Monday, October 28, 2013

We Can't Stop and We Won't Stop BUYING BOOKS!

I have an addiction to buying books. Seriously. I think I love buying new books more than I love actually reading them. Or else I just can't keep up. People just keep writing and publishing books I want to read faster than I can read them.
This month I got 7 new books. I have a problem.
Here's the haul:

Way back in June my parents got me a gift card to Chapters Indigo. It was for my birthday in July (since I was in Spain on my actual birthday). At the beginning of September I finally used the gift card and made an online order of five books. Since one was a pre-order I didn't get the order until last week (when that final book came out.)
My chapters order was: 

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. I read and absolutely loved both The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex earlier this year, so I can't wait to read this one. 

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I read Anna and the French Kiss a couple years ago and reviewed it. This book takes place in the same universe, but with different characters, but I've heard characters from Anna make a guest appearance? I am intrigued. I don't really like this cover, though, since it doesn't really go together with the edition of Anna I have. Oh well.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I read and loved Eleanor & Park. I meant to write a review of it on here but never got around to it, I guess. I love the cover for this one. I wish I had this edition of Eleanor & Park so it'd match, but sadly I have this edition instead. 

The final book in the order (and the reason I only got the order last week) is Allegiant by Veronica Roth. It's the final installment in the Divergent series. I love Divergent. (Read my review here) I reread both Divergent and Insurgent last week. (I finished my re-read of Insurgent) last night. So tonight I am going to hunker down and read this last one. I'm excited!

So that was my Chapters order.

Last weekend I travelled to Saskatoon to visit some friends. (I actually tagged along with Stephen and one of his friends who were going for another reason.)
I went to one of my favorite bookshops (out of everywhere, not just Saskatoon): Mcnally Robinson.
So of course I had to get a couple books. 

I got The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery (the translated version.) This edition is super gorgeous, it is all bronzey and shiny. I had actually never read the book and always wanted to so I snagged this beautiful book while I was there. I read it to Stephen and our friend on the drive home and I loved it. Such a beautiful story. Also, our hostel that we stayed at in Nice was called Saint-Exupery Gardens. 

The other book I got at Mcnally Robinson was Rookie Yearbook Two. I have been reading Rookie mag for a while now and love it. If you don't know, Rookie mag is an online magazine edited by Tavi Gevinson, who was 16 when she started it. It is aimed at young girls and the writers, illustrators, interviewers, etc. are most/all young women.
After the first year of the magazine, they made Yearbook One which was a selection of the best stuff from that year.

Yearbook Two is a selection of the best stuff from the magazine from June 2012 to May 2013. The bookstore had both but I just got the latest one. Maybe some other day I will get the first one.

This book is flipping gorgeous, by the way.

Finally, I just had to buy this one this month. This is the only book I don't really have an excuse for (I didn't have a gift card, I wasn't visiting my favorite out-of-town bookstore). I just had to get it after watching her interview with Jon Stewart

This book is Malala Yousafzai's story. She is a young girl from Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 because she stood up for her own and other young girls' right to an education.

She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. She is an advocate for education and an incredible person and I can't wait to read her story.

So.. my to-read pile has grown yet again. But I can't help it. I just really love books.

What are you excited to read this fall?
If I were to post a review of any of these books, which would you most want to see reviewed?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Movie Recommendation: Stuck in Love

This movie has all my favorite things in it. I absolutely love it.

The writer and director is also directing the upcoming film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars which is one of my favorite books so I was particularly interested to see his debut film. (Stuck in Love)

The movie follows three main characters - Rusty, a teenaged boy portrayed by Nat Wolff (this is his debut film, too, as far as I know); his older (college-aged) sister Samantha, played by the beautiful Lily Collins, and their father Bill, played by Greg Kinnear.
Bill is a bestselling author, divorced from his wife Erica (Jennifer Connelly), holding on to the hope that she will come back to him and trying to raise his young adult kids.

Like I said before, this movie has all my favorite things.

Firstly, It's about love.

The director said in this interview that he wanted the film to be about three different types of love so everybody could find something to relate to: first love, first mature relationship, and divorce.

First Love: the main character, Rusty, falls in love with his troubled classmate Kate and it's very manic pixie dream girl - esque. She is wild and experienced and teaches him about life, love, sex, and music. He is the good boy she hopes will "save" her. One of the story arcs follows their tumultuous new relationship.

First mature relationship: Samantha (Lily Collins) is a promiscuous college girl determined to never fall in love after seeing what it's done to her father. But when her classmate Louis (played by the kid who played Charlie in Perks of Being a Wallflower aka Logan Lerman) persists in courting her, she gives in and the two form a relationship.

Divorce: Bill and Erica try to navigate their divorce. Bill seems to have custody of Rusty, while Erica has visitation rights. Samantha hasn't spoken to her mother since the divorce. 

Bill is not coping well with the divorce. He makes Rusty set a place for Erica at the dinner table, hoping she'll come home.

Meanwhile, he also makes an effort to move on (though one he knows won't lead anywhere) by having an affair with a married Kristen Bell.

Out of the three types of love, I could only relate to the first two but I thought it was interesting how each of the main characters had their own love story. I love me a good love story, especially when it's troubled. 

Secondly, It's about writing. The movie was originally called Writers before a title change.
As the interviewer pointed out in that link I posted above, the art of writing is not inherently visual so it's hard to transfer that to a sreen.

The first lines of each of the main characters are shown textually on the screen, I think to show that they are writers and they write their thoughts down. Luckily, that technique is scrapped right away. If I wanted to watch a film with subtitles, I'd turn the captions on.

One of the main plotlines is that Bill pays his children to keep journals. He checks the dates to make sure they are writing. The idea is that they will have money so they won't have to get jobs and can instead focus on their art.
Throughout the course of the film, Samantha is having her first book published.
In the film, writing is more just a part of the characters' personalities and lives, not so much the focus of the film, so I think changing the title to focus more on love than on writing was appropriate. 

Thirdly, it's about music. 

The soundtrack to this film is amazing. The opening credits roll over Edward Sharpe's "Home".
Members of Bright Eyes contributed songs to the soundtrack (namely Mike Mogis and Conor Oberst.)

Kate's Christmas present to Rusty is a Bright Eyes album which she says is "a road map to my soul" (such a very teenager thing to say). 

When Sam and Louis are getting to know each other, he plays her his favorite song in his car in the rain - "Between the Bars" by Elliott Smith.

The film also features tracks from Bon Iver, The National, and others.

Music is an important aspect of the film both in the plot and as soundtrack, and I loved all the songs. 

Finally, it's about family.

the movie is most of all about a broken family trying to repair itself and learn to love each other again.

and...without giving too many spoilers, the movie has a happy ending, which you know I LOOOOVE!

I really love this film and think you should definitely watch it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Following in the tradition I've made on this blog (2010,2011,2012) here are ten things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving:




My Job

My Education


Where I Live




The photos:
my grandma's hand and my hand, taken summer 2013;
Adventure Time Christmas special;
Venice, July 2013;
picture I found online;
engraving on my solar-powered globe (convocation gift from my brother June 2012);
Shakespeare & Co bookstore in Paris;
sunset on the edge of my town;
Paul McCartney concert August 2013;
peas from my garden summer 2013;
my first tattoo.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 7, 2013

On Writing and Narcissism

     When I began this blog in September 2010 I was looking for a creative outlet that could be semi-public and therefore feel more private because if anybody could read it, it wouldn't feel like anybody actually did. So in a way, I was writing for myself, and hoping somebody else would like what I was making. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

     An early piece of feedback I got from a friend I shared the blog with back then (in September 2010) has been in my mind lately. He wrote to me, "Some people consider blogging a narcissistic endeavor, but after reading several of your posts I can safely say that such is not the case, and that I for one have personally benefitted from your choice to pursue such endeavors. Keep up the good show!"

     Now I think he was wrong. True, many of my posts have been about other people, but if I wanted to I could have just shared those feelings with the people they were meant for. Instead I put them on the internet.
     This blog is full of self-reflections from the last few years of my life: finishing university, figuring out where my life was going, moving away, starting a career. Is there a difference between self-reflection and narcissism?
     I think so. Being self-reflective is a form of introspection, it happens within oneself. Narcissism is self-love but somehow it implies craving love/attention from other people, so it's not entirely introspective. Or at least that's how I'm defining it for the purpose of this post.

      By those definitions, I think all writing is self-reflective but not necessarily narcissistic. However, writing in a potentially public space is probably both.

     Another part of that comment that I didn't include was, "your blog name/picture is perfect." The header picture at the time was:

a photo of me taking a photo of myself, as reflected by my own hidden eyes. So...obviously it was intentionally self-reflective from the beginning, but is it narcissistic?

     I know that other people have benefitted from my blogging endeavors. I know sharing the posts and songs I've written about other people has made them feel special and many of the comments I've gotten on posts like that have let me know that I've touched some hearts. But if narcissism implies wanting approval from others, aren't those posts the most narcissistic of them all?

And is that so bad if it's true?

     In 2010 I wanted to make a blog because a physical journal can't link to songs and websites, can't insert pictures easily, can't embed videos. I chose this format on purpose based on what I wanted creatively at the time and I'm happy I have this scrapbook from this transitional time in my life.
But I think maybe my blog has become too many photos of me showing off clothes, or singing crappy acoustic covers. It's getting me down. Just....too much of my own face/body on here.
Lately I've been feeling drained creatively and I blame too many screens.

Sometimes I just need to put ink on paper, pluck strings with my fingers, feel leaves crunch under my feet, talk to people face to face.

Sometimes I need a break.

So that's why I haven't posted for a while.

     I'm not sure if my friend was wrong all along, and this blog was always narcissistic, or if it's more narcissistic than it was when it first began three years ago, or it it never has been and still isn't.
But I need to stop caring about that.
I write this blog for myself, never knowing who will read it or if anybody will.

This is not a dialogue, this is not a discussion, this is a journal.
I'll confess, in the beginning I wanted it to be more than that, but I need to change my perspective.

So instead of dwelling on that comment from three years ago and thinking, "Oh no, I've sold out, I've become an internet narcissist!" I just need to let it go.