Monday, January 14, 2013

Recently Read

As always, skip this if you wanna.

1.  Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy - Gosh, I always love her books.  I was sad to learn that she'd passed away.  Light a Penny Candle was about what Maeve Binchy books are always about - People in England, usually in one small town, living their lives.  I did not like the ending on this one - I thought it was lame and out of character - but the rest was good.  But oh!  Why does there always have to be at least one good-woman-stays-with-bad-man storyline in each of her books?  THAT gets kind of annoying.

2.  The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew - Novel about a girl growing up in the 50s segregated South.  Good.

3.  Movie review time!  The Man Who Would Be King - This came out in 1975 and was based on a Rudyard Kipling story.  Michael Caine and Sean Connery play British Army washouts who decide to take over a remote Asian country in the early 1900s.  Starts out slow, but builds to a rip-roaring finish.  I remember seeing this as a kid and being fascinated by it, so it was fun to see it again.

4.  Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman - Started out good, but developed a sour attitude about two-thirds of the way in.  I didn't finish it. 

5.  11/22/63 by Stephen King - Meh.  I felt like he phoned this one in. 

6.  Another movie review!  The Hunger Games.  This was okay.  It reminded me of the novella "The Long Walk" by Richard Bachman/Stephen King.

7.  Rachel and Her Children by Jonathan Kozol - Nonfiction - Study of poverty and welfare programs in NYC.  It was interesting, if somewhat dated (published in 1988).  I wonder if the programs are any better-run now than they were at the time this book was written.

8.  Are you ready for another movie review?  First Position is a documentary about a youth ballet competition.  This thing would usually be right up my alley, but I think I've seen so many documentaries about competitions that I'm pretty much over them.  But!  I did hear that they are making a musical out of Hands on a Hard Body, which makes me hopeful that THAT doc, which I have never actually seen but have heard plenty about, mainly from a radio episode of This American Life, will someday come out on DVD.
(And by the way, I cannot see any way that a musical version of Hands on a Hard Body would be anything but a hilarious failure, but that's just my opinion.) (And no, Hands on a Hard Body is NOT about porn.  Sheesh.)

So!  That's what I've been reading, and watching, lately.  How about you?


Anonymous said...

Maeve Binchy and "good woman/bad man" = lazy way to generate dramatic tension in books.

"First Position" -- watched this, naturally, with my dance-crazy kid. It made me love the kids and hate the adults (for the most part)...I want to grab them and say "get your own damn life!"

I'm re-reading Pride and Prejudice because I got stuck somewhere off the grid and it was the only book I had downloaded on my computer that didn't require "cloud" access. Not a bad thing to do on a cold night.

- bridgett

rockygrace said...

I think I read Pride and Prejudice, a long time ago. Or maybe it was Jane Eyre. Or Portrait of a Lady? Man, I get all of those 1800s-England books mixed up.