Breakfast on Pluto
based on the novel by Patrick McCabe
How on earth have I not reviewed Breakfast on Pluto for the blog yet? It’s one of my very favorite films and one of the few film adaptations that actually surpasses the novel it’s based on—the fact that Patrick McCabe was one of the script writers undoubtedly helps. At the end of last semester, I spent quite a lot of time with Breakfast on Pluto, as I was writing my final paper for the class about how it illuminated the intersection between gender issues and Irish national identity. It pretty much ended up a love letter to Kitten, her refusal to let others impose narratives on her life, and her own mastery of narrative. But how could I not? She’s amazing.
Textual Poachers by Henry Jenkins
After finishing my last read, I looked at my stack of library books, sighed, and declared, “Bring me Jenkins!”. Nothing perks me up or fascinates me like media studies and particularly Henry Jenkins’ even-handed writings on the subject, and I know it’s time for me to start focusing on the books I can only get at my college library. (Oh, I don’t want to think about graduating. I’m ready and not ready, you know?) So I ventured into the stacks and came out clutching Textual Poachers, apparently the first person to check it out since 1996.
The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
So… I had a lot of feelings about Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. (I just weep about the latest season of Sherlock.) But it did inspire me to take The Return of Sherlock Holmes along with me to Ireland, so I could start on it when I had a chance. And so I did, but it took me into the first proper week of February to finish it, although that wasn’t because I wasn’t enjoying it. …You know, I often feel like the introductions to my reviews of the Holmes canon can’t really be anything but “so, yeah, I’m still reading this and I’m still loving it”, so let’s just dive in.
A Single Man
based on A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
I had this DVD for about a month from Netflix. I’ve alternately been busy, planning to watch it with friends, and hemming and hawing over devoting a significant amount of time to a film that didn’t even qualify for Page to Screen. Obviously, I was wrong—feeling a little weepy one evening, I decided to devote that useless effort to watching a film and promptly discovered it was based on a book in the first few credit titles. I can only imagine how far my howls of irony sounded. In any case, I was both pleased and relieved that it was well worth the unintentional (I swear!) wait.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Towards the end of the summer, I discovered a new thrift store in my hometown, one that was part of a block of stores managed by a local church. It was enormous, although it didn’t yield up any new corner pieces for my bursting at the seams Tolkien collection. But it did have books, and I found a copy of Fun Home there for fifty cents. Finding a memoir that deals frankly with queer sexuality in a church thrift store was a funny juxtaposition to me, although, for all I know, that particular denomination is a-okay with queer folk. (Being Georgia, I sincerely doubt it.) So I essentially picked it up for a lark, but got so much more.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
read by Kristoffer Tabori
Middlesex was my introduction to Jeffrey Eugenides in high school—I’d seen a friend of mine toting it around, so I swapped for it on SwapTree and got to reading. If you’ve spent any time on this blog, you’ll know I absolutely love Eugenides, who stole my literary heart with his knack for detail long before Chabon did, and Middlesex is the book that did it. I learned a lot reading it, and the paperback copy I got on SwapTree remains on my bookshelf to this day. While shelving at the library, I stumbled across the audiobook, which was then promptly checked out by someone who wasn’t me. I patiently waited for it to come back in (instead of putting it on hold like a normal person) and immediately snatched it up.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is, perhaps, my favorite Disney film. I loved and adored it as a child, and I still do—it’s one of the very few nostalgic films that is not only just as good as I remembered it, but even better. It’s rich, complex, and dark. It’s also a terrible adaptation of the actual book. This film introduced me to what films, especially animated films, could be at their best, and I’m still so grateful for it. And I have to admit, as much as I want Der Glockner von Notre-Dame to come Stateside (why so lazy, Disney?), this is one of the few cases where I prefer the film to the musical. Let’s dig in!
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
When my friend Natalya and I weren’t already tearing up just thinking about our favorite moments in Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings driving to and from the screenings in June, we were dishing about A Song of Ice and Fire. She had just finished A Game of Thrones and I was only one book ahead of her, so I got her fresh reaction to that thing that happens at the end of A Game of Thrones. You know. That thing. Combined with the fervor over the release of A Dance with Dragons in July, I got so fired up that I put A Storm of Swords on hold. Spoilers for the series abound below!
Batman: Holy Terror by Alan Brennert and Norm Breyfogle
Comics are, let’s be honest, hard to just jump into. I had to wait for Gotham City Sirens to make my first nervous foray into the current state of Gotham, but I’m glad I did. (The other titles I follow are non-superheroes.) I also happen to love alternate history, especially when it comes to exploring the minute choices that make us what we are. That’s probably why I’m so drawn to DC’s Elseworlds imprint—they’re not only one-shots you can just pick up without committing yourself to years and decades of back story, but they take familiar heroes and place them in different circumstances. I picked up Batman: Holy Terror (irrationally terrified I’d be put on some sort of watch list for putting such a title on hold) on the recommendation of MGK, whose blog you should really follow if you like comics at all.
Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli
I have a confession to make. Just as I did in middle school and high school with the Harry Potter novels themselves, I stayed up late to polish off Harry, a History. I drifted from the fandom pretty much immediately after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but reading this brought everything flooding back—the theories, the discussions, the jokes… the memories of a hearty fandom. I can’t believe that I found this in the bargain bin at Books-a-Million—for shame, Books-a-Million, for shame! This is a thing of beauty.