W… W… W… Wednesday

3D Character and Question Mark
Image by 姒儿喵喵 via Flickr

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Your turn! Let’s hear what you’re reading!

More movie talk…

In 1998 Reed Hastings founded Netflix, the lar...
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Last night I watched “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” on Netflix.  I am disappointed that it didn’t come to the theatre in Rochester, making it the only one I didn’t get to see on the big screen.  I went to Dana’s house to watch it on his big screen, since I usually watch instantly viewed netflix on my computer – a small screen.  The movie was 2.5 hours, but it really flew by.  Of course, it was the same general story as the book, with the omission of TONS, but I think it did a good job of telling the complicated story that the books are made of.  It is still baffling to me how much I liked these books and movies, as violence and intrigue aren’t my usual fare, either in books or movies.  The books made my list of “important things in my life in 2010,” so that’s saying something.

Today I watched “The Wrestler,” or maybe I should say I finished watching it.  I had it on Netflix a while ago and the DVD was scratched or something and I couldn’t finish watching it, so I recorded it and watched the second hour.  Now I can say that’s done.  🙂

My current Netflix DVD is “I Am Love,” which I know very little about.  It might be foreign and it might not be.  It isn’t up for any Oscars but it was up for some Golden Globes, I believe.  I’ll let you know what I think!

What about you? Have you seen anything good lately?

Oscar Nominations

James Franco at the premiere of Spiderman 3 in...
James Franco - co-host of the Oscars and nominee

I heard them this week but didn’t absorb them fully.  I realize, as I look at the list right now, that I have seen 8 out of the 10 nominations!  I’m pretty amazed!  Some years I don’t come this close by half!  So, it will be a fun to watch the Oscar’s this year – although I always think it’s fun to watch!  I don’t know if I will see the two movies that I haven’t seen, but you never know.  This could be the year!

Below is the list – with a few comments by me:

BEST PICTURE NOMINEES

“Black Swan” – I saw this with Marissa.  She really wanted to see it, I really did not.  I liked it; I thought Natalie Portman was amazing; I felt the suspense.  I figured out early on ***SPOILER ALERT*** that this wasn’t a stalker movie and the relationship she had with her mother was unhealthy (to put it mildly).

“The Fighter” – I haven’t seen this one.  I listened to a review and it might be something I rent (ala “The Wrestler”) but I probably won’t go to the theatres for this.  I hear Christian Bale is magnificent and that Mark Wahlberg’s character is meek and not magnificent.

“Inception”- I saw this at Marissa’s recommendation.  I liked it a LOT more than I thought I would and felt truly mind-bended when it was done!  I didn’t think it was too confusing and was amazed by the special effects of the dream layers.  Wow.

“The Kids Are All Right”- I really enjoyed this, especially because I am a HUGE Mark Ruffalo fan!  Wow, he is great.  I liked the family dynamics and relationships and thought it was great.  I saw it a while ago and it’s available on DVD so I’ll probably re-watch soon.  It’s worth it.  🙂

“The King’s Speech”- I saw this last weekend, and loved it!  I love Colin Firth, so it’s always easy to watch him on screen, even though sometimes it was painful to watch him in this, as he did a great job playing the Duke with a stutter.  I liked the relationship between the two men, the relationship the Duke and Duchess had, and even the sweet relationship (although briefly shown) he had with his daughters.  I hope that the Duke was as sweet as he was portrayed.

“127 Hours”- The second movie on this list that I haven’t seen.  It is playing at the “theatre near me” again, but I really don’t know if I need to see it.  I heard that there is a scene that is horrific to watch and maybe I’ll do that someday in my own home, when I can walk out of the room, but maybe not.  James Franco isn’t one of the men that I love (yet), unlike the men mentioned above, so I don’t feel the need to see this.  We’ll see!

“The Social Network”- I really liked this, too.  It is smart, fast, witty, and interesting.  I am looking forward to seeing it again and I know I will enjoy it as much!  The dialogue is smart and fun and I would love to take it in again.

“Toy Story 3”- I saw this with Marissa and Gracie in Des Moines on Father’s Day.  It was great.  I laughed.  I cried.  I wore the 3D glasses.  The Toy Story franchise in my mind is wrapped up with Dana’s kids.  I took Gunnar to see these and have watched all the kids play with every variation of Buzz and Woody available.  The characters are loved.  So when I watch Andy grow up and give away his toys, it made me sentimental for how quickly those kids in our family are growing up.  They did a good job, and it was a good ending to the trilogy.

“True Grit” – I just saw this last night and I’m really glad I did!  I did have to look away a few times, but I enjoyed the story, the characters, the music, and the setting.  The girl was amazing – such an educated girl on a mission.  Jeff Bridges was amazing – I loved him as Bad Blake in “Crazy Heart” last year and thought he was amazing as Rooster Cogburn.  Matt Damon was a blast – what an interesting character he got to play!  Last night when we got home I noticed that the original “True Grit” was playing on amc and my dad (John Wayne Lover) said that he didn’t ever watch this original movie because of Glen Campbell playing LaBoeuf.  I watched a minute, and I can see why.  But I loved Damon’s portrayal of that man.  Just a little on the creepy side. 🙂

“Winter’s Bone”  – I rented this and watched it last weekend.  I thought the girl was amazing and was saddened by the poverty and meth culture that was shown.  It wasn’t fun to watch but a good movie.

