Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Day in the Life #35 + April Wrap Up



Well, it has been a whirlwind of a month, that's for sure.  It's ironic that my decision to only read books by PoC ended up being well timed.  If I can call anything about the past week well timed haha. In fact at this moment I couldn't even tell you if anything of note happened earlier this month.

I don't want to spend too much time talking about everything that's gone down here in Baltimore, because I've already talked a great deal about it.  And honestly, this has literally been all I've been thinking about every conscious moment for the past entire week.  Even when I've not been glued to live streams of what's been happening.  I want my brain to be occupied by ANYTHING else. (Scratch that - anything else good. My only other distraction has been the earthquake in Nepal.)  In my links I leave at the bottom of the post, I'm going to post a bunch of the best articles I read about Baltimore and protests this week.  My twitter profile has loads of other links to look at as well.  Here's a summary of things I've learned and experienced this week.


1. Monday was terrible. I absolutely don't want to downplay the destruction that happened.  Here's a map of what took place.   Baltimore already has food deserts, and I'm afraid because of what happened and because of how the media has been reporting on this that it's only going to get worse.

2. OTHER than Monday, there was a small group of people who acted out on Saturday. But the destruction was significantly less, and the media totally blew it out of proportion.  After Monday there have been an extremely small number of destructive actions.  This city made a complete 180 and what I witnessed this past week was incredibly inspiring and heartwarming.  From the powerful, peaceful protests and marches that took place to the honest conversations that are taking place about race and poverty in this city to the entire communities who came together to clean the city up to rival gangs making a truce to put the well being of this city first, it has been just an overwhelmingly positive week.

3. That being said, this city has felt...scary.  And not because of the protesters.  You know in all those dystopias (or in many other countries around the world) where there are helicopters and armored trucks driving around and men with giant guns on every corner?  Well now I know what that feels like.  And it's terrifying.  I am thankful for how the police have reacted since Monday (the fact that there weren't any protest related deaths - to my knowledge - speaks volumes on how the police handled Monday), and I appreciate the support the national guard and state police have given.  So I applaud them and don't want to take away from the great work they've done this week. That doesn't change the fact that it lends the whole city an air of danger. (Or change the fact that while I support ALL of these groups, there are some significant legislative and departmental changes that need to be happening.)

4. I'm not sure if it's the large groups of men, large groups of officials signifying danger, or the HUGE GUNS they are all carrying that scares me, but having to walk past them every day makes my mouth go dry and my heart race.  I mean there's groups of like twenty or thirty of them.

5. I considered going to the protests but didn't for a few reasons.
     A. I worked during all but two of them.
     B. The media last time I was watching made it seem like the the protests that were peaceful were only peaceful because of the large number of white people in the crowd, completely ignoring the almost entirely black protests that happened the week before.  I didn't want to contribute to that.
     C. The protests I COULD go to were being led by people who have been known to be openly anti-semitic or had ties to groups who are openly anti-white, and while I totally support the protesters, I don't want to be part of a rally that promotes either of those sentiments.
     D. I'm hoping to be able to help in the communities once the media coverage and protests have died down...and communities are still hurting.  In interest of that here are some places you can donate if you are at all interested.

6. You can't trust the media. Not even a little bit.  My waning trust in the mainstream media has been completely severed this week.  It sounds like many of you have also been gleaning your news from local bloggers, so I think a lot of you have been seeing more than the destruction.  And since I stopped watching the main news stations, maybe they changed and stopped focusing on the destruction and everyone saw more to this city than the looting, I don't know. (Actually please tell me, I'm very curious what the news stations have been showing.)  But I applaud the local news stations for doing a great job covering what was really happening - the good and the ugly.  I won't be watching any big news stations anymore. I can't trust any of the news I'm getting from them. It makes me wonder what else I'm completely misinformed on because of their coverage.  It's funny - if any of you have read the Newflesh Trilogy (which I'm thinking of rereading and reviewing because of the media situation this week) it's weird feeling like that set up is already here. And probably has been for a while - I don't know how long it's been this skewed.


I basically had these songs on repeat while I was driving through the city on Tuesday.  (Reasons why should be pretty apparent if you listen to the lyrics)



So that was longer than I meant to make it, but since when have I NOT been long winded haha!  On to the bookish part of my month:


Best Book

Unwind (Unwind, #1)

Guys, I don't care what genres/audiences you think you don't read, you ALL NEED TO READ THIS.  I'm planning to do a review of this series (and maybe a separate review of this book so there's no spoilers).  It's an important book, and it just completely soul crushed me. In a good way. (But totally traumatic way).  There's this scene and it is hands down the most viscerally horrifying thing I have EVER read. Or even thought about. (But not in a Stephen King-I-cried-myself-to-sleep-in-terror sort of way).  Or as Kirsty described it, "You're in for a treat in the last 100 pages. And by treat I mean scarred for life."  

It's a fast paced, action packed book for sure, but it's not fluffy fun times.  I think it's a crime against humanity that a HUGE portion of my goodreads friends have it marked - but only like 1/3 of them have read this book.  GO READ THIS.  NOW. DO IT.  I literally am going to buy any copy of this I ever see in a used bookstore and then am going to mail it to people.  I am that insistent that the whole world needs to read this.  And with everything that went down this week in Baltimore, it was particularly pertinent.  If you've read it you'll know what I mean - particularly the part where the media talked about the young teens who got caught up in the mess as "violent thugs".


Biggest Disappointment

Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #3)

This. I just. NOOOOO. HOW.  This is a bigger blow to everything I believe in ever than Mansfield Park was! Tamora Pierce is my hero! She's a GODDESS.  ....actually apparently she's human and the fact that's written like 30 other books that I LOVE does not mean I've lost faith in her. But dear god this book hurt me. I felt betrayed and just....NO. I'M SORRY BUT IT DIDN'T GO DOWN THIS WAY.  This went from being a series that was probably my favourite ever of hers to...I'm not sure I'm going to buy it. Because I don't think I will ever read this book again. Maybe I'll just buy the first two and pretend this book never happened. Because it didn't. DO YOU HEAR ME? This book NEVER. HAPPENED.  (But seriously have any of you read it? Because I need people to cry with. Or if they didn't cry about THE THINGS in this book, please, please convince me I'm wrong to hate it)


Here's what else I read this month.  You may notice that the thing that happens once in a blue moon - the wretched DNF happened for me this month.  I only got maybe 50 pages into The Painted Drum by Louise Erdrich. It wasn't bad writing or anything - it just clearly involves an unhappy relationship. I have to say after reading the adult fiction I've read this month, my theory that 99% of adult contemporary fiction is about unhappy marriages and adultery (or at least it happens) has not been disproved. Not even a little.  And I just DON'T WANT TO READ ABOUT IT. So I didn't even try getting further because I'd just read The Interpreter of Maladies and was at my absolute max of being able to swallow another story about unhappy marriages.  This is why I don't read adult contemporary fiction.  

I did really well on my Authors of color challenge!  I'm actually in the middle of like three more books that I didn't put here because I haven't finished yet. I'll talk about them in my Tell Me Tuesday post :)  I felt like I didn't read as many books as I read, but I think that's because half of the books I read belonged to two series, so it made it feel like I read less. But I don't usually make it through challenges (or I read like half the amount I usually do).   I was hoping that what with having a city wide curfew for the past week that I'd get more reading done, but I mostly stayed glued to live streaming of what was happening. And watching Warehouse 13 haha.  Speaking of...


What I Watched

Poster



The Last Cinderella was a fun J-Drama. It had a lot of potential to be more than it was that it totally squandered, but even though it didn't do nearly what it could have it's still a good, standard J-Drama.  As per usual, I loved the totally tomboyish leading lady!






Warehouse 13 (2009) Poster

I have a friend who just started watching this and was going to watch seasons 4 and 5 with me (which I still haven't watched because I was CONVINCED they would appear on Netflix. But season 5 came and went, and season 4 never went on Netflix. So it's just never going to happen, I'll have to find it elsewhere *grumbles*).  Unfortunately he watched all three seasons in like a day and a half and burnt himself out haha. But it made me want to rekindle my love for the show (which I think Kirsty got me on to begin with?) and I needed something fun that I'd already seen to put on while I was stuck inside my house this week.


Sleepy Hollow (2013) Poster


I FINALLY watched the season finale!  I had been really upset with what they chose to do with a female character they could have treated WAY differently, but I'm appeased that with the season finale there will be no more of that. Plus I'm pretty sure they switched out the lead writer. So. Hopefully I will NOT be breaking up with both of my favourite shows (OUaT) in the next year.





Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) Poster


 I am SO GLAD I stuck with this show, because this season has been hitting it out of the park!  I am a few episodes behind and haven't seen the newest Avengers film yet...I haven't decided whether I'll just go ahead with the show or try and watch the Avengers film first. (I never watched the latest Captain America and was fine with the show)





How I Met Your Mother (2005) Poster




I am...conflicted by the ending to this series.  I both like it and HATE it?  I dunno. I'm glad I wasn't hugely invested in it is all I can say.








Bookish Discussions

Rosamund Hodge gives an obligatory strong heroine post.
Garth Nix on Aboriginal Stories. (Thanks to Glaiza for the link!)


Blogging and Reading

Mitchii discusses the reader's bill of rights.
Sunny gives a tutorial on how to make a personalized gif.
Erin Bowman tells us how we can support an author beyond buying their book.
Anne of Green Gables‘ Jonathan Crombie Passes Away at 48 - *sobs*
Asheley had a bookish a-ha moment that legit made me cry at work.


Bookish Fun Stuff

Ellis and Judith had me in tears I was laughing so hard at their Coblogger Burn, Rewrite, Reread Challenge.
Cee has some more book fonts for us!


Miscellaneous Non-bookish stuff






The Baltimore Protests

Steve tells us Baltimore is not Ferguson, covering the issues here that are more class related than solely race related.
Puja talked to a Baltimore officer about what things are like for them during all of this. (Hint: it involves the city not feeding them and no overtime.)
Willie defends looting. - This is one of those articles to definitely read. Very thought provoking.
Michael is a reporter who's lived in Baltimore for 30 years. He tells us what we really need to know about Baltimore.
Baltimore libraries stayed open this whole week - even when everything else was shut down (including schools), because they knew the community needed them.  This is why I LOVE libraries and librarians - it's more than just the books. Libraries are a haven for the homeless and at-risk youth.


*As always a thank you to Christina, Asti, and Kelley for their weekly bookish round ups, many of the links on these lists I never would have found without those weekly round ups!

 


And THAT is the end of my very long monthly/bi-weekly round up :)  Anything good in you past few weeks? Do share I need some good news in my life!

15 comments:

  1. One problem it seems with most media (and not just recently) is that they are in the business of selling - they often report what they think will bring in the most viewers/readers even if it is a distortion of the whole picture. Good reminder to treat all reporting with a skeptical eye. Baltimore is close to my heart (I lived there for part of my childhood and after moving to Richmond made countless visits to O's games and other such fun) and I hate to see the struggles it is going through but I hope it comes out of them stronger and better.

    I had not heard about Jonathan Crombie and am now completely devastated and speechless. Much too young - so sad! When I recently re-watched Ann of Green Gables I was noticing just how well he portrays Gilbert.

    Finally, that whistler. Damn. And Wow.

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  2. Great post! You're not long-winded at all :)

    Hearing your experience in the city makes me a little scared too. I hope things will get better. I don't have sunshine to share, but tmr I'm going on a trip to bangkok with my best buds! Absolute <333! :) Just as the trip's exhilarating glow will shine on my past bad week, I hope something awesome happens to you too!

    THANKS for the book rec! I'm going to check out Unwind RIGHT NOW ;))

    <3

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  3. Great post, as always. Good news: I'm going to Ireland in a week! And when I get back I'm quitting my job. Trust me, this is VERY good news. Also, when I get back from Ireland I am also buying a bow so I can be Katniss. :D


    My favorite post was about Strong Female Characters: THIS. So much this. She articulates it so so well.

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  4. Definitely true! It's hard to reconcile the fact that it IS still a business with the expectation that they would be doing real research and fact checking before reporting on things.


    I knew you'd lived nearby, but I don't think I knew you ever lived here! ...I have managed to live here for a total of five years now, and I have not ONCE gone to an Orioles game. Considering how cheap the tickets are all my friends are absolutely appalled with me haha!


    I KNOW RIGHT??? He was like...one of my first crushes ever!! The tv show Horatio Hornblower was my first. It was very intensely felt so I remember it quite clearly. But Gilbert was probably my first book crush - Jonathan Crombie played him so well too! (Plus he was super cute). I actually have all them on VHS, but I no longer have a VHS player so I haven't been able to rewatch them *pouts*


    Ugghhhh I wish I could whistle! I would be happy with any sound at all, there's no way I could aspire to that level of whistledom haha

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  5. Ahaha thank you! Oooh that sounds like lots of fun! With friends too, lucky you! Hopefully that shakes off your bad week, and I can just live vicariously through you and pretend I am having awesome fun times in Bangkok too haha!


    Yes!!! Mission accomplished!! :-D

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  6. That's so awesome! I'm super jealous! And congrats on your escape from your job haha. Are you going to Ireland with your family/friends/solo trip? Have you just been wanting to go/what made you pick Ireland? I fully expect a demonstration of your Katniss badassery next time I see you :p


    She really does lay it out very well, it's probably one of the best discussions on the topic I've read. She even uses Fanny Price, who we all know I DON'T like very much, but I can't say she's wrong about Fanny either. It was very interesting!

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  7. Oh, I'm a total hibernophile. :D Actually it's funny because my aunt took me when I was 15 and I LOVE IT. So I always knew I wanted to go back. (I've also been to London and Scotland). When Lance and I were planning our trip, we came up to so many ideas, but he was the one who suggested it. Which was a little strange because he had said in the past he wasn't that interested in going. But I was happy to oblige. He's going to love it. But it will just be Lance and me...the kiddo is staying with grandparents. I'm going to miss the bugger, but I will NOT miss travelling with her.


    Well, I better get to work on my archery skillz, because I'm not impressing anyone right now. ;)


    Also, I giggled when she talked about Mansfield Park, knowing how you felt about it. :)

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  8. Wishing Baltimore all the best in every aspect of recovery.


    Thanks for sharing all the links - especially the race and gender bent Shakespeare films - I don't watch enough movies but I love a good twist.


    Oh and I caught up on Last Cinderella! (I usually blitz through a series if it's only 11 episodes). I really enjoyed the 1st half of the series but agree about the meandering potential. I will say that this is the first drama where I was genuinely confused about who the heroine was going to pick in the latter half (some recappers think the writers were confused hence the audience was too.)

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  9. I am having MAJOR ISSUES with both my tablet AND my laptop now. Read this post, loved it (as always) and will be back. Heads up that I am linking your Baltimore riots post on my The Sunday Post feature. :)

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  10. Once again, thanks for keeping us updated about the Baltimore situation from your side. The media coverage of events is never my thing. Thanks for all the interesting links, as usual. And... how did you know that whistling is one of my all time most annoying unfavorite things? LOL!

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  11. kirstymariejonesstudioreadsJune 5, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    Wow, seriously, April was a bad month for Baltimore, wasn't it? :( But at least it was ending on a somewhat positive note. How's things been now? But seriously? Making it seem like it was only peaceful because there were more white people is total bullshit. Yeah, the media only cover what they want to portray, which, again, is complete bullshit. But Be Okay <3

    But that scene, ohmygod, I can't even, it's still in my head, so kudo's to Neal Shusterman for making it memorable... but still yikes. But see, exactly, the media in the book portrayed it in a way that took away from the point of what was actually happening, if that makes sense. They spun it the way they wanted.

