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Movie Review: Slash

27 Mar

I know, another movie review! Yes, I’m sorry to have to resort to this. I think my reading slump is at an end, but I’m still not having much luck of finishing off books. I hope to not do this again for a while. When I was writing the review for ChickLit, I saw related movies and this one caught my eye. It had a lot of awards on it and after watching the preview, I realized it had Michael Ian Black (loved his memoir) so I decided I had to watch it. Plus, it talked about fanfic writing, which is how I got into writing in the first place.

Image via Imp Awards

Slash

Summary from IMDb

Freshman Neil’s Vanguard stories are all he cares about…until he meets the older Julia, who pushes him to put his own fan fic online. When the website’s moderator takes a special interest in Neil’s work, it opens up a whole new universe.

I found this movie highly relatable. Not so much the slash fanfiction (gay pornographic writing about a pop culture reference), but the nerd culture and growing up a fangirl (fanboy for Neil). Julia was easy to relate to because of her nerd obsession. I was a huge Lord of the Rings fan in middle school and many of you now know I’m a hardcore Harry Potter fan now. Honestly, I had a discussion about going to a con with my husband after we watched this movie. Nerd culture doesn’t get a lot of coverage in movies and I guess it takes a small movie like this one to flesh it out well. I thought it was really well done.

I loved Neil and thought he was spot on for someone going through the self-discovery he was. Julia was a little harder to believe. At sixteen, I found it hard to believe she had the sexual history with a guy out of high school that she had. With how much she wrote, she obviously cared some about her education and that’s demonstrated with her narrative writing class. Yet she’s skipping almost constantly and her friends have jobs during school hours (did this not make come up as an issue any other time?). She seemed 17 or 18, but sixteen seemed a stretch.

Neil was my favorite character. He was so shy but also very curious. He didn’t know what to think about himself or those around him and I felt he reacted in a very realistic way. I hope a bunch of nerdy fanboys saw this movie and thought, “Wow, it’s OK to feel the way I do about my interests and there are others who like the things I do!” Yes, there are. They might write weird slash fic about it, but they like it, too. Now, there are more productive things Neil could have done with his fandom, but at least he could find people to bond with.

I would say my fic writing was about on par with Julia’s. I wrote a lot in middle school and early high school, experimenting with plotting without having to develop characters. Like her, I could take elements of the plot I thought were underutilized or skipped and go into detail, making up some elements as I went and genuinely having fun. I found her desire for acceptance in writing relatable and her desire to be read. How do y’all think I got here today? 🙂

The relationship between Neil and Julia was wonderfully built. We see them find a camaraderie and become friends, see them build a tension, and see how that unfolds (I don’t want to give too much away!). The end of the movie leaves you feeling hopeful for them despite the conflict they go through because we see them go through conflict before. For such a movie, I thought the relationship had a lot of depth.

I didn’t like how Neil’s age became such a point of contention in the movie. It made him feel very limited. Yes, he’s 15 which means he’s a minor. If he was 17, would anything have been different? Making him 15 only served to have a girl older than him still be underage. The number of characters who mention his age is a bit astounding.

Everyone can find someone who’s just as obsessed with something as they are. That’s a wonderful thing about the internet. It brings together people who would never connect otherwise. Sometimes, like Dennis, they say things they would never voice without anonymity, which can be positive and negative. But being able to find these fellow fans can be a huge bonding activity for people. Look at the explosion of cons and cosplay in the past few years. The internet is wholly responsible.

Writer’s Takeaway: No one should put a limit on what you write. For Neil, it was slash fanfiction. For E.L. James, it’s erotica. For me, it’s 1920s YA fiction. When we try to label something as ‘wrong’ or ‘countercultural,’ that’s not going to stop it from existing. Just because I don’t read something doesn’t mean no one else can or will. We need to embrace that almost anything we can think of has been written and someone either enjoyed writing it or enjoyed reading it. I have to remember this about Jane Austen sometimes.

