Fifty Fifty Me: Playing Catch Up

I am 26 books in and I better get crack-a-lacking on my goal of 52. It seemed so doable when I made the goal now it seems exhausting. In an effort not to panic, I am just going to play it cool. Read them as they come. I have been reading since I finished Wild. I needed to digest wild and think about it. I just couldn’t plunk myself into the next book very easily. Once I did, there was no stopping me. I enjoyed the last book. When I really enjoy a book and then finish it. I need to mull it over. It is hard for me to jump right into the next book with the same eagerness to read. It took a while, but I was able to move on after Wild.

I have been laid up with Bronchitis this week and when you are on vacation, nothing sucks more than being sick for part of it. What that has done is free up some time to read. I read 3 books this week and started another. I caught up on movies as well, 6 to be exact.

The Books:

The first one was The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlaine. It took me a fair bit of time to commit to liking this book. The early beginnings had me wondering what all the hoopla was about amongst my Goodread friends. The main character in the early stages was 16. With that comes bad choices and impossible situations.I remember being 16 and like the character I made choices that effected my entire life – and not for the good. On some level I could relate to the character, but most of me wanted to forget being 16, being naive, being stupid and mostly being seduced by older men. I understood the bad choices but I am pretty sure I knew the difference between morally right and wrong. i had the benefit of family teaching me the difference. This character did not.

As the story progressed I became more enchanted with the choices she was making. Eventually she set her life back to the moment of 16 – because 16 haunts you forever if you made stupid choices. The character rectified it all, making a huge impact on everyone in her life. That was when this story became the type of book I love, not being able to pt it down. The climax was marvelous.

The second book I read was Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. Of all the books I read this week, this one I loved from start to finish. This was billed as a romance, but I never saw it as a romance. It was more about euthanasia and choices of others. I found this book to be a real metaphor for my life. No matter how badly you want something, other people’s choices affect you in a profound way. Wanting something bad enough and working towards that goal isn’t always enough when human choices are involved.  This is one of the hardest lessons I have learned on my Tourist journey. The characters in this book handled it remarkably well. It surprised me. Typically books turn out they would would hope them too. Maeve Binchy is a master of this never happening. The ugly duckling doesn’t become the beautiful swan, she just plods along, enjoying or dealing with what life throws at her. This is real life. You are dealt a hand and the purpose is to see what you make out of it, not throw them all away and get lucky by drawing a Royalflush. That never happens. I wish it did. So in an effort to find happiness, you look within – not externally. Buddha was right.

The final book was The Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. I really enjoyed the first book, but I was young and still hadn’t figured out stuff yet I thought I knew everything. I think I have moved beyond this type of book. I want more meat or substance from a book. The bottom line is I am busy, so I want a book that is worth my time, a book that makes me think. This book had New York going for it but that is no longer enough. 50/50 me challenge had opened my eyes up to new authors and genres. I can no longer go back to the books I loved in my youth.

Now that is not to say Young Adult books have left my peripheral vision. Fantastic Mr. Fox was recommended to me. I enjoy reading children’s books because I love to talk about them WITH children. Learning from children is an undervalued resource.

The Movies:

Since my love affair with the Avengers, more notably Tony Stark, I have watched 6 movies.

  1. People Like Us
  2. Bottle Shock
  3. Single man
  4. The Best Marigold Hotel
  5. Blade Runner
  6. Things you can tell by Looking at Her

Not only have my taste in books changed since the start of this project, but my taste in movies has as well. Lets just say, I appreciate art movies more than I did before. There isn’t one movie in that list that I enjoyed more than the others. I am crazy for superhero movies – not one of those is an action pack superhero movie with the exception of blade Runner. It comes close, but Harrison Ford got his ass kicked to often and there wasn’t enough swagger going on for my taste. When I watch sci-fi or action flicks, I expect the impossible. It’s fun to revel in the impossible for a while.

English: Chris Pine poses for a photograph at ...
Isn’t he just delicious?

People Like Us and Bottle Shock had the nicest eye candy. I still have a thing for the new young Captain Kirk aka Chris Pine. He has swagger and is sexy in all his roles. A man with swagger is delicious. Single man surprised me. The Best Marigold Hotel made me laugh because those old birds are delightful! I loved this movie as much as Calendar Girls. But the movie that made me think the hardest was Things You can tell by Looking at Her.

What struck me was the mire these women were all stuck in. It made me think that although people’s lives look better from the outside, we are all the same.

 

My Friend The Reader just put me onto a great site that helps determine your next read. It’s called Whichbook.

You choose from a list of options what you feel like reading, Happy/Sad, Predictable/Unpredictable, Optimists/Bleak an d a myriad of other choices. Then it shows you which book best suits your mood. Sounds perfect for me! I will be giving it a try for my next book.

As for movies? I HAVE to get to the theatre to see BRave, Batman and Spiderman. Although, what was wrong with Toby McGuire’s Spiderman? Those were great movies! Ah well….happy reading!

 

Fifty Fifty Me: The Shadow Wife

So I missed a week of 50/50 me. Reading The Management of Nonprofit and Charitable Organizations in Canada by Vic Murray and Effectively Managing Human Services Organizations by Ralph Brody apparently don’t count. I don’t find it dry reading, I quite enjoy it and find it enlightening. However, it doesn’t fit the criteria for the challenge. First of all, you need to read it cover to cover – who does that with text books? Secondly, these aren’t the books I read for fun. They are work. Fun is different. Although making the effort to expand my genre exploration hasn’t always been fun. Science Fiction isn’t very fun for me, nor is fantasy. I need to put effort into it so I am able to follow the story line. My preference is the ability to be LOST in a book. When I say LOST, I mean the story sweeps me away and I can’t wait to spend time with the characters. I do not mean LOST as in “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?”Hello Lord of the Rings…

The book I read this week brought me back to my favorite genre. I love family relationship stories. I love a strong female lead. I love reading about places with such detail that I figure I could go there on vacation and find my way around.

I watched 6 movies over the past 2 weeks… I know 6!!! When I was suppose to be sleeping or writing papers. I no longer watch TV, I just don’t have the attention span for interest right now. But a movie? Now that is something I like to get lost in. But enough with the musings… let’s get on with it shall we?

The Book

The Shadow Wife by Diane Chamberlain was gobbled up by me in a couple of days. I read it over lunch at work and every spare moment at home. I was reading reviews on Goodreads by my friends and discovered this author through them. They love her…I can see why. This book was about two main characters intertwined through separate stories. They meet and their story connects. I became very involved in one story, then it stopped and started with the second character’s story. It would frustrate me because I never wanted to end and pick up the next story line. This is common for the books I prefer to read. Maeve Binchy is a master at it character development. I devour strong character building.

This story began with The lead’s parents in a commune in Big Sur. It reminded at first of a Barbara Delinsky novel called the Coast Road (also a good read). I like the whole hippy concept except the filth part, and the camping life part, and the lack of wealth part…okay in THEORY I like hippies, but I like to read about them and have coffee with them and learn about their life. I do not wish to be a hippy. Been there, done that to the best of my ability. I can peel logs, can food, grow food, identify edible plants in the wild, fish, and build a fire without the use of paper or fire starter. Trust me, I’d rather read about these adventures the relive them myself.

As this baby of the hippies grew up, her life changed into what I can identify with professionally. There was a twist at the end that blew my head off. The entire time I was reading this book I was thinking I like this book a lot, not sure I love it. By the end, with me not seeing the twist coming, I LOVED this book! I knew this writer always places twists into her books but there was no hint of it in this. I loved that – and now have ruined it for everyone because I am awesome like that.

When I read the twist, I was at work in the lunch room and yelled out “NO WAY!” That to me is the sign of a fun read. What more can you ask for? Surprise, independent strong females, family legacy, and beautiful scenery? Great summertime read!

