January 28, 2011 by jessperriam
Moving on your own to another country sounds like the most hectic time of someone’s life. And in retrospect it will probably seem hideously so to me too.
But in actual fact, time moves very slowly.
Having my own company doesn’t concern me. Sure I love hanging out with others. But I always savour the quality time with me, myself and I as well.
Recently I’ve spent a lot of time on planes, trains, busses and in cinemas and cafes. I’ve been commuting, killing time and doing the transition thing. I’m enjoying the slow pace while it lasts.
It’s given me a great opportunity to read a lot and watch a lot. Here’s a wrap of the last few weeks of that:
My Family and Other Animals – Gerald Durell
Why?: It’s on the Popular Penguins reading list.
And in 25 words or less?: Memoir of a British family in the early 20th Century who decide it would be fun to move to Corfu. Narrated by youngest son who decides it’s fun to collect everything that moves on the island.
My opinion: I find long descriptions of creepy crawlies rather tiresome. And there’s a lot of them over the 300 odd pages.
Why you should read it: It is kind of cute, and easy to skim. You don’t have to think.
Summer Crossing – Truman Capote
Why?: Also on the reading list.
And in 25 words or less?: Uncovered after Capote’s death, this short novel tells the story of disenfranchised, upper class girl Grady, falling in love with a wrong side of the tracks parking attendant.
My opinion: It does read very similarly to Capote’s other, more famous short novel, Breakfast at Tiffanys. I prefer Capote’s non fiction.
Why you should read it: It’s an interesting show of what happens when people discover manuscripts and decide to publish them posthumously.
Room – Emma Donoghue
Why?: – It was chosen for my Perth book club.
And in 25 words or less? – Inspired by the spate of women released from underground lairs by their captors, this tells the story from the point of view of the offspring, a five year old boy.
My opinion: Fast paced, easy to read. A well told story.
Why you should read it: It was shortlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize. Also the way Donoghue captures the voice of the child is something quite special.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
Why?: On the Popular Penguins list
And in 25 words or less?: Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher at an Edinburgh girls school in the 1930s. She gathers a little cult of her favourite girls to indoctrinate about her way of life.
My opinion: A cute little novel about how teachers can be a bad influence. I can’t help imagining Julie Andrews, who played Miss Brodie in the film adaptation.
Why you should read it: The magical description of Edinburgh and her people in the 1930s. It’s also funny.
Blue Valentine – starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling
In 25 words or less: A look at a marriage on its last legs.
The good: The flashbacks to the halcyon days of the marriage’s beginning are cute.
The bad: There are some awkward lingering scenes that just drag. Cringeville, Population: You.
127 Hours – starring James Franco and a rock. Directed by Danny ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ Boyle.
In 25 words or less: The true story of Aron Ralston’s grizzly escape from a canyon recreated on the big screen.
The good: Well, for 90 minutes it’s not much but James Franco, a rock, a canyon and a video camera. Boyle has directed a film that is engaging and captures the mind of Ralston using hallucination scenes. Also James Franco is eye candy.
The bad: Well, there is that scene where he amputates his own arm using a blunt multi-tool. And while it’s not graphic, the use of white noise to portray the feeling of cutting through nerves is
rather very intense.
Black Swan – starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis
In 25 words or less: Portman plays Nina, a timid, Mummy’s girl ballerina desperate to play the Swan Queen in her company’s production of Swan Lake. The problem, she’s not nasty enough to play the evil alter ego of the Black Swan.
The good: The dancing scenes are rather nice.
The bad: To break it down, it really is just another ballet film. With a psychologist twist and bad CGI. And Winona Ryder’s jaded veteran ballerina character is creepy in the extreme.