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Viewing Blog: Asking the Wrong Questions, Most Recent at Top
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Abigail Nussbaum is a writer based in Israel.
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1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Before I start talking about Mad Max: Fury Road, I should probably say that I haven't seen any of the other films in the Mad Max series, and that I'm not feeling a particular need to catch myself up.  This should not be taken as a criticism of Fury Road, which is indeed as brilliant and exhilarating as advertized, and whose gorgeous, pulse-pounding action scenes put the rest of Hollywood's

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2. The 2015 Hugo Awards: A Few Thoughts as Voting Opens

Nearly a month after the announcement of this year's Hugo nominations, the story has settled down from a furious boil to a steady simmer.  The best sources for ongoing discussion and the increasingly silly backpedaling from the Rabid Puppy camp continue to be Mike Glyer's File 770 and James Nicoll's LJ, but I wouldn't blame anyone for feeling overwhelmed by the sheer breadth and depth of the

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3. An Impressionistic Painting: Thoughts on Daredevil

In the fifth episode of the new Netflix series Marvel's Daredevil, lawyer-by-day, vigilante-by-night Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox) explains to his new friend Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) how he sees the world.  Blinded in a childhood accident, Matt discovered that his other senses had become superhumanly sharp, allowing him to perceive far more than ordinary people.  "You have to think of it as

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4. The 2015 Hugo Awards: Why I Am Voting No Award in the Best Fan Writer Category

It's been six days since this year's Hugo nominations were announced, and in fandom time that feels like an eternity.  As dispiriting as the nominations themselves were, the response to them has been gratifying--the consensus that the Sad and Rabid Puppies crossed a line in promoting a single slate of nominees has been swiftly reached (including in mainstream venues like Salon, Slate, and The

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5. The 2015 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on the Nominees

If you've been hanging out on (certain parts of) twitter in the last two weeks, you probably had a sense of what was coming in this year's Hugo nominations.  The rumor storm has been brewing furiously, and yet even those dark hints were not quite enough to prepare us for just how dismal this year's nominees would be.  The organized right-wing voting campaign that last year gave us Vox Day, Hugo

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6. Review: Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho at Strange Horizons

Today at Strange Horizons, I review Zen Cho's Crawford-winning short story collection Spirits Abroad.  This is something of a milestone for me--the first review I've had published in Strange Horizons since stepping down as a reviews editor.  It's also a welcome return to writing full-length book reviews, and for both of those occasions I couldn't have chosen a better subject with which to mark

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7. The 2015 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Best Novel and Cambpell Award

With just under a day and a half left to nominate for the 2015 Hugo awards, I have an embarrassing confession to make: I don't actually have any best novel nominations.  I don't tend to keep up to date with my reading, and in 2014 I fell seriously behind--there are more than a dozen Hugo-eligible books that I hoped to get to before the nominating deadline, but that is clearly not going to happen.

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8. The 2015 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Media Categories

Last year when I wrote about this group of categories, I noted that it consisted of two categories in which I didn't feel that my vote mattered much, and two in which I didn't feel knowledgeable enough to nominate well in.  That hasn't changed much this year--in the case of the Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category, in fact, my vote feels even more useless than usual.  2014 was full of so

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9. The 2015 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Publishing and Fan Categories

With only a week left to the nominating deadline, let's continue swiftly to the publishing and fan categories.  As I did last year, I'm going to be skipping the best editor categories, because I don't feel that I have enough of a sense of what each editor does to know which one of them deserves an award.  I also don't listen to podcasts, so I'll be leaving the best fancast category blank as well.

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10. The 2015 Hugo Awards: My Hugo Ballot, Short Fiction Categories

With only ten days left before the Hugo nominating deadline, I'm cutting these posts a little close.  And the truth is, I could have done with another two weeks to round out my Hugo reading this year, which between the absence of free time and a two week vacation in the middle of February that didn't leave me much time for reading, has not been as comprehensive as I would have liked.  Even as I

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11. Jupiter Ascending

It's been less than a year since Tasha Robinson coined the phrase "Trinity syndrome," and yet it's already become one of the most useful terms in pop culture criticism.  Named for the female lead in Lana and Andy Wachowski's The Matrix, Trinity syndrome refers to a movie in which a female character is depicted as cool, competent, and badass, but always and inexplicably in the service of a much

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12. Five Comments on Birdman

It's been two days since I saw Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman and I'm still feeling exhilarated.  On the most basic level, this film is like nothing else I've seen in a movie theater in a long time, possibly forever, and I urge you to see it simply for the experience (and ideally in a movie theater, since this is a work worth being immersed in).  It's also a hard movie to write about, with

