Anne Adaptations: Akage no An (1979) Part 2

(Original thread found here.) Last time, we discussed some of how Anne is seen in Japan in general, from the perspective of someone who googled a bunch of stuff but is by no means an expert. And today, before getting into the actual episode, we have a little more backstory. I promise, it’s pretty interesting.

So Akage no An the anime was directed and written by Takahata Isao which is a name you might know if you like anime. He cofounded Studio Ghibli, y’all. With Miyazaki Hayao, obviously… who did the scene setting and layout on this series. This series is basically pre-Ghibli Ghibli. Takahata even edited together the first six episodes in 1989 to be a theatrical movie, but it was unreleased until it was screened at the Ghibli Museum in 2010.

I just think that’s so cool???

Okay, controversial opinion time. I tend to watch dubs over subbed things because I enjoy actually knowing what’s happening when I’m watching something and I miss a lot if I can’t hear what’s going on.

However. I swore that at one point I read that there was no English dub of this. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t find one. So we watched the subtitled version… at least first. (I’ll come back to this.)

There are like 52 episodes in this so I’m not going to watch the whole thing, just the first two episodes. That’s almost an hour and enough time to form an opinion, I think.

Now, this anime is even more book accurate in these two episodes than the mini-series. If I go into the full plot beat by beat, I’ll just be repeating what I said in my book threads, honestly. So let’s just talk about my favourite things, my general thoughts, and anything really noteable.

First – character design. Main players here are Anne, Matthew, Marilla, and Mrs Rachel.

Anne looks pretty good honestly! Red hair, grey eyes, skinny. Her clothes also look prety good. They’re simplified by necessity for the medium (especially in 1979), but they look good. They get across the idea that the orphanage dresses are drab and cheap.

I also like her hat.

Okay, this looks creepy as all get out, but you also get a shot of the undergarments and they look period appropriate. And the “skimpy” nightgown.

The only thing I find a little odd is that Anne has like a sevenhead. Her forehead is GIANT.

Matthew is fairly large here, which I like. He generally looks great. He reminds me, weirdly, of the Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House.

He is quite red for some reason, but then again he does work outside. Maybe he’s just red.

Marilla’s design is also great. She honestly looks exactly like how I pictured her. I really have nothing much to say besides she looks great. Sensible clothes, sensible hair. Love it.

And we ACTUALLY get a fat Mrs Rachel! She has a double chin and everything.

Her clothes also are slightly brighter, while still being simple (animation, after all), but she looks just a little more fashionable. Her hair is also bigger and more modern that Marilla’s.

Other things of note:

Bright River looks really good.

The White Way of Delight and the Lake of Shining Waters both look super pretty. Like these colours are so pretty.

Honestly, Green Gables looks almost identical to the real one. Like. Wow. It looks SO good.

(Green Gables photo via wikipedia.)

I love the kitchen. That stove is literally the Waterloo that’s in Montgomery’s Cavendish home, now a museum. They even have the couch which most adaptations leave out because it’s not really a detail that matters, but they put SO much detail into this series.

In general, this is a very pretty anime and the landscaping always looks great. They must have worked off photos of the real places.

There is also usually one imagine spot per episode (in the episodes I watched) where you see a visual representation of Anne’s imagination, and I love that as a concept. They’re whimsical and magical and a cool way to show that aspect in a way that isn’t just Anne talking about it.

But also all the naked babies are weird.

And they show up kind of a lot. Like once per episode.

And at least in the two episodes I watched, the naked flying babies are just… never explained.

But overall this series is very good. It’s pretty obvious why it’s so popular and it’s incredibly book accurate – like I think the script was basically just the book. It’s well animated and just really high quality.

If you like anime and Anne, check it out.

NOW.

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE ENGLISH DUB.

But wait! I hear you say. I said that I couldn’t find an English dub. Well, that ALSO has some backstory and it is ALSO interesting. Apparently, while a French-Canadian dub ran in the 80s, an English dub was never officially released in North America. There’s a lot rumours of why, but no concrete evidence.

(One theory, though, we’ll come back to on Tuesday.)

An English dub DOES exist, though. It was produced in South Africa and aired possibly only in the Philippines and on a 24 hour English channel in Japan. Though I can’t really verify this as there’s very little information on the English dub’s history.

It was even briefly considered lost meda. But, now you can legally watch them on Youtube! The rightsholder has uploaded them!

So I did.

As far as I notice, there are no major editing changes, like cut scenes or whatnot, except for the opening theme which has a different song and completely different footage shown.

Which um. Okay, to start, the Japanese music is better. It has a whole little summary of her coming to Green Gables.

In English, a voice just yells “Aaaaaanne” a bunch. Yes, there are other lyrics bu I only absorb the incredibly annoying “Aaaaanne” part. Also the naked babies are HEAVILY feaured in the English opening. Like it’s almost entirely made up of “Anne, Anne take my hand” and naked babies.

I literally could not fit all the screenshots in one tweet. All from the English opening.

The English version also gives the episodes different titles like “The Big Surprise” instead of the book’s chapter titles, like the original anime uses.

This is, unfortunately, the first of many ways the dubbing actually makes it less book accurate.

In English, there’s a lot of non-book details added to the narration and they use the narrator way more. It’s kind of a whole different vibe and I wasn’t a big fan. This narrator was also kind of obnoxious.

The biggest issue, though, is that everyone is INCREDIBLY BRITISH.

They SAY it’s set in Canada, but everyone has British accents because the dub is voiced by actors who I think were British ex-pats living in South Africa. I think. Because none of the English voice actors are credited at all.

Honestly it’s a very bizarre dub. No one has a Canadian accent, no one has the SAME British accent, and the dubbing makes it less book accurate.

Just.

Why is it so British????? XD

And lord save me from the theme song. It’s kind of awful.

Also, there are actual mistakes in the dub? In the second episode, they replay the scene of Anne and Mathew meeting, and Anne says, “I’m very pleased to finally be in Carmody.” Well, what’s wrong with that?

1. They’re in Bright River, not Carmody.
2. This isn’t what HAPPENED in the first episode. She didn’t say this. They’re flashing back to something THAT NEVER HAPPENED!
3. What even?!?!?

The narrator arbitrarily decides it’s 1870, and my notes devolve into “What is happening”. I lost it a little bit here.

Ngl, guys, I almost didn’t even watch the second episode in English. “How different could it be?” I thought

And then I stopped being okay XD

The dub even changes their characters. Controversial opinion! Anne is UNBEARABLY TWEE with a posh British accent. I kind of hate it. She sounds like such a snob. And Marilla comes off as way meaner in this, like she’s constantly browbeating Matthew.

When they tell her she can’t stay, Anne’s crying is really, really fake sounding and the narrator straight up implies she might BE fake crying.

This guy’s a jerk!

It’s – this is a lot. It’s very, very off book. Anne goes on a rant about people only wanting boys and that girls can work too, so yay feminism, I guess?

I’ve noticed this is a thing in a lot of bad English anime dubs – they can’t just let there be quiet moments so they stuff in a bunch of extra dialogue or even just random noise. This even happens sometimes in Ghibli dubs and those are generally well made. It’s so unnecessary.

Everything is just off and it’s so weird because the original is just so book accurate. It’s almost a little unsettling.

My notes are just me giving up at this point XD All it says is “I’m so done”. Overall, the English dub is just bizarre but we won’t hold it against the overall anime itself. If you watch it subtitled, it’s incredibly book accurate and overall it’s really lovely to watch. The backgrounds are beautiful and it has great character designs.

It’s very gentle and soft and if you like that kind of slice of life anime, I’d really recommend it. Also it’s pretty cool as a piece of Studio Ghibli history? I would never have known about that if not for this thread.

And that’s about all for this! Cool anime, really good adaptation.

Works Cited

Akamatsu, Yoshiko. “During and After the World Wars: L. M. Montgomery and the Canadian Missionary Connection in Japan.” The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children’s Literature, 22 Dec. 2015, ojs.latrobe.edu.au/ojs/index.php/tlg/article/view/647.

“Anne of Green Gables (Found English Dub of Anime Series; 1980s).” Anne of Green Gables (Found English Dub of Anime Series; 1980s) – The Lost Media Wiki, lostmediawiki.com/Anne_of_Green_Gables_(found_English_dub_of_anime_series;_1980s).

Baldwin, Douglas. “L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Japanese Connection.” Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue D’études Canadiennes, vol. 28, no. 3, 1993, pp. 123–133.

CBC Archives – Japanese Adore Anne of Green Gables. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh8TLtvnxuM.

Dawes, Terry. “Why Anne Of Green Gables Is Big In Japan.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 6 Dec. 2017, http://www.huffpost.com/entry/anne-of-green-gables-japan_b_4899252.

Dixon, Guy. “Anne of Green Gables’ Eternal Life in Japan.” The Globe and Mail, 1 Dec. 2010, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/anne-of-green-gables-eternal-life-in-japan/article1316455/.

“INTERVIEW: Anne of Green Gables Still Popular in Japan Thanks to Freedom Theme.” Nippon.com, 6 Sept. 2019, http://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2019090500861/interview-anne-of-green-gables-still-popular-in-japan-thanks-to-freedom-theme.html.

Kajihara, Yuka. Influential Anne in Japan, 2001, web.archive.org/web/20110827111607/www.yukazine.com/lmm/e/japanne.html.

Krauss, Clifford. “Cavendish Journal; Annes of Japan Come Dreaming of Green Gables.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 June 2003, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/17/world/cavendish-journal-annes-of-japan-come-dreaming-of-green-gables.html.

Levinson-King, Robin. “Anne of Green Gables: The Most Popular Redhead in Japan.” BBC News, BBC, 8 May 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39809999.

“Loretta Leonard Shaw.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Jan. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loretta_Leonard_Shaw.

MacAndrew, Barbara. “Forever Young – Anne of Green Gables.” Saltscapes Magazine, http://www.saltscapes.com/roots-folks/470-forever-young-anne-of-green-gables.html.

Mulligan, Hugh A. “Anne of Green Gables Finds Countless Kindred Spirits in Japan.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 21 Dec. 1997, http://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1997-dec-21-mn-916-story.html.

Nathan, Richard. “The Long Winter, the Sixth Book in the Little House Series, Was the First Book Approved for Translation and Publication in Japan after World War II.” Red Circle, 3 Jan. 2018, http://www.redcircleauthors.com/factbook/the-long-winter-the-sixth-book-in-the-little-house-series-was-the-first-book-approved-for-translation-and-publication-in-japan-after-world-war-ii/.

Paskin, Willa. “The Other Side of Anne of Green Gables.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Apr. 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/27/magazine/the-other-side-of-anne-of-green-gables.html.

Russell, Nancy. “Abandoned Avonlea: Anne of Green Gables Theme Park in Japan Falls on Hard Times | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 24 Apr. 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-abandoned-avonlea-1.4080511.

Swardson, Anne. “JAPAN FLOCKS TO ANNE.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 17 Aug. 1995, http://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1995/08/17/japan-flocks-to-anne/01a2621c-5feb-4c6f-8d93-58e59fb014a1/.

Uchiyama, Akiko. “Meeting the New Anne Shirley: Matsumoto Yūko’s Intimate Translation of Anne of Green Gables – TTR.” Érudit, Association Canadienne De Traductologie, 22 June 2016, http://www.erudit.org/en/journals/ttr/2013-v26-n1-ttr02584/1036953ar/.

Ugc. “Japan’s Replica of Green Gables in Avonlea.” Atlas Obscura, Atlas Obscura, 19 Sept. 2016, http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/canadian-world.

“A Visit to the School of Green Gables in Okayama, Japan.” Anne of Japan 日本のアン, 25 Dec. 2013, http://www.anneofjapan.com/akage-no-an/a-visit-to-the-school-of-green-gables-in-okayama-japan/.

Can’t Wait Wednesday (133)

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Release date: May 4th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.

The part where I talk: This sounds like such an interesting concept. I like the combination of science fiction and thriller, and I like books that focus on sister relationships. Also, the cover is absolutely beautiful. The art is so soft and delicate.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Anne Adaptations: Akage no An (1979) Part 1

(Original thread found here.) Disclaimer before we start: I am REALLY not an expert on anime or, like, Japan or Japanese culture, and I’m not claiming to speak for anyone in anyway. I just want to talk about an adaptation I think is neat and some of the history behind it because I don’t think it’s super well-known for a lot of us. I’ve done some reading, but obviously that’s not the same as a lived experience and I’m trying to claim it is.

If I screw up, please call me out and I promise I’ll be cool about it. My DMs are open if you don’t want to be public. Or email me!

With that being said… so Anne is kind of a BIG deal in Japan?

I’ve talked about this very briefly in other threads, but it’s really popular.

Depending on what source you’re looking at, the origin of Anne in Japan changes a bit. The Washington Post, for instance, says “According to local legend, Montgomery’s first Anne book — she eventually wrote eight — came to Japan via a Canadian teacher in a missionary school in the 1930s. When the teacher was expelled in 1939, she left a copy behind with her favorite student, who spent the war years lovingly translating it.”

I think this is, uh, kind of racist.

This is also kind of a common narrative in certain places but like. It’s really weird to call it a “local legend” when we know the peoples’ names and have their like writing and stuff? So I’ll be going with the other sources that actually use FACTS.

(I’m just being incredibly salty to the Washington Post now.)

So here’s the truth from what I’ve found.

A missionary teacher named Loretta L. Shaw went to Japan to teach at the Bishop Poole Girls’ School in Osaka. Apparently she finished her learning Japanese course in one year instead of the usual two. Sound familiar? It is said that the school was very successful educating girls in a time when education FOR girls was considered relatively unimportant. She’s quoted as saying the “unfair idea of lower standard for girls” was “unwise and unmoral”.

Shaw said she wished “to bring greater friendship and greater education between the people of her own country and that of her adopted country.” (Please note the quotes in this section as these are not my opinions.)

She also brought a lot of things home from Japan and donated them to them to The New Brunswick Museum, like books, dolls, coins, photographs, etc, which I could see being really education and humanizing to people in 1924. HOWEVER take all this with a heavy grain of White Savior Salt, because, you know, missionary. She also claimed female missionary teachers were why Japanese women discovered feminism. Because women of colour wouldn’t know their own worth without white women.

Anyways, in 1932 Shaw was appointed head of the department for womens’ and childrens’ lit at an organization called the Christian Literature Society of Japan. (I promise this will be relevant later.) They, and she, apparently thought Japan was being flooded with European and Amerian trash, so they published “good wholesome” works and distributed Christian magazines.

Please refer back to my “heavy grain of White Savior Salt” line.

Now let’s introduce Muraoka Hanako! She’s pretty cool herself. She was the first daughter of eight siblings and her father thought it important she be educated so she was transferred to the Toyo Eiwa Mission School for Girls as a scholarship student. Pros: She studied many things beyond what she would have been able to only going to school to the “compulsory level”. Cons: Sounds like there was probably a lot of compulsory Christianity.

Not sure what side learning about Canada falls on?

Muraoka published her first book in 1917, at the age of 24, which is actually a year before Anne of Green Gables was published. VERY interestingly, it’s called Rohen, or “Ingleside” in English. It consists of 12 translated short stories and 1 original story. Two of the translated stories are set in Canada.

Jumping ahead in the AOGG series, we find “Anne of Ingleside” and “Rilla of Ingleside”. Ingleside is a town in Ontario and it’s just a coincidence as far as I know, but it’s a cool one.

Muraoka began to work for the publisher that became known as *drumroll please* the Christian Literature Society of Japan as a translator.

Remember that?

She also taught for 5 years, was the primary breadwinner after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 destroyed her husband’s printing company, and hosted a radio news show for children so popula she became known as “Rajio no Obasan” or “Aunty Radio”. When WWII began, however, she resigned as she both did not want to call Canadians enemies as she considered many to be dear friends, and found the war news too hostile too read to children.

So! At this point, we’ve got two people working at the publisher CLSJ! Now I don’t have a ton of sources on this one because I don’t have Muraoka’s memoirs or anything, but it seems like they both worked as editors, and worked together.

“Two adults working at a publisher that publishes translated literature” is a BIT of a different story than “A teacher giving a student a book”, isn’t it?

YEAH I’M LOOKING AT YOU WASHINGTON POST WITH YOUR WEIRD “LOCAL LEGEND” THING.

No one really seems to be sure of exactly when this next bit happened. Muraoka says 1939 in an essay, but some sources say Shaw had left Japan in June 1936. She died in 1940 so it was definitely before then, and I suspect by a while because she was pretty ill towards the end of her life.

Anyways, Shaw gave a copy of Anne to Muraoka as a token of friendship. She hoped Muraoka would translate and publish it. There’s a lot of romanticizing of the translation process by white people, honestly, but there’s no doubt she was doing a very brave thing translating it. English was forbidden in Japan and she risked being arrested.

She said she would take her manuscripts into air-raid shelters with her. This one website calls it “an oath of friendship to her Canadian friends who were expelled from Japan at the outbreak of World War II.” I don’t want to, like, gloss over any problematic elements here because some sources get really weird about the whole thing, but I think that’s a pretty cool story regardless.

And so, Anne of Green Gables, known as Akage no An (Red-haired Anne) was published in Japan in 1952!

Now, why did a random Canadian book get so popular? Well, this will take a minute to talk about.

So what I’ve read is that Japanese childrens’ books during the war were… not super fun. Possibly they could even be called borderline propoganda?

There’s a bunch of stuff here I’m not educated enough to explain without sounding real ignorant, but apparently Douglas MacArthur, like the US war dude, “encouraged” the translation of American/Western juvenile literature to… boost morale, essentially? Honestly it’s kind of a weird idea, but I guess the idea was to publish books that would give hope to “young readers in Japan as they rebuilt their devastated nation”.

MacArthur particularly suggested the Little House on the Prairie books which, you know. “Isn’t America GRAND and totally not racist” is a whole DIFFERENT form of propoganda, at least, I guess???

Apparently a lot of fantasy and adventure books did very well, but the genre known as “romance” or “domestic fiction” and books with female protagonists were both pretty scant. The domestic Japanese publishing industry was apparently not so quick to catch up to the new vibes of the books people wanted so kids were way more into manga, magazines, and comics along with anime rising even more in popularity.

So, translations already have a bit of a leg up at this time. But why did Anne specifically connect so much? Well, there’s really no one answer. But here are some things I’ve read.

Anne is, obviously, an orphan. WWII obviously left a lot of orprhans in its path. Obviously many children sadly related to her situation. Other reasons suggested are Anne’s love of nature. Some say it appealed to “an increasingly crowded, urban nation”.

Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate MacDonald Butler, suggested one factor may be that Montgomery’s “way of describing nature is also very similar to traditional Japanese texts”, her words, not mine, I can neither confirm nor debunk this. Muraoka Eri, a granddaughter of Muraoka Hanaka, suggests one reason may be that it “depicts a feature in human society that never changes over 100 years – to coexist while showing compassion to one another.”

One article quotes Yoshihara Yukari who says some of the appeal is that the world of AoGG is very kawaii, and that the puffed sleeve and tea party aesthetic is all that and a bag of chips, basically. And tbh I can see that being a draw myself.

I mean, I can’t deny I love a puffed sleeve myself.

Also, from what I know, the Lolita fashion subculture, especially classic Lolita, draws a lot of inspiration from the Victorian era (and Rococo which isn’t relevant but I just like saying Rococo). I am really not the person to say one way or the other how much the rising popularity of those fashion elements coincided with or influenced Anne’s popularity, but I will point out it got very popular in the 80s, so, you know. Aesthetic or something.

Anne herself is also obviously a thing people talked about in articles I read. People liked that she talks a lot, that she’s compassionate. They mention that she chose to give up her schooling to care for Marilla, while still being independent.

A lot of people, too, specifically talk about Anne relating to gender and gender roles. Yoshihara says she uses the book as a gateway to talk about gender in her classes. She says, “We do not usually teach kids about how gender is related to our day to day issues, education or fashion or how we behave.”

And she’s not the only one – Kate Macdonald Butler also suggests Anne was a “sort of freedom story for a woman to read”. A 1994 academic study found young Japanese women would reread the book before applying for jobs to “emulate her courage and candor”. How cool is that???

One article quotes Adilman Toshiko saying that “high spirits and opinions” were frowned upon in girls in 1940s Japanese society and that was very similar to Anne’s Victorian era one. Generally, Anne’s free spirited nature is remarked upon often.

I worry this is beginning to sound a bit condescending – “why did people like a book” sounds like a silly question. After all, why does anyone like Anne of Green Gables? Why do I? I think I need to talk more about just HOW popular Anne became in Japan. (It may be somewhat less so now – I had trouble finding information about its current popularity.)

Y’ALL THERE WAS A THEME PARK.

It’s considered semi-abandoned now, joining the Flintstones theme park turned bird sanctuary in closed theme parks I’d visit in a heartbeat.

(“Anne of Green Gables” also joins the list of my favourite theme park themes along with the cheese theme park in South Korea and any and all slightly sketchy Christmas/Santa themed theme parks.)

(I may die if I ever go to the cheese theme park.)

The Anne theme park opened in 1993, went bankrupt in 1997, and was adopted by the city and turned into a municipal park… municipal theme park? Municipal theme park.

There’s an EXACT REPLICA of Green Gables! And a tiny village! They crushed bricks to make the red roads! They built the pond, the Lake of Shining Waters! There was a TRAIN. They even hired Canadian actors to play Anne and Diana.

This place was sick. It’s called Canadian World and I love it so much. Like, look at this.

The Anne musical had HUGE success in Japan, along with a very successful Japanese-language version that was still touring pre-COVID.

In Okayamo, there’s an Anne of Green Gables School of Nursing. And it’s not a joke – it’s a very well-regarded school. To quote Terry Dawes, a documentary filmmaker, “They’re here to live up to a standard, a standard that has been set very high by the example of Anne herself” – and the article I’m quoting was written in 2013.

Cavendish, PEI is where the Green Gables Heritage Place is located and that’s where you go to visit Green Gables, right? They get probably between 150-200,000 visitors a year, and at least 10k of them are Japanese tourists.

The New York Times claims Anne of Green Gables is taught in school in Canada, but I don’t think that’s very common at all. However, several sources I’ve seen have said it’s required reading in many Japanese public schools and in, like, textbooks!

It truly was a cultural phenomenom, as much if not more than it is in Canada, and I think it’s important to understand that.

“Okay, but get to the point”, I hear you all saying. I promise I am!

One of the reasons Anne has stayed in the public eye in Japan is the 1979 anime, also called Akage no An. My sources say tons of people grew up watching it as it aired basically constantly on Japanese TV stations. People *really* like it.

And we’re going to talk about that NEXT TIME.

I knoooow it’s kind of a letdown to not even GET to the anime, but this is a lot of information. I hope you liked this post! I worked really hard on it – I even got a paper from a university library for reseach for it.

Can’t Wait Wednesday (132)

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend by Ben Philipple

Release date: April 27th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): In an era in which “I have many black friends” is often a medal of Wokeness, Ben hilariously chronicles the experience of being on the receiving end of those fist bumps. He takes us through his immigrant childhood, from wanting nothing more than friends to sit with at lunch, to his awkward teenage years, to college in the age of Obama, and adulthood in the Trump administration—two sides of the same American coin.

Ben takes his role as your new black friend seriously, providing original and borrowed wisdom on stereotypes, slurs, the whole “swimming thing,” how much Beyoncé is too much Beyoncé, Black Girl Magic, the rise of the Karens, affirmative action, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other conversations you might want to have with your new BBFF.

Oscillating between the impulse to be “one of the good ones” and the occasional need to excuse himself to the restrooms, stuff his mouth with toilet paper, and scream, Ben navigates his own Blackness as an “Oreo” with too many opinions for his father’s liking, an encyclopedic knowledge of CW teen dramas, and a mouth he can’t always control.

From cheating his way out of swim tests to discovering stray family members in unlikely places, he finds the punchline in the serious while acknowledging the blunt truths of existing as a Black man in today’s world.

The part where I talk: I don’t normally talk about non-fiction for CWWs, because I don’t read that much nonfiction, but I liked Philippe’s book, The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, and I thought this sounded really good.

What’s some nonfiction you all like?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Things I’ve Read Recently (110): Yet Another Comicss Post

If you’re new around here, Things I’ve Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn’t have enough to say for a full review, or just didn’t want to do a full post about for whatever reason.

40629242Old Is the New New (The Wicked + The Divine, volume 8) by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, and Clayton Cowles

Published: March 12th, 2019 by Image Comics
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 232 pages
Part of a series? This collects all the Specials published during the run of the Wicked + the Divine. You can skip from 7 directly to 9 but this is fun.
Got via: The library.

Summary (from goodreads): Modernist poets trapped in an Agatha Christie Murder Mystery. The Romantics gathering in Lake Geneva to resurrect the dead. What really happened during the fall of Rome. The Lucifer who was a nun, hearing Ananke’s Black Death confession. As we approach the end, we start to see the full picture. Also includes the delights of the WicDiv Christmas Annual and the Comedy special.

Collects all six of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE’s essential Specials.

Thoughts: It’s not necessary to read this to finish this series, but it was fun to see some of the back story of the characters, and I think it does solidify some plot elements and provide more context for them. I glanced at goodreads and apparently I’m one of the only people who liked this though XD I thought it was fun.

Obviously not all the issues were things I were into – there’s a bit more explicit sexual content than I normally go for, and a couple issues were pretty heavy on the gore – but it’s easier to skip around when you’re reading side issues like this so whatever.

Sometimes it’s really weird when I like something and everyone else hates it. I’m kind of a picky bitch.

40652557._sy475_Save Our School (Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, volume 6) by Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, and Tamra Bonvillain

Published: December 31st, 2018 by Marvel
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 112
Part of a series? This contains Moon Girl 32-36.
Got via: The library.

Summary (from goodreads): It’s time to cry S.O.S. – Save Our School! New York City has a new mayor, and his name is…Wilson Fisk! Yes, the Kingpin is in charge of the Big Apple and everything in it, including the Department of Education! But he won’t be running it alone: meet your new favorite Marvel character, Princess Fisk! What’s her tragic past?

Meanwhile, Lunella’s problems are all in the present – for one, if she’s so smart, why can’t she unravel the genetic mystery that keeps swapping her brain with a 40-foot-tall T-rex? Plus, the D.O.E.’s citywide exam is getting closer – and everyone is counting on Lunella to keep P.S. 20 at the top of the class! And to make matters worse, now her cousin has come to visit! Look out, world – it’s Devin Dinosaur!

Thoughts: I just really like Moon Girl. I like her weird little world where everyone knows Moon Girl is a nine year old who goes to elementary school and they’re just like “okay, cool”. These are just really fun.

Also, not gonna lie, Devil Dinosaur being turned human briefly is possibly the funniest thing ever. “I’m a good boy” indeed XD I did not expect him to be as precious as he is.

Nice thing to read right now, with everything that’s going on. It’s just fun and cute and perfect for young readers, too. Big recommend, as always.

Impossible Year (Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider, volume 2) by Seanan McGuire and Takeshi Miyazawa 

Published: September 17th, 2019 by Marvel
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 137
Part of a series? This collects Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider issues 5-10
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): The explosive second arc of SEANAN MCGUIRE’s run on SPIDER-GWEN: GHOST-SPIDER! Join her and the incredible TAKESHI MIYAZAWA as they delve into the world of a teenaged web-slinger as GWEN STACY attempts to balance out her home and costumed life! But when the two begin to bleed into one another, it’s hard to keep things straight as Gwen begins getting recognized on the streets.

Will she let this newfound fame drive her into hiding or will she be able to find a way to wield the responsibility of her public hero status for good? And more importantly, with her secret identity no longer a secret, will Gwen be able to keep her friends and family safe?

