Movie: The Help. Less of a "see what a noble white person I was" story than I'd feared. The black women are individuals, tell their own stories, and get credited with them. One thing puzzles me. If the whites were really as paranoid about contacting black germs and diseases as depicted here - something I haven't seen in any previous discussions I've read of classic Southern white racism - then why did they let black servants prepare their food and handle their babies? Especially if, as the movie's chief racist character puts it, it's all to protect the children?
Book: Ash by Malinda Lo. First novel by our new Mythcon GoH, so it's about time I read it. Well-written and interesting to read. The first half is a novelization of most of the Cinderella story, up through the point that the stepsisters start going out to balls without her. Like all good fairy tale novelizations, it fleshes out the story: for instance, the cruel stepmother is still cruel, but is given reasonable motivation for her behavior. No traditional fairy godmother; instead, Scottish border ballad-type Quendi lurk eerily around the background; one of these (male) will take on the traditional role, with ominous overtones that blow away in a puff. The second half veers suddenly off into a tender first-love lesbian romance story, with Cinderella courted by a royal huntress, a woman not much older than herself but, until the very end, far more mature. No sex, but lots of horses. The famous ball becomes just an incident, with the prince pushed to the sidelines: he's intrigued by Cinderella, but when she disappears, he shrugs and marries someone else. OK, you can tell this story this way if you want to; the world has room for a number of things.