non-book posts, wrap-ups

October+November Favs — getting back in theater kid mode with Heathers

Helloooooooooo! I have never done any of these posts before, but you know what? I do so many posts about my life outside of books. Why not do one with all the things I’ve loved these last couple months?

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What is my favorite musical about murderers? Because I was obsessively listening to two in the last month alone. Okay, okay. Yes, my favorite musical about murderers is Heathers.

I honestly don’t even want to explain what this musical / movie is about. Um. A bottle of mineral water is held up meaningfully. At one point, the line “I love my dead gay son” is delivered by a sobbing father. A teacher calls a suicide note “the loveliest she has ever read”. Someone’s middle finger is shot right off. Basically, it’s so weird that it somehow manages to be really, really funny. And also deeply emotional.

I played Ms. Fleming, a character who is a ton of fun and not the greatest person of all time.

Other Events / Occurrences

It’s actually been a somewhat sedentary month aside from high school. At the beginning of November, I got the chance to sing Greensleeves at a school assembly.

In terms of television, I’ve actually been watching a lot, which is awesome! At the beginning of October, I got the chance to finish The Handmaid’s Tale, which I adored, and rewatched Big Little Lies, one of my current favorite shows of all time. During November, I watched all of season one of American Horror Story, which I liked a lot more as it progressed! The found family trope is strong. In a more-like-a-movie move, I watched two episodes of one of my favorite shows, Black Mirror. And now that we’re nearing the end of the month, I’ve been catching up on Brooklyn Nine Nine, which is and always will be my favorite comedy ever.

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non-book posts

Ya Girl’s Favorite Movies

Random post topic, I know, but I’d love to talk a bit about my top ten favorite movies today. These are in no particular order, but they’re all movies that have personally touched me.

The saga of me and movies is one that did not start until very recently. Most of the movies I enjoy are ones I’ve only seen in the past few years because I honestly was only into about two movies as a kid. (Please don’t judge me!!) Also, I think I’m not really all that nostalgic a person? Maybe?

So without further ado, here are my favorite movies of the last couple years!

Continue reading “Ya Girl’s Favorite Movies”

non-book posts

Hamlet @ ACT San Francisco – theater review

Some of you may know my English literature class (feat. our unimaginably good teacher) has been working on the play Hamlet for the last few weeks. As a reward for working so hard, we all took a trip up to the city via Caltrain and saw ACT SF’s production of Hamlet. And I had… some thoughts. Let’s talk.

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Hamlet’s dad is creepy, Hamlet is angsty, and that’s their entire depth of characterization. save three hours of your life.

Here’s the thing about this show: if you see it and you hate it, you saw a terrible Hamlet. I don’t care if it’s given critical acclaim – fuck off, Kenneth Branagh – Hamlet is supposed to be compelling, and if you didn’t find the character compelling, that actor didn’t do their job. You need a Hamlet who knows the character, not a Hamlet who wants to do grace to the character or some shit.

Hamlet shouldn’t be an asshole. Hamlet is a very complex character, and yeah, he does a lot of screwing around with people. But his interactions with Horatio, all his interactions excluding Claudius in 1.2, his love letter to Ophelia, and other’s descriptions of his newfound madness as being out of character paint a very different picture. It is not compelling to watch an asshole be an asshole for four hours. You know what’s far more compelling? A kind young man struggling with grief and anger, informed suddenly that he must become cruel and unkind.

You know, when I typed this rant, I meant it to be mostly about Kenneth Branagh. But while we’re at it, why not just send it to John Douglas Thompson as well?

It makes me sad, because Douglas Thompson is clearly quite talented. But he is not performing this role because he loves it. He is performing to perform rather than performing to connect.

Actors for other roles were a mixed bag. I mostly just felt the other character were underused. In this play especially, every character’s pain should matter. Every character needs to matter, every character needs to make you feel. Gertrude ( was terrible. She did not make a single face the entire night that wasn’t “vaguely confused and distraught.”

