I read All the Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler this week in only one day. The author also wrote the Lemony Snicket books, which I have yet to read, but this book received some buzz, so I decided to check it out.
I’m not totally sure how I feel about this book. Picture a teenage boy’s mind who is obsessed with sex and then dictate whatever is going through his head onto a page. That is this book. While my teenage experience was vastly different, I’m sure that there are some boys that are behaving like Cole, and maybe that’s what makes me so uncomfortable. I certainly wouldn’t my son to be like that or my daughter to be anywhere near someone like him.
I finished Class Mom by Laurie Gelman and this book was hysterical. Being a mother of elementary school children, I could totally relate to the story. Jen is the kindergarten class mom and there are numerous emails that are interspersed throughout the plot between her and the class. Most of the moms don’t understand her sarcasm and throw in some bizarre parents and you get a book you cannot put down.
Jen has two college aged children as well as her kindergartner, so as the veteran parent, she assumed she would have it all together. However, the teacher is hiding something from everyone and one of the other parents is Jen’s old high school crush. Obviously this book isn’t any kind of deep literature, but it was a good back to school pick that made me laugh.
Our next AFI movie was 1926’s The General, starring and directed by Buster Keaton. I had never seen any of his movies and I was really impressed with the effects they were able to create during this era.
Keaton plays a train engineer during the Civil War who wants to enlist but is denied. The girl he loves is disappointed and thinks he is being a coward instead. Keaton eventually finds a way to help his cause with his train’s engine is stolen and he has to stop the enemy’s plans.
Since this is a silent film, there is no audible dialogue. The distributor had added in public domain music, which sometimes was distracting (Pomp and Circumstance, anyone?). I also felt the second half dragged a little bit and became repetitive. Overall, I was glad we watched it, but was a little underwhelmed considering it was so high on the list.
Up next on our AFI top 100 re-watch was The Graduate at number 17. I had somehow managed to never see this one and it was awesome. I loved the music and all of the interesting shots and perspectives. Obviously, I wasn’t really a fan of Ben’s choice of sleeping with Mrs. Robinson in the first place, but once he was in so deep, I couldn’t wait to see how he was going to get out of it.
The final scene starting with Ben running to the church to stop Elaine’s wedding was so amazing. I loved them screaming at each other and Ben waving the cross so they could escape. I also enjoyed the last part, when the jubilation of their escape slowly fades and they are still left with the same problem of deciding what they are doing to do.
I just finished The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee, the sequel to The Thousandth Floor. I really enjoyed the first book and this one picks right up with the same characters and their glamorous lives living in a mega tower in futuristic New York.
After a character death at the end of the first book, the plot focuses on them either trying to get over it, cover up what really happened or discover the secret behind that night. The book jumps from character to character and each has a fairly compelling side plot that keeps the pace of book moving quickly. I especially like Watt, who has a super computer implanted in his brain and Avery, the almost too perfect rich girl who is in love with her adopted brother.
Even though this is a YA novel, it is still compelling. The ending certainly leaves open the possibility for a third story. There are a lot of places to take these characters.
With only a few lazy days of summer left, we had another fun movie day for our Marvel marathon. Next up was Avengers: Age of Ultron. I always like the scenes were the Avengers work together, using their unique powers in different combinations. This movie had a couple of scenes like that, but it dragged a little long. My daughter gave up about halfway through, but my son and I stuck it out.
In this movie, Tony Stark creates a computer program, Ultron, to help protect the world, but it takes on a mind of its own and believes the only way to protect the world is for complete human extinction. Ultron begins working with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, but they eventually realize his true plan and join the Avengers. I also enjoyed the romantic subplot between Bruce Banner and Black Widow.
I finally finished Night Film, and while I really enjoyed it, it took be forever to get through it because of the length. I would definitely recommend this one though. The mystery was compelling and could not wait to see what happened.
The main character is Scott McGrath, a reporter who had chased a story involving a mysterious film director, Cordova. His pursuit of that story ultimately ended up getting Scott disgraced in his profession. A few years later, Cordova’s twenty-four year-old daughter, Ashley, has turned up dead and Scott is again sucked into pursuing the story. He meets two other characters who have a connection to Ashley and together they investigate what really happened to her.
The book takes the characters to various places around the city and each one leads to another fascinating clue. The most exciting part is when the group finally breaks into the Peak, Cordova’s estate and location of many of his films. The books also is interspersed with screenshots of webpages and new articles adding some depth to the story.