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review 2018-03-20 17:10
DNF at 30% mark.
The Girls in the Picture: A Novel - Melanie Benjamin

I think I should have just read a biography of either or both of these women, because they led extremely interesting lives which the book managed to make fairly dull. I wanted way more about actually making movies, and less angsting about boys, and a lot of the writing felt overwrought and melodramatic. It kept skipping over actually making the movies and what that was like into other issues.


The author backed herself into this weird smarm corner of saying the main character was completely fine with gay people, and then immediately insisting that she didn't get lesbians at all because who doesn't like cock, amirite? By the way, the character really likes cock, and isn't gay at all. Look, I don't mind stories about two women having a friendship rather than a romance, but the notgaynotgaynotgay(but not homophobic!) dance got old a long time ago. I felt like I'd fallen into Xena gen fic from the '90s. At the same time, the author had the same characters not blinking at the racism in the industry in general and Birth of a Nation in particular. So I'm not sure why period-typical racism was okay, but period-typical homophobia was not?


I did like some of the discussion about being a woman in a male-dominated field, which mostly managed to stick to period language and not sounding like it was cut from modern day. But so much of it was telling not showing, as we very rarely see the dynamics on set, or the sets at all, just hear about them after the fact. I looked at some reviews to see if it picked up, but apparently the middle is even more draggy and about boys, so I bailed.

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text 2018-03-19 23:52
Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 448 pages.
The Girls in the Picture: A Novel - Melanie Benjamin

Long section about how much both characters love and admire D.W. Griffith's Klansmen, or Birth of a Nation, which is mostly about its technical breakthroughs, and it's true, but I just got a lot about how awesome frigging Birth of a Nation is without mentioning you know, the whole thing. Which I guess is fair, because I'm pretty sure my main characters wouldn't have cared that it was really, really immensely racist due to being white women in 1915. And yet, I'm still not over it being Birth of a Nation!


Also way too much worrying about guys. I want to hear about making movies!

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text 2018-03-17 23:07
But totally not one of those lesbians!
The Girls in the Picture: A Novel - Melanie Benjamin

I have this on audiobook, so not bothering with the exact quote, but MC is at a party in 1914, and there's some dudes making out in the shadows, and she goes out of her way to say she's 100% A-OK with that, and with ladies making out, don't mind those lesbians, not at all, but she personally really misses her ex husband in her bed.


In a book about close bonds between women in the film industry, in a period notorious for its permissiveness, this feels like it's laying on the no homo a little thick.

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text 2018-03-15 16:45
Sale on Tayari Jones' Books
Leaving Atlanta - Tayari Jones
The Untelling - Tayari Jones
An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

On Kindle, Tayari Jones' novels  Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling are both $1.99 USD today.  I don't know how long the sale lasts.


The writing in An American Marriage was so strong I bought them immediately and look forward to reading them in the weeks to come. 


Wanted to let you know in case you were interested. 

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review 2018-03-15 15:33
Fine, I guess.
Place to Belong - Claire Boston

This is the last book in a series, and while I was entirely able to follow what was happening, it involved going to all of the weddings of the previous three series couples, which is a lot of weddings. (On years where I've had a wedding every other weekend, my response is usually OMG! Stop getting married, people!) I'm not sure if being attached to the characters before hand would have made wedding hell a little easier or not.


So this was the author's first m/m romance (the rest of the series, and all her other books are f/m) and it kind of shows. It's ALL about coming out angst, and while none of the notes hit are offensive, it's like the weddings: too much. Sean is the saddest panda in the glen, and apparently has spent his entire life previous to now closeted in gibbering terror in small town Ireland, until he meets his blood family and his sister's PA, the smoking hot American gay man. The rest off the book is absolutely everyone giving Sean hugs and telling him it's going to be okay (spoiler alert: it is). Which is fine, if you're into a very high fluff to plot ratio, but made me a little tired of Sean by the end.


We get very little of what Hayden wants, aside from an Irish hottie who can enjoy PDA. He spends most of the book helping out with weddings and trying to lure Sean out of the closet with vaguely described sexual favours. There was a liiiiitle too much pressure to come out, especially to come out at work in rural Ireland, but I've read worse on that.


I was looking for a fluffy romance to counteract the very unfluffy litfic I was reading, and this was that. It was fine. I don't really plan to read other books by this author.

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