Archive for September, 2009

Where the Wild Things’ Clothing Are

I want these. But I don’t live in a place with Opening Ceremony stores and I can’t find any place to buy them online and I probably couldn’t afford a piece of lint off them. But I love them. They make me happy. More designers should use children books for inspiration–like Dr. Seuss! I want some Thneeds! oh wait, no I don’t. DID I NOT LEARN ANYTHING FROM THE LORAX?! (a challenged book btw–Happy Banned Books week!) I DO NOT NEED A THNEED! but I could use a daisy-head Mayzie hat?

opening-ceremony-where-the-wild-things-are-bull-monster

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Steve just said “Did you find where you can buy them yet? No? well maybe Victoria Secret will make you a cheap Wild Things Romper. You love rompers.” He’s right. I do. and that would be awesome.

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Fictional Characters I Would Date: Part Ten

Edward Fairfax Rochester from “Jane Eyre”

I will be the first to admit that I am a latecomer to the Jane Eyre party.  I had not read the book and didn’t know much about the plot (probably explains why I did not understand The Eyre Affair AT ALL).  Then I got the 1997 A&E version from Netflix.  It was pretty good.  I liked the story and LOVED the setting.  I was not fond, however, of the guy playing Rochester.  He yelled all of his lines which made him sound like Daddy Warbucks from Annie.  But I liked it enough to pick up the book.

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  It was super romantic and I really loved the character of Jane.  Then I decided to try another version of the movie and watched the 2006 Masterpiece Theatre with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens…….well…….wow.

Jane Eyre

Now, whenever I read Jane Eyre, Toby Stephens will always pop into my head.  He is the perfect Mr. Rochester.  Some might say he is a little too attractive to play the “ugly” Mr. Rochester, but seriously….who is really going to complain about that?

I would date Mr. Rochester because I totally dig the dark, brooding, tortured thing he has going on.  I know it is such a cliche but I do not care.  He sits around and scowls most of the time he’s onscreen, but that is okay, because that makes it even better when he gives Jane a little smile.

And even though he is gruff on the outside, he is such a teddy bear on the inside.  He takes care of Adele even though she is not really his responsibility.  He also sees right through the horrible Blanche Ingram, which is something that most guys could not do.  And the fact that he falls for Jane is incredibly sexy.  Brains and personality over beauty!!!

I also adore the fact that even though he would be so much better off if Bertha just disappeared, he puts himself at risk just to try and save her (at least in the movie, I can’t remember if that happens in the book).

Okay…..now if you haven’t seen the Masterpiece version of Jane Eyre, you need to go run and do it right now!!!  In my humble opinion and being the expert that I am (having read the book, ahem, a week ago) it is the perfect adaptation.  Thankfully, it doesn’t spend too much time dwelling on the non-Rochester parts (the Reed house, Lowood School, and Morton).  And those parts are made interesting by the fact that Georgie Henley plays Jane (you may remember her as Lucy from the Narnia movies) and the guy who plays St. John is freaking gorgeous (but you are still wondering what Rochester is doing the whole time he is onscreen).  Ruth Wilson is absolutely phenomenal as the older Jane.  When you first see her, you say, yep….she’s plain alright, but by the time she’s been onscreen for an hour you see how beautiful she is.

Mr. Rochester

And Toby Stephens……well……….ummmm….yes please!  I honestly wouldn’t care if he had a whole army of people locked up in the tower.  Ex-girlfriends, mistresses, wives, housekeepers, illegitimate children……I would not care.  I would totally run away to the Mediterranean with him.  But I do not have Jane’s high moral standards.

Here’s one of my favorite parts of the movie.  I was happy to see that most of the dialogue is lifted straight out of the novel.

I am very glad that I finally joined the rest of the world and understand the awesomeness of Jane Eyre.  Mr. Rochester will now take his place right up there with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightly.

Jen

P.S.  If you are like me, and feel the need to purchase this wonderful DVD, and if you love extra features like deleted scenes and commentaries and the like DO NOT buy the regular version on Amazon because it has no extras.  If you want the special features (which includes some good interviews with Ruth, Toby, and the director and screenwriter) you must buy The Bronte Collection.

I Used to Be an English Major

Lindsay’s review of Beastly reminded me of an article I read recently in a librarian magazine about pairing modern books with classics.  An idea I LOVE.  It included a few suggestions (like pairing Peter & the Starcatchers with Peter Pan and Leaves of Grass with Paper Towns), and it listed what I consider the GREATEST pairing and I disappointed I didn’t think of it myself:  The Hunger Games with the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.

lottery

Have you ever read that?  I read it for a class in college & loved it!  I don’t want to explain too much about it because it’s a short story and I’d basically give it all away, but it would be awesome to pair with The Hunger Games!  That’s all I’ll say.  🙂  You can read it online HERE.  This was turned into a movie at some point because I caught it on TV one day.  Keri Russell aka Felicity was in it!  But it wasn’t very good, so I didn’t even watch the whole thing.  But apparently I should have because according to imdb, Mr. Feeny was in it!  Shoot.

Anyway, while I was re-reading “The Lottery,” I remembered my other favorite short story that I read as an English major – “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

yellow

(Nerd alert!)  I think I even wrote a critical analysis paper on it.  I read a few years ago that it was going to be a movie, but I don’t think it got much attention, and I’m not even sure if it ever came out.  (Boo.)  You can read “The Yellow Wallpaper” online HERE.

Now I’m in a short story mood.  Have you read either of these?  What do YOU recommend?

– Jill

I Find This Mesmerizing and Wonderful

This totally made my whole night tonight:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Jen

ngtlindsay: Book review #2

Alright! I am excited to be getting my second review post up! In this post I bring you a review for one of my countdown challenge books, and another one for a book I intended to put on the list, but forgot and then read anyway. We’ll start with the challenge book.

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

Quick recap: Moose Flanagan’s family moves to Alcatraz Island in order to be close to the school where Moose’s sister, Natalie, needs to go.  The book starts just after the Flanagan family (Mr., Mrs., Natalie and Moose) moves to the island.  Mr. Flanagan has a double job as an electrician and a guard and rarely gets to spend quality time with his family.  Mrs. Flangan teaches piano lessons to help with the family’s income.  This leaves Moose to tend after Natalie.  Natalie is obviously different than regular people.  Moose, although younger than Natalie (not that Mrs. Flanagan would acknowledge this), acts as Natalie’s big brother protector.

OK, that wasn’t the best recap, but I found it super hard to recap without gushing all over the place about how wonderful it is.  First off, I loved Moose.  His older sister (though in the book his mother says Natalie is 10 years old year after year), has a mental deficiency that is never specified in the book, although it is pretty easy to see which disorder she has (because we now know so much about it).  The way that Choldenko showed Moose caring for and interacting with Natalie is very realistic I think.  Moose is just a spectular person although he’s not without his faults.  He does crack and he does yell at Natalie but he has the ability to push away his feelings of hurt and guilt to be the best brother for Natalie that he can possibly be.

Mrs. Flanagan irked me at several times throughout the book, not because of how she was written, but because of how well Choldenko wrote the relationship for Moose and Mrs. Flanagan.  I got angry with her because I empathized so much with Moose.  And let’s face it – what person who has at least one sibling has not thought at one point that their parents are favoring their brother(s) or sister(s).  I don’t mean to say that anywhere in the book does Moose have the thought “Mom and Dad love Natalie more than me.”  It’s not that at all.  But reader’s will know that Moose knows his mom spends more time on Natalie, but he’s also not angry with his mom (or Natalie) for that.  Moose is mainly angry with his mom for not listening to him ABOUT Natalie….and the fact that she took away his free afternoon with which he was playing baseball with his new school friends.

Mr. Flangan.  I loved Mr. Flangan.  The book is set in the 1930s, and back then I believe that fathers did not have too much of a roll in their children’s life.  Mr. Flanagan seems to have a good balance though.  He works a lot, yet still has time every now and then to throw the ball around with Moose and read to Natalie.  And even though he usually lets Mrs. Flanagan call the shots with Moose and Natalie, he totally stands up and is there for Moose when Moose really needs him.

Natalie.  Natalie was written very convincingly.  I loved the way Moose thought about her.  Choldenko did a brilliant job with that.  It was easy for me to see that Natalie was not stupid, but more like a someone stuck in her own mind and couldn’t get out.  I loved Natalie’s progression through the book and was so happy for Natalie at the end!

Piper.  The warden’s daughter and the only other kid on the island that goes to school with Moose.  Or rather, the only one that goes to the same school as Moose.  When the book starts out she is bossy and has a huge ego.  Well of course she does!  She’s the warden’s daughter and consequently the most important kid on the island, right?  I really started this book out not liking Piper.  She just grated on my nerves and I really thought that she was going to cause Moose’s father to lose his job.  But that’s the great thing about Choldenko.  Every character in this book grows.  Piper grew up in this book too.  At the end I was totally on Team Piper (not you know like, THAT, but I ended up liking her).

My favorite character: Theresa Mattaman.  Theresa is the first kid on Alcatraz Island that Moose meets.  She is seven years old and a feisty little girl.  I adored her and was so excited when she was around.  During the book her mother gave birth to a baby boy, Rocky.  She toted him around like he was her own baby and not just her brother.  She is totally a little mother hen!  She even mothers Natalie.  It’s sooooo cute!  You can’t help loving her.  One of my favorite things Therersa says is “My mom has to keep her feet up.  She’s due to have my baby soon.”  ADORABLE!

So.  Conclusion.  YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.  NOW!  Go to your local library and check it out!

Also, I’m super excited to see that there is a sequel (I think at least).  Al Capone Shines My Shoes!  And I just checked, it totally picks up where ACDMS left off!  It’s already out and I can’t wait to read it!

