Richer Reading Life in 2016

I’ve been doing reading challenge for several years. I like giving myself goals and there are a lot of interesting challenges out there. However, I was debating if I wanted to do one in 2016. I didn’t finish my challenge for 2015 and I really liked the idea of reading with total freedom. No stress, no pressure. Nothing but enjoyment.

I rediscovered a few articles on BOOKRIOT and they reminded me I want to have a richer reading life which both about what you read and how you read. The articles were the Read Harder Challenges 2015 and 2016 and tips for a richer reading life. Since this is for 2016, I have 16 in each category. 16 books to read, 16 activities to do. Each of these should be fun, so help me gods.

Things to Read

-By a woman
-By a POC
-By a LGBT person
-Deals with mental illness
-Woman in politics
-Author over 65
-Author from Africa
-Takes place in Asia
-Indie press
-Translation
-Poetry
-Published before 1850
-Genre I typically avoid
-Award winner
-Audiobook
-Recommendation

Things to Do

-Ask a librarian at my local library for a recommendation
-Ask someone I respect for a recommendation and read it right away
-Read outside
-Read a book that looks like it will make you uncomfortable
-Read out loud to someone I love
-Dog ear a page
-Write in margins
-Give away a book that’s been in my TBR pile for a long time
-Cull 10 books from my collection and don’t bring any new ones home for a month
-Attend a reading event near me
-Read the book, watch the movie, debate which is better
-Listen to an audiobook of a physical book I DNF
-Listen to a podcast about books
-Memorize a poem
-Read one page of a holy book of faith I was not raised with
-Have a conversation about books with someone you’ve never talked books with before

It’s unrealistic to say I won’t buy any more books but I’m running out of space and I need to save more money. I can only bring 16 new books for 2016 outside of conventions. I can only purchase at conventions if I can get them signed. Gifts purchased for others or given to me don’t count.

This is it for 2016. It should be an interesting year.

New Years Resolutions

This post on Book Clubbish got me thinking about my literary New Year’s resolution which got me thinking about resolutions in general. I’ve never been a big fan of them. I’ve routinely found them difficult to completed. However, everything on my list is something I actively want to do so I might as well add the extra motivation.

Will any of these last past January? Definitely. Past June? No idea. Let’s find out, shall we?

General

1) Eat better

2) Exercise more/be more active

3) Spend less money on frivolous things

4) Make more recipes

5) Pay off credit card

6) Write more

7) Be tidier

8) Own less stuff

9) Resume using Duolingo to improve my residual college German

10) Travel somewhere fun

11) Spend less time on iPhone

12) Make more chain maille jewelry

 

 

Literary

1) Finish books started in 2015

2) Complete 2016 book challenge

3) Read at least one book before seeing the movie

4) Only buy 16 books outside of cons/fairs & gifts

5) Get number of books owned back under 700

6) Buy at least 1 book at a local indie bookstore

7) Finish the Fables graphic novel series. I have them all. I just haven’t wanted it to be over.

8) See the Deadpool movie in theaters. I am absolute rubbish about seeing things in the theaters but I’m too much of a fan girl to let this one stand.

 

Music Monday: Party Mix 1

New Year’s is fast approaching and it’s time to have some fun tracks for some fun times.

I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas
Avalanche by Walk the Moon
Applause by Lady Gaga
All My Love by Major Lazer & Ariana Grande
I Do What I Love by Ellie Goulding
Can’t Feel My Face by Weeknd
Lips Are Movin’ by Meghan Trainor
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars
Blank Space by Taylor Swift
Bitch I’m Madonna by Madonna featuring Nicky Minaj
I Like It Heavy by Halestorm
Ready to Go by Republica
I Love It by Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX
Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen

I snuck that last one in there to surprise your guests with a flashback.

The Fandom Awakens

I saw the latest installment of Star Wars on Friday. I had grown to loathe this movie by viewing time because of the inescapable hype. I then made a snarky comment on reddit that blew up enough to make the front page. I knew which character died within an hour.

This didn’t help since I’m highly critical of this franchise. The writing on the first 6 films sucks. While there are some funny moments, most of it makes on the smallest amount of sense necessary to keep the series afloat.  The character development is nonexistent. Leia’s planet is blown up and we hear no more about it. Luke’s entire family is flambeed but when he goes into battle, he wishes Ben/Boo Radley was there instead of the people who raised him. Anakin and Padme have no chemistry. When she said “I love you,” I thought, “Are you sure?” Padme loses the will to live after seeing her babies born? That is the stupidest, most indefensible shit I’ve ever heard in my life and I’ve seen Trump at the Republican debates.

I went in prepared to hate this movie. I left with a new appreciation for the franchise. Contrary to what the previous paragraph would have you believe, I don’t hate the franchise. I respect what it has done for popular culture but I saw it as an adult when you can’t unsee plot holes and bad acting. The Force Awakens fixed most of the issues I had with Star Wars. It even passed the Bechdel Test!

The cast was diverse and talented. The story was interesting, made total sense, and ended in a way that had resolution and left room for the other 2 films we know are coming. The characters had motivations and desires that worked and they grew and changed as the story progressed. It was a good movie. I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Why didn’t I rate it higher? I want to give it a 7 but I have 2 major problems with this film and explaining those requires SPOILERS. You have been warned.

1) Cheap CGI

The new cantina scene was great. Maz (Lupita Nyong’o) was an excellent use of motion capture. However the junk dealer on Jakku? He looked ridiculous. I’ve seen enough episodes of Face Off to recognize the fat suit, foam, and paint that went into this character. It was very half-assed and again, took me out of the moment.

