full length review

John Williams’s Stoner is an extraordinary novel with an extra ordinary (not extraordinary) hero.

William Stoner almost always plays it safe, making predictable, sensible choices. He studies literature at the University of Missouri and ends up teaching there for the next 40 years. Even though he teaches the same classes over and over, he isn’t completely able to articulate to his students what he loves about literature. He marries badly, has a child to whom he wishes to be closer, enters into a doomed but beautiful love affair, and writes a failed book.

If the plot sounds a little dull or unoriginal to you, I believe that was Williams’s intention. Williams created in Stoner a character who demands no attention from the students who pass him in the quads of Jesse Hall. But as readers we’re privy to the quiet desperation (as Thoreau put it) that is the result of everything Stoner wants being just out of his reach. Although he hides it from the world, we see and feel the constant disappointment he experiences; and to make it all the more frustrating—and all the more real—these disappointments are due sometimes to his own safe choices and sometimes to circumstances that are out of his control.

But where other characters in other novels by other authors might respond to a lifetime of incessant disappointment with suicide, Stoner takes up Hamlet’s question, wondering if his life is worth living. But he goes beyond simply asking the question of himself; he realizes the question is general to all mankind, and more importantly it doesn’t necessarily spring from dire and immediate circumstances:  

It came, he believed, from the accretion of his years, from the density of accident and circumstance, and from what he had come to understand of them. He took a grim and ironic pleasure from the possibility that what little learning he had managed to acquire had led him to this kind of knowledge: that in the long run all things, even the learning that let him know this, were futile and empty, and at last diminished into a nothingness they did not alter.

Williams’s prose is beautiful in the most subtle, restrained way. It’s quite remarkable to understand the pulsing emotions bubbling under Stoner’s surface when his outward appearance is so tame, but that’s how most of us live. Indeed, that’s the magic of Stoner: he’s the kind of unglamorous hero that the rest of us are.

I’ve run macrolit for three years, and this is my first full-length review. I couldn’t help it because I love this book so much. It’s now a Top 5 all time novel for me. Please read this wonderful, touching book! And if you have read it, please chime in with your thoughts. 

Stoner, John Williams
My Goodreads rating: 5/5
Currently 37% off at Amazon

deanpala67-79  asked:

So because of you I got the book Americas first daughter and my mom was saying not to trust it since its historical fiction but I figured you wouldn't love it so much if it was highly inaccurate so could you do a review of it?

I did a full length review here right after I had finished reading it. However, I’ll quick grade it here:

Bias: 4/5

The authors did an amazing job at constructing Patsy’s views on slavery and such from letters. However, it did occasionally fall into the Jefferson somewhat cared for her. But, it did a splendid job at showing Jefferson as the family man and Jefferson the child-rapist. It showed two sides of the same coin amazingly. 

Accuracy: 5/5

The accuracy was amazing! I read a few interviews with the authors and they relied on all of Jefferson’s letters to give them the facts on everything written as well as Patsy’s own correspondence. It must of taken a lot of work to do it. 

Entertaining: 5/5

I started this six hundred page book at four in the afternoon and did not put it down until 3:30 that morning. I read the entire thing in a little more than eleven hours. I absolutely could not put it down and I am so surprised I never read it earlier. It was the greatest book I have ever read in my whole life and I have never related to anything more than Patsy Jefferson. 

Informative: 5/5

If you are searching for information on Patsy Jefferson that isn’t in a biography or feel like a textbook, you truly need to check this book out. I recommend this book more than I have ever recommended a book in my life–and I have read a LOT of books. 

Writing: 5/5

The writing was splendid! I really enjoyed the tiny metaphors here and there, the descriptions of each character. I enjoyed the writing very much and the dialogue was gorgeous. I have never read a book that touched me so much, I was unable to forget it for three days after and I was a numb mess. 

Pacing: 5/5

The pacing was perfect. It is rare I ever find the pacing perfect. It spent time on the things that mattered and truly put every important detail into account. I was stunned for days after I read it. Truly mesmerized. 

Calculated Average: 9.6/10

Don’t read it | Don’t recommend it | Could be better | Great | Excellent

Billboard

One thousand nights ago, you might have been listening to Taylor Swift’s 1989 for the first time. You might have blasting “Blank Space,” learning how to sing along to “Style” and gearing up to dance along to “Shake It Off” on the inevitable 1989 tour. October 27, 2014 seems like a long time ago now — as of Sunday (July 23), it was 1000 days ago — and since the release of Swift’s fifth album, the pop superstar has stayed extremely busy.

Could we talk about her charity work, the Kanye West-Kim Kardashian West drama, the AT&T deal, the Tom Hiddleston? Of course. But let’s focus, as Taylor often does herself, on the music. As fans await Taylor Swift’s post-1989 full-length follow-up, let’s review the songs that she’s given us (or performed, or co-signed) since her last opus.


RELEASES

By the end of 2016, it had become clear that Taylor Swift was not going to continue her streak of releasing a full-length album every other year, as she had done from 2006 up to 1989 in 2014. Yet three weeks before the end of last year, Swift returned with her first post-1989 song: “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” a duet with Zayn that was part of the Fifty Shades Darker original soundtrack. Produced by Taylor’s pal Jack Antonoff and following in the success of Fifty Shades soundtrack songs like The Weeknd’s “Earned It” and Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do,” “Forever” became Swift’s second soundtrack hit (following “Safe and Sound” from The Hunger Games) and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song’s video, released last January, has a whopping 361 million YouTube views.

Swift has also spent the downtime between albums to collect a few songwriting credits: “Better Man,” Little Big Town’s latest country hit, was written by Swift… although it wasn’t revealed that the pop superstar had penned it until a few weeks after its October 2016 release. “Better Man” topped the Hot Country Songs chart, and has been performed by Swift exactly once (more on that later).

Meanwhile, Swift also sneakily co-wrote “This Is What You Came For,” Calvin Harris’ hit from last year featuring Rihanna, under the pseudonym “Nils Sjöberg.” She was eventually outed as having a hand in her ex’s Top 10 smash, and the song’s official credits now include Swift’s name. She has performed it exactly twice (more on that later).

Aside from those three songs, the big music news of Swift’s post-1989 run has been where her previous output has been available. After famously locking herself in a stalemate against Spotify and agreeing to have only Apple Music serve as her streaming host, Swift unleashed her catalog upon all streaming services — Spotify, Tidal and Amazon included — on June 9, 2017, the same day that Katy Perry just so happened to release her new album, Witness. Four of Swift’s albums, including 1989, returned to the Billboard 200 albums chart following the streaming free-for-all.

TOURING

The entirety of the 1989 world tour was contained in 2015, and the 85 shows became that year’s biggest tour, taking in more than $200 million worldwide, per Billboard Boxscore. The big difference between 1989 and Swift’s previous tours, of course, was that she graduated to stadiums from arenas on her latest live run, and she’ll likely continue in that format whenever she goes back on the road. The tour was also captured in The 1989 World Tour Live, a concert film shot in Sydney and released in partnership with Apple Music in December 2015.

LIVE PERFORMANCES

Ten months after her 1989 tour wrapped up, Swift decided to put on a one-off show last October at the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in Austin – her only performance of 2016, and the first time she played “This Is What You Came For” herself (in a solo piano version, no less!). “As a songwriter, the most rewarding feeling in the world is writing something and then having the crowd sing it back to you because they know the words,” Swift said during the show.

Swift played the track again at a pre-Super Bowl performance in Houston earlier this year, in an event dubbed the AT&T Presents DIRECTV NOW Super Saturday Night. She also played “Better Man” and “This Is What You Came For” at the show, which has been Swift’s only performance of 2017… so far.


MUSIC VIDEOS

By now, we’ve all seen the seven music videos that came from the 1989 era. Some fun stats about them: the three biggest videos (“Shake It Off,” “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood”) have become Swift’s first to cross the 1 billion mark on YouTube, while the controversial “Wildest Dreams” clip is one of Swift’s five most-viewed videos ever at this point (“You Belong With Me,” from Fearless, rounds out that top tier). The live video for “New Romantics” was unveiled as an Apple Music exclusive, and has 66 million YouTube views to date. Joseph Kahn directed four of the videos, including “Out of the Woods,” which was filmed in New Zealand.

