Monday, September 4, 2017

August Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Half Bad by Sally Green 


I was so excited to read this, because it looked like a super unique fantasy trilogy that everyone was in love with. It did have an interesting premise, a strong start, and a promising plot, but . . . the plot wandered, the last half dragged on, and it couldn't keep my attention because I was bored. I couldn't connect with the protagonist, either. I felt sorry for him at first, but I was so disinterested by the end, I didn't care all that much what happened. This book wasn't really for me. I probably won't continue.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel


Wow, this was a fascinating read! I'll get my couple negatives out of the way, because it was a good book and that should be the focus. 1. The story jumped around in time a lot in what seemed mostly like a random order. Sometimes that works, but I didn't think it did with this book. 2. There was a lot told through narration, which made me wonder if a novel would've worked better than a graphic novel? I'm just more used to speech bubbles when I'm reading a graphic novel. But, it was a super interesting memoir about a dysfunctional family (with most of the dysfunction coming from the father). I loved all the connections Alison Bechdel made to literature, because there were a ton of parallels when it came to her life and literary stories.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon


This was another one I'd heard nothing but good about and couldn't wait to read, but I was so disappointed. Very little kept me reading to the end, and that was because I'd 1. invested so much time already in this book and 2. was a little curious what happened because I did still like the characters. First of all, personal issue here, but I think using the third person for a YA contemporary romance is super odd. We hardly ever see anything but first person when reading YA contemporaries these days. Third person only works if you can still make me feel really connected to the characters, and I did not feel that way. Usually dialogue is able to make up for that, but the dialogue in this book was so unnatural. There were whole conversations that took place simply because it moved the plot forward, which is what dialogue is supposed to do, but it's also supposed to do that without the reader realizing it. Grr. I did love the diversity! It was really cool to read about Indian culture from two American-Indian teenagers with two very different perspectives! Buuuuut, it dealt with these issues in a really preachy, awkward way. I've talked with my teenage friends about social issues. We don't talk like that. The nerdiness was great and I loved the concept of a coding camp where everyone's in a competition to create an app, but for the whole six or so weeks they were at the camp they? Never?? Once??? Showed them???? In class????? Why. Why why why. That could've made things way more interesting and added a ton more tension (which was sorely lacking in the middle) rather than sending Dimple and Rishi to various restaurants for lunch every day. I love food, but food does not make up for a slow plot that wanders and repeats itself. One of the big saving graces to this book was that, however unrealistic several parts of it were, the romance was cute! Downright adorable! I totally shipped it. I mean, when a girl flings her iced coffee at a boy during their first meeting, it's all uphill from there. So, as you can see, I have a lot of feelings (mostly mixed) about this book, but it wasn't bad.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood


Now this was a good book. It had a haunting plot, which was mostly creepy due to the fact that parts of it weren't far off from things that could happen today. It was gripping in a can't-take-your-eyes-away-from-this-trainwreck sort of sense. I loved the writing on a sentence level. Margaret Atwood had a beautiful descriptive style. The awkward and abrupt arrangement of scenes made it hard to reenter the book sometimes, but it's eventually explained why it's written that way. While it made sense, I can't decide if it made up for the fact that it wasn't enjoyable during the whole time I was trying to make sense of it. That, and the storyworld with a confusing hierarchy that's never quite explained. All in all, though, I'd definitely recommend reading it.

Movies I Watched



I love "Heathers" the musical, so I was excited to watch the movie inspiration behind it, but, fitting in with the common theme of high expectations not being met, I was a little disappointed. It being billed as a dark comedy is a little misleading. The musical, definitely, is a dark comedy. The movie is mostly just dark. Everyone was cast really well and definitely fit their characters, but I didn't connect with them as well as I did in the musical. I also missed the friendship Veronica had with Martha. It wasn't really shown at all during the movie. The ending also fell flat for me. Maybe I would've liked it a lot better if I didn't have anything to compare it to, but while it was entertaining and still had that over-the-top premise that made it so unique, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.

"Catch Me If You Can"


This was so fun!! And good!! I love heist films and sympathetic criminals and all that great gray area (or not-so-gray area) stuff. The fact that the whole story was based off of a true story made it that much better. What a crazy movie filled with tons of twists. I was hooked the entire time. Anything Tom Hanks is in is bound to be 1,000 times better than it would be if he wasn't in it. Definitely watch this movie if you haven't already.

Quotes I Wrote

            “The answer to all our problems!” Jezebelle gestured vaguely with her bottle. “We have got to visit the mermaids!”
            “Dear God, no, absolutely not.” Lincoln stood up, pulling Jezebelle off the table. “You can have a family reunion some other time, preferably when I’m far, far away.”
            “Oh, don’t be such greasy wig.” Rufus waved a hand in Lincoln’s direction. “I love your family, Jez. We ought to pay them a visit.”
            “We’ve got nowhere to be.” Zahira shrugged and leapt onto the table, taking Jezebelle’s place. “Why don’t we go to Starryedge?”
            Lincoln crossed his arms. “Because it’s filled with a bunch of superstitious fish people who try to tell me wearing black shortens my lifespan by ten years?”
            “They’ve got a point, mate. Black is not your color.” Rufus wiggled a finger at Lincoln’s current outfit: layers upon layers of dark clothing. “Makes you look pale.”

