Showing posts with label classics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classics. Show all posts

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Month in Review(s) - November 2016

November; the month in which the USA decided to make the UK's stupid political choices look relatively intelligent in comparison.

All we did was leave the EU... maybe... with no real plans, and a strong sense that nobody WAS LISTENING TO THE INFO ABOUT WHAT THE F**K THEY WERE VOTING FOR.

America decided to go bigger, and elected Trump. *sighs*











Still, we are so, so, so sorry America. We did let Farage faff around your country spreading his toady hatred by campaigning for Trump.

He's now wrecked two countries and potentially the whole world - maybe we shouldn't have given that man a passport.






But, my dearest nerdlets - if you're scared, if you're feeling hurt or alone, please understand this: THERE ARE PEOPLE ACROSS THIS ENTIRE PLANET WHO LOVE YOU AND ARE THINKING OF YOU. I promise.





On the personal side of things, my depression hasn't been as bad as it was last month (woo!) so that's got to be a good thing.

And my blog hit over 45k pageviews, followed by over 50k pageviews in the early days of December!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!






But what about the books?

Well my nerdlets, here are the books I reviewed in November:





New Adult




Eyes of Persuasion by Adrienne Monson - Novella, Fantasy, Historical Fiction*, Crime*, Romance (M/F)* (*ish)





Adult







God Help the Child by Toni Morrison - contemporary, magic realism* (*ish)
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin - classics (modern,) LGBTQ+ (M/M; M/F)
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - LGBTQ+ (M/M; M/F,) Mythology, Historical Fiction*, Mythology*, Magic Realism* (*ish)





Graphic Novels




Who Killed Kurt Cobain?: The Story of Boddah by Nicolas Ortero - biography, contemporary, magic realism, non-fiction* (*ish)














Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Mini-Review! - Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin














Title: Giovanni's Room

Author: James Baldwin

Genre: Classics (Modern), LGBTQ+ (M/F; M/M)


Amazon: UK - USA





Verdict:

This was an exceptionally good book.

It will however tear your heart out and then show it to you. Yep. That is the level of feels we are dealing with here.

(HFBGIETLJHIOETMHBL!!!!!! WHYYYYYY?!?!?!)

So, this about a young American, David, who gets involved with an Italian bartender, Giovanni, in Paris.

Apparently this book was controversial (to say the least) in the 1950s, when it was written, not only because it was about a romantic relationship between men, but also because it was a black author writing about white men.

And for that fact alone, you should read this.

Because James Baldwin refused to be restricted in the people he could write about - he refused to play it safe and only ever write about black people, as he was expected to.

(And you know me guys, I like a rebel!)

David, as a character, isn't all that likeable. Putting it plainly, he's a bit of a jerk.

But you can still see his perspective - he's a selfish jerk, but that's because of the internalised homophobia and ideas of masculinity that he won't let himself let go of.

And, in his own way, he really does love Giovanni. I'm not sure whether that makes things better or worse, you'll have to read it and decide for yourself.

But Giovanni... argh! He totally broke my heart. Like HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO HIM?!?! *Ahem.* Sorry.











There are a couple of issues with this book:

It can be very dismissive, to the degree of disgust, towards men who are perceived to be more feminine in their mannerisms. 

And it's very offensive to the transgender women who hang around the bar.

It actually describes them as disgusting, which is obviously NOT GOOD, and transphobic.

And the attitudes towards women wanting equality (I mean, how dare they?!) are clearly that of a narrow-minded, and fairly misogynistic, man from the 1950s. Sorry, I call them as I see them.

BUT, for all that: this is a good book. And it was an exceptionally important stepping stone for diversity.

I'm not giving it carte blanche for jerkiness, this book was written in the 1950s, and it bl**dy well shows.

But I will be looking out for more James Baldwin books - once I've recovered from the feels after what happened to poor Giovanni. *Sniffles*

Oh, and quick warning: there's a lot of implied sexual assault, and some implied rape.

There are also some male/female sex scenes. And I think there might've been swearing? Maybe? I really need to pay more attention to these things...

So that's Giovanni's Room - not a perfect book, by any means, but an important one, and largely worth the read - the writing is quality, and the offensiveness is annoying and harmful, but brief (thank God.)















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Saturday, 1 October 2016

Month in Review(s) - September 2016

September was the month that various sh** hit various fans.