AWARDS/ACHIEVEMENTS

Essentially, Swift released 1989 in October 2014 and the accolades started pouring in almost immediately after. She was named Billboard’s Woman of the Year in 2014, and “Shake It Off” was nominated for record of the year and song of the year at the 2015 Grammys. The song didn’t take home either prize, but Swift nabbed the big one the following year, when 1989 won album of the year at the Grammys in 2016. After previously winning the award for Fearless, Swift became the first female solo performer to win multiple AOTYs at the Grammys.

The Grammy win (along with two others in 2016) was simply the crown jewel in a long list of major achievements in the past 1000 days. Swift also won Video of the Year at the MTV VMAs in 2015 for “Bad Blood,” was given the 50th Anniversary Milestone Award at the ACM Awards that year, and 1989 became only the fifth album ever to spend its entire first year in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 chart. All told, 1989 has sold 6.1 million copies one thousand days into its existence, according to Nielsen Music, and in June, the RIAA certified Swift for having moved 100 million song units, second only to Rihanna among all artists in their rankings.

ADS

It’s worth noting that, while never commercially released, the sound of Swift rapping along to Drake and Future’s “Jumpman” does exist in this fair world. In a popular Apple Music ad, Swift rhymes along with the song on a treadmill before face-planting in epic fashion; she also toasted Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” and The Darkness’ “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” in separate Apple ads. Consider the homages a subtle co-sign of not just the songs in question, but of Apple’s playlist curation.

FRIEND SUPPORT

The cornerstone of Swift’s post-1989 music activity may very well be the role of “hypewoman” — that is, building up her pals and supporting their music online. She’s got mad love for squad members Lorde, Haim and Selena Gomez, and former tour mate Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” might have very well gotten a mini-bump due to an Instagram post in its favor. The biggest revelation for casual Swifies: Taylor’s still an enormous Kings of Leon fan! “I’ve been waiting for this album for SO LONG and it’s insane, you need it in your life,” she wrote of the rock band’s WALLS. Same with the 1989 follow-up, Taylor.

(Additional reporting by Sabrina Finkelstein)

http://archiveofourown.org/works/12601472/chapters/28703860 here it is.

— 

@apexianthoughts Oh my god. My god my friend I’m clutching my chest here and its 11.37am in the middle of my workplace and I’m getting emotional.

Dude. Dude this is so good. I adore your writing style, your characterization of King Dice and the Casino Staff. I’m even more honored to know that you were inspired by my designs and portrayal of them. And lord, Mic my boy you write him so well and I’m tearing up. I gotta get onto my ao3 account to write a full length review. The way you write Mr Wheezy and KD interacting with Mic is like my complete dream of how it went down when they first met

And for future reference, keep in mind that you don’t get too worried over Mic’s characterization - just do what you do and enjoy! Or if you don’t feel motivated enough to finish the fic. I know interest fluctuates and fades but you won’t know for certain. So at the moment, I just want you to enjoy writing and exploring them along your fic, and you’re doing so good sweetie!!!!

To the rest of you, please check this out if you like my boys in a slow burn story together with Casino shenanigans and how the staffs work and all, because god the only suitable emotion I can properly describe now, is that I am absolutely  drawing some of the scenes and interaction out I swear to god, thank you so much ;;

Off-Model with Ian & Kyle #32: Listener Questions! [and DuckTales 2017 “Woo-oo!” Bonus Chat!]

After an accidental half-year hiatus a Movie Rat podcast is made! Namely, the long-awaited and forgotten about NEXT EPISODE of the Movie Rat Ian’s spin-off show with his co-host Kyle the Ferret: OFF-MODEL! In this episode we return with a full episode of questions asked by you, the listeners, and give our opinions on different cartoon-type topics like “are there any good crossovers?” or “who’s the best second-banana duck?”


Then, just to make up for being gone so long….and because we hadn’t talked about it–we recorded a full-length bonus show to review and discuss the pilot to the DuckTales Reboot!


….There, that should tide you over for eight more months!

Show Notes (with two answer revisions) After The Jump!

Keep reading

3 for the Price of 1!

When My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) finally came out, I wanted to review it right. And to do that, I had to call in a few friends. 

I basically knew this had to be a collab of some sort, but instead of reaching out to big names in the fandom, I decided to ask a couple of friends to review the movie with me. What’s more in the spirit of things than making something with the friends, new and old, that we made because of this show and its ridiculous fandom?

I have links to Mr. Mikail’s and DigiKate’s spoiler-free and, in the case of DigiKate, full-length spoiler reviews!

I’ll wait until the blu-ray/DVD comes out in January to release my full spoiler-filled review (mostly because you know how busy I’ve been the past two months, but also because I have friends who haven’t seen the movie yet), but until then, here’s some general thoughts on the movie and how it fits into the modern animated films scene.

How does it measure up to other movies? Should we be comparing it differently because it’s a movie based on a TV show? How the fuck did the Emoji Movie get nominated for Best Animated Feature when MLP: The Movie didn’t?

Meta-Narratives in Kids Movies

Gotta get this out of the way first. Big surprise: I loved it.

I knew I’d enjoy it, but I couldn’t believe how much I was smiling, even by the first big musical number. Every time a minor character came on screen that I recognized, I had to hold back a scream. I was so proud of the girls, and so impressed with DHX’s work.

I just. Fucking. Loved it.

So, there’s no denying it. My Little Pony: The Movie is an absolute joy for fans (for reasons I can’t get into in the spoiler-free review), but I think what separates this from being a universally beloved insta-classic anywhere except among fans is the landscape of kids movies these days.

Take a look at the likes of Frozen, Moana, and Zootopia and you’ll find a lot of meta commentary on the way Disney usually tells its stories—sometimes, even while embracing those cliches if necessary.

Inside Out and How to Train Your Dragon 2 tackle deeply emotional subjects, as modern Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks love to do.

Even Lego: Batman was a ceaselessly rapid-fire comedy with a heart, and hit on all fronts for it.

So, what? Is there something we’re missing? Well, MLP: The Movie does have all those elements to various degrees—meta humour, emotional subject matter, and quite a number of great jokes. But then, what’s the real missing element for general audiences and movie critics?

A clever, unique message and/or implementation. As much as we love MLP, we know it’s not the first to talk about the value of friendship. And it’s certainly not the first movie to use the 3-act fetch-quest structure it does.

If you wanna know what’s stopping MLP: The Movie from being as phenomenal to other people as it is to me, it’s that this is something I haven’t seen before, and this is something they’ve seen a hundred times (even if it was done pretty well here).

As a fan, who knows these characters inside and out, I haven’t seen these characters pushed to their limits in quite the ways they are here. Leaving Equestria and the lore and worldbuilding therein is inspiring, as it expands the possibilities and the map itself of a world I love so much. And to be honest there are one or two dark moments (by MLP’s standard) that I couldn’t believe!

Basically, the novelty and originality of the movie, at least in terms of story, comes mostly from the perspective of fans and staff members who have been dealing with this world and its characters for the better part of a decade now. 

But since they used both the message of friendship without bells and whistles and the tried-and-true road trip movie plot beats, I can see why some audience members think this is adorable, but bland. 

If however you think of MLP: The Movie as a response to the recent string of Disney movies that playfully roll their eyes at Disney’s happy-go-lucky (or meet-cute-and-go-marry as the case may be) philosophies, then it’s very relevant.

And a bit of that structure is actually there. Within the movie itself there’s a bit of that eye-rolling, and as seen in the trailers, it comes from the villains. The heroes remain genuinely positive and even schmaltzy, and that’s what wins the day in the end.

These days Disney in particular feels the need to call itself out on all that, and while it can be refreshing, that can also put a bit of a cynical edge into these movies that, frankly, doesn’t always need to be there. Sometimes you do need to believe in the cheesy, sometimes you need your friends and all the sentiment that comes with them. A kinder world can be incredibly charming. Trust me.

But maybe I’m being a bit harsh. All those movies have teams and budgets multiple times the size that MLP: The Movie did. Maybe it’s fairer to compare it to other animated show turned theatrical releases.

So what does that landscape look like?

Adaptation Land

There’s nothing like seeing your favourite show on the big screen for the first time. Upped visuals, bigger stories—what more could you want? 

It’s here where I think MLP: The Movie measures up in wonderful ways.

Even going from a seemingly similar medium like TV to movies is a pretty hard transition, and I think there are any number of common pitfalls and crowning moments of awesome that come along with that.

But it’s very rare for an theatrical adaption of an animated show to quite meet the same level of quality as the big Disney, Pixar, and sometimes Dreamworks movies.

And it’s obvious as to why. The lower budgets, teams often having to split their time between the show and a movie, bigger-and-better-itis, you name it.

But even if I can’t say most of these movies are transcendent, there’s often still a level of excellence achieved. Even with the relatively low-performing Powerpuff Girls Movie, or the cheesiness of Pokemon: The First Movie, you can still find great movies in this category.

It’s just… they’re always better if you’ve watched the show. Always. There’s more depth, greater knowledge of what this means for the characters, a built-in love and understanding ofthe world. The phrase “for the fans” is implied. It has to be.

Unless, of course, you’re like the Lego: Ninjago movie which (I haven’t seen but heard) totally and completely abandons the canon of the show. But then, what’s the point in making a movie based on that show?

You see the problems show staffs face here? 

So, I think MLP: The Movie is exceedingly enjoyable, but is that really just for fans? And if it is, did it cater enough to fans? 

In her review, ILoveKimPossibleALot made a good point: we spend the movie with a new set of villains, in new territory, with new characters, and a new story unrelated to the backstories and lore that we, as fans, are so interested in.

I’ve seen a number of fans actually wish the season seven finale’s story and MLP: The Movie’s story were switched. 

The season seven finale is straight up lore porn, and one of the greatest two-parters MLP has had. And honestly I would love to see this expanded on in a way to see what it would be like for Starswirl to be emotional. Build it all up even more so the weight of the regret hits home harder.

But, see, that would be impossible, because MLP: The Movie went into production 3-4 years ago.

You can tell, too. No spoilers, but Twilight’s arc in this movie is very reminiscent of something she might go through in season 4 and Rainbow Rocks.

That’s yet another reason animated adaptations are so tricky—unless you’re in the case of Hey Arnold, which is about to premiere its final movie this friday over a decade after the end of the show. In that case, no matter how long the movie took, they knew for sure where the characters would be, and thus, where they could take them.

Which isn’t to say MLP: The Movie doesn’t do anything with the characters, far from it, but I think it’s also far from how deep it could’ve gone. 

But then… that rounds back to the top, and how it compares to other animated movies in the eyes of general audiences, and how they might feel alienated, and we just keep going ‘round and ‘round in circles.

So, does any of that make it a bad story or a bad movie? No, certainly not! For fans, this is a moving character study and a celebration of a lot of the elements we love most from the show (meta humour, genuine heart, the works). The beats, as standard as they are, pretty much all work, save for maybe Grubber’s comic relief depending on your sense of humour.

But, you know, it’s funny to be left with the feeling that you just watched something incredible, that made you so happy you couldn’t believe it, only to have to admit it’s understandable that critics and even general audiences won’t feel the same way. But, that’s where I am. 

Depends on the context.


Go check out Mr. Mikail’s review here! And Digikate’s reviews here (spoiler-free) and here (spoiler)! *Will be updated with links shortly

Year of the Pony

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#bestof2017 There were so many!!!!! Open only 7 months … we’ve not even touched the tip of the #awesomeness that we have in store..


**********************************************Read full length #reviews on #google …. #2018weddings #events …so much in store for you #staytuned

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@themaxbgroup @djscoobyatl @petalsandtreats @chefJC @chefcarlius @serversonlystaffing @designoneevents (hope we did not forget anyone) #newrelationship and #oldrelationships #faith #manifested #lawofattraction #dreaminghuge

******Looking forward to #2018weddingseason and #events 👐🖒👌💞💣💥🌷 (at DeKalb County, Georgia)

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