Scarlet O’Hara (Bubblews Repost)

Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind trailer-9

EDIT NOTES:  This post was made several years ago on Bubblews, a site that is no longer online.  I found it while cleaning out some folders on my google drive, and decided to repost it, with some minor grammatical corrections.  According to my file, I wrote this on October 9, 2014, 11:55 AM.  I plan on eventually reading the novel, and rewatching the movie to see if my views still hold true. Also this post doesn’t focus on GWTW portrayal of slavery, which is at times very awkward because of its avoidance of the reality.  This just focuses on their main plot around Scarlet.

On Sunday, I saw Gone With the Wind in Theaters.  It was a great experience, although I hate to tell the movie people that 5 minutes is not enough to allow people to get to the bathroom and/or go to the concession stand to refill their drinks.  Should have been fifteen, but that is not the point of this post. Continue reading

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Women of History: Ching Shih

Today’s Women of History topic takes us on a walk on the wild side.  Ching Shih was a pirate, a highly successful one.  She even got to retire, which is not a common occurrence for people in this line of work.  She was also one of the few well known female pirates (There are more than you would think given the popular culture).

Ching Shih was born Shi Vianggu in 1775 in Guangdong, China. The name of this town was originally latinized as Canton, hence the term Cantonese.  It is located in the lower part of China, bordering the China sea, and north of Hong Kong.  She spent some time as a prostitute within the province before she was captured by pirates sometime before 1801.  She ended up marrying the leader of those pirates, a man named Cheng I.  Cheng I came from a long line of pirates, so it was a family business.  It was as his wife that her successful career as a Pirate began, as she was involved with his activities and knew who supported her husband, and who needed other means to support her later in life.  He also began consolidating the pirates in the area, eventually becoming the ‘Red Flag Fleet’, one of the most powerful pirating fleets in Asia at the time.

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Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Film: Wonder Woman  (PG-13)
Director:  Patty Jenkins
Release Date:  June 2 2017/September 1 2017
Grade: A

I really enjoyed this movie.  I will admit that one of the reasons I wanted to see it is because I like Chris Pine, but honestly he was only one element of a good film.  The background of the Amazonians was well-developed, and Robin Wright did an amazing job as the general.  I wish we had seen more of her in the film then we did.

The secondary characters were great as well, and they didn’t ignore the idea of PTSD from the war.  They also didn’t make the superhero always right. I’m also glad they made it be WWI, and not WWII.  While the Germans are still the guys following the bad guy, It gets tiring after a while to see it always be the Nazi’s (although if there is a Nazi, they should be fought).  This movie didn’t shy away from the fact that at the time there was many disadvantages to not being white and male without making it seem like a lecture.  It didn’t glorify war, but it wasn’t heavy-handed with the opposite.  It had an even tone through out.  There were plenty of female characters that had names and lines none of them were seen in awkward near nudity scenes. Diana’s uniform is reveling, but functional rather than just something that makes her look ‘sexy’ which has long been a comic book flaw.  I was surprised that they reversed the trend of seeing women in surprise nudity to seeing the guy in surprise nudity.  Although he was taking a bath, so it is a little more understanding then say what happened in Star Trek where Carol Marcus just starts changing in front of the man who is technically her boss.

I also give them credit for an amazing plot twist at the end which didn’t stick to all the conventions either.

It was a good origin film, connecting well into the general DC universe.  I have to admit that out of the DC films I have seen, this has been the only one I have enjoyed.  I can only hope that DC  takes note from this and the movies will improve in quality of writing.

Besides Chris Pine, Gal Gadot, and Robin Wright, it has a lot of familiar faces.  Danny Houston plays the German General, who perhaps is not unlike his edition of Stryker from the X-men movies. David Thewlis, known for his portrayal of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter films plays Sir Patrick, one of the leaders of Great Britain attempting to make an armistice with the German forces.

Bookit Review: PS from Paris

Title: PS From Paris (Previously called Elle & Lui )
Author: Marc Levy (Translated by Sam Taylor from French to English)
Publication Date: September 2017  (US Edition, Kindle First program)
My Grade:  B-

I thought the idea of the story sounded interesting, so when I saw it on the Kindle First list for August, I decided to choose it.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Kindle First is a benefit of the Amazon Prime Account where you are given a selection of six books to choose one book to get free each month before its released to the general public on the site.  I’ve gotten a few good books this way.  I got PS From Paris during the August books, and it was released earlier this month so if you are interested it is on Amazon now.  These often show up in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program for the first few months.

Back to the book.  The book is actually a sequel to a book I’ve never read.  The book, whose title I forget at the moment, was made into a Reese Witherspoon film called Just Like Heaven.  The connection was another reason I choose to read it.  Its been awhile since I’ve seen the movie, but I remember the basic plot of it.

