I like the Harry Potter books. I just can’t say I love them [my favourite YA series of novels is Percy Jackson & the Olympians], and after having finished all seven and catching the last few movies in theatres haven’t thought about them much. Certainly not enough to give the Pottermore website, created by Rowling to give HP fans what they continue to jones for, even a cursory visit.
On that same note I haven’t really been following Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a prequel and spin-off to the film franchise, aside from perking up at the idea that protagonist Newt Scamander might be something other than White. I briefly mentioned it back in 2013 when covering the inherent problem with assuming that White is the norm, but ultimately stopped paying attention after it was officially announced last June that Eddie Redmayne had been cast in the role.
That said, fantasy worlds and the worldbuilding involved in their creation have always interested me, and I didn’t hesitate to click on a link a friend had shared on Facebook stating that Rowling had “[revealed] four wizarding schools, including one in the United States“, with the latter being one of the settings in the upcoming film. After all, if one of the aforementioned magical places of learning was to be in North America chances were that the other three were located elsewhere. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire had always been my favourite of the series, with one of the many reasons being that it featured the two other wizarding schools and characters from them, expanding the universe beyond the borders of Great Britain. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, film, geography, literature, race
Tagged Africa, Africa is not a country, Asia, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, Binyavanga Wainaina, brazil, Castelbruxo, continent, country, Democratic Republic of Congo, Durmstrang Insititute, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, fantasy, geography, Harry Potter, Hogwarts, How to Write About Africa, Ilvermorny, J. K. Rowling, Japan, Mahoutokoro, Pottermore, Uagadou, Uganda, wizarding school
You can read a better introduction at the beginning of last year’s awards, but I can quickly fill in for any new readers out there that I began reading at a fairly young age and continued on to study literature in college. That being said reading and literature have been a part of my life for about as far back as I can remember.
This second installment of the Evan Yeong Literary Awards seeks to once again call attention to the artistic medium that I love most, taking note of the books I read in the past year and [at least this time around, solely] praising the standouts. A lot of pages were put away in 2015, and it was actually a challenge this year to keep the number of winners to just under a dozen.
In 2015 I once again resolved to read 52 books and this time met my goal; sweet success. You can check out a full list [with the exact dates of when I read each one] at this link.
book that most helps “the cause/mission”
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
The former as used by the hosts of the podcast Black Men Can’t Jump and the latter being the name of Joseph Philip Illidge’s column on Comic Book Resources, both terms are ultimately defined as work that progresses diversity. To that effect, White British author Gaiman is one of its truest champions, crafting a fantastical novel that lets its characters fall under the default race of reader’s assumptions only to have that torn away, much to even [or especially] my chagrin, in later pages. Fantasy as a genre is not often populated by men and women of colour, at least in Western fiction, and to have this novel exist, as well as be supported by such an unshakable talent, is a wonderful thing.
novel that doesn’t, and then does, live up to the hype
The Catcher in the Rye in J. D. Salinger
Published in 1951
The only thing I knew about this [in]famous work of fiction prior to reading it is that the murderer of one of The Beatles was obsessed with it and that it has been a frequently banned book, so I was not at all expecting the tale of a teenager who just wanted to drink some drinks and go on some dates and figure out what adolescence is really about. On that same note, I also didn’t think I would be exposed to some of the most raw and honest writing about what it’s like to be a dumb, lost kid. I still don’t fully understand what all the hubbub was about, but I also see why so many dating profiles have it featured as their favourite book. Continue reading
Posted in Comedy, literature, race, religion, review, sex, writing, Youth
Tagged Anansi Boys, Angus Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, awards, best, books, Claire Messud, Cynthia Bond, Dave Eggers, Evan Yeong Literary Awards, fantasy, genre, Guy Gavriel Kay, J. D. Salinger, Larissa Lai, Louise Rennison, Miranda July, Neil Gaiman, Pink Moon, race, romance, Ruby, sad lady lit, Salt Fish Girl, Stef Ann Holm, The Catcher in the Rye, The First Bad Man, The Woman Upstairs, Tigana, virgin, Your Fathers Where Are They? And the Prophets Do They Live Forever?
