Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Middlemarch" Moves Forward

Of course while I was away, the one movie project I am following moved forward. According to blogger Lady Ashley, who puts it the most succinctly:

Sam Mendes has signed a two-year deal with Focus Features that includes two projects, one of which is a new adaptation of George Elliot’s Middlemarch. Better yet, Andrew Davies has already submitted a script for the film. So we’ll see this big-screen Middlemarch in either 2010 or 2011.
The Independent reports that Mendes beat Martin Scorcese to the punch on this project. Despite the one big flaw in Marty's The Age of Innocence (the narration) it's still an excellent film. I'd trust Scorcese over Mendes, I think, but after Revolutionary Road I can see the Lydgate/Rosamund plot being really devastating under the latter's direction. Anyway, I recommend the Independent article, as it's a lovely example of how to write literature and art through the medium of journalism without robbing the subject of emotion and subjectivity.

More discussion of the matter here and here. And the casting discussion rages on at imdb.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Visual Evidence of my Vacation Activities

Originally uploaded by fellowette

Like I said, I spent the week getting sunburned (even though the weather was cold) and reading Moby Dick, which was even more appropriate to being on Nantucket than I realized. Here is visual evidence of both. Oh, I also read Olive Kittredge and the first Sookie Stackhouse novel, and I will tell you all about them forthwith (I still owe you a review of Pamela).

I am 100 pages from the end of Melville's sea-epic. Any others out there waded into those heady prose-waters?

Back from the beaches...

(Welcome to my new subscribers, tweeps, friend-feeders, well-wishers and ill-wishers.)

While I was away getting sunburned and slogging through Moby Dick, two of my literary articles were published, and here they are. The first is an overview of women's fiction, memoir, biography and non-fiction, while the second is an analysis of several feminist books. I alluded to this upcoming project earlier this year :)

COVER STORY: Women's Writing Fires Up Summer Reading Lists
This year's literary output by women offers plenty of heft for the summer tote bags. From sensational memoirs to serious sociology, check out what women are writing about and the prizes they've been snapping up so far in 2009...
from Women's eNews -
New Feminist Books Offer Multifaceted Critique of Culture Wars
This spring and summer have been remarkable ones for books about sex, gender and reproduction -- the avid women's issues reader has been up to her ears in provocative feminist tomes. What's amazing about the books discussed below is not just the powerful arguments they make individually, but the way they together paint a complete picture of our culture wars at home and abroad...
from Reproductive Health | - Information, News, An -

Friday, June 12, 2009

Non-Literary Question of the Weekend: Mountains or Beach?

(me in the alps and the NE canadian beach, respectively, vacations past)

I'm off to the misty New England shore for a week, and posting will be light. I leave you with the following question: if you had to take a vacation by the mountains or the shore, which would you choose (or is it an impossible question)? When I was a kid it was the beach all the way. But wheni was a teenager and longing for excitement and drama and adrenaline, I would have picked the mountains in a second--the snowier and lake-ier the better.

Now that I'm a working woman, the soothing quality of the beach has a renewed appeal. It would be very hard to decide.

Have a great week, readers!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Plath Shook them Up

Honor Moore has a nice piece up at XX about the way Sylvia Plath's death, and her posthumous collection Ariel shook up the world of women writing verse, and how it was sort of like the "feminine mystique" for the poetry world in that it revealed the dangers of femininity. Writes Moore:

Less acknowledged than the women's movement Friedan's book ignited was the extraordinary explosion of poetry by American women that followed Ariel’s publication. It is a bounty that continues into the present, when more women are writing poetry of literary distinction than at any other time in history. Poems have been integral to the women’s movement from the beginning—no surprise given that feminism has always understood language to be instrumental in maintaining oppressive power relations.
She continues by talking about some of these poets who followed in PLath's footsteps and--even better--quoting from their verse!

