Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

FiftyFifty Reading Challenge - Book #3 - Middlesex

I had to abandon the YA title, "The House of the Scorpion," by Nancy Farmer. I had gotten to page 60 but wasn't digging any part of that book. Ugh. Hate to give up on a book, but time is too precious, right? I want, really want, to like YA books, but they're not working for me.
So I turned to my bookshelf, filled with titles and titles and titles, most of which I have read, but many of which I have not: books purchased On Sale or when Borders was shutting down, or for their cover designs that attracted me like a moth to light. Yes, I do judge a book by its cover.
Searched through my fiction section. Found "Middlesex," by Jeffrey Eugenides. A sticker on the top right of the book: Oprah's Book Club. Translation: I'll probably like it.
I started reading. Paragraph one begins:
"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."
Now that's quite a hook, ain't it?

FiftyFifty.Me -Movies 3 & 4

What's not to love in a movie about baseball, featuring America's honey Brad Pitt?
Moneyball was a homerun in my eyes. I know, I know, stupid, cliched pun. But still ... . Loved it, loved it, loved it. Pitt's portrayal of Billy Beane was fun to watch, what with the ever present khaki-pants-sports-polo uniform and tobacco-chewing spit cup. Just a well acted, feel-good movie. Jonah Hill was amazing, too. (Watched Sunday, Feb. 19, with HAS.)

Cancer sucks. I hate cancer. Cancer killed my dad in 2007; it's killing my aunt and my uncle. Given my hatred for the disease, and my at-times strange sense of humor, it is no wonder that I sat down to watch "50/50," a movie about a young man who has, as Seth Grogan's character states, "Level 4 back cancer." I LOVED this movie, all parts of it, including the silly and the sad. My favorite line, spoken by Grogan's character as he applies a healing ointment to his friend's fresh scar: "Man, this is some SAW shit." Just funny. Finding the humor in the serious and sad and tragic appeals to me. Definitely a five-star movie. (Watched Monday, Feb. 20, with Elizabeth.)

FiftyFifty.Me Book #2 and Movie #2 - "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"

First I watched the movie, on a chilly sort of day. HAS was home for Presidents' Day, and I had a 99-cent movie, titled The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
The movie opens with three little boys playing in the streets of a populated city, circa 1940. They're pretending to be airplanes, their arms outstretched, voices buzzing. As a lover of All Things Children, I was hooked.
The movie is, simply, extraordinary. From the opening to the ending, I and HAS watched, riveted.
So sad, the ending. Didn't see it coming. I hadn't yet read the book.
After the movie, I got the book from my bookshelf, noted my handwritten inscription: Kathleen Stander, Scholastic Book Fair, 2007. Read the book jacket: "The story of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the jacket, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.
If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn't a book for nine-year-olds.) And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.
Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter such a fence."
I started the book Monday afternoon, post movie viewing. Finished Tuesday morning.
Book is a quick, but unforgettable, read. Five stars.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
A Fable by John Boyne
Copyright 2006
Published by David Fickling Books
an imprint of Random House Children's Books
a division of Random House, Inc.
New York
Summary: Bored and lonely after his family moves from Berlin to a place called "Out-With" in 1942, Bruno, the son of a Nazi officer, befriends a boy in striped pajamas who lives behind a wire fence.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Movie #1 of FiftyFifty Challenge ...

Finally, I saw a movie in 2012. What, six weeks into the new year, and I am finally getting to a theater? Not like me at all.
The Descendants was worth my wait. Although emotionally wrenching to witness, I loved the movie for its emotional depth and realistic family dynamics.
Didn't hurt, visually, that the movie was set in America's beautiful state of Hawaii.
I give The Descendants five stars.
Perfect movie about imperfect human relationships.