Political correctness is supposed to help us avoid offending people. I don’t generally give a flying fart if I’m offensive. I am not politically correct. I’m sometimes loud. I talk about sex, politics, and religion–often at the dinner table and sometimes when I’m a guest in someone’s home. I swear. I’ve been accused of mocking religion and I laugh at things Bill Mahar says. So when I call out certain talk or behavior, it’s probably not because I’m offended; it’s because I’m genuinely concerned about dangers related to said behavior. I think some of it is downright reckless.
RECKLESS BEHAVIOR #1 — Using sexist language & using “girl” as an insult
When a father tells his son to man up or stop acting like a girl, the trouble is not just the message it sends to his son (being a girl = bad, so don’t be girly), but also what it says to his daughter: that being a girl is simply not as good as being a boy. No matter what she does, she will always have a strike against her through no choice or fault of her own. And she (and her brother) also pick up on the fact that their mother, sister, aunt, and grandmother are inferior to their father and other men. Therefore, it’s not important to listen to their mother or respect her. And they certainly don’t have to respect female teachers, police officers, bosses, or strangers on the street.
I never want to be called the funniest Indian female comedian that exists. I feel like I can go head-to-head with the best white, male comedy writers that are out there. Why would I want to self-categorize myself into a smaller group than I’m able to compete in? –Mindy Kaling
RECKLESS BEHAVIOR #2 — Using racial slurs & making racist jokes
There are rules in comedy about which groups can be picked on. It’s bad form for groups in power to pick on those with less power (but the reverse can be acceptable, often because first group has already created a divide.). Also, only members of certain racial or ethnic groups can say certain terms. (Whether or not anyone should say such things is a different issue altogether). Remember how Michael Scott didn’t get why it’s not okay for him to recite a Chris Rock bit? Luckily, many people do understand the limits even if they’re not sure why they’re in place.
Most of the time, when majority or powerful groups disrespect people outside their group, it mainly serves to demonstrate insecurity and the desire to maintain the upper hand. [Like this example of how white students mocked nonwhites at a 70% white high school.] Even playful uses of terms and jokes are often used to create or maintain someone’s status as The Other. Those People. Us and Them.
Think of times when you’ve heard variations on these ideas:
- They are not like us.
- They only got this far because of affirmative action.
- They aren’t moral.
- They eat weird foods.
- They have weird traditions.
- They don’t share our values.
- They are sluts.
- They are taking our jobs.
- They don’t pay taxes/ They are looking for handouts/ They hate the rich/They blame us for our success.
- They drink too much.
- They are all involved in organized crime.
- They’re lazy/ smelly/ stupid/ oversexed/ dangerous.
Each one of these ideas translates to “I wish to maintain the status quo. If other people are treated better, there might not be as much good stuff for me. I enjoy coasting. I don’t want more competition for the stuff I like and I certainly don’t want to have to work harder.”
RECKLESS BEHAVIOR #3– Using “Muslim” & “terrorist” interchangeably
Radicals in all arenas are just that: radical. They wreck stuff for everyone because of stereotypes, which are seldom born through quiet, mellow people (see below). When Islamophobia is spread, people are unfairly targeted, especially women. Muslim women who cover their hair stand out, sometimes harassed and/or beaten. Shortly after the Boston Marathon, a man repeatedly punched a woman in the back who was walking on a sidewalk in Boston. College students in Texas were beaten while being called “terrorists” and “evil.” A man was beaten in the Bronx on Monday night in front of an Applebee’s. An Applebee’s! What a terrible place to be beaten, and just for having brown skin. (Of course, the fact that the bombers have since been described as “light skinned white men” is beside the point.)
RECKLESS BEHAVIOR #4 Perpetuating stereotypes
Stereotypes are bad for the stereotyped and the stereotyper.
It’s not fair to prejudge someone based on experience with (or hearsay of) someone else with a shared characteristic. Everyone deserves a chance to be treated and known as an individual. This is also why the “One of my closest friends is __________” trope is so grating. People read that as, “I can excuse my own propensity for stereotyping because luckily, I found the one _______ who isn’t ________ that I can pull out as a token on occasions like this.”
