Animal Crossing: New Leaf Review

Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Nintendo 3DS

I'm pretty sure this post is going to be the equivalent of new parents excitedly showing off their new baby photos - I care a lot about my Animal Crossing town and the life I lead with my small animal villagers but I don't know that anyone else cares. And just like those proud parents, I'm gonna go ahead and show 'em to you anyway!

I don't doubt though that anyone who is a fan of Animal Crossing and plays consistently will understand exactly what I'm saying. Somehow this series manages to get you extremely emotionally invested in a fictional town of anthropomorphic animals. Lets put it this way - I have certain characters birthdays in my iPhone calendar...... right.

I play video games fairly often - and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that the game that has held my interest for the longest period of time (by a long shot) is AC. I know it seems frustrating when you begin playing to constantly have to wait until the next day to get certain achievements - but I think the fact that this game limits and forces you to pace yourself is what allows you to stay engaged for so long.

This was my first Animal Crossing game so I went in pretty blind as to what to expect. I was drawn in largely by the aesthetics - the game is so beautiful and enjoyable to look at. I love all of the design elements! I was delighted though, to discover how hilarious the dialogue is as well.

Check out my quaint Animal Crossing life in the Town of Sparkle from the past year!

HNI_0020 copy

Forever 21+ Plus Haul

24th Birthday - The Metropolitan Museum of Art

It's once again that time of year everyone hates (at least on the East Coast) - the holidays are over and the snow keeps dumping on us; there are no longer any presents or pretty lights to soften the cold, early in the morning as you scrape off your windshield. And yet, February is the month of my birthday and so I am forced to make the best of it! I think I've started to enjoy this frigid time of the year because I've conditioned myself to - but it could also have to do with my general hermit-like nature.

I had a nice breakfast with my family before we got very bundled up (I'm obsessed with my cat hat I just bought) and headed out. I decided the Met was a good choice - relaxing, warm, quiet and beautiful. It was also a great place to practice with my camera. The lighting was a little difficult to work with because it changed so drastically from room to room, but I think I got a few good shots! I hope you guys like them!


Sex at Dawn - Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha (Review)

Amazon Summary: In this controversial, thought-provoking, and brilliant book, renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá debunk almost everything we “know” about sex, weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality to show how far from human nature monogamy really is. In Sex at Dawn, the authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity.

Rating: 3.5/5

Review: Although I took some issue with Sex at Dawn, this book provides a fascinating look into the science and psychology behind our ancestor’s mating habits and how our modern lives are affected. It really had a lot going for it as far as I was concerned - anthropology, history, sex, critical analysis of societal norms and the monogamous family unit. I’m definitely a biased critic when I say that I was pretty enthralled in the beginning and tore quickly through the book.

The problem is - I don’t feel qualified in any sense to comment on the validity of the scientific claims put forward. Sex at Dawn provided a lot of interesting theories to think about and look into - I like to use these types of books to write down the names of authors, researchers, and books mentioned to follow up with later. From my untrained (although I think somewhat critical) eye some of the evidence put forth seemed to, at the very least, lead in an interesting direction. This is one of the major problems I have when it comes to reading and reflecting on “PopSci” books - how can I knowledgeably comment on something when I am full well admitting I do not know if the evidence presented was credible? Which begins leading me down a black hole of questions about our modern trust in science and how much do we really know anyway????

But I digress; I can at least say this - the manner in which it is written is very easy to read and kept me engaged for very long bouts of time. Despite a lot of dry, factual information being presented, I was rarely bored and never confused. The writing does not get bogged down by complexity of the topic.

Towards the end, the book does seem to take a strangely misogynistic tone. So much so, that there is an author’s note at the end responding to the unsurprisingly angry reaction many female readers had to this piece of the book. Much of the book is spent looking at ancient cultures and relationships in the animal kingdom (which was the part I most enjoyed) and it isn’t until the end that Sex at Dawn actually touches on modern lives of monogamous couples. At this point, the narrative begins to explain what reads to me as a very universal and normal experience of “monotony + monogamy” (this is literally what the section heading of the book is called) and begins describing it as a solely male experience. He states, “When a couple have been living together for years, when they’ve become family, this ancient anti-incest mechanism can effectively block eroticism for many men, leading to confusion and hurt feelings all around” (pg. 293). Another reason men specifically don’t want to be in monogamous relationships is because “it’s a simple, unavoidable truth almost everyone knows to be true but few dare to discuss: variety and change are the necessary spice of the sex life of the human male” (pg. 292).

HOW we can possibly not consider that this again, might just be a HUMAN experience is beyond me. The example of a “porn gateway website” is used as an example - citing the many different types of women available (“unshaved Japanese lesbians”, “tattooed redheads”, “overweight older gals”) and using this as “proof” I suppose that only men are interested in diversity. The lack of a nuanced understanding shown here makes me honestly question the entire book.

The “Author’s Note” is completely unsatisfying and doesn't do a whole lot to make up for the very one-sided approach taken when discussing modern relationships.

Final Thoughts: I really did enjoy most of the book enough that I would recommend reading it if you're curious and interested in the subject matter. But I would suggest regarding it with a critical eye and to be prepared for the switch in tone in regards to gender that comes later on.

The Great Lover - Jill Dawson (Review)

Amazon Summary: In 1909, sixteen-year-old Nell Golightly is a housemaid at a popular tea garden near Cambridge University, and Rupert Brooke, a new tenant, is already causing a stir with his boyish good looks and habit of swimming naked in nearby Byron's Pool. Despite her good sense, Nell seems to be falling under the radical young poet's spell, even though Brooke apparently adores no one but himself. Could he ever love a housemaid? Is he, in fact, capable of love at all?

Rating: 3/5

Review: The Great Lover is a novel detailing a semi-factual, semi-fictional tale of poet Rupert Brooke’s young life and travels. The narration switches back and forth between Rupert’s perspective and that of a completely fictional young maid named Nell who works at the tea house Rupert is staying at. The story follows a fleeting romance between the two, as well as their individual lives outside of the tea house. I quite liked the blending in of real-life information when it came to Brooke’s narrative. Jill Dawson took great care to research his life and writings, and crafted a beautiful character study of the writer - exploring his possible feelings and motivations for various biographical moments. His narrative was noticeably rich and felt real. Unfortunately, only half of the novel is from this perspective. I think it’s a really neat, interesting way to humanize and explore historical figures. The writing itself is descriptive and lovely and was probably the main reason I stuck around for the whole read. Dawson’s frank approach while discussing Brooke’s bisexuality was refreshing as well.

Truly though, when this book ended all I could think was “Why?”. The story is slow and ultimately goes nowhere. Unless viewed only as an intense study of Brooke’s personality, this book fails to have a purpose. Nell and Rupert’s relationship, while mildly interesting felt empty and ended too neatly for my taste. Although the historical and political setting was interesting to explore, it ultimately left me unsatisfied.

Final Thoughts: If you’re a die-hard Rupert Brooke fan - I’m sure you will enjoy exploring his life through this novel. Otherwise, I can’t say I would tell you to bother picking it up.