-Captain Zahira and Her Wayward Crew

Obsessions I Acquired

Brittain Ashford's voice - Not only is she fantastic in "Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812" as Sonya, but she also has a band, Prairie Empire! All of her music is so good. I love how unique her voice is. Two seconds into any song and you know immediately it's her singing. Here's her solo from the "Great Comet" that could totally stand on its own as a single from the musical.


Picture of the Month 

Charlie and Mikey came out to visit again and we had a blast, as always!
My dad took my brother and me to see "Great Comet" and it was SUCH A COOL EXPERIENCE.
With Balaga!
Brittain Ashford, who's just adorable.
Dave Malloy, who sounds exactly like he does when he's singing.
Dana and I went to Lititz and goofed off, as you can see.
How was your August?


Boquinha said...

Oh man, I just want to shove good books in your hands so you can read a winner! Rough month! I hate slumps like that.

I had to chuckle at the Fun Home review. If you think most of the dysfunction was coming from her dad, just wait until you read about her mom. Alison Bechdel is a treasure borne from so much dysfunction.

I'm glad you liked "Catch Me If You Can" so much! Completely agree about Tom Hanks. Love him!

Also, these are great pictures. I love the expressions you make in pictures with Dana. :P

My August went by fast. :( Why? WHY?!?

Jimmy said...

I like "Obsessions I Acquired." Those are fun. And how awesome that you've seen so much on Broadway! You're like a regular.

My August was good because I finally finished Harry Potter Book 5 and have a sense that the unassuming Luna is someone I'm really going to like. Man it took me forever to get through that book but once Dumbledore got ejected from Hogwarts, I was pretty hooked.

And I think I've told you how horrible I am about movies. How it takes me like 4 attempts to watch a full movie when I've rented it because most of the time I fall asleep. Anyway, I tried watching Gifted but I fell asleep once the love story part of it was introduced. I'm sure I've seen Catch Me If You Can. I'm not remembering it very well right now. Me and movies. I don't know what it is. I did stay awake for all of The Glass Castle because I paid full price at the theater. It was good. The book was better.

Other August news--I figured out how to get on to Twitter. I still don't quite get it, but once they told me Facebook was your grandparents, my pride kicked in and I decided to at least try other forms of social media.

Also went to a water park in Denver and that was so much fun. And I camped. It rained hard on one of our campouts so I left our tent in the backyard to dry off and our rabbit chewed little holes in it.

More really than you wanted to know.

The Magic Violinist said...


Luckily, I just finished a great book, so hopefully the slump is over!

Ha, I'm sure I'll feel differently (or at least conflicted) once I read her other book.

We can't help but be dorks when we're together. :P

I know, it sounds like everyone's August flew by!


That's one of my favorite categories to look back on, too, because I can see if that obsession has stuck or not.

Yes, I love book 5! It is pretty long, but all of the Dumbledore's Army scenes are worth it. And Luna, of course. She's one of my favorite characters.

The one with Chris Evans? I heard that was supposed to be excellent. Maybe you'll get into it in the future. ;) The books are usually better, for sure.

Oh, fun, I love Twitter! What's your username?

Yuck, sounds like the water park was better than camping.

Jimmy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jimmy said...

yes, the one with Chris Evans. I will try again. And again. And again. By the fourth attempt, I've usually managed to see the entire movie. Obviously I don't get the thrill of binge watching.

JamesRo505865. I know. Lame. BTW, what I was trying to say earlier is that once I was told that Facebook is what grandparents use to engage in social media, I decided I was young enough to try Twitter. I need a tutorial on how to use though, so maybe I was wrong.

I love, love, love camping. I can't get enough of it. I'm hoping my next major purchase will be a pop up trailer. But it almost feels like I'm losing the purity of the experience by having a mattress, a toilet, and shower so readily available.

Ivyclad Ideas said...

YOU DIDN'T LIKE HALF BAD?!? *Gasps* But...but Gabriel...
Oh God, yes, Heathers the film is VERY dark. For the record, Martha in the musical is a combination of Betty and Martha from the film. In the film, it's Betty who she was friends with as a child, not Martha.
My August was a total disaster. Everything crashed. Reading. Writing. Blogging. Here's to September. *Nods*

The Magic Violinist said...


I know, I know! I kept thinking how every part of me should have liked it, but for some reason, it didn't work for me.

Ohhh, that makes a lot more sense. I wish I'd known that going into the movie. :P

Hopefully September is better! Sending lots of creative vibes your way.