Saturday, May 31, 2008

April Round-Up

Ahhh, April....Wait. April? What the hell happened in April?

Movies Seen:
Eleven, with, once again, none in a theater. Of the DVDs watched, the worst was probably "Reservation Road," which I basically saw just because Mark Ruffalo is in it. And it's not bad in the sense that it's badly directed, or badly acted; it's just disappointing, depressing, and kind of pointless. In the best camps are "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," which was also depressing, but also quite inspiring, and refreshingly different, and "Starting Out In the Evening," which is not groundbreaking in any way, but I think Frank Langella was really good and at times heartbreaking in his role as an aging novelist, and I was pleased with the way the movie handled its older man, younger woman plot line. It was both touching and kind of icky.

Books Read: I read an astounding six books in April, although one kind of doesn't count because I read the majority of it in March. That would be "The Know It All: One Man's Humble Quest To Become the Smartest Person In the World" by A.J. Jacobs, in which the author reads the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in one year. It was a fun read, but once again, as tends to be my problem with nonfiction, I just wasn't able to retain any useful knowledge once I finished the book. Except for this fascinating fact: Rene Descartes had a thing for cross-eyed women.

Next up was “Walking In Circles Before Lying Down” by Merrill Markoe, and once again I came away from one of her novels wishing she'd go back to writing nonfiction, because her nonfiction essays are just much, much funnier. I followed that with “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks, who also wrote the novel "World War Z," and both take the zombie genre very seriously. Almost too seriously. Both of his books left me wanting just a little more levity, because come on. There's just something inherently funny about zombies, and that should not be ignored.

Despite my taking an oath to not get any books from the library, or buy any new books until I had made a dent into the huge stack of unread books I have piling up in my bedroom, I could not resist buying Mary Roach's new book "Bonk." Being such a fan of her previous works, "Stiff" and "Spook," there was no way I was going to put off reading her latest. And, while I'm glad I did, I'd have to say of her three, it's probably my least favorite. Which isn't to say it isn't incredibly funny, because it is. It's just not as funny as her other books, which is ironic, since those other two kind of dealt with death, and this one deals with the scientific study of human sexuality, a topic with much more comedic potential. But maybe her real gift is finding the humor in less obvious places...

The No New Books rule meant I finally started getting to books that had been given to me years ago, which is just kind of pathetic, really. One of those was “Yarn Harlot” by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and it was a fast and mildly entertaining read, but I've kind of come to the realization that reading about other people's knitting addictions is not nearly as interesting as...just sitting down and knitting something.

Finally, I broke my No New Books rule once again when I had the overwhelming urge to read something by Stephen King. Now, I used to LOVE Stephen King. From my pre-teens into young adulthood, I basically read everything he wrote, and I read his stuff voraciously. I read "It," which is about 10,000 pages long, in the course of a single weekend. I did the same thing with "The Stand," (at least the first time I read it). But as I grew older, it seemed his stuff just started to get...bad. I remember the book that turned me off him for years was "The Tommyknockers," which literally made me sick to my stomach. Not sure if it was the content of the book or the fact that I read most of it while riding MUNI, but whatever the cause, I decided to give him a rest. And for a number of years I did. I think the first new book of his I decided to read was "Bag of Bones" several years ago, and I enjoyed it, but not enough to catch up on everything I had missed. And then last year I tried the first book in his "Dark Tower" series, and it just didn't cut it for me. I had the same reaction to it that I have with most fantasy stories: not worth the effort to try and understand what the hell is going on.

But, for whatever reason, I started to get a hankering for some Stephen King again, so I bought “Cell," in which a cell phone pulse turns the majority of the people in the world into something akin to zombies, though there's no real flesh-eating involved. And I could not. Put the book. Down! I read it straight through and finished in about two days, and once again remembered what it was I had liked about Stephen King all those years ago. We're not talking groundbreaking writing here. We're just talking about a suspenseful story that is so well-told that you want to keep reading because you can't wait to see what happens next. Of course, like the majority of King's books, it ends with a huge explosion, and I don't think I'm giving away anything by saying that because, like I said, he does that a lot. So, like a lot of his books it was kind of anti-climactic, but it was still an incredibly entertaining read and an experience I enjoyed so much that I wanted to go out and read everything of his I had avoided for so long.

Big mistake. But that's a story I will have to save until the next round-up...

Fancy Dinners Out: One, a rather impromptu dinner at Izzy's, but it was mmm-mmm good. Meeeeaaaaat! And potatooooooeeees! And creaaaamed spinach. *Droooool*

Live Shows Seen: None.

Shoes Bought: Two pairs. One was a replacement pair of standard black ballet flats, and the other were these wedges from Target. Except I put in some heel guards in the back of them which made them too tight and incredibly painful to wear, so I had to give them away. Doh! I'm hoping to get another pair in a bigger size at some point because they were awfully cute.

No comments: