Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Malarkey - About 3 weeks' worth of malarkey

I have a great deal of catching-up to do because I went here:

New York to attend a writing workshop led by my delightful friend, Simon Van Booy, and New Jersey to visit son and daughter-in-law. And, apparently, also to bond with my grand-dog, with whom I spent a startling amount of time reading on a breezy porch. Between the trips to NJ/NY and dealing with the house sale (on-again, off-again, on-again, ugh -- it's enough to make a girl a little crazy), I can't say I managed to round up absolutely every book that arrived (and, in retrospect, it seems I actually photographed at least two that I've already mentioned). I'm just going to call it close enough and move on from here.

Recent arrivals/purchases in several photos (and in no order, whatsoever):

Top to bottom:

  • Tales of Trenzalore (stories) by Richards, Mann, Finch and Morris - This was a "thank you gift" from BBC Books for participating in their Doctor Who tour, last year. Kiddo and I were giddy. 
  • World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters - One of my most-anticipated books of the year and, yes, I read it immediately, release date be damned (July 15 for those of you who are bouncing in your seats in anticipation). 
  • Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer - Pretty sure I already mentioned this one when it arrived, now that I think about it.
  • The Scatter Here is Too Great by Bilal Tanweer - from Harper for review

Top to Bottom: 

  • This is the Water by Yannick Murphy - from HarperCollins for Tour
  • The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno - from Harper Teen via Shelf Awareness
  • Flings by Justin Taylor - from Harper for review
  • Ashes by Elsa Bick - via Paperback Swap
  • The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar - from Harper for review
  • The Science Book (no author accredited on cover) - from DK via Shelf Awareness

The pile above includes purchases made at Strand Books in New York City and a little secondhand bookstore in downtown Metuchen, New Jersey. Top to bottom:

  • The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
  • The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories by Mark Twain
  • Autobiography of an English Soldier in the United States Army by Geo. Ballantine
  • Summer in February by Jonathan Smith
  • Final Harvest: Emily Dickinson's Poems, ed. by Thomas H. Johnson
  • Arts and Crafts: A Practical Handbook by Marguerite Ickis (pub'd in 1943 and including a how-to section on the art of bookbinding!)

Oops, I photographed yet another book already mentioned (Daring: My Passages by Gail Sheehy). Oh, well. I've got too much going on to redo the photos and it doesn't hurt to show the spine. Others, top to bottom:

  • The Conditions of Love by Dale M. Kushner - from a friend
  • One Evening in Paris by Nicolas Barreau - from a friend
  • Parsons Green by Fiona Bagley - a shared book for next F2F discussion; I'll pass this one along when finished
  • Molly's Game by Molly Bloom - unsolicited from Harper's !t Books. 

Books finished since my last Monday Malarkey post (some already briefly reviewed -- list is ordered by date completed; pile is by size):

The Humans by Matt Haig - Saved me from boredom -- as did the other passengers on my flight to Newark, who remained incredibly upbeat and relaxed during a 7-hour flight delay; thank you to all, especially the fellow who took turns luggage-watching when I traveled solo.
Bark by Lorrie Moore (short stories)
Incendiary Girls by Kodi Scheer (short stories)
The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy (reread)
The Scatter Here is Too Great by Bilal Tanweer (short stories)
Time and Again by Jack Finney (reread)
World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters
In the Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda
Nick and Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle by Pflugfelder and Hockensmith
Doctor Who: Tales of Trenzalore by Richards, Mann, Finch and Morris

Currently reading:

Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi - I'm on page 72 and there's something about this book that makes me squirmy and a little irritable. I'm not sure what it is that's making my skin crawl. Oyeyemi's writing is also surprising and I like that, so I'll continue on but I don't feel entirely comfortable saying I think I'll complete the reading. Sometimes a clever twist of phrase only takes you so far.

The movies I've watched were mostly not my fault:

Man of Steel was eldest son's choice, while we were visiting. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Superman in any form, although I have watched my fair share of the various versions. There are so many!!!  I think the Superman franchise should die. Personal humble opinion, but then I'm not the one who ought to decide since I'm not a fan, period.

