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Showing posts from June, 2010

The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock

I finally got around to seeing this movie, mostly because I was really curious about Sandra Bullock's performance in it. After all, she garnered the Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Ann Tuohy. While I generally have no strong feelings regarding Sandra Bullock (before this I wouldn't have said that I despised her or really loved her - thought that she was cute), I wouldn't have expected her to pull off an Academy Award winning performance. Anyways...

This movie was released in 2009 and was directed by John Lee Hancock. It was based on the book The Blind Side: An Evolution of a game, written by Michael Lewis. It stars Sandra Bullock (as Leigh Ann Tuohy), Quinton Aaron (as Michael Oher), Tim McGraw (as Sean Tuohy, and yes, that would be the country singer). When we first meet Michael Oher, he's 17 years old, poor and bouncing around from foster home to foster home, mostly because he runs away. A father's friend manages to convince the football coach at a wealt…

Netherland by Joseph O'Neill

I've had this book for a while but have just gotten around to reading it. It takes place in New York City in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The narrator, Hans van den Broek, is a Dutchman that begins playing at the Staten Island Cricket Club, having rediscovered his childhood passion. He and his English wife, Rachel, have moved to New York in 1998 so that he can work at the NY Stock Exchange as a broker and she can work as a lawyer in the New York Branch of her law firm. They bring a young son, Jake, along with them.

During one of his very first matches, Hans meets Chuck Ramkissoon, a Trinidadian immigrant and businessman who is obsessed with bringing cricket to the mass market in America, mostly by building a tremendous stadium in the outer boroughs of New York. As Hans and Chuck became closer, Hans begins to accompany Chuck around the city. Hans, whose marriage has failed (Rachel has returned to England with Jake), believes that the trips are so that he can practice his d…

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

This is Stieg Larsson's third, and final, novel in the Millenium series. It begins where the second novel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, left off.  Lisbeth Salander, the "girl" referred to in all three titles, is being sent to Sahlgreska Hospital in Stockholm after sustaining a bullet wound to the head and massive wounds to her shoulder. Surprisingly, she's still alive. After a long, intense surgery, Lisbeth is placed in the ICU, where she is only visited by medical staff, police and her lawyers, since she's under arrest for pretty serious offenses - attempted murder, aggravated assault and the like.  There's also talk about getting her committed to a mental hospital for pretty much the rest of her life. But the book itself, like it's previous two books, centers around government corruption and conspiracies, hatred and abuse of women (and Larsson's obvious concern and hatred of that hatred), and the threat to Swedish democracy by right wing elements …
This is the third in a series of young adult books written by Megan McCafferty. Jessica Darling, the protagonist from the first two novels, has returned and is a student at Columbia University in New York City, a place that is decidedly different from her hometown of Pineville, New Jersey. She is still madly in love with her high school boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, who has decided to attend college in California. Because he's off to California, they don't see each other all that often. This novel follows Jessica's life from a freshman through her graduation from Columbia and is told as entries in Jessica's journals.

I thought the first book was pretty good - Ms. McCafferty seemed to have really hit upon something with Jessica. She had developed a character that was smart, witty, and was outside the box.  These traits were developed in the second book in the trilogy - aptly named Second Helpings.  But somehow, it got lost in the third book.  Jessica wasn't the same pe…

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Wes Moore was born in Maryland in 1978 but currently works for Citigroup in New York City. His life path was  pretty interesting.  At three, he saw his father die in front of him after his father was misdiagnosed at a local area hospital.  His mother moved the family around a bit and sent her son to a private school. While there, he failed out because of behavioral issues and non-attendance, even though his two sisters did fairly well.  He was then sent to a military academy in Pennsylvania, where he graduated with honors and as a regimental commander, even though he attempted to run away four times in his first week there.  Wes eventually went on to college and became a Rhodes Scholar.

As Wes was preparing to attend Oxford University in 2000, Wes learned of another man named Wes Moore who also, coincidentally, grew up in Maryland.  In fact, the two had lived in the same neighborhood, and the "other" Wes Moore was two years older. The two had never met. The "other"…

My Life in France by Julia Child

I picked up this book and started reading it right after I finished up reading Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (reviewed here). My Life in France is an autobiography by Julia Child (written with her husband's grandnephew, Alex Prud'homme). It was begun during the last eight months of her life and completed and published by Mr. Prud'homme after she died in August of 2004.

The autobiography is comprised of various stories, linked of course, and which focus on Ms. Child's life from 1948 through 1954. During that time period, Ms. Child and her husband, Paul Child, began their life in Europe - most notably France - and focuses on how Julia came to love all things French - the culture, the people and the food, of course. It also focuses not just on her life there, but on how she and her co-authors wrote her famous treatise on French cooking: Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It details their struggles to find a publisher and get the cookbook slimmed down (it was apparent…

Stitches by David Small

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David Small tells the story of his unhappy childhood in this graphic memoir. About 50 years ago, when Mr. Small was 14, he underwent surgery that rendered him mute for all intents and purposes and also resulted in his thyroid gland being removed. He believed that a cyst was being removed, but it turned out that the "cyst" was a tumor that had begun to grow as the result of the x-ray treatments performed on David when David was just an infant by his own father (who was a radiologist). At the time that David was an infant, radiological treatme…