I read 23 items in these two months, 6 of those were short fairy tale retellings and 2 plays. Only 7 were new-to-me reads.
Coriolanus. There is a reason why this one is less famous. More on that in a later post.
Hamlet. I’ve already review this for the Classics Club here.
Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. This was fun (and NOT the rake and young dope version, young rake and his childhood bff). I’m exhausting the treasury of historical Heyer novels. One was so boring and unsatisfactory I opted not to finish.
Restless Empire: A Historical Atlas of Russia by Ian Barnes. Highly recommend, extremely fascinating. This was supposed to go along with my reading of War and Peace, but said reading has been nonexistence.
Listening Valley by D.E. Stevenson. Sweet and a nice happy read. I think that is what another blogger wrote which is why i got it.
Framed! by James Ponti. A darling middle grade fiction mystery. I need to look up to see if there are more. This is a very fast read.
Penhallow. So I thought I’d try a Heyer mystery. Yeah, so besides not actually being a mystery to the reader and an unsolved one for the characters, it features unarguably a patriarchal, narcissistic, god-awful horror of a man and his piggish progeny. It could have been set in a older time, the vague mention of cars clued me in to it being contemporary to Heyer. The manor house with the men who impregnate village women (over generations, so what an incestuous mess that probably was) and who are basically moneyed Neanderthals. All of these criticisms have lost their weight because over and misuse have diluted their meaning. But as I rarely use them please understand that I mean them fully.
Yeah, most characters were awful, often inconsistent. The one character I leaned towards has a horrible end, kind of gave me nightmares because of the overall ick and the despair and the non-ending, ending. I rated it one star, the reason I have so few one stars is that I view books that derisive that rating as books that should not be read, so I don’t finish them and therefore don’t rate them. This is one I should not have finished I felt guilty reading it. It was muck with no literary merit. It was interesting in a grotesque way, but I was disgusted that I’d allowed myself to read this completely through.
The Fairy’s Return, For Biddle’s Sake, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, The Princess Test, The Fairy’s Mistake. All the princess tales by Gale Carson Levine. Again, lovely quick escapist relaxing reads.
I started the Grandma’s attic novels in April and read most of them in May. So that is 7 right there.
The Silver Chair. I stuck fast on this one for a while. Bear in mind that Narnia was supposed to be my Christmas treat, but I dragged on many of them. I’m currently stuck fast in The Last Battle.
Gaudy Night and Murder Must Advertise. Two of the best Wimsey nove.. I think next time I’ll skip a few and reread only the best. I’m saving the final novel to finish on my birthday.
I didn’t have the motivation to focus on much digital media other than Youtube, for most of the year and now I don’t really have much time or focus for even tv (Hometown was the show of choice for the last several months, but I haven’t had time for that this past month). I have to spend hours on the computer for school, so I really need to get off to wind down enough to sleep. At least that is the goal.
I watched Coriolanus, or half of it. Yeah, don’t ever overhype things. More on that in a Coriolanus post when I have time.
I “tried” a episode of Brooklyn 99, and while I know the a show’s pilot isn’t a great thing to judge, I couldn’t be bothered to stop skimming it (actually, I’ve done a lot of skimming) or pursue the show further, everything was so TRYING SO HARD TO BE EDGY AND FUNNY and it was SO shallow, the acting was atrocious, and I only liked Andy Samberg’s character, but he was a cliche I’ve seen done better (Shawn Spencer, for example).
I rewatched some of Drake and Josh (for what is this, the fourth, fifth time?).
Also skimmed Schitt’s Creek (yeah, fyi, nsfw!) which is funny in some of the extreme, hedonistic, spoiling, extravagance of how the long adult Rose children and their parents lived previously. Definitely funny moments, but I found the plot tedious overall, and I was impatient of the parents’ sections sans kids and Alexis’ boring “drama,” the first Mutt moments were so strong and then that took a swift and deep nosedive into blah. David was definitely the best, and the full family and sibling moments could be quite funny. Nevertheless, it didn’t have the sharp banter/one-liners that I’ve realized I expect from favorites. I was about done by the end of season one even after skipping parts (anything to do with Roland, ugh, ugh, ugh, and most of the parents’ storylines, blah). I thought season 2 less funny.
I also, stupidly watched some Cary Grant movie called Houseboat or something. Very dull and very sexist/objectifying (which since I usually unlikely to say this, I usually think people read into many things too much from a place of ignorant modern privilege, and I’m not a modern “feminist”, and I generally think lots of people throw the baby out with the bath water, you know this is bad). Also am I crazy or does seem like the the 50’s and 60’s movies and television are worse in that way than 30’s and 40’s? It’s definitely been true of the ones I’ve seen. Maybe I should do a brief post on that.
The best media watching moment was when my youngest sister decided my mom needed to open her mind to different movies (besides Disney princess and Hallmark and the occasional sports movie). We went downstairs to look our choices over while Mom finished up some chores, and my sister decided to give her the choice between Pirates of the Caribbean and Catching Fire. Mom chose Pirates, and I think she did enjoy it, except for the boring end. We need to watch 2 and 3 with her. Ah, me those movies are so excellent. I wish the same people worked on the last two, the genius left you can certainly tell.
This is from our Independence Day on the beach in Seagrove Beach, FL last year (posting now fits with my timely nature). We used to have extended family gatherings on the 4th, with sports and such, not sure when that stopped. Last year was lovely to be on the beach and celebrate.
Today is a day to celebrate the good, of freedom, family, unity among differences and issues.
. . . . and if you are me, to work on school 🙁
So here are some lovely songs to encourage that:
Home Free – God Bless the U.S.A. (featuring Lee Greenwood and The United States Air Force Band). I love this song, the music the lyrics, this is everything, definitely my favorite patriotic song. And this video, I love were it showed all the different places people were singing from apart because of covid-19, but united just the same.
“And I’m proud to be an American,
Where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
Who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,
Next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.”
Meet in the Middle. Man, I love this song. And I love Home Free. This one is so happy.
“I’d start walking your way
you’d start walking mine
we’d meet in the middle
‘neath that old georgia pine
we’d gain a lot of ground
’cause we’d both give a little
and there ain’t no road too long
when you meet in the middle”
Be a Light. This is more serious, beautiful and bittersweet.
“In a time full of war, be peace
In a time full of doubt, just believe
Yeah, there ain’t that much difference between you and me
In a time full of war, be peace
In a world full of hate, be a light”
“Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
Happy Independence Day Y’all!!!
I’m SO thankful for that procrastination inspiration moment in May when I was inspired to cull and revamp my tons of old posts, so that I could fill all of June and a bit into July (I wish I’d continued it a bit longer). I’ve since come up with a few more for July although it will be sparser. My life hit warp speed in June, I knew I had a lot (my sister’s wedding with a two month engagement, 3 classes), but I was stunned by how busy I’ve been. I realized when writing my post that I’d forgotten another huge thing, I went back to full time (because of tanking revenues, I think in the few short weeks after the covid-19 shutdown started we were operating at a loss, we all had to take one unpaid day a week for 8 weeks). Yeah, that does make a difference. Oh, and of course I didn’t start school at full speed ahead (translation, I started late per usual and then also couldn’t get into my classes for several days).
I’ve spent most time on work and school . . . I’ve still wasted time on the internet, but I had very little time, energy, or motivation to participate.
Towards the end of May I got more inspired/alert/motivated plus being reasonably busy gets me focused. With all that and our library starting curbside pickup (which I since discovered will not work with my schedule currently . . . ), I was inspired to read more, so I’ll also do a reading update post (I looked on my Goodreads, I barely read in Feb, March, and April, yikes!). Since the big city library system is being absolutely ridiculous (and wasting the greater resources available to them . . .) and assumes everyone is a person of leisure, I got a card to the library in the county I work (still only one branch but larger than my home county library, and also, opening next week! They’ve been doing curbside for months, they are on their game).
I attended a small outdoor and barn wedding of a childhood friend.
I’ve received my first edition of the Ashtown Burials serial.
Collected a bit more makeup (also signed up for Ipsy) and some lovely bits of things for my bullet journal. I love happy, I lovely things like this, small happy things I use frequently that don’t clutter up my space.
Speaking of clutter, I’m trying to start using up, selling, and giving away more things. I have let go a huge amount of clothes, empty journals I’d collected years ago since I’ve migrated to combined bullet/art/memory journaling, and most of my Christian books which Mom wasn’t happy about, but they were taking up space, and I’m not a Christian, and I just don’t think it’s helpful for me to read them.
I’m trying to build up home goods for my own place, so that when I move out I’m not flattened with all the costs to properly furnish the place. Also, to hopefully forestall gifts when I want my home to be far closer to minimalism than my various family members.
I’ve worked on wedding stuff (I ended up needing to order a dress, I bargained for a J. Crew one on Poshmark, and it’s just lovely). I practiced the cake and cheesecake (first cheesecake), and I attempted to “age” these tiny terracotta pots from a Pinterest idea . . . which gave me a ton of moldy pots which I now have to scrub. Why do simple when you can have a dumb idea and give yourself more work? I also was going to attempt to root mint, gave that idea up too and bought bulk wildflower seeds to put in little organza bags to put in the tiny pots.
I’ve also been working on my room, painting trim and hanging a curtain rod, which was rather an ordeal in my hoarder’s abode which features a very high window. In terms of other Pinterest fails, I hurriedly sewed curtains without properly considering everything, so now I have to close them with a hair clip. My room is on hold for now.I feel like life is spinning away from me. I’m a slow little hobbit, I can’t keep up with even a normal pace.
“You could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him.”
I LOVE the film Catching Fire, and I always think Peeta is an angel. But thinking that and with all the Georgette Heyer books in my mind . . .
Georgette Heyer novels represent an/the old type of common thinking, the men do what they want and get the best girl and act all self-righteous if she is even slightly less than perfect even though they are horrid. This led to why rake, libertine, playboy, etc. not having the same connotation as whore even though they are literally the male/female correspondents (like Fez calling Kelso a whore when calling him out on his double-standards, it felt more “right” because he was, rather than cheering him on as a player, you know?). I mean to get the same connotation you have to say man-whore, um, I don’t think this circular, I think it started with the men!
This started when most stories were written by men and later some women (ahem, Heyer) who liked the save-the-bad boy trope. Also, don’t blame this all on the patriarchy, tons of women upheld (and uphold) this in fact and fiction, glorifying the bad boy. The stories might be dying out or at least certain aspects, but the reality doesn’t feel like it is (although, perhaps the mores were never quite as extreme as fiction seems to imply?).
Naturally that perspective makes my blood boil. Guess what, “feminism” didn’t fix it; we know have other problems including the exact opposite (although not sexual mores this time, but more in overall character). We have an overarching storyline (watching Hunger Games, Hallmark, and listening to women at work) where the woman can be as shrewish, manipulative, and hateful as possible and blame all men for everything without at all examining themselves. And not merely not understanding equivalency (you are both awful) or even normalcy (he’s the average to your awful, so normal is better than you), but expecting an angel boy.
Yes, it can happen, but that doesn’t mean it should, you shouldn’t get a good boy, the good girl should get the good boy. The bad man shouldn’t expect a angelic princess. The good people should expect the other good people. Why is this so hard to grasp? I know everyone is some extent blind to themselves, but to be so blind?!!!! To hear most people talk about relationships, you’d think he/she is the saintliest of people who always so incomprehensibly ends up with the devil. Did you ever perhaps wonder just once if you just might possibly have contributed one smidge to the problem?!
Here are the actual possibilities for a relationship. For simplicity’s sake I’ll assume three states of being although in reality they represent the absolute ends and middle of the spectrum of humanity.
Person A is good and Person B is good
Person A is good and Person B is average
Person A is good and Person B is toxic
Person A is average and Person B is good
Person A is average and Person B is average
Person A is average and Person B is toxic
Person A is toxic and Person B is good
Person A is toxic and Person B is average
Person A is toxic and Person B is toxic
Even in this highly simplified situation, there are very few saints and demon matches, and since most people are someone in the middle in the average realm, the likelihood that one is of average decency dating someone of average decency is quite high. If you aren’t an angel, why is your significant other supposed to be? If you want an angel, try being one.
The long version of one reason why I’m single, I’ve not achieved angelic status. Or is it I’ve not even achieved average goodness ?!
I feel like I’ve linked all the Wired videos this guy has done. I wish he had his own channel with videos on all the different accents. It’s just so fascinating and lovely listening to an expert, everything I’d heard/read before was from the perspective of casual observer.
Anyone notice in older tv shows and maybe also movies, actors were allowed to keep their regional accent? I just noticed that last year when watching Monk and listening to Sharona’s strong Boston accent. And later hearing the accents in Clueless. You can tell when accents are real vs. oh, I don’t know maybe Daniel Craig’s awful accent in Knives Out.
I feel like now, everyone’s accent is “polished” out (Well, not Tommy Lee Jones, but then he is of the older generation of actors wait, those Texas actors in Supernatural still sound Texan too, I guess you can’t streamline Texans), actually everyone’s enunciated is polished out too, maybe because they don’t really hire people from the areas they are portraying. Are we all going to eventually sound Standard American, whatever that is? I hope not. How boring.
Midwest Translation. I found this on Fernway’s Call blog. This is very specific to the upper Midwest, and I didn’t even know this accent existed until the last few years (and it really can be that strong although he’s obviously exaggerating his own personally; I, um, thought someone at one of my jobs was from the Northeast, don’t kill me, turns out he was from Minnesota, both are super nasally).
By midwest, I was usually thinking Ohio Valley-Missouri and the flyover states. Needless, to say any Midwesterner I hear sounds NOTHING like that, it’s going to be “neutral,” country, or southern. I think the real American “neutral” (what newscasters are/were trained in) is the Salt Lake city/Utah area accent (per my favorite Albion’s Seed).
Canadian accents can have a slight resemblance to the upper Midwest accent. Also, I felt like more of this type of thing could’ve showed through on That 70’s Show! That would have made it much more authentic, so would’ve hiring people from that area. I mean a few people had a performed accent, but I mean, I wanted more regional stuff, just day to day differences. I feel like they thought adding in beer all the time was Wisconsin enough.
I’ve heard lots of people throwing around the term “toxic masculinity.” I don’t think that is helpful, because the discussions seems to often contain, the if some, then all fallacy both in terms of men and masculinity. All masculinity is not toxic. There is this idea that all manly men are awful, that is inherit to their manliness to be a brute. Some of these people are the feminists and the others are the neanderthal men, they have totally opposite viewpoints on this subject, but they espouse the same fallacy.
Manly men can be sweet. Mild men can be awful. Being brash and swaggering doesn’t equal being a manly man, but it does mean you are a lout! Not being brash doesn’t mean you are a good person! Guys can pride themselves on not being the loud sporty ones assuming they have some sort of virtue when they are exhibiting the lack thereof in their spitefulness. Sweetness doesn’t make you less manly, that comes from other traits. Lack of a certain trait doesn’t mean having a positive virtue.
I thought first of this in terms of Lord of the Rings movies, when a male mentioned how manly Gimli was (ugh) in contrast to the rather effeminate elves (we will leave off discussions of the books and accuracy for this discussion and focus on the movies). As if those were the only options, neanderthal or dainty princeling (I’m exaggerating, the actions of the elves weren’t effeminate their looks and styling were). I think this is what the discussion often is, this false dichotomy. In this dichotomy, the men, Aragorn (or my favorite) Eomer are ignored. Masculine in physical appearance, in action yet courteous. Real manly men.
We were talking about my Mom’s extended family (and this applies to my brother also), no one would look at them and think of them as anything other than manly men, yet they are very sweet, much sweeter than the women of the family often (some of us are a domineering group!).
Back to LotR, I came across this on (I’m embarrased to admit) twitter the other day, Are You an An Aragorn Girl or a Legolas Girl. I’m an Eomer woman thank-you very much!
Do you ever do intentional nonsense words and names and intentionally misused phrases in your family, just for the heck of it? Or does that not boat your float? I should keep a list of our nonsense words and nicknames. Rubicon instead of Becky, Balibbalubalah instead of Lizzie. My brother was Buddy boy, Sonny Boy, and Bunny Soy.
