Monday, April 28, 2014

A to Z Challenge X

So I thought I would switch things up and ask you what book you have read that starts with the letter X that you would recommend. I haven't read any books that start with an X and wasn't too sure when researching books which to write about. I wouldn't want to steer anyone the wrong way.

If you can't think of an X titled book either, than what was the last book you read?

W is for Water for Elephants

About the Book

Water for Elephants is a book written by Sara Gruen and published in May of 2006. The story is told as a series of memories by Jacob Jankowski, a 93-year-old man living in a nursing home. The memories follow Jacob, who is a young Polish American preparing for his final exams as a Cornell University veterinary student. He has loving and supportive parents; when he gets news of their fatal car accident he runs away and joins a traveling circus. The traveling circus is a cruel environment, but when they hear of his training, they jump at the chance to employ Jacob as their vet. This is where Jacob builds a relationship with a clever (whiskey fiend) Rosie, the elephant. Jacob and Rosie's rider Marlena also start a relationship. Marlena is married to the cruel and schizophrenic trainer who threatens Jacobs life. The book is amazing; I read it a few years ago and absolutely loved it. 

About the Movie

Loving a book can be scary when you hear of a movie adaptation being released. Nevertheless, I looked forward to Water for Elephants (2011) starring the ever popular (at the time) Robert Pattinson as Jacob Jankowski, and Reese Witherspoon as Marlena. The parts I did like in the movie were Jacob and Rosie (the elephant) relationship. I think they captured the circus atmosphere well and Christopher Waltz portrayed the crazed August, Rosie's abusive trainer, Marlena's husband, and ultimately Jacob's nemesis. I did love to see the animals escaping on screen too! 

V is for Vicomte of Bragelonne

About the Book

The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later is a novel by Alexander Dumas and is the third volume in a series of books. The book is written in three parts and is about The Musketeers and their quests during and about the transformation of Louis XIV from child monarch to Sun King and set between 1660 and 1667. Much like the movie the plot is a thick web between politics and covert operations. 

About the Movie

The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) portrays The Three Musketeers as; Jeremy Irons is Aramis, John Malkovich as Ahos, Gerard Depardieu as Porthos, and Gabriel Byrne as D'Artagnan. The dual role of King Louis XIV and his twin brother Phillippe is portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio. As King Louis XIV he is a cruel King (of France). When The Musketeers device a plan to switch the King with his twin brother who has been imprisoned, it becomes a thrilling escapade. Of course, there is much more to the story, but I don't want to give it all away. If you haven't watched it, check it out; you won't be disappointed.

Friday, April 25, 2014

U is for The Unforgiven

About the Book

The Unforgiven is the second classic Western novel by Alan Le May, published in 1957. On Goodreads it states the synopsis within one sentence and it seems to be a much more complex plot; "When their father dies, leaving them to survive in the wild and lonely Texas Panhandle on their own, the Zachary boys and their mother and sister must fight their late father's nemesis under the Kiowa moon." (Goodreads, 2014). This is definitely a novel that I want to read and will include in my summer to read list.

About the Movie

The blurb for The Unforgiven (1960) states "The neighbors of a frontier family turn on them when it is suspected that their adopted daughter was stolen from the local Kiawa tribe" (The Unforgiven, 2014). This is one that I want to read the book before checking out the movie.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Twilight

About the Book

The first book in the series introduces us to Bella Swan as she is moving to Forks, Washington from Arizona. She's moving in with her father who is Sheriff and close friends with local tribe, the Quileute in La Push. When Bella starts in her new school she meets Edward Cullen, who she thinks can't stand her, but there is a much more complicated reason he reacts the way that he does. Their fate is intertwined and he introduces her to his unusual family. Things get complicated when Bella is threatened and the Cullen family come to her aide.  One of my favorite characters in the series is Alice, sister to Edward; which they both have extraordinary abilities. Their abilities make them powerful allies and as you get further into the series you'll uncover that they'll also be desired by other clans. Twilight isn't my favorite book in the series, but it is the first, and the gateway into Stephenie Meyers (author) realm of vampires, shapeshifting wolves, and battling clans.

