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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

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’.

IMG_0759

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

The Hairstyles of Game of Thrones

23 Aug

dany

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

Gliterature is Born!

11 Aug

It’s time to say farewell to thesolipsisticsocialite.wordpress.com, the URL which once was my entry into the world’s competition for things that don’t translate well and are also hard to type after a couple gin and tonics.

So hello Gliterature.com, I promise to feed you and walk you twice a day.

Let me know if you have any ideas for the site! I’m also taking guest submissions.

Six Word Stories

1 Jul

Hello readers! I don’t know if I’m mentioned this before (I have), but I work in the coolest bookshop ever. As this week is Independent Booksellers Week, I thought it might be a good time to remind you all.

This was a customer testing our pens.

A couple of weeks ago, my colleague and I were discussing the concept of the six word story. For example, Ernest Hemingway is (incorrectly) believed to have once said that his best work was a story he wrote in just six words:

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

And yeah, it’s pretty spooky. But we thought we could do better, so we took to Twitter to rally some would-be writers. Here are my six favourite responses.

Continue reading

Friday Night Playlist: Literary Songs

21 Jun

If you don’t have Spotify you can listen to the playlist on Last.fm here.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About ‘The Great Gatsby’

2 Jun

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal novella is regarded as one of the greatest stories of the twentieth century. It has been translated into forty-two languages and touched countless lives.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the story right now, what with the new film out and all, and last month I was lucky enough to attend a screening of the 1974 version, hosted by Oona Chaplin and The Gathering Goddess, at The May Fair Hotel. It was amazing! Tonks from Harry Potter was there, as were Cassie from Skins and Talisa from Game of Thrones. I was fangirling like there was no tomorrow.

Here are ten things you may not have known about the original text, which I’ve blatantly plagiarised from my own list over at the Vintage Screenings website. If you want to know more about the 1974 adaptation, or other Gatsby adaptations in general, I’ve written about those too!

  1. The great American novel has been adapted into several films, stage productions and ballets as well as a graphic novel, three video games and an opera.
  2. The Great Gatsby may have inspired Breakfast at Tiffany’s (both the novel and the film), and was at the forefront of Hunter S. Thompson’s mind when he wrote ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas‘.
  3. Francis Cugat was commissioned to create a cover for the book before Fitzgerald had finished writing it. The author liked the design so much that he wrote it into the novel.
  4. David Lynch directed a 30-second commercial for Calvin Klein’s Obsession fragrance which was titled ‘The Great Gatsby’ and which featured Heather Graham.
  5. The author tried to change the name of the book several times, his final preference being for ‘Trimalchio’ or ‘Gold-Hatted Gatsby’.
  6. There are several conspiratorial readings of the text, particularly by scholars. Some argue that the narrator is in love with Jay Gatsby and therefore unreliable, others write papers outlining the reasons why Gatsby should actually be read as a black man.
  7. The author and his wife Zelda walked out of the 1926 silent film adaptation of the novel.
  8. Some people have said that the entire text is a lipogram devoid of the letter ‘e’. This is not the case – it’s in the title, for instance, and it appears sixteen times in the first sentence alone. Readers may be confusing ‘The Great Gatsby’ with ‘Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter E‘ by Ernest Vincent Wright.
  9. Screenwriter Francis Ford Copolla went on to write Apocalypse Now, based on Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness‘, but Fitzgerald was also indebted to Conrad’s text and drew inspiration from it during the composition of his own novel.
  10. The poem which appears as an epigraph is credited to one of Fitzgerald’s characters from his first novel ‘This Side of Paradise‘.

How to do Stuff

8 Apr

bunny

I am a procrastination expert, especially online. In my defence, it’s hard to stay on track when the internet is such a fun place. There are cats to laugh at and creepypasta to devour. But I’ve recently discovered that the internet is actually a kinda neat platform you can use to get things done. I thought I’d use today’s entry to show you guys some of the tools I use to improve my laptop-centric productivity.

 

Do It Later!

A Planner (or Non-Planner) for the Creative Procrastinator

£7.99

This diary is an absolute godsend to putter-offers like me. As well as the week-to-a-page layout – so you can plan your week in one go – it has a to-do list on every double page with subheadings including ‘Things I have to do but that can wait a day, or two, or three…’ and ‘Things I absolutely have to do unless I absolutely don’t want to do them’. There is also an ample supply of tips and quotes. They’re not very helpful but they are fun to read.

(You can preorder the 2014 title here. How futuristic does 2014 sound, by the way?)

 

Challenge Accepted!
Website
Free (£10 suggested donation)

This is probably my new favourite way to get stuff done. Challenge Accepted is a web-based productivity app structured like an RPG. There’s quests, mini-boss battles, leveling-up, skills and achievements… basically, your to-do list becomes a quest log and therefore way more appealing. ‘Drudgery’ is a skill, and you can set your race as ‘Unicorn’. What is not excellent about these facts?

 

SelfControl for Mac
Online app
Free

This is a Mac application designed to help you avoid distracting websites. SelfControl lets you block your own access to distracting websites to help you avoid getting stuck in a technology loop. You add the distracting sites to your blacklist, set a time to block them for and then click ‘Start’. Then you’re locked out until the timer expires.

Let me just warn you that this app is evil. I guess that’s why the logo is a skull and crossbones. Even if you restart your computer or delete the application you won’t be allowed to check your precious Facebook newsfeed until your allocated time is up. But it works.

Obtract sounds good too, if you want to monitor productivity as a team. It’s Mac as well though – if you don’t use one this website helpfully lists some alternatives.

 

What are your tricks for getting things done? Do you turn off the WiFi or use Write or Die? Let me know in the comments!

All Dolled Up: the Aesthetics of Lolita Feminism

1 Sep

Image via daily-lolita.

Yesterday evening I was fortunate enough to attend Loli-POP! at the Victoria & Albert Museum – a celebration of Lolita fashion and frolics. The event was free and curated by Rupert Faulkner of the V&A’s Asian Department, to whom I extend my thanks for hosting such a wonderful evening. If you’re interested in reading more about the night, rabucon has an excellent post with lots of pretty pictures!

I was first introduced to Lolita style by the baby-goths of Brisbane’s King George Square, but it wasn’t until years later, on my first trip to Harajuku, that I was able to witness it on a mass scale. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of lace, frills and bows on display, as well as saddened by the fact that I would simply never be brave enough to pull it off. Because that’s the thing. Despite its sweetness, it takes incredible balls to becoming a fully-fledged Loli.

I’d never thought of Lolita as a feminist response until last night’s Q&A panel on Japanese Fashion Subcultures, when one of the panel spoke quite articulately about the movement and its relation to the subculture. I can’t remember if it was author of Tokyo Look Book Philomena Keet, or Harriet Hall, who wrote her thesis on ‘Nostalgia, Innocence and Subversion: Kawaii and the Lolita Fashion Subculture in Japan’, but they were both very clever during the whole panel discussion and made a lot more sense than I’m about to.

Image via jeriandjapan.

Basically, I see Lolita fashion as hyper-femme. It takes the concept of femininity to the extreme – almost to the obscene. Bear with me here. There is something quite subversive about Lolita. It takes these traditional symbols of femininity – bows, ruffles etc. – and exaggerates their existence. Rather than being feminine in a passive way, Lolita fashion is extremely visible and in-your-face. The whole package is all so obviously artificial, so unattainable, that I think it can be read as a political statement. A statement against a society that teaches girls to be princesses, women to be beautiful, to be submissive, to be feminine. Out society ultimately measures a woman’s worth by her appearance. These dresses and wigs and false eyelashes and knee-high socks are a rebellious act. They seem to ask, “Is this what you meant? Is this what you wanted?”

If you have ever seen a group of Loli girls, you will know that this kind of aesthetic is confrontational, and can be unsettling.

Image from feministlolita.

Lolita is also a threat to traditionally patriarchal values because it exists to the exclusion of men. These girls/women aren’t dressing this way to ‘get a husband’. These costumes are not created to please others, dressing Lolita is an almost entirely self-indulgent practice. This can be quite a novelty for those individuals who assume that “every single action in a woman’s life is entirely based around how she feels about the men in her life.” You know,

If she wants to be pretty, it’s because she wants men to look at her as an object. If she is a feminist or a lesbian, she just hates men. If she wants to be a stay-at-home mom, it’s because she feels she’s subservient to men. To society, absolutely nothing she ever does is based upon her own feelings, but to bow to or rebel against the men in her life.

Online, one Lolita shares a conversation with her friends’ father:

I was showing off ‘Sugary Carnival’, which is a print by Angelic Pretty with marshmallow-twist lines that end in carousel horses around the hem.
“So what,” he asked, “is the idea that men want to eat it off you?”
“Er, no,” I told him, “lolita isn’t intended as sexual. I guess people can find it that, but to be honest, finding it sexual I find more than a little creepy.”
“Well,” he told me, eyebrows raised, “what do you think men are thinking?”
“I think nobody cares what men are thinking.”

And there we have it. I suppose to outsiders like me, it can be difficult to understand how empowering pastels and frills can be. But I’m not about dictating what people should and shouldn’t wear – you know, “Let’s ban the burka!” or “these skirts need to be more feminist!

But this post is already way longer than I intended and I am by no means an expert, so I’ma throw it over to you guys. Any thoughts?

Festival Guide: How to Camp the Camp Way

12 Oct

So this year I went to Reading, my first festival ever. It was so in tents you guys. Tommy has a full review here, it was a pretty amazing long weekend.

Festivals can be educational — you can learn how to use a she-wee, for one. But there are a few things that I wish I had been warned about. Here’s my list of what to bring to a festival if you want to maintain your dignity, in alphabetical order.

  • Air mattress – If you plan on actually sleeping, this really makes such a difference.
  • Alcohol – If it’s in a glass container, put it into plastic bottles or in your mouth before you get there.
  • Change of clothes – Because you will get wet. And not the sexy kind. A hoodie paired with leggings is a safe bet, as is anything that will still look slightly glamorous caked with mud.
  • Ladythings – Surfing the crimson wave is a pretty godawful experience at a festival. Ditch the tampons for another option, because the bathroom facilities are way fonder of hand-sanitiser than they are of taps, so you probably haven’t washed your hands all day. Eww.
  • Mirror – Take one small enough to fit in your bag and you’ll have one up on everybody else on the campsite.
  • Munchies – It’s easier to take things that you don’t have to cook, because it’s a pain to wash up.
  • Tent and sleeping bag – Duh.
  • Torch – Those tent pegs can be sly buggers in the middle of the night.
  • Wellies – If you think it won’t rain, it will.
  • Wet wipes – It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a lady in possession of a festival ticket, must be in want of a shower.

The easiest thing is to take as little as possible and, where possible, make someone else carry your stuff. But lucky for me, I don’t have to worry about all this next time. I’m seeing the King of Carrot Flowers at Butlins.