Friday, 4 October 2013

Scandal Season 3 Premiere

Scandal's third season returned with a bang rather than a wimper. Last season, we were left with two big revelations. The first was that Olivia had been outed as Fitz's mistress and the second was that Rowan (Byron as I like to call him. Someone here must have seen a different world) was Olivia's father. Nothing quite compares to the opening segment of this premiere. We see Olivia's father lecturing her in the limo about being stupid enough to sleep with a white man and not just any powerful white man, but the president. The scene continues with them in some sort of airplane hanger. He's going at her and its lie watching a bulldog attack my poor livvy. I want him to get out of her face and to back the fuck off. But, even with all his crazy, I can't deny that one of the things he does say to her is the truth "You have to be twice as good, to get half as much." I love that Olivia isn't just a woman of color, she is written like one. She doesn't get things easily. She had to fight and crawl for the scraps. But, her story is not just one that black women can understand its universal to all women of color. I love that we are seeing that on this show. It's not simply a black woman playing the part of a white character, its that she embodies much of what it means to be black in america. Shit ain't easy. You will lose far more and loving outside of your race when you are a woman of color is much harder and carries more stigma than when it is a man.

But, Olivia takes bullshit from no man, not even her father. So she takes that call and while Cyrus ends up proving Byron-Rowan right in the short-term, she realizes that she is not going to just walk away from this with her tail between her legs. Olivia is a fixer and she's going to try and fix her own scandal.

Another powerful scene in this episode to me was the bunker one with Olivia, Fitz and Mellie. This scene was such a contrast to what was happening earlier. She cares far too much for Fitz's well being and career and not enough about herself. She's basically laid out how they are going to play this, but it does nothing for her. Either way she is ruined. Mellie's speech got to some in fandom, but frankly it left me cold. She knew what she was getting into when she signed up for a political marriage and frankly I'm not down with her slut shaming Olivia. She annoys me. While I do understand and sympathize that it can't be easy to be an ornament, but thus is the nature of this show. No one is totally likable. I don't like Mellie, but it has more to do with the kind of woman she represents to me. I'm tired of the bitchy rich girl who feels she can go around shaming other women because of their own insecurities. But, she also gives me hilary vibes and I can't stand Hilary Clinton. I do not like people who allow themselves to be used a ploy all to gain political advantage or maybe its my own internalize misogyny speaking and it only bothers me because they are female. But, like Olivia, Fitz, Cyrus and everyone else bar David, she is a dark horse. She's not totally bad nor totally good. It's just a matter of what appeals to you as an audience member. Mostly she is in my girls way. She is attacking her and getting in her face and I'm not there for that shit, not at all. Also Fitz is funny when he is all like "psst do I look like I give a fuck?"
No one can really accuse him about lying. he has been straight up about his feelings about Olivia and his disdain for Mellie. He's a cruel motherfucker and very naive. Cyrus is a monster who ruins reputations for the heck of it. Olivia engages in cover-ups and doesn't mind throwing people under the bus if she feels its serving the greater good. She is an antihero. She's not your traditional good guy and I wouldn't want her to be. Normally I don't care for those types of characters, but I like Olivia just as she is.

The final moments of the episode were probably the most shocking. The discovery that Fitz outed Olivia so he could get out of the White House. He should have let Olivia in on this and his reasoning doesn't make sense at all. But, he wouldn't be Fitz if he wasn't capable of such darkness. This is Tony Goldywyn after all. Just watch ghost. I don't want to spoil you guys, but once you watch you will understand exactly what I mean.

Friday, 2 August 2013

By Karen Marie Moning
Summary: MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.
When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….

My Review

I had been meaning to start this series for over a year now and boy am I glad that I finally bit the bullet and decided to read it. It was one of those books that was difficult to put down. Mac is one of the most interesting and relatable heroines that I've come across in awhile. She has no idea exactly how her life is going to change. Despite her barbie-doll looks she has the tenacity of the fiercest of warriors which is a good thing because that strength will come in handy. When we meet her she's a part-time student and bartender enjoying her lazy summer when her sisters death changes her life. She's transformed from an easy-going southern beauty to a sister bent on getting justice for her sister. Once she arrives in Ireland, she begins to realize that nothing is as it seems. The mysterious phone message her sister left is the only thing she really has to go on. But, from the moment she arrives in Dublin, she starts to see things that are out of the ordinary. 

Jerico Barrons is a wealthy owner of a rare bookstore who comes to her aide, but his gruff demeanor and intimidating nature irritates Mac and they spend most of the book butting heads. It's pretty obvious that something will eventually develop between these two, but I appreciate the slow approach that author has chosen to take. With Barrons help, Mac learns that she has special powers that give her the gift of seeing the Fae. The reader goes on a journey into a supernatural world with Seelie, Unseelie, and vampires. By the time the first book ends, the journey is only beginning. The strengths of this novel really lie in the writing style and how Moning helps the reader experience everything alongside Mac. Her exposition is so detailed that you can visualize creatures as if you are seeing them yourself. 

It's definitely a must-read.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Twisted 108: Docu-Trauma

108: Docu-Trauma

I know I'm late with this weeks review and I apologize. This episode was probably the best one since the pilot. So many things happened that kept me interested, but the main thing that I loved was getting more perspective on Lacey as a character. We discovered via her conversation with Jo that she had actually seen Tara's body. This explains a lot about her character and why she seems to have repressed what happened and had so much trouble with Danny's return. One of my favorite scenes this episode involved the friend-dynamic between Jo and Lacy. Up until this point, we were told about their friendship and I didn't really feel it. It was so nice to see them bonding. Lacey being sweet to Jo and trying to build up her self-esteem was so cute. I loved the way the girls were smiling and happy in that scene. They seem to get each other a lot more than they realize. I am not crazy about the love triangle aspect and rather they focus on the friendship between Danny/Jo, Danny/Rico and Lacey/Jo. I think there is a lot of potential for character driven story there. While I felt awful for Jo, I am kind of glad that Danny mentioned that he saw her as a sister. No matter what happens next at least she won't be holding out false hope. But, her complete obliviousness to Jo's feelings is an interest contrast to what Danny is doing. Rico was a riot this episode. If he wasn't so funny, I might feel really bad for him. He's so funny with his reactions that I have no idea how Jo hasn't figure it out. I did like the little moment at the end of the episode with Danny and Rico. I agree with Danny, Rico should just tell her how he feels.

Now on to Tyler. Chris Zylka as super-douche strikes again. Don't get me wrong, he's very pretty. But, he's up there with Gray Damon in his complete inability to be likable. His setting up the pranks was kind of obvious since his random interest in Jo was not really believable. I do think its realistic for people to still see Danny as this pariah. I think Danny is trying so hard to just get his life back, but he really needs to understand the gravity of what he has done (or may not have done). The dudes with masks were so freaky I nearly jumped out of my seat. It was like the South-Asian version of Children of the Corn.

I felt like this episode really highlighted the fact that Danny can feel emotions. He was hurt by the Prank and he seemed to really care that Lacey wanted to keep them a secret (even though he should have understood how difficult the situation is for her). Also, Karen Desai for Mommy of the year. I love how she was willing to take the fall for her son even though she knows he didn't do it. She will do anything to protect her son and I can't disagree with her. But, the Captain---I mean Kyle probably won't believe her.

Speaking of awkwardness, I was relieved to discover that there wasn't that much . But, the fact that someone was taping Danny and Lacey is probably going to lead to awkwardness all around. I just hope its not used to slut-shame Lacey. There is enough of villanizing the black girl for being sexual on Scandal.

