Sunday, May 29, 2011
The Kids are Alright - DVD (2010)
The DVD was alright, it tried to be indie, and drama and I guess a bit edgy. Two teenage kids live with their Lesbian mothers, and decide when the oldest turns 18 to find out about their sperm donor. After giving him a call, he enters their lives and things begin to change.
It was ok - not earth shattering, and I guess Lesbians are Oscar material. Just be warned, Mark Ruffolo has his pants off a bit in this little movie, not a bad thing on Saturday night. 2.5/5.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
The Social Network - DVD (2010)
The good thing about not going out to the movies, is that the DVDs come out in only a few months, and I am enjoying not spending $17 on movie tickets. So it was looking like a boring Friday night with only American Idol on tv, which we already knew who won thanks to the interenets. So after finishing late at work, a takeaway dinner was in order and I dropped into the library for a quick look.
I wasn't really interested in this one when it came out as I don't do Facebook and I was familiar with the story already, and it all seemed a bit over hyped. My instincts were correct for although a modern fable for our times, it just seemed full of dull lawyer scenes, uninspiring parties and lots of posh boys with sour grapes.
For me it is only worth a measly 2/5 - hardly entertaining, but worth a few points for the cinematography.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Petite Anglaise - Catherine Sanderson (2008)
Catherine is an English girl who has a fascination with things French, and escapes to live in Paris. There she meets a boy who becomes Mr Frog, and together they have a small daughter Tadpole. After a couple of years they realise that they are not as happy as they once were and Catherine makes contact with one of the fans of her blog. This forces her to reavaluate her relationship, and life changes. However her new fella ends up promising a lot and not quite delivering it all.
Does that give it all away? Billed as a memoir, and even though she is a good writer it does come across a bit as chick lit and I could see the ending coming a mile away. I'm going to sit on the fence and give it a 2.5/5.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Because I love ETSY, and also love David Bowie, I'm thinking of getting this one for the wall. Also nice that they can customize the colours for you. I think you can find it here:http: //www.etsy.com/listing/70314847/i-will-be-king-and-you-will-be-queen
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Heaven is for Real - Todd Burpo (2010)
Colton Burpo is a sick four year old when he has to undergo an emergency appendectomy. When he gets better he tells his family about leaving his body, seeing his parents and visiting heaven. He meets Jesus and sees God and members of his family. Over the following months, he informs his parents of what he experienced.
It was ok - an interesting thought, of such a small child having a near death experience, an area I am interested in. As his father is a pastor, I am sure that Colton must have been aware of some of the bible stories before this happened, hearing about God and bible stories. 2.5/5.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Cry of the Go-Away Bird - Andrea Eames (2011)
We get to meet Elise, who is growing up in Zimbabwe in the 1990s. Living on a farm with her mother and stepfather, life at first is simple with school, and weekends and days off exploring and hanging out with friends. As the political situation changes, tensions begin to rise amongst the white farmer as farm takeovers become more and more frequent. Friends and family begin to leave, and those that stay are threatened by locals, it becomes a tense place to live.
I had been reading Andreas blog for a while, and was looking forward to the release of this book, and after a bit of a slow start, once I got into it I enjoyed it a lot, and enjoyed reading a novel about an area of the world that I don't know a lot about. 4/5
Baggage - Janet Street-Porter (2004)
When I lived in the UK I didn't watch a lot of TV, but Janet Street-Porter is a journo who turned up on a lot of shows over there. The only thing we see her in here in NZ, are on 5 year old repeats of the F word. Anyways I picked up this memoir from the library and liked the first page, so it seemed like a good choice to bring home.
What I didn't realise was that she was born in the 40's and it basically is a memoir of the circumstances of her birth, when both her parents were married to someone else, and a childhood growing up with strict parents and a sister she didn't like. Then there is a series of boyfriends and sexploits as she tries to escape her homelife - you know usual 60s stuff.
So a 2/5 - interesting but not memorable.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The Butcher and the Vegetarian - Tara Austen Weaver (2010)
The author was bought up in a household with a mother who was a strict vegetarian, and even though she tried the odd hotdog, she never really commited to eating the flesh. Later on in her twenties though she finds that after feeling rubbish for some time, her doctor recommend the addition of meat to her diet.
So a lot of the book is taken up with hearing about Taras adventures of trying steak and meatballs, and she to her credit takes a lot of time to find ethical farmers and goes and visits the slaughterhouse. There is a lot of discussion surrounding the ethical reasons for eating and not eating animals. All of which I understan. Personally, I don't know if I could eat meat, if I had to kill it myself, and I would like to think of the animals I eat being treated humanely. I do feel guilty if I don't buy free range chickens, eggs or pork. I always think of Food Inc, where it shows chickens who never see the sky or touch the ground in their lifetime. In New Zealand I think that most of the cows and sheep we consume, get to live their lives outside in the sun, eating green NZ grass.
