Tuesday, July 26, 2022

TMST: Movies or TV Series

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team of bloggers, Roberta @ Offbeat YA, Karen @ For What It's Worth, Berls @ Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life, Jen @ That's What I'm Talking About, and Linda @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.

7/26/2022 Do you prefer movies or TV series?


Traditionally, I prefer movies if I had to pick between the two overall, however there is definitely a bit to talk about here! (Forgive me, this post is a bit scattered this time!)

Movies, for me, are that lovely escape for a few hours, with everything self-contained. TV shows  can go on for a long time, you don't know if or when you are going to get a conclusion on things (and don't even get me started on when they don't pick the show up for the next season!). I really like that shows are broken up into smaller chunks of time and you can hold onto them longer than movies, but I really prefer the defined beginning and ending of movies, and how fully formed everything has to be to work together. I know that shows can be especially great if you're just looking for something quick to unwind or to watch with dinner. There are less issues with continuity often in movies than in television series (except in the case of films that have had large chunks cut out in edits).

And yet, I would like to cheat a little and say that I think the absolute perfect medium is mini-series. I don't personally consider these to be TV series, although I believe that some people do classify them that way, but I think of them closer to movies honestly.

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What about you? Are there reasons you prefer one form over the other? Do you find that you prefer one over the other because of your schedule/watching habits?

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

TMST: Bookish No-No's

TW: This post briefly discusses assault/violence in point 2. 

Whoops, I'm a little late getting this post out, but it was one I was definitely interested in doing, so I figured better late than never!

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team of bloggers, Roberta @ Offbeat YA, Karen @ For What It's Worth, Berls @ Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life, Jen @ That's What I'm Talking About, and Linda @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.


6/21/2022 What are book no-nos that make you figuratively want to toss a book across the room?

1) When everyone (or the two leads, in the case of a romance) has a quirky name. Nicknames, sure, that's fine (ex. The Divergent series - Tris and Four don't bother me only because they are nicknames, but they drove me insane before I read the books and learned that). Or, if for some reason it is part of the plot, I am okay with it, but otherwise? Please stop.

2) Characters experiencing sexual assault/violence that is described within the book. I know that these types of situations are real, and I don't think we should cover up their existence to make people comfortable, but I find it far too upsetting to read these situations described in full detail, and often cannot handle books that do this. If it is mentioned for a moment without description really, I can manage...but my imagination is far too vivid to handle much more than that.

3) Short, choppy dialogue that is formatted oddly. You know those books that don't use quotation marks, and poorly define their characters' speech? And then they also try to mimic conversation, but it ends up being extremely choppy? Yep, this is one of my largest pet peeves. 

4) Very short chapters of no purpose. A short chapter can be an extremely useful and effective writing tool. It can be used to briefly peek into the mind and eyes of a character who is otherwise "off-screen" in the book. But here's the thing: it has to be for a purpose. Some writers just do this for dramatic effect, and it often feels just like a space filler to me. Or, if you write a short chapter that is only about a page without any revelation...this just feels like something you refused to let your editor get rid of.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Spencer (2021)

I watched Spencer a few months back, and am just getting around to cleaning up my review now - whoops!

imdb.com


I'm going to start this off by saying right away that I have conflicting feelings regarding this movie. When I was asked if it "was good" I found that I couldn't answer it properly. However, did I like it? I would have to say no. It absolutely had some strong merits though, so I want to go over both sides. This is mildly spoiler-y, but considering it's based on the life of a real person...it's more just spoiling aspects of the filmmaking style.



Things I didn't enjoy:

The dinner soup scene. Honestly, I get that this was supposed to be artsy and a depiction of her feelings rather than accurate, but I disliked watching it, and don't think it added anything to the movie. It felt out of place and absurdist to me.

Rather than feel compassion or understanding for Diana, in general I just found that she seemed, well, unreasonable and overwhelming. That isn't to say that I felt this way through the whole movie (as there were "unreasonable" moments that made 100% sense as a viewer), but there were a lot of things where I just found her to be incredibly unlikeable because of her actions.

The self-destruction. And I don't mean specifically the emotional frustration or anything, but the self-inflicted injuries and such that happened. I couldn't tell because of how it was shot if these things were supposed to be taken as "real" or as artsy moments like the dinner scene.




What I liked:

Kristen Stewart did a great job. I think she got the look and essence right of Diana and absolutely think she deserves praise for it. Several of her mannerisms felt really right, and I was so impressed and surprised. I've liked Stewart in the past for several roles, so I knew she was a solid actress, but usually I find biopics (especially involving figures like Princess Diana) are more like caricatures than strong acting.

The costumes were fantastic, and they brought the whole thing to life perfectly. Every person was dressed in just the right way, from their more simplistic attire (like Diana's pink top and jeans) to their dinner finery.

I like that we didn't get a regurgitation of the exact same story. We got a snippet of a few days, and this allowed the story to focus on different aspects than we usually get on Diana's life. Because this shows a really emotionally tormenting portion of her life, we get to see both the good and the bad. Many depictions of Diana show her as entirely lovely and just insecure, but this allowed the audience to see a more multidimensional person.

