Saturday, August 22, 2009

Books and Movies and Hungry Deer

I've been reading a bit lately. I finished Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief, which I started a year ago with Voracious Reader. She took the book with her when she moved [insert mopey Grandma here], so I bought another copy and carted it to the Sock Summit, and read most of it on the flight home because I was squished between other passengers and too tired to knit.

I really enjoyed the book- it's not quite Harry Potter, but it's much better than The Spiderwick Chronicles (which did not have even one likeable character, and milked you $8 for essentially 40 pages of text in each book, and at the end, did not resolve- or even address- the conflict between the kids and their absent father) (VR loved the books, however, and I was happy to read them with her even if I didn't actually enjoy the stories). Percy Jackson is not only a believable hero, he's immensely likeable, as are his cohorts, Annabeth and Grover the Satyr. I've begun Book 2 in the series, The Sea of Monsters, and it's equally good. One nice thing about coming into a series late, is that I can read them all quickly (and then send them to VR when I finish).

On a whim, I picked up Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. I may be the last person in the country to read the book, but it sucked me in. I gulped it down in one day (something I never do any more). Now that I'm finished, I'm not entirely sure what to think about the story- I suspect that the the whole does not add up to the sum of its parts, but I was definitely fascinated with poor, dead Susie Salmon and her family. I will be curious to see the movie (on DVD- it's not worth a 100 mile round trip to see in a theater).

Speaking of DVDs, I'm winding down myTudor Obsession with The Six Wives of Henry VIII. This is the 1970 BBC version, with each wife getting 90 minutes for her story (which is not enough for Anne Boleyn, and too much for Anne of Cleves). This version of Henry looks more like the Henry we know and love/loathe (as opposed to Jonathan Rhys Meyers' Henry The VI-Pack Abs), but he comes off as an oaf and a simpleton. The wives don't fare a whole lot better, and politics are totally absent until Anne of Cleves (who would probably have made him a good wife and had healthy children, if they'd liked each other).

I know this was the '70's but the production values are awful- you can actually see the seams on the rubber face wrinkle applications and bald-head caps. While the clothes resemble those in the famous paintings, they're obviously made with modern (and very light) fabrics (old clothes were heavy), the trims look like they came from JoAnn's, and you can see machine seams here and there. I don't know what kind of embroidery hoops they used in Tudor England, but I am pretty sure that they didn't look exactly like the ones I used to buy at Ben Franklin.

The acting is not a whole lot better. I laughed out loud when Jane Seymour's chest rose and fell as Henry cried over her dead body.

The different versions of this story have been fascinating, but two things are consistent: Thomas Cromwell was a toad, and Archbishop Cranmer was a worm (though my friend Ann assures me that Cranmer found his spine eventually). I guess there are three consistencies: families continued to throw their daughters at The King, despite his track record.

And on that note, we segue artfully to apples. And the deer which were nibbling on them early this morning. I snapped this picture through the screened bedroom window without a flash, which accounts for the fuzziness (Mother Nature is responsible for the fog). The deer caught my movement and bolted, but I'm glad they got an early morning treat.

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