little women: a christmas project

i reread (well, listened to) little women for the first time since i read it as a youth. it still holds up, and that is the mark of a true classic. the concept sounds so boring, but louisa may alcott makes the mundane engaging and every day details come alive in one’s imagination. the different personalities of the march sisters are fully realized on the page. i wanted to see the many versions of these characters and their humble story, so after listening to the book on tape (thank you, hoopla and the santa cruz public library), i set out to watch the film adaptations. not all, though, because there are a lot, but the main theatrical ones.
(if you have a favorite version that i haven’t written about here, let me know and i’ll check it out.)
based on the book only, jo is my favorite and who i relate to the most. next is amy—she has the most growth; i enjoy the insight to her character especially while she is in europe on her own. beth is precious and it’s impossible not to like her—she has social anxiety and i appreciate this representation. meg is my least favorite because she’s basic. her storyline seems one-dimensional since the get married and have babies narrative is tiresome to me.

film grading:
overall (20pts)
adaptation (20pts)
jo (10pts)
amy (10pts)
beth (10pts)
meg (10pts)
laurie (10 pts)
marmee (10pts)

little women (1933)

dir: george cukor
jo: katherine hepburn
amy: joan bennett
meg: frances dee
beth: jean parker
marmee: spring byington
laurie: douglass montgomery
aunt march: edna may oliver

some thoughts: katherine hepburn makes this film. her performance is incredible and you see what a powerhouse talent she is (and this was only her fourth film!). amy is pretty annoying, but, oddly enough, i do like joan bennett’s portrayal. they had to remake her wardrobe because she was pregnant while filming. this version also has the best scene where laurie tells jo that he and amy are married.

overall- 17
adaptation- 15
jo- 10
amy- 8
beth- 9
meg- 5
laurie- 7
marmee- 8
grade: 79

little women (1949)

dir: mervyn leroy
jo: june allyson
amy: elizabeth taylor
meg: janet leigh
beth: margaret o’brien
marmee: mary astor
laurie: peter lawford
aunt march: lucile watson

some thoughts: jo is great. june allyson really captures jo’s joyous side. and her refusal of laurie’s proposal is the most convincing. i love elizabeth taylor as amy. meg is annoying, which kills me to say because i love janet leigh, and i don’t believe it’s her fault—the fault lies in the character that was put on the page. the writing also makes the relationship between jo and meg weak. beth’s scarlet fever reveal is super melodramatic and awesome.

overall- 16
adaptation- 13
jo- 9
amy- 9
beth- 8
meg- 4
laurie- 7
marmee- 8
grade: 74

little women (1994)

dir: gillian armstrong
jo: winona ryder
amy: kirsten dunst/samantha mathis
meg: trini alvarado
beth: claire danes
marmee: susan sarandon
laurie: christian bale
aunt march: mary wickes

some thoughts: this version includes a lot that the others didn’t. there is some narration from jo which i simultaneously like and dislike. it makes sense storywise, but i didn’t love the execution of it. this film has the book-burning scene, thank god. i cannot believe the others didn’t. it’s so rife with conflict and drama. (there is a great article on bookriot that dissects this scene alongside the one in the 1978 miniseries.)

it’s also the only film that uses two actors for amy. while i see why they did this, it is kind of jarring that she is the only one that aged up this way. winona ryder’s jo is sublime. wherein june allyson portrayed jo’s joyous side the best, winona ryder exhibits her anger most effectively. claire danes’ chin quiver game is strong as fuck. and mary wickes as aunt march is perfect casting.

overall- 18.5
adaptation- 19
jo- 10
amy- 6
beth- 9
meg- 7
laurie- 9
marmee- 8.5
grade: 87

little women (2019)

dir: greta gerwig
jo: saoirse ronan
amy: florence pugh
meg: emma watson
beth: eliza scanlen
marmee: laura dern
laurie: timothée chalamet
aunt march: meryl streep

some thoughts: even before my grading, i knew this would be my favorite. what a blessing to actually enjoy meg in this film! emma watson did a stand-out job making her likable and relatable for me. florence pugh put so much into amy and i see the growth that she had in the book so clearly in her performance. laura dern is, by far, the best marmee i’ve seen. she’s the strong mother figure, but so much more than that. like mary wickes, meryl streep as aunt march is great casting and hers is the least caricature-y of the lot.