This week  am tackling Oprah’s new book club – that’s right people she is back with an on-line book club! Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This book is uncomfortable for me at times. It is very relevant to me, but I am enjoying it immensely! I will let you know how it goes. This book places me halfway to the challenge of 50 books in a year. YAY! I have loved this challenge! It has brough me out of my comfort zone and into books I love. I never would have read Stephen King, The Room, or a multitude of other genres and storylines that have scared me in the past.

The Movie

I watched these movies over the past two weeks :

  1. Avengers
  2. Factory Girl
  3. Being Elmo
  4. Every Little Step
  5. Schindler’s List
  6. If Lucy Fell

Factory Girl was about Andy Warhol’s iconic Factory girl and the person she was in real life. All this movie did for me was make me see what a wingnut Warhol was and wondered how he paid for things. I love his art, but wow…

If Lucy Fell was an old school Sarah Jessica Parker movie – Boring….

Every little Step was a documentary of  the Chorus Line revival. I loved this. Pain, rejection, excitement all rolled into one. I have always fantasized about being on Broadway but I don’t have the strength it takes (nor the talent) to face rejection on a daily basis. Wow these people are amazing!

Being Elmo… Behind the scenes of being a Muppeteer? Are you freaking kidding me??? THIS WAS AMAZING and I cried. I loved seeing the Jim Henson Empire. I will watch this documentary over and over.

Schindler’s list. I was the only person left in the world who hadn’t seen this. It is now part of the Grade 12 curriculum in Alberta’s High Schools. Wow what a powerful movie. I found it interesting how he made enough money to save these people and then just before the war ended, so did the money. Divine intervention obviously played a hand.  4000 Jews live in Poland now, but 4 generations of Schindler’s Jews make up over 6500. Doing the right thing is never easy, but so important. If you haven’t watched this – you must. AND I can cross it off my 100 AFI list!

Then my favorite movie of the year. It is no surprise people. you all know how much I love superheroes and fancy myself as one. The Avengers was FREAKING AWESOME! Is it out on Blu-ray yet? I want it for Christmas Santa!! Please do yourself a favor, watch all the other movies first. This will help with the maximized enjoyment of the Avenger movie. Stan Lee I heart you.

This week movies? I have no idea. I have watched 42 on the year. I am in the mood for Brave but that isn’t until the 22. I want to see something that will make me laugh. Life has been hard this week, so laughter is in order!

Suggestions?

Fifty Fiftly Me: Shopgirl

Participating in the 50/50 me project, (you can read more about it here) was difficult this week. I was POISONED and didn’t die. However that left me with little time to feel like reading. I had read one book and havent felt like reading since. Truthfully, I haven’t had the time. I am busy finishing up projects for my University Class. While be sick in be and loving the Netflix app on my ipad, I was able to watch a couple of movies this week. I watch Never Let Me Go and An Education. Moving on with the words first…

The Book

I read Steve Martin’s Shopgirl last weekend. I have always been a fan of Martin’s dry wit and humors look on life. I never considered him a writer so when Shopgirl appeared several years ago, it was aff my radar. While reading my first foray into Martin’s work, I realized I could hear his voice as he stood to the side narrating the story for his readers. I’ve always been a huge fan of his but never gave credibility to his talent as a writer. I found his style to be delicious, and his words that were strung together like a beautiful sonnet. I could identify with the main character and felt her pain, yet was removed enough to see the reason for it. I am surprised the female character was so likable aside from her sexual attributes, typically male writers miss the mark for me when it comes to female character development. Martin’s dry wit showed through the story and I smiled with pleasure. I am so pleased I decided to give this book a try. I liked it enough that I downloaded two more of Martin’s books with hopes of reading The Pleasure of My Company this week. I must be honest and say, I don’t think I will get much reading for pleasure done in the month of June. I shall keep my fingers crossed though!

