Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sunshine - Film

Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting and 28 Days Later etc), this is a sci-fi thriller set in space. The premise is that the sun is dying and the earth is in a peptual winter (and never christmas! Ok so I added that part). Earths last hope is a second go at sending a space ship towards the sun to release a bomb that will give birth to a new star within the old sun. Eight scientists, astronauts and a psychologist are sent on the Icarus II to save the day.

The mission starts well. Everyone is (mostly) getting on and the oxygen garden is growing well with enough oxygen to get them there and a quarter of the way back before they are even half way there. Things take a turn for the worse when they are passing over Mercury where they pick up the distress signal of Icarus I which was lost 7 years previosuly. The decision to either carry on with their mission or stop off to see if there are any survivors turns deadly.

The actors are brilliant (especially the magnificent Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans) and I loved the special effects. It was very thrilling and it kept me on the edge of my seat. It's best to completely ignore the scienctific side of things as it is implausible at best. There was another impossible to believe part which I don't want to mention as it is a bit of a spolier for those who haven't seen it yet, but trust me it was daft.

Definately worth seeing in the cinema to appreciate the scale of it and the size of the sun and space.

**** out of 5 (just remember, science bad!)

This is not the type of film I would usually go and see in the cinema, but the trailer looked like it had been beautifully filmed and on a massive scale so I decided to give it a chance. It is set in China in the Tang Dynasty and follows the Emperor, the Empress and their three sons (the eldest being from the Emperors first wife or first love). Their marriage is not a happy one and the Empress has a lover. The Emperor is slowly poisoning his wife and she swallows her "medicine" despite knowing what is really going on. There are lots of twists and turns and both of the Imperial couple have good cause to be mad at the other and plan their demise. Personally I was routing for the Empress...

Chow Yun-Fat and Gong Li were cast in the starring roles and play their parts convincingly with supporting cast members also doing a great job. As the trailer promised the cinematography was stunning and despite my initial worries the plot was really engaging, apart being quite confusing in places trying to work out who was sleeping with who and who was related to who! I liked the symbolism behind the Imperial flag (the circle within the square) and was amazed at the oppulance of the Imperial Palace, so many crazy colours and embellishments.

I think I might have to watch House of Flying Daggers by the same director as I really enjoyed this film.

***1/2 out of 5

I hadn't heard of this film until I was looking online at what to go and see today. The blurb looked interesting on the cineworld website so I thought why not? "Married for 50 years, Grant and Fiona's commitment to each other appears unwavering. This serenity is broken only by the occasional reference to the past, giving a sense that this marriage may not always have been such a fairy tale. This tendency of Fiona's to make such references creates a tension that is usually brushed off by both of them. But as the lapses become more obvious and dramatic, it is no longer possible for them to ignore the fact that Fiona is suffering from Alzheimer's disease."

It doesn't really do the film justice. Julie Christie plays Fiona and Gordon Pinsent plays her husband Grant and are both fantastic in their roles. Grant is the devoted husband as his wife starts to slip further and further from him as the Alzheimer's she suffers from worsens and she forgets who he is to her. He struggles to give her what she needs to keep her happy, despite the hurt it causes him. Part of it seems to be guilt from an event in their past that Fiona mentions occassionally.

This was a really touching and sad film which looks at how people with Alzheimer's are cared for, the other people in their lives that it effects and taking them away from their family to be looked after. Worth seeing but maybe wait until it comes out on dvd and rent it.

*** out of 5

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I've Been Tagged by Stephanie at Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic to answer these literary based questions. My answers are below...

Name 3 Characters........
.............You wish were real so you could meet them:

Saetan Daemon SaDiablo (Satan) from The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop.
He is such a complex character with an interesting history. He has done some terrible things and lived through countless centuries, yet he has such a soft side to him as well (especially when it comes to taking care of his family and Jaenelle). I would love to hear more stories of his former life before the story takes place as well as more about his interactions with the other characters who aren't so involved in the story (like Andulvar Yaslana, Mephis SaDiablo, Prothvar etc).

Esme Weatherwax from Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.
Another complex character. Her grasp of headology is great and she is such a powerful witch she would definately be worth meeting. Borrowing sounds like a really useful skill and it would be great to nudge inside the heads of different animals to get a look at the wider world. Perhaps I could learn something from her...

The Lady of the Lake from King Arthur Tales.
This is a funny one as the tales suggest she was real, but it's one of those mysteries we will never know. I particularly like the version of her as Vivianne in The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and I would love to be able to go to Avalon and train under her alongside Raven. I am not sure I agreed with all of her manipulations, but she did believe she was doing the right thing.

..............You would like to be:

Lyra Belacqua from Phillip Pullmans Dark Materials Trilogy.
She is such a cool character! Fiesty and able to take care of herself, sadly she becomes slightly second to Will when he joins in The Subtle Knife. She goes through such a lot and I would love to have my own daemon who can change shape for different uses and to fit my different moods.

Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice.
I know he's a guy, but he was so powerful and has seen so many things including getting a guided tour of heaven and hell. Everyone wants to be him or be near him, he even awoke the Queen of all Vampires (Akasha) who couldn't resist him. He is the ultimate trickster and those kind of characters always appeal to me. The extra powers he gains as the books progress sound cool too, like being able to fly and to not be killed by the sun.

The Lady Amalthea from The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle.
She is the last unicorn on the earth and she becomes a woman for a time as well. She is quite haughty and does not have the highest regard for humans and mortals at the beginning, but she changes throughout the tale and becomes different from the rest of her kind. She is brave and yet vulnerable, strong and yet weak. Another great character with magical powers and great beauty. I love the way she is drawn as both human and unicorn in the animated film of the same name which was always my favourite growing up.

.................Who Scare Me:

Zenia from The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood.
Not your classical scary figure, but this character is scary in a much more subtle way. She takes the partners away from all three of the main characters using her feminie wiles, before discarding them when her use for them is finished. She is highly manipulative and you never find out the truth behind the lies which seem to keep building. She is scary because she could be someone you know who could devestate your marriage and your life.

The Corinthian from The Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman.
A man who has teeth for eyes and is a serial killer is just plain scary. End of story. Dream says of him "A nightmare created to be the darkness, and the fear of darkness in every human heart. A black mirror, made to reflect everything about itself that humanity will not confront." He becomes slightly nicer when he is remade, but still has a think for eating people's eyes. Nice...

Cluny the Scourge from Redwall by Brian Jacques.
He was the evil rat in the first book in the series. He was particularly nasty with an eye patch and a poison bard on the end of his tail which he used like a whip. He kills one of the main characters who is a gentle beast by nature and generally was quite scary. He is the character that most of the animals use as a cautionary tale to their children, "If you don't behave Cluny will come and get you" type of thing.

I tag Clare at Confessions of a Book Addict and Marg at Reading Adventures, enjoy!

Booking Through Thursday

  1. Does what you read vary by the season? For instance, Do you read different kinds of books in the summer than the winter?
    This is an interesting question as I find I am much more creative in the Autumn months and I start more projects in the Spring. As for reading I don't think the season has an effect on the types of books I choose. I try to be quite varied in the topics and types of books I read in general, rather than sticking to one or two genres. Even if I go away on holiday in the summer, I don't let that influence what I am reading!

  2. If so, do you break it down by genre, length of book, or...?
    As I said I don''t really pay it any heed. For practical reasons the only thing to influence my decision over the summer holidays is I would choose either one big book (I took The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Rice on Honeymoon in Malaysia last year) or a few small ones.

Monday, April 23, 2007


randomness...feed your mind and your blog
week of April 22: name 3 of each....

1. favorite tv programs
I hate to admit it but America's Next Top Model, CSI Vegas, Scrubs

2. favorite foods
Spaghetti Bolognaise, Chocolate, Steak

3. favorite books
The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), The Black Jewels Trilogy (Anne Bishop), Memnoch the Devil (Anne Rice)

4. favorite people
Eddie Izzard (commedien), Karl Urban (Eomer in LOTR), I suppose I should say my husband!

5. favorite movies
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, High Fidelity, Chasing Amy

6. favorite vacation spots
Rome, North Wales, Malaysia

till next time...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

This book tells the story of a family who founded a town called Mocando in South America. It spans over one hundred years with visits from gypsies with scientific inventions, alchemy, a plague of insomnia, civil war and rain that lasted over two years. When mysterious gypsy Melquiades (friend of Jose Arcadio) dies for the second timehe leaaves behind papers with the family that will take one hundred years to decipher by one of Jose Arcadio's descendents.

It took me such a long time to get into this book as I found it so dull. It's such a classic and so many people have recommended it to me that I felt guilty for not enjoying it more so I perservered... The last one hundred pages or so redeemed it slightly by grabbing my attention more. The other thing I found hard going was keeping track of who was who as the family shared a few key names (Aureliano, Jose, Arcadio, Amaranta and Remedios). Luckily at the front of the book was a family tree which helped me to keep up with which generation I was reading about by frequently checking back to it.

My favourite characters were Ursula Iguaran who was the matriach of the family married to the original Jose Arcadio and Pilar Ternera who was outside of the main family and the mother of two sons by different brothers in the family. Pilar Ternera was a prostitute and a madam who read playing cards and lived well over a hundred years. Ursula kept her family in check and despite turning blind she was the most insightful and knowledgable of the family.

Overall though I will have to give it **1/2 out of 5 sadly.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fess Up!

Booking Through Thursday

Okay, there must be something you read that's a guilty pleasure . . . a Harlequin romance stashed under the mattress. A cheesy sci-fi book tucked in the back of the freezer. A celebrity biography, a phoned-in Western . . . something that you'd really rather not be spotted reading. Even just a novel if you're a die-hard non-fiction fan. Come on, confess. We won't hold it against you!

Hmm my guilty pleasure is probably reading children's books. Either re-reading ones I loved when I was a kid or new ones to take me back to my younger days. I made the mistake of carrying one to work with me a few months ago and one of the girls saw it. Now everytime I have a book the first thing she asks is if it's a kids book. It's quite annoying as I read a lot of different books and like to consider myself as quite well read... I am not including things like Harry Potter or His Dark Materials as a guilty pleasure (although of course I love both), but things like Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry (the Anastasia books), Jill Murphy (The Worst Witch series) and Brian Jacques (the Redwall series). It's like comfort eating :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

This is the first full length novel I have read by Neil Gaiman (I have read Smoke and Mirrors which is a collection of his short stories as well as The Sandman graphic novels) so I was intrigued to see if it would be any good or not! It follows Richard Mayhew who is your typical bloke having moved from Scotland to London. His life is forever changed after helping a young woman who is badly injured one night when going out to dinner with his fiance. He is dragged into London Below which is a whole other world underneath London as we know it, where the people who have slipped through the cracks live.

Below he meets Rat-speakers, murderers in the form of Mister Vandemar and Mister Croup, Old Bailey, the Marquis de Carabas, Hunter and the girl he saved Door who has the inherited ability to open any door she comes across. Door sets on a quest to avenge her family who have been killed by Vandemar and Croup on behalf of an unknown employee and Richard finds himself tagging along to see if he can uncover a way back to his life in London Above.

The prose wasn't the best I have to admit, howvere I loved the imagination and creativity behind the story. The fact that I live in the London and use the Underground most days made it seem more real to me. The use of the Underground names and the play on words Gaiman does was great (eg Seven Sisters are seven actual sisters, there are a bunch of Black Friars, Islington is an Angel and the Earl holds Court). It's funny that I didn't realise Terry Pratchett was doing a paraody of Vandemar and Croup in his book The Truth with Mr Pin and Mr Tulip in their manner of speaking, their characteristics and their love of fine artwork!

Very dark, I can also see where Holly Black took some inspiration for her novel Valient. I am looking forward to reading more of his novels.

**** out of 5

Yay thanks to Twisted Kingdom who have awarded me along with 3 others a book by one of their guest authors (I have picked Colleen Gleason who asked some interesting questions when she did a guest blog there recently. I honestly hadn't heard of her before so it will be nice to read something new) which will be something to look forward to. I never win things so it makes a nice change, especially when the prize is a book :)

I am just over half way through Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman which I started today. I seem to be getting through many more books than usual lately and will read a couple more fantasy/fiction type books before going back to the classics from the Guardian's 100 Greatest Books of All Time. I really should go back to Le Morte D'Arthur which I keep picking up and then putting down again...

Thanks again to the guys at Twisted Kingdom and for putting up my review of Night Watch!!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The twenty-seventh Discoworld novel takes place during the events of Thief of Time (the twenty-sixth in the series). Commander Vimes is transported back in time along with mass murderer Carcer during the storm where the lightening strikes the clockmakers shop and effectively stops time. The History Monks led by Lu-Tzu and Qu turn up to help Vimes get back to his own time where his son is being born.

