Saturday, July 31, 2010

Foreign Films

I guess I have been on something of a foreign film kick lately. It started with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." I read the book and really wanted to see the Swedish version of the movie. I felt like it would probably be more true to the book than an Americanized version.

I really liked the movie, and I think it did a good job with the book. The actors were very good, the feel was a little bleaker than I would have thought. Especially the island where a majority of the movie takes place. I am definitely glad I saw the Swedish version of the film. As much as the people involved with the American version claim they want to stay true to the book, I think it can't help but have a different feel.

The other foreign film I've watched is "Let The Right One In." It's a vampire movie, which is the first thing that attracted me to it. It's another movie that has an American version being made. I wanted to see the original. The vampire and the boy she befriends are both twelve years old, so it has a different feel than most vampire movies or vampire books I've encountered. Vampires tend to be so intwined with sexuality. Having a vampire that was twelve when she was turned, but has been 'alive' much longer than that presents a conundrum that most writers avoid. Anne Rice visited the problem in Interview with a Vampire.

I have to imagine it would be tortuous. Even if certain brain process were never able to mature, and your body was not able to mature, I would guess you would want to be older, just like any twelve year old does. True Blood has visited the issue of a virgin vampire in the character of Jessica. It isn't hard to imagine that most child-vampires would have a shorter life span due to the extra pressures of trying to survive as a overaged child for centuries.

The most recent foreign film I watched was "Amelie."  It is a French film, rather than Swedish like the other two. It is an older film, and I know it was very popular when it came out. I had never seen it before and had always wanted to. I am so glad I watched it. It was such a fun, imaginative, romantic movie. It was so nice to see a movie with a strong female character, no gross out humor, and a sweet love story that also has a sense of humor.

If you are interested in watching some foreign films, I would highly recommend all three of these movies. I watched "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" dubbed, but the other two I watched subtitled. I plan on watching "....Dragon Tattoo" subtitled also, it is my preference.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fantasy Lover and Reading Samples

I've been reading through samples on my Kindle lately. I had 40 or so on there that I needed to evaluate to decide if I wanted to purchase them or not. I've purchased a couple, and kept quite a few on there that I may want to buy at a later date.

I have had time to play with the new Kindle update some more. One thing I don't like about it, is the new Go To selection off of the Menu. Before, right from the menu pop up, you could choose to goto the cover or the beginning of a book. Now you have to choose Go To and it pops up another box, where you can enter numbers, or a search phrase, or choose the button for cover or beginning. It seems weird that they now make you go through an extra step.

I read Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon. It was ok. It seemed intriguing to start with. It's a romance novel about a sex therapist who has no sex life of her own. Her friend found a book that can summon a Macedonian demigod to be her love slave for one month. The demigod comes forth out of the book, and the girl treats him like an actual human for the first time in 2000 years. She wants to find a way to rescue him from his imprisonment.
The book was easy to read, but upon thinking about it later, it just felt so, anti-feminist. The female protagonist, at first glance, seems to be pretty tough and able to take care of herself. But, she's really more than happy to let this hunk of a man protect and take care of her. Once he's in her life she can't concentrate on anything but him. I suppose to some that's part of what makes it romantic, but, I think a girl can be stronger and still get the guy.

If you're looking for a light, funny romance novel, Fantasy Lover is a good choice, it moves quickly and was hard to put down. It's just not a feminist manifesto.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

This book by Leanna Renee Hieber, was definitely a good find. I had seen it when it first came out, but didn’t decide to read it until I saw the sequel on the shelf one day. 
Reading this book feels a little like starting in the middle of a story. At first, that drove me crazy. But, upon finishing the book, I realized, it was a perfect way to write the story. The characters didn’t know exactly what was going on. They were kind of in the middle of the story without realizing it. So, by writing it the way she did, the author conveyed that experience to the reader as well.
I loved the references to Greek myth in this novel. I have always been a fan of Greek mythology, since we studied it in 9th grade. Although, even before that, Clash of the Titans was one of my favorite movies. 
The main characters of this book, Percy Parker and Professor Alexi Rychman are interesting characters, and seem to be total opposites of each other. It is nice to see how Percy comes out of her shell during the course of the book. 
There was some frustration toward the end because the reader is pretty sure which woman is the fake, but the characters don’t know, so you kind of feel like smacking them in the head. 
Overall, I really loved this book and will definitely read the second one soon. 

Troublemaker the Graphic Novel

Troublemaker by Janet Evanovich and Alex Evanovich. 
Troublemaker is the first graphic novel by Janet Evanovich and her daughter Alex. It continues the adventures of Alex Barnaby aka “Barney” and Sam Hooker, and their dog Beans. Their first adventures were in the books Motor Mouth and Metro Girl. 
Troublemaker finds their friend Rosa missing after a trip to the Florida Keys. Barney and Hooker try to track her down to make sure she’s ok. This adventure takes them into the world of Voodoo, and this first part of the adventure takes them on a high speed boat chase through the Everglades. 
I really liked the graphic novel format for this one. The art is by Joelle Jones, and I really like the look of the characters. I think the format fits well with this adventure. I know graphic novels are becoming really popular, the Anita Blake ones by Laurell K Hamilton are out there, and I know that Diana Gabaldon has one on the way. I think it’s a fun way to get to see our favorite characters. I like that many of the current projects are new stories and not just a graphic novelization of previous works. 
If you’ve been a fan of the Barnaby and Hooker novels, or just like Janet Evanovich’s work in general

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The new Kindle update

I downloaded the new Kindle update last night. Yay for collections! I have over 300 items on my Kindle, and it was taking up 33 pages. So scrolling through to look for what I wanted was a pain. Searching helps some, but if I was just looking for samples I hadn't read yet or other books I hadn't read yet, it was a time consuming process.
My first collection was my Charlaine Harris books, then Janet Evanovich. Then I made collection for samples, so they would all be in one place and one for stuff I haven't read yet.

One thing I wish I could do, which I don't seem to be able to is put a collection inside a collection. For example, in my 30 + Janet Evanovich collection, it would be nice to then group all the Stephanie Plums together. However, it is apparently easy to have books in more than one collection, so I suppose that helps.

People always ask if I like my kindle. I always tell them that I love it. I have read books, or at least parts of books on my iPhone, which is OK in a pinch, but I doubt I would read a whole back that way. I have read a whole book on my iPad also, and while the format was nice, the screen did tend to give me a headache after a while. But, the iPad does let me access my Kindle library, plus books from Apple's book store, and it will put PDFs in there and other less proprietary formats than Kindle uses.

I think the proprietary format is Kindle's biggest problem. I know that ebooks are getting more and more popular, but I doubt they will really become as common as DVDs until there is one format. I was really intrigued by the Nook from Barnes and Noble, but, as I already have a large library on my Kindle, it is not really feasible to switch. But, at least I am able to read my Kindle books on devices like the iPad.

Until they do agree on one format for ebooks and we are free to purchase any ebook device that strikes our fancy, I will stick with Kindle. And, really, I do love it. There is nothing better to take on a trip, it has saved me a lot of weight in my carry on bags and suitcases to not have to bring multiple books to read on vacation. I just toss in my Kindle and I have hundreds of books at my fingertips, with the ability to buy any new book that appeals to me, as long as I'm in the US. I definitely applaud Amazon for adding the ability to make collections. It is going to make navigating my Kindle much smoother.