The Movie

I was able to watch Never Let Me Go and An Education. Both movies starring Carey Mulligan. I am finding myself

Cover of "An Education"
Cover of An Education

becoming a huge fan of hers! I watched Never Let me Go because I read the book last week and am always curious how the movie translates onto the screen. This particular movie was fairly close to the book. Tommy is less awkward in the movie and Ruth is less of a jerk, but for the most part, I wished it had more narration to go along with the story. It needed more insight into Kathy’s feelings and thoughts. However, this movie didn’t even come close to how much I enjoyed An Education!

An Education is based on an autobiographical article for the Granta by Lynn Barber. I loved the character. She was an intellectual caught up in the fun and fantasy of being the girlfriend of a rich older man. I saw a parallel with my life except for the rich part of the older man. Her choices were better and I found myself admiring her tenaciousness. There wasn’t anything I couldn’t like about this movie. Fashion from music to writing and mishaps, all were fun to watch. I was disappointed with her choices but she righted them in the end and went on to learn from them. This is what we all hope to do but some of us are more successful at it than others. I need to place this movie in my top 10 of all time. I know I will watch it again and again. There is something so sexy about the male characters who turn out to be such disappointments in the end. This is a definite chick movie for smart gals who long to be swept off our feet because of brains not just looks.

Next week brings Avengers, the superhero loves of my life and possibly a book to finish reading…I hope.

Fifty Fifty Me: Never Let Me Go

This weeks effort to participate in the 50/50 me project,(you can read more about it here) I finished one book and shocked that it took me 2 weeks to read a single book with 400 pages. Seriously? I had these grandiose ideas that I would read copious amounts on the plane on the way to California. I slept instead. Obviously I needed to sleep. I am reaching full on burnout. Then I figured I would watch a movie or two. Westjet now charges you for movies. WTF? Air Canada doesn’t. So I sulked and read instead. That left me with time for just one and one book in two weeks. Oh well. The movie was disturbing and the book was … not sure how to describe it. Let’s get on with that shall we?

The Book

Cover of "Never Let Me Go"
Cover of Never Let Me Go

I read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Many reviews on this book were stellar. This book is even on the Time 100 best books of the 20th century. The book was a good read for me. But I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on my goodreads book list. First of all it is Science Fiction. I love watching Sci-Fi! Those are some of my most favorite movies and tv shows. As a book genre? Not so much. When I read, I want my book to be plausible. There are books out there – Harry Potter for example – that I love in spite of the plausible aspect. However, I find the characters real end genuine. That is important. They can be involved in kooky adventures that we can only dream of but their character must be realistic. I found the characters in Never Let Me Go to be stupid – literally.

There was a time in the book where I gasped out loud because these characters we not the physical beings I thought them to be. Then the story became very predictable after that. I kept waiting for the author to drop a bomb, something that would shock me to my core. It never happened. What was shocking was the way these characters accepted their fate without question. Who does that? This is why I did not find them believable. I want people to fight for justice. Fight for what their heart wants. Fight for their values. I do not expect them to get what they want, but I want them to try. This is what makes characters real for me. Perhaps there are people in this world that just plod along not reaching for the brass ring, not questioning the way things are done. This is not me. I could not relate to these people.

There were parts of this book I quite enjoyed, but I always felt I had to keep reading it just to complete it, not because I loved it.

Meanwhile, I am still reading Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Mrs. Dashwood infuriates me and I have to put it down because I get so mad. This is what I enjoy about Austen’s books. Her characters make you feel.

As an easy read for the week, I pulled out British Chicklit. I’m feeling Jane Green and her bumbling heroines, I could easily be one of them. They make me laugh and I don’t need to think or be offended at the stupidity of the female leads. They are smart and usually successful. They just make bad choices I can laugh at because “Been there, Done That”.

The Movie

My children both read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in grade 7. I never had. It was a long time before I could bring myself to watch or read anything in regards to Nazi Germany. I had lived with stories from grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, and uncles about their experience with WWII. It was just too close to home for me. I feel deeply and could not imagine the pain and heart-break associated with camps all over Europe. Nor could I understand how a human being could do these things to another. Since my various trips to Europe, I have been able to slowly learn more. I find it painful, shocking and disturbing, yet I cannot stop looking.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is about a German boy whose father is in charge of a camp in Poland. Behind his house is the camp. He goes exploring and finds the walls of the camp. He sees a boy, the same age as himself and they strike up a friendship. You get a sense of the ending while watching this. What struck me was the attitude of the father, the Nazi Commander. He said Jews aren’t people. For all the atrocities that happened, this is what disturbed me the most. Karma plays a hand in the end and the emotion is raw. Give this movie a look. I don’t think I could read the book knowing the emotion involved. I feel to deeply. Empathy is a great gift, but in these circumstances it is painful.

My next movie of choice will be Never Let Me Go, The Avengers and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Fifty Fifty Me: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

This week in an effort to participate in the 50/50 me project,(you can read more about it here) I finished one book and started two others. Who does that? Who reads more than one book at a time that aren’t text books? I guess I do. I am reading Sense and sensibility by Jane Austen and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I only watched 2 movies, I must be busy or something. I finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I didn’t think I would get through it but look at me! I did it! Anyways…. on with the words!

The Book

I didn’t expect to enjoy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was on my list of new genres to try and lots of people were talking about it. The creepy pictures caught my eye and I read a blog review that made me bump it higher on my To Read list.

The beginning of this book was riveting. The Grandfather told crazy unbelievable stories just like my Grandpa did. This alone made me love him. As I became hooked, there was a moment when I thought this book might be too scary for me. Old me would have closed it and been scared of “What might have been”. New me sucked it up and kept pressing forward. I learned it wasn’t scary, but peculiar. By the end of the book I was so captivated I couldn’t put it down. I found it to be very exciting in a Harry Potter kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a Harry Potter knock off, but is had a similar feel as the Potter books – well for me anyways. I enjoyed the quirky nature and time loops. The best part for me was the photographs that showed who the characters were. These wonderful vintage photos of children doing impossible things all through the magic of trick photography…or was it?

This is a great young adult book and I think my children would quite enjoy it. Only they never take my advice anymore.I wish I could be deep and insightful about how it effected me, but it was just a fun read. And it made me miss my Grandpa. Sometimes books should be just fun.

The Movie

I watch two movies this week. One at home snuggled under a blanket and one at the movie theatre with my

The Jane Austen Book Club (film)
The Jane Austen Book Club (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

daughter. We saw The Lucky One, based on the Nicolas Sparks novel. For the first time, I did not read the book first. It was enough for me to enjoy the beauty that is Zac Efron. His eyes are something else! The story was magical and fate driven. I need that in my life right now. Was it my favorite of the two? Not by a longshot. My favorite was The Jane Austen Book Club.

This movie was everything I needed to see this week. Women having intelligent conversation about well written books, helping each other through various crisis in their lives. I need a book club in my life. Every character’s life resembled one of Austen’s 6 books. They discussed strength of character, doing the right thing and struggles of life. Just like the Austen books themselves. The difference being the movie gave insight into lives down the road. Austen ends her books usually with the marriage…and they lived happily ever after blablabla…but do they? How could you not with Mr. Darcy? But i suppose Elizabeth Bennett found his stories tiresome after 30 years of hearing the same one over and over. So maybe it was just as well they ended when they did. Austen never married herself, so perhaps she did not know what to write having never lived behind those doors. The movie, however, takes you to a happily every after a few years later. That was nice but unneccessary. Life doesn’t have to be happy, and often isn’t. The point is to feel it and be present for it. Most of the movie was just like that. Real. Maybe that is why I liked it so much. It has moved into my top 10 favorite of all time, and it has me reading Sense and sensibility for the first time. I don’t love it like I love Pride and Predjuce…but her writing is exquisite none the less.

