Literature & Laughter

IT’S APRIL FOOLS’ DAY! WHEE!

…I’m not much of a prankster and besides, you’ve probably seen enough hoaxes and joke posts today. (Maybe you’re tired of them? I know I am – not at first, but I am now. #partypooper) So I thought I’d do something a little bit different! April Fools’ Day is, no matter what, a day of laughter – so why not write a list of ten books/series/authors that made me laugh out loud?!

beauty queensAlso, this gives me an excuse to fangirl and flail about humor. I LOVE HUMOR. I wanted to be a comedian at one point! (Now I want to write – among other things – funny books.) I love laughing. I love sarcasm. (My whole family is sooooo sarcastic ALL OF THE TIME.) When I’m feeling down, reading humorous books is my go-to method of trying to cheer myself up.

Enjoy!

1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

I’d like to thank Ms. Bray for BEING AWESOME and INCLUDING LITERALLY EVERYTHING I WANT IN ANY STORY EVER: Satire, feminism, lots of jokes that made me laugh out loud, girls kicking butt, canon queer characters (including some really really good trans representation!), a large cast of characters, awesome friendships, and well-written romantic subplots. MY ONLY COMPLAINT IS THAT THERE’S NO SEQUEL.

2. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

“The apocalypse has never been funnier,” one reviewer wrote, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s sarcastic and weird and… gah. It’s great, trust me. If you think you don’t like fantasy because most of it bores you, then you need to try this book.070517_LightningThief_vmed_11a[1]

3. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

Greek mythology and humor are two of my favoritest things on the planet! I love these books. Percy’s a dork, and the retellings of old myths are hilarious – I love reading Riordan’s interpretations of how the gods and goddesses would live in the modern world. Also, his chapter titles are LITERALLY THE FUNNIEST AND THE BEST.

4. A Long Way From ChicagoA Year Down Yonder, and The Teacher’s Funeral by Richard Peck

The first two books are about a brother and sister who spend summers with their grandmother in rural Illinois in the 1930s, while the third tells the story of a boy growing up in a tiny Indiana town at the turn of the century. I HAVE SO MUCH LOVE FOR THESE BOOKS OK. Yes, they’re folksy, but in only the best ways. The Teacher’s Funeral is my favorite book about my state!

5. The Importance of Being Earnest and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

OH THE SASS. Basically I just want to travel back in time and be bros with Oscar? Because he makes me laugh. Actually, I want to BE the modern-day version of Oscar Wilde. He’s a master of sarcasm and witticisms – the anecdote about the widow whose hair turned “quite gold from grief” is a particular favorite of mine. If you think classics aren’t your cup of tea, these books should change your mind. Seriously, Wilde is sooooo much better than any modern-day comedian.

last stand of dead men6. The Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy

SKULDUGGERY MAKES ME LAUGH SOOOOO MUCH. He’s a walking, talking, wise-cracking, fireball-throwing, sharply-dressed skeleton detective and together with his teenage assistant, Valkyrie Cain, he saves the world. Many times over. That duo, and all the supporting characters, MAKE ME CRACK UP. These books are also very sad/dark at times, though, which I love – reading them is like riding a roller coaster of up-and-down emotions!

7. The Girl, 15, Charming But Insane series by Sue Limb

The protagonist, Jess Jordan, is basically me. She’s super-creative but kind of a dork, and her life is one series of (hilarious) mishaps after another. I mean, at one point she makes fake boobs for herself using bags of soup?! SHE NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE AND AMUSE ME.

8. Bill Bryson’s books

I didn’t list a specific book because I couldn’t decide which one I enjoyed more! Bryson writes for adults, and his work is nonfiction (more or less), which may not sound appealing to some of you at first. But trust me – he’s good. I started with his travelogues, then moved on to his books about the English language, and am currently working on his books about history. Like Wilde, Bryson is a master at witty turns of phrase, and he excels at finding weird, wonderful, and amusing facts about history and whatnot.

Travelogues

  • The Lost Continent (rural America)
  • A Walk in the Woods (Appalachian Trail)
  • In A Sunburned Country (Australia)
  • Neither Here Nor There (Europe)
  • Notes From A Small Island (UK)
  • I’m A Stranger Here Myself (experiencing the US as a returning expat)

Etymology

  • The Mother Tongue (British English)
  • Made in America (American English)

History

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything (history of science)
  • At Home: A Short History of Private Life (history explored through common objects in one’s house)
  • One Summer: America, 1927 (…do I really need to spell out what this book is about?)

Note: These are not ALL of Bryson’s books – but it’s a good start, no?

9. The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison

Once you’ve finished the Jess Jordan books, you should try these! They’re a long long series of YA chick lit about a British girl with lots of admirers, a group of awesome friends, and no shortage of attitude. I practically DEVOURED this series a few summers ago!

cartoon-calvin-and-hobbes_00215505[1]10. Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

So these are comics and not prose novels – who cares? They’re still awesome. Calvin and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes – who comes to life in Calvin’s imagination – are goofy and adventurous and mischievous. And sometimes very, very profound. Which I LOVE: Sometimes Watterson’s comic strips make me laugh until both my sides and my face hurt, but sometimes he said very deep things about friendship and growing up and all that jazz.

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Books aren’t your thing? THEN I STILL HAVE HILARIOUS OPTIONS FOR YOU. The Princess Bride is terrifically funny, and I’m particularly fond of the Miss Congeniality movies. And, um, let’s see, what else? …Monty PythonMONTY PYTHON FTW. (Maybe I should rewatch Life of Brian just in time for Easter?! God, I’m such a heathen.) Marvel movies can be good for a laugh too – IMO, the funniest are The Avengers and Agent Carter.

Also, this doesn’t really fit anywhere else in this post but while writing it, I found a list of “best LGBTQ+ humor novels” on Goodreads and it looks SO GOOD. A lot of LGBTQ+ books are quite serious, if not downright sad (SO MANY TRAGIC/DEAD LESBIANS UGH WHY), and… and I’d like more lighthearted stories. Lighthearted coming-of-age stories and romances! Also, my love of humor doesn’t always mesh well with all the SADS prevalent in LGBTQ+ fiction, and that really sucks.

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What books make you laugh out loud? (Can you narrow it down to the single FUNNIEST book you’ve ever read?!) Be sure to tell me – I’d love to know!

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International Transgender Day Of Visibility: A List Of 9 Cool Things I Found

It’s the International Transgender Day of Visibility!

I’m not transgender, but… representation is important? Visibility is important. And hey, I’m not bisexual, either, but I wrote a post in 2014 about the Bisexual Day of Visibility too. It was mostly book recs and links to #bisexualsteverogers Tweets because I’m just awesome that way. And because I can’t speak from personal experience about bi or trans things – but I can help out by linking and directing people to things others have written about their lives and experiences.

So that’s what I’ll be doing today. Here are some of the coolest trans-related thingies I’ve found on the Internet during the past few weeks!

1. Here is a graphic with some statistics about transgender people. (The article that goes along with it is pretty neat, too.)

2. Here are some selfies people are posting on Twitter to celebrate #transdayofvisibility! SO. MANY. CUTE. PEOPLE.

3. On her blog, author Malinda Lo lists YA books by and about trans people.

*insert heart eyes emoji here*

*insert heart eyes emoji here*

4. I have some issues with the It Gets Better Project, but you know what? Laverne Cox’s video for IGB is flawless and so so so so important and did I mention yet that she’s basically my favoritest LGBTQ+ role model ever?!

5. THIS SERIES OF PHOTOS OF ELDERLY TRANSGENDER FOLKS IS THE BESTEST THING. Seriously. The average lifespan of a trans person is currently hovering in the early thirties, due to high rates of suicide and violent hate crime and… I don’t know, I was just kind of stunned when I looked at that article because I’d never seen an older transgender person before. And that’s not the way it should be. Selfies of teens and twentysomethings are nice, but there just isn’t a whole lot of representation in the media about life as a successful older trans person.

6. Here is a list from Autostraddle.com: 15 ways to support transgender people.

7. And from the same site, here’s a playlist of music by trans people – including my crush/favorite, Angel Haze! (Also, yes: I love Autostraddle. I adore it. Along with AfterEllen.com, it’s one of my fave websites written by and for queer women!)

8. I swear I was going to stop linking you to Autostraddle stuff, but I just can’t stop myself: Did you know that two-thirds of trans women are lesbians? (QUEER POWERS X 2!) Here’s an interesting article about their experiences.

9. And finally, here is an article (not from Autostraddle, for a change!) about the slow but steady progress in trans representation on TV.

Happy TDOV, and I hope everyone has a lovely evening!

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Captain America: The Winnie Soldier

winnie the pooh balloonSo my brain is fried after working all day today and I’m really tired. I meant to write a long thinky post? But that won’t be happening. Because, as I said, I am tired. And I have the attention span of a flea right now, anyway.

So I’m going to tell you about a weird little idea that has been bouncing around my brain as of late, because I think about a lot of weird little things and they amuse me very very much.

During these past few weeks I’ve been listening to the film score of Captain America: The Winter Soldier as I write, do schoolwork, et cetera. It’s composed by Henry Jackman and it is AWESOME – along with Thor, it’s my favorite score from the Marvel movies so far. I’m particularly delighted by his themes for Captain America and the Winter Soldier himself.

the winter soldier shield throw catch gifNaturally, I did a bit of googling to find out what other films Jackman has worked on, because I wanted yet more awesome music to listen to. Turns out that he’s composed for a lot of animated films, children’s movies, and superhero movies.

He wrote a score for one of the Winnie-the-Pooh movies. And for some reason I think this is like the most hilarious thing? Because The Winter Soldier has a rather dark, moody, chilling score and Winnie-the-Pooh is, well, cheery and bouncy and happy-go-lucky and I just can’t reconcile the two in my mind. They’re so different.

And it’s entirely possible that this will amuse no one but me – because, like I said, I’m tired and everything seems funny right now, but imagine the Winnie Soldier? ASSASSIN!POOH WEARING THE CREEPY MASK AND GOGGLES. Pooh with a sniper rifle. Pooh as a villain.

SOMEONE DRAW THIS PLEASE.

It would amuse me immensely. I’d draw it myself, but I have no drawing skills whatsoever – in fact, just the other day Cait @ Paper Fury and I were talking about all the fan art we’d draw… if only we could draw.

Two things should happen: Someone should draw angsty Pooh as the Winter Winnie Soldier fighting Captain America because ridiculously silly ideas are always the best, and I should go to bed and get some sleep because my mind gets really weird and slaphappy when I’m tired.

And that is all I have to say to you today. Goodnight!

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The Perfect Patience Award

Wow, I haven’t been nominated for a blog award in a long time – not since 2013! Well, actually, I have been nominated for a few things but since those were my second, third, fourth, et cetera nominations for those awards, I didn’t see the point in writing yet more acceptance posts for something I’ve already done.

Anyway, Kate @ The Magic Violinist nominated me for the perfect patience award. (You can check out her post here.) Apparently, being nominated for this award means that I “have shown exceptional patience in the face of a frustrating situation” and am “the embodiment of graceful waiting.” HA HA HA HA HA HA WELL OK THEN.

Furthermore, Kate nominated me “because being a fangirl is rough” and “liking Game of Thrones is especially difficult right now since the show is going to reach the ending before the books do.” Both observations are very true.

In this post I’m supposed to answer the five questions below and tag three other patient bloggers. Enjoy!

