Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (3/21/23) – The Shape of Water (film novelization)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

The Shape of Water has been my all-time favorite movie for several years now—I’m looking over my shoulder at the poster above my bed as I’m writing this. I had the novelization on my TBR for a few years, but only got around to it recently, probably for fear of it not living up to the film. I had no idea that it was a dual release with the film, but after reading it, the novelization of The Shape of Water struggled to live up to the poetic poignance of the film.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Shape of Water (novelization) – Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Summary from Goodreads:

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM FOX SEARCHLIGHT

Visionary storyteller Guillermo del Toro and celebrated author Daniel Kraus combine their estimable talent in this haunting, heartbreaking love story.

The Shape of Water is set in Cold War-era Baltimore at the Occam Aerospace Research Center, which has recently received its most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man captured in the Amazon. What unfolds is a stirring romance between the asset and one of the janitors on staff, a mute woman who uses sign language to communicate with the creature. 

Developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release—one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of literature and film — The Shape of Water weaves together fantasy, horror, and romance to create a tale that is equally gripping on the page and on the big screen.

TW/CW: racism, homophobia, xenophobia, ableism, misogyny, sexual harassment/assault, blood, gore, murder, animal death, loss of loved ones

The Shape of Water is a movie that’s touched my heart in a way that I doubt any other will. In summation, the film is a testament to the marginalized experience—any kind of marginalized or othered group—and self-love and acceptance. Guillermo del Toro is a storyteller without parallel, and maybe that’s why I was so hesitant to pick up the novelization for so long. I had no idea that it was a dual release with the film, but either way, my fears ended up being confirmed—Daniel Kraus’ novelization is faithful in the barest, structural way, but largely failed to capture the heart of the film’s message.

I’m not familiar with Daniel Kraus’ other novels, but even a quick scan on Goodreads tells me that he’s a frequent collaborator with Guillermo del Toro, which, after reading this, frankly surprises me. Del Toro’s storytelling, from this film to Pan’s Labyrinth and the most recent Pinnochio, has a consistently strong emotional core, something that anchors the fantastical elements to our most core human experiences. And somehow, Kraus chose to adapt this novel in the most flat, checklist-like way possible. Yes, all of the beats of the film were there, as well as some bonus content. But thanks to Kraus’ dry writing, the emotional core—what made the story so deeply impactful in the first place—apparently flew straight over his head.

Now, before I get into my major gripes, I will say this—the novelization picks up far more at the halfway point. The chapters that Kraus writes from the perspective of The Asset were an unmistakable highlight, charming, dreamlike, and refreshingly strange compared to most of the other perspectives. I almost find myself wishing that the scene with Bob Hoffstetler and The Asset made it to the film. And the very climactic events in the third act were dealt with the appropriate amount of weight, and the pace picked up significantly, unlike the steady pace of the movie. And as much as I love the dance scene, I completely get the decision to nix it from the novel—out of all of the scenes to translate from screen to page, that would be at the top of the page.

With that out of the way, I was bothered by how much emphasis Kraus places on the antagonist, Strickland. There were some fascinating scenes that never made it to the film of the process of him capturing The Asset in the South American rainforest; they were interesting additions, and although I liked them in general, it mostly ended up being Strickland being incredibly racist. It’s painfully on brand for his character, but beyond that, it seemed like his character got the most page time out of the whole cast. He is the main villain, sure, but given that this story is about the marginalized experience and he is the predatory antithesis to what the film stands for, the decision didn’t leave the best taste in my mouth.

My other main issue was how Kraus wrote the character of Elisa Esposito. For the most part, Kraus was somewhat faithful to her personality, but there were multiple instances where the descriptions of her were incredibly concerning. On several occasions, she is described as “childlike” and “[like] a kindergartener” in scenes where she is struggling to communicate her needs—for those of you who have not seen this film, Elisa is mute, and she uses ASL to communicate. It’s already offensive on the front that Elisa is such a treasured character to me, but Kraus seems to, once again, miss the message of the film by a mile, and ends up right smack in the middle of the all-too-common trope of infantilizing disabled people—especially disabled women. Elisa is in no way “childlike” for trying to communicate her needs—she is a grown woman, and she is frustrated by the struggle to communicate with her abled peers in a world that is not built for her. Let me say it again: Elisa Esposito is a grown woman. Even though Kraus was somewhat respectful in some of his other descriptions of her, but these instances all but negated everything else that he had established in the adaptation.

