Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What I've been Reading, Watching and Listening to ...


- (audio book) Sweetwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons. For those of you that have read Nora Nora, this book seems to be very similar in characters and storyline. A lonely preteen girl growing up wild, after her mother ran away from home when she was very young (except for in this book the mother is, presumably, still alive), a loving yet distant father, full of charisma, dignity and personality. Comes a young woman, beautiful, sexy, introduces the girl to the wonders of the world through literature and her own wild and painful experience. In the end, all is well. (More on Potter later) Shall we say, it was a tad repetitive. I much enjoyed her Up Island and Low Country, at least the weather changed.

- (audio book) Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson. After the library chasing down a copy of the audio book for the last six months, I finally got to hear it. And as it turned out, I have heard it a few years ago when I first "discovered" Bryson. He took a grand British tour amongst the isles before moving back to the US. Interesting, yet much less memorable than say, A Walk in the Woods.

- (audio book) Blink, the power of thinking without thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell who also wrote The Tipping Point. Very insightful analysis about how the first two seconds of impression drives our decisions. Gladwell is half Jamaican, and at some pointed decided to grow his hair long. He was stopped by two policemen because they thought he looked like a criminal that they were after. Gladwell pointed out that the sketch showed a person with a different built, different weight, different facial features; in fact, the only similarity was it was a black man with long hair. This event drove Gladwell into research and eventually writing this book. What better way to get even with two unfair policemen and racial discrimination than writing a best seller with them as the subject matter?

- (audio book) Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. I read her Poinsonwood Bible with my bookclub a few years ago. Now with her new book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle just came out, I'm on a Kingsolver kick. Only restriction would be how many books they have on CD at the library.

- HP7DH, that's short hand for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (book 7). We took Henry to the book release party on that Friday night. He finished the book on Monday. I'm not going to read this book, in fact, I'm so disturbed about Sirius Black and Dumbledore's death I wouldn't bother reading book five and six. However, to keep up with the child, I read hundreds of email discussions about HP7DH. If you are the email group type, take a look at the HP for Grown up on Yahoo Groups. There are close to 30,000 members in the group, generating well over 1,000 messages a week. Some very interesting discussions there.


- Couple of Andrea Bocelli's DVDs, A Night in Tuscany and Under the Desert Sky. I've watched just about every video clip with him on YouTube, some many times, like this one I posted earlier. Speaking of this video clip, I sent it to a woman at work. She first asked me "Is that English?" No, he's singing in Italian. After watching for a minute of so, she commented, "I keep expecting something to happen, like she's going to fall or something." Why can't people just enjoy a good performance? Sorry, just have to rant.

- Phatom of the Opera, the movie version starring Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, and Miranda Richardson. First got it through Netflix, then my husband bought me my own copy. I've also watched various versions of video clips on YouTube. For some reason I thought Antonio Banderas was in the movie. Found him in some of the YouTube clips, but not in the movie. However the movie is much worth owning even without Mr. Banderas.

- Netflix recently added a new feature, Instant Watch, some numbers of free hours for subscribers depending on the membership level. Nice way to try new movies that you are curious about but don't want to go through the trouble of adding it to the queue, waiting for it in the mail, watch five minutes and return it. So far I've watched a few movies/shows in full length: America's Castles: The Homes of Frank Lloyd Wright, The Human Face (only watched the first in the series, Face to Face, but plan to finish the other three. This series goes very well with Blink.), Modern Marvels: The Manhattan Project. I can't believe I'm tooting the horns for Netflix, as I have not been on good terms with them since soon after I joined the company last year, but the Instant Watch is a good feature to take advantage of. Good to have when it's free, as one of the analysts said on Motley Fools, and people probably would not want to pay for it. Netflix stock has been tumbling recently, in fact, had never reached the height since when I joined the company. My pay, as with every Netflix employee, included a minimum 5% stock option (so I got paid only 95% of salary). That's a pure loss of 5% of my income that I will never forget.

Listening To go along with my Italian theme, I set up an Andrea Bocelli channel on the online radio Pandora, and guess what, the other one is Frank Sinatra. Pandora does not have classic music, but between the two channels I get plenty of Bocelli, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Hayley Westenra, Sarah Brightman, Micheal Crawford, Michael Ball, Il Divo, and Charlotte Church.


Lynn said...

I LOVE the play Phantom of the Opera, seen it 3 times, so when the movie came out it was on the top of the list! It didnt do as well in the theatre as some of the other broadway to movies did, but my dh bought me the cd and I LOVED it. Speaking of which I havent watched it in awhile. I need to watch it this wknd I think....

Jocelyn said...

If it's Banderas you want -- then try Evita -- love him in that! Thanks for not giving anything away for HPTDH -- we read book 5 (the girls and I like to listen to it together) and we're reading 6 next. I already knew about Dumbeldore in 6 but I don't want to know anything about, la, la,...

Vivian said...

I've actually watched Evita before, and yes, Banderas is quite charming :-) I didn't even mind Madonna.

I read the ending of HP7DH that Friday morning on a Chinese website. Obviously I can't stand secrets!