I'd also add that exploring Plath's life, her memoir The Bell Jar, and her Ariel poems (as well as some of her New Colossus poems and other work) have become a sort of feminist coming-of-age ritual akin to reading Jane Eyre for young women from a somewhat western-oriented, liberal background.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

This Week's NYTBR broken down by gender

Presented without comment, except for this link.

cover: male reviewer, male author

male authored books: 11
female authored books:5
male reviewers: 10
female reviewers: 6

I may be off-- I looked up the gender-ambiguous names, but there's always a chance of an error on my part.

This excludes the columns and letters.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Question of the Weekend: What's on Your Summer List?

Mine includes Moby Dick, DuMaurier's Jamaica Inn, a re-read of the Emily of New Moon books, the Grapes of Wrath, and a Sookie Stackhouse novel or five. What are yours? Share them in comments! And recommend as many beach reads as you want.

Other summer lists:
60 new books to read this summer from Jacket Copy
Summer reading: Killer thrillers ...from Salon
What's on your summer reading list? from Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch

Summer Reading List from Restless Violet

Link-o-rama: Women Authors Kickin' Butt, Jane and Toni

Welcome, new followers! Thanks for hopping on board the EBC train.

Some morning notices:

Mags at Austenblog issues the long-awaited review of "Jane's Fame" a comprehensive history of Jane Austen readers, scholars, appreciators and more. While Mags thinks the author, Claire Harman, is a bit snooty towards the modern-day fandom, she appreciates all the new information laced throughout the book.

Anna at Isak gets the skinny on the Toni Morrison censhorpship kerfluffle (my new favorite word) that is circulating throughout the book-o-sphere, rightly calling out the idiots in the Michigan school that chose to censor the Nobel-prize winner and Great American novelist Morrison.

But while we celebrate these storied female writers, we might well ask, what the hell is this category they loosely call women's fiction? This is always a tough one for me. Anna at Jezebel responds to the question circulating the interwebs.

All of these posts are wittier than I could be on such a dreary morn.

But if you hanker for more fellow-ette, here's a post by me at Bitch magazine's blog, kicking of their biblio-bitch segment with a few remainders from my previous PW Q+A with literary novelist Kate Walbert.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

What I've Been Consuming

Pamela--18th century lass shows spunk in defense of her chastity, inspires both Austen and Bronte. Oh yes, I made it through this ancient-seeming, yet lively, behemoth of Christian values and a weird proto-feminism, and you shall have my full report on it forthwith.

"In Treatment"--Loved this season on HBO, though it was intense. Paul was on his game as a therapist, but he kept crossin' those boundaries and he had to pay the price to a certain extent. The acting, writing, plotting was top-notch as always, and I left with a little more hope than I had at the end of season 1. Hope there's a 3rd season.

Star Trek- I've never been a megafan of the show, though I've always enjoyed it, but as everyone says, the movie was lots of fun. The first action movie I've seen in ages that didn't try to be "dark" and meaningful, but to entertain with a dose of thought-provocation. Word.

Concerts: In the past few weeks I've seen Bruce Springsteen, Unwigged and Unplugged (the dudes from "Spinal Tap" and "A Mighty Wind"), and Grizzly Bear. One rocked insanely hard, (of course) one elicited chuckles and claps, one soothed and stirred... all were awesome.

Pro-choice insanity: between the Obama Notre Dame speech, Sotomayor, and the tragic assasination of Dr. Tiller, I've been reading and writing a TON about women's stuff. You can check it out on my google reader feed, or my freelance writer feed.

What culture have you been consuming, O readers fair?

A Cranford Christmas?

For whatever reason, my Jewy-atheist Christmas-scorning sensibilites stop dead when they cross the Atlantic. I have no problem with treacly Christmas sentimentality when it's delivered in a British accent: as a matter of fact, Scrooge with Alistair Sims is one of my favorite movies of all time (God do I love that movie!)

So it is with great joy that I bring you the news, via Jane Austen today and enchanted serenity of period films (two sites I must add to my blogroll, and hat tip to the latter for the Judi shot) that a Cranford Christmas special is on its way towards being filmed. Yes, there will be more Judi and Imelda, more wonderful ladies of a certain age, plus new romance, a touch of local intrigue, and the usual and delightful Victorian hand-wringing over "progress." Basically, it will be all kinds of awesomeness.

And it looks like Cranford Xmas will be delivered to the Brits just in time for Chanukah '09, and will hopefully make it over across the pond by Kwanzaa '10.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Another Book Listie Leaves the Ladies Out: WSJ edition

via twitter-er frausallybenz:

Ahh, summer. When a massive chunk of the books people want to read on the beach have bare legs on the cover and feature pink and blue lettering, but are not worthy of mention by the tastemakers. Or something like that ;)

Today's culprit: the venerable, yet stuffy, WSJ. Although the Wall Street Journal summer book list has some good options, only two out of the nineteen are penned by she-folk. And they are both in the fiction section. Come on, people! This is getting ridiculous. Also, it looks like VERY FEW are written by POC, although obviously you can't tell that by names alone. Sigh.

Previously in this category:

Another Book Listie Leaves the Ladies Out

National Book Award: Testosterone

Anti-feminist book critics review feminist works

Times' Gender ratio improves

Pulitzers: kinda testosteroney

Monday, June 01, 2009

Link-O-Rama: Back from the Dead Like Rebecca DeWinter Edition

Links I've starred from my google reader over the past few weeks for your perusial pleasure:

Zombies are the new vampires:
March of the zombie
By Anne Billson. Once confined to geeky horror films, the living dead are lumbering back into mainstream movies - and even a Jane Austen novel. When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth." Hell must be filling up, because that tag line to the 1978 film Dawn of the Dead now seems eerily prescient. Zombies have long been a popular...
from home |

Retaliating against Kanye West's book-backlash with a festival of literary CAKES (h/t ben)"

Sunday Sweets: Reading Rocks
.Or to put it in his own words,"Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed. I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph."That's good, Kanye, since it's a right pain to get a book to even hold a pen, much less autograph itself.Anyhoo, after banging my head against the desk and weeping...
from Cake Wrecks

Book Expo of America blah blah:
Publishing: The Sequel
In a stunt intended to spark a dialogue about the future of publishing-during a time of handwringing in the industry-editing,...
from The Daily Beast - Blogs and Stories

This sounds cool:
Jezebooks: Sarah Waters [Kick-Lit]
If you haven't read any Sarah Waters? Lady, are you in for a page-turning, spine-tingling, word-smithing, sexy treat! Four words: lesbian historical ghost stories. Sarah waters describes her work as 'lesbo historical romps,' but while her meticulously-researched, erotic stories of mystery, thrills and the occult do an amazing job of "teasing out le...
from Jezebel -

A hilarious pair of blogs about Mr. Darcy:
Attention: Mr. Darcy is Fictional
Mr. Darcy is a fictional character. He is made up. He does not exist. He is part of the bleedin’ Choir Fictional. He’s not pining for the fjords. If he weren’t nailed to the perch written on the page, he just would not be. It’s time to stop declaring some casual acquaintance of Jane Austen’s as “The Real Mr. Darcy.” Just stop it now, because (as Georgette Heyer characters would say) you’re making a cake of yourself.
from AustenBlog . . . she's everywhere

Mr. Darcy Tries to Pick Up a Lady
The cast of The Chaser's War on Everything, a satirical Australian t.v. show will mock, anything, even our Mr. Darcy. This time they ask that eternal question: Do women want a man like Mr. Darcy? In polls women say they do but in real life the resultd are just a bit different (and hysterically funny.) Is there nothing sacred left in this life?
from Jane Austen Today -

The end. Go read!

And while we're at it, some Harry Potter stuff

Cause JKR>sm

Clumsy Bella Swan is Acted Upon, but Never Acts* and Other Things I Learned from the "New Moon" Trailer

*except when she's jumpin' off cliffs, arranging rendez-vouses w/hungry vampires who want to kill her but not sex her, and otherwise trying to off herself. sigh. Why is your feminist sensibility so made of fail, Smeyer?

ANYWAY here's the brand spankin' new trailer that was unveiled last night.