Marie Curie (Women’s History Month Post #1)

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For my first illustration for Women’s History Month I’ve decided to go with groundbreaking chemist and physicist, Marie Curie. Above is my drawing (I’ve packed up 99% of my art supplies for an upcoming move, so it’s pretty bare-bones and not done with the best tools. I didn’t even have any pencils left out to sketch it out, so it’s all pen and dry erase marker. lol) Anywhoo, let’s get to it and talk about some of the reasons I chose this particular woman to shine the spotlight on.Β  And rest assured, there are plenty of other awesome ladies I’ll be posting about throughout the month, so this is simply the first. πŸ˜‰

Born on November 7, 1867, Madame Marie Curie was a French-Polish force to be reckoned with who went down in history as the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (1903) in physics, and later in chemistry. She also has the honor of being the first person (man or woman) to obtain Nobel honors twice. In other words, she was a genius bad ass.

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A pioneer in the study of radioactivity, Marie Curie along with her husband and BFF Pierre discovered two new chemical elements, radium and polonium (named after Marie’s birthplace, Poland) and helped advance therapeutic medicine and the use of X-rays with their tireless work. Can we say Science Power Couple? πŸ˜›

Marie was also fearless in the face of war, devoting her time and resources, as well as risking her life, by helping wounded soldiers in France during the First World War by forming mobile X-ray teams driving vehicles nicknamed “Little Curies”.

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She overcame many obstacles in her life, including refusing to be held down by gender-based education restrictions. Unable to attend the men’s-only University of Warsaw, Marie and her sister did whatever it was going to take to get their educations, including taking turns supporting one another, and Marie attended what was known as a “floating university” in Warsaw, which was basically an underground set of classes done in secrecy. Eventually she was able to study abroad, but her desire for the necessary schooling needed to chase her dreams didn’t come cheap, and she often had to choose her education over her own nutrition, frequently living on only bread and tea. Her sacrifices and determination paid off though, and she was able to pursue her passion in life. Not to mention the countless lives that have been saved over the years thanks to her discoveries and life’s work. Sadly, it is believed to be her very work that ended up costing Marie Curie her own life. Due to prolonged exposure to radiation both in her studies and while providing X-rays to wounded soldiers in field hospitals, she passed away from aplastic anemia on July 4, 1934 at the age of 66. Known by some as a martyr to science, she left behind one hell of a legacy and continues to inspire others to this day.

MARIE CURIE QUOTES:

“Nothing in this world is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so we fear less.

“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.

“A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales.”

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Let’s Celebrate Women’s History Month!

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March is Women’s History Month, so it’s the perfect time to celebrate the awesomeness of women. Cupcakes and Machetes had the wonderful idea to host a blog event to do just that, so of course I had to participate! πŸ™‚

Her mission is pretty straight forward, so I’ll let it speak for itself with a quote from her post: “Let’s celebrate women. Every kind, in every way, in whatever way you see fit. For myself, I’m going to read only female authors for the entire month. My hope is that other blogs sign up to celebrate women in any way they would like to contribute and I’ll post weekly updates to these blogs and what they’ve worked on. Not only will this be great fun, I think it will be a helpful way to highlight your blog and meet other interesting people.”

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If you’re interested, head on over to C&M’s awesome blog and leave her a comment on her event post. I’m going to be joining in on the fun by illustrating different women who have left their marks on history in one way or another. I’ll try to squeeze as many as I can in throughout the month, along with short little bios explaining the things these bad ass ladies have accomplished and how they’ve helped to change the world and inspire others. I’ll also be posting reviews of comics that feature ladies as the protagonists. (My plans are to read and review Paper Girls, Lumberjanes, some more Giant Days, Bitch Planet and some more Rat Queens!) It’s gonna be a busy, lady-filled month of posts, and I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully some of you will decide to join in on the fun, too! πŸ˜€

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Susan from Giant Days, a comic filled with delightful female characters.

 

A Smattering of Mini-Reviews

How in the heck is the first month of the new year already almost over?? Where is the time thief that is responsible for this madness? I demand answers! Seriously, though, every year that goes by makes me feel like time just keeps slipping by quicker and quicker.

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I noticed that I’ve been slacking a bit in posting reviews for some of the stuff I’ve been reading and watching lately. Time’s really been getting away from me with everything that’s been going on, but I still want to shine a little spotlight on some of the stuff I’ve been enjoying in the past few weeks, so I bring you this post of mini-reviews! πŸ˜€ It’ll be like a little sampling rather than a full course of reviews, but I think it’ll certainly get the job done. πŸ˜‰

The Plucker, by Gerald Brom:

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This illustrated novel was a real treat. I’ve been a fan of Brom’s work for quite some time. Growing up, my mom had multiple books featuring his artwork and I was hooked from a young age. I loved the dark and twisted aesthetic he had going on. One of the things I like about Brom’s novels, is that he carries over his wonderful artwork and includes tons of illustrations, sketches, and paintings to accompany the story he is telling.