On the plus side: Gah, gorgeous actor, that Henry Cavill. I could stare at him all day.  And, Man of Steel does have quite the all-star cast. On the negative side: The protracted fight scenes, overdone/weird home planet technology, changes from the original storyline, awkward lack of chemistry between Superman and Lois Lane all made me cringe. Just not my thing.

On the rather shocking side: My husband liked it.  Say what? He doesn't like much of anything. You might remember I got him to watch Page Eight, recently, and was extremely excited that he liked it enough to sit through the entire movie. I just . . . I don't . . . ????

Oblivion was definitely my choice. Kiddo wanted to rent a movie from Red Box and insisted upon an action movie. The choices were pretty limited so I chose Oblivion. I do like sci-fi, although I don't love Tom Cruise. The basic storyline is "World destroyed in war, everyone's gone to Titan except a few people who are meant to clean up, kill off the scavengers/aliens and then join the others." But, then Tom Cruise as "Jack" (Cruise probably doesn't have enough fingers to count the number of times he's played a Jake or a Jack) discovers something he's not meant to find out and becomes a target, has to save the day, yada, yada.

I thought Oblivion was a little slow and it contained some unnecessary scenes but apart from what I'd seen in the trailer, I knew diddly-squat about the movie. I didn't even know Morgan Freeman was in it. That turned out to be a good thing. When Morgan Freeman turned up, I was pleased. The movie has one of those characters with a terrible fake Southern accent and then who shows up but a true Southerner who barely sounds Southern at all! It's like the movie-makers are pulling their own leg.

At any rate, apart from the slow pacing and that horrendous accent, I enjoyed Oblivion. It's a little predictable but still surprised me a couple times and I liked the storyline. Husband left the room. See!  He doesn't like anything!!!! 

And, then she goes on to say . . . Spies Like Us was actually Husband's choice. Haha, well he did enjoy movies in the 80s. :)  

Kiddo brought out a stack of slapstick movies and I made "meh" noises, so Huzzybuns chose. I'm really craving something a little more along the lines of BBC historical, to be honest, and if we're going with Dan Ackroyd, I'd prefer Ghostbusters. We came in on the end of Ghostbusters in New Jersey, one day, and planned to stream the full movie but never got around to doing so. 

If you've never seen Spies Like Us, it's worth seeing for the laughs. I've always liked it, although it's not necessarily a personal favorite. Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd play two lower-level government employees who are recruited to act as [expendable] decoys during a spy operation in Russia (Reagan era!!) but manage to stumble upon the real job and stop a plot that involves use of Reagan's so-called Star Wars defense system -- which, of course, was a disaster in reality. 

Not what I wanted to watch, but Spies Like Us is reliable for a little slapstick fun. I'm pretty sure Husband stayed in the room. He doesn't necessarily stick around merely because he chose the movie. 

So . . . what's been up in your world, this past couple of weeks? Have you read anything marvelous? 

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  1. Your writing workshop sounds wonderful!!

    1. It was absolutely perfect.

    2. We watched Oblivion and thought it was pretty good. Started Page Eight last night (while ironing) and will finish it tonight. Don't know why I thought it was a series...

      I wondered if you would get that new edition of Time and Again. :)

      I'm hoping to finish All the Light We Cannot See by the weekend so I can start in on my Paris books for the Paris in July challenge. Off to Kansas City for a couple of days, so maybe I'll have time to read and catch-up on blogs, too. :)

    3. Yep, I liked Oblivion. You might have thought Page Eight was a series because I mentioned it next to Parade's End (which is a 6-part series) if you read my post about those two. Hard to say. Isn't Page Eight wonderful? So nice and understated.

      Yep, I thought the new edition was a *super* excuse to reread Time and Again. You know how I love Jack Finney! :)

      Ooooh, All the Light We Cannot See is on my wish list. I'll have to watch for your review. Have fun in KC!


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