Movies: Catching Up

Reel mosaic
Movies Movies Movies Image by Carbon Arc via Flickr

I’ve seen a few good movies lately, so thought I’d share!

I’ve had a movie-ful summer so far, that’s for sure.  I’ve received a few gifts of gift cards and am thankful for their assistance in my habit!

Netflix: “Downton Abbey” is not a movie, but rather a PBS Masterpiece Theatre series – 7 episodes – and such a delight!  I just found out today that season 2 starts in January!  Something to look forward to…

Netflix: “HappyThankYouMorePlease” was even better than I was thinking it would be!  Good stories about good people.  I love Josh Radnor from HIMYM and he directed and starred in this film.  Great music, too.

Theatre: “Crazy, stupid love.” was also much better than I thought it would be!  The plot was unpredictable (which I find that I appreciate more and more … so many movies and books are simple and dead in their plots) and the characters were sweet. I was moved to tears a few times (could be simply feeling emotional) and laughed a lot.

“Horrible Bosses” was also a great time in the theatre!  Many, many laughs!

I’m currently half-watching “The Band’s Visit” – a movie from the library – about an Egyptian police band who goes to Israel to play for the opening of an Arab Cultural Center but find themselves in the wrong town. It’s in Hebrew and English, so I don’t have to watch it as closely as a fully foreign film.  And since it has a lot of music in it, too, it’s even easier to half-watch. It’s due tomorrow, so I have to get it watched!  It’s enjoyable so far…

I’m going to start a new book tonight and that’s always exciting.  Dang that library that entices me to get such fun books!  But I actually reserved books off my TBR list on goodreads so have some books that I’ll be able to check off.  Yay!

What are you watching or reading?

Off to read!

House Rules

Cover of "House Rules: A Novel"
Cover of House Rules: A Novel

House Rules – A was a quick read, despite the 530 pages! The book was told in five voices – Emma, the single mother of an 18 year old and 15 year old; Jacob, the 18 year old with Asperger Syndrome; Theo, the 15 year old brother who feels invisible and longs for a “perfect” family; Rick, the police investigator; and Oliver, the attorney who knows more about shoeing horses than criminal law. I was able to predict the outcome of the book and became a little irritated by it during the last 100 pages. No spoilers, so that’s all I’ll say about that. I think that the portrayal of Asperger Syndrome was pretty accurate, if not overdrawn, and the stress on relationships and families also realistic. I’d recommend the book to people looking for a quick and interesting book involving a trial and mystery.

Catching up on Book Talk

Cover of "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan:...
Cover of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: A Novel

It seems that I haven’t written about the books I’ve read lately!  I do post quick little reviews on goodreads (it’s just so easy to keep that site updated and write some thoughts) so I’ll recap here…

Reverse, chronological order 🙂

House Rules – I’m currently reading this book, after attempting to listen to the audiobook.  I was given the book and its heft made it pretty easy to grab the audiobook that was sitting on the shelf at the library, in order to replace my Harry Potter listening time!  But, oh!  How awful it was to listen to this book, narrated by four individuals, and told at a painfully slow pace.  Sometimes I thought the disc must be done but it was simply a pause – between sentences or paragraphs or chapters.  No matter.  Ugh.  So I picked up the book and have been ripping through it!  It is a fast read and I’m sure I’ll finish it tonight or in the morning. It’s hard to put down.  Isn’t it great when a book grabs you like that?

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – I have loved books about the Far Eastern culture for a long time.  Probably at least since I returned from my visit to South Korea, if not before. Lisa See has written some great books about the Chinese culture – in America and coming to America in recent history and in a more historical China. “Snow Flower” ia the first of Lisa’s books to make it to the big screen (I believe I’m right) and I am excited to see it. (I may have to make a trip to the Cities if I want to see it in the theatre!  Durn limited releases!) This book is about Snow Flower and Lily, who are matched as laotong or “old sames” as young girls. They communicate to each other mostly through the “women’s language,” nu shu, written on a fan.  The match is made so that one girl may rise up and the other may learn the ways of those lower than her.   A good read about these two women through their lifespans – one reaches 80 years.  I look forward to reading Lisa’s newest book – Dreams of Joy – a sequel to Shanghai Girls.  Yay!

The Girl in the Garden – Kamala Nair, an author who grew up in Rochester, wrote a charming and sweet story about a girl whose troubled mother brings her to her home village in India for a summer. Now an adult, Rakhee writes the story of the Girl in the Garden to her fiance as she returns to India to obtain resolution for the secrets that she learned as a 10 year old during that fateful summer.  I am also fascinated by the mid-Eastern culture and have read a lot of books set in India.  This was easy to read and a sweet story.

Olive Kitteridge – A book club pick that was lukewarmly received.  It was good.  Not great. Not gonna be something I will remember a year from now (well, maybe the fun time we had at book club not discussing it will be remembered!). But it was well-written and kept me reading, looking for Olive in the short stories.

Second Thyme Around; Stately Pursuits; Highland Fling – These three books by Katie Fforde were light and fluffy and predictable.  Good summer fare, but again not great.  I think in another post I listed other similar authors that I would recommend before Fforde (Jane Green; Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy) . Of these three books I would recommend Second Thyme Around as the most interesting.

I think I’m about caught up.  I will remember this spring/summer as being very full of Harry Potter, and now I’m done talking about that.

After I finish House Rules I will pick another book from my ever-growing pile and will let you know what’s next!  I encourage you to be my friend on goodreads and let me know what you’re reading!

Off to read!

Books and Movies – Love ’em!

Before the midnight showing of Harry Potter pt 2

I ended up going to a midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2, with no regrets.  Marissa and I watched Pt. 1 on PPV at home (without popcorn) and then went to the theatre!  We arrived around 10:45 and the there were a lot of people there in costumes and I don’t know how many theatres were actually sold out.  The one we were in was already 2/3 full by the time we got there.  It was exciting to be there with all of the other “giddy” people, to hear the applause throughout the movie – even before the movie started – and to watch the final book come to life.  There were differences, of course, but there was also word-for-word sameness in a lot of dialogue.  Good stuff.

The books are more amazing, of course, but the movies add to the experience.  One of my favorite podcasts, Filmspotting, reviewed the movie after reading ZERO of the books (or even seeing all of the movies), so they had tons of questions, although they gave the movie pretty good reviews.  Marissa hadn’t read any books beyond the first and enjoyed the movies on their own.

So now what?  Other book-related movies are coming out soon.

  • “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” is in theatres now (7/15) but I don’t see it showing up in Rochester for a while… I will keep my eyes peeled for that one.  I had that one on audio but lost it somewhere (probably on my dead iPod) so I downloaded a digital version from the library (MobiPocket Reader anyone??? Yikes… another program downloaded to read books) but also requested a paperback – and today I got an email that it was ready and waiting!  Yay!  I’ll dig in tonight!
  • “The Help” comes out on August 10 – and it looks so good!  What a fun book to read and discuss.  It will be a book club event to see that together!
  • “One Day” comes out August 19.  (July 15 was the ONE DAY featured in the book!  Should have acknowledged it!)  I look forward to seeing that book on the screen.  I enjoyed reading it – mostly – although the ending didn’t sit right with me.  😦
  • “Jane Eyre” hasn’t made it to Rochester yet – meaning it won’t?  It was released in April, so that’s probably a good bet.  I have it in my Netflix queue but there’s no release date there yet.  Sigh.  I read that book in anticipation of the movie.  I’m glad I caught up with a classic and I know there are multiple versions of the movie that I can pick fromI
  • “Sarah’s Key” was made into a movie!  The book about the Vel’d’Hiv Roundup in 1942 in France was another sad Holocaust story, telling about another unknown-to-me piece of history.  Kristin Scott Thomas stars and it might be French, as the title is listed as “Sarah’s Key (Elle s’appelait Sarah)”.  Releases 7/22!
  • I heard that “Austenland” is being made into a movie starring Keri Russel.  I liked that book, so that’s pretty fun.  Gotta love all things Austen!
There’s the “movie news” portion of the blog – ha!  Just so much good stuff coming up, I guess.  Lots of good material to choose from!
Speaking of book club events, we had book club this afternoon.  I got there late – around 2pm – and we discussed our book (“Olive Kitteredge”) very little!  No one loved the book, although a few of us thought it was good enough.  It’s really short stories about small town life with the character of Olive showing up, being featured, or simply being mentioned somehow in each one.  So the plot and story-line was not easy to follow and the characters were many and difficult to remember.
But oh, did we laugh about other stuff!  Suddenly it was 5:10 and we wondered if we were staying for supper!  Good stories and catch-up time.  Who knows what we’ll do next, but it may be just a movie date along with dinnertime discussion of “Heaven is For Real,” since many had read it already and really wanted to discuss it when done.
Well, I can’t wait to dig in to “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.”  What are you excited to read?  What movies are you excited to see?
Off to read!