I really enjoyed this movie and any other nerd who thinks it sounds fun should watch it. Adult content is talked about, but the movie is not graphic in nature. Five out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 22-March-2017

22 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m tempted to take Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs off of this list because I’m barely moving with it. I was only moderately enjoying it while reading it and I don’t feel any pressure to get back to it. Plus, hubs and I usually only listen to these on long car rides and there are none of those coming up soon.
I was really hoping to make progress with The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler during Spring Break but no luck! I read for school during lunch instead of reading at home, which felt like a treat, but meant I was slow on making progress here.
I got through another big chunk of Night Soldiers by Alan Furst this weekend. I’m still not sure I’ll finish it, but it will be close! I’m trying to keep my TV ban, but I did allow myself an hour on Saturday. It’s too hard to resist getting some quality knitting time in, haha.
I was hoping to be further in Once In a Great City by David Maraniss but I forgot headphones for my long workout on Saturday! I was so mad. So there’s 90 of listening time I won’t get back. I’m really enjoying the book and the focus on a city I know so well.

Recently finished: Noting! I’m so sad about this one. I’m really hoping to make progress this week, honestly! I’m in the middle of a few long books now and I swear I’m making steady progress, haha. Maybe next week?

Reading Next: I keep staring longingly at my bookshelf when I walk past, wondering what I will read next. I have it boiled down to two, Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano or You Are An Ironman by Jacques Steinberg. The first looks like a quick read and there are beautiful images in it. The second seems like something I should read before triathlon season gets into full swing. What do you guys think?


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Movie Review: ChickLit

20 Mar

In my desperate struggle to find content for this blog while going through a reading slump, I turned to movies. Yes, I know, I’ve done this before. But I want to go a different way with it this time. I remember recently reading an article about writers’ block and how it’s become such a well-known phenomenon that it’s part of several movies (The Shining, Secret Window, Stranger than Fiction). So I got thinking about other books involving writing and I started perusing Hoopla and found this title, ChickLit. It was flagged as a comedy which on a Saturday night when you’ve been reading your purchasing textbook all day sounds wonderful. It was the perfect little movie that I needed.

Movie Poster via CineMaterial

ChickLit

Summary from IMDb

ChickLit is a comedy drama about four guys trying to save their local pub from closing down. They group write a chick lit, or more specifically a ‘mummy porn’ novel in the style of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and it gets snapped up. The only snag is that the publisher insists that the young woman ‘author’ does press and publicity. The guys have to keep their involvement a secret and so engage an out of work actress to ‘role play’ the part of the author. This leads to her becoming the star in the film of the book, the tables are turned on the guys and she is in control – leaving them with the awful prospect of having to secretly churn out sex novels for the foreseeable future.

This movie did make me laugh, which I really enjoyed. Some of the acting was less than superb but the story was fun and I enjoyed that. It started with classic good intentions that were quickly blown out of proportions. I think this movie was probably a bit more relevant three years before it came out, but it still had relatable themes. There’s always a fad, even in literature, and if you can capitalize on it, you can make a fortune. It might not last, so you have to take advantage of it when you can. I think it could easily have been paranormal romance, but the erotica bubble was equally popular.

The four writers were a good mix to me. They seemed to be a close group of friends and their desire to save the bar was believable. I thought it was a bit of a stretch that they were able to write such a good novel, but I guess that’s also a comment on the quality of writing in erotic novels. I thought Zoe went along with the scheme really easily. Even if she is an out-of-work actress, she had to understand that the plan would tie her personally to the project, something that would stick with her long after the bit was over.

Chris was my favorite character. I often find myself the youngest in a group with a shared interest. That happens when your interests are book clubs, knitting, or (apparently) dominos. He seemed like a really nice guy and I wanted him and Zoe to wind up together. That seems like the subject of a sequel. His motivation was the strongest, I felt, because of his tie to the bar. He was also the most realistic character among the four men, except for maybe Marcus. Justin and David were a bit over the top.

I could relate to the four men. There are some things I’ve written that I’m not totally proud of and that I would prefer not have my name tied to. One of my published stories is from the point of view of a man and I think having a feminine name to it would be odd, though not as weird as the situation in this story. I understand wanting to use a pen name and having to go on a press tour can make something like gender a bit obvious!

I appreciated that though the subject of the book was very risque, the movie was rather clean. There were references to some more taboo subjects, but the visual content of the book was nothing out of the ordinary. I can’t find a rating for it, but I assume it’s no more than PG-13 (or whatever international equivalent that may be).

I thought Zoe coming into a position of power in the book was a bit of a stretch. She never seems to act much like someone who’s manipulating the four men. She seems calm and detached through the process. A lot of what she demands of the guys and ends up deciding to act on comes via David and Jen which makes it even less believable. I would have liked to see her be malicious or for her not to push the guys to write more.

 

There’s a price to fame and the guys were afraid to pay it. It’s opening up about yourself and letting your life be on show. Zoe had to pay that because the guys didn’t want to and she was able to use that to her advantage. There was still a price to her for what she did, I think. She’s going to have the stigma of being an erotic writer attached to her acting career for a long time. I seriously felt she would have considered this more!

Writer’s Takeaway: There’s always a bubble you can chase and try to get famous off of. It’s a matter of writing something you believe in, something you won’t be ashamed to have yourself tied to. If David and used the time and effort to write the novel he believed in, he might be a well-respected writer instead of the rep of his sister-in-law who didn’t write a word. I like to think he’ll finally write his book at some point.

Fun story and premise for a writer. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

‘Affinity’ Movie- Still really good and creepy!

16 Mar

Image via MoviePosters2

I read the book Affinity for my book club way back in October of 2013 but my interest in it was recently rekindled when someone commented on my book club reflection for the book. I found out there’s a movie version! And my library owns it! It’s been a while since I read the book, but I wanted to see what the movie had to offer. I don’t remember all of the details of the book but I’ll do my best here to compare the two.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Seeing Peter Quick. I won’t say too much, but I think the final scene with Peter was much easier to follow than the book. I struggled to see the crime scene while reading the book but seeing the film made it a lot clearer how everything was playing out.

The locket. I think I missed the connection with the locket when I was reading the book initially and had to have my book club point it out to me. Being able to see the physical object helped. I’ll add here that seeing other things that were connected was much easier in the film.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Margaret seeing other visitors. It was always clear that Margaret was only seeing other women to appease the matrons so taking that out of the movie was just a way to cut filler. I did think it made Margaret a bit more suspicious, though. She was obviously spending far too much time with Selena and I think more would have been done to stop her.

Less focus on the Spiritual Society. I remember the library playing a bigger part in the book and feeling like the book was a bit off course during those parts. It seemed like a distraction from the action and main plot that wasn’t really developing Selena well. I was fine with the minimized role it played in the movie.

Image from Goodreads

Affinity by Sarah Waters

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

This part is hard to write so long after reading the book. I do remember a big focus on wearing mourning clothes and while Margaret keeps to the black, it’s never brought up or mentioned which I thought strange.

Things That Changed Too Much

Theophilus. I don’t remember him from the book, but maybe that’s time fading the story. I remember the romance between Selena and Margaret, but I don’t remember him. Maybe it was played up a bit in the film? The actor made the part very memorable.

The ending. While the voiceover mirrored the text, you really had to read into the meaning of the words to understand what Margaret was doing (I’m trying so hard not to give too much away for anyone interested!). In the film, it was a little too obvious. I felt like something I had to dig for was just given to viewers.

