Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Books, movies and nice weather

From Wunderground.com
This kind of ten-day weather forecast for the Pacific Northwest only happens in the summer. Some people don't think our summer even begins until after the Fourth of July, and you know, this is making a good case for that view. There aren't even any clouds in the forecast! That's very unusual. Anyway, it's good for me, since it looks like this coming weekend will be good for skydiving (and I'm going), and on Monday the Trailblazers will be having our first all-day-long adventure, a new hike for all of us. It's off the Mountain Loop Highway, quite a distance, so we'll be having dinner together as well.

I also wanted to share some movies I've seen recently. First of all, I went to see Ida after reading the reviews and having seen the trailer. It's filmed in Poland, with English subtitles. Everything they say about the movie is true: it's stunning in so many ways, but it's also not exactly uplifting: a young orphan in taken in by a convent and raised to become a nun. The Mother Superior wants her to contact her only living relative before taking final vows, so she travels to meet her. The movie is about what transpires, set in 1962 Poland. The young woman's journey is very vivid in my mind. Every movie I have ever seen about the Holocaust and its aftermath have affected me very deeply, and this one is no different. That's all I'll say about it, except (1) I'm glad I saw it, and (2) I wouldn't see it again. I felt the same way about "Schindler's List."

Judy and I also saw Words and Pictures, and we almost didn't go because the reviews were so uniformly bad. Well, the movie did have a hard time getting going, but by the end I realized I had enjoyed it very much. It's a story set in a high school, with Clive Owen playing an honors English teacher who has some serious problems. A new art teacher is hired, played by Juliette Binoche, who is crippled by serious rheumatoid arthritis. The movie is about their involvement, hence the "words and pictures" of the title. I would see it again; it's billed as a romantic comedy and fills that role quite well.

Now for some books: I got quite involved with the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I couldn't put it down and finished it in one long day. My only problem with it is that I was really dismayed by the ending. I guess I like my books in the same way that I like my movies: lift me up at the end! I hear it's being made into a movie now, due out in October, and that the ending of the movie is different than it is in the book. Well, that alone will make me want to see it! Wonderful book, well written and memorable characters.

My sister introduced me to another writer,  JoJo Moyes. (The link takes you to her page that gives a synopsis of each book she's written.) JoJo is a British writer who grew up in London. She now lives with her husband and three children in Essex and has written eleven books. She has learned the technique of drawing very believable and unforgettable characters. She also knows how to write a page-turner of a novel. Norma Jean had just read Me Before You, a book that also captured my interest and wouldn't let me put it down. JoJo has a new book out, One Plus One, and I am on the waiting list at the library for it. One book she also wrote was in the library stacks, so I checked it out and read it: The Last Letter from your Lover. I enjoyed it, too.

Well, that's it for now. I simply must go out and do some work in my garden. All the lettuce has bolted and needs to be pulled up, and I've got to thin my beets. Plus all this warm weather coming means I've got to stay ahead of the unwanted weeds! Till next time.


  1. i keep hearing about gone girl...i might just have to check it out....first time i heard about ida as well...will check that out too...we are on day...well i lost count...in the 90s...the grass is pretty well toast...and my skin is peeling...ha...

  2. enjoy the marvelous weather pattern while it lasts!

  3. Gone Girl was beautifully written, and sucked me right in. It has also creeped me out. Psychologically nasty wasn't it? To the max.
    I hope that your weather boffins tell the truth rather better than ours do, and that you have a wonderful dive (or two) and a great adventure with the Intrepid Trailblazers.

  4. Looking at your weather forecast has me slightly jealous...70's?!?!

    Gone Girl was a SUPERB book - I loved it. The ending? It was different. I didn't hate it, as my friend did, but it was...disturbing to me.

    But considering that I've since read about twenty or more books since that one and I STILL remember the ending of that one?

    Enjoy the beautiful weather coming your way.

  5. You've been very busy with movies and reading. My reading has really slacked off lately. I didn't finish the last book I started.

  6. I always enjoy your book and movie reviews!
    I am way behind the times but I decided to start reading the J A Jance detective novels set in Seattle. I am halfway through the second one, and so far I am enjoying them. It is kind of funny how we take cell phones for granted now but it wasn't that long ago that we didn't have them, like in 1987 when the first novel of the series was published. I like being able to picture all the settings that are so familiar to me.

  7. Your temperatures will be similar to ours but we will have lows in the 40's. Seems odd for July but the weather has been odd this year. Did you get your knees in the breeze on Sunday? :)

  8. What a perfect week you have ahead, enjoy the sunshine and mild temps. We hit 100 today with more heat to come.

    You always find the most interesting books and movies DJan. Gone Girl sounds familiar to me, it could be in my to be read pile which gets deeper (virtually since most are Kindle copies) every day.

  9. Oh my goodness, sky-diving! You are way to brave for me, girl. Thanks for sharing the books and movies.

  10. An all day hike?? Better thee than me. Hope you have fun and enjoy the dinner.
    Also hope the weather holds true for your sky dive. Know you are ready to get going.
    Thanks for all the reviews. I too like things more uplifting so I will have to think about those.

  11. You write about these books so engagingly that I intend to look them up and buy one for my Kindle. Thanks!

  12. My goodness. Ten glorious days, and you're going to fill them up will many good things.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  13. Glorious weather, all day hike, sky diving...marvelous! :) I wrote down that JoJo author for my library lady list. I agree with Gone Girl. I think everyone may have been a bit thrown by the ending. But I had no idea they have been making a movie!! I will be dying of curiosity to find out how they end the story!! Can hardly wait! I have Ida in my queue for when it's available on Netflix. Comparing it to Shindler's List makes me really look forward to it. Even if those kind of films are hard to watch, they are the ones that touch your soul deeply. Enjoy the wonderful weather! I bet your garden is happy-happy!! :)

  14. Thanks for the reviews. I can always count on you for good reviews. I have not read Gone Girl. I keep seeing it. Like you, I hate when a book ends badly. I will have to check into reading it. I have a feeling I will skip it.

    I've seen reviews about JoJo Moyes latest book. I've not read her. I'm a reading slump right now. I hate when I don't think anything catches my eye to read.

  15. Yes indeed. It's been a great summer for weeds. Lots of rain. I wondering about your all day hike. Up another mountain.... Yikes!

  16. You've turned me on to some great books and movies- thanks. Enjoy your stretch of glorious days. We have three to four months of them here!

  17. I appreciate your movie & book reviews, DJan! I don't see many movies, we don't have access to much variety in theaters, and it's hard to watch grown up movies at home with children around.
    But I still enjoy hearing about them, and books - oh, books, I can't get enough of!
    I feel the same way about endings, which is why A Thousand Splendid Suns was such a favorite. Not only did I learn so much from it, but I rarely read a book that leaves me so satisfied with it's ending & no strings left untied.


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