I have other thoughts, but I'd have to re-watch to point them out. I can't wait for next weeks episode. This show is definitely fun summer TV, but the fandom needs to clam their ass down.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Twisted 107: We Need To Talk About Danny

Twisted Episode 107: We Need To Talk About Danny- Review

In this week's episode Jo's magical feelings go from like to love. After a lust-fueled dream of Danny kissing her shirtless, Jo has come to the conclusion that what she feels for Danny is not merely a crush, but full on love. Hold your horses, um when exactly did she fall in love? On the roadtrip where anyone with could notice the sexual tension brimming between Danny or Lacey or was it that awkward dance they shared at fall fest. I can understand falling for this boy. He's a good looking guy, but I feel like there has been zero build up to Jo's feelings for Danny. I suppose her obsession with his case and clearing his name could be construed as build up, but I felt like she went from this-is-my-friend-and-I-will-defend-him to -omg-I-love-him-he's-the-best.

Jo was definitely less annoying in this episode and I do feel bad for her. When she finds out that Danny does not in fact have the same feelings for her, its going to be. She also has been less angry and a lot softer this episode. I really wish they had just toned down her sense of entitlement early on and she could def be a girl the audience roots for. But, then you have Lacey who is having a very natural reaction to Danny. As far as that town knows, he is a murderer. She's not automatically warming to him and you can tell that she really wants to trust him, but he's not giving anything to her. But, she's a teenage girl and these two are brimming with lust.

 I really like how Lacey defended Danny against her douchebag boyfriend Archie. This was the first time you saw her really stand against the harsh comments directed towards Danny and it was definitely nice to see that from her because she can come off as a little cold because Jo has welcomed Danny with open arms. I really do not understand what Archie is thinking. Danny just got out of juvie for possibly murdering someone. In what universe is it a good idea to antagonize a murderer? Is he really that dumb?

I really felt like this episode definitely let you know that while Danny can be manipulative, he isn't a sociopath. Being falsely accused of giving his friend food-poisoning and thus being kicked off the team really got to him. It made him really grumpy and for once he wasn't using sarcasm to lighten the mood and deflect from his emotions.

I like Danny/Lacey and think they have really great chemistry, but making out on the grave of the woman he supposedly murdered his super sketchy. But, these two are really thirsty for one another. They definitely seem to be priming these two for a long arc (if the show continues) but they really need to be more choosy about where they choose to make out. then again, the very idea of a cemetery party was  bizarre.

Other highlights in this episode included Danny and Tess bonding over his problems with Lacey. I love that he pointed out that the girl was not Jo. Tess has been pimping them so hard that its like Danny needed to make sure Tess (and the audience) knew that Jo was his bestfriend and not someone he was interested in getting up on. This conversation led to Tess's face below when Jo confessed she loved Danny.

I think this is pretty much what we were all thinking. Awkward! It certainly will be when she finds out that Lacey has dumped Archie for Danny and is seeing him on the down low. I really wish Lacey would tell her bitchy friends to fuck off or be brave enough to say that she wants Danny in her life. The kids in that school are basically sheep and I'm sure they'd fall in line.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Suits S3 Premiere

301: The Arrangement

Suits ushered in its third season with a bang, both literally and figuratively. The premiere was full of the usual twists and turns. It took us from backroom dealings to bedroom shenanigans. The dynamic at the law firm has been altered with the merger with Darby's British firm. 

We left off with Mike and Harvey at odds over his buckling to Jessica after she blackmailed him with the threat of exposure. Watching these boys be at odds was heartbreaking, but it made for some excellent drama. Harvey was on top of his game and as usual he had Donna in his corner (these two need to happen). He is a master at what he does, striking a deal when it seems impossible. Harvey has earned having his name on the door, but Jessica is unwilling to give him that kind of power. Watching these two bad asses go head-to-head at the beginning of the episode was amazing. She just glides into his apartment ready and willing to intimidate Harvey, but that's not how he plays things. He called her bluff and the ensuing back/forth is what makes suits what it is--a clever, well written show with excellent dialogue. The Jessica/Harvey scene isn't the only one that makes you want to rewind your dvr. The episode was full of scenes like this. 

