Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading Round-Up of Books & Movies

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Movies Watched this Week:


watch the film here

This is a lovely, compelling short film by Alex Withrow, a gifted emerging film-maker, featuring Catherine Warner, a beautiful and talented young actress. It features strong acting and directing along with striking cinematography that exceeds many films I've seen by seasoned directors.

As I've said before, I was impressed by the range of experiences captured in a 30-minute film in which few words are spoken. I got a sense of the debilitating agony of lingering grief, guilt and regret, the frantic battle to fight off one's demons with drugs, and the deepening isolation and raw emptiness of depression and addiction. I find most cinematic depictions of substance abuse cliched, so I consider this quite an achievement.

God Bless America

Divorced, unemployed, estranged from his insanely spoiled young daughter, and possibly terminally ill, Frank has a lot of repressed rage. Unable to shake his depression and lethargy, he spends his time in front of the television. Inundated with abrasive talk show pundits, church members dedicated to a gospel of hate, and atrocious reality T.V., Frank becomes increasingly disgusted with the downward spiral of America. Soon he is on a killing spree, with his teenaged side-kick, murdering people he considers to be mean-spirited idiots who are contributing to the problem in America today.

Read my review here.

Meet your friendly neighborhood vigilante team. 
Because some people are just too damned stupid to live.


I hadn't seen this in years and decided it was time for a second viewing. This is one of Woody Allen's early films, made during what I call his "pre-philosophical" phase -- his movies were less introspective and had more slapstick or otherwise goofy humor.

The protagonist of this movie, a nerdy, neurotic health food store owner, is put into a state of cryostasis in the year 1973. He is awakened, 200 years later, in a dystopian world ruled by an oppressive government. On the upside, in this brave new world, "health food" has been found to be nutritionally worthless, and steak, cream pie, and tobacco are now known to be wholesome. And there are Orgasmatrons.

Despite the futuristic  elements, this satirical comedy has a distinctly 1970s feel, with pretentious poets seeking mind-altering experiences, orgies, and domestic robots that remind me vaguely of the Jetsons. There was even one of those "curtains" made of long strands of beads covering the doorway. Who else is old enough to remember those? :-D

I always liked this movie, and watching it is a bit of a nostalgic experience for me. Plus it's the source of one of my favorite Woody Allen quotes: "My brain is my second favorite organ."

They really genetically engineer the hell out of those vegetables in the future!

Book Received for Review:

Life Knocks by Craig Stone -- I thought this sounded like a unique, interesting novel, and I enjoy books and movies with multiple timelines.

From the Description from Amazon:

In 2004 Colossus quits his city job because he feels he is on the wrong path and as a consequence of following his thoughts he ends up falling in love, traveling through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand and living on Kauai, the smallest of the habitable Hawaiian Islands.

The story is told from two timelines; one in the present day and one in the past. Whilst we learn about

Colossus meets and survives the Cambodian mafia, almost drowns in Thailand, survives hiking a mountain on six Pringles, takes on five Thai guys whilst on acid in a jungle on New Year’s Eve and that’s not half of it.

In the present day he has to manoeuvre around the bizarre world of his racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-everything and everyone landlord that won’t leave him alone and has a penchant for prostitutes.
His landlord breaks into his flat, brings him soup randomly at 3am, throws Colossus between himself and a prostitute he has angered, and threatens the life of Colossus when for inexplicable reasons the landlord accuses him of being Somalian.

And all this why Colossus Sosloss is trying to find love again and recover from the failed love that led him to his present day; it’s not easy for Colossus to find love, maybe because he’s not sure he wants it, but he thinks he should; so sit back and read about his attempts to impress several girls that end up being some of the most awkward moments to be documented by man.

Currently Reading:

The Mommy-Track Mysteries by Ayelet Waldman -- I am enjoying this well-plotted and humorous murder mystery series. Juliet Applebaum, Waldman's intrepid amateur sleuth, is a public defender turned stay-at-home mom. Her husband, Peter, is a successful screenwriter who creates campy grade-B movies with titles like Cannibal Vacation. These character-driven stories deal as much with the vicissitudes of marriage and motherhood -- in a humorous way -- as with the mysteries. These aren't as complex as some other mystery series, but they are well-crafted, entertaining "whodunnits," and Juliet is a funny, likeable heroine.

The Annotated Alice by Lewis Carroll -- These are among my favorite classics of all time -- I am re-reading them for a free on-line class on fantasy literature. I still have the copy of this book that my father read me when I was a small child.


  1. Love the nursery themed books...awesome covers :) Have a great reading week!

    What Are You Reading @ the Brunette Librarian?

  2. I haven't seen Sleeper in a couple decades! My favorite read last week was My favorite read last week was I Was Told There'd Be Cake by (audio) by Sloane Crosley which I listened to on my way to and from work Please come see what else I'm reading.

    1. I hadn't seen Sleeper in several decades either. :-) It definitely brought back memories.

  3. Love the covers on the Mommy-Track mysteries. Have a great week and happy reading :)

  4. I have the first of the Mommy-Track series but haven't had a chance to read it yet.

    Wishing you a great reading week!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd out

    1. I hope you enjoy the first Mommy Track mystery. I am finding them to be great fun. Among other things, I really click with Ayelet Waldman's sense of humor.

  5. Ooh, the Annotated Alice! I haven't seen this before. Must find one.:)

  6. I haven't heard of The Mommy-Track Mysteries by Ayelet Waldman but the covers look fab!

    What I've Been Reading

  7. Life Knocks sounds like a good read :) Oh Alice, one of the best books ever, ever written! Happy Reading!!

    1. Alice is one of the best books ever written ... I totally agree!

  8. I shall have to look into Oh, Alice! Enjoy your week!
    My Monday post

  9. I read Waldman's Love and Other Impossible Pursuits last month. I really enjoyed it. I will have to check out her series.

    1. I haven't read Waldman's other fiction. I'll definitely have to check it out.

  10. I was talking with another blogger about annotated classics. They add so much to one's enjoyment of such wonderful stories. Have fun!

    1. I think so too. And maybe I'll finally "get" a lot of the math and logic woven into Alice.

  11. I love this series. I'm a film buff and I've read enough books to last me a lifetime (well, not really, haha). I do a similar series where I review book and its movie adaptation. Could you tell me what you think?

  12. I really need to see Sleeper, it's one of the few movies by Allen I haven't seen and I only heard good things about it.

    1. If you watch it, I'd love to know what you think. :-)


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