“new boy” book review

“new boy” by tracy chevalier

5 stars

“new boy” is a retelling of shakespeare’s “othello.” i don’t know if me not being familiar with that story helped or hindered my enjoyment of this book, but, it kept my rapt interest from start to finish. i read it in a day. every time i put it down, my thoughts would wander to the playground at that d.c. middle school. what would happen next?

these kids go through a lot in the course of one school day. they experience big emotions and face big, real world problems. the themes of jealousy and discrimination are played out among a cast of characters that confront these feelings with raw honesty yet are confused by them because it is a confusing time. it’s an age of transition—an age where you start thinking for yourself, but the influences of grown up opinions and actions muddle things. expectations conflict with their innate sense of right and wrong.

the story is told from the POV of several characters, so one can empathize or understand their actions and reactions. it also creates a sense of dread of how it will end. shakespeare is good at weaving in drama, but his plays can be difficult to understand. chevalier takes the heightened drama of the story, but puts it in simple terms—from the views of children. though that is not to say it’s dumbed-down shakespeare, by any means. it’s the big themes told in a relatable story.

i received a copy of  “new boy” from blogging for books in an exchange for this honest review.

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portlandia

i started reviewing portlandia for tell tale tv after the first episode aired for its seventh season. i don’t like having things unfinished, so i am writing my review for season 7 episode 1 here and then linking the rest of the season’s episodes.

portlandia is a consistently funny sketch comedy show—much more consistently funny than snl, in my opinion. fred armisen has solidified a place in my heart as one of my favorite comedians, sketch or otherwise. carrie brownstein is super versatile and can act the shit out of any role; male, female, or non-binary.

the sketches are topical and quirky, and there are a ton of cool guest stars like steve buscemi and kyle maclachlan. there are recurring characters that you can’t help but fall in love with like nina and lance, and toni and candace. armisen and brownstein both have musical backgrounds, so indie music is often a subject or used to enhance sketches.

here is my review for portlandia: 7.1 “the storytellers:”

portlandia’s penultimate season starts off with a strong episode with one of the best guest stars of the season, claire danes. she plays an acting coach that helps fred and carrie become better storytellers. they need a lot of work in this department. “what was that abortion story?”

the process of excavating and creating an atmosphere in order to tell a simple story at a party is taken outlandishly too far, and that is what makes so many portlandia sketches so great. this one is a perfect example.

another example is the skit with snl’s vanessa bayer. the hotel concierge takes customer service to an astronomically annoying level, and then later the weird room service waiter adds to it. why is everything individually wrapped? in the end she does the only logical thing and jumps out of the window.

the goths are recurring characters that i always love to see. they would probably hate this, but i think they are just delightful. seeing them navigate bed, bath, and beyond (with the help of jamie) is something i didn’t know i needed.

commercials for non-existent products and services are another strong aspect to portlandia. on “storytellers” we get germy, a child’s toy made of beard hair and germs to strengthen kids’ immune systems. naturally, this is gross, and the little sub-plot romance between the mom in the ad (natasha lyonne) and the doctor (mitchell hurwitz) makes for the quirky spoof at which portlandia is so adept.

all in all, “storytellers” is a great kick-off to the season.

here are links to my reviews of the rest of season 7 with some quick thoughts:

7.2 “carrie dates a hunk”
-introduces meninists andy and drew who became some of my favorites characters this season.
-“the hunks are taking over again. i’ve seen it with my own eyes. my own four eyes, if you know what I mean.” brilliant.

7.3 “fred’s cell phone company”
-lance and nina’s first season 7 appearance.

7.4 “separation anxiety”
-a bit of a bummer since toni and candace are some of my favorites, but there is this line: “oh, i can crack any nut. once i crack that nut, i smash it. i turn it into nut butter.”

7.5 “amore”
-rachel dratch and veep’s sam richardson are fantastic guest stars.

7.6 “friend replacement”
-laurie metcalf steals the show.

7.7 “portland secedes”
-mr. mayor! i wish this main plot was executed a little better.

7.8 “ants”
-solid ep.

7.9 “passenger rating”
-steve buscemi directs!

7.10 “misunderstood miracles”
-the season finale is ok. the main sketch is strange, but the rest is pure portlandia fun.

bonus:

read my review of the rad portlandia cookbook here.

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year in book review 2017

books read: 42

total pages: 13,114

avg. book page count: 312

avg. books per month: 3.5

no. of books that are a part of a series: 7

no. of re-reads: 3

i fell short of my goal of 52, but i also wrote a lot this year. i reviewed bates motel, twin peaks, and veep at just about write; and portlandia, the goldbergs, will, and mary kills people at tell tale tv. i conducted six interviews, covered two cons, and did a number of feature pieces as well as contributed to many listicles, panels, and roundtables.

  1. americanah by chimamanda ngozi adiche, 588p, 5 stars
  2. matilda by roald dahl, 240p, 5 stars
  3. yes please by amy poehler, 329p, 4.5 stars
  4. bossypants by tina fey, 275p, 4 stars
  5. the princess diarist by carrie fisher, 257p, 5 stars
  6. postcards from the edge by carrie fisher, 226p, 3.5 stars
  7. carve the mark by veronica roth, 468p, 3.5 stars
  8. bad feminist by roxane gay, 318p, 5 stars
  9. difficult women by roxane gay, 260p, 4.5 stars
  10. hitler by voller ullrich, 758p, 3.5 stars
  11. in a different key by john donvan and caren zucker, 616p, 4 stars
  12. dear ijeawele by chimamanda ngozi adiche, 80p, 5 stars
  13. we by gillian anderson and jennifer nadel, 308p, 5 stars
  14. andorra by peter cameron, 263p, 5 stars
  15. tales of desire by tennessee williams, 104p, 5 stars
  16. kindred spirits by rainbow rowell, 56p, 4 stars
  17. the handmaid’s tale by margaret atwood, 295p, 5 stars
  18. norse mythology by neil gaiman, 297p, 4 stars
  19. murder on the orient express by agatha christie, 274p, 4 stars
  20. anansi boys by neil gaiman, 334p, 5 stars
  21. great expectations by charles dickens, 518p, 4 stars
  22. chemistry by weike wang, 211p, 3 stars
  23. a vision of fire by gillian anderson and jeff rovin, 292p, 3 stars
  24. good omens by terry pratchett and neil gaiman, 390p, 5 stars
  25. here i am by jonathan safran foer 571p, 5 stars
  26. the x-files: cold cases by joe harris, 100p, 1.5 stars
  27. the x-files: stolen lives by joe harris, 100p, 1 star
  28. crooked house by agatha christie, 236p, 5 stars
  29. the lady detective and the writer by mldrgrl 1239p, 5 stars
  30. wintry peacock by dh lawrence, 110p, 4 stars
  31. otherworld by jason segal and kirsten miller, 355p, 4 stars
  32. whatever happened to baby jane? by henry farrell, 304p, 3.5 stars
  33. the ocean at the end of the lane by neil gaiman, 181p, 5 stars
  34. the remains of the day by kazuo ishiguro, 245p, 5 stars
  35. the good times are killing me by lynda barry, 132p, 2.5 stars
  36. pride and prejudice and zombies by jane austen and seth grahame-smith, 317p, 2.5 stars
  37. dog man: a tale of two kitties by dav pilkey, 256p, 3.5 stars
  38. let it snow by john green, maureen johnson, and lauren myracle, 352p, 2.5 stars
  39. sarah by jt leroy, 166p, 2.5 stars
  40. a man called ove by fredrik backman, 337p, 5 stars
  41. we by gillian anderson and jennifer nadel, 2nd reading, 308p, 5 stars
  42. we should all be feminists by chimamanda ngozi adiche, 48p, 5 stars

awards:

top five- 1) americanah, 2) good omens, 3) a man called ove, 4) the remains of the day, 5) andorra

longest- the lady detective and the writer, 1239p

shortest- we should all be feminists, 48p

oldest-  great expectations by charles dickens published in 1861

newest- otherworld by jason segal and kirsten miller published 10.31.2017

top 10 characters- 1) miss quay in andorra, 2) matilda in matilda, 3) sonja in a man called ove, 4) magda in crooked house, 5) anathema device in good omens, 6) ifemelu in americanah, 7) miss havisham in great expectations, 8) lettie hempstock in the ocean at the end of the lane, 9) stella gibson in the lady detective and the writer, 10) miss kenton in the remains of the day

page to screen adaptations that i’ve seen- matilda, postcards from the edge, the handmaid’s tale, murder on the orient express (1974 and 2017), great expectations (2011), crooked house, whatever happened to baby jane, the remains of the day, pride and prejudice and zombies

best adaptation: murder on the orient express (1974)

worst adaptation: murder on the orient express (2017)

the 2017 reading challenge:
a goodreads choice award winner 2016- n/a
a book with at least 2 perspectives- the lady detective and the writer
a book you meant to read in 2016- yes please
a title that doesn’t contain the letter ‘e’- sarah
historical fiction- the remains of the day
a book being released as a movie in 2017- crooked house
a book with an animal on the cover or in the title- wintry peacock
a book written by a person of color- dear ijeawele
a book in the middle of your tbr list- whatever happened to baby jane?
a dual timeline novel- n/a
a category from another challenge- a vision of fire, reread
a book based on a myth- anansi boys
a book rec from one of your favorite authors- n/a
a book with a strong female character- matilda
a book written or set in scandinavia- a man called ove (sweden)
a mystery- the x-files: cold cases
a book with illustrations- the good times are killing me
a really long book (600+ pages)- in a different key
a nyt best seller- the princess diarist
a book that you’ve owned for awhile- n/a
a book that is a continuation of a book you’ve read- the x-files: stolen lives
a book by an author you’ve never read before- postcards from the edge
a book from the bbc ‘the big read’- great expectations
a book written by at least 2 authors- otherworld
a book about a famous historical figure- hitler
an adventure book- kindred spirits
a book by one of your favorite authors- we
non-fiction- bad feminist
a book published outside the 4 major publishing houses- pride and prejudice and zombies
a book from the goodreads top 100 ya novels- n/a
a book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre- difficult women
a book with a long title (5+ words not including the subtitle)- murder on the orient express
a magical realism novel- the ocean at the end of the lane
a book set in or by an author from the southern hemisphere- n/a
a book where the main character is royalty- carve the mark
a hugo award winner or nominee- n/a
a book you choose at random- here i am
a novel inspired by a work of classical literature- dog man
epistolary fiction- the handmaid’s tale
a book published in 2017- we
a book with an unreliable narrator- andorra
a best book of the 21st century- good omens
a book with a chilling atmosphere- let it snow
a rec from ‘what should i read next?’- n/a
a book with a one word title- chemistry
a time travel novel- n/a
a past suggestion that didn’t win- we should all be feminists
a banned book- the handmaid’s tale
a book from someone else’s bookshelf- bossypants
a penguin modern classic- n/a
a collection- tales of desire
set in a fictional location- norse mythology

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“in a different key” book review

“in a different key: the story of autism” by john donvan and caren zucker

4 stars

this history of autism is complete with in depth analyses of case studies, extensive background on the many forms of research in the field, and heartbreaking real life stories of those on the spectrum, their families and friends, and the doctors and scientists that studied the condition.

it is so comprehensive, that i often felt out of my element while reading it. many of the stories are told quite well, fitting in the research and science in an easy way for a layperson to understand, and to empathize with the subjects. it was not a lack of dynamic storytelling that made it take me so long to get through. it was simply my struggle with non-fiction. i was never itching to get back to it, although i found all of it fascinating.

the personal stories, especially the ones of triumph after bitter diversity were uplifting, and i was filled with a feeling of hope upon completing the book. although the book is easy to read, it can be somewhat clinical at times, and i wish it was a little more accessible to the average reader.

i received a copy of  “in a different key” from blogging for books in an exchange for this honest review.

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veep s6 re-cap

veep s6 re-cap (a vee-cap, if you will…or not)

i’m missing the show something fierce. i’ve compiled my “just about write” recaps here along with my fave lines and highlights (obscene language and all). relive season 6 with me!

6×01 “omaha”

highs:

  • richard is selina’s right-hand man
  • marjorie plays a big role

lows:

  • no sue
  • selina is dating andrew (gary’s face is my face)
  • amy and dan aren’t on selina’s team

best quotes: 

  • purple mountain’s majesty – amy to a woman wearing purple
  • congressman powder – furlong
6×02 “library”

highs:

  • my favorite episode of season 6
  • the physical comedy bit at the beginning with selina and gary is AMAZING
  • amy brennan as gigi pell
  • the whole lesbian thing between gigi and selina
  • GARY
  • splettshirts

lows:

  • NONE

best quotes:

  • i don’t understand how a guy who never cracked a book can open up a library -selina, re: president hughes
  • can you even have a library? i think it’d be more like a bookmobile -president stevenson
  • lobotomy barbie – amy
  • i appreciate that. means a lot. you’re like a son to me -selina to marjorie
  • frida swallow -selina
  • good luck trying to get your precious back from those mean hobbits, smeagol -furlong to jonah
  • my pen’s out of ink. i’m just going to scratch it into the paper, and go back and trace over it to see what i wrote, like a suspense movie -richard, precious richard
  • it’s what i’ve come to expect from the gatekeepers of the patriarchal ‘phallus quo’ -selina
  • you just rolled your eyes like you’re the world’s bitchiest mime -selina to gary
6×03 “georgia”

highs:

  • MINNA IS BACK!
  • a dan and amy scene
  • stephen fry as genidze

lows:

  • confusing and depressing politics

best quotes: 

  • i want you to know that i will destroy you in ways that are so creative they will honor me at the kennedy center -selina to jonah
  • who needs champagne when you can have all these different kinds of wallpaper? -selina, re: genidze’s home decor

6×04 “justice”

highs:

  • amy is back on team meyer!
  • selina and gary’s matching heart attacks
  • kent correcting people on daylight saving time

lows:

  • dan is still sidelined to his morning show sub-plot

best quotes:

  • i’m just tired, and uncomfortable, and mike’s hair reminds me of graham cracker crumbs -selina
  • i pardoned typhoid moishe -selina, re: tanz
  • [daylight saving time] is my favorite holiday because it’s like living in a tiny version of back to the future -richard
6×05 “chicklet”

highs:

  • the whole wax figure storyline
  • mary holland as shawnee
  • richard’s sperm donation
  • marjorie

lows:

  • sporadic sub-plots

best quotes:

  •  i look like i’m trying out for the price is right -selina
  • catherine, is their any parade you don’t rain on? -selina
6×06 “qatar”

highs:

  • nicki micheaux as nyaring ayun
  • furlong’s dinner party
  • hamilton references
  • shawnee gives ben and kent the ship name, “bent”

lows:

  • dan’s morning show storyline ends but he’s still not back on team selina

best quotes:

  • i call it ‘yoloha’ which is a combination of yolo and aloha -buzzy
    i think it’s rad which is a combination of retarded and sad -dan
  • your hat looks handmade. i have a lesbian daughter that would love it -selina
6×07 “blurb”

highs:

  • jonah converting to judaism
  • the whole scene about the baby

lows:

  • the tom/selina sexual tension scuffle

best quotes: 

  • look at my neck. i have pardoned turkeys with fewer wattles -selina
  • maybe you were too busy biting james bond’s cable car wire to realize, but if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, america’s financial system is going to go belly up -furlong
6×08 “judge”

highs:

  • my favorite recap of season 6
  • some gary backstory, y’all!
  • jean smart and stephen root as gary’s parents
  • gary’s mom calls marjorie, “mr. marjorie”
  • amy’s truck stop rant

lows: 

  • NONE

best quotes:

  • we’re in gary’s house, and this whole place is like a vortex of sexual confusion -selina
  • i skinned it, and made a fur vest and matching boots for my g.i. joe doll. bam! sucka! -gary
6×09 “a woman first”

highs: 

  • ADAM SCOTT
  • dan finally rejoins the team
  • peter macnicols as uncle jeff. that maniacal laugh, tho
  • selina and marjorie

lows:

  • we didn’t get to see montez’s reaction to selina reclaiming responsibility for tibet

best quotes:

  • why do you work for me, you stupid mustache?! -selina to mike, OBVS
  • you made the Hindenburg look like a normal, on-time blimp landing -uncle jeff to jonah (it could easily be selina to mike, though, honestly)
6×10 “groundbreaking”

highs:

  • we see how gary and selina met
  • VAGI-BRARY
  • the amy/dan pregnancy shocker
  • marjorie got that wipe warmer she wanted

lows:

  • selina breaks up with jaffar

best quotes:

  • when did we build an indian casino gift shop? -selina, re: the nursery
  • where are the toys? or is the baby going to play chess against death? -selina, again re: the nursery

 

 

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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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