One of the funniest moments of the night played out between Donna and Louis Litt. Her clever manipulation of him by having him color his face with a Hitler mustache had me rolling on the floor. This scene could have played as distasteful, but it was done in a subtle manner that highlighted that it was all in good fun. 

Other stand-out moments included the Mike and Harvey scene where Mike asks for forgiveness and Harvey is unable to give it to him because he was upset that Mike didn't come to him. It was about loyalty not winning. I totally understand Harvey's pov. All Mike had to do was go to Harvey and he would have had his back like he always does, but they also needed this to create some drama. I love the dynamic between these two. It really is the essence of the show. Mike is still trying to help him on the down low even using Rachel to help him distract Donna.

Speaking of Mike/Rachel---WOWZA. These two were super powerful this episode. Mike has a nightmare about Rachel outing him and this leads him to confront Rachel about what happened with them last season (um file room sex and secrets being revealed). He tells her that the bigger nightmare is not being with her. I had to aww in that moment. Such a cute, heartfelt moment. Rachel prods him to quit which he tries to do but he can't.. Towards the end of the episode, Mike tells her everything. How the whole situation rolled out the way it was and we see them in bed being super sexy. 

So basically this episode was full of awesome. I haven't even touched upon Ava--Game of Thrones Michelle Faraday who is a ball-busting CEO who gives as good as she gets. I recommend this. 

Twisted 106:

Twisted : Three for the Road

This episode really should have been titled Jo is pressed as hell for stupid-ass shit. I recently binge-watched the first five episodes of this series a few days ago and frankly I love it. I love the ambiguity or Danny's character and I especially love that 2/3 leads are people of color. What I don't love Jo Masterson. She started off as kind of sweet and I liked her loyalty to Danny, but she has veered so far into butthurt white-girl problems that I'm losing patience with her. I don't mind characters that like to talk stuff out (I used to love the show Felicity) but usually when its done in a quirky lovable way. The key to the woe-is-me outcast type is quirkiness. Jo has none. She is just as abrasive as her irritating father. She's so self-involved that she can't see beyond her own issues. Also can ABC Family stop with the hashtags trying to get us to feel sorry for Jo. It's irritating as hell.

So, in last night's episode Danny, Lacey and Jo meet at the clubhouse to discuss what to do with the bombshell Lacey discovered. Danny and Jo think they should go to the cops, but Lacey is a little reluctant because she wants to make sure that she doesn't muddy Regina's name. I understand Lacey's reticence. She lost one best friend and she is not really ready to become the best friend of another person who is questionable. Jo continues to give the stink-eye and I really wish she would stop and just say what she has to say. Her passive aggression has reached Def-Con 5 levels of irritating. So you have an issue with her--just spill it. I get the feeling she's really pissed that Danny wants her and not  Jo and she really needs to get the fuck over it. This Danny/Jo stuff is really painful. They have no chemistry whatsoever. He isn't into her and she's just being an obnoxious bitch. But, enough with my Jo hating. This episode also revealed Karen and Tess's mutual past with Vikram. It seems Tess grew up with Karen and Vikram and she used to date him. But, the highlight of the episode was definitely watching them get high as they played with pottery. Those two have some serious sexual chemistry. I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up having an affair with one another.

Back in Connecticut, Danny tires of Lacey and Jo's bickering so he locks them out of the car forcing them to hash things out which results in the revelation that Lacey had Jo uninvited from a junior high birthday party. Apparently she did this after two years of listening to Jo get emo on her ass. Now, I do kinda feel bad for jo, but only for a milisecond. It was a junior high school party get over it. It's not like Lacey immediately dropped her. She did it cause Jo was annoying as fuck. I'm so sick of Lacey apologizing to Jo and Jo making herself a victim. It's dragging down the dynamic between the girls.

