Sunday, February 25, 2007
The Oscars always makes me groan aloud. Not because of the acting or directing categories, but because of the costume design and the most important category of all, Best Adapted Screenplay. It drives me batty when you have costume design nominees like Lord of the Rings, where every gown and shirt and sock and piece of armor had to be created from scratch, designed and sewn and embroidered, and it's up against something with modern costumes, where half the clothing was just bought at a store. And it loses! If the Devil Wears Prada had won last night, I would have been climbing the walls. They bought those outfits (or were loaned them) by the designers like Prada, and things like Curse of the Golden Flower and Marie Antoinette (which did fortunately win) were created by hand. There was at least, justice in this category. Which brings me to my biggest Oscar pet peeve: Best Adapted Screenplay. People who take books and turn them into screenplays deserve recognition for their work, for the accomplishment of their undertaking. And every year, the Academy screws up. This year, Children of Men was nominated. This was a complex book that has been turned into a complex and critically acclaimed film. Its opponents? Borat, which was semi-improvised and only considered adapted because the characters previously existed, and the Departed, which is adapted from a nearly identical Asian film. All they had to do was change Tokyo to Boston, and translate the dialog. Whoop-de-doo. Guess what won? The gripping, bleak drama of Children of Men? Of course not! The Departed won, the film that many critics called "warmed-over Scorsese" and was said to have a confusing ending and a number of plot holes. Yep. Go figure. Oh, well! Hooray for Oscar night! I suppose.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
With my sister and a couple of her friends, we are reading our way backward through the Newbery books, medalists and honorees. We just hit Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. This is not, I must admit, a book that I would normally pick up. Neither the cover art nor the the title appealled to me. And then I read the book. What a wonderful book! A book I could not put down, I book that I laughed and cried over, and wanted to urge everyone I knew to read. Read it, it's amazing!
Monday, February 5, 2007
Well, I wasn't really born to rock, but I do enjoy dancing badly around to loud music. But I just read the wonderful "Born to Rock" by Gordon Korman, and I can't stop thinking about it! What a great book! I give it two thumbs up and four stars. Korman, for those of you who haven't heard that name before, is a prolific children's author. When I was a wee lass in grade school, I read his books. Books like the MacDonald Hall series, and "Beward the Fish!" He's a great author, and this book looked good, so I tried it. AMAZING! This, in my opinion, is his best book ever. It was exciting, it was entertaining, and it really did have a great message without being preachy. I loved this book. It was very well-written (Korman has had tons of practice), some of his phrases and descriptions were so great I had to stop and re-read them. Highly recommended people, highly!
There is a library here in the Salt Lake Vally which is very, very neat-looking on the outside. I am not from Utah, but my grandparents moved here when I was little, and this library is not far from their house. I remember when it was built: it was new and shiny and I was very jealous. My library back home was quite small, and I frequently had to have books transferred in from other libraries because our library would have books 1 and 3 of a series, but not book 2, and other such irritations. I used to dream of the day when I would live in a place with a big, pretty library like the one by my grandparents' house. Then I grew up and got married, and after a while we ended up in Utah, within easy distance of that library. Elation! I went to it, marching in with pride, and went up and down the shelves with a list of books I wanted in hand. Nothing. What? Yep. This library, this big, pretty library, had 1 of the 10 books I was looking for. These were not odd books, not rare or foreign or otherwise hard to find. Yet they were not there. And thus a kind of game developed. I would go the library with a list of books, and emerge some time later, sweaty and annoyed, with at least one of the books from my list. Possibly other items would be found, but I generally refused to leave until somehow, somewhere, I located something from the list. People told me to go to another local library, which was older but had more books. They told me to put things on hold, or request them from other libraries, but I shook them off. This was something I HAD to do. This was the library of my dreams, and even though more money had been spent on construction than on purchasing books for it, I was going to go there and use it as nature intended! Then I had a baby, and could no longer play the library game, and I started to put things on hold, or go to the larger library just a little ways up the road. The library game, which I had enjoyed in a grim, strange way, was over. We moved across the valley, and I was pleased to see that our new library was in fact, new to everyone. And shiny. And pretty. With cool furniture that looks like big padded books. I steeled myself to play the library game again: my son is older, he enjoys playing on the padded furniture, I could do it! And then the first time I tried the game, to my horror, I found every book on the list. And more. With a thrill of excitement, but also a little ping of disappointment, I have discovered that at last I am living near the library of my dreams. It's big, it's pretty, and it's just chock full of books. As, I suppose, a library should be.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
Children, we are going to discuss a very sad topic today. That's right, it's books where major characters lose a limb/eye. My sister has very strong feelings to this effect. Whole series of books are ruined for her if someone loses a finger. Eyepatches gross her out. I usually laugh: so some guy in a fantasy book lost a hand? Big whoop. It's fiction, it doesn't bother me! Well, I'm reading book eleven of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. And I love 'em, love 'em, love 'em. They're huge, they have tons of characters, they're fabulous. But today in my reading, someone lost a hand. A major character. Lost a hand. And I lost it. I almost started crying. My favorite character, who has suffered plenty, lost a hand. I'm horrified, appalled, and so angry! Why, why, why? Why, Robert Jordan?! You've already hinted since book one that there's plenty of death and mayhem in store in the final book, why must people be maimed as well? This is worse than that guy in the Deryni books. Worse than Sun Wolf in Barbara Hambly's books. So much worse. And the worst part is: I can't tell anyone who the character is, because I don't know anyone who has read this far in the series yet! Dang!