Thoughts: Gwen is great in this, she really is. There are some really excellent moments here where she shines and it’s interesting to see her in the aftermath of the previous series as her secret identity has been revealed to the world. She’s trying to figure out who she is and how to be a human being in this world.

I think this series is just kind of getting screwed over by the powers that be. It’s confusing to figure out what to read – this is the last volume in this run, and it’s also number eleven if you’re reading in chronological order from the beginning which you need to if you want to understand anything – and it’s still dealing with Spider-Geddon stuff. Which, obviously, that’s going to effect Gwen because she lost a lot of friends, but if you didn’t read that you’re going to be a little lost.

So after this, we move into the series Ghost-Spider, and there are 10 issues of that and then it’s done as it was just cancelled. I will totally be reading those, but I don’t understand how any character or creative team is supposed to thrive when everything is so broken up like this. I like this team, I like this character and I wish they would just get more time together and not have to constantly be starting and stopping.

But alright. Let’s do this one last time.

Stormranger (Magnificent Ms. Marvel, vol 2) by Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Joey Vazquez, Juan Vlasco and Ian Herring

Published: April 14th, 2020 by Marvel
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 136
Part of a series? This collects Magnificent Ms. Marvel issues 7-12
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Between her space adventure, her complicated feelings for Bruno and a looming family tragedy, Ms. Marvel really needs a break. Zoe and Nakia decide to get Kamala out of town for a while – but their chill road trip is about to be derailed…by literal corporate zombies

Thoughts: Pretty good set of issues! I’ve been enjoying this series so far, or this continuation of the series, however you want to say it. I forgot to write anything else so that’s all I’m going with. The new team seems to be handling things well, though, and I’m excited to read more.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week! What have y’all been reading lately?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Anne Adaptations: Anne of Green Gables (1985) Part 10 – Fashion

(Original thread found here.)

I have previously talked about the fashion in other posts, see my Masterpost here.

But to sum up, because of the date of John A. MacDonald’s death, and me inferring that he’s the Premier Marilla goes to see speak as Montgomery actually met him, I think Anne comes to Green Gables between 1889 and 1891.

Specifically I think June 1890.

Fight me.

And here are some fashion plates and pictures to compare to what we’re looking for over the general period.

So I already talked about Anne’s Christmas dress in my threads, which I wasn’t a huge fan of, but I want to talk about the fashion in the rest of the movie.

Because generally? It’s pretty great. There’s a lot of outfits that look awesome.

Like, Marilla wears pretty casual clothes a lot of the time, which makes sense as she works hard on a farm /- not just around the house, either. You don’t wear your fancy dress to milk cows and stuff.


She’s a practical lady and she works hard, and she doesn’t need silly floofy clothes getting in her way.

However, when she needs to dress up, she looks very nice.

She also wears this outfit multiple times and why wouldn’t she? There’s no reason for Marilla to make herself a new outfit every year. This one is well taken care of and made to last a long time.

Now, the church picnic is great for some cool fashion shots. Compare Anne with the girls around her.

She’s perfectly neat and presentable, of course, but for a Sunday afternoon event like this, she just doesn’t fit in. The colour of her dress is darker than anyone else and her clothes in general look much more functional than fashionable. Which is exactly the point! Because that’s true in the book.

Also I love this shot. Curly, even really frizzy bangs were absolutely a trend in this time period.

Miss Stacey also has a great wardrobe. It looks practical for teaching, but still stylish for a fairly young woman.

Later in the movie you see Anne wearing a very similar cameo. They are very popular and you see a lot of people wearing them, but I like to think it’s Miss Stacey’s influence.

This outfit was also nice, especially her cool clip-on watch. You can still buy ones like this – they have an upside down face so you can read them easier looking down. I’ve heard they make good gifts for nurses.

Anne’s clothes are quite practical and a bit boring though the first part of the miniseries. She wears a lot of shapeless dresss with aprons over them. This makes sense, both in-world, as Marilla makes her clothing, and out, as it helps her look younger. As she gets older, so do her clothes.

I actually really like this outfit. Cute and cozy, do approve.

Fashion 18

But post-Christmas dress, her outfits get much more fashionable (even soaking wet).

I love this outfit and how adult Anne looks in it. She looks like a Proper Lady.

Let’s focus for a moment on that last picture in particular. Do you see how Gilbert is slumping forward, but Anne is sitting so straight? That is the foundation garment (the corset) doing its job. And that’s why they’re important to the look of a movie.

The shop clerk is always styling, too.

The only other dress of Anne’s I really am not a hug fan of is her White Sands concert dress. Mostly it’s pretty good, but the sleeves again just look off to me.

I think it’s how they stuff them. It looks kind of like they’re using something like a synthetic pillow stuffing and maybe even overstuffing them? Check out this blog post where someone makes their own and compare the shape.

Also this Hark a Vagrant! comic is hilarious.

Lightning round!

Mrs Spencer looks really good! Josie Pye’s dress is kind of weird! Mrs Allan looks great!

Alice Bell’s hair actually looks really nice, DIANA! The hair in general in this is good! Especially these frizzy bangs. Aunt Josephine is an icon!

And finally, some random shots out of outfits I thought looked cool!

Also they wear a lot of boater hats, which were totally in style. And in the right spots, too. (I believe the people who do trendy fashion things nowadays wear the hats much further back. I am not a trendy fashion person, so.)

All in all, the fashion in this is great. Clearly a lot of work and research went into it and it looks cohesive and pretty historically accurate as far as my non-expert self can tell. And people wear corsets!!! Which is such a pet peeve of mine when they don’t.

Also Gilbert wears a lot of hats. That’s, uh. Kind of all I noticed because I don’t really care about masc fashion much XD

Works cited in the posts about this miniseries:

“Banknotes of the Canadian Dollar.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banknotes_of_the_Canadian_dollar.

Beaton, Kate. “Hark, a Vagrant: 348 Anne of Cleves Gables.” Hark, a Vagrant: 348, http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=348.

Clayton, Angela, director. Weekly Progress Log #2 : Sewing & Costumery. Youtube, 15 Feb. 2016, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTzyat3ff8c.

“Dr. Lippi’s Blood Purifier Tonic, FULL Sealed Amber Bottle & Original Wood Crate.” Collectors Weekly, http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/49502-dr-lippis-blood-purifier-tonic-full-s.

My 1890’s Puffed Sleeve Dress, 7 Apr. 2020, sewstine.com/2020/04/07/my-1890s-puffed-sleeve-dress/.

“Prince Edward Island Dollar.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Edward_Island_dollar.

Can’t Wait Wednesday (131) + A Middle Grade Moment

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky

Release date: April 13th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends.

To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own.

When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.

The part where I talk: This author’s first book had an incredibly fatmisic depiction of a character so I’m hesitant about this one, but I really like the sound of this one. Hopefully this one won’t be hateful to fat people, because the premise does sound really good.

This is an oddly conflicted CWW, but it does sound really cool.

Let’s have a middle grade moment!

Six Feet Below Zero by Ena Jones

Release date: April 21st, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Rosie and Baker are hiding something. Something big. Their great grandmother made them promise to pretend she’s alive until they find her missing will and get it in the right hands. The will protects the family house from their grandmother, Grim Hesper, who would sell it and ship Rosie and Baker off to separate boarding schools. They’ve already lost their parents and Great Grammy–they can’t lose each other, too.

The siblings kick it into high gear to locate the will, keep their neighbors from prying, and safeguard the house. Rosie has no time to cope with her grief as disasters pop up around every carefully planned corner. She can’t even bring herself to read her last-ever letter from Great Grammy. But the lies get bigger and bigger as Rosie and Baker try to convince everyone that their great grandmother is still around, and they’ll need more than a six-month supply of frozen noodle casserole and mountains of toilet paper once their wicked grandmother shows up!

The part where I talk: Great Grammy predicted the toilet paper wars of 2020.

I like how wacky this sounds, but also that it does seem like it’s going to talk about grief in an interesting way. I like the idea of this one a lot.

What are y’all looking forward to this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Things I’ve Read Recently (109)

If you’re new around here, Things I’ve Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn’t have enough to say for a full review, or just didn’t want to do a full post about for whatever reason.

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

Published: October 20th, 2015 by Harper Perennial
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Binding: Audiobook
Page Count: Goodreads says 401
Part of a series? This is set in the Welcome to Night Vale universe, and there are three books published, though they aren’t really direct sequels to this. 
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “King City” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.

Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.

Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “King City”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures…if they can ever find it.

Thoughts: I liked this so much better than most audiobooks I listen to. I also think this might be not amazing as a print book. See, the thing is, I don’t really like audiobooks, but I like podcasts. Podcasts and books are very much written differently, and I’m really not sure how this appeal to someone as a book wholy separate from the book. As it’s set several “seasons” into the canon, I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be confusing to just be thrown in and be expected to know what’s going on.

Also if you listen to the podcast, I’m not sure I get why you would read this instead of listening to it? This really feels to me like a long episode or even a mini-season of the podcast. Obviously it’s a lot longer, and isn’t wrapped up at the end of thirty minutes or so, but it really did just feel like the podcast.

Which was great for me! Maybe not great for everyone else, though. I really enjoyed this, but I’m not sure I would recommend it to someone who hadn’t listened to the podcast. And I would definitely recommend the audiobook. Though I did keep expecting the Weather…

Representation: Night Vale is always chock full of queer characters. Narrator Cecil is a Jewish gay man (though I know that from being a fan of the podcast – he does mention his boyfriend in the book), Josh is queer, Diana is apparently open to dating women. Diana is also a biracial Black woman. Night Vale’s just pretty good with diversity. It’s always nice to see.

Content notes: Mild violence and creepiness. Nothing in here gets to full horror, imo, but there are creepy moments. Talks about bleeding and injuries.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Published: May 30th, 2017 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA Thriller
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 358 plus acknowledgements
Part of a series? It has a sequel and I think it’s a duology? Not sure.
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Thoughts: I don’t usually consider either content warnings or characters’ sexual orientations to be spoilers but they kind of are in this one due to the nature of the plot so if you wanna go in blind, skip those sections.

I actually did figure out the mystery and I’m not sure how proud I should be of myself, but I had a really bad headache all day long when I was reading this so I’m going with “pretty proud”. I really like books like this. I just like a good book murder. The Breakfast Club but if it was a locked room mystery is a great premise, too. 

It’s not a perfect book, but it’s fun. I liked the characters, and the writing was interesting, and I really enjoyed trying to figure out the mystery. There were a lot of ways it could have gone and it’s fun following those threads. I am also quite interested in checking out the sequel.

Representation: Bronwyn is Columbian/Latina but it doesn’t mean that much to her character? She doesn’t have a very strong sense of identity. Cooper is gay.

Content notes: One of the main characters’ secret is that they are gay. They are outed during the course of the police investigation. The book is very clear this is not okay (and brings up that it’s actually a violation of that character’s rights) but it still could be upsetting to read. They experience some homophobic verbal harassment at school, and the media’s pretty shitty to them. Their father also isn’t supportive, but doesn’t abuse them or anything.

January’s challenge was a short story collection from an author from a marginalized community, and I chose:

Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman and Caroline Tung Richmond

Published: June 18th, 2019 by Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Anthology
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 353 plus about the authors
Part of a series? Nope
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the pastries she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that can cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.

Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one in the same.

Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home. 

Thoughts: There’s a surprising amount of murder in this book. I really went into this expecting a super cute, fluffy set of stories – the tagline is “13 stories of food and love” and I got that sometimes, but there were also some pretty dark stories? So let’s talk about the stories and then come back for some final thoughts.

Possible spoilers may be in the individual summaries.

Rain by Sangu Mandanna: I didn’t really expect to start on a story about grief, but I do think this fits the theme well. Maybe a little bit intense for the first story, but I like the theme of the food they make together helping Anna and her father repair their relationship and bond. 

Content warnings for parental death. Anna, the MC, is Indian (her dad is white).

Kings and Queens by Elsie Chapman: So this story is about gangs? And murder? This has a lot of murder in it. It’s a little intense. Also, weirdly, reading about people dying by poisoning doesn’t make me hungry. I was not a big fan of this one. It’s just a bit of an odd inclusion for the second story in a book that sells itself as a cute fluffy book.

Content warnings for gang violence, ableism, gun violence, and death by poisoning. Ming, the MC, is Chinese.

The Grand Ishq Adventure by Sandhya Menon:  The only part of this I find a bit odd is the idea of a library having a teen love advice column on their blog. I just find that a bit bizarre. Otherwise, though, this is cute and mostly just fluffy and fun. This is what I expected from this, and I liked that it was mostly about Neha growing more confident in herself through food, not just about romance.

Neha, the MC, is of South Asian descent (book’s words), possibly from Pakistan as her name is Urdu.

Sugar and Spice by Rin Chupeco: This is the first story that has an edge of non-contemporary elements. It’s fairly subtle, but there’s so much atmosphere in this one. It is in second person which I know not everyone will love, but I thought it worked well.

Content warnings for racist bullying, and talk about violence experienced during WWII. The unnamed MC is Filipino (they aren’t named even when they show up in other stories, which I think is cool).

Moments to Return to Adi Alsaid: I’m not in love with the idea that eating special food can heal your anxiety. And I don’t think that’s what the author meant. I think it’s definitely meant to be more symbolic, but because this story is in an anthology where food can be literally magical in other stories, it kind of comes across that way.

Content warnings for anxiety and especially anxiety about death.

The Slender One by Caroline Tung Richard: This one is about ghosts! It’s one of the most non-contemporary stories in the anthology, and I quite liked it. It’s about a Hungry Ghosts festival, which I had not heard about before earlier in the anthology and then weirdly it came up in a video I was watching? About funeral foods? Like a normal, healthy person?

It’s a cool premise and really well written. It has more serious moments, obviously, but is more generally light-hearted and I think it fits the theme very well.

Content warnings for racism. Charlie, the MC, is Chinese.

Gimme Some Sugar by Jay Coles: This isn’t my favourite story but it is exactly what I expected. A little cheesy (figuratively and literally), but mostly not that deep. It’s pretty solid, just not my favourite. Fits the theme of the anthology very well, also.

