Spoof! Spoof! Spoof! Say it enough times and it doesn’t even feel like a word anymore.
Hello. Tomorrow, I go back into the classroom for the first time since the pandemic started. I’m thinking of putting this up on the board to welcome the students.
Too on the nose?
I’m kidding. I’m not going to put that on the board. Instead, I’m just going to wear the KN95 mask cover I got with the quote on it. And, yes, I did custom order one way back before the fall semester when I thought we would be back in the classroom then. Let’s see how many of my students get the reference.
So what I’m saying is I’m ready. Except I just realized I don’t have a new first day of school outfit because that was also bought back in the fall. Oh well.
I read some books!The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a fast read for me, in that I burned through about half of it in one day. The premise is basically “What if horror movies were real? What happens to those final girls after their movies are over?” The short answer is that they would form a support group. The long answer is that the horror is never truly over for them for a variety of reasons.
This is a horror book that critiques horror books, so, on the one hand, a lot of the commentary was on point, but on the other hand, I found myself wishing at times that it wasn’t a *horror* book so that the point could be made in other ways, but that’s not really the point of the book. As much as it is about movie monsters, it’s also about real life monsters and the impact they have on the women (and children) they harm and what the glorification of movie monsters means. So, basically, it’s like Scream but with a feminist bent.
I thought Lynnette was an interesting choice of a main character for many reasons, but one of the big ones is that she’s not a “true” final girl because she didn’t kill her monster like the other women did, and she also has the smallest life and is the most paranoid. I think there was a missed opportunity for Hendrix to get into WHY the other women made different choices because it almost seems like he’s saying Lynnette made the right choice, which I don’t necessarily agree with. There also should have been way more female friendship stuff in here, but it is there so I can’t complain too much.
Those are relatively minor quibbles, though. I liked the book overall and thought it was smart and engaging. I wasn’t sure at first how I felt about the ending, especially who the real life monster turned out to be, but the more I think about it, the more I like and appreciate it, so there’s also that.
Does this ever end? Will there always be someone out there turning little boys into monsters? Will we always be final girls? Will there always be monsters killing us?
I won’t let messed-up parents keep making monsters, and I won’t let these boys keep making more final girls. It’s not some profound and ancient ritual. It’s just a waste of life.
All in all, I would recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of horror movies and/or badass women.
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Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you’ve ever read or watched a cozy mystery, especially one set in, you guessed it, a quaint English village, then you may enjoy this book. Johnson basically covers most of the tropes you’ll see in an Agatha Christie/early British murder mystery and therefore even in contemporary books/texts of the genre as well. (For example, the village fete can basically be any town event and the historical reenactment–well, that speaks for itself. And we all know if anyone answers the door with “Oh, it’s you,” [or it’s very close cousin “Hello? Is anyone there?”] then it’s a wrap.)
The book is broken into two sections: The Village and The Manor. Each section is then further broken down into Buildings & Spaces, people (residents, staff, guests), and events you can expect to happen at each. There are also tips and tricks for who/what to avoid, if you absolutely insist on visiting the murder village anyway. (Do NOT visit any vats! Stay away from anyone who leaves messages! etc.) At the end of each section is a quiz that tests both what you learned and how likely you are to survive visiting the village (spoiler: not very).
There are also illustrations that are both whimsical and a little bloody, drawn in black and white with splotches of red. In true cozy mystery fantasy, there isn’t really any gore. I only counted two or three that showed a dead body, and they’re pretty tame, but that is a thing to look out for, if you’re sensitive about those types of things.
All in all, a really fun read for fans of the genre.
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The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a sci-fi book that somehow is ALSO a spoof of gothic romantic literature.
I liked all of the bits that spoofed gothic lit (of course). There’s the brooding hero, the younger brother who is a dandy who loves POETRY and FEELS THINGS, and then the other brother who just wants to be freed from the shackles of familial responsibility. There’s a moor and a heath and crashing waves and a hermitage and secret passageways. Oh, and a damsel (main character Haley), of course.
I liked the meta commentary that the world has rules that must be followed, and the way that played out in the story. I also liked the framing device for the book.
Oh, and I loved that the illustrator gave Haley a bonnet while she was sleeping. (Can we get more acknowledgement in media that black girls/women cover their hair when they sleep? Thanks.)
Some quotes I liked:
COMPLAINTS? Call your mom. Maybe she’ll make you some nice soup.
Well, excuse us for existing on our own level of reality and not in your personal fantasy world.
“What do people in your universe do when reality starts springing leaks?”
“I’m not sure. Look at cat pictures until we feel better?”
As for what I didn’t like: Listen, I am not a sci-fi person, and this book highlights what I don’t like about sci-fi. Namely, that it’s weird, and it has its own rules that I don’t really care about that much. However, I think I didn’t care that much for it because I didn’t understand the *point.* I mean, I get it in the story, but it also felt like this could have also just worked as a fantasy where Haley just needed to get home.
I’m including that as a last bit because I enjoyed and finished the story in spite of it, so it didn’t bug me THAT much, but just enough that I have to note it.
3.5 stars, rounding down
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I am splitting my reading between three books right now:
- William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Clueless by Ian Doescher — Clueless! As if written by Shakespeare! So, you know I’m already into it. It’s fun so far.
- How To Save a Superhero by Ruth Freeman — I’m about halfway through this cute middle grade about a girl who hangs out after school at the assisted living facility where her mom works.
- If the Buddha Dated: A Handbook to Finding Love on a Spiritual Path by Charlotte Kasl, Ph. D. –I’m also about halfway through this book with a self-explanatory title. I like it so far because it’s free of a lot of the sexism of other books about dating.
I have been trying to do screen-free weekends because my chronic eye fatigue has come back with a vengeance. (I say trying because almost everything is on screens now compared to when I first had to do it several years ago. Like my book club that happened this past weekend.) This coming weekend, I don’t have ANY screen activities scheduled for Saturday, so I anticipate finishing at least one or more of those.
I finall read a YA book, so I can link up with the It’s Monday! peeps this week. Have a great week, everyone. Stay safe out there.