Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Month/Year in Review: December 2019

I decided to join together my month and year in review, one because I'm lazy, and two because I think more significant things happened in December alone rather than the entire year. So, here is what happened in December, as well as 2019 as a whole :)

What I Read:

Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia: 5/5 stars
Shadow and Bone by: Leigh Bardugo: 4/5 stars

Favourite book: Sissy is an amazing memoir by Jacob Tobia. It was hilarious, as well as made me really passionate about gender. (So much so, that I have been schooling a lot of people who enforce gender roles as of recent).

Favourite book of the year: This is difficult, because a lot of the books I read that I loved are quite different from each other. I think the title is gonna have to go to Crazy Rich Asians by: Kevin Kwan. This story basically dominated my entire summer, and I fell in love with the movie as well.

Goodreads Challenge: I barely scraped by with my challenge, reading 41/40 books for the year. I actually started with a goal of 50, but I did not read much in the middle of the year at all, so I slipped really far behind. I'm happy that I shortened my goal, because I finally was able to pull through at the end. Hopefully I can get up to my usual streak of 50 books a year in 2020.

What I Blogged:

I didn't really have a particular favourite blog post of the month, however I most definitely had a favourite of the year, and that was my rant about Don Cherry. You've probably heard me mention this post before, but it represented a drastic change in writing for me, because at that point I stopped being just a book blog, and realized that I wanted to branch out and talk about more issues that interest me. Expect more of these posts in 2020, especially one coming really soon in which my sister and I called out a food blogger for fat-shaming and promoting wastefulness. (Story to come!)

Favourite Blog Posts:

Cee looks back at Our Roaring 20s 
Veronika discusses Ten Things that Comfort Her
Karissa and Mary review The Rise of Skywalker

Life Stuff:

December was a really chaotic month for me. I had exams and final essays, finished off fall term with quite good marks, and of course, got ready for Christmas and my birthday.

I was really nervous for Christmas because of my social anxiety, but I am happy to report that I had no major incidents and actually was able to enjoy the season instead of worrying.

I also spent the first half of December preparing for my road test, which I am happy to report that, I PASSED. I finally have a full license, which is a huge relief for me because I no longer have to go through lessons or the stress of tests. My license has been the main source of stress in my life for about four years now, I am thrilled to finally be rid of it.

My Christmas was amazing, a lot of my family came down and I got some presents that will hopefully help to busy my mind during the more sad months of January and February. (I typically get very down in these months). I really wanted to take up knitting because I read that it helps to alleviate stress, so my mom got me knitting needles and yarn. I am so excited!

I also got Disney plus, which will be very comforting to me because pretty much all of my favourite shows and movies are on there. I also feel pretty badass because I have never had a streaming service before, so I feel like I can finally join in the fun lol.

I saw The Rise of Skywalker a couple of days ago, and boy do I have some thoughts. It was very bittersweet for me. I am sad to see the Skywalker saga go, and I didn't necessarily think that this movie did everything justice. However, there were also some moments I really loved. There will definitely be a movie review to come very soon, I just have to chat about a few things.

Overall, 2019, like most of my years, had an equal number of ups and downs. Anxiety tried to weasel its way in, but I took charge by starting therapy and trying new coping mechanisms. I think my main goal for 2020 is to try and keep my mind busy, especially when I am at my loneliest, because there is nothing more dangerous for me then when I am alone with my thoughts. So that is what I am trying to do to keep my mind healthy.

I am excited for 2020. I think that I can turn it into a great year if I try. I hope to get into some really good books, and leave the year feeling a lot happier and healthier.

Happy New Year to you all! I hope 2020 is your best year yet :)

How was your December/2019? Do you have any 2020 goals?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 20 December 2019

Anne of Green Gables by: Lucy Maud Montgomery

Genre: Classic, Children's Fiction
Published: 1908
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5 stars

Desperate for some help around their quaint Prince Edward Island farmhouse, siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decide to adopt a young boy. However, a mix-up at the orphanage results in them adopting Anne Shirley, a fiery young girl who knows nothing about Marilla's strict way of life. As Marilla attempts to teach Anne proper social decorum, Anne begins to teach Marilla, and her by-the- book new town, how to live life not so seriously.

I had to read this book for my children's literature course, and I did not expect it to go well. I have a love-hate relationship with classics, and this one is a bit longer and tedious. However, I was shocked to find that I completely flew through this book, and I definitely want to read more in the series.

I found Anne to be so incredibly heartwarming. The descriptions of peaceful PEI scenery, mixed with the lovable characters, made for a very light-hearted read. I didn't find it heavy or overbearing, just overall very adorable.

The secondary characters were very enjoyable to read. Matthew was a kind soul, Diana was a very patient friend, and I enjoyed reading about Marilla's change in character. These characters really won this book over for me. However, the one thing that didn't make Anne a complete win, was the main character herself.

I found Anne to be incredibly childish, and frustratingly stubborn. Even when she grew older, she just seemed to be unnecessarily difficult. I get that this is part of her charm, and part of what makes the plot. But for me, I never really enjoy characters like that. So, she kinda irritated me as a protagonist.

But other than that, I am so happy that I loved this book. It made studying it so much easier, and I would also love to go further in the series.

Have you read Anne of Green Gables? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 13 December 2019

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 by: Jordie Bellaire, Dan Mora, Raul Angulo

Genre: Comic, Fantasy
Published: January 23, 2019 by: Boom! Studios
Pages: 30
Rating: 5/5 stars

Buffy Summers is no ordinary teen. She is the vampire slayer, chosen to defend the town of Sunnydale from the forces of darkness. When she befriends Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris, the trio, along with Buffy's watcher Giles, band together to protect their high school and each other, from all of the weird creatures lurking in the town.

I love Buffy so much. I have re-watched the series a number of times, and I think it is one of the most culturally iconic shows of all time. I have read a few adaptations from the world of Buffy, but never have I gotten into the comics. Finally, I saw this in a comic book store and decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did!

First off, props to the artists for creating such fabulous drawings. This comic takes a modern spin on the word of Buffy, meaning it's set in modern day as opposed to the 90's. I thought the artists did an awesome job at bringing Buffy into the modern world, through vibrant colours and techniques.

I was weary on how I would receive Buffy through a modern day set-up. I think that Buffy being set in the 90's is such an iconic part of the story, and I didn't want them to mess with that. But, I didn't find that an issue at all. I was fully immersed into the story, and Bellaire kept in all of the important aspects to Buffy's story that would have been too important to change. This comic felt like it came from the Buffy world, which I can appreciate.

So overall, this comic was a big win for me! I hope to read more Buffy comics, as I seem to really enjoy them.

Have you read/watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday, 6 December 2019

Helen of Troy by: Margaret George

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology
Published: August 3, 2006 by: Viking Adult
Pages: 611
Rating: 4/5 stars

Helen is the most beautiful woman of the Mediterranean. Fathered by Zeus himself, Helen's divine beauty becomes a hot commodity, and eventually she is married off to Spartan king Menelaus. But, their relationship soon turns sour, and Helen finds herself enthralled by Paris, a young Trojan prince whose land has just aligned with Sparta. All alliances are off when Helen flees to Troy to be with Paris, and Menelaus and his ruthless brother Agamemnon launch a brutal 10 year war to get her back. Inspired by the infamous Iliad, Margaret George changes up the classic formula of the Trojan War, by having Helen narrate her own story.

If you know me, you know that I am a sucker for anything related to the Trojan War. I read the Iliad for fun. David Benioff's Troy is one of my biggest guilty pleasure movies. I know, I know, the movie kinda sucks. But, movie adaptations of the Trojan War are slim so I don't really have much to choose from. And we got Ned Stark as Odysseus, so it's still a decent movie in my book.

I will pick up any and every book having to do with the Trojan War. I saw this book at the library, and with a whopping 600 pages, I knew it would be just the thing to read over summer vacation. (Yes, I read this book in the summer and am only reviewing it now. Can you say, behind on reviews much?)

Anyways, I was not disappointed by this novel. I knew at some point I just had to read a retelling of the Trojan War through a woman's perspective, because a lot of the adaptations are pretty misogynistic. And who better to hear it from than Helen herself? I think George perfectly captured Helen's voice, and I was not disappointed by her characterization.

Helen's characterization was something I was a bit worried for. A lot of adaptations portray her as dull and naive, basically just a pretty face. I thought she had large levels of intelligence and rationality within this novel. The girl knows what she wants, and I could appreciate that. I found that in this novel, Paris was more of the naive one, which I loved because I have always pictured Paris as a really stupid guy.

I thought that this book was accurate to the classic depiction of the Trojan War, which I really loved. I don't like it when adaptations sensationalize the war, or give it a Hollywood-esque feel. There are still classical texts that should be followed as the basic guidelines for the story. I could tell that George did her research on this novel, and didn't just piece together what is commonly known about the Trojan War and call it a day. There was textual accuracy.

The one thing that I didn't love about this novel, is that it is extremely character driven. I mean, this is rightly so, because the novel is from the perspective of a character who did not directly fight in the war. It makes sense that the novel would be based more off of her life then in the direct action of the Trojan War. But I guess for me, I was expecting more allusions to the battle and the important figures in the battle. I would have liked to see more of Helen's opinions on important figures such as Odysseus, Patroclus, and Achilles. I f*cking love Achilles. (When I say this, I picture Achilles as the morally developed gay icon in Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles, not Brad Pitt's misogynistic adaptation in Troy).

I knew that this review would veer off track, because I get a little carried away when someone so much as mentions the Trojan War. I'm just a little passionate, ok? Anyways, bottom line is, I really loved the characterization of Helen and George's attention to detail. I didn't love how we didn't see as much of the battle, and I wanted the novel to have a better balance of character vs. plot. But, overall, I would call this retelling a win!

Have you read Helen of Troy? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess