Saturday, February 16, 2013

Books and Movies

Where do I stand with my 100 books and 100 movies in 2013, you ask?

Movies:

  1. Stories We Tell
    Who deserves to tell a story? Who does it belong to? It depends on who you ask. 
  2. The Lucky One
    UGH. 
  3. Groundhog Day
    Interesting how every time I watch this it has a different effect. Last time I saw it, I'm pretty sure I wept - somehow this time was less moving, but still as enjoyable. 
  4. What's Your Number?
    UGH again. I'm pretty sure there was one funny moment in this movie. 
  5. Sleepwalk With Me
    An odd film, about sleepwalking, relationships, and comedy. Quite enjoyable, though. 
  6. This is 40
    I laughed about a thousand times, but there was no plot to speak of, and the people were terrible to one another. I love Judd Apatow, but this was a pretty meagre offering. About 50x better than What's Your Number, but still worse than most other movies I've seen in my life. 

Books:
  1. Heads in Beds
    An enjoyable read - quite light, with tons of insight into the Hotel world and how someone can be sucked in for life. I now feel the need to tip everyone I see in a hotel, which was, I think, the point. I'm sure this will pass.
  2. Yes, Chef
    The early chapters were really compelling - about growing up in Sweden after having been adopted from Ethiopia, finding himself as a chef and traveling the world, discovering new flavours. The later chapters, once Marcus is established, were less engaging, but the book was, overall, enjoyable. A glimpse at what it takes to become a top chef (let's just say long hours).
  3. Don't Breathe a Word
    Was very compelling as I started and got into it, creepy but not so dark I had to put it down as soon as the sun set, but too many questions are left unanswered and I found the ending very dissatisfying. Tuns of twist and turns that seem to end up just in a tangle: instead of the catharsis of unravelling them, it feels like McMahon just cut through it all with a convenient, too-shiny pair of scissors. Snip.
  4. The Diviners
    The characters were enjoyable but slightly flat (at times), the 20s-speak felt a little forced (at times), but the story definitely pulled me in. I could picture everything that was happening, and can imagine a super successful film version of this series. Since only the first in the series has been published, I'm looking forward at how everything comes together - hopefully now that all of the characters have been introduced, the next book will have a li...more
  5. Sharp Objects
    I knew what the themes were going to be pretty early on, but still enjoyed the narrator - flawed but beautiful, in a whole lot of ways - and the way Flynn tells stories. I loved that everything wasn't tidied up in the end - the mystery is solved but sad people are still sad, and so on. One thing: I think I read this too soon after reading Gone Girl - need to give Flynn's books more space, because the tone/style/plotting (which I do enjoy) are too similar, so far.
  6. Heaven is for Real
    Ugh. I find near death experience stories endlessly fascinating, but the overly preachy tone (surprise - the author is indeed a preacher) of this one left me cold.
  7. State of Wonder
    So, so gorgeous. Everything is perfectly placed, every story unfolds exactly as one knows it must, and every element comes to have deep, resonating importance. I cried as it ended, and I wanted to know what's next, but I also knew that it was a completely perfect telling of the story, and the end comes exactly where it should.
  8. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore
    For the first chapter I was convinced this was one of those blogs that got turned into a memoir (somehow I missed the whole "a novel" bit on the cover, though I was reading the e-version, so I have a sort-of excuse). It sort of feels that way - I could actually imagine it being written that way, too - fiction in blog form - but it quickly became too weird to be non-fiction. A hyper-modern fantastical journey through the stacks of a very odd bookstore (with very few books for sale) and beyond, this book definitely pulled me in. Where it fell flat, for me, was the lack of emotional depth. Everything was very flat, very surface, maybe to match the shiny tech setting (complete with multiple trips to the Google campus). I chuckled quite a number of times, but while there was lots of cleverness, I didn't find much heart. And I need heart in my books.
  9. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife
    Much more interesting than Heaven is For Real (and much less preachy - not surprisingly), and fascinating in light of the author's original skepticism. I wish this had been a long article, though - turning it into a book meant it was full of all kinds of stuff that I had no interest in - what was happening in his hospital room, who came to visit him and when. And I'm not convinced by his arguments as to why this was definitely a visitation to the afterlife, as opposed to some kind of chemical function of the brain upon nearing death (not that I'm sure they are different). Still, if you're interested in life after death stuff, this is a pretty interesting addition to what's out there (Rosemary Altea, anyone?)
So, I'm a little behind, and need to read and watch more. I'm especially surprised by how few movies I've watched, though I realize that I've become more of a television person. Watching a season of television is so much more satisfying than watching a film, much of the time. I'm not counting the TV shows I watch, though maybe I should... every season counts as a movie. If so, I'm almost finished House of Cards (the new Netflix version), which has devoured me (it feels more like that than the other way around, sometimes). 

Sally asked what winter is good for, after Christmas is over (actually, I think she asked how one can conceptualize winter after Christmas - the nerd). My answer: making crafts and watching movies. So I can catch up, I think. 

2 comments:

ana said...

Hey Angie, it's so much fun to hear about the things you watched/read. I put a hold on State of Wonder from Library without walls.
I just finished reading Gone Girl, (which I enjoyed) so it's good to know that I should wait until I read her another book. Thanks. :-)

As you are watching things from Netflix, have you watched Sherlock(BBC ver.)? I really enjoyed it.
I am also watching Breaking Bad - slowly. Interesting series.

Ange Friesen said...

Ana: I LOVED Sherlock. I found Breaking Bad a little intense, but I will probably go back to it at some point. Maybe. It might just be too depressing for me.

Have you watched Homeland? That's the last show that really captured me.

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