We’re focusing on newer books, movies, and television shows for 2018, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely ignoring old favorites! After all, what’s that saying–what’s old may just become new again (or something like that)?
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
Whilst I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. . . .
I was first introduced to Edgar Allan Poe as a child. I don’t remember how I acquired it, but somehow I got my hands on a collection of his poems and short stories, and they became instant favorites. For many years afterward, when I was feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, I would flip to “The Raven,” and despite the fact that it is not in any way intended as relaxing, I always found it therapeutic.
Well, this week (January 19th) marks his 199th birthday, and there is no better way to celebrate the wonderfully unusual, macabre, and creepy world of Edgar Allan Poe than by revisiting his work.
Continue reading “Old Favorites: Edgar Allan Poe”
So, here’s a confession that will surprise nobody who knows me: I rarely like the hero in a story.
Ever since I was a child, I vastly preferred villains in books, movies, and television. And I don’t mean anti-heroes who you’re supposed to like or squishy villains who feel bad about themselves. No, the badder, the better.
Compared to the hero, good villains–by which I mean really bad villains–almost always have more memorable lines and better clothes. They always seem to be enjoying themselves way more than the hero ever does and usually have a great sense of humor (okay, a dark sense of humor but still a sense of humor) and usually are smarter or at least seem to display more ambition and basic organizational skills than the hero.
This love for villains started early. When I was 5 or 6, my favorite television show was Skeleton Warriors. I watched it faithfully every Saturday morning to see the adventures of Skeletor and, well, his skeleton warriors. I was so disheartened to never find anyone who knew what I was talking about anytime I talked to someone my age about cartoons.
It was only years later when I was in my mid-20s that I realized I had been watching He-Man and had somehow convinced myself that the show was actually about the bad guy. I still think rather fondly about Skeletor and his pet Panthor, but for the life of me, I cannot remember a single thing about He-Man himself. I don’t think I noticed him as a child, either. He wasn’t on my radar because he had nothing on Skeletor!
I have changed little as an adult in that regard. And since it is Halloween, I thought I’d pay tribute to some of my favorite vampiric villains in cinema.
Continue reading “Movie Double Feature: Dracula (1931)/Near Dark (1987)”
As someone who has been an avid reader since childhood, I’ve always found one of the most nightmarish scenarios in literature the one that Ray Bradbury presents in Fahrenheit 451 where all books are banned.
To that end, September 25-October 1 is Banned Books Week, which makes it the perfect time to cross that requirement of reading a banned book off your library challenges list.
Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Banned Book”
Can you read in more than one language? Not just basic sentences or even short paragraphs–could you sit down and read a book written entirely in another language?
If you’re anything like me, then your answer is going to be a resounding no. I took a couple of foreign languages in college and occasionally even can recognize words from those languages when they pop up on a movie or on the internet. But there’s no way I could read anything that wasn’t in English, which sadly limits my reading knowledge to publications originally written in the language or those someone has taken the time to translate.
Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Book Translated From A Different Language”
Channeling my inner Jane Austen here: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of a retelling of a classic story has one of two reactions, joy at revisiting a tale that is both familiar and new or complete, unmitigated horror at the desecration of a favorite book.
Well, perhaps I exaggerate just a little, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that people tend to either really like contemporary updated versions of old favorites or the very idea is repellent to them. Personally, I like when a classic is effectively brought into a different time and place because I like spotting all of the allusions and seeing what the author changed and what he or she didn’t and pondering why. With all of that in mind, I approached Curtis Sittenfeld’s latest book Eligible with a great deal of curiosity.
Continue reading “Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible”
One of the challenges for this month is a book with a love triangle. I had contemplated doing book recommendations for this one, but most of the books I found to recommend were ones that people were likely to have either already read or at least be familiar with.
Instead, I decided to revive the “Discussion Thread” idea from when we covered Outlander.
Continue reading “Discussion Thread: A Book With A Love Triangle”
The author with your initials challenge took me an embarrassing amount of time to find a book for. None of the authors with my initials seemed particularly interesting to me, until a few weeks ago when Mynette told me I really needed to read S. E. Hinton’s classic coming-of-age story, The Outsiders. In addition to being intrigued by her recommendation, I also realized that Hinton shares my first and middle initials. In the weeks since then, the book has come up a couple of times with other people, and whenever I would admit to never having read it, the response was always a confused “You’ve never read The Outsiders?”
Having finally read The Outsiders, I now understand everyone’s reaction. I’m actually embarrassed that I hadn’t read it before.
Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: An Author with Your Initials (S. E. Hinton)”