Wednesday, March 07, 2007

You Take Me Up

I know it’s been a while, but I got some new responsibilities at work and they keep me very busy. I’m not complaining as being busy helps the day go by much more quickly, but it does mean that I don’t have time to write an update or an e-mail. I don’t even really have time to read everybody’s blogs but when I get bored with the latest project I take five minutes just to clear my head.

It’s already march 6 and I haven’t regaled you with my books and movies of February, so that’s what you’re going to get today. I did much better reading wise in February than I did the previous two months.


The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (414 pages) – I loved The Garden of Good and Evil when it came out so when I saw this one, I had to get it. He writes compellingly and beautifully about Venice in this book and he made me want to go there and live for a year or ten. After reading this, a week trip to Italy including one day in Venice would just not be enough. I highly recommend it.

The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne (189 pages) – You can download it for free at that site as it’s apparently no longer copyrighted in the States. This was Winnie-the-Pooh’s writer’s only foray into mysteries and he does quite a good job of it. My version had a cool introduction where he explains why he wrote it (for his dad). I think I had read it a few years back, but it apparently pays to get old because I didn’t remember it at all. If you like a quick easy to read mystery, and have an spare hour or two, do yourself a favor and check it out.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (410 pages) – If you do a search of A Tale of Two Cities in goggle, it’ll pull up a whole bunch of links where you can read it for free. Who knew? Anyway, my SIL had lent me this book years ago as it is her favorite book and I thought it was time to read it and give it back to her. It was perfect timing because she had just decided she wanted to re-read it and had forgotten she had lent it to me. My only previous foray into Dickens had been in college when I read Hard Times. I liked it, much more than I thought I would, but just hadn’t gotten around to anything else by him. After read Tale, I thought I would try Bleak House, but it’s mother huge and I’m not sure I can handle that much Dickens so soon.

Plum Lovin’ by Janet Evanovich (164 pages) – This was a Valentine’s novella between the numbers of the Stephanie Plum series. It was amusing.

If I Live To Be 100 by Neenah Ellis (256 pages) – One of my bosses lent me this book and it was so cool. This project started out as an NPR project and she turned it into a book. She interviewed a bunch of centenarians and wow, it made me feel that growing 100 would be cool. I loved this book.

The Ghost of Blackwood Hall by Carolyn Keene (178 pages) – I hated this particular story of the Nancy Drew series when I read it as a kid and it’s probably the only one of the original stories (for me the originals only go up to #56) that I never re-read. I liked it this time around. I think the problem the first time around was that it was a tad scary – ghosts and all – but I liked it well enough this time around. I don’t know that it’ll ever be one of my favorites, but it was a good story.

The Clue of the Leaning Chimney by Carolyn Keene ( 176 pages) – It’s Nancy Drew. I think that says it all. I loved the series as a kid, and still do.

The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare (145 pages including introduction and notes by David G. Pitt and John Dennis Duffy) – My Shakespeare is woefully inadequate. I know I’ve read Hamlet, but that’s the only one I can say for certain, although I think I’ve read another one. It was cool to see all the famous quotes in their preferred context and it was a quick easy read.


I watched a fair amount of movies this month, so I’m not sure I’m going to link to all of them. I’m feeling a tad lazy.

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) (N) – (83%) – Some incredible performances in this movie – Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell – Wow. If you haven’t seen it, and have even the slightest interest in the aftermath of WWII, then check it out.

Above All Else: The Everest Dream (1999) (K) – I have been fascinated by Everest and all mountain climbing for over ten years now and have read many books on the subject, classic accounts, more recent ones, etc. So, this movie was a natural for me. It shows your basic insanity that is climbing an 8000 meter mountain.

The Great Escape (1963) (K) – (9r%) – It’s Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, etc. It’s classic and if you haven’t seen it, you should do yourself a favor.

The Quiet American (2002) (N) – (89%) – This film shows Vietnam a few years prior to the start of the war and it’s very moving. It’s also based on Graham Greene’s novel of the same name. I think it’s an important film for anybody who wants to know understand Indochina before the Vietnam tragedy.

