Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Memory Lessons - Jerald Winakur

Memory Lessons - Jerald Winakur (2008)
I was touched by this little book, by its story within a story. Jerald Winakur is a medical doctor, sepecialising in looking after the elderly, the oldest old. As well as looking after them in his practice, he also has to help his own aging parents, with his mother losing her sight and his father suffering from dementia.

A very honest look at the issues surrounding growing old, and the effects of a rapidly aging population. A read that makes you consider your own plan for aging and for those friends and family that you care for. Working in the health field, I often see older patients who I wonder who is pursuing difficult and stressful medical tests in frail 90 year old and older patients. Tuck them up in bed, sing them a song and hold their hand, and find out what they want before it is too late. Talk to your family, your parents and discuss with them what their wishes are regarding their health, talk to the doctors and medical staff. Keep talking. We are such a youth obsessed society, that I think we have become scared of aging and dying.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)
I was looking forward to this one, I saw the hype on Oprah where she met the stars and I read the book, years and years ago. I am wary of Oprah reviews, so many of the books she selects are not to my taste.

Dakota Fanning plays Lily, a southern girl in the 60's who has an unhappy home life. Damaged by the abuse of her father and the memories of her mother, she runs away with the housekeeper Rosaleen. They find a farm run by three woman, producing honey.

It was nice to be amoungst the youngest in the cinema, and although only seating about 40, I believe there wasnot a single male in the audience, they were all out watching scifi or action movies. The secret life fell a bit flat for me, it didn't sparkle or shine and I walked out of the theatre unmoved which was a shame. So, I can only give it a 2/5 but I am secretly wishing to give it a 3.

Still it was nice to get out on an autumn Sunday afternoon, and I had a nice lunch in Petone at Go Bang. A good orange juice and a great baked stuffed potato. Sometimes, life is good.

The Heretic Queen - Michelle Moran

The Heretic Queen - Michelle Moran (2008)
Not quite following on from the earlier Nefertiti, in this novel the niece of the Heretic Nefertiti it Nefertari. Nefertari, as a princess of Egypt is bought up in the palace with the young pharoah Ramesses.

Falling in love with the young pharoah she becomes determined to marry him, and become his queen.

Michelle Moran writes well, with a gentle flow that drags you into the very interesting period in Egypts history. 3/5 for this one, which I enjoyed curling up with on a cool and windy weekend.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mamma Mia

Mamma Mia (2008)
I was really really excited about trying out the itunes rental movie by hiring this movie. I had a long wait at the airport ahead of me, and thought it would be a great opportunity to sit and watch on my ipod. So after a download that took 45 minutes, and the cost, I set off to the airport.

Switched on my ipod, no movie. For some reason, the movie won't load onto my ipod. So finally I have gotten around to sitting down in front of my laptop to watch it.

At first I wasn't impressed, it seemed awfully cheesy and Colin Firth as a gay man, sorry he just looked to constipated. Anyways though, it was fun, the songs we all know the words too, and I loved that at least there were a few oldies in there that did a fab job, the old girls anyway.

Things I learnt watching this movie: Pierce Brosnan is getting on a bit - he has lots of grey chest hair, Meryl Streep looks great and had a jolly good try at trying to look like the singing and dancing was natural, Tom Hanks and his wifie had a hand in helping to make this movie and Bjorn from Abba had such a strange surname (Ulvaeus sounds like something close to your vajayjay).

So, perfect for an evening with the girls and a couple of bottles of whatever you fancy, 4/5.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

With Scott to the Pole - Beau Riffenburgh

With Scott to the Pole - Beau Riffenburgh (2004)
This book is the story of the 1910-1913 expedition to the pole, that Herbert Ponting took so many amazing photographs of Captain Scott and his crew. After finishing the novel about the expedition last week, I was mesmirised looking at this haunting pictures and could feel the cold creeping of the pages. 3/5

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Wackness

The Wackness (2008)
This movie is about Luke, who graduates high school, hangs out with his shrink and is a pot dealer. Set in 1994, before the cellphone, ipods and cool computer games, we get to follow Luke through a summer of discovering friends and love (sounds corny, I know). Sweet and not snooze inducing, it beats watching American Idol, but maybe not grand designs. 2/5

In Bruges

In Bruges (2008)
I wanted to like it, I had heard good things. Two hitmen go to Bruges to hide out after their most recent job, and wait instructions from their boss. It deserved a snigger or two, the city looked pretty, Colin Farrell looked like he needed a wash and my two movie buddies thought it was better than I did.


How to Dress - Gok Wan

How to Dress - Gok Wan (2008)
Like so many of these books, I guess the minute they are published they are out of date, with the fashions having moved on. I like Gok, I enjoy his telly show, where at least he celebrates women of all shapes and sizes without being demeaning or critical.

This book though I felt was a bit blah, the fashions a bit UK high store mannequin looking and not to my tastes at all. Still, we love a man who loves a womans curves. 2/5

Barefaced Lies and Boogie-Woogie Boasts - Jools Holland

Barefaced Lies and Boogie-Woogie Boasts - Jools Holland (2007)

After spending time (wasting time really), on youtube recently I was watching some clips featuring Jools Holland and his guests on his telly show, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVT-BokwmWY with Paul Weller and Amy Winehouse.

This always leads me onto searching the local library website to see what they hold on any likeable artists. So I found this biography of Jools Holland. A bit of a mountain of a book, I must be honest and say that I read the beginning part about his childhood, often the most interesting part of any biography. I then skipped sections in the middle about his early bands, and read the end part as he started describing his adventures in television.

Reading between the lines, I say that he skipped huge sections too. He didn't write much about Paula Yates, or dish too much gossip on any celebrities he wrote about. I am sure that is cause he is a nice, nice guy, and he wants to keep his job. Shame, I was looking for something juicy to stop the boredom. I mean I know he loved Paula, but she didn't just die because she was having too many sips of wine.

I couldn't help feeling I should have stopped at the first third of the book, and that I wasted the hours spent reading this tale. 1/5

Ghosts Among Us - James Van Praagh

Ghosts Among Us - James Van Praagh (2008)
I had a half hour to kill after my hair appointment, several weekends ago, so wandering into Borders I somehow found a vacant chair to sit on, in the psychics aisle.

Another part psychic memoir - part spirit tutorial this one was another easy read and I thought interesting, but that's because I like reading about this stuff. I sort of only vaguely knew that James Van Praagh is involved in the Ghost Whisperer, which I only every occasionally watch. I find the universal studio set really stilted, and Jennifer Love Hewitt although sweet and good to watch I am hugely annoyed with her outfits and overdone hair, and stupid antique store. It has a huge touch of the not realistics about it. Anyway, I would like the book to get a 3/5, the Ghost Whisperer would only manage a paltry 1/5.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dead Trees

I was looking at some blogs today, and came across these beautiful trees used in a library in Crawley, UK . The post about them is called "A Library Full Of Dead Trees" . Text from literature within the library, are sandblasted onto oak trees giving them a gritty, touchable surface. Just beautiful, and a reminder of where all that paper comes from.

Where we live, when you walk around the waterfront harbour, there are large stones in unexplained places, with quotes on them. The quotes come from New Zealand authors who have written about Wellington. I must take some pictures, next time I am out and about.

Wishful Drinking - Carrie Fisher

Wishful Drinking - Carrie Fisher (2008)
After a few novels, Carrie Fisher pens this memoir based on her live show. Growing up in the spotlight, with two famous parents, and her first gig acting in the first (or fourth) Star wars, Carrie spends most of her adult life dealing with her addictions and bipolar disorder.

Littered with amusing anicdotes, I can't help walking away feeling she is a bit whiney and needy. I just want to tell the woman, to get over who her parents are, what they did, what they are like now, grow up, toss out the pills and the booze and just live your own life.

Not much more than an hours read, barely worth taking out of the library or buying at the bookstore, you could just sit down and read it there. 2/5

Death on the Ice - Robert Ryan

Death on the Ice - Robert Ryan (2009)
This is one of those stories, that I thought I knew, but now know I only knew snippets of it. I didn't really understand what, who or why. Robert Ryans book is a novel, about Scott and his journey to reach the south pole.

I am glad I read it at the tail end of summer, beginning of winter because it sure made me appreciative of a warm dry bed. Scott, held up by many as a hero of his time, the great British adventurer is seen in this book as a man who stood with his principles, took his role as leader seriously, but by not planning properly and listening to advice, paid the price with the lives of his men and himself in 1912.

Although long, for me it was a good weeks read, I have to give it a 4/5.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Colin Fry - Secrets From the Afterlife

Secrets From the Afterlife - Colin Fry (2008)
Still reading books on psychics, this one was a quick little read. A bit on the dry side, I didn't really feel connected to it. I did find the necklace I was looking for though, thanks mum. 2/5

Spooks - Series Three

Spooks Series Three (2004)
A cold and windy end of summer week, meant that the tv didn't want to tune into channels properly, so I tuned into Spooks. I liked this series, as things changed and all the relationships were put to the test.

I agree with you Pia, a bit on the boring side, but still it beats the rubbish on the box at the moment. 3/5

Keeping the Dead - Tess Gerritsen

Keeping the Dead - Tess Gerritsen (2008)
I guess I was compelled to read this latest Tess Gerritsen book, because it started off with scanning a mummy in CT at the local hospital. That was the interesting bit, then it turned a bit predictable chase the bad man sort of thriller. I had been a bit disapointed with her latest books, I think they have lost their edge. However she hasn't gone too crazy, unlike Patricia Cornwell. 3/5