Sunday, May 14, 2017

Spring Term Update

Still a work in progressWow, spring term has been long, and it's not even over yet. I've read a lot of books this term, and still not as many as I'd like. Highlights include Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Paul Auster's City of Glass, and Amèlie Nothomb's Biographie de la faim. Outside of class, I still haven't quite managed to finish Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert's Marvel 1602, although I'm enjoying it so far. Meanwhile, my "to read" stack stares at me accusingly.
I have actually been involved with The Lens, one of Carleton's publications of a more literary bent, as a content editor this term, which seemed to go well, although interest in the publication as a whole seems quite low. I hope to get in touch with people about maybe working with The Manuscript, another one of Carleton's publications, once I am back on campus for the Fall term.
It's Week 8/10, and already preparations for Fall term are underway. I have secured my room assignment for the Fall. Course registration is upcoming. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Shakespeare I, Self Defense for Women, Critical Methods in English, Middle East & the French Connection, and Windows on the Good Life.)
My courses for the summer trimester in Ireland have already shown up on my schedule as well. I'm excited to take a real art course for the first time in a very long time. I'm hoping it will improve my work. I am really looking forward to this study abroad; I hope I will get a chance to see art and literature in a more real-world context, as well as enjoy the beautiful country.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

American Gods: The Bone Orchard

I recently watched the premiere episode of the American Gods TV show, The Bone Orchard. I typically must prepare myself for disappointment when viewing adaptations of beloved books. However, I should've known better than to doubt Neil Gaiman. At least as far as this first episode, I am extremely pleased with and excited for this adaptation for American Gods.
The show is quite adult, which is in line with the book's content. There's a lot of sex, violence, and gore (although the blood and gore are somewhat stylized). Interestingly, it seems that the violence is intended to disturb rather than glorify itself. In fact, most of the episode was rather disturbing. It was stressful to watch. It's probably a good thing I'm going to have to wait a week between episodes because I'll need the time to recover my emotional energy.
It's interesting to see Shadow Moon, a protagonist whom I have always read as a very laconic and self-contained person despite his thoughts on the inside, on screen. It will likely be necessary for him to express emotions and thoughts out loud more frequently than usual for him, for the show to make logical sense.
I was particularly pleased with the small updates that helped to firmly situate the show within our current time. Bilquis uses e-dating services to lure her victims, and virtual reality is incorporated into certain aspects of certain characters as well. I feel like these updates were quite seamless and made a lot of sense.
American Gods has always been one of my favorite books, and this adaptation respects the source material. For people who have read the books, there are a few details that they will probably catch a little sooner than those who have not: recognizing the character who dictates the exposition, noticing an early character who will later be quite important, knowing Mr. Wednesday's identity, catching references to some of the larger overarching plot that Shadow (and likely some of the viewers) has not yet discovered, and so on. It's difficult for me to know for certain, because I am familiar with the book, but I imagine the show would also be quite compelling and make some sense (or at least enough for now) for those who have not read the original book.