1. Is there something on the horizon that will arrive soon, but not soon enough for you?

OH MY GOD. Avengers: Age of Ultron! I’m soooooo excited for that movie. My brother has agreed to go with me – grudgingly so, because comic books are so not his thing – and I’m bribing him with popcorn and candy and stuff. I’ll probably have a blast and he’ll probably keep asking me “is the movie over yet?” and why there are a bunch of grown men running around onscreen wearing silly rights and dorky masks. Because they’re superheroes, little brother, and superheroes are awesome.

The movie is released on May first, so I still have a little bit of a wait left!

2. What are three things that absolutely try your patience?

The first thing is my computer. I guess it has some kind of defect, because sometimes it does the whole “BLACK SCREEN OF DEATH” thing and shuts itself down, which is a little weird. And very inconvenient, when I’m in the middle of a project. (It shut down just a few minutes ago, in case you’re wondering why I seem annoyed.)

My state – Indiana – frustrates me as well. Or rather, our governor does. He is a [insert extremely long, creative, and rude combination of words here] to the utmost degree. This is why I’m irritated, if you’re wondering. But that’s a blog post for another day…

And finally, COLD WEATHER. It tries my patience. It’s nice for a little while but by, say, the end of March? I’m getting pretty tired of it. Hint, hint. Go away, cold weather. Please.

3. Do you have any nervous habits or rituals that may not be obvious to anyone around you, but that help you stretch out your patience?

Honestly, it depends on A) what I’m waiting for and B) how long I have to wait for it. I’m enrolled in a speech class this semester and before each speech I’ve given thus far, I freak out a little bit because there’s really nothing I can do but sit and wait. And so I sit at my desk feeling nervous and a bit sick to my stomach until I tell myself to relax and take deep breaths and think about cute, fun, happy things like kittens and Natalie Dormer’s face.

When I’m waiting for something that takes a little while longer, music is helpful. I’m not sure if listening to music counts as a “nervous habit or ritual,” to be quite honest, but that’s what I do and it always works. I couldn’t live without music. It distracts me from long, boring waits.

And when I have to wait a realllllllllllllly long time… such as for Mockingjay Part Two or any other fandomy thing… I usually distract myself by immersing myself even further in the story. Rereading? Yes please. Listening to music from the movie or show? OH GOD OF COURSE OF COURSE I’M LISTENING TO GAME OF THRONES MUSIC AS I WRITE THIS BECAUSE I CAN’T WAIT FOR SEASON FIVE. Fan art? Duh.

4. In professionally-produced articles or writing, which makes you crazier: Grammar errors or spelling mistakes?

Spelling mistakes, probably? I mean, English is a REALLY weird language so I totally understand that spelling mistakes will happen too, but… spell-check exists for a reason, people. If you’re using a computer to write, it’s probably a good idea to use spell-check. Grammar is a lot more fussy, though, so I’ll cut people a bit more slack for poor grammar.

Especially for weird things such as “my friend and me” versus “my friend and I.” Because that stuff is frustrating, peoples.

5. Sherlock Holmes or Sheldon Cooper? Which roommate would try your patience more?

Sheldon Cooper would try my patience more, unless this question refers to the BBC version of Sherlock Holmes and then he would irritate me absolutely beyond belief. I love the original Holmes as written by Arthur Conan Doyle, but cannot stand the BBC version – for one thing, I don’t think that show portrays him all that faithfully! But I digress.

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I’m tagging:

And as always, feel free to participate whether or not I tagged you. Or ignore this tag, if you so choose.

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 What (or whom) are you currently waiting for? What tries your patience? Do you even consider yourself to be a patient person?!

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New Who: The Tenth Anniversary

HAPPY TENTH ANNIVERSARY, NEW WHO!

Sixteen years after his last appearance in a serial and nine years after the mid-nineties movie, the Doctor returned in a brand-new episode on March 26, 2005. “Rose” – series one, episode one – aired ten years ago on this date.