When a young boy’s father unwittingly brings him a gift containing an evil spirit known as the Plucker, it quickly makes itself at home and decides to claim the boy’s life for its own. It begins its reign of terror by going after the boy’s toys, the very things the child has poured so much of himself and his love into. Thus, the toys in this book have a life force all their own, one the Plucker is keen on taking to build up the needed strength to claim the soul of the boy and take over his body. What the Plucker has no way of realizing, is that aside from his toys, the boy also has one badass little old lady for a nanny. One who knows some things about magic herself. It’s a good story with fantastic artwork. I gave it 4/5 stars.

Stranger Things 2, on Netflix:

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Remember when I mentioned how busy I’ve been and how fast time has been flying by? That’s the only explanation I have for why it took me sooooo long to finallyΒ  finish watching the second season of Stranger Things. I (and countless others) love this show and the awesome 80’s dose of nostalgia it’s been rocking. Season 2 was awesome. We met some new characters, got to see older characters continue to grow, and learn some more about “the Upside Down”. The horror element of the show continues to grow in a really satisfying slow-burn sort of way, but it never feels dull and boring because you love the characters so damn much. This was a solid second season to a great show, and I may have even liked it more than I liked the first season, which is really saying something. I would give it 5/5 stars. Can’t wait for season 3!

Phantasmagoria and Other Poems, by Lewis Carroll:

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One of my reading goals for this year is to read more poetry books since it isn’t really something I’ve read a whole lot of. Since I have always been a fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, I definitely wanted to check out this book of poems from Carroll. I’ll admit, I wasn’t as smitten with this as I thought I was going to be. I liked the titular poem Phantasmagoria the best of the lot, finding that it had the most character to it. It tells the tale of a little ghost who has mistakenly come to haunt the wrong house. Carroll has a certain easy-to-read quirky charm to his poems, but this book wasn’t my favorite of his works. 3/5 stars for this one.

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur:

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Another book of poems! πŸ™‚ This was a quick and moving read. I admire Rupi Kaur’s ability to pour her soul out onto the pages of this book. Divided into different categories, the poems contained cover topics like love and loss, surviving after trauma, and the power and unity of femininity. I think many of us will be able to find something they can identify with or relate to somewhere in Milk and Honey. 4/5 stars.

The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden:

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I can’t believe I somehow never got around to reviewing this one. I read The Bear and the Nightingale with my book club ladies in December, and it made for the perfect winter read. It was both enchanting and addicting. Much like how the main character Vasilisa is enthralled with the fairy tales she is told growing up, you will become enthralled by the one she winds up living. Russian folklore and mythology enrich the story, and the backdrop of winter is capable of being both cruel and kind, with moments that are cozy and heartwarming, and others that are harsh and bitter. 4/5 stars.

 

The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls (No-Spoiler) Review

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This was such an interesting story, and it’s one I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time. It had been hard to find (and pretty pricey!) but with the recent (and much more reasonably priced) addition of The Asylum to the kindle, there was no way I could resist snatching that baby up! Emilie Autumn has never shied away from discussing topics like mental illness and the history of abuse women have suffered throughout history in her songs and poems, and her book The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls sure as hell doesn’t shy away from it, either.

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“Fight Like A Girl”

It’s hard to categorize this book into any one genre since it is written in a way that reflects the author’s actual time spent in a psych ward, but also tells the fictional and horrific (but sometimes darkly magical) tale of a fictional girl named Emily living in a Victorian era asylum. In the book, our author Emilie learns the tale of the Victorian Emily “with a Y” through mysterious letters she finds during her stay in the psych ward. I guess “Historical Magic Realism with a dash of Nonfiction thrown in for good measure” would be my best attempt at categorizing it? No matter, though, it’s just a really interesting story that discusses things most people choose to ignore concerning mental illness and the Victorian “polite society” so many people are quick to romanticize.

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If you’re already a fan of Emilie Autumn’s music, I’m sure you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect within the pages of this story. She’s got a dark and witty sense of humor, and she can weave words in a way that will both enchant you and disturb you. This story definitely reflects that. It has moments that will warm your heart and others that will rip it right out of you again.

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I really enjoyed this book and by the time I reached the second half of it I pretty much devoured the remainder of the story in one sitting, refusing to pry myself away until I’d finished. I would definitely recommend it, but will warn readers that it does discuss dark subject matter concerning suicide, rape, the horrific treatment people were subjected to in asylums like lobotomies and forced-hysterectomies, all manners of abuse, etc. It definitely takes some artistic liberties, but that’s part of Miss Autumn’s storytelling I’ve always enjoyed, so I embraced the fantasy-like elements along with the more gritty and realistic ones. Definitely glad I finally got to read this one. πŸ™‚

And just for fun, here’s a lyric video of one of Emilie Autumn’s songs that serves as a satire about the treatment of women back in the Victorian era when it came to mental illness (please keep in mind that women could be institutionalized for all manner of things including masturbation, domestic troubles with their husband or family, and other ridiculous reasons back then.) A lot of things in this song might sound far-fetched by today’s standards, but treating those in asylums like zoo animals for the public to behold was a very real and messed up thing back in those days. History definitely isn’t always pleasant, but it is something we can (and should) learn from so we can better treat our fellow man and learn from our past ignorance.