About the Movie describes this movie as "A teenage girl risks everything when she falls in love with a vampire" (IMDb, 2014) however there is more involved than just that. First, the movie was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, along with her crew, gave it the edge of visual mystery. Also, the movie included some reputable actors, not as the main characters, but more of a supportive roles. Kristen Stewart is Bella Swan, she stepped into this role from being a princess of the indie scene, and received much criticism over the years of her performances. Her counterpart, Edward Cullen was portrayed by English model/actor Robert Pattinson. What I love about this movie is the simplicity. I also love how they captured true loves first tender moments. I know not everyone is a fan, and there is a lot of skepticism out there. But, if you've read the books, then you have the appreciation and love for the movies as well. Or at least that's my opinion.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Silence of the Lambs

About the Book

The Silence of the Lambs was written by Thomas Harris and published in 1981. It was the #1 National Bestseller and in 1988 received the Bram Stoker Award. This introduces us to Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee and her first assignment involves the search for a serial murderer nicknamed "Buffalo Bill." In an attempt to find the murderer Clarice "must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him. That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself from the core of [the book] an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction." (Bantam Dell Publishing Group, 2007)

About the Movie

I've seen this movie probably a dozen times, and each time there are certain scenes that I still find myself holding my breath. Even when I was looking through the list of book to movie adaptations, when I glanced over The Silence of the Lambs, I still held my breath. It's an intense movie that will take you into the deep-dark pits of the psychological realms of crazy town. Jody Foster portrays Clarice, the FBI trainee that gets tangled in Hannibal Lecters (Anthony Hopkins) webbed psychosis. There are so many memorable scenes in this movie. Two of my favorites is the very last scene when the evil psychiatrist is getting off the plane and being stalked... and the scene that makes me draw my breath every time is the intense scene when Clarice arrives at a home and then the lights go out; that entire scene is crazy (crazy intense and good!) If you haven't seen it - watch it.


Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Return of the King

About the Book

The third in The Lord of the Rings trilogy by iconic author J.R.R. Tolkien. Within the book, it begins in the "kingdom of Gondor, which is soon to be attacked by the Dark Lord Sauron. The human Ranger Aragorn sets out to find the lost army of the undead oathbreakers. The hosts of Mordor break through the gates of Minas Tirith, but are in turn crushed by the arriving cavalry of Rohan. The Wizard Gandalf and Aragorn decide to draw out the hosts of ordor with an assault on the Black Gate, providing a distraction so that the two hobbits (Frodo and Sam) may have a chance of reaching Mount Doom and destroy the One Ring. Unseen by the Eye of Sauron. Sam, who now bears the One Ring in Frodo's place, rescues his master from torture and death by Orcs. Gollum gloats over getting his "precious" back, but ends up losing his balance and falls to his death, taking the Ring with him. The Ring is finally destroyed, freeing Middle-earth from Sauron's power." (Wiki, 2014)

About the Movie

I remember going to to the midnight showing of the final movie in Peter Jackson's ground breaking The Lord of the Rings trilogy; before watching this movie the first had been my favorite. After watching this action packed movie, it was by far my favorite. There is so much that happens in the movie, I can't possibly give you a blow-by-blow. So I'll just tell you about my favorite parts. I love when Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) goes to the Undead Oathbreakers and then at the end they sweep through the battle. I also love (I believe it's this movie) the flying eagles assistance in the big battle. As well, when Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) finally get to Mount Doom to the lava river and how it all unfolds. If you haven't seen this movie - where have you been? If you have seen the movie, which in the series was your favorite?


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Queen of the Damned

About the Book

The Queen of the Damned (1988) is the third novel in The Vampire Chronicles series, written by Anne Rice. It follows Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lastat. The novel explores the rich history and mythology within the origins of the vampires in Rice's realms. There are supposedly suppose to be two more installments in Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles series entitled Prince Lestat and Blood Paradise.

About the Movie

Aaliyah is one of my favorite artists, gone too soon. I loved her music and I loved her in this movie. She portrayed an ancient vampire, Queen Akasha. She has been awaken by the legendary Lestat de Lioncourt, a rock-star vampire, using his fame as a cover for his plans. Lestat's music wakes the ancient queen. When Queen Akasha awakens, she wants Lestat to be her king.