Having such a long time between the two has really dampened my memory of the book. I remembered the big points, but picking out smaller changes has been hard. Reader, have you see the Affinity movie? What did you think? Was it close to the book?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 15-March-2017

15 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: Again, nothing with Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. Husband has been traveling a lot lately, which is very unlike him! I’m usually the one out and about, haha.
I think I read five pages of The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler on Friday and I was really excited about it. Still reading has been bogging me down a lot and with Spring Break this week (WOO!) I’m hoping to get back to this a bit.
I made myself read a good chunk of Night Soldiers by Alan Furst over the weekend. I gave myself a no-TV rule and it really worked! It’s still going to be tight to finish it before it’s due, though.
At my library board meeting, I was reminded that we have an author coming to visit soon, David Maraniss, who will talk about his book Once In a Great City about Detroit. I got an audiobook copy of this one over the weekend and started in on it right away.

Recently finished: Was able to finish up The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson during a long workout on Saturday. I’m so relieved to have finished something! My review went up Monday so please go check it out!

Reading Next: Again, nothing planned. I think I’ll need a physical book next and I’ll grab whatever looks right off of my shelf. I’m going to let myself enjoy the freedom in that for once!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson (4/5)

13 Mar

I wanted to read this book when I thought Bryson was a little more dry and scholarly and a little less fun and quirky. I thought it would be more systematic instead of picking up on the fun parts of language history. I read another of his books, realized I was mistaken, and still wanted to read another because they are fun and entertaining. They can make a long drive or a long run much less terrible.

Cover Image via Goodreads

The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson

Other books by Bill Bryson reviewed on this blog:

Made In America

Summary from Goodreads:

With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson–the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent–brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can’t), to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world’s largest growth industries.

Listening to this book was a joy. I didn’t have to worry about the different pronunciations Bryson talked about or read them in the phonetic alphabet because the narrator did it for me! A lot of this book talked about the language’s shift from old English to modern English, the words we lost and gained along the way, where words come from, and how they’re preserved or dropped. It’s clear there were a few resources Bryson relied heavily on for certain chapters. He organized the book well and was able to explain how certain words come to be in a very amusing way. I wasn’t ready for this book to be funny and I got looked at while running at the gym for spitting out a few giggles.

There were two parts of the book I really enjoyed. The first was the detail of how British English and American English came to be pronounced differently. Bryson detailed how English was before the American Settlers came over and then how the two changed since then. I ‘ve always wondered why we speak so differently. The theory that they will one day become so dissimilar as to be different languages is interesting, but as Bryson points out, modern technology has Americans, Brits, Australians, and South Africans speaking to each other via the internet so frequently, that future differences are less likely to happen.

My other favorite part was talking about names and how that developed. It’s fairly easy for me to see where my name, Stevens, came from (likely a shortening of Stevenson, ‘Steven’s son’) but it was fun to hear about other last names. Bryson also went into details about place names and I was happy to hear so many Michigan cities mentioned. Of course, Detroit coming from the French was mentioned, but I was glad he also mentioned Milan. I first saw the city name written down and asked, “Where is Milan?” pronouncing it like the Italian city. I got a stern look and was reproached, “It’s MY-lan.” With a long I. Same with Lima, Versailles, and Charlotte (other cities I drive by in the Midwest pronounced LYE-ma, ver-SALES, and shar-LOT).

The chapter on the dictionary was the least interesting to me. It did emphasize how quickly the language was evolving, but I thought there was a lot more history on a few men in this chapter than any developments in the language. I would have liked to see a shorter chapter on it and maybe a bit more focus on how the dictionary preserved pronunciations or changed them.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Stephen McLaughlin. Kudos to him for having to pronounce so many words in a variety of languages and accents. One of the later chapters had to deal with word games in French and he rambled them off like a pro. If he was off with any of his pronunciations, I’m none the wiser because his Spanish was spot-on when used and the little I know of Italian and German was well done, too.

Bryson’s focus was on how the language has changed, but he also talked about things that had stayed the same. I appreciated hearing about how words had changed very little since Shakespeare’s time. He also focused on how it could evolve going forward which was almost alarming. English words are being adopted into most world languages mainly due to innovation and English words being used for things and concepts that did not exist previously. If you know another language, think of words for technology and new concepts. In Spanish, I’ve heard both ‘el internet’ and ‘el márketing’ used even if there are Spanish words for these things (el red y el mercadotecnica). Bryson points out that Japanese does this the most. With English words infiltrating foreign languages and English becoming the common language for business, we might start to lost the beauty of other languages and in fact, start to lose speakers of those languages.

Writer’s Takeaway: Bryson hides some jokes in his writing, like when talking about where the last name ‘Bush’ came from. I enjoyed these small jokes tucked into the book. I’m not sure how well they would work in fiction, but in non-fiction, which can be dry, Bryson kept it interesting and fun. I really appreciated this in a book that easily could have been bogged down in details.

I enjoyed this book and I’m sure I have loads of fun facts to spring on people now. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way // by Bill Bryson | The Aroma of Books

When An Author Affects a Book

9 Mar

My husband asked me an interesting question the other week that I think merits a whole blog post.

Does the author ever effect how you feel about a book?

At first, I thought that was a ridiculous concept. Why would the author make me think differently about the book? If the book is good, it’s good. If it sucks, well, then it sucks. But maybe that’s not always true.

Good author, bad book. I think this happens a lot more than we admit. I adore John Irving and as much as I’d like to say I like every one of his books, I don’t. Some are better than others. The Cider House Rules is better than In One Person. When it comes to J.K. Rowling, I’m guilty. I had a lot of trouble saying I didn’t like The Casual Vacancy and I never would have read the Cormoran Strike novels if I didn’t know they were her. Authors I love get higher ratings from me, even from their bad books.

Bad author, good book. I’m probably guilty of this as well. There are authors I’ve read and not liked. It’s not often I read another of their books to compare, though. I can only think of Alice Hoffman off the top of my head. I read The Ice Queen and hated it. When my book club wanted to read The Museum of Extraordinary Things, I begrudgingly agreed to participate. Of course, I hated it because I went into it knowing I would hate it. I couldn’t give it a fair chance.

There are other things about an author that can affect how I feel about a book, too.

  • Male author with a female protagonist. This sticks out to me a lot. Examples include One Thousand White Women and Brooklyn. I become very critical of the characterization. Does it seem like the female character reacts like I would? Is she experiencing things in a relatable way? I get really upset when it seems unreal.
  • Known controversy around a book. I didn’t know the controversy around Zeitoun when I read it, but my feelings of it in reflection are tainted by what I know about Abdulrahman and Kathy. Sometimes knowing there’s something controversial in a book like 50 Shades of Grey or Gone Girl can get me to be interested in reading it when it’s outside what I normally read.
  • The author is a terrible person. This doesn’t happen often, but the more I read about Zelda Fitzgerald is making me hate both F. Scott and Hemingway. When I read their books, I see influences of the authors themselves and it makes me hate the protagonists and be embarrassed when I like them.
  • Celebrity memoirs. The more I like the celebrity, the more I’ll like the book. Tina Fey? Love it! The book might have flaws, but my love for Tina Fey covered them up.

I can think of a bunch of other times hype around a book can make me think differently about it but as far as just the author, I think most of mine experience fall into higher ratings for books that don’t really deserve it. Any thoughts from you, Reader?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 8-March-2017

8 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


libraryCurrently reading: No movement with Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. This might sit on my list for a while.
I keeping creeping forward with The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler. I’ve had to do a lot of reading for school during my lunch breaks so that hasn’t given me a lot of time there to read. I’m still enjoying it and hope to keep making forward progress.
I’ve made steady progress with The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. It keeps me interested during long runs, which is nice. I think I still have four hours left, though. It’s not great to listen to while cooking and cleaning so it’s been slower than I’d like.
It’s been slow going with Night Soldiers by Alan Furst. I wish this was moving faster, but I don’t like it enough to sit down and power through it. There’s something about the writing style which stays a little above the character’s feelings but rambles that’s slowing me down.

Recently finished: Nothing this week! I’m so sad to report that. I’m not even close on any of these books to think I’ll have one finished for next week. Maybe Bryson, but I’ll have to get in some long runs for that to happen!

I did post a review of You’re Not Doing It Right by Michael Ian Black. Please go check it out! I gave it 4 out of 5 Stars.

Reading Next: I still have nothing planned. I think I’m going to reward myself by picking a book off of my shelf that has been tempting me for a while. I have it narrowed down to two but I don’t want to commit yet! I think a short one will be welcomed after Night Soldiers.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Books Becoming Movies in 2017: What I’ll read and what I’ll pass on

7 Mar

I’m sure I’m not the only person who likes to read the book before seeing the movie. I love being able to compare the two and come to the ultimate decision that the book is better. (Does anyone ever disagree?) Using this and this articles, I’d like to present a list of books that I’m either going to hurry up and read or let the movie woo me without preconceived notions.

The Zookeeper’s Wife (Diane Ackerman, March 31)- Pass. I might as well write a whole post about how sick I am of books about being the daughter or wife of someone noteworthy. This is me on my feminist soapbox at it’s finest. I’ll consider it for next week.

Wonder (R.J. Palacio, April 7)- Pass. My husband is reading this one now and I don’t want to make him wait to read it. I’ll go to this one, but I don’t want to create a picture of Auggie in my head and have the moviemakers ruin it.

The Circle (Dave Eggers, April 28)- Read. I have this on my shelf and realizing it will be a movie starring Emma Watson is making me think it will be the next one I pick up!

The Dark Tower (Stephen King, July 28)- Pass. This isn’t my genre per say and I’d rather watch an action plot than read one. Sounds like it will be worth seeing, though!

It (Stephen King, September 8)- Pass. No horror necessary for me, print or film! I heard Will Poulter was playing Pennywise and I was excited about that, but the article I read gives another actor. Now I have no reason to see it! (Ha, pun)

Let It Snow (John Green and others, November)- Pass. Just proof anything with John Green’s name on it is selling like wildfire. Can we get a movie of Looking for Alaska first?

Murder on the Oriente Express (Agatha Christie, November 22)- Read. With Kenneth Branagh playing Poirot and Johnny Depp on board, I can break into another Christie novel. I just added this to my Hoopla Wish List.

The Nightengale (Kristin Hannah, TBD)- Maybe. My book club has contemplated this one for a while and if we read it, great. If not, I’ve read enough WWII dramas to last me a while.

The Glass Castle (Jeanette Walls, TBD)- Already read, can’t wait to see it! What a moving book and I hope it will be a touching movie as well!

Live by Night (Dennis Lehane, already out)- Pass. I saw the preview for this and I really want to see it, but I don’t think I’ll go back and read the book first. It looks too good to wait too much longer!

50 Shades Darker (E.L. James, already out)- Already read it, will not see it. I didn’t see the first one because I think it’s a cheap money grab and it’s not something that needs to be on-screen. Plus, the book was horrible and I don’t want to endorse it any more than I already have.

Jumanji (Chris Van Allsburg, July 28)- Already read, will see! I just watched the 1995 version a few weeks ago and remembered how much I loved it. It would be great to see what they can do with 20 years of film magic!

A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L’Engle, July 28)- Pass. I feel like I missed my window to love this book and movie so I’ll pass.

The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath, TBD)- Maybe. I read this book a while ago and I didn’t appreciate it at the time. If the movie gets good reviews, I’ll probably see the movie, but I won’t re-read the book first.

Any of the ones I’m passing on you want to sway me on? I’m really excited to jump on a few of these now.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: You’re Not Doing It Right by Michael Ian Black (4/5)

6 Mar

I think it was just after I finished reading Bossypants that I added this book to my TBR. I was on a comedian memoir high and Michael Ian Black seemed like the logical next step. I love his dry sarcasm. I found the book a few months later on the sale shelf at a bookstore and picked up my copy. It’s been a few years, but I’m glad I finally grabbed time to read it!

