January 29, 2012

Recommendations

1. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow, if you like courtroom drama books. My mother recommended it to me, saying it was one of the few books she and my dad had both liked. She added, "Now, there will be some scenes that you will not like to think of your mother as reading..." OH INDEED, INDEED THERE WERE. But I still liked the book. I'm watching the movie now, and I'm glad I read the book first or I would have had trouble figuring out what was going on and who was who. [Edited to add: The movie cuts out about 9/10ths of the book, and Harrison Ford makes one single facial expression through the entire thing. I think I'd only recommend the book.]

2. Sita Sings the Blues. This is one of the oddest movies I have ever seen (funny/accurate summary from the Wikipedia article: "It intersperses events from the Ramayana, illustrated conversation between Indian shadow puppets, musical interludes voiced with tracks by Annette Hanshaw and scenes from the artist's own life"), and it's free. That is, you can have it for free. You can also buy it, if you want to support the artist, and Paul and I liked the movie so much we HAVE bought it for people. It's like nothing else I've seen, a weird mix of 1920s/30s music and four kinds of animation and...I don't even know what to tell you except to try it and see if it's to your tastes as well. Maybe watch some of the samples on YouTube. (My favorite is the song "Rama's Great." Very catchy.)





3. Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr. I read this long enough ago that it's now bargain-priced, and all I remember is that it kind of blew my mind and I wanted to remember to recommend it to you. It's about this guy who gets alien/omniscient advice, starting in THE WOMB, and I was kind of envious.

4. I don't necessary RECOMMEND Friday Night Lights (Netflix link) per se, but I want everyone else to watch it because I'M watching it and I want to refer to it and be understood. It has been highly recommended to me from a variety of sources and it's very soapy (it reminds me a lot of One Tree Hill)---but it's QUALITY soapy and I'm near the end of season 1 and I'm still watching (I credit Connie Britton and the guy who plays Landry), so at this point I want to have company watching it so we can talk about it.

5. This song seems a little WRONG in some hard-to-put-a-finger-on way, but Paul and I both get it stuck in our heads ALL THE TIME, and the kids love it:



6. The Diniwilks post Compromise was for me a highly interesting and entertaining look at how negotiations/decisions go in someone else's marriage. I strongly identified; it's similar in our household.

7. The book Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. (I hadn't realized this was the same author as two of my childhood favorite books, Witch Week and Charmed Life.) We've watched the movie (Netflix link) a few times and we all like it, but the children watch it with the acceptance they give to all things they don't yet understand about life, while their father and I watch it thinking "What the?" The book makes much more sense, and is very different in many ways. I'm giving it to Rob and William to read, too.

8. Paul reads to the kids each night in three age-divided batches, and The Penderwicks was the book he just finished reading to the oldest group. He said he didn't expect them to like an old-fashionedy book about four girls, but they were RAPT. So then I read it too, and I liked it a lot. It reminded me of the kind of books I liked as a child, like Little Women and The Five Little Peppers.

9. Paul assures me that everyone has already heard of the game Age of War, but _I_ hadn't heard of it, so there. Henry and I have continued to play Sonny pretty much every day, and Age of War is NOT a turn-taking game so we were a little freaked out at first (the transcript would show me saying "AAAAAAAA they're coming at us!! AAAAAA what am I supposed to do?? AAAAAAAAAAA they keep shooting!! AAAAAAAAAA pause it pause it pause it!! AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!). I recommend playing it with a 13-year-old sitting next to you and patiently bossing you, because I don't think I would ever have figured out how to play it otherwise.

22 comments:

Heidi said...

My husband got me hooked on Friday Night Lights sometime during the first season--I had dismissed it as "that football show," in much the same way that, many years ago, I initially wouldn't watch MASH because it was "about" war. Aside from some events (early, I think?) in Season Two that I won't go into further so as not to spoil it for you, I've truly enjoyed the entire series. We still haven't watched the final season on DVD--have to inch the kids' bedtimes earlier so we can carve out more evening space. Love Connie Britton and enjoy watching how she manages her husband and football/small town culture in general.

Cayt said...

Howl's Moving Castle is one of my very favourite books. I love the book much more than the film.

Ann Wyse said...

Ohhh! Thanks for the Compromise link. That was a good one! Especially since I'm spending a lot of time thinking about how to appropriately blog about adult relationships (and all their complexity) lately.

Elisabeth said...

I love Diana Wynne Jones. I'm pretty sure that I've read all of her books. I kind of have to think of that movie as something else entirely, because, um, 100% yes to the whole "makes much less sense than the book" thing.

Anne said...

Ohhhh Friday Night Lights is SO MUCH BETTER than One Tree Hill. I don't want to give away a twist, but Connie Britton is brilliant in Season 2, and you will totally understand and agree. It's like looking in a mirror (if I was that beautiful with that amazing hair). One of the best shows ever in my opinion.