The worst offender was Kylo Ren’s mentor. If you can nail Star Wars FaceTime in the prequels, Space Gollum should look better in here. For a big bad, he looked like the forgettable villain in a fairy tale cartoon for little kids. I don’t care if he’s 20 feet tall (you should call tech support about that BTW). If the Sith leader can look creepy and menacing on video conference, so can Space Gollum.

2) Derp Vader

Someone kill the casting director. They nailed every character except Kylo Ren. Why did every other character work so well? Because they were either  already established in the universe or the new kids were played by unknowns except Derp Vader. He’s played by Adam Driver, better known as Hannah Horvath’s boyfriend on Girls.

The second I saw him without the mask, I couldn’t take him seriously as a villain. Driver has gotten to much exposure as this weird idiot on an insanely popular show. FFS, one of the Obama kids interned on it! People associate him with this role. I couldn’t unsee it and it took me out of the moment. Even his rage tantrums felt like Derp Boyfriend instead of Unstable Bad Guy.

While I’m on the rant, why does he have such nice hair under a freaking helmet? It’s like he’s out of a damn shampoo ad. Can you at least pretend to make him look different than Derp Boyfriend? Give him a military cut? Anything? How about a vague attempt to make him look like his parents? Derp Vader is a walking joke about the milkman.

Did Driver do a good job? Yes. Had I never seen him before this, I’d think he was OK. A milkman joke but good. But I have seen him and it’s like watching Rob Schneider as the bad guy.

Those two issues are going to be mostly my issues. Unless you’ve seen Girls, Kylo Ren hasn’t been tainted for you. If you love, like, or merely tolerate Star Wars, go see this movie. It’s the best in the franchise. The nerds were truly blessed this holiday season.

 

Belated Happy Birthday Miss Austen

I completely missed Jane Austen’s birthday on December 16th! BOOKRIOT had an article with 13 books to celebrate. Most of them were nonficiton so I thought I’d add some of my favorite works of fiction inspired this great lady.

Longbourn by Jo Baker

The classic tale of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the servants. Poignant and lovely, this is one of my favorites.

Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James

While I haven’t read this, I did fall madly in love with the TV mini-series. It bumped the novel much higher up on my TBR list.

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James

Another book in my TBR pile, Syrie James creates a story of what Miss Austen’s life was like.

Jane Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart edited by Laurel Ann Nattress

A fun and charming collection of short stories inspired by Miss Austen’s life, characters, and stories. They star Miss Austen, her characters, or modern heroines. I love the variety of this collection and how different authors were inspired by her.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

Two women, both completely taken by Miss Austen’s heroines, swap places. They have to learn how to navigate in this strange new world and all of the drama and messes the other woman left behind. It always made me wonder if there was anything duplicitous about these women carrying on in the love lives in the new body and not really telling anyone what was going on.

And we can’t forget the written addition to one of my favorite web series:

The Secret Diaries of Lizzie Bennet and The Epic Adventure of Lydia Bennet by Kate Rorick, Bernie Su (Lizzie), and Rachel Kiley (Lydia)

You need to see the web series to fully understand these books (and if you haven’t, why the hell not?) but I think they could stand on their own for the most part. TSDOLB was a fantastic complement to the series and gave me more background knowledge on the characters and the world I loved. I wound up re-watching the series as I was reading it. I just picked up TEAOLB so I look forward to seeing how her saga continues soon.

Thank you Miss Austen for creating characters we adore and stories we’ll never forget.

Music Monday: Underplayed Holiday Tunes Pt. 3

I just discovered a few new gems so I’m giving you one last round before the big day. Happy holidays everybody!

The 12 Pains of Christmas by Bob Rivers
I’m Getting Sued by Santa Claus by Bill Engvall
I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas by MC Lars
Dirty Sledding by The Killers
The Twisted Chipmunk Song by Bob Rivers
Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire by Bob Rivers
Marvelous Toy by Chad Mitchell Trio
Christmas Eve in Washington by Maura Sullivan
Just for Now by Kelly Clarkson
Didn’t I Get This Last Year by Bob Rivers
The Nutcracker by Straight No Chaser
Come on December by Patty Smyth
Christmas in America by Melissa Etheridge
Christmas Medley by Two Steps from Hell
Winter White by A Fine Frenzy
Twinkling Lights by Office Romance
Joel the Lump of Coal by The Killers
Christmas at Ground Zero by Weird Al

Technically Marvelous Toy isn’t a Christmas song but I’ve always thought of it that way. And Two Steps from Hell does scores, not metal.

Music Monday: Holiday Underplayed pt. 2

More underplayed Christmas tunes for Music Monday! Gotta keep the variety alive so we don’t kill the next mall Santa we see.

The Star Wars Chanukah Song by The Great Luke Ski
Something About December
Santa’s Lost His Mojo by Jeremy Lister
FaLaLaLaLove Ya by Nikki Lane
Spin Me a Christmas by Aqua
Step into Christmas by The Puppini Sisters
The Christmas Can-Can by Straight No Chaser
All I Need Is Love by CeeLo feat. The Muppets
Christmas Wish by All Caps
Another Christmas Song by Stephen Colbert
Who Spiked the Eggnog by Straight No Chaser
My Bells Are Ringing by Lenka
Harps of Gold by Tori Amos
Sexist Bullshit by The Doubleclicks
Slower than Christmas by The Boxmasters
What Are You Doing for New Years Eve? by Idina Menzel
My Dear Acquaintance by Regina Spektor
Merry Something to You by Devo

I hope this livens up your holiday season.