Dumbledore’s Army Readathon SCORE

For the first two weeks of 2017. I participated in the Dumbledore’s Army Readathon, and here’s my final score.

For the sake of clarity: “an own voices book is a book featuring a marginalised perspective, written by an author who shares the same marginalised characteristics.” says Read At Midnight.

Uncharacteristically, I read one whole book and parts of three more, because I was just that eager to get started on all of them. I’ll finish them soon though, promise.

Find out how many points I earned for Gryffindor House…

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New Year’s Resolution: No More Spotify

Here is my New Year’s Resolution: I will no longer use Spotify. I have uninstalled the software from my computer and my phone and I’m about to tell you why.

Of course, we live in modern times. Never before has there been such free traffic of information, and by and large I think that’s a wonderful development. Nevertheless, there are downsides to the age of technology: use of social media has been linked to mental health problems (source), online shopping makes small-scale bookshops, my favorite places in the world, obsolete, and there’s an ever-growing privacy concern around technology. Watch some Black Mirror and see what I mean.

But there’s something else that really bugs me. With information becoming available globally for free, it has become devalued. Why would I buy a book if I can download a free epub? Why would I buy a CD when Spotify is right there in my hand? Why would I go hang out at a friend’s house if WhatsApp is so much quicker?

Of course, technology is convenient. It also leads us to believe that we are not responsible for our individual actions. Cyberbullying is a lot easier to do than putting someone down face-to-face, simply because it’s more anonymous. Similarly, you probably wouldn’t steal a book or CD from a shop where a shopkeeper was keeping an eye on you behind the counter, but you have no problem downloading the same content illegally.

I’m here to argue that you should have a problem with it. Now, I’m not telling you to travel back in time. I love CD’s, I love their glistening covers and the booklets full of lyrics and the whirring sound they make when the disc starts spinning, but I understand if you find CDs outdated and inconvenient.

But please consider the following: an artist receives one dollar per album sold on hardcopy through their label. When you listen to an album through a (legal) streaming service like Spotify, the artist makes 0,00029 dollarcent. That means that in order to make an American living wage (5 euros and 36 cents an hour, what the actual fuck??)  an artist needs to be listened to on Spotify 4,5 million times a month (source.) Obviously, illegal downloads earn the artist nothing. Of course, artists can supplement their income by doing live shows and selling merchandise, but my guess is you don’t want those things to be crazy expensive, either. Furthermore, the pressure to tour keeps these artists from having families. Additionally, life on the road can be a huge drain on an artist’s mental health. Artist’s don’t just exist to entertain you. They are also people with personal lives and needs.

Do you want to live in a world where the only music available is the music 4,5 million people listen to? Because that’s the ultimate consequence of using Spotify: our choices in music will become less and less diverse. “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Please be aware that if you’re getting something cheaply (through Spotify) or getting it for free, that means somebody else somewhere is paying the price. That person might be Beyonce, and I can already hear you argue that she can afford it. I don’t disagree. But it might also be Jens Lekman, and I am more than willing to put in a little cash to save his career.

Illegal downloading and legal streaming services such as Spotify have another downside: local businesses get in trouble because no one buys CD’s anymore. There’s Spotify users that use the service to browse, then go out and buy CD’s anyway. I just happen to think there’s a lot more people out there who don’t do that. don’t do that. But I will stop using Spotify and start buying CD’s this year. I promise you that.

 

The Six Thatchers Review

I had planned to wait and review the whole new season of Sherlock in one go once it had all aired. As it turns out, I cannot restrain myself from commenting right now, just to vent a little bit. I think it’s important for me and all of the other frenzied fangirls out there that we’ve only seen one act of a three part story this week, and I think it’s likely that all is not as it seems.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!

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Dumbledore’s Army Readathon

From now until January 15th, I’ll be participating in the Dumbledore’s Army Readathon, and I will track my progress in this post.

For the sake of clarity: “an own voices book is a book featuring a marginalised perspective, written by an author who shares the same marginalised characteristics.” says Read At Midnight.

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A marginalized group I don’t often read about: prisoners. Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman.

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Own voices book: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

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A book that empowers women: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys: race, gender and mental illness? How marginalized can you get?

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An issue of personal significance. For me, that’s would be feminism, disability or mental illness. I’m going with Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen.

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A book from my To Be Read: Paaz by Myrthe van der Meer, an account of bipolar disorder.dareadathon-stupefy

An internet hype: Everyone seems to be talking about I Love Dick by Chris Kraus.

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A book recommended by a fellow blogger: I don’t know! Perhaps A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf? Not recommended by a blogger, but recommended by a friend.