Mrs. Irritation said...

I am apparently right where you in FNL, so if you want to have a FNL Friend, I'm your girl. Love love love that damn show!

Ginny said...

I love Diana Wynne Jones, and I love Hayao Miyazaki (who made the movie), and I do think it's best to think of the book and the movie as entirely different works of art. Castle in the Air is sort of a sibling book to Howl's Moving Castle, taking place in the same universe and with some of the same characters; I liked it a lot. And there's a third book called House of Many Ways that I've just downloaded on my Kindle but haven't read yet.

Amy said...

I LOVE The Penderwicks (and the two following books) so I am glad you enjoyed it. And now that Funny Bone song is stuck in my head.

Maureen said...

Friday Night Lights is my favorite show ever, and I have to disagree with your One Tree Hill comparison. Granted I only watched a few episodes of OTH in the first season, but to me there is absolutely no comparison. Great writing, wonderful acting-FNL has it all. Like Heidi said, Season 2 got a bit rocky in parts, but besides that-flawless storytelling. It used to break my heart that people weren't watching this awesome show. When Kyle Chandler won an Emmy last year, I screamed so loud my throat was sore the next day!

Superjules said...

MUST BUY Sita Sings the Blues. I've been looking for a way to FEEL like I'm on mushrooms without actually doing them.

Cara said...

Dianna Wynne Jones is one of my absolute favorite authors from childhood. I've moved a lot as an adult and have winnowed down a lot of books, but I still move my DWJ books with me (and no other books from childhood). My favorite is the first one I read, Tale of Time City. Close after that are Charmed Life and its prequel The Lives of Christopher Chant. Witch Week is good, as is Dogsbody, but ToTC, CL and TLoCC are my favorites. She was such a prolific writer! I was sad to see that she passed away this year.

(p.s. I was unable to see the captcha below on my ipad. Don't know if others have this problem too and if there's a solution).

phancymama said...

I'm in season two on Friday night lights, and am pleased to read that others say that the rough patch in season two is an aberration. I'd sorta given up on it but now I will plow through.
So, although a little ahead, please share your observations, I'd love to discuss it too! Especially the inappropriate crushes I keep getting on various characters.

P.s. I'm currently seeing the captcha ok on an iPad.

Laura Diniwilk said...

Thanks for the linky love, Swistle! It was seriously the hardest decision of my marriage, so it was an interesting post to write.

Now I'm adding everything else to Goodreads / Netflix, as you have never once steered me wrong with your recommendations.

Kalendi said...

I'm going to read the Penderwicks, I don't know how I missed this series. I love reading "kid's" books. Did you know that you can get almost all of the 5 Little Pepper books (there's like ten in the series) on www.gutenberg.org for free to download to a computer or reading device? I love that website.

Superjules said...

I watched Sita Sings the Blues last night. LOVE. It's so strange and creative and FUNNY and strange, again. New favorite movie.

Leah B said...

I LOVED FNL! I just finished watching the last season and I am sad it is over. Season 2 was a little strange, but stick with it - it does get better. And if you want to chat about it I am all ears!

sherilee said...

Just had add my thoughts re: FNL... I am a huge fan. I've never seen OTH, so don't know about that comparison. But watching the character development on FNL over the seasons was just lovely. Some of the best TV out there, in my opinion. "Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose" gets me every time.

Thanks for the fun recommends. I'll enjoy checking them out.

Alicia said...

Completely unrelated to this post, but I saw this and thought of your soldier care packages post:

http://www.happyplace.com/13840/little-kid-completely-half-asses-his-letter-to-a-soldier-in-combat

HEH.

Sara said...

It has been years since I read "Presumed Innocent", but just last year I read the sequel! It is called "Innocent" (I had to google it to find the exact name) and involves Rusty & Tommy in the courtroom again. It was really good, again, if you like that kind of book.
And I will have to check out FNL!

Linda said...

Very nice! I love posts like this.

My husband heard me listening to the Sita Sings the Blues video and asked, "Is that Sita Sings the Blues? I've been wanting to see that!"

My 4yo and I loved the Funny Bone song and then watched a bunch more on YouTube and I added a few of his CDs to our Amazon wish list. I'm always looking for new car music!

We all LOVED Howl's Moving Castle and all of Miyazaki's movies. My 7yo bought the book with her Christmas money, so maybe I will borrow it from her on your recommendation.

I added The Pennderiks to our wish list, too, AND it reminded me of All-Of-a-Kind-Family. I've been meaning to get that one for my kids, too.

Swistle said...

Alicia- OMG "Have a good war!" Have a nice time using all those guns! Have fun in the desert! Have fun camping!

carrie said...

EACH season of FNL got better and better and I'm still mourning the fact that it is over. Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose.