The best books we read in 2016

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Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence

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I’ll be honest: I expected to hate Sons and Lovers. I wanted to finally read D.H. Lawrence for the first time, but a 19th century novel about a young man who is emotionally stunted by his overbearing mother sounded far too pseudo-Freudian for my taste. But I was surprised to find that within the first fifty pages, all of the characters were meticulously drawn at a nearly Jamesian level of psychological nuance, and that the “overbearing mother” was the most sympathetic and fascinating character of the piece. Sons and Lovers is, ostensibly, the story of a young man’s coming-of-age, but really, it’s a story about the fallibility of family bonds, in which they are as fragile yet sticky as strands in a spider web.

Acquired: at a flea market in Iceland, where Sons and Lovers was the only Lawrence novel they had. Continue reading →

Links We Loved This Week — 12/23/16

Kate Washington writes about one of the rarely-mentioned characters from the Anne of Green Gables universe, Leslie Moore, as a window into the life of a caregiver. (via LA Review of Books‘ subsidiary Avidly)

Did you know Alec Baldwin only gets paid $1,400 per episode when he plays Trump on SNL? The NYT found out this and other interesting facts about Baldwin-as-Trump.

Get excited: Homeland is coming back soon! Here’s the full trailer:

 

Westworld Recap: 1×10 “The Bicameral Mind”

Previously on Westworld: Dolores wanted Teddy to take her to where the mountains meet the sea, but he put her off; Ford worked on a new storyline with a white church; Charlotte had Lee upload some info into Daddy: Original Flavor so they could get it out of the park; Maeve said some nonsensical stuff that convinced Hector to kill himself with her so she could recruit an army; Bernard told Dolores to find the maze so she could be free; The Man in the Black Hat Who Is Totally Named William (formerly known here as “Ed”) wanted to do the maze himself; William was looking for Dolores with Logan; Ford created Bernard to be the replacement Arnold, but then made him shoot himself; Teddy was looking for Wyatt, and had flashbacks where he was shooting up a bunch of people in Escalante; and Dolores went into the church, only to be confronted with William the Aged.

Just these previouslies are reminding me how many threads need to be tied up, or at least developed to a climax, in this episode. Is ninety minutes really enough? We’ll see…

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The Gilmore Girls Revival Rewrote Rory as a Truly Damaged Human Being

After over a year of anticipation (or a decade, depending on how you want to look at it), the Gilmore Girls revival is finally here. We’ll give you our full thoughts on Rory’s love life, Lorelai’s Wild adventure, Emily’s “bullshit,” and those final four words very soon, but until then, let’s talk about the best scene of the revival, which was–somewhat unexpectedly–between Rory and Chris. The scene only lasts four minutes, but it perfectly encapsulates the relationship between the two characters, and finally acknowledges what a broken little soul Rory really is.

SPOILERS AHEAD! Continue reading →

Links We Loved This Week — 12/16/16

He was wonderful on Growing Pains, but let’s also take a moment to remember how funny Alan Thicke was on How I Met Your Mother:

Nashville premieres on January 5th on CMT. Connie Britton gives an interview with the New York Times where she is way more honest than you’d usually expect an actress to be, candidly evaluating the past few seasons of Nashville as being too soapy (which… I think was part of the pleasure of it). There’s also a bit where she talks about not having gotten into the business as a “beauty queen” and thus not having to freak out about aging (she’s 49), which is amusing because I think many people think of her as one of the most beautiful actresses out there, and that has only increased as she’s aged, rather than decreased.

Emmy Rossum’s fight for pay equity on Shameless was successful. Love what William H. Macy had to say in her support, too! (via Vogue)

Links We Loved This Week — 12/10/16

“A lot of the classic, great stories were written by truly great writers. Joseph Conrad, Edgar Allen Poe, Edith Wharton, Henry James — they wrote what we would now call “genre fiction.” It got me thinking, “What happened?” When did that stop being something you could do and still be considered a serious writer?” Michael Chabon, whose novel Moonglow just came out, talks to Electric Literature about genre fiction.

American Gauntlet, a satire site, published the hilarious “Study Suggests Gilmore Girls Revival Coupled With Political Coverage to Create Wave of ‘Super Disappointment’ for Women.”

Ann M. Martin talks to The New Yorker about feminism in the Babysitter’s Club: “I still wanted to present this idea of girls who could be entrepreneurial, who ran this business successfully, even though they were not perfect.”

The NYT has an excerpt from Anna Kendrick’s book, where she discusses the making of the immortal Camp.

If you want to, you can review one Professor of Paleontology at NYU. Think he is too into his sandwiches? Think his crunchy hair is weird? Think his spray tan is kind of uneven? Share your feelings at Rate-My-Professor. “Looks a bit like this super chill dude who used to sell cookies outside the dorms a few years back… or am I confusing him with the falafel guy?”

Shelter in Place – Alexander Maksik

Joseph March, the hero of Alexander Maksik’s novel Shelter In Place, has two problems: tar, and a bird. The tar is the black, creeping heaviness of his depression, which comes along with periods of mania; the bird is the painful part, the part that pierces his chest. He has bipolar disorder (or rather has something unnamed that, with its cycles from up to down, resembles it), and he’s constantly haunted by his own, inexplicable, internal rhythms of pain and joy. Alexander Maksik has lit upon a perfect metaphor for severe depression.

Continue reading →

Westworld Recap: 1×09 “The Well-Tempered Clavier”

Previously on Westworld: A lot, like a LOT. Dolores and William got captured by Logan (the artist previously known as Goofus) and his buddies. Dolores and Bernard, apparently, were secretly conversing about her changes in consciousness. Bernard was mad when Ford got him to kill Theresa. Teddy remembered about Ed’s whole thing with Dolores and punched him, but then some blonde woman (Angela, according to the closed captions, not that they ever say it, with this show’s typical blissful lack of attention to such details) stabbed him with an arrow and told him Wyatt, the big baddie, needed him. Maeve got Lutz to help her get magical powers over other hosts, and she planned to recruit an army. Ed confessed that he had once killed a version of Maeve, and meanwhile, Maeve stabbed the new Clementine for no apparent reason. Also, there was a maze, dunno if you caught that. It’s kind of a big deal.

 

Continue reading →

Links We Loved This Week — 12/3/16

This week in media, everyone has an opinion on Gilmore Girls! Here are a few of the best we’ve read, and stay tuned–we’ll be putting up a few opinions of our own here. There seems to be just one thing everyone can agree on: Fat-shaming sucks.

At Vox, Aja Romano makes a compelling argument that Stars Hollow, or maybe the show itself, is in the business of destroying women’s potential.

The Atlantic thinks Rory is a horrible journalist, and we have to agree.

At The New Yorker, Betsy Morais views Rory as a case of arrested development.

Duana at Lainey Gossip bucks the trend, arguing that Rory isn’t that bad.

At Vulture, Amy Sherman-Palladino explains why A Year in the Life ends just before the election: because they didn’t have the budget to show what happens when the actual devil takes over the world. Hee!

At Vanity Fair, Laura Bradley makes the argument that Emily is the real protagonist. I don’t know about that, but she is certainly a delight.

Amy Sherman-Palladino says in her first post-revival interview that Rory doesn’t have to go through with [SPOILER], although from context clues, that seems a little disingenuous.