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  • Each 10 pages you read will earn you 1 House Point.
  • Each book you complete will earn you 5 House Points.
  • Each book you review specifically for the #DAReadAThon will earn you 5 House Points.
  • Crosspost your review to Amazon for 1 House Point.
  • Post an image of your #DAReadAThon ID on Twitter for 1 House Point, and it allows other members of your House to find you!
  • Tweeting on the #DAReadAThon hashtag (with meaningful tweets about your current reads, recommendations of #OwnVoices) will earn you 1 House Point each. You can have a maximum of 20 House Points from Social Media interactions.
  • Photos of your #DAReadAThon books or TBR pile will earn you 1 House Point each. This contributes towards the maximum of 20 House Points from Social Media interactions mentioned above.
  • We will catalogue the points at the end via a masterpost, and find out who the Hogwarts House Champion for Diversity is!

My Score:

The Hogwarts House I’m in is obviously Gryffindor.

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A Reminder, A Rant & A Recap

This post consists of three parts: a reminder, a rant and a recap. Or, if you want to look at it that way, a reminder and two rants. Let’s get down to business.

Warning for some bad language in the rants. Also, some spoilers for all of Sherlock so far.

1. Reminder: the Mental Health Reading Challenge starts tomorrow. I’m very excited. More info + signups here.

2. Rant: This rant is about queer baiting.

“What is queer baiting?” you ask, a quizzical expression on your face.

The term refers to what happens “when people in the media (usually television/movies) add homoerotic tension between two characters to attract more liberal and queer viewers with the indication of them not ever getting together for real in the show/book/movie”. says Wikipedia.

You shrug. “So what?”

It can even add up to the point where it hurts the queer audience. Queer baiting often plays potentially queer hints and references as mere jokes, but “if the representations in question utilize humour, are queer people in on the joke or are they the joke?”[4]  (a

Is representation a joke? I think not. If you do, that’s your opinion but I’m going to take a wild guess and say you probably don’t feel very marginalized in your daily life. I see way too few characters with disabilities on television. I see way too few women and when I see them they are often portrayed as erratic or superficial. That fucking hurts me.

Storylines where a character can’t be fulfilled until they have overcome a disability fucking hurt me. Representation like that makes me feel as though I’m not enough. I was very angry when John Watson’s limp on Sherlock turned out to be psychosomatic, because it looked as though he only became a competent and interesting character when the disability was cured. That fucking hurts me.

Now, I’m personally not gay. I am, however, a student of cultural analysis and a vocal advocate for equality. I believe in the importance of equal representation in media such as television, and that’s why I’m really kind of angry at the creators of Sherlock: Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

Here comes part 3: a recap of the relationship between John & Sherlock so far. Alternative title: a second rant: John & Sherlock LOVE each other.

When they first met in A Study In Pink, John and Sherlock had the following conversation in a candlelit Italian restaurant:

 

Dr John Watson: You don’t have a girlfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: Girlfriend? No, not really my area.

Dr John Watson: Oh, right. Do you have a boyfriend?… Which is fine, by the way.

Sherlock Holmes: I know it’s fine.

Dr John Watson: So you’ve got a boyfriend, then?

Sherlock Holmes: No.

Dr John Watson: Right. Okay. You’re unattached, just like me. Right. Good.

Sherlock Holmes: [pause] John, um… I think you should know that I consider myself married to my work and while I’m flattered, by your interest…

 (Source: IMDB)

 

Please keep in mind that the gentlemen knew each other for less than a day at that point. Keep in mind that Sherlock has some serious issues about opening up emotionally, and that Sherlock, the most observant man in the whole wide world, had somehow gotten the idea that John was romantically attracted to him. A few scenes later, they looked at each other like this.

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Goodreads Reading Challenge

I challenged myself to read 52 books in 2016 and (drumroll) I succeeded!

The longest book I read was Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire. The shortest was probably The Lady With The Pet Dog by Anton Chekhov. I read two books of poetry, one by Richard Siken and one by Alan Ginsberg. I read eleven books I would classify as Young Adult and only one play: Brecht’s Dreigroschenoper.

Here’s a top five of my favorite books I read for the first time this year.

5. Doktor Glas by Hjalmar Soderberg

4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

3. Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

2.  The Yellow Wallpaper & Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1. Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie

My least favorite book with absolutely no competition was:

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Here’s the full list of books I read in 2016:

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Merry Christmas!

This is a very disorganized post listing all of my favorite Christmas-related pop culture. That means books, film, TV and music. All of these put me in the Christmas spirit Merry Christmas, y’all.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG OF ALL TIME: Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Kurt & Blaine singing Baby It’s Cold Outside on Glee

Klaine was amongst my very first OTP’s. When this song aired, they hadn’t gotten together yet, and I was so sure they would in the Christmas ep, but then I had to wait even longer… Oh, the torture of being a frenzied fangirl.

 

A Very Sorry Christmas by The New Mendicants

I like this song. And I wanted to share a Christmas song that was not (yet) incredibly well-known, so here we are.

 

Studio 60  season 1, episode O Holy Night

Blogpost(s) about the absolutely crazy amazingness of Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip are forthcoming. I must first finish my West Wing-binge, though, because I can’t handle more than one Sorkin-show at the time. Either way, Christmas is the time for romance and so it is for Jordan and Danny. Damn, I need to watch this again.  Continue reading