Back in the past Vimes has to mentor his younger self and keep history from changing too much. Riots are breaking out as revolutionaries try to take down Lord Winder the current Patrician. For Vimes and the Night Watch to win the battle, he must sacrifice his future including his wife and child.

This was a really fun book and was interesting having it running in parallel to Thief of Time. Pratchett again steps away from his usual outlines and tries something a little different, whilst still retaining the security of much loved and well developed characters. During the book you get to see Cut-my-own-throat Dibbler get started selling his infamous pies, Nobby Nobbs joining the city Watch and Fred Colon get promoted to Sergant among other little tie-ins. The most interesting of these was seeing Vetinari as a younger man studying at the Assassin's Guild. Hopefully Pratchett will one day write a book with him as the main character.

***1/2 out of 5

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This film follows Rowena (Halle Berry) who writes for a newspaper using a male psuedonym as she uses various alias's to uncover corrupt businessmen and expose them in the paper with the help of Miles (Giovanni Ribisi who you might know as Phoebes half brother in Friends). An old friend Grace approaches her with a lead on advertising executive Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis) who is well known for his extra-marital affairs. After Grace is found murdered, Rowena feels she has no choice but to investigate Hill.

Billed as a sexy thriller, I enjoyed this film a lot more than I was expecting! I went to see it as it fitted in with my timetable and even though I am not really big into thrillers I went along with an open mind. The plot twists and turns with three main suspects in Grace's death as well as a cameo appearence from Gary Dourdan who plays Warick in CSI Vegas. Ribisi is excellent in this role as best friend/genius/stalker and adds an extra dimension to the film. Berry and Willis are excellent as always and the film really builds the tension throughout. The only let down for me was the random addition of nudity that didn't seem neccessary and I couldn't take Berry seriously when she swore for some reason!

The end twist was a big shock to me which is unusual as I can usually figure them out. I look forward to watching more films by director James Foley.

**** out of 5

The fab new Disney film that follows orphan inventor Lewis as he is rejected by yet another possible family. His obsession with inventing puts couples off adopting him, especially as all of his inventions fail. The last straw comes when he enters a science fair and his invention fails again. The difference with the incident at the science fair is that his invention was sabotaged by the bowler hat man and his hat which is an independent creature.

The story is fun with enough laughs to keep adults entertained as well as children. The twist at the end is fairly obvious to older viewers, but will keep the kids entertained. The part from the preview with the dinosaur who is unable to sieze Lewis but can't as he has "a big head and little arms" is just as funny even when you know it is coming! There is less focus on the songs and it follows a different pattern to traditional Disney. The music nonetheless is great though and was written by the talented Danny Elfman (how he finds the time to write scores for so many films and shows I will never know!). The ending is happy but not sickly sweet happy which fitted the rest of the story well.

If you have kids use them as an excuse. If like me you don't, go anyway and brave out the odd looks from cinema staff and parents!

***1/2 out of 5

Friday, April 13, 2007

Twisted Kingdom have put up my modified review of Moon Called on their site as a guest reviewer so thanks a lot you guys! I hope to submit another one before the competition runs out. It's fun to write for other people as well as myself, it's something I would like to do more of so I might try and submit some reviews to magazines and see what their feedback is.

The other good things about writing reviews is it gets me flexing my writing muscles again, which have been far too long!

Thanks again guys and hopefully they might put up something else I write in the future...

A mix of old and new characters, the twenty-sixth novel in the Discworld series tells a tale of Time. The Auditors are back and inadvertantly trying to bring about the end of the world without breaking the rules they are so fond of. It is up to apprentice History Monk Lobsang and Susan (Death's grandaughter) to stop them. The question is can they make it in time?

Pratchett paradies martial arts and Forest Gump (with his chocolates and granny sayings) in this tale as well as looking at the idea of personifying concepts like Death, Time, War etc. The addition of a fifth Horseman of the Apocolypse Ronnie was a nice twist too.

Pratchett returns on fine form. I really enjoyed this novel which stood out a bit from some of his previous ones which have seemed a bit similar and sticking to a formula. When you read one of his more original tales it reminds you that he really can write! It will be interesting to see if the next one in the series is as good.

***1/2 out of 5

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Where Does the Time Go?

Booking Through Thursday

Have you ever missed an important appointment because you have become so engrossed in a book you forgot the time or were up so late reading that you didn't wake up in time? Been late to work because you couldn't resist the temptation and left the house too late?

Yes I have been late getting up lots due to staying up till 3am reading (like last night in fact!). I am not too bad at leaving in the morning once I am actually up, but I have been known to take too long at lunch time as I got caught up in my book. I don't think I have missed an important appointment because of reading (yet anyway), but I have cancelled things and put them off because I am too wrapped in what I am reading doh!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Today I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for the first time finally today with my friend. We stayed on the first floor only as there was such a crazy mish-mash of stuff to see. We saw artwork in various forms from China, Japan and Europe. There was a range of sculpture, paintings, tapestries, pottery, furniture etc. Afterwards we went to a beautiful Catholic church and I lit a candle for my gran to keep her safe and sound. There are some photos below of random stuff from the museum.

Eve Sculpture:

Bodhisattva from China:

A Music Book with a section carved out to fit a Necklace:

A funky light on the ceiling in the cafe:

A Piano Key Dress:

"In 13 Moons Fiona Walker-Craven goes with the natural tides and changing seasons, according to Nature rather than any established calendar. Her spring ritual is timed to coincide with the flowering of the may (hawthorn) rather than some misaligned Celtic festival, or an official Bank Holiday.

Autumn comes when the air is perfumed with that indescribable fragrance which is instantly resognised and never forgotten. Her 'wheel of the year' takes us on a strangely familiar journey through the woods and hedgerows where age-old secrets and magic can still be discovered.

On an inner note, this will be an enlightening book for those who have always felt they were, in some way different, and yet found no solace in the established modern traditions. 13 Moons shows that it is not enough to want to be a Witch; the seeker must be prepared to live as a Witch - every day for the rest of his or her life.

The comfort is discovering that you are not alone."

This is not your typical book on witchcraft, this one does not spend ages talking about tools, correspondences, elements, ritual structure etc. It leaps straight into the lunar cycles and encourages a respect and attunement with Nature and Her cycles. Although it is aimed at beginners, it still has ideas for the more advanced follower. The thing I enjoyed about it the most was that it made me think and assess my beliefs. The author has some very set personal opinions, which I didn't always agree with but did not lead me to question why I didn't agree.

If you are a fan of Rae Beth or Marian Green, Fiona Walker-Craven takes things that one step furhter. An excellent antidote to a lot of the wicca and witchcraft books filling up the MBS sections of bookshops. Some excellent points, I recommend it to anyone interested in practising witchcraft in it's more natural form.

****1/2 out of 5

Monday, April 09, 2007

A new series by Patricia Briggs about Witches, Werewolves, Vampires and Walkers. Mercedes (Mercy) is a Walker and can transform into a Coyote at will who was mostly raised by Werewolves. Since growing up she became a car mechanic sharing a back wall with a werewolf and fixing cars for local vampire Stefan. Her life changes when a newly Changed werewolf turns up on her doorstep looking for work.

There are obvious parallels with the books by Kelley Armstrong. Both have a female lead character, a variety of supernatural creatures, danger lust and love and a smattering of violence. It did retain some originality and I preferred the characters in this book as they seemed somehow more real despite the supernatural element. I liked the idea of Mercy being a Walker and the stories about the Fae coming out in public was interesting.

At times though it seemed the author was over complicating the plot. It seemed she was trying to cram in a few too many twists, turns and ideas and could have perhaps toned it down nearer the end a little. There were also a couple of discrepencies eg only Bran was supposed to be able to communicate with other werewolves but it seemed Mercy as a coyote and a couple of the wolves could talk to others of their kind as well as humans. It was a little unclear.

Overall though I really enjoyed this book and will definately be reading the next in the series.

**** out of 5

Sunday, April 08, 2007

An inspiring book from the author of The Moon Garden. This novel follows 39 year old Zena after a significant break-up with the man she thought was her last chance at having a family and children. She moves to Brittany to try to rebuild her life by painting and exploring the sacred sites there, even though she deliverately moves to an area that has strong associations with her ex.

