Friday, August 21, 2009

And one more, coming in 2010

I'm very excited to see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. And if you want to know more about Lewis Carroll (a very strange guy!), click this link

Monday, August 17, 2009

Read It First!

Lots of great movies are coming out this fall and many of them are based on great books. Read the book first and then compare.

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer I know, you've already read it! If you haven' of the vampire series from this author.

The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald True story of a man who exposed corruption in agribusiness.

Bright Star A movie based on the tragically brief life of British poet John Keats.

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane A gripping thriller set in a mental hospital on an island in Massachusetts. Scorsese movie with DiCaprio

Amelia Biopic about the famous aviatrix, Amelia Earhart

The Road by Cormac McCarthy A father and son travel across a post-apocalyptic world.

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Roald Dahl) and Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendack) Revisit your childhood may see things you missed when you were little!

Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Jim Carrey as Scrooge? Works for me!

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold I predict the book will be better but the trailer looked good. A young teen is murdered and her spirit/ghost watches the aftermath.

Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle The famous detective gets a remake (with kung fu moves).

Invictus is a story of Nelson Mandela and his efforts to unite South Africa using rugby. based on Playing the Game by John Carlin

And on TV: Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer A particle accelerator is turned on in Switzerland and every person on Earth passes out. When they wake up, they have seen visions of their future lives.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

State of the Onion and Hail to the Chef

I know, the titles of Julie Hyzy's books are groaners. But these mysteries are a lot of fun. They feature Ollie, a White House chef. She is plucky, sometimes sticks her foot in her mouth, and always creates fabulous food. Working in the White House is an incredible challenge, especially when there are mysteries to be solved and state dinners to be served.

Hyzy does a fabulous job of making Washington D.C. and the White House come alive. Ollie and her co-workers are fun characters and the recipes at the end of each book are just the (eh-hem) icing on the cake.

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

Tassie is a college student in the months after the 9/11 attack. She needs a job (Dad is a semi-retired potato farmer) and answers an ad to be a "child care provider." The family does not yet have a child...Sarah is hoping to adopt. Tassie travels with Sarah and Edward to several potential adoptees and the family finally adopts Emmie, a beautiful biracial 2 year old. But something is seriously wrong with this family...there is a lack of warmth and affection which Tassie tries to fill while juggling school, a new boyfriend, friends and her own family. As this intricate story unfolds, Tassie learns much about families, about war, about love, about racism.

Tassie is a character you won't ever forget. She has an instinct for love, even in the face of hate, betrayal, and death. And the other characters in this novel are complex and very human. Finally, this is one of the funniest novels I've read recently. The humor is dry and keeps you on your toes as a reader. Here's a sample: "The heel end of another loaf [of bread], weeks old, was sitting on the counter in a plastic bag with what looked like a snake inside: a coil of mold with orange and black markings. It was the Frugal Girls' Museum of Modern Art."

A seriously fine book.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt

Nicola Tesla was a genius and inventor who spent his last years in a lonely room at the New Yorker hotel. He is responsible for the electricity we use today and once harnessed the power of Niagra Falls to power the World's Fair. Robbed of recognition and patents by uncrupulous scientists, he continued to work on inventions. This much is true. Add in a lonely chambermaid, a grieving father, a mad genius who claims to have traveled in time, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, and flocks of pigeons. The result is this amazing novel about what it means to be creative, to be different, to be part of the larger cosmos. This book (obviously) defies description. It is funny, touching, inspirational and just plain fun to read. By the way, Mark Twain was a huge fan of Tesla's and used to visit his room for "hair raising" electrical experiments. The real Tesla and one of his inventions are pictured on the left.

Hunger by Michael Grant

Sequels are often disappointing, especially in a projected series. So I started Hunger hoping for the best but expecting the worst. This is a true annoying recaps of the first book taking up a lot of room. The children of Perdido Beach are now facing an enemy worse than Caine and his scary pack of murderous preppies: hunger. All the junk food is gone and the good food has rotted (of course! little kids would always choose cookies over chicken!). Sam is desperately trying to hold it all together by harvesting farmers' fields. The problem is that they are all being guarded by worms with deadly teeth (another mutation). As hunger weakens the children, Caine makes his move to conquer his brother and serve the dark being in the mine. And Sam ends up fighting a war for survival on multiple fronts.

Twenties Girl

Sophie Kinsella has a new book and it is a winner. Lara Lington is obsessed with her failing business and her failed relationship with the adorable Josh . She is in a decidedly bad mood when she is roped in to attending the funeral of 105 year old Great Aunt Sadie Lancaster. Her mood goes from bad to worse when she discovers she's being haunted by irrepressible Aunt Sadie. The only way to get rid of this ghost is to help her find her missing necklace. While she's looking, Sadie starts taking over her life, with funny and outrageous results. Will a modern girl and a flapper from the 1920's be able to get along? And will the missing necklace and the delightful ghost change Lara's life?