Monday, November 30, 2009

Movie Mondays

Bridget Jones's Diary

Book, 1996 by Helen Fielding

This laugh-out-loud chronicle charts a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a single girl on a permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement--in which she resolves to: visit the gym three times a week not merely to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and not fall for any of the following: misogynists, megalomaniacs, adulterers, workaholics, chauvinists or perverts. And learn to program the VCR. Caught between her Singleton friends, who are all convinced they will end up dying alone and found three weeks later half-eaten by an Alsatian, and the Smug Marrieds, whose dinner parties offer ever-new opportunities for humiliation, Bridget struggles to keep her life on an even keel (or at least afloat). Through it all, she will have her readers helpless with laughter and shouting, "BRIDGET JONES IS ME!"

The novel was the winner of the 1998 British Book of the Year award.

Movie, 2001 directed by Sharon Maguire

Features: Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth

Tagline: It's Monday morning, Bridget has woken up with a headache, a hangover and her boss.

Awards: Renée Zellweger was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role but lost to Halle Berry (Monster's Ball)

Did you know? Helen Fielding (author) based the character "Shazzer" on her friend Sharon Maguire (director).

A sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, was released in 2004 (based on the 1999 novel by Helen Fielding).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Group Pictures--Hurry Down Sunshine

One of the most interesting discussions yet!

Meeting Today!

We're meeting today @ Heather's house @ 1:30pm to discuss Hurry Down Sunshine. We'll also be choosing our 36 book selections for next year. I'll bring everyone a copy of the choices. See you this afternoon!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Rohinton Mistry.

1. He was born on July 3, 1952 in Bombay, India.
2. He earned bachelors degrees in mathematics and economics from Bombay University.
3. He then immigrated to Canada and attended the University of Toronto where he earned additional degrees in English and philosophy.
4. He has won two Hart House literary prizes for short story writing.
5. His first collection of short stories was published in 1987: Tales from Firozsha Baag, published in the US as Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag.

6. His second novel, Such a Long Journey, was published in 1991 and won the Governor General's Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, and the W.H. Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award.

7. His third novel, A Fine Balance, won the Giller Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction; it was selected for Oprah's Book Club in 2001.

8. His latest books are called Family Matters and The Scream.

Have you read any of his books?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is As I Lay Dying (1930) by William Faulkner.

Faulkner's distinctive narrative structures--the uses of multiple points of view and the inner psychological voices of the characters--in one of its most successful incarnations here in As I Lay Dying. In the story, the members of the Bundren family must take the body of Addie, matriarch of the family, to the town where Addie wanted to be buried. Along the way, we listen to each of the members on the macabre pilgrimage, while Faulkner heaps upon them various flavors of disaster.

Did you know?

It is ranked among the best novels of the 20th century.
It has varying chapter lengths with the shortest chapter consisting of only 5 words.
The title comes from The Odyssey when Agamemnon says to Odysseus "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades."

If you've read it, take a quiz to test your memory.

Read an excerpt here.

Oprah chose this book and 2 others by Faulkner for her club in 2005. Did you read along? Are you a Faulkner fan?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday on Thanksgiving

Do you have time off from work for Thanksgiving break? What will you be reading in your time off?

I'm not on call for the holiday, so I'm at the Lake of the Ozarks with my in-laws. I'll be finishing Hurry Down Sunshine and if there's time, Lucky Man.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Wish List

I'm going to start alternating Wednesday posts between Weekly Word Wednesdays, Borders Bestsellers and this new category, Wednesday Wish List. I'll post about a book that I recently added to my to-be-read wish list. Here's the first one:

Push by Sapphire

Claireece Precious Jones endures unimaginable hardships in her young life. Abused by her mother, raped by her father, she grows up poor, angry, illiterate, fat, unloved and generally unnoticed. So what better way to learn about her than through her own, halting dialect. That is the device deployed in the first novel by poet and singer Sapphire. "Sometimes I wish I was not alive," Precious says. "But I don't know how to die. Ain' no plug to pull out. 'N no matter how bad I feel my heart don't stop beating and my eyes open in the morning." An intense story of adversity and the mechanisms to cope with it.

The novel has been adapted for film and is called Precious. It features Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe and Mariah Carey.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays (started on Should Be Reading) asks you to:

Grab your current read (or a book on your shelf that you've read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two (or a few) teaser sentences from that page. Don't forget to share the title and author of the book in case someone is teased into reading. Please avoid spoilers!

I've posted my teaser below. Post yours in the comment section if you'd like to share as well!