I have had my own periods without meat. A few years as a child, when I wouldn't eat it and lived on eggs on toast for two meals every day. In my twenties I lived in a vegetarian flat for a while, and a few years ago, after a few stomach problems, I had ten months without red meat, although I still consumed a lot of chicken. But I still go back to liking steak and chicken, although I wouldn't consider myself a big meat eater.
So it was a thought provoking read, although I thought she was a bit limited in how she choose to go about discovering meat. There are so many awesome recipes and cooking shows, and although butchers may sell the meat, I think that they are probably not all gourmet cooks bristling with recipes or ideas.
So a worthy 3/5 that I enjoyed finishing today at lunch, while I ate my minature bacon, tomato and egg pies.
Monday, May 16, 2011
The American - DVD (2010)
Oh George Clooney, you silver fox you. Even spending the whole movie looking over your shoulder and anxious (and possibly constipated), we still love you. I had been considering seeing this one at the moies, but the timing was never right, so it was nice to have it on DVD. I am glad I saved the $12 difference, as it was a bit on the slow meandering style, and in the end I was fast forwarding through some of the slower parts.
So just a 2/5 for me, not one I would watch again.
My Boy Butch - Jenni Murray (2011)
Jenni is going through a tough time in her life, and realises that a pet will help her, giving her some company, so she gets Butch, her first Chihuahua. After getting the wee dog settled she realises he is lonely, so ends up with a second dog Frida.
So this is a nice little story about how a couple of small dogs help Jenni deal with her health issues and help her begin to enjoy life again. I'm a sucker for these books. 3/5
Friday, May 13, 2011
The Hungry Ghosts - Anne Berry (2009)
I started off really liking this book, and I certainly think that Anne Berry is a talented first time author. It is the story of Alice, who is growing up in Hong Kong in the 1960s with her family, who don't seem to understand or even like her. Surrounding her is the ghost of a girl murdered on the island, and eventually by other creatures that come into her life.
It seemed to come unstuck a bit in the middle, but rallied around at the end when I began to like it again. We can all understand and sympathise for the teenage girl whose mother seems threatened by her and seems jealous of the protection offered to her by her father. Neglected by her mother, Alice runs away, but does try and retain contact by writing letters, which her mother destroys and tells the family that she has not heard from her daughter. Eventually Alice returns to find out what has happened to her parents, finding it all changed.
3/5 - it kept me up in the evenings reading about this dysfunctional family.
Monday, May 09, 2011
Rescue - Anita Shreve (2011)
Anita Shreve is one of those authors that I look forward to her new books, and search them out but the results can often be a bit hit or miss for me. This one was one of those that I didn't really gel with, the characters were a bit on the annoying side. An ambulance officer begins a relationship with a woman who he treats after she has an accident after drinking. Sixteen years later he is bringing up their daughter alone, and is struggling with a bit of teenage rebellion.
I found ambulance officer Webster a bit weak, and his family a bit flat and two dimensional and Shelia, well she was just plain annoying. Nothing seemed likable in the book really, the characters or the town, it all felt a bit like I'd heard it before. 2/5
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Like all girls of a similar age, I like the Julia Roberts, I truly do. Being in my early twenties when Pretty Woman came out, it made an impact, we all bought the soundtrack. But I don't want to see the movie again and again, twenty times a year on poor people tv. Or be subjected to the horrid My Best Friends Wedding the following week.
What happened to us having quality drama on tv? Are we to be subjected to horrid reruns of the same movies over and over? Especially the F grade manboys like Adam Sandler and his mates Will and Owen (shudder). Can't you umpf it up with a little George Clooney once in a while?
A disgruntled tv viewer.
Friday, May 06, 2011
When I Stop Talking You'll Know I'm Dead - Jerry Weintraub (2010)
I saw this guy talking on the Ellen show the other night, so I have to admit that it drew me to seeing if the book was available at the library and it was. Being sick and stuck in bed has given me the chance to catch up on a lot of reading.
Jerry Weintraub is one of those guys who has had a lot of jobs working in music and film production dealing with Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Led Zepplin and other supergroups. His memoir is interesting, as he does have nice little anecdotes about his work and private life.
A 3/5 sick bed read.
Comedy in a Minor Key - Hans Keilson (2010)
Wim and Marie are a quiet Dutch couple who agree to hide a jewish man Nico in their spare room. After a year of hiding, he falls ill and dies, and the couple are left with trying to get rid of the body in their occupied town.
A small novella, its own author was German Jew who hid in Holland during the war, this book was first published in 1947, but has only now been translated into English at the time of the authors 100th birthday.
The Bag Lady Papers - Alexandra Penney(2010)
I can sympathise with Alexandra Penney, as I have a similar recurring nightmare of ending up on the streets with no money and nowhere to live. Alexandra Penney however lives in Manhattan, with other homes in Florida and Long Island, with mortgages on them and money invested with Bernie Madoff. In 2008, after news of his arrest she realizes that all of the money she has invested with him is gone, and she is left with little savings and large mortgages to pay.
It was interesting to hear about her many high flying careers with Vogue, Glamour and Self magazines and with money spent on fancy clothes, handbags and holidays. She also was the author of several sex books, making her good money and was able to dabble in her artistic tendencies, having a studio for her photography.
It is different scenario than most of us face, where we struggle to pay our bills week to week, and have to juggle what to buy at the supermarket. I do feel sorry for many of these investors who lost their money and life savings, but really they put all of their eggs in one basket, and to risk mortgaging your house to make money with investment bankers hasn't really worked out so well lately.
The House with the Blue Shutters - Lisa Hilton (2010)
I'm always a bit of a sucker for a war drama and I stumbled on this one at the library. Its premise was the tying together of two stories, the first about Claudia a young art lecturer who finds herself pregnant with her Parisian lovers child, and contemplating a marriage with a London banker that she doesn't love. On holiday in a small French village at the home stay run by her bankers in laws, she finds herself involved with the locals. One of them is Oriane, an elderly woman, who is the focus of the second story.
Oriane is left in charge of the farm and her special needs brother, and during the war finds herself involved with a young German officer. This relationship however leaves her with a baby and unprotected from the hatred of the locals when the Germans leave.
I found it a bit of a hard book to read, as it seemed to peppered with lots of characters, and there was a loss of focus of telling the two stories that somehow the sister-in law and the local resistance became the main storytellers for much of the book. I wanted to hear more about Oriane, and found myself short changed, and waiting for the book to end - 2/5.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Source - Books at BYU (Black Eiffel Website)
Source - Cool Hunter Website
Source - Cool Hunter Website
There is something soothing about a big pile of books, like entering a large library. I only managed a couple of visits to the British Library, in London when I lived there. It was always good to go early, as it always busy. To see amazing letters and books written by Jane Austen, The Brontes, The Beatles, and other authors, famous Queens and Kings, songwriters, Politicians - the whole of history really.
Mostly nowdays I have a bit of a routine. I read a few book blogs, and visit the bookshops but seldom buy due to the high prices. When I find something that interests me I look at the online library, and then reserve what I want, and if it is not there you can suggest they buy them. Our local little branch library, has friendly staff but only a little selection, so it is always nice to head into town to the big library, especially in the winter weekend afternoons that are coming up.
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Left Neglected - Lisa Genova (2011)
Still Alice was Lisa Genovas earlier novel that is a must read. It is the story about a woman who lecturing at university realises that she is slipping into early dementia, and the affects it has on her and her families life. Now Lisa tackles what happens to a young business woman, Sarah who is married with three young childrens and suffers a brain injury after an accident.
The injury, affecting the right side of her brain, means that she is left with left sided neglect and can no longer control her left side or see or read as before, and the challenges she faces in rehab and at home. It was compelling writing and I find her style is easily readable and completely believable, as I could picture the characters in my head.
Worthy of a 5/5, as I would definitely recommend it to all of my friends, and she is is on my list of must read authors.
Voluntary Madness - Norah Vincent (2009)
This book was recommended to me by my father, an avid non-fiction reader who plows through ten books a week. He talked about how it taught him a bit about mental illness, that there is not an definitive test for each type and that it all depends on the symptoms that the patient describes. In other illnesses you can take a blood test, biopsy or sample to determine what is going on.
In the book I learnt that it takes a patient going to the doctor, describing their feelings, and then according to the author the patient is then locked up and has to convince the medical staff that they can then go home. Also that the patient has to want to accept help and participate in their own rehab.
After suffering from depression, and then a breakdown after the finish of her latest book, Norah checks into a psychiatric ward for treatment for real, and then decides to write a book about three different types of facilities. Her experience is wildly different in each three and each experience is peppered with a range of characters in the wards, both staff and patients.
3/5 - it was interesting but made me feel sad reading it. It did give me insights into mental health treatment, and made me challenge what I thought about treatment, and anti psychotic drugs.