In case you're not caught-up on all the goings-on of the bookish online community, let me briefly summarise:


  • Some people questioned authors about the lack of diversity in their books (no matter you're opinion on this, those people had the right to ask the questions.) This resulted in trolling.

  • There was a video on BookTube (the bookish portion of YouTube,) by a horrible person who sees diversity as a dirty word, and is generally a bigoted jerk. She then took offence when it turned out a lot of people didn't agree with her.

  • White supremacist & Nazi trolls decided to spread their racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, etc. hatred by trolling members of the online bookish community. Most of these people were also Trump supporters.

  • A US library magazine called VOYA showed some of the worst customer service you can imagine in their response to criticism of their apparently bi-phobic reviewing.
...I think that covers most of it. It was an... interesting month.











But we, as a community, are pulling through this... I hope.





As far as my blogging stats go this month, things have been good :)




I discovered an acronym for my blog which had been staring me in the face the whole time - DORA. Which I will now be using when Diary of a Reading Addict is too long-winded.

I passed 30k page-views for the first time (!!!!) and now see between 100 and 300 page-views on a typical day :)







I gained a handful of followers on BlogLovin and Twitter, though not as many as I would've liked.

I also noticed something in terms of my Twitter followers, which kind of upset me.







Whenever I tweet about anything to do with LGBTQ+ issues, I lose 2-3 followers; that's per tweet where I mention queer issues, characters, books, etc.







At first I thought it was just coincidence - but after that it became too regular, and I couldn't believe it was coincidence any more.

It's not like I tweet about LGBTQ+ an excessively large amount... is it? I don't think I do.

Anyway, I figure I'm better off without followers like that. As upsetting as that is.






But I just want to thank all the people who do read this blog, like and RT my tweets, comment on my posts, and continue to follow me.

I love you. Each of you is worth 1000 of those homophobic a*sholes.

In a month of trolls, bigotry, and bad news, there were two high-points - my birthday, and you guys.






So, to the books I reviewed this month:




Young Adult








Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova - Fantasy, Witches, LGBTQ+
As I Descended by Robin Talley - Ghost story, Horror, LGBTQ+




Adult










Comics




The Sun Dragon's Song #1 - Kids, Fantasy



Monday, 19 September 2016

Mini-Review! (Classics Edition!) - And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie










Title: And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Classics, Crime


Amazon: UK - USA





Verdict:

I read this for the Mystery-a-thon hosted by the lovely Ely @ Tea & Titles, which was last week. I decided to only read one book for it because it was my birthday on Thursday and BIRTHDAY BOOKS ;)

Firstly, to the big, galumphing, heffalump in the room (yes, I say heffalump not elephant. Blame either Disney or my mother - both are equally valid,) - I had some major moral/ethical dilemmas with this book.

Largely, this was because of the history of the book's title, and some anti-Semitism and disparaging comments about indigenous peoples (within POV of not-very-nice people.)

I've already talked extensively about my befuddled feelings on the subject, so I won't repeat myself here: let's just say I had some issues with this book that can't be easily dealt with.

So, putting said heffalump back in his corner, having been acknowledged: this book is exceptionally well written and sooooooo atmospheric!

I also liked that there were depths beneath the surface of each and every one of our ten main characters.

They aren't nice people. None of them are nice people. But, all the same, Christie tricks you into a certain level of uncomfortable investment in them.

And it's the interplay of characters, the sense of things unsaid, and the atmosphere of the prose, that will keep you reading.

The writing is truly masterful, and I can only thank the BBC adaptation for inspiring me to read it, despite my muddled feelings on some of the distasteful aspects.















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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Censorship - Are We All Hypocrites...?

...and I mean that in the nicest possible way ;)

This post is going to be more questions than answers I'm afraid, but feel free to give your opinions in the comments - because I'm trying to sort out my own feelings on this!










Cee, what are you blathering on about?





Well, it's like this: I'm currently reading 'And Then There Were None' by Agatha Christie (UK - US) for Ely @ Tea & Titles' Mystery-a-thon.

I didn't realise that And Then There Were None wasn't actually the original title of this book. The original title was something extremely racist.





Would I have read this book with it's original title and racism? No. Will I read it now? Yes.

And therein lies the beginnings of my ethical problems.





I've always been completely against censorship, and for free speech. Yet changing the title is a form of censorship which I support... Help!

Does this make me a hypocrite? Very possibly. But can anybody honestly say they wouldn't feel the same?











