Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What I've been reading #17

Trinity College Library
As things are changing int he world of books right now I can't help but wonder what a future library will look like.  Nowadays we have large buildings with shelves and shelves of books.  One day we may have our libraries totally on the internet.  There already are many books online that are so old that they cannot be safely loaned from libraries, so when a person wants one of these books they go to the online libraries.  It may come a time when we will have books that are on our e-readers entirely and not on shelves in our homes.  Maybe like DVDs when we purchase a book it will come in paper and an e-copy will come with it so we can reader it either way we like.  While it is true that this area of our lives is changing right now, we undoubtedly will still have our favorite books that we want to feel solid in our hands and that have our markings, thoughts and underlinings in the margins.  Will the beautiful libraries we have now become museums some day?
Alma by H.B. Moore
After Abinadi's death in the first book of the series, a surprising convert from the Priests of King Noah leaves the city and starts a colony of those wishing to follow the one true God.  Alma defies the king and ends up fleeing repeatedly as first King Noah and then the head Priest keep trying to punish him for following God instead of King Noah.  Through it all they learn the lessons that have been repeated through all cultures:  When you follow God you are blessed and when you don't you are left on your own which leads to all kinds of additional troubles. 

Heather Moore has done a great job in both increasing the understanding and connections of the scriptures involved as well as filling in the daily life and human drama of a time that is both very different and very similar to our own.  In my opinion this book was even better than the first one.

Ranger's Apprentice: Book 6: The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan

John Flanagan does it again by putting together a nice story that appeals to the young people who read it.  Will continues from the previous book to have his first major adventure as a full-fledged Ranger.  Horace joins him to save the realm from a treacherous knight who takes over a castle only to sell it to some enemies of the nation and give them a foothold in the Araluen nation--which naturally would lead to extreme difficulties for the security of the surrounding towns and counties.
Will learns a variety of lessons about trickery and treachery as well as making things looking different than they are.  It is interesting that John Flanagan has started including is some swear words in this volume.  Possibly he figures as Will grows older that is more appropriate.  Despite the fact that by today's standards they are mild they are still totally unnecessary.  The interplay between the two young men is still gentle and enjoyable.  They still prize honor and treating others kindly according to what they deserve, and they still are learning about making tough decisions that are required of defenders of the realm.  I enjoyed the book and still find it a great series with the one exception of a handful of swear words.  Since Will is growing and maturing as well there is the introduction of romance in this volume as well.  Click here to see a bit more information in a short review.

Consequences: A Retrieval Artist Novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Kristine Rusch has done it again with another enjoyable read.  I was trying to guess why I am finding it so interesting to read stories about a "retrieval artist" on the moon.  I think I enjoy reading about humans living on the moon but that is only the back drop to the story of a person who investigates and finds people who have taken on a new identity to escape something in their previous life.   Why is that interesting?--possibly because it is so foreign and possibly because it differs so much from my own life.

At any rate Miles Flint again finds himself taking a case and then wondering if he should have rejected it.  When his case coincides with other things happening on the moon in the Armstrong Dome that criss cross his case, he finds himself being blamed for a murder that he most certainly did not commit.  He escapes to earth so that he can investigate and find out what is really going on. 

Seeing earth from the future was enjoyable in this book.  Just when you thought the book would need another 200 pages to wrap things up it came to an enjoyably quick conclusion.  Interesting reading. 

How To Be A Sister: A Love Story With a Twist of Autism by Eileen Garvin
This is a very honest and open look at what it was like for Ms. Garvin as she grew up with five siblings one of which had autism.  Few holds were barred as she described the embarrasment and anxiety as well as the love and caring that took place in their home.  Possibly with a saint for a mother and a balancing father their home was very much defined by her autistic sister.

It goes back and forth from their childhood experiences to more recent times where Ms. Garvin has a desire to have a sisterly relationship but keeps finding that autism gets in the way. Despite her best efforts she and her sister cannot have the normal relationship Ms. Garvin desires because autism will not allow it.  However; due to her repeated attempts and persistance they are able to have a sometimes fulfilling relationship. 