Beastly by Alex Finn

I totally meant to put this on my challenge list.  I had a harder time than I thought I would with books published in 2008.  Then, when I was at the library picking up Enola Holmes I totally wandered into the YA section, as I ALWAYS do,  and I saw Beastly.  I remember a couple of weeks back when HarperTeen mentioned Beastly on Twitter and I thought, oh I’d really like to read that.  Then I didn’t.  I’m so glad I found it at the library!  It was fate!  I was supposed to read this book!

Recap: Kyle Kingsbury is the kind of guy that every guy wants to be and every girl wants to go out with.  He has perfect looks, a perfect looking girlfriend, money to throw around.  The perfect life, right?  What he also has is a mean personality to boot.  Then one day comes around and Kyle meets a real live witch masquerading as a goth chick high schooler.  This witch then casts a spell on Kyle to turn him into a beast and the only way to turn him back is for him to find someone that he loves and can love him back.  Or simply put: Beauty and the Beast retold in the 21st century.

OK, I super de duperly loved this book.  But that probably figures because Beauty and the Beast is my favorite classic Disney movie and Belle is totally my favorite princess.  I mean, how could she not be?  She’s the reading princess!  I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone, especially those who love Disney (even though this does NOT read like a Disney movie).

What I liked most about this book is that it is told from the point of view of Kyle.  I don’t read a lot of books with boys as the protag (whoa, I’m on a roll I guess!), but I think Finn did a good job of capturing a boy’s voice.  But at the same time, I feel like this is more of a girl’s book.  Maybe that’s just the fairy tale aspect of it though.

Also, did you know they’re making a movie out of this book?  I was super psyched, but then I looked at the cast list.  Mary-Kate Olsen is playing the part of the witch… I bet you they just make her a goth chick (not that this is that much of a stretch from what she looks like right now…have you seen pictures??  The Olsen girls are scary looking right now!  Lay off the makeup girls!) and not fat like the witch is supposed to be (at least in the beginning).  And the girl playing Linda/Lindy (aka “Belle”) is Vanessa Hudgens.  That was another twist in the story I liked – Linda wasn’t perfect looking.  She had crooked teeth, etc.  Vanessa Hudgens is way too cute.  I really hope they try to ugly her up for this movie.  Oh, and guess who else is in this movie!  Neil Patrick Harris!  I love him!

OK, that’s it for this review.  Now go read!

ngtlindsay

Got that Wishbone Talent

Elena Hurst = Amanda = Katie

Elena Hurst = Amanda = Katie

Did you watch Gossip Girl yesterday?! (must admit, Season 3 is a little weird so far–what is with Dan having such big arm muscles now? anyway…) Did any of those new cast members seem a little familiar? Like maybe, I don’t know, that new girl who’s friends with Vanessa and Dan also seems like she might be friends with a costumed dog? YES BECAUSE THE GIRL WHO PLAYS KATIE IS ELENA HURST WHO PLAYED AMANDA ON WISHBONE!!!!!! (see photo-girl holding red cup) I am ridiculously happy about this.

Amber

Overwhelmed with sudden awesome idea: Wishbone as Chuck Bass; whaCHAAAA!

Percy Jackson Movie What What???

One of the first things I did upon starting my new life back in Iowa (Yippee!!) was to read the whole Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.  I had listened to the first book a looooooong time ago and was kind of meh? about it.  Then I decided to give it another chance and LOVED them all!!!!

So of course I was excited to see that The Lightning Thief is being made into a movie!!!  (Is it just me, or is that the hardest title in the world to spell……I never get lightning right and then I have to pause before I can spell thief.)  I am very excited, but also very wary about this.  Here are some things that make me very VERY nervous and/or upset.

**I am worried that they will just make one movie.  If they do the first book, I am going to want them to do all the rest because they are awesome!!!!  But the chance of that happening is very slim.  If this movie does not do Harry Potter sized business, they will forget about the franchise and leave everybody hanging.  Now, I am not basing this on actual facts (for all I know they could be working on Sea of Monsters right now) but on past movie experiences (The Golden Compass anyone??).

percy-jackson

**Ummmm, why isn’t Annabeth blonde???????  I am really upset about this!  Maybe it is silly and stupid, but I hardly remember anything about characters physical descriptions……but I specifically remember all the times Percy referred to Annabeth’s blonde CURLY hair.  Ummmm, she also looks like she is 26.

**Where is Grover’s hat?????  Isn’t he supposed to have horns sticking out of his head that his big curly hair and hat are supposed to cover up???  Hmmmm.

**I guess Percy looks okay.

Anyway, even with all of these little annoyances, I think the movie is going to be waaaaay cool.  The people playing the grown ups in Percy’s world are incredible…..Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Keener, Steve Coogan, Sean Bean, and Uma Thurman just to name a few.  I am hoping it will be a fun movie and I don’t get too nitpicky about all the stuff that has changed, but we shall see.

Here is the trailer to get you excited too:

Jen