Category Archives: video
It’s been a long week.
I’m very tired.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t found a few reasons to laugh! My Critical Social Theory and the Media class involves spending a lot of time on YouTube searching for pop culture artifacts to extend our understanding of the assigned readings.
Sometimes I get a little distracted and spend a lot of time watching a lot of junk. Today I found a video called Grad School Rap, and I laughed. A lot. Maybe it’s because I’m running on empty today, but I found this video hilarious:
“I’m a grad student, I make dozens of dollars!”
You know it!
What kinds of ridiculous videos suck you in to YouTube?
Title: Dance of Shadows
Author: Yelena Black
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: 2/12/2013
Length: 447 pages
Series?: Dance of Shadows #1
Genre: YA paranormal
Source: ARC from NetGalley
When Vanessa’s older sister, Margaret, disappeared four years ago from her freshman year at the New York Ballet Academy, everyone assumed she’d run away. But Vanessa’s believes Margaret is out there and she’s determined to find her. This dedication lands Vanessa in the exact same position as her sister: a freshman at NYBA, dancing the same role in the same ballet. Vanessa’s search for her sister leads her down a path of questions, shadows, voices, and visions. With the help of a handsome dance partner, some good friends, and her own fiery talent, Vanessa must dance like her life depends on it…because it just might.
If you’ve seen The Black Swan, then you get the general feel of this book. No, they aren’t quite the same. But the tone is the same. This is a very dark book with a lot of mysteries, and the reader is not quite sure if the protagonist is losing her grip on reality or if the sinister element is real. Is it all in Vanessa’s head, or is there something paranormal afoot? That mystery alone kept the pages turning, and I finished the novel in a single sitting.
Was the writing stellar? Eh. I’ve seen some complaints that the writing was awful and the dialogue unbearable. I didn’t feel that way — but I wasn’t exactly reading this novel for the beautiful prose. Maybe I flew through it too quickly to notice, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Sometimes Vanessa annoyed me. For example, in a scene where a character tries to reveal the truth to her, Vanessa becomes very angry and accuses the character of lying, even though she has no real reason to not believe the character or to be angry about her disbelief. However, I loved the almost comic relief of Vanessa’s friends and the almost erotic (yes, erotic) dance scenes. Yelena Black’s dance scenes are so electric and sexy that I was actually blushing, even though everyone is fully clothed in a crowded room. Intense.
FINAL GRADE: B If you like your ballet sexy and sinister, this is the book for you. Fans of paranormal romance will like it, and it would be okay in a middle school or high school library (though it does get violent and scary). Be aware that this is the first book in a series (trilogy? not sure?), with both a short-term story arc and a long-term arc. I will be reading the next book in the series, as I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this. If you aren’t convinced, I’ve also dug up the book trailer for you from YouTube:
What do you think of sexy, sinister ballet? Intriguing? Uninterested? Have any other ballet books to recommend?
I’m not done with my discussion of The Great Gatsby just yet (if you haven’t already, check out my review from Thursday). While poking around the internet for Gatsby love, I happened upon this video by the one and only John Green. It’s one of his regular Vlogbrothers videos from last fall (just a few weeks before my epic school night road trip to see him speak in Asheville). In this video, he offers his analysis of some of the big metaphors in the novel, mainly the valley of ashes. If you’ve ever read or loved Fitzgerald, you need to watch this video. So happy Saturday, y’all. Enjoy.
The answer? Of course. Don’t we all have fond memories of Charlotte’s Web? It’s an American children’s classic. I remember reading the book and watching the movie in elementary school. But how do we evaluate the story as adults? Does it stand the test of time? Is it more than a children’s classic, but an actual literary masterpiece? This video says it all, and it’s definitely worth watching. Check it out if you want your heart to flutter with nostalgia from childhood:
What are your memories from this classic novel?
I was on Goodreads, looking at the page for Gretchen McNeil’s Ten, which I reviewed earlier this week, and I found an amazing little video.
I know I already said the book was only so-so, due to my love of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (the book this book is based on), but this video made me rethink things.
Mostly that A.) I do think anyone who hasn’t read the Christie novel will enjoy Ten and 2.) the book would make a pretty awesome teen slasher flick. Hey Hollywood — take note. Make this sucker into a movie (and pay me a finder’s fee).
If you’ve read Ten or if you haven’t, check the video out either way:
Did this remind you of The Ring? Does it make you want to read the book?
If you are seeing this post, it means I’m having a really busy week and can’t take the time to write. Instead, I thought I would share with you this awesome video of “Shit Graduate Students Say.” Though this student is obviously a science student, I could relate and got a good laugh. Thought you might, too. Enjoy:
- “What am I doing again?”
- “I just want a 9-5 job.”
- “My parents keep asking me when I’m going to finish.”
- “My parents don’t even know what I do.”
- “My project sucks.”
- “Yeah, I read the paper, I just don’t really remember the details?”
by Hannah Harrington
ARC from publisher
[#58 in my 75 book challenge]
At first I thought this book would be a lot like Speak or Lauren Myracle’s Shine, but I was surprised to find that it is quite different. Chelsea Knott is the second most popular girl in her high school, and she is a known for being a shallow gossip. One night at a party, Chelsea shares some gossip that results in a serious act of violence. So she takes a vow of silence. She’s going to stop the gossip cycle. What she doesn’t realize is that now she’s about to become the target of the bullying, and she’s plagued with guilt about what she’s done.
First off, I’ll say that I liked Chelsea. Her transformation throughout the story is subtle and believable, not preachy or fake. I also LOVED the new friends she made during her silence! I mean, who wants to be popular when you can hang out at a diner studying math and making tuna melts? But mostly I loved the message of the story, which centers on the lasting impact of our words and the effects of bullying in various forms.
Though it borders on cheesy and predictable at times, Speechless did manage to win me over at about the halfway point. There are no crazy twists and no big reveals, but the end of the book leaves the reader feeling hopeful. I walked away feeling good about life, which I feel is the right message for a book about bullying.
[Oh, and Speechless gets the GLBT tag because the initial violence is a hate crime committed against a GLBT character. So for those with an interest in GLBT lit, definitely check this one out.]
FINAL GRADE: B Overall, a good book. I would strongly recommend it for inclusion in a high school library, considering its connection to Love is Louder. Love is Louder is a non-profit spreading the message that “love and support are louder than any internal or external voice that brings us down.” It would be a great book for high school book club, and the site linked includes resources for reading the novel with teens. The folks on Goodreads also seem to be giving it pretty high reviews, so you should definitely check it out if you love issue novels or contemporary YA. As for the middle school scene — I would include it in my library, but it does contain sexual content.
In case you’re interested, I’ve included the book trailer below:
The theme for May is Random Playlist: “Open up your music library and pick a song at random from your collection to feature with us. The choice can be as eclectic as you want it to be! Share one song, or share a couple songs. Feature your random mixes with us all month long.”
My iTunes is a hot mess. Don’t get me wrong — it’s organized. I am a librarian, after all. But my musical taste is all over the map. Hitting shuffle usually results in lots of classical music. So here’s what happened when I hit shuffle this time:
1.) “Salvator Mundi” by Thomas Tallis
I listen to classical quite a bit because I was a total band nerd in high school. Can’t say this one has shown up on any of my favorite classical playlists, but it grew on me as I listened to it for this post. Also discovered it was in an episode of The Tudors. Maybe I should watch that show.
2.) “Face Down” by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Reminds me of spring 2007, when I got this song on a mixed CD from a friend. Mixed CDs from friends are the reasons I listen to most of the stuff I currently love .
3.) “Back for Good” by Take That
Whoa…talk about a 90′s throwback. I definitely remember this one from 1995. However, I didn’t realize Take That included a young Robbie Williams. Definitely worth watching if you’re a 90′s child. I had to listen twice.
4.) “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers
I sang this in my car like nobody’s business during the summer of 2005. Now I just scoff because they just sing the same exact thing twice. Guess a 90 second song wasn’t enough, so they had to double it?
5.) “Come Undone” by Duran Duran
Maybe one of my favorite songs of all time, I’ve loved it since I was in 3rd grade. I’m glad this one showed up on my 5-song shuffle.
Recognize anything? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? I was surprised by this list. In the true spirit of the Random Playlist theme, it really is random. What’s the most random song in your collection?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the bloggers over at the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers from all around create lists based on the chosen topics, and post links to the host blog to share our love of books. This week we’re looking at books that we think would make great movies. This can either be due to the desperate desire to see a beloved story/character played out on the big screen or because the book just seems perfectly suited for the theater. I wrote a post about my views on books into movies, which included my favorites and a wish list, so check it out if you get the chance! Here are my top picks:
Top Ten Books I’d Like To See Made Into a Movie
[aka movies I'd pay $15 to see, even though I already know the ending]
1.) Divergent by Veronica Roth
The scene where Tris ziplines down the Chicago skyline from a skyscraper? That alone would be worth it.
