Monday, April 07, 2014

Monday Malarkey - Asteroid preparation, new books, weekend movies

Happy Monday!  We had an interesting weekend - so stormy (as in deluge with a lot of crackBOOM noises) from late Saturday night till late Sunday that we opted to stay safe at home doing exciting things like laundry and sleeping, although fortunately we did manage to sneak in a local baseball game before the inclement weather arrived.

I'd hoped to curl up and do some reading on Sunday but every time I tried, I fell asleep. Some days are like that.  We also watched a couple movies. More on that in a minute.  From the new arrivals, which included copies of The Last Policeman and Countdown City, I made my own little asteroid preparation kit, which includes duct tape, a flashlight, a bottle of water, a respirator and a towel, in addition to the two books:

I am now officially prepared for a fictional apocalypse!  Note that with one bottle of water I'm not likely to last long but I'm sure the books would keep me alive for a while and, although this is an entirely different fictional probability, I do have a towel in case of the potential for hitchhiking on passing spaceships. I've read both of the Last Policeman books, already, and they're pretty exciting, by the way -- hopefully, I'll get Countdown City reviewed, this week.  Thanks to Eric at Quirk Books for the laugh.

Last week's arrivals:

  • How to Lose a Lemur by Frann Preston-Gannon - from Sterling Children's Books for review 
  • The Last Policeman and Countdown City by Ben H. Winters - from Quirk Books because they have a great sense of humor at Quirk

Last week's posts:

Books finished:

  • Itch Rocks by Simon Mayo
  • 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Mission into the Heart of Germany by Steven Pressman
  • Tooth & Claw: The Wild World of Big Predators by Jim Arnosky

Currently reading:

  • Femininity by Susan Brownmiller - I just read one section, occasionally, then set this book aside for a day or two.  Although parts of it are outdated, I think it's still worth reading if you're a feminist or interested in how men view women and how we see ourselves (and how this has changed throughout history and across continents).
  • The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor - It took me a while to warm up to the author's voice but now I'm enjoying it.
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga - A Booker Prize winner that has sat on my shelf for years. I accidentally started this book on Saturday. By "accidentally" I mean that I had no plans to read it; I just happened to be cleaning in the guest room (where it was shelved) and when I looked at it I thought about the fact that during our trip to Costa Rica I saw a man reading The White Tiger at poolside and asked him what he thought. He said it was excellent. It took me a while to acquire the book and there it has sat, ever since. I pulled the book down thinking I'd just "peek inside".  79 pages later, I stopped to go to the baseball game. I might never have come up for air, otherwise.

Weekend movies:

We've recently unpacked some boxes of DVDs so we're digging through the DVDs whenever we feel like watching a movie.

Sneakers - A delightful caper with an all-star cast: Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, the late River Phoenix, Dan Ackroyd, Ben Kingsley, David Strathairn, Mary McDonnell.  Seriously, this film (released in 1992) could not have a better cast. It has held up beautifully. In spite of the fact that the idea of an unbreakable code is pretty much laughable, now, and a code-breaking master machine kind of silly, the story is still a good one and much less cheesy and overblown than more recent caper movies, in my humble opinion.  In other words, I still love it.

Ice Station Zebra is the 1968 movie based on the book Ice Station Zebra by Alistair MacLean - which I read and reviewed, last year.  We were a little stunned when we started up the movie and got a still shot of a submarine with the word "Overture".  I turned to my husband and said, "Are we being seated in the theater?" He shrugged. I assume that was the purpose of the overture, which was a lengthy one.

Ice Station Zebra is another movie with a pretty terrific cast: Patrick McGoohan, Ernest Borgnine and Rock Hudson are the stars. I'm not familiar with Jim Brown but it appears he's an early "sports hero turned actor".  I'm not so impressed with him but I love the fact that the movie is understated. Even when exciting things are happening, there's no shouting of goofy commands that you know you wouldn't hear in real life. Instead, everyone seems quite professional. It seems a lot closer to reality than anything we'd see today, but that's just a guess.

One thing that really stands out is the fact that all the main characters smoke . . . on a submarine.  That had to get nasty. We got to the point at which the submarine (after being sabotaged and nearly sinking) successfully punched through the ice and a team was readying to hike 3 miles across the ice to get to the damaged station. And, then the word "Intermission" popped up.  It's a long movie and it was getting late, so we opted to stop the show and watch the rest, later.  So far, I'm really enjoying it, though, and so is the top of my husband's head (he played on his tablet the entire time).

That's pretty much my week in a nutshell. How was yours?

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  1. Asteroid preparation kit - you are so funny. I love it!

    1. Eric at Quirk came up with the idea. I just ran with it. I'm obviously a girl with too much time on her hands, going around gathering bottled water and other apocalypse supplies, but I had fun. I actually do need to work on our hurricane preparation kit, soon. The seasons starts up in June and time seems to be going at hyper-speed, this year.

    2. Season. Singular.

  2. I love digging out old movies I haven't seen forever out of my collection and watching them. I love Sneakers.

    I keep falling asleep every time I read too. Must be going around.

    1. Me, too, Jenny! There was a point when we considered doing away with our DVDs because of streaming but we've found that streaming is more limited than we'd hoped so we just ditched the DVDs we know we'll never watch, again. We've been watching old episodes of Northern Exposure, too. Fun!

      Haha! I'm glad I'm not the only one who keeps falling asleep reading! Must be something in the air.

  3. Ice Station Zebra: I read the book when I was a teen. My mother was a big Alistair MacLean fan. I don't even think I knew there was a movie made of it. I'll have to look for it.

    1. Bryan! You're back! I was just thinking about you, yesterday.

      I read a couple of MacLean's titles when I was a teen but not Ice Station Zebra. I just happened to find an old copy in the library sale and saved it for the end of summer (we have really, really long summers) to cool me off. I really enjoyed it. The movie is fun - very long and quite different from the book but well done, in my humble opinion.

  4. I love your prep kit! I will come sit by you during the asteroid apocalypse! (I will be sure to bring my own water, though.)

    I tried to read The White Tiger a year or so ago from the library and couldn't get into it, but it could entirely be I wasn't in the right mood for it. That happens to me sometimes. I can usually tell if I should try it again or I will never be able to like a book, and this one I remember I was willing to try again one day.

    1. LOL I will be glad to have the company during the apocalypse, Becca!

      That happens to me a lot -- books not "clicking" for me at a particular time but enjoyed on a second attempt. Usually, I can tell whether or not I should bother returning to a book if it doesn't grab me. Obviously, when I plucked it off the shelf, it just happened to be the right moment for reading The White Tiger. I'll be finished tonight. If not for the fact that I've been ridiculously sleepy the past week, I'd probably be done with it by now, but I'm still falling asleep reading and waking up early. I'm totally off-kilter.

  5. I have the Ben H. Winters books, too. My reading is dead lately. I am really struggling. I hope to get to them soon. I started and they look like I will like them. :)

    1. They are so good, Kelly! Hopefully, The Last Policeman will pull you out of that reading slump. :)

  6. I, too, have had The White Tiger on my shelves for years. It's just sitting there till it ripens for me I suppose. I look forward to hearing if you like it. Thanks.

    1. Ha, what a great way to look at a book sitting on a shelf: "ripening". :) I love it. I enjoyed The White Tiger. It's a fascinating story that's both upbeat and a little sinister. It definitely gives you an idea of how demeaning it must be to grow up in a servant class in India.


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