I appreciated that the movie starts by saying that it is a "fable". It's always been a pet peeve of mine that biopics act as though they are completely factually accurate, when we don't know what most closed-door conversations were - we can only imagine.

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Have you seen Spencer? How did you feel about the more artistic take on this period in Diana's life? Do you tend to watch biopics, or avoid them?

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Red Sister (Mark Lawrence)

 

penguinrandomhouse.com

What It's About

The first book in the Book of the Ancestor trilogy, this series follows young Nona taken from her village and sold as a ring fighter. Accused of the murder of a noble, the nine year old girl is set to be hanged when she is rescued by Abbess Glass who brings her to the convent of Sweet Mercy. Here, for the first time, she is given a warm bed, food to eat, an education...and training in the arts of death. But an entire convent of girls training as killers is not without its tension, and noble families do not forget when justice hasn't been served.

What I Thought

A few years back, I picked up one of Mark Lawrence's earlier books, Prince of Thorns, to see if it might be of interest to a loved one. It was really easy to get through, but I felt the writing style was a bit juvenile, even if the subject matter was gruesome. Because I didn't have any real investment in the matter, beyond the brief analysis of it for another, I read several chapters and then put it down. 

When I heard the synopsis of Red Sister, I was instantly intrigued. I mean, warrior nuns? It sounds both a little too weird, and also really cool at the same time. I picked it up - and thank goodness I did! I can thankfully credit this book as getting me out of the horrible reading slump that I've been in. Now, I'm still not going to say I'm reading a lot, or quickly, but I sure did read this one faithfully!

The writing style was still a bit juvenile at times, and at other moments it seemed like Lawrence tried a bit too hard and therefore lost some of the meaning from words altogether, but overall it flowed decently. The concept and storyline though, were wonderful and what kept me engaged the entire time enough to happily keep at it.

The violence can get pretty graphic, so if you're squeamish at all, I would stay away. Now, I don't know if I wasn't paying the best of attention, but there are some plot points that felt very unclear while I was reading. Some things were over explained, and other things...well, I either didn't get answers, or got them so late in the book that I had truly thought I was never going to get them. There wasn't much of a reminder that these things were mysteries, and instead it just felt like Lawrence forgot to explain them. I'm currently on the second book, and finally have some answers, so I am hoping this was intentional and not just the work of a strong editing team giving him a reminder.

If you need a diverting piece of fantasy with a cool new concept that isn't too tricky of a read, then I would absolutely recommend this one. It was very enjoyable and I am hoping to finish the trilogy.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

December 2021 Update

It's been awhile! I've been feeling overwhelmed by reviewing and not knowing where to start, so in a lot of ways, I just want the opportunity to start fresh. The easiest way for me to do that is to let you know what I've been reading and watching, and then...let it go! Now, some of these I likely will end up reviewing (one review I'm actually nearly complete), but I want to get rid of that pressure. So please, I'd love to chat about some of these - leave a comment about any you want to talk about (or that you'd appreciate a review on), but otherwise, here's what I can remember of the past few months:



Books

The Midnight Library - Matt Haig
Red Sister - Mark Lawrence
The Stranger in the Lifeboat - Mitch Albom

Movies

That Forsythe Woman
Love Hard
The Lady Vanishes
Little Women (2018)
A Christmas Prince
The Little Mermaid (2018)
High Strung Free Dance
After We Collided
Holidate
Elizabethtown
He's All That
The Princess Switch
V For Vendetta
When We First Met
Summerland
Ladies in Black
Belle
Mary, Queen of Scots
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again


Shows

Emily in Paris
Witcher S1 (rewatch), S2 (in progress)
All Creatures Great and Small
Portrait Artist of the Year S7

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

TMST: Do You Use Your Library?

 Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely Rainy Day Ramblings, and currently assisted by a team of bloggers, Roberta @ Offbeat YA, Karen @ For What It's Worth, Berls @ Because Reading Is Better Than Real Life, Jen @ That's What I'm Talking About, and Linda @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell.


This week's topic is: Libraries...do you use yours? 

...Nah. End post.

I'm kidding. It's a bit unusual though, working in a library. I see the usage of it very differently than I used to, however this also comes from a change in lifestyle from when I started working there.

There are certain features of the library that I use extremely often (books, movies), some I use occasionally (music, online courses, audiobooks), and some that I don't make use of at all (newspapers, legal resources, etc.). I used to take out tons and tons of fiction, but now I mostly take out movies, cookbooks, and some fiction, with a smattering of other things in between.

The hardest part is the overwhelming desire to read and watch...well, everything. You see it come in, you talk to people about it, and you realize that there are just not enough hours in the day. It's definitely a struggle, and sometimes it can be a bit paralyzing if you are not careful, in that, there are so many choices that you don't even know where to start. But man, will I never complain that that is my problem rather than not having access to all of these beautiful things!

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What about you, do you use your library? What are some resources you especially like?

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Period Drama: Gunpowder


nytimes.com

What It's About:

Remember, remember the fifth of November...
Guy Fawkes might be the name you think of when talking about the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, but its story starts with Robert Catesby. This three part mini-series details the circumstances, plotting and planning from lead architect Catesby, and how he puts together perhaps the most famous royal assassination attempt in British history.