Happy Pre-Determined Holiday of Romantic Expression!!!
****There are some swears in this post, since it’s a post about swearing. I put it under the fold.****
Have you heard of the podcast Stuff Mom Never Told You? I just discovered it myself this week. Cristen and Caroline look at interesting pop culture topics with an emphasis on gender, particularly the female gender. The one I listened to this week was The Curse of Swearing Women, which discussed the differences between men and women swearing and how culture perceives women who swear.
The whole discussion made me think about how and why I swear. I don’t swear a whole lot. I’m not a prude. I love a filthy joke and swearing doesn’t bother me except under some circumstances. I grew up in a mining town where cursing was common, though my parents didn’t curse around their kids. One of the reasons I don’t swear often in public is because of some of the bizarre reactions I’ve gotten from people who’ve heard me swear. I must come across as some kind of innocent, because when I do swear I’ve shocked people, not pious people either, professional swearers! It’s like they can’t believe that I, of all people, have said that. Since I’m a quiet person who doesn’t like calling attention to myself, it has the effect of making me swear less, even though I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t think it’s due to the fact that I’m a woman since I know lots of women who swear but something about my personality. Maybe I should take up spitting to counteract it.
The Winter People begins as the 1908 published journal of Sara Harrison Shea, Visitors from the Other Side. In the journal, Sara reveals that it is possible to bring the dead back to life. Sara lived with her husband and little girl on a farm in the shadow of the Devil's Hand, a large rock that juts straight out of the land. There are many legends about the Devil's Hand and children are discouraged from playing there. Sara tells of her life and the events that led to her terrible murder and suicide of her husband.
In the present, the Devil's Hand continues to be a sinister legend. Since Sara's death, people witness strange lights and figures in the woods near the rock. Animals and occasionally people would disappear. Sometimes their bodies would turn up and sometimes not. It's a place of fascination for people who believe in aliens and unexplainable phenomena.
Ruthie, her sister, and mother live on the old Shea farm now. Ruthie's mother is a paranoid "off the grid" kind of person, who gets by from selling knitted goods at the local farmers' market. Ruthie, having just graduated, has plans to leave the farm and start her life somewhere, anywhere, else, but when she comes home one night to discover her mother missing, her plans change. When Ruthie finds Sara's journal and other mysterious items hidden in the house, she realizes that her mother has been keeping dangerous secrets.
|Dial Z for Zombie, The Simpsons|
Meanwhile, Ruthie pieces together parts of her mother's past to find out where she may have gone. Did she leave by choice or was she forced? And if she was kidnapped, who took her?
I listened to The Winter People on audio in just over a day. I could not turn it off. I found Sara's diary and the inner thoughts of Sara, her husband Martin, and their daughter Gertie to be much more interesting than what Ruthie was doing. Of course, what Ruthie discovers helps fill in the gaps of what happened 100 years ago. Just like in Don't Breathe a Word, there are plot twists and red herrings that lead to nowhere. Some of what happens in the present time takes some suspension of disbelief but overall, The Winter People is a creepy tale for a stormy winter night. You'll never look at closets the same way again.
About the Audio: The narrators are Cassandra Campbell and Kathe Mazur and until this moment I thought there was only one narrator. Either I don't play close enough attention to the narrators or they sound a lot alike.
It is so February outside right now. Cold, cold, cold. I'm getting shack happy. I should move to California, where I might want to venture out of doors.
This week I logged into my Tumblr account for the first time in over a year. I still don't know what to do with it. Mostly I'm reblogging Orphan Black gifs. Such a productive use of my time.
I watched the Sochi Opening Ceremonies because I like a good winter hat. Canada's toques were awesome as always, Spain's berets were very chic, and Norway's silver caps will keep the aliens from reading the athletes' thoughts. During the artistic portion of the ceremonies, War and Peace was interpreted as a ballet. It was very pretty and offered a great opportunity for everyone who has read the book to feel smug about it. Also, jellyfish swans.
I decided this week to reread Rebecca. I feel like it's time. It was 9 years since I last read it. It's a book that holds up well and I get something new from it with each reading.
Dead White Guys (Amanda) brought this whisky commercial to my attention. It's relevant to your interests and will get you right in the heart-area.
Let me just preface this review by saying that I admire Anjelica Huston. I just love her face. It's a great face and she's a great actress. I'm not sure if she's a writer. I don't believe she used a ghostwriter for A Story Lately Told and it shows.
The first chapters are of her life as a little girl in Ireland on her father's estate of St Clerans. These chapters are just a random collection of memories: things they had, places they went, people they knew. It doesn't flow as a story and it's very dry. There's a lot of stuff but not a lot of heart behind it. It's like she would suddenly remember something and jot it down. It drove me bonkers.
Her father was John Huston, the director, who married a much younger woman, Enrica Soma, or Ricki, as she was called. She was his fourth wife and almost immediately he was absent from her and their children's lives. In fact, it seems as if his every visit to St Clerans was an event, like the Queen visiting. Anjelica comes across as worshiping him. What I got from this memoir was that he was a man who took whatever he wanted and was very careless with other people's hearts.
After ten chapters or so of who went where and what they did there, her memoirs take a disturbing turn. When Anjelica is just a teenager, she loses her virginity to a 28 year old man. She's very matter of fact about this and really why wouldn't she be? The way she grew up, this kind of thing was No Big Deal. Her father wasn't around to warn about guys like this and he hit on one of her teen friends as well. Her mom offered her no guidance or protection from these kind of men. This is just what was expected. Still, she was just a naive kid and after her mother died in a car accident, she fell for the worst kind of guy: Bob Richardson. He was 42 years old and she just 18. He mentally abused her for years.
I felt absolutely disgusted that these predatory men would take advantage of a young girl and no one did a thing about it. It was just how it was. If they would try it with the daughter of John Huston, who wouldn't they try it with? No wonder we have the problems in the entertainment industry in regards to women when this was the expected and acceptable behaviour of powerful men for decades. (Google Bob's son Terry. That apple doesn't fall far from the tree.) I ranted on and on about this after I read that part to my husband.
One of the problems with this memoir is that she writes everything in such a factual way. I never got any sense of how she felt about these events. There is too much telling and not much showing. Her life was exciting. Everyone she met was a Somebody. She traveled, modeled, and acted. Still, I felt like these were just things that happened to her. There's not a lot of who she really is.
She would also just plop down people's names like the reader is just supposed to know who they were. It is very disorienting. A disappointment of mine is that there is a lack of photographs, just a black and white photo at the start of every chapter. Considering how often she and her family were photographed, I would have expected more. It would have helped to put names to faces.
This volume ends just after she finally dumps Bob's sorry ass and settles down some in LA. The next part of the memoir is yet to come. I'm not sure if I'm going to read it. I think I'll just admire Anjelica from afar.
Here's the story. Roland, a basement dweller of the British Museum who does grunt work for his boss Blackadder, discovers a couple of letters by a famous (fake) Victorian poet named Randolph H Ash to an unknown lady. Roland suspects that this lady friend might be important, as Ash was a married poet and wasn't known to have any lovers. After digging around, he has a hunch that the lady maybe a feminist poet, Christabel LaMotte (also fake).
Roland doesn't have a lot going for him. He works in a dank hole of a room that smells of cat piss. He goes home to his apartment that also smells of cat piss to get the cold shoulder from his girlfriend Val. Val and Roland live in a misery-loves-company situation that neither one has the balls to leave. It's depressing as hell.
|What I kept telling myself.|
Maybe some of you noticed that my Friday feature the Bookish Buzz hasn't been posted these last couple of Fridays. I just haven't been feeling it lately, which started me thinking about dropping it. Sometimes I like posting all those links but lately it feels more like work. A few times over the many years I've been doing them, I thought about quitting but always came back to it. I'm not sure about this time. I think I might be done with it. There are so many other places for readers to find links.
I'm considering just posting a few links with my Sunday posts, if I find anything interesting or want to comment on something. Let's try that now.
This new series on Australia Culture Blog caught my attention with a mention of Portishead. I just rediscovered the 1994 album Dummy by the band recently. Nikki Lusk paired The Watchtower with the album. Have you ever thought of pairing albums and books? For me, if I listen to a new song or album while reading a particular book, I'll forever associate one with the other. For example, I listened to a lot of Susanne Sundfør while reading Ash last week. Susanne has an ethereal voice perfect for fairy tales, especially fitting is White Foxes.
Speaking of music, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is scoring the Gone Girl film. They also did the score for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It's seems as if they have a thing for books-to-film!
As for reading, I finally finished Possession and will have my thoughts about it up tomorrow. I hope you check it out. I had fun writing it. I also listened to the audio of The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. It's spooktastic! I'll have a review up for that in the next week.
Enjoy what's left of your weekend!