It All Ends 7.15.11

"the end" mosaic
THE END Image by m kasahara via Flickr

The famous tagline for the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” movie, which premieres in the US on 7/15.  Last week I watched some of the UK Premiere Red Carpet hoopla and heard the speeches given by the cast and writers and directors.  Tears! Yesterday I finished the audiobook of Book 7.  Tears!  I found myself in the car, listening and crying.  I found myself walking around the house listening – and crying.  And now it’s done.  I am excited to see the movie – although I have found that listening to the books and watching the movies right after has made my head hurt a little.  The changes in plot and circumstances, while necessary to keep the movies under 2.5 hours, are very noticeable when you’ve just finished the book.  Will I see the movie at midnight on July 15?  Maybe.  If not, I’ll wait until an evening next week, when I will be more awake and coherent.

So now, back to my regularly-scheduled podcast listening for a while!  I am behind (although I’ve cut back, with getting back into audiobooks again) so I’ll catch up and then start listening to “Snow Flower and Secret Fan” before that movie comes out!  I’m attempting to listen to “Visit from the Goon Squad,” but finding it difficult to follow on audio. May need a physical copy to read.

I started “The Girl in the Garden” on Monday night and it is a fast and easy read!  I love books set in India or about the Indian culture, so it’s a given that I’ll enjoy it.  I’ll keep you posted about how much!  Kamala Nair is from Rochester and I purchased the book at her book signing at B&N in June. She’s coming to the library the end of July so I may go again and see if she has more to say at that time.

Well, my TBR list continues to grow!  I’m looking forward to some time spent with “The Girl in the Garden” on this beautiful day – not too hot but brilliantly sunny!  Yay!

What are you reading???

Off to read!


Factura Electrónica 2011
Here comes the second half! Image via Wikipedia

It’s hard to believe that 2011 is half over, now that July (and some steamy summer weather) has arrived.  I know that writing my “end of 2010 letter” in February probably makes mid-year creep up sooner, but nonetheless, it is amazing how fast the time goes.

I set a goodreads reading goal for 2011 of 55 books.  I’m happy to say I’m ahead of the game, with 30 books read at the halfway point!  And much summer reading time still to come!

I’m half-done with book 7 of Harry Potter.  Unfortunately, the library audiobook was missing a disc (ugh) so I’ll be reading a little bit of the book again.  It’s just so good.  And I’m so excited to make the deadline of getting all the books read before the movie comes out halfway through July!

I’m still reading way too many book blogs.  It can overwhelm.  And it impinges on book reading time!  I’ll have to start culling my blogger feed.  And the book blogs only make my to-read list longer on goodreads!  Not a bad problem, I guess, but I think for now I’ll work on the pile of books by my bed.

I just finished my third book by Katie Fforde, and they were fun but not the best fluffy British books I’ve ever read.  I love Jane Green books; Marian Keyes is light and fun; and you know of my love for all things Binchy.  I’d put them all before another Katie Fforde book.

I’m looking forward to a great second half of 2011 – the first half has had some downers so it can only get better, right?  Since my glass is always half full, I know it to be true!

Happy July, all!
Off to read…