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the face she’s making here? she didn’t make a different face the whole damn night. this is her whole range of emotion.

The Laertes (Teagle F. Bougere) and Ophelia (Rivka Borek) were each clearly talented, but the show did not give them the time of day. Neither were given the depth they deserve at ALL. While Borek absolutely nailed Ophelia’s mad scene, her character arc felt very weak because it was tailored exclusively around Hamlet’s.

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they didn’t deserve their fates and they also didn’t deserve to be in this derivative ass show

This just felt like a Hamlet that had been done before. While the main actor was undeniably talented, and I’d love to see him – or Borek and Bougere, for that matter – perform in other things, the derivative nature of the production was just too much in the end.

book chat, non-book posts

quoting authors: Adam Silvera, Sabaa Tahir, Alex Bracken, Stephanie Perkins

Hey guys!! I’ve been to so many great author events in the past few weeks that I really just wanted to show some of the best things I’ve written on here. Some of you might know about good experiences from my earlier Authors I’ve Met post, which I’m not linking because it’s not live as of when I’m scheduling! Check it out in either Non-Book Posts or Book Chat. Do I know? Probably not.

Adam Silvera and Sabaa Tahir

“Place you’d go if you were invisible?”
“I’m trying to look for the non-pervy answer. Otherwise I’d just say… Andrew Garfield’s house.”
—Adam Silvera

“Mint tea. That’s so… interesting.”
—Sabaa Tahir

“Favorite book as a teen?”
“I’m going to exclude… no, I’m not, Harry Potter.”
“Favorite book as an adult?”
“Harry Potter.”
—Sabaa and Adam

Alex Bracken and Tamara Ireland Stone

“I didn’t want to write a story about coding – I wanted to write a story about friendship featuring a girl coder.”
—Tamara Ireland Stone

“Ally… Ally and I clicked early.”
—Tamara Ireland Stone

“You know I love sad things… and dark things… and people suffering… This book is actually not that tragic! Well, Prosper’s social life is kind of tragic.”
—Alex Bracken

“Chapter 13 is my favorite.”
“Did you try really hard for that to happen?”
“I’m dedicated to my craft, Tamara.”
—Alex and Tamara

“Prosper’ grandmother might, allegedly, be based off my grandmother, of whom a psychic once said “her heart is made of ice– evil people never die.” If you tweet this, be sure to add allegedly, because she’s still alive. As she has gotten older, she has basically become Gollum.”
—Alex Bracken

“Bridge to Terabithia was my villain origin story!!” “And it all happened beside the produce section!!”
—Alex Bracken and Tamara

Marie Lu

“How do you write such good torture scenes?”
—question for Marie Lu

Stephanie Perkins

“Why do I like this so much it’s so disgusting…”
—Stephanie Perkins

“I wanted to give everyone a voice before I killed them… I wanted them to be as whole as possible.”
—Stephanie Perkins

“I met him and I saw the future.”
—Stephanie Perkins

“I get fanart of Etienne as this super tall guy and I’m like… aww, I see what you’re doing.”
—Stephanie Perkins

“Scream is a comfort film to me.”
—Stephanie Perkins

“When the twist is like oh, it was Satan all along I’m like… awwwwwwwww”
—Stephanie Perkins

A super short post, but I hope y’all enjoyed this!!

book chat, non-book posts

other people’s words #1

I see so many amazing posts by friends on this website and I just really want to link to some of them. This will be a mashup of badass discussion posts and just plain fun posts.

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There’s this lovely post on abusive relationships in books by @ ReaderInTheAttic. I’ve talked about this a lot, I know, but it’s really important to acknowledge how toxic certain relationships in young adult lit are to this day.

