we music playlist

photo by chris floyd for grazia

gillian anderson really is the gift that keeps on giving. not only did she give us a feminist manifesto, but an accompanying playlist, as well. i love her taste in music (see also: soundtrack to my life), and this soundtrack just further proves that she has kick-ass taste. and this is all with a feminist/self-empowerment slant. add this to your gratitude list, ladies.

and read we, it will change your life, for real.

here’s my take on gillian and jennifer’s playlist and my own list follows:

we: soundtrack for we women
(listen here)

  • “holy road” by lizzie west (holy road: freedom songs)– at first listen i thought this was super granola and hippie dippie, but then found myself humming the chorus later on.
  • “talkin’ bout a revolution” by tracy chapman (tracy chapman)– known for her political activism, a track by chapman is a natural choice for this list. chapman’s second single was released in 1988, but it is still relevant.
  • “days” by kristy maccoll (kite)– although i prefer the original version by the kinks, this cover is peaceful and serene. this whole playlist is comprised of female artists, so i think it is rad that this was chosen, because the message fits the book—the importance of being grateful.
  • “hand in my pocket” by alanis morrisette (jagged little pill)– whoa, throwback to the 90s. this is such a great choice. it’s all about being open and accepting. “no one’s got it figured out just yet.”

  • “oh babe, it ain’t no lie” by elizabeth cotton (freight train and other north carolina folk songs)– man, the honesty in this woman’s voice is amazing. her most famous song, “freight train” (which she wrote when she was 11) is equally as forthright. elizabeth cotton isn’t going to sugarcoat anything for ya!
  • “lost in my mind” by ibeyi (ibeyi)– i love their voices so much! i get chills. it kinda reminds me of the vocals of portishead. in the acceptance principle, the book talks about feeling rather than thinking, and this song speaks to that.
  • “lionhearted” by billie marten (writing of blues and yellows)– i love everything about this song. it’s so chill, but so deep, too.
  • “konfyt” by abi ocia (konfyt – single)– ocia had this to say about “konfyt” and it fits so well with the we manifesto: “i was writing from a place of hindsight, in which past experiences are always 20:20, clear enough to talk openly and honestly about. in the process of being vulnerable with myself, i wanted ‘konfyt’ to also give its listeners the space to do the same—to be able to look back on the familial with a sense of warmth, and to look back on grief with a sense of acceptance.” also this: “we all have hiding places that are ‘unfamiliar’ to those around us, where the ‘darkness’ and ‘light’ of our own selves tirelessly battle, and I hope ‘konfyt’ can be a reminder of home in those moments.” (from clash magazine)
  • “patience (freestyle)” by ray BLK (patience (freestyle) – single)– her first album, havisham, is based on dicken’s miss havisham from great expectations, so that’s fucking awesome.
  • “youth” by daughter (wild youth)– one of my favorites on this list. great sound and lyrics.

    ’cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone
    we’re setting fire to our insides for fun
    […]
    setting fire to our insides for fun
    to distract our hearts from ever missing them

    i came across this internet interpretation: “she is painting an image of her generation—young people who have no clue where to go and how to live life.” that’s exactly why the we manifesto is important.

  • “all i want” by joni mitchell (blue)– joni mitchell just belongs on this list. this song is an excellent pick from her extensive library.
    this lyric reminds me of the message of the humility principle:

    do you see, do you see, do you see how you hurt me baby
    so i hurt you, too
    then we both get so blue

  • “all this and heaven, too” by florence + the machine (ceremonials)– a lot of florence + the machine songs would be fitting, but i think this is the best selection. we is about trying to understand ourselves, and this song beautifully describes that struggle.

  • “down to zero” by joan armatrading (track record)– armatrading was on gillian’s life playlist with “save me.” soulful voice and encouraging lyrics.
  • “i’ll stand by you” by the pretenders (last of the independents)– another obvious, but more than welcome track.
  • “divine” by laura marling (short movie)

    now forget what you’re owed
    that you’re tired, time’s getting on
    so lay down your load
    you’re fine

  • “rejoice” julien baker (sprained ankle)– to me this song sounds like someone dealing with depression. and holy bejeezus, the way she belts out the last stanza—gut-wrenching.
  • “run the world (girls)” by beyoncé (4)– obvs.
  • “bloody mother fucking asshole” by martha wainwright (martha wainright)– duh.
  • “my silver lining” by first aid kit (stay gold)– if i had to name a favorite on this playlist, this might be it. their voices, the melody, the lyrics, gah! amazeballs! (or ‘amazetits!’ as a friend of mine says; it keeps with the feminist theme.)
  • “remedy” by adele (25)– you can’t go wrong with adele.
    these lyrics fit with the we mood:

    i remember all of the things that i thought i wanted to be
    so desperate to find a way out of my world and finally breathe
    right before my eyes i saw, my heart it came to life
    this ain’t easy, it’s not meant to be
    every story has its scars

  • “bird set free” by sia (this is acting)– this song gives me goosebumps—the melody, her voice, the message—it’s all so moving.

    but there’s a scream inside that we all try to hide
    we hold on so tight, we cannot deny
    eats us alive, oh it eats us alive, oh

  • “keeping your head up” by birdy (beautiful lies)– an uplifting, supportive song.
  • “beautiful” by carole king (tapestry)– i can’t contain my smile (and sometimes tears of happiness) when this song plays. god bless, carole king. “you’ve got to wake up every morning and show the world all the love in your heart.” yes, do that. please, everyone, do that.
  • “superwoman” by alicia keys (as i am)– keys told mtv, “i love the diversity of it all and how it says, ‘no matter who we are or what we’re going through, we all are superwomen.'” she added, “it’s going to be a pretty incredible journey. it’s one of my favorite songs off of the album, and it’s just very inspirational, because i wrote it when i really needed to hear some words that said to me that; even when you’re not perfect, and you’re kind of out of it, and you’re off, and you’re feeling like a mess, you’re still a superwoman. the song, every time i sing it, makes me feel inspired to be however i am that day.”
    how beautiful is that? it’s similar to gillian’s words of advice to herself and all of us, “i am enough and i do enough, and however that transpires today is exactly how it needs to be.”


  • “angel” by sarah mclachlan and emmylou harris (rarities, b-sides, and other stuff, vol. 2)– this song was on the city of angels soundtrack, which i listened to when i was younger. a lot. this is a lovely version as a duet with emmylou harris.
  • “beautiful thing” by grace vanderwaal (perfectly imperfect)– i remember seeing her sing “i don’t know my name” for america’s got talent and being totally blown away—not just by her talent, but the maturity and depth of the lyrics. i love that song so much.
  • “the horses” by rickie lee jones (naked songs – live and acoustic)– every principle has a section on how to apply it to the world at large. this lyric makes me think of that:

    i hear all the people of the world
    in one bird’s lonely cry
    see them trying every way they know how
    to make their spirit fly

  • “good to love” by FKA twigs (good to love – single)– an electronic pop ballad with a 90s R&B feel.

    it’s good to love
    i’ve got a right to give
    so good to love, so good to love
    but when you give yourself away
    it always hurts too much
    so you pray to get it back
    only god can give you that

  • “respect” by aretha franklin (i never loved a man the way i love you)– one of the original feminist anthems.

  • “we rise” by rhiannon giddens (we rise)– perfect to listen to while making your protest signs, or on your way to a march, or really any time you need some empowering music.
  • “feeling good” by nina simone (four women: the nina simone phillips recordings)– i’ve loved this song ever since it was used for a six feet under promo. it is such a perfect song to end this playlist on. it definitely encompasses the feeling you (hopefully) have after reading the book: freedom.


just like my write-up on gillian’s playlist, i am making my own we inspired soundtrack. (listen here)

  • “green light” by lorde (melodrama)– the narrator of the song, lorde explains, “is that drunk girl at the party dancing around, crying about her ex-boyfriend, who everyone thinks is a mess. that’s her tonight, and tomorrow she starts to rebuild.” (from spin magazine)

  • “head underwater” by jenny lewis (the voyager)– i will try to put jenny lewis and/or rilo kiley on every playlist for the rest of my life, tbh. but, it’s not just to include my favorite artist for shits and giggles, a lot of her songs and tracks from rilo kiley fit this theme.

    there’s a little bit of magic
    everybody has it
    there’s a little bit of sand left in the hourglass
    there’s a little bit of magic
    everybody has it
    there’s a little bit of fight left in the end
    i put my head underwater baby
    i held my breath until it passed
    crossed my fingers and concentrated
    i closed my eyes and i was free at last

  • “trouble” by kristin hersh (sunny border blue)– this was an answer in a facebook q&a about what music gillian relates to at the moment (at the 16:05 mark). incidentally, gillian answered one of my questions in there, too (idk, it’s a weird power i have), and that is at the 22:08 mark. it’s a cover of a cat stevens song that was in harold and maude. i love that this was her answer, i love the cat stevens original, i love hersh’s cover, and i love harold and maude. there’s a lot to love about this track.
  • “happy home” by wild belle (isles)we is about asking yourself if you’re happy, and if you’re not, what steps can you take towards happiness.

