The Joys of Horror Comedy

I feel like a genre there isn’t enough of is horror-comedy. And there are some winners out there! I watched three delightful ones today: Extra Ordinary (2019), Little Evil (2017) and Beetlejuice (1988). And I can wholeheartedly recommend them all!

Extra Ordinary follows a driving instructor with a Talent for the supernatural who gets roped into helping a man rid his house of his wife’s spirit. The spirit will go so far as to dictate what shirt he can and can’t wear, how much toast he should eat, or where the plates need to go into the dishwasher. Honestly, it’s hilarious.

Little Evil is about a man with a stepson who takes pranks to an extra level – to the point where the father starts to wonder if he’s actually evil. The opening scene is the wife having to dig her husband out of the ground because the stepson buried him. Adam Scott is honestly a gem in this! I laughed so much.

Beetlejuice is a classic Tim Burton! I remember, vaguely, seeing it as a child, but I couldn’t remember anything about it other than Winona Ryder was in it. I totally forget it had Alec Baldwin! It also has Catherine O’Hara and watching it so soon after finishing Schitt’s Creek gave me the giggles. She’s a star!

Anyone else love horror-comedy? I’d love some recommendations!

Currently Reading [27/05]

Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman [nonfiction, philosophy, history] I’m a huge fan of Bregman’s talks and I’ve been meaning to get into his books for a while now. His recent story on the real Lord of the Flies was just wonderful, too. Really looking forward to this one.

Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky [dystopian, science fiction] This is one BIG book! I’m really enjoying the audiobook, but it is 23 hours (!), so it’s gonna take me a while. The descriptions are great so far.

Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation by Imani Perry [nonfiction, feminism, history] The introduction was absolutely mind-blowing! The author relays the story of the novel Oroonoko by Aphra Behn, which was written in 1688 and is apparently one of the first English novels ever written. It’s about the love between the eponymous hero, and Imoinda, his true love. Perry writes: Behn’s bifurcated tales of fortune and misfortune, The Forc’d Marriage and Oroonoko are, in turn, comedic and tragic. They are twin narratives of the development of modern patriarchy. Another part that struck me was the case of Amanda Dickson that Perry highlights. Dickson was a biracial woman in the late 1800s whose white father sought to bestow his fortune upon. Perry writes, But in [Amanda Dickson] we have a record of a life that surely must have been dizzying, anxiety-rendering, and rife with heartache. In that she wasn’t alone; she certainly was a part of a staggering majority: those who failed to be and were failed by the patriarchs in their midst.

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry [historical fiction, lgbt+] Not far into this one yet, but so far the main lads Thomas McNulty and John Cole have spent an enjoyable stretch of time working as dancers and enjoying the dresses they get to wear and the dances they have with the men. Lovely prose as well!

Some great covers for these ones, too:

Mini Review Roundup [25/05]

This was an audiobook and poetry weekend, to be sure! After finishing Gold Rush Manliness and Everything You Love Will Burn, I decided to pick up some romance and poetry. I have a lot more nonfiction on my list, but mixing it up definitely keeps things interesting. I’m also enjoying Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky, an epic sci-fi book.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

All she wanted to do was stand there and look. Being by the sea always made Sarah feel small. Insignificant in a way that was comforting somehow.

I’m actually setting this one aside for now. About halfway done, and whilst I really do like O’Neill’s writing and I’m definitely going to try one of her other books, I’m not in the right mood for this one. I think what the book is trying to depict is an important topic to discuss – how bad relationships can become – but I don’t think I’m in the head space for it. As well, Sarah is a character that I’m struggling to connect to. I’ll probably come back to this at some point though. The story certainly does draw you in.

I also picked out a few poems to read this week as I was definitely missing poetry. Uncanny Magazine has a lot of great poetry, so I checked out some of their recent issues

Issue 31 / Issue 32.

I started with ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ by Ada Hoffmann.

Have you ever torn through a forest of books, trawling the half-naked
flotsam
of dream and the tarnish of myth, desperately seeking
a memory?

Pretty, right? I liked this one. What a lovely poem. Available here.

Followed it up with Brandon O’Brien’s ‘Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve’s Belle’, which was brilliant.

Wanting pretty things is hunger, too,
and having is feasting, denied by few.

Available here.

I also read Annie Neugebauer’s ‘The Wooden Box’. Really liked this one!

It’s a wooden box,
ornately carved, beautifully
stained a dark mahogany.

It’s dry as I lift it up
and gently slide out the
tongue-and-groove top.

Gave me chills, to be honest! Read here.

  1. Cage of Souls | science fiction, dystopian
  2. A Small Revolution in Germany | lgbt, fiction
  3. Agnes Grey | classics, fiction
  4. The Curse of the Black Cat | fantasy, lgbt

What’s everyone reading this week?

May Books 2020

currently reading

Gold Rush Manliness – [non-fiction, history] Really liking this one so far! It focuses on how race and views on masculinity affected the men and women of the gold rushes in California and British Columbia. I have to finish up its review by the end of the month.

Swimming in the Dark – [lgbt, historical fiction] I just started this one and I have a feeling it’s going to break my heart in beautiful ways. The writing is so lush. It follows a young gay man in 1980s Poland.

Agnes Grey – [classics] I’ve always loved Anne Brontë. Started this one after I got into a conversation about the Brontës the other day and reignited my FEELINGS on the fact that Charlotte tried to prevent Anne’s book from being republished after her death. There’s more here, but I will never get over Charlotte almost killing her sister’s career AFTER SHE DIED. She literally said this about her sister’s writing: “Wildfell Hall it hardly appears to me desirable to preserve. The choice of subject in that work is a mistake – it was too little consonant with the character – tastes and ideas of the gentle, retiring, inexperienced writer.” LIKE WHAT THE FRIKKITY FRAK DISCO TRACK IS THAT?!

 

What’s everyone else reading this month? 

Mini Book Reviews: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1964) & How to Train Your Dragon (2003)

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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming

Okay, this was super cute. I saw the film as a kid (and somehow didn’t realise that the movie was co-written by Roald Dahl???) and I knew it was based on a book (and somehow didn’t know it was by James Bond‘s writer! I’m a loser, honestly) but I never got around to it. So glad I finally have. I think it’s lovely that this was written for Ian Fleming’s son. Reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ dedication to his goddaughter: But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.

SUPER. CUTE.

And the fact that David Tennant narrated the audiobook just solidifies its awesomeness. His voices are PERFECTION.

 

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell 

And that, my friends, that is the hard way to become a hero.

THIS WAS SO BLOODY CUTE. The names are adorable. It’s all adorable. TOTES ADORBS. Definitely recommend for anyone who wants a cute little book about a boy and his dragon.

Book Review: Matilda (1988)

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Matilda by Roald Dahl

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.

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This is one of my forever-favs. This book gave me so much joy as a child and it still holds a special place in my heart. Little Matilda Wormwood with her wretched family, her wretched headmistresses, and so much cunning in her mind that she devises a way to help herself, her classmates and the wonderful Miss Honey.

Four for you, Matilda.

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Audiobook Review: Anne of Green Gables (1908)

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Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive — it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there? But am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do.

Good freaking rainbow toaster sticks, this book is just every shade of adorable. Anne has absolutely no chill and I. AM. HERE. FOR. IT. She reminds me of me, as a kid, actually. The hyper active but deeply insecure girl who just has no filter and yammers on and on. Hehehe. Embrace your lack of chill, guys. 😉

I’m not surprised by how much I liked it, though I’m surprised by things I probably wouldn’t have picked up on if I’d read it as a kid. Watching Anne with an E had me drawing hearts around Anne and Gilbert, but this book totally had me wondering if Anne/Diana was the true OTP. And I’m not the only one. I could definitely see Anne and Gilbert being rivals and friends forever, with Anne and Diana being meant to be. But heck, they’re all so cute. Anne probably has chemistry with the flowers in her garden, though. Whatever your interpretation or OTP, this book is just wholesome. Like, it’s such a happy story, set in such a lovely, dreamy place. And crikey does it make me miss Canada. Nova Scotia’s the only place I’ve really been (and Anne comes from Nova Scotia!), but now I’m desperate to see PEI.

And this → → I’d rather have you than a dozen boys, Anne. Just mind you that. Rather than a dozen boys. ← ← was just the *chef’s kiss* of the book. Bearing in mind this was written in 1908. WE STAN A BIT, MATTHEW.

Also, I am perfectly content having Rachel McAdams narrate absolutely everything.

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Gosh, she’s so lovely, isn’t she? (/◕ヮ◕)/

tr;dr read Anne of Green Gables, ya goobers. It’s a delight.

Show Review: Anne with an E (2017)

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I didn’t think I would be so captivated, but I am! Anne with an E is utterly adorable. Having never read Anne of Green Gables myself (despite owning all of the books as a kid) because I’m useless, I always knew the story. Little Anne Shirley comes to Prince Edward Island in the early 1900s to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, an elderly brother and sister pair who want a boy to help them tend the land but instead they get Anne. She convinces them to keep her and slowly starts to win over the hearts of everyone on the island despite often putting her foot in her mouth, making frequent mistakes and having absolutely no chill.

