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Listen To Music. More Of It.

-Ken
Today, and this week in general, has been a huge week for music —Yellowcard & New Found Glory announced new CDs (along with tours), The Gaslight Anthem began streaming their upcoming release, and we learned that The Wonder Years are taking The Story So Far out on the must see tour of the fall. As a twenty-something who really can’t find comfort in anything outside of music, I’ve been overly excited every day this week, waiting for the next big news to drop.

Despite the fact that all of this keeps me waking up every morning, there’s plenty of people who have never heard of a single band I mentioned above. There’s people who only listen to the radio. Recently, I even met a girl who had never heard of blink 182. I know.

All jokes aside — there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those people. Other than the blink girl. Listen to the radio, listen to dubstep, listen to whatever the fuck you want, but if you’re going to associate yourself with the same music scene that I associate myself with, then I want you to take full advantage of it.

Bands like The Wonder Years, Bayside, blink 182, Yellowcard, Saves The Day, Taking Back Sunday, The Used, and Say Anything are great. Beyond great. It’s cliche, but my life would not be the same without every band I mentioned, along with many more. But people that limit themselves to these “big name acts” is foolish (and “big name” is relative — All Time Low shits on all of the aforementioned bands as far as stardom goes, and they’re a speck in the universe of music across all genres). There are a lot of CDs that have impacted me just as much as ones such as “…Is A Real Boy” and “Enema Of The State”. That’s what this list is all about.

This list is unique due to the fact that some of you may have never heard a song off of any of these releases, and some of you might have every one of these CDs in your car right now. Either way, this was a fun list to make, and I hope you give some of this music a shot, if you haven’t already (and if you have, then I hope you listen to a few of these on your way to work tomorrow). These are 10 (mostly) under-the-radar releases that made a permanent impact on my life.

Here’s the playlist of all the songs mentioned below:

Listen

Page Avenue — Story Of The Year

Story Of The Year was huge at one point in time, and rightfully so. I’ll never forget them playing “Anthem Of Our Dying Day” on Pepsi Smash. They’re one of the best live bands you’d ever see, and I was lucky enough to catch them on Warped Tour last year. I promise, Page Avenue will make you feel better about loving someone. On a side note, if anyone ever finds this CD anywhere, I will buy it from you.

Until the day I die, I spill my heart for you.

Notable Tracks: Anthem Of Our Dying Day, Until The Day I Die

If These Streets Could Talk — Just Surrender

Just Surrender is by no means an important band in the grand scheme of pop punk. However, these songs are. This release is a prime example of what I call “The 2004 Curve”. Just Surrender released this in 2005 and it had decent success, but I really think if they put this exact CD out today, in 2014, it would make nearly every AOTY list. Oh, how times change.

I’d take a bullet for you, you’d put a bullet through me

Notable Tracks: In Your Silence, Our Work Of Art

The Future Is Cancelled — Captain, We’re Sinking!

I’m a little biased, because these guys are from my hometown, but this is a really well written CD. Lyrically, this ranks up there with Bayside’s self titled in my eyes. I tried to pick music that embodied what I define as “the scene”, and this was one of the first releases that came to mind. 

Maybe I’d be happier if I didn’t think this way.

Notable Tracks: The Future Is Cancelled, Beer Can

Separation — Balance & Composure

Separation is what all emo music should sound like — empty, but somehow full, depressing, but somehow optimistic, lonely, but somehow accepting of the loneliness. Not a day of my junior year of college went by without me spinning this entire CD.

Even though you’re always on my mind, there’s more to me that I have yet to find.

Notable Tracks: More To Me, Separation

The ‘59 Sound — The Gaslight Anthem

Some have labeled The ‘59 Sound as the perfect CD. Some have labeled The Gaslight Anthem as the perfect band. I don’t fall under either of those categories of people, but I sure do come close. The Gaslight Anthem is single handedly keeping rock and roll alive inside of this music scene.

Ain’t supposed to die on a Saturday night.

Notable Tracks: The ‘59 Sound, Here’s Looking At You Kid

Something To Write Home About — The Get Up Kids

This is probably the most well-known and most well-respected release on this list. It’s definitely not an under-the-radar release, but again, that’s relative to how deep in the scene you are. 90s emo is the king of music genres and nothing will ever come close. The Get Up Kids were at the forefront of that scene and everything about this release shows you why that was the case. Eventually, you’re gonna need to learn how to be alone, even if only for a short time, and I really believe STWHA does the trick.

I’m lucky if we’re speaking on the holidays.

Notable Tracks: Holiday, Long Goodnight

Tigers Jaw — Tigers Jaw

Tigers Jaw is another band from my hometown of Scranton and another band that has received incredible success in recent years. I saw them with like 20 people once and last year they went on a tour in the UK. Astounding. Their self titled release is far and away the most important CD in the entire timeline of my existence. It always will be. Tigers Jaw is the band that holds my friends together and I never want to lose that feeling. If you aren’t already on the TJ bandwagon, hop the fuck on.

I learned a lot about falling in love when I fell out of love.

Notable Tracks: I Saw Water, The Sun

Forty Hour Train Back To Penn — The Movielife

I struggled between which Vinnie Caruana release to put here — this one or “Avalanche United” by I Am The Avalanche. I settled on The Movielife release because I think it’s more important. Avalanche is *probably* better written, and you should definitely check that out as well, but FHTBTP is the epitome of punk. Vinnie’s scratchy vocals over some heavily distorted guitars and fast progressions. Not to mention that chorus on “Ship To Shore”.

Doing all the things I never thought I’d do, and I did them with you.

Notable Tracks: Ship To Shore, Scary

Wrecked — Pentimento

Pentimento is one of my favorite bands. Up there with Bayside and Saves the Day and The Wonder Years. That’s a lot to say about a band after only discovering them about 2 years ago. They’re probably the realest dudes playing music right now and it shows in their music. Everything about “Wrecked” is amazing. Pentimento is blowing up quickly, and they deserve every ounce of success they ever receive. They could become the most popular band in the world and I’d still want them to have more.

Please uncross your fingers.

Notable Tracks: Walking Calmly In Your Wake, Isn’t It Obvious

Winter Forever — Seahaven

Winter Forever is one of those releases that I think is pretty big to those of us who are deeply rooted in the scene, but I’m not really sure. I know it’s terribly important to me, and I’ll never forget the first time I heard it. “It’s Over” was the first track I heard and I was hooked within 2 seconds after Kyle sang “It rained today / Inside of me”. And that’s only the beginning. Seahaven is an incredible band with a lot of potential to do incredible things in the future.

God I need you, because I’m familiar with the devil.

Notable Tracks: It’s Over, Goodnight

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Listen to music.

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In which Noelle talks about books, shoes, Target, and How the words of Esther Grace Earl changed her life in small extraordinary ways

It was your typical Target shopping experience turned dramatic internal crisis. (…I don’t know why this never happens to me at a Wal-Mart…)

 I was out shopping for books and shoes —probably the two worst combination of things for a person like me to be buying because, 1. I really like books and 2. I REALLY needed shoes. As in, if achieving functioning adulthood was a war and shoes were part of the weaponry, I was one pair of flats away from losing the battle.

So clearly this was an issue.

I decided that my quest to try to look like a person should begin at Target because of their occasionally trendy wear and it’s being closest to the bookstore. I quickly bought my book (1 point for shopping excellence) and meandered my way over to the store only to find only to find myself completely uninspired by my options( 0 points for shopping excellence—Ughh fashion)

As I chewed over the price of a pair of cheap brown flats, I ended up back in the store’s book section contenting myself with “just looking.” Being that I just bought something and effectively maxed out my book buying budget, I was fairly confident in my self control.

Browsing the shelves, glancing at this and that, I look up to see this girl staring at back at me. She has smiley eyes—like she is either holding back on some ridiculous joke or simply knows something I don’t. Regardless of what it is, she looks like the type of person you’d want to be friends with. I pause slightly before picking up her book.

image     Photo Credit:www.target.com

Nerdfighters will all be quick to recognize the name of Esther Grace Earl, as the girl who helped inspire the bestselling book, and now movie, The Fault in Our Stars. Her memoir, This Star Won’t Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl, was on my to-read list somewhere on the back burner of things I meant to get around to one day. Though I had not given it any immediate thought since, as I flipped through the pages, I was hit with an overwhelming sensation that somehow, in some way, I was going to need this book. I also knew had to buy it before the feeling left me.( It was kind of like one of those writing moments where you have a spark of an idea, no paper, and a grim assumption that the idea is so good you’ll definitely remember it later. Nine times out of ten, you don’t.)

There was just one problem: I still needed shoes.imagePhoto credit by:tvshowmeme.com

Thus began an epic battle of need vs. want right there in Target’s entertainment section—which probably would have been more interesting to the general public if anyone could have actually seen a battle rather than just a bewildered looking weirdo person staring at a book.

After staring at the shelf helplessly for five minutes in severe inner turmoil, I did what any self-respecting person with a smart phone would do. I took my problem to Twitter.

No profound advice there….“Okay… maybe, I’ll text my sister.”

As I wait for her text, the entire situation just started to seem moronic.

“It’s a book, Noelle. What difference does it make,” I thought. “if you just buy this book the next time you have book money?”

I can’t answer myself because I honestly have no idea. Meanwhile, in the midst of arguing with myself, there is Esther still looking back at me from the cover smiling eyes and all as if to say, “Come on buy it. I promise you won’t regret it.” It had to be today.

Before I could even give my sister time to text back I was already in the checkout line where the book’s—already favorable Target price—was reduced to a gosh darn steal.  It had seemed that “the stars had aligned,” so to speak and I left the store lighter and entirely content with the decision.

Not my first, nor the last book buying fiasco, I can assure you….image      Photo Credit:alittleshelfofheaven.blogspot.com 

As it would turn out, I did need Esther.

A few months ago—not too long after I bought the book actually—I was having a really rough week. Without getting completely into it, I took the unkind words of someone—a person I didn’t even know—to heart. I was feeling really irrationally crappy about myself for days replaying the person’s comments over and over again in my head like a song on loop. It was exhausting. And, deep down, I knew a complete waste of time and energy on my part. In an attempt to get out of my funk, and think about something else, I picked up This Star Won’t Go Out. I was right. The girl on the front of the cover was someone I would have wanted to be friends with. She was really fun, and silly, and oh so wise. We liked a lot of the same things: namely writing, the internet, The Green Brothers and HARRY POTTER (though if you don’t like Harry Potter, I just…uggh…explain yourself, person!) Pretty generic things I suppose. Her thoughts about life, her family, and her outward positive look on life were so, for lack of a better word,…awesome.  

Her book helped to me step outside myself. It made me laugh just about as much as it made me cry and though I didn’t know Esther personally, I feel like I did get to know a piece of her. She was a person, who just so happened to have cancer, but that wasn’t all there was to her. There was much, much more and it’s hard to explain it in only a few words, but I’ll try.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore says to Harry, “Words, in my not-so-humble opinion are our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”imagePhoto Credit: kristinebulatao.blogspot.com

We’re human, and we’re going to mess up, and hurt each other. But we are also capable of  profound good in ways that maybe we don’t even understand. In a few of her entries Esther wishes that she could do more good, and make a difference for someone. She may not have realized it at the time, but her words contained inexplicable power: the power to reach people and do a world of good. If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself.

It’s a good life Esther Grace, and thanks for the help.

( But in case any of you were wondering, yes, I did eventually get shoes.)

Check out the link here to find out more about Esther’s Foundation also called This Star Won’t Go Out and for information on August 3rd’s Esther Day, a day devoted to the celebration of love for family and friends

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Fandom, Fic, and Feelings: Cat Reads Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

-Cat

A/N This ended up being really long and the first part is just me talking about fic so skip ahead to the part in sections to actually hear about the book.

    I have spent a fuck-ton of time reading fanfiction since I graduated college last May. I don’t know if this is because my time spent as an English major required me to do so much close reading (thinking through symbols and themes and characters) that I needed an extended break. Or if it is because I simply really like fanfiction. Probably that second one because let’s be real, I love it so much. Enough to spend a ludicrous amount of time reading it. This isn’t to say that I haven’t been reading anything other than fic, just that it takes up the majority of my down time. Recently, I have also been working my way through Tennyson’s Idylls of the King with an intensity rivaled only by my reading of Mallory (see a theme there?) and doing a lot of research about fanfiction. Because even with something that is supposed to be for fun, I find that I spend time thinking deeply about it. With fanfiction, it is less about the actual material and more about the ideas surrounding the form. I’m probably going to write a dissertation on fic by the time I ever get around to writing everything I have to say about it so let’s move on.

Read More

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Noelle reads, ‘Hollow City,’ the second novel of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

-Noelle

Working at a library—as I do—definitely has its perks. On one hand, I have books continuously at my disposal.  New books, old books, hard to find books—a plethora of ideas and information.  But for a collector, such as me, who is always searching for her next read (whilst invested in as little as three other books all at the same time) the power at the circulation desk can be very overwhelming. And soon enough, the books find their way to Beverly, otherwise known as, my car.

I get around to them eventually.

If you’ve been keeping up with de blog you’, you’ll remember I only recently finished writing about its predecessor Ransom Riggs’s super awesome book Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children when I found out about  the sequel. So, on that note, I’ll say that it took some mild self control not to yank Hollow City right from my co-worker’s hand the day we got it. But two weeks later when I did get the book, I was happy to say that my patience was rewarded because it was fantastic!

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Some **SPOILERS** ahead if you haven’t read Miss Peregrine (Editor’s note: If you like weird/mildly creepy things and this applies to you get yourself to the nearest bookseller or library!)

The story picks off exactly where Miss Peregrine left off.  Jacob, having decided to stay in 1940 to help his Peculiar friends, is found leaving the   the destroyed island house toward London in search of help. They have evaded the wights and hollows but their fearless leader, Miss Peregrine, is trapped in her ymbryne form. Traveling like refugees, Jacob and his friends face the uncertain peculiar world and war torn WWII London discovering  answers, allies, and of course, the unexpected along the way.

It’s a trip

Just as in Miss Peregrine, Riggs writes Hollow City with the help of even more vintage photos, some which are stranger then than the last, whereas others are only made so through Riggs’s imagination.image

Two books in and I am still completely in love with this form of storytelling and even more in love with the Peculiars as Riggs integrates deeper ideas into his fantasy world. The time in which he sets the story creates a parallel that cannot be unintentional. Though he does not dive too heavily into details of WWII as the children are traveling,  the reader is completely aware that the experiences of the Peculiars mirror both what has happening in 1940 and what is happening in their universe.

Much like the children in England, Miss Peregrine’s children are in the midst of a war. Both are refugees, whose home life and sense of order has been torn apart, only to be replaced by uncertainty. In simplest form their enemies too, are much the same—both have a longing for power and believe that there is such a thing as a superior race.

 Though this is a fantasy-paranormal type novel, its elements—such as time travel—allow readers to experience glimpses of the realities written in our history without true horror. Yet there were many instances as I read which left me deeply unsettled and even sickened. Particularly, when the children visited a time loop filled with Peculiar animals.

The island, once filled with all kinds of unique and beautiful creatures, was now largely a graveyard—their kind all but extinct because of human cruelty. They were abused, “hunted and placed in zoos” and even made into furniture. This sort of mass genocide, where the world saw it’s capacity for human cruelty, is one that is not unfamiliar to us. Given the WWII setting, it would seem that Riggs is taking a unique opportunity to give his readers a glimpse of the holocaust through his fantasy as upon sharing the story Addison, the dog, would tell the children, “Some truths, are expressed best in the form of myth.”

Whoa.

Definitely darker, but most definitely worth your time. And if you love this and are dying for more, Riggs promises that another book is on the horizon!

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Happy reading!  Maybe I’ll go clean out my car….

Photos credit of the following:

www.goodreads.com

www.nytimes.comwww.weareiu.com

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The Austen Trap

-Noelle

Usually I am the actual worst at following through with any of my New Year’s resolutions. Like countless other Americans, I have resolved to eat better, go to the gym more, blah blah blah blah blah—It works for about two weeks and then I’m over it.  (If you ever worked out with me and are still my friend—bless you.)

Ergo I’ve short term goals are more my thing, which are easy enough if they both benefit me and be be enjoyed by me. Because I like me.

So this year I decided that my first goal would be to play catch-up on all my Youtube programs that got pushed to the wayside in the midst of life. One of them being the latest Pemberley Digital adaptation—Emma Approved—based on Jane Austen’s Emma.Source:theoverlookedonlookers

 I finished about two days after the new year,which is excellent timing to complete a resolution. Though I’ll admit, I was kind of embarrassed, as a self professed Janeite, and supreme lover of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,how could I have actually fallen off the bandwagon in the first place. It’s not like it was bad, or boring or anything like that. But once I missed one episode, it was quite easy to miss two, then three….and before I knew it I was a solid two months behind.

Why?

 Usually I end up in these situations when a show goes on hiatus or I’m not home during the episode premiere. And, sometimes it’s hard to find several hours in which to play catch-up. But, this is Youtube for goodness sake! I have an iPhone! There is no reason I should not have been able to find time to watch an episode that averages between 2 to 7 1/2 minutes. What was holding me back?

Emma is the story of a young, rich, society woman who loves to involve herself in other people’s lives—particularly in matchmaking, without understanding that there is consequence when you stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. She has the best intentions, but is by no means humble when she succeeds and has such a wild imagination that she is blind to the obvious. The modern adaptation, Emma Approved  sticks to this same theme but builds on the original character making Emma a lifestyle expert who specializes in the business of matchmaking and helping others in various degrees and platforms.  Sticking to the spirit of Austen’s Emma, the modern Emma Woodhouse is as meddlesome and blind as her novel counterpart and often pushes the envelope much too far in her attempt to decide what is best for other people. Honestly it makes her extremely irritating ay times.

Which is when I realized the severe irony of my situation.

Before diving back in to the show, I had stopped at Episode 4-The Right Decision, In this episode Emma is asked by her friend Annie, to help her cancel her wedding to her fiance Ryan. Emma agrees, while secretly continues to plan the expensive celebration claiming that Annie didn’t know what she was saying and she knows what is best for her future.

BAD MOVE EMMA. BAD FRIEND MOVE.

Even though the situation ironed itself out, and ended up being fine. It was one of the most selfish things I had ever seen someone do, and I hated her for it. 

I fell for it.

I had caught myself in the trap, the one that Austen herself had predicted before she even penned Emma when she wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like"(Austen-Leigh)

Because, even though I was vaguely familiar with the story and it’s ending having started reading the novel and having seen Clueless, it was hard to completely like Emma—as good as her intentions—because I what I had seen so far left me unsure of how messy Emma’s meddling behavior might get, what situation would be her breaking point.

As I have said, I had only just started reading the novel, so my viewing experience is/was definitely different from many others. Yet,I knew that from my research with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries that in an adaptation—especially through Pemberley Digital—you need to expect the expected, and the unexpected. More importantly, you need to be able to think outside the box. Such as, could Emma’s meddling have driven a wedge between her and Annie? Will Annie’s marriage be as happy as it is now?…among other questions. 

In a weird way, I don’t feel quite the same way about this Emma Woodhouse as as I have about Alicia Silverstone’s Cher Horowitz in  Clueless.  I think it is because her decision to meddle weigh more as an adult. Does that mean that Cher’s meddling is in any way more or less dangerous? I don’t know, but in a high school setting it certainly makes her problems seem more superficial and less permanently life altering.

  But Emma Approved is not Clueless. Emma is an adult business woman trying to make her way in the world. But because she is Emma, she is still bound to make mistakes (like all of us, I might add)  that have much harsher consequences, and because she is embodying Austen’s Emma, I think I will continue to be critical of her—and that’s good! I fell—predictably—exactly as Austen said I would. So they must be doing something right.

Snaps for you Pemberley Digital! I know I’ll be eagerly awaiting what you have in store for us this February.

Works Cited

Austen-Leigh, James Edward, and R. W. Chapman. Memoir of Jane Austen. Oxford: Clarendon, 1926. 157. Print.

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Can’t “Let it Go”: Let’s Talk Princesses and Disney’s Frozen

-Noelle

Sometimes my friends like to bust me—lovingly of course—for my desire for a homework assignment as I am adjusting to my post-graduate life.

Seriously Noelle, you want write a paper? Why?? 

I’m sure it is a little psychotic to my peers to think that I would actually want to spend any extra time doing all the writing, the research,—the stressing,trying to come up with the perfect thesis, or what have you. But, what can I say, you can take the English student out of the classroom, you can even hand her a diploma, but you cannot take away the nerdy excitement whenever something really cool happens.  

In this case it’s Disney’s newest animated flick, Frozen.image  Source:disney.wikia.com

Let me just say that the urge to write something was never so strong. Here I am trying to watch this film and the gears in my brain were working faster than I could actually put my thoughts together. But, amid the fragments of awesome, one point was screaming above the chaos,”YES, Disney is finally starting to get it!” Finally, a film that portrays a Disney princess in a more realistic, or rather, more responsible fashion—though as a side note, however unrealistic it may be, no one can deny that the power to control winter would be amazing.

Now before anyone cries cynic, know this: I am a total sucker for a Disney princess movie, and could have actually cried from pure elation at seeing Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World for the first time. However, I am also a realist who can no longer ignore the problematic areas of what has become known as “Disney Princesses Franchise.”  Here are a few examples of what I mean.

Snow White

  • She meets a guy once—declares him the best, most romantic dude ever; the one who will take her away to a life of complete bliss. While she waits for her rescuer, she spends her time in the woods doing a lot of cooking and cleaning. Bilingual, Snow is well versed in the local dialects of deer, squirrel, rabbit, chipmunk etc.  For how smart she seems in theory, she does not use those smarts to protect/defend herself against suspicious old women wandering in the woods.Source:gameraboy                                                                                         But, I’ll give her this, Snow White does try to see the good in people and situations and sometimes the world in general needs a little more of that.Source:imaginationconnection

Cinderella

  • She dreams of a better life—YAY! Dreamers are the best kind of people because they have a sense of optimism. Except she thinks meeting a “Charming” guy is the only means to get a better life—‘womp.’Source:disneyboost                                                                                       Meets the guy once, dances with him, falls in love, and marries him at the end of the film.—Jeezus,The Prince must be one hell of a dancer…. If you’d like to know more of where I’m going with this, I recommend the book Just Ella.Source: snowwhitecinderellaaurora

Aurora-Sleeping Beauty

  • Pricks her finger and has to sit out for the film’s key action. Malificent | via TumblrSource: weheartit                                                                                                I would say that the Disney company definitely could have written this script better to make Aurora much less helpless—I mean for the lova’ God, Prince Phillip got some of the best scenes in the movie. Though let’s be real, he could have done nothing without those fairies. I guess that makes it a little better…but I’m only scrapping at the surface here. In any case, even if she only spent her time singing, dancing, and sleeping; I suppose dreamy thoughts can be kind of endearing.http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcsqfnPlF41ru1wbho2_500.gifSource misscinemafanatic

 Ariel-The Little Mermaid

  • Dreams of being part of the human world, learning and knowing more. Love it! I always get chills when she sings Part of your World and belts out these lines that makes me go hmm

Bet’cha on land they understand
Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters
Bright young women sick of swimmin’
Ready to stand. (
http://www.stlyrics.com/)

 Preach girl. All very inspiring, until we realize that Ariel is only pushed to manifest her dream of knowledge after she sees Prince Eric. UntitledSource:weheartit

Oh. 

To make matters worse, she gives up her voice to a sea witch who declares that she doesn’t need it because body language is not to be underestimated—you can take that to mean exactly what you think it means.Source:apineopines

 Listen to Ursala’s advice anyway, it super sucks and there is a lesson in that. But you knew that right? No gal in their right mind wants to be treated like a doll or a puppet on a string. It’s just gross.

Belle-Beauty and the Beast

  • My favorite. She is smart, loves books and will always stand up for herself. She refuses to marry the town’s super douchebag bro—Gaston—(‘aka’ the real beast of this movie) despite his being a “major catch.” Source:itsbethanyyy                                                                       

              Yeah, okay, if I ate five dozen eggs everyday there would be one word for me, dead. Since Gaston did not have a heart attack, this really is a fairytale. Anyway, Belle does fall in love with her captor animal like tendencies and all, so the Stockholm syndrome thing is a bit problematic.Source:dreaming-the-blue-sea

Merida-Brave

  • I am Merida and I will be shooting  for my own hand” I love this girl! Merida is a completely unconventional princess who wants to take control of her own destiny. Why should that include getting married anyway? This film, unlike most other Disney princess films, focuses on other relationships instead of the romance thing. Very refreshing. Viewers rejoiced when they saw a princess more willing to don a bow and arrow then “whistle while you work.” Merida proved a popular character because she was so unlike any princess we had ever seen before. But then, Disney had to sell merch so this happened. imageSource: www.parade.com   

Annnd, we are back to square one.Source:gifwarehouse

Okay, so that’s probably more than a few. But if you were skimming (come on, I know you did it) what I had to say, then you will probably agree with me when I say that there is a distinct line of difference in characterization from Snow White to Merida.  And,as much as I enjoy watching princess movies,  I can’t get into the meek, domestic, perfect princess anymore. In many ways, she is like a Barbie doll, so far unreachable for x number of reasons that I just can’t identify with her.

Yet over the years, slowly, the image has started to evolve and improve. And here is where Frozen made me excited.

(**Spoilers** ahead. You have been warned)image Source:www.nerdist.com

Okay so here is the general plot line…

Frozen is based on Hans Christen Anderson’s The Snow Queen and tells the story of two sisters, Elsa and Anna, princesses of the fictional kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa has a unique gift, the power to control winter. The sisters are very close until Elsa accidentally hits her sister in the head  head with her snow powers. Fearing the worst, Elsa and her parents take an unconscious Anna to see the magical troll people who remove her memory of the incident and offer a warning: Should the Elsa ever lose control again and hit her in the heart, she would not be so easy to heal. Her parents place Elsa and the rest of the family in seclusion so that they can protect her and hide her powers.  Unfortunately, this builds a huge wall between the once close sisters which only worsened with the death of their parents. The castle remains in strict seclusion until the day Elsa comes of age to take her place as Queen.                                                                                                                

                                                                                                      Source:arendelledaily

On coronation day, the sisters have very different feelings. Anna is excited for life to enter the palace once again as she sings about music, dancing and meeting people with open arms. Most of all she is excited that she will no longer be lonely and wonders if she will meet “the one” at the ball that night” Her sister Elsa, is freaking out knowing she has to see anyone. Having spent years in hiding, she is terrified that someone will find out about her powers and believe her a monster. She sings about her want to be separated from people, and continuing to be the person they want and/or expect her to be.

http://youtu.be/V5QDZLv2SOo

The movie progresses with Anna meeting a handsome prince named Hans, becoming engaged to him that night. Once she looks for Elsa’s approval—which she refuses to give, the powers she has long concealed are inadvertently released placing the kingdom in eternal winter. While everyone wails in terror, Anna goes after her sister believing that the are stronger together and will be able to figure this entire thing out.  

Like other films in the genre, Frozen keeps the feel and essence of a traditional Disney film, but also challenges past conventions.

Here’s what I mean:

 Anna and Elsa.

  • These two are the kind of princesses I’ve been wanting to see! Anna was way super awkward—and I totally get that, obviously.                                                                                                                                          Source:takemealex-vause                                                                                  She has an open heart like all of the princesses before her, but she acts more like the ladies I know and love. As she sings about her excitement over the ball, she exclaims “Don’t know if I’m elated or gassy, but I’m somewhere in that zone,” and in her nervousness over seeing a fine looking gent “I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face!” In a world where ladies were supposed to be “well behaved” these lines would never have even made the cutting room floor.  When talking of her role as Anna, actress Kristen Bell told the Digital Spy  "I was desperate to infuse her with all these awkward qualities that I had as a little girl, or that I have currently as an adult… I thought, she should talk too much and talk too fast and talk to herself and trip, and be awkward, and wake up with a snort, like I do!"() And it worked, but Anna is not clumsily falling over herself looking like a disaster in need of saving either. She is resourceful, determined, and a strong heroine, perfectly capable of saving herself and the kingdom.
  • There is a lot that I can say about Elsa too, but here are the two main points. 1. She becomes Queenthe first of any animated princesswithout anyone running around in panic yelling , Mercy me the kingdom is DOOMED! A woman is in charge and she has no husband to assist her.  2. Elsa is someone that a lot of people are really identifying with. As I have been perusing tumblr, what a lot of fans have been saying is that they really get her introverted feelings and not wanting to let people in. For a variety of reasons, they’ve been there. Who hasn’t, right? But, what I have been thinking about myself, is how she represents something else. Like, how it can destroy a person inside to not be who you are for fear that others will think you strange or dislike you. A strongly misunderstood character, her song “Let it Go” was a real powerhouse ballad by Elsa’s voice actress Idina Menzel,  in which Elsa finally embraces who she really is. You never saw her look so powerful as when she finally started to accept who she wasseriously.

                                                                         Source:take-me-alex-vause

http://youtu.be/moSFlvxnbgk

Disney pokes fun at themselves

  • Watching the movie, and then thinking more about it later, I got a definite sense that this film would be about the relationship between the sisters and their ultimate need to mend the riff between them.  As I mentioned earlier it was Anna’s engagement to Prince Hans that caused Elsa to accidentally create the storm and flee. But here is what’s funny, Elsa, is not the first person to question Anna’s rash decision to marry a guy she just met.  On her way to find Elsa, Anna’s new friend Kristoff protests her wanting to help him while they are being chased by wolves saying, “I question your judgment, who marries a man they just met.” Source:h—aute

Despite, Disney’s past trend of ending their movies in “shot gun-type marriage,” form it would seem that even they have realized that it’s not necessarily the most responsible ending, and it is important to point that out, while maintaining the strength of Anna’s characterlike when she does take the initiative to save Kristoff during the chase.  Snaps for you Disney!

Prince Hans

  • I’ll just say this, he is not all he seems to be and a prince is not always the fairy tale goodness, hearts, rainbows, and happily ever afters.                                                                                                                                           Source:meridastraighthair                                 

           Anna’s search for permanent friendship through marriage is probably not a good idea. If you’d like to know more, Jezebel.com says everything you need to know here.

 The Songs and the Snowman

  • Just picture all the funny-cuteness you need in a comic relief character and you have Olaf. Source:weheartit And the songs—as you might have guessed already have an air of Disney Renaissance.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and since I promised my friend a simple blog in exchange for a paper,whoops might have gone a little overboard,I’ll cut it here. But I believe that Frozen is giving us an opportunity for to make a positive change in animation. Two thumbs up. if you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself.

Source:myimpossiblewhovian

WorksCited                                                                                                         Dibdin, Emma. “Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel: ‘Frozen Is about Unconditional Love’” Digital Spy. N.p., 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 Dec. 2013.

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Excuse me while I cry: a track by track review of ‘Midnight Memories’
-Katie
On Sunday night, the entirety of One Direction’s third album, “Midnight Memories” was leaked a week before it was due to be released. That part of this sucks. Because when people work hard on something, and build up the hype for it, why can’t other people just let them have their moment? I know that it won’t affect sales at all, because those that are going to buy it, are going to do so when it comes out anyway, and those that were going to download it would have had it immediately too. I just hate to see hard work exposed early if that isn’t the intention of the artists. 
Nonetheless, I woke up this morning and downloaded the leak because I wasn’t about to let everyone hear it before me. It isn’t like I have any self-control. Overall, the album is everything I could have wanted from a group that is still under the heading of being for tweens but who I think want to seriously mature as artists. I like it more than their sophomore CD, “Take Me Home,” but I don’t know if anything will ever be as classic as “Up All Night.”
I am going to try to keep this track by track to a reasonable size, but, as already stated, I have little self-control. And except for the two singles, this is only the second time I’ve listened to each song.
Best Song Ever - This track was released over the summer in conjunction with the concert-movie and is everything we’ve come to expect from the boy band. It’s upbeat, everyone has a solo, and you can dance around with your friends to it. And who doesn’t have nightmares about Zayn dressed as a woman in the video?
Story of My Life - Apparently they’re releasing songs in the order that they appear on the record. This second single is a ballad that has made me cry no less than three times since it was released. The guitar in the beginning coupled with Harry using his super deep voice is enough to stop you in your tracks. I would rather the chorus keep with the mellow feel of the verses, but it doesn’t take away from the emotion. 
Diana - This track was officially released today to anyone that pre-ordered the album and let me tell you, this is the song that thousands of teenage girls need to hear from these boys. They don’t need to be told that they’re beautiful, they need to know that the band sees and hears and knows that for some girls, this is what saves them. I have my own opinions on this issues, but to me, that’s what this song is about. Teenage years are friggin’ terrible for a lot of girls and four months is sometimes all it takes to fall. And the lines about speaking a different language and never having met, whoosh. Good jobs, boys.
Midnight Memories - WAIT IS THIS ONE DIRECTION OR AN EIGHTIES GARAGE BAND? Did you just shh for shit a la No Doubt? Are you taking a girl to a club bathroom? I thought we were all joking about the album title being about hooking up? DO IT DO IT DO IT. Who did that screamy thing at the end of the bridge?
You and I - That’s right slow it down, clearly that last song wound me up. I really want Liam to make his own whole album where he sings in this voice. I know we don’t have the credits yet, but I would bet he did this song. It’s a stay together song. Is that a thing? The opposite of a break up song. Zayn with the high notes, a 1D staple and something I think about a lot. 
Don’t Forget Where You Belong - I like when the songs are very true to their crazy lives. They recorded the whole album on the road. I feel like this is the song on the CD, like Coming Back For You on TMH, that is pretty much solely for them.
Strong - That deep voice again. Oh wow. This is good. Again, I would call this a stay together song. A different sound but one that I can definitely see on the set list for the next tour. Loooove Niall’s solo. 
Happily - The Lumineers?! I love it. All of it. The drum, the vocals, the gang vocals. The idea behind the song is more mature, and a little touchy, but I’m down. Probably my favorite track on the album and from what I’ve seen around the fandom today, a lot of fans feel the same. I would listen to an album that all sounded like this and no one would even be able to judge me.
Right Now - Also a really personal song. Man, I know that they’re really pretty and rich and have it all going for them, but they’re lives are not easy. I don’t like to give up on things, and they have to do that a lot. I like that this track can apply to anyone in life, no necessarily a romantic relationship. I love that this is the only complaint though, saying that they ‘could do this forever’ if the people they love were around.
Little Black Dress - HOLY SHIDFKSNJF. THIS IS WHAT I NEVER KNEW I NEEDED. 80’s Rock. Coming from the 5 most outrageous humans. This review is going downhill really quickly.
Through The Dark - Total genre change. I can’t help but to think of all the sick little girls that they have met and maybe that’s because of Kelsey's recent passing but I cried this morning hearing this song for the first time. Additionally, the song could go on the Lumineers-eque CD I was talking about earlier and bring in a whole different audience than 1D is used to.
Something Great - Solid. Hopeful longing. I’d drive around and listen to this. Again with the folky bit. I see where they were going with this CD. 
Little White Lies - Oh my my that opening. Pretty One Direction-eque after that, only their voices have matured so much. Also Niall sounds so sassy. ‘I know you would, girl.’ You’re mostly right. 
Better Than Words - This is the sickest concept for a song. Pretty much the whole this is the titles of songs strung together to form the verses and then the chorus saying there are no words for the feeling. Like all those songs aren’t good enough because there are no words and that’s just really creative. Also whistling.
Why Don’t We Go There - Why do they always have a kind of creepy song in which they’re trying to convince someone to hook up with them? (i.e. c’mon c’mon)
Does He Know? - Oh that one song each CD where they take the riff of a famous song. I would dance to this, but they gotta stop spending so much time in clubs and bars, at least in their songs. Oh a Liam Falsetto. 
Alive - Oh same. About the therapy. Oh wow, this is totally about being super promiscuous. I’m down with that, but I’m 23 and not a little girl idolizing these boys. Not getting into that, Use protection, kids.
Half a Heart - Ooooh, ballad. They’ll sing this on tour while sitting and everyone will have so many feels about it. I want to know who wrote this because I like this song enough to care about the details and respect who did it. 
So, that’s it. I know it was really long, but I had a lot to say. These boys, I’m telling you.

Overall, my only real criticism is that the flow of the CD is off a bit and the mix of genre is cray.

Excuse me while I cry: a track by track review of ‘Midnight Memories’

-Katie

On Sunday night, the entirety of One Direction’s third album, “Midnight Memories” was leaked a week before it was due to be released. That part of this sucks. Because when people work hard on something, and build up the hype for it, why can’t other people just let them have their moment? I know that it won’t affect sales at all, because those that are going to buy it, are going to do so when it comes out anyway, and those that were going to download it would have had it immediately too. I just hate to see hard work exposed early if that isn’t the intention of the artists. 

Nonetheless, I woke up this morning and downloaded the leak because I wasn’t about to let everyone hear it before me. It isn’t like I have any self-control. Overall, the album is everything I could have wanted from a group that is still under the heading of being for tweens but who I think want to seriously mature as artists. I like it more than their sophomore CD, “Take Me Home,” but I don’t know if anything will ever be as classic as “Up All Night.”

I am going to try to keep this track by track to a reasonable size, but, as already stated, I have little self-control. And except for the two singles, this is only the second time I’ve listened to each song.

Best Song Ever - This track was released over the summer in conjunction with the concert-movie and is everything we’ve come to expect from the boy band. It’s upbeat, everyone has a solo, and you can dance around with your friends to it. And who doesn’t have nightmares about Zayn dressed as a woman in the video?

Story of My Life - Apparently they’re releasing songs in the order that they appear on the record. This second single is a ballad that has made me cry no less than three times since it was released. The guitar in the beginning coupled with Harry using his super deep voice is enough to stop you in your tracks. I would rather the chorus keep with the mellow feel of the verses, but it doesn’t take away from the emotion. 

Diana - This track was officially released today to anyone that pre-ordered the album and let me tell you, this is the song that thousands of teenage girls need to hear from these boys. They don’t need to be told that they’re beautiful, they need to know that the band sees and hears and knows that for some girls, this is what saves them. I have my own opinions on this issues, but to me, that’s what this song is about. Teenage years are friggin’ terrible for a lot of girls and four months is sometimes all it takes to fall. And the lines about speaking a different language and never having met, whoosh. Good jobs, boys.

Midnight Memories - WAIT IS THIS ONE DIRECTION OR AN EIGHTIES GARAGE BAND? Did you just shh for shit a la No Doubt? Are you taking a girl to a club bathroom? I thought we were all joking about the album title being about hooking up? DO IT DO IT DO IT. Who did that screamy thing at the end of the bridge?

You and I - That’s right slow it down, clearly that last song wound me up. I really want Liam to make his own whole album where he sings in this voice. I know we don’t have the credits yet, but I would bet he did this song. It’s a stay together song. Is that a thing? The opposite of a break up song. Zayn with the high notes, a 1D staple and something I think about a lot. 

Don’t Forget Where You Belong - I like when the songs are very true to their crazy lives. They recorded the whole album on the road. I feel like this is the song on the CD, like Coming Back For You on TMH, that is pretty much solely for them.

Strong - That deep voice again. Oh wow. This is good. Again, I would call this a stay together song. A different sound but one that I can definitely see on the set list for the next tour. Loooove Niall’s solo. 

Happily - The Lumineers?! I love it. All of it. The drum, the vocals, the gang vocals. The idea behind the song is more mature, and a little touchy, but I’m down. Probably my favorite track on the album and from what I’ve seen around the fandom today, a lot of fans feel the same. I would listen to an album that all sounded like this and no one would even be able to judge me.

Right Now - Also a really personal song. Man, I know that they’re really pretty and rich and have it all going for them, but they’re lives are not easy. I don’t like to give up on things, and they have to do that a lot. I like that this track can apply to anyone in life, no necessarily a romantic relationship. I love that this is the only complaint though, saying that they ‘could do this forever’ if the people they love were around.

Little Black Dress - HOLY SHIDFKSNJF. THIS IS WHAT I NEVER KNEW I NEEDED. 80’s Rock. Coming from the 5 most outrageous humans. This review is going downhill really quickly.

Through The Dark - Total genre change. I can’t help but to think of all the sick little girls that they have met and maybe that’s because of Kelsey's recent passing but I cried this morning hearing this song for the first time. Additionally, the song could go on the Lumineers-eque CD I was talking about earlier and bring in a whole different audience than 1D is used to.

Something Great - Solid. Hopeful longing. I’d drive around and listen to this. Again with the folky bit. I see where they were going with this CD. 

Little White Lies - Oh my my that opening. Pretty One Direction-eque after that, only their voices have matured so much. Also Niall sounds so sassy. ‘I know you would, girl.’ You’re mostly right. 

Better Than Words - This is the sickest concept for a song. Pretty much the whole this is the titles of songs strung together to form the verses and then the chorus saying there are no words for the feeling. Like all those songs aren’t good enough because there are no words and that’s just really creative. Also whistling.

Why Don’t We Go There - Why do they always have a kind of creepy song in which they’re trying to convince someone to hook up with them? (i.e. c’mon c’mon)

Does He Know? - Oh that one song each CD where they take the riff of a famous song. I would dance to this, but they gotta stop spending so much time in clubs and bars, at least in their songs. Oh a Liam Falsetto. 

Alive - Oh same. About the therapy. Oh wow, this is totally about being super promiscuous. I’m down with that, but I’m 23 and not a little girl idolizing these boys. Not getting into that, Use protection, kids.

Half a Heart - Ooooh, ballad. They’ll sing this on tour while sitting and everyone will have so many feels about it. I want to know who wrote this because I like this song enough to care about the details and respect who did it. 

So, that’s it. I know it was really long, but I had a lot to say. These boys, I’m telling you.

Overall, my only real criticism is that the flow of the CD is off a bit and the mix of genre is cray.

Text

Noelle Reads Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

-Noelle

In all the busyness of life and—I’ll admit some laziness on my part (apologies), I completely forgot to post about the book I recently read for my book club—Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

First of all OMG this book!

I hate to say it, but I am a huge offender of the cliche saying, “Never judge a book by it’s cover.” I’m sorry—but interesting covers just grab me and this one was no exception. I mean just look at it!

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I’m not sure that many people will argue with me when I say that spooky  children can almost always be creepier then anything out of Elm street. If the cover isn’t enough to suck you in, then it was definitely the other peculiar and often chilling photos that accompany the novel.

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And here’s the kicker—they are all real. Author Ransom Riggs loves old photography and is a self professed collector of “weird stuff”(Riggs). However, even Riggs cannot tell you anything about the original context for most of the photographs. But he does know one thing—they creep him out.(Riggs).

They creeped me out too—to the point where when I started to read, I took my friend’s advice and tried not read too much at night. But, as I got further into it, I discovered that I couldn’t stop reading and it was not the children themselves that disturbed me so much as the horrors that seek them out.

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Intrigued yet? 

As reading and writing are totally my thing, I’m always really interested in how others develop and creatively express their ideas. Rigg’s use of photos was so compelling that I wish I had thought of it myself. It’s brilliant not only as a storytelling mechanism, but also in further immersing his audience into the world of the peculiars. Using real photographs adds a certain layer to the experience; one which makes you stop and wonder if, “maybe this could be real.”

Rigg’s main protagonist, Jacob Portman, lives what appears to be a normal life. As a child his grandfather, Abraham Portman, would tell him stories about the children he knew in his youth and all were far from ordinary. There was an invisible boy, children of impossible strength, and a girl who could control fire—among others. As he grew older the tales and the children’s pictures seemed nothing short of make-believe, until the mysterious circumstances surrounding his grandfather’s death. Though his whole family questions his sanity, Jacob is convinced that his grandfather was murdered by a horrifying creature.  Following his dying words, Jacob journeys to a small island in Wales looking to his grandfather’s past for answers. 

To me, there is something completely engaging about a world where the extraordinary exists within an ordinary life—I think they call that fantasy literature or something—but if this is your sort of thing, then you should definitely check out Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. And if you find that you love it, word on the street is that Riggs not only has a sequel coming out this January 14th called, Hollow City but he’s also has sold the film rights to Miss Peregrine

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Exciting stuff.

While I can’t make any predictions on the film,—we all know how those can be— I am eagerly awaiting the release of Hollow City which is sure to have even more stellar photography complete with creepy feelings and even more peculiar circumstances.

FYI: I accept gift cards for Barnes and Noble, BAM, Amazon, or really any book seller.

Works Cited

Riggs, Ransom. “9 Creepy Photos That Appear In ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 14 Nov. 2013

Photos Credit of the following:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ransom-riggs/creepy-children-photos_b_1008759.html#s405658

http://non-ram.blogspot.com/2013/07/miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar.html

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12396528-hollow-city



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Too Far by Rick Shapero

Hello, anyone still out there? Just in case you’re still hanging on out there, I’ll give you a little something to keep you interested.

For graduation, I got an iPad mini from my uncle. I mostly use it to look for jobs when I’m feeling too lazy to pull out my laptop, and to play different app games that I don’t want cluttering my phone. 

Recently, I found an app called “Too Far” and in the description, I found that it was a multimedia book by the author Rich Shapero. A description of the book from app.toofar.com says that “Rich Shapero’s Too Far App seamlessly combines an enchanting novel with original music and stunning visual art, to create a fully immersive storytelling experience.”

I can’t sum it up more than that folks. The book has music that plays during certain page spans, and a map that pops itself up when the location is mentioned and zooms in to the specific location, which gives the reader a little refresher on the world that the story occupies. 

It’s a bit on the younger side of the young adult world, but I think that the different multimedia aspects make the book interesting to readers of any age. 

So, if you have fallen victim to the Apple World, as I have; take some time to download the free app Too Far!

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- Katy

First of all, sorry this post took so long to get up. I ran into a few bumps with the holiday and a family vacation last weekend that I forgot about until the night before. Here is last week’s Game of Thrones post!

June 23-29: Chapter 27: Eddard (“It’s the Hand’s tourney…”) to Chapter 35: Eddard (“He found Littlefinger in the…”)

     Once I found my stride with this section of the book, I found it really hard to stop. (Yes, I am reading this in sections which is why I barely cling to the schedule.) I tried to take notes as I read, but I found myself getting caught up in the action of the book and setting my pen down and forgetting to pick it back up.

     Between physical fighting and verbal confrontations, this section of the book was more amped up than the rest of the book so far. (In my opinion) I don’t necessarily like one type of narrative over the other, but I may have to say that this is one of my favorite stretches of the novel so far. This is for many different reasons, minor characters dart in and out of the narrative at neck-break speed, my opinions on certain characters were challenged, and all of the story lines came together in a very clear way for me.

     How one man manages to make up (and keep straight) so many major characters, I have no idea. Now, add in all of the minor characters that George R.R. Martin has somehow managed to bring in to this book as well. I just want to spend some time in this man’s mind. But not really, that would just be one weird remake of Being Tom Malkovitch. But seriously, in this section Martin uses seemingly unimportant characters to say very important things. Many of the guards voice opinions on matters of the kingdom that cause the reader to see the action in a slightly different way or cast doubt on the stability of the ruler. Simple servants pop in to the narrative to show the reader just how important the family names and titles in this book are. I really enjoyed being able to see just how much detail Martin puts into these books through the minor characters alone.

     As for characters who have caused me to doubt my original thoughts, the heads of the Stark family. Both Eddard and Catelyn’s chapters forced me to see each of these characters differently than I had in the beginning. I originally cast Eddard as the character put into place by the author to relay boring technical details to the audience. In his chapters in this section, I saw Eddard Stark’s true colors coming through. He allows Arya to pursue her passions of knighthood and swordsmanship rather than forcing her to conform to societal norms. While he is in the position of King’s Hand, where he must conform rather than voice his own opinions. (which he manages for the most part.) I actually found myself (dare I say it) liking Eddard by the end of this section.

Though on the other hand, I can’t say the same for his wife. I originally found myself really liking Catelyn’s passion for her family. Though now I am seeing where this passion will be her downfall. All of the actions Catelyn is taking to protect her family are only serving to nearly bring her to death each and every time. I don’t like watching the downward spiral of characters in novels, but it appears that we will be watching Catelyn spiral down, down, down.

Finally, though I did realize that all of the story lines in the novel were tied together one way or another, this section serves to bop the reader over the head with the connections. This is really the first time where we see such emphatic desire for action from the King against Daenerys and Khal Drogo. I think I just really like seeing where interwoven story lines meet up in novels.

Alright my dear readers, this is where I leave you for now. I will try to power-read the next section and have an update up toward the middle of this week so we can get back on track! Until then, happy reading!

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-Katy
June 16-22: Chapter 18: Catelyn (“We will make King’s Landing…”) to Chapter 26: Jon  (“Jon was showing Dareon”)
I know this is a read-along, but I’m not really too concerned with giving you the Sparknotes version of the book. If you read the sections in the schedule, you’ll know the plot. I’m going to continue this series by simply giving you my thoughts on what has happened. This will make it a bit easier on me because I will no longer be quite so worried about giving away spoilers. We good? We good.
In this section, we really see Catelyn step up her game as a character. Before this point I really just didn’t like her very much. She seemed very shallow and unfeeling. Even though there was no doubt before that she was a dedicated mother, I think it takes a special type of mother to finally realize that what is most useful for her family, is for her to leave.
I have also been warned multiple times that Jon Snow was a terrible person. This honestly upsets me greatly after his first chapter in this section. I finally see a little bit of humanity in this character. Someone finally opened his eyes to the fact that his problems aren’t the only problems in the world, and that’s a nice thing to see in a character.
Is anyone else feeling as if Eddard Stark’s chapters are getting harder and harder to get through? I know he’s the King’s Hand and all, but politics, politics, politics. Who is Eddard Stark? I feel like everything I learn about him comes through other characters, he does not hold any sort of outstanding personality himself. I’m not sure if it’s unfortunate or a way to tell for sure that almost everything that comes out of his chapters is absolute truth. I don’t feel as if someone who keeps himself so hidden would take the time to lie in his narrative.
Okay; show of hands, Tyrion good or evil? If you’ve watched the television show, don’t cheat. So far we’ve seen arguments for both sides of this argument and I won’t rest until I know the answer. Is that a death sentence? We’ll just have to wait and see now won’t we? I personally see how concerned he is for Jon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good. Right?
Along with Tyrion’s ambivalence, another thing that amazes me is the way George R.R. Martin can so skillfully portray a pre-teen girl like Arya alongside hardened warriors. Arya’s angst is palpable in her chapter. I almost feel embarrassed for knowing exactly what a temper tantrum like hers feels like, I feel a bit more embarrassed for Martin’s ability to mimic this as if he has pulled a hissy-fit like this himself.

Each of these characters becomes more and more vivid as the story progresses, as they should in any good book. It’s nice to see the growth of these characters through their own eyes and through the eyes of those around them. Martin gives his readers a gift in the voices he gives his characters. Until next time! Happy reading!

-Katy

June 16-22: Chapter 18: Catelyn (“We will make King’s Landing…”) to Chapter 26: Jon  (“Jon was showing Dareon”)

I know this is a read-along, but I’m not really too concerned with giving you the Sparknotes version of the book. If you read the sections in the schedule, you’ll know the plot. I’m going to continue this series by simply giving you my thoughts on what has happened. This will make it a bit easier on me because I will no longer be quite so worried about giving away spoilers. We good? We good.

In this section, we really see Catelyn step up her game as a character. Before this point I really just didn’t like her very much. She seemed very shallow and unfeeling. Even though there was no doubt before that she was a dedicated mother, I think it takes a special type of mother to finally realize that what is most useful for her family, is for her to leave.

I have also been warned multiple times that Jon Snow was a terrible person. This honestly upsets me greatly after his first chapter in this section. I finally see a little bit of humanity in this character. Someone finally opened his eyes to the fact that his problems aren’t the only problems in the world, and that’s a nice thing to see in a character.

Is anyone else feeling as if Eddard Stark’s chapters are getting harder and harder to get through? I know he’s the King’s Hand and all, but politics, politics, politics. Who is Eddard Stark? I feel like everything I learn about him comes through other characters, he does not hold any sort of outstanding personality himself. I’m not sure if it’s unfortunate or a way to tell for sure that almost everything that comes out of his chapters is absolute truth. I don’t feel as if someone who keeps himself so hidden would take the time to lie in his narrative.

Okay; show of hands, Tyrion good or evil? If you’ve watched the television show, don’t cheat. So far we’ve seen arguments for both sides of this argument and I won’t rest until I know the answer. Is that a death sentence? We’ll just have to wait and see now won’t we? I personally see how concerned he is for Jon, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good. Right?

Along with Tyrion’s ambivalence, another thing that amazes me is the way George R.R. Martin can so skillfully portray a pre-teen girl like Arya alongside hardened warriors. Arya’s angst is palpable in her chapter. I almost feel embarrassed for knowing exactly what a temper tantrum like hers feels like, I feel a bit more embarrassed for Martin’s ability to mimic this as if he has pulled a hissy-fit like this himself.

Each of these characters becomes more and more vivid as the story progresses, as they should in any good book. It’s nice to see the growth of these characters through their own eyes and through the eyes of those around them. Martin gives his readers a gift in the voices he gives his characters. Until next time! Happy reading!

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-NoelleIf Domino’s purpose was to make the voices of Sanditon heard, then I want to join the people of Sanditon, a.k.a. the loyal viewers, and let my voice be heard too.And here it is.Egads, I am still confused!And, it is to my understanding, from all the comments I have been reading on these last few videos, many of you are in the same boat—which I have so to say is a bit of a personal relief on my part. To go back to my last post where I talked about plot formation and character development; I would just like to reiterate that I am holding out hope that this series will all make sense for us at the end. However, with the introduction of new characters this week—Letitia and Beau Griffiths—I have to wonder when the show will actually be wrapping. Beau and Letita (or ‘Griff’ as she prefers to be called) have offered a conflict to the many voices of Sanditon. As I watched this past Monday, I found them vibrant, fun, and really refreshing examples of the two faces of Sanditon: the fitness gurus and healthy relaxation. Their varying ideas on fitness may reflect the argument on what sort of town Sanditon should be presented as, but it only makes me think that there is little possibility of every plot line being completely dissolved in the next week or so or before the start of the next series in July—especially if there are any plans to introduce some of the characters such as Mayor Parker’s wife Mary (@MaryPofSanditon) whom we have only seen on twitter.In Bernie Su’s most recent tumblr post he wrote, “I’ve been busy writing and developing the 2nd full series book adaptation. Everything about it is TBA, but it’s coming.” That being said, do any of you think that there are plans to extend production past the first weeks of July? I know some of you have theorized that Sanditon might be a bridge between the next adaptation and that the next adaptation might even be Jane Austen’s Persuasion—given its seaside setting in Bath. I’m not going to lie, I LOVE Persuasion and would be thrilled out of my mind if that was the next adaptation. But, where does this leave Sanditon?Well…who knows at this point.But, I do love reading the never ending debates and theories like the ones we have seen during production of LBD. One of my favorites thus far on the show’s ending comes from viewer syikana on youtube: 

​“I’m guessing that Gigi might get pulled back to go to Grad School and we won’t find out​ [how it ends]. It will be a way to bring back the whole unfinishedpart of the novel.”

Now that’s some poetic justice! But, we’ll just have to wait and see. Let’s the debating commence.

-Noelle
If Domino’s purpose was to make the voices of Sanditon heard, then I want to join the people of Sanditon, a.k.a. the loyal viewers, and let my voice be heard too.
And here it is.
Egads, I am still confused!
And, it is to my understanding, from all the comments I have been reading on these last few videos, many of you are in the same boat—which I have so to say is a bit of a personal relief on my part. 
To go back to my last post where I talked about plot formation and character development; I would just like to reiterate that I am holding out hope that this series will all make sense for us at the end. However, with the introduction of new characters this week—Letitia and Beau Griffiths—I have to wonder when the show will actually be wrapping. Beau and Letita (or ‘Griff’ as she prefers to be called) have offered a conflict to the many voices of Sanditon. As I watched this past Monday, I found them vibrant, fun, and really refreshing examples of the two faces of Sanditon: the fitness gurus and healthy relaxation. Their varying ideas on fitness may reflect the argument on what sort of town Sanditon should be presented as, but it only makes me think that there is little possibility of every plot line being completely dissolved in the next week or so or before the start of the next series in July—especially if there are any plans to introduce some of the characters such as Mayor Parker’s wife Mary (@MaryPofSanditon) whom we have only seen on twitter.
In Bernie Su’s most recent tumblr post he wrote, “I’ve been busy writing and developing the 2nd full series book adaptation. Everything about it is TBA, but it’s coming.” That being said, do any of you think that there are plans to extend production past the first weeks of July? I know some of you have theorized that Sanditon might be a bridge between the next adaptation and that the next adaptation might even be Jane Austen’s Persuasion—given its seaside setting in Bath. I’m not going to lie, I LOVE Persuasion and would be thrilled out of my mind if that was the next adaptation. But, where does this leave Sanditon?
Well…who knows at this point.
But, I do love reading the never ending debates and theories like the ones we have seen during production of LBD. One of my favorites thus far on the show’s ending comes from viewer syikana on youtube: 

​“I’m guessing that Gigi might get pulled back to go to Grad School and we won’t find out​ [how it ends]. It will be a way to bring back the whole unfinishedpart of the novel.”

Now that’s some poetic justice! But, we’ll just have to wait and see. Let’s the debating commence.

Photo
-Noelle
I am so completely in the Austen zone today.
Seriously.
I just finished Sense and Sensibility today (David Shapard’s Annotated Austen novels are some of THE BEST by the way, for anyone who is curious) and can I just say it was fantastically brilliant—for a number of reasons. What always gets me the most excited is Jane’s superior use of character development and the way she writes about the people around her. I found myself literally LOLing as I read while mumbling things like, “These people, and I can’t even stand it!” Particularly when Elinor and Maryann dealt with the atypical sorts of people within our own society, such as gossiping but well meaning folk, and the ever malicious frenemy.  
Funny to think how so little has changed in 200 years, isn’t it?
At the same time it is this sense of timelessness that makes her writing work for adaptation, translation and the like. It is one of the reasons why her readers totally ‘get’ her novels. That being said, I really need to know… Janeites, what do you all think of what is happening in Sanditon these past two weeks?! Because, as I have been reading other blogs and comments, I have noticed that a lot of people are decidedly torn on what to actually make of what is going on with this plotline.  
I can’t complain about the characters, they seem really great. I especially love Clara because she is a gal after my own heart.  Along with being a great lover of ice cream, (I have also been slinging the stuff for…I think six years now… and let me tell you readers, you would be surprised to know how many people do not understand the art of properly whip-creaming a sundae!) she is completely passionate about what she does and is really fun to watch onscreen and her recipes that interject and weave within the plot as a whole are really fun.  
 Yet, I’ll be honest, at this point in time, I am finding myself slightly lost in terms of where this story going, because we have seen so little of the many of the major players on the videos. And I really just want to know more! From what I understand they are frequently on twitter, so there is plenty of development there, but I personally hope that we see more of it within the videos. 
We have already seen some potential plot climaxes this week with  Glitch-Episode 9 where Domino developed a mind of it’s own and hinted at an important arch of budding romantic tension between Ed and Clara.  The plot point seemed to come full circle in the following post by Clara Breakfast Sundae-Episode 10 where the viewer was given a hint that  thoughts were on Clara’s mind other than making an ice cream sundae.
We can all definitely agree that WTS has a slightly different feel from LBD, but I don’t think that this makes the set up terrible as some seem to be suggesting. Because, if you have been keeping up with the episodes you will have noticed that Sanditon itself has become sort of a messy and confusing place in and of itself. So maybe my confusion is not without further meaning. Perhaps it’s a direct parallel between the world of Sanditon and our own viewing world?
Now that would be interesting.

-Noelle

I am so completely in the Austen zone today.

Seriously.

I just finished Sense and Sensibility today (David Shapard’s Annotated Austen novels are some of THE BEST by the way, for anyone who is curious) and can I just say it was fantastically brilliant—for a number of reasons. What always gets me the most excited is Jane’s superior use of character development and the way she writes about the people around her. I found myself literally LOLing as I read while mumbling things like, “These people, and I can’t even stand it!” Particularly when Elinor and Maryann dealt with the atypical sorts of people within our own society, such as gossiping but well meaning folk, and the ever malicious frenemy.  

Funny to think how so little has changed in 200 years, isn’t it?

At the same time it is this sense of timelessness that makes her writing work for adaptation, translation and the like. It is one of the reasons why her readers totally ‘get’ her novels. That being said, I really need to know… Janeites, what do you all think of what is happening in Sanditon these past two weeks?! Because, as I have been reading other blogs and comments, I have noticed that a lot of people are decidedly torn on what to actually make of what is going on with this plotline.  

I can’t complain about the characters, they seem really great. I especially love Clara because she is a gal after my own heart.  Along with being a great lover of ice cream, (I have also been slinging the stuff for…I think six years now… and let me tell you readers, you would be surprised to know how many people do not understand the art of properly whip-creaming a sundae!) she is completely passionate about what she does and is really fun to watch onscreen and her recipes that interject and weave within the plot as a whole are really fun.  

 Yet, I’ll be honest, at this point in time, I am finding myself slightly lost in terms of where this story going, because we have seen so little of the many of the major players on the videos. And I really just want to know more! From what I understand they are frequently on twitter, so there is plenty of development there, but I personally hope that we see more of it within the videos. 

We have already seen some potential plot climaxes this week with  Glitch-Episode 9 where Domino developed a mind of it’s own and hinted at an important arch of budding romantic tension between Ed and Clara.  The plot point seemed to come full circle in the following post by Clara Breakfast Sundae-Episode 10 where the viewer was given a hint that  thoughts were on Clara’s mind other than making an ice cream sundae.

We can all definitely agree that WTS has a slightly different feel from LBD, but I don’t think that this makes the set up terrible as some seem to be suggesting. Because, if you have been keeping up with the episodes you will have noticed that Sanditon itself has become sort of a messy and confusing place in and of itself. So maybe my confusion is not without further meaning. Perhaps it’s a direct parallel between the world of Sanditon and our own viewing world?

Now that would be interesting.

Photo
Game of Thrones Chapters 9-17
-Katy
Recap
Now that we have waded our way a bit farther into the novel, it’s a bit easier to see the three plot lines that have started to branch out in this narrative. Though all three plots are clearly connected, it’s also easy to tell them each apart as their own separate entities.
We really start to see that all is not right in the Seven Kingdoms. The way this situation is set up, the reader now gets to watch what is happening both in Winterfell and in King’s Landing through the eyes of a variety of narrators. In both of these locations, it is very clear that there is trouble brewing just below the surface of that the characters know to be true. This is apparent through many different events that take place
     In this section, the reader also gets a brief glimpse into Jon Snow’s time as a part of the Night’s Watch through the eyes of Tyrion Lannister. It is interesting that Martin chooses to give the reader these scenes through the eyes of a character other than Jon himself. This sets (in my mind) Tyrion and Jon up as parallels in a sense. Jon and Tyrion’s stories are made almost interchangeable through this use of narrator. Because Martin has proven that he can make any one of his characters tell us the story, it is important to pay attention to not only what is happening, but who is telling us.
     Finally, we see the wedding of Daenerys to Khal Drogo. This narrative seems to be barely related to what is happening in the rest of the novel, but time and time again Daenerys and her little shit of a brother are mentioned by the narrators of the other chapters.
Thoughts
     As the story lines start to unwind themselves more and more, I find it easier to take bigger bites of this novel at a time. Though there are huge family trees and maps to keep in mind, the story is broken up in such a way they once a basic understanding of each family is made, it becomes less of a task to manage them.

     Is anyone finding themselves drawn to a particular character as the novel progresses? Strangely enough, at this point in time I find myself feeling the most for Sansa Stark. Especially after her last chapter in this section. She has been raised with a certain expectation of what her life would be and at every turn, her worldview is being shattered. 

Game of Thrones Chapters 9-17

-Katy

Recap

Now that we have waded our way a bit farther into the novel, it’s a bit easier to see the three plot lines that have started to branch out in this narrative. Though all three plots are clearly connected, it’s also easy to tell them each apart as their own separate entities.

We really start to see that all is not right in the Seven Kingdoms. The way this situation is set up, the reader now gets to watch what is happening both in Winterfell and in King’s Landing through the eyes of a variety of narrators. In both of these locations, it is very clear that there is trouble brewing just below the surface of that the characters know to be true. This is apparent through many different events that take place

     In this section, the reader also gets a brief glimpse into Jon Snow’s time as a part of the Night’s Watch through the eyes of Tyrion Lannister. It is interesting that Martin chooses to give the reader these scenes through the eyes of a character other than Jon himself. This sets (in my mind) Tyrion and Jon up as parallels in a sense. Jon and Tyrion’s stories are made almost interchangeable through this use of narrator. Because Martin has proven that he can make any one of his characters tell us the story, it is important to pay attention to not only what is happening, but who is telling us.

     Finally, we see the wedding of Daenerys to Khal Drogo. This narrative seems to be barely related to what is happening in the rest of the novel, but time and time again Daenerys and her little shit of a brother are mentioned by the narrators of the other chapters.

Thoughts

     As the story lines start to unwind themselves more and more, I find it easier to take bigger bites of this novel at a time. Though there are huge family trees and maps to keep in mind, the story is broken up in such a way they once a basic understanding of each family is made, it becomes less of a task to manage them.

     Is anyone finding themselves drawn to a particular character as the novel progresses? Strangely enough, at this point in time I find myself feeling the most for Sansa Stark. Especially after her last chapter in this section. She has been raised with a certain expectation of what her life would be and at every turn, her worldview is being shattered.