Wednesday Recommendations

Back With Stuff

I actually have things to recommend today so I shall.

Face- This is actually just one thing, but I’ve used it for years.

  • Contact Lens solution: Opti-Free Pure Moist, you don’t need the twin pack the link is just so you have a visual, but yeah I’ve been wearing contacts since I was a senior in high school and have been using this brand since then too. I wear one a day contacts just fyi.

Books/Comics- As usual there’s not particular genre or category I stick to though fashion and fantasy seemed to have dominated today.

  • ShadowShaper by Daniel José Older: I haven’t finished it yet I’m only half way through, but I’ve been meaning to read this since it came out. The protagonist is an Afro Latina girl and she’s a young adult heroine that is the right combination of skeptical and willing to go with the flow (which can make or break a book for me). There is a little bit of ‘vagueness is coming’ in the beginning, but because fantasy this immersive in a non-white culture isn’t as easy to find in the mainstream I forgive it. I’ll probably finish it by the weekend.
  • Bad Girls of Fashion by Jennifer Croll and Illustrated by Ada Buchholc: I just picked this up from the library when I got ShadowShaper, because I have an interest in fashion, and it’s actually pretty cool so far. As with any book like this written by white people I always end up thinking there were more women of color that could have been added, but overall I’ll say there is fair amount of diversity amongst the chosen. I was also pleasantly surprised to see women like Angela Davis in there as well a great analysis of her looks as they related to her blackness and the movement. The illustrations are lovely (Cleopatra is brown [Macedonian or not she wouldn’t look like Elizabeth Taylor!!!!!]) and they add to a book that cares as much about information as it does visuals.
  • The Illustrated Book of Fairy Tales Retold by Neil Philip and Illustrated by Nilesh Mistry: This is not a new book by any means, but when I was a kid I checked it out of the library often, and recently just decided to buy it. Books that acknowledge that fairy tales have a long history and that that history is global and multicultural are well worth owning. As someone who likes to tell stories it’s also really helpful when I’m low on influence.
  • Walking Your Octopus by Brian Kesinger: This is a good book if you like art or your in need of a cute book to give to a kid. I believe the author/ Illustrator works for Disney which is apparent by his style. There’s not much else to say about it, its about a woman named Victoria and her (adorable) pet Octopus Otto. See also- Traveling with your Octopus.
  • The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute: I haven’t fully read this mostly because I bought it on sale and for the fashion history part. I’ve been using the photos for drawing practice, but there is some cool information in this book as well. It covers the 18th to the 20th century in European fashion and talks a little bit about the clear asian influence in some of the styles. It is pretty heavy though and is pretty much a coffee table book.
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: This is a short novella that I would’ve read in one day if I’d started in the morning. It takes you fairly quickly (though it’s never confusing) into a world with strange aliens and cultural divides that some sci- fi stories take way to long to do. I don’t want to say to much because it’ll give things away but I’d definitely recommend it if you like sci fi and want more black women protagonists. My sister would also highly suggest you read the author’s fantasy series Akata Witch .

Film/TV- Most of this stuff is new, but a few are things I just watched now (and could still be new to someone else).

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2: Is this a perfect movie? No, of course not. Marvel movies tend to follow a predictable formula because it works and almost always delivers. The first Guardians of the Galaxy strays from it a little, but not as much as it’s sequel does. As I mentioned in my Monday post the found family aspect of the film is it’s core. Saving the galaxy was almost a coincidence given the circumstances rather than a problem they actively set out to solve which is nice, because I’m very tired of heroes and their world ending crisis (I never thought I’d say that but here we are). Other good notes about the film were that it was colorful, I liked Gamora (and Nebula’s) treatment better in this film, and the soundtrack really helped to tell the story (the characters are also aware of the music most of the time which I really liked).
  • Dear White People (the show): Before you crucify me, please keep an open mind and know that the show is far more complex than the title has caused some people to believe. Like with anything I agree some concepts could have been done better, but I do believe the characters are interesting and that it’s a show worth giving a shot too especially if you want a more honest look about some people’s black experience in America/on a college campus. That’s all I’m going to say. Also full disclosure I never saw the movie just the tv show.
  • Pariah: It’s not really the female Moonlight, but I know why it was recommended that way. It deals with a black lesbian teenager from the bronx and is about self discovery more so than suppression. The main character is closeted in that her family doesn’t know, but she goes out and wears masculine clothes (only at school and at parties) and is actively seeking a girlfriend in the beginning. It’s a good story overall. My only problem with it is that the two implied bi characters are pretty sleazy and wishy washy which can be a harmful stereotype.
  • American Gods: Okay so I admit it, I never finished the book. It wasn’t bad or anything, but it was very MALE if that makes any sense (and I’ve read and enjoyed male protagonists before, Shadow wasn’t really the problem). The concept was interesting and there were some cool female characters, but seeing the story play out on tv for me personally has been a bit more engaging. So far the first two episode cover what I know happens in the novel, but I think it’s being handled very well, and I can already see how they’re expanding some of the characters roles. I actually think this might be worth a whole post, but yeah if you don’t have Starz you can get a week long free trial and binge watch when it’s over in June. I might revisit the series then.

Okay that’s it for this Wednesday (except also WATCH THE GET DOWN on Netflix). As usual stay informed, and don’t feel pressure to check out everything, my taste is just really varied. If you find just one thing you like than that’s awesome. See you Friday!

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