Mar 31, 2011

Wild whim

Georgette Heyer is my go-to when I need some fluff in my life.  Luckily, the woman was a prolific writer - writing over 50 novels in her lifetime.  Friday's Child was a fun read.  It centers around Sherry, a dissolute young man in need of a wife in order to inherit his fortune, and Hero, a naive impoverished girl.  The two have been friends since childhood. 

Like many of her books, the story doesn't take too many predictable turns.  The couple marry straight away on a wild whim.  The book follows their difficulties in learning to be married.  The best thing in this book is their circle of friends.  They are made up of interesting young men who constantly point out what an idiot their friend Sherry is. 

I love Heyer's romances.  They don't stray at all into bodice ripper territory (not that there's anything wrong with those of course).  They stay the path of the comedy of manners - a genre I simply adore.  5/10 stars.

Mar 30, 2011

Drawn out

Climates is a slooooooowwwww and quiet Turkish film about a couples' break-up.  Break-ups are hard; slow drawn out break-ups on screen are painful and not my favorite viewing at all.  The film has little going for it - beautiful people and beautiful scenery.  It also has one of the most god-awful sex scenes that I've ever seen, and it goes on forever. Other than the sweeping scenery, I didn't enjoy any of the time I spent with this movie.  1/10 stars.

Mar 29, 2011

Diverse and zippy

Tales of the City is the first in a long series of novels about a group of friends and aquaintances in San Francisco.  The characters are diverse from the upper crust snobs to the new-to-the city innocent woman to the mysterious landlady to the unlucky in love Michael Mouse.  The chapters are bite-sized (often only 2 pages).  The soap opera of a story zipped along.  It was fun and light and I'll probably pick up the next book in the series.  5/10 stars.

Mar 28, 2011


On a recent sleepless night (brought on by an over-indulgence of coffee), I watched the movie The Egg & I.  This classic film is based on a memoir that I have floating around my house somewhere and never read.  It follows a couple from the city who move to the country to live out the husband's dream of a farm life.  They start an egg farm and hijinks ensue.

The film is also the first appearance of Ma & Pa Kettle.  I never watched the Beverly Hillbillies, but I really loved Ma Kettle in this film.  She's just so graceless and sweet.  The story itself didn't stick with me as much, but it wasn't bad for a 3am film. 4/10 stars.

Darkness and light

Get Low is set in the 30's and tells the story of the town outcast who decides to throw a funeral party while he's still alive.  Bill Murray is in it so I expected hilarity, but that's not what I got.  It's a sweet movie with some small laughs.  What I mostly came away with was serious love for the lighting in this film.  It's stunning.  The story is all right - entertaining but not so memorable.  5/10 stars.

Mar 26, 2011

All ages

A really interesting article about bullying in senior care facilities.  It's sad but I can't say I'm surprised.

Mar 25, 2011


I don't care for the song, but the video is interesting if only to see how Jewel's videos are now reaching for the sandblasted face look.  The "flattering" blurryness kinda gives one motion sickness.  She still looks stunning.  Would it be so awful to show some lines and imperfections?

Paying attention

This site covers sociology in an interesting way.  Warning though - seeing push-up bikinis advertised to kids may make you want to punch someone in the face.

Mar 24, 2011


Pretty little pot I purchased at a local resale shop.  The top and bottom are attached.  Love it!

It's currently sprouting cat grass for the monsters.

Mar 23, 2011

Rescue gone awry

Mine is a documentary that tells the stories of dogs rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Like everyone else, I remember watching the news coverage of New Orleans in utter disbelief and anger.  The speed in which the collective public has moved on is insane.

This film looks at a small piece of the disaster.  It tells the stories of families whose pets were rescued but not returned - either intentionally or because of a disorganized system.  At times watching this, both my husband and I talked about how much we wanted to start punching people.  Luckily, there is redemption in seeing how many people volunteered time and resources to reunite pets and families (and do the rescue in the first place!)

And if this subject matter interests you, you should check out the book Out of Harm's Way - a really well told story of animal rescue efforts during disasters.

Mar 22, 2011

Parents who disappear in Peru

When I found that there was a book of short stories called Noisy outlaws, unfriendly blobs, and some other things that aren't as scary, maybe, depending on how you feel about lost lands, stray cellphones, creatures from the sky, parents who disappear in Peru, a man named Lars Farf, and one other story we couldn't quite finish, so maybe you could help us out, I was pretty well sold.  When I realized that stories by Lemony Snicket, Kelly Link, and Neil Gaiman, I was extra sold.

It's a cute cute book.  Wavering between weird and fantastical, it was a fun read.  A few of the stories I had previously read in other collections.  I particularly enjoyed "The ACES Phone" story about a little girl who finds a cell phone and hears rather strange things through it.  There's a comic strip in it that I didn't get in the slightest.  It's a book with ups and downs as you'd expect in just about any collection.

You can't help but love that the book benefits 826 Valencia as well.

Mar 21, 2011


Mar 20, 2011

Sad sweet

Hello, Goodbye was a sweet and sad read.  The novel follows a family on their last vacation as a whole because the mother has terminal cancer.  The story follows the three of them as well as the friends invited to join them for a few days at a resort.  I think it's pretty beautifully done - switching viewpoints between the mother, the father, and the eighteen year old daughter.  There's a few spots where it feels like the novel is trying too hard (a scene involving makeup made me groan), but overall it's lovely.


I resisted watching How to Train Your Dragon until a friend loaned it to me.  It just seemed so cutesy and predictable.  And this coming from a girl who likes viking mythology!  A friend of mine recently lent it to me after I admitted to never having seen it.  I'm glad he did! 

