Thursday, 29 March 2012

Book talk, film talk, and a cup of tea...

I think I'm getting used to this posting time... I feel more "inspired" tonight than I have since beginning this new schedule.  And I have a hot cup of "sweet milky" tea by my side on this cool evening...mmmm!

I got the second book in the "Jackson Brodie" series by Kate Atkinson on the weekend, and started reading it instead of my book club selection.  Alas, One Good Turn is not as good as Case Histories or When Will There Be Good News, in my opinion.  It seems less focused, more disjointed, than the others, and Brodie features in this book less often as well.  It also seems to offer less "life lessons" than the others, so I'm finding it less satisfying and had little difficulty putting it aside once the time crunch came for my book club selection.  I will finish the Jackson Brodie book, but just not right away.  Having said that, I really do recommend the series, at least the first and third books, as they have proven to me to be "un-put-down-able".

I have been plugging away at Best Laid Plans to have it finished in time for Saturday's discussion.  I'm nearly finished, and hope to get to the last page tonight after writing.  Then I will have one night to look over my background notes and think of discussion questions (not that there's ever been any need for me to keep the discussion going with pre-arranged questions, but I like to come prepared just in case).  This humourous Canadian novel is about a man who has worked in government for a few years and just wants to get out.  He manages to move away, but because of a promise and some very bad behaviour on the part of a popular politician, he ends up back in the fray with a most unlikely (and reluctant) successful MP in tow.  There is a love story, a moral and ethical member of parliament, and the young learning from and appreciating the wisdom of "mature" members of society.  It has all the bases covered, and should appeal to just about anyone.  I'm sure there will once again be lively discussion about this selection.

I wanted to mention something I came across while looking at a library catalogue.  This particular library was advertising a "Reading Potluck", which featured a "menu" that patrons could print out, complete and submit in order to be entered into a draw.  The menu consisted of an appetizer (short story or poem), soup (a heartwarming book that you enjoy reading and re-reading), salad (light fiction), entree (a book with meat), dessert (an indulgence) and wine (memoir, autobiography, biography or travel).  What a wonderful idea!  I want to arrange it like a menu and give it to my book club members to fill out - I'm sure it would be really interesting to share our titles with the other members.  I've been thinking about these categories and have only been able to come up with a title for some of them.  I think my soup would be The Winter of our Discontent and my entree would be We Need To Talk About Kevin.  For the wine, A Year in Provence.  I'll think about the others and get back to you.

And speaking of We Need To Talk About Kevin, I went to see the film version on the weekend.  Tilda Swinton was amazing!  She was perfectly cast as Eva, and the actor who played the older Kevin, Ezra Miller, was fabulous in a creepy, disturbing kind of way.  It was pretty good - of course the book was much better, deeper, more personal and engaging, but they did a fairly good job of capturing the essence of the book, Eva's feelings of parental ambivalence, disengagement and even resentment towards Kevin, and her subsequent guilt after Kevin is imprisoned.  She was so tortured - it was a difficult, heart-wrenching film to watch, and possibly even more difficult than reading the book because it was compressed; there were less of the "good times" presented in the film, and the suffering and "bad times" were so vivid and so very frequent.  Not a "feel-good" film, that's for sure.

And on another film note, I've watched a series called "Foyle's War" starring Michael Kitchen as Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle.  This series is set in the fictional British coastal town of Hastings during WWII, where the war is the backdrop for the various crimes that take place in the town.  While I was watching an episode last night, I realized that the screenplays for these episodes were written by Anthony Horowitz, whose name I am familiar with from working with Children's and Young Adult fiction - he is an author of novels, mainly for boys in those age groups.  I have watched all of the episodes at least once and have recommended the series to more than one person, and yet I'd never thought to check on what this series was based, or who wrote the screenplays.  I would highly recommend this extremely watchable series - there's crime, war, more than one lovestory, loss, history, and coastal scenery... what more could you ask for?!

I'd better go and finish my book now.  This was a bit of a "potluck" entry.  Actually, it was a bit like throwing together a lunch at the end of the week - a little bit of this and a little bit of that, whatever is left in the fridge before going out to get groceries.  Sometimes those are the best lunches of all...

Bye for now!
Julie

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