Thursday, February 2, 2017

January Wrap-Up

Books I Read

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

3/5

I really enjoyed reading a book set in a place I rarely get to see portrayed, as well as a different time. It was a really simple, character-based story, which I usually like, but the characters were a little flat to make it completely interesting. It picked up toward the end, but dragged in other places. It's a short book and an easy read.

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

4/5

This may be one of the best studies in character development I've ever read. Holy creepy. I was horrified. I'm disgusted by Levana, but I also pity her. I only wish I could've read this before reading Winter so I could know about Levana's backstory before the finale. But WOW, the whole thing was just like watching a car wreck in slow motion. I knew exactly where it was headed but I was still in suspense. Well done, Marissa Meyer.

Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock

4/5

This book is told completely through postcards and letters (some of which are in physical pockets so you have to pull the letter out to unfold and read), which was fascinating and unique. But sometimes the handwriting was hard to read, which made it more real, in a way, but also more frustrating. I also didn't know it was part of a series, so the ending came as a shock. There are several plot twists throughout the whole story.

The Mighty Captain Marvel #0 and #1 by Margaret Stohl

4/5

I'm enjoying comics way more than I thought I initially did. The art is crisper and easier to follow than some other comics I've read, which helps. I also love Captain Marvel's character. She's tough and snarky and totally her own person. The hardcore science-fiction element is really cool, even if all the different alien races and issues can be a little tricky to follow.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

4/5

This would've been a five-star read if it hadn't draaaaagged at the beginning and a little bit later int he middle. But YAY FOR ALL THE SHIPS. I won't give anything away, but each couple in the book was unique and had very distinct issues pertaining to the relationship. And it was perfectly blended into the action and sneakiness of it all. An alternate title for the book also could've been Kaz Brekker Has Some Issues to Work Out because wow, was he dark. I would not want to cross him. He needs a big ol' mug of calming tea and a warm blanket and probably lots of therapy. Whereas in the first book certain characters had me gritting my teeth because they were a trash fire waiting to happen, this book totally made me love ALL OF THEM. Especially Wylan (my redheaded cinnamon roll), Jesper (my problematic flirt), and Nina (my waffle-loving sass bucket). Can I befriend all of them, please and thank you? And don't even get me started on the oceans of tears that came later . . .

Oedipus Rex

3/5

Speaking of problematic characters . . . Anyways, I had to read this for my theatre class and was really interested by the mythology and the discussions about what Oedipus' hamartia was and fate versus free will. The timeline of the story can be really confusing if you're not familiar with the whole mythology like the ancient Greeks were when they would watch the play, so trying to keep the characters and their backgrounds straight was a little bit of a trick. Super fascinating, though.

Black Panther: World of Wakanda #1 and #2 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay

4/5

Thes comic are unlike any "superhero" stories I've ever read. It's really neat to view this kingdom from the perspective of the guards to the royal family rather than from the royal family itself. I love Ayo and Aneka tons. Their personalities are just different enough to make for an interesting clash, but similar enough to mesh together when they need to. I can't wait for more installments in the series!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

3/5

I can't remember any book I've read (and if I have, it was long enough ago I can't remember) that's had a protagonist who was on the spectrum. It was really interesting to get an insight onto what that might feel like. Especially since there were times during the whole mystery that, as the reader, I could put the pieces together, but Christopher couldn't always figure out. But since he was so logical in his approach to everything, there were a lot of analogies to math problems and riddles that were super complicated and took up a lot of the story, so I tended to skim over those.
 
Movies I Watched

"Passengers"

3/5

I'd been super excited to see this movie ever since hearing about the concept and really enjoyed it upon first watching it. Like Fairest, it was interesting to see how a mostly good person under the right circumstances might succumb to doing something totally unforgivable. Except for the ending (which was a typical Hollywood ending and could've been way better if they'd dared to stray from fairytale conclusions), it was really unique and exciting.

"10 Things I Hate About You"

4/5

This was really clever and funny. Some of the characters and situations were a little cliché and predictable, but I enjoyed Kat and Patrick. I appreciated all of the feminist rants and how Kat simply did not care what anyone else thought of her.

"Hidden Figures"

5/5

GO SEE THIS MOVIE. It was hysterical, frustrating, and inspirational all at once. I didn't know the history behind any of the women involved in the John Glenn NASA mission. The whole story was really impressive. I loved every minute of it.

"Mona Lisa Smile"

4/5

As far as being some kind of revolutionary feminist film, it didn't exactly hit that mark for me like it probably did when it came out in 2003. But, it was still a great story that portrayed all kinds of different women and raised the question of what it means to be a feminist.

"Pride"

5/5

Oh my gosh, this was such a fun movie. It was hilarious, delightfully British, and inspirational. It gave hope about the possibility of two totally different groups of people being able to unite for a common cause. I loved it.


Quotes I Wrote

Nothing new to show this month, mostly because I've been spending every free second I get editing. But I do want to remind you that my poetry anthology, Instructions For Flight, is now available as an ebook for $0.99! Go check it out! :)

Picture of the Month 

My friend Sam showed me this cool photo editing app, and I tried it out on a picture of Scout. I loved the shadowy sketch effect!
It's a little hard to see in this picture, but my mom gave me the idea to add the smiley face from Sherlock onto this board since the pattern looked similar to the wallpaper. It's a super cool and geeky way to display all of my fun pins.

How was your January?

5 People Made Me Happy By Commenting! :D:

Jimmy said...

I really enjoyed Hidden Figures, too! That was how our family celebrated MLK Day. I love movies about underdogs anyway. This was a well-done movie and deserving of the recognition it's getting as a nominee for Best Movie by the Academy.

One specific thought I remember having from watching the movie was the time that it took place. It takes place in the early '60s, and by then there were men (like Kevin Costner's character) and women realizing that racial discrimination has no foundation. Anyway, when I think of people in my church being denied full participation until 1978 because they were black, it really bothers me. I don't see how it doesn't bother anyone that stops to seriously consider it.

I remember reading the Curious Incident book. It was good, but right now I'm not remembering lots of details. I think it started out with a great premise and held lots of promise, but ultimately it just didn't get there for me.

As for how was my January--well I'm happy to report that I'm almost done with the 3rd Harry Potter book! It took awhile, but I'm now at a point where I'm not forcing myself to read the books, but instead I want to see what happens next. Still sticking with my original assessment that the first two books aren't THAT great.

The Magic Violinist said...

@Jimmy

That's an awesome way to celebrate! :) I'm really excited it got some nominations. I only wish Taraji P. Henson had gotten a nomination, too.

Yeah, it was so frustrating to watch people in that movie think behind the times when there were already some reasonable people starting to realize how wrong discrimination was. That is a pretty long time to wait to come around to that equality.

I really liked how it started out, too, but by the middle I wasn't as into it as I thought I'd be.

Yay!! The third book is a lot of people's favorites. I remember being totally entranced by the ending. I still love the first two, but I'll admit they're the weaker ones in the series.

Siths and Jedis said...

I agree, "Hidden Figures" and "Pride" were both really good. I love the picture of Scout, it looks really good.

The Magic Violinist said...

@Siths and Jedis

Thanks! :) This month was a really great movie month.

Boquinha said...

Ha! I didn't know Griffin and Sabine was a series either. All these years!

"Hidden Figures" and "Pride" were definitely favorites of mine that month, too.

Super cute picture of Scout.

Jimmy, ditto on the church thing. One of many straws for me.

How was my January? Bizarre. I blame Trump.