Content warnings for a serious parental illness and anxiety including panic attacks. Leo is Black.

The Missing Ingredient by Rebecca Roanhorse: This is very well-written but objectly a terrible fit for this anthology. This is a horror story. It’s good, but the MC gets murked and no one ever notices that she goes missing! That’s pretty freaking dark for this setting and it loses some of its punch when no one ever notices what happened. It’s very dark and not a good fit.

Content warnings for parental abuse and straight up murder. The MC, Kelsie, is Native (no tribe mentioned).

Hearts à la Carte by Karuna Riazi: And then this story is about superheroes. It’s cute, but full on comic book superheroes are a bit of a hard sell in print in general, and it raises some questions about the world-building. Where was this dude when people were getting shot and poisoned and possibly having their hearts eaten? It’s just a big tonal shift which is not this story’s fault, but doesn’t do it a lot of favours, either.

Mild content warning for violence, like you’d expect in superhero media. Munira, the MC, is Muslim.

Bloom by Phoebe North: This is another fully contemporary self-reflection story. I quite liked this one, though it is a little more quiet. I honestly liked that it was quiet. Not a ton to say on this one, just I liked it.

There’s some talk about Jewish history and the bad things that have happened in history, nothing graphic. The MC, Naomi, is Jewish and maybe queer? And maybe another character is queer? It’s kind of vague and I wasn’t really sure if it was meant to be seen as queer or if I was just reading into it.

A Beautiful Film by S. K. Ali: This is also quite good. Much like the last one, while it’s not the most exciting story to talk about, it is very solid and I enjoyed reading it. It’s a little predictable, but all around pretty good. I liked all the film stuff, and also the MC’s relationship with her grandmother. Old lady gossip is just fun.

Content warnings for abuse mentions, but nothing graphic or explicit. The MC in this one, Hania, is Muslim and of South Asian descent (again, book’s words).

Side Work by Sara Farizan: FIRST EXPLICTLY QUEER STORY IN THE BOOK AW YEAH. And this is a great fit for the book. Mostly fluffy, quite cute, and really fun. No big stakes, just cuteness and food.

Laleh is Persian and queer. This also has exactly one other queer character. That’s like 4 now.

Panaderia – Pasteleria by Anna-Marie McLemore: This story is a letdown. This character has been in almost every – if not literally every – other story in this book, almost seeming to be magical… and the whole story is about her wanting to date a boy. Who basically has no personality nd no character development. 

It also tries to introduce this subplot of Hungry Hearts Row becoming gentified but it’s the last story in the book so it doesn’t go anywhere. The story is disappointingly short and doesn’t do anything interesting with an awesome character.

Content warning for racism. The main character, Lila, is Mexican, and her love interest is trans.

Overall, I liked a lot of this book but it leaves me feeling like the anthology was very confused. It can’t seem to decide exactly what it’s supposed to be doing and the mix of genres made it hard to understand what they wanted to do with the story. I really liked the interconnected universe and seeing different characters poppng up in the different stories. It’s a really fun concept. I’m left with mixed feelings.

Close to Home by Lisa Jackson

Published: Originally released in 2014, this edition was released February 24th, 2015 by Zebra
Genre: Romantic suspense
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 476 plus a future excerpt
Part of a series? Standalone
Got via: No clue – thrift sale maybe? Yard sale? There’s no library marks soI had to buy it somewhere.

Summary (from goodreads): Along the shores of Oregon’s wild Columbia River, the Victorian mansion where Sarah McAdams grew up is as foreboding as she remembers. The moment she and her two daughters, Jade and Gracie, pull up the isolated drive, Sarah is beset by uneasy memories–of her cold, distant mother, of the half-sister who vanished without a trace, and of a long-ago night when Sarah was found on the widow’s walk, feverish and delirious.

But Sarah has vowed to make a fresh start and renovate the old place. Between tending to her girls and the rundown property, she has little time to dwell on the past. . ..Until a new, more urgent menace enters the picture.

One by one, teenage girls are disappearing. Frantic for her daughters’ safety, Sarah feels the house’s walls closing in on her again. Somewhere deep in her memory is the key to a very real and terrifying danger. And only by confronting her most terrifying fears can she stop the nightmare roaring back to life once more. . .

Thoughts: This was pretty good. I definitely liked it a whole lot better than the last book by this author I read. Time has definitely improved things, at least comparing the two. I didn’t find it super original and I thought it was a little disjointed in how things were connected – I don’t think you could have figured out who the antagonist actually was – but it was pretty good. 

There were two large legal mistakes right at the end which kind of threw me, but overall I enjoyed this. It’s nice sometimes to read something like this where I’m not really thinking about it too much. I don’t see myself rereading it, so I’ll probably be passing it on, but I enjoyed it. 

Representation: Nada.

Content notes: Whole lotta sexual violence, including child sexual assault, incest, general violence, etc. No animal abuse though.

What have y’all been reading lately?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Anne Adaptations: Anne of Green Gables (1985) – Part 9

(Original thread found here.) Today we’re actually going to hit the end of the mini-series!

Anne’s home! She and Diana continue to look like a queer cottagecore tumblr moodboard while taking a walk.

Diana tells Anne that Gilbert will be getting the Avonlea school as his father can’t afford to send him to college. He plans to earn his way through college teaching. Good for you, Gil.

Blah blah blah romance drama and suddenly Diana is asking if Gilbert is fair game for dating? Turns out she’s just trying to make Anne admit she’s “in love” with Gilbert. I’ll… come back to this. Anne says she’s not really into Gilbert and hugs her.

Okay, sad time.

While bringing the cows home, Matthew has a very Hollywood heart attack. Out of nowhere he grabs his left arm and falls over dead. Uh, this is a sad part obviously, but it’s a really overdramatic choice and he doesn’t get any dialogue before it or anything. He hasn’t actually had any dialogue since Anne wrote that letter home. And he looks completely fine right before it happens.

Also this cow stopped for a snack in the middle of this scene.

But as poor @NaomiKritzer is VERY worried about, I am joking a bit here and we of course have time for a last speech, because… movies don’t know what heart attacks look like. Matthew says he’s glad for Anne and he never wanted a boy instead. It’s completely from the book, but in the book, they were just, like, hanging out. He wasn’t dying in her lap.

It’s very touching though a touch unnecessary to have to be his death scene IMO. But CLEARLY opinions differ here. Maybe I’m just too cynical 😛

Also these happy cows in the background kill me

Just imagine this from the cow’s perspective and how weird this would be to watch.

Oh to be a cow…

Um, anyways, the next scene is Matthew’s funeral. There’s a cool touch here, that you get to see Minnie May again! She never really shows up again in the book. Sure hasn’t grown much in the last few years, has she? 😛

I also really like that the Barrys were right next to Anne and Marilla. It’s a nice visual way to show how they’ve gotten closer. Mrs. Rachel also hugs them both.

Gilbert comes up to Marilla and Anne to give his sympathies and holy crap Crombie plays it well here. If you remember, Gilbert’s father had been ill a few years before Anne came to Green Gables, and you almost feel that in his performance here.