It was very cute and fun/  I loved how so much more attention to detail was paid to the dragons rather than the people.  I think the dragons kinda stole the show. 

Mar 19, 2011

Flipped on its head

BB Wolf and the Three LPs is a graphic novel that retells the classic fairytale by flipping it on its head.  In this telling, the pigs are racist KKK members.  The wolves suffer from discrimination and Jim Crow laws. 

The concept is really interesting, but the book didn't grab me.  Maybe it was the overly-ripped comic-book-hero-styleness of the protagonist.  Maybe it was the gruesomeness.  I think it was mostly a lack of attachment to the wolves.  I feel like I barely met them and suddenly a whole bunch of awfulness hit the fan and it never slowed down.

Mar 18, 2011

Long time

Mar 17, 2011



Summer at Tiffany is a memoir of girlish hijinks and adventure.  It tells the tale of two Iowa college girls who move to NYC for a summer during WWII and work at Tiffany & Co.  It's a pretty light and breezy read.  Cute and sweet.  It reminded me a lot of Our Hearts Were Young & Gay (which I liked better actually).

Mar 16, 2011


Dear Adjustment Bureau,

You were a perfectly adequate movie full of perfectly adequate acting and some very nice suits and hats.  I will only vaguely remember you in a few months.  I apologize for that. 


Mar 15, 2011

Paint strokes


Small town

Oh how I love Annie Proulx's writing style.  Bad Dirt is a collection of short stories mostly based around a small Wyoming town.  Proulx is funnier than I'd expected.  I loved the story about the trucker hauling hay bales or the fad for homemade hot tubs.  Nonetheless, a lot of the stories are still dark with a hard edge to them.  They kind of reminded me of small town living and the characters that inhabit those spaces.  Very enjoyable!

Mar 13, 2011


How happy-making is this dress?

Mar 12, 2011


I have a serious fondness for nature-themed jewelry.

Mar 7, 2011

So f'ing cute

I kind of love these bike bells by Dring Dring.  Cute!

Mar 6, 2011


This recipe for black-eyed pea stew is deliciousness,  We substituted pinto beans and barley for the black-eyed peas and bulgur - because that's what was in the cupboards.  Good re-heated as well!

Hard to read

I finished up two books recently both very hard to get through. 

A Feast for Crows is the fourth book in the Song of Fire and Ice series.  At 1,000+ pages, it's no quick read.  I started the audio version forever ago, but my library checkout kept expiring before I could get very far.  Plus the narrator on this fourth version didn't hold a candle to Roy Dotrice who read the first three - complete with voices and singing.   The final straw was when my mp3 player scrambled the chapters in the last half of the book. 

I borrowed my husband's paperback version and flew through it.  The sweeping story is highly engaging with complicated characters, relationships, and plotlines.  The hard to read part is the violence.  It's extreme for all the characters.  The violence towards women in this book is at times almost impossible to get past.  I read a few parts with my eyes partially covered and my stomach queasy.  The saving grace is that the female characters (as well as the male ones) are really interesting and multi-dimensional and (I hope!) there's going to be some serious retribution.

The fifth book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, is set to be available in July. 

The next book I picked up was Day After Night, a novel about Jewish women in a refugee camp post WWII.  I have no idea what I was thinking. I went from fantasy-based gruesomeness straight to reality-based horribleness.  I think I really should have given my brain a break with something light and fluffy. 

I have adored past books by Anita Diamant - The Last Days of Dogtown was a fantastic read and The Red Tent was hard to put down.  This one felt lacking.  The characters were pretty interesting and their stories were just as awful as you can imagine.  (Seriously - what was I thinking?)  I just felt that the reader didn't really spend enough time with these women.  Not long enough to really have them stick with me.  It was interesting to learn a bit about this part of history though.

Next up, I've promised myself a fluffy gardening book or Georgette Heyer novel.  Sometimes the brain needs a rest.

Mar 5, 2011


We have a couple of inherited antique rugs in our house.  They are perfectly serviceable and I'm sure some other person would love them.  I can help but dream of replacing them.  Either of these would look nice in our living room.



What a seriously seriously bad film.  Planet Terror tries so hard for campy fun but it really just stinks.  And the following day I found myself deliberately not thinking about zombie blisters at lunchtime.  And you can guess how well that worked for me.  Bleh.

Mar 4, 2011


Animal Kingdom is a film about an Australian crime family.  It's disturbing and creepy.  The opening scene is really well done too.  Jacki Weaver who plays the mother in this film definitely deserved her Oscar nomination. She is so absolutely convincing.

Mar 3, 2011

Perfect timing

One of my favorite books ever is Pride & Prejudice.  It's one of the handful of books that I will re-read.  (My general feeling is that the world is full of more books than I can imagine and spending time on a re-read means one less book I'll get around to reading in my lifetime.  OCD much?)

So it might seem a bit weird that I haven't yet read all of Austen's novels.  I think I'm spacing out my Austen reads - the quantity is limited obviously.  However, there's something wonderful about the right book at the right time.  Persuasion was great.  I think Anne Elliott is better appreciated at my age than I would have in my teens.  It was such a charming read.

I'm certain they've done many a filmed version of this.  Any suggestions for the right one to see? 

More importantly

I watched the first part of the Oscars with a bunch of boys - until after my friend was able to get her baby to sleep and join us.  Nothing less satisfying than commenting on pretty dresses to a bunch of blank faces. 

My faves were Jennifer Hudson and Melissa Leo.  Hudson's dress was so pretty and those shoes!  So tired of her weight loss ads but loved the look.

Leo's dress has not gotten much love, but I liked how it stood out, and that collar was pretty.

I lost the little Oscar pool that I was in and the show was a snooze.  The company was good though and that's what really counts in my book.