Soup Dish: on my mind this week, and a few favorite links
✽Well, we're winding up summer around here. School shopping is done, orientations have been had, and the first day of school is Tuesday. Yesterday I took my older daughter to Bumbershoot to see Panic! At The Disco, which was a surprisingly (to me) great show. Earlier in the week I took my younger daughter to see The Princess Bride, the last of the Movies In The Park for this summer. AND, still working on replacing outlets and things like that. Woohoo, DIY!
✽I am ridiculously fond of the Muppets. I'm exactly in the demographic for the original Sesame Street, and I still think The Muppet Show from the second half of the 70s is one of the best family shows ever, bar none. Also the Siberian prisoners singing "Workin' in a Coal Mine" is pretty much the funniest thing I've seen all year. So when Bookriot featured the Muppets' best literary references, you know it was one of my favorite things. While we're on the topic, The Monster At The End Of This Book is still one of the best, most-fun-to-read-aloud kids' books ever. I hope it never goes out of print.
✽On a more serious note, there are a couple of articles colliding for me: The Overdetermined Hero by Liz McCausland, wherein I feel uneasy about the heroes I love to read about, and in fact, have named this blog for:
If we want to claim that reading romance empowers women–and many people do–we have to acknowledge that it can disempower us too. No one has to think about the appeal of the stalker-alpha, of course. But I do wonder what we’re afraid to look at when we evade the questions he raises.In another article, Jessica Wise posits that literature in fact, changes reality, which has some interesting commentary but isn't very well supported as far as I can tell. For instance, she says:
Whether you’re reading Harry Potter or Great Expectations, you’re reading the kind of plot that inspired Darwin. Yet recent studies show that his theory might not be the whole story. Our sense of being one man or one woman (or even one species) taking on the challenges of the world might be wrong. Instead of being hard-wired for competition, for being the solitary heroes in our own story, we might be instead members of a shared quest: more Hobbit, than Harry.but I couldn't find any supporting links or references either in the transcripted article or at the original Ted Talk video (possibly because I'm a Ted Talk n00b, having only watched a few vids and not tried to engage at all).
Both of these articles made me think of Jayne Ann Krentz's Bowling Green speech, to which I've referred before, about how the traits ascribed to popular heroic tradition (whatever that may mean in context) tend to have survival value. Sadly, it seems that the publicly available transcript of the speech has been taken down, but the gist of it is, today's genre fiction (and historically speaking, most fiction that speaks to the common public) promotes optimism - courage, valor, honor, integrity, love.
I kind of want to get the three of them on a panel to talk about romance heroes. With water balloons, or something.
What I'm reading
The list is a little thin this week; lots of non-reading things going on!
✽Finished an ARC of Nalini Singh's new contemporary, Rock Addiction. Watch for a full review on Thursday.
✽Also blew through another ARC that was super-amazing but won't release until late October, so I'll be coy about the title. You're gonna want it.
✽I'm in the middle of Tall Dark and Cajun, by Sandra Hill. I'm thinking of doing a mini-feature on Cajun heroes-- does anyone have a favorite?
✽I started a couple of titles that ended up stalling out a little for me; I'm not calling them DNFs just yet but I dunno. They're both BDSM romances but both of them hit "oh please, really?!" bumps for me.
Outlander Watch... Och. Jamie and Claire onscreen!
✽Yup, still loving this show. My only critique is that I found the 1940s music playing during the Castle Leoch scenes to just... not work for me. But eh. You gotta love Dougal, right? Such a shady, nuanced character.