Webcrawl Wednesdays, 19.07.17

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Original image from pixabay.com. Used and modified under a CC0 license.

Hello hello! /shy wave/ It’s been a VERY long time, but I’m finally back in the saddle. Since this week is busy with moving prep (Paris, here I come) have a few links to what I’ve been reading over the past few months!

 

It’s a few weeks late, but in honour of Pride Month, here are six Indian LGBTQ-themed books. (I can feel my TBR pile growing as we speak…)

I ran screaming from maths after 10th standard (thank you, CBSE…) but this article on the history of the equals sign (and how maths became a layperson thing) is fascinating.

I’m as foul-mouthed as they come (although I’m trying to be better about gendered slurs) but I couldn’t agree more: There are far worse things to say in front of kids than the F-word.

As a writer, this post from Zoe Kazan about what she learned from her screenwriter parents was pretty cool.

Public libraries are AMAZING. As is what one in Brooklyn is doing to help the homeless people in its locality.

And finally, in honour of the fact that I’m going to be moving out soon (eep!) a list of nine essential tools for every apartment dweller.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! What are you all reading? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Hunting for Happily Ever After: a massive pile of romance novel recs

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Image by Rowan Heuvel. Used under a CC0 license.

Yes, you read that right. Romance novels. I’m not going to defend my taste in reading material  when Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (check out the podcast!) does such an excellent job of it. There’s also Kelly Faircloth over at Jezebel with an examination of just why romance gets such an undeservedly terrible rap, not to mention this long (and eye-opening!) history of Harlequin. For a more intellectual perspective, here’s tenured academic Catherine M. Roach’s first experience at the Romance Writers’ of America’s annual convention.

While some people’s experience with romance might be limited to Georgette Heyer, or Mills and Boons with ridiculously over-the-top-titles (The Playboy Sheik’s Virgin Stable-Girl, anyone?) the genre is actually hugely diverse, with something for just about everyone. This post is just a small sampling of what’s out there, with the caveat that it’s pretty heavily influenced by what I like to read – in other words, Regency romances, and heroines with spine and spunk, and a little bit of action mixed in with the romance.

So, without further ado… a whole raft of dashing heroes, feisty heroines, and happily ever afters under the cut!

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

 

So I have a confession to make: I actually bought A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas on release day. Pre-ordered it, even. And then let it languish, sad and ignored, on my Kindle for a year and change between grad school and the fact that I’ve been leaning more and more towards non-fiction.

acotarAnd then I found the sequel (A Court of Mist And Fury) in the library, so of course I had to go back and finally read ACOTAR.

I have been a dingbat, y’all. An absolute dingbat, letting this absolute treasure of a book go unread so long. This book is if someone took about half a dozen things that make Poorva make happy seal noises (world-building! kick-ass women! beautiful imagery! fairytale retellings!), bundled them all up together, added in a spoonful of romance and a large dollop of gorgeous writing, and baked it all up into 474 pages of utter gorgeousness.

From Maas’ site:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it…or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
  
At its heart, this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast… but Maas adds so much depth and richness to it that it took me a while to realise it. None of the characters, even the secondary ones, are quite what they seem and while I’ll hush now before I spoil anything, there were pages that made me tear up – and gasp in delighted glee.

One thing I’ve always loved about Maas’ writing is her heroines. Like Celaena from Throne of Glass, Feyre is complex, and flawed. She makes mistakes, she has shortcomings – real ones – due to her background that almost wreck the story, she’s not perfect… but she’s also brave, and loyal, and willing to do anything for the people she loves.

And then there’s Tamlin. Oh, Tamlin. I loved him in this book, loved that he’s Fae and therefore Not Human in some very important ways (leaving aside that he transforms into an actual beast) but (without spoiling ACOMAF) all I can say is that Maas is bloody brilliant at foreshadowing, and I’m going to be eagerly rereading ACOTAR to see if I can find the breadcrumb trails she left.

The thing with a romance – and this is a romance at heart, even with all the brewing war and political intrigue – is that it’s easy for secondary characters to get lost in the bargain. I loved Lucien’s slow warming up to Feyre, and Alis helping her even as she thought Feyre a stupid human… and Rheysand, oh, Rheysand… but to say anything more would be spoiling it, so… run, don’t walk, and pick up A Court of Thorns and Roses (and A Court of Mist and Fury!)