PS From Paris takes on the story of Paul, Arthur (the lead male character in the first book)’s best friend.  Paul had moved to Paris after writing his first novel, which was based on the story of his best friend and his wife.  He wasn’t that comfortable with the low-key fame he was getting so he went to Paris to get away from it, and write other books.  Since then he’s found he has an amazing following in South Korea. He has also been having a long-distance relationship of sorts with his translator, Kyong.  Arthur, who thinks this relationship is a bit of a bad idea, ends up setting him up with a date through a dating site.  There he meets Mia, thinking she is there to talk to him as an architect which makes things very awkward at first.  But then it becomes an interesting friendship.  This being a romance, its typically predictable where this will end up.

The novel has a few clichés, and I think there are some background stories that could be fleshed out, but overall it was an enjoyable read.  The translation (as the book was written originally in French) may have not crossed over some of the flow of the book that you might find in a native language, but I rarely found anything choppy to indicate that it was a poor translation. I have the first book on my wish list for a later purchase as I’m interesting in other writing by Mr. Levy, but at the same time I’m not driven to read it right this minute.

My only issue is I feel the end was rather rushed, and the book could have used a better sense of timing for each of the acts so to speak.  However, like I said, it was enjoyable, there weren’t any characters that I despised, and while I wasn’t particularly attached to either of the main characters, I found them to be tolerable.

Translated Works: A Question

I am currently reading a novel called PS From Paris by Marc Levy.  Mr. Levy is a French Author, so my edition is an English Translation (and also from Kindle First, so not quite out yet to the non-prime purchasers). It’s the sequel to another novel which was made into the movie “Just like Heaven” starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. It made me curious.  This is only the third time I knowingly read a book that was translated (I’m sure there were a few in English class I never considered being translated during High School).

My question to you:  Are you more likely, less likely or neutral to read a book that says its been Translated from its native language?  And if you do read translated books, have you ever attempted to read the original language?  Or found it lacking a little due to the translation losing some of the intent?

The last book I read that was translated before this one ended up being a unlikable one, but apparently one that was very popular.  It was called the Glassmaker, and I can’t recall if I posted my review here or on Bubblews (now gone).  This book however is something I am enjoying so far.  It made me wonder if perhaps I limit myself by not searching out books that are translated from other countries.  There are so many stories out there that I may be missing because I don’t come across them.

 

E-books Vs Paper Books

I’ve often read arguments about how either electronic books are better than physical copies or the opposite.  People get quite passionate about their books, and I don’t blame them.  Personally I tend to live in the middle ground, where e-books on my Kindle and my bookshelf full of paperbacks and hardbacks are living contently together.

I’ve tended to have more E-books Books lately because I wanted to read something right away, or move on to a sequel but didn’t have the time to get the paperback.   Occasionally it was simply because I don’t have the room…at the moment.  I’m the type of person who has stacks of books everywhere.  Some are read, some aren’t.  I always plan on reading them, but I also have the OOOH SHINEY feeling when it comes to my books.

Physical books are an expeirance.  Perhaps it is because I trained to be in a field where paper is part of communication, but having the physical book in hand is great.  The feel of the paper, the neat lines of ink.  The Book Covers and Dustjackets.  It appeals to the senses with touch, and the contrast between the ink and paper.  It has a smell, different as it ages.  A used book store smells different than a new book store.  The ones with collectable and hard to find ones have a smell all of their own too.   So picking up a paperback is a experience that involves all your senses.  Used books have a history too, so in a sense you are sharing it with someone else.

That’s not to say I don’t like my e-books.  They are good too.  They fed my need to consume a story.  They are easier to read when traveling because you don’t have the weight of all those books.  They last longer because they don’t get affected by the environment.  Well, within reason.  Killing your e-reader will affect them.  They can be interactive, with many e-readers now having a way to share quotes and notes from your readings to your friends on social media.   It can make its own expeirance.

So I think in the end, the argument is a silly one.  They are all books, waiting for us to morph into the story,  and find enjoyment.  There are so many adventures out there to enjoy, don’t waste time fighting over how you got there.

What do you think?

Women of History: Admiral Grace Hopper

For this week’s edition of Historical Women, we travel a bit closer to our own time.  Our subject today is Grace Hopper, an American Admiral and computer scientist.  I have talked about her before, as she is one of those people I’ve always wanted to know more about.  She is one of the pioneers in computer engineering, and is the one said to have coined the term “Bug” for a computer problem.

She was born Grace Brewster Murray on December 9, 1906 in New York City, the eldest daughter of Walter & Mary Murray.  She was known for having an early interest in how things worked, taking apart things and putting them back together.  This followed her into her career.   Continue reading