saoirse ronan’s jo is a friggin’ delight. the relationships jo has with all the others is most favorably represented in terms of the source material, and thus gives the film as a whole an authenticity that the others didn’t quite reach. the book-burning scene is brilliant and including amy’s time in europe does a great service to the character development of not just amy, but laurie and jo as well.

and the ending, oh my god, the ending! i absolutely love how greta gerwig ended this film. it is a revelation! superb! outstanding!

overall- 20
adaptation- 20
jo- 10
amy- 10
beth- 8.5
meg- 10
laurie- 8.5
marmee- 10
grade: 97


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year in book review 2019

books read: 20

total pages: 6329

avg. book page count: 316p

avg. books per month: 1.6

no. of books that are a part of a series: 4

no. of re-reads: 3

i set out to read 40 book this year and only managed half that, but i read some AMAZING books so i’ll call it a success. i tried to spice it up with classics, new fiction, plays, and non-fiction; and i discovered some great authors and great works in the process. here it is:

  1. lady chatterley’s lover by d.h. lawrence, 384p, 4 stars
  2. charlotte’s web by e.b. white, 184p, 4 stars – reread
  3. who’s afraid of virginia woolf? by edward albee, 242p, 3.5 stars
  4. the rainbow by d.h. lawrence, 495p, 3.5 stars
  5. call me by your name by andré aciman, 248p, 5 stars
  6. white teeth by zadie smith, 448p, 5 stars
  7. the illustrated man by ray bradbury, 280p, 5 stars
  8. station eleven by emily st. john mandel, 336p, 5 stars
  9. because of winn dixie by kate dicamillo, 182p, 4 stars
  10. a doll’s house by henrick ibsen, 104p, 4.5 stars
  11. catch and kill by ronan farrow, 414p, 5 stars
  12. the dreamers by karen thompson walker, 303p, 4.5 stars
  13. the voyeur’s motel by gay talese, 233p, 4 stars
  14. the seven husbands of evelyn hugo by taylor jenkins reid, 391p, 5 stars
  15. in the dream house by carmen maria machado, 247p, 5 stars
  16. the house of mirth by edith wharton, 350p, 5 stars – reread
  17. the dutch house by ann patchett, 337p, 4.5 stars
  18. little women by louisa may alcott, 400p, 4.5 stars – reread
  19. the adventure of the christmas pudding by agatha christie, 363p, 3 stars
  20. all the bright places by jennifer niven, 388p, 4 stars


top five (six)- 1) the seven husbands of evelyn hugo, 2) call me by your name, 3) station eleven, 4) catch and kill, 5) in the dream house, 6) white teeth

longest- the rainbow, 495p

shortest- a doll’s house, 104p

oldest- little women, 1868

newest- in the dream house, 11.5.2019

top 10 characters- 1) evelyn hugo in the seven husbands of evelyn hugo, 2) lily bart in the house of mirth, 3) ursula brangwen in the rainbow, 4) irie in white teeth, 5) miranda in station eleven, 6) nora in a doll’s house, 7) maeve in the dutch house, 8) jo in little women, 9) charlotte in charlotte’s web, 10) mei in the dreamers

page to screen adaptations that i’ve seen- lady chatterley’s lover, charlotte’s web (1973, 2006), who’s afraid of virginia woolf?, call me by your name, because of winn dixie, the voyeur’s motel, the house of mirth, little women (1933, 1949, 1994, 2019)

best adaptation- three-way tie: the house of mirth, call me by your name, little women (2019)

