Archive | August, 2013

10 Published Fanfiction Books That Aren’t Terrible

31 Aug

fanfiction

If you didn’t know, fanfiction refers to works by fans of television shows, movies, books etc. that use the source material’s storylines, characters or world to create a new work of fiction. It’s a generally overlooked sub-genre in literature – and perhaps rightly so. According to The Guardian:

Fanfic is seen as the lowest point we’ve reached in the history of culture – it’s crass, sycophantic, celebrity-obsessed, naive, badly written, derivative, consumerist, unoriginal – anti-original.

Fanfiction comprises one third of all content about books online. But you might not know that many, many works of fanfiction have actually become published novels or even entire series in their own right. I’m not talking about books like ‘The Hours’, or ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, or even ‘Ulysses’. These are derivative works but not really fanfic. Books like ‘Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters’ or ‘Android Karenina’ don’t really fit the bill either, as they contain most of the original source text.

Good fanfic should take an author’s fictional universe and tell us something completely different. Here are 10 examples that you should definitely check out before dismissing fanfiction entirely. Continue reading

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A to Z Bookish Survey

29 Aug

I found this A to Z Bookish Survey on theprettybooks and thought I’d give it a try.

Author you’ve read the most books from
According to Goodreads it’s a tie between Louis Lowry (on account of her Anastasia Krupnik series and the brilliant dystopian masterpiece of YA fiction that is ‘The Giver’; C S Lewis, because of the Narnia chronicles and an unfulfilling reading of ‘Mere Christianity’; and Anne Rice, because I gorged myself on her vampire stories in high school. J K Rowling coming in closely behind these three, though! Having just ordered her secret new detective fiction into the bookshop, she might catch up pretty soon.

Best Sequel Ever
Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy has to be one of the best offerings to an already established fictional universe. Other than that, ‘The Vampire Lestat’ was a billion times better than ‘Interview With a Vampire’.

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Currently Reading
‘Fairytales for Wilde Girls’, ‘The Descent of Woman’, ‘On Writing’, ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ (not pictured), ‘Acorn’, ‘Family Likeness’, and the collected tales of Winnie-the-Pooh (not pictured).

Continue reading

Cute Animals Reading

27 Aug

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dog Continue reading

Jane Austen’s Fight Club

25 Aug
[youtube http://youtu.be/InNnf4dI9AE]

Jane Austen’s Fight Club – the greatest literary mash-up ever? You decide.

The concept video was written and directed by Emily Janice Card (the brunette lady with the pixie cut). I did a little research and it turns out that not only is she an award-winning audiobook narrator in her other life — she’s also the daughter of everyone’s favourite acclaimed yet controversial sci fi writer, Orson Scott Card!

The Hairstyles of Game of Thrones

23 Aug

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If you’ve watched the HBO show Game of Thrones, you’ll know that braids transcend gender and class, most notably sported by fearsome Dothraki warriors who only cut their braids when they lose a battle. Everyone wears them — from the wildlings north of the wall to the ladies of the court in King’s Landing. Continue reading

10 Book Inspired Soaps to Clean Up Your Act

21 Aug

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Books smell good. You know what I’m talking about, right? Apparently it’s down to this:

Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us.

– Perfumes: The Guide

The good news for us is that there are some bookish crafters who have combined their love of literature with their desire to be clean. The results smell pretty good. Continue reading

My Favourite Slam Poetry

19 Aug

I posted a while back about how much I love spoken word poetry, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite slam poets with you guys. I owe a lot to one particular feminist network on Facebook for introducing me to these — thanks ladies!

Most of these come with a trigger warning, so be aware of that.

Kai Davis is just phenomenal. When I watch this video I still get shivers every time. I just want to hug her and stroke her hair but at the same time I’m really scared of her and how twisted this poem sounds.

Kavindu “Kavi” Ade performing IT. Again, this piece is really moving.

Andrea Gibson performs ‘How It Ends’ in this one and it is just the cutest love poem ever. I mean can you just imagine if someone wrote this for you?

Emilie Zoey Baker’s poem ‘Fannyism’ made me a feminist when I was seventeen. This isn’t a great rendition though. You really have to go to her myspace music player and listen to it old school style, it’s a lot better.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/21221916]

Kim Selling performs ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ and everyone is blown away forever. Goodbye I am gone.

Kai Davis again and her friend made this little offering which they call ‘Dear Dirty Hipsters’ and it is an open letter to me and maybe you and it’s also really funny and we should stop being so terrible.

Is there something you think I need to see? Link me up in the comments!

New Fiction Review: ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

17 Aug

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Rating: ★★★★★

For ‘The Day the Crayons Quit‘, debut author Drew Daywalt and international bestseller Oliver Jeffers have teamed up to create a colourful solution to a crayon-based crisis.

It’s a creative book that will delight adult and children alike. One day, young Duncan finds a stack of letters where his crayons should be. They’ve gone on strike. It turns out that his Red crayon feels overworked, what with the amount of firetrucks and red apples Duncan has been colouring in. Yellow and Orange aren’t talking at all. Grey laments that elephants are an awfully big expanse to cover all by himself, and White has an existential crisis over the meaning of it all. “Could you please use me sometime to colour the occasional pink dinosaur or monster or cowboy?” asks Pink, while Beige reclaims its name with pride. Meanwhile, all Black wants is to maybe work on a rainbow or two. Who could blame him?

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I’m just going to say it: this is a fantastic book! The end, no moral. If this is not the outright winner of whatever ‘2013 Children’s Book of the Year Award’ currently exists, I will be very surprised. The concept is genius, and Oliver Jeffers’ childlike illustrations truly bring the text to life. It’s certainly made me feel incredible guilt over all the melted crayon art I made a couple of years ago.

‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ may actually be more suitable for older readers — some of the letters are a little too long and the jokes just a little bit too clever for the teeny tiny target audience — but if money was no object, I would still buy it for every child I know. The only questionable element I could find was Peach being the ‘naked’ crayon, while Brown was mentioned in passing as being used to colour bears. (I mean really? ‘Peach’ ≠ ‘Flesh’, you guys.) I don’t know if this is just me reading too much into it, but it would’ve been nice to have a bit of diversity in such a colourful book.

Book Porn: Armpits4August Edition

15 Aug

Day 14: Not a lot to see here.

If you haven’t noticed the trend of underarm follicles blossoming into fruition this month, I wouldn’t blame you. Despite Dove’s marketing campaign to try and sell us the ‘beautiful underarm’ as a thing, we just don’t spend a lot of time looking at each other’s pits! Unless you’re Amanda Palmer or Julia Roberts, the sad fact of life is that nobody will pay very much attention to your underarm tresses if you do grow hair under there, and if you’re bare under there you probably haven’t ever given much thought to why you shave in the first place. But for some women and trans* men with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), the battle against body hair can be a complicated, emotional, and embarrassing experience.

A common symptom of PCOS is hirsutism (excessive hair growth). Inspired by this, Armpits4August began as a month long charity event in which participants grow underarm hair for one month and ask friends and family to sponsor them to raise money for Verity, the charity for people with PCOS. Armpits4August believes the shame a lot of people feel about their body hair is a consequence of living in a society which dictates that female-assigned bodies must conform to incredibly narrow beauty standards, and which upholds a rigid gender binary that deems body hair a ‘masculine’ trait.

These beautiful and bizarre book covers are my own contribution to the movement (as well as my participation in the event, of course). So without further ado, let’s take a look at the lovely limb locks! Continue reading

New Fiction Review: ‘Acorn’ by Yoko Ono

12 Aug

Frankie just finished reading ‘Acorn’, a book of instructional pieces by conceptual art extraordinaire Yoko Ono. S/he thought this:

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Yoko’s great. Really, she knows what she’s doing. Her ideas are interesting, she’s clearly quite well read and well informed, she’s an intense and acute observationist, and she’s as much a presence on paper as she is in person. She’s an extraordinary artist, and no one needs reminding. But she’s not my artist. She doesn’t speak to me, she doesn’t resonate, she barely inspires a ripple in my imagination.

And that’s not to say that I don’t have imagination; I make songs, I make collages, I have an investment in art-making and conceptual thinking. But I’m also a pretty standard young person: barely any money, still unsure what I’m willing to do as a real job, concerned about the way I look and how others perceive me, inspired by various Westernisms and very much an urbanite. I’ve been toughened by the city, toughened by a fairly working-class upbringing, toughened by having to deal with assholes on a near-daily basis, toughened by being an unsigned, unloved musician, toughened by club and drug culture, toughened toughened toughened, made bitter, twisted, cynical, unbearable, and pissed off to the max (and yes, that’s everyone else’s fault, actually). Continue reading