Saturday, July 24, 2010

explosions, weird noises, and gas masks, oh my!

I love me some monster movies and this makes my Cloverfield senses tingle!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aunt Holley

I love being an aunt.

In fact, I can hardly imagine anything better. It suits my personality down to the ground and, no offense to all the great parents I know, it is the ideal way of life for me rather than having any of my own.

I babysat my honorary nieces on Tuesday night and am a little chagrined at exactly how much fun I had playing hide-n-seek. The girls are at the PERFECT age, before h-n-s becomes so brutally competitive. We were all content to just hide until found, no running for base, no arguments about who's it because they don't want to chase people. We just hid and tried not to giggle. The only draw back? They are young enough that they want to hide in your hiding place with you...and they giggle, A LOT! Not very stealthy, but it does the heart good :-)

This afternoon my brother called to say my niece and nephew are spending the night at his mother's house so I surprised them with a call for the movies. We're going to see The Sorcerer's Apprentice, which RottenTomatoes said was "less than spellbinding" for all but the "least demanding viewers" and that describes me to a T so I'm sure I'll love it.

It's a movie, not a literature class. Lighten up.

What are you watching?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

money pit

no...not really, and I do love that movie.

So, between tires, an axle, and the potential cost of my increasingly poorly functioning refrigerator, I'm feeling more than a little broke. I hate, hate, hate asking my mom for money but it's better than getting behind on something I suppose.

Of course, the fridge problem couldn't happen at any time during my vacation days. It has to happen now. I know it needs to be unplugged but that will have to wait until I can bring home some ice for the cooler for what little is in there. It just wasn't something I was prepared to do tonight. So, a flotilla of towels are stuffed under the front to mop up the steady drip of water. I don't know when I'll be able to call someone, much less how I'll pay for the sh!t. It's at times like these that I sometimes wish I rented, that way it would be someone else's problem...wouldn't it?
I wonder if I could get my dad or stepmom to come over and wait on a repair person...might be worth thinking about.

As usual, nothing much going on here. I do think my knee is going to be fine without drastic help, hopefully. The brace and the rehab exercises seem to be doing the trick although I had to lay off the anti-inflammatories as they were causing some indescribable intestinal distress despite taking them with food. In the interests of keeping what few readers I may have, I'll leave it at that.

On a more pleasant note, I am reading the new book The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham and totally falling in love with someone who not only died in 1965, but was also of a homosexual persuasion though he never turned a blind eye to an exceptionally pretty lady either. I can feel a challenge coming read, watch, and own everything he's ever written that I can get my hands/eyes on. I like it. I shall make it so.

What are you in love with lately?

Friday, July 2, 2010

June reads

Read it and weep, ya'll! Thirteen books last month! Thanks in no small part to finally finishing the epic-ly bad 28 CD audiobook Anathem, after which I need to listen to short, sweet, AND GOOD audiobooks to get the bad taste out of my ears. I'm not changing that. Also, my new, much beloved Nook, which accompanies me where ever I may go. Mucho helpful for all the time spent waiting in doctors' offices lately.

Lisbeth is back and badder than ever, and getting into more trouble than ever! The ever lovable and somewhat bumbling Mikael Blomkvist must race to save her. Seriously people, download it, check it out of the library, buy it, steal it, borrow it, BUT READ THIS TRILOGY!

Anathem by Neal Stephenson
My personal hell, long hand. People who like math, all living together, doing math for fun and talking about nerve gas farting pink spotted dragons. AVOID THIS BOOK AT ALL COSTS! If it hadn't been for a book group (and you don't get to vote if you don't read it and I'm depressingly honest at times and I want to give it a smashing bad grade), I would have accidentally dropped this in the pool. I may hate this book more than Catcher in the Rye...I'll have to ponder that awhile.

Troubles by J. G. Farrell
Due to a rule change in 1968, there was no Man Booker Prize awarded in 1970. In January this year, the Man Booker judges perused a pool of 22 books published in 1970 and awarded the Lost Man Booker and Troubles won! My book group was discussing Booker prize winners so I chose this one for fun. Very odd, and profits those most who have some background knowledge of the "troubles" of Irish history. Major Archer returns from war to seek out a woman to whom he seems to be engaged, based on her letters. Her family owns the Majestic Hotel, but it's anything but majestic when he gets there. In fact, things are quite batty indeed. Farcical, yet sad commentary on the decline of the gentry. I'm all for the decline of the gentry, but it was a bit sad at the same time. First in a trilogy which I may indeed finish one day.

Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis
Tregillis is part of G.R.R.M.'s Wild Card writers group and gets an endorsement from the big man himself right on the front cover! Alternate history of WWI. The German's human experiments result in a small, but deadly, superhuman force. Crazy good, and magnificently written for a first novel!

The last in the trilogy and the title could not be more apt. I lost sleep, skipped meals, and was absent-minded at work in my drive to finish this book! See GWPlayed with Fire above.

Dog Blood by David Moody
Um, yeah. This is not for everyone, I'm not even sure who I'd recommend it to but I'm addicted to these books. This is the second in what I hope will be a trilogy. Any more than that and it starts to get Left Behind-ish...minus anything to do with religion. Just plain old too much for too long. In the first book, a random change begins to occur in the population and some become Haters (the title of the first book). They see the rest of humanity as dangers to themselves and must kill them on sight. Apocalypse ensues. Book two follows one of the Haters, Danny, as he searches for the daughter he discovered was just like him right before his wife and children flee after he goes postal. VERY violent, VERY gory. See my review of Haters.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins
This is a YA novel, but for older, mature readers only! Christina goes to visit her father (parents divorced for many years) and falls in with the meth crowd. A heartbreaking journey down the rat hole. I listened to the audio so I didn't realize that the novel is written in verse. One of the Amazon one-star customer reviewers titled her review, "Unless your kids are already knocked up and hooked on drugs, they probably shouldn't be reading this." and I feel a certain amount of chagrin to kind of agree with her.

The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry
Barry's first book, The Lace Reader, blew me away! This, not so much. I loved it and I'm glad I read it (on my Nook!) but for me it missed the punch and the magic of that first book. Zee, a psychologist, has just lost her first patient to suicide. The woman reminds her so much of her own mother, and that suicide, that she is having real trouble dealing with it. Throw in her father's decline from Parkinson's and her own misgivings about her upcoming wedding and disaster is not hard to predict.

Willow by Julie Hoban
I'm not real sure why I'm on the Lifetime movie track of teen audiobooks. In this outing, Willow is a 17 year old girl who is a cutter. The previous winter, her parents asked her to drive them home after they had a little too much to drink at dinner. In the horrendous storm that night, she lost control of the car and her parents were killed in the wreck. Now living with her college professor brother, his wife, and their new baby, Willow can't deal with the runaway pain of her grief, but there is a pain she can control...the razor. Enter the knight in shining armor, Guy. Can the love of the right person help her past her grief?

A book group selection, though I was intrigued because it is asked for at the library ALL THE TIME. *sigh* I just don't get it. I found this tedious, silly, and way too self-righteous, even though the author mentions on SEVERAL OCCASIONS how unselfrighteous he is. Um, I think that cancels it out.

A not-bad fantasy novel, but not riveting either. This is for the sci-fi/fant book group I'm in. A deposed prince is captured and gang pressed into spying on the last stronghold in the kingdom. The motivation is the obsidian jewel they magically implant in his forehead to record the proceedings. Luckily for him, the leader of that stronghold is friendly and has a few tricks up his sleeve for dealing with their dark magic...and a beautiful daughter.

Okay, technically this is a short story, but the edition I read was a stand alone movie tie-in published shortly before the movie came out. I haven't seen the movie yet but look forward to it to see what changes were made. In short, a person (played by the now tiresomely handsome Brad Pitt) is born an old man and ages backward. It was kind of silly in the beginning with the father dressing a grown man in specially made babies clothes, making him play with rattles, and the kid sneaking down to smoke his father's cigars when he wasn't around, but it got more serious and thought provoking as the story moved towards its conclusion. Where does he end up when newborn is as young as you can get?

The Vanishing by Tim Krabbe
This slim novel is translated, from Dutch or German, I don't remember exactly, and was made into a film several years ago. I'll be watching it soon. A man and his girlfriend stop at a gas station. He fills up the car, she goes in for drinks and disappears. Eight years and uncounted police searches and newspaper reports later, an meeting with an oddly unemotional man may yield the answers he's been searching for, but at what cost. I noticed in the front flap text that the movie does not include the ending in the book because it was considered too shocking. I've been reading too many books like Haters and Dog Blood, not to mention my raging horror movie habit, to have found it shocking, but I give him many kudos for not even considering the hopeful ending, much less a happy one.

What are YOU reading?