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Book meme

From [personal profile] majorjune.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.

1.) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2.) Italicize those you intend to read.
3.) Underline those you LOVE.
4.) Put an asterisk next to the books you'd rather shove hot pokers in your eyes than read.

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So, 34/100, if I counted right. (Well, except that Harry Potter is actually 7 books, and His Dark Materials is actually 3, etc.) I wonder if these lists are supposed to make us feel like we're either culturally illiterate or should get gold stars, depending on how many we've read?

Some of them I would probably give an asterisk if I'd read them recently enough, but as it is, they're fuzzy enough in my memory that my response is more "meh, whatev" than "DIE BOOK DIE!" I would like to note, however, that I re-read the trial scene in To Kill a Mockingbird recently, and my reaction was FUCK YOU, ATTICUS FINCH, so seriously, imagine that this list has a lot more asterisks. (I didn't apply it here because I didn't re-read the rest of the book and didn't feel it would be fair.)

Finally, in the spirit of literary appreciation, I present Drunk Texts from Famous Authors. Some of the ones in the comments are excellent as well. Would you believe Dante texts in terza rima? And the Eliot one sums up the meaning of "Prufrock" quite nicely, I think. Actually that probably sums up a whole lot of Great Western Literature, as well as the reason so much of GWL is really irritating and not as deep as it thinks it is...
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Icon meme

1. Reply to this post with "UNICORNS," and I will pick five of your icons.

2. Make a post (including the meme info) and talk about the icons I chose.

3. Other people can then comment to you and make their own posts.

4. This will create a never-ending cycle of icon glee.

gehayi picked these 5:

...er, I can't figure out how to display the last one, but it's icon #10 in this post by dragonlady981, the one with the three Cylon women: post.

1. Fleur Delacour, from a GoF poster. I liked the image, and was practicing making icons, and thought Fleur deserved more attention than she got in canon (and, um, less stereotyping - the only girl champion, who is also French, constantly being the weak one? so unfair).

2. Concept art for Padme in Revenge of the Sith. Again, I liked the image, and the pose instantly brought those Verizon commercials to my mind, so I thought I might as well just add the text. Plus, it's a useful icon for posts which concern communication in some way.

3. Han Solo, from a poster (I think RotJ). I like the art of the classic-era posters, and one day while looking at this one, I went, "D'oh! I knew that pose looked familiar!" This was also right around the time Casino Royale came out, so it seemed appropriate. Useful for any time you have a post about Han (shooting stuff, or thinking he's smooth, etc.) or James Bond or spying generally or crossovers.

4. Concept art of a random Alderaani background person for RotS, if I remember. I liked the picture, and of course it's very groovy, so I thought it needed text to reflect its cultural influences. (I had some other groovy Alderaani icons saying things like, "We are a retro planet." I miss that one. Dratted basic account and its low icon limit...) The quote is from the Donald Fagen song "IGY" (lyrics - song on YouTube). The song is about the way Americans thought the future would look back in the 1950s and 1960s, all groovy and spandex-y; it's kind of nostalgic for the nice parts of that vision (90-minute trips on undersea rail from NYC to Paris and everything solar powered), kind of bittersweet that it never happened, and kind of darkly mocking it's nastier underpinnings with the "standing tough under stars and stripes" bit (still all macho and jingoistic in the future, huh?), the "a just machine to make big decisions/programmed by fellows with compassion and vision," and "we'll be clean when this work is done," which sounds downright ominous. It's a really lovely complex ensemble of meanings. Fagen is part of the Fagen/Becker core of the band Steely Dan, one of my favorite bands ever. I also took the title of my journal from their song "Any World (That I'm Welcome To)," and the subtitle "I'd be ready when my feet touched ground" is a line from that song.

5. Cylon ladies, from left to right: Caprica 6, Three/D'Anna, and Eight/Sharon. I found dragonlady981's icons while looking for more Battlestar Galactica reboot icons, and jumped on this one. Those three characters had awesome potential which, sadly, mostly ended up being criminally wasted. The writers practically forgot about the two Sharons for whole chunks of seasons at a time (and come on, a Cylon serving in the Colonial Fleet hardly ever becomes plot-worthy? seriously? or the whole identity thing with them sharing memories but being different people, and Helo not being able to tell them apart? or Boomer!Sharon's adjustment to Cylon-itude just sort of happening off screen? or Athena!Sharon's reasons for changing sides and her current attitudes toward the Cylon plan never really being explored? come on!), Six got shunted off into a love-and-baby plot, and Three got literally stuffed in a box. Probably a refrigerated box.
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From [personal profile] baeraad. I'm running a test to see who's reading my posts. So, if you read this, leave me a one-word comment about your day that starts with the third letter of your LJ USERNAME. Only one word please. Then repost so I can leave a word for you. Don't just post a word and not copy - that's not as much fun!

And, um, I promise to post more.
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The banned books you've read meme

Nicked from [profile] albumsontheside. I think this list comes from the American Library Association, if anyone's wondering.

