Tuesday, March 31, 2009
by Diana Gabaldon
Published by Delacorte Press, 1991
Summary: in 1945, Claire is on vacation with her husband in Scotland, when she comes across an ancient stone that transport her back in time. She finds herself 200 years in the past where she uses her training as a nurse to become entrenched with a group of Scottish soldiers. Finding refuge in the castle of the laird, Colem McKenzie, Claire must use her knowledge of the time to survive life in the Scottish highlands.
Review: Outlander is a book about a life diverted (or perhaps one that finds its true path?). In the beginning of the book, we see Claire in her own time, as a wife who is reunited with her husband after war. In 1945, we able to get acquainted with Claire and her quiet life. When she is transported to the 1700s, she gradually becomes a different person through the chaos of life on the Scottish highlands. Her need to survive and get back to her husband makes her show bravery and intelligence in the dangerous situations that cross her path. The development of Claire's character throughout the novel is wonderful. I also enjoyed the relationship between Claire and Jamie (a Scottish soldier she must marry to save her own life) and how through the course of the novel you can see their love deepen. In terms of plot, I was a little disappointed. At 627 pages, there were many situations that could have been cut from the novel. At one point I was concerned when another person was being kidnapped and a character was being tortured for a second time. However, the adventures that didn't repeat themselves as well as the political intrigue were fun and engaging. Thanks to all the bloggers who recommended this read, I am definitely planning on reading the sequel. Rating:*** out of 5
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Review: Positively, the special effects are good and there are a few fun action sequences. Other than that, I am pretty indifferent to the rest of the movie. There were puzzles for the teenagers to solve but you never felt like you were there helping them. Instead they would just point to the map and run in a direction. The acting was good but the story just didn't translate well on screen. Rating: * out of 5
Thursday, March 26, 2009
by Mark Haddon
Published by Doubleday
1% Well - Read Challenge Selection 1
Summary: Christopher Boone is a fifteen year old autistic boy. One night, he comes across the dead body of Wellington, his next door neighbor's dog. Christopher decides to become a detective and solve Wellington's murder. Over the course of his investigation, he not only finds the murder but uncovers a family secret that changes his life.
Review: An intense and engrossing book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, is a fantastic read. Haddon's words let you into Christopher's mind and world as he struggles to navigate through day to day life. Sometimes being in his mind was so overwhelming, I had to put the book down for a few hours or even a day. My heart went out to Christopher's parents, two people just trying to love and take care of a boy they can't even touch, as their adult lives spin out of control. I would highly recommend this book, the characters are interesting, the plot moves quickly, and I was left with a better understand of what it means to be autistic. Rating: **** out of 5
The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Review: My favorite part of this film was Brendan Gleeson. In an understated performance, Ken is quiet and contemplative as he takes in the culture that Bruges has to offer. He is protective of Ray and unwavering in his belief that Ray deserves a second chance at life. Colin Farrell was very funny as Ray, a man who struggles with the shooting and his contempt of Bruges. In Bruges is a very dark and violent movie about honor among thieves and redemption in the strangest places. Rating: *** out of 5
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Review: This movie is a character piece that is labeled as a comedy, but I rarely laughed throughout the picture. It was interesting and entertaining at times, especially Poppy's relationship with her roommate. Sally Hawkins is great as Poppy. I was surprised to find that I liked the character of Poppy, she wasn't cheerful to the point of being stupid or naive, just really agreeable. The film is light and breezy until the last 15 minutes (don't worry I won't spoil it). Overall, an interesting picture but not one that I would watch again. Rating: ** out of 5
Monday, March 23, 2009
How cool is that? Thanks to Bev over at Merry Weather for this great honor. As part of the award I need to choose blogs that interest and inspire me. There are so many to choose from! Here are my winners of the Sisterhood Award:
Now here are the details for passing on this honor.
1. Put the logo on your blog or on a post.
2. Nominate up to 10 other bloggers which show great attitude and or gratitude.
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.
Thanks ladies for such fantastic blogs. Enjoy your award!
Friday, March 20, 2009
My pick for winner of Barney's Book Blog Unusual Title of the Week goes to -- Beer, Babes, and Balls: Masculinity and Sports Talk Radio. Here's a summary from Barnes and Noble:
Beer, Babes, and Balls explores the increasingly popular genre of sports talk radio and how it relates to contemporary ideas of masculinity. Popular culture plays a significant role in fashioning identities, and sports talk radio both reflects and inspires cultural shifts in masculinity. Through analysis of the content of sports talk radio as well as interviews with radio production staff and audience members, scholar and avid sports talk radio listener David Nylund sheds light on certain aspects of contemporary masculinity and recent shifts in gender and sexual politics. He finds that although sports talk radio reproduces many aspects of traditional masculinity, sexism, racism, and heterosexism, there are exceptions in these discourses. For instance, the most popular national host, Jim Rome, is against homophobia and racism in sport, which indicates that the medium may be a place for male sports fans to discuss gender, race, and sexuality in consequential ways. Nylund concludes that sports talk radio creates a male bonding community that has genuine moments of intimacy and connection, signifying the potential for new forms of masculinity to emerge, while simultaneously reproducing traditional forms of masculinity.
It may be an unusual title but it really catches the readers eye and is perfect for the subject matter.
So what do you think -- unusual or perfect? Is there a book you would like to nominate for 'Unusual Title'? If so, leave me a message in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning career.The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America. Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility -- the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth -- these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel García Márquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master. Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an accounting of the history of the human race.
So what about you? What is the worst 'best' book you have ever read?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
But here's another shock: The movie version, due June 26, has a
different ending. And that's making some Picoult fans unhappy.
The movie, starring Cameron Diaz and Abigail Breslin, tells the story of what happens when a healthy child (Breslin) turns 13 and begins to question the medical procedures she has endured in an effort to stem her older sister's (Sofia Vassilieva) leukemia. Picoult hasn't seen the movie but has read the script: "Having the ending changed would certainly not have been my choice. I wrote the ending very intentionally because I wanted to leave the reader with a certain message. And changing that ending changes that message. However, I am excited to see the movie and to judge it on its strengths."
I think it was a terrible idea to change the ending, but it isn't deterring me from seeing the movie. What do you think? Should they be allowed to change the ending? Are you planning on seeing the movie now that it isn't completely faithful to the book?
Here is the link for the original article: http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2009-03-02-picoult-my-sisters-keeper_n.htm?loc=interstitialskip
Monday, March 16, 2009
Anybody else a member? Any advice for the newbie?
Friday, March 13, 2009
What great books did you hear about / discover this week?
1. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon -- Many bloggers mentioned this series during their Booking Through Thursday posts. See Diana Gabaldon's Fantastic Fiction page here: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/g/diana-gabaldon/.
2. Drood by Dan Simmons -- This book is getting a ton of great reviews and sounds very interesting.
Phoebe Washburn: Regulated Fool's Milk Meadow
From the Publisher
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
I read this book for book club a few months back and really enjoyed it. After I picked up I Am the Messenger, also by Zusak, and realized that I loved this book even more. It's a story of second chances and how one one event can change your life forever. It is a funny and thoughtful adventure ripe with unusual characters.
So if you are going to read The Book Thief (and even if you are not) I recommend that you pick up I Am the Messenger as well. Let me know what you think of it (or both books) in the comments section.
There were some very interesting tidbits that came up in conversation. Juliette told us that Shelter Me was not the original title. Instead the original title was En Route, Will Advise and after it was changed she methodically went back throughout the book to add the word shelter to the text to make it more cohesive. The book takes place in Pelham, Massachusetts but it wasn't until after the book was published that she found out there was a real Pelham in Massachusetts.
It was a great conversation and I am very much looking forward to Juliette Fay's next book which she is currently working on. Next month, the book club will read The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant and chat with her as well.