Little Women (2019) is my first exposure to this story, aside from Moe Szyslak fondness for it in The Simpsons, and it was unquestionably a beautiful film. The characters felt far more human than many period pieces do, I suspect a combination of the original writing and the wonderful acting. The March sisters felt like sisters despite their drastically different personalities, their goals and attitudes clashed while still maintaining a lot of joy.
As my introduction to the March family this film suffers from the world that has come since. I recognised the trends and characters that this book first set from a dozen later creations, unfortunately this just happens with influential works. Greta Gerwig does do a good job at differentiating this retelling through it's altered timeline, jumping us back and forward in time as well as sharing with us scenes that are only told second hand in the novel. From talking with fans, this means that the sudden romance shifts are built up better, while also providing an enjoyable meta commentary on the conclusion of one romance.
However one problem I had with the time jumps was that the actresses looked the same age throughout, while some work was done in regards to hairstyles and the actresses composure. There was a second delay in realising after each switch which did take me out of the movie.
My other issue relates more to the original source material, which is when a character exists only to be tragically lost, it fails to stay with me and does end up weakening the strongest aspect, which is of course the sisters themselves.
3.5 out of 5
Seeing as I haven't updated my blog in about 3 years, it should be no surprise that my bookcases are bursting with well intentioned purchases that I never got around to reading.
I start things (a lot of things) and while I finish some, it's safe to say most languish in the field of broken promises. And this is a fate I'm not comfortable sentencing so many excellent books too; thankfully, the wonderful blog The Quiet Pond has a solution. It's the #StartOnYourShelfathon. A readathon dedicated to clearing out the books that you keep promising you'll get too, one day. Well today is that day, and I present to you my current TBR. I have divided it into sections to make it a bit easier. (for me)
To begin, my current reads: the books I have already started.
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman - A Christmas (or maybe it was birthday present) from at least 4 years ago.
The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass - I started this one a few years ago, read half of it and fear that I will need to start from the beginning again which means I keep putting it off.
The Anatomy of Story by John Truby - Another writing book. I'm disappointed to learn that just owning them doesn't make me a better writer and that I in fact need to READ them... what a scam.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Marken M. McManus - A fun thriller that I know I will demolish in an afternoon if I could focus long enough to sit down with it.
City of Fallen Angels - At one point I bought all 9 of Cassandra Claire's books. Which, was probably a mistake as I am not a big fan of Urban Paranormal or bad boys in leather. But I will keep going simply because I support Jem. Turns out tortured artists are my catnip, you all can keep your emotionally stunted Draco's.
The Third Mrs. Durst by Ann Aguirre - A revenge domestic thriller that I was greatly enjoying and I can't remember why I put it down.
A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo - This book grabbed me at the first line and I know that if I open the pages again I won't escape again till the last page.
This is how You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone - This is one I could finish in a day but I feel to do so would be to a disservice to the words. This is a book you want to soak in, to let the words lap at you gently so you don't notice the rapids you are drifting towards.
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte - The reason I haven't finished this one is incredibly simple. I don't know where I left it.
The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín - I made the mistake of lending this when I was taking a brief break with it and now I must wait for the next family gathering to collect it. Thankfully, tis the season.
This year marked my partial surrender to the monolith that is Amazon. I joined Audible. And I started well, I actually finished a number of them. But now the months are building up and the books that have been downloaded and started continue to grow.
The Diviners by Libba Bray - Not going to lie. I am simply intimidated by the size on this one despite a killer opening chapter.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson - I can handle evil characters, but a man who forces his employees to play Monopoly once a week? The devil truly walks among us.
And what is all of these? These are the one that are NEXT on my TBR. The ones I have purchased most recently and thus they still have a waft of that enticing new book smell.
Monuments by Will Kostakis - an adventure that appears to be in a similar vein to the Percy Jackson books.
The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub - contemporary of unlikely teammates thrust together against their will.
What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume - teen beauty pageants and romcom? Sounds good to me.
Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina - A young girl whose died must help her detective father solve the mystery that lies beneath their quiet town.
How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox - a story of grief, loss and love.
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim - just when a young girl thinks she's got a handle on her life is of course when things begin to get complicated.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power - a horror that I am GREATLY anticipating. And now that I've finally stopped loaning it out to other people maybe I can read it myself.
Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake - I don't want this series to end! But also, I need to know HOW it ends!
Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan - The sequel to the sapphic story of body autonomy and revolution. I am excited.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kirsten White - I am a big fan of stand alone horror which is why I own so many... now if only I read them.
Circe by Madeline Miller - Why yes, I do own some books that aren't YA. Wait, I've just remembered I don't own this one, I borrowed it from a friend... never mind.
Poems from the Moor by Emily Brontë - I opened to a random page and found a poem that was along the lines of: if I die, no one will mourn me. I am looking forward to reliving my teen goth years.
Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson - a collection of stories including a retelling of The Tempest as a Caribbean myth.
Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History Edited by Rose Fox & Daniel José Older - 27 stories inspired by people whose lives have been pushed to the margins of history.
What do I hope to accomplish this #StartOnYourShelfathon? Good question. If I can make a dent in these, not even half of them, just enough that I'm no longer in danger of being crushed to death by my tbr, I will be happy.
Will I commit to not buying any books until it's done? Yes. (but even I know I'm lying)
I must admit to feeling a bit of Superhero exhaustion of late, I didn’t bother seeing Apocalypse and only went to see Logan because I accidentally agreed and a friend had already bought the ticket. I knew almost next to nothing about this movie going in, I hadn’t seen the trailers nor read the comic based off of it. I knew two facts:
I'd fallen in love with Amanda Palmer from her appearances on the Australian TV show, Good News Week, where she was an occasional guess. Although this turned out to only be a crush as I didn't really know anything about her beyond that.
After reading the Art of Asking I feel that that brief glimpse of her was an accurate one, she is an increadibly active person, bursting with ideas and passion if occasionally lacking in direction.
With each December I'm greeted by the familiar feeling of having failed NanoWrimo.
For those who don't know, NanoWrimo is National Novel Writing Month, a challenge were writers strive to complete a 50 k novel over the course of November. There is struggle, celebration and tears, and that’s for those who are successful.
For the rest of us we are left with an interesting problem, this new manuscript, which we got however far into... why has it failed? Did we simply run out of time during the month, life does have a nasty habit of getting in the way? Or did the lustre of a brand new story simply fade away once we looked too closely at the tangled web of plot threads we were trying to weave together?
Simply put, do we try and push on with this new project, or leave it on the shelf to try again fresh?
This isn’t an easy question to answer, after all even a good manuscript that will one day be polished and published might simply be the wrong one for this time. You aren’t the author you need to be to tell this story, and having it sit on the bench while you polish your skills on another can end up being for the best.
During November I began an idea that had been rattling around in my head for a while. A collection of three short stories, all taking place over the same year in an isolated all-girls school; as the paranormal turns it into a horror story. It was not only a new genre for me, but a brand new format, tense and perspective.
Third person past tense omniscient has always been my go to, with my genre being Sci-fi or Fantasy.
This project was first person, present tense, each from a single POV… and it was Horror.
I was sailing in unfamiliar waters.
However now I’ve got 26 thousand words written and am lacking any desire to keep pushing forward with it right now. I haven’t given up on the story, characters or setting. There’s still enough there that I want to polish up but I think I need a bit of a pallet cleanser.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from a project, throwing things up against the wall and seeing what sticks while you take the time to think through the projects you really think are worth it.
For any writers out there suffering this same dilemma, take a break and step back. If a story refuses to leave your head than that’s one that needs to be finished, even if it’s started to feel like a bit of a slog to get through. And if you can step away easily, and you don’t return to it? Than perhaps that is an idea better left forgotten, No shame in trying an idea out to see.
After the busy writing month that is November, it's time to get down with some reading for December, and there are two brilliant ways to do so this month. Both with a strong commitment to reading diversely.
First there is the Dumbeldors Army ReadAThon.
Created by Antee of ReadatMidnight Dumbeldors Army is designed to try and combat the intolrence of the world through reading, different spells have different criteria for the books to match, and each one gives points to your house. Let me just tell you, Slytherin will not be robbed this time round. Check out the link to see the list of spells if you are interested in joining along, my TBR is at the bottom.
Then we have the Diversity December Bingo
Iron Cast Review
There something about reading a book that isn’t just good, but is exactly what you are in the mood for, the fantastic feeling of knowing you have another new favourite book. A feeling that you just need to share around by telling everyone they need to read it…
Anyone who steps into my apartment will know that I am a dedicated book buyer, I recently welcomed my fifth bookcase into my house and am making plans for the sixth. However my latest purchases were a little different.
Taking a recommendation from Youtube, as I often do, I’ve bought a number of books about the craft of writing and spent last night making my way through the first with a highlighter.
This isn’t something that should have come as a surprise, I am after all a writer and professional novelist is the career I am working towards, however for the longest time I’ve avoided studying the art of writing.
During a quick flashback, you can see me at high school, struggling with spelling and grammar but an avid reader and writer with dreams of being a novelist. From age fourteen to sixteen I wrote my first book; book might be an overly generous term for the rough first draft but I was unreservedly proud of it. I was convinced that I had what it took to be a writer and that since editors existed it wasn’t necessary for me to try and hone my technical skills; this evolved into dismissing creative writing classes and English classes as something that could teach me nothing,
This is not the only time I’ve wanted to smack my past self across the mouth.
Through practice and a fascination with analysis videos on Youtube my understanding of narrative, character, plot and setting has developed (including brushing my technical skills up to a point where I’m no longer confused for someone who doesn’t actually speak English). However I still have a long way to go.
2014 marked a change in my outlook, I realised that becoming a professional writer wasn’t something that was just going to happen by wishing it (yes, present me can occasionally be just as deserving as a smack) but it was something I really needed to work towards.
I grew serious about self-publishing my first manuscript, which came with the horrible realisation that writing a first draft is in fact the bare minimum to being a writer. Re-writing is the key to being a real author. Sticking with a novel, cutting it and shaping it and occasionally grinding the work completely into dust and then letting it form again will turn it into the novel it could be.
As I’ve approached this process I’ve found myself constantly second guessing if the changes I’m making are for the better; is this making the story stronger or am I trying to ape what other authors have done without care for my own writing style?
So it’s time to put myself back into school, so to speak.
First off I’m reading the material and setting myself some homework, a blog post a week and 500 words creative each night. It’s a small amount but manageable with everything else I have going on. I’ll also get extra credit for reading analysis, thinking more in depth about the fiction I’m reading for pleasure.
Should I have any revelations about the editing or re-writing process I’ll be sure to share them with you, if nothing else, this should help keep me on track as I prepare for my final exam.
Turning my draft into a novel.
So Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice…. Wait wait, I promise I’m not just going to spend the next 1700 words ripping on it…. Much.
Truth be told I was expecting to hate this; my passionate hate for Man of Steel can best be represented by two star’s hate fucking each other till their solar systems are burnt to a crisp. However I simply couldn’t work out the hatred for this one, in fact my expectations were so low that I even enjoyed the occasional moment.
I do agree with most of the cristism I’ve heard of this film, but I don’t find its flaws the death sentence that other critics do. So let’s try and dig into this film and perhaps you can try and work out if this is one you’ll hate, or simply be slightly bored by.
When I first started to get into comics, Deadpool was always high on my list. Although in hindsight I can realise what a basdardised version Wolverine Origins provided. But at the time it was my first introduction to the character and I feel in love.
When I then turned to the comics, Deadpool and Cable became my favourite team up of all time, I loved Wade Wilson. My favourite writers managing the balance the comedy and the tragedy of the character whilst giving him room to grow. When I heard Ryan Reynolds had been pursuing the movie, I was hopeful but dubious. I never thought they would actually manage to make it. When it became clear they were going to be releasing a Deadpool movie I felt more then a little trepidations.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.