Culture Corner – January 2015

2015 01-04 License Plate GameI can’t believe it’s been four months since I last did a Culture Corner (September 2014), but the blog wasn’t lacking for culture! With the end of my 30×30 list we got to visit the Somerville Museum, finish touring the MFA with my friend Caroline and I finally attend the Boston Symphony Orchestra again. But since then, I’ve done a lot of travelling and visited quite a few museums.

One of the big things I’ve never talked about as a cultural experience is travelling. I generally focus on what I do when I get there, but driving from Boston to North Carolina and then flying from North Carolina to Omaha, Nebraska and then back to Boston really made me think about the culture of travelling.  I won’t go into it in this post, but I think I’ll probably write about it when I attempt to revive Now Entering Adulthood in the coming weeks. What I AM going to write briefly about and show lots of pictures of are my whirlwind trips in December to DC and North Carolina and my January trip to Omaha! And then throw in a few pictures of my most recent MFA visits.

Click here to continue reading.

December (And Year!) 2014 Recap

2014 12-08 Washington MonumentWhat a busy and exhausting month December was! It’s been almost a full week into the new year and I’m struggling to get a recap together so it’s going to be pretty basic. I did a lot of traveling from a birthday trip to DC (right) to my annual winter trek down to NC, with a side trip to Virginia where I completed my 30×30 list with a literary inspired tattoo, and topped off the month and kicked off the new year with friends in Charlotte, NC and a wedding in Omaha, Nebraska! I’ll do a separate December/January Culture Corner to do a recap on my traveling to DC and Omaha as I went to so many museums and traveling in itself is a type of culture!

I’m going to do a quick monthly recap in the next paragraph and then after that will be my yearly recap and a couple of small changes you’ll notice in the new year.

Click here to continue reading.

Book 76: Breaking Dawn (Twilight Saga #4) – Stephenie Meyer

Meyer, Stephenie - Twilight Saga 4 - Breaking DawnAnd I’m done. Eight days after I started Twilight,and over 2,600 pages later I’ve completed the four novels and the novella. First gut response: it’s not as bad as I thought it would be and I actually enjoyed myself as I read it. There is a major caveat, but that’ll come later. I’m glad I read them and now know what everyone was in such a fuss about a few years ago. I still prefer Harry Potter, but this was a fun side road.

I mentioned my caveat above and that’s the first thing I want to talk about. Meyer is an excellent story-teller and she definitely found small details to expand into a grand story. That in mind, her writing in the first novels left much to be desired. I mentioned it in Twilight and I only bring it up here because I’m torn between whether it was the writing or Bella’s character that caused me to temper my enthusiasm for the books. I know for that first book it was definitely both, but in the last book it was most certainly neither. In the three years it took her to write and publish the four novels (and even the extra two years to the release of the novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner) Meyer’s writing and characterization improved 10 fold.

Click here to continue reading.

Book 75: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Twilight Saga #3.5) – Stephenie Meyer

Meyer, Stephenie - Twilight Saga 3.5 - The Short Second Life of Bree TannerThis novella takes place at the same time as the events in Eclipse take place. It gives a very small glimpse into Victoria and her vendetta over the last two novels. But what’s important to note is that it is by far the best written of all Meyer’s works that I’ve read. I’m sure it helped that it was a novella and she had a finite story to tell. It also probably didn’t hurt that Bella didn’t even appear in the novel until the last five pages of the novella :-D

Although we don’t learn much about Bree Tanner, we figure out pretty quickly that she is smart and a survivor. She doesn’t remember much about her human life and has only been a vampire for three months. As she develops within a crazy vampire coven, Bree begins to question her indoctrination through her time spent with Diego, another newborn vampire. I don’t know if we will get this same path to discovery and awed enthusiasm as there was in this novella. The discovery that vampires could spend time outside anytime and wouldn’t die, and the craziness of their blood lust through a non-vegetarian vampire was fascinating.

Click here to continue reading.

Book 74: Eclipse (Twilight Saga #3) – Stephenie Meyer

Meyer, Stephenie - Twilight Saga 3 - EclipseI’m not sure what to think of the series at this point. It’s not as bad as I thought, but it’s still not as good as everyone makes it out to be. I’m still not happy with how helpless Bella is and am very glad no one mentioned her obsession with Wuthering Heights before now or I would’ve been forced to read the series a lot sooner than now.

I did, however, gain a bit more respect for Meyer. (Shock! Horror!) At the end of the novel, there was included a preview of  The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, which included an interview with Stephenie Meyer. In this she acknowledged one of the biggest faults I’ve seen in her writing: the lack of synonyms in her writing. I did notice in this novel that there weren’t as many issues and that either she’s progressed as a writer, or her editors became better at catching them, so that’s always a bonus.

Click here to continue reading.