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06 June 2007 @ 06:19 pm
Reviews, Links, and Other Stuff  
So! I just realized I am halfway through the year and I have only finished 6 of 20 new books and 10 of 20 films. Needless to say, I've got some work to do in the reading department. But first, some reviews!

Three of each for this post, you lucky devils! I will be kind, though, and put them behind cuts.

Book 4/20: Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

I have long been a fan of the Discworld and all its amazing denizens. Death, who speaks in all capital letters. The Luggage. Nanny Ogg and her industrial strength apple brandy. The long-suffering Captain Vimes. Hapless Rincewind and his belaboured feet. I read these books over and over again because I love them so. I am even reading them to Tiff at night, over the phone. We've covered quite a few of the ones in my collection (and I don't even own half), including what was my former favorite: Small Gods.

That is, until I read Going Postal. Which is a satirical look at the post office being made obsolete by the "clacks", which is a combination of the telegraph and a cell tower. Think morse code by light rather than sound.

This book is stunningly hilarious and sharp as a razor when it turns its satirical eye on things like stamps, communications monopolies, corporate greed, and your garden-variety con artist. A hooting-with-laughter book. After all, the main character is named Moist von Lipwig. How could it not be funny?

Next on my list from Mr. Pratchett is Thud!, which I understand to be wonderful. I shall let you know when I finish it.

Book 5/20: Winter's Heart, by Robert Jordan

I believe this is ninth in the series. Once again, Mr. Jordan weaves a tale of such depth of detail that it is best to read this book in short, sweet doses until you get three chapters from the end.

It seems strange to be reviewing a book like this only because I feel like I should wait until I have finished the entire story, i.e. all twelve books. It's hard to comment on a book like this when it is just another stepping stone to the Final Battle. However, I will say that Rand is increasingly more woolheaded than I gave him credit for, that Min has become only slightly less annoying than Faile, that there was too little Egwene, Elayne, and Aviendha, and that I am very, very glad I am not a character in one of these books.

As I've said before, Mr. Jordan obviously heard about the literary theory of "chasing one's protagonist up a tree". However, once there, he pelts them not only with rocks, arrows, stinging insects, and hidden snakes, but also with hand-grenades, B-17 bombers, fatal diseases, exploding walruses, and very angry DMV clerks...figuratively speaking, of course. The few times when something goes right for one of the protagonists are so welcome and so refreshing, it is as if one has been handed lemonade at the end of a stroll across the Gobi. And they are over just as quickly.

I love these books, but damn!

Book 6/20: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver

Tiff got this for me for our anniversary and I have never been more grateful. This book is one of the most important books I have ever read and has opened my eyes on so many subjects.

Barbara, her second husband, and her eldest daughter are the authors of this book that tells of their one-year experiment in feeding themselves on food either grown by their own hands or gathered from local producers. The food is all organic, sustainable, and chemical-free and the chapters are all gems.

With her unique voice explaining the nitty gritty of this familial experiment, while Stephen and Camille chime in with their respective expertise (Stephen provides political blurbs while Camille provides recipes and personal anecdotes), Barbara convinces the reader that it isn't hard to become a responsible member of the larger community we call the Human Race by starting with our own local communities.

I learned so much from this book that I have decided to try to acquire 75% of all that I consume from my local community. The word that has been coined for this behavior is "locavore" and I have become one. I have even started a new community for the like minded. locavore_world

I've already been shopping at my local farmer's markets and have become a member of my local food co-op. And before you go thinking that this is just some hippy-dippy tree-hugging thing, think of this: If every single family in the US ate just one meal a week comprised completely of locally-grown or locally-produced organic foods, we would save 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. Barrels! With gas prices edging ever closer to the $4.00 mark, you all can agree that reducing our "carbon footprint" has moved beyond the realm of the hippie and into mainstream society.

Other benefits to this lifestyle include healthier foods to consume, a financially healthier local community, lower healthcare costs, higher standards of quality and taste in the things that we eat, and conservation of the variety of things grown and harvested. Did you know that there were once over 4,000 varieties of corn in this hemisphere? Did you know that Big Farms only grow 2 of those varieties?

Now, I'm self-aware enough to know what my limitations are and so I chose to start out with a goal of 75% local consumption. And that includes things other than just food consumption. That includes things like locally-owned businesses instead of large chains, locally-produced toiletries and sundries instead of generic drugstore fare, local restaurants instead of Outback and other conglomerate chains...

