31 May 2014

May Movies

American Hustle: very good and the ending was not what I was expecting.  I am really glad i was only a very little child in the late 70's as those clothes would not have worked for me.  a 6

In A World: Really funny movie about women in the film industry, specifically the voice-over market.  See anything Lake Bell does, she's fabulous. a 7

Fast and Furious 6: I watched this one with my dad when I went on a trip to Louisiana.  As I have never seen any of the other ones, I really had very little sense of what was going on.   Anna Lucia came back from the dead and there were 'splosions.  a 4. 

X-Men: Days of Future Past: a really great story and very cool movie.  Wish they had mentioned why exactly Kitty Pryde's powers could send someone back in time.  Very good commentary on women's agency.  a 7.

Dallas Buyer's Club:  another really good movie.  not as sad as I was expecting.  a bit too promoting of pseudoscience but I liked it.  a 6.

08 May 2014

I write up short reviews for the books I read during the Readathon!

Yeah, finally, I know.  Life has been pretty hectic around here. 

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore:  This book is a non-fiction work about Ben Franklin's sister, Jane, derived from many letters and other documents.  Ben was several years older but the two were very close.  She became a wife and mother before the age of 18, had a pretty pitiful husband, suffered the loss of multiple children/grandchildren, and lived through the Revolutionary war.  The letters show what life was like for a woman in the 18th century. Things like how important marrying a decent worker was, how unhealthy the atmosphere was, how hard it was for her to just read and write.  So much of her letters are lost and most of what was kept was because it was to her brother.  a 6.

Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye:  a sequel to The Gods of Gotham which I liked.  In this one, Timothy Wilde (who I picture as Shane West for some reason) and his brother Val, also a police officer, help people who are captured for being escaped slaves, though they are free blacks.  Lots of mystery, politics, murder and mayhem.  A good, fiction companion for 12 Years a Slave (the movie anyway).  I liked it!  a 6.

Serenity Volume 2: Better Days by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad, and Adam Hughes: This one is kinda all over the place in the art and story focus.  Nothing really brand new or revelatory (though the Wash issue is great) it was a pretty good set of stories for fans.  a 6. 

Rurouni Kenshin vol 1 by Nobuhiro Watsuki: I am trying to read some Manga. I found this one on a list and gave it a go.  Between reading backwards, everything being black and white, and lots of close ups of action, I'm having a bit of trouble with it.  Maybe it's the combo of silly/serious, maybe it's that I lack the cultural background.  I think i liked it.  a 5.

March Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell: After seeing him many times on things like The Colbert Report, i got to hear him and the illustrator of this speak at the Southern Festival of Books.  This comic is about his childhood and how he became involved in the Civil Rights movement when he was in college here in Nashville.  A must read!  a 7.

01 May 2014

Relisten to Harry Potter 1 and 2!

While I should probably be listening to YA novels (or kidlit) that I have yet to read, in an attempt to catch up on some of the novels that are missing from my repertoire, I've fallen back into a Harry Potter reread.  Tor.com is hosting a reread and, though they are only doing a couple chapters a week, it is fun to follow that.  I have listened to Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets so far.  These books are just so easy to listen to; Jim Dale is an amazing narrator.

I've really enjoyed this reread.  I've been trying to keep the later books in mind while I am listening to these early ones.  I have heard parallel after parallel and bits of foreshadowing are everywhere.  For a first and second novel, these books are so well-crafted and Rowling clearly had the main narrative of the series in mind from the beginning.  It is strange that I always think of Chamber of Secrets as my least favorite book and then, when I reread it, I find I quite like it.  I think it is just the problem of having to rank them in some fashion, and they are all so great, CoS just comes last from a story perspective.  Sorcerer's Stone is the first book, Prisoner of Azkaban introduces Sirius Black and Remus Lupin.  Goblet of Fire is the first fat book, has dragons and glimpses of the wider magical world, and the war becomes serious at the end.  Order of the Phoenix has the best villian and the tragic conclusion to Sirius Black's plotline.  Half-Blood Prince gives us tons of info and Deathly Hallows is essentially an adult novel and the final book.  While Chamber of Secrets does introduce the Horcruxes (though we don't know what it is at that point), there isn't much else.  Gilderoy Lockhart is just annoying, as is Dobby at this point in the series.  Of course, now that we know how Dobby's story ends, the part where Harry frees Dobby actually brought me to tears.  Anyway, if you haven't read these since the last one came out, I recommend giving them another spin!

April Movies!

Divergent: a movie that was way better than the book!  In fact, I actually decided to give the second book a try because of it.  a 5.

12 Years a Slave: Hard to watch but not as hard as I was worried it would be.  I think it is important to watch.  a 7.

The Wolf of Wall Street:  I liked this better the first time around when it had more killing and Joe Pesci and was called Goodfellas.  It was at least 30 minutes too long and I didn't particularly care about what was going on.  a 4.

And squeaking in on April 30, Captain America: The Winter Soldier:  Loved the movie but the subtitle is a bit misleading.  Trying to decide on a different one but everything is either spoilery or already used.  I really thought this was a great movie.  I did wonder why Hawkeye wasn't even mentioned but I hope he was uncontactable on a mission somewhere.  More Black Widow info, more Captain development, this felt more like an Avengers sequel than either Iron Man 3 or Thor 2, though both of those did reference and grow out of the Avengers.  anyway, a 7.