All in all, a structurally faithful, occasionally beautiful, but often frustrating adaptation of a film that will forever have the prime spot in my heart. 3 stars from a peeved Guillermo del Toro fan. Just watch the movie instead.

The Shape of Water is a standalone, as the film is, but Daniel Kraus has also collaborated with Guillermo del Toro on the novel Trollhunters. Kraus is also the author of The Life and Death of Zebulon Finch, The Teddies Saga, and several other books for all ages.

Today’s song:

saw these legends on Friday night—such a beautiful experience, and I’ve had this song on repeat ever since

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: December 26, 2022 – January 1, 2023

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and happy new year!! I hope this last week of the year treated you well. 🎇

It’s been a nice, relaxing end to this year, I would say. After Christmas, I went to Barnes & Noble and got some amazing-looking books with my gift card, and I’ve had lots of time to draw, read, blog, and decompress overall. With all of the snow that’s still here, Ringo’s been swimming in the snow with his little legs…corgis are so funny lol

I finally feel like I’ve broken out of my reading slump from this month! I really enjoyed Gleanings, and the one book I finished from the B & N haul (House of Hollow) was fantastic, and all of the others look similarly so! I finished 2022’s reading challenge, beating my goal of 200 books and reading 224 books in 2022! I didn’t want to make that drastic of a leap this year, so my goal for 2023 is 215 books!

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, playing guitar, watching Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (emotionally destroyed me, but leave it to him to make the creation of Pinocchio look like something out of Frankenstein) and Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (the SWEETEST), and rewatching Isle of Dogs. Certainly a nice start to the year, I think. Here’s to a happy 2023!

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe – Neal Shusterman et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Women Don’t Owe You Pretty – Florence Given (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

DC: The New Frontier, vol. 1 – Darwyn Cooke (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

House of Hollow – Krystal Sutherland (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Across a Field of Starlight – Blue Delliquanti

The Heartstopper Yearbook – Alice Oseman

To Each This World – Julie E. Czernada

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (5/17/22) – Gallant

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve only started reading V.E. Schwab’s books since last year, when I read the Shades of Magic trilogy and loved it (for the most part). Since then, I’ve had most of her other books on my TBR, including this one. It unexpectedly came on hold at the library recently (originally I was probably at…#43 on the waitlist or something💀), and so I jumped at the chance to read it. What I got was a lush and atmospheric fairytale and an ultimately satisfying read!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Gallant – V.E. Schwab

Olivia Prior knows little about her past. All the clues she has are in her dead mother’s journal, which seems to chronicle her descent into indescribable madness. After graduating from the Merilance School for Girls, Olivia has nowhere to go, until she is invited by letter to Gallant, the Prior family home. She is met with hostility by her estranged, distant relatives, but soon discovers a dark secret: every place in the world has its shadow, but the shadow at Gallant may be larger and more unpredictable than any of the Prior family could have expected.

TW/CW: animal death, ableist language (outdated), blood, murder, loss of loved ones, violence

Strange, dark, and atmospheric, Gallant is a lovely gem of a modern, Gothic fairytale. It’s only my third or fourth (though I remember next to nothing about This Savage Song) foray into Schwab’s writing, but it’s enough to almost put her at auto-buy/checkout status for me!

Where Gallant excels is the atmosphere surrounding it. Even though the supernatural aspect of the book isn’t explicitly shown until the last third or so, there was a consistent air of darkness that hung around it. Every description, from Olivia’s experience at the Merilance School to the mystery of the Gallant house, was filled with dark and creeping prose. It called to mind so many pieces of media that I love—I know Coraline (and Neil Gaiman in general) and Guillermo del Toro have been common comparisons, but they absolutely fit the bill. Reminded me a lot of Courtney Crumrin too.

