Monday, December 9, 2013

Tuesday Review: I'm Cheating and Using a Movie!

On Saturday, I saw the Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I also saw Thor (I'm a Loki fan) and there was no losing this day. However, watching Catching Fire reminded me just how beautiful and stark and anguishing that trilogy is. The second book and movie deals with the Hunger Game "victors" after winning the games, and it's clear that there are no victors, only survivors, which Haymitch clued you into when you met him, a glass of perpetual liquor in his hand. We're now shown their current ordinary world, and it starts out the same as the first book, they're hunting for food. They're providing for their families. They're trying to forget how they live or their situation, if only for a moment.

Only now it's so much worse.

Katniss shoots at game and suddenly sees herself shooting one of the tributes. She has a breakdown. Gale--the boy she loved before the games and still feels something for but can't really be recaptured--comforts her and brings her back to her house. Victory Square or whatever they termed it. It's a completely ludicrous place, the houses beautiful, but the surroundings completely opposite. Like Spock in the middle of the Dark Ages, trying to blend in. Crazy.

It's clear Katniss has taken a horrible situation and made it a thousand percent worse for herself. If President Snow didn't like her before, he certainly doesn't like her now. She made a fool of him; she defied him; and now the other districts are looking to her, inspired by her courage to spit in the face of injustice and are rising up. However, Katniss still has her own people to protect: Prim, her mother, Peeta, and Gale--and she will do whatever it takes to do that: lie, lie, lie.

Oh, it's so darned angsty, people! You need to watch it, if you won't read the books. That is all.

In the meantime, if you wish for something a little different, I just got done reading THE SWORD DANCER by Jeannie Lin, and as usual, Jeannie's world and voice is magical and beautiful. Her setting in the Tang Dynasty is just gorgeous and feels like you could walk there in your mind. I love the bits of history and culture she shares about this history, era, and culture, without feeling bogged by too much detail, without the slant that I think some history textbooks tend to give Chinese history--like they're, oh, I don't know, not as significant, I think. Yes. But I think Jeannie Lin makes the stories and history and people of China vibrant and interesting and everyman--she's like our romance version of the guy who wrote Memoirs of a Geisha, which I also thought was a beautiful writing voice and historically interesting and even-handed.

Okay, so my questions: do you have any recommendations for books about the Asian dynasties/histories? I'm out of Jeannie's books and need something more. Also, any YA novels that have fulfilled the empty space that the Hunger Games books left? Again, looking for more to read. Lastly, I'm all hepped up on Loki and Thor and norse mythology--any recommendations there? Movies, books, maps, young single men between the ages of 30-40 who'd like to school me specifically in Loki-lore? I'm open.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Time for a Raving: BLINGED OUT

So Tuesday came without a review, though I had read two books over the last week, one about Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and one about Duck Dynasty. I know what you're thinking. How can you read two books that are virtually alike? But for me, it's glomming on a topic. I can't help myself. I was searching for a wide variety of hair secrets apparently.

I'd recommend either/both if you're into either topic...or hair. But I realize they don't really fall in the line of romantic love stories--okay, Kate does, but I assume everyone already knows it. Duck Dynasty, well, it was a lot like hanging out with the deerhunters I usually hang out with this time of year. Boy, are they crazy. Good-hearted, but crazy--which sums up the Duck Dynasty clan.

But I'm in no mood for a book talk. I want a blog talk. I miss the ship, damnit, where I could have talked about you're getting this.

Today, one of the faculty at my work came by and waved her hand, showing off the engagement ring she got over Thanksgiving. Now, she's not my favorite faculty member--due to some personality conflicts between us--but she is by no means one I don't like. (Or is that 'don't don't like'? Whatever. You get the gist.) She's really quite likable (mostly) and she's got a girl next door way about her where you'd root for her. She's funny, pretty, and personable, so about 85% of me thought, "Aww, isn't that sweet? I'm happy for her." Honest to God that's what I thought. But the other 15% floated to the top, like a turd, and reminded me how the likelihood of me getting proposed to is practically nil. And the rock sparkled so prettily and I thought, "Damnit, I want one. Why aren't I special enough to have one? I suck." And for a second I really kinda hated this faculty member.

Before I could sink completely under, my rational brain said, "Um, why are you upset? You are not in competition with this woman. Also, just three days ago, you were super happy to have your house back to yourself because you were going nuts living with someone--and that person was as low key as they come. If you got a rock, this would come with the understanding you would be living with them. Is it still worth it?" and I immediately thought, "OH, hell, no."

So then I was mildly disgusted with myself, instead of being relieved that I no longer desired a ring, because it was the ring I was jealous about and not the relationship, and I resent the very shallow person that made me. I mean, I write romance. I should NOT be obsessed about a blingy ring. I don't even wear jewelry. Where was this coming from?

Then it occurred to me. I only wanted the acknowledgement, the "reward" for being chosen as worthy enough to be someone's bride. I wanted to wave around the ring and go, "See, he chose me! He could have chose any number of other attractive girls, but he chose me. I'm special." I'm special because of a rock that has been arbitrarily assigned value. (And you'll notice I used the description "attractive" and not any other redeeming feature--like kindness or oh, anything else.)

This disgruntled me even further. Seriously, was I going to have to turn in my Feminist card in now? I thought for a second. What if I bought my own ring? Nope. Wouldn't mean the same thing. It only means something coming from some figment man prince. This was ridiculous.

I emailed Terri. Mostly because she can cut these little drama fests by at least 60%. She immediately emailed her own ring bling drama, when I mentioned what I was feeling and how sheepish I was feeling about it. She agreed it's not the ring that proves a woman's worth. A woman's worth is clearly determined by her hair.

I also emailed this to another friend of mine--and she wrote back with such ring bling drama, I immediately emailed and thanked her because no way in hell did I want a blingy ring after reading it. I was going back to the real reason for marriage, to share your life with someone, not for the accessories. My friend also reassured me that the Blingy Ring is a problem for a lot of women. I thought it was only a Jersey Shore problem, but clearly not.

So...confess, do you ever have Bling Ring Distress? Were you secretly and not so secretly thrilled when you have a Bling Ring to show proof of your man's affection for you? Do you have any Bling Ring stories to remind me how grateful I really, really am?