Friday 31 January 2020

Month in Review: January

The first month of 2020 is done and it was... difficult. Full of anxiety attacks, OCD triggers, and the fear of impending apocalypse. Here's hoping February will be better?

What I Read: 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by: Taylor Jenkins Reid: 2/5 stars
When You Reach Me by: Rebecca Stead: 2/5 stars
The Scarlet Letter by: Nathaniel Hawthorne: 3/5 stars
The History of Pompey the Little by: Francis Coventry: 1/5 stars
A Coyote Columbus Story by: Thomas King: 4/5 stars
Gulliver's Travels by: Johnathan Swift: 1/5 stars
The Paper Bag Princess by: Robert Munsch (hello blog name sake!) 4/5 stars
The Secret of the Old Clock by: Carolyn Keene: 4/5 stars
Winnie-the-Pooh by: A.A. Milne: 4/5 stars

Favourite book: Miraculously, I read a lot this month, and all of these books except for Evelyn Hugo were read for school. (As you can probably tell from the random picture books thrown in there, hello children's literature course). My favourite book was actually The Secret of the Old Clock, which is the first in the Nancy Drew series. I really like easy to get through mysteries, and this book was like the American answer to the Famous Five series, which I absolutely loved as a kid. I can see myself getting into more of these books.

What I Blogged: 

I stayed fairly consistent in blogging, and my favourite post was On Whether or Not to Speak Your Mind on the Internet. It was a cool discussion!

Favourite Blog Posts: 

Veronika shares her re-reads of her Favourite Books of the Decade 
Shayna shares some insight into Library Life 

Life Stuff: 

Like I alluded to before, this month has been tough. School started up again, and my courses this term are ten times harder than my ones last term. One course is basically all group work and... I just can't deal with that. My OCD has been driving me nuts, with intrusive thoughts and just overall me over- thinking everything. My anxiety has also not been good. I have extreme health anxiety (also lines up with OCD), so all of this talk about an epidemic has made me even more compulsive. Overall, just a very triggering month. I hope this virus is better contained this month, and I hope that everyone who has it will get better. I don't do well with virus outbreaks, and constantly seeing it on my Twitter timeline and the media's fear mongering does not help.

Anyways, February will bring my reading week, Valentine's Day (which I actually very much enjoy despite not having a boyfriend), and the premiere of P.S. I Still Love You! John-Ambrose will rise, folks. The Peter stans are not ready.

So that was my month. How was yours?

Friday 24 January 2020

Paperback's Pondering's: On Whether or Not to Speak Your Mind on the Internet


About a month ago, my mom told my sister and I about a person she followed on Instagram who was being rather shitty. She was a health food blogger who was complaining about someone giving her brownies as a gift for Christmas, saying that this person was trying to sabotage her health, and that she would be throwing the brownies out. Upon further scrolling through this woman's feed, she posts stuff saying that obesity is a "disease," and various other fat-shaming stuff. My mom was appalled, but she didn't know how to comment something while still being civil, so my sister and I typed out a comment for her.

I can't show you the direct comment because the blogger promptly blocked my mom, but we were very respectful, just saying how it is not right to publicly shame someone for giving them a nice gift, and that throwing the brownies out promotes wastefulness when there are people starving in this world. Well, this woman and her followers completely attacked us, and then blocked us. So, brings us to here.

When the first few negative comments on our post came in, my sister and I wanted to retaliate, guns blazing. But my mom told us to just let it go. She said that we shared our piece, they weren't going to listen, and we should just move on. But, my sister and I had a very hard time with that. We wanted to call these people out, we wanted to tell them just how wrong they were. We tried the nice thing, it didn't work. We couldn't let them have the last word.

This incident sparked a conversation about whether or not to feed the trolls. Cee @ Dora Reads actually did a discussion post on this too, you can read it here. I think when I was younger, I did not speak my mind for anything. I just let people say offensive stuff, and I was too chicken to say anything back. But, now my opinions have changed. I feel like I don't take shit from anyone, and if you wanna argue, I will argue back.

This idea of just letting things go, is something that I struggle with. The way I look at it is, if someone is saying stupid stuff, then they need to know just how stupid they are being. Now, I'm all for having healthy debates, and I'm not saying that anyone who ever disagrees with me is stupid. But, if someone is saying something blatantly wrong, I feel as if I just have to get involved.

I guess another way to look at it is: if these people are so quick to fire back, then my opinion most likely won't change theirs. However, I get a lot of satisfaction from calling someone out, and now I'm wondering: is that good or bad?

I think as long as you're not being offensive back, there is nothing wrong with engaging in an argument on social media. Speak up about what you're passionate about! However, I do feel like sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me, and suddenly I feel as if I am now targeting the person, as opposed to the person's shitty opinion. I can be very judgemental, it's something that I really need to work on. I think I immediately assume that when a person says something wrong, they are pure and utter evil, when in reality, they could be going through something behind that screen. It is hard to just judge the opinion, and not judge the person as well.

I think for me personally, I don't want to stop speaking up if I see something wrong on online. However, I think I need to be more cautious about how I speak towards the person, and I think I need to engage in more healthy debates. Nothing gets resulted just by two people screaming at each other.

What do you think? Do you think it is worthwhile to feed the trolls? Or do you think we shouldn't waste our breath?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 17 January 2020

Sissy: A Coming of Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia

Genre: Memoir
Published: March 5, 2019 by: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Pages: 319
Rating: 5/5 stars

Jacob Tobia was assigned male at birth, though they never thought of themselves that way. As a child, Jacob was obsessed with glitter, fashion, and trying on their grandmother's chunky costume jewellery. This labelled them as a "sissy," as people in Raleigh, North Carolina were not the most welcoming of gender fluidity. Over the years, Jacob took the label sissy as a label of pride, and eventually, they worked their story all the way up to the White House. Sissy is a hilarious, heart-warming, though sometimes sad memoir about accepting yourself, and crushing gender roles.

I absolutely LOVED this memoir. I find often with non-fiction books, it is hard for me to get fully engrossed in them. Sometimes I get bored of them. I did not have that issue at all with "Sissy." Jacob has such a hilarious tone throughout the entire book, which is hard to get bored of. Their footnotes add cheeky little quips of information, and their constant referral of God as a "she," was so badass, I loved it. Overall, I was nothing but entertained.

Jacob's story is sadly quite similar to many stories of non-binary people growing up in conservative/religious communities. But they take these serious issues, and explain them in a way that is so unique, and so hilarious. I totally understand how some people use humour to cope, and Jacob used it in a way that is defiant of homophobia and transphobia, and utterly powerful.

This memoir taught me something. I have learnt a lot in university sociology classes that gender is a social construct, but they never really go that deep into it. Jacob made me want to stand up against harmful gender roles, and made me all the more passionate about the subject. Wear whatever the fuck you want to wear, love whoever the fuck you want to love, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Have you read "Sissy?" What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess

Friday 10 January 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review *Spoilers*

*This post will be crawling with uncensored spoilers, since there are too many for me to hide. Proceed at your own risk*

I was debating whether or not to even do a review of RoS. I am a fairly new fan of Star Wars, and I've always felt intimidated by the people who have lived and breathed this series for years. I didn't know if my opinions on Star Wars even mattered, because there are greater experts out there. But then I thought, fuck it. I have a lot of opinions on this movie, and I wanted to share them with you. So, here is my review of the last movie in the Skywalker saga.

Let me start off by saying, I do not think that The Last Jedi was that bad. I thought that Rian Johnson did as well as he could with the material he was given, and if JJ Abrams cared so much, he would have directed that movie as well. I liked the dynamics of the characters, and I thought that it further developed the storyline very well. So, I came into RoS with no bitterness whatsoever.

I think what I liked most about RoS was the comic relief. Most of these movies have a lot of overt sarcasm, but this one seemed to be on another level. I laughed out loud during a lot of moments, which is something that I can really appreciate in action/sci-fi movies. I don't want it to always be doom and gloom. I found the dialogue to be witty and hilarious.

The main thing that I had to grapple with in this film, was the character development. Some characters I loved, and others, I didn't. I thought Poe was awesome. I have always loved his character, and I thought that his promotion to general was powerful. I'm proud of where he ended up.

What mainly kicked off my issues with this film, was the treatment of Rose and Finn. Rose was such an interesting, powerful character in The Last Jedi. I was excited to see where she would go next. Instead, she got minus three seconds of screen time and absolutely no arc whatsoever. I was so disappointed with how Abrams treated her character.

Finn also really annoyed me in this film. Again, I love his character, and it was not his fault, but the writer's. Finn was reduced to a moody, useless figure who spent his entire time chasing after Rey. I wanted him to have a big moment, I wanted him to have more scenes with Rose. AND I JUST WANT FINN AND POE TO BE TOGETHER, DAMMIT. Their chemistry is undeniable, but we were cheated out of what could have been an amazing romance, and instead got Poe and his former enemy making flirty quips at each other, with no chemistry in site.

Now, let's get to Rey. Specifically, Rey and Kylo. I love Rey as a hero. I find her kind-hearted and badass. I LOVE Kylo as a villain. I find him morally-grey and unique. What I don't love, is when these two are forced together at the end of the film, after constantly fighting on opposing sides for the first two films. Yes, they have chemistry. But to me, it isn't romantic chemistry. It's chemistry that emphasizes how different the two are. How they will never work. Was I sad when Kylo died? Yes, because I think he is one of the most fascinating villains in the Star Wars universe, and I enjoyed watching his development and redemption. But, I didn't like how the last thing he did was kiss Rey. It just seemed wrong to me.

The main plot twist in this movie AGAIN, SPOILERS!!!, was that Rey is actually Palpatine's granddaughter. Then, Palpatine magically returns and attempts to bring Rey to the dark side. I thought this storyline was bullshit. Karissa and Mary actually brought up a worthy point in their review, which I totally agree with. They said that it almost seemed like Rey was forced to be a Palpatine so it would be justifiable that her and Kylo could kiss. Because if she wasn't a Palpatine, she would most probably have been a Skywalker, and that would obviously be incest. I think that this theory makes sense. Rey as a Palpatine seemed forced and random.

It may seem like I am ripping on this film. The truth is, there were a lot of things I didn't like. However, I did enjoy the humour, and where some of the characters ended up. I thought that this movie had great potential, and the overall idea of it does satisfy most of the things that the previous movies bring up. However, the disregard for some of the main characters, and the forced romantic relationships of others, brought this movie down for me. And I know that a lot of other people agree.

Did you watch The Rise of Skywalker? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess