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Joyful Girl

Andrea Blythe's blog about writing, reading, and everything else


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Books Read & Movies Watched in August
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Books read:
1. The Dead-Tossed Waves, by Carrie Ryan
2. Richard Hittleman's Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan, by Richard Hittleman
3. New Direction in Altered Books, by Gabe Cyr
4. To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

Reviews:
1. The Dead-Tossed Waves, by Carrie Ryan
Set many years after The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Dead-Tossed Waves continues with Mary's daughter Gabry. Gabry is comfortable in her little seaside town, protected the Mudos (undead) that hunger for human flesh outside of the walls. She isn't quite sure she believes her mother's stories about growing up in the forest of hands and teeth with all its mysteries and secrets. But when she follows her friends on a dare over the wall, the ensuing events leads her to begin looking to the forest as a means of both truth and possible salvation.

I loved the first book, and while it didn't dazzle me as much, The Dead-Tossed Waves was also a great read. Ryan creates a complex world, full of its own rules and beliefs that range from strange to noble to horrifying. Her romantic relationships tend toward complex tangles and triangles, but that's to be expected as both books are more about growing up and finding one's self than about love.


2. Richard Hittleman's Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan, by Richard Hittleman
While it took my considerably longer than 28 days, I worked my way through the entire book and found the entire program fantastic. I've improved a lot since I started with this, and I always feel great after doing it. I just need to make sure that I keep it up!


3. New Direction in Altered Books, by Gabe Cyr
As a lover of collage art, I've become fascinated with the idea of painting, editing, tearing up, and in general altering books. It's taken me a while to get used to the idea, as I have treated books as sacred. I still feel that they are sacred, but have come to see that that sancitity has can take a different shape.

New Directions in Altered Books was really inspiring, so much so that I bought some cheep used books from the library book sale for the purpose of making art. There are some fabulous examples shown, along with some sample projects and ideas for collaborative projects. It's a really great book for anyone interested in launching into this kind of art form.


4. To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf
On its most simplest level, To the Lighthouse deals with the kind of meandering hours spent at a summer house on an island and the desire to make an excursion to the lightouse. The story meanders in an out of the concerns and dreams and hopes of the people there, pivoting aroung the central focus of Mrs. Ramsay, who holds everything together. One of my favorite moments is the dinner scene, in which Woolf graceful shifts from one character's point of view to the next, revieling the tapestry of human emotion (in one instance, three character simultaneously think themselves unique in how alone they feel). It's a beautiful book and I can see why it's on the Modern Library's list of 100 Best Books.



Movies Watched:
1-2. Cheesy SciFi Double Feature - Flash Gordon (1980) and Barbarella (1968)
3. Eat Pray Love (2010)
4. The Strangers (2008)
5. The A-Team (2010)
6. Date Night (2010)
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
8. The Killer Inside Me (2010)
9. Grey Gardens (2009)

Reviews:
1-2. Cheesy SciFi Double Feature - Flash Gordon (1980) and Barbarella (1968)
>Discussed elsewhere.

3. Eat Pray Love (2010)
Discussed elsewhere.


4. The Strangers (2008)
A couple visits their summer vacation house, only to be toyed with and hunted by some crazy people in masks. I think this was very well done. It built the tension beautifully and managed to make you care about these two characters in a very short amount of time. My one complaint was that the ending was very abrupt, and that kind of thing can mar the experience of the entire movie.


5. The A-Team (2010)
Based on the original TV series, which I vaguely remember loving as a kid. I didn't expect anything other from this than crazy stunts and zany action, and that's exactly what I got. So, I enjoyed it thoroughly. And while Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson doesn't have near the personality as Mr. T, I would still look forward to a sequel.


6. Date Night (2010)
A married couple, looking to break themselves from the mundane routine of their daily lives, decide to take a reservation that isn't theirs at a fancy restaurant. Now due to mistaken identity, they find themselves chased by dangerous crooks. The chemistry and interplay between Steve Carell and Tina Fey are what makes this movie work. They are wonderful and totally hilarious.


7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
A wealthy man hires a reporter and a hacker dig to look into the disappearance of his niece, dredging up some disturbing family history. This started off slow for me. I worked my way through it slowly, watching a bit and then wandering away for a while. But once the film got deep into the mystery, I was all in. It's really a well done film and I'm looking forward to the second.


8. The Killer Inside Me (2010)
Meh. A sherriff asked to run a prostitute out town decides to killer her instead, thus resulting in ever escalating number of murders to cover it up. This movie... disturbing and not in a good way. You feel sympathetic toward the main character who becomes enthralled with killing. Except there are even more disturbing crimes in his past, and the whole thing right up to the end just comes off wrong. It just bothered me on many levels that I can't even fully describe.


9. Grey Gardens (2009)
Follows the lives of the Beale women (Bige Edie and Little Edie), the aunt and cousin of Jackie Onassis, two eccentric women who came to depend on each other as they lived in poverty in the house called Grey Gardens. It's based on the documentary made about these two women in 1975, and reenacts scenes from it, as well as showing their lives before after it was made. Both Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lang are fantastic in their roles. Their story is odd and funny and at the same time very tragic.