Working on the fifty.fifty me blog challenge. These are somewhat spotty reviews, but I'm behind on my recording my stuff!
Majoring in: Japanese Fairy and Folktales
Minoring in: Steinbeck
April Books Read:
- The Glass Demon by Helen Grant: I really liked Grant's book The Vanishing of Katharina Linden and I also enjoyed this. Teenage Lin and her family are dragged to Germany by her medieval scholar father. He is searching for the Allerheiligen stained glass windows, which are believed to be haunted by the demon Bonschariant. Things begin badly, with Lin finding the body of an old man in an orchard at a stop on their way to their new home, and go creepily along from there. Accidents seem follow Lin & her people. With help from her teen neighbor Michael, Lin hopes to unravel the truth about the horrible events and protect her family.
- In Darkness by Nick Lake: This won the most recent Printz Award. I honestly probably would not been drawn to this story by myself, although it is extremely well done. I began to read the book, but switched to the audio version, which added a whole dimension because of the reader's acting. In Darkness' setting is split between modern and historic Haiti. In current time, 15 year old Shorty is trapped alone in a hospital room after an earthquake. He is hurt and suffering and discovers a mental link between himself and Toussaint L'Ouverture, an 18th century slave and a liberator of Haiti.Slowly, readers learn Toussaint's story as well as Shorty's sad tale of life as a gang member searching for his twin sister, who was taken from them on the day that their father was also murdered by gangsters.
- The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells: This book actually bothered me quite a bit. I don't know what I was thinking, considering it involves vivisection and cruelty to animals and...others. Truly, I expected it to be mostly cheesy and I was reading it because I wanted to read the new YA spin on it, The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. Now I don't know if I can bear to read the new book.
- The Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstup: This is just a light, fun book, kind of a relief after The Island of Dr. Moreau. Princess Adela is not interested in things like tea parties, gowns and marriage. What she loves is gardening, and she dreams of traveling the world and collecting rare plants. When her gardener friend Garth is invited to see the Lady Hortensia’s super secret garden, rumored to be the most beautiful one in the land, she comes along to see what she can learn. Every kind of flower, from every season, is blooming there, but when other guests start to disappear, and Garth begins to act all moony over Hortensia, Adela knows she must do something. With the help of a treasure seeking magpie, she just may be up to save the day.
Folktales: Three Samurai Cats, Maneki Neko: the Tale of the Beckoning Cat, Lady Kaguya's Secret (See my blog posts for extended summaries of these).
April Films watched:
- Too Cold Out There Without You : I saw this outstanding documentary at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival. This is the film as they describe it: "When the Rev. Christopher Fike was ordained in the Episcopal Church he was a straight, married mother of two. Five years later he had completed his transition and now identifies as a man. A post-transition story that looks beyond the act of transitioning, this film instead focuses on the transformations that take place in Chris’s relationships and the church as a result of his transition."
- Cadfael: A Morbid Taste for Bones: I lazily give you the movie summary from Barnes and Noble : "In acquiescence to the wish of the Prior of Shrewsbury Abbey to have the bones of St. Winifred on display, a group of monks trek to Wales to dig up her remains. The monks are met with great hostility that escalates when a man opposed to their excavation is found dead. The monks are held under suspicion, and things are further complicated by a young monk's insistence that he is seeing visions of St. Winifred. Although Cadfael (Derek Jacobi) exposes the monk's vision as fraudulent, he withholds the truth behind the monk's lies."
- Coco Before Chanel : This did not leave me with a particularly positive impression of Chanel, she seemed sort of heartlessly ambitious to me. I didn't realize that she began from humble means, which was interesting.
- The Darjeeling Limited : I liked this. It was strange and enjoyable for me. Three loser brothers ( Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) reunite on a train traveling in India. Make sure to watch the short "Hotel Chevalier" before you see the feature.
- Annie Hall: This reinforced for me that I am not a Woody Allen fan. I'm just not. I did enjoy seeing Carol Kane though.
Books total: 41/50
Books - folktale minor: 13/50
Minor: 0/3, Don't worry, I'll have two to add in May, I'm about halfway through both.