I had forgotten what fiction was to me as a boy, forgotten what it was like in the library: fiction was an escape from the intolerable, a doorway into impossibly hospitable worlds where things had rules and could be understood; stories had been a way of learning about life without experiencing it, or perhaps of experiencing it as an eighteenth-century poisoner dealt with poisons, taking them in tiny doses, such that the poisoner could cope with ingesting things that would kill someone who was not inured to them. Sometimes fiction is a way of coping with the poison of the world in a way that lets us survive it.
And I remembered. I would not be the person I am without the authors who made me what I am—the special ones, the wise ones, sometimes just the ones who got there first.
It’s not irrelevant, those moments of connection, those places where fiction saves your life. It’s the most important thing there is.
FROM NEIL GAIMAN’S NEWBERY ACCEPTANCE SPEECH (Also in The View from the Cheap Seats)
So I reread Coraline a couple weeks ago, and damn, do I love that book. I realized that the (very creepy) concept of an Other Mother lurking somewhere waiting for children to harm really resonates with me because of my biological mother; I’ve started thinking of her as the Other Mother (and, to be more topical and political + for variety, the Alt-Mother). The movie gets at that really well, too, and gives the Other Mother some lines that are downright disturbing for me to hear because my Other Mother has literally used the same ones to emotionally abuse me and my brother. I really appreciate that I can see some of my own experience writ large and dramatized in these fantasies, and appreciate the G. K. Chesterton quote Neil Gaiman uses at the beginning of Coraline, about how dragons can be beaten. (If anyone else is dealing with an Other Mother or Other Father or whatever, take my word for it: they can be beaten, and you can find and make your own family who deserve the title.) Now, I want to tell my Mom Figure (who deserves the title) about this book when I’m seeing her in Toronto next week, and my thesis supervisor who’s also becoming a Mom Figure to me (and deserves the title).
On a different note, I love love love the Cat, as I have ever since I first read this book in high school. Also, as someone who got very obsessed with His Dark Materials again last year, and who loves the daemon idea very much, it amuses me that and cover art or fan art or whatever depicting Coraline with the Cat looks like a built-in HDM fusion depicting ‘Coraline and her daemon’.
fun fact: we get advanced reader copies of books all the time at my new job, and I actually got my hands on a kindle copy of neil gaiman’s new book “norse mythology” before it comes out on tuesday. I’m gonna bury myself in my blankets and speed read it tonight wish me luck
((OOC: So Neil Gaiman (the author of Coraline) reblogged my Other Mother cosplay and I am freaking out only the tiniestlittlebit. Honestly one of my very favourite authors… The Ocean at the End of the Lane and American Gods are two of my favourite books and obviously, Coraline is just wonderfully creepy.
Please go read his books, if you haven’t done so already.))
John Grisham’s fast-paced legal thrillers like The Firm, The Client, and The Pelican Brief still make up roughly 60 percent of all airport bookstore sales around the world. What you are less likely to find there is Grisham’s 2001 novel Skipping Christmas, which became the basis for the 2004 “comedy” film Christmas With the Kranks. Funny, we must have been in the bathroom when Tim Allen’s corrupt law firm framed him for murdering a prostitute.
Christmas With the Kranks stars Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis as Luther and Nora Krank, a couple who feel depressed that their daughter is not going to be home for Christmas, so they decide they’re going to spend the holidays on a cruise instead. This draws the wrath of their psychotic neighbors (led by Dan Aykroyd), who are aghast at the Kranks’ decision not to decorate their house and stay home like everybody else. By the end of the film, the Kranks decide to celebrate Christmas after all, because blah blah wacky misunderstanding, emotional confession, and Christmas spirit again.
Christmas With the Kranks’ questionable Yuletide message did not go over well with critics, as the film currently holds a 5 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes. When you watch a Grisham adaptation, you expect to see Tom Cruise strangling a corporate hit man in a parking garage, not Tim Allen strangling the abstract concept of comedy on a dining room table.