    well, i don’t wanna be here
    that’s why i’m acting out
    i wanna flee, but i don’t know how

  • “go ahead” by rilo kiley (take offs and landings)– here’s my rilo kiley selection. (see also: “a better son/daughter”—the first track on my life playlist.)
  • “tttictictac” by marbert rocel (speed emotions)– this song has a rad sound, and antje seifarth’s voice is so cool. oh, and the album cover is a heart with muscular arms flexing out of it. apropos, yes?
  • “world championship finale 2” by the barden bellas (pitch perfect 2 original motion picture soundtrack)– a medley of several songs including “run the world (girls)” by beyoncé which is on gillian’s we playlist. “flashlight” by jessie j is very ladies supporting ladies, in the pitch perfect context, especially since we talks about confiding in “trusted friends” and working through the principles in groups or “circles.” but, the most powerful part, to me, is the portion of pat benatar’s “we belong” because, as women, we belong and we shouldn’t apologize for it. “we belong to the light, we belong to the thunder.” indeed.

  • “sights” by london grammar (if you wait)– the first i heard of london grammar was gillian’s life playlist. the whole album, if you wait, could work for this playlist, really.
  • “it’s different for girls” by of montreal (innocence reaches)– i’ve kept my list female-only like the we one, but here’s a non-binary selection. also, the music video is rad as fuck.
  • “don’t let me be misunderstood” by nina simone (four women: the nina simone phillips recordings)– i swear i saw this on a version of the we playlist somewhere. this is as fitting as “feeling good” if not moreso. i love the message of it: we are all human, trying our best.
  • “tornadoland” by regina spektor (remember us to life)– i will always try to include spektor on my playlists, as well. she is definitely one of my favorite artists. a lot of her songs would play well on this list. i can relate to every. single. word.

    the mind runs fast
    your thoughts are louder than your words
    and every time you turn around
    it starts to hurt, hurt, it starts to hurt
    but you wanna be heard, wanna be heard, wanna be

    louder than the storms around
    you hear them through the windows and the doors
    everybody’s time has come
    it’s everybody’s moment, except yours
  • “oh bondage, up yours!” by x-ray spex (germ free adolescents)– pretty self-explanatory, i think.

  • “between two lungs” by florence + the machine (lungs)– there is a lot in the book that teaches meditative practices where breathing is vital. many of the exercises start with taking five deep breaths. also, i wanted a florence + the machine song on my playlist, too.
  • “door” by nice as fuck (nice as fuck)– hey, it’s another way for me to get jenny lewis on my playlist! and this song is perfect with its message and groovy beat.
  • “i am woman” by helen reddy (i am woman)– it may be cheesy or cliche, but i feel so friggin’ empowered when i listen to this song. i really like the tune, too.
  • “pedestrian at best” by courtney barnett (sometimes i sit and think, and sometimes i just sit)– the rapid-fire way she sings these lyrics feels exactly like how my brain works sometimes—hundreds of thoughts at once about everything.

my internal monologue is saturated analog
it’s scratched and drifting, i’ve become attached to the idea
it’s all a shifting dream, bittersweet philosophy
i’ve got no idea how i even got here
i’m resentful, i’m having an existential time crisis
want bliss, daylight savings won’t fix this mess
under-worked and over-sexed, i must express my disinterest
the rats are back inside my head, what would freud have said?

  • “breathe me” by sia (six feet under, vol. 2: everything ends)– how funny, i mentioned six feet under when i got to “feeling good” on the we playlist. this song played over the final scenes of that series, and it was so moving.
  • “help i’m alive” by metric (fantasies)– “my regrets are few, if my life is mine.”
  • “soft shock (acoustic version)” by yeah yeah yeahs (it’s blitz!)– boy, i had the hardest time picking one of their songs, so many fit wonderfully. (so see also: “way out” and “turn into” on show your bones and “dull life” and “hysteric” also on it’s blitz!)
  • “just a girl” by no doubt (tragic kingdom)– it’s sarcasm, folks.
  • “quiet” by milck (quiet)– gillian shared a link to an article and video of milck singing this in the middle of the women’s march. she tweeted, “we can’t keep quiet either. #icantkeepquiet #wewomen.”
  • “what’s up?” by 4 non blondes (bigger, better, faster, more!)– honestly, this was the first song i thought of when i started mentally putting my own playlist together.

and so i cry sometimes
when i’m lying in bed just to get it all out
what’s in my head
and i, i am feeling a little peculiar

  • “#1 must have” by sleater-kinney (all hands on the bad one)– a powerful message wrapped up in a punk rock song. (btw, since i’m on a six feet under kick, i got so excited when claire said she liked sleater-kinney when she went up to seattle with nate.)

    watch me make up my mind instead of my face
    the number one must have is that we are safe
    […]
    and for all the ladies out there i wish
    we could write more than the next marketing bid
    culture is what we make it, yes it is

  • “everything is everything” by lauryn hill (the miseducation of lauryn hill)– this song is everything, amirite. “develop the negative into a positive picture.”
    (bonus: here is a video of lauryn hill singing nina simone’s “feeling good.”)

