Archive | April, 2011

Movie Review: Water For Elephants

26 Apr

Water for Elephants

Some of my book club gals and I decided that for some ‘extra credit’ we would go to the movie premiere of Water For Elephants, starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.  This movie is based on a book of the same name by Sara Gruen.  I ready Water For Elephants several years ago, and really, REALLY enjoyed it.  I was looking forward to seeing it portrayed on the big screen.

We were able to get into the movie’s ‘premiere’ in our area, which included drinks and appetizers before the movie.  While neither the drinks nor the food were that special, we felt fancy and special! 

I’ll admit I had my doubts about how well this movie was going to be pulled off for several reasons:  1) Movies are never as good as the books they are based on, 2) Robert Pattinson is a terrible actor (although nice to look at – wowza), and 3) the previews looked dumb. 

Well, I am sorry to say – my doubts were confirmed.  While the story’s plot was portrayed well, the depth of the relationships and the characters themselves fell seriously short.  It was like looking at a crappy cell phone photo of the Mona Lisa.   And I applaud Robert Pattinson’s attempts to break out of the Twilight image, he really needs more than one facial expression.  Lastly, poor Reese – she worked so hard in this movie – basically sitting with an elephant or horse and dressed in a leotard in every scene. 

I overheard several women proclaim their love for this movie as we were leaving the movie theater, and I am positive that they hadn’t read the book.  Such is a society that likes movies better than books – people think that’s as good as storytelling gets.  <sigh>


32 Year-Old Kid Tested; Mother Approved

26 Apr

You know I am always trying to come up with ways to slip books and reading into everything I do, so I give a lot of books as gifts.  Mother’s Day is coming up, and I plan on getting my mom a really great book for her to lounge with this summer.  Here are my suggestions for books that would make great gifts for mom:

For the baby boomer mom:

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld: Book Cover

If you mom is a baby boomer, there’s a good chance she would really enjoy this story.  Even if she’s not, I still think it’s a great book.  Curtis Sittenfeld also happens to be my favorite author.  American Wife is about a woman who marries a future President of the United States (the character seems to have similarities to Laura Bush, but the author says it’s a very limited similarity) 

 For the mom who was disappointed All My Children was canceled:

 The Search by Nora Roberts: Book Cover

Nora Roberts has replaced Danielle Steele at the modern-day soap opera writer.  Her books are not particularly prophetic, but they are certainly entertaining.  This one’s about a woman trying to get one with her life after surviving an abduction by a serial killer.

For the mom who likes to keep up with the Jones’s:

 The Help by Kathryn Stockett: Book Cover

It seems that this book has been read by more women in the last year than any other book.  I would also bet that this book was discussed by more book clubs than any other book ever.   I’ve seen it at the hair salon, the grocery store, and the doctor’s office.  I’ve heard about people who’ve read it who never read.  The general opinion, mine included, is that this is just a really good book.  It’s about the wealthy/not-so-wealthy relationships in Mississippi in the 1960s. 

For the mom who likes to cry:

My Sister's Keeper

Really any Jodi Picoult book would do, but this is the one I found the most emotional.   

For the mom raised during the 1980’s:

Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal: Book Cover

Okay, this 32 year-old has not read this book…it apparently has some grammatical errors and has gotten very mixed reviews.  But c’mon, it’s still a good gift for those moms who read the Sweet Valley High books growing up (like me). 

For the mom of a future, past or present teenage girl:

Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner: Book CoverCertain Girls

 The teenager part doesn’t come into play until Certain Girls, but Good in Bed is the prequel so I have to recommend both – a very well written and witty story about a woman who works to find love and happiness while dealing with body issues. 

For the Enlightened Mom:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood: Book Cover

This book was made for a book discussion.  It is very deep and layered with symbolism.  It is extremely powerful and thought-provoking.  I’ll admit I had to pick it up more than once to finish it, but the payoff was amazing. 

For moms who like animals:

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: Book Cover

This is a heart-warming story about life told from the perspective of a golden retriever.  I am not an animal person, so I felt out of the loop at times, but I think it’s a great selection for someone who has had a pet.

 For a Great-Grand Mom:

The Beach House by Jane Green: Book Cover

The word innocuous comes to mind.  No sweaty sex scenes, mild language, light content (although adult), about a mature woman’s second chance at love.  It’s a perfect book to give an elder without feeling like you’re tarnishing her good name (or yours). 

If none of these describe the mother you buy for, drop me a note and we’ll come up with something she will love!

While We’re Talking Movies…

9 Apr

Check out this article  from NPR, which summarizes the movies coming out this year that are based on books.  You know how I feel about giving credit where credit is due, particularly to the author’s who dreamt up these plots and characters to begin with.  Everyone should know these movies were books first!

Hunger Games Movie Deets

8 Apr

Wow, has it been a month already?!  Time really flies, doesn’t it?  In my last post, I showed you who they were thinking of to play the lead role of Katniss in the Hunger Games movie.  Well since then, not only have they finalized the selection for Katniss, they have also finalized the selection for the Peeta and Gale Characters as well:

Katniss Everdeen  is to be played by Jennifer Lawrence.  She’s really only become popular in the last year – she was nominated for her role in The Winter’s Bone.

Jennifer Lawrence Katniss

Gale is to be played by Liam Hemsworth.  I’ve only seen him in that movie with Miley Cyrus called The Last Song

Liam Hemsworth Gale

And last but not least, Peeta will be played by this guy:  Josh Hutcherson, and I honestly have never seen him before.  A quick search on IMDB tells me he really hasn’t been in much – Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brendan Fraser is about as big as it gets.


Here’s what else I know:  The release date is March 2012 and this first movie will only reflect the first book called The Hunger Games.  I have also read that Lionsgate and the director want this to be rated PG-13, which basically means they plan to ‘mature it up’ a bit to appeal to an older teen crowd (I’m guessing like Twilight).  The book was solidly PG, definitely not PG-13.  The diehard THG lovers are disappointed in this direction because it seems very ‘Hollywood’ (read: greedy and shallow).  We’ll see I guess.  I am anxious to see who else is cast as we get close to production which is due to start late summer.  Stay tuned!