Books and movies

Today, I finished reading the book (well, listening to the audiobook, anyway) Crazy Rich Asians.

I had read the book, because I had enjoyed the film, and discovered that it was based on a book, and that there was actually a whole little series of books, and that it was written by a man…, and my interest was piqued… especially by that last fact.

I had just recently been to Singapore a couple times, so the film easily held a little warm spot in my heart, especially since they go to eat at one of my favorite places in the world to eat (the hawker stand when they first arrive to Singapore).

At long last, I got hold of the audiobook, and dove in, and, though it was different from the film, I enjoyed it.

I mean, I knew it would be different from the film – books always are different from their film counterparts.

Except, perhaps, The Princess Bride… that one is purty darn near exactly the same…, though it does have slight differences still…

Anyway, two things came from this, but I’ll wait…

Whenever I finish a book, I let goodreads.com know, and it adds to my list of books read.

It also sends me an e-mail: You finished [fill in the blank book]. What’s next?

And then it gives a brief bit about the book, including the first few reviews on it, and then info on the author and how to follow him on the website, and, finally, other books that people who read this same book also liked/read.

On this e-mail, I saw part of a review that interested me, and so I clicked and was led to the full review, which I read.

The writer of the review and I had very different impressions from the book – I very much enjoyed it, and she was somewhat annoyed by most of it.

I easily disregarded the review, knowing full well that I often disagree with most reviews I see of books.

(Also, I almost never accept film recommendations, because people seem to have such terrible taste in films and in film quality…)

I have certain people I trust with book recommendations, and I rather distrust most others in the world for a book (or film) recommendation.

But this got me thinking more on the book…

There are probably loads of people who dislike and have terrible and ugly things to say about just about any book, right?

As JRR Tolkien wrote in the beginning of the 1976(?) edition of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, there will be always those who dislike things he likes, and also who dislike the way he told these stories.

(He said a lot more, but that is the most relevant part in this conversation.)

As I thought about the film’s being so different from the book, I found myself wanting to talk to the author, Kevin Kwan, and to ask him how he felt about that all, and what his thoughts were on it…

Is it not basically a group of individuals declaring that your story was good, but just not good enough?, I thought at him in our mental interview within my own mind.

Then, it had me wonder, What is it like with reading the various reviews of your books by readers? All those nasty comments and thoughts…Do you just ignore them entirely and never read them, because that isn’t why you wrote them, anyway? You wrote them for those who would enjoy them?

And this idea had me think about whether it mightn’t be a good idea to go ahead and gather together people who love me, and have them tell me how they dislike or do not like something that I have done or created… practice the rejection, so to speak.

Not to experience the suffering, but to learn to separate their unkind words from my own satisfaction and pleasure from the work I have produced… to aid me in learning to love my creations period, with no dependency on what others’ opinions are, good or bad.

My mood is up to me, and my art can be perfect just for me… everything else is insignificant.

If it brings others joy, yay: joy for them and for myself.

If it doesn’t bring others joy, yay: joy for myself.

That’s why I wrote/made/created it, anyway, was for myself, right?

In some way, anything I create must be for myself… it is something I was ready to express, and in this particular form at this particular time… it is for myself that I do it, whether I realize or acknowledge it or not.

Yet, those bad reviews really stick with us… as I recently was called to consider from a quote by Orson Welles:

Every actor in his heart believes everything bad that’s printed about him.

So, I wonder, how can we move past that?

How can we be untouched by the bad reviews?

And, even, the good reviews, too, for, if they suddenly were to cease, would we be saddened?

How can we be self-sustaining in our joy and satisfaction with our own art, and untouched by the opinions of others?

The second idea was about how films are always different from the book, even when the book is spectacular already.

Why must the book always be changed?

Why?!

Ugh.

Post-a-day 2020

Love Reading

It turns out that, when I really love a book, I can get through it in two days.

And that’s without necessarily changing around my life almost at all – I just read it during every single spare moment, and I stretch a little longer and go for an extra walk, just to be sure I get my reading in, but get to feel extra productive while doing it.

(Because reading isn’t productive enough itself, apparently… my cousin happens to be the same way, too, and we are both working on it.)

And man, did I love this book.

The only down side is that I thought the second book in the series would be a continuation of it…, but it turns out that the book is just another story altogether, only it is written and put together in a similar style as the first (i.e. it is also about young love being discovered in a lovely foreign land).

So, bummer that the story I love won’t continue, but yay that I have another story that I am almost guaranteed to love. (Because sequels risk being total bummers, but separate sequentially-written novels by the same author tend to be delightful more often… in my experience, anyway.)

Anyway, since that is the case, I don’t need to stay up late to listen to more of the story… I am not so invested in this new story yet, so I can just go to sleep instead.

So, yay for that. ;D

Post-a-day 2020

Writing

Do you ever just not feel like doing something you love?  Like tonight, how I just so totally don’t feel like writing anything, even though I actually love writing.  Yet, I write anyway, because I want to maintain the habit of writing, even and especially when I’m not feeling it or feel as though I have nothing valuable to write.  Otherwise, I could see myself going right back to how I first started writing, but then only wrote around once a month, because I didn’t feel like I had something valuable enough to write about.  Virginia Woolf mentioned in her (ridiculously long) essay called “A Room of One’s Own”, how it is important for women – the whole thing was about women – to write, no matter what they have to write about, because they are able to express their genius and artistry by writing.  And so, even if the writing is only valued for a day or for a year, it is still important to write it, she said.*

I have much to do over these next handful of days, and I would like to accomplish it all (and well), because I quite possibly will have more added on at the end of them, which is just a bit absurd when being added to what I already have to accomplish by a few weeks from now.  P-hsh—— (That was like a sigh, but with my teeth closed.)  Just like Fuji-san, it’s bothersome to do, but I know I can do this, and that’s exactly why I don’t want to do it.  😛

*Fun fact: I used the word ‘said’, and it is actually correct, because the essay was published out of two speeches Virginia Would gave to Cambridge women’s colleges around 1928 and 1929.  (One of those was Newnham College, which is where my best friend studied and where I visited and stayed briefly!)  So, she really did say the information, even though she also wrote it.

Post-a-day 2018

A time to live

I have just found myself sighing in amazement at something the students around me probably would think me a crazy adult for doing – I was that nonsensical old teacher, who got all excited about nothing special, because she/he was a total nerd, just now.  Who’d have ever thunk that I’d be that person when I grew older?

Anyway, the girls were talking about books for school, and I mentioned how using the audiobooks can be really helpful, whenever one finds it difficult to read the actual text of a book – it was how I managed to read lots of school books that I just didn’t like (and therefore struggled to sit down to read).  It was also how, I mentioned, I read Huckleberry Finn.  The language was written down for the story, but it was a set of spoken dialects that really weren’t written at the time.  My being from the southern US, I can understand most of those spoken dialects referenced in the book.  However, I never would read them.  They were, as I mentioned, always spoken.  So, when we read the book in school, I had to read a sentence once to figure out how to pronounce the words written there, and then I had to read it again aloud (either aloud in my head or actually aloud with my voice), so that I could hear what it was, and then I was able to understand what was written on the page.  Suffice it to say that this took way longer than I was interested in managing for an entire book.  Thus, the usefulness of the audiobook, which allowed me to understand everything immediately.

After I explained this, one of the girls mentioned how she would have found that useful for Pygmalion, the story of “My Fair Lady” that was written by George Bernard Shaw.  She said that the language in the beginning was incredibly difficult to understand, such that she was somewhat dumbfounded with it at first.

Now, that reminded me of how I keep forgetting to add Pygmalion to my reading list.  I’ve wanted to read it ever since I first learned about its existence, back when I was in high school.  But, I keep forgetting to add it to my list, and so I forget about it any time I’m on the quest for my next read.  Therefore, mid-conversation, I turned to my computer, and I added it to my reading list on GoodReads.

While there, I read the little blurb about George Bernard Shaw.  I was amazed at his years of life.  1856 to 1950 was his lifetime.  I began considering the historical events that occurred during that time span, and I was dumbfounded at how life might have been for this man, or even for any person living during that span of time, especially in the US, though he was in Ireland and England.  I then saw that he had won the Nobel Prize in literature (and refused the money, asking it to be donated to book translations into English instead), and he also won an Oscar.  And that second award struck me as odd.

He was born in the 1850s.  But when was film first an actual public thing in the world?  How do we go from the 1850s to an Oscar?  I checked.  It looked like film started to become a public thing around that 1880s.  Before that, it was the little wheel things (zoetrope and praxinoscope, the predecessors of the flip book), like the one with the images of the man riding the old bicycle, where it looks like he is riding, because the pictures are rotating so quickly, but it is just the one single loop, repeating over and over again.  (I looked quickly, but didn’t find a video or photo of that particular one, though it is the one I best remember from originally learning about them.)  So, essentially, this man went from a world with no film to winning an Oscar for a film on which he worked (specifically, he wrote the story and script).

Is that not a crazy concept?  It, I suppose, is similar to someone being born in, say, the 1960s, and being alive today, doing spectacular things in the computer industry.  (Think Steve Jobs, even though he is not actually alive today.)  Going from almost no existence of the world of the computer, to a time where one can become an expert and award-winner in the work of the computer.  Except, for George Bernard Shaw, there were also two world wars that happened, and a million other huge historical events.  What an amazing time to have been alive.  What a terrifying time, as well, to have been alive.

So, anyway, I found myself gaping and sighing and “Wow”-ing over this new-to-me information just now, as the girls likely saw nothing spectacular for me to be “Wow”-ing about, and didn’t really care anyway, since I hadn’t really shared the information with them.  But I just had to share this with someone… isn’t that an amazing time to have been alive, the lifetime of George Bernard Shaw?  It’s like “Midnight in Paris”, except that I don’t actually want to go back to that time – it’s just a spectacular concept to me, being alive in that specific stretch of time.

Anyway… yeah.  😛

Post-a-day 2018

My life in a novel

I feel like pieces of my life – almost every day – could be parts of a Sophie Kinsella novel.  Perhaps that is how she writes her novels; she combines all the ridiculous bits of her own life, with the plot of a made-up person’s life.  Even if she doesn’t do that, I think this is good enough validation for me to do that myself.  I mean, let’s be real here: I’m wearing a would-be engagement ring around these days, as though it’s no big deal, and I’m about to start telling people about how amazing it actually is, and how I think it’s a great thing for women to try at some point when they aren’t actually engaged.  How is that standard white bread normal?  Plus, wouldn’t that be a great part of a book about smart yet silly, somewhat crazy girl in her mid-twenties?  Exactly.  I need to start writing my own Sophie Kinsella novels.  She has inspired me and shown me that my life has just enough ridiculous for such a story.

Post-a-day 2018