  • “i like giants” by kimya dawson (remember that i love you)– i love this song. it is delightful and fun with a potent message. dawson also did a poignant song for BLM, “at the seams,” that everyone should listen to.
  • “different drum” by the stone poneys (evergreen, vol. 2)– the song was written by a man, michael nesmith, who wrote it from the point of view of a man telling a woman he doesn’t want to settle down. when it was ill-received by the monkees, he took it to linda ronstadt, who reversed the gender, and it became a hit. it’s much more compelling as a woman who knows what she wants and telling her significant other what that is. ronstadt told the wall street journal that she thought her performance exuded “fear and a lack of confidence,” which is interesting because what i hear is a brave and self-assured woman.
  • “i’m not your hero” by tegan and sara (heartthrob)– canadian indie pop! you can’t go wrong with these twins.

    sometimes it feels like the side that i’m on
    plays the toughest hand, holds the longest stand
    sometimes it feels like i’m all that they’ve got
    it’s so hard to know i’m not what they want

  • “sullen girl” by fiona apple (tidal)– god, i listened to so much fiona apple when i was younger. the piano and her vocals are beautiful and stirring.
  • “secrets” by mary lambert (heart on my sleeve)- an upbeat body positive song. (see also: body love parts 1 and 2 which is spoken word.)
  • “just because i’m a woman” by dolly parton (just because i’m a woman)– “my mistakes are no worse than yours just because i’m a woman.” PREACH!

  • “free” by cat power (you are free)– ending my playlist like gillian’s: with freedom!

share your feminist/girl power playlists with me!

and remember…

 

 

 

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bates motel

bates motel deservedly won best drama series in the tell tale tv awards along with vera farmiga as best lead actress, freddie highmore as runner up for best lead actor (robbed imo), nestor carbonell for best supporting actor, and normero for best ship! the show and its actors are seriously lacking in award recognition. how they have not gotten truckloads of awards and nominations, i have no idea. it’s criminal, really.

i reviewed the fifth and final season of the show for just about write. following are links to those reviews. obviously there are spoilers, so beware, but what are you even doing? go watch the show! it’s truly one of the best.

5.1 “dark paradise”
-“everything i love about bates motel — and the entire psycho franchise, actually — is in this episode.”

5.2 “the convergence of the twain”
-where i make a bunch of titanic references

5.3 “bad blood”
-bad blood all the way, motherfuckers!

5.4 “hidden”
-max thieriot, the show’s dylan massett, directs this beautiful and dark episode.
-i gave freddie highmore my mvp for this week. you can read my praise here.

5.5 “dreams die first”
-nestor carbonell, alex “i’m a unicorn” romero, directs this introduction to marion crane played by rihanna.
-i am still annoyed with my mistake of calling dr. edwards “dr. adams.”

5.6 “marion”
-holy plot twist, batman!

5.7 “inseparable”
-when your bff is your dead mom.

5.8 “the body”
-“hun, you are in a big pickle.”
-freddie highmore directs this pickle.

5.9 “visiting hours”
-where dylan is used as an emotional punch bag.

5.10 “the cord”
-a very strong series finale with minimal loose ends and complaints from me.

 

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“in such good company” book review

“in such good company” by carol burnett

3.5 stars

this is a candid glimpse behind the curtain of one of the most prolific sketch comedy shows of the 20th century. the head of that show was the incredible carol burnett. it was unheard of at the time for a woman to host a variety show. this was the most compelling part of the book. burnett tells stories of having to play nice and dance around getting the “bitch” label. she documents her struggle of getting her way—she was the boss, after all—but still be viewed as easy and nice. she shares one conversation that she had with lucille ball where they commiserate over this double standard. ball was experiencing the same thing on her show. after her split with desi arnaz, she had to take charge and she got flack for it.

the feminist aspect of burnett’s story wasn’t the only interesting thing. she emphasizes the crafts of writing and acting as important parts of creating a successful show. also, collaboration was vital. one time during rehearsal, they decided to play a sketch straight instead of for laughs and the result was like “a one-act tragedy.” burnett says this was a tribute to great writing, where played straight it could be serious and when played comically it could be funny. it was such an inspiring experiment and i loved that they took the time to do that.

most of her behind-the-scenes tidbits were fascinating. sometimes the inside jokes or scripts of skits were clunky and didn’t read very well, but there were few. i loved hearing reactions of celebrities to being parodied on the show. The “meet-cute” of how burnett met vicki lawrence was especially interesting. burnett’s voice in this book makes her seem very humble and down-to-earth, like she’s telling you these stories in confidence and that was pretty cool.

i received a copy of  “in such good company” from blogging for books in an exchange for this honest review.

