Sunday, January 11, 2009

J.R.R. Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring

This was actually a reread. I first read it during Winter Break my freshman year of college (Jan 2003). The movie had recently come out and I can't remember if I had watched the movie yet or not. I had received the entire The Lord of the Rings trilogy for Christmas and all my friends were reading it. I remember really liking it and I'm pretty sure that I only stopped after this one due to the spring semester starting. In the last year and a half, I've been hearing all about how awesome The Lord of the Rings is and we decided to kick off 2009 by reading it for book club.

After having seen the extended edition of Fellowship twice in the last four months, I was more than ready to go back through and reread it slowly. I really took my time reading it instead of trying to keep up with anyone else's pace. I also spent a lot of time reading in the airport and on the plane this past week to finish it. I didn't really remember much from the last read so I really enjoyed it this time. There was so much that I hadn't picked up on. It was more fun to see that the other people in book club who have read it before are picking up on quite a lot themselves. Fellowship seems exceptionally layered with so much that I could probably reread it every few years and continue to pick up more with each reread. I assume that will be true of the last two books in the trilogy as well.

One of the debates we've had so far is why Fellowship ends where it does in the book instead of in the place it ends in the movie. In the movie, we see the orcs attacks and Boromir dies before Sam and Frodo leave the Fellowship. In the book, Boromir doesn't die until the beginning of The Two Towers. I really like the ending of the book better since it leaves you with the importance of Frodo and Sam and their mission to destroy the ring.

I've started The Two Towers and I'm really excited to read my way through the whole trilogy.

Reservation Road

This came on after The Golden Compass and the only attraction at first was that Joaquin Phoenix was in it. I got into it once I knew that it was about dealing with the aftermath of a fatal hit and run. We see a husband and wife grieve for their son, and the killer work through his guilt. I probably would have turned it off since I'm not a huge fan of grieving stories, but I'm currently participating in a group writing exercise and my character is grieving. I haven't lost too many people exceptionally close to me, so I decided to keep watching in case I could learn anything. Boy am I glad that I decided to keep watching. Little moments made me cry and I really appreciated the dialog between the parents of the kid.

I wasn't thrilled with the end of the movie. I actually yelled at the TV that I didn't understand the progression to the climax. The movie seemed to skip certain things that I believe needed to be there to push someone that much.

The Golden Compass

I've had The Golden Compass on my To Be Read list for a while now. I wasn't planning to watch the movie first but I stumbled into it on HBO in the hotel this past week. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews of both, but I enjoyed this one. The cast line up was pretty awesome (I'm only listing the people I already knew): Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Ian McKellen, and Christopher Lee. While it took me a while to get into the movie because I didn't really know what was going on, I did come to really appreciate the characters. I absolutely adored the armored bear Iorek too. I did get blind-sided by the end. They obviously aren't finished with the story and I knew it was a trilogy, but I was not expecting it to end where it did. Overall, it was enjoyable, but if I had a do-over, I'd read the book first.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What's in a Name Challenge

I decided to join a reading challenge this year. I've never done them before, so I think it would be fun to see if I'm up to the challenge.

What's in a Name?
6 books in 2009, and the title has to fit in one of the following categories:

Time of Day:
Body Part: Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
Building: JRR Tolkein, The Two Towers
Medical Condition:

Happy Reading!

New Challenge

Writing is something I want to practice and improve over time. I tend to shy away from giving my opinion in favor of hearing what everyone else thinks. It's time that changed. I will work at moving beyond forming my opinion and try to write out/explain how and why I formed them.

I intend to try to review any books I read and movies I watch here. My tastes encompass several genres so I may have a wide variety of books and movies covered. I probably lean toward fantasy more often than other genres but I do try to get a decent mix over a period of time. The only genres I typically avoid are horror (movies and books) and romance (books only), but there have been exceptions.

So here's to a new year and a new challenge for myself.

Current Challenges

Sorted by End Date

November 2010
Women Unbound Challenge (11/1/09-11/30/10)
Miss Leavitt's Stars
A Taste for Power
At least two more from the pool listed here.

