering her own magic. Heck, I'll even read Witches of East End EVEN THOUGH it's dumb.

Please, for the love of my reading-hungry brain, suggest witch books to me.


too much head stabbing

   The movies are AS FOLLOWS:

  1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (86)
  2. Lion (16)
  3. Logan (17)
  4. Sense and Sensibilty (08)
  5. Sunshine (07)
   Ferris Bueller, always funny. Lion, always crying. Logan, always anxious. Sense and Sensibility, always proper. Sunshine, always concentrating on something else to free myself from Space Fear. 

   If you haven't seen Lion, I recommend that you do. It is beautiful and sad and Sunny Pawar is the most adorable child on the planet. I am not kidding when I say that I basically started crying a few minutes in and didn't stop until the end of the movie. If you're in an emotionally fragile state, maybe wait for a bit to watch this one. But do watch it! It's good. 

   LOGAN IS NOT A FUN ROMP THROUGH THE WOODS. BEWARE. I heard it described as feeling like a two-hour long anxiety attack and guess what: that's right on the money. It was good and I enjoyed it AND I felt exhausted at the end! I don't know if I'll ever watch it again. To me it felt like a logical progression from the rest of the X-Men movies; to Josh it felt like a re-hash of old ideas with nothing new besides more violence and f-bombs. And there is a lot of violence. Some of it seemed exploitative to me, or maybe the movie was just trying to get across the senselessness of it? I am not sure. I'm also not sure if this movie did what it was meant to do. All in all, I say it is very of the times. Could have done with ~75% less head-stabbing. 

   Sense and Sensibility the mini-series is a masterpiece, here I stand I can do no other. Down with Lucy Steele. 

   I am not good at watching scary movies even when I want to watch them and my experience with Sunshine was no exception. It was stressful! I spent a good deal of time either looking at my phone or intently embroidering. But it was also good? And I didn't get Space Nightmares, so that's also good? Some scientists/astronauts have to go shoot a bomb into the sun to re-start it. Things go wrong! The calls are coming from inside the house! Space! 



5-10, 2017

Hey ho here's some movies. Can you guess them??? I believe in you.



I'm not technically doing Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, but I have a free Saturday and am thoroughly in hermit mode, so it has fallen on an ideal day. I also love a) snacks, and b) reading.

I have two books on the go, Remnant Population / Elizabeth Moon, and the audiobook of A Darker Shade of Magic / V. E. Schwab. I don't know how many of you have seen The Tenth Kingdom (a cinematic masterpiece) but A Darker Shade of Magic has been weirdly reminding me of it. Jumping between worlds using a magic portal? Also there's a scene in The Tenth Kingdom which prominently features A Whiter Shade of Pale and there's no way V. E. Schwab didn't think about that song when they gave the title to this book.

Those are the books, these are the snacks, so far: a smoothie and coffee. Perhaps not very creative but oh well. I have leftover pizza to eat later, and gelato, and Guiness, and if you think I'm not going to eat a scoop of peanut butter later you'd best check yourself.

Will update as I go.


"Will update as I go" hahahahahhhaaa

For readathon I listened to an hour and a bit of A Darker Shade of Magic, nearly typed it as A Darker Shade of Pale at least three (3) times, and read a chapter of  Remnant Population. I also went to see an improv show with my good good friend and did some needlepoint and cried at an episode of Call the Midwife. It is somewhat possible that I am becoming more like my mother in my show choices and reactions.

It was a good day and I'm quite satisfied with my reading performance.


"I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave"

   And the movies from the previous post are:
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (68)
  • District 9 (09)
  • Hidden Figures (16)
  • Love & Friendship (16)
  • Rear Window (54)

   Watching 2001: A Space Odyssey was an experience. We had an installment of Movie and Cocktail Club that featured this movie, and three out of the four of us had never seen it before. What a ride. This movie is a) very long, b) has a large proportion of dialogue-less time, and c) was really enjoyable. When it ended I immediately started looking up criticism and commentary to read. Turns out, some people are VERY SURE about What It All Means. Also, Dave is bizarrely good looking. What does THAT mean. 

   Josh and I watched District 9 on January 20th, and let me tell you, that was a weird cognitive moment. Earlier in the day, 45 had been inaugurated, and then I was watching a movie about violence and misunderstanding towards refugees, forced relocation, building a wall to keep Others out, resistance only borne out of an experience of sharing in the suffering of a marginalized group, a lack of transparency in government, and a group of oppressors who believed that what they were doing was right. Does that, perhaps, remind you of something? I'm going to go ahead and say that, along with Children of Men and other dystopian movies, District 9  is only becoming more relevant and poignant. 

   Hidden Figures is required viewing. Go to a theatre, buy a ticket, spend money to watch this movie (as far as you are able; if cost is prohibitive, by all means, obtain it in another way. Please just watch it). This movie is not only required viewing, but also made me laugh out loud, made me tear up, made me confront internalized biases, was super interesting and entertaining, and only very slightly pulled its punches. Seriously. Hidden Figures. Go see it. This is not a drill. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Plus it's about NASA during the Space Race so, uh, SPACE. 

   Will Love & Friendship enter the my ranks of comfort watches? Trick question: it already has. 

   Rear Window is one of Hitchcock's triumphs, in my opinion. A high-stakes bottle episode! Grace Kelly's clothes (the real star)! Suspense! It's got it all. 


1-5, 2017

Another year, another movie count. Can you guess them all??????


movies of 2016

   This blog became mostly a movie blog rather than a book blog this year, due to: my brain. I started grad school. My reading and writing energy has been aimed elsewhere. And guess what? It was a good year for movies. This list may or may not include all the movies I watched this year, because I'm not always good at updating the list in my notes app. This list also doesn't include the tv I watched, just because I don't feel like including it. There was quite a bit, because I love tv. If you want to know my favorites they were the new X-Files episodes, Stranger Things, and Brooklyn-99. I have some THOUGHTS about Stranger Things which I may or may not share at some point in the future.

   Here's a legend for the list: an * marks a re-watch, bold means I watched it in theatres, underlined means I cried during a commercial for the Olympics that played before the movie started, italics means it was one of my faves this year, and a + means it's a documentary. If you want to read more about the movies, click on the "Movies" label and voila: there are all the movie posts, even though I didn't talk about the last few movies I watched.

  • *Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (80)
  • *Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi (83)
  • *Tombstone (93) I love this movie so much. Can't stop won't stop.
  • *Star Wars: The Force Awakens (15) a second theatre viewing, lovin' that stars war. 
  • *Mad Max: Fury Road (15) WE ARE NOT THINGS.
  • Stranger Than Fiction (06)
  • *Cowboys and Aliens (11) 
  • Mad Max (79)
  • Mad Max: Road Warrior (81)
  • Mockingjay, Part One (14)
  • *Princess Bride (87) I'm not marking this as a favorite for the year because it is a favorite for the AGES. 
  • Zoolander (01)
  • Room (15) This movie is beautiful and heart breaking and uplifting.
  • Matchstick Men (03)
  • Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (85) I feel like people drag this movie, but I really liked it. Two men enter, one man leaves, am I right? Gotta get me a chain mail dress. 
  • Brooklyn (15) 
  • *Cat Ballou (65) Another favorite for the ages.
  • *Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (09)
  • Zootopia (16)
  • +People of a Feather (11)
  • Mockingjay, Part Two (15) I watched this while delirious as a result of driving for twenty hours in two days.
  • *Flight of the Navigator (86) I watched this while eating waffles with my boyfriend.
  • Huntsman: Winter's War (16) I don't care what ANYONE says, these movies are CINEMA GOLD. 
  • +Somm (12) 
  • +Somm: Into the Bottle (15) Can recommend watching two wine documentaries back to back while drinking cheap wine with your parents.
  • Love & Friendship  (16) SO GOOD that I saw it twice in theatres. I paid ACTUAL MONEY, TWO TIMES. 
  • True Lies (94) <3 Arnold <3
  • The Secret Life of Pets (16) Do not recommend. 
  • *Galaxy Quest (99) This is a comedy classic, clearly.
  • *Emperor's New Groove (00)
  • Star Trek: Beyond (16) The Sabotage scene? Hilarious. "Classical music" is such a good gag. 
  • Matilda (97)
  • Bring It On (00) Somehow hadn't seen this movie until now.
  • Groundhog Day (93) I had a lot of thoughts about this one. Gonna watch it again soon, I think. 
  • *Sahara () This is one of my all-time favorite movies, here I stand I can do no other. 
  • +A Year in Champagne (14) This somehow became the year of Mad Max and wine documentaries. 
  • *Northanger Abbey (07)
  • Annie (14) Finally watched the newest version of Annie and you know what? It might be my favorite Annie.
  • Doctor Strange (16) 
  • Captain America: Civil War (16) I was weirdly disappointed in this one. I'm not sure if I saw it in theatres or not. 
  • Arrival (16) IT AMAZED ME, please go see it. 
  • *The Big Lebowski (98)
  • Rouge One (16) An installment of Star Wars that is all about the cost of war? Yes please. 
  • Spectral (16) Hilariously bad.
  • *Red 2 (13)
  • *Master & Commander (03) Boats boats boats!
  • La La Land (16) Not perfect but you know what? I loved it. 


books of 2016

   It feels a bit weird to blog as normal in the present political climate, but I think it's important to maintain some semblance of enjoyment of smaller things in life - reading books, watching movies - even while things continue to get worse and worse. Maybe this sounds apocalyptic, but we're living in apocalyptic times. I've neglected this blog for awhile for various reasons, but I think it's a practice that I need to take up again, for my own mental health. My reading patterns are tending more towards social justice lately, surprise surprise, which might not be totally evident here because I'm more likely to write about the fiction I read. What I'm trying to say is that I'm doing my best to take care of myself and to write about what I'm reading and watching, even though this blog will probably be periodically neglected.

   Here's the list of books I read in 2016 in the order I read them, I think. It was a smaller reading year, but a good one. I'll link to individual posts I wrote about each of these, if I wrote them.

  • World War Z / Max Brooks - since finishing this book early last January, I've re-read favourite bits and listened through the audiobook version several times. It is VERY GOOD. 
  • Bleak House / Charles Dickens - friggen FINALLY finished this beast, and I loved it. 
  • Saga, vol. 5 / Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples - I missed out on meeting Fiona Staples by MERE HOURS when I went to Chapters on a whim and bought this book. MERE HOURS. I'm still upset. 
  • Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant / Tony Cliff - there's hijinks and a flying boat. Recommend. 
  • Treasure Island!!! / Sara Levine - I loved this weird book with its awful protagonist. 
  • Rat Queens, vol. 2 / Kurtis J Wiebe, Roc Upchurch - I still maintain that "Roc Upchurch" MUST be a made up name. Rat Queens is great. 
  • Giant Days / John Allison - I'm not sure how much of this I read, because I was reading collected volumes as well as single issues on my libraries digital collection, and I lost track of my place in the story. Thoroughly delightful. 
  • Y : The Last Man, vol. 4-5 / Brian K Vaughan - less starkly offensive than I thought it was going to be on a re-read. I've been enjoying it.
  • Burn for Burn / Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian - only okay. 
  • My Boyfriend Barfed in my Handbag / Jolie Kerr - I've never been so entirely entertained while reading about cleaning. I've been giving this to people as a wedding gift. 
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society / Mary Ann Schaffer - a book that does "aren't book people great" and doesn't make it panderingly annoying! A true feat. Learned about some WWII history as a bonus. 
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette? / Maria Semple - AMAZING. ANTARCTICA. LOVE IT.  
  • The Accident Season / Moira Fowley-Doyle - no thanks.
  • Yes Please / Amy Poehler - friends, this audiobook is pure gold. 
  • The Woods, vol. 1-4 / James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas - scary alien planet, mystery, SPACE, high school politics, integrating into a strange society, spookiness, this book has it all. 
  • Year of Yes / Shonda Rhimes - Shonda Rhimes reads the audiobook, and let me tell you, it is such a good experience to listen to this. Highly highly highly recommend. 
  • Something New / Lucy Knisley - possibly my fave Knisley.
  • Maisie Dobbs / Jacqueline Winspear - Maisie Dobbs is in the same club as Phryne Fisher in my heart. I love Lady Detectives. 
  • The Selection / Kiera Class - this book is pretty dumb but you know what? I couldn't put it down. 
  • Wolf Winter / Cecilia Ekback - this book is SO EXCELLENT that I took the time to tweet at Cecilia Ekback and say something like "this book was so excellent".
  • The Illumination / Kevin Brockmeier - read this on the recommendation of a friend and guess what? Gonna read more books she recommends. 
  • Room / Emma Donoghue - it is weird that a book dealing with this dark of subject matter is so uplifting and kind, but Room manages it beautifully. 
  • Everland / Rebecca Hunt - I've been telling all kinds of people to read this. Then and now storytelling set in Antarctica with characters developing grudging respect? YES FRIGGEN PLEASE. I read this in the summer and it made me forget what season it was.  
  • Petty Theft / Pascal Girard - this was fine!
  • Girls of Riyadh / Rajaa Alsanea - read this because of the Get Booked podcast where they called it "Gossip Girl but in the Middle East" and immediately read it. It was very very good. 
  • If You Feel Too Much / Jamie Tworkowski - I think this is written in the exact way that I find just slightly annoying enough as to not get as much out of my reading as I otherwise could. I liked it less than I thought I would. 
  • The Witches / Stacy Schiff - SO LONG and kinda boring but I learned a TON. 
  • The Peach Keeper / Sarah Addison Allen - this was fun and good. 
  • Witch Child / Celia Reeves - read/watched a lot of stuff about witches this year. 
  • Why Not Me? / Mindy Kaling - another great audiobook. Enjoyed this more than Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? but that is no slight on the earlier book. Both are good!
  • Seraphina / Rachel Hartman - half dragons half humans, all intrigue
  • Stiletto / Daniel O'Malley - yesssssssssssssss, give me more urban fantasy complete with paper pushing.
  • Sum / David Eagleman - 40 very small stories, all about what the afterlife might be like. Read this because of a blogging buddy. 
  • The Great Divorce / C. S. Lewis - more about the afterlife? This one was also good. 
   And that's the book list. I'll post about movies later.