Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Reading Roundup: November 2012

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

I'd heard a lot of good things about this book, but I wasn't that impressed by it. It wasn't bad and it wasn't good--just a light little read for a Sunday afternoon that left me feeling kind of 'meh'.

Are You My Mother? by Allison Bechdel

I really love Bechdel's Fun Home and looked forward to reading this follow-up. It was just as poignant and insightful, but in a different way. Despite the fact that it is a graphic memoir (and be warned, there are a few graphic scenes), the text is quite dense. It is much more self-referential and more complex than Bechdel's earlier book and took a lot more work to read. Several weeks after reading I still finding myself thinking about it--that to me is one of the signs of a good book.

Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green

I wanted to like this book much more than I did. The plot was interesting and most of the characters were well fleshed-out. But the author decided to jump around between different character viewpoints, and that rarely works, especially when one is told from a first-person perspective and others from a third-person one. It just felt like a lazy way to tell the story and left things feeling disjointed.

Death at SeaWorld by David Kirby

I knew going into this book that it was going to be hyperbolic and overwritten in some spots. I was skeptical about the content, based on the types of blurbs on the back as well as Kirby's other writing. I was right about those aspects of the book--it really could have used a better editor to tighten it up. However, despite the writing, I think that Kirby makes some very good points and after reading this book I find it hard to think of any way to refute the argument that keeping killer whales in captivity is dangerous and inhumane.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Another book that was an enjoyable read but could have been better. I didn't think the worldbuilding was very strong and I thought the plot was somewhat weak--it took a while to feel like the book was going anywhere, and when it finally did the ending was too obviously setting up a sequel. However, I am going to read the sequel next week so I will see how I feel about both books together after that.

Movies

Cloud Atlas

Yes, this movie is pretty weird. And pretty long. I still liked it. Some parts are better than others and I don't think I'll watch it again, but it wasn't too bad.

Lincoln

This is a movie I would like to watch again, mostly because it is the sort of dialogue-heavy movie that makes a lot more sense the second time around once you have established who everyone is and what they are talking about. That doesn't mean it was a bad movie--it was an amazing movie. I just know I'll get more out it with a second viewing.

127 Hours

I put off watching this movie for a few years because I was squeamish about it. It turns out that I was justified in my squeamishness--the scene of him cutting off his arm is pretty gruesome. It was still a good movie and I was impressed with the acting by James Franco and by the the way that the director was able to make a good film out of a relatively simple incident.

1 comment:

Earth Sign Mama said...

We saw Lincoln last weekend and were very impressed with it. I'd really like to see it again, too. He is one of my favorite historical people, and I was very pleased with the whole movie. I hadn't before really comprehended the importance of achieving that ammendment at just that time. Great political movie, great historical account.

However, I don't think I could bear to watch 127 Hours. I fear I'd never dare go hiking again.