But what created this atmosphere was all V.E. Schwab’s writing. She has such a unique way with words, and her specialty with crafting immersive settings is much of what made Gallant a success for me. Everything from Olivia’s mother’s descent into madness to the supernatural occurrences converging into Olivia and her cousins was described in such an artful, deliberate way that I could almost feel the dark atmosphere like misty fog on my skin. It’s hard to think of a writing style as unique and layered as V.E. Schwab’s.

However, I still had some complaints. From reading the Shades of Magic trilogy, I felt like the plot itself was what dragged some of the books down. The same was true for Gallant; although the setting, characters, and general premise were set up and well-executed, the plot itself felt nebulous at best, clinging to the singular plot thread of Olivia moving from the girl’s school into her mysterious family home. Everything sped up in the last third of the book or so, and the elements of that section were some of the most interesting—I wanted more!

Additionally, I would’ve liked to know when the book takes place in the first place—there wasn’t a concrete establishment of that. From bits of the worldbuilding and some of the language (particularly the outdated language that surrounded Olivia’s mutism), it was implied that it could’ve been anywhere from the 1800s to the early 1900s. Not necessarily essential, but it made some aspects confusing. (Same problem I had with Encanto—no way I would’ve known that it was set in the 50’s if I hadn’t googled it.)

All in all, a dark and immersive fairytale from an author that I’d love to read more from. 4 stars!

Gallant is a standalone, but V.E. Schwab is also the author of several other book series, including the Shades of Magic trilogy, the Villains trilogy, and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

December 2021 Wrap-Up 🎄

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Whew. It’s hard to believe that 2022 starts tomorrow, but I’m more than ready to start over. It’s been a Year™️.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Rodulph The Red Nosed Reindeer GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

December was rough at times, but I’m glad I got through it. What with that big AP Gov project and finals, I was exhausted by the time winter break rolled around, but I’m so glad to have some time off to myself. And we didn’t get the snow we wanted on Christmas, but we got…one or two snows here in Colorado, so at least there’s a little moisture. We’re supposed to get a big storm…right about now, though, so…

I took some time off from writing after finishing NaNoWriMo up so I could a) get some rest and b) focus on schoolwork, but after finals ended, I started looking back through the second draft of my main sci-fi WIP! It’s so strange how different the experience has already become from when I did this for draft 1; I’m relieved to say that I’ve improved a whole lot as a writer since then.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to the Beatles and Blur (well…more than usual), playing Minecraft, watching Hawkeye (eh, probably my least favorite Marvel show but the disability rep is nice to see), and going to see Nightmare Alley (is it really a Guillermo del Toro movie without babies in jars?) and Spiderman: No Way Home (AAAAAAAAAA). Christmas was lovely too, and I had a wonderful time spending a day with my family.

Hello Peter Spiderman GIF - Hello Peter Spiderman No Way Home - Discover &  Share GIFs
I lost it at this scene even though I’d seen the trailer skdjhfskjhf

READING AND BLOGGING

I read 21 books this month! I probably only got there because I re-read Madman all over again—most of the month leading up to break felt a lot slower, reading-wise. However, I passed my Goodreads goal of 250 and read 258 books this year!

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Grimrose Girls: Dark Academia Fairytale eBook : Pohl, Laura: Kindle  Store - Amazon.com
The Grimrose Girls

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Secret History: Tartt, Donna: 9781400031702: Amazon.com: Books
The Secret History

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Squad: 9780062943149: Tokuda-Hall, Maggie, Sterle, Lisa: Books
Squad

5 stars:

Amazon.com: Madman Comics, Volume 1: Yearbook 95: 9781569711491: Allred,  Mike: Books
Madman Comics Yearbook ’95

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (not counting re-reads): Zen in the Art of Writing4.5 stars

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity: Bradbury, Ray:  9718777410946: Amazon.com: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

such a wonderfully catchy little song!
no idea how I hadn’t listened to this whole album until now but here we are…fantastic
I haven’t heard the original, but this is such a beautiful cover!
HI WHAT NEW GIRLPOOL
this is one of those songs that (almost) makes me regret quitting piano
THIS ALBUM

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY DECEMBER GOALS?

I cant believe it i cant believe tim burton GIF - Find on GIFER
  • Read 20 books: 21!
  • Survive that AP Gov project [heavy breathing]: I DID IT! Got a great grade, too!
  • End 2021 on a good note: well, I’m sitting comfortably and watching snow fall outside my window right now, so I’ll call that good.

JANUARY 2022 (!) GOALS:

Happy New Year Celebration GIF - Happy New Year Celebration New Year -  Discover & Share GIFs
  • Set a reasonable Goodreads goal
  • Start 2022 on a good note!

2021 was a tough year for me. Online learning, grieving, the pandemic, applying to college…all of it got to me. But what matters is that I’m still here, all in one piece. And that’s what matters most for all of us. I imagine that 2021 was tough for each and every one of us on some level, but what matters most is that we all got through it. We’re beaten-up and bruised, but we’re here. And that, to me, is the purest form of resilience, of resistance. And if we got through 2020 and 2021, we can get through next year too.

There were good things about 2021 for me too—I went to Glacier National Park, I got straight A’s for the first time in high school, I had a super fun birthday, and I discovered some great books, music, and movies! This is the light that always burns in the darkness—the little things that make us happy. And as long as we have each other, the light will never go out.

And with that, there are only hours left to go in 2021. Good riddance.

Wear your masks, get vaccinated (and get that booster!), don’t spread hate and fear, love each other.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this month—and this year—in blogging! Have a wonderful last day of the year, and take care of yourselves.

See you in 2022!

all my love,

Madeline

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: July 19-25, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

This week…could’ve been better for me, if I’m being honest, but it picked up in the end. It was mostly just Tuesday that bogged me down. Remember that writing contest I entered back in April? I ended up checking back on it (they didn’t send an email for some reason??) and the short story I wrote didn’t end up placing. I specifically remember saying that I was expecting not to win, and yeah, I tried not to get my hopes up, but…yeah, well, I’m not very good at handling these things.

Sound Gear GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Eh, well, all I can do is tweak that short story, keep on writing, and try again. I’m at least proud of myself for putting myself out there…

Reading-wise, I’ve mostly been reading some books that family friends lent to us (thank you!) and some stuff from the comic shop. I got a nice library haul yesterday, so it looks like next week will be promising!

Writing-wise, I’ve mostly stayed on track with Camp NaNoWriMo (I’m almost to my goal now!!), even though being depressed all Tuesday sapped my energy. I’m getting to a good place in my WIP though – I just passed about 220ish pages last night!

Other than that, I’ve been drawing a bit, getting the last of my summer homework done, learning some new songs on guitar, obsessing over my new bees in Minecraft, watching The Devil’s Backbone (Guillermo del Toro likes his Tennyson, huh?), picking back up in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and volunteering at the library.

Arrested Development Heavenly Fathers GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
Two Gob gifs in a row…oops

And I just got to 450 followers! Jeez, I can’t believe it…THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH 💗

feelings, love and cat - image #6773437 on Favim.com

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1) – Rin Chupeco (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Never Tilting World (Never Tilting World, 1)  (9780062821799): Chupeco, Rin: Books

Earth Abides – George R. Stewart (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Earth Abides: A Novel: Stewart, George R.: 9780345487131: Amazon.com: Books

Invincible: Compendium One – Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Invincible Compendium Volume 1 – Get Ready Comics

Circe – Madeline Miller (⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: CIRCE eBook: Miller, Madeline: Kindle Store

The Iron Giant (originally The Iron Man) – Ted Hughes (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Iron Giant - Kindle edition by Hughes, Ted, Davidson, Andrew. Children  Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

It’s My Life – Stacie Ramey (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: It's My Life (9781492694526): Ramey, Stacie: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

In Deeper Waters – F.T. Lukens

Amazon.com: In Deeper Waters (9781534480506): Lukens, F.T.: Books

The Boy Who Steals Houses – C.G. Drews

Amazon.com: The Boy Who Steals Houses (9781408349922): Drews, C.G.: Books

Sorrowland – Rivers Solomon

Sorrowland | Rivers Solomon | First Edition

The Magic Fish – Trung Le Nguyen

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen: 9780593125298 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

The Iron Woman (The Iron Man, #2) – Ted Hughes

The Iron Woman by Ted Hughes

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (4/6/21) – Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

This first review of April 2021 is one of a movie adaptation. It had been on my TBR for for a good two years beforehand, but I finally got to watch the movie, Pan’s Labyrinth, last summer. And cried like a baby. But that’s not the point.

Anyway, when I went to Barnes & Noble, I knew I had to pick it up! I’m glad to say that I liked it almost as much as I did the movie – a bit lacking in the writing department, but still managed to capture much of the dark, fairytale allure that Pan’s Labyrinth had in droves.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun (9780062414465): del  Toro, Guillermo, Funke, Cornelia, Williams, Allen: Books

Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun – Guillermo del Toro & Cornelia Funke, illustrated by Allen Williams

My copy ft. my Elisa Esposito Pop! Figure (from The Shape of Water)

Thirteen-year-old Ofelia has always lived through fairytales, especially those in the books she carries around. But when she and her mother move to live with her new husband, the cold and murderous Capitán Vidal, it seems all of the magic has faded away. But when fairies appear to her in the night, Ofelia realizes that the tales in her storybooks may be real after all – and more sinister than she could have ever imagined.

Now, led through a dangerous set of tasks by an enigmatic faun, Ofelia grows closer to the fairytale world that she may be the key to. But the deeper she ventures, the more dangerous they become. The Faun may not be trustworthy – but is the alternative any better?

Laberinto del Fauno | Laberintos, Guillermo, Toros

TW/CW: graphic violence, torture, fantasy violence/body horror, blood, childbirth complications, past death of parent, death of children

I’ve been skimming through some of the reviews from people who haven’t seen the movie who thought that this was middle grade just because the protagonist was 13…and no judgement, none at all, I don’t blame you all, but man, I’m SO, SO SORRY.

I’m a huge fan of all things Guillermo del Toro (after all, he’s responsible for my comfort movie, Hellboy II: The Golden Army), so naturally, after watching this movie for the first time over the summer, I knew I had to pick this up soon. Now, I’m so glad I have a copy of my own – though it wasn’t without its flaws, this was a beautiful adaptation of a truly remarkable film.

Let’s start out with my only criticism: the writing. Of course, I’ve read some of Guillermo del Toro’s short stories and adored his style, but I think my main problem was with Cornelia Funke’s part of it; I read Inkheart some time ago and it wasn’t my thing, and I think some of those feelings resurfaced while reading this. For source material as brimming with faeries and dark magic as this, her prose didn’t fit at all. There’s a lot of telling as opposed to showing, a lot of “[they] felt” and “[they] knew” and similar phrases. While it wasn’t egregiously bad, some of the telling parts took me out of it.

Other than that? I don’t have any critiques at all! For the most part, this novel absolutely did justice to the book, and both del Toro and Funke clearly had a careful eye to make sure that this adaptation was as close to the film as possible. I loved revisiting the simultaneously dark and beautiful world of the fairies, and the human element was just as poignant and tear-jerking. Though the sting of…well, y’know, everything was dulled a bit by knowing the outcome (having seen the movie), everything was still so potent and gripping. Allen Williams’ beautiful illustrations also added a new layer to the novel, with renderings of Ofelia, the Pale Man, the Faun, and others in simple but striking pencil artwork.

I also loved the short stories woven within the chapters, and I loved seeing how interconnected they all were. Each one added a new thread of lore to an already intricate and detailed story, and it was fascinating to see how each and every short tale came together to flesh out an already well-fleshed-out world.

All in all, a beautiful adaptation of an even more beautiful dark fantasy film. 4 stars!

Monster Pans Labyrinth | Movies, Films & Flix

Guillermo del Toro is most famous for his many films, which include the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, Hellboy & Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and Crimson Peak. Cornelia Funke is also the author of the Inkworld trilogy, the Dragon Rider series, and the Mirrorworld series.

