Fifty Fifty Me: The Shadow Wife

So I missed a week of 50/50 me. Reading The Management of Nonprofit and Charitable Organizations in Canada by Vic Murray and Effectively Managing Human Services Organizations by Ralph Brody apparently don’t count. I don’t find it dry reading, I quite enjoy it and find it enlightening. However, it doesn’t fit the criteria for the challenge. First of all, you need to read it cover to cover – who does that with text books? Secondly, these aren’t the books I read for fun. They are work. Fun is different. Although making the effort to expand my genre exploration hasn’t always been fun. Science Fiction isn’t very fun for me, nor is fantasy. I need to put effort into it so I am able to follow the story line. My preference is the ability to be LOST in a book. When I say LOST, I mean the story sweeps me away and I can’t wait to spend time with the characters. I do not mean LOST as in “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?”Hello Lord of the Rings…

The book I read this week brought me back to my favorite genre. I love family relationship stories. I love a strong female lead. I love reading about places with such detail that I figure I could go there on vacation and find my way around.

I watched 6 movies over the past 2 weeks… I know 6!!! When I was suppose to be sleeping or writing papers. I no longer watch TV, I just don’t have the attention span for interest right now. But a movie? Now that is something I like to get lost in. But enough with the musings… let’s get on with it shall we?

The Book

The Shadow Wife by Diane Chamberlain was gobbled up by me in a couple of days. I read it over lunch at work and every spare moment at home. I was reading reviews on Goodreads by my friends and discovered this author through them. They love her…I can see why. This book was about two main characters intertwined through separate stories. They meet and their story connects. I became very involved in one story, then it stopped and started with the second character’s story. It would frustrate me because I never wanted to end and pick up the next story line. This is common for the books I prefer to read. Maeve Binchy is a master at it character development. I devour strong character building.

This story began with The lead’s parents in a commune in Big Sur. It reminded at first of a Barbara Delinsky novel called the Coast Road (also a good read). I like the whole hippy concept except the filth part, and the camping life part, and the lack of wealth part…okay in THEORY I like hippies, but I like to read about them and have coffee with them and learn about their life. I do not wish to be a hippy. Been there, done that to the best of my ability. I can peel logs, can food, grow food, identify edible plants in the wild, fish, and build a fire without the use of paper or fire starter. Trust me, I’d rather read about these adventures the relive them myself.

As this baby of the hippies grew up, her life changed into what I can identify with professionally. There was a twist at the end that blew my head off. The entire time I was reading this book I was thinking I like this book a lot, not sure I love it. By the end, with me not seeing the twist coming, I LOVED this book! I knew this writer always places twists into her books but there was no hint of it in this. I loved that – and now have ruined it for everyone because I am awesome like that.

When I read the twist, I was at work in the lunch room and yelled out “NO WAY!” That to me is the sign of a fun read. What more can you ask for? Surprise, independent strong females, family legacy, and beautiful scenery? Great summertime read!

This week  am tackling Oprah’s new book club – that’s right people she is back with an on-line book club! Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This book is uncomfortable for me at times. It is very relevant to me, but I am enjoying it immensely! I will let you know how it goes. This book places me halfway to the challenge of 50 books in a year. YAY! I have loved this challenge! It has brough me out of my comfort zone and into books I love. I never would have read Stephen King, The Room, or a multitude of other genres and storylines that have scared me in the past.

The Movie

I watched these movies over the past two weeks :

  1. Avengers
  2. Factory Girl
  3. Being Elmo
  4. Every Little Step
  5. Schindler’s List
  6. If Lucy Fell

Factory Girl was about Andy Warhol’s iconic Factory girl and the person she was in real life. All this movie did for me was make me see what a wingnut Warhol was and wondered how he paid for things. I love his art, but wow…

If Lucy Fell was an old school Sarah Jessica Parker movie – Boring….

Every little Step was a documentary of  the Chorus Line revival. I loved this. Pain, rejection, excitement all rolled into one. I have always fantasized about being on Broadway but I don’t have the strength it takes (nor the talent) to face rejection on a daily basis. Wow these people are amazing!

Being Elmo… Behind the scenes of being a Muppeteer? Are you freaking kidding me??? THIS WAS AMAZING and I cried. I loved seeing the Jim Henson Empire. I will watch this documentary over and over.

