Top Ten Favorite TV Shows

1.) The Office (American Version)

Every few years, I’m drawn back to this show.  It never ceases to be funny–I recently rewatched the “Diversity Day” episode from the first season and, despite the fact that I’ve seen the episode at least four times, was rolling on the floor laughing.  This show is just so funny–the characters are enjoyable, maddening, and consistent.  Also, Jim and Pam will forever be my ultimate TV OTP.

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2.) Downton Abbey

Yes, the show was at it’s best in it’s first two seasons.  Yes, I’m one of the troopers who held out until the very end.  This show is everything I love about British period dramas–it addresses and explores historical social issues with a healthy dose of romance.  Plus, it’s just so pretty.  The sets, the costumes, everything is lavish and gorgeous.  One thing I also enjoy is that it fully develops almost every single character–using subtleties to show, not tell.  And then there’s Maggie Smith, who is one of the show’s gems. Continue reading

On the Shelf

What better way to spend Winter Break than by reading?  I haven’t been doing a lot of it, in light of the fact that I’m taking three literature classes next semester and don’t want to overdo it.  However, I’ve been enjoying some fun, light reads!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This book has been on my radar for a LONG time.  It didn’t disappoint.  Rowell creates a marvellous coming-of-age story about Cath, a fandom-obsessed introvert transitioning to college.  I related to Cath on so many levels.  Although my own fan-fiction efforts (culminating in an unfinished novel-length fic and several short one-shots) died out after a few years, I’ve been knee-deep in fandom culture since I was fourteen.  Fangirl is your typical teen-lit novel in many ways.  There’s love, family drama, a weird roommate, and lots about what it means to be a writer.  It’s a fast read and a fun one.

Yulin Kuang, a filmmaker and co-creator of the YouTube channel Shipwrecked, filmed a scene from Fangirl, featuring the incredible Mary Kate Wiles.  Definitely check it out!  (And check out her other videos as well–they’re incredible.)

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

This is the fourth massive novel in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  Honestly, it was my least favorite.  I understand that one of the great things about these books are the depth of historical content, from larger political events to the tiny details of everyday life… but I thought she got carried away.  The first half dragged.  I think Gabaldon spent too much time with Jamie and Claire.  The Bree and Roger bits, for me, were the most compelling.  I would slog through 200 pages of Jamie/Claire story just to get to the twenty pages about Roger.  I think that the story could have been much stronger and more compelling if she had spent more time developing the younger generation.  Because, when major events began happening halfway through the book bringing all the characters together, I found myself not caring.  Why?  Because I wasn’t invested enough in Bree and Roger to actually care.  All in all, although the story is interesting, the character development was misplaced and underdone and the plot needs MAJOR tightening.  Because this book was so disappointing, it’s going to be a while before I work up the desire to finish the series.

Any Anxious Body by Chrissy Kolaya

Since its release last Spring, I’ve wanted to read this collection of poetry.  Chrissy is a professor at my college and I’ve had the opportunity to take several of her classes.  She was my guide in the basic freshman writing class.  A year ago, I had the opportunity to be in her Innovative Creative Writing class.  The class taught me that I don’t want to write creatively for a living (or for pleasure, for that matter), but gave me a deeper appreciation for those who do.  It’s always fun reading the published work of people you know, and I adored Any Anxious Body.  I’m not much of a reader of poetry collections, so I don’t really know what to say beyond the fact that I really enjoyed the work.

Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey

This is a book I will be re-reading all my life.  I’ve had my copy for about six years and have probably read it at least five times since then.  It’s a quick read–I usually breeze through it in a day or so.  It’s simplistic, easy, aimed at a lower reading level.  But, oh, how I adore it.  If you’ve been with me on this blog for a while, you will know that I adore a good Cinderella adaptation. Before Midnight fits the bill.  It’s simplistic, the characters are pure of heart without being overbearing, and centered on the power of wishes and value of love.  Dokey does a masterful job weaving elements of the fairytale with a story of her own–one that is new, fresh, and engaging.  At the end of the book, Dokey talks about the research that went into her retelling.  She discovered several old versions of the story where Cinderella’s didn’t die, but merely dropped from the story, submissive to the stepmother.  Dokey says, “If Cinderella’s father is still alive, but takes no action to save or protect her, what mights this say about both him and the woman to whom we are all accustomed to assigning the role of the bad guy?  What would happen if I put a father back into the story?”  Other questions I’m sure Dokey asked regarding her adaptation are: What if political intrigue factored into the plot?  What if the stepmother wasn’t cruel?  What if Cinderella’s new family learned to love her?

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Next time I do one of these posts, I’ll be knee deep in academia.  Assigned reading, here I come.

A return to digital art

When watching a movie or listening to a lecture, I like to have something to do with my hands.  Someone once told me to take up knitting so I’d be doing something useful.  But I’m dreadful with those needles.  So, instead, I do art!

Mostly, I draw and doodle in my sketchbook.  Lately, I’ve been teaching myself water colors.  A few years ago, I got a Wacom tablet and learned how to make digital art.  I have a DeviantArt account where I post things, but I often don’t have the drive or patience do more than sketch in Photoshop.

Last week, though, I managed to create my first digital painting in over a year!  I thought I’d share it with you.

ClaireBeauchamp

Who is this lovely lady?  My muse goes by the name Claire Beauchamp, heroine of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  I recently read the first two books and have been watching the t.v. show, so Claire was fresh in my mind.

I’m thinking about regularly posting photos of my drawings and doodles on here.  Would you like more art?  Or should I just stick to writing?

Friday Favorites 8

It’s the final day of my school week and after a two and a half hour lecture on media literacy, you could say I’m trying to cling to whatever bits of joy I can.  So, what better way to cheer me up than with another Friday Favorites?

This book:

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Originally recommended to my mother by extended family, I recently picked up the novel Outlander by Diana Galbadon.  It tells the story of Claire Beauchamp, a nurse recently reunited with her husband in the aftermath of World War II.  While vacationing in Scotland, Claire touches a mysterious stone and finds herself transported back in time to the year 1743.  Alone amid the tribal clans of the Scottish Highlands, she finds herself torn between returning to her own time and the love she finds in her new life.

I’m not very far into the book yet, but so far I’m enjoying it!  After studying abroad in the UK, I tend to latch on to anything that brings me back.  The characters are interesting and engaging, and the story definitely appealing. I love the historical elements, especially Claire’s perspective and experience from WW II in contrast with the warlike Highlands and (impending) Jacobite rebellions.

My main issue with the book is the amount of steamy romance.  I enjoy a love story as much as any other girl, but the constant sex is more than mildly irritating.  I find myself skipping pages at a time to avoid all the passionate bits.

This kitten:

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My older brother keeps sending me pictures of the kittens at home, resulting in me squirming around on the floor because they’re too adorable for me to handle.  (Much to the confusion and amusement of my roommates.)

This show:

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I started watching Arrow last Spring, having heard good things and seen bits and pieces about it on Tumblr.  However, with the semester ending, I only made it a couple episodes in until giving up.  Sometime this summer, though, I over heard some of my fellow camp staff gushing about how great it was.  My older brother, a comic book enthusiast, told me that it starts out slow and gets better as it goes along.  All parties insisted that season two was mind-blowingly-amazing.

I just finished the second, and most recent, season yesterday.  They were right.  Oh my goodness.  All my fandom “I CAN’T EVEN HANDLE THESE FEELS” urges are hard-core triggering.  It’s SUCH a fantastic show.

This song:

I first started listening to Bastille this summer, and this song has been in my head all week!

Have a great weekend!