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13. Coherence

The second stop in my short trip through 2014's lesser-known genre filmmaking is James Ward Byrkit's Coherence.  Which turned out to be fortuitous, as the comparison between Coherence and The One I Love revealed some interesting similarities, as well as telling differences.  On the surface level, the two films feel very different--The One I Love is intimate and tightly focused, while Coherence is

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14. The One I Love

I wrote some half dozen full-length film reviews in 2014, and looking back, almost every one of them revolves around the theme of how difficult it is to find genuinely intelligent, thoughtful SF movies.  "Intelligent," in this context, means a willingness to engage with the SFnal tropes that drive a story, to explore their implications on the film's characters or even its world, instead of

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15. Winter Crop, 2015 Edition

After a profoundly lackluster fall pilot season, the networks and cable channels seem to be pulling out all the stops for the midseason.  Just about every odd, high-concept, genre-ish series on the roster seems to have been held back for January, and if the resulting shows aren't always good, they're at least interesting to think and write about.  Not covered at length in this post, but still

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16. The 2015 Hugo Awards: Thoughts on Nominating

Is it just me, or does it seem as if Hugo season gets longer and longer every year?  The first few months of the year are taken up with nominating.  The spring is dedicated to arguing about the nominees.  The summer is spent anticipating the winners and then--which is really much more fun--obsessively analyzing the nominating and voting statistics.  It's only in the fall that we have a brief

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17. 2014, A Year in Reading: Best Books of the Year

I read 47 books in 2014, which, strangely enough, is exactly the same number as I read last year--not sure that's ever happened, and certainly not since I started keeping track.  It was a very odd year too, reading-wise, with periods of intense and enjoyable reading alternating with long fallow stretches in which nothing appealed and the thought of concentrating on a single work was positively

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18. Recent Movie Roundup 20

In the previous installment of this series, I noted that I was looking forward to watching some more grown-up fare at the movie theater.  Eight months later, I seem to have failed spectacularly at that task.  There are a whole bunch of movies for adults, like Boyhood and Whiplash, that I meant to see and never got around to, and here I am again reporting on the more shlocky end of the scale.  So

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19. Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2014 Edition

Well, here we are again.  As has become traditional, the US networks scheduled a boatload of new shows for the week of Rosh HaShana (happy 5775 to those of you celebrating!), which is very convenient as it gave me some time to wade through the deluge.  As usual, there are some shows I just don't have much to say about--I don't need several hundred words to say that Scorpion is awful and dumb, and

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20. Not Like Those Other Girls: Thoughts on Outlander

Even if we're not quite there, it feels as if we're on the verge of a golden age for televised novel adaptations.  For years, irate book fans responded to every bowdlerized, incoherent film adaptation of their favorite works by claiming that TV was the natural medium of book adaptations--the famous "miniseries on HBO" meme, which keeps cropping up despite the fact that there are so many other

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21. Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2014 Edition, part 2

After a bunch of dramas, our second batch of new shows is made up almost entirely of comedies.  I don't tend to review comedies in these round-ups, because much more than dramas they need the time to build up their world and characters before you can really get a sense of what they're capable of (think back to almost any classic comedy of the last two decades and I think you'll find that the

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22. Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2014 Edition, part 3

Well, here we are at the end of another fall TV season.  There are still a few stragglers who will be making their bows in November, but for the most part the networks have delivered their bounty and it is... not great.  Of all the shows I've written about, the only ones I'm still watching are The Flash and How to Get Away With Murder (though the latter is already beginning to wear me down, its

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23. Interstellar

For several days now, I've been debating with myself whether Interstellar is a bad film that does several things quite well, or a good film that has had the misfortune of having to shoulder, and justify, its creator's reputation.  At some point in the last half-decade, popular culture decided--erroneously, if you ask me--that Christopher Nolan is a purveyor of Deep, Serious entertainments.  And

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24. Mad as Hell: Thoughts on Aaron Sorkin

Kind of an obvious insight, but the problem with Sorkin is that when you criticize his shows, you turn into a Sorkin character. — emilynussbaum (@emilynussbaum) December 7, 2014 I had no plans to comment on "Oh, Shenandoah," the now-infamous penultimate episode of Aaron Sorkin's final (?) TV series The Newsroom.  I've tried not to think about Sorkin since I gave up on The Newsroom two episodes

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25. Recent Reading Roundup 37

I went through an unplanned blogging hiatus this summer, which meant that a lot of books and movies that I would have liked to write about ended up unreported (though some of them will be showing up in my forthcoming year's best list).  Still, it seemed wrong to end the year without another look at what I've been reading (one of the things I'd like to get back to next year is full-length book

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