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Okay, they're not all boring. It's just that most of the books on this list that I've read, I've read for school, and so my brain is going, "Noooo, don't make me write any more AP practice essays!" But all those books about Angsty Boys Who Are Jerks and the Pain of Growing Up Into Angsty Men Who Are Jerks are overrated.

Still, I know we could all make a list of much better books which some people would object to. Yet this is what people actually challenged the most! Nnedi Okorafor's The Shadow Speaker has magic, burkas and Arabic, and a woman with two husbands. Complain about that instead, and kids will have better stuff to read in rebellion.
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Character Meme: Padme

1.) Do you like this character?

Yes. I think she's a flawed character - I mean, not particularly minding your crush slaughtering children because he's upset? serious issues there! - but I also find that interesting. I like her dedication to justice and making the galaxy a better place, and I like the tragedy of, for instance, her being in power and in battle too young and never learning how to interact with people normally. (Maybe when you're surrounded by awful things all the time, a little baby Tusken slaughter doesn't look so bad? Or you think that everything comes with tradeoffs that big?) She's also impulsive enough to give Anakin a run for his money, even if she can also restrain herself better when she chooses.

I think one of the best bits of drama in the PT is how Padmé first surprises Palpatine by not being quite as young and naive as he expected (evading the Trade Federation, boldly marching into the Senate and insisting they do something), but still young and naive enough not to notice things like, oh, isn't it odd that Palpatine claims he had no idea he would be nominated for Chancellor when he suggested that vote of no confidence? I wish the PT had followed this up a bit more, with the Petition of 2000 being the final break between Padmé and her former mentor. (Who was it that wrote that awesome drabble about Padme being jealous of Anakin for taking her place?)

I also think that on a meta level, the character was treated very badly. Dying of "losing the will to live"? How do you even do that? If I suddenly lost the will to live, I'd just feel lousy, not drop dead. If it was a stress-induced heart attack or a hemorrhage or something, the med droid would have noticed. I don't think med droids are qualified to diagnose a lost will to live, anyway. And standing around doing not much for a whole movie? (Even in the cut scenes with the proto-Rebellion, Padmé mostly waffles and isn't sure about things.) I can see her growing more cautious and maybe a little scared after realizing how things can backfire (and how vulnerable she is with her humongous secrets)... but this was a bit much. Though I do think her arc over the PT is consistent with someone who's depressed, but trying so hard to cope that even she might not realize it, and finally just breaking. I feel that. (It still doesn't make you just drop dead for no good medical reason.)

Also, why does she assume that the Queen will make her resign once her pregnancy is known? Is single motherhood scandalous for a Senator, or does the Queen think Padmé should be home with her baby, or what?

Finally, I loved Padmé's line about wondering if they were on the wrong side, but it's hard to take it seriously when the Separatists are running around with O HAI WE R TEAM EVIL stamped on their foreheads. Unless she meant that there should be a third side?

2.) What name(s) do you call this character?

3.) What image / color do you associate with this character?
Image: Um. Padmé as Amidala boldly addressing the Senate in TPM, Padmé telling Nute Gunray they'll be negotiating a new treaty in TPM, Padmé climbing that pillar in AotC, Padmé laughing in the meadow, and Padmé crying and dying in RotS all strike me as equally "Padmé." I think this having to play different roles for different people is part of her problem...

Color: Flower colors, like the yellows and pinks in the dress she wore when they arrived at Varykino.

4.) What song do you associate with this character?
"Paradise" by Vanessa Carlton. I saw a Padmé fanvid to this song once and it stuck with me. "As darkness quickly steals the light/that shined within her eyes/she slowly swallows all her fear/and soothes her mind with lies..."

5.) What blood type do you think this character is?
I think the bumps on her head indicate tendencies toward delusion and insanity, which is why she has suddenly turned against the Republic. Let's put her in the sanatorium. Chancellor Palpatine will pay for it. (What? It makes just as much sense as blood type determining personality. Thanks to 4thofeleven for explaining this history.)

6.) From all of the titles that feature this character, what other character do you think makes a good pairing with this character?
Um. Considering Padmé's tendency to accept a lot of silence and lies and genocide to keep a relationship going, I'm not sure she'd do well with anyone just yet. But I think that she and Anakin did start with similar temperaments and ideals and seem to enjoy each other's company, so if they weren't both so damaged, it might have worked out. And if Obi-Wan weren't as committed to the Jedi Order as he is, that might have been a good option too. Him being still occasionally reckless but a bit more stable might help balance things, and they could have more intellectual discussions than Anakin/Padmé. (On the other hand, Obi-Wan has similar issues with overlooking warning signs that HEY INCIPIENT DICTATOR OVER HERE, so maybe they'd just reinforce each other's bad traits.)

I dunno, I'm tempted to tell Padmé to stick with a small circle of close friends and forget romance for a while. Or to find out more about that cute new Senator Mothma, or give Sabé a call. They understand her life and aren't totally broken as far as we know, which is a good start!