This book does an excellent job in opening up a family from another child's perspective and letting us see what growing up in that home is like.  The author does express things in ways that I find bothersome or offensive with swear words at times, however they always are used as an expression of negative emotions and though I do not express my negative emotions that way I found it clearly understandable that someone with different standards might choose to do so, consequently they did not deter me from the rich exploration into her own feelings about her sister and her family that has resulted. 

I recommend this book to any who want to see a way to acceptance of a sibling that doesn't meet the family norm and to know that others may not have always been at their best inside their families.  The feelings expressed here are powerful and caused me to pause and consider things in my own home. 


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Extremely loud and incrediby Close: the movie

I finally got to watch this movie and I'm glad that I did.

Click her to see what I wrote about the book when I read that. 

The other night my daughter brought this movie home for us to watch.  I had wanted to watch it since it came out.  Needless to say that 9 11 has been an important happening in our lives.  To have a movie that attempted to tackle that from a young boys perpective really got my interest. 
THOMAS HORN as Oskar Schell in Warner Bros. Pictures' drama 'EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE,' a W...
The movie did an excellent job in my opinion in showing the grief of a young boy for his father's death in that disaster.  The boy has aspergers syndrome so you shouldn't expect him to act exactly like your average boy in his grief nor in his daily life.  I felt like the movie did an excellent job of showing this throughout the movie. 
(L-r) THOMAS HORN as Oskar and TOM HANKS as Oskar’s father in Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama “EX...
Similar to the book the movie did an excellent job of showing how the father played by Tom Hanks was a perfect father for him, engaging his son and showing his son how much he was loved despite or maybe because of his peculiarities.  That is what really impressed me with the book was the relationship between father and son.  The father turns out to be an excellent model of how we must accept our child where they are and provide the love and security that wll allow them to flourish.  The father in this movie was trying to help his son learn how to interact with others (a typical weakness had by those with asperger's syndrom) and in that way stretch his son beyond his bounds. 
(L-r) THOMAS HORN as Oskar Schell and TOM HANKS as Thomas Schell in Warner Bros. Pictures' drama 'EX...
The book contrasted this good father (Tom Hanks) with the grandfather who had not been presnt in the fathe's life.   Much of that was absent from the movie and all the things I found objectonable in the book were left out as well making the movie more powerful in the showing the relationship between the father and the son who are the central characters (this despite the fact that the father is shown in flashbacks). 
SANDRA BULLOCK as Linda Schell in Warner Bros. Pictures' drama 'EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE,' ...
The movie however flipped this lesson on it's head and did an excellent job by showing something else better than the book managed.  While the whole book and movie seem to be about that father son relationship, the end of the movie lets us see something tha we missed or didn't see clearly throughout the show, that is the mother's relationship to the son and how integral it is.  Sandra Bullock does a good job of acting the part of the mother who is left out of their child's life.
SANDRA BULLOCK as Linda Schell and THOMAS HORN as Oskar Schell in Warner Bros. Pictures' drama 'EXTR...
Toward the end of the movie the son says to the mother: "I ddn't know you could think like me." and she responds that she didn't know that either.  With that enlightening moment we are able to see some of the things differently throughout the movie.  Yes, the boy has lost a perfect father for him, but because of that loss we are now able to see that the mother can become that perfect parent for him too, and that is a revelation to both of the characters in the movie and maybe to the viewers as well.  This movie starts out being about the father-son relationship but ends up spotlighting the mother-son relationship.   It is a movie for both parents, a movie where both can feel valued and see their potential even with the exceptional child portrayed in the movie.   

I probably will not read the book again but I would watch the movie again and I would consider reading another book by the author.  By the way, be prepared to shed a tear at this movie. 

Watch the trailer below. 

The sound track is exceptional as well an is done by Alexandre Desplat

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