Intergalactic Gigolos Gear Up For the Re-release of


Scheduled For Release on
Record Store Day April 19th, 2014

It's now been eight years since our favorite space cadets, THE BOY WITH THE RAYGUN SHOOTS THE MOON! found themselves locked inside a small bedroom closet in Austin, Texas recording what would later become their debut single, 123 LET'S RIDE! Still retaining their sick and twisted sense of humor, these intergalactic gigolos are gearing up, yet again, with phasers set to stun-the-galaxy by re-releasing this highly anticipated single, dedicated to their lifelong friend Ryan "Bandaid" Ramsey and is scheduled for release on Record Store Day April 19th, 2014.

All songs have been digitally remastered in 5.1 surround sound via RAYGUN SOUNDS. In addition, the single will also include an edit of local punk rock group (and High School pals) Rational Jackass' track, "Orange Alien" as well as previously unreleased B-side "Marvin".

The single is dedicated to their lifelong devoted friend Ryan “Bandaid” Ramsey. All songs have been digitally re-mastered in 5.1 surround sound via RAYGUN SOUNDS. In addition, it will also include an edit of local punk rock group Rational Jackass’ track, “Orange Alien” as B-Side.  A-Side: 123 LET’S RIDE! B-SIDE: ORANGE ALIEN (TBWTRSTM Edit] *originally written and recorded by RATIONAL JACKASS.

TBWTRSTM roots date back to their early childhood, while they were still in elementary school, Stevie and Terrell started their first band, SUPERSTITIOUS. They penned only one song called, "V.I.G." (Very Important Girl). Rumor has it, Stevie's older sister Cathie, has possession of the original lyrics sheet.

After graduating high school in 2000, Stevie (bass) and Terrell (vocals) started the Skate/Punk band ANYONE BUT THEM. Though it was short lived as a difference of opinions between them, and their band mates; what was punk and what was not, sought to end the band. During this time, the boys wrote the punk rock anthem, "Crushing You", a politically charged, three-chord punk rock song that took aim at the punk rock scene at the time.

A year later Terrell started a new punk band called RATIONAL JACKASS, with fellow high school friend, Gregg Sankey, and Kenney Howitt. While Stevie, under the alias Paul Ickes, founded the underground music collective ARM THE PIT, which still exists today. However, Stevie's older brother, John, now runs.

A few years later Stevie calls Terrell to see if he would be willing to lay-down some vocal tracs for a new sci-fi project called THE BOY WITH THE RAYGUN SHOOTS THE MOON! The first song they recorded as a duo was "123 LET'S RIDE", written and recorded in under an hour.

Although TBWTRSTM is rooted in Science Fiction, neither Terrell nor Stevie have much interest in SciFi movies. "Sure we like Star Wars, but who doesn't?" Stevie Nowinsky. He continues to suggest that Terrell would be more interested in the latest stoner films. "Frank Capra, will and forever be, the greatest film director ever... with Steven Spieldberg and John Hughes coming in second and third." Stevie Nowinsky.


In 2008, TBWTRSTM release their debut album, BEYOND THUNDERDOME. The following year Terrell records his first solo album, GLITCHES, HISSES & BITCHES under the moniker PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRZ. Stevie produced and recorded it in 2 nights inside his "MAGIC BUS" and later released it under ARM THE PIT'S subsidiary label, TONE-ARM RECORDS.

Another one of Stevie's best friends, Ryan Ramsey, in 2010, takes Terrell's place as TBWTRSTM's lead vocalist and they record BEYOND THUNDERDOME's follow-up album. ALION ENCOUNTERS, which also includes the track "NEW HORIZONS", which features vocals by Stevie's former ex-turned-great friend Sara Gray.

Two years later, Stevie flies solo on TBWTRSTM's third album, NERDY BY NATURE. A potentially great labum but without having a vocalist on hand, the album soon lost its luster. The following year TBWTRSTM goes on indefinite hiatus... until now...