I think it goes along with our need to rhyme every baby talk name, thus far for our pets (which I wrote about at the end of this post, we have more now, Luna is usually Loony or Loony-tunes or Luners and Holly is also Hollikins), but since pets and kiddos get the same voice. . .
I can’t do this for my niece’s name, nothing works right. All my kids must have sing-song Southern names of the Sally May, Billy Bob variety (okay, more high-falutin, than that) so I can rhyme them sillier. Anywho.
Speaking of baby-talk voices for pets. So not everyone gets a high cartoony voice instantly upon seeing some delightful fuzzball?
And what about “polite” voices?
I was on some internet video about how Europeans think of Americans, and one comment mentioned how high American girls’ voices get when greeting someone, and another hilarious commenter said something, like,
‘ “Oh, hiiiiiii!!!” Glass breaks.’
So, it’s not just me that gets a Barbie doll voice on the phone when I “have to be polite”?
And we used goofy, made up swear and names-calling words, like “what the Hufflepuff” and “you dingbat.”
And when people are pretending to be subtle and rude in a way that they also want you to know they are not being subtle, we call it suBtle, pronouncing the “b.” Although, quite frankly, that is the only “subtlety” I usually come across.
Transitioning suBtlety into snark, last Christmas some of our extended family were roasting some of my siblings (giving out “burns” is another family trait), and they were talking about how this is how we roll, you gotta be able to take it, we prepare you for the real world.
I did struggle with sarcasm and being too literal as a teenager, actually, compared to most of my family I probably still do, but between family, our social circle, and British lit, I had to learn to survive, hence, I’ve never understood, the “Americans don’t understand sarcasm.”
Oh, we understand it all right, it is just usually a different dialect, the dripping-with-sarcasm rather than dead-pan (we are way to0 expressive for that ) or axe rather than rapier sarcasm.
I tend to relate to a lot of them tomboys in books like Jo and her counterpart Skye Penderwick in terms of temperament. But I’m not a tomboy, I relate to the Megs in terms of domesticity and to the Amys and Annes in terms of taste. It gets kind of irritating to read about all the sweet domestic and/or traditional girls. Sorry, I wasn’t born sweet and mild, the best you will get is somewhat toned down. I’ve been told to tone down, be quiet, stop expressing so much frequently by family members. I think I scare people outside my family.
Another similar stereotype is that of the loud (often tomboy) women being brave and courageous. Brassy, sassy, rebellious, and loud doesn’t equal strong or brave. Some of us are just programmed to be brassy, sassy, rebellious, and loud. And I’m not programmed brave, like at. all. K, maybe if you are usually a meek, people-pleaser, it IS brave to stand up and firmly say, “please, respect me.” But um, I have have to tone down, calm down to say that. And loudness can come from fear as well as just innate personality.
Often either explicit or implicitly, these characters and/or their authors state that domesticity equals a level of anti-intellectualism or lack of intelligence. Again, NO. I can love both and do, thank-you-very-much. How one earth does liking homemaking have anything to do with the intelligence and interests I was born with?
I was raised in a homeschooling sphere that emphasized domesticity, crafts, etc. for girls. I never understood why so many rebelled against them, I took it personally, until I found more people with different backgrounds who like creating things. I learned of them term “maker.” These people like me just LOVE handicrafts, historical fashion, fiber, making things, its part of our DNA.
Another fallacy involves being girly and sporty or interested in physical activity (climbing trees, fencing, hunting, you name it). You can love to get completely dolled up and also love to play sports and get sweaty. I think this one is older and maybe it has mostly been killed by now? Or maybe it is because I’m more in the volleyball world because of my sisters and volleyball girls don’t follow this stereotype.
I think in books this is still in force with the heroine who disdains all “frivolous” dress and fuss and goes gallivanting off with her horse and sword. She can like both. Disliking or like frills doesn’t mean you are physically weak or strong.
Here is to the loud, brassy, girly, domestic shrews. Oh, wait, what?!