Back in Green Grove, Sheriff Kyle continues to be an incompetent police officer and basically blackmails Rico into revealing what he saw Karen do (dump a necklace in the lake). I have a few problems with this storyline. First off, it was dark. How the hell did he see what she was dumping in the lake. Secondly, no way does Kyle have a legal leg to stand on when it comes to blackmailing Rico. You'd think Rico would get that much since he's supposedly smart. I do feel bad for the kid because he does really like Jo. This whole Rico likes Jo who likes Danny who Lacey thing is so boring. I'm more interested in discovering what the connection between Danny's father and Regina is. I have a feeling he is still alive.


Sunday, 14 July 2013

Race, Youth, and the Zimmerman Trial

I know this is a far cry from my usual blog posts, but I believe that the time needs to be taken to address the tragedy that happened last night. As a black woman it is impossible not to be moved by what happened to Trayvon Martin. But, this goes beyond the presumption of innonence and the legal system, it speaks to how we value human life and the notion of white privilege. I am speaking of white privilege because it is not always the same as racism. I am the last person to speak out about white people. I'm married to one. He is the one that got me to write this blog post because he understands that sometimes these things need to be written down.

White privilege refers to the set of societal privileges that white people are argued to benefits from beyond those commonly experienced by people of color in the same social, political or economic spaces. 

White privilege does not necessarily mean that one is racist (sometimes they are, but most of the time that is not the case) but rather that white people benefit from a system that is racist. They are given preferential treatment not because of who they are and how they behave, but the color of their skin. White privilege means that one won't have to worry about their crimes reflecting upon the entire group, or that their child will be killed simply for being a white guy walking in a neighborhood that is privileged. White skin works like a free pass to opportunities that people of color will never have. Even if they manage to educate themselves, have good jobs and live in a n ice neighborhood they will always have the burden of proof. They must prove that they live there, own that car, that they are not a criminal. The Zimmerman defense was predicated on prejudices ingrained in the culture. Martin was a teenager walking back to his dad's house from the convenience store. He had an altercation with man who profiled him based on race and followed him around and he chose to confront him and the result was that he was shot. If Zimmerman had been black this case would be open and shut and he would be in prison. I find it disingenuous when people have the gall to say this is not about race. It is all about race. His entire defense is predicated on racial stereotypes. Why did Zimmerman feel in danger? Because it was black kid? Then why get out of your damn car? Nothing the defense said made sense. A white mother will never understand the fear a black mother faces (unless the father is a black man). She must teach her child to bow her head and not antagonize the police so they won't shoot you. She must teach her child now to not walk to the store wearing a hoodie because he might be gunned down by some white supremacist nut. This is not right?

What has the Zimmerman case taught us? That we as black people do not matter. Our children's safety is of no value and that someone can indiscriminately shoot them down and they will get off. Racist all over the world are clapping themselves on the back claiming how justice was served. How was it served? By the weakest prosecution? By making sure to not include charges that Zimmerman could actually be charged with? By waiting for public pressure to mount before they even arrested this man? The defense team was doing their job. They fed on the racism of White America to get this man off. Racism killed Trayvon and racism let Zimmerman walk out of that court a free man.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Saying Goodbye to JR Ewing

I grew up watching the original Dallas with my mother and sister. I remember getting my hair done as they watched the craziness unfurl. I blame my desire/love for all things soapy on that early exposure to Aaron Spelling classics like Dallas and Dynasty. But, tonight everyone said goodbye to JR Ewing-the original Texas Badass--who was portrayed by Larry Hagman. Hagman passed from cancer back in November. When watching tonight's episode I felt like I was watching the cast say their goodbye to a beloved friend and they really honored the character by writing a fantastic episode filled with classic Dallas moments-unexpected hookups, a brawl, and Cliff Barnes being a weasily little asshole. We were also treated with how Henderson and Metcalfe would carry on the torch with thier ability to have each others backs even though they spend most of the time scheming to bring each other down, but family is family. Those boys aren't just related via adoption, but they are blood siblings (Sue Ellen's mother is Christopher's birth mother and the woman who shot JR). The episode didn't just say goodbye it ushered in another mystery--who killed jr ewing and what the hell does it have to do with Pam? Not Pamela Rebecca-Barnes, but Pamela Barnes-Ewing who supposedly blew up in a car bomb. But, with Victoria Principle insisting she will not reprise her role, how will they deal with this storyline? Maybe they should have made sure they could get the actress before plotting this episode and future ones at will. We saw Sue-Ellen lose her battle with sobriety and John Ross hookup with another inappropriate quasi-relative (and people through a fuss about Dan and Serena being step-siblings they clearly did not know anything about soaps).

