Reading Roundup: March 2011
This was our bookclub read for the month; it was a nice little fluffy read that worked well for me when I was feeling sick. I think I enjoyed it more when I read it at age 15, but it wasn't too bad this time around.The Lord of the Rings (Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King)
I decided to re-read these books after attempting to read a book that we had sitting around our shelf. The book sounded promising--it was an analysis of Tolkien's work that focused on his career as a linguist. Unfortunately the book was terribly boring and I didn't get through it. I did read the books again and found that I enjoyed them even more than the first time; this time I knew the story well and could focus on the language and really appreciate its complexity and beauty.
A Sense of Order and Other Stories by Jack Harrell
This is one of the best books I've read this year, and one of the best collections of short stories I have read in a while. Several of the stories were ones that I remembered reading in the past and have been pondering ever since (one of them was also a not-so-favorite of mine, but I liked it a bit more after re-reading it this time). He asks interesting questions about the world, and the answers aren't always what you would expect. If you want to know more about the book, the award citation is a good place to start.
Forest Born by Shannon Hale
I was initially reluctant to read this book because I had been disappointed by the third in the series. I loved Hale's first two books (The Goose Girl and Enna Burning), and I was happy to find that this one was just as good as the first two were. I love the way Hale combines an adventure story with a story of self-discovery in a way that each storyline is dependent on the other and necessary to the book. When S-Boogie gets older I really want her to read these books; not just because they are fun and well-written, but because they encourage thinking about your life, your relationships, and your motivations. And, for the record, I think that the 'new' covers are ugly so I'm waiting for the edition with the 'old' cover before I buy it.
Trespass by Sandra Grey
This is also a continuation of a series that I started reading a few years ago. I really like historical fiction, especially books set during World War 2, so the books seemed like a natural fit for me. I feel like the author asks a very interesting question: "What would happen if a German Army officer joins the Mormon church?" and answers it well. The books don't offer pat answers or easy solutions, but they still are satisfying in their conclusions (and fun to read).
MoviesThe Social Network
I had low expectations for this movie, and I'm glad that it exceeded them. The story and characters were much more interesting than I thought they were going to be.
This was a great documentary about a subject that I had not thought much about before. It was also interesting to watch shortly before we went to the anniversary show for BYU's Living Legends dance troupe, which includes Native American dance. If you are interested in film history at all, or just want to watch something new, I'd recommend this movie. I don't think it's rated, but there are a few scenes at the end with full nudity (not sexual).
I can see why this film has been getting so much critical acclaim; it really is a well-made movie and the acting is amazing. I still didn't like it very much, probably because the story is a little hard to follow and it took me about half of the movie to figure out what was going on. The plot also doesn't follow a traditional arc and so I kept feeling a little confused because my expectations got in the way of my ability to understand and appreciate the story. It is still a great film and maybe some day I will watch it again and like it a lot more the second time.