Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

The Shawshank Redemption
by Stephen King

Different Seasons ('82) is a collection of four novellas, markedly different in tone & subject, each with a journey theme. The 1st is a nonhorrific tale about an innocent man who carefully nurtures hope & devises a wily scheme to escape from prison. The 2nd concerns a boy who discards his innocence by enticing an old man to travel with him into a reawakening of long-buried evil. In the 3rd, a writer looks back on the trek he took with three friends on the brink of adolescence to find another boy's corpse. The trip becomes a character-rich rite of passage from youth to maturity. These 1st three novellas have been made into movies: "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" into Frank Darabont's '94 The Shawshank Redemption (available as a screenplay, a DVD & an audiocassette), "Apt Pupil" into Bryan Singer's '98 film Apt Pupil (also released in '98 on audiocassette) & "The Body" into Rob Reiner's Stand by Me ('86). The final novella, "Breathing Lessons," is a horror yarn told by a doctor, about a patient whose indomitable spirit keeps her baby alive under extraordinary circumstances. It's the tightest, most polished tale in the collection.--Fiona Webster

My Rating: 5 of 5 "Loved it!"

Fantastic story. I was captured for the whole four hours it took to read it. I didn't want to stop.

I have yet to watch the movie, but I believe it's on Netflix, so I'll have to watch soon. I've been told that the movie is fantastic as well.

What I liked most about The Shawshank Redemption was the ending. It felt like I got everything that I wanted for the characters, only it was given to me in a way that wasn't the most obvious or direct rout. It pulled on my heart strings just enough. In the span of these four hours, I met a stranger with a background unlike mine, and came to care about his troubles and rejoice when he overcomes them. It was very satisfying.

Some books I end up reading don't leave me with too many thoughts afterward. The Shawshank Redemption is not one of them. I don't know if it was Stephen King's intention to make me wonder about the prison system and the people (guilty or innocent) trapped inside it, but it certainly left me with thoughts that I'll have to chew on before they become opinions.

Excellent book, and well worth the time to read. Pick a free evening and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time 
by Madeleine L'Engle

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. "Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract". A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusual book.

 My Rating: 1 of 5 "Didn't Like It"

This story largely felt like a bad caricature of imagination. I completely couldn't get into the characters, and I didn't like the world either because there was simply too many worlds with not enough depth. Good and evil were clearly defined without having any real active agents of good and evil.

And singing holy centaurs with wings made of rainbows and poetry? Are you kidding me?

Maybe I'm just flat-out too literal for this story. Which is saying something about the outlandish nature of the story considering I've always been willing to suspend disbelief. But please. Fantastical things were happening without a reason for their happening. It was just a literary acid trip.

Despite that, I did fall in love with one of the quotes. From Aunt Beast to Meg when trying to communicate in English:

"Oh child, your language is so utterly simple and limited that it has the affect of extreme complication."
-Aunt Beast

The second half of the book was much better than the first half of the book. Likely because we finally got a 'bad guy' and direction for the characters

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers
By Alexandre Dumas

First published in 1844, Alexandre Dumas's swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of D'Artagnan, a gallant young nobleman who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to join the ranks of musketeers guarding Louis XIII. He soon finds himself fighting alongside three heroic comrades—Athos, Porthos, and Aramis—who seek to uphold the honor of the king by foiling the wicked plots of Cardinal Richelieu and the beautiful spy "Milady." As Clifton Fadiman reflected, "We read The Three Musketeers to experience a sense of romance and for the sheer excitement of the story. In these violent pages all is action, intrigue, suspense, surprise—an almost endless chain of duels, murders, love affairs, unmaskings, ambushes, hairbreadth escapes, wild rides. It is all impossible and it is all magnificent." 

My Rating: 3 of 5 "Liked It"

I went back and forth between really liking this book and being like 'eeeeehh, speed it up why don't ya'. At first I didn't like D'Artagnan because he seemed like a complete brat, but he eventually turned out to be a character I really liked because he grew up throughout the book.

Of the three musketeers, Athos was easily my favorite. That guy is so cool.

Anyway- would I read this book again? Most likely not. The writing was too dense for my tastes. Characters got caught in long, winding conversations, some of which I actually enjoyed, but overall there was too much of it to keep me focused consistently. The sword fights were the best part, in my opinion. It was a fun way to see the characters' personalities shine through, and I always like to see characters work together as a team.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

When in Doubt, Add Butter
by Beth Harbison

Gemma Craig has spent her career as a private chef taking care of other people. From Lex, the fussy department store owner straight out of a movie from the thirties; to grossly overweight Willa, who must radically change her eating habits or die; to the strange Oleksei family, with a constant parade of mysterious people coming and going; to the hideously demanding A ngela who is “allergic to everything” and foists her tastes on her hapless family; to the man Gemma thinks of only as “Mr. Tuesday” because they’ve never met. Everyone relies on Gemma, even while she goes home alone each night and feasts on cereal and quick meals. But when life takes an unexpected turn on a road Gemma always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and learn to move on in ways she never imagined.