Whilst living in Brittany she meets a cast of characters with very human strengths and weaknesses (in some cases their weaknesses become their strengths). Erin and her brother Llewellyn are perhaps two of the most interesting. Hints about their past and upbringing are provided but no real information so you are left to draw your own conclusions as to why they deal with life in two very different ways. The calm yet very reserved Erin reads tarot on the side (more psychology based than future telling) of her jewellry making and Zena visits her a number of times for advice and guidance. The questions remains, can Zena truely move on and follow her own path and leave behind the tarot card The Five of Cups.

The most enjoyable parts of this book were the very real characters and the scenery Mewes describes. I wanted happy endings for everyone, especially Zena. I was holding my breath near the end and was pleasantly surprised! Her books appeal to everyone of all ages who has been in love or been loved. If you don't know this author you should definately go and read her books which can be found at here and direct from the publishers at Red Dog Books

***** out of 5

Saturday, April 07, 2007

This film tells the story of Edie Sedgewick (Sienna Miller), an American It-Girl who develops a friendship with artist Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce). She has had a troubled upbringing with a stint in a mental institution after catching her father having sex with one of the neighbours when she was a young girl. It also emerges that her father sexually abused her and her mother turned away from any knowledge. Her brother Minty killed himself when her father found out he was gay and he was probably Edie's best friend.

She quickly gets caught up in a world of drugs and decadence without recieving any money for the films she does with Andy. He comes across as someone very cold who uses people until they run dry and then discards them for the next one. Another side of him occassionally shows through that shows he has problems developing close relationships with other people where he lets down his very guarded inner workings. When Edie does fall in love with an unnamed musician (played by Hayden Christensen), she is forced to chose between him and her friendship with Andy, and she makes what she considers to be the worst decision of her life.

A very sad film with some great acting by both Miller and Pearce, based on real people and situations. I only know Sienna from her relationship with Jude Law so it was great to see her acting talent and forget the tabloids. The ending was the sad one you were expecting, perhaps not the best film to see if you are feeling low.

**** out of 5

I loved this film! It had me laughing along with everyone else in the cinema. It stars Will Ferrell as Chazz Michael Michaels and Jon Heder as Jimmy MacElroy playing two competing figure skaters with very different styles and upbringings. When they both tie for the Gold medal they get in a fight on live television at the awards ceremony and hence both get banned from male figure skating for life. An obsessed stalker of Jimmy's finds a loophole in the rules that says they are only banned from their event and are still eligable for pairs figure skating. The only problem is their hate for each other and that there has never been an all male figure skating pair before...

The laughs are often and it somehow manages to not be too cheesy. The villians (rival American brother and sister team) are excellent and Luke Wilson makes a cameo as a sex addict therapist to Chazz. The costumes are fantastic (got to love that spandex), I particularly loved Jimmy's peacock costume complete with tail feathers at the beginning. The routines were great too and took me back to when I was younger and me and my sister used to watch the finals.

Suitable for everyone, I dare you not to laugh at least 3 times! **** out of 5.

It's hard to pin it down to thirteen but here goes:

1) The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
Doesn't really need a reason, just fantastic

2) The Black Jewels Trilogy - Anne Bishop
I couldn't put this down, even though I was on my honeymoon!

3) Memnock the Devil - Anne Rice
My favourite of her fantastic Vampire novels

4) His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
One of the best fantasy series of books ever despite it being a new series

5) Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
I just read this and the writing style is truely amazing

6) The Promethea Graphic Novels - Alan Moore
Beautiful and mystical

7) The Second Circle - Venecia Rauls
A lovely book on how to advance and grow within Paganism

8) Omnibus - Nick Hornby
One of my favourite authors and my copy includes High Fidelity, Fever Pitch and About a Boy

9) The Warlord Chronicles - Bernard Cornwall
One of the best fictional series on King Arthur and his knights

10) Faraway Tree Stories - Enid Blyton
I loved these books when I first read them and again when I red them 4 years ago as an adult

11) The Sevenwaters Trilogy - Juliet Marillier
Beautiful books filled with wonder and magic

12) Prozac Nation - Elizabeth Wurtzel
This had a big impact on me when I first read it and I really should read it again

13) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time - Mark Haddon
A wonderful book I recomend to all

To add your own and see more ideas go here and add your list.

Friday, April 06, 2007

My second Russian novel this year and again it looks at relationships. There are three main sets it looks at:
Anna - her husband - her lover Vronsky
Stiva (Stepan Oblonsky) - his wife Dolly
Levin - his wife Kitty
Anna and Stiva are brother and sister, Dolly and Kitty are sisters.

Although the book is not outwardly judgemental, those having affairs do come to msotly bad ends. Anna throws herself under a train, Vronsky goes off to war and we assume to his death, Stiva loses much of his money and has to get his wife to sell part of her estate to pay off his debts. Levin by contrast lives happily with his wife and their son, he even finds faith by the end of the novel.

I felt sorry for Anna even though she did bring most of her troubles upon herself. She was shunned by society whilst her lover Vronsky was still accepted and praised. Also for her son Seryozha with her husband who essentially grows up without his mother and living with a father who is cold to him. Her poor husband who hasn't really committed any crime must also be remembered despite being mostly a secondary character.

It was well written and I enjoyed it, however I was let down by the last part which left too much unsaid. I would have liked to have known what happened to Anna's husband Alexei and whether he found love after his wife died with Lydia Ivanovna and whether he mourned his wife's suicide.

*** out of 5 overall.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A beautiful film with a lovely soundtrack set half in America and half in Calcutta, India. It follows the fortunes of two people from India who marry and move to America where they have a son and daughter (who count as American). The son is named Gogol by his father after his favourite Russian author. Gogal doesn't find out the true meaning his father attached to his name until he brings his white, American girlfriend home to meet his family for the first time.

I enjoyed this film that looks at what happens when two cultures and age groups collide. The scenes in India were beautiful and has made me want to visit even more. The funeral and wedding ceremonies both look beautiful and I would love to learn the symbolism behind the different flowers, colours and gestures they do. I guess it classifies as a drama and doesn't have much action in it, so if that's your things give this one a miss. I might look out for the soundtrack.

*** out of 5

Sunday, April 01, 2007

March Summary

So I have been doing 101 things to do it 1001 and one days. A few of the things on my list are things I need to do every month so I won't be able to cross them off until the end of the challenge. Here is how I am doing so far:

4) To save £50 per month - I have been saving the DJ money we make at the moment which covers this. I can't afford to start saving from my main salary yet, hopefully after we get our own place.

18) Read at least one fiction book a month - Done!

19) Read at least one magical book a month - Done!

20) Go swimming at least twice a month - I went twice only this month, so just about done.

21) To see at least 2 films in the cinema a month - I saw 6 this month.

34) Craft something at least once a month - I made a birthday card.

54) Keep a written diary at least once a week - I keep two for different reasons and have written in at least one of them every week so far.

55) Pull a tarot card a day - Done!

74) Recycle regularly - Doing it, saving all paper, glass and cans to take with us when we go shopping.

86) Watch at least 50 of the Time 100 Greatest Films of all Time - So far I have only seen 9 of these, will try and watch a couple more in April.

87) Read at least half of The Guardian’s 100 Greatest Books of all Time - I am now read 9 of these so getting there... Also in the middle of number 10.

101) Remember to send a card in time for all family members and close friends - So far so good!

The other challenge I am doing is to read 8 books by authors I haven't read before and so far I have read 3 off my list.

One other challenge I am doing it to read 50 books this year and so far I have read 22 so getting there.

Saw this tonight as part of my husbands birthday celebrations. We have been meaning to go and see this for ages as it looked really fun and this seemed like a great excuse to go. It is a musical with a mixture of puppets and humans (they are quick to point out they are not related to Jim Henson or Sesame Street - to avoid a law suit I imagine) with one who is gay, one looking for love, Gary Coleman ("What you talking about Willis?"), a Japanese lady, a monster who loves porn and an adult entertainment singer. Filled with swearing, puppet sex and a song about everyone being a bit racist, it isn't for those easily offended...

Really good fun though and after a little bit you focus more on the puppets than the humans controlling them and doing the singing. Fun stories, although I didn't like the ending. It even had Naoko Mori who was in Torchwood and Absolutely Fabulous in it as the Japanese lady. We managed to meet the cast afterwards and get our programmes signed (as per usual, I am such a stalker!).

Good for a laugh, not your usual musical. I give it **** out of 5.