Saturday, March 31, 2012

books and movies

I started off this year in such a reading rut.  I was read out.  I actually returned a book to the library half finished. gasp! I return many books to the library unread or having only read less than fifty pages and found out it wasn't for me.  But I read this sucker all the way to the middle, felt it was going too slow and returned it.  

Here's what I've been reading so far this year:

First, the clockwork books.  These are the "prequels" to the City of Bones books. I thoroughly enjoyed the City of Bones books last year.  These are set in London at the turn of the century. I loved the setting. I liked the characters. However, the plot centers around "automatons", clockwork robots that are magically given life. I wasn't a fan of the automatons but I still liked the books.  

 I read about Mr. Rosenblum on a blog.  It's my friend's mom's blog.  I usually like her books.  Every once in a while, I realize that the books she's recommending are more for my mother's age.  I did enjoy this book, but it was a slower read for me.  Mr. Rosenblum is a German Jew who moved to England at the beginning of the war.  He wants desperately to be an Englishman, and even keeps a list of all the necessary components of being a proper Englishman, and he builds his own golf course to complete his list since all the golf clubs won't let a Jew join.  I liked that I could tell my hubby about this book because it was about golf. I loved the characters. I loved his wife, Mrs. Rosenblum! I want her to make me a torte!

Graceling is our book club pick for March.  I finished it quickly. It had the same feel as the Poison Study books I loved last year.  But I loved Poison Study more.  I liked the characters. It has a medieval feel, but some people have "graces" which are like special gifts or powers.  It makes them either used or shunned by their society.  I liked the plot, I liked the handsome prince who saves the day.  It definitely kept me entertained.  I'll have to report more when we have our book club discussion next week!

My friend from church who works at the library recommended this next one.  It is a juvenile book which my friend doesn't usually enjoy.  One afternoon at the library, Lulu was having tons of fun playing on the computer and I was getting bored. I saw it on the shelf, picked up and started reading it, and took it home.  It was wonderful! It is written from the perspective of a gorilla, living at a mall/zoo, and how he saves the animals.  I love the observations he makes about humans. I loved reading his perspective.  It was eye opening and thoroughly enjoyable! A quick easy read that I now have to convince my sci-fi/fantasy reading nephews to read!

 I read about the next one on another blog. She used to write Deliciously Clean Reads and I loved getting recommendations from her because I could count on them being clean.  Then her blog changed and it's mostly about her family.  But she recently posted about this trilogy.  It's about a post-apocalyptic society (think Hunger Games, Matched, etc.) where those who live in the wall are privileged and have what they need, and those who live outside the wall basically serve those inside and live in a shantytown.  Every month, the first two babies born outside the wall are presented to the wall and donated. It's supposed to be an honor, because they'll now have a privileged life.  But really it's just to expand their shrinking gene pool inside the wall.  When those outside the wall start to want change, a midwife seems to have all the clues about all the babies who have been donated to the wall.  I liked this book, I have already ordered the next one from the library!

 Okay, so here's the sucker I didn't finish. I originally checked it out last year and couldn't get into the beginning.  Then I read about more people liking it.  And I had loved her previous book, Bel Canto! So I tried it again in January.  It's about a scientist doing fertility research in the Amazon.  The pharmaceutical company funding her research is tired of not getting any results or answers, so they send another scientist to find her and check on her.  He doesn't come back! So they send another to find him, and find the researcher and get results.  I got halfway through, felt like okay, she found the doctor in the Amazon, now what? I returned it and thought I'd worry about it later.  Two good efforts, right?

Then my dear friend said she loved it, couldn't wait to talk about it and was probably going to choose it for book club next month! I thought, crap, now I have to finish it!  This is where I think I realized I had truly been in a reading slump. Because I checked it out last Monday, found my place in the middle on Tuesday and finished it Friday morning!! I finished the second half in two days! I flew through the ending, couldn't get enough and couldn't wait to talk about it!!! It has so many ethical and controversial questions about medical research, how we treat each other, fertility, etc.  The author leaves many loose ends.  So I am forced to resolve all these characters, and it's a lovely ending in my head! :) But I really enjoyed this book and  even though it was a bit of a labor of love for me, I still would recommend it!

Now I'm on to the second Maze Runner book. I read the Maze Runner this winter for book club. It was a bit freaky and definitely not my usual book pick, but of course since it's a trilogy, I have to read the next one! I'll let you know!

I'm tired. Here are the movies we have enjoyed lately from the library and Redbox.
-Merlin, the series. It's a bit cheesy but we love it and keep watching! It's clean and family oriented so if my kids were older, they could watch too!
-Moneyball, good movie! Brad Pitt is of course eating the whole movie. What is with that? Interesting movie about sports (hubby picked it of course!) but still enjoyable for me, but not inspiring/exciting like Miracle or other sports movies
-The A-Team, the new one. Don't judge, it was a fun movie!
-Knight and Day, the one with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, it was fun
-Gnomeo and Juliet, loved it! can't believe we haven't watched it before now!

Next up, my hold for Downton Abbey is finally in!!!!! I'm so excited!

I took the girls to the dollar theater and we saw Chipwrecked. I will freely admit, I love chipmunk music. I love when they sing, it was not a painful two hours and the girls thought it was fun.

And Yes, I loved the Hunger Games movie! I have no issues with movies that are different from the books. I learned from Harry Potter 5 not to reread the book right before seeing the movie, I forget details in books so fast that it just doesn't bug me that they never said Effie Trinket's name in the movie! I thought the casting was perfect, I thought they showed just enough action, and my hubby who hadn't read the books could follow the movie! Can't wait for more!

Phew! Are you still here? What have you read/seen lately?


Heather said...

My SIL is a HUGE Downtown Abbey fan too. I've never seen it (she talks about viewing it on PBS). However, they say you'll always find time in your busy day for something you love. Clearly you LOVE reading:) I'm always happy to hear about others passions in life. I'm sure when we are super duper old, I'll be your senile friend and you'll still have a mind of a 20 year old;) Just make sure I don't get lost when we're 90 k?

The Montaño’s said...

Matt and I just watched the first season of Downton Abby, it's really good. The first 2 episodes may be a lil racy for a minute, but don't turn it off (ha ha ha!!) it's sooooo good! Thanks for all the book reccommendations! I feel i have been in a rut! I just finished the Tigers Wife... I liked it, but I don't know what to think about it! :)

Teriney said...

Have you read The Chosen by Chaim Potok? It's fabulous.