Sunday, February 27, 2011

What was that, an ancient book? 'YES' I screamed while I frolicked with glee!

Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Wives and Daughters, Little Women, North and South, Anne of Green Gables, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abby, and .......Rebecca.

Yes, this is a list of classics but also my top 10! I know, I know, your thinking "Nerd Alert!!" and you would be right. The sickness for the Regency era and all things somehow connected runs in my family. I had no way to escape, from birth I was trained to love Victorian sentiments. My mother's, my Aunt's and now my comfort movie that we watch continuously is Pride and Prejudice. I'm not talking about the modern take with Keira Knightly, but the 6 hour BBC version with Collin Firth. Yeah Baby!! (Yes, I'm a nerd. I thought we covered this) In our minds, there's nothing that a shot of Lizzy and Mr. Darcy can't cure.

With that being said, now can you understand why I was so excited when Elisabeth chose Rebecca. And I was not disappointed! I loved the big creepy house with all the reminders of who really was mistress, Rebecca. Its amazing how Rebecca, who isn't literally present, has such a strong personality that develops through the book. One of my all-time favorite quotes is about that presence.

" I could fight with the living but I could not fight the dead. If there was some woman in London that Maxim loved, someone he wrote to, visited, dined with, slept with, I could fight her. We would stand on common ground. I should not be afraid. Anger and jealousy were things that could be conquered. One day the woman would grow old or tired or different, and Maxim would not love her anymore. But Rebecca would never grow old. Rebecca would always be the same. And she and I could not fight. She was to strong for me." pg. 234

How true that our minds can make our memories so sweet, but people in the present are so real and imperfect. How can you fight a memory?

I agree with Elisabeth on the new Mrs. De Winters getting a backbone though. Get some spunk!! Thats why Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice is such a favorite fictional character. She had her faults, but she had spirit! She would not be intimidated. I love a witty woman!

So, as you can see my fellow book babe, Caisse, and I have very differing opinions. Hopefully this will give YOU the 'other side of the coin'. So what's your take on Rebecca?

really old books Pictures, Images and Photos

What was that, an ancient book? 'NO' I gasped in dread

The Host, Dear John, Hunger Games, The Choice, Gone For Good.......

Yes, this is a list of modern books but also some of my favorites! I am a nerd in several areas but for loving the Regency Era (whatever that is) and Victorian sentiments is not one of them. I have never made it through the movie Pride and Prejudice (new or old), Persuasion, or North and South without falling asleep. And reading the books- forget it. Not one 'ancient book' will ever make my top 50 list. I was raised from infancy to dislike Star Trek, Pinnacle, and old BBC movies. And reading classic novels were definitely not high up on the to do list. In our minds, there was nothing that a shot of John Mellon Camp couldn't cure.

With that being said, now you can understand my dismay having to read Rebecca. While I was not too terribly disappointed I still made a list of things I was going to point out- examples from this book on why I don't like 'old' books. How they are over the top and unrealistic. Like Rebecca feigning pregnancy while dying of cancer and manipulating her wonderful husband whom she hates into killing her. But I'm going to skip all that. Instead, I'm going to make a pact with myself to read a classic this year. I'm going to read with an open mind, which all books deserve, even if its British, and find a classic to put in my top 10!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On Being Well Read

If you’re a reader, you probably pride yourself on being well-rounded, well read, right? In between my YA reads and book club picks, I manage to make a few respectable choices, and I didn’t only read Cliff Notes in high school. However when talking to Crystal recently about The Outsiders (movie) I mentioned I had never seen it, and she said, “But you read the book.” Ummmm.... Then like I was in confession a list of books I never read came tumbling out of my mouth while Crystal looked at me, mouth agape. So I guess being well read is like a sense of humor, everyone thinks they have one but....

                                                   The Outsiders

So here are some, apparently, major gaps in my education. The Outsiders, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice. Do you think these books are must reads? What other books should every respectable reader have under their belt? Where should I start? Or is this a lot of nonsense and no book is a must read? Please Comment, Help a girl out!

Oh, and by the way I absolutely would have seen The Outsiders if I had realized Ralph Macchio was in it, who's up for a viewing?

                                                 Ralph Macchio

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And the verdict is.............


flat, with a few surprises.

I know that most movies can't capture all the depth and details in books, but COME ON! Isn't a picture worth a thousand words? There were many opportunites that could have added to this very basic movie. Just one scene from Lorien (John's home planet) or one training session that showed his relationship with Henri and his developing legacies.

A few other complaints:
  • The music in one word, cheesy. Our playlist would have been awesome. Instead there was this silly elevator music that killed the mood.
  • I really felt the relationship between John and Sarah felt forced. No magic for me.
A few surprises:
  • At first I was not happy about Alex Pettyfer being John, but he grew on me! There were a few scenes that caught me off guard and I totally fell for him. (The street light scene) Even though the kissy face scenes were awkward!
  • I had a love/hate feeling going with the bully, Mark (played by Jake Abel). He did not fit the bully part. He kinda looked like he should have been with the geek squad. That being said I loved him cause he reminded me of Kevin Bacon and I have a soft spot for Kevin Bacon.


This is one book babe's opinion, more to follow.

I know we all "know" that when you cram a 440 page book into a 2 hour movie, there's going to be holes, but it's so hard not to get your expectations up. Too bad the BBC can't make a mini-series for all the books we really love. If I were going to pick on one thing that really bugged me though, it was the way they depicted the relationship between Herni and John. Sure they had their disagreements but in the end it wasn't a cold guardianship. Where was the love, Caruso? Still, I'll probably watch this movie again, in the comfort of my living room in my Seahawks huddler (i.e. snuggie) where I can embrace my inner cougar and just appreciate the beautiful Alex P. -Andrea

I have to keep telling myself, "Caisse, It's impossible for movies to contain all the awesomeness that books contain." So ok, I know things have to be omitted but I was truly suprised there wasn't a scene where Henri is helping John hone his Legacy skills. Speaking of skills, the scene where John picks up Henri and throws him against the house and holds him in the air refusing to leave Paradise. Wouldn't it have been that much better if it had ended with a sappy atta boy and hug for using his awesome powers? Remember, in the book John is sure Henri will be mad at his violent outburst but instead, like a proud papa bear, smiles and hugs him. Not only is it completely adorable in my mind's eye but also wasn't it neccessary for character development? Were they not as close, if not closer, than a father and son? But I don't want to just guess that they loved each other. I'm a girl, I want to SEE it too.

Also, I want to touch on Sam's dad. That sounds weird.... moving along. Additions were made to the movie about him. At first, it seemed odd thinking of all that was left out of the movie (i.e. flashbacks of Lorien) to have in there place scenes not even in the book. Insert Sam's dad. I can only come to the conclusion (and not all on my own, thanks Jeff) that we will learn more about him in book/movie 2. If that's the case, I'm happy the movie gave us more insight. If that's not the case then, huh?

It's my March ambition to see I Am Number Four one more time in the theater. I don't know if I'll make it to Cinetopia for the second go around but one can hope. Loaded nachos, dessert, slushies, gourmet popcorn, fellow Book Babes and comfy chairs.... Can't think of a better way to have a cinema experience. -Caisse

I only have a few additions. First, a comment for Sara. I think it's so cute that she said she had a soft spot for the bully, Mark James. She said it was because he reminded her of Kevin Bacon, but when I saw him, he reminded me of her husband, Jeff. Looks like someone has a very obvious type.


Second, had to second the comment about the cheesy music. Ugh! A fight scene should not make me feel like I'm waiting in line at the bank. Cue the Muzak. Third, I already said this out loud to Andrea, but you know you're old when you don't care about the main guy, but really like his dad. Fourth, the Mogadorians were a small ray of light in an otherwise mediocre movie. Their humor highlighted their sadism far more so than a serious and straightforward "evil aliens" portrayal would have. I just hated when they were called "Mogs" because it added a childish element to the otherwise perfect characterization. All in all, this movie did nothing to change my opinion that a movie can be better than the book. Sorry, Hollywood. You fail.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

'Rebecca' Book Club Night

Since this was our first read that had a movie based on it we did a pajama party at my place and watched Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rebecca' in all its 1940's black-and-white glory.  Here's a taste of the classic via its original trailer.

(yes it's THE most GLAMOROUS motion picture ever made - stop questioning it)

Although the movie wasn't entirely true to the story, in my opinion it's still a great flick.  Alfred Hitchcock - 'nuff said.

For eats I took my cue from the lavish afternoon teas that were always served at Manderly, come hell or high water (the new Mrs. de Winter is losing her mind - but look at those delicious tiny cakes!)  I took myself to Trader Joe's and raided their frozen finger food selection (when heated they taste like you spent hours in your own kitchen).  I also served fresh biscuits with clotted cream and jam, along with a variety of teas.  For dessert, french chocolate truffles (Maxim DID meet his new wife on the French Riviera).

As take home gifts I chose tiny rose plants potted in tea cups - since one of the few things that Mrs. de Winter liked about her new home was its beautiful rose gardens.

Elisabeth vs. 'Rebecca'

My very first pick for our book club was 'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier. I had seen the movie based on the novel (directed by Alfred Hitchcock) but never actually read the book.  Since all of our previous reads had been written within the last few years, I thought I'd throw a curve ball and pick something written all the way back in 1938.

One has to prepare oneself for a book written 70+ years ago.  Words that have long since been out of fashion, or whose definition now carries an entirely different connotation, are bandied about and may well leave the reader scratching their heads .  It's well worth it though.  You see how much has changed, and how much humanity has stayed the same.  And once you've read a few of these historical works, you may also find yourself working words like 'bandied' into your everyday conversation.

But I digress, on with the review.  'Rebecca' takes place almost entirely on a large estate named Manderly in the West Country of England.  The wealthy owner of Manderly, Maxim de Winter has married for the second time to a young girl with no money, and no family.  She's as naive and unassuming as they come, and entirely unprepared for the life of a monied English lady running an important estate.  She's also entirely unprepared for living under the overwhelming shadow of Maxim's dead first wife  .  . . that's right Rebecca!  Cleverly Daphne du Maurier names her book after this strong-willed enigma of a woman we never actually meet, and you never learn the first name of the new Mrs. de Winter.  The story follows the new Mrs. de Winter as she struggles to fit in with her husband's life and as she unravels the mystery of what really happened with Rebecca, who everyone believes to have drowned in a sailing accident.

The bane of the new Mrs. de Winter's existence is Mrs. Danvers, who was employed by Rebecca prior to marrying Maxim de Winter, and came with her to Manderly to serve as the official 'housekeeper'.  Mrs. Danvers is obsessed to a criminal degree with Rebecca and seems to spend the majority of her time devising ways to drive the new Mrs. de Winter insane with jealousy over Rebecca's amazing-ness.

Mrs. Danvers looking intently creepy

Although I enjoyed much of this book; it's set in England (a personal favorite) it's a mystery (another personal favorite) and it's a well written gothic-type novel (think Jane Eyre), I was almost overcome with rage over the ineffectualness of the new Mrs. de Winter.  Perhaps women in 1938 better identified with her naive, kittenish ways (if kittenish is the term I want), but as girl of the modern age who is used to dealing with a variety of situations on her own, I wanted to grab her by her petite shoulders and shake a backbone into her.  First off, FIRE MRS. DANVERS and burn all things connected with Rebecca de Winter in a giant gleeful bonfire on the beach.  I assure you Maxim would have joined in the revelry. 

Daphne du Maurier clearly had a backbone

That being said, this is an entirely clean read - you can share this with all and sundry without concern for offense.  Also, this makes a great winter read.  Curl up while the storm is raging outside with cup o' tea, hot buttered scones and lose yourself to a simpler time (and Mrs. Danvers' madness).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Perfect Playlist

Ever feel like a movie tricked you into liking it by having an amazing soundtrack? I love music and a great soundtrack can make or break a movie for me. I also love when an author gives me a playlist for their novel, music is a great manipulator. So readers, what songs do you think beg to be represented in I am Number 4?

