"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fifty.Fifty Me Challenge Jan. and Feb. Stats

Working on the fifty.fifty me blog challenge

Majoring in: Japanese Fairy and Folktales
Minoring in: Steinbeck

January Books Read:

  • Brooklyn, Burning by Steven Brezenoff: Is about homeless teens in Brooklyn, NY, but covers much more than that. Sixteen year old Kid isn't welcome at home, wants to be in a band and has been badly hurt by love. Kid tells this story to "You." As things unfold, you realize that neither Kid's gender, nor Kid's new friend Scout's are given. And they never are. Brezenoff has left this open for the reader. The teens are given tender support by young adults, and I liked the way this cobbled type of family helps Kid as best they can.
Folktales:  The Wise Old Woman, The Tale of The Mandarin Ducks, The Tale of the Lucky Cat, The Beckoning Cat, I Am Tama, Lucky Cat, The Greatest of All (See my blog posts for extended summaries of these)

February Books Read:

  • Unwholly by Neal Shusterman: This is the second book in the Unwind series. It continues with the thought provoking situations raised in UnWind's dystopia (teenagers can be retroactively aborted/"Unwound", babies can be "Storked," etc.) and raises new ones. Connor, Risa and Lev appear again and we are also introduced to Cam, a teen "Rewind" made entirely of the best parts of other Unwound teens. Action continues. I love this series!
  • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: is sad, beautiful and great to listen to on CD, because Kate Rudd reads it so well. Teenage Hazel has lung cancer, and meets Augustus, the guy of her dreams, in a cancer support group. They plan to go to Amsterdam and meet their favorite author, to ask him what happened to his characters after his novel ends. Life with cancer is treated very honestly; the teens are not angelic and falsely heroic. I fell in love with Hazel, Augustus and their friend Isaac.
Folktales: The Old Man Who Made the Trees Bloom, Why Cats Chase Mice, Issun Boshi, The Silver Charm, The Boy From the Dragon Palace, Wabi Sabi, The Moon Princess, Mysterious Tales of Japan, Bamboo Hats and a Rice Cake (See my blog posts for extended summaries of these)

January Films watched:

  • Lincoln (2012) (at theatre): I was afraid that this would be dry, but I did enjoy it. Daniel Day Lewis got the Oscar for best actor and it was easy to see why. I was also interested in Sally Field's performance as Mary Todd Lincoln.

February Films watched:

  • Les Miserables  (2012)(at theatre): I really enjoyed it. It took me awhile to figure out that Jean Valjean was acted by Hugh Jackman, but when I did, I was impressed.I got a big kick out of the crooked Thenardier (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his blowzy wife (Helena Bonham Carter, of course).  The music stuck with me and I was saddened in all the right places.
         I had seen the 1998 non-musical version starring Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush, and I liked   Rush's performance as  Javert much more than Russell Crowe's. I felt that he showed the anguish of the character better, but I also have to say that I have a crush on Geoffrey Rush, and have had ever since I saw him in this and Quills.
  • Anna Karenina (2012)(at theatre): This book is about so much much more than Anna, her love affair and subsequent disgrace, but I have to honestly say that it's not one of my favorites. This movie, on the other hand, I liked. It was just so beautifully done, with the Kiera Knightly (Anna), Jude Law (Karenin) and the gorgeous Aaron Taylor- Johnson as her Count Vronsky.Yummy costumes and scenery!
  • Midnight Cowboy (1969): I'd never seen this classic starring John Voight as an unsuccessful hustler and Dustin Hoffman as his pathetic friend/would be pimp. It was pretty depressing and I was kind of obsessed about looking up the difference between the movie and the book. I wanted the back story of Crazy (AKA Chalkline) Annie.
  •  Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012):  I loved this Young Adult book (read it many years ago) and really liked the movie too. I was pleased to see that Stephen Chbosky, who wrote the novel, also wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. Login Lerman was fine as the sweet, odd Charlie. I also liked the supporting cast, and was happy to see Mae Whitman again, having gotten to like her in Parenthood. Having seen Ezra Miller in We Need To Talk About Kevin, in which he played a murderous and terrifying character, I was curious how he would be as the likeable Patrick. I was also somewhat worried that Emma Watson (Sam) would grab the attention because of Harry Potter fame. Actually, I thought that they were both excellent. The movie made me simultaneously wish I was a young woman again and thank God that I'm not!
  •  Bully (2011): This is a powerful documentary about bullying in our U.S. schools. It was directed by Lee Hirsch, who was himself bullied when he was a young person. It follows the lives of several young people who are constantly bullied and talks to the courageous family and friends of two young men who committed suicide over the way they were treated.
        Two teens that especially stood out for me were Kelby and Alex.  Kelby has a girlfriend, but in her town, that's just not accepted. Still, she wants to be the one who can make a difference. Alex is picked on everyday, and is punched and poked with pencils on the school bus. He wants it to be jokes, so he can still think of those people as his friends. After all, if they aren't, then what friends does he have? Be sure to watch the special features on the DVD, so you can see Alex in the happier times that follow.


Alex Libby in the movie Bully from www.wired.com
Check out The Bully Project !


Books: 18/50
Movies: 6/50
Major: 15/7
Minor: 0/3

No comments: