Thursday, October 25, 2007

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Oh, I loved this. It made me laugh out loud several times, and then I told a lot of friends about it. It's a lovely, funny romance with clever allusions to various Jane Austen novels and the films based thereon. Seems like I've read and seen plenty of stuff that alludes to Jane Austen, but not necessarily successfully, but Austenland is great! It's not profound or anything, but I loved it. And it's very clean!

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

I still remember when I was a young teenager (or maybe even preteen), and I read all of Judy Blume's young adult novels, and then my mom banned them all for the rest of the kids. I think she had already written her first “adult” novel, Wifey, by then, which I happened upon the other day. I read through the first few pages, and that was enough to confirm the rumors I heard long ago that it was a truly trashy book. Anyway, Summer Sisters is entertaining and well-written and has some good insights into relationships between friends and mothers and daughters. Sometimes it's quite poignant and moving. It also made me think I should never allow my children out of my sight, or more specifically, I shouldn't allow them to hang out at other people's houses for extended periods.

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

I read this book a few years ago and liked it pretty well, but the movie was just okay. It was fun to listen to passionate discussion about Jane Austen's novels and see how the characters' opinions had so much to do with their own lives, but ultimately, it just seemed like an excessively “chicky” chick flick.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

And here's the second one. Strangely enough, there seem to be even longer stretches where nothing happens, some of it actually represented by nearly blank pages, which was a nice touch, especially compared to the many pages where nothing much happened but there were lots of words to get through anyway. Still, though, extremely realistic descriptions of teenage love, etc., and I enjoyed the book and felt pretty frustrated that I am third on the hold list at the library for the next book. I think if I were more teenagish, I'd have bought it already. But I'm older now and realize that I can wait. (If I can wait almost a year to watch Season 4 of The Office, I can wait for this!)

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Until now I've been sheltered from the recently successful LDS-authors-who-don't-write-for-an-LDS-audience. Twilight, and its sequels, are wildly popular, apparently, and I can see why. It's all about forbidden love with the high school bad boy, but amped up about 100 times, because not only is this boy bad-but-really-good-underneath-all-the-badness, he's a vampire! So he's not just acting bad! And he's still actually a good guy! There's enough crazy sexual tension here (but still clean) to keep the girls glued, even through the long spells where nothing much seems to happen in the book. I really liked it and immediately started the next in the series.

The Office, Season 3

What can I say? It's still great. Now Jon and I are watching every last piece of whatever they've put on the DVDs. We might be able to make it last a couple more weeks. In the meantime, Season 4 is well underway, and we know nothing about it, so don't tell us!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

As you can see, I didn't have time to read. I was busy watching these important films.

The Karate Kid (1984)

It's still a great movie, though the music is definitely dated. (I had to roll my eyes when my 11-year-old said, “This music is cool!”) Mr. Miyagi was even deeper than I remembered.

Benny and Joon (1993)

I have no idea if Joon is really an accurate and believable crazy person, but it's a good show. And there's Johnny Depp doing great mime stuff.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

I enjoyed this much more after my recent Harry Potter immersion exercise.

The Simpsons Movie (2007)

Had its moments, but what I'd really like is a custom-made DVD with my favorite Simpsons episodes, like the Vegetarian episode and the Halloween one where Bob Dole and Bill Clinton are kidnapped by aliens right before the election, and nobody will vote for a third party, even when the replacement candidates are revealed to be aliens!

Stardust (2007)

Some have compared this to The Princess Bride, but they are wrong to do so. It was pretty good.

Mickey Blue Eyes (1999)

One scene made me laugh out loud, but this was fairly mediocre.

The Last Mimzy (2007)

I thought this was an okay kids' film, but there was a lot that went unexplained that might have been interesting. However, it's also very possible that if more had been explained, it would have turned into a truly awful movie like A.I.. So I will take it as it is.

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (1991)

In spite of the retarded title and the fact that it's about diving horses, it turns out that this is a really great movie! Really! It's based on a true story, it's clean, and it's entirely enjoyable. Has some good morals, too.

Mansfield Park (1999)

There are some major departures from, or maybe I should say some very loose interpretations of certain aspects of, Jane Austen's novel, but this is a very good movie just on its own. It's a great chick flick and contains one of the best almost-kiss scenes ever.

Pride and Prejudice (1996 and 2005)

I had a brief fling with the newest Pride and Prejudice, but after watching A&E's again, there's just no comparison. I still love the new one—it looks beautiful and I love the music—but A&E's five-hour film is so true to the book. Someday I plan to write a really long post on all things Pride and Prejudice, but this will have to do for now. Unless someone would like to start a discussion?

I guess I only read three books in September! How is that possible?

Where Rivers Change Direction by Mark Spragg

A memoir about growing up on a dude ranch in western Wyoming. It's well-written and he's got some fascinating stories to tell.

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

Wicked, the book that precedes this one, is one of my all-time favorite books, so maybe it shouldn't surprise me that it was somewhat disappointing. Still pretty good, but not nearly as complex or surprising as Wicked.

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

This is what people used to do instead of becoming obsessed with The Office! It was originally serialized in a periodical, and it's quite long, with teasing sentences at the ends of many of the chapters. I thought it was delightful. Elizabeth Gaskell seems like a kinder but still witty Jane Austen.