Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stori Telling by Tori Spelling.

- Miranda

Why, yes. I do choose classy books. I'm suffering from a pretty terrible head cold right now, so I'll keep it short and simple. First of all, I love the title. I'm a sucker for a good pun. My feelings about Tori Spelling, author, are pretty much the same as my feelings about Tori Spelling, actress. She's servicable, charming, funny, and talented enough to get by. She has a reputation as a terrible actress that she doesn't totally deserve (she was in no way the worst actor to appear on 90210, trust me). She aslo has a reputation as a spoiled little rich girl, which she also doesn't totally deserve. Every single person on the planet wants to be "normal," and Tori explains that she really would have liked to have a normal childhood. But you can't complain about growing up wealthy... it's seen as society's ideal and nobody is going to give her sympathy. Tori recognizes that, and I can understand somewhat the position she's in. It's like... nobody wants to hear about the 24-year-old who can't find clothes in her size in grown-up styles because she's too thin. Nobody feels sory for you, but it doesn't make you feel any better about your situation. 

Overall I think the book is an easy breezy read for anyone who is a fan of 90210 or made-for-tv movies (Tori's bread-and-butter). I think it's a little scattered, she probably could have had two books, one with behind-the-scenes gossip and another with her family drama (you will love your mother so much after reading about Candy Spelling). 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cunt by Inga Muscio

cunt: a declaration of independence

Randa warned that our language rating would bump up to "R" if I wrote about this book. Bring it on.

So I found this little gem in the "Women's Studies" section of my local Barnes & Noble. I read it in less than 24 hrs (with an 8hr nap halfway through). I was hooked.

cunt is a sort of manifesto from Muscio on the meaning of being a woman and how to be a woman and a feminist and how those things depend on learning to love oneself--every little bit, even the ones with naughty sounding names. It's written in three sections, as follows.

The Word
A short prelude discussing the history of the word "cunt". It wasn't always one of the words you can't say on television. It used to be a positive word. It still ought. Its time to take it back. Own it.

The Anatomical Jewel
Everything you ever wanted to know about your anatomy. And some things you may not have wanted to know. And some things you didn't even know you could know. This section is the bulk of the book, it covers everything from the biology to the politics to spirituality, then moves on to the sociology of western men and women, the perception of sexually active women and the culture of rape in the US and the west. All quite smoothly and brilliantly.

How to reclaim women's rightful place in the world. Not Hillary at the top of the food chain, not legislated equal rights, but truly equal representation, equal respect. Everywhere. Period. And ways to be a vigilante about it and against violence.

Throughout the book Muscio threads some of her own story, her experiences and her family's, as well as including a lot of work from other writers. The whole book is really inspiring, moving. At one point I actually burst into tears, I sobbed for probably 5 minutes. Just as the title says, it feels like independence, freedom. Now as the glow wears off, I'm not sure I'm ready to jump into all the suggestions headfirst, but I want to try a bit. One thing Muscio suggests is spending a year in woman-world, abstaining from all media, art and literature produced by men. This would essentially mean shutting off the tv, skipping the movies, reading the news exclusively on women-run websites and reading only books and magazines by female authors.

I'm not ready to go that far (lets face it, I'm already invested in Heroes) but I think I am going to dedicate myself to female literature for the rest of the year. I'm counting cunt as number one and I purchased Spin Sisters by Myrna Blyth. I'll have to shelf about 6 books I recently purchased by male authors, but they'll be just as readible in 2010.

I strongly recommend this book to all women and men as well. If only as an eye-opener its a compelling read and a book that makes you think. After blowing through this in less than a day, I'm already considering re-reading it because there was so much to take in that I don't want to lose.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Rum Diary - Pt 2

I finished this. I missed my big 100th post opportunity. Sigh.

Okay, so review. I enjoyed this book. In the end there was no more solid plot than the beginning. It truly was like a Diary. Just a record of events, without rhyme or reason.

Like other Thomson, the protagonist is self-destructive, big on substance use. The situations are outrageous, the only woman in the story is treated horribly and has some serious issues.

It's an interesting look at the media as well, the behavior of the reporters is less-than-professional. It makes you wonder who throws together the things you read. And who chooses the stories. And how it all gets paid for.

I recommend The Rum Diary for lunch hour reading. It isn't heavy or long. It isn't exactly light-hearted or particularly funny, but it was a nice distraction from life. A quick transport to another place and time is always nice.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Welcome to UBC's 100th post. Half of which are probably posts about Atonement.

I just finished Good Omens, which was one of the books I got for Christmas. It was very good, and funny. However, I think I would have enjoyed it more had I just read straight through, instead of stopping and starting the way I did. I mean, there is no reason it should take me 2+ months to finish a 400 page book. I'm a little embarrased, but there were all these House and SVU marathons that required my attention.

Anyway, the gist of the book is that Armaggedon is upon us, but things aren't exactly going to plan. You see, eleven years ago there was a slight mix-up at a hospital, and the anti-christ was given to the wrong family. Oopsies! The cast of characters in the book is pretty vast, so I'll just mention that my favorite part of the book was the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. War is a fiery redhead (with red eyes to match) who supplies weapons wherever they're needed; Famine sells "diets" to celebutards; Pollution (who took over when Pestilence retired) spends his time in oil-tankers and chemical plants; Death... well, Death doesn't do much except talk in all-caps and dominate trivia games. And they don't ride horses, they ride motorcycles. 

Good Omens made Pajiba's list of the Generation's Best Books, coming in at #4.

Up next: Stori Telling by Tori Spelling. For reals.