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year in book review 2016

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books read: 52

total pages: 17,669

avg. book page count: 340

avg. books per month: 4

no. of books that are a part of a series: 12

no. of re-reads: 0

  1. fangirl by rainbow rowell, 445p, 4.5 stars
  2. extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safran foer, 326p, 4 stars
  3. the splendid things we planned by blake bailey, 254p, 3 stars
  4. amy and rogers epic detour by morgan matson, 343p, 3.5 stars
  5. the kept girl by kim cooper, 274p, 2.5 stars
  6. a dream of ice by gillian anderson and jeff rovin, 279p, 3 stars
  7. the princess bride by william goldman, 283p, 4 stars
  8. the  fold by peter clines, 384p, 4 stars – blogging for books review
  9. the dinner by herman kock, 292p, 2 stars
  10. bucky fucking dent by david duchovny, 291p, 4 stars
  11. fuck that: an honest meditation by jason headley, 41p, 4 stars – blogging for books review
  12. the old man and the sea by ernest hemingway, 127p, 3 stars
  13. the little paris bookshop by nina george, 370p, 3 stars – blogging for books review
  14. the road by cormac mccarthy, 287p, 4 stars
  15. carol (previously titled the price of salt) by patricia highsmith under the name claire morgan, 292p, 5 stars
  16. american gods by neil gaiman, 522p, 5 stars
  17. the invoice by jonas karlsson, 204p, 4 stars – blogging for books review
  18. modern romance by aziz ansari, 251p, 3.5 stars
  19. the time machine by h.g. wells, 141p, 3 stars
  20. canadian fairytales by cyrus macmillan, 88p, 2 stars
  21. waiting for godot by samuel beckett, 94p, 2.5 stars
  22. the sunlight pilgrims by jenni fagan, 288p, 4.5 stars – blogging for books review
  23. sea oak by george sanders, 20p, 4.5 stars
  24. norwegian wood by haruki murakami, 293p, 5 stars
  25. in the penal colony by franz kafka, 23 p, 4 stars
  26. born with teeth by kate mulgrew, 320p, 4 stars
  27. the ones who walked away from the omelas by ursula k le guin, 13p, 5 stars
  28. the veldt by ray bradbury, 14p, 3.5 stars
  29. the awakening by kate chopin, 116p, 4.5 stars
  30. the sound of seas by gillian anderson and jeff rovin, 277p, 3.5 stars
  31. the glorious heresies by lisa mc inerney, 389p, 3.5 stars – blogging for books review
  32. allegiant by veronica roth, 285p, 3.5 stars
  33. four (the collection) by veronica roth, 285p, 2 stars: the transfer
  34. four: the initiate
  35. four: the son
  36. four: the traitor
  37. the kite ruunner by khaled hosseini, 371p, 5 stars
  38. rad women worldwide by kate schatz and illustrations by miriam klein stahl, 112p, 4 stars – blogging for books review
  39. dracula by bram stoker, 400p, 3 stars
  40. the school by donald barthelme, 10p, 4 stars
  41. scrappy little nobody by anna kendrick, 275p, 4 stars
  42. in such good company by carol burnett, 286p, 3.5 stars – blogging for books review
  43. goshen, fan fiction, 393p, 4 stars
  44. secret world, fan fiction, 2148p, 5 stars
  45. city of light, fan fiction, 2377, 5 stars
  46. mercy seat, fan fiction, 872p, 4 stars
  47. the lost land, fan fiction, 1959p, 4 stars
  48. the judgement by franz kafka, 10p, 2.5 stars
  49. the metamorphosis by franz kafka, 42p, 4.5 stars
  50. a country doctor by franz kafka, 5p, 3 stars
  51. a report to an academy by franz kafka, 7p, 4.5 stars
  52. today will be different by maria semple, 259p, 3.5 stars

awards:

top five- 1) american gods, 2) carol, 3) the kite runner, 4) the ones who walked away from the omelas, 5) fangirl