Fifty Fifty. Me.: When God was a Rabbit

This week in an effort to participate in the 50/50 me project,(you can read more about it here) finished one book and started yet another. I watched 2 movies and mostly did copious amounts of homework. My mind is filled with so much information, I chose drivel to read this week. I shouldn’t have done that. Fluff or drivel wounds my soul and makes my brain feel soft. There is a fine line for me to find a book that is a fun read and a book that is fluff. 50 Shades of Grey is pure fluff, and not all that fun to read. Last weeks enjoyment of A Lover’s Dictionary was fun. I think I need to start carefully assessing why I read as opposed to what people say I should read. Suggestions are wonderful, but I need to read from suggestions of people who like the same type of read as I do. Joining goodreads as been helpful! I invite you to join it as well, and add me as a friend. You can find the link on the left of my WordPress page. Anyways…. on with the words!

The Book

I read When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman. This book made me laugh, cry and smile. There was a dark cloud that followed this family yet it didn’t seem to matter, they laughed and lived in spite of it. I think it gave a truer sense into people’s lives when nothing is perfect, yet people live being as happy as they can. I loved following the main character through her life. She didn’t dwell on the painful moments, she moved on. Very british actually, stiff upper lip and all that. She felt emotion but realized life was a series of moments. Each moment builds on another to create the next moment. With that knowledge you can can choose to feel however you want about a situation. I loved that sentiment. I have always felt this way. There is no point in blaming someone else for past crimes against you. Its about taking what we learned and growing from it. The letting go is hard, but in the end worthwhile. This book spoke to me. I hope it speaks to you too.

The Movie

I watched 2 movies this week. Annie Hall by Woody Allen (- this can be crossed of the bucket list!) and the

Film poster for Annie Hall - Copyright 1977, U...
Film poster for Annie Hall - Copyright 1977, United Artists (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Contagion starring Matt Damon on recommendation of my friend Chef. Her delicious blog is here.

Chef is an ex-pat Edmontonian living in Texas and we share a love for all things yummy, heathy and Matt Damon.

I thought this movie might be too much for my Howard Hughes like obsession with hand sanitizer. It does justify my freaky feeling about clean hands, but it was as scary as I thought it could have been. Although people do die at an alarming rate. Famous people kept dropping like flies. Did this help? Meh… So this was not my favorite of the bunch.

I did love Annie Hall. I love Diane Keaton. I loved how innocent she was and her fella Woody Allen encouraged her to give personal growth a try and lo and behold, she out grew him. A very common theme amongst my peers of late.  I do not get the sex appeal of Woody Allen, but I do understand his intellectual appeal. I loved the dialogue. I am coming to realize that Woody Allan movies are definitely for me. Conversation, discussion, and possibilities without a clear cut happy ending. It certainly is not an escape genre, but it fulfills a need in me. Loved this one!

 

This week I am finishing up 50 Shades of Grey and am NOT going to read the other 2 in the trilogy any time soon. I have two books on my list that interest me, Under the Tuscan Sun and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Can you find two vastly different books? I think not. one thing this challenge has done for me is open my mind up to knew genres that I would normally not have considered before. We shall see how I feel after 50 shades, that will determine my next choice.

As for Movies? I am in a De Niro kind of head space. I think I will watch Taxi Driver and cross that off the AFI 100 list. Perhaps there is a movie that my teens wish to watch too. Let’s see what the week brings, shall we?


 

50/50.Me: Extremly Loud and Incredibly Close

Cover of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly C...
Cover of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

This week in an effort to participate in the 50/50 me project, I read one book and watched 3 movies. I have a sneaky feeling I will finish the movie portion long before the books.

