30 June 2014

June Movies

Philomena: a sweet, movie though a bit sad.  I didn't expect it to go the way it did, which I guess is good?  a 6.  

Trollhunter: a foreign movie shot Blair Witch-style about a guy who hunts trolls.  It was weird. a 3.

Shutter Island: somehow I missed this one.  I kept wanting to see it; i even had the Netflix disc for about 3 weeks once.  Just never got around to it.  B sat me down and made me watch it one night.  It was fabulous! Twisty but never felt contrived. a 6.

Her: another bittersweet one.  The Joaquin Phoenix character was a bit of a weird guy but who wouldn't fall in love with Scarlett Johansson's voice? a 6.

29 June 2014

Five Days at Memorial

Want to read something shocking and though-provoking?  Something that will make you by turns angry and sad?  I finished Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink and it hits all those feelings. It is a book about Katrina and the people who died and survived at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans.  It is, at times, hard to read.  Fink does a great job of portraying the horrible conditions after the hurricane.  I can hardly imagine it.  If there is a clear-cut villain, it's the parent company of Memorial.  While I know I wouldn't have made the same decisions as some of the medical staff purportedly did, the doctors and nurses should have never gotten to the point where those decisions were even considered. 

Also, I know I don't normally talk about art or covers on this blog but I have to say I really love this cover.  It is so simple but so striking.  Everybody knows what water damaged paper looks like and the book really looks like it's been sitting in 3 inches of water.  That being said, I would have loved some pictures inside the book!  I can understand that the author may have been unable to get pictures of the various people involved, on both sides, and even why patient families might not want to allow their relatives to be shown, but I can't believe location shots were also out of bounds.  I know a bit about getting around in New Orleans and was able to follow the locations but someone who hadn't been down there a good bit might have issues.  

Overall though, this book is very good and feels really important.  Highly recommended, a 7. 

22 June 2014

Harry Potter Relisten 3 and 4

The Relisten continues! 

Prisoner of Azkaban is always one of my favorite Potter books.  The introduction of Remus and Sirius, Hagrid's disastrous classes, Hermione's schedule, winning the Quidditch Cup, these are some of my favorite things.  There is also the feeling you get on a reread that this book is really the last one about Harry and the gang as children. I got pretty teary eyed in parts as I was remember what is going to happen in books 5 and 7. 

I really love Goblet of Fire! It's the first big book and so many things happen, for the story and as setup for later parts, that you just rocket from event to event.  All the relationship stuff, the Harry-growing-up stuff, and of course Cedric, and the interactions with Sirius (which got me teary again).  It's all so good.

20 June 2014

More Young Adult Books

Still trying to close some gaps in my Young Adult knowledge. 

Every Day by David Levithan: Not sure if this one counts as sci-fi or fantasy.  The main character, A, wakes up every day in someone else's body.  He has always done this, slowly getting older with each new body.  He's a boy, he's a girl, black, white, gay, straight, everything.  When he meets Rhiannon he falls for her and wants to stay near her.  Unfortunately, this desire makes A change how he acts in his temporary bodies, causing suspicion.  It's cooler than my blurb makes it sound!  a 6.

Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth: hmm.  After I read Divergent I wasn't too interested in continuing but when I saw the movie I wanted to know how things turned out.  Not sure I should have bothered. Tris is really annoying and all the kids are extremely naive and simplistic in their thinking.  a 4. 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick: I saw the movie with B and really liked it.  The book is very similar.  It has great illustrations and big sections of the story are told in pictures a 6. 

I am J by Cris Beam: a book about a boy, J, who was born a girl, and his struggle to figure out why he is what he is and what he wants to be.  It isn't anything I've not read before in YA books, though the transgendered bit is new.  Things aren't too easy, or too hard for J; I think he makes things harder for himself than he really has to.  a 5 but a good thing for a high school library to have. 

I am still working on YA books but am going to try to read a few elementary/middle grade books too.  I always feel like I have a handle on that level then, when I try to come up with titles, blank out after Neil Gaiman and some classics.  Planning to hit the library this weekend with some lists!

18 June 2014

I have been a very bad blogger!

I have been reading a lot but not really blogging about it.   I've been doing a lot of other things.  I finally finished graduate school and received my Masters of Information Science!  I'm also unemployed now so I've been applying for ALL THE JOBS.  Kinda the last thing I want to do after writing cover letters and typing the same info over and over into forms is to blog.  Seems like many of the bloggers I follow are also in the middle of lulls so hopefully we'll all get through this together.  I've also been trying out Twitter and Tumblr, though I just read on Tumblr, not blog.  I'm watching tv (rewatching The X-files, World Cup soccer) and playing a lot of Skyrim and Tomb Raider and other video games.  I am so backlogged on blogging I feel a bit overwhelmed!  So, in an attempt to catch up, I am going to do a massive flyby review post.

The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doesher: Part two of Shakespeare does Star Wars.  It was fine but I had the feeling the author didn't think he'd get to do part 2 and used up the really good, famous speeches in part 1.  The Han/Leia relationship was great, very Benedick/Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing.  a 5.

Rurouni Kenshin Volume 2 by Nobuhiro Watsuki: Manga.  I liked the first volume better.  I'm still not used to reading backwards so I think that pulls me out of the story sometimes.  a 5.

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone: I loved this book!  It is set in a really new, interesting fantasy world, great female characters, is a mystery with magic and some great twists.  Can't recommend more.  a 7.

Battling Boy by Paul Pope: A comic where a 13 year old Thor-like character is sent by his father to save a city from these monster things.  His superpower is that he had a collection of tee-shirts that give him the abilities of what is on each shirt.  Definitely the beginning of a series; much is introduced and little resolved.  a 5 but I want more!
Bleach 3-in-1 by Tite Kubo: More Manga.  I really just couldn't get into it.  I really think this would be better on TV so I may try out the cartoon. a 4.

Saga volume 3 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples: I love this series!  The art is gorgeous and the characters are just great.  I trust Vaughan to take me anywhere he wants to go with this story.  a 7.

Captain Marvel volume 1: In Pursuit of Flight, and Volume 2: Down: I read these and wrote the titles down but can hardly remember them.  Captain Marvel is a female pilot with superpowers and these books deal with some aspects of her powers and her life as an Avenger and as a woman.  I do remember kick-ass females, not just Captain Marvel but many women throughout the books.  I'm seeing a theme in my recent reading here. a 5.

Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky: Definitely a weird book that deserves a much better review than this. It's about 2 people who, when they have sex, stop time.  So they decide to rob banks to get money to save a library.  It has a lot more to say than my little blurb implies.  a 6. When's the next Hawkeye coming out?

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell: another great one that deserves a better review.  Set in Scotland, Marnie and Nelly are sisters whose parents are both deadbeats and drug addicts.  They die at home at Christmas so the girls bury them in the yard.  Marnie is 15 but if they can hide everything for a year she will be legally able to take care of Nelly, 12.  Nelly loves old movies and literature and speaks as if she's from the 18th century while Marnie is a foul-mouthed smoking straight A student.  Both girls are smart, and damaged, and too old for their ages.  A neighbor, Lennie, realizes the girls are on their own but doesn't call the authorities, trying to take care of the girls as he can.  This one really reminded me of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.  I really liked this one, a 7.

I'll have another post up soon with the YA books I've been reading too.