KYD Advent Calendar

KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

Editors' Picks

Editors’ picks for January: How to Be a Woman, The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project, Gone Girl

by Kill Your Darlings , January 16, 2013Leave a comment

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran — Imogen Kandel, Online Editor

I have to admit books were not high on my list of priorities over the holiday break. In fact books sat somewhere between sipping wine and cleaning the bathroom.  Let’s be honest, they were on the same level as cleaning the bathroom. Yet despite my complete and utter lack of brain power, I did manage to lazily pick up a copy of Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman.

How to Be a Woman is full of Germaine Greer-level feminist enthusiasm without the prerequisite of having to sample your own menstrual blood. Moran covers all the big topics with a heavy dose of humour and sass: puberty, boyfriends, work, weddings, births, motherhood, abortions, Lady Gaga. Drawn from her own life experience, Moran’s pearls of hard-won wisdom make reading this book like travelling back in time to read Dolly Doctor: entirely illuminating and at times, downright terrifying. While Moran does let her temptation to rant get the better of her at times, I can hardly fault the woman for sounding a bit pissy about the cards dealt to the ‘fairer’ sex.

A pee-your-pants funny look at the highs and lows of having a vagina, I can confirm that reading How to Be a Woman is definitely a better way to spend your time than cleaning the bathroom.

The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project by Lawrence Dai — Stephanie Van Schilt, Online Editorial Assistant

I’m a pretty punctual person in life, but when it comes to pop culture I don’t mind getting to the party late. Bands, movies, books – I don’t care if they’re no longer ‘cool’, so long as I’m charmed when I encounter them. So I am hereby declaring, in an insanely ‘uncool’ move, that my latest magnificent obsession is a three-year old blog. Yep, in Internet years that’s got to be older than the collective ages of the Golden Girls, and more dated than that reference.

Anyway, I’ve recently been mass consuming, chortling, choking and cry-laughing at The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project. In 2010, college student Lawrence Dai adapted the premise of Julie & Julia – the Nora Ephron film based on Julie Powell’s 365-day challenge to cook 524 of Julia Child’s recipes and blog about it – by watching the film every day for a year…and blogging about it.

This is meta-magnificence at its best. Beyond the feat of viewing the film 365 times, Lawrence’s reflections are both relevant and irreverent as he finds various inventive ways to approach (or reproach) the film, and rapidly goes a little crazy.

His comical depiction of this monomaniacal fixation – which, commenced in 2010 gained him some press and internet fame – is a cackle-inducing fun-fest. It is a cannily written intimate affair that charts the ups and downs of one man and his love/hate relationship with a movie. And I love it.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn — Emily Laidlaw, Marketing Co-ordinator

It’s almost impossible to write about Gone Girl in any meaningful way without giving away any spoilers. So if you haven’t read it yet and still want to maintain the element of surprise, avert your eyes now.

Gone Girl was continually recommended to me over the holiday break as light summer fun and I wasn’t disappointed. Gillian Flynn must have had a ball writing this high quality potboiler about married couple Amy and Nick, whose outwardly picture perfect marriage implodes when Amy goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary.

I was alerted to the fact there was a major plot twist (which in itself is a bit of a spoiler, right?), leaving me to second guess a lot of the action. So when it was revealed Amy had faked her own disappearance and was masterminding the whole police investigation, I wasn’t too shocked. What did shock me, however, was the level of sympathy I still felt towards this – to phrase it nicely –‘psychopath’. While there’s something endearing about Amy’s naive, sweet-as-pie diary entries which make up the first half of the book (a technique I usually despise but here works well) there’s something more appealing about her crazy revenge fantasies which spew forth in the second half. Angry at her philandering husband, Amy rallies against a culture which pits women against other women in the pursuit of men, which teaches girls to be nothing short of perfect, to resign to a life of ‘cleaning and bleeding’,to always standing by their man.

For the most part, Gone Girl is schlocky entertainment but these feminist undercurrents turn this page-turner into something more. Gone Girl has also given me a taste for exciting, sharply written detective fiction – something I hope to read more of in 2013.

 

 




9508984918_5d8a187fc1_z

Marika Sosnowski

Living Side by Side: Multiculturalism at Home and Abroad

It all seems quite idyllic – people of varying nationalities, religions and cultures coexisting peacefully. It could be a blueprint for the perfect multicultural society. However, there’s something beneath the surface that is troubling to the western notion of modern liberalism. Read more »

9864007066_4a196b364d_z

Tim Robertson

Fear, loathing, and the erosion of civil liberties

The hysteria currently being concocted by Australia’s political leaders is a smokescreen for the more serious threat facing everyone – an attack of the very freedoms and values our nation has been built on. Read more »

308982705_be9f94455b_b

Marika Sosnowski

Back inside: Life on the Syrian-Turkish border

In Turkey, less than 50 kilometres from the border, Syrians have chosen their favourite cafes, have opened Aleppine sweet shops and set up stores in the old city. Read more »

isabelle_cover_grande

Dark Places and Safe Spaces: S.A. Jones’ Isabelle of the Moon and Stars

S.A. Jones’ Isabelle of the Moon and Stars is a powerful and affecting depiction of a young woman struggling with mental illness and emotional turmoil. A book like Isabelle might well be described as the underdog of Australian publishing: a character-focused literary novel published by a small press … Read more »

w527705

Carody Culver

Taking Christmas off the shelf

Ah, Christmas – for some, a time of gift-giving, awkward family gatherings and over-zealous consumption of rum balls; for booksellers, a time to weep silent tears of stress and experience the irrational but persistent fear of being buried alive beneath boxes of the latest Stephen Fry memoir. Read more »

22432611

S.A. Jones

The modern epistolary novel: Annabel Smith’s The Ark

Annabel Smith has given the epistolary novel a twenty-first century reboot in her recently-released dystopian novel The Ark. Told through emails, blogs, procedural reports, speech transcripts and the occasional newspaper clipping, this impressive technical feat of storytelling is a clever and appropriate twinning of form and function. Read more »

mariah-carey-all-i-want-for-christmas

Julia Tulloh

A SuperFestive Christmas playlist

I know what you’re thinking: lists like this became redundant in 1992, when Jon Bon Jovi rubbed shoulders with Cindy Crawford beneath a Christmas tree for the first and last time. Does the ideal of Christmas music get any better? Perhaps not, but many have tried. Here are a few other Christmassy pop goodies. Read more »

Kim_cover_web_

Julia Tulloh

Kim Kardashian, butts, and the internet

We’re used to seeing her butt, and we’re also used to Kim doing crazy publicity stunts. Her entire life is a publicity stunt in itself, both the means and end of a crazy, money-making, power-acquiring trajectory. Her very fame is built on the playful and shameless self-exposure captured in the Paper shoot. Read more »

theartofasking_image

Julia Tulloh

Living on fans: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Rather than enticing people to pay for music through marketing campaigns and radio play, Amanda Palmer is interested in connecting with her fans, becoming friends with them, and creating a system of exchange within the community that is formed. This means that art is not often payed for with money. Read more »

Exodus-Gods-and-Kings-Poster-Bale-and-Edgerton-691x1024

Rochelle Siemienowicz

Problems with God: Exodus: Gods & Kings

This is the thing about retellings of old and beloved foundation stories: it’s impossible to come to them fresh, without trying to compare and contrast with previous versions for veracity and style. It’s usually the modern incarnation that comes up short. Read more »

Screen-Shot-2014-10-01-at-11.22.21-AM

Matilda Dixon-Smith

Can too many parts destroy an adaptation? The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

It’s a relief to feel the weight of fidelity lift off an adaptation film, as Mockingjay: Part 1 becomes a meta-exploration of fame, franchise and future. Read more »

