Home by Marilynne Robinson

I wish I could write like Marilynne Robinson.

Robinson’s works are internal. Not just in terms of the character’s inner lives and thoughts, but the setting. Gilead is the internal, spiritual workings of one man. Housekeeping has this surreal setting of home life and Home continues that setting. All of them have this focus on home life, house life, and the mind of the characters. She somehow captures what it is to be like an introvert so deftly.

I would even say it can almost be a bit clausterphobic how good she is with that isolation people often experience. In this novel, the moments between the family remembers felt almost too real as if I was watching real people talking together. It was very raw and incredibly candid that oddly, during one scene at the end, I wanted to look away.

Very few writers capture the rawness of emotions she does and in a way, the humanity of it especially with respect to the family dynamics. As usual, not much in way of plot happens, but I appreciate the amazing character writing.

Read October 18-20, 2015.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

This was my first time reading Kinsella’s young adult work. I did not know that when I requested this book from the library. It took me awhile to get use to because I kept expecting Kinsella’s adult chicklit and romantic comedy style. However, I gradually began to warm to the characters and the writing.

There is definitely a cuteness to the dialogue and the romance that is typical of Kinsella’s style. I think she also captures the often unique and crazy antics of a family. The title and the young adult nature reminded me of the books by John Green, but less maudlin.

It’s a cute one sitting novel. I think I’ll stick more to Kinsella’s adult novels though.

Read October 17, 2015.

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

The Sleeper and the Spindle

Another beguiling and gorgeous book from Neil Gaiman.

I enjoyed the fairy tale style and illustrations. I love the protagonist and her troop of Dwarves.

There is also a slight creepiness or darkness to Gaiman’s works which is really nice. It’s not over the top most of time and raises the stakes and suspense level. It makes it oddly realistic in a fantasy work.

It’s always a pleasure to read a Gaiman book.

Read October 17, 2015.

Monthly Movies – September 2015

About Time (06 09 2015) – Absolutely wonderful. I wish films like this were more popular. I loved everything about this movie. I think it’s one of the most romantic films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s probably one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. I found it incredibly touching, moving, and simply perfect. Even with the plot holes! I’m a sentimental and introspective person so this movie was right up my alley. Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy are good in everything, but this is definitely some of their best roles for me. Now I have to add Gleeson to my ever growing list of actors whom I adore. Definitely a movie for rewatching in the future.

Man of Steel (06 09 2015) – I can see why this movie didn’t do well. It’s a bit grim and much too serious. However, I really like Henry Cavil as Superman and I think Amy Adams is good Lois Lane. I was satisfied.

The Parent Trap (14-15 09 2015) – Lindsay Lohan really did have a great screen presence. Not sure why I missed this movie since Lohan and I are the same age, but I grew up watching the original version. Even then the idea of those parents divorcing and splitting the girls up annoyed me. In any case, a fun family movie though I got a bit bored toward the end with the shenanigans.

Pollyanna (15 09 2015) – Hayley Mills was on my mind, and I’ve never actually read the book or seen the movie. It was a bit slow in parts, but I enjoyed it. I like how Mills looked like such a real child. She was pretty, but she’d scrunch her face up like a kid. You don’t really see that kind of look in child actors anymore. Jane Wyman was beautiful. I liked the storyline of her being this repressed matriarch.

Wet Hot American Summer (21 09 2015) – Watched because I wanted to see the show, but this movie was a bit meh. It’s silly and at times amusing, but a lot of it wasn’t that funny for me.

Eyes Wide Shut (21-22 09 2015) – I started this years ago and decided to finally finish it. Boring. Well directed, but very slow paced. I would have preferred to see more of Nicole Kidman, but instead watching Tom Cruise being mauled by various women like he’s a sex god. I understood some of the themes, and I think it would have been alright if the pacing was better.

To Die For (22 09 2015) – Nicole Kidman is good in this. What an underrated role for her. Joaquin Phoenix is pretty too.

Bimonthly TV – August and September 2015

Select TV shows, more specifically marathon TV shows, that I watched in August and September. I am going to try to limit myself to one to two (if I have holidays) TV series a month from now on unless I am sick or on holiday.

Episodes (August 2015) – As someone who isn’t a completeionist and find it difficult just to make time for all my consumption and hobbies, I dropped this after watching two seasons. Yes, it had funny moments and I did enjoy the acting. However, I grew a bit wary of the industry jokes and watching Leblanc’s character make an arse of himself. I’ve heard the later seasons get even better so maybe I will revisit. In the mean time, I do think it’s an enjoyable and underrated comedy.

Breaking Bad (August – 20 September 2015) – This show grew on me. I know a lot of people loved it, but I was not particularly engaged with it the first couple of seasons. In fact, I felt like I was watching more because of its place in pop and TV culture rather than because I liked it. It isn’t to say that I disliked it in the beginning, but I didn’t love any of the characters. I think I started to like the show with S3 and S4. The latter is my favourite season because I liked the Gus and Mike characters. At this time, I had grown to appreciate the Jesse Pinkman character and Aaron Paul’s acting. I really liked the characterization and acting in the series. Even the sparse, southwest landscape and direction grew on me. I even managed to feel pity for Walt in the last two episodes! From the beginning, I found him weak and immoral. I never rooted for him until the last episode. I didn’t enjoy the villains or the bleakness of S5, but I did really like the ending. I do not necessarily think it’s the best show ever or even for everybody, but I am glad that I watched it.

Ongoing Shows this month:

  • Great British Bake Off
  • Great British Menu
  • Switched at Birth – I’m back at it, though I still think the show still has many issues
  • The Flash – A couple of reruns so that I am caught up for S02. New show for me.
  • The Muppets – It’s not perfect, but I’m enjoying it a little bit. It’s got major nostalgic factors for me.