By Danielle Gorman
On Monday, July 25th I gave up Facebook.
Not permanently, you see. Just for the month. I noticed recently that I’ve become too dependent on social media. I’ve devoted hours of time I could’ve been using to cultivate talents, try new things, and build lasting relationships, but instead I dragged my finger endlessly across the screen while I waited to find something golden—a little nugget of entertainment that would make my day.
I came to the realization this month that Facebook isn’t like it used to be. When I first joined Facebook, nearly 7 years ago, it was a platform to share what was going on in your day. I almost can’t remember the last time I read a post about someone’s actual life. Facebook has been taken over by memes, viral videos, and political posts pushing agendas right and left.
I can’t take it anymore. I’ve had it with the constant entertainment, the shallow interest in people’s lives, and the mindless wave of ignorant and useless information spewed by media and person alike. So I’m giving it up.
Again—not permanently. What I’m doing right now is an experiment. I want to see what happens to me in a month of no Facebook. I’m not giving up every form of social media, but that’s because I don’t think every form is as useless as Facebook (the only use I can think of that’s actually worthwhile is seeing pictures of family and friends, especially my adorable nephew). Apps like Pinterest and Instagram will continue to find a home in my heart and my home screen because they’re useful.
Instagram makes me happy (my feed is mainly pictures of puppies and exotic travel destinations) while Facebook demeans my intelligence and insults my sensitivities. Pinterest excited my creative side with its many recipes and style ideas while Facebook lulls me into a vegetative state of complacency as I scroll and scroll and do nothing productive.
So what do I hope to get out of this?
I know that’s not a lot, but it’s going to make a world of difference in my life. And I can feel it already, even though we’re only a week gone. I feel lifted from stress and negativity in a way I haven’t felt in years.
How do you think I’ll feel in three weeks? Glad I gave it up? Or raving like an addict wanting her fix? Should we run a gamble on how many notifications you think I’ll have waiting for me at the end? Or perhaps I’ll up and delete my account. We’ll just have to wait and see.
By Natalie Issa
It happens to all of us-- we finish a book, and suddenly there's a void where that book used to be. Where can we find something just as wonderful as that book we just put down??
Fear not. While there might not be any sequels to your favorite books (how cool would it be if The Perks of Being a Wallflower had a sequel?!), there are some TV shows that give off the same vibe as your beloved book. Here are my suggestions:
If you like Pride & Prejudice, you’ll love… Doctor Thorne.
Much like the beloved Pride and Prejudice, Doctor Thorne centers around a couple that obviously should be together. But alas, due to the stupid social constructs of the Victorian Era, their social classes keep them apart. Also much like Jane Austen’s works, Doctor Thorne has a good time poking fun at England’s gentry. Check out this wonderful series out on Amazon Prime.
If you like The Hunger Games, you’ll love… The 100.
Kids struggling to survive in a dystopian society? Check. A kick-butt female main character? Check. The Hunger Games and The 100 have a ton in common. Set in the future, the last human colony living in space decides to send 100 teen delinquents down to Earth to see if it’s inhabitable. But is Earth safe? Watch The 100 on Netflix to find out.
If you like Harriet the Spy, you’ll love… Veronica Mars.
Veronica Mars is basically the grittier, more grown up version of Harriet the Spy. Veronica Mars is the daughter of a disgraced detective turned private investigator. Helping her dad out with the business, she spends her free time trailing persons of interest with her binoculars and trusty camera. You can watch Veronica solve some killer cases on Amazon Prime.
If you like The Great Gatsby, you’ll love… Z: The Beginning of Everything.
Instead of watching Fitzgerald’s fictional characters, this series allows us to observe characters from his own personal life. But here’s the twist—it’s all from the point of view of Zelda, his vivacious and beautiful wife. Z: The Beginning of Everything starts at the very beginning of the fascinating relationship between Zelda and her husband. Watch the pilot on Amazon Prime—the rest of the series will come soon!