I've asked for input and here are some picks for consideration (if you click the title of the song you'll be automatically directed to the song on YouTube so you can check-it-out for yourself!):

I know this is a cop out, because I didn't come up with it on my own, it made it's way into a trailer for the movie. 30 seconds to Mars 'Escape'


Also, probably influenced by starting this post while the Grammy's is on, something from Muse, big and epic, is in order, maybe "Uprising" for the grand finale. And for something a little more reflective "I'm In Here" by Sia. I think it speaks to John's desire to belong and not be so anonymous always. Also, thanks to Crystal I'm enjoying a lot of Cold War Kids, I'm thinking appropriate for a 'cat's out of the bag moment' "Skip the Charades". ("Let's skip the charades/You're seein' right through me anyway/Can we just speak plain/We're playin' for the same team) or maybe "Hospital Beds" due to the fire reference or maybe just because I really like this one.


'Collapse' by Rise Against. (This pick comes from my husband Travis, when I asked him for input. Although when pressed if he thought it fit the movie or it was just a song he's really liking right now, I got the noncommittal shoulder shrug. This song however could fit nicely in a number of action sequences). - Andrea

I like Joshua Radin's 'Brand New Day'. It' s a hopeful song and I can picture it on the radio in the truck driving into Paradise, Ohio and the feeling of starting fresh. Some lyrics are: "Sun is shining its a brand new day. For the first time in such a long time I know I'll be ok." Soft, sweet, happy. - Caisse


'Satisfy' by Vedera (acoustic version) would be a great song for when there is that 'moment' for John and Sarah. Soulful, sweet and meaningful. I could really see a great scene with this song in the background. I also was thinking of the song 'Underdog' by Kasabian for when John gets ready to fight in the forest after the hay ride. I mainly love the beginning of the song where I can visualize John's palms flashing to the music. - Sara


My songs (and in no particular order) '60 Miles an Hour' by New Order - when Sam and John head off on their clandestine trek to save Henri. 'Los Angeles' by Peter Bradley Adams is absolutely haunting and would work with any memories that Henri gives John from Lorian. 'Into the Fire' by Thirteen Senses lines up perfectly with the part where Henri gives John his first training session by placing his hands in bowls of fire. 'Long Walk Home' by This Day & Age and 'Noticed' by Mute Math are both great songs for John and Sarah's relationship - 'Noticed' because this is the first time John has realized what love for a girl is and 'Long Walk Home' because their relationship is so very complicated from the beginning. 'Sights & Sounds' by The Rocketboys is a great match to when John dreams at night of Lorian. And my last pick is 'Time is Running Out' by Muse for any one of John's outdoor training scenes (Andrea's so right - Muse's sound really matches up with the drama in this story). - Elisabeth

Agree? Disagree? Comment, Be Heard!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Casting Call

Dianna Agron
We have all probably seen the trailers for I am Number Four by now (if not, please proceed to our right sidebar STAT!) and are more or less accustomed to the casting choices made by the movie maker powers that be.  The question is…are you happy with their picks?  When really getting into a book, it’s so easy to have a definite picture in your head about who IS the character.  Sometimes these relate to actors we’ve seen, or if not, we can approximate them by an actor out there.  Then, if the book is made into a movie, our hopes and dreams are either realized or crushed.  Case in point, I am Number Four.  Who can deny that Dianna Agron is the perfect Sara?  Score one for the casting director. 
Nicholas D'Agosto

Alex Pettyfer
Alex Pettyfer as John Smith?  Um, not so much. 
While my pick doesn’t make sense to anyone but me, my John Smith looked exactly like Nicholas D’Agosto who played Jan’s assistant, Hunter, on The Office and also one of the dynamic duo leading the no star cast of Fired Up.  Who did you picture as John?
Timothy Olyphant
Also, I love Timothy Olyphant as Henri.  Coincidentally enough, he also had a small role on The Office as Danny Cordray, the smooth super salesman who was described by Dwight as “smoldering like a tire fire”.  Well said, Dwight. 

Joe Manganiello
Mark was the only other character I had a strong mental picture of and in my head, he looked like Joe Manganiello, who played Flash, the school bully in the Tobey Maguire version of Spiderman.  Yes, I realize he is ancient now at like 34 (where is that sarcasm font when I need it?), but my head picked him and I’m sticking with it.  Share your casting vision or just vent about why my picks were ridiculous.  I will love it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Past Pages to Big Screen

Dear John....