Maps to the Stars

Rochelle Siemieonwicz

Monsters in Los Angeles: Maps to the Stars and Nightcrawler

Both Maps to the Stars and Nightcrawler are peopled by monsters who may look human, but are actually spiritually deformed and morally repugnant creatures of the most loathsome kind. The suggestion implicit in each of these thrillingly creepy stories is that these ‘freaks’ are born out of and adapted to the hellish spiritual landscape of LA. Read more »

3991099211_8397c745fe_b

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Taking up space: The legitimisation of creepshotting

There is a relationship between catcalling and creepshotting. Both are practices that involve the reduction of strangers to objects to be gawked at and commented on, which is what makes the ‘Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train’ Tumblr blog interesting and complex. Read more »

IMG_0086

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Pictures of pictures: Monument Valley and the rise of the in-game photographer

Presenting screencapturing a game as a form of camera-free ‘photography’ gives rise to a conceptual issue. If the ‘photographer’ is moving through, and capturing, a world created entirely by others, then who exactly should take the credit for any images created? Read more »

IMG_4309

Connor Tomas O'Brien

Patrons and gamemakers in the shadow of Gamergate

There is a lot to unpack about Gamergate, and a great deal more that isn’t at all worth taking seriously, but what the patronage pseudo-controversy has drawn attention to is the fact that there are potentially huge issues with moving to a model of monetary transactions in which our payments are increasingly networked and ‘social’. Read more »

2447663467_2d543e6c87_o

Danielle Binks

Young Adult literature: genre is not readership

YA is not a genre – it is a readership. It may seem like pedantic nitpicking to focus on this distinction, but so pervasive is the mistake, amongst even established literary channels, that explaining the difference has become increasingly important and indeed necessary. Read more »

00page

Danielle Binks

Disability or superpower? Deaf identity in YA

‘We actually need more stories about deaf and hard of hearing characters and for their experiences to be shared in stories. Often, young readers believe they are ‘alone’ in their deafness and do not realise that there are many others like them.’ Read more »

Anne of Green Gables

Danielle Binks

Books that take you there: YA literary tourism

How has literary tourism taken on new dimensions and greater capitalism, thanks to youth literature – both old and new, book and film? Read more »

mariah-carey-all-i-want-for-christmas

Julia Tulloh

A SuperFestive Christmas playlist

I know what you’re thinking: lists like this became redundant in 1992, when Jon Bon Jovi rubbed shoulders with Cindy Crawford beneath a Christmas tree for the first and last time. Does the ideal of Christmas music get any better? Perhaps not, but many have tried. Here are a few other Christmassy pop goodies. Read more »

drake-cover-650

Justin Wolfers

Drake’s climate change epiphany

Or: ‘Heat of the Moment’ as an epiphany in which Drake realises the urgency and importance of acting on climate change Read more »

Swans_To_Be_Kind

Chad Parkhill

Against the Album of the Year

We won’t see an end to end-of-year album and song lists any time soon – it’s hard enough for sites and publications to turn a buck without scorning one of the easiest means of acquiring sales and page views. Read more »

??????????????????????

Stephanie Van Schilt

Lady Bosses on the Box

An increasing number of female-driven comedies, dramas or melodramas are popping up on our screens. Through the filters of fiction, the worlds these heroines inhabit directly reflect our own. This is the age of the lady boss. Read more »

105768385_5672eae965_z

Stephanie Van Schilt

Bananas without pyjamas? Budgets cuts and the next generation of ABC kids

From my humble beginnings watching kids’ programming, I learnt that ‘Your ABC’ was indeed, our ABC. The protests and public outcry which followed this week’s announcement of cuts to the ABC demonstrate its crucial role in fostering a sense of community for Australians. Read more »

Marry Me - Season Pilot

Stephanie Van Schilt

Happy Hangovers and False Starts: Happy Endings and Marry Me

Binging rarely ends well. Binge eating is how unwanted food babies happen. Binge drinking is how inhibitions and memories are erased. Binge-watching a TV show can take over your life. Which is exactly what happened a few years ago when I fell in love with Happy Endings. Read more »