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There’s this lovely post from a series by Marija @ InsideMyLibraryMind. She’s been doing character reading lists for weeks and weeks, and I am loving them. This most recent one is for Kaz Brekker. Also, this awesome Book Mashup tag in which she suggests a Six of Crows and How To Get Away With Murder Mashup. I love you, but why can’t I steal that idea??

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Tasha’s discussion posts are awesome and underrated, and so of course she needs a spot here!! I’m going with my fave of all her posts – on YA hating f/f romance. This post is really important and necessary, and yeah, YA does hate f/f romance.

Which is (casual segway) one of the many reasons a few of us are hosting a wlw readathon come December!! Check back here and on the twitter sapphicathon page 🙂 I’ll be posting recs here and trying to mention it on the blog every month or so.

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This super super important video on how we talk about diversity in queer lit. Listen, I love Adriana. They’ve been one of my fav booktubers ever since I found their channel.

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Here’s a recent one by Jamieson, who ALSO does a ton of amazing discussion posts you should definitely check out: Intergenerational Friendships. I’m such a huge fan of this trope, and I love her for writing this. (GO FOLLOW.)

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And another good post: Queer and Trans Stories I Need. This is about tragedy in lit vs. emotional catharsis, and it’s super important.

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And as the final post: Destiny @ HowlingLibraries’ discussion on Different Criteria For Different Genres. This is really interesting and important!! I loved the quote “Just because I 5-starred a book does not mean that I agree with all of its content” because yes.

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That’s it for today, guys! Have a great week 🙂

non-book posts

Broadway!! my NY trip + show reviews

I just got to go to New York for a week and see a bunch of shows. That’s literally all we did – we just saw shows. Eight of them, actually. In a week. And ya girl wanted to write some brief reviews for all of them!! So here we are.

Thankfully, I liked every single show I saw this trip at least to some degree. I’m going to be ranking these on enjoyment, but bear in mind that I am very much a musical girl and am extremely biased. Basically, I loved all of these. Not much of a review. 

Assassins – Sat. matinee, 3.5 stars

Asssasins is about killing presidents. No, really; it’s about every single person who has tried to kill a president. Did you know that two women have tried, and both did so within twenty days of each other? I didn’t either. As a musical, I loved this, but there were a few flaws in production. 

If you like Sondheim’s style, or even tolerate it, you’ll probably like this musical. It’s the same strange blend of thematic significance and humor as his normal fair.

So my issue wasn’t with the show, it was with the production. First of all, there was the very weak set. But that could’ve been ignored if not for one thing – the cast was not given enough time to prepare. I saw this musical at a five-day showcase at Civic Center, and unfortunately, it showed. In terms of acting, everyone was quite solid – I especially liked a few performers. I loved the John Wilkes Booth (not a sentence I ever thought I’d say), the man on the stage who sings “why did you do it” with Booth, the Manson Murderer girl, and the Santa Claus dude. Yet even they were under-rehearsed. There were some obvious dropped cues and missed lines, and at one point the cast had their books out. At another point, someone went onstage when they were obviously not needed. She played it off quite well, but you could still tell what had happened.

Come From Away – Thursday, 4 stars

I really enjoyed this!! This is one of the most <I>hopeful</I> musical I’ve ever seen.

Come From Away doesn’t focus on any specific character, so there aren’t many solos; instead, the show used gorgeous harmony to evoke emotion. This differentiates the show from just any show, as well as leading to some really gorgeous musical builds. That being said, I think I would have preferred more character focus and development.

Not my favorite ever, but definitely a show to see.

Chicago – Friday, 4 stars

This was great, obviously. I’ve never seen Chicago live before, so it was fun to contrast this to the movie.

The major difference between the show and the movie is the aspect of comedy. In the movie, Cell Block Tango is eerie and almost terrifying with its musical build. In the show, it’s amusing. Same with Mama’s Good To You. Most of the comedic songs were a lot of fun, but I didn’t think those two should’ve been comedic. It’s a really big change and I have to admit, I liked the balance of horror and comedy better in the movie.