Cover Image via Goodreads

Cover Image via Goodreads

You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations by Michael Ian Black

Summary from Goodreads:

Darkly humorous and told with raw honesty, You’re Not Doing it Right is Michael’s debut memoir. In it, he takes on his childhood, his marriage, his children, and his career with unexpected candor and deadpan wit, as he shares the neuroses that have plagued him since he was a kid and how they shaped him into the man he is today.

In this funny-because-it’s-true essay collection, Michael says the kinds of things most people are afraid to admit, and as a husband and father living in the suburbs, asks the question so many of us ask ourselves at one point or another. How did I end up here?

This book was exactly what I expected and wanted from it. Black is self-deprecating and honest in a way I don’t think a lot of people would be. He fights with his wife and he’s going to tell you about it. It’s not always funny but when it is, he’ll make the joke. He goes through his life in semi-chronological order. There are times he goes back because of something that’s happening to him that causes him to reminisce but I found this book pretty well-organized. I’ve said before, I like logical order. I also like when people can be honest about things that suck and Black did that. Some things aren’t funny, like your dad dying or your sister having a mental disability. I felt he treated things with the respect that needed to be and shared a lot of his life and the parts of it that aren’t funny.

I think Black portrayed himself and his wife very realistically. A lot of their relationship wasn’t a perfect and they had to work at it. Some things were funny and cute and he found time to make jokes about them. I was surprised about how ‘Stepford’ his life seemed at times. I’m used to thinking of comedians as either too rich for childcare or so hipster they wouldn’t live in Connecticut. I guess I need to stop stereotyping famous people.

Black’s wife, Martha, sounds awesome. She’s pushy and sarcastic, but I think you’d have to be to marry him. She sounds like a riot and the way their relationship started makes me want to gossip with her. I wasn’t a big fan of how she and Michael got together, but I respected the way they raised their children when they were young and she seemed awesome to me.

Black talked about not feeling he fit in when he was in high school and I could understand that. As much as I wanted to be friends with my friends, the people I respected, you always feel that pull to be ‘cool’ and have the ‘popular kids’ like you, too. The chapter where he fought Dale stuck out to me, I could see if happening so easily that it frightened me. Black was easy to relate to and he portrayed his life as a misfit very well.

I thought the stories of Black’s life as a father and husband were most enjoyable. Buying a BMW and having a fussy infant were funny and down-to-earth. Not many people can relate to the guy who went into entertainment with no degree and were successful. He would have a very limited audience if he focused on this part of his life. But being a family man is relatable. I could see these things running through my dad’s head and I liked the humor in it.

Black’s dating life wasn’t as interesting to me. He seemed like a pig when he talked about the college student who wouldn’t be intimate with him and he was unrelatable to me. I wish he’d stuck more to his adult life when he was likable though more pessimistic.

Even though Black is pessimistic and down about most things in his book, he still has a good life and he admits it. He has a wife he loves (most of the time) and two kids he admires. Even when he’s making dark jokes and ripping on himself, he’s still a happy person. It’s his internal outlook, not what he expresses, that really seems to matter.

Writer’s Takeaway: I would be wary of a book that adopted this tone if it were by someone who wasn’t known for bleak humor. Black pulls it off because that’s his personality and someone picking up this book likely knows that. If I published a book, on the other hand, and people didn’t understand my brand of humor, that might not find it amusing. Black kept his voice and didn’t sacrifice for book sales, which I can appreciate, but I would caution less-famous writers from adopting a strong tone as he did.

This book made me laugh and was great on vacation. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review: ‘You’re Not Doing It Right’ by Michael Ian Black | Bookpeople’s Blog
Lollygagger’s #CBR5 Review #21: You’re Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations by Michael Ian Black | Cannonball Read 5