So, with this I say goodbye to JR, one of the only bad boys I've ever enjoyed and television-there will be no one like him.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

These Girls

Title: These Girls
Author: Sarah Pekkanen

Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.
Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.
Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger.
Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.
Pekkanen’s most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate the complications of careers and love—and find the lifeline they need in each other.

I have to admit I was ambivalent about this book at first. I found it on the for-sale rack at the local Giant Tiger-its kind of like a low-grade Canadian Walmart (we do actually have Walmart here). The characters pulled me in, but I became quickly disenchanted when I thought two of the girls were about to enter a love triangle. The story focuses on three girls-Cate, Renee and Abby. Cate and Renee work for the same fashion magazine. They are both plagued with self-doubt. Renee is by far the most charming of the three. What woman can't relate with weight gain and a general feeling of inadequacy. She is by no-means large, but the world she works in makes her feel as though being a size 12 just isn't pretty enough. She tries to hard with the resident heart-throb who really likes her as a friend. The book treads dangerously close to becoming cliche when Trey (whom renee is still gaga over) falls for Cate. Cate returns those feelings, but unlike most book characters she does the right thing and puts her burgeoning friendship first. It's sweet. Trey is a good guy. He doesn't want to hurt Renee, he is a good brother to Abby and a general catch, but its so refreshing to see Cate choose her friendship with Renee over a man. She doesn't know him well enough to have actually fallen in love. The bonds that form between Abby, Renee and Cate is what holds this book together.Sarah Pekkanen avoids the pitfalls of the genre by not running rough-shod over the friendships. This is not a traditional love story, but it still counts in my opinion. Love is not just a bond shared between family and lovers, but between friends and this novel illustrates how these bonds form. The end of the story really is just a beginning and I was sad because I wanted to know what was up next for these three wonderful girls.

The downside of the novel, is that its slow-moving. It gets mired down in the details of their past and doesn't really give you clear resolutions for some of the story. Renee's relationship with her new-found sister is still an unresolved part of the plot. It's almost as if the writer got bogged down in teh diet-pill story that she totally forgot about Renee and Becca.

Despite these flaws, this novel is well worth the read.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Anne gets a makeover

Anne of Green Gables has gotten a make-over. This is not the first literary makeover of a classic, but probably one of its most shocking. First we had the twilight-esque covers for Jane Austen classics which was bad enough. Now, they've decided to make Anne a buxom blonde in order to appeal to the new generation of readers. The problem with this new look is that Anne was never blonde. The fact that she was a ginger is part of what defined Anne. Anne without her characteristic red-hair is impossible to imagine. One might as well make Anne, Andrew. Her hair color helps to define the character because it is part of what makes her different. I for one am shocked and I wonder if the artist ever read a single page of the Lucy Maude Montgomery tale. Talk about reworking and redefining a big slice of Canadiana.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Black History Month: Black Authors that are a must read

In honor of Black History month, I've decided to try an devote as much as my blog space this month as possible to authors/artists of color. Over the years, I've read a number of books (both nonfiction and fiction) by notable black authors. Here is a short-list of my favorites.

1. Richard Wright-The Native Son. I think this book is definitely a must read because it is so complex and deals with the idea of repressed anger, the conflicted role of the supposed House-Nigger mentality and how black people view liberal whites. Are they just as culpable of racism? It's full of questions, but doesn't force-feed the reader answers. It forces you to come up with your own answers.

2. Wretched of the Earth-Franz Fanon: One of the most noted black authors on the subject of race and politics. This piece mostly focuses on the state of Africa post-colonization and argues that a new era of colonization is being entered. The state of Africa and Africans has not improved much since he wrote this book in the late 60s. It can be a depressing read, but its definitely interesting. It also was a big part of my personal awakening when it came to my own politics.

3. Walter Mosely-Devil Wears a Blue Dress. This book is not as well-known as its movie adaptation, but its a thrill-seeking ride into an unknown genre, black film noire. A bunch of books written by Mosley and Richard Wright (as well as other authors) comprised what was known as the Black exploration into the genre of film noire. These book dealt more with the seedy-underbelly of jazz clubs and the harlem social scene as opposed to detective offices in very white Manhattan. It was a new spin on an existing genre. There is a lyricism to the prose that makes one feel they listening to jazz as they read the text. It's definitely fun. Plus who can say no to a good murder mystery.

4. Lawerence Hill- To add a little Canadian to my list, Hill is a modern Afro-Canadian writer that has written many essays on the black experience in Canada, but it is his groundbreaking novel, The Book of Negroes that makes him truly stand-out. This novel recounts the slave experience from the point of view of a young Muslim girl who has been taken captive. It's a difficult read, but it is also a heart-breaking journey and well worth the read. This novel tries to tackle the historical issue of slavery by looking at the lives and identities slaves have left behind.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth

I picked this book up on the recommendation of a friend who mostly reads nonfiction and doesn't really read fiction nevertheless YA. A lot of my online book-loving friends have read and their reactions have been mixed. Many of them have not quite felt the book and felt it failed where Hunger Games succeeded. While I'm loathe to compare any two books in the same genre because I feel like each book should be judged on its own merits, I am going to have to disagree with my online book friends. Maybe it was the early diet of class dystopians like 1984, A Brave New World and Walden Two (this one is particularly creepy since its penned by non other than B.F. Skinner. If you want a trip to crazy town definitely check it out). The darker and harsher the world, the better it is to me. The dissatisfaction of not being able to overcome the evil over-lords in these books became an undercurrent for how  I judge modern dystopians. I am loathe to like books that don't make it difficult by exposing your O'briens. I wasn't happy with the Hunger Games until I learn district 13 was as fucked up as the President. One bad guy was simply not enough for me. So, while a lot of fans hate mockingjay, I love it for the very reasons they hate it--its dark undertones, the fighting, the rebellion and Gale turning dark. But, back to Divergent. It's like the first half of this book has this dark sort of improbable feel. The idea that you can choose your own faction is very nice, but you quickly learn that initation phase is horrible and if you fail you become part of the legions of have-nots or factionless. Tris inability to fit into one box--her natural divergence--is what makes her so compelling to me. She has an internal strength and she loves her family just as much, but her struggle is about her identity can be what causes her demise. The relationship with four unfurls slowly and is not something she runs from but in an odd way embraces. Neither Four nor Tris are afraid of love, but rather they need as the only good thing in a dark world. It's the darkness and Tris's desire to not show others her weakness and her desire to try to navigate the minefield of her identity that makes her so interesting. Who can she trust? Who knows she is divergent? Are their others like her? What does being divergent really mean and why are people so afraid of them? this book really brings to light the notion of conformity. The factions can be seen as a heightened version of high school cliques. Your losers--dauntless, your shy kids-abgenation, the nerd-erudite, the cool kids who tell it like it is-Candor, and the hippies-Amity all are a part of this landscape. If you take the politics out of the story you have a story of young people trying to figure out where they belong and finding a new home when where they feel they really belong. I am really excited to see where Tris and Four's adventures take them in the next book. It's definitely a must-read whether you like it as much as I did or you think it just isn't worthy of all the hype. My only complaint don't make it a movie. I hate when good books become movies. I like to live in my imagination. I don't want casting to ruin what I picture Tris and Four to look like.