7.) What would you want to say to this character?
- No, everything is not okay. You need help. But there's no shame in that - would you feel ashamed of having a broken leg and needing a doctor?
- If you can't talk about the things that bother you in your relationship because you're afraid that will end it, there's a problem. That problem may be him, or it may be that you're more scared of losing him than of facing the fact that maybe he has issues, or both plus more.
- Having made huge mistakes feels horrible when you realize it, but you are awesome enough that you could probably have done a lot to fix them had you lived longer.
- Prenatal appointments exist for a reason. Take advantage of that doctor-patient confidentiality.
- I don't believe that med droid's diagnosis, don't worry.
...I'll stop now. I have lots to say to Padmé.

8.) What do you want to do with this character?
Go through her closet and admire all the shiny things! (I wouldn't want to actually wear any of it, mind.) Then watch movies and discuss them in way more detail than their creators intended. Or watch the BBC Pride & Prejudice.

9.) Please choose five friends with your choice of character.
Just tell me if you want one.

Character Meme: Shmi Skywalker

From fialleril

Shmi Skywalker

1.) Do you like this character?
I do. She's compassionate, kind to strangers in need, wants what's best for her son even when it means losing him, sensible and practical, hard-working (getting up before dawn for mushrooms!), and can find serenity in a tough life while still being quick to seize opportunities to improve it.

On a meta level, though, a few things bother me... This trilogy is about Anakin, so it's understandable that we see most characters relating to his story. However, most of them also clearly have their own stories and opinions about non-Anakin topics: Obi-Wan has relationships with other Jedi and doesn't trust politicians, Palpatine wants to take over the galaxy, Padme is a politician and cares deeply about her people and principles (and would like a family, with or without Anakin), Yoda has younglings to train and a war to run, Qui-Gon follows the Living Force and takes in strays... even Jocasta Nu clearly has her own thing going.

Shmi, though... In The Phantom Menace, does she have any concerns besides Anakin? She never so much as mentions that So-and-So down the street might have Part X they could borrow for the podracer. Between movies, we know she got freed and married Cliegg, so she must have had her own life. But we don't even know whether the 30 neighbors tried to rescue her for her sake or for their old friend Cliegg's, or whether it's hard to run the farm without her (things that might legitimately come up in conversation onscreen). Other things that might legitimately have come up: when she says "[Anakin] deserves better than a slave's life" and "My place is here," is she slanting her message to her audience, or is she really resigned to deserving/belonging in a slave's life? Does she fight slavery in small ways, like fixing machines and selling handicrafts once she's free to help her friends in the Slave Quarter save toward their freedom and then hiring them as farmhands? Did she ever try to contact Anakin?

Shmi seems to exist in a bubble, relating to nothing, until Anakin shows up. And then she dies horribly to further his storyline. So while I think she is great and does a lot with the role, she still kinda is a Woman in the Refrigerator.

2.) What name(s) do you call this character?

3.) What image / color do you associate with character?
Image: Demeter
Color: Rich earthy browns

4.) What song do you associate with this character?
Hm. Maybe "Summer Breeze" by Seals & Croft? I don't know a lot of songs about quiet but strong motherly women. Anakin might think of Sting's "Desert Rose" in a non-romantic sense, maybe?

5.) What blood type do you think this character is?
How would I know? It's not like you can tell by looking! Uh, I'll say O- then, the universal donor.

6.) From all of the titles that feature this character, what other character do you think makes good pairing with this character?
Well, she and Qui-Gon seemed to hit it off - they both have that concern for the small living things. Doesn't have to be romantic, though. Cliegg is down-to-earth and practical. I think she and Breha and Bail might have been friends if they had known each other. She might have liked talking to Yoda - they'd disagree on a few things, like the nature and value of attachments, but I bet he would listen to her. I would also totally love to see how Han would react to her - he never ran into a mother-figure in his trilogy.

7.) What would you want to say to this character?
You deserve a better life too.

8.) What do you want to do with this character?
Bake cookies for great justice! We could have a fundraising/awareness-raising bake sale/craft fair/quick-stop electronics repair service to start a fund to buy slaves' freedom and find them jobs. We would branch out to secretly teaching slaves useful skills they can use to earn money while continuing the low-profit bake sales as a front. (Hey, you've got to travel to sell stuff, right?) We'd organize the slaves into neighborhood associations and such so they can work together to improve their lot - maybe make neighborhood pools to free each other one at a time.

And of course we'd also help them work together to figure out how to disable those dratted exploding implants.

9.) Please choose five friends with your choice of character.
Just let me know if you want to do the meme.
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Genre books meme

Gacked from gehayi

1) Look at the list, copy and paste it into your own journal.
2) Mark those you have read however you want.
3) Feel free to tell your friends what you thought of them.

Bold = Read
Italic = Started, but didn't finish (either the book or the series)

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I wonder who made this list, and what the criteria for inclusion were.
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Ask me about

From the wilds of teh internets, a meme! Here's how to play:

1) Make a list of fifteen characters, and keep them to yourself for the moment.

2) Ask everyone to make up questions in the comments.

For example: "One forces Two and Seven to get married. Is it a happy marriage?"
"Five, Six and Twelve form a band! What do they call themselves? Are they any good?"
"Why *are* all the other numbers afraid of Seven?"

I decided to stick to Star Wars characters, but I'm not giving you any other clues as to who's on my list. Ask me questions about them!