That night, Marilla hears Anne crying in her room and goes to comfort her, something we’ve never seen her do. It’s an incredibly heartfelt scene as Marilla says how much she’s grateful for and loves Anne. Legitimately this scene makes me cry every time I see it.

An unknown amount of time later, Marilla meets with a man who I immediately hate to talk about possibly selling Green Gables. Thanks, I really hate it. When Anne goes to talk to her, we find out basically for the first time that Marilla’s eyesight is deteriorating. To be fair, it’s a bit sudden in the book, too, bu it’s even more so here.

Marilla also says Mrs. Rachel has offered to let her live with her and I still think that’s so generous. “Live with me until you die because you’re my friend” is a big offer, especially since Rachel is a bit younger than Marilla. She’s regretful that Anne won’t have a home to come home to on vacations, but can’t see any other options.

But! Anne tells her she’ll stay home instead of going to college, Mr Barry will rent their fields, and she’ll teach in Carmody. Exactly as in the book, and I absolutely love how firm she is with it. Marilla says “I won’t let you sacrifice your education for me” and Anne says “I’m sixteen years old and just as stubborn as you are” which I adore. The wording is slightly different from the book but they nail the spirit so much.

Oh, since we’ve confirmed Anne is 16… remember at the Christmas ball, when Diana said Alice Bell looked ridiculous wearing hers up at only 17 and she’d be waiting until 18?

Well.

(Honestly this is very inconsistent and kind of bugs me.)

Anyways, this scene is very lovely.

And I think after 2020, a whole lot of people understand Anne’s choices in this moment a lot better.

We also get the scene of Marilla talking about Gilbert and John Blythe. And this scene is great! It’s very sweet and soft. The earlier one with Diana and the gossip from her mother just really wasn’t needed. It also makes a lot of sense for Marilla to be remininscing now. Deaths make people remember things, on top of Anne now being an adult and planning her adult life. That makes people nostalgic.

Marilla, Mrs Rachel and Anne are on the porch talking and I love this scene. Marilla has loosened up, Anne is no longer afraid of Mrs Rachel, and Rachel does well by having friends who will tell her off, lol. The relationship between them as three adult women is the thing I hope to see most from future books. (WHICH WE WILL GET TO! But I have a method to what I’m doing here.)

But um.

Maybe for Anne’s little walk, y’all could have chosen a shot that isn’t EXACTLY where Matthew died? I feel like there were other angles available!

But Gilbert rides up on a horse, so I will pretend not to realize they’re standing literally where Matthew died for the sake of the scene’s tone. He gives her a letter telling her that he gave her the Avonlea school. I will say, I kind of like it better how in the book he just… does it, and she found out from Mrs. Rachel. It showed that he was thinking about what she needed, not what it would get HIM.

He cares about her, and he wants her to be happy, so he puts her needs ahead of her own without drawing attention to himself or even looking for her reaction. It just matters to him that she’s happy.

I just think that’s really romantic? AND it makes it so she has to reach out to HIM after she’s spent a good long time rebuffing him. She’s not giving in to him – she’s an active participant and she’s making the moves.

Really, it’s a very small change, but I just liked that dynamic.

Though can I just say how super pretty the lighting in this scene is, though? Because it’s super pretty.

Anyways, Anne is very, very grateful and Gilbert looks so darned proud that she plans to continue her studying by correspondence. This actor nails how much Gilbert likes Anne’s mind. Gilbert’s brain is a constant loop about how cool Anne is, and Crombie gets that.

He says he hopes she’ll give him a hand with his work and she asks “Aren’t you worried I’m liable to break another slate over your head?” which is not from the book but IS HILARIOUS. Then he calls her “Carrots” all gently, softly touches her fae, and says he’ll walk her home.

And the credits roll.

So let’s talk overall thoughts on this series!

Obviously I spent a lot of time in these threads talking about differences from the book. The thing is, I’m specifically and heavily comparing these adaptations to the book so I’m BEING nitpicky. Like I will open the book on Project Gutenberg and search for specific words to check things.

But that’s not how people usually watch movies. Honestly this is probably one of the most faithful book adaptations I’ve ever watched. It uses book dialogue constantly and for the most part the plot is followed faithfully as well. Most of the changes they make are small, and most of those are things that just work better certain ways on screen versus on a page. Film adaptations HAVE to make changes from the book because they’re different mediums!

There are a few changes I didn’t enjoy, mainly anything they chose to take from the 1934 version, and adding extra romantic drama.

But. I know SO many people love the romance in this so obviously a lot of that is just my opinion. It’s an iconic romance And if you aren’t watching this partly with the GOAL to nitpick it (or even if you are), it’s great. All the sets are lovely, the costumes are fun, the romance is cute, there’s a ton of shipping potential betwen Anne and Diana, and it’s a really sweet story.

The worst actors are still pretty good and the best are awesome. Follows is a solid Anne who really seems to enjoy and understand the character. Her green hair scene is an especially good moment. Both Colleen Dewhurst as Marilla and Richard Farnsworth as Matthew were really great. Going forward, it’ll be hard not to think of them when I think of the characters. Jonathan Crombie also is a really great Gilbert. He has a wonderful way of playing Gilbert very softly and gently. He’s great.

All three of them have sadly passed away, and may their memories be blessings.

To sum up, I have minor nitpicks, but they are just that – minor. This mini-series is absolutely lovely and I think it’s a great Anne adaptation and also just a good mini-series. If you haven’t seen it, and I’ve intrigued you, or if you remember it and want to rewatch it, I would highly recommend it. Great for a lot of ages, too.

Am I supposed to, like, rate this or something? 9 out of 10 carrots? XD I don’t know, lol, but I enjoyed watching it and I think it’s a very good adaptation.

And that’s the end of the series! I have one more short post about it and then we’ll be moving on to the next adaptation! A unicorn sticker to anyone who can guess just WHAT adaptation is next on the docket!

Can’t Wait Wednesday (130)

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Hours of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Release date: April 6th, 2021

Summary (from goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow has always been strange. Something happened to her and her two older sisters when they were children, something they can’t quite remember but that left each of them with an identical half-moon scar at the base of their throats.

Iris has spent most of her teenage years trying to avoid the weirdness that sticks to her like tar. But when her eldest sister, Grey, goes missing under suspicious circumstances, Iris learns just how weird her life can get: horned men start shadowing her, a corpse falls out of her sister’s ceiling, and ugly, impossible memories start to twist their way to the forefront of her mind.

As Iris retraces Grey’s last known footsteps and follows the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs she left behind, it becomes apparent that the only way to save her sister is to decipher the mystery of what happened to them as children.

The closer Iris gets to the truth, the closer she comes to understanding that the answer is dark and dangerous – and that Grey has been keeping a terrible secret from her for years.
 

The part where I talk: This sounds super weird and super cool. I really like weird books. I like when you try to describe a book and it takes you a couple minutes because it’s so bizarre. 

Also this cover is absolutely stunning and I really love it.

Tell me about what weird stuff you’re into!

Peace and cookies,
Laina