#ToRead | How to Be a Heroine by Samantha Ellis 

Here’s a bit about the book from Penguin Random House:

While debating literature’s greatest heroines with her best friend, thirtysomething playwright Samantha Ellis has a revelation—her whole life, she’s been trying to be Cathy Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights when she should have been trying to be Jane Eyre.

With this discovery, she embarks on a retrospective look at the literary ladies—the characters and the writers—whom she has loved since childhood. From early obsessions with the March sisters to her later idolization of Sylvia Plath, Ellis evaluates how her heroines stack up today. And, just as she excavates the stories of her favorite characters, Ellis also shares a frank, often humorous account of her own life growing up in a tight-knit Iraqi Jewish community in London. Here a life-long reader explores how heroines shape all our lives.

 

The Reading Room | 5 #Books to Binge-Read After Binge-Watching #StrangerThings

Fill your ‘Stranger Things’ void with books!

Did you watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix?  Did you tear through it? Were you left wanting more? Then check out one of these books, sure to leave you riveted. Filled with the supernatural and extraterrestrial, normal people in bizarre circumstances, and a tinge of nostalgia, these books are must reads for anyone looking for stranger things…

I answered yes to all three of The Reading Room‘s questions above, but I’ve only heard of two of these titles–the King novel The Tommyknockers, for one–but I had no idea that John Dies at the End was a book. Whether it started that way or this is a novelization of the film matters not; it looks like I need to be making a trip to the library!

Have you guys seen Stranger Things yet? Did you like it? Do you think this Reading Room list does your feels from the series justice?

TV | The X Files Season 10 Premiere

Source: Fox Broadcasting

I am so excited to have The X Files back in active rotation. Just caught up with the first episode, “My Struggle,” and found it close to form. It generated a lot of new questions, barely answered any old questions, and gave us a whole new revised version of the old conspiracy to theorize about. All I know is I am locked in for the next episode, because I have just got to see how this mini-arc ends.

It was lovely to see Scully and Mulder “back together” and in the most awkward of consequences. They were more often trading barbs than kisses, which I’m okay with either way, but they did a fine job of simply making it feel awkward to watch them together. Again, not a bad thing, they are actors, after all, and it would be awkward to be called by a former boss to find a former lover, who is also a former co-worker, wouldn’t it? And, then, after more than a decade, hang out like it’s old times? Yep, definitely awkward.

We also get to see Skinner and the Cigarette-Smoking Man. Sans awkwardness, but with heated exchanges and statements of the obvious, respectively. And then there’s Joel McHale, playing buddy believer with Mulder, as a conservative TV host, who the New York Times felt was miscast here. But I thought he brought just enough energy, zeal, and overt seriousness (I mean, sometimes it felt like he was just trying too hard there.) to bring that character to life. It just reminds me that I need to start watching Community.

Overall, I was pleased, and I’m looking forward to where this little reboot takes us.

Pop | Tarantino Gets Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Source: USA Today

Congratulations to Quentin Tarantino!! I have been a big fan of his movies since Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. I love how he tells a story, the actors he works with, and his dialogue is always intelligent and engaging. I haven’t seen a Tarantino film that I didn’t like. Pure entertainment, and well earned! Congrats to the folks who joined him in the “Class of 2016”. Click the image to see the entire USA Today article.

Love his quote:

“That’s really cool, I must have become a big shot,” he joked during his speech. “This is a real, real groovy day.”

Books | The Bazaar of Bad Dreams from #StephenKing

Source: Simon & Schuster

Simon & Schuster just sent along some information on Stephen King‘s newest short story collection. Here’s what they had to say about it. Certainly can’t wait to dig my claws into it!

A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.

Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.

There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”

2015 State of the Union Address Makes #History

State of the Union Banner
Source: WhiteHouse.gov

President Obama almost looked happy to be delivering this message, almost. He made history last night releasing the text of his upcoming speech not just to the media, but to the public. Talking heads on one of the news stations admitted it’s how they all sound so educated and informed about it–because they see the text of the speech before the Pres even steps up to the podium. Seems like it was the most accessible State of the Union in the history of the address.

The text is still available on the official White House Medium page, and you can re-watch the entire speech at the White House’s official State of the Union page.

It sounded like Mr. President’s catchphrase last night was “Because it’s the right thing to do.” And, I especially loved the sentiment, “You think it’s easy raising a family on full-time income that’s less than $15,000 a year? Try it.” It sounded, for a moment, like maybe President Obama had a beer with John Fugelsang before he gave the address. That would be a cool conversation to see; hell, to sit in on!

How did you feel about the State of the Union? Did President Obama stand up to expectations or crumble beneath them?

Smithsonian | Finding #Elvis Beyond Graceland

The King's Keepers: Five Quirky Locations for Finding Elvis Beyond Graceland | Travel | Smithsonian

On the tail of The King’s birthday, I thought this trans-America list of Elvis haunts from Smithsonian online would be noteworthy. Enjoy!

The King’s Keepers: Five Quirky Locations for Finding Elvis Beyond Graceland | Travel | Smithsonian.

In the decades following his death, the singer—who would have turned 80 on January 8—has been elevated to levels bordering on the religious: the sites he visited turned into pilgrimage destinations, the items he touched transformed into pop culture relics.

Graceland, his Memphis home, averages 600,000 visitors a year and has spawned duplicates both miniature and life-size. But beyond the neon lights and shag carpets, in places like Connecticut and Arkansas, live people who believe deeply in the importance of preserving the history—and legacy—of Elvis Presley in unexpected ways.