Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Round-Up: What We're Reading, Watching, & Blogging & Links to Share

Oh my, this is going to be an eclectic round-up! Gender issues, short films, nature writing, and psychopaths ... I may even talk about penises, but I'm not promising.

First of all, if you're reading this via feed reader, please hop over and see our new header and layout. :-) I'm also in the process of cleaning up and re-organizing. I revamped the sidebar and tabs & organized our Movie Lists (e.g. "20 Memorable Movie Psychopaths).

There is still time to enter the drawing for a $15 gift card, which is part of the review of American Psycho I posted as part of Banned Books Week. Everyone who includes an e-mail address in a comment is entered -- the drawing will be held Oct. 31.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Reading Now:

Annabel by Kathleen Winter -- from Goodreads:  
Kathleen Winter’s luminous debut novel is a deeply affecting portrait of life in an enchanting seaside town and the trials of growing up unique in a restrictive environment.

In 1968, into the devastating, spare atmosphere of the remote coastal town of Labrador, Canada, a child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor fully girl, but both at once. Only three people are privy to the secret: the baby’s parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbor and midwife, Thomasina. Though Treadway makes the difficult decision to raise the child as a boy named Wayne, the women continue to quietly nurture the boy’s female side. And as Wayne grows into adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting society of his father, his shadow-self, a girl he thinks of as "Annabel," is never entirely extinguished.
I've only read a few chapters so far, and I'm already hooked! I've been thinking a lot lately about gender identity. I've been wondering whether a person's gender identity may sometimes be different from one's biological sex, even in people who don't identify as transgendered, and whether -- for some individuals -- it's somewhat fluid. 

Yup, that's actually the kind of stuff I ponder. ;-)

Annabel opens with this intriguing quote from the magnificent Virginia Woolf:
Different though the sexes are, they inter-mix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what it is above.
Blog Posts This Week:

Sarah reviewed 2 memorable short films:

An Infinite Tenderness
-- This French film about two very disabled children is done in the style of a documentary. Sarah was quite taken with it. She said the she became attached to one of the characters within five minutes, without a single word of dialogue.


My dad, who is a retired philosophy professor and nature educator, contributed 3 guest posts:

Barbara Kingsolver: Being Part of Nature's Fabric

Thoreau: A Voice for All Things Wild

Wild Animals I Have Known My Ernest Thompson Seton

I wrote 3 posts:

Some Thoughts on the Movie American Psycho Plus My Vote for the Best Fictional Psychopath: Hannibal Lecter or Patrick Bateman? -- Who did I choose, Lecter or Bateman? I've gotta say it was close!

A Review of The Year My Voice Broke -- An Australian coming-of-age film starring the wonderful Noah Taylor.

Book and Movie Review: Red Dragon

I Plan to Watch Today:

Blue directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski -- I've forgotten who recommended this so strongly that I became convinced I had to rent it. I bet it was Josh. For some reason, when I think of
Kieslowski, he comes to mind. ;-)

My Penis and Everyone Else's -- From the promo: "My Penis And Everyone Else’s challenges society’s stereotypes of masculinity as well as getting to the heart of why men are so fixated with their members. "I do think pornography and the way it seeped into culture has had some effect because it’s so saturated, it’s so become a norm that people are seeing sex and their bodies through a completely distorted lens.” -Rowan Peeling, Former Editor of the Erotic Review. "

Who can resist a documentary with a title like this? Not me.

O.K., on a serious note, issues related to gender, sexuality, and self-esteem interest me greatly. I try to make sure my children are aware of the damage society does to people of both genders through its narrow definitions of what's attractive.

A friend told me last night that there's this scene in Magic Mike where a guy has his favorite organ in this, um, kind of "extender" gadget. I found that disturbing on several levels. (Mainly as in, "Ouch!")

I can only assume that those extender thingies -- if they really exist -- are rubbish. Otherwise the Wal Mart franchise would've capitalized on this, and we'd be bumping into gargantuan displays of them when we go to the cash register to buy our kids socks and soccer cleats. This whole hang-up about inadequate penis size seems to be as ubiquitous as perfectly healthy women being convinced they're too fat. Considering the complex array of factors that contribute to perceived attractiveness and mutually satisfying intimate relationships, I find all of this a bit of a mystery.

Links to Share:


  1. Cool new blog look :) I was lost for a minute
    I agree, Virginia Woolf is magnificent. And very cool that your dad did guest posts.

  2. Nice roundup, Stephanie! Man I still haven't seen any of the three colors trilogy, I should do that at some point.

  3. Haha. Thanks for the link! :) If you like Blue, I'd also recommend White and Red.

  4. Annabel looks intriguing.
    Wishing you a great reading week!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  5. Annabel sounds good. Except for the abundance of CYBILS reading, things are back to normal. My favorite book was How to Wash a Cat by Rebecca M. Hale. Please come see what I'm reading now.

  6. Now I have so much to check out on the interwebs this morning thanks to you :-) And Annabel sounds like a fascinating read.

    Tanya Patrice

  7. LOL, this whole post was fantastic ;) I love the things you ponder!

  8. I've had Annabel on my WL for awhile now. Not my normal kind of read but it sounds so intriguing.

  9. Just when you think pornography can't be blamed for anything new, that doc comes along. As the owner of said organ in question I can tell you that guys my age were wondering how they measured up long before they ever saw an adult movie. (Yes, the pun was intended.)

    1. *Laughing* -- I'm sure you're right. My husband says the same thing -- he was wondering about that issue long before he had the opportunity to watch porn. To some degree, it's only natural, especially in adolescence. I can remember sitting around with my friends discussing the size of our breasts. Ah, the many joys of the teen years.

      I just think it's a shame that society does such a number on people of both genders. People think they're too fat, too thin, not sufficiently well-endowed, or whatever. It's sad to see how people are affected by that.


Hello, and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts -- reader comments make this blogging gig worthwhile. :-) Due to excessive spam, we are now moderating all comments. Like that dude in the Monty Python skit, we just Don't ... Like ... Spam. I will try to post and respond to your comments as quickly as possibly.