longest- city of light, 2377p

shortest- a country doctor, 5p

oldest- the time machine by h.g. wells published in 1895

newest- scrappy little nobody by anna kendrick published 11.15.2016

top 10 characters- 1) mike in the fold, 2) carol in carol, 3) therese in carol, 4) constance in the sunlight pilgrims, 5) media in american gods, 6) levi in fangirl, 7) scully in the goshen series, 8) mr black in extremely loud and incredibly close, 9) shadow in american gods, 10) the main character in the invoice (unnamed)

page to screen adaptations that i’ve seen- extremely loud and incredibly close, the princess bride, carol, allegiant (part 1)

best adaptation: the princess bride

worst adaptation: allegiant (part 1)

page to screen adaptations that i haven’t seen- the old man and the sea, the time machine, the road, dracula

the 2016 reading challenge:
a book you meant to read in 2015- four: the son
a book set in a different continent- the sound of seas
a book from a goodreads choice awards 2015- modern romance
a book by an author you discovered in 2015- the invoice by joans karlsson
a book with a title beginning with the first letter of your first name- extremely loud and incredibly close
the highest rated on your tbr list- fuck that at a 4.33 rating
a book about books- the little paris bookshop
a classic book with less than 200 pages- the old man and the sea, 127p
a book that was mentioned in another book- the metamorphosis (mentioned in bucky fucking dent)
a book by an author you feel you should’ve read by now-in the penal colony by franz kafka
a book from the rory gilmore challenge- waiting for godot
a childhood classic- the time machine
reader’s choice- the fold
a book with who/what/where/when/why/how in the title- the ones who walk away from the omelas
a book set in the past more than 100 years- the judgement
a book from the top 100 mystery novels- dracula
a book with a beautiful cover- allegiant
a book on a summer beach reading list- today will be different
a non-fiction book- in such good company
a book with a first name in the title- four: the initiate
a book from the goodreads rec page- the splendid things we planned
the first book in a new series to you- goshen
the next book in a series you’re reading- city of light
a between the numbers book- four: the transfer
a book whose main character is in a profession that interests you- a dream of ice (caitlin is a psychologist)
a book everyone is talking about- scrappy little nobody
a book with a beautiful title- the lost land
a biography, auto-biography, or memoir- born with teeth
a book by an author who writes under more than one name- carol (previously titled the price of salt) by patricia highsmith under the name claire morgan
a fairytale from a culture other than your own- canadian fairytales
YA fiction- amy and roger’s epic detour
historical fiction- bucky fucking dent
the 16th book on your tbr- the princess bride
a book about mental illness- norwegian wood
an award winning book- the road (pulitzer 2007)
an identity book- rad women worldwide
a book that you’ve seen the movie but haven’t read- did not fulfill, but i will count mercy seat since it is fan fiction about the x-files which i have seen.
a book about an anti-hero- the glorious hersies
a previous selection that’s not on the list- the veldt
a novella- the awakening
a book about a major world event- the kite runner
a top 100 fantasy novel- american gods
a book about a thing that goes bump in the night- sea oak
a book you’re embarrassed to read in public- secret world
a book related to a hobby or passion you have- fangirl (fan fiction)
a crime story- the kept girl
a book with a food or drink in the title- the dinner
dystopian- four: the traitor
a book with a great opening line- a report to an academy
a book originally written in another language- a country doctor (german)
a short story- the school
a book published in 2016- the sunlight pilgrims on 7.19.2016

some quotes:

“parents are always more knowledgeable than their children, and children are always smarter than their parents.” extremely loud and incredibly close

“time was passing like a hand waving from a train that I wanted to be on.” extremely loud and incredibly close

“ted flashed a smile that was a grimace in drag.” bucky fucking dent

“”all the love, all the dead, all the people we’ve known. they are the rivers that feed our sea of souls. if we refuse to remember them, that sea will dry up too.”” the little paris bookshop

“how does the never to be differ from what never was?” the road

“you want to see lucy’s tits?” american gods

“”i’m sorry I didn’t teach you how to let the world in (other than in film) but I never figured out how to do it myself.”” the sunlight pilgrims 

“death exists, not as the opposite but as a part of life.” norwegian wood

“”don’t feel sorry for yourself,” he said. “only assholes do that.”” norwegian wood

“…because murphy’s law is the law of sadness…” born with teeth 

“at a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life–that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions.” the awakening 

“”the bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings.”” the awakening 

“the trouble is we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. this is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.” the ones who walk away from omelas

“”but just because you have ties to someone doesn’t mean you have to double-knot it.”” the glorious heresies

“”children aren’t coloring books. you don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.”” the kite runner 

“flung out of space.” carol 

“…though sympathy can’t alter facts, it can help to make them more bearable.” dracula 

“”that’s how i am and that’s how he’s got to accept me,” he said to himself; “i can’t remake myself into a person who might be more suited to be his friend than i am.”” the judgement 

“as everybody knows, being raised catholic with half a brain means becoming an atheist.” today will be different 

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throwback: secret film festival

Secret Film Festival: The Ultimate Movie Marathon

The independent movie theater in my town puts on an annual Secret Film Festival. Their tagline is “the titles are secret, the awesomeness is not.” The itinerary is movie after movie from midnight to noon. A film fanatics dream. All the decisiveness has been taken care of for you. This is for the hard-core movie buff, as it is quite a commitment when you buy that ticket. You are locking yourself into twelve hours of unknown movie watching. The challenge and the suspense were a big draw for me.