The show itself largely follows Anne’s various escapades on PEI and the life of the islanders, each episode charming and wholesome in its own right. It’s certainly on the lighter side, but the show does touch upon some very important topics and there are hard-hitting moments that serve angst. My favourite characters are definitely Anne, her best friend Diana, Gilbert, Cole, Sebastian and the Cuthberts. Gilbert’s determination to win Anne over is the cutest thing ever. Cole, a character that wasn’t in the books but was created for the show, is truly a precious gem.

There’s good representation that didn’t come into the books (or so research tells me), too. And it’s wonderful seeing LGBT rep being incorporated so beautifully into classics. I won’t spoil you, but I love the character(s)! 

Since starting the show, I’ve also started the book. The audiobook version is performed by Rachel McAdams, too! And Rachel McAdams is perfection personified, yes yes?

 

gifs found online, not mine*

Audio Book Review: Basic Training

book review

Basic Training by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., narrated by Colin Hanks

He searched his conscience in vain for a grain of remorse to justify the desolating punishment the general had promised. When you punish somebody, you take away from them what they want, he reasoned. All I had in the whole wide world was my music, so that’s what I lost: everything.

A new old Vonnegut. I’m not sure you can go wrong with a novella by Kurt Vonnegut that’s narrated by Colin Hanks! This is one of Vonnegut’s unpublished stories, likely written in the 1940s, it seems. I haven’t come across it before today and was in the mood for a Vonnegut story. It’s a good novella, and follows a teenager named Haley Brandon when he comes to stay with a man who insists upon calling himself the General. I saw a few Salinger comparisons and I can see it. If you’ve read Salinger’s shorts, I totally get the same vibe.

I recommend the audiobook for sure! Colin Hanks is a great narrator and really brings Vonnegut’s words to life ♥

 

Review Round Up: Three Novellas/Short Stories

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The Butcher of Anderson Station (The Expanse #0.5) by James S.A. Corey

“Because why matters, Colonel. Why always matters. Whatever your story is, I know how it ends. It ends with you, here, talking to me.”

I am a huge fan of the television show (which I only started a week ago and am almost done with because it is awesome) so I wanted to try the books and see if I liked them. I picked the very first in the order, even if it isn’t technically the starting point and I really liked the writing!

The storyline of Anderson Station is so tragic and highlights the casualties of war and all the innocents caught in the crossfire. Fred is a very interesting character. He and Dawes play off each other well. Can’t wait to start Leviathan Wakes! I need more of Captain Jim and his crew!

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The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

I cannot describe it at all. It is possible that it does not exist. But they seemed to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

This is a hard one to stomach even if it is so short. I went into it not knowing the premise, so for the first part of the story I was intrigued, and then I was furious, and then I just sort of sat there and went whoa. I feel like if you know anything about the premise, it ruins the surprise, and since it is only a few pages long, I won’t go into much detail. Simply put, I definitely recommend this, even for the emotional and philosophical gut punch you will receive. Very thought-provoking and days later I’m still thinking about it.

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Marked: A Possessive Vampire Romance by Dawn Jansen

Let me stay here, underground, where it is quiet and dark. Let me sustain myself on the blood of rats and be at peace.

This short story follows Ada and Lucien, a human historian and a vampire hiding underground, respectively. Ada’s exploring the tunnels in New York for research when she runs into Lucien and accidentally pepper sprays herself in the face in surprise. But Lucien’s even more surprised, cos, you know, Ada looks like his dead lover Claire.

I stumbled a bit with how quickly they fell for each other. I kind of get Lucien’s obsession – it reminded me of Stefan and Damon finding Elena in The Vampire Diaries — but I thought Ada fell a bit quick for the lad. I think if I met someone in a tunnel and freaked out, I wouldn’t be flirting. You do you, girl, but I agree with Laura, the roommate: She told me it doesn’t matter how hot he is, there’s no way I’m going back there. BRING THAT GOOD ADVICE, LAURA. Honestly, I struggled with how consumingly Ada fell for Lucien. I don’t care if it’s gonna get me killed, if I don’t see Lucien again, I might as well be dead. Girl. GIRL. VALUE YOURSELF. Like, at least ascertain that he is not, in fact, a murderer before kissing him.

I found the vampire lore that was hinted at to be quite cool! The idea of vampires living underground because of hunters makes for an intriguing backstory. I would have loved more of a backstory on Lucien’s turn. Lord Gaston only got a brief reference and I’m desperately curious about the vampiric world building and how covens work in this. In fact, Lucien and Claire’s whole backstory went by so quickly, but teased at so much intrigue! If the author wants to write a prequel, I vote for Claire and Lucien bossing it up across Europe in the 1700s.

Overall there’s a lot to like here, but I’m a fan of the slow burn so I do wish it’d been a bit longer and given us more of a build up and backstory.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

all reviews cross-posted to goodreads 🙂