Schindler’s list. I was the only person left in the world who hadn’t seen this. It is now part of the Grade 12 curriculum in Alberta’s High Schools. Wow what a powerful movie. I found it interesting how he made enough money to save these people and then just before the war ended, so did the money. Divine intervention obviously played a hand.  4000 Jews live in Poland now, but 4 generations of Schindler’s Jews make up over 6500. Doing the right thing is never easy, but so important. If you haven’t watched this – you must. AND I can cross it off my 100 AFI list!

Then my favorite movie of the year. It is no surprise people. you all know how much I love superheroes and fancy myself as one. The Avengers was FREAKING AWESOME! Is it out on Blu-ray yet? I want it for Christmas Santa!! Please do yourself a favor, watch all the other movies first. This will help with the maximized enjoyment of the Avenger movie. Stan Lee I heart you.

This week movies? I have no idea. I have watched 42 on the year. I am in the mood for Brave but that isn’t until the 22. I want to see something that will make me laugh. Life has been hard this week, so laughter is in order!

Suggestions?

Fifty Fifty Me: Never Let Me Go

This weeks effort to participate in the 50/50 me project,(you can read more about it here) I finished one book and shocked that it took me 2 weeks to read a single book with 400 pages. Seriously? I had these grandiose ideas that I would read copious amounts on the plane on the way to California. I slept instead. Obviously I needed to sleep. I am reaching full on burnout. Then I figured I would watch a movie or two. Westjet now charges you for movies. WTF? Air Canada doesn’t. So I sulked and read instead. That left me with time for just one and one book in two weeks. Oh well. The movie was disturbing and the book was … not sure how to describe it. Let’s get on with that shall we?

The Book

Cover of "Never Let Me Go"

Cover of Never Let Me Go

I read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Many reviews on this book were stellar. This book is even on the Time 100 best books of the 20th century. The book was a good read for me. But I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on my goodreads book list. First of all it is Science Fiction. I love watching Sci-Fi! Those are some of my most favorite movies and tv shows. As a book genre? Not so much. When I read, I want my book to be plausible. There are books out there – Harry Potter for example – that I love in spite of the plausible aspect. However, I find the characters real end genuine. That is important. They can be involved in kooky adventures that we can only dream of but their character must be realistic. I found the characters in Never Let Me Go to be stupid – literally.

There was a time in the book where I gasped out loud because these characters we not the physical beings I thought them to be. Then the story became very predictable after that. I kept waiting for the author to drop a bomb, something that would shock me to my core. It never happened. What was shocking was the way these characters accepted their fate without question. Who does that? This is why I did not find them believable. I want people to fight for justice. Fight for what their heart wants. Fight for their values. I do not expect them to get what they want, but I want them to try. This is what makes characters real for me. Perhaps there are people in this world that just plod along not reaching for the brass ring, not questioning the way things are done. This is not me. I could not relate to these people.

There were parts of this book I quite enjoyed, but I always felt I had to keep reading it just to complete it, not because I loved it.

Meanwhile, I am still reading Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Mrs. Dashwood infuriates me and I have to put it down because I get so mad. This is what I enjoy about Austen’s books. Her characters make you feel.

As an easy read for the week, I pulled out British Chicklit. I’m feeling Jane Green and her bumbling heroines, I could easily be one of them. They make me laugh and I don’t need to think or be offended at the stupidity of the female leads. They are smart and usually successful. They just make bad choices I can laugh at because “Been there, Done That”.

The Movie

My children both read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in grade 7. I never had. It was a long time before I could bring myself to watch or read anything in regards to Nazi Germany. I had lived with stories from grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, and uncles about their experience with WWII. It was just too close to home for me. I feel deeply and could not imagine the pain and heart-break associated with camps all over Europe. Nor could I understand how a human being could do these things to another. Since my various trips to Europe, I have been able to slowly learn more. I find it painful, shocking and disturbing, yet I cannot stop looking.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is about a German boy whose father is in charge of a camp in Poland. Behind his house is the camp. He goes exploring and finds the walls of the camp. He sees a boy, the same age as himself and they strike up a friendship. You get a sense of the ending while watching this. What struck me was the attitude of the father, the Nazi Commander. He said Jews aren’t people. For all the atrocities that happened, this is what disturbed me the most. Karma plays a hand in the end and the emotion is raw. Give this movie a look. I don’t think I could read the book knowing the emotion involved. I feel to deeply. Empathy is a great gift, but in these circumstances it is painful.

My next movie of choice will be Never Let Me Go, The Avengers and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.