Stereotyping is a shortcut, and like all shortcuts, stereotyping often ends up costing much more time than it would take to do something right in the first place. And you know what? Positive stereotypes are just as dangerous. It’s not fair to expect people to live up to imaginary standards.
Homer: Listen, do you want the job done right, or do you want it done fast?
Marge: Well, like all Americans, fast . . .
Imagine all the friends and experiences people miss out on because of assumptions! Conversely, imagine all the bad hiring decisions and dates that have taken place because of assumptions.
I’m just as guilty as the next human. Did I ever tell you about the time I agreed to hang out with a guy who I thought was gay? He was a regular at the place I worked. One cold Minneapolis evening, I was on a date and didn’t know it. So when he invited me up to his apartment to look at his plants, I said yes because I genuinely wanted to see them. This was apparently code: glaringly obvious code. So while I was admiring his orchids and he tried to kiss me, I laughed–mostly at myself because I was surprised by my appallingly inaccurate gaydar. I had plenty of time to think about what I’d done on the long walk back to my car.
The term “illegal immigrant” is offensive to many people, and for good reason: it dehumanizes human beings and justifies their shoddy treatment. Therefore, here is positive news for anyone who likes other human beings: the Associated Press (AP) has changed their stylebook entry for the word “illegal” as part of a larger effort to eliminate labels.
Last month, the AP added a mental health entry that “argues for using credibly sourced diagnoses instead of labels” and not to even mention mental illness unless it’s necessary for a story. If it is, AP users are instructed to avoid using labels, so instead of describing someone as “anorexic” or “an anorectic,” for example, use instead the phrase a “woman diagnosed with anorexia.”
This recent discussion brought the conversation back to “illegal immigrant.” “We concluded,” the AP blog states, “that to be consistent, we needed to change our guidance” because ”while labels may be more facile, they are not accurate.”
From the AP stylebook:
illegal immigration Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.
Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegalsor undocumented.
Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.
Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?
People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.
What to say to people who scoff, calling this just another annoying P.C. effort?
It’s the grammar, stupid!
Apart from being offensive, the use of “illegal immigrant” is simply grammatically incorrect. The word “illegal” is an adjective meaning “forbidden,” so since a person cannot be forbidden (only objects or behaviors), grammar dictates that the terms “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant” make no sense. Cheers to the AP for finally figuring that out! Let all grammarians rejoice! (The dictionary does list “illegal” as a noun, but informally only. Since the AP doesn’t let me use the informal spelling of “all right” [the preferable and attractive "alright"], I am happy that the AP is striving to be more consistent.)
Of course, actions that a person does (like immigrating, carrying a gun, or roughing the passer) can be illegal. A football player who performs an “illegal hit” is not an “illegal player,” a person who carries a stolen firearm without a license is carrying an “illegal weapon,” but is not an “illegal gunowner.”
I still disagree with the AP’s wrong, wrong, wrong stance on the Oxford comma, and I wish the interrobang (‽) would be considered a standard punctuation mark, but I commend this change.
Last year, I successfully completed the 50/50 Challenge (fifty films and fifty non-fiction books in 2012). It was hard work, so in January, I enjoyed being able to read at a more leisurely pace. I did have a challenge set up for 2013: I plan to donate platelets 13 times in 2013 at the Heartland Blood Center in Tinley Park, IL. But when February came, I realized that I missed having a goal that I could work at on a weekly, or even a daily, basis. So I give you The Fifty Different Beers in 2013 Challenge. That’s right, I am going to try at least fifty different beers in 2013. Whether it will be as enriching as last year’s challenge is hard to say, but I’m willing to put in the necessary work to find out. Plus, I need the extra nutrients to supplement all the blood I’m giving up this year.
I was considering only counting beers I’d never tried before, but I decided that it would be too hard to remember if I’d ever had them before in my life (I’ve been a fan of beer for quite some time), so I’m going to treat it more like a big year (see the wonderful film The Big Year) and start 2013 at zero.
For January, I have to mostly rely on memory. (In February, I began to take pictures).
Molson Canadian is a delightful, simple beer that I have a soft spot for, probably because I have fond memories of drinking it on draft in Toronto in 2002. It’s what douchey beer enthusiasts might call sessionable. (It should be noted that I’ve worked with beer and studied it a bit, but I am not one of those people who writes reviews on Beer Advocate and I don’t use borderline obnoxious terms like “nose,” “head,” and “lacing,” and I certainly won’t describe the “mouth feel.” I just won’t.)
Bell’s Best Brown
I once earned myself a terrible hangover from Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, and although it was a long time ago (2005) and in a land far away (Minneapolis), I have feared Bell’s since. (This might also explain why I am so adverse to IPAs). But I am a sucker for brown ales, so when I saw this on the menu at Tribes Alehouse, a place particularly fond of bitter brews, I had to try what seemed to be a welcome departure. And it was lovely!
Rogue Chocolate Stout tastes like someone poured Newcastle Brown Ale over some cheesecake (delicious in small doses, obviously).
When I discovered my local Jewel had started carrying Bohemia, I had to get a 12-pack. With more flavor than Corona but not as sweet as Pacifico, Bohemia is definitely my favorite beer from Mexico. (Do not use lime.)
I went to a shop in Lake Villa called The Deli Lama that sells create-your-own six-packs so I made it a point to choose six I’d never had before. I was charmed by Ellie’s Brown Ale by Avery Brewing Company of Colorado. I love brown ales and the chocolate lab on the label made me think of chocolate malt (probably by design). Ellie’s Brown Ale is tasty, but it’s a little nuttier and heavier than I prefer.
5 Rabbit Cerveceria is local to Chicago but I’d never tried one (to the best of my recollection). I’ll bet their beers are good but the Golden Ale was not where I should have started. At 32 IBUs, it’s just a bit too hoppy for me, but more so it was the fruitiness from the yeast and its particular combination of hops that left me displeased. I stayed away from 5 Vultures at the store because the label scared me away with its mention of ancho chiles, but after reading the descriptions on their website, I realize now that it would have been a much better choice for me.
O.K. Beer from Okocim Brewery in Poland was on clearance so I bought a four-pack of cans. I’d been drawn to it before because I like the can but hadn’t picked it up. And what can I say? It’s O.K. It tastes like beer. It’s history is pretty interesting, if what its Wikipedia page says is true. And because it’s not in a clear bottle, it didn’t taste skunky. (Fear not the can, my friends, especially with imports. Never buy an import in a clear bottle. Never.) It’s going to be refreshing when the weather warms up. I will drink it on my patio.
Goose Island, a local Chicago brew that was unfortunately purchased by Anheuser- Busch in 2011, has several Belgian-style ales intended to be cellared and paired with food. I did not wait, nor did I pair them with any food in particular; I just wanted to try some. Because they are expensive, I put a single Sophie and Matilda in my six-pack. Strangely, even though Sophie’s IBU value is lower (25 vs. 32), I preferred Matilda. Sophie is a saison, so it relies on additives (pepper, vanilla, orange peel) for flavor, whereas Matilda uses caramel malt and tastes much less fruity. From their descriptions on the website, Pere Jacques should be the next of Goose Island’s Vintage selections I try, and perhaps a Madame Rose. I also grabbed a Goose Island Mild Winter because I’d been tempted by it at the liquor store and was happy for the chance to try just one. It is really, really good: smooth, malty, kind of sweet but not too sweet–a good alternative when I can’t get my hands on Newcastle in cans (my favorite beverage of all time).
The sixth choice (and most expensive) I placed in my self-created six-pack was Dragon’s Milk from New Holland. The label teased me with yummy wording: “roasty malt character intermingled with deep vanilla tones” but “all dancing in an oak bath” are the only words I should have listened to. I thought it would taste like Breckenridge Vanilla Porter (which is freakin’ delicious) but instead it tasted like Maker’s Mark. (Read: Horrifying). This is the only beer in recent memory that I’ve dumped out. I tried for about ten minutes, I really did, but I just couldn’t do it. I realized later that I actually ordered it at Tribes in January but had to give it to my pal Benji, who did enjoy it.