Obviously, Chicago is focused around the dance aspect. I have to admit that while I loved the dancing, some of it should be edited at this point. Yes, it’s been around for 50 years. The fact remains that the I Can’t Do It Alone choreo is kind of horrifyingly bad.

Aside from the dancing, I also found the story occasionally disjointed. Chicago is a fabulous show, but it can’t decide what it’s focusing on until the final number. 

We actually had a swing actress, Robyn Hurder, for Roxie, and she was fabulous!! I absolutely loved her vulnerability as it contrasted with her selfishness. A part of me despised her, yet I still felt for her. This actress also had some great dancing, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure she was cast for her fabulous acting above anything else. I can’t believe she was a swing. I loved all the side characters as well; Mama was especially amazing.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t as big a fan of the Velma. Her acting and dancing was okay, but her physicality felt all wrong for the character. My mother loved her for the role, so maybe this was just my own interpretation of the character taking over.

Indecent – Wed. Matinee, 4.5 stars

For our Wednesday matinee, my mother and I decided to try this year’s best director of a play winner. Indecent is about a Jewish theater company that managed to get the first-ever kiss between two women onto Broadway in the 1920s. Wow, this made me cry. The ending scenes about love surviving? The two women metaphorically living on? Goodnight. This hit my mother emotionally harder than it hit me, surprisingly. We had an understudy for one of the girls, but I couldn’t tell at all; the whole cast was stunning, especially her.

I do think it went on a bit too long. My heart was absolutely shattered ten minutes before the end and then it… just… kept… going. The actual ending was lovely, but the earlier one almost made me sadder with the same message. Ending #2 left me a little underwhelmed in comparison.

The Play That Goes Wrong – Wednesday, 4.5 stars

After the matinee performance of Indecent, we needed something less heartbreaking. This was just the thing. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at a show. This play is a comedy following a mystery play put on by a terrible theater troupe, and as suggested by the title, everything goes wrong. Not just the acting, either; the whole set collapses at one point.

It’s just a comedy, yes, but this is a very high-quality show. While there were a few jokes that got repeated too many times, the continuity throughout the show is impressive. Many of the one-liners translated into further jokes an entire act later.

Anastasia – Saturday, 4.5 stars

This was great!! Anastasia is a lot more of a traditional show and doesn’t necessarily do anything new. And you know what, that’s fine. It’s a fantastically acted and fun ride. This isn’t a musical that will change anyone’s life, but it’s a great one full of catchy songs.

I actually got to go backstage for this because my mother is friends with John Bolton, who plays Vlad. So I’m a little biased towards the performers. But I really loved everyone. I’m really sad the lead actress, Christy Altomare, didn’t get nominated. Her voice alone deserves ten nominations; she can sing like a fucking angel. But her acting was fabulous too, especially in a scene close to the end (I won’t spoil). I loved Dimitri and everyone else too!! I especially loved Ramin Karimloo as Gleb, the Russian man who is sent to kill Anya. He was just unbelievably talented, especially in terms of voice. My favorite performance was probably Caroline O’Connor as Lili, the lady in waiting, who was just hilarious. The acting of The Countess and the Common Man was absolute comedy gold.  

In terms of music this was also great. I especially loved the song Russia of Days Past!! The staging of this deserves a shoutout as well, flipping between locations believably in very short periods of time.

Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 – Tuesday, 5 stars

I get why people thought this deserved the Tony now!! I’m still team DEH, but this was lovely.

The music and vocal selection of this is very abstract and different. There are no vocal themes. It’s purposeful, and it somehow works very well, especially onstage. I’d almost compare the dissonance to one of my personal fave underrated musicals, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It’s both the worst and best thing about this show. My favorite songs were probably Charming and the Prologue.

I also appreciated the race-blind casting!! And damn, did it lead them to some fabulous actors. Denee Benton absolutely kills it, with one of the best voices I’ve heard. I just found out via Wikipedia that I saw Oak Onaodowan’s first night ever, and I have to say I’m pretty shocked; his performance rocked so much. (And his actor bio begins with the sentence “surprisingly, I haven’t only done Hamilton”.) I also really loved Amber Grey as Helene and Ingrid Michaelson, one of my favorite singers, as Sonja.

Also, random thought, but this is one of the most subtextually gay shows I’ve ever seen, especially considering it revolves around a love triangle.

Dear Evan Hansen – Sun. matinee, 5 stars

This was the second time I’ve gotten to see DEH. It’s one of my favorite musicals of all time, maybe with the exception of my real fave (Fun Home), so this review contains bias.

This time, we were missing both Rachel Bay Jones and Ben Platt. So now seems the perfect time to talk acting.

Let’s just get this out of the way: the swing for Evan is fabulous. Seriously, he was great. If I didn’t know Ben was the lead, I would not have thought Connor (yes, that’s really his name) was an understudy. I definitely liked Ben a little more, but they’re both fabulous and engaging. Unfortunately, the understudy for Rachel Bay Jones wasn’t as impressive. She was fine, but that role needs to be better than fine.

All the side actors are fabulous as always. Mike Faist (Connor Murphy) is hilarious and heartbreaking. I’m going to be honest and say I don’t love the singing voice of Laura Dreyfuss (Zoe Murphy), but her acting skills are too fantastic for me to want anyone else for the role. I also really love Will Roland’s acting as Jared. I really want to shout out EVERYONE here, because every single actor is so talented. They definitely cast for acting and not singing in this show.

Maybe my one complaint (that’s not a result of having a swing) was the overmiking. Everything sounded fabulous except some of the worded harmonies, which were hard to understand. This was most noticeable during Good For You. The only other song in the show with harmonies on words, rather than on “o-oh,” is You Will Be Found. I didn’t notice any issues during that song, but that might be because I was crying so hard.

To that point – I still can’t get through this show without crying. Yes, this show relevant and important. But I think what I like most about it is how emotionally in-touch it all feels. You Will Be Found is one of the most emotionally cathartic Broadway songs of all time. It makes more sense in context, but if you haven’t listened to the musical yet, please give this specific song a listen at the very least.

To wrap up, I hope you all enjoyed my reviews!! I’m really glad we got to see all these shows – it’s a treat I probably will never repeat.

non-book posts

What I Want Out of Television

This is a totally random post sparked by my dissatisfaction with a lot of tv shows I’ve been watching in the past few years. There’s SO MUCH I want out of tv, and I’ve really been having some trouble with it.

So first of all, I have a list of my favorite tv shows ever here.

  1. Them morally complex characters. I don’t really care for completely likable heroines. And honestly, who does? Give me moral conflicts and well-developed characters. Some of my faves for this, almost of all of which have gone downhill, were Once Upon A Time, Revenge, and The 100.
  2. Slow-burn romance, and the tv show ends when they get together. We have all seen those shows where they get together and immediately it sucks. Brooklyn Nine Nine is literally the only counterexample I can think of. So it’s time for more shows where the main characters get together only in the last season, despite being set up since the beginning. Please.
  3. Relating to that: give me the happy gays. I just want some live lesbians on tv. Just a few. Please.
  4. More serials that make me happy!! I’ve been having some trouble with a lot of my shows I’ve watched recently, and I think I’ve decided that with a few exceptions for super long developing plot series, I prefer strong serials with internal character arcs to overarching series plot type-shows. I actually got this from an interesting video dissecting Sherlock!! A lot of my favorite heartwarming shows focus entirely on internal arcs. For example, Firefly does this very well. I think a lot of shows start out doing this and then give way to less serial plots as they continue. Shows like Once Upon A Time, Supernatural, and Revenge were much more my favorites during their one-off eras.

Anyway, thanks for reading this odd discussion post. Have a great day, y’all!!