Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Monday, February 28, 2011

Some Birthday Book Loot!

Birthday book loot...woot! :D

You know the old saying about money burning a hole in your pocket?  Well...I'm a victim :D   I went to my local Chapters today and got several challenge books, as well as a couple on sale that I didn't expect to get but were on my TBR list nonetheless:

A Thousand Splendid Suns- Khaled Hosseini--after reading & adoring The Kite Runner, I had to get this!

Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury--for Back to the Classics Challenge

Emma- Jane Austen--I love the Penguin Classics hardcover edition & it was on sale--irresistible ;)

Oprah: A Biography- Kitty Kelley--this was on my TBR list & was on sale--it may be gossipy but I'm curious :)

The Hound of the Baskervilles-Arthur Conan Doyle--also a Penguin Classics edition on sale

The Girl Who Played With Fire- Stieg Larsson--I loved The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo & am psyched to continue the series!


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas- John Boyne--for What's in a Name 4 Challenge

The Giver- Lois Lowry--for Back to the Classics Challenge

I'm still planning on visiting The Book Depot over spring break and if I don't get enough (*ha*), I'll probably stop in the bigger Chapters.  My local one is a bit small.

February Wrap-Up & Year to Date

Boy, with just 28 days, February sure goes by fast!  I was a bit busier with work this month than last but for the shortest month of the year, it wasn't that bad.  Here are my book stats for the month & YTD:

Books Read This Month (4)--click titles for reviews:
Wonder Boys- Michael Chabon
Rabbit, Run- John Updike (for 1st in a Series challenge, 1/6)
The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini (for Back to the Classics challenge, 1/8)
A Twist of Lemmon- Chris Lemmon

Other Books Reviewed This Month (8 + 4 above= 12)
Retro reviews of:
The Stone Angel- Margaret Laurence
The Silence of the Lambs- Thomas Harris
Bridget Jones's Diary- Helen Fielding
I Am Charlotte Simmons- Tom Wolfe
Mystic River- Dennis Lehane
Where the Heart Is- Billie Letts
The Accidental Tourist- Anne Tyler
Deception Point- Dan Brown

Currently Reading (2)
Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides
My Life- Bill Clinton

Books Read So Far in 2011:  (11)
(DNFs don't count)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

Books Read This Week (1):
A Twist of Lemmon- Chris Lemmon (B)

Currently Reading (2):
Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides--fascinating book so far--I'm about 1/4 of the way through--it's a long one!
My Life- Bill Clinton--still in progress but on hold for now for my challenge books

Next to Read:
Same plan as last week:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe- C.S. Lewis--for 1st in a Series challenge
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury--for What's in a Name 4 challenge
A is For Alibi by Sue Grafton--for 1st in a Series challenge--a re-read

Other Reviews Written This Week (9):
The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini (A+)
Retro reviews of:
The Stone Angel- Margaret Laurence (A)
The Silence of the Lambs- Thomas Harris (A+)
Bridget Jones's Diary- Helen Fielding (A)
I Am Charlotte Simmons- Tom Wolfe (D)
Mystic River- Dennis Lehane (A)
Where the Heart Is- Billie Letts (B)
The Accidental Tourist- Anne Tyler (A+)
Deception Point- Dan Brown (A)

Bloggie Things:
~ EW Modern Classics list
~ TBR Authors List
~ A Night at the Oscars

It was a lovely (if predictable) evening at the Oscars.  Loved Anne Hathaway's boundless hosting energy (was James Franco even there?) and was happy to see The King's Speech win Best Picture.  My only wish is that Colin Firth had danced as he felt the need to as he deservedly won Best Actor.  Natalie Portman was Best Actress as predicted late in the Oscar race and was very sweet in her acceptance speech.  Supporting wins went to Christian Bale and Melissa Leo (must not have been a "pre-live" show like the year of Janet Jackson @ the Super Bowl--oopsie!), both in The Fighter.  Beautiful gowns on the red carpet--I was just a bit perplexed by Cate Blanchett's, but all in all, a good show.  Gorgeous sets @ the Kodak Theatre--absolutely breathtaking--and as always, very touching memorial tribute.  Notes for next year:  Maybe we can get back to a solo host now that Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, and Anne Hathaway have proven that they can carry it on their own?  And bring back the montages!

What are you reading?  Have a wonderful week :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Twist of Lemmon- Chris Lemmon

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
Published:  2006
Pages:  193
ISBN:  9781557837394
Genre:  Biography/Memoir

Start Date:  Feb. 19, 2011
Finished Date:  Feb. 22, 2011 (3 days)

Where Found:  Birthday gift
Why Read:  I love many of Jack Lemmon's movies and always thought he was the genuine article (an "everyman").

Summary:  Actor/writer Chris Lemmon writes a touching memoir of his father, legendary actor Jack Lemmon, with a particular focus on their relationship at home, on movie sets, and on the golf course.


There are not very many biographies of Jack Lemmon in print, so I was delighted to come across this fairly recent book written by his son.  I was not expecting a biography (which technically it isn't) but a nostalgic kind of anecdotal scrapbook (which it is).  I enjoyed the stories, many of which show a side of Jack Lemmon his movie fans would not see on screen--a teller of dirty jokes, cussing continously over a bad slice on the golf course, and loving a good prank.

The younger Lemmon, whose photo on the back cover bears an uncanny resemblance to his father, is a very good storyteller with a keen ability to set the scene without being too flashy yet keeps your interest throughout.  The book's anecdotes are a bit short on what most fans want to know about--his movies--however it offers plenty of personal stories that satisfy.  Near the halfway point, Chris Lemmon starts to get a bit too self-promotional, but his love, admiration, and friendship for his father (often unspoken, undemonstrated, yet understood) shines through.  The reflective nature of the stories is the younger Lemmon's way of forging an adult relationship and saying a final goodbye to his father during his ongoing struggle with aggressive bladder cancer, which claimed the iconic actor's life in 2001.

This book is a wonderful treat for fans of Jack Lemmon and those who enjoy stories about father-son relationships.  It ends with a number of delightful stories from Hollywood friends & costars, including a touching poem by Tony Curtis, his costar in my favourite Lemmon comedy, Some Like It Hot.

Rank:  (B)- Very Good, Recommend

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Night at the Oscars

Ever since I was 12 years old, I have tuned in every Sunday night in February to watch the Academy Awards, affectionately known as the Oscars.  There is so much to see: the stars, the gowns, the best movies of the year, the montages (I actually love them--the more creative the better--and hope they won't do away with them!)

As a break from book blogging, I hope you enjoy my post on this year's Oscar race and my top 10 (or so) lists of Oscar contentions.

For movie fans, there is an impeccable account of Oscar history on that offers a number of perspectives on the gold statue--who won, who was nominated, who got snubbed, and all the records fit for Guinness.  Internet Movie DataBase (IMDb) also offers a complex history of the Oscars and the results of their annual Oscar poll are up.

This Year's Nominees in Major Categories:

*= best odds to win
#= IMDb Oscar Poll winner
@= possible dark horse
^= sentimental favourite
%= has a better chance of being hit by lightning
&= who I wish would win
$= who I have my money on (so to speak)

Best Picture:
$^The King's Speech
*The Social Network
@Black Swan
^Toy Story 3
@True Grit
%127 Hours
@The Fighter
%Winter's Bone
%The Kids Are All Right

The only movies from this list I have seen are Inception and Toy Story 3, both incredibly good movies.   Despite The Social Network being the critical favourite to win the Oscar, I think the Academy is more inclined to go with an old-school sentimental favourite, The King's Speech.

Best Actor:
*^#&$Colin Firth- The King's Speech
%James Franco- 127 Hours
%Jesse Eisenberg- The Social Network
@Jeff Bridges- True Grit
%Javier Bardem- Biutiful

It's all about Colin Firth this year.  He was spellbinding in A Single Man last year, but Jeff Bridges was the sentimental favourite & won for Crazy Heart.  This year, the tables have turned.

Best Actress:
*$#Natalie Portman- Black Swan
^&Annette Bening- The Kids Are All Right
@Jennifer Lawrence- Winter's Bone
%Nicole Kidman- Rabbit Hole
%Michelle Williams- Blue Valentine

My reason for secretly hoping that Annette Bening will win is more for her career achievement than this particular performance.  If the award is truly about the singular film role, then Natalie Portman is sure to win.  But because Bening has never won (despite being nominated 3 times prior), I wonder if this will be a consolation prize--in my opinion, she should have won for The Grifters back in 1990 and maybe even for American Beauty in 1999.

Best Supporting Actor:
*#$Christian Bale- The Fighter
^&Geoffrey Rush- The King's Speech
%Jeremy Renner- The Town
%Mark Ruffalo- The Kids Are All Right
@John Hawkes- Winter's Bone

All odds are in Christian Bale's favour, and even though Geoffrey Rush has already won an Oscar (for Shine in 1996), it strikes me as a bit too obvious for Bale to win, and this could be the biggest surprise of the evening--there is always at least 1 diversion from the iron-clad predictions, and I wonder if this will be it.

Best Supporting Actress:
^&#Helena Bonham Carter- The King's Speech
@Hailee Steinfeld- True Grit
*$Melissa Leo- The Fighter
Amy Adams- The Fighter
%Jacki Weaver- Animal Kingdom

This could also be a surprise win for Helena Bonham Carter, whose longevity as a fabulous actor may outshine relative film newbie Melissa Leo (known in past years for TV work), who remains the odds-on favourite, yet came in 3rd in IMDb's Oscar poll behind possible dark horse, Hailee Steinfeld, a 14-year-old newcomer, and Bonham Carter.

Best Director:
*^&$#David Fincher- The Social Network
@Darren Aronofsky- Black Swan
%Tom Hooper- The King's Speech
%Joel & Ethan Coen- True Grit
%David O. Russell- The Fighter

All bets are off--David Fincher is the odds on & sentimental favourite to win as his previous work on Zodiac, Se7en, Fight Club, and even Panic Club and The Game (let's just forget he was also responsible for Alien3) has gone without awards recognition for the masterful director.  Darren Aronofsky has accomplished a lot for such a short career (Requiem For a Dream, Pi), making him a possible dark horse but is not established enough to clinch it this year.  As for the Coen brothers, they have already won (No Country For Old Men).

Best Animated Feature:
*#^$#Toy Story 3
%How to Train Your Dragon
%The Illusionist

Are there even any other nominees?  It's in the bag.

Enjoy the show!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Blog Hop!

A weekly meme hosted by Jennifer @ Crazy for Books.

This week's topic is from Jen B. @ I Read Banned Books:

Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?

In short, not really.  I wonder sometimes if my frilly blog template is mismatched with my funny title, but I don't know what else I would call it without losing that unique quality it has (if I do say so myself!)...and I like purple :)  Here's how my nickname & the blog's name came to be...

When I first started the blog, like I'm sure many of you did, I wasn't sure what to name it.  I just wanted something different besides the typical titles--possibly a one-and-only title that no one else had claimed (good luck with that thinking!).  I was reading lots of material about current pedagogical philosophies in which teachers are no longer Aristotelian lecturers but are learning at the same time from their students as they teach.  I sure am!  Hence the nickname "Teacher/Learner."

As for "Whatcha Readin', Books?," I remembered when I was on a prep period, and a student came back to class.  He/she (can't remember which) saw me reading, and, with a hilarious laidback tone, asked "Whatcha readin', books?"  Well, I certainly wasn't reading the encyclopedia :D

What about your blogs?  How did your blog name and/or nickname come to be?

Have a terrific weekend :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Retro Read Mini-Reviews

I've had a number of draft posts left unfinished on many books that I've read before I started blogging but have yet to publish, probably because I don't have a lot to write about them.  To avoid this pitfall, I'm going to post the rest of my "retro read" reviews here in miniature form.  From now on, all my future reviews will be for contemporary reads.

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
The Stone Angel- Margaret Laurence

Published:  1964
Length:  318 pages
ISBN:  9780226469362
Genre:  Literary Fiction

Start Date:  Summer 2008
Finished Date:  Summer 2008

Where Found:  Public library
Why Read:  I adored The Diviners which I had read the previous year and wanted to read Laurence’s other most revered novel.

Summary:  An elderly woman resisting being placed in a nursing home reflects on her life as a young rebellious bride, the clear favouritism of her oldest son, and the conflicting relationship with her younger son trying to care for her.


Like the reflective Morag Gunn in The Diviners, Hagar Shipley is a terrific storyteller: honest, funny, unapolegetic, yet is not without regrets.  The narrative is much looser in structure than The Diviners but is still a remarkable story with a number of memorable characters.

A 2007 movie version (made in Canada) starred Ellen Burstyn, Kevin Zegers, Ellen Page, Dylan Baker, and relative unknown Christine Horne who has a striking resemblance to Burstyn.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
The Silence of the Lambs- Thomas Harris

Published:  1988
Length:  352 pages
ISBN:  9780312195267
Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Start Date:  Sometime in 2007-8
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2007-8

Where Found:  Used bookstore
Why Read:  Fascination with the characters and word of mouth.  I don’t think I had seen the movie yet (at least not in its entirety).

Summary:  A young FBI agent in training interviews a cannibalistic serial killer and former forensic psychiatrist on death row to track down a serial killer who has kidnapped a Senator’s daughter.


This was a spine-tingling mystery/thriller with an imaginative, terrifying character that you can't help but like in a twisted, backward kind of way.  The intense, highly suspenseful plot is meticulously constructed and the two main characters, Clarice and Hannibal, are one of the most compatible duos ever written.

The movie with Anthony Hopkins & Jodie Foster was brilliant, especially in the extensive characteristics Hopkins brought to Lecter, vastly improving on the book's depicton of him.  Chronologically, the story goes in this order:  Hannibal Rising (fourth book, fourth movie), Red Dragon (first book, third movie), SOTL (second book, first movie), and Hannibal (third book, second movie).  I've only read SOTL but seen all movies (except Hannibal Rising).  SOTL is the best movie of the series, but the other two are good as well & worth seeing.

Rank:  (A+)- Fantastic, A Must-Read!

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
Bridget Jones's Diary- Helen Fielding

Published:  1996
Length:  288 pages
ISBN:  9780143117131
Genre:  Chick Lit, Humour

Start Date:  Sometime in 2003
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2003

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  Loved the movie and wanted to try my first real “chick lit” novel (I was in high school).

Summary:  A single 30-something new journalist in London writes in diary form about her wacky family, loyal friends, weight struggles, competing romances with the charming Daniel and stuck-up Mark, and intakes of alcohol & cigarettes.


I enjoyed the lightweight story and the bawdy humour, though I'm sure I could relate more to Bridget now than I could then ;)  I'm pleased to say that this was my first "chick lit" novel I ever read...or maybe it was Love Story by Erich Segal, which I read around the same time (funny story: I was looking for a romance novel to compare with Romeo & Juliet for a high school assignment, typed in "love story" in my library's catalogue and this came up first!).  I love the sweet movie adaptation with Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant & Colin Firth.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Lots of Fun!

I Am Charlotte Simmons- Tom Wolfe
Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2004
Length:  752 pages
ISBN:  9780312424442
Genre:  Literary Fiction

Start Date:  Sometime in 2007-8
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2007-8

Where Found:  Campus bookstore
Why Read:  I had heard about Tom Wolfe’s surveying of American university students and I was interested in how he portrayed college life.

Summary:  Set during her freshman semester at an elitist college, a poor, naïve farm girl is subject to classicism, ridicule, and sexual exploitation.


At first, this novel was interesting and quite realistic (as well as satiric) about a young girl's entry into college and introduced a number of what I thought would amount to memorable characters.  Once the dorm rooms had been assigned and roommates, jocks, and dorks had been established, the novel became a slippery slope with a mishmash of rather pedestrian forays into popularity, ambiguous self-identity, and sexuality that came off as more relevant to the high school experience than the college one.  Call me a prude, but there was very little attention paid to academics, jobs, family, or sadly, even friendship, rendering much of the novel about newfound enemies, lovers, and other extra-curriculars (both savoury and not).  I would take a definite pass on this one; however I will try other Tom Wolfe books when I get around to it.

Rank:  (D)- Finished but Do Not Recommend

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
Mystic River- Dennis Lehane

Published:  2001
Length:  416 pages
ISBN:  9780060584757
Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

Start Date:  Sometime in 2008
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2008

Where Found:  Used bookstore
Why Read:  After finishing a Jonathan Kellerman novel, I heard that Lehane was a different kind of mystery writer, so I became interested.  I had also seen the movie and wanted some deeper insights on the characters.

Summary:  Set in Boston, a homicide detective is investigating the murder of a childhood friend’s daughter while a third former friend, who survived a childhood molestation & abduction, is under suspicion for the crime.


This is a strongly written novel with an unusual focus on the characters, allowing the plot to ebb and flow naturally with the characters' actions being trigger points that give it life.  A number of plot events take place, and not in the typical structure of having one central plot with one or more subplots occuring around it, but really, they all had an equal stake in the development of the whole story.

The movie version was directed by Clint Eastwood, and starred Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney & Emmy Rossum.  It was equally as good as the novel--no better, no worse, an unusual occurence in adapting books to movies.  It's worth watching as much as the novel is worth reading.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

Where the Heart Is- Billie Letts

Published:  1995
Length:  384 pages
ISBN:  0340646985
Genre:  "Chick Lit"

Start Date:  Sometime in 2006-7
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2006-7

Where Found:  Used bookstore
Why Read:  I picked this & The Deep End of the Ocean up to try some of Oprah’s Book Club picks.

Summary:  A pregnant teenager is abandoned by her boyfriend at a Wal-Mart in rural Oklahoma where she is taken in and raises her daughter with a kindly woman who mistakes her for someone else, making friends with a nurse having trouble finding a father figure for her kids.


I loved the quirky qualities of this novel--the characters with interesting names (Novalee, Americus, Sister Husband, and especially Lexie's children all named for snack foods:  Brownie, Praline & Baby Ruth), the oddly coincidental circumstances surrounding an unlucky number, and Novalee forming a close friendship with a complete stranger.  The subplot with her runaway boyfriend Willy Jack and his budding music career as a country singer is a bit lax compared to the boundless energy of her life that follows him leaving her, 17, pregnant, and alone at a Wal-Mart.  I enjoyed reading it, about as much as I enjoy a hot shower--it's soothing, lovely, but not life-changing.

The movie version starred Natalie Portman (fantastic in one of her breakout roles), Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing & Sally Field.  It was sweet, enjoyable, and worth a viewing.

Rank:  (B)- Very Good, Recommend

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
The Accidental Tourist- Anne Tyler

Published:  1985
Length:  355 pages
ISBN:  039454689X
Genre:  Literary Fiction

Start Date:  Summer 2008
Finished Date:  Summer 2008

Where Found:  Used bookstore
Why Read:  Loved the movie and thought the eccentric characters would be even more enjoyable in the novel. I was right!

Summary:  A stifling travel writer divorcing his wife after the death of their son gradually falls in love with a loopy dog trainer while his publisher develops interest in his client’s sister who cannot pull away from caring for her neurotic brothers.


I fell in love with Anne Tyler's characters immediately and had a blast reading this!  Her style is distinctly her own, completely incomparable to any other writer.  I can't wait to continue reading more of her work.

