Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Quarter 2, post 1

Beauty and the beast with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.  I browsed a fairly comprehensive review before seeing this (in the theater!  with friends!  on a social outing!), plus having memorized the Disney movie as a tween and having seen a stage adaptation of the movie some years ago, so I have opinions.

Like the linked review, I disparage Belle's costuming, not only for it's lack of period correctness but also: I get that she's a rockin' independent lady, but she stands out on purpose.  As someone who didn't fit in until I went to a college big enough to support my niche, that seems silly at best, or else purposefully self-destructive.  It was a little hard to feel as sympathetic for her, when she's rather deliberately reminding everyone how much better she is.

I don't think I have anything substantial to add to the mounds of discussion on this movie.  Glad I saw it in the theater; would watch again.

Crosstalk by Connie Willis.  I waffled on this for a long time.  I read a good review and got excited, then saw the cover and was terrified of slogging through a door stopper of New Adult Angst.  I took it home and parked it on my night table for a month, to get myself used to the idea.  I finally cracked the cover, giving myself advance permission to put it down after two chapters if desired.  Chapter one was a bit iffy, but I got into it by chapter two and sped through the rest.

It's a good book, a solid four stars.  There are distracting, messy bits, but overall it's fun and light.  The things that bothered me are:

- the first chapter is almost entirely celebrity name-dropping and gossip.  I think this was supposed to set the time period and office culture, but I never figured out quite when the story is actually set-- very near future or present-day with one technological advancement?  This was a fairly big sticking point for me.
- (spoilery) the main character only falls for her new love interest because he keeps saving her.  She can't hear him so doesn't know how he feels about her.  I expected her to be a little more conscious of being interested only as a result of being a damsel in distress, or to at least recognize the situation.  That seemed fairly important and overlooked.
- there were editing problems throughout the whole book.  Specifically, there were no spaces between sentences (sentence.Sentence) everywhere.  Very distracting.

Eggs, beans, and crumpets by P.G. Wodehouse; read by Jonathan Cecil.  Hoopla has this marked as part of the Jeeves and Wooster series, but I think that's a mistake. A couple of the main characters from these short stories were side characters in Worcester stories, but Jeeves and Wooster themselves are completely lacking.  I thought it a nice enough addition to the J&W world, but the spouse is not yet familiar enough with all the characters and had trouble following. I finished the audiobook; he didn't.

A murder in time by Julie McElwain.    Before checking for a sequel, I wasn't sure if the couple of things that aren't wrapped up were supposed to be introducing a series or if they were just sloppy writing.  The writing isn't fantastic but it's a fun story.  The scenes set in the present-day were especially unbelievable and unrealistic.

I can't whole-heartedly recommend it as a "good book" but I do have the next one already checked out, if that information is helpful.

Japanese death poems: Written by Zen monks and haiku poets on the verge of death, compiled and with an introduction by Yoel Hoffmann.  I was hoping to squeeze this in in the "Japanese philosophy" category. There aren't too many books at my library exclusively on that topic.  

This is super cool but not a great fit: a significant portion of the book talks about the history of death poetry before the poems are included. Each poem is then followed by up to several paragraphs of commentary or explanation.  

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