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Harry versus Christian: A suggestion on how to make things right.

download (1)OK so I admit that the 50 Shades stuff has me thinking too much about possibly more than I should be thinking these days but I just can’t help it. I have just shared my Goodreads reviews of the three books because I didn’t actually share them on here after I read them and because they’ve been getting a bit of attention lately so I re-read them and they sort of made me laugh. It takes quite a lot for me to be that nasty in a review. I know a lot of people are happy to leave exceptionally nasty reviews for every second book that they read, but I don’t do that. Perhaps I am too aware of just how much goes into writing a book. It feels like absolutely bad karma to be unnecessarily hard on someone’s life’s work and I try to find the up side in everything I read. In fact it is almost impossible to get absolutely nothing out of anything you read, so there should always be something good to say. The 2 (3?) years that have passed since I read the Fifty Shades series made me forget just how much I genuinely loathed that story, though. I definitely hated it more than I remember. There was nothing good to say. With the exception of Mr. Grey’s refreshing indifference to menstrual blood, I clearly could not find anything redeeming. Although I guess if I think about it now, it did teach me a lot about my own thoughts on this particular subject. My reviews may not have reflected that particular silver lining…

Anyway – I was thinking yesterday that the absolute worst part about the Fifty Shades nonsense is that the books sales surpassed those of Harry Potter. This strikes me as exceptionally ridiculous. The absolute work of art versus the barely edited Twilight fan fiction. What the hell, world? Have you all gone mad?!

I think us Potter fans need to do something about this. I think we should all go out and buy new sets of Harry Potter. Why? Because they keep bringing out new sets and we all need those pretty new sets to put on display. Or maybe we could make a pact to start giving Harry Potter books to all the 11 year olds in our lives. Then when they’re 12 they can get book 2. And so on. Or something!

Really. We need to reverse that thing where E.L James outsold our queen.

Please. Let’s do this.

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Review: Fifty Shades Freed

Fifty Shades Freed
Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Oh dear Lord I have just finished reading this and I can’t stop laughing. At the end of the book there is an Author’s Note that states that the author is fully aware that you cannot walk into an American Bank and demand to draw five million dollars. Oh my ever loving hell. THAT is the part that you’re apologizing for?

I want to cry scream and throw things! These books make me feel like the world is irreversibly messed up. And no – not because of the sex. Have all the kinky fun sex you want. But this man BROKE people. Am I the only person who is not ok with that? You want me to believe that this successful man is “broken” himself because his mother was a “Crack whore” (fuck you for constantly calling someone that just by the way – the constant reference to his mother as the crack whore pissed me off just as much as the shoddy workmanship and bullshit pretentious over-use of puffed up vocabulary did)but I will NEVER accept that being broken is an acceptable reason to use people like toilet paper – something our supposedly irresistible Mr. Grey even admits to.

No. I’m sorry. All of this is fucked up. The writing is pathetic, superfluous and almost every second line in this series is redundant. Awesome – so a bunch of people read about kinky sex and now the riding crop and butt plug industry is booming. So happy you guys have all got your kink on. But please do NOT try and tell me that this is a “beautiful story”. It just fucking isn’t. The dynamic between these two people makes my teeth hurt. The idea that any woman would put up with being treated that way repulses me to no end. And Ana herself is just a bloody idiot. Take away the good looks and the money and you’re left with a creepy fucked up guy who should be in jail. You tell me he is all these wonderful things though give me no reason to believe you. Ana is supposedly this intelligent bookish person – and she narrated THIS load of crap? You tell me she is strong? I’m sorry but I see no strength. All I see is a bunch of books where sometimes stuff almost happens but nothing ever really does. Oh yeah with a lot of sex in it. Whoopdie friggen doo. If you’re into reading erotica then GREAT!! Go wild. Erotica is awesome and if nothing else it might help turn you on if your hubby can’t get you excited any more. But spare me the “it’s such a touching story and we care about Ana and Christian” crap.

I have a newsflash for you: You’re not in love with Christian Grey you just seriously need to get laid by someone who knows what they’re doing.

And let me tell you something else: no matter how good the sex is NO MAN is worth being treated badly. End of story.

Also: for all of you planning to indulge in this kind of unrealistically frequent sex life – drink Citro Soda. On a daily basis. Twice daily even. I don’t care how clean that man’s penis is you still need to look after your vag!

I have about a million other things to say but I’m actually too exhausted to even start going there…




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Review: Fifty Shades Darker

Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I didn’t realize that I was nearly done with this book until it was done. The plot gave nothing away – possibly because there still isn’t one. If you read the last book and are planning to read this one – let me warn you that even the mildly exciting sex gets bland as hell to read about. I found myself skimming over sex scenes (what?! But sex scenes are so FUN to read?!! Aren’t they…?) and just being generally bored. The first book was kind of more “fun” to read because at least it had the shock/horror factor and the writer/editor in me had a million wtf questions to ask. Needless to say… I still don’t know what all the fuss is about, but I guess after book one you get kind of accustomed to it all being ridiculous. I still think both of these characters are idiots. And really it’s just a badly written girl-masturbation fantasy because seriously – what girl doesn’t want a rich good looking man who rocks in the sack? And if it comes with a house and a car and $100 000 an hour pay check then what’s the possibility of a little caning?



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Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I feel violated. I don’t know how else to put it. I feel like someone has come into my happy happy la la land and taken a big fat giant dump in the middle it. And strangely enough – if the “sexually enlightened” people in this book HAD actually taken a dump on each other I might feel better right now. I don’t quite know if I have the energy or the words to explain why…but it probably has to do with “if it was a little more far fetched then I could just leave it at that and not be feeling so frightened at this point”.

I don’t know how to talk about this book. The fact that it is so popular baffles me. It is written in that watered down way that so many YA books are written in…except that it’s not for kids! After the first twenty pages I found myself panicking at the low standard of writing. WHY is this kind of shoddy craftsmanship suddenly acceptable to the masses?

And then…well then all the sex started…

Now don’t get me wrong…I don’t read much erotic fiction but I certainly do not doubt its legitimacy. A well written sex scene can be quite an art…but even a badly written one can get ones nether regions groaning. It’s kind of like porn. Why bother with story lines and great acting when people are going to get off on it regardless?

I guess that I understand that it possibly stands on its own. I would love to say “it is just like xyz…” but I can’t because I don’t know what it is like. There is plenty of heavy erotic fiction out there…but the thing is…you don’t get to pick that stuff up at your nearest book store…and for the most part…all that hardcore erotic stuff doesn’t pretend to be something else. This does… It’s a “romance” story with all the bells and whips thrown in. Yay! Right?

So why can’t I escape the feeling that someone has just tried to convince me that domestic abuse is sexy?



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50 Shades of No

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 1.35.29 PM

I’m not sure if it was posts of the  State of the Nation or posts about 50 Shades of Grey that got the most attention on social media last night, but I actually just can’t even when it comes to any of the political stuff so: Fifty Shades of Grey it is.

I discovered last night that the ratings for this movie on IMDB are really low and I must admit that it made me feel kind of relieved. People are obviously chatting about this and are starting to see that “sexy” and “scary as hell” are not the same thing. This is good. It means that we can teach our daughters the difference. And our sons. Thank God.

One of my favourite friends went to watch Fifty Shades with her book club ladies last night and had a bit of an awkward experience. Now, I understand that Nu Metro does sort of a ladies night out thing every now and then, and of course I am sure they have been preparing for the Fifty Shades premier for forever. It was a chaotic disaster, of course. These mad cult things do tend to breed disaster sometimes. Anyway – my friend went with her book club, reluctantly, but happy to be out with her friends for the evening nonetheless. When they arrived they were denied their seats by a group of ladies who had decided that they wanted to sit there and that was that. How strange. But can you just see it. That snide you snooze you lose kind of smug Mean Girls attitude. My poor friend was quite upset by it.  Not because she missed the movie so much as by this group of adults who were basically just bullies. I understand her upset. I also get very confused when people are mean. We should know better, but we just don’t. (more…)

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Review: Esio Trot

Esio Trot
Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I decided to introduce Noah to Roald Dahl this morning and thought he might enjoy Esio Trot. To be quite honest I’m not sure he understood what was going on, but to his credit he was very polite about it and kept assuring me that he liked the story and that I should go on. I think maybe he just likes listening to my voice, which I guess is fine. I wanted to start the morning on a pleasant note, instead of going straight to school work which more often than not just stresses him out. So a book and a cuddle to start the day worked out pretty well. He seemed much happier while trying to do his ABCs this morning.



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A Murder of Crows

vAOfG9wrN1chZHg2fCGTifkmDFaIt’s seriously weird rewatching a movie that you loved as a kid. I remember this movie being brilliant, and I guess it still is, but wow it was a little harder to watch than I expected. Cuba Gooding Jr is brilliant, of course, but the publisher lady was quite…meh…. Luckily I am dreadful at remembering plotlines so even though I had a basic idea of the movie I couldn’t remember the actual punchline so it was still kind of fun in that respect.

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Review: The Language of Flowers

The Language of Flowers
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really loved this book, which is a little bit weird because I hated the main character. I think perhaps the feeling of “learning” as I read helped to negate the fact that I could not quite get behind this woman’s treatment of people. I don’t know why but that kind of self inflicted isolation always strikes me as weak. I imagine my annoyance at this exact brand of character possibly says a lot about me as a person, and most likely nothing good, but I just can’t help it. While I did feel a certain (limited!) empathy for Victoria, I could not help but be angered by the senselessness of her situation – but then again, without her toxic persona there would have been no story to tell, would there? There would only be an unhappy beginning with a perfectly acceptable resolution that spanned over a year instead of ten. Hardly bookworthy. I think perhaps I myself am addicted to others, despite my affection for frequent isolation. Love is one thing I have never shied away from, despite having had my heart broken on a number of occasions, not only by men, of course, but by people I have trusted as well. I think a capacity for heartbreak can overwhelm all of us, but I struggle to relate to the kind of brokenness that retaliates in the harm of others. I especially do not understand the compulsion to harm myself or others in the attempt to “protect myself”. It is such a strange thing to me. This means that I am most likely lucky, which is something I know and do not take for granted. While I believe that I am personally plagued and affected (often negatively) by my own past, just like many others are, for some reason it has never shut me off to love. Love I feel and embrace with my whole being. Always. Whether I find it in a book that I love, or art, or a partner, my child, my family, my friends. It is all consuming, and the exquisiteness of love has always, and I hope will always, trump its ability to bring with it the most excruciating of heartbreaks.



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Review: Eight Keys

Eight Keys
Eight Keys by Suzanne M. LaFleur

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A relatively sweet read for younger kids. For a while I was disappointed in the attitude of the main character but she turns out ok. There was one point where her aunt tells her to never doubt a mother’s love for a child and that sort of got me thinking. We say that a lot, don’t we? Because it sounds nice and it should be true. But it isn’t really true. Not always. And not nearly as often as it should be.



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Review: Because Of Winn Dixie

Because Of Winn Dixie
Because Of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is too beautiful. One of those gorgeous reads that smells of nostalgic childhood in the loveliest way. I love India Opal. She is the kind of sweet girl you rarely experience in real life but cannot help but believe in because she feels so extraordinarily real.



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Review: In Watermelon Sugar

In Watermelon Sugar
In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Definitely one of the strangest but most original books I have ever read. Strange that it is such an old story when it seems so contemporary. I can’t quite explain the absolute weirdness of it. It’s sort of a book about the writing of the book itself. Usually I find that kind of thing quite obnoxious but it just worked with this one. To the character Margaret: I loved you the most. To the unnamed narrator: you chose the wrong girl.



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Review: Starting Over

Starting Over
Starting Over by Tony Parsons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish I could explain my feelings for Tony Parsons in a way that would do him true justice. Whenever I read his books I feel a sort of heartbreaking hope. I know why, but not well enough to be able to express it accurately. The way Tony writes makes you feel relieved that someone is paying attention to life in such a way that they really do just get it. I think with this book especially, the way George loves Lara makes me feel hopeful. After all that time he still loved her, and not in a daft star-crossed lovers kind of way, but in a real way. It feels a relief to know that someone wrote that, because it kind of means that he feels that way, and feeling that way in itself is kind of lovely. Tony Parsons is someone that I wish everyone would read. I often wonder while I am reading his books if other people see themselves in the characters he creates. And if they do, do they learn about themselves in the process? Do they learn a little something about relationships? Are they inspired? Or does it take too much radical honesty to be able to look at yourself in this way? Maybe that kind of honesty is too rare for it to make an impact. It’s strange, I guess. Tony Parsons’ work seems so relevant to me, and yet I cannot help but think that relevance might be lost on most. Which is a real pity.



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Motherhood

F9gMoFJ271E1OnZCNxeZTkn1PNSo I decided that for January I’d like to watch a couple of writer movies to get me into the writing spirit for 2015. I’ve since decided maybe writing movies should be a pat of my whole year instead 0 because there are WAY too many of them out there to get through in just one month. Especially since I’m being so slow about it. Anyway,  I made the mistake of trying out Motherhood first. I might have chosen my go-to favourite writing movie to start with (Stranger Than Fiction) but I didn’t actually think about how there might be consequences to choosing the wrong movie. Of course I should put my karmic superstitions aside, but this movie? Holy hell it was depressing. Blogger mom wishes she could be a real writer? Way too close to home, folks! I suppose the story and acting and all that was just fine (Minnie Driver is in it – I love Minnie!) but I didn’t enjoy watching it at all. So I’m not sure if that means the movie gets a bad review, or if I just have too many issues?

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Review: The Tin Can Tree

The Tin Can Tree
The Tin Can Tree by Anne Tyler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have a weird relationship with Anne Tyler. I met her when I was nineteen. I was camping in Tennessee and she kept me company, and as she did so I began to discover that I really wanted to write. I have loved her since then, always, and am quick to mention that The Accidental Tourist is one of my favourite books. She is strange though. Possibly in a way that I can’t quite express. While reading her other books (I have not gotten through all of them yet – not even all of hers that I own) I find myself wondering “why did you write this?” I cannot help but be curious about her motivations. What happened? What tiny little occurrence set you running off to tell this story? With the Tin Can Tree, you slip into the aftermath of the death of a child. It is a story filled with awkward conversations. It is strange, and yet readable. Relatable even if you cannot possibly relate. Anne Tyler baffles me. I can only imagine that she might have the true powers of an empath. She seems to understand things that she could not possibly have experienced – at least not all of them, though I imagine perhaps some. Her books seem to be just this though: a series of conversations that are so real you cannot stop yourself from hearing every word that she says. You get to the end and you think, “well not much happened in that story, everyone just sat around talking….” and then you go on to wonder how on earth her method works. Because it does work. And yet you can’t imagine ever pulling it off yourself.



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“JAFAR” ~ a short film by Nancy Spetsioti

I envy the creators of this video for being to say with words and movement what so many of us are failing to show from our hearts. Thank you, to whoever created this. It brings about the same feeling as the gas chamber scene in The Boy With the Striped Pyjamas (and yes,  I do believe the movie was better – especially when it came to expressing this particular scene).