As I mentioned before Hamlet was my Classics Club spin pick. I put off reading it until literally the last day of May, and I finished it in one day while accomplishing other things like a ridiculously long process of hanging a very high curtain rod that possibly triggered a large nosebleed, but that is another story.
I know I’ve skimmed this story version of Hamlet and possibly the real version ages ago. To me it seemed pointless, confusing, fatalistic, with lots of meaningless tragedy and angst. Oh, and overrated. My “where’s the love story?” teen/early twenties monomania was not satisfied with the left-over love story wreck I found. And philosophy has always eluded and bored me. Hence, my not reading this VERY (if not most) famous play and instead reading some lesser favored ones instead.
I read Sparknotes No Fear Shakespeare (I apparently got an older version, but there is an expanded version?!) which has Shakepeare’s original one side and modern English on the other side. I’m proud to say I did manage to mostly read from the original, but I found the modern and notes helpful. I’m in love with this version and want to get all the plays.
So many of the famous Shakespeare quotes are from Hamlet, I knew the most over-used of course, but “frailty thy name is woman (Brandon)” was the best because I just love when literature quotes literature.
I remembered Ophelia died, and Hamlet’s death although rather forgotten was not a surprise. I was a little confused about Claudius since the notes threw a question on what the “ghost” actually was. Oh, he was guilty, he admitted it, but I was thrown off for awhile. And I was worried he wouldn’t meet his just deserts.
I was pleasantly surprise by how quick my interest was caught. I found it less dull and melancholy (not really melancholy at all) than I’d remembered. I learned (unsurprisingly) some dirty Shakespearean modern English (yes, the modern period started around then) slang.
Hamlet (surprisingly) was awesomely sassy. Full of smart comments and tongue lashings. And him popping up to annoy Claudius, especially at the end when he returns from the ship was just hilarious in timing and tone. And because of all this, was he truly mad or feigning madness or both? He sure seemed to enjoy pushing Claudius’ buttons! I’m not sure what the standard interpretation of Hamlet’s behavior is.
Ophelia was as seemingly incidental in role as I remember, we didn’t “see” Hamlet and Ophelia during their love affair, nor do they seem to have any affection, particularly not he, when we do see them together. I loved her flower bit; her innocent rapier thrust with the language of flowers. Now, she was truly crazy.
The evil pair did get their just deserts, but I felt the play dragged towards the middle end and then everyone was finished off in a slap-dash manner, and then it ends in a ludicrously quick manner.
So, while I do think it is overrated in terms of depth, I am inspired to watch versions of Hamlet, and I did enjoy it more than I was expecting. And I’m especially inspired to read and re-read more Shakespeare. On to reading Coriolanus, so that I can watch the play which premieres on Youtube the day this post comes out!
The slow driving when there is a little rain. Yeah, that is me. When a few snowflakes caused the car to eject him, oh my word. We aren’t this far south, but I remember people scorning Atlanta when a few inches of snow basically stopped city traffic. Look, it makes sense for Northerners to invest in 4-wheel drive, and Northern cities in tons snow plows (we have a few), but Atlanta and around, that would be stupid.
“Fancified Pringles Can”
“Your unintelligent personal assistant”
Humidity. Well, the video is funny because it’s accurate but wow, humidity makes everything feel so much hotter. Don’t look at the temperature on the weather app, look at what the humidity is going to make it feel like.
Our “overreaction” to a slight chill in the air. I’m so hot-blooded, I personally don’t react like this. Actually, where we are we do get seasons, but we make get all of them in one day. Way back in college a student from Boston was laughing at our “cold.”
Country sounds to get you to sleep. “In Memaw’s arms.” The tornado siren and train. I put crickets on my sleep sounds recently.
Things to Do in My state. Strike out “ope” and put “coke” for all soft drinks and this is what I saw on FB for my state. The deer thing, my stars its carnage.
I’m joining up with Tarissa from In the Bookcase for the Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge.
I have the Alcott books on my list of rereads for this year, but we don’t have all of them, and I don’t know when the libraries will start the curbside process.
I know we/I have Little Women, Little Men, and An Old-Fashioned Girl. I’d like to read Eight Cousins and Rose In Bloom. I may buy them if the library doesn’t open.