    But DUDE, I know how much you love Tamora Pierce (I still need to read one eventually) so that totally sucks.

    BUT WAREHOUSE 13, have you finished it now? Because we need to talk if you have. Because THE END.

    I still need to catch up on OUaT, I think I got to the double episode and haven't gone back to it, which is bad, or maybe not so bad by what you're saying...

    Crap, I am like a month behind on everything right now, and I totally meant to comment on this sooner, so double crap, sorrrrrrrrrrrry. :(

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  12. kirstymariejonesstudioreadsJune 5, 2015 at 12:12 PM

    Also, YAY for that comment actually going normal.

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  13. Oh wow I didn't realize that apparently I never replied to any of these comments haha! Oops...oh well, better late than never right? And yeah I definitely didn't know who she was going to end up with until maybe the last two episodes? I was surprised because I feel like they usually end up with the older dude, but the friend wasn't introduced as a real love rival until like the second to last episode which wasn't enough time to really give him a real shot at it. Anything you're watching lately that you recommend? I started Ghost right after this but I've only watched the first two episodes, and I need to finish that for sure because it's totally absorbing! It's very different from all the dramas I've watched before - I've always watched ones that are more romantic comedies than anything else I guess.

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  14. Whaaaaat?? How is that even a thing! Maybe it's because I'm so jealous that I've never been able to whistle haha. Seriously - even songs I would 100% definitely not like otherwise (Adam Lambert's Ghost Town) if they have whistling...I like it. It's completely out of my control!

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  15. Hey-o winning! Maybe Disqus likes you now! I got super behind on my posts too so you're not alone haha! Also I didn't realize that I hadn't responded to half the comments on this, so it's a good thing you commented now anyway :-p

    Honestly it feels like nothing happened at all - everything is back to normal the good AND the bad. I'm not sure how it has affected (or if it has affected) the low income communities, but I'm guessing if it has it's definitely not for the better. I need to find a way/time to be more involved in local politics (and DEFINITELY register to vote in Maryland so I can pay attention and vote for someone I want to be in charge of Baltimore - I'm still registered to vote in SC where my vote means nothing lol)

    My friend (the one who has been telling me to read Unwind for two years) sent me this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9snP4HuRsr4&index=26&list=FLAImMb1OvdzWq-VhGJcdE8Q ...I can't watch it. I tried. Buuuut I'm going to leave it here in case you can!

    Yeah. I'm still upset about that. I'm going to buy the first two books and just pretend the third book never happened because I DON'T NEED IT AND IT NEVER HAPPENED. (I still recommend the series - the books stand alone so not reading the last book isn't a problem, and otherwise this may be my favourite Tamora Pierce. But then I feel that way about all Tamora Pierce heroines hahahaha)

    I'm three episodes to the end! I have a habit of not finishing shows (note the has not caught up to Haven, has not finished Merlin, and it's been almost a month since I last watched a Warehouse 13 episode). And god I'm SO BEHIND on OUaT! I have like....7 unwatched episodes or something hahaha.

    Speaking of tv....have you heard of Sense8? And do you have Netflix?

    Reasons why you need to watch it:

    1. It's scifi, which is already a pretty much a prerequisite for anything we watch lol
    2. The cast is SO diverse! The white people aren't all from America or the UK, there's a black guy, and I believe a transgender? woman (I'm not even done with the first episode as I type this and my boyfriend walked in when comments about this came up)
    3. The transgender woman has a black girlfriend. And you know whaaaaat? IT'S MARTHA JONES!!!!! And she looks totally hot and has a half shaved head and colored dreads. This look suits her. A LOT.
    4. The budget on this must have been really good because so far the cinematography has been very good, and it was directed by the Wachowskis, so there's that too

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