My Rating: 4 of 5 "Really Liked It"

I LOVED this book! I almost NEVER read romances but this one was just absolutely perfect in every way and I enjoyed it so much. Gosh, I feel like such a gooey little girl with rose-colored glasses and too much sugar in her veins but it was just so good!

It's so refreshing to read a book written by someone who honest to god knows how to write and tell a good story. If you're looking for a read that you can trust to have a happy ending and will fulfill all your expectations, this is the book for you. It's enough to get anyone out of a downer mood, for sure.

The wonderful descriptions of all the food made me really hungry, haha. And I felt like the characters were all people that I recognized from my own life. The story takes place around DC, too, which is just far enough away from where I am currently for me to be pleased with getting lost in it, but close enough to feel like I was reading a happy story of someone who actually lives nearby.

The only reason I didn't give 5 of 5 is because, honestly, this book has no real substance hahaha.

Go read this book! You'll like it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writing Prompt Challenge

Day 1 —Select a book at random in the room.  Find a novel or short story, copy down the last sentence and use this line as the first line of your new story.
Day 2 —Tell about a character who lost something important to him/her.
Day 3 —Write about the worst time you’ve ever put your foot in your mouth.
Day 4 —Write a story/excerpt to include the line, “Sorry, we can’t insure you for a journey like that.”
Day 5 —Pick a letter of the alphabet.  Now imagine two aisles of your local supermarket.  List everything found in those two aisles that begin with that letter of the alphabet.
Day 6 —Write about a person who would buy all of those items in Day 5.
Day 7 —What sets you apart from the crowd?
Day 8 —Tell your life story from someone else’s point of view.
Day 9 —What was your favorite childhood toy?
Day 10 —What do you want to be remembered for?
Day 12 —What is your favorite day of the week?
Day 13 —Write about a random picture you would find in an envelope of finished prints at Costco.
Day 14 —Elvis still gets 100 Valentines each year.  Tell about one of the people who sent one.
Day 15 — Create a character who is falsely accused of a crime.
Day 16 —If we assume ghosts are real, what type of ghost would you like to see?
Day 17 — Write a short scenario set in the kitchen of a fast-food restaurant.
Day 18 —Take a reader behind the wheel with the worst driver you’ve ever known.
Day 19 —Write a list of 25 (or just 5!) things you want to do in your life.
Day 20 —If you could go on only one more vacation in your lifetime, where would you go and why?
Day 21 —Find a job ad in the paper.  Write about your life if you had that job.
Day 22 —You wake up with a key gripped tightly in your hand.  How did you get this key?  What does it lock or unlock?
Day 23 —Pretend you’re a cartoon character.  What type of a character would you be?  What would a day in your life be like?
Day 24 —Write about the longest amount of time you’ve ever gone without sleeping.
Day 26 —Write about your worst habit.
Day 27 —Make up a near-death experience (unless you have a real one).
Day 28 —You read about yourself in your brother/sister, girlfriend/boyfriend’s diary.  What did you read?
Day 29 —You are at a cemetery reading gravestones.  Write about one of the people you find.
Day 30 —Write a short entry that ends with the line, “The silver dust of moonlight settled coldly on the night.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge

This'll be a fun challenge for my artist followers~ (or even if you don't call yourself an 'artist' but you like to draw/doodle anyway!) I think I'm gonna give this one a shot. It looks fun.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jellyfish (Meduzot) (2007)

Jellyfish (Meduzot) (2007)
Directors: Shira Geffen, Etgar Keret
Writer: Shira Geffen
Stars: Sarah Adler, Nikol Leidman and Gera Sandler

The stories of three disparate women intersect at a Tel Aviv wedding. Newly single Batiya (Sarah Adler) works with the catering crew; Filipina Joy (Ma-nenita De Latorre) attends the event as the caregiver of an elderly woman; and the bride (Noa Knoller) sees her honeymoon dreams go up in smoke. Directed by popular Israeli novelist Etgar Keret and his screenwriter wife, Shira Geffen, the film won the Camera d'Or at Cannes.

My Rating: 3 of 5 "Liked It"

The mystery of the little girl is what kept me going throughout this film, and even though it isn't really solved, I still like how it ended. Each character is unique and flawed in many ways. It was fun to see how they would work through their problems (and if they would survive the struggle.) Overall, good story and worth the time to watch.