Fifty Fifty Me: Playing Catch Up

I am 26 books in and I better get crack-a-lacking on my goal of 52. It seemed so doable when I made the goal now it seems exhausting. In an effort not to panic, I am just going to play it cool. Read them as they come. I have been reading since I finished Wild. I needed to digest wild and think about it. I just couldn’t plunk myself into the next book very easily. Once I did, there was no stopping me. I enjoyed the last book. When I really enjoy a book and then finish it. I need to mull it over. It is hard for me to jump right into the next book with the same eagerness to read. It took a while, but I was able to move on after Wild.

I have been laid up with Bronchitis this week and when you are on vacation, nothing sucks more than being sick for part of it. What that has done is free up some time to read. I read 3 books this week and started another. I caught up on movies as well, 6 to be exact.

The Books:

The first one was The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlaine. It took me a fair bit of time to commit to liking this book. The early beginnings had me wondering what all the hoopla was about amongst my Goodread friends. The main character in the early stages was 16. With that comes bad choices and impossible situations.I remember being 16 and like the character I made choices that effected my entire life – and not for the good. On some level I could relate to the character, but most of me wanted to forget being 16, being naive, being stupid and mostly being seduced by older men. I understood the bad choices but I am pretty sure I knew the difference between morally right and wrong. i had the benefit of family teaching me the difference. This character did not.

As the story progressed I became more enchanted with the choices she was making. Eventually she set her life back to the moment of 16 – because 16 haunts you forever if you made stupid choices. The character rectified it all, making a huge impact on everyone in her life. That was when this story became the type of book I love, not being able to pt it down. The climax was marvelous.

The second book I read was Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. Of all the books I read this week, this one I loved from start to finish. This was billed as a romance, but I never saw it as a romance. It was more about euthanasia and choices of others. I found this book to be a real metaphor for my life. No matter how badly you want something, other people’s choices affect you in a profound way. Wanting something bad enough and working towards that goal isn’t always enough when human choices are involved.  This is one of the hardest lessons I have learned on my Tourist journey. The characters in this book handled it remarkably well. It surprised me. Typically books turn out they would would hope them too. Maeve Binchy is a master of this never happening. The ugly duckling doesn’t become the beautiful swan, she just plods along, enjoying or dealing with what life throws at her. This is real life. You are dealt a hand and the purpose is to see what you make out of it, not throw them all away and get lucky by drawing a Royalflush. That never happens. I wish it did. So in an effort to find happiness, you look within – not externally. Buddha was right.

The final book was The Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus. I really enjoyed the first book, but I was young and still hadn’t figured out stuff yet I thought I knew everything. I think I have moved beyond this type of book. I want more meat or substance from a book. The bottom line is I am busy, so I want a book that is worth my time, a book that makes me think. This book had New York going for it but that is no longer enough. 50/50 me challenge had opened my eyes up to new authors and genres. I can no longer go back to the books I loved in my youth.

Now that is not to say Young Adult books have left my peripheral vision. Fantastic Mr. Fox was recommended to me. I enjoy reading children’s books because I love to talk about them WITH children. Learning from children is an undervalued resource.

The Movies:

Since my love affair with the Avengers, more notably Tony Stark, I have watched 6 movies.

  1. People Like Us
  2. Bottle Shock
  3. Single man
  4. The Best Marigold Hotel
  5. Blade Runner
  6. Things you can tell by Looking at Her

Not only have my taste in books changed since the start of this project, but my taste in movies has as well. Lets just say, I appreciate art movies more than I did before. There isn’t one movie in that list that I enjoyed more than the others. I am crazy for superhero movies – not one of those is an action pack superhero movie with the exception of blade Runner. It comes close, but Harrison Ford got his ass kicked to often and there wasn’t enough swagger going on for my taste. When I watch sci-fi or action flicks, I expect the impossible. It’s fun to revel in the impossible for a while.

English: Chris Pine poses for a photograph at ...
Isn’t he just delicious?

People Like Us and Bottle Shock had the nicest eye candy. I still have a thing for the new young Captain Kirk aka Chris Pine. He has swagger and is sexy in all his roles. A man with swagger is delicious. Single man surprised me. The Best Marigold Hotel made me laugh because those old birds are delightful! I loved this movie as much as Calendar Girls. But the movie that made me think the hardest was Things You can tell by Looking at Her.

