In the past year, I've gotten into Star Trek. I'm working my way through The Next Generation right now, and let me tell you, it's a great show full of interesting ideas and important social concepts. However, one episode has been niggling at me ever since I saw it.
In "Angel One," the team visits a planet occupied by a misandristic society, in which men have few to no rights. This society is depicted through a simple role reversal between men and women--and it's really, in my opinion, not at all accurate to what a misandristic society what look like. Sexism derives from a deeper and more complex base that would lead to many more differences between such a society and our own patriarchal culture. The very core idea of misogyny, after all, is that the feminine is inherently lesser than the masculine. What exactly we call "feminine" and "masculine" does differ between cultures, but I think that in looking at the biological differences between the sexes, we can get something of an idea of what a society that values the feminine over the masculine would look like:
*Contains discussion of the human body, including sexual characteristics and sexual attraction*
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today I'm going into the archives to share my Top Ten Side Characters from books.
1) Minerva McGonagall from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. Professor McGonagall is legit, and no one is allowed to argue with me on that point. She's probably the best teacher at Hogwarts as well as an incredible support to Dumbledore and the rest of the good guys in the story. I relate to her a lot, honestly, especially after learning more about her heartbreaking backstory. Although she's a Gryffindor, she could have been a Ravenclaw like me, which makes her extra awesome, and she can turn into a cat at will. Minerva McGonagall is the bomb.
I've shared myleast favorite tropes before, but every so often, I come across a trope that I find particularly upsetting. Today, as part of my Kill the Trope series, I'm going to examine the "crazy telepathic woman" trope and explain to you how it combines misogyny and ableism so horrifically that it needs to be abandoned.
*Comics spoilers ahoy*
Once upon a time, there was a woman with telepathic powers. She could read minds, control them, maybe even undo them. Despite the enormous mental and emotional pressure that having such a power would exert, she managed to eke out a life as a hero. She used her incredible gift to protect lives, and even though it was a pretty scary power that was sometimes hard on her, she became a real force for good in the world. Then, one day, something terrible happens--a death, usually, or some kind of accident that breaks her powers loose.
She goes insane. Not just your regular old "wow I have a mental illness" insane, but "I am going to literally murder everyone" insane. She loses all sense of morality, all sense of boundaries, all sense of self, and wreaks terrible havoc across the world until someone finally stops her, usually by killing her. (Because she's a superhero, she will probably come back, but even once she's her normal self again, everyone will be wary of her and will constantly bring up that one time she went crazy, if not outright reject her.)
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is a Mother's Day special: the top ten best mothers in literature. Unfortunately, in YA and children's lit, a lot of the time parents (especially mothers) are absent, and most of the rest of the time, they're pretty terrible people. So I'm going to try to see if I can get to ten with both mothers and fathers by doing my Top Ten Favorite Parents in Literature.
1) Molly Weasley from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. I mean, this one's pretty obvious. Molly is a super legit woman who manages to be feminine (i.e. her love for Celestina Warbeck), a motherly type (she makes monogrammed sweaters!), and also totally fierce (like when she killed Bellatrix, that was pretty awesome). Like all the good guys in the Harry Potter books, she eschews wizarding prejudices. She makes the best of living in poverty. She manages her own six kids along with the two kids she basically adopts, Harry and Hermione, and even when they drive her nuts, she never for a second acts like she doesn't love them. (Her husband, Arthur, is pretty legit too, for the record, though he's not nearly as fierce as Molly.)
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is about what we want to see more of in books, but I feel like I already covered that in this post. So instead, I'm going to swing around from last week's Top Ten Tuesday and talk about some book covers I don't like.
While most of the time cover artists do a good job, sometimes even great books published by top tier publishers end up looking like self-published messes. In line with that, here are my Top Ten Least Favorite Book Covers!
1) The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace. This is the one time I remember actually getting mad over a book cover. Becky Wallace's debut is a great YA fantasy novel with plenty of magic and romance--but its cover looks totally amateurish. The font, the color scheme, the weird blurry picture, they all add up to something that doesn't even begin to capture the spirit of the story. The only thing I like about this is the girl's striking eyes. Like, WHAT EVEN?!
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is the opposite of last week's: Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Not Want to Read a Book. Now, I'm not very picky, at least when it comes to YA, so most of these aren't even a definite turn-off. But they will cause me to think twice before reading. So check them out!
1) Call-outs from the social justice community. Look, I'm not here for books that promote sexism/racism/ableism, etc. So if Twitter gets up in arms about a book a few months before it comes out, I'm probably going to delete it from my list. I'll check out the analysis first, to be sure it makes sense, but most likely, I'll listen to what's being said.
2) Too much "white boy." I don't really know how to explain this, but some books are just so painfully white and male. They're not at all self-aware, they're full of ridiculous angst, they use other people as props, and they're unoriginal. I've heard enough about white dudes! Tell me stories that I haven't read in all my lit classes already. (This Twitter account portrays "white boy" storytelling pretty well.) Westerns, detective novels, and "coming of age" stories are the worst offenders, but "white boy" overabundance can happen in any genre.
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is Top Ten Things That Make Me Want to Read a Book. I've already shared most of these in my post about tropes that I love, but I'm going to go ahead and go over them again anyway. Here are ten things that will (almost!) always make me pick up a YA novel--and sometimes even an MG or adult book. (You'll see a lot of these in my "Waiting On" Wednesday picks.)
1) Chronic pain representation. There are so few books out there that feature chronic pain, and that was really hard on me when I first developed fibromyalgia. What was I supposed to do without a story to guide me? Which direction was I supposed to go? How could I possibly still be the hero of my own life when disability seemed to disqualify me from that? So whenever I see a book with chronic pain representation now, I'm ready to snap it up! Especially if it's a book in my preferred sci-fi/fantasy realm, because that's extra special. I will also often read books about other disabilities and chronic illnesses.
2) Mental illness representation. This is basically the same idea as the disability rep, but I'm pleased to say that there are more books on mental illness than there are on physical disability, at least. I especially go for books on OCD or bipolar disorder, because those are particularly important to me, and I'm least likely to go for one about an eating disorder, because there are quite a few of those.
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is a fandom freebie, so I'm going to share some more fanart! (Check out some favorites I shared earlier here.) So here are my Top Ten Additional Fanart Pieces That I Came Across Recently. Click on each image for the source. I am only sharing pieces that I could find the artist of.
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is Top Ten Authors I Would Love to Meet. I haven't met too many, but I do love meeting published authors. It's so fun and exciting! I love feeling that closer connection to the community. I'd be happy to meet almost any author (not James Patterson), so it'll be hard to narrow this down. Nonetheless, here are the ten authors, dead or alive, whom I'd like most to meet!
1) J.K. Rowling. Duh. I love her so much.
2) Hans Christian Andersen. Since we have so much in common, I'd love to talk to Hans Christian Andersen. I'd love to know more about how he wrote his fairytales and about his personal experiences with (what may have been) fibromyalgia. We could even have a joint birthday party!
3) Karuna Riazi. Karuna's debut novel is out today! I haven't read it yet, but, as y'all know, I love Kaye's Twitter, and I admire her so much. As a matter of fact, I have met her before, at Ch1Con 2015--but I don't think I said a single word to her. I just stared across the room at her, like a creeper, unable to get up the courage to approach her. What if she didn't like me? What if I said something stupid? What if nothing I said was interesting? WHAT IF SHE DIDN'T LIKE ME? I understand now why a lot of people choke when they meet celebrities. And I'd like a second chance.
In the past, I've talked about a few different tropes that I don't like to see: things like love triangles, surprise incest, and dead pets. Some of these tropes are personally upsetting. Some are a bad idea in general: i.e. while some writers can pull them off, the inclusion of these concepts usually has a negative effect on the story. Others are just overdone.
I'll to continue sharing my thoughts on bad tropes, but today, I'd like to talk about the ones that I like. Most are romance tropes, because I am a sap, and as always, there are exceptions to the rule: these tropes can be done badly or in a cliche way. But, usually, I love it when writers play with these ideas. Check it out!
Girl Pretends to Be a Guy to Game the System
Obviously, I want ours to be a world where this would never be necessary. I want our society to be one where women don't have to compromise their selves or their femininity to be respected. But sexism is an active reality. Women are still granted less power both over themselves and in society purely because of their gender. So when girls in stories use their wit and will to trick people into treating them with equality, it's a powerful thing.
I love the way this trope works to promote feminism and dissect gender politics. Additionally, it adds some delicious conflict, especially when it comes to romance. Disney's Mulan, Stacy Lee's Under the Painted Sky, and Sherry Thomas's The Elemental Trilogy are all good examples of this trope. This week's "Waiting On" Wednesday also uses this concept.
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is a Valentine's Day freebie (yay Valentine's Day! <3 <3 <3). So I'll share my Top Ten Favorite Ships.
For those who are not familiar with the terminology, a "ship" in fandom refers to a couple that you want to see together romantically. It's short for "relationship." Check mine out below, starting with my OTP ("one true pair"), whom I ship the very most. As you probably know by now, I'm a huge romantic, and I take these ships pretty darn seriously. SO DON'T ARGUE WITH ME.
1) ScarletVision (Wanda x Vision, Marvel). I know, I know, my OTP is not a surprise at this point, but I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT IT, OKAY. This ship comes from Marvel's Avengers movie universe in particular. Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch, is a young Sokovian woman with a rough past. She gained her powers (telepathic and telekinetic abilities including mind control) through brutal experimentation with the Mind Gem. Vision is a synthetic being created from a whole mishmash of materials--manufactured flesh and organs, vibranium skeleton, programming from Ultron and JARVIS, the Mind Gem itself, and some Thor lightning. He's super strong/invulnerable, can alter his density in order to fly and phase through solid objects, and can shoot energy beams using the Mind Gem.
They're both wonderful characters whom I adore, and Wanda is the closest thing I've ever seen to an accurate representation of myself in pop culture.
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is a "visual freebie." I believe the hosts mean that to be a picture book/graphic novel kind of thing, but instead I'm going to share some Top Ten Awesome Pieces of Fanart.
Fanart makes me super happy, and some of it is just so unbelievably gorgeous. I wish I had the talent! So check them out: ten of my favorite fanart pieces, from Star Wars, Marvel, Doctor Who, and more. I can't say these are my most favorite, because it's impossible for me to choose, but they are fantastic. Click on the images to go to the source! I only shared pieces that I could find an artist for.
*Spoilers for The Phantom of the Opera ahoy*
I recently read Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, the classic novel upon which the musical (and the movie musical) is based. I'd heard that the book was much darker, but in my opinion, the musical actually followed the novel quite well. The main difference, which leads me to prefer the movie musical, is that the musical focuses more on Christine's perspective, whereas the book focuses on Raoul's. In fact, the musical gives more focus and importance to all the female characters, compared to the novel.
It got me thinking, again, about how The Phantom of the Opera musical lends itself to a feminist interpretation. In fact, in watching the 2004 movie, I've always seen one of the central meanings as being focused on the difficult choice that women have faced throughout history, and many still face today: what role to play.
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today, I'm going into the archives with a post about characters you'd name your children after, but... I'm a lot more likely to name a cat after a character than a child. The names I'd like to give my future kids are on the "modern classic" side, or so I'd call it, names like Charlotte and Gabriel, Nicholas and Violet. I'm not picking them out of books.
All of that to say, today I'm listing the Top Ten Characters I'd Name a Cat After. Enjoy!
1) Sherlock. Smart and curious about everything, from Sherlock.
2) Loki. A scheming sneak of a boy, from The Avengers (and Norse mythology).
3) Luna. A quirky cutie, from Harry Potter.
4) Finnick. A sexy (finnicky) boy, from The Hunger Games.
5) Minerva. This intelligent cat won't take any crap, from Harry Potter.
6) Lily. Fierce, gifted, and fights evil (or, y'know, spiders), from Harry Potter.
7) Pietro. Quick as mercury and full of sass, from The Avengers.
8) Cress. Sweet and loves to sit on computers, from The Lunar Chronicles.
9) J'onn. So strange and intuitive he must be Martian, from DC Comics.
10) Ophelia. Feminine and a little off-kilter, from Hamlet.
Today, I'm doing the Totally Should've Book Tag, where I give some thoughts on what books I think totally should've _____ as seen on Paper Riot. The categories and my answers are below!
A Book That Totally Should Have a Sequel
Hmm, let me see. I think authors usually judge pretty well whether their story is designed to have a larger arc or not, but I do like series. A lot. As such, there are probably some individual books I could see continued. Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis, Acid by Emma Pass, The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron... those could all be good.
A Series That Should Have a Spinoff
I almost never know I want a spinoff until it gets written, although I've enjoyed quite a few of them. I would definitely go for a Marauders spinoff of Harry Potter, or maybe one that focuses on Luna Lovegood post-Hogwarts. I could also get into a Hunger Games book about Finnick or Haymitch's original Games. But IDK, bro! I'm ready to take whatever's offered.
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today, I'm going back into the archives. Here are my Top Ten Fictional Friendships, and let me tell you, picking just ten is going to be incredibly difficult. As a romantic, I have friendship feels as much as I do relationship feels! After all, both of them come from a place of love. I'm all about characters interacting with each other and caring about each other and supporting each other, and sometimes I happen to want kissing to be involved, but whatever the case, friendship is the key!
1) Harry Potter's Golden Trio (Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger). Don't argue with me: these guys are the best three-wheeling friendship in fiction. Each character has a unique dynamic with each of the others in the group, all flowing together in a way that leads to success in their magical adventures--though not without conflict, of course. Still, when it matters most, they support each other. J.K. Rowling has such a great touch with friendships, like most other things, that the Harry Potter Silver Trio (Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood) is another one I can't go without mentioning. They might come together later in the story and play a more background role, but like the Golden Trio, they are the bomb. (Ooh, ooh, and now I also have to mention the Marauders, James, Sirius, Lupin, and I guess Peter, because THEY ARE THE MARAUDERS FOR GOODNESS SAKE.) #squadgoals
Hello friends! I've talked before about tropes that I dislike, but there are a few that I think need more extensive examination, partly because they have important social justice ramifications. As such, I'm presenting you with Kill the Trope, a series examining problematic tropes! Today, as indicated by your votes, I'm kicking it off with the Strong Female Character.
How many characters in recent popular media can you name as "strong female characters?" There's been a major surge of this in recent decades, primarily through science fiction movies like Star Wars and The Hunger Games. These women kick butt, save the day, start revolutions, keep up with the best of the men, don't let their girly feelings get in the way...
...there's the problem. Do you see it?
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today's topic is Top Ten Bookish Delights. So here are ten things that I take delight in as a reader!
1) Organizing my shelves on Goodreads. And adding, and sorting, and seeing how everything looks... I spend far too much time uselessly browsing my Goodreads shelves because all of the books make me happyyyyyyyy. It's even better than real shelves, because varied information on the books is compiled all nicely and it's accessible, and also it's hard to fit as many books as I have on my Goodreads shelves on a real shelf.
2) Beautiful book covers. Book covers are meant to be appreciated, and some YA book covers especially I think are the most gorgeous and clever pieces of art ever. I love cover reveals, and I love seeing the new covers as they pop up on my to-read list on good old Goodreads.
3) Libraries. They're peaceful, they're a vital part of society and culture, there are books everywhere, and you can check them out to read for freeeeeeee!
Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog tag hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Today, I'm back in the archives with Top Ten Book Quotes! Here are ten (okay, actually like double that) book quotes that I love.
1) From Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman: "Dead kids are put on pedestals, but mentally ill kids get hidden under the rug." and "If you could harness denial, it would power the world for generations."
2) From Hate List by Jennifer Brown: "Being pretty isn't everything, but sometimes being ugly is." and "We all got to be winners sometimes. But what he didn't understand was that we all had to be losers too. Because you can't have one without the other."
3) From Origin by Jessica Khoury: "No one should live forever ... Isn't that how it goes? There must be a balance. No birth without death. No life without tears. What is taken from the world must be given back. No one should live forever, but should give his blood to the river when the time comes so that tomorrow another may live."
As a fan of The Hunger Games on Pinterest, I come across a lot of cool fan theories and fan art about the series, which is, of course, the main reason why I'm on there. Sometimes, though, I catch stuff that I don't agree with, and sometimes, I see things that make me upset. The main one is as follows:
As a major Peeta fangirl, someone with a mental illness, and a social justice advocate, this ticks me off. I started seeing it first after the Catching Fire movie came out, and it made uncomfortable, right from the start. As we got through the two Mockingjay movies, and as I became more versed in social justice talk, I realized exactly what it was that was so problematic about it, and, as I said, got mad.
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