If that book was published today with its original title, I would be appalled.

I'm seriously uncomfortable with the fact that it ever had that title. And, as I said, would not read it if the title hadn't been changed.






But would it be right - in this hypothetical scenario where this book was published today, with it's original title - to ban or censor it?

I would certainly complain to the author. I would not buy it, not read it, not support it. But would I ask for it to be banned or censored?




I honestly don't know. If it was in my library, would I ask for it to be removed? Would I ask the publishers to recall the copies? Would I take my pen to copies and eliminate the racist words?

Part of me says yes. Part of me says that I should get rid of those words by any means possible. Because, and let's make no excuses here, that kind of language is wrong.

But part of me also says no. That's the part that says that people have a right to say what they want - even if you don't like what they have to say.

Because it's only when you let people speak that you can defend your own position.

It's only by hearing opposing opinions - no matter how vile they may be - that we can shape our own attitudes... But there's also the danger that those vile ideas will take hold, and that's the last thing we want.













In the first chapter of 'And Then There Were None,' there is anti-Semitism.

If it was straightforward, then I would've stopped reading. As it is, it's hugely uncomfortable, but it's in the POV of a dodgy character (although, literally all of these characters are highly morally suspect,) so I don't know what to make of it.

It's not right. But does that make it wrong, in this context? I don't know.

Would I support that part being removed, given that this book has already been censored by changing the 'n' word throughout? Again, I have no easy answer.






And that's without even touching on the rights-and-wrongs of Huck Finn.

Because I read Huck Finn with the 'n' word intact.

Just like Agatha Christie, Mark Twain was writing in a time where that word was (unfortunately) socially acceptable.

But I think - and I may very well be wrong - that there's a difference between the 'n' word in the original version of And Then There Were None, and the 'n' word in Huck Finn.










Because, whatever your feelings on Huck Finn, slavery, and Jim's role as an escaped slave, is main theme of the story.

There aren't any black people in And Then There Were None - the 'n' word is used purely as a gratuitous metaphor, in the form of a racist nursery rhyme. The story makes perfect sense without it.

You remove the 'n' word from Huck Finn, though, and you change the entire dynamic and meaning of huge sections of the story. I'm not saying it's right - I have mixed feelings about it at best, but I'm saying that it's a different situation to And Then There Were None.





Should censorship depend on context then?

Again, I have absolutely no idea.

Would I be less disgusted with Donald Trump if his language was gentler? Possibly a little, but his vile outlook on life would remain.





So, am I a hypocrite? Possibly. I am human, after all.



What about you? Does anyone have an answer for these questions?











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Saturday, 30 July 2016

Month In Review(s) - July 2016

Ahhh, July - funny old month, some good things, some not-good things.

But, y'know, I'm still standing, and blog-wise things are looking uber-awesome if I do say so myself! :)




This is me this month. #TrueStory ;)




This month has been rockin' as far as blog-stats are concerned:

I hit over 20k page-views in all, with over 5k views just this month.

A lot of this was due to my most popular post of the month - my review of Luna the Vampire, which hit over 2k page-views all on its lonesome! (Honestly, I don't know why that post was so popular, but I'm not complaining!)

Diary of a Reading Addict now has 50+ followers on BlogLovin'.

I now have 900+ followers on Twitter!





I reviewed some awesome-a*s books this month - stand-outs for me include Nina Is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi and Monstress, Vol: The Awakening. But honestly, I reviewed a lot of rockin' stuff this month!

And yes, before you say anything - I realise that of the 8 books I reviewed this month, 4 were graphic novels *shrugs* - there's nothing wrong with that!





As July 2016 faffs off into the sunset, I'm going to shamelessly point you at my post for The Diverse Books Tag.

I will also point you at Naz's awesome Read Diverse Books blog - check it out :)




And without further ado, here are the book reviews I wrote this month:





Kids






Thor: Dueling with Giants by Keith R A DeCandido - Fantasy, Media Tie-In







Young Adult




Panic by Lauren Oliver - Contemporary






New Adult




Nina Is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi - Contemporary, LGBTQ+ (M/F and F/F)






Adult





Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson - (Modern) Classics, LGBTQ+ (F/F)








Graphic Novels




 

   



Luna the Vampire, Vol 1: Grumpy Space by Yasmin Sheikh - Humour, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Vampire
Mythic, Volume 1 - Fantasy, Mythology