So I have a book club . . .

It’s called Miss Print Book Club. And for a while it was on hiatus while I thought about new format ideas.

But it’s back now!

I’m using March to promote and spread the word. Starting in April it will go on a monthly schedule.

Our first book is Fracture by Megan Miranda.

You can find the rest of the information on the book club’s new blog:

http://missprintbookclub.wordpress.com/

MPBClogo

Linktastic!: Oscars Edition

Some fun links from my Twitter feed and some stuff about the Oscars and other things.

  • “Paperman” won the Oscar for Best Short Film this weekend. The short played before Wreck-It Ralph and the win was very well-deserved. What was less deserved? “Paperman” producer Kristina Reed was thrown out of the Oscars for being charming and clever and tossing paper airplanes with lipstick on them (as seen in the film!) over the balcony. She was let back in eventually, but talk about being killjoys. MTV Geek! has the full story by Eddie Wright. You can also watch the adorable short in its entirety while you’re there. (via @bkshelvesofdoom on Twitter)
  • I haven’t seen Life of Pi or read the book it’s based one. BUT I did see the trailers and I know there were a lot of visual effects at work in that film (kind of a given with a tiger on a boat, right?). And it’s really lovely that Rhythm + Hues won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for that movie. Except that before the company got to mention the sad turn of events leading to its bankruptcy their acceptance speech was cut short. By the Jaws theme. And no one really seemed to be acknowledging the work that these brilliant people did to help make what is a visually impressive film. Phillip Broste has “An Open Letter to Ang Lee” posted on VFX Soldier that explains the situation more eloquently. (via @Jodyth on Twitter)
  • I’m not even comfortable getting into the details here because it’s so disgusting, but I was appalled by some of the things I’ve been seeing about nine-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis. I haven’t seen Beasts of the Southern Wild and I don’t know a lot about it but I think Ms. Wallis is absolutely adorable and I want to hug her and compare dog bags with her and tell her how great it is that she is so confident and self-assured. The Onion’s twitter account (no link because they don’t deserve the publicity) apparently thought differently. So did Seth MacFarlane while HOSTING the ceremony where Wallis was ONE OF THE NOMINEES. Wallis is nine-years-old. This treatment isn’t okay at any age but it seems especially horrible for a child. N. K. Jemisin explains the situation and why it’s so appalling on her blog. (via @veschwab and @bethrevis on Twtter)
  • Which brings me to my thoughts on the Oscars. Keeping in mind I only saw an hour of the ceremonies, I was horrified by the “jokes” MacFarlane delivered throughout the show. Putting aside the casual sexism, when did it become okay to be “funny” by making hurtful, demeaning remarks about others? The LA Times has a full list of coverage of the Oscars and everything that they did wrong.
  • That led me to a Buzzfeed post by Hillary Reinsberg about 9 Sexist Things that happened at the Oscars. When you get a chance, watch the first video. It doesn’t matter if you listen to the tasteless lyrics. I want you to watch the actresses they show during the song and the way their faces fall every time MacFarlane continues. Oscar Night is a BIG deal and instead of being a part of it these actresses were singled out, ridiculed and demeaned. That is not okay. And I think we all know it would not have happened to male actors. Here are two gifs of Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron to show you just what I mean:
  • Also, that song? The one everyone wishes they could forget? Four of the actresses named were playing characters who were raped. Nice one. (via @studentactivism on Twitter)
  • Don’t worry, I’ll end on an up note.  How awesome is Jennifer Lawrence!? I really liked Lawrence’s dress and I felt so bad when she tripped but I so love that she just got back up and kept going never once losing her poise. That’s classy. I also love Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper even more for rushing to help Lawrence even though she totally didn’t need it.
  • I’m very biased but I really enjoyed Silver Linings Playbook and I was sorry that it didn’t win Best Picture and that Bradley Cooper lost out on Best Actor. BUT I will say this: Ben Affleck knows how to give an acceptance speech. I especially liked this part (via @elizeulberg on Twitter):

    “It doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life because that’s going to happen, all that matters is that you gotta get up.” -Ben Affleck

So, that’s largely what I thought of the Oscars. What did you think?

I Spoke to Jack Davenport Last Week OR How I Randomly Helped a Really Famous Guy at Work Last Week

Exactly one week ago, on July 12, 2012, I was in the same building as Jack Davenport. Better, I was close enough to touch him. Better still, I had a conversation with him (sort of *cough*). For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, Jack Davenport is an actor. He played Norrington in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and more recently has been playing the director, Derek Wills, on the television series Smash.

Jack Davenport as James Norrington

I currently work in a bookstore. Jack Davenport came into that book store. And he bought books. While I was at the cash register. When I heard him talking, I thought that voice sounded familiar. Then, upon closer examination, I realized he sounded familiar because he was Jack Davenport. I swiped his credit card and rang up the purchase and gave him a reusable tote bag (which he thought was very nice). I also probably stared and turned bright red. BUT I think you can all agree that means we are connected now and, though he may not remember me at all we will always be linked thanks to those books and that tote bag.

This is probably what Jack Davenport looks like whenever he thinks about his wonderful books and reusable tote bag. (Not really. Or is it?!)

It was all very exciting despite my not really saying much or actually telling him I knew who he was. But I still grin every time I think about it or tell anyone about it. I’m grinning right now, dear readers. It was amazing. It was particularly entertaining when I explained the incident to my mom: Miss Print: “I just saw Jack Davenport at work!!” Mom: “Who?” MP: “He plays director Derek on Smash.” Mom: “. .  . He’s the creepy one who sleeps with all the women?” MP: “Um . . . yeah.” So there you have it.

Hunger Games: Characters I Wanted to See More Of

With the movie fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about The Hunger Games (and, yes, the fact that I won’t be seeing the movie adaptation during the opening week).

The Hunger Games is a story of survival filled with action and the promise of excitement and intrigue. Already a wildly popular book, readers will tell you that what truly sets this series apart are the unique characters.

While Katniss is a huge part of what makes The Hunger Games so strong and so very compelling, the book is also filled with secondary characters that bring the story and the world of Panem to life. Without them, Katniss would have been very lonely (though perhaps slightly safer). But this series is still ultimately Katniss’ story more than anything else, which is why it only makes sense that some characters got less attention than readers would have liked.

Here are some of the characters I would have loved to see more of:

Gale: Much as it pains me to mention Gale and not Peeta, it was really unavoidable here. Peeta might be with Katniss during the Games, but Gale plays a much larger role in Katniss’s daily life in District 12. Despite his importance to Katniss, we learn very little about Gale as the focus of the story shifts from District 12 to the Capitol. We would have liked to see a bit of Gale’s reactions to Katniss’s Game strategies, not to mention learning a bit more about his own family.

Effie Trinket: Preferring the comforts and sparkle of the Capitol to the isolation and grime of District 12, Effie is the reluctant escort of District 12 Tributes on their journey to the arena each year. In all of her previous years, her obligations ended very soon after the Games began. No one knows what Effie did to garner such an unenviable post, or what she does between Games, but we certainly wish we did.

Cinna: In charge of Katniss’ team of stylists, Cinna and his counterpart Portia help make Katniss and Peeta the Tributes to watch before either of them set foot in the arena. Equal parts mentor, ally, and clothes designer, Cinna clearly has hidden depths beyond what the book reveals, not to mention he knows how to rock that gold eyeliner.

Caesar Flickerman: There isn’t much more to say about the Capitol’s favorite television host or his signature interviews with the Tributes each year. But, really, who doesn’t want to know more about a character being played by Stanley Tucci?

Rue: The smallest and youngest Tribute, no one expects Rue to last long in the arena. Despite her small size and youth, Rue proves to be a formidable ally for Katniss during the Games as well as a friend. While we know what happens to Rue in the arena, her life in District 11 before becoming a Tribute largely remains a mystery.

Thresh: As Rue’s counterpart from District 11, Thresh is her complete opposite—a large, formidable figure among the Tributes. Like Rue, Thresh’s past remains unknown. His own motives during his final encounter with Katniss in the arena are equally mysterious.

Foxface: Possibly the smartest Tribute in the 74th Hunger Games, Foxface is so enigmatic we do not even know her real name. Relying on stealth and cunning, Foxface survives in the arena by staying in the background. It would have been interesting to see how growing up in District 5 informed her strategy or if her mentor had something to do with that.

The Career Tributes: With names like Glimmer, Cato, Clove and Marvel it’s hard to forget the Tributes who have spent all of their lives training to take part in the Hunger Games. Coming from lives of wealth and privilege in Districts that are favored by the Capitol, their situation could not be more different from that of Katniss and Peeta. We would have loved to better understand why volunteering to participate in a fight to the death made sense to them.

 Madge: Daughter of District 12’s mayor, Madge’s life is removed from the poverty of Katniss’s daily life and the dangers of the Quell that selects Tributes each year. Still, Madge gives Katniss a Mockingjay brooch as a token to bring into the arena. We never learn why Madge gave her the pin or what happens to her later in the story (I honestly always thought she was severely under-developed/under-utilized in the later books). She also won’t be appearing in the movies at all. Some characters just don’t get a break.

Bonus Characters from Catching Fire and/or Mockingjay:

Catching Fire is my favorite book in the trilogy by a wide margin. I could happily have read many more books about the events in Catching Fire as well as the mechanics of the Games and the Districts–the world Collins created is that fascinating. That said, it makes complete sense that some characters left me wanting more later in the series.

Finnick: Simultaneously annoying and awesome, Finnick might be my favorite secondary character from the series. While we get a lot of details about Finnick’s life as the story progresses, I still would have liked more just because he’s such a fun character. (I may or may not be mildly crazed as I wait to see who will be playing Finnick in the second Hunger Games film.)

Johanna Mason: Brash and more than willing to put Katniss in her place, Johanna is another character who comes to life on the page even without her backstory being fully developed. During the casting for the first movie, I heard that Kristen Bell was lobbying heavily to play Mason. Since then, I’ve come to fully support this idea and honestly might be inconsolable should the part go to someone else.

Nuts and Volts: It’s hard to think of these two separately. While certainly not the savviest, these two are easily the most intelligent tributes Collins introduced to readers. It would have been interesting to see what brought this wacky pair together as friends.

Now you know the characters that I wish got more attention in The Hunger Games. Let me know what characters you would have liked to see more of in the comments.

A shorter version of this entry was originally posted at 20SomethingReads.

Miss Print Book Club in March 2012

I hope March is starting off in the right direction for all of you, dear readers. I run an online book club which is getting ready to read a new title for the next two months and wanted to tell you all about it.
For March and April my online book club is reading Fracture by Megan Miranda. I really enjoyed the writing in this book as well as the story and I think it has a lot worth talking about. Fracture is a short book so I hope some of you can fit it in and discuss it a little bit because I really think it has a lot going for it.
If you’re not already familiar with the club and want to see what it’s about (or how to join), you can find the information here: http://missprint.wikispaces.com/
You can find the current book’s page here: http://missprint.wikispaces.com/Fracture
The discussion questions are already posted and ready to, er, discuss here: http://missprint.wikispaces.com/message/list/Fracture