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Pop culture junkie, native of Las Vegas, not really a writer.
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Art I Love

The Grand Canal, Venice, 1835 by J.M.W. Turner

This painting makes me want to go to Venice.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One of my favorite real life couples. . .

David Bowie and Iman
Classic couple, classicly beautiful.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Water for Elephants - Book Review

Water for ElephantsWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Water For Elephants was just what I wanted in a book right now: an easy read, fun, romantic, with a unique setting. Sara Gruen's research into the life of long forgotten train circuses and America in the 1930s was obviously extensive and the way she used her knowledge in the writing of the book was loving and playful and made me want to learn more about it. There were a few things that I looked up, curious to know if they were the author's invention or actual historical facts that she incorporated into her story. For example, I had never heard of "Jake Leg" before and commend her for revealing in the context of her book parts of American history that most people must be unfamiliar with. The characters were well drawn and the fictional Circus she created was completely believable. I loved the photographs that accompanied each chapter which added to the believablity of her story. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to immerse themselves in a good old fashioned yarn filled with romance and even a little danger.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Northanger Abbey - Book Review

Northanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not sure why this novel is considered the "lesser" of the Austen novels. It's brilliantly funny and contains wonderful satire of the gothic romance novels popular at the time and the silly games that suitors play with one another. Through the character of Isabella Thorpe, Austen reveals the damages that can come from a deceptively manipulative friendship. It is only when our heroine Catherine Morland becomes independent from Isabella's influence that she can realize that she wasn't a true friend at all.

I have great affection for Catherine Morland. It is true that she's the least intelligent of Austen's heroine's but that's because this is a true coming of age story. We get to see her journey from naive young girl, to an independent young women, through her profound life experiences. And Henry Tilney is a great hero because even when he is amused and befuddled by Catherine, he does everything he can spare her feelings and to lead her in the sensible direction. Plus he's really funny.

It has been years since I'd read this book and I forgot how many of Austen's best quotes come from it! Here are just a few:

"But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way."

"Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love."

"I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible."

Catherine's thoughts on reading History:
"I read it a little as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all – it is very tiresome: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention. The speeches that are put into the heroes’ mouths, their thoughts and designs – the chief of all this must be invention, and invention is what delights me in other books."

And my all time favorite Austen quote, as spoke by the wonderful Henry Tilney:
"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

As I Walked Out One Evening

Painting of W.H. Auden by Kenneth Hari

As I Walked Out One Evening by W.H. Auden

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
Love has no ending.

I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

I'll love till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
Tomorrow or today.

Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the teacup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

"Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress;
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbor
With all your crooked heart.

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MicMacs - My Review

I went to see the new Jean-Pierre Jeunet film, MicMacs, on Saturday expecting to love it, but I didn't.

Now I know Jeunet is not for everyone. Some people get annoyed with his quirky characters and the complicated plotlines he puts them through, but I usually love it. Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain is one of my all time favorite films, I saw it six times in the theater when it originally came out because I kept taking people to see it!

MicMacs had the same quirky characters and complicated plotline but it all felt rushed and almost like Jeanet was just going through the motions. It's as if he was trying to give us what is expected of him, but without the passion and heart of some of his other films. The characters weren't as deeply drawn as they needed to be. They didn't feel connected to one another, so how was I supposed to feel connected to them?

I left the theater feeling disappointed. So last night I rewatched Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain to lift my spirits. I hope with his next film, Jeanet can get back on track. I think he needs to break free from the box he has put himself in and do something radically different. As long as he still expresses his passion and heart, it should be wonderful.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Horizontal Life - Book Review

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've become addicted to Chelsea Lately on the E! Channel, so when I saw this book on sale I picked it up. It was a fun read. Ms. Handler writes exactly how she talks so after watching her late night show for months now, it was easy to hear her perfectly in my head as I read about her sexual exploits. Her stories are brash, honest, sometimes dirty, often embarrassing, and laugh out loud funny. She obviously had no fear of what people might think about her after reading this book, and I admire her for that.

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