Writing

New Fanfiction

I’ve been working on a Star Wars: Rebels fanfiction for over a month now, and I finally finished the last edit tonight. The story focuses on Kanan learning to trust Hera in the early days of their relationship. I’ve really enjoyed the deep trust and mutual respect the characters in the show have for each other, and I wanted to write about how they got to that point. So, if you like Kanan and Hera, or enjoy Star Wars: Rebels fanfic, this story may just be for you.

This Day on AO3

This Day on FF.net

Enjoy!

Reviews

Girls & Sex, Review

Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein

4 stars out of 5

Peggy Orenstein is a journalist, and as such she seeks to not only tell a story, but also tell the reader why the story is important. She is not an academic, a researcher, or a scientist. This is important to bear in mind as you read this book. Orenstein is telling a story and she backs up her findings with both data and anecdote. She uses good journalism to get to the heart of the issue and talk to the people who are affected, and that is really the strength of this book.

Orenstein carefully guides the reader through the stories of various people that all have the common thread of the sexual lives of young adult women in high school and college. She talks about why they decide to become sexually active and how ideas about virginity and “sluttyness” shape how girls and women think about sexuality. She talks about American sexual culture and how media representations shape our ideas without us even really noticing. Orenstein is thorough and reasonable in her approach and her assessments. Anyone at all would benefit from reading this book which, at the very least, acts as a thought-provoking conversation starter.

I do wish, however, that Orenstein might have cast a bot of a wider net when conducting her interviews. After a few chapters it seems like the story is the same for the rest of the book: middle-class white girls and the college party/hook-up scene. She didn’t really touch on experiences outside of that rather narrow focus. As far as what she did cover, she did an excellent job. I look forward to reading more from Peggy Orenstein.

I listened to this book as an audiobook and it was read by the author. I much enjoyed hearing the author’s own voice putting inflection and emphasis on her own words. It all worked together seamlessly and I rather enjoyed the listen.

Writing

This Day, Sneak Peek

sneak-peek

The following is an excerpt from my current Star Wars: Rebels fanfiction.

“Kanan was keenly aware that he had dropped his own blaster when he had used the Force against the speeder bike. He was also aware that he was out in the open, with no cover, and nothing to protect him.

Hera was suddenly between him and the soldiers.”

This story will be published shortly on both FanFiction.net and Archive of Our Own.

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Analyze This

Stag and Doe

ramen-noodle-analysis

Here’s a thought: Snape’s patronus turning into a doe is a tacit agreement on his part that Lily and James were soul-mates.

There has been a lot of discussion about James, Lily and Snape. Their relationship dynamics are incredibly complicated and some people think Lily was stupid for picking a jerk like James over a longtime friend like Snape. But, did Snape think that? In the seventh book, Snape’s patronus takes the form of a doe because of his deep feelings for Lily. The doe represents Lily to Snape, just like Harry’s patronus represents his father who he looks to for protection. So, Snape images Lily as a doe, a creature she’s never otherwise connected with and James is connected to the stag, and the stag and the doe make a pair of soul-mates. Even Snape sees them that way.

Reviews

Fangirl, Review

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

3 out of 5 stars

I really liked some parts of Fangirl. It was engaging through most of the book, and I was truly interested in the characters and what was going to happen to them. The cast is vivid and relatable through most of the story, so it was easy to keep going and finish this book. However, there were a lot of things that bugged me in this story too, leaving me with a very conflicted mixed reaction.

What I liked about Fangirl was the relationships. I liked Cath having difficulty navigating the social landscape of college. I like Wren wanting her independence and being afraid of only ever being known as one of the twins. I liked their dad being a constant worry in Cath’s life, and part of the reason she’s so anxious. I liked Levi being cute and charming. I liked Reagan being down to earth and in-your-face. I liked all of those things and how they interacted to create a fully developed social life in the story. The conflicts were believable, and kudos to Rowell for getting me invested.

What I didn’t like, primarily, was the seeming absence of a plot. Cath’s relationship with her mother goes nowhere, not even to say that it’s never resolved. It just…stops. Her relationship with her sister is conveniently wrapped up so that Wren is a completely different person in the last few chapters of the book. Levi and Cath are together for no real reason, and Levi puts up with Cath for no real reason. Cath’s probable social anxiety is never dealt with, and even the smaller plot points of Cath’s short story and her fanfiction just kind of go away never to be mentioned again. For a coming of age story it left a lot of ends loose, and many of those things would have been just fine if they were excised from the story altogether.

My second issue was that a lot of the description felt overwritten. After all the ways Rowell described eyes and hands and hair and stomachs it was beginning to get annoying.

One final bother was the fanfiction and story snippets in between the chapters. I like the concept, and even some of the shorter snippets, but overall they were a drag. Some went on way too long and I just didn’t enjoy them at all. Nor did I enjoy having to listen to Cath read an entire fanfiction in real time in the book, it was just too boring. Part of the reason people like fanfiction is because it gives them more with characters they already love. But, I have no reason to love Baz or Simon, so being forced to sit through an entire fanfic about them was almost insufferable.

Overall, Fangirl has some great parts. The characters are generally interesting and fresh, and the book moves along at a good pace. The author even had some really great lines and thoughts. It wasn’t a waste of time, but I certainly won’t be re-reading this, or generally recommending it either.

I listened to this story as an audiobook, and while it was generally good there were more than a few points where the narrator was not able to distinguish the characters from each other very well. Other than that it was an enjoyable listen. I especially liked how they used a different reader for the inter-chapter snippets.

Reviews

Why?, Review

Why? Explaining the Holocaust by Peter Hayes

4 out of 5 stars

Peter Hayes brings a lucid and thoughtful voice to the discussion of Holocaust history and the events surrounding it. He writes his book with an eye at explaining the complicated and difficult parts with simplicity and nuance, and he does so with astonishing grace. His writing is beautiful, thoughtful and concise.

The book is designed to answer some of the biggest questions that people have about the Holocaust. Each chapter is a major question, and the rest of the chapter is the answer. The answers are never simplistic, but nor are they so complex as to be inscrutable. Hayes connects the dots and gives the reader all the relevant backstory in order to fill in the picture of what happened.

This book is a welcome addition to the history of the Holocaust, and it gives the reader a full understanding of how it happened, why it happened, and why no one stopped it from happening. Anyone at all will benefit from reading this book now, and for many years to come. His detailed account brings solemnity and truth to an often fraught and emotional topic.

The only complaint I have about this book is the author’s tendency to throw around a lot of names. There were many, many different Nazi leaders mentioned once or twice in one chapter, and then they would be referenced again fifty pages later. Many times it was hard to keep track of who was responsible for what. Outside of this one detail, though, it was a compelling and interesting read that was both educational and necessary.