If you like Harry Potter, you’ll love… Merlin.
Fantasy lovers enamored with Harry Potter will certainly fall in love with Merlin. When a young and awkward Merlin arrives at court, Uther Pendragon is still at rule with his slightly spoiled son Arthur by his side. With magic banned, Merlin must conceal his still-new powers. And Merlin’s beard, do some crazy adventures happen. Watch the whole series on Netflix.
If you like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, you’ll love… Endeavour.
A brilliant, socially awkward detective. Sound familiar? Endeavour follows the beginning of the famous Inspector Morse’s career. Set in the 1960’s, the audience watches a young Morse solve some truly twisted crimes. But just as important, we watch this brilliant detective navigate around the culture surrounding policemen at the time. You can find Endeavour on Amazon Prime.
If you like Twilight, you’ll love… The Gates.
Who doesn’t love Twilight? When paranormal romance reigned supreme, there were a lot of TV shows about vampires and werewolves. But perhaps the one that had the most Twilight-esque feel was The Gates. Tragically cancelled after one season, it follows a perfectly normal family that moves to a gated community. This series deals with the pitfalls of high school, made all the more complicated with werewolves and vampires thrown into the mix. Watch it on Netflix.
If you like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you’ll love… Freaks and Geeks.
Much like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Freaks and Geeks follows a main character that’s trying to figure out where she fits in high school. After the death of her grandmother, Lindsay Weir finds herself growing apart from her old nerdy group of friends. Instead, she’s drawn to the “freaks” (which includes a young James Franco, Seth Rogan, and Jason Segel). Meanwhile, her little brother still very much remains a geek. Sadly, this cult show was cancelled after one season. You can find it on Netflix.
By Alex Doria
With the arrival of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child set to appear on bookshelves everywhere on July 31st, now is the perfect time to reminisce about the good old days when we were all clamoring for the next Harry Potter book and taking transparent online quizzes to figure out which Hogwarts house we would be sorted into (Is your favorite color red, green, blue, or yellow?!).
When the news broke that a continuation of the Harry Potter series was in the works, the media had a field day, and for good reason. Harry Potter is one of most beloved and successful franchises out there—I mean, come on, it has its own theme park! Not to mention that you can tour the actual sets in London at Leavesden Studios (since they figured they would make more money with Harry Potter tours than just making movies there, NBD). And the merch is seriously magical from chocolate frogs and replica wands, to House scarves and tickets for the Hogwarts Express.
The kid in all of us remembers when we turned eleven and sadly did not receive a letter of acceptance from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (this rejection has now been compounded by J.K. Rowling releasing the news that a North American wizard school, Ilvermorney, exists in Massachusetts, but we can all pretend with our Pottermore accounts). But we would make t-shirts and hand-made wands, and draw lightening bolt scars on our foreheads. That kind of love does not disappear with time.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child premiered on June 7th in London at the Palace Theatre to great praise and success, as well as secrecy. J.K. Rowling herself asked theatre goers to keep the plot of the play a secret, not only so they wouldn’t spoil it for others who are lucky enough to see it live (I’m so envious that I can feel myself turning green!) but also for the rest of us who live on the other side of the world and have to wait for our printed script of the play. We might be muggles (or No-maj) but we can pull off some seriously magical feats when we put our minds to it.
Now the question is, are we ready to dive back into the world of Harry Potter? Obviously, the answer is yes!
By Jensen Argyle
All biblioholics know this one simple truth: The book was better than the movie. This is obvious because there is no way you can fit every detail of a book into a 2 ½ hour movie. Recently, we have seen some awesome books being made into awesome TV series (ahem Game of Thrones.) Personally, I find this a much more acceptable way of adapting the books I love into a visual medium. And there are some books I would love to see made into a TV series. So, here are five series that should be made into a TV series.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer Maybe it’s just me, but I think this would be an awesome TV series. This is a series of books (that are long but also oh so good) that revolve around the fairytale characters you know and love (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White) but with an epic sci-fi twist. What Meyer has done here is she has taken these beloved characters, modernized them, and placed them in the future. There is so much epicness to behold in these books including awesome battles and cool technology. Plus, the characters are really unique and quirky, which is always a plus.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas I feel like this would be the next game of thrones. It is about an 18 year old imprisoned assassin who agrees to be the prince’s champion in a competition to find the next royal assassin. Chalk full of action, suspense, and romance this would make for a wonderful fantasy series. Plus, there are a lot of books and so there is plenty of material for the showrunners to work with.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot I know, I know, I know what you’re thinking. “Blasphemy! The movies are perfect! And no one can replace Anne Hatthaway as Mia.” I hear you, but hear me out. The movies are fantastic, but there is a lot from the books that are not in the movies at all. And there are a lot of books. I think that this would be a fun TV series because these books are full of sassy, fun characters, exasperating adult figures, and lots of drama.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins This is just the first book in a three book series. Each book focuses on a different couple, while also revisiting old couples. The books take place at a boarding school in Paris. Each character experiences romance, adventure, and drama. Overall, this would be a fun TV series just because the characters are so easy to fall in love with and root for.
The Selection by Kiera Cass This series is The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games. Need I say more? Probably. This series is about a young girl living in dystopian society who is selected to be part of a televised competition to win the heart of the prince. Full of romance and spectacle, this series would be a fantastic TV show.
So there you have it, five books that should be their own TV series. What books would you like to see made into a TV series? Let me know! And as always, happy reading!
By Danielle Gorman
Can I just start by saying “Oh my goodness”? This Pokémon Go craze is mind-boggling! Who would’ve thought that a bunch of millennials would want to go outside and catch virtual animals on their smartphones? (Actually, it sounds exactly like something millennials would go crazy for)
Either way, it doesn’t matter if you’re a lover or a hater of the Pokémon Go app. You have to admit it has its pros. The first of which is getting a lazy generation off their backsides and outside on a scavenger hunt that takes them to popular and important spots in their towns. Another pro is that while you’re off your backside you can use certain apps to turn the miles you walk into money for charity. (Plus, they’re all free!)
Their tagline is “Every mile matters!” The goal of Charity Miles is for you to become healthier from the exercise of running while helping to fun local charities. Thanks to technology you can run a 5K for breast cancer anytime you want, without having to wait for local events to be set up. So download the app, pick your charity, and start running—and don’t forget to catch some Pokémon on the way.
Walk for a Dog
(Also known as Woof Trax, which is actually the same of the developer of the app)
You know you should walk the dog. Everyone from your spouse to your mom keeps bugging you about how chubby you and Fido are getting. Until today, exercise wasn’t motivation enough to get you going—but thanks to Pokémon Go, you can grab the leash and go! Like Charity Miles, you pick an animal shelter (either near you or in a place that has special meaning to you) and the miles you walk with your dog will help raise money for the animals in that shelter. Win-win!
Another great app that helps animal shelters, ResQwalk is set up in a different and unique way. ResQwalk has a certain amount of money that they donate each month to a variety of shelters and charities. What you get to do is decide where you would like the money to go. So you walk the miles, with your trusty pet in tow, and the more miles you walk the more you can decide where the money is donated.
I’m sure there are other apps that help donate to charity, so if I’ve missed any of the biggies please let us know!
And even if you’re not a player of Pokémon Go, or you’re a hermit and don’t want to leave the house, find other ways to give back and do service. I often think that the rising generations are more selfish than the last ones (and I can say that, because I’m a part of the rising generations—don’t bite my head off!) so we need to put a stronger emphasis on helping others and spend less time worrying about ourselves.
So whether you’re tutoring Syrian refugees, or volunteering at the Humane Society, find a way to give back to the world that has given so much to you. Make me proud, millennials!
By Alex Doria
When you grow up loving books, your friends quickly catch on that you are the go-to person for book recommendations. Despite our reputations for being book snobs (and we definitely can be, let’s be honest), we English Majors actually love to read all kinds of books; not just the fancy, impressive volumes of prose that we read in the classroom, but the page-turning, plot driven kind to give your mind a vacay.
Sometimes you need a rom-com for the pool and sometimes you need a hefty novel, with literary criticism to boot. To give you the best of both worlds, I’ve compiled some of my favorite challenging reads and relaxing beach reads, but the question is this: which list will you choose from?
1. Wuthering Heights (1847) by Charlotte Brontë: Controversial and a classic, what’s not to like? Lots of woe, lots of forbidden love (incest?), and a hella lot of madness.
2. The Virgin Suicides (1993) by Jeffrey Eugenides: It’s what it sounds like; it’s about girls killing themselves. BUT WHY???????? (Sexism and misogyny, duh).
3. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) By Oscar Wilde: This is probably the only book you will encounter that features a man who is eternally young and beautiful but isn’t a vampire. Unsurprisingly, he’s a bit of an ass.
4. No Exit (1944) by Jean-Paul Sartre: Nothing like contemplating your identity when you literally can’t sink any further, because this one act play takes place in Hell. #Existentialism
5. Pride and Prejudice (1813) By Jane Austen: This happens to be my favorite book of all time, NBD. Romance, witty dialogue, social commentary, and gender politics are kinda my Achilles heel(s).
And For the Truly Bold…
Lolita (1955) by Vladimir Nabokov: One word: Pedophilia. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
1. Me Before You (2012) by Jojo Moyes: Yeah, I cried by myself at the pool while reading this. No shame.
2. Outlander (1991) by Diana Gabaldon: It’s got time travel, Scotland, history, romance, and is, at points, cheesily smutty. Gotta love a man in a kilt.
3. The Princess Bride (1973) by William Goldman: I didn’t know it was a book until I stumbled upon it at Barnes and Noble. Inconceivable!
4. The Paris Wife (2012) by Paula McLain: Paris in the 1920s + young love + the gloriously suffering artists of the left bank = quite a hot mess. But it’s oh so pretty. Especially since Ernest Hemingway was such a looker in his prime.
5. Yes Please (2015) by Amy Poehler: Thought I would throw in a little non-fiction to really spice things up! I love laughter that has a point, and Amy always makes hers. No slap-stick comedy here, just embarrassing life stories and philosophies that prove that Amy Poehler is the beautiful land mermaid we believe her to be.
By Jensen Argyle
Ahh it’s summer, which means all of the filtered pictures of your friends on vacation at the beach somewhere and getting that golden summertime glow from the sun are popping up in your newsfeed. Or maybe you’re seeing pictures of that girl from high school who is currently visiting Venice, learning Italian and eating Gelato. Either way, seeing friends out on vacation kind of sucks for those of us who are stuck where we are. I don’t even have access to an outdoor pool. But maybe we don’t have to be stuck where we are.
What if I told you that there was a way to travel to any place you can think of or imagine, and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your living room couch? You probably already know where I am going with this, but yes, your third grade teacher was absolutely right. Books can take you anywhere.
So, when you are feeling a little down because you are not going anywhere this summer, here are some books that will be your ticket to a free vacation.
Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch: This book will transport you right to Italy. Sixteen-year-old Lina is visiting her estranged father, who lives in Tuscany, because it was her mother’s dying wish. Using her mother’s diary as her guide, Lina discovers the wonder and majesty that is Italy.
Just One Day by Gayle Forman: The woman who brought you If I Stay takes you on an impromptu journey to Paris that includes a cute, whirlwind romance.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares: You get to travel to Greece and Mexico in this delightful book about four friends who go their separate ways for one summer but are all connected by one magical pair of pants.
The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling: Because if we are being honest with ourselves, we would sell our souls to spend a day at Hogwarts. Ok maybe that’s a little extreme (and maybe it’s not), but we would definitely sell all our books.