Available at: Amazon.in | Flipkart | (fingers crossed) your local bookstore/library.
 

Webcrawl Wednesday

 

Some stuff I’ve been reading this past week:

 

Sairee Chahal noticed that over half of India’s working women quit their jobs because they didn’t have enough flexibility to manage both work and home, and she’s started a platform to change that.

 

If you’re a writer (and even if you aren’t) go read this Storify on how to write disabled characters.

 

I LOVE 18-year-old Mumbai artist Priyanka Paul’s modern reimaginings of various goddesses.

 

The Intersectional Women’s Reading List. ‘Nuff said.

 

Fascinating look behind-the-scenes at Lucasfilm, specifically how tightly they control the story. (You’d think, with all that, they’d be better about not killing off female characters for no reason…)

 

File under Libraries Are Awesome: The Harvard Library That Protects The World’s Rarest Colours. So going on my list of places to visit!

 

Mostly I’m happy I left journalism. Then I remember that it’s not all Bollywood and muckraking:

 

 

Movie Review: The Good Dinosaur

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So last week a buddy and I went to see the latest Disney/Pixar kiddie flick, The Good Dinosaur, as a exams-are-done-yay! treat. In retrospect, I wish we’d picked Creed; while a fun enough movie, TGD didn’t really feel like it was worth the ticket price.

Ironically, the best and worst thing about TGD was the pre-show short that always precedes a Pixar movie. This time it was Sanjay’s Super Team, an adorable little animated film about a little boy who imagines his father’s Hindu deities as superheroes. Although I’m not religious myself, or particularly little, I LOVED it. Cuteness aside, this is almost the first time I’ve seen someone who looks like me (dark-skinned, even!) on the big animated screen.

Don’t get me wrong, The Good Dinosaur is a lovely albeit bog-standard Disney movie – a poor man’s Lion King for the CGI age, with a scheming Scar replaced with a feral human child. And, in true Disney style, there’s an adventure to be had, a lesson to be learned, and a happy ending to be enjoyed. All in all, a thoroughly inoffensive romp, with some entertaining side characters (Sam Elliot as tough-talkin’ cattleherdin’ T-Rex Butch is particularly fun.) Wait for the DVD, though.

 

Fight Like A Girl: How Benevolent Sexism Drove Me Away From A Sport I Loved

I love martial arts. I’ve wanted to be a martial artist since I knew what the term meant. For various reasons, I never got the chance growing up.

So imagine my joy a few years ago when a Krav Maga studio opened near enough where I lived for me to go.

And I did. And I won’t lie. Krav is TOUGH. It’s messy, it’s brutal, and for someone who’s used to pretty much everything coming easy, it was hard. fucking. work.

But I did it. I got up every Saturday and Sunday at 6 AM and bused out to the studio. I didn’t care that I was often the only girl there. I didn’t care that after two hours I was sore and achy and more exhausted than I thought it was possible to be. I didn’t care that I had to go to the gym five days a week just so I could be fit enough for Krav, or that training came very close to injuring me several times- I did, in fact, break a bone in my hand during a fall gone wrong. I didn’t care that the common reaction to me telling people about learning martial arts was a joke about wanting to beat boys up. or admonitions that I should do something more ladylike.

What finally drove me away?

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Things I Love Thursday 09.07.2015

 

Hello my lovelies! It’s been a LONG time since I’ve written anything (blame grad school) but I’m baaaa-ack! Without further ado, here’s a list of things that have been rocking my world this week:

Green smoothies: I may have been corrupted by California, but I LOVE these. They’re good for you, easy to make and/or drink while half asleep, and they even taste fantastic. My favourite: spinach, banana, strawberry+blueberry, blended with soymilk, honey, and a dash of vanilla essence.



Pinterest: Yes, I know. BUT! As a beginning, not-very-confident cook with dietary restrictions (hi, diabetes! Hi, quasi-vegetarianism!) Pinterest has been an absolute godsend. So far I’ve made mini quiches, the aforementioned green smoothies and pesto pizza, and they’ve all turned out great.



Nail polish: I haven’t been taking the time to do my nails recently, but I did last week, and I’m SO happy I did. There’s just something about a pop of colour in your peripheral vision that’s SO fun. On my nails: Go with the Flow-er by OPI for Sephora (I never thought higher-end polishes were worth the money over the drugstore brands, but I was SO wrong) and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri topcoat. (Perfectly set polish in >3 minutes. LOVE.)