The Lady Vanishes - One of Hitchcock’s British films and I’ve watched it a number of times, but I never get tired of it.

The 39 Steps - Another of Hitch’s British films and one with the classic Hitch theme of the innocent man being wrongly accused. Another good one.

Star Wars: A New Hope - I hate having to call it A New Hope. I should say Star Wars and everybody should know that I mean the first one and by the first one, I mean when it came out. It’s classic, although not quite in the same league as a Hitchcock classic, but it is the first sci-fi I ever liked.

Ice Age II: The Meltdown (2006) (N) – (56%) – I have to agree with the 56% actually, I loved the original Ice Age, but this one was not as much fun. I had trouble getting interested until about 30 minutes from the end. Not exactly riveting, although some of it was amusing. I’d say kids would probably like it.

Stargate (1994) (N) – (43%) - As you all know I’ve gotten sucked into the TV series Stargate SG-1 and since it was based on this movie, I figured I’d check into it. It was okay. This would be an example of the TV offshoot being much much much better than the original movie.

Pretty In Pink - It was on Lifetime or something one Saturday and realised I hadn’t seen it in forever and then that evening I found it at Target for about $7, so I picked it up and watched it again. It was nice to see what was deemed either unsuitable or unnecessary for television.

The Devil’s Advocate (1997) (F) – (71%) – Wow, I can’t tell you how much I did not care for this movie. Al Pacino was icky, beyond belief icky. And for heaven’s sake, it had Keanu Reeves it!!!! Unless you like scary-ass, icky satan movies with Al Pacino making icky motions with his tongue, give this one a miss.

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) (N) – (92%) – I held off seeing this movie for a long time, I guess mostly because I didn’t know what it was about. I finally put it in my queue after seeing the cast on Ellen and a little snippet of the film. I’m glad I did as I liked it a lot. I laughed out loud at the ending.

Joy Division: Under Review (2006) (N) – Technically, not a movie as it was a bunch of British music types talking about Joy Division. If you’re not a fan, you probably wouldn’t be interested, but as I’m pretty much insane when it comes to Joy Division, I loved it and found out that there’s a new book out about Joy Division. So exciting to us Joy Division geeks.

Babel (2006) (N) – (68%) – I have to say that I agree with this percentage, because I didn’t get the big deal. In fact, I pretty much could live without ever seeing it again and that’s saying a lot considering how often I’ll rewatch movies. I read a mini review where they compared it to Crash from last year – they preferred Babel. I preferred Crash.

Finding Neverland (2004) (K) – (84%) – Johnny Depp…with prettier hands than me…need I say more?

Don Juan DeMarco (1995) (K) – (71%) – Johnny Depp playing the world’s greatest lover…need I say more? Although I have to say that I’m not quite sure why Marlon Brando is considered to be such a great actor. And who really wants to imagine him in bed with Faye Dunaway???

Qué viva México (1930) (N) – This was Sergei Eisenstein’s only North American film and from all accounts it cured him of ever working here again. It’s a beautifully shot film and that link does a much better job of explaining the film than I ever could.

Serenity (2005) (K) – Yeah, I know I just watched this in October, but since I rewatched the entire season in January, I felt like I hadn’t completed the saga without watching the movie. I’m still pissed about the people they killed off.

Reno 911: Miami (2007) (Theatre) – (37%) – The Libertarian wanted to see this and I went along for the fun of it, even though I had never seen a single second of the TV show. It is - apparently - 84 minutes (I thought it was only 70 minutes) of pure ridiculousness. This is not high-brow film aiming to engage your mind or make you think. And sometimes thinking is not what you want to do.