So there you have it. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy your book vacation. And as always, happy reading!
By Danielle Gorman
There’s been one couple that has been blowing up on social media these days. It’s not just Kim and Kanye. It’s not Jay-Z and Beyonce. It’s not Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.
It’s our favorite songwriter and Marvel villain: Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston.
Their relationship first became known to the world when they were spotted climbing rocks and holding hands by the ocean last month. And the courtship has been a whirlwind ever since. With jet-setting trips across the world—Nashville, England, Italy, Australia—there are rumors that Hiddleston is already planning to propose. While I don’t put much stock in rumors like that, it’s evident that the romance is cruising at top speeds, faster than the public can keep up.
But what does this mean for the rest of us?
It should mean nothing to us who celebrities date, but we can get ourselves in such a state speculating about A-list relationships: who’s dating who, who secretly got married, who the father of the famous baby is, etc. Their lives shouldn’t have any bearing on ours, except for the fact that we let them.
For example, when the news of HiddleSwift first broke, I shared the link on Facebook with my concern about Hiddleston’s heart. I was sure Swift would eventually break it (and the jury’s still out—it’s only been a month, after all) and was met with half of my friends’ agreement and half anger.
Some of my friends were appalled that I would even deign to comment on the lives of strangers whom I would never meet and who are constantly ridiculed by the media (and us ordinary folk) for every little thing they do.
I can see it from both sides. On the one hand, Taylor Swift will almost definitely never read a Facebook post I ever make. But my friends argue that on the off-chance that she does, she would be hurt by my insensitive words.
Where do I draw the line between the possibility of hurt and the actuality of it? It’s impossible to say. There’s a 99.99999% chance Taylor and Tom won’t ever hear my thoughts on their relationship, but does that mean I have the right to share those thoughts anyway? The media publishes thoughtlessly cruel things—many of which are lies—that celebrities will more likely get a hold of and read (as opposed to my post on Facebook). Who am I to add to that maelstrom of insensitivity and pain? No one, because it’s none of my business whatsoever.
I love Taylor’s music, and I think Tom is a gem of a guy, always acting in a chivalrous and gentlemanly way. If they’ve found love together, then good for them. I need to be less cynical of things I know nothing concrete about the couple—and I should be wary of the fact that I’m getting all of my information from gossip sites, tabloids, and other ordinary people sharing their ignorant opinions.
What are your thoughts on the HiddleSwift romance? Do you totally dig it? Or are you counting down the hours until they break up? Let us know. (Seriously, I want to know)
By Natalie Issa
Even before the new Ghostbusters film premiered, it received a dizzying amount of backlash. Like, a crazy amount. All you have to do is scroll on the trailers comments to see how much people really hated the idea of this movie.
Here are a few of my personal favorites:
To be fair, not all of the backlash for the film came from a place of sexism. Many of its critics claimed that a Ghostbusters reboot “ruined” their childhood by “trashing” a perfectly good movie franchise (which is a dramatic claim, to say the least).
To all those 40+ adults who lived through the premiere of a Ghostbusters movie and who literally will not stop complaining: stop. Seriously. Please stop.
This new Ghostbusters movie is not for you. It wasn’t written for you, it wasn’t marketed to your generation, and it wasn’t created with you in mind.
You know who it was created for? The younger generation who didn’t have the opportunity to live during a Ghostbusters movie premiere. This is a generation who has a different sense of humor, a different point of view, and a completely different pop culture than when the first Ghostbusters movies came out.
But even more, it was written for girls. That’s right: young girls. In a world full of predominately male and testosterone-fueled hero teams who save the world, the new Ghostbusters movie gave us something we haven’t seen before.
They gave us a team of imperfect, intelligent, normal looking women scientists. Who save the world.
Do you realize how important this is for young girls to see?
Think of all the female characters in stories that involve saving the world, and you’ll notice a pattern. There’s usually just one girl in an otherwise male dominated cast. They’re usually kind of sexy. And their skill set typically revolves around the physical, as opposed to the scientific field.
