This is meant to be a book about life as well as writing, and I remember enjoying it while I read it. However, a few weeks later I don't remember a lot. I did read it quickly, so maybe I should read it more slowly next time. And take notes.
Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje
An interesting memoir about his family history. Beautiful descriptions of tropical splendor, of course. In some way the eccentricities reminded me of my own family.New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
I'll just say it: I hated this book. Hated it. I felt somewhat indifferent about Twilight, but this one was just so obnoxious. I wanted to slap Bella the whole time. There is nothing interesting about a main character who has no ambitions or life of her own, who spends her whole time following around one guy or another, and who is so shallow she wants to die so she can always stay the exact same age as her boyfriend. Blah.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
I'm glad I gave Potok another chance because I loved this book. The tensions between beliefs and the insights into family and religious life were fascinating. I can see why so many people I know love it so much.
A Strong West Wind by Gail Caldwell
It seems like I've read several memoirs lately by women growing up during the 1960s and 1970s. It sounds like a fascinating time to grow up and to experience first-handed the vast cultural changes that happened in our country. I liked the book, though it did feel a bit too much like many of the other memoirs I've been reading lately: girl grows up in small town, girl goes west and wanders with the hippies for a few years, girl goes east and gets a "real job", girl becomes a writer and a feminist, etc..
Falling Through the Earth by Danielle Trussoni
Reading this memoir so soon after reading A Girl Named Zippy was interesting. They are both written by woman growing up in small, Midwestern towns during the 1970s. Trussoni's, however, is about the effects of the Vietnam war on her father, and his family. Some parts of it were difficult to read, but the way she wove together her childhood and her father's life was well-done and it didn't feel manipulative in any way. A very timely reminder of the true cost of combat.Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
I have mixed feelings about short stories; the good ones I've read made me fall in love with the genre, but I've read so many bad ones that I'm now nervous about them. This was an excellent collection, however, and I realized that I enjoy reading a bunch of stories about similar themes by a single author. Most of these were quite good and I liked the collection as a whole.
Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee
I didn't know much about this book, but a friend mentioned it on her blog so I thought I'd check it out. I liked it, though I wouldn't say it was one of my favorites. The themes of identity, language, and cultural diversity were well-realized but I had trouble connecting with the characters in any way.
Atonement by Ian McEwanI was surprised by how good this book was; it was slow in the beginning and I'd been reluctant to read it after all the hype. But it really blew me away. Despite my initial indifference, I found myself drawn in and stayed up late to finish it in one day. I would gladly read it again.
An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
This is the third book by Ishiguro that I have read, and they all seem to have the same plot: the narrator looks back on his or her life and reevaluates the past through the prism of the present. The amazing thing is that every book I've read has been so beautifully written and so fully realized that they didn't feel the same at all. I really liked this book, although I would like to know more about Japan during the Second World War in order to fully understand it. I didn't feel bad about my ignorance, however, since the narrator was equally as unaware while living through the same time period.
I spent the first hour of this film thoroughly confused, but started to enjoy it once I figured out who everyone was. Although it's billed as a 'murder mystery', it's not really. I think I would probably enjoy this more with a second viewing.
Todo sobre mi madre
I loved this movie; if you were to read the plot description it would sound like a soap opera, but Almodovar manages to find hope and humor in the messiness of life. The characters were all fabulous, the plot was complex, and the camerawork was great too.
We actually went and saw a movie in the theater; it's been about six months since the last time. I haven't read this book, and I felt at times like I should have so I could understand more fully who people were and what was going on. But I thought everything else about the film was well done and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Since everything I read about Spanish film references this one, I thought it was time to watch it. It is a gorgeous film and full of complex symbolism and interesting references to pop culture and child psychology. At the same time, it's very slow, has little dialogue, and not much happens in the plot. It was still worth a viewing.