Read with Me: Orange is the New Black

Did you ever do something risky or foolish when you were younger and lived to regret it? Not me…well, I never did anything illegal, I did you risky and foolish things. My grandfather always said that the reason everyone isn’t dead by the age of 5 is because our Guardian Angels work over time. This is mine, she works pretty hard and I do not pay her enough:

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Sure I made bad choices, but I learned from them. Sometimes it took me several passes at the same mistake…Hello Man Choices! But eventually I got my life sorted out.

images (1)I read Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman. I couldn’t put this book down. I am rating it 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Most people have seen the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. I watched one episode and it bothered me SO MUCH that is was different from the book I could watch any more episodes. Why? Because I loved the book that much. Why are characters names changed? Why are plot lines different? Why can’t I over look that?

At any rate, for those of you who haven’t seen the show – or even if you have, read the book. It was somewhat akin to rubber necking at a horrific accident and you just can’t look away.

Piper Kerman had a reckless lesbian youth where she was a drug mule and did money laundering because she was in love with a women who convinced her to follow her around the world. By the time Kerman snapped out of this infatuation, she realized she needed to move on, change her life and live according to some of the morals and values that she was brought up with. She gets back to the states and meets a guy, moves ahead by locking up her past.

Fast forward several years into the future and her former lover rats her out. Piper Kerman has to confess to her family and fiance about her past because she is about to go to prison for her crimes.

What I loved about this book was her honest raw account of prison details. How dignity was left at the door and how she met people on the inside who she never would have been friends with in Manhattan, yet they bonded. Through her experience, you could tell that she made the connection between her crime and how it affected these people. To Piper it was just a fun kick..to the women in prison, it was a way of life. A life with limited choices. That hit hard.

Although it is hard for us to make the right choice in the moment without life experience to guide us, I love that the possibility of changing or learning from these moments are possible at any time during our life time. Thanks goodness for my Guardian Angel. I obviously go more out of the book than a story.

Perhaps you will too. Read it. It is different from the series…and better.

Fifty Fifty Me: Wild

I guess I am behind. Guess what? Not caring that much. Guess why? Schooooooooooools out for Summa! Schooooooooooools out for ev-va! Okay not really, I have one more day of classes with my lovelies. I feel teary-eyed over the whole affair. I let a river monster sit in my lap and cry. I have to admit I kind of liked it. Not the crying part, the river monster was distraught, but the cuddle part.I shall think of him often wondering how he is doing as I also think about children of my past *cough* 24 years. I always think it is not possible to love the next round as much as this round because there is a lot of fear and apprehension that comes with September. This September is no exception. In fact I may be experiencing more fear than usual. Because of all of this accumulated chaos, I have not been up on my reading. I have hours and hours to catch up so I am sure I will meet my 50 book totals by December 31, 2012. I am hoping for 52. Currently I sit at 25. Exactly half-way. My record for a summer reading program is 15 books. We shall see how that goes!

The Book

I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I already talked about this book and the fear here. There was more to this book than just fear and reflection. Strayed was nearing rock-bottom when she set out for a trip up the Pacific Crest Trail. As a travel book, this story is enough for ME to want to hike the trail and I think of camping as incarceration. I have done t, loved it at one time, enjoy it occasionally, but prefer a 5 star resort now. There is something quite delicious about camping in the woods alone. That really appeals to me. I love to be alone with my thoughts and my imagination. I prefer not to talk but I can keep up with the best of them! Reflective is a word that describes me best. Or Self-reflective might be a better fit. There is a big long line of skills I am not perfect in or situations I could have handled better but like Strayed, I realize that those choices were important at the time. Learning things from mistakes and challenges is far more impact than by being awesome all the time. Sure I tell people I am awesome all the time, but the truth is – I am learning just like they are. The more I learn the less I know. I feel a real sense of kinship with Strayed. We both have come the same distance on a journey we had no idea how would turn out. I stepped into a crossroads and am ready to follow the path ahead of me after months of fear and indecision. I admit to being scared, but I also admit to it not holding me back any more.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Read it, loved it but it was not Pride and Prejudice. I love how her characters make me feel. It was a great read for those of you who can plow through books that are 200 years old. It’s not for everyone. But it IS for me. It is now official, I have read ALL of Jane Austen’s books. For those Jane fans out there, Netflix has a mini-series called Lost in Austen. If you know the story of Pride and Prejudice and loved it, this is for YOU! I loved it – all four hours of it. It was funny and if you are a Mr. Darcy fan (who isn’t!!!) then delighting in this fantasy is fantastic!

I loved Wild. It was the right book at the right time for me. I recommend it to everyone. I hope they glean something amazing from it too.

The Movie

I have only been able to see a couple of movies, It’s a Funny Kind of Story and Avengers. Obviously Avengers wins hands down as my favorite but It’s a Funny Kind of Story if on Netflix and is quite amazing! It is about a boy – teen rather – who tries to commits suicide and his parents discover him and get mad and his poor choices. He then checks himself into a mental ward at the hospital. He meets the best characters. This movie is like One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest – but with a happier ending. My daughter said it was a great book too. This is worth a look.

But Avengers…. BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE EVER! I hated the Hulk in previous TV shows and movies, but Mark Ruffalo is AWESOME. Shwarma steals the show. Because I am not objective, I have no idea if this is a good movie because I am a superhero geek or because it was a good movie. Not caring…loved it, want it and will own it when it comes out. That’s all I have to say about that. Since this is the second time I wrote about this movie…obviously I love it.

Next week I will read Under the Tuscan Sun – I hear it is awful. But the people who say it is awful loved Shades of Grey. Now THAT book is terrible… I suspect I will love random thoughts of a middle-aged woman’s mind, because after all that is what this blog is all about – that and other stuff.

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.