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Hi gang, bye gang!

Just a general fyi: I've basically abandoned this journal. I'm slowly but surely getting all my book reviews over to good reads (my name over there is ScarlettSpeaks if'n you're interested) and when I'm updating anything I'm updating my new wordpress blog: sexandthespiritualgirl.wordpress.com. So check it out. I'll miss all my livejournal friends, and if you have facebook you should totes add me, or just, you know, follow my wordpress blog because that's the one I'm really trying to get off the ground. <3

A Tale of Woe

My mother hates romance novels. I’ll say that again, in case you missed it the first time: My mother hates romance novels.

When I was a kid, she thought there was something wrong with me because I sorta dug ‘em. And by “sorta” I mean “liked them a lot”. But that’s okay I thought there was something wrong with HER because she hated them so much.

And now it’s time for a full disclosure: I can count on my hand the amount of classic literature I read when I was supposed to. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a lot of classic lit. But if it was assigned for a class, you can bet I figured out a way to weasel out of it.

Wondering how those two things relate? Well, here you go: it wasn’t until, say, recently that I figured out why my mother hated romance novels. Apparently, the only romances she read where written by the Bronte sisters. Yes. Those Bronte sisters. And because I managed to weasel out of really reading both Jane Eyre AND Wuthering Heights until I’d graduated from COLLEGE…well, I just never made the connection. Because to me, neither of those books should be considered romance at all.

As a matter of fact, I credit Jane for making me a feminist. Not so much for why you’re thinking. See, when I originally read Jane I read it in high school because all my friends were doing it  (I'm susceptible to peer pressure, you heard it here first). And even though I read it, I didn't really get it. Because let's face it--the book is dense. So it wasn't until my second reading (after college) that some of the subtlies really sank in. All I remember from my initial  reading was that I had no patience for how everybody treated Jane like crap, I wanted Rochester to grow a pair and get over himself, and I really, really wanted Jane to take the money she inherited and go live someplace else.

A deserted island in the Hebrides for example.

But of course she couldn’t because that’s not what women DID in the Victorian Era. See, they were supposed to be nurturers so because she didn't have a choice, Jane did for them. Even though Rochester’s an absolute ASS she goes back to him because he’s all blind and he really needs her now, and they can be as equals because a) she’s rich--which'll come in handy now his estate's all burned to the ground by his crazy dead wife, and b) he’s fallen from his proverbial high horse and blah blah blah--

--and are you fucking kidding me, really?!

Rochester is a product of his environment, I get that. He was raised to be the entitled lord of the manner, he married a loon because his father made him, and his whole life went bitter, well, that’s what happens when all your dreams die. But for criminy’s sake, did the man have to be so…I don’t know…Victorian? And I’m not even getting into the whole “him abusing his station and position and basically taking absolute advantage of his eighteen year old governess who literally couldn’t say no because they’re essentially locked in a house together in the middle of nowhere with nothing around them but rain and heather and, also, for all her street smarts, she’s still pretty naïve because she IS only nineteen and by her own admission aching to meet a man and see the world” thing.

If Rochester were halfway decent, as soon as he realized he had feelings for her, and she had feelings for him back, he would have packed her up and sent her on a tour of Europe--or at least London--with strict instructions to not come back until she’d had her heart broken at least twice by someone closer to her own age.

But no. He had to be all “don’t leave me even though I’m a lying prick, and I want to kill you so you won’t leave me, but I can’t because I luuuuuv you”. His getting struck blind should be cathartic, but frankly for me it’s the icing on the Rochester as Spoiled Rich Dude cake. I mean, he’s so miserable with his circumstances, why not DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT for God’s sake, instead of basically seeing how much you can degenerate yourself in eight chapters.

And don’t even get me started on the vicar-cum-missionary. “We’ll have enough of love” indeed.

I think I owe my mother an apology. If all I had to go on romance was this crap, I’d probably hate it to.

Sadder still? Jane Eyre the new movie is fantastic in terms of acting and scenery and directing and all the things that it needs to make a good movie. Unfortunately the source material is such that even though I have a MASSIVE thing for one Michael Fassbender, I spent about 75% of his screen time flinching away from the movie in disbelief. And now I have a crick in my neck.

Stupid Charlotte Bronte.

My hiney is a asleep.

Does anybody else remember the mini-series Anne of Green Gables? I wasn't as big a fan as some people (Mainly because I hated the spin-off show Avonlea) anyway, the one thing I remember--other than Anne freaking out about wanting a dress with puff sleeves--is Anne's very dramatic recitation of the poem "The Highwayman". I actually liked that dramatic recitation so much I memorized the poem for my eighth grade "memorize a poem or fail this project called Memorize A Poem" thing. And, because I sortof have a history of choosing to do things biggerer and betterer than anybody else, I chose a poem that is pages long, while everybody else was memorizing things like "there once was a girl from Nantucket".

So what I'm trying to say is, during my middle school years, I had an obsession with "The Highwayman." And gobbled up anything even remotely highwaymannish I could get my grubby little hands on. (Including a few contraband romance novels, but that's a story for another time.) WHICH BRINGS US TO: Mary Downing Hahn's Look for Me By Moonlight.