We were born ten moths apart and until I went to high school we came as a matched set, more Siamese than fraternal or identical, joined by an uncanny inseparability. Joined not at the hip or spleen or nervous system but at that more important place--that spot on your self where you meet the world.

from Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead

Monday, November 23, 2009

Movie Mondays

Primal Fear

Book, 1992 by William Diehl

In Chicago, a sainted archbishop is murdered, mutilated, and dismembered in his rectory. Aaron Stampler, an angelic-looking young man, is found crouched in a confessional, covered with blood, clutching a butcher's knife, swearing his innocence.

Martin Vail is the brilliant lawyer every prosecutor and politician loves to hate. It is up to him to defend Stampler, the young human monster. But first he must uncover the horrifying truth about the crime.

Movie, 1996 directed by Gregory Hoblit

Features: Richard Gere, Edward Norton, Laura Linney

Tagline: Sooner or later a man who wears two faces forgets which one is real.

Awards: Edward Norton won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor; he was also nominated for the Oscar, but lost to Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire)

Did you know? There are 2 other books in the Martin Vail series: Show Of Evil (1995) and Reign in Hell (1997)

Have you read or seen Primal Fear?

I saw the movie when it first came out and recently watched it again. It still managed to surprise me a second time. I love twists!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

First Annual BCS Night is 1 Week Away!

Do you have your selections ready? Remember to bring 9 book suggestions with you to the meeting at Heather's house next Sunday, 11/29. It will be our first annual Book Club Selections Night!

One week left to finish Hurry Down Sunshine!

5=I love it!
4=I really like it.
3=I like it.
2=It's just okay.
1=I don't like it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

December Book Choices!

Susan will be hosting the final meeting of 2009! We previously agreed on Dec. 20th instead of the 27th. Is that still the consensus? Can everyone make it on the 20th? Here are the book choices for December:

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Paperback, 336 pages

May and Pearl, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, are beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. Hoping to improve their social standing, May and Pearl’s parents arrange for their daughters to marry “Gold Mountain men” who have come from Los Angeles to find brides. But when the sisters leave China and arrive at Angel’s Island (the Ellis Island of the West)—where they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months—they feel the harsh reality of leaving home. And when May discovers she’s pregnant the situation becomes even more desperate. The sisters make a pact that no one can ever know.

A novel about two sisters, two cultures, and the struggle to find a new life in America while bound to the old, Shanghai Girls is a fresh, fascinating adventure from beloved and bestselling author Lisa See.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Paperback, 320 pages

Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman's sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind...

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Paperback, 304 pages

The Namesake is a finely wrought, deeply moving family drama that illuminates this acclaimed author's signature themes: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the tangled ties between generations.

The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of an arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Ashoke does his best to adapt while his wife pines for home. When their son, Gogol, is born, the task of naming him betrays their hope of respecting old ways in a new world. And we watch as Gogol stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs. With empathy and penetrating insight, Lahiri explores the expectations bestowed on us by our parents and the means by which we come to define who we are.

Vote for the one you think sounds best!

1 Month Left in the Fall Challenge!

If you're participating in the Fall Challenge, you have 1 month left to complete your 3 books! How are you doing?

I've only finished 1/3 so far. I finished A Wedding in December last month and just started Lucky Man. I have a lot of reading to do if I'm going to finish Gone With the Wind too!

Also, only 1 week left until Little House on the Prairie the Musical!

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Alice Munro.

1. She is a Canadian author born July 10, 1931 in Wingham, Ontario.
2. She published her first story, "The Dimensions of a Shadow," while a student at the University of Western Ontario in 1950.
3. Her first story collection, Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), won the Governor General's Award, Canada’s highest literary prize.

4. Her collection of related stories, Who Do You Think You Are?, won the Governor General’s Literary Award for a second time.

5. Through the 1980s and 1990s, she published a short-story collection every few years.
6. She has won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Man Booker International Prize, and others.
7. Her latest collection, Too Much Happiness, was published in August 2009.

Have you read anything by Alice Munro? What do you recommend?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970) by Maya Angelou.

In this first of many volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard-won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California--where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Marvelously told, with Angelou's "gift for language and observation," this "remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant."

The title of the book comes from a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar:


I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals--
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting--
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,--
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings--
I know why the caged bird sings!

Search inside the book here.

If you've read it, take a quiz to test your memory.

Have you read this classic or any of the other Maya Angelou memoirs?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday

Which one of your favorite books would you like to see made into a movie? Which actors would play each of the main characters?

I would love if Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult was made into a movie (if it stayed true to the novel).

Peter Houghton: Michael Cera

Josie Cormier: Dakota Fanning

Alex Cormier: Diane Lane

Patrick Ducharme: Dennis Quaid

Lacy Houghton: Julianne Moore

Lewis Houghton: Nicolas Cage

Matt Royston: Chace Crawford, although a little old

Jordan McAfee: Matt Damon

Selena McAfee: Zoe Saldana

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