Saturday, May 26, 2012

What I've Been Reading and Watching

My life is getting into a rhythmic pattern as I reconfigure this whole stay-at-home mom thing around doctor's appointments (Bellybean is 27 weeks now!), crazy heat (98 degrees today), and Ben's work schedule.  I've returned to reading books and watching movies again, relying on NPR's book lists and author interviews and the Academy awards/nominations.  This last week, I downed two books down and one movie -- all of which affected me in one way or another.  Thus, a brief highlight and review of each is necessary.

The Descendants Poster

I first heard of this movie during the Academy Awards.  It won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and piqued my interest. Last week, Ben and I found it in a Redbox and checked it out.  I wasn't sure what to expect, having heard nothing about it except for the brief excerpt during the Oscars presentation, and felt very skeptical. I thought it would turn into the ol' husband works too much so wife cheats thus husband is to blame plot but it became a story of a wife in a coma, a husband figuring out their relationship, the far-reaching effects of infidelity on all people involved, and a parent unsure of how to handle his own kids.  I found myself understanding Matt King's (played by George Clooney) frustration as he attempts to parent two daughters who he doesn't understand and who don't respect him.   The movie is set in Hawaii where we quickly learn that paradise isn't always paradise and that money complicates things.  An intense story told with just enough humor to make it bearable.

The Wreckage, USA Cover

I haven't read fiction since...I don't know when.  Most books were either not well-written enough or the plots were ridiculously complicated and boring that I lost interest rather quickly.  When I heard of this author on NPR, I decided to check him out.  I was not disappointed.

While slow to start, the author captured me with his thoughtful and descriptive words, intense scenes, and romantic side stories.  Set in two different locations, with a multiplicity of characters, the book follows three parallel stories until they collide.  It's a heart-wrenching thriller that left me breathless and paralyzed until the end.

Front Cover

I actually watched the movie before reading the book.  Both are almost indescribable. The book is a cross between a Quentin Tarantino film and a poem--with its rhythmic narrative, out-of-sequence chapters, and violent scenes--I had to read it twice.  The first as a primer, the second to untangle the plot.  The unnamed and enigmatic main character, Driver, is an anomaly who remains clothed in secrecy that despite the book, I still didn't know him.  Yet this fits perfectly with the plot and seems fitting for a book with mysterious characters who we barely meet before the book ends.  I would recommend reading the book and watching the movie, in no particular order, as they both independently stand as works of art.

I have many more books I am quickly consuming and just may talk about those in another cluster review later.


  1. Whatever you do, don't buy into the hype of 50 Shades of Grey- it is TERRIBLE!

  2. I am jealous of your time to read. (I always thought when my kids were off to college, I'd have more time. Not so!)


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