House pride: I LOVE my Gryffindor Lions t-shirt from Once Upon A Tee, which sells limited edition fannish t-shirts for $12 a pop! Sadly this particular tee is no longer available for sale, but I recommend you keep an eye on them so you don’t miss out on future awesomeness.



Little loves: marianne’s ice cream sandwiches | making birthday plans | rewatching numb3rs | unexpected signs from the universe | getting my feet wet on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world | C25K (even if I walked more than I ran) | staying hydrated with my Wonder Woman water bottle




 

 

Webcrawl Wednesdays

Michael Jackson has a new album out. Yes, he’s still dead. I love this article on why we can’t say goodbye to dead musicians

 

I’m not the biggest fan of Nicholas Kristof, but I do like this article (in the wake of the recent kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria) on how the best way of combating militancy is education, and specifically educating girls.

 

Sadly, I have had no personal need of this (yet, at any rate) but it’s always good to brush up on good sex manners.

 

As a huge DC/Marvel fan, I love this illustrated guide to all the different kinds of comics out there.

 

Hugely important for anyone interested in writing The Other, especially from a position of privilege: Your Terra Incognita Is My Home

 

The 9/11 Museum has a gift shop, and some people aren’t happy about it. What do you think? Personally, I have no problems with it; gift shops provided needed income to museums… and a jumping-off point for guests to educate themselves further, both good things.

 

When I was in grad school- and again when I was working full-time- I often rarely had time to breathe, let alone relax. I’m bookmarking this article from Fashionably Light on ways to find calm even when you’re busy for the next time life gets hectic.

 

J’adore: French schoolboys wore skirts to protest sexism in schools. Allez les garçons! 

 

Webcrawl Wednesday

It’s been a busy week, loves, so no funny story this time, just links. 🙂

 

I was lucky to be taught The Tempest by a fantastic teacher back in high school, but even so, I love this list of Shakespearian sex jokes.

 

Wonder Woman? Power Man? Super Girl? If ever you’re confused by DC and Marvel’s list of heroes (and heroines) with pretty much the same names, Comics Alliance has a chart that breaks it down for you.

 

I’m worth 9 goats. What about you?

 

It’s sad to see how deeply racism is entrenched in American culture. The ice-cream truck, really? 

 

Guys. Feminists are not your friends

 

Octopuses (Octopi? Octopodes?) are fascinating. And kind of scary, to be honest.

 

I love this super-detailed post from The Fresh Exchange on travel planning. Great stuff!

 

Finally… I love this feature on P. Rajagopal, the (convicted murderer, apparently!) who founded Saravana Bhavan

Things I Love Thursday 08.04.14

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♥ Unexpected reconnections! A chance comment on a Facebook post led to chatting with an old HS friend and plans to meet soon. I can’t believe it’s been almost eight years since we graduated. Where did the time go?

 

♥ I’ve been cleaning things out in preparation for graduate school in August and it’s fun to see what kinds of things keep popping up. So far, I’ve found law school entrance exam preparation materials from 2007 (that my mum kept ‘just in case,’), my old high school hymn book, a whole bunch of stuffed toys (that are going to charity so they can comfort someone who needs it, as much as I’ll miss them) and even an old Encarta 97 CD. (Does anyone else remember MindMaze? I loved that game so very much.)

 

♥ GO SUPER KINGS! I haven’t been following the IPL as closely as I did before- quite frankly because I usually forget that there’s a TV in the house, even if my Mom isn’t watching it, but I will always support my team. And yes, I know there’s a lot of controversy… but you know what? I don’t care. I believe in my boys. #whistlepodu.

 

♥ My new pen pal! If you haven’t heard of International Geek Girl Pen Pals, I strongly encourage you to check it out. It’s a website that uses your geeky interests to match you up with another geek girl (or boy!) so you can both exchange letters. I just got my first match, and I’m super excited!

 

small pleasures

 

stickers // funky hair ties // The Les Mis soundtrack (and yes, I know Russell Crowe can’t sing) // pomegranate-flavoured lip balm // finally having an editorial calendar for this blog // piping hot filter coffee // finishing my first paper book in ages!