What struck me was the mire these women were all stuck in. It made me think that although people’s lives look better from the outside, we are all the same.

 

My Friend The Reader just put me onto a great site that helps determine your next read. It’s called Whichbook.

You choose from a list of options what you feel like reading, Happy/Sad, Predictable/Unpredictable, Optimists/Bleak an d a myriad of other choices. Then it shows you which book best suits your mood. Sounds perfect for me! I will be giving it a try for my next book.

As for movies? I HAVE to get to the theatre to see BRave, Batman and Spiderman. Although, what was wrong with Toby McGuire’s Spiderman? Those were great movies! Ah well….happy reading!

 

Fifty Fifty Me: Wild

I guess I am behind. Guess what? Not caring that much. Guess why? Schooooooooooools out for Summa! Schooooooooooools out for ev-va! Okay not really, I have one more day of classes with my lovelies. I feel teary-eyed over the whole affair. I let a river monster sit in my lap and cry. I have to admit I kind of liked it. Not the crying part, the river monster was distraught, but the cuddle part.I shall think of him often wondering how he is doing as I also think about children of my past *cough* 24 years. I always think it is not possible to love the next round as much as this round because there is a lot of fear and apprehension that comes with September. This September is no exception. In fact I may be experiencing more fear than usual. Because of all of this accumulated chaos, I have not been up on my reading. I have hours and hours to catch up so I am sure I will meet my 50 book totals by December 31, 2012. I am hoping for 52. Currently I sit at 25. Exactly half-way. My record for a summer reading program is 15 books. We shall see how that goes!

The Book

I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I already talked about this book and the fear here. There was more to this book than just fear and reflection. Strayed was nearing rock-bottom when she set out for a trip up the Pacific Crest Trail. As a travel book, this story is enough for ME to want to hike the trail and I think of camping as incarceration. I have done t, loved it at one time, enjoy it occasionally, but prefer a 5 star resort now. There is something quite delicious about camping in the woods alone. That really appeals to me. I love to be alone with my thoughts and my imagination. I prefer not to talk but I can keep up with the best of them! Reflective is a word that describes me best. Or Self-reflective might be a better fit. There is a big long line of skills I am not perfect in or situations I could have handled better but like Strayed, I realize that those choices were important at the time. Learning things from mistakes and challenges is far more impact than by being awesome all the time. Sure I tell people I am awesome all the time, but the truth is – I am learning just like they are. The more I learn the less I know. I feel a real sense of kinship with Strayed. We both have come the same distance on a journey we had no idea how would turn out. I stepped into a crossroads and am ready to follow the path ahead of me after months of fear and indecision. I admit to being scared, but I also admit to it not holding me back any more.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. Read it, loved it but it was not Pride and Prejudice. I love how her characters make me feel. It was a great read for those of you who can plow through books that are 200 years old. It’s not for everyone. But it IS for me. It is now official, I have read ALL of Jane Austen’s books. For those Jane fans out there, Netflix has a mini-series called Lost in Austen. If you know the story of Pride and Prejudice and loved it, this is for YOU! I loved it – all four hours of it. It was funny and if you are a Mr. Darcy fan (who isn’t!!!) then delighting in this fantasy is fantastic!

I loved Wild. It was the right book at the right time for me. I recommend it to everyone. I hope they glean something amazing from it too.

The Movie

I have only been able to see a couple of movies, It’s a Funny Kind of Story and Avengers. Obviously Avengers wins hands down as my favorite but It’s a Funny Kind of Story if on Netflix and is quite amazing! It is about a boy – teen rather – who tries to commits suicide and his parents discover him and get mad and his poor choices. He then checks himself into a mental ward at the hospital. He meets the best characters. This movie is like One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest – but with a happier ending. My daughter said it was a great book too. This is worth a look.

But Avengers…. BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE EVER! I hated the Hulk in previous TV shows and movies, but Mark Ruffalo is AWESOME. Shwarma steals the show. Because I am not objective, I have no idea if this is a good movie because I am a superhero geek or because it was a good movie. Not caring…loved it, want it and will own it when it comes out. That’s all I have to say about that. Since this is the second time I wrote about this movie…obviously I love it.

Next week I will read Under the Tuscan Sun – I hear it is awful. But the people who say it is awful loved Shades of Grey. Now THAT book is terrible… I suspect I will love random thoughts of a middle-aged woman’s mind, because after all that is what this blog is all about – that and other stuff.