Sunday Spotlight

Here are some of the book reviews, articles and blog posts I’ve been enjoying this week. Want me to feature one of your posts here? Send me a link and I’ll check it out!

I’ve been having a great week this week – lots of interesting online discoveries!

  1. Kill Your Darlings, a wonderfully-named Australian publication for fresh and inventive storytellers.
  2. I found the above through another website, as they are contributing to the Melbourne Writers Festival that some of y’all down under might find interesting to attend. You can find out more about it here.
  3. Last week, Deepali from Reads Everything emailed me a lovely compliment on my blog, so I thought I’d return the favour by linking y’all over there in this week’s Spotlight. It’s a great new blog I’m sure you will enjoy reading!
  4. A friend of mine studying Film sent me this interesting link to a site on Queer Folk in Cinema. It has some great movie reviews!
  5. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading on Feminism, mostly by accident, and came across this wonderful internet community called Shakesville. This post in particular struck a chord with me; it’s old (just about a year to the day) but it’s still as relevant as ever.

Enjoy!

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REVIEW: “A Home at the End of the World” (film)

A Home at the End of the World

Directed by Michael Mayer
2004

CHALLENGE(S): GLBT Challenge, Read the Movie Challenge

I’m going to be honest here and say that I really don’t care what anyone else thinks of this movie: I loved it. I’ve read some fairly critical responses to it which more or less take it apart from a cinematic point of view, and for all I know they’re right, it’s a terrible movie. As I said: it really doesn’t matter to me. Something about the story and characters touched me personally, to the point where more objective/technical concerns ceased to be relevant.

From the blurb on the back cover, the film purports to be a story about three people – Bobby, Jonathan and Clare – and their attempt to form a highly unconventional family unit together. What I saw was more of a commentary on the end of an era; the children of the sixties and seventies growing into adults in a world that is much harsher and more dangerous than they were lead to expect – the loneliness that comes from growing up and realising the inherent bleakness of the human condition – the bonds that unite and sustain us, however unconventional they may be. The characters were beautiful, interesting, complicated people, their relationships believable and tender. All of them were lost in different ways, struggling to determine who they were and who they wanted to be. In this sense, they were perfect for each other, but inevitably doomed to disappointment as well.

I found myself extremely attached to all of them and very involved in their story. The parts were very well played by the actors, and although they did falter once or twice, I was never jolted out of the story by poor delivery or unbelievable reactions. Because of this, I was devastated by the ending of the movie: it was not only kind of predictable and vague but also utterly heart-wrenching. A film to open the soul, I think, even if it isn’t perfect – one of my favourites to date.

RATING:

Thursdays in Black: Reading for Life (Part II)

Thursdays in Black official logo

Why Wear Black?

It’s perfectly simple: for one day a week, wear black to show your support for survivors of discrimination and violence, and to work together for a world without brutality. In addition, I have decided to add a weekly feature to this blog, in which I will feature a specific Human Rights-related link, article, blog post or other media item and discussion, encouraging others to get involved. Read my first post here.

Link(s) of the Day:

Pro-Literacy.org
Literacy.org
Books Open the World

Why I Chose These Links:

This month’s Social Justice theme is Literacy and Education. As a lifelong reader and a postgraduate student, these are subjects that are very close to my heart. I can’t imagine not being able to read or write, to not be able to enjoy the blissful feeling of sinking into another world through literature or the joy of expanding my understanding of the world through knowledge. In addition, illiteracy and lack of education are some of the leading contributors to poor economic growth and poverty. Today’s links are international organisations dedicated to helping adult learners improve their literacy all over the world. Check them out and see what you can do to help!

New Beginnings Wednesday (August 11)

New Beginnings is a weekly event hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. It’s all about your New Years’ Resolutions! Everybody knows that these are really hard to stick to, so why not encourage each other in our efforts? Why not enlist the support of our online friends?

So, here it is…

  • First — post your list of New Years’ Resolutions in a post at your blog.
  • Second — every week, on Wednesday, write a new post about how you’re doing with each of your goals … you’ll have to list them, again, each week, as people won’t remember what you’re working towards, otherwise. Be brief in your updates, as there may be several blogs to visit!
  • Third — after you’ve written your update, visit Should Be Reading, and share your link so that we –the other New Beginnings participants– can stop by your blog and encourage you!

Important! … It would be absolutely great if you could visit at least ONE other participant’s blog on Wednesdays and leave a comment on their post to share some encouragement for their efforts! Show your support! That’s what this event is all about — standing by each other to finally reach our goals!

My goal: to try to be more consistent, and finish what I start. In particular…

  1. Write 1000 words or more per day. Does this even need to be said? Sometimes, if I’m up after midnight, I write the day’s 1k before going to sleep. Other times, I write it in the evening, also before going to sleep. It’s become so much a habit that I hardly even have to push myself anymore. Yay!
  2. Read at least 100 books this year. I hope to have three reviews to post by this time next week – two books and a movie. We’ll see how it goes.
  3. Dazzle my professors with my research essays. Making some progress with my first drafts. I’m roughly 10% done. I’ll have to work a bit faster if I want to finish by the end of the month, though!
  4. Turn The Black Sheep into a functioning (popular?) blog. I had a lovely compliment about this blog today. Awesome! My plans are currently on hold due to lack of time and funds, but as soon as August is over I’m going to get stuck in and sort out the new website.
  5. Start exercising more. I really must make more of an effort here.

Happy Wednesday! How are your goals going?

Teaser Tuesday (August 10)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

—-

I’m still working my way through A Home at the End of the World at the moment, so here’s another teaser from later in the book:

“I’m not this unusual,” she said. “It’s just my hair.”

She looked at Bobby and she looked at  me, with an expression at once disdainful and imploring. She was forty, pregnant, and in love with two men at once. I think what she could not abide was the zaniness of her life. Like many of us, she had grown up expecting romance to bestow dignity and direction.

“Be brave,” I told her. Bobby and I stood before her, confused and homeless and lacking a plan, beset by an aching but chaotic love that refused to focus in the conventional way.

— p.255, A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham.

What are you reading this week?

Monday Poem: “Burial” by Rhian Gallagher

I had a difficult time choosing the poem for today. There were so many I wanted to select, but ultimately this one won out for its simplicity and its evocative imagery.

Burial by Rhian Gallagher

The shovels stood in a sticky underbelly of earth
as we stepped from the sidelines for him,
peeling our jackets, the boys loosening their ties.
Soon there was clay on our church-going gear
and his voice coming out of our childhood
coaching us to put our backs into it.
Flowers and fine words had never touched the man
like work, grunts behind a shovel’s bite,
the clean sound of clods as we heaved them in. Digging,
we bowed in memory of his stooped solid shape.
The dark damp weight of earth,
a provision, a very last word.

(courtesy of this site)

I love the way this poem is so grounded; there are few details given, but they give us a clear picture not only of the man to be buried but also of those burying him, their relationship and the burial itself. The rhythm is well done, too, in some ways is evocative of the rhythm of digging, neatly tied up at the end. Lovely enjambment, and an economical use of language. An enjoyable piece.

Sunday Spotlight

Here are some of the book reviews, articles and blog posts I’ve been enjoying this week. Want me to feature one of your posts here? Send me a link and I’ll check it out!

Wow, Sunday sure came around fast. Here’s some of the sites I’ve been bookmarking this week:

  1. Part of learning to live in modern society is learning to understand the inherent biases and prejudices within our current social structure and how to deal with them. The more multicultural things get, the higher the chances that you’re going to hear something racist. If you’re like me, you have no idea what to say when that happens. Well, this video might help: How To Tell Someone They Sound Racist.
  2. I came across this one by accident through another site. It’s very funny and has some insightful things to say about America today, which I thought appropriate in light of the recent issues regarding Prop 8: That’s Gay!
  3. There’s been talk in the book-blogosphere recently about infidelity – to books, that is. Do you read one at a time, or do you and your books share an open relationship? Personally, I always have a couple of books on the side. I just can’t stand being tied down, you know?
  4. Need a bit of a confidence booster? A Fat Rant Blog is all about shining for who you are, and regardless of size, shape or anything in-between it’s bound to make you smile.
  5. I’m not entirely sure what this is, but it sounds completely fascinating. “New forms of story designed specifically for the internet”? Yes please. Check it out here at We Tell Stories.

Enjoy!