Pretty cool, no? I can’t believe it’s been ten years already! And I haven’t even been a fan of the new incarnation of the show for its entirety – only since late 2013. But I guess I consider New Who to be, like, the baby sibling of Classic Who? The majority of Doctor Who stories and characters are from the time when the show was produced as seasons, not series. So the ten-year anniversary is a bit surprising, IMO.

Anyway, I’m so glad that I got into this show – while it’s not my FAVORITE, it is ONE of my favorites. And it’s a lot of fun! It introduced me to a bunch of great characters who became some of my favorites ever, from any book or show or movie – Martha, Donna, Wilf, the Ninth and Tenth and Twelfth Doctors.

And while we’re on the topic of characters, I think a shout-out is in order: Thanks, Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. Nine is my favorite Doctor and… well, honestly, Rose isn’t my favorite companion. But you know what? Regardless of your personal opinion of them, if they hadn’t done a decent job in the first series we wouldn’t be celebrating this tenth anniversary. They brought back the show, so kudos to you two.

Tardis-in-Space-tardis-6289810-1280-768Anyway… what are your favorite memories of New Who? These can be favorite episodes, geeking out with friends, et cetera. I have to say that one of my favorites has been watching all the series eight episodes with my brother – we’re not in many of the same fandoms, but this is something we both enjoy! (And even then, we rarely agree about any other aspect of the show other than that MARTHA JONES IS WONDERFUL. Yay, brother!)

I was lucky enough to see the series eight premiere, “Deep Breath,” in theaters this past August, and that was pretty memorable too. And of course, beginning to watch the show was fun! “Rose” is a totally cheesy episode but I liked it well enough to want to continue, so that’s something.

And now I’m rambling, so I’m going to wrap up this post. But before I sign off for the night, there’s a video I’d like to show you:

It’s a fan-made trailer for all ten years and eight series of New Who! IT IS THE GREATEST THING AND I SQUEED SO MUCH UPON WATCHING IT. It’s a really good summary/portrayal of the new incarnation of the show, even if I do think this trailer included a few too many explosions. Ha. Oh, well.

TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT NEW WHO! Favorite companions, favorite episodes, favorite memories? How does this version compare, in your opinion, to Classic Who? I’d love to know!

P.S. I think this quote is quite appropriate for the occasion: “2005? Tell you what… I bet you’re gonna have a really great year.”

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82 Reasons I Enjoyed “Cinderella”

Cinderella-2015-dress-1426083242This past Saturday, I went to the movies and watched Cinderella, Disney’s recent remake of the classic fairy tale. I’d been looking forward to it for months! (I think they showed its trailer before Mockingjay Part One?) I loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove fairy tales, and “Cinderella” is my fave. So I love reading/watching any and all adaptations of that story – Ella EnchantedAsh, the Lunar Chronicleset cetera!

And this new movie did not disappoint. It was so much fun! I may have been one of the few teenagers in a sea of girls five-and-under in that theater, but I didn’t even mind. Because fairy tales are the bomb, peoples. And you should totally go see Cinderella.

Still not convinced? Here’s a flaily, fangirly, and at times only semi-coherent list explaining why I loved this movie!

  1. Did I mention that I freaking love fairy tales?
  2. And that “Cinderella” is my all-time FAVORITE?!
  3. Lily James was an absolutely perfect Cinderella – affectionate, witty, kind, pretty, and sweet
  4. And sassy, too, sometimes – which I loved
  5. Did anyone else just want to hug her to infinity and beyond and tell her everything would be all right?
  6. Young!Cinderella was SO TINY AND CUTE
  7. SO MANY PRETTY DRESSES
  8. And lots of sparkles and glitter as well
  9. The pet mice were adorable
  10. The film score was LOVELY
  11. The film score was composed by Patrick Doyle (Thor, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), so did anyone really expect it to be anything other than lovely?
  12. I really loved the music that played after Cinderella found out her father wouldn’t be returning
  13. This film was so BRIGHT and COLORFUL
  14. THE EVIL STEPSISTERS WERE SO HILARIOUS THOUGH
  15. THEY CRACKED ME UP
  16. Especially during that singing scene
  17. And during that conversation in French
  18. And while they were trying on Cinderella’s glass slipper
  19. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing any of their dresses but they were rather disgustingly cute in a color-coordinated way
  20. I cried multiple times during this movie
  21. Fairy tales are feels-y
  22. RICHARD MADDEN (Robb Stark on Game of Thrones) PLAYED THE PRINCE
  23. He was dfsjhgdfjhgdfkjgkshgkdfg amazing
  24. He was very gallant
  25. And charming
  26. And I liked his outfits as well
  27. And he has very princely hair
  28. AND THAT PORTRAIT SCENE WAS HILARIOUS
  29. Prince Richard Madden is evidently an excellent dancer
  30. Basically I want to spend hours dancing with him now #nohetero
  31. I flailed and fangirled at the sight of all those bright, colorful dresses and women twirling around
  32. Let’s be honest, one of the reasons I went to go see this movie was because fairy tales are guaranteed to have badass and beautiful women and evidently Engie can’t control the gay
  33. I would’ve liked to be one of the extras in that scene just so I could wear a fairy-tale dress (and dance with those women)
  34. The prince and the king had a great father/son relationship
  35. Sometimes they bickered but ultimately they loved one another
  36. Speaking of love, I loved how this movie discussed the concept of love at first sight
  37. The king doesn’t want his son to marry a common girl he barely even knows, and the prince points out that he barely knows any of the princesses he’s expected to wed
  38. Cinderella and the prince had a very sweet relationship and while I can’t truthfully say that it’s my new OTP or anything, I did enjoy watching their onscreen interactions
  39. Basically they were cute and their flirtations didn’t put me to sleep or have this reaction which is how I react to, like, 97.5% of fictional straight couples
  40. Nonso Anozie (Xaro Xhoan Daxos on Game of Thrones) played the captain/adviser to the prince and basically I kept wondering if there was some secret Game of Thrones cast reunion that I didn’t know about
  41. This movie definitely could’ve been more diverse but I did appreciate that Captain Whatshisname was black
  42. Cate Blanchett was absolutely FANTASTIC as the evil stepmother
  43. Side note: Like, half the reason I went to this movie was because I have a rather large crush on Cate Blanchett
  44. The movie did not disappoint me in this regard
  45. She was so EVIL
  46. And SCHEMING
  47. And wore the most gorgeous dresses, damn
  48. Especially that yellow-and-green ensemble
  49. AND WHOA, THAT HUGE HAT
  50. I know Cinderella probably thought her new living quarters were lonely and cold, but I’d kill to have my own huge attic room far away from evil stepsisters
  51. Poor Cinderella, having to do all those chores
  52. I JUST REALLY HAVE A FONDNESS FOR RAGS-TO-RICHES STORIES OK
  53. I LIKE PRINCESSES
  54. I WANT TO BE A PRINCESS
  55. Cinderella’s dad was sooooooooooo nice
  56. And adorkable
  57. Hayley Atwell played Cinderella’s mother and OH MY GOD, I HAD NO IDEA SHE WOULD BE IN THIS MOVIE AND OH MY GOD, FILMMAKING PEOPLES, YOU CAN’T JUST PUT MY WIFE IN MOVIES WITHOUT TELLING ME because the people around me in the audience were not prepared for my SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
  58. Hayley Atwell is really pretty as a blonde (bonus)
  59. She wasn’t in the movie for very long but she was very sweet and wore some super-pretty dresses
  60. Seriously, the people in charge of wardrobe and design for this movie worked their butts off and did an amazing job
  61. THE DRESS TRANSFORMATION SCENE THOUGH
  62. IT WAS SO PRETTY AND GLITTERY
  63. I APPROVE OF SOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH TWIRLING AROUND IN A PRETTY DRESS
  64. Helena Bonham Carter was hilarious – and sarcastic – as the hairy dogmother fairy godmother
  65. She actually had a pretty amazing dress transformation of her own
  66. Cinderella’s pumpkin/coach was SO SHINY AND GOLDEN
  67. LIZARD FOOTMEN
  68. L I Z A R D  F O O T M E N
  69. “I can’t drive! I’m a goose!”
  70. Did anyone else think the horses-with-mouse-ears were hilarious or was that just me?
  71. The fleeing-the-palace-at-midnight scene was great
  72. I’m jealous of the prince’s castle
  73. ALL THOSE LADIES TRYING ON THE GLASS SLIPPER
  74. Watching this movie made me feel five years old ago, full of delight because SPARKLES and MAGIC and PRETTY DRESSES
  75. The scenery was sooooo pretty too
  76. So many gratuitous panoramic camera angles
  77. The singing in this movie was so pretty
  78. Seriously, if Lily James and Hayley Atwell did their own singing – and weren’t dubbed – then they’re, like, really really good
  79. CINDERELLA’S WEDDING DRESS THOUGH
  80. Happily-ever-after endings are wonderful
  81. Basically this movie was really, really sweet and adorable and happy and cute
  82. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside

I loved Cinderella. You should go see it, too. It’s a really fun movie and is basically guaranteed to make you smile – and flail over sparkly dresses, too, if you’re so inclined. I’m so glad I went to this movie – I’ll never be too old to enjoy fairy tales! Especially the glittery kind.

What did you think of the new Cinderella movie, if you’ve seen it?

P.S. Stay tuned for an extra-special fandomy post tomorrow!

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My Hero Monday: Suzanne Collins

My Hero Monday is an original feature (and now a link-up!) from the feminist blog The Book Hugger. In the words of its creator, Chloe, “It celebrates female heroes in our society, and promotes learning about new heroes.” My Hero Monday posts feature women both real and fictional, living and deceased. 

The full link-up schedule can be found at the end of this post – and if you’d like to join next month (I strongly encourage that you do so), you can find the rules and other information here.

Hello, everyone! Once again, I’m participating in My Hero Monday. This month doesn’t have a theme; it’s a free choice month! So I chose to be UNPREDICTABLE. Because like five of my bloggy friends asked me if I’d be writing about Valkyrie Cain or Peggy Carter this month and… ha ha ha, they know me too well. (I shall definitely write MHM posts about them someday.) BUT I DON’T WANT TO BE PREDICTABLE SO I’M GOING TO SURPRISE YOU GUYS AND WRITE A POST ABOUT SUZANNE COLLINS INSTEAD. Let’s get started!

Note: You can find my previous My Hero Monday posts here.

my hero mondaysuzanne collinsSuzanne Collins

Date of birth: August 10, 1962

Current age:  52

School(s): Indiana University, New York University

Profession: Screenwriter and author

When did I first hear about her?

Oh gosh, that was long enough ago that I don’t quite remember exactly when. 2005 or 2006, I think? So I would’ve been eight or nine. I remember that my brother and I joined a summer reading program held by a local bookstore and after reading a certain number of books, participants were allowed to choose a free book from a particular shelf of middle/YA novels.

Now I can’t even remember what I chose, but my brother picked Suzanne Collins’ Gregor the Overlander and later that summer I read it and fell in love with it and his copy has since migrated over to my Shelf of Favorite Books.

(Collins’ Underland Chronicles series isn’t as well-known as The Hunger Games, but it’s at least as good, or maybe even better. It’s a five-book middle-grade urban fantasy series about a young boy named Gregor who discovers a hidden civilization far beneath New York City. Sort of a modern-day Alice in Wonderland story, basically. They’re amazing books, and just as sad and violent as Collins’ later dystopian trilogy. You can check out a post I wrote about the series here, if you’re interested.)

What makes her one of my heroes?

Quite a few things, actually.

