"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Now Playing: L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N by Noah & the Whale (she had deep brown eyes that have seen it all)

I've just downloaded The Hunger Games trilogy onto my iPad. I'm only a few pages in and I. Am. In. Love.

I'm very very fussy over my reading list - and I ordinarily just re-read old favourites over and over. I just found my copy of Caesar's Women (it was hiding in the gap between my bed and the wall) and I read it again in the bathtub. My copy of The Time Traveller's Wife is well-loved. Harry Potter is more than thoroughly bashed up.

But I don't buy into 'hype'. I very rarely get into 'popular' books - I haven't since my Twilight days. I just have a very low opinion of popular opinion at the moment - the by product of going to a very indie school with very indie people; so indie that even 'indie' is too mainstream. That being said, though, sometimes at Perth Mod mainstream became the new indie, in that it was looked down upon as cheap trash just like mainstream crowds look down on indie stuff for being artsy shit.

The reason why I can't really dig into popular literature is because, to be honest, my obsession with Twilight scared me. It still scares me. Sometimes I find myself in situations where I am in, or lust after, what could honestly be considered abusive relationships. Twilight glorifies abusive relationships and for a long time, as a naive impressionable little girl, that was what I thought I wanted and actively sought. In a way I'm glad that being unlucky in love has protected me from the consequences of the dangerous shit I relentlessly pursued.

As a novice writer my writing is probably too influenced by other literature than more established writers. I looked back at some of the stuff I wrote when I was a younger teen and I was horrified by how...similar it was to Twilight. The plaguerism didn't bother me per se - what else do you expect from a twelve year old wannabe writer? - but the fact that I had cut copy pasted the violence of Edward into my male characters, the weak damsel in distress, never stands up for herself female characters, the abusive arcs of the relationships. I deleted about 40,000+ words of hard work and I've been too scared since to really invest time into something like that.

So with all that said, when The Hunger Games became a thing, I immediately was a little wary. I don't like popular fiction per se - I'm quite discriminating in my books and aside from Harry Potter and a few classics I don't think my reading list is a very popular one. And the Stephenie Meyer testimony sprawled across the front really put me off, too. Not another Twilight. Puh-lease.

I really wanted to read a book where the emphasis on female characters was on 'characters', not 'female'. I wanted to read a book where women didn't become men to be characters of substance; I wanted characters that reinforced that femaleness is a source of strength just as much as maleness is. Off the top of my head I can't really think of really good female heroines that stand out aside from perhaps a few characters in Harry Potter. I really dislike how women are portrayed in popular culture and it is really impacting on my love of books and movies - as you can see from my dissection of American Beauty.

My friends have all seen/watched The Hunger Games. I like the look of it, and I know the storyline. I've got two songs off of the soundtrack - Safe & Sound by Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars and Abraham's Daughter by Arcade Fire. Further, The Hunger Games has the unusual distinction of being recommended by feminists! Laci Green, Feminist Frequency, Bitch Magazine all recommend it, and especially commend the depiction of Katniss.

And so I gave in.

I like books that some people consider 'easy'. To me, reading has never been a challenge, and shouldn't be. I read for pleasure. I associate reading with relaxation - I do most of my reading in the bathtub (my copy of Eclipse is very badly water damaged, but I can't really say that's a loss to anyone) or in bed, and so I don't like headache-inducing plotlines and pretentious prose.

I downloaded the kobo app onto my iPad (the best reader app in my opinion, although the books are somewhat limited) and bought the entire Hunger Games trilogy. I've only had time to read about ten pages or so but I am so in love. It's a real page turner. I've got the whole thing so I'm going to be well and truly occupied on my way to Korea.

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