Today’s song:

I feel like I re-discover this song every few months, and every time the point from 4:23 on always fills me with so much emotion

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourself!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: March 29 – April 4, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and happy Easter, if that’s your thing! 🐣

Wonderful Picture • :) | Easter greetings, Happy easter quotes, Happy easter  funny

I’ve been on Spring Break this week, and I enjoyed myself most of the time. I had a lot of fun blogging more frequently, and I had time to read a whole bunch! (Heads up – I’ll probably be a lot less frequent in the next few weeks because I’m going back to school…) I stopped by Barnes & Noble and got some books, and from that, my library haul, and the Rule of Wolves preorder that just came in the mail, I think I’m set for the next two weeks or so…

Other than that, I’ve been watching more Falcon & The Winter Soldier and Avatar: The Last Airbender, listening to a lot of Spiritualized and the new St. Vincent (SNL!!!), and eating a lot of chocolate this morning.

And also!!! I hit 400 followers this week!! Thank you all so much for supporting me, love you all 🥺

Mainly) wholesome cat memes coz i love n'yall | Furry Amino

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin – edited by Lisa Yaszek (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by  Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin: A Library of America  Special Publication (9781598535808): Yaszek, Lisa: Books

Other People’s Weddings – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Other People's Weddings: Noah Hawley: 8601417156438: Amazon.com: Books

Salvaged – Madeleine Roux (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Salvaged - Kindle edition by Roux, Madeleine. Literature & Fiction Kindle  eBooks @ Amazon.com.

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country – Amanda Gorman (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country  (9780593465271): Gorman, Amanda, Winfrey, Oprah: Books

Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun – Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun (9780062414465): del  Toro, Guillermo, Funke, Cornelia, Williams, Allen: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1) by Chloe Gong

You Should See Me in a Crown – Leah Johnson

Amazon.com: You Should See Me in a Crown (9781338503265): Johnson, Leah:  Books

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Amazon.com: Heartless (9781250044655): Meyer, Marissa: Books

Internment – Samira Ahmed

Internment: 9780349003344: Amazon.com: Books

Today’s song:

I’ve been listening to this album for the last half of the week…so good

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: May 18-24, 2020

Happy Sunday, everyone!

I’m finally back on my semi-regular schedule after finals week, and now it’s finally summer! REJOICE!

Cheer Applause GIF by Peanuts - Find & Share on GIPHY

Other than that, my week’s been alright. Besides my return to blogging, I’ve been doing a lot of drawing, I got to re-read a good book that I haven’t picked up in a few years, I listened to a lot of good music, and I also watched Pan’s Labyrinth. [gross sobbing] The weather’s been warming up, and even though we’re still inside, it’s shaping up to be a good summer, I think. Plus, not one, but TWO of my library holds came in yesterday, so I think next week should be a productive reading week as well! (And, I got two people to read Aurora Rising, so that’s always a success.)

Top 30 Pan's Labyrinth GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat
Hey so uuuuhhhhh what’s the wifi password

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)–Zoraida Córdova (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas) (0760789253713 ...

I Capture the Castle–Dodie Smith (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: I Capture the Castle: Young Adult Edition: Young Adult ...

The Memory Book–Lara Avery (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Memory Book (9780316283748): Avery, Lara: Books

Born of Illusion (Born of Illusion, #1)–Teri Brown (⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Born of Illusion (9780062187550): Teri Brown: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

A Gentleman in Moscow–Amor Towles

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel: Towles, Amor: 9780670026197 ...

Furyborn–Claire Legrand

Amazon.com: Furyborn (The Empirium Trilogy) (9781432855789 ...

Today’s song:

Thanks to my dad for sending me this glorious video…

That’s it for this week three days or so of blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Movies

The Nowhere Man: A Comic to Film Comparison of Johann Kraus

Three Portraits of Johann Kraus | this cage is worms

I don’t know why, but writing this feels so surreal…I’ve had the idea to write this one since last year, but I’ve all but put it off until now. So here you go, fellow bibliophiles…

No movie adaptation can capture the true essence of a character, not really in full. Sometimes, they’re so wildly different–whether it be in looks or personality–that your perception of them is all but tainted when you re-read the source material. But sometimes, these differences make for an interesting examination of the character themself–and they might even work better for the plot set in the film adaptation.