The movie version starred William Hurt, a delightful Geena Davis & Kathleen Turner.  It was a fun, lovely movie that I recommend as a companion to the novel.  I saw the movie before reading the book and I enjoyed both immensely, so it doesn't seem to matter what order you read/view this one.

Rank:  (A+)- Fantastic, A Must-Read

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
Deception Point- Dan Brown

Published:  2001
Length:  736 pages
ISBN:  0552151764
Genre:  Suspense

Start Date:  Sometime in 2007-8
Finished Date:  Sometime in 2007-8

Where Found:  Borrowed from a coworker after I finished two previous Dan Brown novels (Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code)
Why Read:  My coworker said it was better than DVC and equally good to A&D, which I also liked best.

Summary:  A team of experts, including the daughter of a Senator, is sent to the Arctic Circle to investigate a meteor that may or may not prove the existence of alien life.


I hate to admit that I can't remember many of the plot details but it was a smart, fast-paced story, a great main character (not Robert Langdon--this book is separate from that series), and was quite addictive.  It was nearly as good as Angels & Demons and better than The DaVinci Code.  I would highly recommend this to fans of Dan Brown or those looking for a fascinating mystery/thriller.
Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly recommended

The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  2003
Pages:  391
ISBN:  9780385670968
Genre:  Literary Fiction

Start Date:  Feb. 12, 2011
Finished Date:  Feb. 20, 2011 (9 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  On my TBR list, had loads of positive reviews, liked the movie version

Read for:  Back to the Classics challenge (possible 21st century classic) (1/8)

Summary:  In the winter of 1975 in Afghanistan, a young, privileged boy with a tendency for testing the bounds of his friendship with the son of his father's servant witnesses a terrible crime committed against his friend, and the guilt of this knowledge carries with him as he attempts to build a new life in America.


As I read this book, I was initially struck by its simplicity, which becomes a clever deception in that it soon barrels forward, unfolding more and more complicated layers over time and space, as events from the past are carried into the future, affecting every character in profound ways.  It is remarkably coincidental that I had recently read Atonement by Ian McEwan, as the books have strikingly similar themes of redemption for a single error in judgment during childhood that resonates over time, influencing major future decisions, remaining everpresent in the conscience of Amir (in The Kite Runner) and Briony (in Atonement).

What separates the two books is Khaled Hosseini's deep exploration of a meaningful friendship, the kin of brotherhood, and the extent of a person's love over social, political and geographical realms.  A beautiful quotation provides the greatest insight to these themes: "For you, a thousand times over."  Descriptive images of brightly coloured kites, a pasttime that both brings the friends together and tears them apart, provides a perfect metaphor for their relationship: the kites soar to the highest highs, dip to the lowest lows, struggle in complicated tangles, and fight to cut each other down, echoing the trials of a wavering relationship amid jealousy, fear, class, and favourtism deepened by hurtful family secrets.

Khaled Hosseini delights in sharing customs of Afghani culture and Muslim faith, patiently and intricately telling a tale that rings true in both Western and Eastern nations, while attempting to bridge a gap riddled with conflicts of war, tension, racism, cultural & religious persecution, and difference.  Writing for the most part through a lens of childhood creates a gentle, peaceful route to a greater understanding between West and East amidst growing suspicions and misunderstandings in a post-9/11 world.

Rank:  (A+)- Excellent, A Must-Read

Top 10 Tuesday--Book to Movie Adaptations

A weekly meme hosted @ The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme is Top 10 Book to Movie Adaptations.

Another theme that I simply can't pass up!  To focus the scope a little further (and cut down the list considerably), I've only listed books that I've read & their adapted movies (which I've seen).  Click the book title for my review (if available) and the movie title for more info on it.  In no particular order:

1)  Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery--adapted in 1985 starring Megan Follows as Anne, Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert, Colleen Dewhurst as Marilla, Richard Farnsworth as Matthew, and Schuyler Grant as Diana.

2)  The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler--adapted in 1988 starring William Hurt as Macon, Geena Davis as Muriel, and Kathleen Turner as Sarah.

3)  Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding--adapted in 2001 (and a sequel in 2004) starring Renee Zellweger as Bridget, Colin Firth as Mark, and Hugh Grant as Daniel.

4)  My Autobiography by Charles Chaplin--adapted in 1992 as Chaplin starring Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin, Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie's daughter) as Hannah Chaplin, Moira Kelly as Hetty Kelly & Oona O'Neill, Anthony Hopkins as George Hayden, and Dan Aykroyd as Mack Sennett.

5)  The Color Purple by Alice Walker--adapted in 1985 starring Whoopi Goldberg as Celie, Danny Glover as Mr./Albert, Margaret Avery as Shug, and Oprah Winfrey as Sofia.

6)  The Green Mile by Stephen King--adapted in 1999 starring Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb, Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey, David Morse as Brutal, James Cromwell as the Warden, and many more (a fantastic ensemble cast!)

