Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Beach Read "Semi-Finals"

I decided to share more info on the books that were mentioned more than once in the beach read poll. I included a description and the approximate number of pages from the amazon ad, as well as how many mentions it got in the original poll. For comparison: Gone With the Wind has 1,024 pages. I started taking out all the blue linked words but it got to be too much trouble, so I left them. Also, I didn't include any books that any of us have read before. I also included if there is a movie version.

2 mentions
approximately 255 pages
animated film

from Wikipedia: "The Phantom Tollbooth is a children's adventure novel and a modern fairy tale published in 1961, written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. It tells the story of a bored young boy named Milo who unexpectedly receives a magic tollbooth one afternoon and, having nothing better to do, drives through. He finds himself in the Kingdom of Wisdom. There he accepts a quest to rescue the princesses of the kingdom, acquires two faithful companions, and has many adventures. The book is full of puns, and many events, like Milo's sudden jump to the Island of Conclusions, are the consequences of taking English Language Idioms literally.

2 mentions
approximately 560 pages
no film
from Wikipedia: "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values is the first of Robert M. Pirsig's texts in which he explores his Metaphysics of Quality. The 1974 book describes, in first person, a 17-day motorcycle journey across the United States by the author (though he is not identified in the book) and his son Chris, joined for the first nine days by close friends John and Sylvia Sutherland. The trip is punctuated by numerous philosophical discussions, referred to as Chautauquas by the author, on topics including epistemology, ethical emotivism and the philosophy of science."

3 mentions
approximately 400 pages
1962 film

from enotes: "Published in 1934 by New York-based publisher Charles Scribner’s Sons, Tender Is the Night is one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last works. Although the novel was generally well received and has come to be regarded as one of Fitzgerald’s most important works, it was less popular at its publication than his previous novels and was considered a commercial failure. More autobiographical than his other works, Tender Is the Night tells the story of American psychologist Dick Diver and his wife, the wealthy but psychologically unstable Nicole. Set largely in the small French coastal town of Tarmes between the years 1925 and 1935, the book portrays a cast of characters typical of Fitzgerald’s fictional universe: wealthy, idle, sophisticated, and, in many ways, “troubled.”

3 mentions
180 pages
film in production

from Wikipedia: "The Giver is a 1993 soft science fiction novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a future society which is at first presented as a utopian society and gradually appears more and more dystopian; therefore, it could be considered anti-utopian. The novel follows a boy named Jonas through the twelfth year of his life. The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to "Sameness", a plan which has also eradicated emotional" depth from their lives. Jonas is selected to inherit the position of "Receiver of Memory," the person who stores all the memories of the time before Sameness, in case they are ever needed to aid in decisions that others lack the experience to make. When Jonas meets the Giver, he is confused in many ways. The Giver is also able to break some rules, such as turning off the speaker and locking his door. As Jonas receives the memories from the previous receiver—the "Giver"—he discovers how shallow his community's life has become.

2 mentions
453 pages

from Wikipedia: "Catch-22 is a satirical, historical novel by the American author Joseph Heller, first published in 1961. The novel, set during the later stages of World War II from 1943 onwards, is frequently cited as one of the great literary works of the twentieth century. It has a distinctive non-chronological style where events are described from different characters' points of view and out of sequence so that the time line develops along with the plot. The novel follows Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier, and a number of other characters. Most events occur while the airmen of the fictional Fighting 256th (or "two to the fighting eighth power") Squadron are based on the island of Pianosa, in the Mediterranean Sea west of Italy."

2 mentions
560 pages
film in production

from Wikipedia: "The Book Thief is set in Germany before and during World War II. The story is told from the point of view of Death, who narrates the story and gives a whole new image to the "death" image we the people see. "Death" finds the story of the book thief, Liesel Meminger. Liesel's story begins when she and her brother are sent to a foster home by their Communist mother when she is interned in Dachau Concentration Camp. She later arrives at the home of foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann, near Munich"
(this summary told the entire story, so I had to just cut it off randomly, lol)

A couple of these (I won't mention any names) seem a little depressing and heavy for the beach, so if they are chosen I will most definitely be bringing something else to read as well so I can sleep! ha ha! Make your voice heard again, and then we'll set up a final poll between the top two or three! :)

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Corey and I had a date night tonight to go see the new Alice in Wonderland movie. We did see it in 3D. Alice is 19 years old and has dreams about the happenings of the original movies....

My thoughts are....... that it was just okay. We will not be taking the kids to see it at the theater. First and foremost, I think they would be bored. The beginning is very slow to get going and the plot would kind of be over their heads I think with her being rebellious about corsets and stockings, and then attending a party that turns out to be her engagement party. That doesn't ruin the plot I don't think. She eventually chases after the white rabbit and falls in the rabbit hole...etc., etc.

It was very much like the movies I have seen before..just different looking. The plot is a little different but several of the same things happen, but with less "childishness" about them.

My conclusion is wasn't serious and deep enough to make it interesting enough for adults, but it wasn't childish and silly enough to make it fully appropriate for children either. The gruesome aspects (stepping on human heads to cross a moat, monster eyes being plucked out by straight pins) make it just too much for little kids, so then the lack of more makes it slightly too simple for adults. I think it should have gone one more step one way or the other.

It does look very interesting and beautiful. The 3D affects are great. There are some really funny parts with the Red Queen when she goes on her tirades, but I don't think kids would "get it." The March Hare is pretty funny. The Mad Hatter is typical of what you would expect with Johnny Depp playing that part. The White Queen is whimsical. There is a good message of good conquering evil and the Red Queen's demise. I even picked up on some easy to make comparisons between the overall story/characters/storyline and Christianity.

Overall...if I were rating on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being Mystery Science Theater level and 10 being like Epic Life Changing Films...I would give it a ....... 6. I would watch it again maybe, the story is good because the story was already good, but it will be hard to find the just right age for our kids so we can watch it together as a family. Better versions of this movie have already been made, in my opinion the Disney one is the best because it makes me laugh a lot! Even though they said it is not supposed to be "the original movie" it kind of is. A good version, but disappointed because it could have been so much better. I think the fault lies with whoever wrote the screenplay.

My take on the PluggedInOnline review:
I agree with most everything written in this review, although I think their take on the "sexual content" wasn't as bad as it sounded. The wardrobe issues weren't issues at all for me nor would it be for my kids. Any innuendo was extremely disguised and rare. The only really odd thing was with the people who all had exaggerated features to fit in with the queen's big head...there is the lady like it says in the review....which was just kind of trashy looking, for older boys it could be more inappropriate though the glimpses of that particular lady are just two very fast glances. The main part that strikes it out for me is the "Violent Content" it reviews in detail. It is definitely all as described if not more.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cast Your Vote Please!

I just had a fun idea! I think that since my brother and I are both doing the 451 Challenge, and we are going to the beach at the same time in May, that it would be fun to read the same book and discuss it! Like a "beach reading challenge." ha ha. My husband and my brother's girlfriend also enjoy reading....

So..I am taking a vote/suggestions. Then I will create a poll for the suggestions...

Click on the 451 Challenge box at the top left, and read over the list (in the right column of that blog). Leave a comment listing the one you think would be the best read for a group consisting of a 21 yr old girl (girlfriend), 27 yr old guy (brother), 28 year old girl (sister), and TURNING 30 while we are there guy (my husband).

I will post my own choices soon...