"THE BOY WITH THE RAYGUN SHOOTS THE MOON started out merely [as] a side project. We made simple laptop music, none of which was any good but we have a lot of fun making it." TBWTRSTM

Q & A:

"We describe our music as "Zooka Pop!" Named after teh Buck Roger's ray gun, which was identical to the 1930's model except for its bright, multicolored lithographed finish. Like the Rocket Pistol, this gun was armed by cocking the handle." Stevie Nowinsky

If you could reference current genres of music - to give people a reference - what two genres would best describe Zooka Pop? K.E.N.

"Good question, electronic and funk. The single is full of different influential material." Stevie Nowinsky

I noticed that you have dedicated this re-release to your friend Ryan. Who is he to you? K.E.N.

"He's been a supporter from the start. Ever since Terrell and I started making music, wheter it was for TBWTRSTM or any other band, we've ever been in together, Ryan's been part of it. Although, not always as a performing member. For instance, when Terrell and I were in that skate/punk band, ANYONE BUT THEM, Ryan would drive an hour out of his way, just to pick us up some new guitar strings or a bass drum head. He would even bring fast food over during band practices just to make sure we were eating. He's the ultimate band aide." Stevie Nowinsky


Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Pride and Prejudice

About the Book

Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813, is the story about the Bennet family. Mainly, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues between her sisters, dating, and societal standards. In early 19th-century England, and one of five sisters, the crisis within the family is finding husbands for all of the girls. When Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy, first impressions were sketchy. But, after they keep seeing each other within society, their feelings might change. To date, Pride and Prejudice has sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

About the Movie

Jennifer Ehle portrays Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest in a line of five daughters. Her family may be in the early 19th-century London, but the characters are so easy to relate to because the family dynamics are true today as they were so many years ago. Colin Firth portrays the misunderstood Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy arrives in society along with his friend Mr. Bingley (who falls for Elizabeth's older sister, Jane). When Elizabeth is presented to Darcy for a dance, he snubs her, and Elizabeth holds a grudge until Darcy reveals his true feelings for her against "his better judgment." I love this movie because (it's long, it was a series) and I love the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, as well as Mr. Bingley and Jane. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Oliver Twist

About the Book

Oliver Twist is the second novel written by the infamous author, Charles Dickens. Published in 1838, the story is about an orphan who endures a miserable experience and circumstances. When he travels to London he meet Artful Dodger, leader of a gang of young pickpockets. Oliver is naive and doesn't realize their criminal activities, he is then led to the lair of their matriarch, Fagin. The novel is notable for Dickens's unromantic portrayal of criminals, it also exposes the cruel treatment of the many orphans in London during the Dickensian era. Dickens also brings to light to many evils including child labor, early recruitment into gang activity, and the presence of street children. It is likely that Dickens's own early youth as a child laborer helped with the novels development, serious themes, and dark humor (Wiki, 2014).

About the Movie

Barney Clark stars as Oliver Twist, in this 2005 adaption of the classic Dickens Tale, where an orphan meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master, Fagin (Ben Kingsley). On this rendition achieved 6.9 stars out of 10. Directed by Roman Polanski, as suggested by his wife, while he searching for a movie that their children would find interesting. His children have parts in the movie as well. Another interesting factoid; to keep the children actors in character, Ben Kingsley (Fagin) stays in character and kept his mannerisms and his physical appearance as his character even off-set (IMDb, 2014).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Nights in Rodanthe

About the Book

Nicholas Sparks released his sixth romantic novel, Nights in Rodanthe, in 2002. It's a romantic love novel set in Rodanthe, North Carolina. The story follows the purely intense and close romance of a divorced mother, Adrienne Willis, and a divorced father and surgeon, Paul Flanner. The novel's two man protagonists meet in an inn in Rodanthe and fall strongly in love. However, fate and destiny falls upon them when they realize that leaving Rodanthe would mean going back to their separate lives (Wiki, 2013).

About the Movie

When I first watched this movie, I was recently divorced - so, I could relate more to the characters. Even without this though, it's a fabulous movie. Diane Lane plays recently divorced Adrienne Willis, who has been recruited by her good friend to watch over her seaside inn while she is on vacation. Willis agrees and considers it a get away from the chaos of the divorce and the harsh realities. She soon meets the only guest Paul Flanner (Richard Gere), who is a surgeon that is haunted by his past. They connect in Rodanthe and begin a wonderful romance. But, fate has other plans.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Misery

About the Book

Another pick from the King of Horror Author, Stephen King, comes his psychological horror novel Misery, published in 1987. The Novel is about Paul Sheldon, a writer famous for Victorian-era romances involving the character of Misery Chastain. One day he is rescued from a car crash by crazed fan Annie Wilkes, who transports him to her home and, once finding out what he has done to Misery in his latest book, forces him to write a new book modifying the story - no matter what it takes (Wiki, 2014).

About the Movie

James Caan portrays author Paul Sheldon, who's been under a lot of pressure for his latest novel. He had been at his Colorado hideaway and after completing his work, he sets out on a snowy night, when he suffers an accident. He's critically inured and when he wakes up he discovers he's been rescued by his "number one fan" Annie Wilkes. She nurses Paul, gladly, at her remote house in the mountains. When she learns of Paul's plot in the last novel, she flips and the iconic scene (involving a sledge hammer) still gives me shivers to this day! Kathy Bates portrays Annie Wilkes, she's such an amazing actress and catapults this movie above and beyond. It's definitely a must see. Misery (1990)

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Little Women

About the Book

Little Women is an American novel by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888). The novel follows the lives of the March sisters; Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Originally it was written in two volumes and it detailed their lives from childhood into adulthood. It is even known that Little Women is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. The two novels that eventually made the whole of Little Women was published in completion in 1880. It has also been said that Alcott was the first to write about the complexities of the 'American Girl'.

About the Movie

This all-star cast includes Susan Sarandon as Mrs. March, mother to mature and responsible Meg (Trini Alvarado), the quirky and outgoing Joe (Winona Ryder), the reserved and shy Beth (Claire Danes), and two actresses portray the complexities of Amy March, from girlhood to womanhood (Kirsten Dunst -young Amy) & (Samantha Mathis). Little Women (1994) brings the lives of the March sisters, with all of it's drama and comedy into your own home. I love - love - love this movie. I can watch it time and time again. This is also the movie that excited Hollywood to the promise of the up and coming Winona Ryder. This movie also has Christian Bale as boy next door Laurie.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Kiss the Girls

About the Book

Kiss the Girls is a novel wirten by James Patterson. Published in 1995 it is the second novel to star his main character Alex Cross, an African-American psychologist and policeman (Wiki). This psychological thriller brings to live "Washington Police Detective, Alex Cross" as he travels to North Carolina in an attempt to find his missing niece. Upon his arrival he is informed by the FBI and DEA that "eight to ten women are missing, all from different states, and all have received notes from someone calling himself Casanova. Around the same time, Casanova abducts another woman, Dr. Kate McTiernan and makes her part of his harem of young, attractive, and exceptional women" (Wiki).

About the Movie

Morgan Freeman stars as the Forensic Psychologist Alex Cross who has been tasked with finding Casanova, the individual who has women captive. Also includes the talented Ashely Judd as Dr. Kate McTiernan who has escaped Casanova's clutches. She teams together with Alex Cross to bring down a madman. Kiss the Girls was released in 1997 by Paramount Pictures and was directed by Gary Fleder. Its a mystery thriller that will have you holding your breath until the very end. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Jane Eyre

About the Book

Jane Eyre was written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847 and was originally titled Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. According to Wiki, the novel revolutionized the art of fiction. The author has been called the first historian of the private consciousness. The novel contains a strong sense of morality, social criticism, and ahead of its time. The main protagonist Jane faces exploration of the different classes in society, sexuality, religion, and proto-feminism.