worst adaptation- because of winn dixie

page to screen adaptations that i haven’t seen- the rainbow

the 2019 reading challenge (abridged):
a book becoming a movie in 2020: all the bright places
a book that makes you nostalgic: because of winn dixie
a book you think should turn into a movie: the seven husbands of evelyn hugo
a book with a plant in the title or on the cover: station eleven
a reread of a favorite book: the house of mirth
a book about a hobby: the voyeur’s motel (albeit a disturbing and illegal one)
a book you meant to read in 2018: the illustrated man
a book written by an author that has the same first letter in their first and last name: call me by your name
a book that’s published in 2019: catch and kill
a book recommended by a celebrity you admire: the dutch house recommended by gillian anderson
a book with “christmas” in the title: the adventure of the christmas pudding
a book about a family: a doll’s house
a book you see someone reading on tv or in a movie: lady chatterley’s lover in mad men
a classic: charlotte’s web
a book with a question in the title: who’s afraid of virginia woolf?
a book set on a college or university campus: the dreamers
a book told from multiple POVs: white teeth
a book that includes a wedding: little women
a book with a two-word title: the rainbow
a book with no chapters, unusual chapter headings, or unconventionally numbered chapters: in the dream house

some quotes:

“you have been my friend,” replied charlotte, “that in itself is a tremendous thing.” charlotte’s web

“oh, i like your anger. i think that’s what i like about you most. your anger.” who’s afraid of virginia woolf?

“her eyes shone, her face flowed for him, but like some flower opened in the shade, that could not bear the full light.” the rainbow

“her mind reverted often to the torture cell of a certain bishop of france, in which the victim could neither stand nor lie stretched out, never. Not that she thought of herself in any connection with this. but often there caked into her mind the wonder, how the cell was built, and she could feel the horror of the crampedness, as something very real.” the rainbow

“sometimes, he talked of his father, whom he hated with a hatred that was burningly close to love, of his mother, whom he loved with a love that was keenly close to hatred” the rainbow

“it was such a waste of a beautiful opportunity, such a frost that nipped in the bud one of the beautiful moments of her life.” the rainbow

“so they stood in the utter, dark kiss, that triumphed over them both, subjected them, knitted them into one fecund nucleus of the fluid darkness.” the rainbow

“…there are certain wishes that must be clipped like wings off a thriving butterfly.” call me by your name

“fifteen minutes ago, i was in total agony, every nerve ending, every emotion bruised, trampled, crushed as in mafalda’s mortar, all of it pulverized till you couldn’t tell fear from anger from the merest trickle of desire.” call me by your name

“how wonderful to feel his hands all over me under the sheets, as if part of us, like an advance scouting party, had already arrived at intimacy, while the rest of us, exposed outside the sheets, was still struggling with niceties, like latecomers stamping their feet in the cold while everyone else is warming hands inside a crowded nightclub.” call me by your name

“they were standing side by side on a stretch of black dirt-track russian ground, dressed identically in little triangular caps perched on their heads like paper sailboats, wearing the same itchy standard uniform, their ice-pinched toes resting in the same black boots scattered with the same dust.” white teeth

“archie says science the same way he says modern, as if someone has lent him the words and made him swear not to break them.” white teeth

“something in his tone made kirsten want to run, a suggestion of a trapdoor waiting under every word.” station eleven

“you’re kicking porcupines.” the illustrated man: no particular night or morning

“i can’t see nothing but the general shape of things, so i got to rely on my heart. why don’t you go on and tell me everything about yourself, so i can see you with my heart.” because of winn-dixie

“thinking about her was the same as the hole you keep on feeling with your tongue after you lose a tooth. time after time, my mind kept going to that empty spot, the spot where i felt she should be.” because of winn-dixie

“she tried to concentrate on the sound, but music had always unmoored her, and her thoughts drifted.” station eleven

“she seems to be speaking carefully now, each word a fragile object, pulled from a high shelf.” the dreamers

“his mind is like a school of fish, obscured by dark water. once in a while, though, something tugs on the line.” the dreamers