I admire her writing, for a start. She’s creative and I like her style. She’s a very versatile writer, too. She began her career as a writer for children’s television! That never fails to make me crack up – she worked on cutesy shows such as Little Bear and Clifford’s Puppy Days, but ALL of her novels are super-violent!

Anyway, back to the versatility thing. She can write screenplays and prose, fantasy and science fiction, children’s and middle-grade and YA. Consider me impressed! I aspire to write in more than one genre and for more than one age-audience-thingy, so Collins is a huge inspiration to me in that regard.

Suzanne Collins is an extremely successful author, and that makes her one of my heroes.

I admire Suzanne Collins because she’s a huge nerd and isn’t afraid to show it. Her Underland Chronicles and Hunger Games trilogy are both packed with loads of references to classical mythology, which she grew up reading.

I admire Suzanne Collins because even though she’s INCREDIBLY famous now, all that fame hasn’t gone to her head. I mean, obviously I don’t know her personally or anything, but she seems like a very down-to-earth person to me. For heaven’s sake, check out her official website. I giggle to myself every time I visit that site, because its design is so simple! Not flashy or anything, though she has loads of money and could totally upgrade to something SHINIER.

Suzanne Collins is one of my heroes because she writes complex, fascinating female characters. (Yay for feminism!) She is one of the few who understand the true meaning of the “strong female character” concept: Heroines need not be physically strong. The “strength” actually refers to their personalities, their story arcs, their well-written characterization.

Suzanne Collins is superb at portraying relationships between women, as well. Katniss volunteers to protect her little sister, forms an alliance with Rue, slowly learns to trust Effie Trinket and her mother, and becomes close friends with Johanna. And one of my favorite parts of rereading the Underland Chronicles is watching how the friendship between Queen Luxa and her cousin, Nerissa, gradually strengthens itself. I’m really, really not interested in reading (or watching!) stories where the lady characters spend all their time being petty and trying to put one another down. That just bores and irritates me. I’d much, much rather read women being friends! #girlpower

Suzanne Collins is awesome and I sincerely hope she writes another series, hopefully sometime soon. I’ve been a fan of her works for about ten years now and she’s one of my favorite authors EVER.

P.S. As usual, I’ve found a video relating to this month’s MHM! In this short clip, Suzanne Collins discusses the classical inspiration behind The Hunger Games: Minos, Theseus, and the labyrinth!

Notable Quotes

“I tired of constant fear, so I made a decision. Every day when I wake I tell myself that it will be my last. If you are not trying to hold on to time, you are not so afraid of losing it.”

- Gregor the Overlander

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“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”

- Mockingjay

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They’re already taking my future! They can’t have the things that mattered to me in the past!”

- The Hunger Games

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The Hunger Games is a reality television program. An extreme one, but that’s what it is. And while I think some of those shows can succeed on different levels, there’s also the voyeuristic thrill, watching people being humiliated or brought to tears or suffering physically. And that’s what I find very disturbing. There’s this potential for desensitizing the audience so that when they see real tragedy playing out on the news, it doesn’t have the impact it should. It all just blurs into one program. 

And I think it’s very important, not just for young people but for adults, to make sure they’re making the distinction. Because the young soldiers dying in the war in Iraq, it’s not going to end at the commercial break. It’s not something fabricated, it’s not a game. It’s your life.”

-~-

“‘Allow me to translate,’ Twitchtip said, not even bothering to move. ‘She said if you don’t stop your incessant babble, that big rat sitting in the boat next to you will rip your head off.'”

- Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane

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“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”

- Mockingjay

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So. Time for YOU to talk! Have you read any of Suzanne Collins’ books?! If so, what did you think of them? I’d love to know!

Be sure to check out the other My Hero Monday link-up posts!

March 2:

Appletaile @ Twist in the Taile

March 9: 

Chloe @ The Book Hugger

March 16:

Bridget @ Stay and Watch the Stars

March 23:

nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel

March 30:

Wrap-up by Chloe @ The Book Hugger

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