The Book

I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I think I liked it. I wanted to read it and finish it, so it had me interested. I did find the story line confusing. I had hoped the movie would provide more clarity, I have never seen it but a friend has and she responded with “no, the movie is confusing too” Huh…

The book switched voices as you progressed. Each Chapter was a different voice. Once I figured out WHO and WHEN this was happening, it made perfect sense. I am not one to read chapter titles, but clearly this would have been a huge benefit on my part.

The main Character is Oskar. His father was in one of the World Trade Towers on September 11 – THAT DAY, and of coursed died. Oskar’s Dad Thomas would often leave clues for Oskar to solve. It was a game they always played. The ultimate game was when Oskar discovered a key that belonged to his father. But what was the key for?

I found myself understanding the way Oskar thinks. He can’t let things rest and needs to know WHY. That is me. I am never satisfied until I know all the details. Learning to live with unanswered questions is incredibly difficult, and friendships have been strained because of this. Perhaps this is why I liked reading about Oskar. I could related to him. The other fascinating part for me was this story took you through all 5 boroughs in New York with the story of the 6th one. I loved the backdrop. It had me at Central Park, and I went from there. The story itself encompasses 5 family members and how they deal with grief. This fascinated me and gave a great insight to the way people handle events differently. A great lesson in empathy.

The Movie

The Iron Lady (film)
The Iron Lady (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watched 3 movies this week, Mirror Mirror – funny! New Years Eve – good! The Iron Lady – interesting!

Of the 3 I think I prefered the iron Lady the best. Meryl Streep was fantastic! I never thought about her as an actress, to me she was Margaret Thatcher. I hadn’t realized all the history that surrounded Thatcher and her rise to Prime Minister. She was often the only female in the House. I have a feeling it glamorize her family life and failed to show the heart ache of her children and husband. None the less, it was enjoyable.

Clearly I need to work on my skills as a reviewer, I’m sure it will progress.

This week i have started Peony in Love by Lisa See. I think it is a chick book. I started Hunger Games and just couldn’t keep my head in it. The gals at work rave about Lisa See so I will give it a try. As for the movie, I am planing on watching Hugo. My daughter raves about it, so I thought it might be a good family night movie.

What are you reading? Seen any good movies lately?

 

Fifty Fifty Me

I started a new challenge! Well it isn’t very new, It is kind of tied to my current goals and that is why I think it is doable.

I joined Fifty fifty me. The purpose is to read 50 books and watch 50 movies this year. I need to figure out how I am doing with the movies, I watch about one a week in an effort to achieve my bucket list but now I suddenly need to keep track. Hmmm, If you saw a movie with me this year, please tell me what we saw!!!

I will set up a page called 5050me. You can find it on the left hand side of my blog along with all my other crazy challenges that I am doing. Can you say “Whoa there ET, Slow down?” Apparently not!

Being March, we are 13 weeks into the challenge. I have read 15 books that are not school related. I am sure I have seen at least 13 movies, but will need to reflect on that. I will commit to writing one blog post a week on books reviews and movies, part of the challenge is to keep it up on my blog. I expect YOU to help me. Share with me great reads and great movies!

Here are the Rules…well they are more like guidelines

Some Guidelines:

  • Recognize you’re doing this for bragging rights (only); although we promise some fun along the way.
  • Join anytime you like, but you only have til the end of 2012 to finish.
  • Read and watch at your own pace, just get to 50/50 before 2013
  • Finish that stack of half-read books, finally! We’ll let you count them.
  • Read/watch in any language. 50/50 is global, yo.

Questions you are asking or should be!

1) Um…What happens if I don’t read 50 books and watch 50 movies this year?
Easy: we send a bounty hunter to your house.

Just kidding- this is for fun, remember? There is no punishment (not this year, anyhow) – it’s your personal challenge, so all we ask is that you try! We know it’s a lot of books, a lot of movies; the point is that it is probably more than you’ve ever consumed in a year. That’s why it’s a challenge and not “The 50/50 Usual”.