It’s now March 7, because as you can see, I decided to link which took me a lot longer to write this. I wasn’t as lazy as I planned on being. I had a really good weekend which involved the symphony on Friday night with the Libertarian, dancing Saturday night for four straight hours, and then I blew my Lenten resolution on Sunday by going to church after which I picked up my friend Soyon and headed off to Lansing where The World’s Greatest Yarn Store was having a massive sale. Sadly, the sale started on Thursday so pickin’s were slim, not that that stopped me from finding plenty of yarn to add to my stash. And yesterday to add to my excitement I picked up the new Stooges CD in anticipation of the concert on April 13 (yup, I got tix to see Iggy), and a new Iggy boxset with five previously unreleased complete live concerts from 1977-1981, some un-recorded songs, interviews with band members, unpublished photos from each tour on stage and backstage and two tour stickers.

And I think that’s enough for one post! Hope everybody is doing well.

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At Wednesday, 07 March, 2007, Blogger fermicat said...

I do not enjoy reading Shakespeare. I love it in the theater, and when I see it performed, I get it. But somehow when I read it, I am definitely missing a lot.

I re-watched Serenity recently. It was on one of the cable movie channels. Love it! But yes, it is heartbreaking who they kill.

At Thursday, 08 March, 2007, Blogger trinamick said...

We had to read A Tale of Two Cities in high school. Everyone else griped, but I enjoyed it. And I've read every Nancy Drew book too. I think I'll have to go back and re-read some of them. Plum Lovin' is sitting on my shelf, but I haven't had time to read it. Maybe now that I have a little free time!

At Friday, 09 March, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Fermi - I'm not saying I got all of MacBeth, but I didn't have that much trouble with it. Of course, mine came with footnotes to translate, although I thought some of them were a tad obvious and didn't really need explanation.

Trina - Plum Lovin' will take you about two hours, tops!

At Friday, 09 March, 2007, Blogger LL said...

I'm always impressed by your lists. Not necessarily for the content, but always for the volume!

At Friday, 09 March, 2007, Blogger Fantasy Writer Guy said...

I've only seen 5 of those movies (L'il Miss Sunshine my fave) and read two of those books. MacBeth and the Ghost of Blackwood Hall. This is kind of embarassing being a guy but I read most of the Nancy Drew series when I was a kid. But my favorite Nancy Drew moment comes not from one of Keane's books but from the movie The Birdcage. Do you know what scene I mean? If not than you haven't watched Birdcage enough. Do yourself a favor and go rent it again. Perhaps my favorite comedy of all time - nay - second fave. First is Python and the Holy Grail of course.!

At Monday, 12 March, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

LL - I'm going for impressive content!! Please try to be more impressed content-wise.

FWG - Yup, loved that scene. Laughed myself silly. I've only seen that movie a half dozen or so times.

At Monday, 12 March, 2007, Blogger Beth said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Monday, 12 March, 2007, Blogger Beth said...

I have read everything Dickens has written EXCEPT "A Tale of Two Cities" and I don't know why. My favorite is David Copperfield, which is well over 1,000 pages, but I can't get past the first chaper of "A Tale ..." I just need to do it.

I really loved "Little Miss Sunshine," but found the grandfather so dirty. I don't think he should have won the Oscar either, but the movie itself ... proof you don't need a big budget or special effects to make a solid film.

At Tuesday, 13 March, 2007, Blogger Scott said...

My God, that is a ton of movies and books. I just picked up three books at random from the library. I can't find good books on purpose, so I'm trying a new technique.

At Wednesday, 14 March, 2007, Anonymous GoingLoopy said...

I'm glad I'm not the only weirdo who occasionally delves back into the books they liked when they were kids...I was thinking about buying "The Bridge to Terabithia" again, but not seeing the movie.

And a story about "Serenity"...the part where the guy asks his sister "am I talking to Miranda?" - when Lando's cat has wig-outs (which the cat does a lot), I call him Miranda. The cat, I mean.

At Thursday, 15 March, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Beth - I'm impressed by your reading repertoire. I really liked Tale though, and didn't really expect to. I expected to suffer through it just to say I did it.

Scott - I wanted to mail you Gabriel Garcia Marquez's autobiography where he talks about his writing and how he writes, etc.

Loopy - LOL. I think all cats can be Miranda-like at times!


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