Sunday, November 10, 2013

a brave new world of book recommendations

The Lilliputian Liberal is back, babydolls!

And I mean "back" in the loosest sense of the word, considering I only ever wrote one post... but it's back!
Anyways, I thought I'd make my glorious return by introducing The Lilliputian Liberal's book recommendations feature, where in a few short words, I'll try to convince all y'alls to read or maybe to not read anywhere from 2-5 books I've read that stood out to me. (The reviews are split into 3 categories, so I'll add a little explanation next to each heading.)

So, first up:


The Book (Info about the book and a lil' summary -don't worry, no spoilers!)

Brave New World was written by the fabulous Aldous Huxley in 1931, and published in 1932.(#throwbackthursday, amirite?) The novel is about a futuristic, supposedly utopian London, part of what is called the "World State." The World State follows a few simple rules: to get them, just take 1900's era common sense and turn it completely upside down. For example, promiscuity is all good, but anything else is just gross and creepy. Drugs are heavily encouraged, especially the World State-regulated drug soma (described as "All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.") Speaking of Christianity: religion is obsolete, replaced by the quasi-religious worship of technology. And, here's the kicker: women no longer have children. Instead, babies are grown in jars, built on assembly lines, and "decanted" after nine months.

 (Oh, it gets creepier. Much creepier.)

The Verdict (My own opinions about the book- keep in mind these are recommendations, not reviews.   Also, who I'd recommend this book to. Not related to that really good Paul Newman movie in any way, shape or form.)

I thought that the story was eerily good, and the characters were really captivating (though a little frustrating, because you grow to dislike every single one of them as the book progresses.) John, the Shakespeare-quoting, blond-haired Indian that takes over as protagonist in the second half of the book, was particularly memorable. His argument with Mustapha Mond (the clever leader of the World State) towards the end of the novel was my favorite chapter. It brings up the philosophical questions at the heart of the story, which I'm not spoiling for you. Go read the book!

I recommend Brave New World to anyone who loves dystopian novels but wants something more than your garden-variety young adult dystopian romance.

The Disclaimer (A.k.a the boring part, where I talk about how age-appropriate the book is)

Just putting it out there, Brave New World is a somewhat PG-13 book. (Lots of drugs and sexy stuffs). Also: If The Hunger Games creeped you out, THIS BOOK WILL SCARE YOU SHITLESS.


The Book (okay: confession time. Since I love this book so fucking much, and because I don't want to spoil even the smallest detail, most of this is just like an extended part of "The Verdict")

Normally, I'm not stellar at putting my thoughts into words, even when it comes to books. But, every so often, I read a book that basically renders me an incoherent mess saying something along the lines of: ASDFGHJKL WHAT IS THIS OMFG SO GOOD (I know, I'm the next Shakespeare. Such poetry.) One of those books is the incredibly well-written Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

(Yup, this gif is a pretty accurate representation of me reading Persepolis.)

The book is autobiographical, detailing the coming-of-age of the author, Marjane, during the Islamic Revolution and Iraq-Iran War. She has her flaws, but Marjane stays clever and resilient throughout the whole novel. (Also, just sayin', Marjane goes through more tough stuff over the course of the book than most people do over their entire lives.) Oh, and I haven't even mentioned one of the coolest parts of the book: it's a black-and-white graphic novel. (And in case you're wondering, Marjane Satrapi was the writer AND illustrator. Talk about multi-talented!) While I'm not an art critic, I can definitely say that the drawings have the same appeal as the writing: simple, but powerful.  

The Verdict

Overall, Persepolis is equal parts funny and bitter, heartwarming and appalling. It's the 21st century's answer to the bildungsroman... basically the Iranian Jane Eyre. 
So who would I recommend it to? In short: everyone! This may not sound like a serious answer, but I swear it is. Anyone from me and my friends to my mom and her friends (FYI: my mom actually did read Persepolis, and she loved it) can enjoy a book this good. Hell, my grandma would probably want to read it. There are a few exceptions to this rule: see below for details.  

The Disclaimer
This is where the conversation about Persepolis strays a little off-topic. If you haven't heard the recent-ish controversy, I'll sum it up for you: Basically, Chicago Public Schools removed Persepolis from their libraries because of the graphic content, even though it was part of their seventh-grade curriculum. It was newly labeled as inappropriate for 7th graders, but possibly O.K. for 8th grade and up (I strongly encourage you guys to learn more about the story, and this HuffPost article is a great place to start)
Personally, I'm disappointed in my favorite city and hometown of Chicago, and I think that removing Persepolis from the 7th grade curriculum was a grave mistake. So, as you can probably guess, I think that the book is completely appropriate for 12-year-olds and up, and even for mature 11-year-olds. (Scandalous :O)

so, that's it for this set of books. hope you enjoyed the recommendations,

Ella <3

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

abercrombie & bitch: a tough-love open letter

Dear Abercrombie & Fitch Co., (For those of you who don't know, that refers to the teen clothing brands Abercrombie, Hollister, Gilly Hicks, and the Abercrombie offshoot abercrombie kids)  You need to get yourself together. Recently, you've been making a series of completely avoidable missteps that make most of us consumers go:


Now, shall we take a walk down memory lane?

First, there was that time you manufactured these completely unfunny T-shirts that stereotype Asians. As if that wasn't enough, you thought up innuendo-emblazoned thongs for your kids line. And how could I forget the oh-so-tasteful misogynist t-shirts with slogans on the chest like "Who needs brains when you have these?" (YOU need brains, Abercrombie. You really, really do.)
Then, there's your infamous CEO, Mike Jeffries, who I can only describe as standing on the fine line between complete douche and just plain creepy. He has OCD-esque rules for his male-model flight attendents, and says he wants his stores (who market to children as young as 7) to "sizzle with sex". 

...cough *pervert!* cough

Also, the most recent controversy surrounding you is nothing but utter rudeness on his part: In a 2006 interview, when asked why Abercrombie does not make larger sizes (defined as an XL or XXL), he says,

“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny.”

You probably don't need me to tell you this, but this statement is morally wrong on so may levels... first, there's an obvious, jarring superficiality. Also, there's the fact that it sounds so mean-spirited and cruel. And one last piece of advice: It's incredibly difficult to take a 68-year-old businessman seriously if he says "totally vanilla", "dude", and "old fart".

So, with your best interests at heart, I'm going to let you in on a little secret: 21st century teen girls are more powerful than you think, and even more powerful that we think.
We're intelligent, informed, and sensible, a dangerous combination. We can make or break you, and you'd rather alienate us than try to be kind, just for the sake of your own image?
Overall, I just wanted to inform you that this sexist, sizeist attitude isn't doing you any favors. In fact, while I was *Googling* Abercrombie, I was a little delighted to see this:

(Edit, 9/10/13: in the spirit of full disclosure... the picture that was originally up got mysteriously deleted, and I can't actually find the article I got it from, (?!) so I replaced one of a much more current article: written 8/22/13. Glad to see Abercrombie's still floundering :)

Oh, what were you saying about "companies in trouble" again? Tut tut, Abercrombie.
-Sincerely, Ella

Sunday, May 19, 2013

hello interwebs

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.


welcome to my brain

i'm ella. (barely) 13-year-old feminist, bookworm, political aficionado, and as you can see, cliche lover.
i started this blog because there's so many interesting and crazy things in the world to write about. politics\current events, books, movies, music, and as much GIFs and memes as humanly possible.

before you start reading my blog, just a little warning: you might not agree with what I have to say. honestly, i don't mind, but DON'T go on rude rants in the comments section. debates are fine and we can have a civilized, intelligent conversation about our differing viewpoints. Feel free to post as many comments as possible! (just try to make them nice.)