50/50.Me: Extremly Loud and Incredibly Close

Cover of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly C...
Cover of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

This week in an effort to participate in the 50/50 me project, I read one book and watched 3 movies. I have a sneaky feeling I will finish the movie portion long before the books.

The Book

I read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I think I liked it. I wanted to read it and finish it, so it had me interested. I did find the story line confusing. I had hoped the movie would provide more clarity, I have never seen it but a friend has and she responded with “no, the movie is confusing too” Huh…

The book switched voices as you progressed. Each Chapter was a different voice. Once I figured out WHO and WHEN this was happening, it made perfect sense. I am not one to read chapter titles, but clearly this would have been a huge benefit on my part.

The main Character is Oskar. His father was in one of the World Trade Towers on September 11 – THAT DAY, and of coursed died. Oskar’s Dad Thomas would often leave clues for Oskar to solve. It was a game they always played. The ultimate game was when Oskar discovered a key that belonged to his father. But what was the key for?

I found myself understanding the way Oskar thinks. He can’t let things rest and needs to know WHY. That is me. I am never satisfied until I know all the details. Learning to live with unanswered questions is incredibly difficult, and friendships have been strained because of this. Perhaps this is why I liked reading about Oskar. I could related to him. The other fascinating part for me was this story took you through all 5 boroughs in New York with the story of the 6th one. I loved the backdrop. It had me at Central Park, and I went from there. The story itself encompasses 5 family members and how they deal with grief. This fascinated me and gave a great insight to the way people handle events differently. A great lesson in empathy.

The Movie

The Iron Lady (film)
The Iron Lady (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watched 3 movies this week, Mirror Mirror – funny! New Years Eve – good! The Iron Lady – interesting!

Of the 3 I think I prefered the iron Lady the best. Meryl Streep was fantastic! I never thought about her as an actress, to me she was Margaret Thatcher. I hadn’t realized all the history that surrounded Thatcher and her rise to Prime Minister. She was often the only female in the House. I have a feeling it glamorize her family life and failed to show the heart ache of her children and husband. None the less, it was enjoyable.

Clearly I need to work on my skills as a reviewer, I’m sure it will progress.

This week i have started Peony in Love by Lisa See. I think it is a chick book. I started Hunger Games and just couldn’t keep my head in it. The gals at work rave about Lisa See so I will give it a try. As for the movie, I am planing on watching Hugo. My daughter raves about it, so I thought it might be a good family night movie.

What are you reading? Seen any good movies lately?


My Favorite Reads of the Year…so far

Books (Photo credit: henry…)

It is research day in my world today. Do I like it? Not this kind. Do I want to do it? Are you kidding me? It is a sunny blue sky day and I am stuck on my computer researching stats for school.

Whose big fat idea was it to further by education in my 40’s? Oh… right… that would be me. STUPID STUPID STUPID!

I am in the midst of my Spring Break. Ahhhhhhh I have loved almost every minute. I have had brilliant conversation with new friends, I have slept a crazy amount of time and I have swam my little heart out. 6km so far this week and yes my core hates me.

What I have done is read read and I read some more! I have embraced my ipad and downloaded a ton of books. This has helped me in numerous ways.

  1. I need to unwind from my crazy life
  2. I need to learn more vocabulary. I love the feature on the ipad where I tap the word, highlight it and tap define. What is good for me is it reaffirms I did know that word! Yeah me!
  3. I am enjoying time spent in New York, Seattle, Tehran (well maybe not so much Tehran but the cottage by the Caspian Sea) Hawaii and San Diego.

I went through a period where I just read blogs. I found new blogs and devoured them. I read old friends and enjoyed them. I am still keeping up with the blogging world, but books have come back to me. I think it is because of some de-stressing I gave my brain this year. I shut it off and enter the world of fiction. It is more luxurious than I can even articulate. The afternoons at my house are spent in silence while me and the offspring read. So far this year (since January 1, 2012) i have read 15 books. This is not including the books and texts I need for my classes. Those are corporate political thrillers hahaha ummm okay, not thrilling but interesting.I don’t keep track of those, I just reach from the pile and start, make notes, then analyze . Uh the dull and boring life of a student.

What I did keep track of was what I have read so far for fun! I get this from my dad. He keeps track of books out of necessity. The man reads about 50+ books a year. He does not wish to read repeat offenders. Therefore he keeps a list. I want to read 52 books this year, hopefully more, but a book a week is hard with my school reading schedule. I am taking the summer off from school so I hope to lay in my hammock and read the summer away. Sounds decadent!

Of the 15 so far, I will list my top 5.

5. Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat

This is a true account/memoir by the author. At the age of 16 she became a political prisoner of the Islamic Government under the Ayatollah Khomeini. She talks about prison life, executions, life as a Christian in a Muslim world. It was enlightening and sad. I could relate to her on many levels. This is a worthwhile read and gives an excellent view into the religious strife in the middle east.

4. Hidden by Cathy Glass

Cathy Glass is a Foster Parent in England. Their system does not seem that different from the system here in Canada. Her books chronicle the children’s stories of those she cares for. These are sad and heart breaking tales yet provide hope for the future and highlight the type of people who do so much good in this world. I know many of these children, not personally but metaphorically because many have been my students over the years. It gives a great perspective into WHY people behave the way they do.

3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

It had me at the Lab on the cover. I was 4 paragraphs into the book before I realized the narrator was a dog. The life of a dog through his eyes. Let me tell you, dogs are smart and even more so once you read this. Everything they do makes sense and this fellow, Enzo ( Italian for Henry and will be the name of my next dog) has a wicked sense of humor and is loyal beyond all else. Loved loved loved this book. I had a smile on my face the entire time.

2. Room by Emma Donoghue

This story is from the perspective of a 5 year old. The story is of abduction and captivity and a child born because of it. Having it from his perspective lessened the trauma for me but was impactful just the same. I could not put this book down. Their escape was as exciting as any adventure story I have ever read. It shows how protective mothers can be and the bond between a parent and child. It was a beautiful story.

1. The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

I have not seen the movie. I like to read the book first. This was the best read I have had in YEARS. I felt for the characters and their struggle in making the right decisions. I felt like I was in Hawaii with them. I was angry, sad, happy, horrified and then laughed. This book ran the gamete of emotions and in my books, that makes for a great read.

I have one more book where I wish to give honorable mention to. Stephen King’s 11/22/63 It was compelling, interesting and had a great ending. I didn’t place it in the top 5 because my eyes glazed over in the nitty gritty political parts. It felt too repetitive from history I already know. In sprite of that, I loved it just the same.

Next on my list?

Extremely loud and incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein

The Fifty Shades series

The Salt Road by Jane Johnson

So tell me, What are YOU reading?