While I was gazing into the beer coolers the same day I grabbed the O.K., a fellow shopper asked me to check out the label on this beer, Metolius Damsel Blonde Ale, to tell him where it’s from (Portland Brewing Company). He mentioned that it was half off so we both picked up a six pack for less than $4. (We both also picked up some Sopporo and I grabbed a Kirin six-pack too because apparently my store has stopped carrying Japanese beers). I learned from the Metolius website that the beer is retired, which explains why it was on clearance. And I learned from drinking four of the six (so far) the reason it’s retired: it tastes like how feet smell. Summer feet. Summer feet that have been in sneakers with no socks all day.
In February, I bought a Goose Island variety pack. My plan was to try one of each and then keep the others for guests, but I keep drinking them! There is Mild Winter (yum), 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honker’s Ale, and India Pale Ale. I’m not a huge wheat ale fan, but 312 is alright; instead of tasting like rotting fruit as many of them do, it’s crisp and refreshing. Honker’s Ale is a nice alternative during those months that Octoberfests are unavailable, what with its lovely color and balanced combination of flavorful hops and malt.
As I mentioned above, I hate IPAs so I was nervous to try this one. But I was pleasantly surprised! Around here, 3 Floyds is very popular and most of theirs are hoppy as hell, so compared to those, Goose Island’s IPA is downright gentle. I still wouldn’t want to drink more than one, and it helps with the grody aftertaste characteristic of IPAs to drink it with food, but I’m glad I tried it. And who knows? I might one day start liking hoppy beers. Our tastes change, you know. When I was in high school, I chewed cinnamon Trident and now I can’t stand cinnamon-flavored gum and candy. Also when I was younger, I hated Brussels sprouts and now I like them a lot.
January count: 4
Countries represented: 5
Hmm, something tells me it might be easier to get to 50 beers than it was to get to 50 non-fiction books . . .
At the end of November, I had 44 books and 51 films to show for 2012. What a long, strange trip it’s been! In case you haven’t been following my posts, the 50/50 Challenge entices bloggers to read fifty books and see fifty films in a year. I easily read fifty books in a year, so I limited mine to nonfiction (some readers saw some of my selections, such as The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten.: The Tweets of Steve Martin, as somewhat specious, but the gigantic [and awesome] book by Steven Pinker The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined more than makes up for the lighter, easier fare.) Here be my consumption for December:
The four-part PBS documentary series America in Prime Time
Started Looper (but Amazon Prime flaked out on us. I did finally finish it in January and found it excellent. And I don’t usually like lots of gunfire. It’s not my thing. But Joseph Gordon-Levitt could wear a prosthetic nose or be in a silly 1990s sitcom and I’d find him perfect.)
- J. D. Salinger, A Life by Kenneth Slawenski (Excellent! And what a tricky task: Writing a revealing, in-depth autobiography of a man who wanted nothing more than ultimate privacy–but his affection for Salinger is clear, and Slawenski writes with respect and sensitivity. Reading the book has inspired me to reread all my Salinger books, which, except for Catcher in the Rye, I haven’t read since undergrad. (I tend to reread Catcher every few years anyway because I always find something new in it. I think I’ll find even more this time).
- How to Read a Person Like a Book (My mom lent me this book and it drove me nuts. The information is probably useful and somewhat accurate, but the big problem was that it was written in the 1970s and the authors use “he” for almost all examples, and I couldn’t tell if they were referring to men specifically or just using sexist language.)
- Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox (I read Always Looking Up earlier this year, so I thought I’d go back and read Fox’s first memoir).
- Anita Hill’s Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home (Eloquent, educational, and inspirational)
- Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland (Angry. Don’t read before bed.)
- The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans by Mickey Edwards (I loved this book and I admire Mickey Edwards. This is one Republican [or former Republican] I’d vote for. His ideas make perfect sense to me–a new approach to determining Speaker and districts, creating open primaries, and more–and I truly believe our democratic system would work so much better if all of his ideas were implemented.
Keep in mind that these numbers don’t reflect fiction books (of which there were only a few) and movies that I’d already seen–unless it had been ten years since I’d last seen the movie. (That means that the TBS A Christmas Story marathon and the multiple times I caught Shawshank Dedemption on cable do not count). Also, I have a confession: I didn’t finish the Anita Hill book until 2013. Just a day or two in. I’m giving myself a pass because I didn’t start the challenge until a week into 2012 . . .
I’m cutting it too closely for comfort in my 50/50 challenge (to read 50 nonfiction books in 2012), but when the opportunity to get my hands on Bluff came along to read and review on behalf of Novel Publicity, I couldn’t resist. The description of the book lured me in:
Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone’s deceptions, even her own.
Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.
What drew me to this book was the subject matter: I was curious how the book would handle the controversial issue of woman-as-host. After raptly watching politicians and strangers determine Terri Schaivo’s care several years ago, along with newly-reignited emphasis on women’s reproductive health and privacy issues with the last election, I was interested in seeing how the author would handle these questions: the book opens as her character, Jude, has had a fall down a lakeside cliff (hence the title of the novel), and the only person who can speak for her is her best friend, Frances. Throw in the fact that Jude is a long-divorced lesbian, five months pregnant (and Jude is the only character who knows who impregnated her), there’s enough mystery in the first few pages to fuel a year’s worth of Days of our Lives storylines. That’s not to say the storytelling is overly sensationalized or cheesy; the subject matter is treated respectfully and is certainly believable (and appropriately horrifying, especially when Jude’s perspective is given a turn).
Yes, Jude’s perspective is given in the novel–she’s in a locked-in state, often aware of what is happening around her and to her. Many of the other characters (too many?) also get their chance speak. The perspective changes chapter-to-chapter, each one told in third person limited. However, perhaps a solid third person omniscient narration for the whole book would have served the novel as well or perhaps better because the reader is at the whim of each character’s momentary mood. Still, because all the characters have very different views and incentives, each character gives the reader a little something different. (Some more pleasant than others). The full cast of characters, along with the tireless list of controversial topics, may have made this book perhaps a bit too ambitious, but the book’s fast pace and action make the book worth reading, perhaps even making it a good pick for book clubs. It’s not easy, but it’s a good book, and the kind of book that you really want to talk about with someone.
Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes
Wanna win a $50 gift card or an autographed copy of Bluff?
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Bluff tour page.
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About the author: Lenore Skomal wants you to eat her books. Her passionate desire is to touch your heart, inspire you, and luxuriate in the world of the written word. She is an award-winning author with the single goal of resonating with others. Winner of multiple awards for blogging, literature, biography and humor, her catalogue spans many genres. With 30 years of writing experience, 18 books published, a daily blog and weekly newspaper column, the consistent themes in her work are the big issues of the human experience and adding depth and voice to the intricacies involved in living a multi-dimensional existence. She has won many Society of Professional Journalist awards, the Whidbey Island Writer’s Conference honorable mention for best fiction, Writer’s Digest 73rd Annual Fiction Contest, New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens 2003, and most recently, the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award for humor for “Burnt Toast.,” her first anthology of her award winning humor columns. From journalism, to literary fiction, to humor and biography, her writing is consistent, if not in genre, then in message.
Get Bluff on Amazon.
I went into November having read 41 nonfiction books and having seen 47 movies for 2012. I have not accomplished what I hoped in the month, but it does appear I’ll meet the challenge for the year! In my defense, I teach, therefore I do a lot of nonfiction reading (of compositions) that I can’t quantify toward this challenge. Darn.
- The Political in Margaret Atwood’s Fiction: The Writing on the Wall of the Tent by Theodore Sheckels (My review of this book will appear in the next issue of the journal of the Margaret Atwood Society, Atwood Studies.)
- The Fart Party, by Julia Wertz, is a delightful/cross/hilarious/gross/honest collection of Wertz’s autobiographical comics. I had read the third collection of her work, Drinking at the Movies, earlier in the year, so I was compelled to read the earlier stuff. Wertz lives in Brooklyn, but when these comics were created, she was living in San Francisco and ending a happy long-term relationships. Many of my favorites is available on her website, juliawertz.com. You should go to there.
- The Fart Party 2, also by Julia Wertz
In the second volume, she is fixin’ to move to Brooklyn. Also, she really, really likes cheese.
Wertz has a new book that’s on my wishlist, The Infinite Wait and Other Stories.
- Country Strong (Meh.)
- If Lucy Fell (About ten minutes into this film with Sarah Jessica Parker, Ben Stiller, and a very young Scarlett Johannson, I stopped wondering why I’d never heard of it but did wonder why I wasn’t turning it off.)
- Magic Mike (What can I say? The buzz got the better of me.)
- She’s Having a Baby* (This is probably my favorite John Hughes film, but I hadn’t seen it since undergrad.)
*The ten year rule went into effect here.
I have six books to read this month! I should be able to swing it, and now it’s time to consider what the challenge should be for 2013. I know that I’m going to open up the books to include fiction, but I’m not sure what to do with movies. If I had more money, I’d challenge myself to see 50 in the theater (that’s not going to happen). Perhaps I’ll challenge myself to see 50 classics. Thoughts?
Now reading J.D. Salinger: A Life
I came into October with 40 nonfiction books read on the year and 46 films watched. I’m embarrassed about October’s numbers. I’ve added only one book and two movies. In my defense, school has been crazy, I adopted a cat (more on him soon!) and I joined a book club, which required me to read a rather hefty novel (and my rule for the 50/50 Challenge is that I can only include non-fiction in my numbers). Also, I like TV.
- Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile’s Pilgrimage to the Mother Country (I don’t know England [or English] well enough to appreciate this book fully, I’m afraid. I had to look up a lot of words, at first thinking that he was using big words I didn’t know, but most ended up being British slang that I didn’t know. Still, he’s funny, and the simultaneous mocking but affectionate attitude toward England is charming.)
- Honey (Meh. Alba’s good but this is the sort of thing that happens when I turn on the TV when I wake up too early on a weekend).
- Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (I’d wanted to see this in the theater, if only for my love of Steve Carell but for some reason didn’t make it. It didn’t disappoint–appropriately dark humor and an ending that was both surprising and not).
Numbers going into November: 41 books and 47 movies. I hope my library requests get filled soon, or I’m in trouble!
I started September with 35 books and 42 movies for the year. My approach to the 50/50 Challenge dictates that I can only count nonfiction books (since I easily read 50 books in a year, fiction and nonfiction). I have decided to allow books and movies I’ve read or seen before if it’s been ten years or more.
- Epileptic by David B (Meh.)
- Falling into Manholes by Wendy Merrill (Meh. Parts were engaging and moved along quickly, but throughout all of it the tone and puns worked my nerves.)
- The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten: The Tweets of Steve Martin (A delight! I even recognized some of his tweets as I started following him early since he is my oldest celebrity crush. And by “oldest,” I don’t mean age-wise [that would be Alan Alda], I mean my first celebrity crush, and he just happens to remain number one today.)
- How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (Excellent. A must read. Shoot–a must own! I will be writing a review soon.)
- Guts by Kristen Johnston (Surprisingly good. I’m not sure what I expected, but I don’t generally have high expectations of celebrity memoirs–at least, of those written by people not known for writing.)
- Jiro Dreams of Sushi (pretty for sure, and made me want to go to there, but it only needed to be half as long.)
- The Ramen Girl (I didn’t notice Brittany Murphy much when she was alive, but since she died I’ve been sort of obsessed. I think it was this article in the Hollywood Reporter that did it. If you’re in the mood for something heartbreaking, read her quotations on IMDb. This movie is not life changing, but it’s sweet and visually lovely).
- The Vow (That’s what happens when you wake up at 6:30 a.m. on a Sunday. But it surpassed my expectations. The astoundingly beautiful Channing Tatum can also act, and I’ve liked Rachel McAdams since Mean Girls and Wedding Crashers. Maybe one day, when anyone least expects it, I will actually see The Notebook.)
- The Master* (P.T. has taken his last moments from my life. Never again. Learn to edit, man! I don’t care how excellent his cast is. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me FOUR times? That’s it.)