About the Movie

Starring Mia Wasikowska as Jane Eyre, Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, and Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. The first rendition of the classic novel that I watched contained Orson Welles (Jane Eyre, 1943) and loved it. The 2011 release by Focus Features shows the trials and tribulations of orphaned Jane Eyre, her struggle against her relatives to boarding home, to her freedom within her occupations. I love watching the love bloom between the strong morale Jane and the ridged Mr. Rochester. I love this story and how there is more to Mr. Rochester and he is such a mystery, which only pulls Jane in further. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for IT

About the Book

I've never read the book and don't plan on it! After watching the movie when I was younger, I think I have forever been changed - against clowns. I can now say that I suffer from Coulrophobia (fear of clowns). No, I shouldn't say that I'd never read Stephen King's novel IT, I just don't know if I want to keep torchering myself with images of Pennywise, the demonic clown character from the novel. 
IT was published in 1986, it is a horror novel that won the British Fantasy Award in 1987, and Publishers Weekly listed the novel as the best-selling book in the U.S. in 1986.

About the Movie

The 1990 made for TV series follows a group of children from a small town that had been terrorized by a demonic being; Pennywise the deceptive clown. The kids refer to themselves as "The Loser Club" and 30 years later have to return home as they are called back to fight the same being again (IT, IMDb). Pennywise (Tim Curry) manipulates his victims by using their own fears against them, when they were children, and again as they are adults. Some say that the first half of the movie is much better than the second hale (I agree). I have also heard that the book ends much better than the mini-series - than again, when have we ever heard of a movie or an adaption being better than the book? If you like horror, then this is right up your alley. If you don't like horror - look (rather run) the other way!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Harry Potter

About the Books

I remember the very first time that I even heard of Harry Potter, it was before I was married, before I had my son, while I was still working full-time at a school that I love. A co-worker of mine actually introduced me to the book and it seemed like everyone was reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Then, after the trauma with my son's birth and my own, I sought refuge and escape within the realms of Harry Potter. I was so blessed that I have wonderful parents that went out and bought every book that they could, I believe at the time it was up to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Then, it was waiting in line at book stores to obtain the newest releases; all well worth it! 
The Harry Potter saga follows a young Harry as he learns about the wizarding world that he is destined for. He's an orphan living with his horrid Aunt and Uncle, then one day a miracle, owls deliver his invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Through the course of the series Hogwarts becomes Harry's home and he learns his legacy is to fight what is threatening his home, family, and friends. It is an epic journey through the corners of our imaginations.

About the Movies

One of the worst things (for me) is when characters change within a series. Luckily for us, all of the main characters remained (for one exception) the same through out the movies franchise; not only that but we got to see the actors grow and mature as well, which was an added bonus. The movies pretty much stayed true to the books. They're full of adventure, comedy, drama, and wizardry magic. Starring Daniel Radcliffe as the hero, Harry Potter, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger the smart one, and Rupert Grint as the loyal best friend Ronald Weasley. Including a legendary cast, this movie saga spans seven books and eight movies in total. To try to name a favorite is like choosing which of your children you prefer the best, it's just not going to happen. I love this series because of the imagination, the action, and the heart. If you haven't seen any of the movies or read the books - where have you been?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry otter and Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Great Expectations

About the Book

Great Expectations, written by the iconic Charles Dickens. Originally in a chronicle publication; who knew he was a blogger! The publications course ran from 1860 - 1861, then it was published in three volumes. It is a coming of age story that follows Pip, from very humble beginnings, to the man he becomes. The novel depicts the relationship between society and man. It includes a wonderful cast of great characters and plot twists. I love this story because it helps us to understand that life isn't a fairy tale. We might expect a certain outcome for our life, but usually it turns out totally different.

About the Movie

The first movie depiction that I watched starred Ethan Hawke in 1998 with Gwenyth Paltrow; I wasn't impressed. I have tried to watch a couple other adaptions since then as well to no avail. Recently, I have found a version that I think finally gives Dickens the props he deserves within his classic novel. BBC aired Great Expectations in 2011, and thank goodness that they did. Then again, I haven't watched an adaption by BBC that I haven't loved. The mini series showcases the different characters and gives you a better insight into their psychosomatic tendencies. I really enjoyed watching this! It's full of great actors such as Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham, Ray Winstone as the terrifying but endearing Magwich, and Douglas Booth as Pip (who is also in the just released Noah).

Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Fried Green Tomatoes

About the Book

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a 1987 novel by Fannie Flagg. The book spent 36 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List with acclaimed reviews. Also, the "Whistle Stop Cafe" was based on another Alabama establishment, Irondale Cafe, which is near the author's birthplace. According to Wikipedia it is still in operation and is also known for it's fried green tomatoes. Flagg has been noted to be an exceptional author that brought the mischief of the bold and enthusiastic Idgie Threadgoode to life and smothered with southern charms. It was noted that Huck Finn and Idgie Threadgoode would make a formidable pair. This story will stay with you as you experience loss, family, and friendships that you won't soon forget. 

About the Movie

One of my absolute favorite movies is Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) starring the legendary Kathy Bates as Evelyn, who is a frustrated housewife trying to deal with the empty nest syndrome after her son has left for college, and reconnecting with her husband. As fate would have it, Evelyn meets the charismatic Ninnie Threadgood (Jessica Tandy). Ninnie tells Evelyn about past events that helps Evelyn deal with her life and they form a wonderful friendship. On a personal note, this movie was a crutch (in a way) for me during my separation and divorce. Luckily for me, at the time, one of the premium cable channels had this in their programming loop, so I would watch and re-watch as much as I could and it would help me escape. This movie holds a very special place in my heart. If you haven't seen it - watch it!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for Emma

April A to Z Challenge - Day 5

Whew! We made it through the first week of the April A to Z Challenge. To end the first week off with a sensational note, the classic: Emma.

About the Book

Beloved author Jane Austen stated about her protagonist, Emma Woodhouse as "handsome, clever, and rich" (Wikemedia Foundation, Inc., 2014). Of course for 1815, when the novel was originally published, handsome referred to women as well as men in how they looked. For Emma today, she would be considered pretty or beautiful. Emma is about how Miss Woodhouse tries to play matchmaker and really makes a mess of things, but it all seems to work out in the end.

About the Movie

Emma (1996) stars Gwyneth Paltrow as the privileged Miss Woodhouse. This gem also has the talents of Toni Collette and Alan Cumming, just to name a few. Gwyneth brings to life the character of Emma through her attempts to find love for her friends. Relationships are tried and tested as a result. While she may have lost, many of her attempts, the one match that everyone saw coming besides Miss Woodhouse, gives you that sense of fairy tale endings that feels like a warm hung inside. Emma might seem like a spoiled brat, but she has a heart of gold. I love how it shows how she matures and also develops her love interest as well and how well they compliment one another.


Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Devil Wears Prada, The

April A to Z Challenge - Day 4

About the Book

Lauren Weisberger is the best selling chic lit author behind the book The Devil Wears Prada. Released in 2003 by Broadway Books, the sequel Revenge Wears Prada: The Devils Return was released ten years later, in 2013. The original, The Devil Wears Prada book spent six months on the bestsellers list. 

About the Movie

The movie, starring Anne Hathaway as Andy Sachs, a young woman looking to break out in New York in journalism. She hits a snag however when she is hired as a personal assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding and highly sought after New York editor. The Devil is portrayed by the iconic Meryl Streep who you love, and love to loath at times in this adaption of the bestselling book. I loved this movie because it is a journey through self development. Andy is head strong and doesn't want to be changed by the industry, yet the industry is what is helping her to get ahead and reach personal goals, that she didn't even know she had.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

A to Z Challenge - Day 3

About the Book

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an admired and beloved children's book that has been read worldwide. Written by British author Roald Dahl in 1964, Charlie's adventures has captivated many young readers and Mr. Dahl opened the door of the imagination for many, many years to come. Charlie's adventures in the chocolate factory are a result of a well sought after golden ticket, that gives him exclusive entry into the escentric factory of chocolatier Willy Wonka.

About the Movie

In 2005 Tim Burton released Charlie and the Chocolate Factory through the Warner Brothers Studios. With an all star cast including Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and the young and fabulously talented gent, Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket. There was much debate over which version of the classic tale was dubbed the best, between Burton's rendition or the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. My personal opinion is that both movies give an extraordinary experience within the Dahl masterpiece.