What's great about this type of activism/lifestyle change is that even little things make a huge difference. One meal a week made from local produce and we save oil!

If you're at all interested in knowing more about the food industry in our country, in finding out how you can reduce your carbon footprint, in discovering the benefits to locally-grown and locally-produced foods, or even if you like a good story, please consider this book.

Film 8/20: "Stranger Than Fiction" Emma Thompson, Will Farrell

If you are a writer, watch this film. If you are a reader, watch this film. If you are a Beatles fan, watch this film. If you are a mathematician or scientist, watch this film. If you are a little stuffy or need to loosen up a little, watch this film. If you are a baker, watch this film. If you dropped out of school to follow your dream, watch this film. If you know how to play one song on a guitar, watch this film. If you are an English major or professor, watch this film. If you've ever worn a wrist watch, watch this film.

I will not spoil one second of it for you. Just trust me. Trust me.

Watch this film.

Film 9/20: "A Night in the Museum" Ben Stiller, Robin Williams

This was a cute movie in its own little way. I loathe Ben Stiller and I found him tolerable in this film. I loved Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt and, well, Carla Gugino is in it. Carla. Gugino. So there's that.

It's a good flick for the 6 - 11 age group and has a nice, feel-good ending. Its shining moment is that it is about a museum and I adore museums. Also, Anne Meara is in it in a little cameo role and I love Anne Meara.

It occurs to me that I adore Anne Meara but loathe Ben Stiller (her son) and I adore Blythe Danner and loathe Gwyneth Paltrow (her daughter). I hope Ben and Gwyneth never breed. That's all I'm saying.

Film 10/20: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly

Okay, this flick confused me slightly mainly because I missed PotC2, whatever that was called. So yes, there's a through-plot in these flicks and you shouldn't miss one.

I liked it. It was a good action film, the costumes were wonderful, and the whole film is worth it for one little scene at the Council Meeting (but that's all I'm saying on that topic).

I had big issues with the love story aspect because I felt that the resolution was too quick and OOC for both characters. I also felt that they dropped one of the plot threads too quickly. So much more could have been done with it. Which was probably the problem. As it was, this flick came in at almost THREE hours. Which is really long for a third movie based on an (don't think too hard about this) amusement park ride.

Keira is pretty to look at and scrappy in this flick. Johnny is Jack Sparrow, right down to his boots. And Naomie Harris, playing Tia Dalma, is the true breakout. She's a fabulous actress. I didn't recognize her until I just looked her up on IMDB and saw that she played Selena in "28 Days Later", a disturbing and brutal film. Keep an eye on Naomie. She's on her way up.

My beautiful one just started a Prompt Writing journal! Go check it out!


Well, yay! That's that. I'll see what I can do about beefing up my reading so that I am more on schedule.

Love to you all!


My State of Mind: happyhappy
Danielle: [Quote] SN - Natalie - Haberdasherydani_ellie on June 6th, 2007 11:15 pm (UTC)
Warning to others: At World's End spoilers ahead!

So. Being that this was a Disney movie, there were places they went plot-wise that I wasn't expecting them to go. Namely, Will. Getting impaled with a sword. And dying. I think I sat there in my theater seat with my hand over my mouth for a good ten minutes. *blink*
seftiri: dream nakedseftiri on June 7th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
I never thought about it like that! But you're right. Pretty interesting!
froggumz: Ivyiconfroggumz on June 7th, 2007 03:28 pm (UTC)
I'm going to add Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to my list of books I should read. Chef & I are already big into the "Buy Local First" & trade veggies & herbs with friends & family through the summer. Our farmers market doesn't start until Sunday, but we'll be there with bells on. I think many people don't realize just how easy it is to grow your own herbs & even tomatoes in pots on your patio.

Movies- I totally agree with you on "Stranger Than Fiction". The local reviews were not very good, so we waited to rent it. Now I wish we would of gone to see it & I plan to purchase it next time I see it.
seftiri: FoodPornseftiri on June 8th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
It's truly a wonderful book! I can't wait to read it again next year. LOL

As for "Stranger Than Fiction", yes! It got no play in the media here at all! I wanted to see it but ended up getting it on pay-per-view after Fewthistle told me I HAD to see it.

And she was so right!