2) Do I have to read the books, or can I just skim?
I can see how this would be confusing. Oh wait, no, it’s a reading challenge. Same as fast-forwarding through a movie isn’t the same as really watching one, this is about taking the time to really enjoy. In short, yes, for the avoidance of doubt, please read the book for it count.

3) Do long books count as 2? What about movies?
If your book is over 500 pages, you can count it as 2 books if you like.

However, if the book is 2000 pages, it’s still just two books — not four! We want to encourage you to read longer pieces. This answer has been posted for the benefit of all you Game of Thrones fanatics out there. Go forth and prosper or whatever it is.

Note: A movie is still just a (one, 1, “ONE”) movie. (That said, installments in a series (example: the individual Godfather movies) would each snag an individual point.)

4) What if I’ve read a few pages or seen a few clips of a movie already?
We’re going with the 75% rule on this one. Honor system!

5) Do textbooks count?
You poor thing. Let’s see here: A book’s a book, but are you really reading all of it or just a chapter here or there? Be honest with yourself!

Books you read for school count as well, if you’ve read them in their entirety.

6) Can I rewatch/reread? 
Of course you can rewatch and reread… it just won’t count towards your 50/50 😉

We hope you will use FiftyFifty to inspire you to explore new stuff! Maybe next year we will include a “Reminiscing” theme, but this year around we’re asking you to go fresh.

7) Do I need a blog to do fiftyfifty.me?
You do not need a blog in order to do fiftyfifty.me! We suggest it on the website as an easy way to keep track online of what you’re up to (Blogger and Tumblr offer free blog services, for starters)

This year, we’re working on the honor system- just keep a list on your fridge or in a notebook if you aren’t interested in doing it online. The main focus is on participating- your free time is better spent on reading/watching.

8) What should I read/watch?
Anything you like! We have offered a lot of suggestions and will continue to, on our website; these are called Themes.

For example, one thing we have suggested is that you dive deeper into someone’s work and experience a few in a row (whether it’s an author, director, actor, etc.). What this does is allow you to justify why you stayed home all weekend watching Ryan Gosling’s filmography. It will also allow you to use “oeuvre” correctly in conversation with people (who rightfully probably won’t want to be your friends for long, but that is neither here nor that).

We call this “Majoring” in something (or minoring in it). You can read more about that on this post, and on any posts with the tags “Major” or “Minor”.

9) Can kids participate in fiftyfifty.me?
Yes, definitely! We encourage families and people of all ages to sign up for fiftyfifty.me, although you should prepare because the kids we know will double up and read more like 100 books in the year.

We just suggest you read age-appropriate(ish) material, and if you are under 18, have the oversight of a parent or guardian- get them to participate too.

10) How do I get my school/library involved?
Tell them about it! We are sure your school or library would encourage this adventure. If your library or school does decide to participate, let us know and we’ll be happy to post about it on our website.

While we do not offer prizes this year (other than our respect, membership in the cool kids club, etc etc). Schools or libraries may want to support the fiftyfifty.me with local awards for big achievers, or a ceremony to recognize those who accomplish this huge task.

You might also want to create a club to meet once in a while and discuss what you are reading/watching, and share recommendations in person. Libraries, local independent bookstores, and theaters would be great venues for these – get them involved!

11) How can I find people around me doing 50/50?
We do not yet ask people to identify where they are joining from, but we encourage you to set up a local gathering of 50/50 participants either by setting one up on Meetup or creating a club, etc., luring some of your friends.

12) Are there 50/50 events?
We are based out of San Diego and will be holding a launch event and occasional meetups. We hope to have other events nationwide, so stay tuned! We’ll keep you posted when/if those happen. Please be sure to sign up for our mailing list so we can reach out to you about relevant news and information.

I discovered this challenge from fellow blogger Sheila Hurst She just started too and is aiming for 30 books. Join the challenge!

Meanwhile…I need to go and do a NEW thing for my 52 new things challenge. I am going for contacts. 44 and never wore contacts. UnHEARD of in the 21st Century. I get around to everything eventually.