Category Archives: books

It’s Movie Time

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia Commons

One of my close friends, Pat, is an Oscars fan. As soon as the list of nominees comes out every year, she works hard to make sure she has seen all the nominees (in the best picture category – not every category) before the Oscars.  I’ve been getting updates since the list came out of what she’s seen.  She has a pretty good track record; most years she manages to see them all by the time of the ceremony.

I’m the opposite, since I rarely go to the movies. In fact, this year, I have only seen one nominee – Klaus, an animated Christmas film which I didn’t have to leave the house to see as it was a Netflix release (it was very good).  Reviews are not usually worth my notice; if I want to see something, I see it, not matter what the reviewers say.  I can’t ever recall a time when I left a movie screening saying “gosh, I should have listened to the reviews.”

Every now and then I do look, including the Doctor Doolittle reviews this month.  There is always a certain amount of trepidation on my part when Hollywood decides to tackle a beloved book, especially a beloved children’s book.  I’ve seen the trailers and I know that the movie bears very little resemblance to the book.  While I can’t stomach this in, say, Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorite books of all time), it may not be a deal breaker for Doctor Doolittle or even Little Women.  Both have been made into movies multiples times so I feel like the water is already completely muddied.  The newest Doolittle venture has not gotten great reviews but I don’t think that will stop me.  Dare I admit that Robert Downey Jr. is the main reason I will probably go see this movie this weekend?

Do you have an actor/actress who will entice you to see a film? Or one who will keep you out of the movie theatre?

New Technology

I finally had to cut the cord. My old laptop just wasn’t going to make the grade when I upgraded Explorer this week; it was originally a re-furbish, so it was about six.  Ancient for a laptop and SLOW.  So knowing that it would only get worse, I trundled myself up to the computer store last weekend.  Obviously I am part of a large contingent of folks who waited until the very last minute to do something about this week’s looming deadline.

You all know that while I am fully capable to doing research if I care about something, too much time thinking about computers doesn’t fill me with elan. I went into the store, found a salesperson (so so young), told him what I use a computer for at home along with my price range.  He showed me three different computers and I chose one.  10 minutes.  I spent longer standing in line to pay for it than I did choosing it.

Now comes the hard part – learning how to negotiate the new systems and software. I remember in my Software Etc. days that software would come in big packages… several disks and a LOT of manual.  These days you get a piece of cardboard with a website and a license number.  My first thought when I opened the box and turned it on was “I am lost in space here”.  Three hours later, I am up and running.  Not proficient yet at getting around or typing on the new keyboard, but at least I’ve got security, internet and, most importantly, OverDrive (for listening to audio books)!

What’s the last book you listened to? (Or read…..)

Hole in My Heart

Although I think of myself as flexible and resilient most of the time, there are some changes that I just don’t like. My friends and loved ones moving away is right up there in the “I hate this” stratosphere.

Lori and Tom live 2 doors up from me. I knew right away when I moved onto the block 29 years ago that they would be good friends.  They championed me when I was divorcing wasband #2, supported me during the adoption process.  Lori is a rubber stamping buddy of mine, we share reading as a passion and I’ve been drawn into one of her favorite charities, Mission Haiti.  Tom more often than not does my snowblowing and now that they are moving to an apartment in Chicago, he is even giving me the snowblower.  YA had a ton of hand-me-downs from their 2 daughters (which really helped my finances back then) and we did a lot of activities together when the kids were all younger, including Supper with Santa, trick-or-treating and many backyard neighborhood get-togethers.  They are two of the kindest, most generous people I know.

This move to Chicago has been coming for a while. They actually rented the apartment a year ago but a health crisis kept them here until now.  Their oldest is in Cincinnati with the only grandchild, Lori’s work has offices in Chicago and Tom does programming work from home, so the Windy City seemed like a good next step for them.

But it doesn’t make me happy, even if it’s good for them. I know how to use e-mail and texting and even skype, but it isn’t the same as just running a couple of houses up.  So on Friday I have a chunk of time blocked on my calendar that says “cry on the sidewalk” as I fully intend to go home to wave them off as they depart Minneapolis.

Who would you have move closer (or back)?

80 Days

Today is the anniversary of Phileas Fogg completing his trip  in Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 days. He left on October 2 and got back to London on December 21.  I haven’t read much of Verne, but I thought this  plot was fascinating and fun when I read it years ago

What route would you take to go around the world if you mainly took trains and boats and cars?  What would you want to see? 

Let Me Look that Up

Today marks the anniversary of the first publication of the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1768 in Scotland.  I love encyclopedias. I loved the World Book set my parents got me and I read it all the time. Wikipedia pales in comparison, I think, to holding a real encyclopedia in your hand.

What are your favorite reference books?

 

 

The Horror!

During the day yesterday, YA called me while I was at work.

YA: Do I need a library card to use the computers at the library?
Me:   I’m not sure.  Did you call to ask them?
YA: I’m there now. I don’t think I have a library card.
Me: I’m sure you do.
(Me rustling in purse)
Me: I have your card right here.  Do you need the number?
YA: No – they gave me a temporary number.

This seemed innocuous enough until the real implications of the phone encounter hit me. I had her library card in my wallet because when she was a toddler and kindergartner, she didn’t have a place to keep her library card, so I held onto it.  After all, back then, we were usually at the library together.

But if I still have her card, that means that since we quit going together (once she hit 2nd or 3rd grade),  SHE HAS NEVER STEPPED FOOT IN A PUBLIC LIBRARY ON HER OWN.

Not having a reader for a child has been a hard pill to swallow. Obviously your children aren’t little models of yourself, but when they differ from you in a treasured part of your life, it takes some getting used to.  I thought I had long ago come to this acceptance but yesterday’s realization was like that proverbial cold bucket of water.  Ouch.  If I was still in therapy we’d have to talk about this at my next appointment!

Any epiphanies recently?  (Good or bad.)

Read It or See It?

In ye olden days, the LGMS was my radio anchor, beginning at home through my morning drive time. After the show’s demise, I did Trial Balloon at home and in the morning hours of work.  But since then, I haven’t really found a radio show that strikes my fancy and have drifted away from radio to…  I know this will be shocking for some of you… books.  The first hour or so in the morning, I listen to an audiobook and then in the car, books on CDs.  I sometimes run out of books on CDs and so spend some time browsing the audio shelves at the library.  This leads to some interesting results, sometimes fabulous, sometimes not so much.

I’ve admitted here before that I like the Hallmark Mystery Movies, so last week, while browsing, my eye was caught by the first Aurora Teagarden mystery sitting on the audio shelf. I had been a little curious about the books, especially since my favorite character left the series; I was curious if the movies were true to the books.   So I was a little surprised right off the bat that while most of the characters bear the same names, most of them did not bear the description or personalities.  The most disappointing was the main character, Ro.  In the book she doesn’t have any drive to solve the mysteries and in the final chapters is rescued by the men in the story.  This is completely different from the movies, in which Ro is rabid about solving the mystery and it is her ingenuity that not only solves the crimes but saves her life (and often the man’s) in the end.

This made me think about the few instances in which the movie better than the book.  So rare.  Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, Julie & Julia, Clue, Bladerunner.

There might be more but for my determination not to see movies when I have adored the book. I don’t want Hollywood messing with the pictures in my mind’s eye (Wrinkle in Time, The Martian, Uprooted, ANY of the Louise Penny books).  And, of course, the number of movies much worse than their books is legend.  Including Legend!

When were you last surprised about how a book turned out when adapted to the big screen?