2.) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
I just want to see the battle room in action.
3.) The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart
Okay, so this one is purely selfish. I just want to see the cute outfits and you KNOW it’d have a great indie music soundtrack.
4.) The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare
…so I can watch the movie and decide if I really want to read the books.
5.) Bunheads by Sophie Flack
I could watch ballet movies for hours.
6.) The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
This would make an amazing kid’s movie that grown-ups could also enjoy, especially if they put a good budget behind it and did it well.
7.) When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Just imagine all the pieces coming together at the end for a twist and a bang! But I also think the period feel could be done well, and the scenes with the $20,000 Pyramid would be fun.
8.) A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
It could ride the coattails of the Downton Abbey obsession AND the paranormal romance obsession, all in one book. I didn’t ever finish the book, so it would also inspire me to do so.
9.) The Maze Runner by James Dashner
It’s just asking to be made into an action movie with crazy special effects.
10.) Any Agatha Christie Novel
Now here’s a movie franchise I could take part in! I would love to see Christie’s stories OR new stories based on hers told on the big screen in the 21st century. The TV movies and adaptations and whatnot are nice, but they could really kill it (pun intended) with a good budget and some great actors.
Basically I’ll go see any movie that comes out for a book I’ve read. What movie would you like to see on the screen? What movie do you wish you could write/produce?
[Also, note that my book cover collages are back! I found a post-Picnik site that will do them just like Picnik: ipiccy.com!]
by Sophie Flack
Purchase on my Nook
[#35 in my 75 Book Challenge]
Finally, I have purchased, read, and finished this book.
Bunheads is the story of Hannah Ward, a nineteen-year-old ballet dancer in the Manhattan Ballet Company. Though she a member of the Corps de Ballet, she dreams of being a soloist and advancing her career — and she has been told that she has the talent to do so. Dedicated ballerinas focus 100% on their craft, working long hours and watching what they eat. Hannah has never questioned this lifestyle, until she meets a boy. Two boys, in fact: handsome musician Jacob and the suave balletomane Matt. Hannah must make difficult choices about what she really wants in life.
The ballet scenes made me really want to watch Center Stage, but I couldn’t find it, so I watched a documentary about ballerinas in the Mariinsky Theater in Russia instead (it’s called Ballerina, I watched it on Netflix). I also watched some YouTube videos of the dances Hannah talk about performing in the book. I was most interested in Rubies, from George Balanchine’s ballet Jewels. I’ve included the video here to get you in the mood for the rest of this review:
This is a book about ballet. And love. And choices. But it is mostly a book about ballet. Hannah’s entire life is ballet, and most of the action takes place in the studio or on stage. Flack obviously knows and understands the ballet world very well, so the passages are steeped in ballet terms and situations. I only took about seven or eight years of very casual ballet class, but I loved the ballet focus and thought it was perfect. I was worried that the love story business would take over, but I found the balance to be exactly what I was seeking: about 75% ballet story and 25% romance. It was refreshing to see a main character who was driven, focused, and had a lot going for her in life beyond just a teenage romance. It was also nice to see a teenage protagonist make choices for herself and not purely for a boy.
I think this book works so well because the theme and the message are universal. You don’t have to be a ballerina to understand Hannah’s situation. For teens, the story of Hannah’s realization of a world outside of the ballet world is a metaphor for the moment in all of our lives when we realize the world is bigger than we know. Jacob may be a catalyst for this, but it’s a realization that Hannah would have had to come to terms with at some point either way. Teens can also identify with the decision between choosing to hone a specific skill to perfection or experience many different things in the world.
FINAL GRADE: B+ I debated for a long time whether to give this book a B or an A. Then I realize that the very fact that I was undecided was my answer: it’s a B. If it were an A, I wouldn’t have questioned it. I really wanted to give it an A because I felt it was well-written, featuring strong characters and an excellent message, but in the end it lacked the “wow” factor necessary to earn an A. This is definitely an excellent book with no major flaws, and I highly recommend it to adults and students alike. The sexual references are minimal, so I would feel comfortable recommending it to students in my media center and I will be purchasing it for my library’s collection.
Did you ever take ballet class? Want to be a ballerina? Do you love watching ballet and dance like I do?