Disney’s Mulan came out when I was 12, and you’d better believe I was excited about it. I was the girl who reacted to dresses and stockings with outrage and got big heart eyes at the sight of swords, so a girl dressing up as a guy and going to war was exactly my jam. Shortly after watching it, I remember climbing on a playground after church with a friend, while my brothers and I quoted the funny parts at each other. I asked her if she’d seen it yet.
“No…” she replied. “I heard it promotes ancestor worship and stuff.”
This caught me up. Yes, in the movie Mulan prays to her ancestors for help and protection, and in true Disney fashion, the ghostly ancestors are seen discussing her plight. 12-year-old-me wasn’t sure how to respond. It did…but it hadn’t occurred to me that it did.
“I guess…” I said. “Kind of.”
I’ll convert for the parties.
I found myself thinking about this exchange recently, while my husband and I watched through Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix. I realize we are WAY behind the times, but wow did we enjoy it, despite neither of us really being anime fans. It was such a great story, with excellent characters, and it was deeply refreshing to see a fantasy series that wasn’t set in pseudo-medieval or pseudo-viking times. The show also depicts a variety of ethnicities and cultures, most of which are based on eastern civilizations. It’s great.
Of course, there are references to various elements of eastern spiritualities… reincarnation, qi energy, a spirit world, and – featuring heavily in one episode of season two and recurrently through season three – chakras.
During that chakra-heavy episode, I couldn’t help but hear my friend’s voice “No… I heard it promotes eastern mysticism.” Continue reading
Posted in Christianity, Guest Post
Tagged ancestral worship, Avatar: The Last Airbender, chakra, Christian, Christianity, complex, consumers, convert, critical thinking, depiction, Disney, eastern, fantasy, Far Right, Fear, filmography, Fireproof, Focus on the Family, guest post, hero, industrial, kids, Kim Davis, Kirk Cameron, Lucifer, martial arts, martyr, Matric, matrix, media, Mulan, pagan gods, paranoia, Plugged In, Pokemon, project, promotion, review, right-wing, Sherwood Pictures, silly songs with Larry, spiritiuality, supernatural, the gay agenda, the other, ulterior motive, veggie tales
Last Wednesday, Kat gave us a post titled “Why I Decided to Stop Being a ‘Tough Girl’ and Just Be Me“, a thought-provoking piece on femininity.
I passionately disagree with it.
Let me break it down here.
In her post, Kat referenced this quote by actress Zoey Deschanel:
This idea- that women were or are pressured to be “men”- isn’t a new one. Plenty of folks have made the same observation and there is absolutely truth to that. In fact, we’ve even managed to turn it into a trope at this point, the “warrior-princess”. Continue reading
Posted in bizarreness, feminism, morality, sex
Tagged 2nd wave, 3rd wave, Anne Bonny, Boadicea, Claire Underwood, Dana Scully, Elizabeth Jennings, fantasy, female, feminine, femininity, feminism, Feminist, fight, Frank Frazetta, Gemma Teller, Hua Mulan, inherent, kevlar, Lana Kane, Laura Roslin, Lysistrata, male, marie curie, matriarchal, matriarchy, Men, patriachal, patriarchy., Peloponnesian war, power, promiscuity, qualities, sci-fi, science fiction, sex, sexuality, stoic, strength, tough, traits, warrior-princess, will, women, Zenobia, Zoey Deschanel
As with many elements of modern culture, I walk the blurry line between fandom and general enjoyment. I like plenty of stuff, but I wouldn’t say I love anything. I enjoy comics- more than the average man on the street- but I’m definitely not on a level where I could seriously discuss comics with someone who’s actually into them (as Evan can attest). I enjoy heavy metal, but I couldn’t name the leading band of the past couple years or tell you the difference between Finnish black metal and Swedish death metal.
This is neither, just for the record…
Even though this gets me simultaneously branded as a nerd by people who aren’t fans of _______ and a poser by people who are, I nevertheless get a pretty unique perspective on things. I can see how they work- what their appeal is- without getting objectivity compromised by being too emotionally invested.
Now I think I’d be hard pressed to think of a better example of this than Doctor Who.
Posted in bizarreness, Europe, technology, television, writing
Tagged aliens, cardiff, cult status, dalek, Doctor Who, Dr Who, fantasy, fixing, GIF, improving, pacifist, production value, science fiction, space, special effects, television, time travel, weeping angel