Terry Pratchett Challenge (12/1/09-11/30/10)
The Colour of Magic
The Light Fantastic
Good Omens

December 2010
A to Z Challenge (1/1/10-12/31/10)

African Diaspora Challenge (1/1/10-12/31/10)
Chimamanda Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun
Sylvaine Dioux, Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotida and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Yvonne Vera, Butterfly Burning

2010 Colorful Reading Challenge (1/1/10-12/31/10)
Ji-li Jiang, Red Scarf Girl
Joanne Harrison, Five Quarters of the Orange
Anthony Eglin, The Blue Rose
Majusi Ibuse, Black Rain
Emmuska Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Lauren Willig, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
Kathleen Turner, Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles
Naomi Novik, Throne of Jade (book 2 in the Temeraire series)
Mort Rosenblum, Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light

Graphic Novel Challenge (1/1/10-12/31/10)
Jim Butcher, Welcome to the Jungle
Girl Genius
The Sandman vol. 6: Fables and Reflections
Fables vol. 2: Animal Farm
Persepolis 2
American Born Chinese

What's in a Name 3 Challenge (1/1/10-12/31/10)
Food: Sue Monk Kidd, Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story
Place Name: Tom Avery, To the Ends of the Earth: Our Epic Journey to the North Pole and the Legend of Peary and Henson
Music Term: Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera
Body of Water: from pool
Person's Title: from pool
Plant: from pool

January 2011

Chunkster Challenge (2/1/10-1/31/11)
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Richard Zacks, The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805

Book Read in 2009

Each book is added as it is completed. My goal is 40+ for this year. Links are to my reviews.

1. JRR Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring - reread
2. Sara Nelson, So Many Books So Little Time - reread

3. JRR Tolkein, The Two Towers
4. John and Stasi Eldridge, Captivating: unveiling th mystery of a woman's soul
5. Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
6. Jim Butcher, Storm Front - reread

7. Jim Butcher, Fool Moon - reread
8. Jim Butcher, Grave Peril - reread
9. L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
10. JRR Tolkein, The Return of the King
11. Jim Butcher, Summer Knight - reread
12. LM Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
13. Jim Butcher, Death Masks - reread

14. Christopher Moore, You Suck (audio)
15. Jim Butcher, Turn Coat
16. John Eldredge, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secrets of a Man's Soul
17. Christopher Paolini, Eldest (audio)

18. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast, Marked
19. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast, Betrayed
20. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast, Chosen
21. Shelly Mazzanoble, Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress

22. Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, He's Just Not That Into You
23. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast, Untamed
24. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast, Hunted
25. Joyce Meyer, Battlefield of the Mind
26. Bill Myers, The Society
27. Bill Myers, The Deceived
28. Bill Myers, The Spell
29. Alan Bennet, The Uncommon Reader

30. Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
31. Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
32. Neil Gaiman, Smoke & Mirrors
33. MaryJanice Davidson, Undead and Unworthy
34. LM Montgomery, Anne of the Island
35. Lenora Worth, Mountain Sanctuary
36. Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus, The Nanny Diaries
37. Michael Gruber, The Book of Air and Shadows
38. Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck

39. Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
40. Ann Rinaldi, Or Give Me Death
41. Beth Fantaskey, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
42. LM Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars
43. Angela Carter, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Other Classic Fairy Tales
44. Claudia Gray, Evernight

45. Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
46. LJ Smith, The Awakening
47. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, 20 and Counting
48. LJ Smith, The Struggle
49. Claudia Gray, Stargazer

50. JG Ballard, Empire of the Sun
51. Melissa Marr, Wicked Lovely
52. Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy
53. Julile Berry, The Amaranth Enchantment
54. Richelle Mead, Frostbite
55. Richelle Mead, Shadow Kiss

56. Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
57. Richelle Mead, Blood Promise
58. Elmore Leonard, Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing
59. Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
60. George Johnson, Miss Leavitt's Stars: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Discovered How to Measure the Universe
61. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories
62. Leila Aboulela, Minaret
63. Neil Gaiman, Odd and the Frost Giants
64. Paulo Coelho, Brida
65. Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis

66. Bill Willingham, Fables
67. Bill Willingham, 1001 Nights of Snowfall
68. Antoine de Saint Exupery, The Little Prince
69. PC Cast & Kristin Cast, Tempted
70. Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things