This year is the first year I attended and it happened to be their 10th annual event. I had no idea what to expect and I also didn’t know anyone who has done it or even knew about it. They put the “secret” in Secret Film Festival, for sure. I “napped” from 7:30pm to 11:30pm on Saturday night. I woke up, made an espresso and packed my bag. It was like packing for a hike or a picnic, but with junk food. I had chips, granola bars, Red Vines, and a giant Nalgene bottle of water. I dressed comfortably in yoga pants and a sweatshirt. Still sleepy-eyed, I went into town. I drove past bars and clubs still filled with late-night patrons. In my mind, downtown would have been deserted, there would have been ample parking, and only a few crazy people like me making their way to the theater. In reality, it was a busy Saturday night and I struggled to find a close parking spot. I found something relatively close, but the meter would kick in eight hours later. I set an alert on my phone so I could come out and move my car or feed the meter. As I approached the theater I was surprised again. There was a line down the block of pajama-clad movie nomads with backpacks and blankets and pillows. At twelve o’clock on the dot they opened the doors and the long line filtered in pretty fast. “Enjoy your shows,” said the ticket-taker. I bought my first round of popcorn and a soda and found a seat in the largest of the three screening rooms. It felt like sleep-away camp. The same type of excitement, but without the sleep. Our host welcomed us and explained how it works for us newbies. There were lots of veterans in the audience. Even a smattering of hands went up when the host asked if anyone had attended all ten festivals. The first year the festival was called the Mystery Movie Marathon and people thought that it would be all mystery genre films. Each film is introduced right before it starts. After the first three movies, you are given options. They will give you a cryptic description of your two options and time to make it to the other theater based on your choice. Then it ends with a closing film in the main auditorium. You receive a program at the end of the night (well, day, actually). You have in and out privileges; you are not held captive. And it ends with a raffle drawing of ten secret (of course) prizes. The concession stand is equipped with specialty items like donuts, bagels, and coffee to go along with their exceptional organic and GMO-free popcorn.

The first film was described as a Western if Jim Jarmusch had directed another Western and Wes Anderson had directed the action scenes. Totally an accurate description I soon found out. “Slow West” was a perfect choice for the opening film. It had won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year. Michael Fassbender is phenomenal as a bad-ass cowboy alongside the nuanced Kodi Smit-McPhee. Next was the short comedic film, “The Sidekick.” Rob Benedict plays a superhero’s bumbling buddy who loses his position and goes from fighting bad guys to fighting unemployment. Third was “Spring,” a unique horror/love story starring indie favorite, Lou Taylor Pucci. It’s aptly described by a review from rogerebert.com as a “hybrid of Richard Linklater and H.P. Lovecraft.” After the third film, I was getting in the groove of it. I wasn’t sure if the films would be a mix of new and classic, big-budget or small independents, but now I was getting a sense that the films were all going to be soon-to-be released, film festival favorites. Now it was our turn to make some decisions. For the fourth film you could choose from a dramedy adventure based on an urban legend based on a true story or a horror film similar to “Open Water” but set in the woods. I went with the first option being too much of a scaredy cat to choose the scary movie. My choice ended up being “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” over “Backcountry.” I’m not sure if I made the best decision. My proclivity to avoid the horror genre may have steered me wrong. I took my first short snooze during “Kumiko.” There were parts that I liked. I can see why it had been nominated for Independent Spirit Awards for lead actress and director, but there were several times that the story dragged, thus the opportunity to get some shut-eye. After “Kumiko,” I took a quick bathroom break and replenished my drink. That helped push the doubts that I could make it until the end back and renewed my energy. Our next options were given to us. We could choose between a sci-fi thriller or a dark comedy described as the anti-“Napolean Dynamite.” Whatever that means. I did not find out as I chose the sci-fi thriller. I was happy with my choice. “Coherence” was an awesomely mind-bending ride. It also mentioned the town we were in and specifically the university, of which many students were in attendance. I’m not sure how the other option, “Buzzard,” turned out to be, but I’m still somewhat interested.

After the fifth movie, I went to feed the meter. I stepped out into the bright early morning sun. Several delirious and sleepy marathoners milled around smoking or stretching their legs, reviewing the films with their fellow cinephiles. After the brief reprieve, I hunkered back down in the dark theater ready for film number six. Again, my fearful nature made my choice. It was between a horror movie about a ghostly STD (huh?) and a cult drama. “Faults” was playing in the other theater, so for the first time I found a new seat for the next hour and a half. “Faults” fell the way of “Kumiko” for me. It had its moments, but was dull overall and provided me with short snooze #2. I’m not sure if “It Follows” was any better. I was rewarded though, afterwards, with the seventh and final film. “What We Do In The Shadows” completed the marathon. Just like “Slow West” was a proper opening film, “Shadows” was a perfect closing film. “Flight of the Conchords” Jemaine Clement is writer, director, and star of this vampire mockumentary. Being sleep deprived and punchy was the ideal state of mind to watch this outlandish, silly comedy. The credits rolled more than twelve hours after I started this cinematic pilgrimage. I felt a wave of accomplishment rush over me. I sat through and lost all the raffle prizes (good ones, too, like seasons 1-4 of “Game of Thrones” on DVD) and then packed up my belongings and left my temporary home. Outside the sun was blinding and the cheery, awake pedestrians breezed past me. The zombie-like stupor that threatened to consume me was fought off by a giddy buzz I had from what I had just experienced. I didn’t even crash when I got home. I relished my triumph over that epic marathon. Closest thing a film buff can get to a runner’s high, I suppose.

originally published at collective lifestyle 4.6.2016

 

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throwback: harper lee

Harper Lee’s Return

Book nerds everywhere are rejoicing. A mysterious discovery has been made worthy of its own literary telling. Harper Lee wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” in the 1950’s. It is her only published book. That is until this summer. Lee had started writing “Go Set A Watchman” as her first novel about a young woman named Scout returning to her home town of Maycomb, Alabama to visit her father, Atticus. There are flashbacks to the time when Scout was a girl growing up in that town. Her editor back then thought that the references to the past were the real story. “I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told,” recalls the author. Lee spent the next two years working and editing what was to become one of the most beloved books in history. “Mockingbird” was published in 1960. More than 50 years later the manuscript, once thought lost, was discovered in the writer’s archives affixed to an original typed manuscript of “Mockingbird.” It is set to be published on July 14, 2015. It will be released as is with no revisions.

The story takes place 20 years after the events in “Mockingbird.” Scout is living in New York and comes home to visit her father. It is set in the time of history during which Lee was writing it. The themes are similar to “Mockingbird,” heavy with racial tensions, struggling with what is right and just, and the unique relationship between a father and daughter. Many readers are thrilled to delve further into these themes and characters. Many are skeptical. This was a young writer’s first attempt, will it lack structure and finesse? Some remain dubious of the discovery. How does one lose an entire manuscript? At any rate, the release of “Watchman” will be a success. The first printing will be 2 million copies which is along the lines of a Stephen King book. Literary collectors, “Mockingbird” fans, and even the average reader will be clamoring to get their hands on a copy. It is sure to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Lee, 88, currently lives in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, the inspiration for the town of Maycomb. She lives in an assisted living facility. A close friend notes that she is in poor health. Her literary agent, Andrew Nurnberg met with her recently and found her “feisty and in very fine spirits.” Somewhat adverse to the public eye, it is unlikely she will do publicity for “Watchman.” She hasn’t said much about the major announcement of her second book besides her official statement. Nurnberg reports that Lee does not agree with tagging “Watchman” as a sequel, she prefers to think of it as “the parent of “Mockingbird.””

originally published at collective lifestyle 2.4.2015

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“rad women worldwide” book review


“rad women worldwide” written by kate schatz and illustrated by miriam klein stahl

4 stars

this beautiful book is filled with inspirational stories. there was not one that i wasn’t completely fascinated by. most of them moved me to tears. tears of sadness for the struggles, adversity, and heartbreak that they endured, but also tears of solidarity for the amazing ways they overcame all of it. the women in these pages are strong and independent. they have fought for our rights to be treated as equal. some of the tales go as far back as ancient egypt. some of the women were poor mothers and some were princesses.

i wanted to learn more about each woman i read about. this book serves as a great primer, a jumping off point to learn more. it’s an abridged history lesson about feminism. i can’t wait to learn more about these women and all the other rad women out there who have made and are making a difference. these stories made me proud to be a woman and a feminist, but also made me proud to be a human.


i received a copy of ” rad women worldwide” from blogging for books in an exchange for this honest review.

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