I know I’ve mentioned Johann here a fair amount of times on this blog, but for those of you who aren’t super familiar, here’s the rundown of his character:

Johann’s from the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. universe. After a supernatural accident rendered his physical body all but dead, his incorporeal body was kept in a containment suit to that he may live and move about again. A longtime member of the B.P.R.D. (after Hellboy quits), he specializes in communicating with those who have passed.

He’s been in the B.P.R.D. comics for quite a while (since about 2001), and he appeared on screen for the first (and so far the only) time in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, voiced by Seth MacFarlane. I saw HBII before I started reading the comics, but once I started reading them, I realized that there is a major discrepancy in terms of Johann’s personality between the comics and the film. But this is one of the rare instances where it isn’t all that bad.

johann krauss | Tumblr

Nothing quite exemplifies the purest form of these differences than their separate entrances in the comics and the film.

In the comics, Johann first appears alongside the rest of the team in the first volume of the B.P.R.D. comics, Hollow Earth and Other Stories. For most of the first scene where we see him, we only see him from the back as Kate shows him around the B.P.R.D. headquarters. He’s clothed in a heavy trenchcoat and a large hat, and it isn’t until she leaves him to the tutelage of Dr. Manning that we see him take the hat and trenchcoat off, revealing his containment suit–and the fact that he’d taped sunglasses to his helmet to further disguise himself. (sneak 100)

B.P.R.D: Plague of Frogs Volume 1 TPB :: Profile :: Dark Horse Comics
from Hollow Earth and Other Stories (2001)

In the film, there’s a lot of hubbub that surrounds Johann’s arrival. He’s been assigned to this division of the B.P.R.D. to keep Hellboy in check. All of the main cast is gathered out in the lobby as Dr. Manning reads off his file. Johann eventually arrives in the elevator, flanked by a bevy of B.P.R.D staff. Once he steps out of the elevator, in all his steampunk-suited glory, he proceeds to CLICK HIS HEELS, TAKE A BOW, and THEN introduce himself. He’s even got his own little Danny Elfman theme in the background as this all goes down. What a guy.

johann krauss | Tumblr
The clip isn’t on YouTube, but man, it’s PRICELESS…

So, you can probably already see the major differences.

In the comics, Johann is a far more subdued character. For most of the earlier B.P.R.D. run, he most often defers to the wisdom of the other agents. He’s still confident in his skills, but he knows that he’s the new guy, and that he’d best leave the work to more experienced agents like Abe, Liz, and Kate. He asks a bit too many personal questions, he stumbles quite a bit, but there’s no question that when Johann gets on the job, he will get it done with a unique, psychic prowess.

In Hellboy II, however, we see a version of Johann who has already built up a sort of reputation. After being enlisted to Hellboy and his team, he immediately assumes command of them, inserting himself as their unofficial leader in all their further missions. He’s a bit of a martinet, in a way, but mostly when it comes to Hellboy, still resentful towards Manning for assigning Johann to watch over him. They’re the antitheses of each other, really; Hellboy prefers to play by his own rules, while Johann is, as Hellboy says, “Mr. ‘By-The-Book’.”

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (7/10) Movie CLIP - Hellboy Smokes ...

But for once, I don’t really mind the change. Not only are Johann’s interactions with the other characters (Hellboy especially) sometimes hysterical, it works seamlessly with the plot. Johann is almost a vehicle for Hellboy’s character development, someone to challenge him like Dr. Manning never could. His influence makes Hellboy begin to realize that his actions have consequences (wHEn wIlL you lEARN). Liz also begins to question Johann’s actions, but comes to realize that he’s had his fair share of hardships in the past as well. (In the case of the movie, Johann lost his wife in the supernatural accident that caused his predicament with the containment suit.) It’s a different interpretation of the character, to be sure, but leave it to Guillermo del Toro to pull it off flawlessly. Can I get a WHOOP WHOOP?

B.P.R.D., Vol. 6: The Universal Machine by Mike Mignola

Despite these differences, though, Hellboy II managed to stay true to the character in most other respects–he’s incredibly intelligent, unafraid to speak his mind, and can even be quite philosophical at times. Plus, there’s all the possible shenanigans that can go down when Johann’s ghostly form can slip out of the containment suit…

johann krauss | Tumblr

Strangely enough, though, Johann’s Hellboy II personality does begin to show up in the Hell on Earth run of B.P.R.D., once he’s gained more experience; the Johann that isn’t always understanding towards his teammates, and the Johann who becomes something of a disciplinarian, at his worst, mostly with the likes of Fenix. He’s still reserved at heart, but often hides in the face of the other agents.

Johann Kraus (@Johann_Kraus32) | Twitter

But the only other key difference I see between the comics and Hellboy II is simple: Johann and Hellboy never even meet each other in the comics. By the time he comes to the B.P.R.D., Hellboy’s packed his bags. Which begs the question, really: how would they get along in the comics in some alternate timeline? I wonder about it quite a lot, but I still don’t have an answer.

If you can be any dark horse comics character, who would you be ...

Johann’s always been one of my favorite characters in the Mignolaverse, up there with Abe Sapien and Liz, for me. There’s so many possibilities with him, and he’s a continually complex character, not to mention the design of his containment suits. Whatever your takeaway from the comics and the film may be, there’s no doubt that he’s an absolutely fascinating character.

Today’s song:

Hope you enjoyed this post, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Geeky Stuff, Movies

“You’ll never know how much I love you…NOPE PSYCHE THIS MOVIE!!!”

In my last post, I eluded to a post about my new favorite movie. Got any guesses from the hint(s) I’ve dropped yet?

Nope?

Alrighty then, I am more than happy to spill it now…drumroll, please…

…THE SHAPE OF WATER!

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(Okay, let me just say beforehand that I love the art for this poster. James Jean’s art is so amazing, don’tcha think?)

 

Before I spill all my feels, let me just give you a little backstory.

My parents and brother had seen the trailer for this movie, which they told me about, and I got SUPER excited. I watched the trailer, and BAM. SUPER PUMPED. But, alas, it’s rated R, so I wouldn’t get to see it until it came out on DVD. Nonetheless, I had a poster up in my room for it, and was ecstatic when it won those awards at the Golden Globes and Oscars. Now that I’ve seen it, I can say that it is fully deserving of every single one.

 

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I knew it was going to be amazing from all of the hype and trailers and whatnot (also, it was Guillermo Del Toro, which was basically a prerequisite for it’s inherent awesomeness), but OH MY GOD, THIS MOVIE WAS STUNNING! So beautiful! I won’t say why, but man, by the end of the movie, I was SOBBING. Like, full on sobbing. It’s somewhat common for movies to make my cry a little, but there’s only one other time when a movie or TV show has made me cry close to that much.

That was Stranger Things, Season 2, the end of episode 8, when they’re talking to Will in the shed, and then Jonathan plays “Should I Stay or Should I Go”. YEESH, THE FEELS!

 

Aaaaanyway, what I’m saying is that this film was incredibly moving. Del Toro did a beyond spectacular job, from the plot, to the setting, and especially the characters. And going off of the subject of characters…this is gonna sound generic, but…Elisa and the Amphibian Man.

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I can almost hear this image-it’s like they’re having some sort of telepathic conversation. “Aw, c’mon, can I cuss at Strickland in sign language some more?” “Elisa, let’s just go over here…” “I just wanna see the look on his face, though…” “Elisa…” 

Oh my goodness, Elisa! Aaaaah!

Aside from just being kind of all-around adorable, she’s really, in a way, the heroine that we need in this day and age. She’s not only determined, caring, and brave, but also sees people for who they really are, and is fiercely loyal towards them. God, I love her…

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HOLY ****, IT’S ABE SAPI-nevermind. 

GAAAH, THE AMPHIBIAN MAN, TOO! They did such a fantastic job of making him mysterious, yet incredibly lovable at the same time. He and Elisa were so wonderful together, I can’t, it’s just so…*sobs* beautiful…

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(Also, apparently there’s a theory that Elisa and the Amphibian Man are Abe Sapien’s parents. If it weren’t for Abe’s actual origin story, I would SO be on board. That would be the coolest thing ever!)

Okay, I should probably stop before I start sobbing again. I have some fan art posts on the way, and I’ll definitely share some pics from my trip to California. Bye for now!