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text 2018-05-20 22:26
Non-book post: Porco Rosso and terrible short film just prior to it

I just went and saw Porco Rosso for the first time, because I'm lucky enough that the single movie theater in my town is participating in Studio Ghibli Fest this time around. The movie itself was, in my opinion, the best of the three Studio Ghibli Fest films so far, even though the fist fight and ending annoyed me.

 

But ugh, the short film shown at the very beginning was awful. I think the other two Ghibli Fest films also began with short films, but I didn't remember them by the time the main movie ended. This one I'll remember. It's Bill Plympton's "Guide Dog," and I think it was supposed to be a black comedy. It starts with a dog so ugly it's cute convincing a shadowy man to give it a job as a guide dog. The dog's first client is

carried away by birds and eventually dropped to his death. The dog, traumatized but eager to do a better job, tries really hard but ends up getting its next two clients killed too. The second one is hit by a truck because the dog didn't get her across the street fast enough, and the third one dies of a heart attack because the dog raced him across the city too fast in an effort to keep anything from touching him. Then the dog is finally fired and sent on its way.

(spoiler show)

That's it, that's the whole film. It was horrifying and gross and made me wish I'd arrived late to the movie.

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photo 2018-05-20 21:27

Young Woman Reading by a Window (Date unknown) by Delphin Enjolras (1875-1945) [x]

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text 2018-05-20 14:32
AVR Weekly News ~ 246th Edition

AVR Weekly News ~  246th Edition

 

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2018/05/avr-weekly-news-246th-edition.html
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review 2018-05-18 00:52
Good Morning, Midnight
Good Morning, Midnight: A Novel - Lily Brooks-Dalton

I'm sure there are plenty of people who will find this a beautiful and meditative read about the nature of loneliness and connectivity. I was not one of those people. Not by a long shot.

Maybe it's the result of years of studying literature and writing, but I could not stand the way this book was written. I know a lot of people enjoyed the prose, but again I was not one of them. There was no developed voice, and the style of the writing feels very much like the product of a writing program rather than an author developing a distinct voice. The metaphors were often tortured and the language repetitive and rote. More damning, I found the characters unbelievable, especially the astronauts (and cosmonauts). I did not believe these people and I did not like them. And the twists? I called them Very Early in the book (maybe page 20?), and they were aggravatingly pat. Perhaps I've read too many stories in workshop, or too many books in general, but I found the story laughably trite and predictable.

Here's the thing: I feel like Brooks-Dalton wanted to write a story about the nature of loneliness and the human condition. Which is great. The mistake is that she decided to shoehorn this story into a sci-fi genre and she totally dropped the ball. You can write literary sci-fi, but it's a tricky beast. You need to understand both literary trappings and genre trappings, and make them work in tandem. In this book they were fighting against each other. For example, the book kept pointing at science, and trying to make it a core part of the story, without ever understanding it. Science isn't a magic system you can just slot into your story to make it more interesting. It became evident that the research done was only very surface level, and the discrepancies became distracting. (Don't even get me started on all the errors made in regards to space and the space program.)

Not a science nerd? Maybe it won't bother you. Then again, an awful lot of people are going to enter into this book expecting at least some answers to basic questions set up by the premise, like what caused the apocalypse, and those questions are not answered. There really isn't much plot to speak of, and there is absolutely no world building. These are things many folks appreciate and expect in their narratives.

Look, here's the thing, if you're intrigued by the idea of a post-apocalyptic narrative, or you're interested in a duel narrative where a scientist and an astronaut work to solve a problem, this will disappoint you. It is neither of those things. This book is about isolated people navel gazing about how they came to a point in their life where they are alone. That's it. And a lot of people will enjoy that. Which is totally fine. Unfortunately I for one found it insufferable.

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