*indicates a movie seen in a theater
Can I read ten books in three months while teaching three courses and battling SAD? Yes. Yes, I can.
Hey, it might be fun to check on the blog that turned me on to the 50/50 Challenge, The Floating Lush, a librarian in Minneapolis (who I’ve actually never met). Since she reads (a lot), she’s only counting books that she reads at work.
With a touch of Margaret Atwood-y Blind Assassin-type mystery & history and alternating first person narration (with jumps in chronology), the novel is thoroughly engaging and emotional when it needs to be and matter-of-fact at the proper times, too. It’s also complicated enough and researched deeply enough to be Literature (yes, with a capital L). (I would like to point out here that a comparison to Margaret Atwood is among the highest compliments I could possibly give. Note that, please).
In the way Atwood might do (or one of your better chick lit authors like Anita Shreve), Fullbright has managed to tell the story through several narrators, all of whom are reliable, but all of whom have vastly different experiences and perspectives on the events and people who populate the pages. Unlike chick lit, though, this novel has three distinct protagonists. The most miraculous thing: It’s possible to be pro each of them, even while they’re battling each other.
Fullbright’s novel is ambitious, but not too much so–I know this because it works. It’s at times hard to read but hard to put down. (This is not a nice family; I’ll just tell you that right now.) There is violence, there is abuse. But there’s also art, music, and beauty–all parts of real life. I guess the difference is that most of us are unable to share that ugliness and that beauty in the eloquent way that Fullbright does.
Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes
If you’d like to win $50 gift card or an autographed copy of The Angry Woman Suite? There are two ways to enter…
- Leave a comment on my blog. One random commenter during this tour will win a $50 gift card. For the full list of participating blogs, visit the official Angry Woman Suite tour page.
- Enter the Rafflecopter giveawaycontest.
About the author:
Lee Fullbright is a fourth-generation Californian, raised and educated in San Diego. She is a medical practice consultant and lives on San Diego’s beautiful peninsula with her twelve-year-old Australian cattle dog, Baby Rae. The Angry Woman Suite, a Kirkus Critics’ Pick and Discovery Award winner, is her debut novel. Connect with Lee on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or GoodReads.
I started August with 31 movies and 26 books–reasonable shape to hit 50 of each by the end of the year, but being only slightly over half my quota for the year for books at the end of the seventh month had me kind of freaked out, so I really hit the books in August, tackling a stack of graphic narrative memoirs that had been stacked on my nightstand for months (or years). I had a lot of work to do last month to get ready for a new school year, so naturally I had a lot of time to read and watch movies. So here they are, listed in the order they were read & watched.
- Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt
- Praise of Motherhood by Phil Jourdan
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
- Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
- Cats Are Weird by Jeffrey Brown
- Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow by Anders Nilsen
- Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz
- Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (ten year rule)
- Cool, Calm & Contentious by Merrill Markoe
- Never Let Me Go
- The Education of Shelby Knox (I can’t believe it took me so long to see this!)
- Moonrise Kingdom*
- Viva Las Vegas
- Live a Little, Love a Little
- The Big Year (twice because it was SO GOOD)
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (ten year rule)
- Arming the Mexican Cartels
Under the Knife Abroad
- Becoming Barack
The Mormon Candidate
* indicates movie seen in theater
Also, the ten year rule means I can count a book or movie if it had been at least ten years since I’ve read or seen it.
The last four films I’m counting as two because they are each one-hour documentaries. The Mormon Candidate (BBC) was scary as heck–LDS is a cult, it turns out. It sounds a lot like Scientology, actually. I recommend seeing it. I also recommend The Big Year. I have no idea why I didn’t see it in the theater–it’s got Steve Martin, after all, and it’s just lovely, story-wise and aesthetically. A delightful buddy comedy between Steve Martin and Jack Black–who knew?
The two Elvis movies were quite painful. Where did those female co-stars come from, anyway?
Well, it looks like I can slow down on my movie watching, which is good because fall TV will start soon and I’m working on Season 4 of The West Wing.
Now reading: Epileptic by David B.