Thu. May 30th, 2024

I borrowed and watched the Disney version film of A Wrinkle In Time. Seemed like yet another case of sometimes things find you, but it may just be that I work in libraries and am surrounded by books and pop culture (the way I like it) and am therefore bound to bump into things on my to do list. I read the graphic novel version recently, and I always like to watch the film after I’ve read the book. So, there it was. This film came out in 2018 and featured Oprah Winfrey as one of the three Misses. It was directed by Ava DuVernay, and I liked it a lot. The storytelling was much more to the point, in my opinion, and elements were added that expanded on the novel and gave it a lot more sense (mind you, it’s been a long while since I read the actual novel, so I could be wrong here). The conformity versus individualism theme of the novel was replaced by a more nuanced take on an evil (called IT) that insinuates itself into humanity and takes all the love, replacing it with greed, envy – sin, basically. I’ve recently become aware of the Christian elements in the story and L’Engle’s apparent intent to criticize what she saw as ‘Christian piety’. Perhaps this was the conformity that so many readers interpreted as a critique of Communism. The main character, Meg, battles IT in a spectacular finale inside an amorphous giant ‘brain’, with its neurons firing like live electric whips that grab at and sting her. This was a far more satisfying depiction to the novel’s disembodied brain in a container image. After Meg vanquishes IT with her love for brother Charles Wallace, who has been under ITs spell, the three Misses return to tell her she did well and will be a good warrior for the forces of light. They then go on to list such warriors that have been represented by Earth in the past. They mention Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Gandhi, Maya Angelou, Jane Austen, Frida Kahlo, Nelson Mandela, and Oscar Schindler (remember him from Schindler’s List?). It’s an eccentric list, not particularly satisfying (to me), but I get the point. Some reviewers on Letterboxd were also a bit perplexed by it too. One wag suggested they give Oprah a mention. The book made specific reference to Jesus and Buddha, which gained it some controversy. Personally, I’m annoyed they didn’t give Karl Marx a guernsey. I really enjoyed the songs and music videos provided by the DVD I borrowed. They were I Believe by DJ Khalid and Demi Lovato, and Champion by Chloe x Hallie.

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me and face to face
me and the album in question

I finished that book The Art of D’scard’ng by Nagisa Tastsumi. The author talked about a lot of items that don’t really apply to me, like clothes (well, I wear them, but I’m not obsessed), kid’s things, etc. The ones that did were books, dvds, cds and magazines. A survey done by the author suggested it’s exactly these things, plus clothes, that are the ones most people have trouble deleting from their lives. I sympathise. I enjoyed the many references to Japanese society and their traditions and ways of doing things. A chapter on what to do with dolls and soft toys went thus: ‘Through my survey I was surprised to discover that many Japanese people find dolls and soft toys difficult to throw away because ‘they have eyes’ or ‘they might curse you’. Anybody in Japan who feels uncomfortable disposing of dolls as rubbish could try a temple. Some Japanese temples, especially those that run pet cemeteries, hold special services for dolls.’ Overall, the book made me mindful of things I should throw out, but it also got me thinking of the items I should not have thrown out, but did. One such item was my old Face To Face LP by The Kinks. I had bought the cd, so decided I didn’t need the LP anymore. A lot of us did that back in the early days of cd. And we’re doing it again now with the streaming age, throwing out our cds. But that Kinks LP meant a lot to me. It was in stereo, for starters. The cd I bought was in mono, and I haven’t seen a stereo copy anywhere. Doing the life hack thing, throwing away your clutter is all very well, all very reasonable, but it leaves out important factors. Like memories, emotions, connections. There’s also the practical consideration of scarcity. As the author says in the book, ‘If you throw away something important and irreplaceable, then, yes, there’s a problem.’ I’ve since re-bought a lot of records I threw out in the day for these same reasons. One day I hope I’ll find another copy of that Face To Face LP.

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When things are slow at work I sometimes have a look at a site called Fantastic Fiction to see what books are out and what’s popular (call it professional research). I noticed recently on that site a new genre I hadn’t been exposed to before. It was called Harem Lit. Intrigued, I clicked the link, and was confronted with a Wondrous Wall of fantasy Babes with Boobies. I’m talking about the subjects of the garish book covers. Some were human, others were elves, demons, goblins even. Oh my god, there were cat girls too! ‘Stowaway Catgirl In Love by Peter Northa cozy slice-of-life vacation romance for men‘. It’s Mills and Boons for men. As far as I can see from the info, all are Kindle-only with very limited hard copy availability. I’ve always known about harem stories in manga and anime, but I didn’t know it had spread to the world of fantasy novels. Go figure. Don’t think I’ll read any, but I love those covers.

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