Review of Books:
The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
I really liked this book. It is about a young lady, who on her way out west accidentally acquires a little Native American girl. After settling in her digs she learns what making a life of your own means; how families don’t always happen organically, but rather like bean trees, sometimes finding a way of winding around the things that least expect it.
Lincoln at Home: two glimpses of Abraham Lincoln’s Family Life, David Herbert Donald
This book was an interesting look at an Abraham Lincoln we seldom see. The short book (114 pages) is split into two sections: the first being a look at the Lincoln Whitehouse, the second half, letter correspondences between honest Abe, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, and a couple from Robert Todd Lincoln (the eldest of their sons). Here is an excerpt from one of the letters, showing a softer side of Lincoln:
“The leading matter in your letter, is your wish to return to this side of the Mountains. Will you be a good girl in all things, I consent? Then come along, and that as soon as possible. Having got the idea in my head, I shall be impatient till I see you.” ~ Abraham Lincoln to Mary Todd Lincoln, Washington, June 12, 1848
The book was a nice, brief look into Lincoln’s life from a new perspective—most of what people read about Abraham Lincoln has dealt with his positions throughout the Civil War—and was chosen to help me celebrate the 200th Anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, which happens this February. (I set up a display at Library X highlighting this: book and DVDs about A. Lincoln for patrons of all ages.)
Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis (Audio book series, read by: Helen Mirren, Kenneth Brannagh, Patrick Stewart, and a slew of other great British actors)
Though I read this entire series 3 years ago, like the Harry Potter books , I find myself revisiting this series at different times. I decided that I was going to instead listen to the entire series this times, which was great as it is read by loads of wonderful British actors. I love the books and thoroughly enjoyed the readings! I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Frindle, Andrew Clemente
Frindle is the story of Nick, a fifth grader who always has great schemes, schemes which have made him famous with his classmates. After his class begins to learn about the dictionary and how words become words, Nick decides to wage a war against his teacher Mrs. Granger, and gets his fellow classmates to replace the word “pen,” with “frindle.” While Nick gets the other students involved in his prank, which he had wanted, he eventually sees that he can’t stop what he started and there are consequences FOR everything. I loved this story! So much fun. Definitely recommend it.
The Lives of Girls and Women, Alice Munro
Ugh. This book was insanely difficult for me to get through. I started it almost a year ago and then put it down for months, then saw it on my bed-book table and realized I was past my quit-now-or-whoever-hold-your-peace-mark in the book and had to finish it. And finish it, I did. My friend B1 suggested I would like it, and while I had an appreciation for the manner in which the story flowed; moving along as though a human life; it was definitely not my bag.
Review of Movies in the Theater:
"Curious Incident of Benjamin Button"
I loved this movie. It flows in a very Forrest Gump-ish way; where Benjamin, coming from humble beginnings experiences life in such a splendid fashion. Also, the cinematography was gorgeous (as was Brad Pitt on a motorcycle--a thank you!!), that alone made the movie (which is three hours long) fly by quickly.
This was the best movie I saw all year—not to talk it up too much, because I hate when people do that. Though the premise is that a guy gets onto the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the movie offers many unexpected twists. Shocking footage shot in India, showing the juxtaposition between the extremely wealthy and the working poor is both saddening and eye opening and in some ways shockingly beautiful. I was fortunate enough to have a new friend come along with us; Satish is from India and he and I chatted about the realism that the movie portrayed (according to him).
Movies available by rental:
"Vicky Christina Barcelona"
Holy crap. I was actually watching this movie as I am typing this entry. I rarely turn off movies. I shut Vicky Cristina Barcelona maybe half way through. I HATED it for many reasons: A. The role of narrator does not need to extend through the entire movie…does it? Javier Bardem is a very strong presence, so it was disappointing that the director, instead of giving him strong dialogue, instead chose to have the narrator explain things, as though we are an unimaginative, unintelligent audience. B. Scarlett Johnanssen (Lost in Translation being the amazing exception) is a terrible actress, as far as I am concerned.
"Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist"
LOVED IT! I love this movie! Really wanted to read this book after a recommendation from Miss C, but having never got around to it, but definitely was not disappointed with just seeing the movie. I love Michael Cera too; I love that he plays this straight-laced, plain-Jane kinda guy, but still pulls off these lines that are hysterical. (I LOVED him in Juno!) The premise is that after some crazy circumstances both Nick & Norah, as well as a slew of characters, are searching for a concert all night long. Along the way the audience gets to listen to an awesome soundtrack as the kids run into funny circumstances.
Also, wanted to give a WELCOME!! shout out to Nejla, my newest follower!