I think back on Dear John by Nicholas Sparks fondly because it was the book that got me back into reading. It was the book that motivated me to move from non-reader to mild book junkie and could hardly contain myself when it came to the big screen.

I always look foward to any movie when I have read the book even though we all know the chances of leaving the theatre disappointed are high. I will even watch the movie when I didn't like the book hoping that the movie will be better. Case in point, Time Travelers' Wife. Everyone warned me and I went anyways. I couldn't help myself, I love Rachel McAdams.

If I think a books cheesy, although I still might enjoy it, the movie will put me into a cheese coma. I may be glutton for punishment but One For the Money by Janet Evanovich I fully intend to watch July 8, 2011. At least I'm not lactose intolerant.

In the spirit of blogging and I Am Number Four week, Monday I decided to visit a real movie rental store and face looming late charges to finish something I started months ago. Kite Runner has been gnawing at the back of my mind. To put the universe back in balance I knew I had to watch the movie. To my suprise I found that having read the book first actually enhanced the movie. In fact its safe to say if I had watched the movie without reading the book I would NOT have liked it or even finished it. Now I wonder why I ever put it off.

Confessions of a Shopaholic.... Corn and cheese ball fest I know, but fashion is a guilty pleasure. While the movie as a whole was "eh" the dance with the fan made it all worth while. Check it out.
Confessions of a Shopaholic - Fan-tastic Dancing: "Confessions of a Shopaholic - Movie Clip"

Marley and Me.... I cried like a baby in both book and movie. Enough said.

I had to pick an ornery picture to prevent tears welling in my eyes.

Even though Dear John the movie may have crapped on my fond memory of Dear John the book, I am confident I am number Four will not conjure up the same sentiments.....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Coming to a Theater Near You.....

Ever finish a book and instantly wish you could watch the movie? Or on the flip side do you cringe when you see a trailer for a movie adaptation of a book you loved knowing they are going to ruin it?  I personally fall in to the first category, as such I’m in eager anticipation of a few movies coming to the big screen.  Just recently given a release date, Hunger Games is at the top of my list, March 23, 2012.  Secondly, I can’t wait to see The Host make its big screen debut but the details on that are less solid.  Also, just in, our current month's pick, The Help, is set to screen on August 12, 2011. 

At least one of my anticipated book to movie transitions isn't a long wait, I Am Number 4 hits theaters this Friday! 

Have you read the book? Will you be buying a ticket this weekend? Any movies based on books you can't wait to see? Dish!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The English American

The English American....What book was that...hmm...oh yeah, now I vaguely remember this mediocre book.

This book had very little impact on me. It wasn't great. It wasn't horrible. It was just there. I felt that the writer tried really hard to be funny, I didn't laugh. She tried to be soul searching, I didn't search. This is a book that you read, not because you can't put it down, but because there is nothing better to read in your house and nothing good on t.v.

That being said, I do think that the 'lesson' of this story applies to everyone. Pippa doesn't fit in with her adopted family and feels that by finding her biological parents she will finally belong somewhere and understand herself. Now, be honest, haven't we all thought we were adopted at one time or another? Its not knowing who your parents are that makes us, but (as Pippa discovers) despite imperfections and disappointment, we love them. And if they can be imperfect and loved, can't we?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Changing Preconceptions

People who like to read are nerds, dorks and squares.  Have you ever heard that?  Well, maybe not the part about being a square unless you were born circa 1925. A lot of people have this misconception that being a reader means you don’t have a life and you’re boring.  I would like to disagree with a fist to the face of whoever says that, but since I’m typing, I’ll have to prove it another way.
Last Saturday, I watched with pride and awe as my niece and nephew’s band, The Project, performed live at the Forks talent show.  Randy whaled on the drums with a nonchalance that made it seem as if any Tom, Dick or Eliot could just as easily be King of the Sticks, but don’t let his carefree demeanor fool you.  Crazy piles of natural talent, that’s for sure, but also a lot of hard work went into that show.  He was afraid his butter fingers would strike during Queens of the Stone Age’s No One Knows, but the rubber cement must have worked because he didn’t drop the drumstick.  Kudos, Hoagie!  My only suggestion would be that next time, he should go the Lars Ulrich route of drummer fashion—no shirt, low-rider black Spandex bike shorts, white Reeboks and a John McEnroe style sweatband slung over his brow.  Any drummer worth anything can pull this look off. 

Mike is the backbone of the band, serving as not only lead vocalist and shredder extraordinaire, but also mentor, coach and cheerleader minus the tiny skirt and shiny pom-poms.  His vocals are entirely believable…I don’t know if he just knows which songs his voice can sing or if he legitimately nails them all.  Which song did I love the most?  Like anyone could even know that, Napoleon.  (Yes, I realize that movie was like 12 years ago.  So what?)  Moonlight, a Project original, starts out soft and slow and builds to epic, but Cold War Kids’ Hang Me Up to Dry is so catchy and had me shaking it in my seat.  Like I said, I can’t tell which was more boss, but Mike nailed them both.  Besides his voice, the guitaring wasn’t too shabby, either.  And by not too shabby, I mean wicked cool.

Finally, there’s Shania.  Sweet, innocent butt-kicking basser Shania.  What’s better than a gorgeous girl who can melt your face off with bass so deep and intense that your skin liquefies and your bones turn gelatinous?  Nothing, that’s what.  Shania’s stops and starts during Hang Me Up to Dry were near perfect and her subtle rock star quality shone throughout the three song set.  She’s got to be proud of her sweet skills but she’s humble and down to earth.  That’s ok…I’ll be proud for her and I’ll live out my rock grrrl dreams through her and Lex (who has since been inspired and wants to get her own bass) since the only natural talent I have seems to be doing taxes.  Yes, full on pity party.  Besides rocking the bass, Shania also harmonizes with Mike on backup vocals and plays keyboard.
Pretending I'm in the band
Anyway, as interesting as this story is on its own, there is an actual point.  All three members of The Project are readers and Shania’s a founding member of her own book club.  This month, their book club and band is reading I am Number Four and, like our club, they’re taking an outing to see the movie at its release.  Seems readers can be hip and exciting.  No, not just can.  ARE. 
If you only check out one website today or this week or even this whole month, make sure it’s  Check out their pics, sign their guestbook (tell them I sent you) and listen to their songs.  The sound quality doesn’t do their music justice but you’ll get an idea of what they can do.  Tell others.  Support some fellow readers and all-around cool folks.
Finally, I’d also like to give a shout out to Sali, Beekers and Darcy.  Without them, The Project wouldn’t exist.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

English American Evening

I chose the go-to tea and scones for an English theme. I'm not much of a tea drinker, didn't even own a tea set, so I scoured all the thrift stores in Longview. I liked the idea of a unique mismatched set. Each cup with its matching saucer was different from the next. For a memento everyone took home a pouch of a couple different flavored teas from The Republic of Tea. Although it had turned out fine, looking back I wish I had chosen a route less predictable. The Book Babes were probably expecting tea and I should have served up something Southern. Maybe fried chicken and Mississippi mud pie playing off of Pippa's roots.
Try this tip: To make your book event more interesting go in a direction your fellow book junkies won't expect.

The English American by Allison who?

Cute cover right? Yeah, prime example of why not to judge a book by its cover. In my defense, this was my first 'pick' way back in December of '08.

Here's the short of it....Pippa was adopted as an infant by a British family. At age 28 she learns her biological parents are Americans from the South. Although, this explains lifelong questions she has had about herself, her parents aren't at all what she had imagined....
There are the occasional moments in this book that may get a chuckle out of you but I wouldn't go as far to say that Pippa is plunged into hilarious, heart-wrenching chaos.
There are 2 things I would like to share with you that I personally enjoyed from this book. 1. Sporran is defined as a large pouch for men, commonly of fur, and hangs on the belt of a kilt. 2. This quote: "My days are now accompanied by a growing pain in my chest that will not shift. It feels like a kind of sorrow and it weighs me down. I know it's illogical and I feel guilty for feeling it, so I carry it inside of me hidden from the world." - Pippa
Yes, this review is short but it's all the book merits...