“it is all packed into those cells, like a portrait painted on a grain of rice.” the dreamers

“sara feels a swell of something else, too: that she has seen all this coming in advance, has been expecting it for years, not this disaster exactly, but some inevitable loss, some sudden coming apart, as if all those nights she lay awake worrying were all of them rehearsal for this.” the dreamers

“not everything that happens in a life can be digested. some events stay forever whole. some images never leave the mind.” the dreamers

“it strikes me as a unique form of power to say your own name when you know that everyone in the room, everyone in the world, already knows it.” the seven husbands of evelyn hugo

“i love you too much to let you live only for me.” the seven husbands of evelyn hugo

“she always made sure the bad was outweighed by so much good. i…well, i didn’t do that for her. i made it fifty-fifty. Which is just about the cruelest thing you can do to someone you love, give them just enough good to make them stick through a hell of a lot of bad.” the seven husbands of evelyn hugo

“it cost so much, caring. i didn’t have any currency to spend on it.” the seven husbands of evelyn hugo

“no one is just a victim or a victor. everyone is somewhere in between. people who go around casting themselves as one or the other are not only kidding themselves, but they’re also painfully unoriginal.” the seven husbands of evelyn hugo

“the tears that come out of me feel as if they were decades in the making. it feels as if some old version of me is leaking out, letting go, saying goodbye in the effort of making room for a new me.” the seven husbands of evelyn hugo

“this fantasy springs up so fully formed it feels like it’s already happened in some past era, as if instead of creating it you’ve just plucked it out of a soup of history and consciousness.” in the dream house

“standing on the other side of the glass, watching the sky playfully pummel the earth like a sibling.” in the dream house

“she was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.” the house of mirth

“half the trouble in life is caused by pretending.” the house of mirth

“”don’t you ever mind,” she asked suddenly, “not being rich enough to buy all the books you want?”” the house of mirth

“he knelt by the bed and bent over her, draining their last moment to its lees; and in the silence there passed between them the word which made all clear.” the house of mirth

“love casts out fear, and gratitude can conquer pride.” little women

“i’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.” little women

“i like good strong words that mean something.” little women

“conceit spoils the finest genius.” little women

“i’m not afraid of storms, for i’m learning how to sail my ship.” little women

“mr. jesmond made a peculiar noise rather like a hen who’s decided to lay an egg and then thought better of it.” the adventure of the christmas pudding

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year in book review 2018

books read: 24

total pages: 6,941

avg. book page count: 289

avg. books per month: 2

no. of books that are a part of a series: 6

no. of re-reads: 0

author events:
david duchovny for miss subways at books inc
kate schatz and miriam klein stahl for rad american women a-z and rad women worldwide at bookshop santa cruz
chelsea clinton for start now!: you can make a difference at bookshop santa cruz
markus zusak for bridge of clay at the santa cruz veterans memorial buidling

my numbers are so WEAK this year. i watched a lot of tv. like so much; it’s ridiculous. but the books i did read were wonderful and fantastic, and i consider 2018 a great year in my bookish life. here’s what i read:

  1. revolutionary road by richard yates, 463p, 5 stars
  2. 200 women by geoff blackwell and ruth hobday, photographs by kieran escott, 392p, 5 stars
  3. harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone by jk rowling, 309p, 5 stars
  4. interview with a vampire by anne rice, 342p, 4 stars
  5. new boy by tracy chevalier, 206p, 5 stars—blogging for books review
  6. harry potter and the chamber of secrets by jk rowling, 341p, 4 stars
  7. my best friend’s exorcism by grady hendrix, 332p, 4.5 stars
  8. just kids by patti smith, 306p, 4.5 stars
  9. the vampire lestat by anne rice, 481p, 5 stars
  10. disobedience by naomi alderman, 227p, 5 stars
  11. the sunlit night by rebecca dinerstein, 249p, 4 stars
  12. girl in a band by kim gordon, 288p, 4 stars
  13. miss subways by david duchovny, 309p, 5 stars
  14. the house of seven gables by nathaniel hawthorne, 318p, 3.5 stars
  15. bird box by josh malerman, 262p, 4.5 stars
  16. the hate u give by angie thomas, 444p, 5 stars
  17. the wisdom of eve by mary orr, 95p, 4 stars
  18. the strange library by haruki murakami, 96p, 5 stars
  19. i am malala by malala yousafzai, 207p, 5 stars
  20. ramona quimby, age 8 by beverly cleary, 185p, 4.5 stars
  21. tomorrow will be different by sarah mcbride, 273p, 5 stars
  22. bridge of clay by markus zusak, 464p, 5 stars
  23. ramona forever by beverly cleary, 208p, 3 stars
  24. start now!: you can make a difference by chelsea clinton, 144 pages, 4 stars


top five (six)- 1) revolutionary road, 2) disobedience, 3) miss subways, 4) the hate u give, 5) tomorrow will be different, 6) bridge of clay

longest- the vampire lestat, 481p

shortest- the wisdom of eve, 95p

oldest- the house of seven gables published in 1851

newest- bridge of clay by markus zusak published 10.09.2018

top 10 characters- 1) gabrielle de lioncourt in the vampire lestat, 2) april in revolutionary road, 3) hermione in harry potter books 1 & 2, 4) mimi in new boy, 5) ronit in disobedience, 6) clay in bridge of clay, 7) eve in the wisdom of eve, 8) tom in bird box, 9) lisa in the hate u give, 10) ron weasley in harry potter books 1 & 2

page to screen adaptations that i’ve seen- revolutionary road, harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone, interview with a vampire, harry potter and the chamber of secrets, disobedience, bird box, the wisdom of eve

best adaptation: revolutionary road

worst adaptation: disobedience (it’s a great film on its own, but a poor adaptation)

page to screen adaptations that i haven’t seen- the house of seven gables, the hate u give

the 2018 reading challenge (abridged):
a book made into a movie you’ve already seen: the wisdom of eve (all about eve, 1950)
a book written by someone under 30: tomorrow will be different
a book about a villain or anti-hero: interview with a vampire
the next book in a series: ramona forever
a book about death or grief: just kids
a book with a female author that uses a male pseudonym: harry potter and the chamber of secrets
a book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist: disobedience
a book that is also a stage play or musical: new boy (othello)
a book by an author of a different ethnicity than you: i am malala
a book about feminism: 200 women
a book that was borrowed or given as a gift: the vampire lestat
a book about or involving a sport: bridge of clay (horse racing)
a book with alliteration in the title: revolutionary road
a book with a weather element in the title: the sunlit night
a book with an animal in the title: bird box
a book with characters who are twins: harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone
a childhood classic you’ve never read: ramona quimby, age 8
a book published in 2018: start now!: you can make a difference
a book set in the decade you were born: my best friend’s exorcism
a book that involves a bookstore or library: the strange library
an allegory: miss subways
a book about a problem facing society today: the hate u give
a book you’ve owned for awhile: the house of seven gables
a memoir: girl in a band

some quotes:

“…and don’t fall so madly in with the night that you lose your way!” interview with a vampire

“the name was so foreign that dee could not find a hook in it to hang onto. it was like trying to climb a smooth boulder.” new boy

“…yet i feared we could never reach that place again, but would shuttle back and forth like the ferryman’s children, across our river of tears.” just kids

“jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” just kids

“gargantuan silver limousines navigated the narrow french quarter streets like indestructible sea beasts.” the vampire lestat

“all the things i ever wanted to say were clear to me and that is what mattered, not that they be expressed.” the vampire lestat

“a million souls on the tessellated surface of the night, and coming soft on the air a dim mingling of countless human voices.” the vampire lestat

“it will be rage until i have proof that it must be grief, i thought.” the vampire lestat

“and the shock in me melted slowly into another emotion, no less painful, merely easier to contain.” the vampire lestat

“haldor was no priest, but he was righteous. he had the once-removed righteousness of an actor playing the president.” the sunlit night

“there were the vases: in a box labeled Vases with my mother’s porcelain handwriting.” the sunlit night

“out of context, she had behaved out of character. it made one wonder at the independence of character from place and from there to the strange, malleable liquidity of character itself.” miss subways

“‘…and if one of them were to be broken, my heart would break with it. but it is nonsense to speak so about a brittle teacup, when i remember what my heart has gone through without breaking.’” the house of the seven gables

“in hepzibah’s tone, at that moment, as if the words, commonplace as there were, had been steeped in the warmth of her heart.” the house of the seven gables

“at last, therefore, and after so long estrangement from everything that the world acted or enjoyed, they had been drawn into the great current of human life, and were swept away with it, as by the suction of fate itself.” the house of the seven gables

“even his breath seemed to come out of him only to escape.” bridge of clay

“he might as well have tumbled from the wardrobe, or appeared from under the bed:
A meek and mixed-up monster.
A nightmare, suddenly fresh.” bridge of clay

“the sun was some sort of barbarian, a viking in the sky.
it plundered, it pillaged.
it got its hands on everything, from the tallest stick of concrete to the smallest cap in the water.” bridge of clay

“when we hit a piano key and it makes no sound, we hit it again, because we have to. we need to hear something, and we hope it isn’t a mistake—“ bridge of clay

“it was huge and massive and humongous. it was every expression he’d ever heard used, to describe something undefeatable.” bridge of clay

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“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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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.


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


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

some quotes:

“anger and embarrassment are often neighbors.” yes please

“playing the Game of Privilege is mental masturbation–it only feels good to those playing the game.” bad feminist

“he sleeps soundly despite many reasons he should not.” difficult women “break all the way down”

“pretty isn’t always what you see. sometimes pretty is what you feel.” difficult women “the sacrifice of darkness”

“it was a dark, ugly thing to see such greed cloaked in false good.” difficult women “the sacrifice of darkness”

“i exist beneath and beyond the facts of my life.” we

“our goal as activists is simple: to reduce the amount of avoidable suffering that exists in the world.” we

“teach her not to attach value to difference.” dear ijeawele

“it is a shame that we so quickly lose that ability to believe in things; it limits the opportunities we have to transform ourselves, for it puts the awful burden of transforming ourselves on ourselves.” andorra

“don’t forget that you will find it sometimes but other times you won’t be lucky, and those are the times when you have got to be patient, since patience is what you must have when you don’t have luck.” tales of desire “the mysteries of the joy rio”

“ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.” the handmaid’s tale

“no mother is ever, completely, a child’s idea of what a mother should be, and i suppose it works the other way around as well.” the handmaid’s tale

“”how do you take your coffee?” “dark as night, sweet as sin.”” anansi boys

“heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. i was better after i had cried than before—more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.” great expectations

“so throughout life our worst weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise.” great expectations

“[…] blood rushing from developing brains to developing genitals and back again in the zero-sum game of puberty.” here i am

“silence can be as irrepressible as laughter. and it can accumulate like weightless snowflakes. it can collapse a ceiling.” here i am

“but it is the fate of human beings to live on. and it is the fate of clouds that seem nothing but hits of vapor slowly to pile up, and fill the heavens and blacken the sun entirely.” wintry peacock “england my england”

“and when she giggled she sounded the way ove imagined champagne bubbles would if they were capable of laughter” a man called ove

“ove had never been asked how he’d lived before her met her, but if anyone had asked him, he would’ve answered that he didn’t.” a man called ove

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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”


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


  • 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”


  • 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


  • 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”


  • a dan and amy scene
  • stephen fry as genidze


  • 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”


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


  • 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”


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


  • 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”


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


  • 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”


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


  • 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”


  • 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


  • 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”


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


  • 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”


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


  • 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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