Fight Like a YA Girl Book Tag

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Books and wine make an excellent pairing, and this is something proven frequently over at the YA and Wine blog where you can find awesome wines to go with awesome books, fantastic reviews, and exciting posts about book/author-related events. I was thrilled to be tagged for Krysti’s newly created book tag about the many types of kick-ass ladies in literature. Big thanks to her for tagging me to do this awesome new tag! Now, let the ass-kickery begin!

THE RULES:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Mention the creator Krysti at YA and Wine
  • Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
  • Tag as many people as you like!

WARRIOR GIRLS:

Okay, it’s been a very LONG time since I read this book, but I’m going with the Slayer (named Sophie) from Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row (A Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel). Slayers are total warrior girls! πŸ™‚

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR MIND:

How could I not choose Hermione Granger for this category? I mean, c’mon, she was the brightest witch of her age. πŸ˜‰

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR HEART:

Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Karou has a lot of heart, and love plays a large part in her story.

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GIRLS WHO ARE TRAINED FIGHTERS:

Virginia au Augustus (aka: Mustang) from the Red Rising trilogy. I nearly picked her for the “girls who fight with their mind” category since she is known to be highly intelligent, but she is also trained to fight with more than just her mind so here she goes!

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STRONG GIRLS OF COLOR:

Inej Ghafa (aka- “The Wraith”) from Six of Crows. She’s strong in every sense of the word, and she’s one of the many reasons I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom!

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT TO SURVIVE:

Temple from The Reapers are the Angels. She’s grown up in a tough, zombie-filled world, and she’s never known anything else.

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GIRLS WHO ARE WEAPONS MASTERS:

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy. Total pro with that bow and arrows. I wanted to list Inej and her trusty blades again for this, but I’m mixing it up with another girl and another type of weapon instead. πŸ˜›

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Fan art of Katniss by Me

GIRLS WHO DON’T CONFORM TO GENDER ROLES:

Okay, this series isn’t YA, but the young-but-fierce Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire immediately came to mind, so she’s who I’m going with. πŸ˜€

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GIRLS WITH KICK-BUTT MAGICAL POWERS:

Nina Zenik from Six of Crows. She’s part of the Corporalki order of the Grisha (a heartrender, to be exact), which means she has the ability to snatch the air from your lungs or even stop your heart if you’re in her line of sight.

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STRONG GIRLS IN CONTEMPORARY NOVELS:

Honestly, this isn’t really an area of reading I’ve explored, so I’m stumped for an answer. Here’s a cute puppy instead!

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SERIOUSLY FIERCE GIRLS:

Isabelle Rossignol from The Nightingale. This book really isn’t strictly YA, but I feel like Isabelle’s half of the story could be considered YA, and she becomes one hell of a fierce girl. Not through brawn, but through her determination and spirit.

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MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK WITH A STRONG LEADING LADY:

Wonder Woman: Warbringer! I can’t wait for this one to come out. πŸ™‚

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So, ladies & gents, there we have it. πŸ˜€ This tag was a lot of fun, so I’m tagging each and every one of you!! Let’s spread this tag like wildfire and promote the hell out of some badass ladies in fiction! Have a great weekend, folks! ❀

Review- DC Bombshells, Vol. 2: Allies

Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s been nearly five months since I finished readingΒ Volume 1 of DC Comics Bombshells! I absolutely loved the first volume so I was pretty excited to finally get around to reading the second volume.

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You know how sometimes you read something and it just really resonates with what is going on in the world around you? I definitely had this feeling while continuing the Bombshells’ saga. Between the current political climate and a particularly frustrating 48 hours where I had not one, not even two or three, but FOUR personal reminders of the importance of feminism, I was more than ready to see these female heroes kick some Nazi and misogynistic asses. πŸ˜›

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Volume 2 takes us all over the globe to locations like Berlin, London, and Greece as WWII continues to rage on. Even on the home front in Gotham City, tensions rise and danger looms. One thing I really like about DC Bombshells is that it touches on both soldier and civilian life during the war. No one goes unaffected by the horror going on in the world.

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As if the Axis Powers weren’t enough to contend with, a sinister supernatural influence continues to grow in power, bringing a horde of undead soldiers with it.

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The art continues to stun in this volume and the characters are fantastic. (Batwoman is still, of course, my fave!) Strong female relationships aplenty in these pages, both platonic and romantic alike. Also, just strong, kick ass females in general. The characters are believable with their own motivations, insecurities, weaknesses and strengths.

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The biggest bummer for me was that I was missing my girls, Harley and Ivy in this one. They were nowhere to be seen in volume 2. *Proceeds to pout in the corner.*

But, hey, at least we get more of Zatanna and Bunny Constantine!

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All in all, I really enjoyed volume 2. I think I enjoyed volume 1 a little bit more, but I’m still looking forward to reading the third volume very much.