Thursday, December 22, 2016

What Does Your Upcoming TBR Look Like?

Books
via Jukka Zitting on Flickr

I am not the kind of person who often takes stock of her TBR—like pretty much everyone else on the planet, I have a list of titles I certainly mean to read but have not gotten around to. At least not yet.

Still, since I’m on Winter Break and I am actually powering through a lot more books than I expected, I thought it might be a good idea to think about what is on my immediate TBR. And by that I mean these are books I have in my possession or have put on hold.

The nice thing about libraries is they give you a deadline to finish things. Deadlines are my jam.

Anyway, here are ten titles I’m excited to start reading soon:

1. The Odyssey by Homer
2. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
3. Slaughterhouse-5 by Kurt Vonnegut
4. Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi
5. The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti
6. The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
7. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
8. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
9. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
10. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Of course, it is also worth saying that on Tuesday I rededicated my life to Scooby-Doo, so I also expect something like seven DVDs to be waiting for me at the library pretty soon (much to the chagrin of my younger sisters; apparently I am too old for that nonsense, which is a lie).

And that leads me to today’s discussion question: What are you currently reading? What do you plan to read over the next couple of weeks? Also, if you’ve read anything on my TBR, what were your thoughts?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Why Does Watson Sleep So Much?

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When we meet Joan Watson on Elementary, she is asleep.

Introducing a character through his or her morning routine is nothing new—everyone does that. As the show progresses, though, Watson continues to receive an inordinate amount of characterization through her sleeping habits. Like, a lot. Joan reads in bed, surfs the Internet on her laptop, naps. Sherlock often wakes Joan up in the morning, but he’s also deactivated all her alarms so she would not wake up on time. He’s brought her breakfast in bed, and even picked out her outfit for her because he’s been so eager to leave. Joan has woken up to find Clyde (their pet turtle) crawling on her, and to find Sherlock has redesigned the entire space around her.

Like I said: a lot. This, of course, begs a question. Why does Watson sleep so much?

My first instinct is to examine the BBC’s Sherlock, which does not often feature sleeping characters. The first time I remember Holmes falling asleep is in “A Scandal in Belgravia” (2x1), when Irene Adler drugs Sherlock before making her escape. Sherlock dramatically ends up in bed and is incoherent and groggy. Sleep, in this case, is weakness. Sherlock would have been in active pursuit of Adler; she reduced him to an “inferior” state and thus displayed her own domination. The fact that she does this to one such as Sherlock communicates the real danger of Adler’s character to the audience.

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The other time I remember Sherlock and John falling asleep was in “The Sign of Three” (3x2) when they get drunk and are stupid. Lestrade yells at them during their hangover. They deserve it.

(I also remember Sherlock got shot one time, but I'm leaving that out for various reasons.)

Neither example is particularly flattering. Both suggest why Sherlock might resist sleep in general. First, sleep is a humanizing thing. It is a vulnerable state, an inactive state, and people who seem to need more of it appear to fit less in our capitalistic society (think babies and old people). The less Sherlock and John sleep, the more they are protected. They get closer to solving the crime and traditional victory. That’s the BBC.

As I’ve mentioned, Elementary isn’t much like that at all. Watson often sleeps—it is part of her daily routine. Even Sherlock has fallen asleep once or twice on the show (to his dismay), and tends to wear comfy-looking sweats and a t-shirt when he rests. Which I mention because they seem like normal pajamas compared to the aesthetic of some aforementioned programs, but why name names?

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Anyhoo. Watson sleeps. Sherlock (rarely) sleeps. And this matters a great deal to Elementary for a reason I’ve already mentioned: it is a vulnerable state. And through vulnerability, companionship forms. Sure, it is funny when Joan wakes to find a turtle in her bed, but it’s also a demonstration of familiarity. How many people do you feel comfortable around, not just in your pajamas, but in your messiest state? Hair unbrushed, drooling, unaware, unprepared. Joan doesn’t always appreciate Sherlock’s presence in her bedroom, but their confinement contributes to their closeness. They get to see each other in a way few others do.

What’s more, Joan functions better as a detective when she sleeps. As a health professional, you’d expect her to value sleep anyway. And she does. Nonetheless, Joan is still the best Joan when she is well-rested. Whether he likes it or not, Sherlock is the best Sherlock after a good sleep, too. This matters even more for Sherlock, since tiredness can trigger a relapse in an addict. Joan’s good habits don’t just improve Sherlock’s life (sometimes), but they also protect him. Heroin has the potential to ruin his life again—so Joan watches out for him.

That is the best thing. This is a detective show and a murder mystery show, but it is also a show about taking care of yourself and one another. Emotionally, physically, scientifically. Sleep is not a weakness. It’s a strength. An opportunity to build trust and to maintain sobriety. Also, it is funny.

Obviously, there’s an important message here:

Be a good detective. Get some sleep.


Do you think the media tends to portray a positive or negative aspect of sleep?


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In Praise of Louise Belcher

Howdy! I may post sporadically throughout December. I am posting today because I am officially out of homework and therefore bored.

I wanted to talk about one of my personal role models: Louise Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. She is amazing. And this is why.

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She advocates for herself | Louise doesn’t accept things she doesn’t like. Period. Though she has questionable means of persuasion, she never lets anyone cow her into silence.

She takes action | She will pay any cost. If pooping in a swimming pool will get her out of summer school, she will not hesitate a moment.

She doesn’t learn lessons | Louise-centric episodes focus on many things: her interests, her fears, her failings. Whatever problems she runs into, though, she gets out of them through her own ingenuity and determination—none of this “learning not to lie” or “next time don’t jump off a moving train” silliness.

She has a strong sense of honor | This is a girl who takes pride in her morally-questionable shenanigans. When she is falsely accused, though, she insists upon proving her innocence. She’ll accept consequences—just as long as she’s responsible for them.

She is determined | Linda thinks Louise can’t spend a weekend at her Aunt Gail’s? Think again. Louise will tough out anything.

She is prepared | Also, when she was, like, six, she hid a duffel in a lake in case she ever needed to run away.

She transcends age | This is a nine-year-old who socializes with prostitutes and ran a gambling den. She is also afraid of the dentist and called Bob “Daddy” until she was eight.

She is morbid | Part of Louise’s appeal is her dark humor. A quote: “Nosebone! Nosebone into the brain! Then skin him and wear him like a costume!”

She is blunt | It isn’t that Louise never lies, but when she is honest, there is no beating around the bush with this girl.

She has ambitions | Louise wants to run her father’s restaurant someday, as well as be very rich. I don’t know how she will do both, but she will.

She cares | Though she doesn’t often fall for that touchy-feely crap, Louise cares about her family and siblings. She’ll definitely say so at gunpoint, but the fact that her siblings are main characters in her “Why I Love Wagstaff” story—people she wants by her side in a robot crisis—says something, too.

She is a dangerous girl | Louise wants a doll whose head comes off and it’s a knife. Physical threats are among her favorite things.

She got manicured with monster nails | I cannot put the awesomeness into words, so here is a GIF:

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Have you watched Bob’s Burgers? Who is your favorite character?