It’s been an average week at the floating domicile, but I do feel like I’m settling into work and all that fun stuff a little better. The weather is turning, so I’m trying to get some of my winter gear shipped in from Georgia, but I’ve already identified the thrift stores worth my time, so I don’t think gearing up will be a problem. I saw At World’s End on Wednesday, which I saw exactly at the right time of my life (even if it is about men in their late forties). I read Fangasm this week and have started on Connie Willis’ The Doomsday Book, which I’m thoroughly enjoying.
Jess Plummer has set herself the task of recapping each episode of Arrow’s first season before the show’s second season. It’s amazing; start here, with the first one.
Student designer Kathryn Sutcliffe designed costumes for a hypothetical adaptation of The Lies of Locke Lamora. They are gorgeous.
J. M. Frey, fan and author, discusses “Why Fandom is Important,” pointing out how much she loves fandom and how wonderful and important it is to her. Also, this post links her 100+ page master’s thesis on Mary Sues, which just makes me swoon.
At The A. V. Club, Mike D’Angelo uses Grease to advocate for pragmatic adaptations of musicals, pointing out that Grease eliminated difficult songs for Travolta’s range and substituted in original songs he could nail. As D’Angelo says, “The moral: Fidelity is overrated. Use what you’ve got.”
Here’s our first look at Kenneth Branaugh’s live-action film version of Disney’s Cinderella. Such a stunning cast.
The Latin name for tomatoes translates to “edible wolf peach.” The more you know!
People give Kanye West a lot of smack for being “arrogant” because his self-esteem levels exceed socially acceptable masculine standards, but I really like this quote from him about being expresso for other people’s self-esteem.
It rains diamonds on Neptune. Our universe is gorgeous.
And if we can’t write diversity into sci-fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones.
Choire Sicha’s review of Mission Impossible 4 is essentially a list of increasingly confused observations about actors’ heights in relation to each other. Everybody is standing on appleboxes at all times.
Marvel has announced a new She-Hulk solo comic for February, featuring cover art by Kevin Wada, he of the fashion forward X-Men series. She-Hulk! Law! Beautiful suits! Punching! I’m in.
This week’s jam: Charli XCX’s “Superlove.”
Author and occasional professor David Gilmour stated that he teaches best when he’s teaching about writers who are just like him—i.e., white, straight, male, and middle-aged. (Apparently, it’s impossible to identify with someone who is not exactly like you.) Chair of the University of Toronto Department of English and Drama Holger Schott Syme proposes that Gilmour is fundamentally misunderstanding the concept of art as mirror:
Most crucially, David Gilmour doesn’t seem to grasp why anyone should read literature at all. We can argue about whether Hamlet is right or not when he claims that art holds a mirror up to nature. But let’s just say he is. Here’s what Hamlet doesn’t say: that art is a mirror you choose to pick up to see yourself. Art shows you a mirror. That thing you see in there isn’t supposed to be your pre-conceived self-image. It’s something strange, and alien, and scary, or ridiculous, or dull. But it’s something that demands engagement. And sometimes, it becomes something that you realize is in fact you — but that’s not meant to be a happy realization. If the thing you see when you look into a book looks exactly like what you think you look like, you’re doing it wrong. And David Gilmour is most certainly doing it wrong.
At The Telegraph, Leah Hyslop explains the origins of the Scotch egg.
Ruch Juzwiak at Gawker contemplates high school bullies and modern homophobia after an encounter with the only guy he had ever a fight with: “Now that no one wants to be called a bigot, expressions of hate must be clandestine, coded, fresh-smelling.”
Brent Cunningham writes about the history and actual practice of last meals in countries that still practice capital punishment at Lapham’s Quarterly. It’s full of fascinating material, from historical tidbits to contemplating the moral role of the last meal (the state may kill, but at least it’s doing it with a modicum of dignity, goes the thinking) to the fact that most of those requests are rarely filled.
A suicide survivor is someone who lost a loved one to suicide. Amanda Lin Costa, writing for Narratively, discusses a suicide survivor support group, her own feelings about her best friend’s suicide, and how best to support a suicide survivor.
At Den of Geek, Simon Brew ponders the fact that fandoms that specifically cater or appeal to teenage girls are usually treated very poorly. Twilight, anyone?
One of my dad’s favorite concepts is, translated into English, “changing your ideas”—doing something that refreshes you and makes you think differently. For him, it’s travel, for me, it’s having a me date, and for Becky Chambers, it’s Minecraft. At The Mary Sue, she talks about the benefits of escapism, which is usually denigrated and treated as “immature.”
Philip Sandifer offers a long lens on Doctor Who and feminism, leading up to Moffat (or MOFFAT!, to quote the autocorrect on my phone). I disagree with his take on Moffat’s run, but I want to share this quote:
A misogynistic culture is going to produce misogynistic cultural artifacts. There’s always a background radiation of misogyny. And what we treat as feminist is usually more accurately described as works that manage to rise above that background radiation.
We should also discuss the nature of rising above. I saw a lovely thing a while ago that suggested a distinction between works that are a product of feminism – that is, stuff that expresses a basically utopian feminist ideology – and works that are expressions of feminism, which try to work through feminist problems and end up being deeply uncomfortable as a result. There’s an important distinction here, in other words, between feminism that tries to respond to the concerns of feminism and create a safe space and feminism that tries to interrogate the existing culture and highlight its flaws. We might also note that Doctor Who, being a show about revolution and not about building a better world, is probably inherently more suited towards the latter.
The trailer for Disney’s Frozen dropped this week. There’s some hope for it—its female lead is actually awkward and can be a little petulant, which I responded well to—but I will be cheering for that snowman’s inevitable fiery death at the end of the film.
While Los Angeles-based Chinese oil painter Jia Lu probably wouldn’t describe herself as a fantastical artist, there’s a lot to appeal to the sf fan in her work, which focuses on strong, highly symbolic images of women. I came across her while shelving her art books at work.
Added: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (via work), The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics by James Kakalios (via work), My Real Children by Jo Walton (via Tor.com), She Matters by Susanna Sonnenberg (via work), A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell (via work), VIII by H. M. Castor (via work), Soulbound by Heather Brewer (via work), The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison (via work), The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick (via work), Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch (via work), Television and American Culture by Jason Mittell (via How to Watch Television)
Incidentally, today marks the fourth anniversary of the Literary Omnivore. I keep this as a reading journal as much as a community space (full of you lovely people), which means that it also allows me to track my own development. If you had told me four years ago in the biology class I decided to create this blog in that, in four years, I’d not only have a book blog but a REAL bookish job in a city I’d move to at the drop of a hat, I wouldn’t have believed you. (Turns out that while I may dislike traveling, I love living places!) And the idea that moving to New York, the city I plan on living the rest of my life in, is closer than it’s ever been is blowing my mind. So, from a Southern bookseller in Denver, thanks, y’all. Here’s to many more.