7)  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey--adapted in 1975 starring Jack Nicholson as Randle McMurphy, Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched, Brad Dourif as Billy, Danny DeVito as Martini, Christopher Lloyd as Taber, Scatman Crothers as Turkle, and Will Sampson as Chief Bromden.

8)  "Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption," a short story from Different Seasons by Stephen King--adapted in 1994 as The Shawshank Redemption starring Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, Morgan Freeman as Red, Bob Gunton as Warden Norton, and James Whitmore as Brooks Hatlen.

9)  The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris--adapted in 1991 starring Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford, and Ted Levine as Jame Gumb.

10)  One True Thing by Anna Quindlen--adapted in 1998 starring Renee Zellweger as Ellen, Meryl Streep as Kate, and William Hurt as George.

Monday, February 21, 2011

TBR Authors List

Adam @ Roof Beam Reader has done it again (bravo!), this time making a fabulous list of authors as part of his TBR list (alphabetical by first name) with an overwhelming, ambitious & inspiring goal to read the complete works of each author!

I've posted a similar version (some of Adam's choices being omitted) with my own comments and some additions from my own TBR list.  Though I don't aspire to read the complete works of every author on the list, I am interested in many of their books and hope to at least dabble in most of them ;)

Here is my complete list (to date) of authors whose books I have read & reviewed.
Here is my complete TBR list (to date), which goes with my wish list.

Authors I've Read At Least 1 Book By= 26 (books read follow with links to reviews, if applicable)
Authors on my TBR List= 118 (books to read follow)
Authors I've Read & Still Have More to Read= 18 (books read, books TBR)
Authors I Probably Won't Read More Of= 8

Alexandre Dumas- The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo
Amy Tan- The Joy Luck Club
Anais Nin- Henry & June
Anne Frank- Diary of a Young Girl (I read this in high school; it's one of the most important books to read)
Anne Rice- Interview With the Vampire
Arthur Conan Doyle- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles
Arthur Miller- Death of a Salesman (I read this in high school; excellent play!)
A.S. Byatt- Possession, The Children's Book
Ayn Rand- The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged
Bram Stoker- Dracula
Bret Easton Ellis- American Psycho
C.S. Lewis- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (I may read the entire Narnia series if I like this one)
Charles Dickens- Bleak House, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, Pickwick Papers, A Tale of Two Cities
Charlotte Bronte- Jane Eyre
Daniel Defoe- Robinson Crusoe
Dante- The Divine Comedy
Daphne du Maurier- Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel
D.H. Lawrence- Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons & Lovers, Women in Love
E.L. Doctorow- Billy Bathgate, Book of Daniel
Edgar Allen Poe- Complete Tales & Poems, The Fall of the House of Usher
Edith Wharton- The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, House of Mirth
Elie Wiesel- Night
Elizabeth Gaskell- North and South
E.M. Forster- A Room With a View (whimsical, romantic, lovely!), Howard's End, A Passage to India
Emily Bronte- Wuthering Heights
Ernest Hemingway- A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man & the Sea, The Sun Also Rises
Evelyn Waugh- Brideshead Revisited
F. Scott Fitzgerald- The Great Gatsby (read in high school; just okay for me)
Ford Maddox Ford- The Good Soldier
Frances Hodgson Burnett- The Secret Garden
Franz Kafka- Metamorphosis, The Trial
Fyodor Dostoevsky- The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment
Gabriel Garcia Marquez- 100 Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera
George Eliot- Scenes From a Clerical Life, Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Middlemarch
George Orwell- Animal Farm (read in high school; didn't like it then but may re-read it), 1984
Gore Vidal- Myra Breckinridge
Graham Greene- Brighton Rock (deep, dark mystery with an incredibly evil character), The Power and the Glory, The End of the Affair, The Quiet American
Gunter Grass- The Tin Drum
Gustave Flaubert- Madame Bovary
Haruki Murakami- The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles
H.G. Wells- The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, The Island of Dr. Moreau
Henry David Thoreau- Walden
Henry Fielding- Tom Jones
Henry James- The Bostonians, The Turn of the Screw, The Art of the Novel, The Portrait of a Lady, Wings of the Dove
Herman Melville- Moby Dick
Homer- The Odyssey, The Iliad
Honore de Balzac- Le Pere Goriot
Iain Banks- The Wasp Factory
Ian McEwan- Atonement (absolutely amazing!)
Jack Kerouac- On the Road
Jack London- The Call of the Wild
James Fenimore Cooper- The Last of the Mohicans
James Joyce- Finnegans Wake, Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Jane AustenPride and Prejudice (sweet, satirical & enjoyable classic), Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Persuasion
J.D. Salinger- The Catcher in the Rye (liked the prose more than the protagonist but still very much worth a read), Franny & Zooey
J.G. Ballard- Empire of the Sun
Jean-Jacques Rousseau- The Social Contract
Jeffrey Eugenides- Middlesex (currently reading)
J.K. Rowling- Harry Potter series (#1-3, #4-7)--really enjoyed the first two books and liked the third--I'll be rereading the 1st book for a challenge & will finish off the series hopefully by next year.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe- Tragedy of Faust
John Fowles- The French Lieutenant's Woman (I saw the movie recently & it was slow starting but turned out to be quite wonderful)
John Irving- The World According to Garp (incredibly unique & amazing story), A Prayer For Owen Meany (fascinating story, somewhat intolerable protagonist), The Cider House Rules, The Hotel New Hampshire, Last Night at Twisted River
John Le Carre- The Constant Gardener, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, The Tailor of Panama
John Milton- Paradise Lost
John Steinbeck- The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Of Mice and Men
John Updike- Rabbit, Run (not all that impressed, am not too enthusiastic about continuing the series), The Witches of Eastwick, A Month of Sundays
John Paul Sartre- Being & Nothingness
Jonathan Swift- Gulliver's Travels
Jose Saramago: Blindness
Joseph Conrad- Heart of Darkness (very disturbing & bleak, not my cup of tea), Nostromo
J.R.R. Tolkien- Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit
Jules Verne- Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea
Karl Marx- Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital
Kate Chopin: The Awakening
Kazuo Ishiguro- Never Let Me Go, The Remains of the Day
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.- Slaughterhouse-Five (DNF), may try Cat's Cradle but I'm not prioritizing it
Leo Tolstoy- Anna Karenina, War and Peace
Lewis Carroll- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass
Louisa May Alcott- Little Women (really want to reread sometime; loved the characters & the story was heartwarming), Little Men
Marcel Proust- Remembrance of Things Past
Margaret Atwood- The Handmaid's Tale (breathtaking dystopian story with a heroic protagonist), Alias Grace, Cat's Eye, The Edible Woman, The Robber Bride, Surfacing, Oryx & Crake, The Year of the Flood
Margaret Mitchell- Gone With the Wind
Mark Twain- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (wonderfully nostalgic), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Mary Shelley- Frankenstein
Mary Wollstonecraft- Vindication of the Rights of Women (I read this, probably in my 19th century lit class; the cornerstone of feminist theory)
Miguel de Cervantes- Don Quixote
Milan Kundera- The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Molière- The Misanthrope
Nathaniel Hawthorne- The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables
Norman Mailer- The Executioner's Song, The Naked and the Dead, Marilyn
Oscar WildeThe Importance of Being Earnest (read this in a 19th century lit class; loved the wordplay and timeless humour!), The Picture of Dorian Gray
Percy Bysshe Shelley- Complete Poetry, A Defence of Poetry
Philip Roth- The Human Stain
Plato- The Republic
Ralph Ellison- Invisible Man
Ralph Waldo Emerson- On Nature & Selected Essays
Rudyard Kipling- Kim, The Jungle Man
Salman Rushdie- Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses
Simone de Beauvoir- Second Sex, Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
Sinclair Lewis- Elmer Gantry
Sir Walter Scott- Ivanhoe, Lady of the Lake, Rob Roy
Sophocles- Oedipus Rex
Stephen King- Carrie, Cell, The Dead Zone, Different Seasons, Full Dark No Stars, The Green Mile, The Mist, On Writing, The Shining, Under the Dome, Bag of Bones, Christine, Cujo, Dolores Claiborne, Duma Key, Firestarter, From a Buick 8, Gerald’s Game, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Hearts in Atlantis, Insomnia, It, Lisey’s Story, Misery, Needful Things, Night Shift, Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot, Skeleton Crew, The Talisman--absolutely one of my favourite writers!
Sylvia Plath- The Bell Jar
Tennessee Williams- Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Thomas Hardy- The Mayor of Casterbridge, Far From the Madding Crowd, Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Thomas Mann- Death in Venice
Thomas Pynchon- The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow
Thornton Wilder- Our Town, Bridge of San Luis Rey
Tom Wolfe- The Right Stuff, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Electric Kool-Aid Test
Toni Morrison- Song of Solomon (a bit too bizarre for my taste), Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Sula
Truman Capote- In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany's
Umberto Eco- Foucault's Pendulum, On Literature
Victor Hugo- Les Miserables, Hunchback of Notre Dame
Virginia Woolf- A Room of One's Own (reflective yet critical of the state of women writers), Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando
Vladimir Nabokov- Lolita
Voltaire- Candide
Walt Whitman- Leaves of Grass
Wilkie Collins- Woman in White
Willa Cather- My Antonia
William S. Burroughs- Naked Lunch
William Faulkner- As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury
William GoldingThe Lord of the Flies (read in high school; very powerful & extraordinary book)
William Makepeace Thackeray- Vanity Fair
William Shakespeare- Antony & Cleopatra, Cymbeline, Hamlet, Henry V, King Lear, Macbeth (D), Midsummer Night's Dream, A, Othello, Richard III, Romeo & Juliet, Titus Andronicus, Tempest, The, Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, Troilus & Cressida-- read many plays in high school & my university Shakespeare course
W. Somerset Maugham- Of Human Bondage, The Razor's Edge

EW's Modern Classics List

Leeswammes' Blog posted an interesting set of modern classics as named by Entertainment Weekly as the top 100 books published between 1983-2008 (up to when the list was released).  I don't expect to get a high score as I have many modern classics on my TBR list, but here goes...

Books I've read= 15 (may be linked to my review)
Books on the TBR list or shelf= 18
Have read other books by this author= 6
*Other books by this author are on my TBR list or shelf= 26
-- notes following are mine

The rest I've either never heard of or don't have much interest in, unless someone wants to recommend them to me :)

*1. The Road , Cormac McCarthy (2006)--could not finish watching the movie (way too bleak)
*2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
*3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars’ Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
*6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)--saw the movie
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
*11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
*14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
*16. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
*17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
*18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
*21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
*24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)

26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
*27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
*36. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
*42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
*45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
*46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
*47. World’s Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
*48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
*56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
*57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak! Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
*64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
*66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
*67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
*73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
*77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)

79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
*88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
*89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators’ Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.

Books Read This Week (1)
The Kite Runner- Khaled Hosseini--review coming soon (it's definitely an A+)

Currently Reading (3)
A Twist of Lemmon- Chris Lemmon- a reflective tribute to his father, actor Jack Lemmon--received for my birthday; a sweet, lovingly written book.

Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides--reading for the Back to the Classics challenge (Pulitizer winner/nominee)--I'm excited to start this today!

My Life- Bill Clinton--still on-the-go...

Next to Read
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe- C.S. Lewis--for 1st in a Series challenge

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury--for What's in a Name 4 challenge

A is For Alibi by Sue Grafton--for 1st in a Series challenge--a re-read

Other Reviews Posted This Week (1)
Rabbit, Run- John Updike

Bloggie Things
~ Posted responses to a reading questionnaire

Sorry I didn't get to the Oscar-themed post this week but I figure it will spark more interest this week with the show this Sunday.  I'm hoping to infuse it with some history, this year's nominees, and some trivia.  Should be fun :)

I got A Twist of Lemmon for my birthday, along with a few DVDs:  Always, The China Syndrome, Broadcast News, and 3 box sets to finish off my Looney Tunes Golden Collection.  And some cash :)  I'll be getting some more books in a couple of weeks, mostly for my challenges, with a visit to the Book Depot...and maybe Chapters, too.

What are you reading this week?  Happy trails :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Blog Hop!

A weekly meme hosted by Jennifer @ Crazy For Books.

This week's question is from Jessica @ A GREAT Read:

What book(s) would you like to see turned into a movie?

Terrific question!  I am a huge movie buff and love to compare books to their movie versions.  So many popular & classic books have been adapted to film, how many could possibly be left to adapt?  Here are some I'd love to see as a movie with some ideas on casting:

I think Marc Forster would be a brilliant choice of director as he does quirky, fantastic visuals that would bode well with Christopher's mental machinations.  Forster directed Stranger Than Fiction, The Kite Runner, and Quantam of Solace (a James Bond flick) among others.  As for casting, no one comes immediately to mind.

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
This may be a tricky one to adapt to film but the same was said about The Time Traveler's Wife and it was done (though not nearly as well as the book).  As I read the book, I pictured Felicity Huffman as Elspeth & Edwina, probably because I'm hooked on Desperate Housewives :)  Perhaps Abigail Breslin would make a good Julia & Valentina.  I saw her recently on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and she looks so grownup now!

While we're on the topic, why oh why are they making an American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson when the Swedish-made movie is so good on its own?  Why must there be an American equivalent to everything?  Sorry to rant about this, but honestly, how could they possibly top Noomi Rapace?

Meanwhile, Edward Norton is still attempting to get Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem to the big screen for 2013.  He will make a fantastic Lionel Essrog!

And Under the Dome by Stephen King is being made into a TV miniseries/movie this year produced by Steven Spielberg for DreamWorks.  While I understand that the novel's gargantuan length suggests a medium longer than the average feature film offers, it ought to be a blockbuster running 3 hours or more, such as The Sound of Music and Gone With the Wind--why take the small screen route on a masterful made-to-be-a-movie story?

Have a great weekend everyone!  I also want to wish everyone in Ontario a happy long weekend with Family Day on Monday :)

I'll probably have some bookish news after the weekend as I'm celebrating my birthday & I'm sure a trip to the bookstore will be in order.  I'm also planning to visit the Book Depot during my week off in March as I had to postpone the pre-Xmas trip.

What are you planning to read this weekend?  I'm a little more than halfway through The Kite Runner, which has been a real treat, and my goal is finish it, review it, and start Middlesex by Tuesday.  Wish me luck :)