Well – HUGE post!  I’m not sure I would have an easy time picking one movie to win BEST PICTURE, because I did like all of them that I saw!  Let me know what you think of the nominees!  Have you seen the ones I haven’t?  Did you like the ones you have seen?

And I usually end with “Off to Read,” but I think I have to end this one with GOTTA CLEAN!  🙂
Happy Saturday!

A non-Plinky post

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been using “blog starters” for some posts.  I challenged myself to write more in August – not too successfully, but maybe 75% of the days saw some kind of writing – and I found Plinky.  It’s an EASY way to make a creative looking blog!  I certainly don’t ever upload any images or media of any kind to my posts… maybe I should challenge myself to do that!  Plinky makes it so easy!  I was excited enough to find a site called “tagxedo” and I made a picture for my gravatar.  I think.  We’ll see.  I know that it’s working with Twitter.  It’s a pretty cool feature.

Anyway, right now I’m reading Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and as you know, it’s awesome.  I read it (or listened to it) a few years ago – maybe even four years ago – and loved it.  I’m enjoying reading it with my eyes even more, although the dialogue can get a little confusing, can’t it!?  On the audiobook it flowed better or something.  But it’s still super enjoyable.

I haven’t read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years in a while… I’m three chapters behind at this point.  Maybe this weekend I’ll get some reading done.  I think I’m watching too much TV and reading too little lately.

So my writing challenge was a so-so venture in August.  I blogged, wrote haikus and journaled in my book.  But not every day.  It’s already mid-September, so maybe I’ll have to set an October challenge for myself.  I really want to learn some beautiful accordion music so maybe that will be my challenge.  I also hope to read the Harry Potter books… must get busy!!! Anything that you are planning to challenge yourself with before the end of 2010?

And now, off to read!

A Strong Voice

Although it’s foremost in my mind because I’m re-reading it, this book does have a strong voice that has stayed with me since I read it the first time years ago…

Oskar is a quirky little boy who wears heavy boots because of the big awful. He is brilliant and funny and sweet and sad.

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Banned and Challenged Classics – How many have you read?

from  http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/challengedclassics/index.cfm

Each year, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries shelves and from classrooms.  See Frequently Challenged Books for more details.

According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts.

The titles in bold represent banned or challenged books. For more information on why these books were challenged, visit challenged classics and the Banned Books Week Web site.

The titles not in bold may have been banned or challenged, but we have not received any reports on them. If you have information about the banning or challenging of these titles, please contact the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

13. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell

18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
41. Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
52. Howards End by E. M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
66. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
68. Light in August by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence

76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Ferragosto

I created an Italian holiday for myself last week and the weather wasn’t too cooperative!  Very very sultry and a little stormy, so I spent a lot of time inside the cabin with books and movies!  Not a bad way to spend time!  So I read a few books early in the week.  I finished “Water for Elephants,” which I really enjoyed; I read “The Next Thing on My List,” and “Away.” The movies I watched were “Days and Clouds,” “Il Postino,” “The Night of the Shooting Stars,” and “Under the Tuscan Sun.”  The first three were Italian and the first two I’d seen before!  I love “Il Postino.”  And “Under the Tuscan Sun.”  I can watch that over and over again.

I really liked “The Next Thing on my List.”  It was a book I’d picked up several times but couldn’t bring myself to read, because the premise is that a girl named Marissa dies in a car accident.  Too creepy.  Anyway, she has a list of 20 things to do before her 25th birthday – so the girl who was driving the car decides that she needs to complete the items on the list.  It wasn’t a great book, but I like lists so enjoyed it.  I also had the book “Flip-Flopped” by the same author and realized after 50 pages that I’d read it before.  “Away” was a book about an immigrant who learns that her daughter may still be alive so she attempts to get back to Russia via Alaska.  I also have a book of short stories by that author and have read a few throughout the week.

Now I’m reading “Beatrice & Virgil” by Yann Martel (author of the Life of Pi).  It’s weird.  No chapters.  It’s about Henry who is a writer and Henry who is writing a play.  And a donkey named Beatrice and howler monkey named Virgil.  And taxidermy.  And the Holocaust?  I’ll let you know if I figure it out when I’m done.  I’m halfway through it.  And then who knows what will be next.  I still have quite a pile at home and a few more from the library.  So many books.

Nicole Baart is doing an online book discussion about Donald Miller’s “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” and I’d like to join!  Maybe I’ll run to B&N tomorrow and see about it.  I read part of a Donald Miller book and had bought a few but they went down with the flood.  Interesting author.

Well, off to read!

When the Lights Go Out

First Advent and first candle is lit

If there were a power outage, I would gather candles, my journals, a great book, and a glass of wine and I would spend quiet moments with words! I might write about things that are going on in my life, or I might write a few haikus on "the dark," or I might just read. If it was daytime, I might play piano and if it was later in the night I'd probably sleep. But since I am not one who flounders in silence or who needs to fill silence with noise, I would be ok.

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I went to work with my mom…

Before I worked in restaurants, I used to go to work with my mom. She worked in an office and I would answer phones and help prepare mailings. Put on labels, sort by zip code, etc. I worked in the summers and on holiday breaks, as the office was 20 miles from our home. I probably did this when I was 14-15 and started waitressing at 16. I'm sure I made minimum wage at that job – probably $3.15 or something an hour. When I started waitressing I made $2.85 an hour plus tips.

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