This isn’t the type of representation young girls need to see. And sadly, the lack of scientific female representation in the entertainment world mirrors female representation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up only 39 percent of chemists and material scientists. Only 39 percent. Here are the rest of their statistics:
With such a lack of women in STEM, can’t you see how important it is for young girls to see successful women scientists on the big screen?
And while I don’t want to blame sexism for all of the problems women face in the workforce, it does play a factor for women working in science. In fact, this is something that the new Ghostbusters touches on.
One of their teaser trailers reveals that while testing out new ghost-fighting weaponry a male passerby makes a sexist and degrading comment, comparing the Ghostbuster’s work to a cutesy science project.
Does this blatant sexist behavior seem unrealistic, or something that the filmmakers used to promote their “feminist agenda”?
Let me remind you of Tim Hunt, the English biochemist who famously made this sexist comment regarding female scientists last year: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls… three things happen when they are in the lab… You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry.”
Sadly, sexism is alive and well. Ghostbusters doesn’t shy away from this. In fact, it shows young, aspiring, female scientists how to deal with it—listen to what your sexist critics have to say and prove them wrong.
To those saying that any other movie could accomplish all of these things without rebooting a “beloved classic”: why don’t you pitch an action/adventure movie with an all female cast to some big Hollywood producer? Let me know how that goes.
And if you find yourself still unconvinced that the new Ghostbusters movie is actually a good thing, here’s an idea. Don’t watch it, don’t say anything mean about it, and don’t ruin a young girl’s opportunity to see a group of strong women on the big screen.
Because if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
By Alex Doria
If you are anything like me (and by “like me” I mean, obsessed with cult-hit shows and movies that showcase some of the best and most imaginative stories) then you already know about Comic-Con and are already crying buckets over the fact that you can’t swing a week’s vacation to San Diego. If you’re not like me, or are a fledgling television/movie addict, prepare yourself for the delicious pain that is Comic-Con International.
In layman’s terms, Comic-Con International (SDCC) is an annual convention held in July to celebrate comics and other related platforms of storytelling. SDCC is a platform for fans and creators of popular entertainment to come together for moderated panels and fan activities at the San Diego Convention Center.
Comic-Con was originally a convention for comic books and other fantasy related genres, but has expanded in more recent years to include more pop-culture. As a result, Comic-Con now plays host to some of the most popular shows on TV such as The Walking Dead, Once Upon A Time, and Doctor Who.
Besides the parade of celebrities that attend the convention and answer fan questions, the most important factor of SDCC is the fans themselves. If one thing is for certain, it is that getting a bunch of nerds to congregate in one place and time is bound to be explosive.
When like-minded people come together to talk about the things that they love and are passionate about, a powerful creative force is unleashed. Comic-Con is not only a festival to celebrate the content that is beloved by so many but to share in the art and creativity that is inspired by it.
I am of course talking about cosplay.
Every year at Comic-Con, thousands of people show up dressed in full, usually handcrafted, costumes of their favorite characters. And these aren’t just your typical thrift shop, makeshift creations; they are fully detailed reproductions that fans will work on for weeks (or more) in advance. Say what you will about a bunch of geeks dressing up in costume on a day that is not Halloween, but the dedication is off the charts.
And the artistry does not end with cosplay. Fans will create their own paintings, drawings, fiction (typically referred to as fan fiction) and just showing their love for their favorite stories in the most creative ways possible. When art inspires more art, you know that a story isn’t just good; it’s positively brilliant because it is inspiring others to create for themselves.
This year’s Comic-Con is just around the corner on July 21-24th. For those of you who are lucky enough to be going, do the rest of us a favor and post EVERYTHING you can online so we can all live vicariously through you. Got any cosplayers out there? Send us your pics! Share your inspiration with us! I will try my best not to die of envy from your SDCC adventures, but no promises.