I remember being obsessed with this book. Ob. Sessed. I also remember it having enough romance and passion and awesome twist-at-the-end-edness for me to reread it a bunch of times. And then loose it somehow. Probably when I lent it to my mother for her middle school class library. ANYWAY. Whitney* was in town a few weeks ago and we perused the awesome shelves of this amazing used book store in Chapel Hill called (ha) The Book Shop, I found it. Nestled between a copy of a Sweet Valley High Super Edition and one of the Twilight books. I shrieked in delight and started telling Whit about the awesomeness that was this book, complete with weird twist in the end (incidentally, my remembrance of the plot was off) and of course I had to buy it because it was only a buck ninety eight.

From the book jacket: While staying at the remote and reputedly haunted Maine inn run by her father and pregnant stepmother, 16-year-old Cynda feels increasingly isolated from her father's new family and finds solace in the attentions of a charming but mysterious guest.

Isn't that just the most? To say the least?!Collapse )

I first discovered Megan Hart when I picked up her novel Dirty at the half-price book store in my home town. So when I found her novel Stranger in the same book store, I was stoked. Funny thing: I remember Dirty as being very steamy, also very complex. However, it's not a novel I ever want to reread. For no specific reason, just whenever I need a new book I always by-pass it.

Normally when I don't like a book I just complain about it from memory. But this time I took NOTES! Also, spoilers ahoy!Collapse )
One of my absolute favorite things about fiction is descriptive writing. You can tell so much about a person based on how they'll describe a tree. Or a sunset. Or a monster coming through a portal to eat as many people as he can get his hands on.

So in one respect, I freaking love Dia Reeves' Bleeding Violet.

This is a fantastic little read that makes me want to use words like "lush" and "sweeping" and "manic" and "sassy".

It starts in a town called Portero, Texas...Collapse )
I love Young Adult books. I really, really love Young Adult fantasy. And I especially love it when the story is non-traditional, or manages to tell a traditional story in a totally new way. It means that I read a lot of Young Adult Fantasy. It also means that I'm really, really picky about what I like and what I don't.

Which brings me to Nancy Werlin's Impossible.

The thing with Impossible is that I really, really wanted to like it. I tried. I started to read it something like six months ago and got about three chapters in and had to put it down because I was bored. I picked it up this weekend because I was spending the weekend with my grandfather and knew I would need reading material while he was watching the Clint Eastwood, Spaghetti Western marathon on AMC. 

Impossible is the story of Lucy Scarborough and her family. Specifically, the story of a curse placed on her family generations ago and what has happened to every subsequent woman since (hint: they get pregnant at eighteen and go loony and the kid ends up in foster care because the mom always disappears). Lucy, who's real name is Lucinda, is a pretty all-American girl who loves her foster parents, is nice to puppies, and just wants to go to prom. 

Spoilers behind the cut. Do not read if you have any interest in reading this book and being surprised.Collapse )

In the end, this is a sweet story that tweens will love. And it's got creepy parts, but you'll still be able to sleep with the lights on. So read this if you want Fantasy Light. Good triumphs in the end, Evil is vanquished and everyone lives happily ever after. That's all that matters, right? 

Feb. 5th, 2011

I'm the type of reader that will start a book, get a few chapters in, then start another because--oh yeah, that cover looks really interesting! So to say I'm a serial reader is a bit of an understatement. I moved recently and when my parents came to take some things for storage, my mother was astounded at the sheer number of books on my shelf that had bookmarks a quarter, or a third, or halfway, or even three quarters of the way through. She asked me if I only marked the "good part" to come back to later. Nope. I'm still reading them. I'll get back to them when I can.

Does that mean that six months (or years) later when I finally pick up that book to finish, I'll have forgotten everything that happened previously? Sometimes. These are the books I begin again and start from scratch. Full disclosure: Sometimes I'll hit the same place I had when I put it down the first time, then put it down again to come back to later. There are at least five books on my shelf where I've read the first third more than twice, and never gotten around to the rest. It's a flawed process.


I picked up The Good Fairies of New York on a whim from Borders, roughly two years ago. Mainly because it had an awesome forward by Neil Gaiman and I'm a sucker for that guy and if he liked it, then that's good enough for me. So yeah. Although, interestingly given my reading history, Gaiman's forward talks about how the book is one that you'll buy and then forget about for five years and then pick it up again. Yeah...so I rediscovered it because it was sitting, dog-eared, on top of my refrigerator, on a stack of dish towels. Which is where my Kitchen Book* always sits. 

Don't worry. Fairy vomit is no doubt sweet smelling to humans.Collapse )
Yeah...so....I'm really, really angry right now and I can't form coherent sentences that aren't filled with expletives and flail arms. I just...no. Not even going to get into it.

Meanwhile, shabbat dinner at the Gabor house tomorrow night. I'm pretty excited because its' been a few months since we've had one and yeah. I enjoy ritual.

Also, I think I decided to try my hand at writing an erotic novel. As opposed to a regular romance novel. This one would be sex-driven instead of love-story-driven. Which, you know, we'll see how that pans out.

I've got four days and tonight left in this apartment. I've got a shit load of things that need to be done. Which begs the question "what the fuck am I doing online right now when I could be expelling the otherwise impotent rage on folding clothes?" 

Yeah. So that's all for now.

Jan. 27th, 2011

It's a Five Questions meme!

How this meme works:
1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I'll ask you five questions.
3 - Update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - Include this explanation in your update.
5 - Ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

My questions came from grayjedi.

1. Do you think the branch of feminism that is more about being anti-man than pro-woman helps or hurts the cause?

The problem with the "feminist movement" is that it's not so much an organized movement anymore. Different people want different things, and really nobody (that I'm exposed to) is really working for anything anymore. I mean, sure you've got NOW and ostensibly their working for the ERA and to keep abortion legal and a whole host of other issues, but really I feel modern feminists aren't really fighting for anything specific. Other than to maintain the ground that we've already been given. Meanwhile, as to the feminists that seem to be anti-man...it's really no different than men who are anti-women. It hurts the Cause in that it loses the rest of us credibility but frankly, most people are under the impression that ALL feminists are anti-men no matter WHAT we do, so at this point, even if there weren't any feminists who didn't like men it wouldn't matter you know? I don't know, the "man-haters" aren't why I've given up on the movement as a whole. I'm more upsetting about the self-righteousness and petty infighting. THAT'S the real problem.

2. On the subject of women ... since I know you've enjoyed professional wrestling in the past, who are your favorite women wrestlers?

I don't know about the current crop because I haven't been watching long enough. My absolute favorite has always been Ivory, but that's because of all of them, she was one of the ones who seemed to care more about actually, you know, wrestling. I mean sure, she was sexy and wasn't afraid of her body, but she wasn't just arm candy and she didn't go over-the-top to try to be better than the men. She did a little of both and she kicked ass. I also really liked Trish Stratus, if only because she seemed like she'd be fun to hang out with.

3. You meet a guy. He loves you just the way you are. Thinks you're the sun, moon and stars, everything is perfect ... but he's devout in his faith (or lack thereof), and will not even entertain discussion of converting. Deal-breaker, or minor speed bump?

Depends on his faith and it's dictates. If he's Buddhist or Hindu or some other form of Eastern religion, then feh. Minor speed bump. As they're multi-deities they tend to be more lenient with my own. If he's Muslim, we've got a problem because one of us would have to convert. Same with Christianity--if he's truly devout and of the "I want to know we're going to end up in the same place" flavor. 

Thing is, I would never ask someone to change their religion for me and in return I expect the same courtesy. I'm not ruling out being willing to learn about someone else's religion, but frankly I'm happy where I am and I don't see my views changing any time soon, so there you go.

As to him not having any faith at all (ie, some flavor of atheist) as long as he doesn't belittle MY choices, we're golden.

4. Slasher movies. 99 times out of 100, they involve a Final Girl. What are your thoughts, from a feminist point of view?

On the one hand, it's just a movie and it's all in good fun.

On the other hand--if the movie's whole point was the objectification of that woman and fetishizing her victimhood, then I have a problem. (See: Captivity, and the I Spit on your Grave remake, arguably the original too) Because here's the thing--creating a scenario wherein the entire point is to get off on the fact that your lead character is going through some serious, SERIOUS shit oh and by the way, doesn't she cry pretty...yeah. I have a problem with that. Because it sends the audience very, very mixed messages and I can't tell you how many times I've heard of guys who were turned on by movie rape scenes and KNEW they should find it morally reprehensible, but because of the way it was shot, it was hard not to be aroused. And I get it. I've been there too. And THAT is a problem. 

But again, we're talking about two different things, maybe. One of the reasons I really, really liked Eli Roth's Hostel II was SPECIFICALLY because he didn't take the easy "bad-guy-rapes-girl" way out that could have happened at least once to every female character in that movie. And yeah, the "twist" at the end was awesome in a "look at how he died" way, and a roundabout feminist reach around way, I guess (highlight for spoiler: the female lead cuts the guy's dick off and feeds it to a dog) but that movie had a lot of problems with it too. Like ANY movie in the slasher genre.

Which brings us to the bottom line: the slasher genre is inherently unkind to women anyway. Therefore, from a feminist perspective I have serious reservations about it. Doesn't mean I hate it. Just means I'm really, really careful about what I watch and often I have to watch the movie twice. Once to see it. A second time to "get it". Because that's the other thing, I really will go out of my way to seek something out and watch it so that I know exactly what it is I'm eviscerating. It means I like to think I have an informed opinion. So there you go.

5. Ketchup (or catsup, if you prefer) that isn't colored red. Acceptable, or Evil Incarnate?

You mean this stuff?

I love me some purple. I do. But frankly--that's just...not okay. It looks like liquid jelly beans. Or possibly melted gummy bears. Or something equally sugary and not-at-all good for me. Also, I know in my head it's ketchup, but there is no way that tastes like regular ketchup. It's like drinking orange juice when you expect milk.

Meanwhile, check this out: 

I think it is a sign of my infinite maturity that I'm not making a Purple People Eater sex joke.