Tag Archives: Mockingjay

Reading in Q2 – May and June

This year, I’ve started writing a quarterly report of my reading. Now that the second quarter has come to a close, it’s time for a new post. April’s installment included a ton of audio books, so I went ahead and blogged those mini-reviews. As always, I’m not including books that I’ve read for review elsewhere, namely 225, unless the review has already been published. This list represents my leisure reading and as such, it’s fairly short this go-round because I got caught up in another movie job the last few months. Quality, not quantity, is the name of the game in any case.

May

Dirtdobber Blues by Cyril Vetter – My review was published this month in 225 Magazine.

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke and read by Brendan Fraser – I was listening to this extremely long audio book when I abruptly switched gears from The Great Louisiana Tour to my latest movie job, so I kept listening to it whenever I happened to be in the car. Since I had liked Inkheart, but found it an enormously slow read, I initially thought listening to the audio would be faster. It wasn’t faster since I listened to it in small chunks, but it was vastly entertaining because it was read by the extremely talented Brendan Fraser, who played the Mo in the movie version of Inkheart. He was such a good reader for this book and completely made the experience for me. I tried to find the last book, Inkdeath, on audio but my library only has the digital download version of it and I don’t know how I’m going to listen to it in the car. Anyway, I find these books very dense and slow, but they tend to pick up so dramatically at the end that you can’t help but continue in the series.

Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, Pete Earley – Read the 225 review here.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – This is a series that is not at all slow. I’ve been intrigued by all the casting news for the movie, so I decided to re-read the series. I originally read each of the books in less than 8 hours (overnight, before having to go to work on no sleep) the first time and without that first-time-read urgency, I still found the story compelling. The first in the series, The Hunger Games, sets the tone for an incredible, life-changing read. I’m not kidding. These books are infectious. It’s hard not to think about them even when you’ve put the book down.

June

Downriver, Jeanne M. Leiby – I wrote about Jeanne and Downriver for 225.

Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – In this second “less urgent” reading of the series, I still read each of the books in 2 or 3 days. I didn’t know how she was going to match the first book, but she ups the ante with each one and they’re just as interesting upon a second read. They are absolutely brutal (though not gratuitously), beautiful books. I’ve so rarely experienced a character so vivid and real as Katniss, so absolutely herself at all times. I highly recommend Suzanne Collins’s younger reader series Gregor the Overlander, which I was already a fan of when The Hunger Games came out. Collins is an incredible, unique writer and I think her book have the breathless pace that they do because of her t.v./movie writing experience.

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel – I’ve been reading Auel’s Earth’s Children series most of my life. There was a movie of the first book, Clan of the Cave Bear, which came out when I was 4 and I think we later watched it in school. These books are 600+ novels about prehistoric people and there has been a larger time gap between the publications of the last few books. Auel does an enormous amount of research for each book and it really shows. Never more so than this last one, where I think the research overshadowed the story. There was so much repetition in this 757-page book (for example, every time Ayla meets someone new, which she does a lot in this book, they notice her accent, plus they usually have to exchange several sentences of names and ties, including the characters we already know). I don’t remember the other books being quite this stilted and overburdened with repetition and research, but I’ve been a different person and reader each time I’ve read one (it was 2003 when I read the last one) and they’re so long that I haven’t re-read any of the books in a long time. I’m glad I read it and I may re-read the earlier books at some point, but I was largely disappointed with this last book in the series.

My movie job has ended and I’m looking forward to reading a lot more, so check in for the next quarterly reading report. 🙂

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Emilie’s 2010 Best List

I’ve been thinking about this post in the back of my head for the last few weeks. And now it’s come time to look back at my favorites of the year…

Books are pretty easy because I read fewer books this year than…ever. At least, any year since I’ve been keeping track and that’s a decade’s worth of reading. The last time I read fewer than 100 books in a year was my second year of grad school and I read considerably fewer than 100 books this year. So my quantity was down, but not the quality – a read quite a few books this year that I’d had on my to-read list a while.

1. Kai Meyer‘s The Dark Reflections Trilogy and most of The Wave Walkers Trilogy
2. Rebecca Cantrell‘s A Trace of Smoke
3. Audrey Niffennegger‘s The Time Traveler’s Wife
4. John Kennedy Toole‘s A Confederacy of Dunces
5. Alice Sebold‘s The Lovely Bones
6. David Madden‘s Abducted by Circumstance
7. Mary McMyne‘s Wait. (manuscript)
8. Suzanne Collins‘s last Hunger Games book Mockingjay
9. M.O. Walsh‘s The Prospect of Magic
10. Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Trilogy (still working on the last, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest)

In the interests of full disclosure, I have some reservations about labeling some of these “best,” as I had some issues with a few of these books – notably Stieg Larsson’s books and The Lovely Bones – but they are unconditionally the ones that I invested the most time in, spent time thinking about. And there are some absolutely stellar BEST books on this list. And, of course, I read dozens of short stories through my work with Narrative, several of which I’d love to put on a best list, but can’t disclose. Interestingly, there’s no non-fiction on my list this year.

I actually saw quite a few movies in the theater this year, or maybe they stand out because I quite liked so many that I saw there. Rentals were often disappointing – slightly better than I’d expected or boring or not as good as I’d heard. So this is tough, but the movies I enjoyed the most this year:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (I have to do it, it was so good…)
2. Inception (I saw it 3.5 times in the theater)
3. Toy Story 3 (Pixar has always been really smart with these sequels)
4. Easy A (it was as funny and good as my favorite 80s comedies)
5. Red (it was like Sneakers jacked up, so of course I loved it)
6. Exit Through the Gift Shop (of course, it’s about Banksy)
7. Going the Distance, Get Him to the Greek (a tie)
8. Twilight: Eclipse and How to Train Your Dragon (a tie)
9. Nine (I love musicals)
10. The Kids are Alright

Honorable mentions: Last Station, Hereafter, Black Swan, True Grit, Despicable Me, The Ramen Girl, St. Trinian’s, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, The Young Victoria and Coco Before Chanel.

TV had to take a serious back burner this year because I never knew when I’d get home from work and had so much going on. This list is basically comprised of the shows that I kept up with in the chaos. Also, it should be said that I watched every episode of Law & Order SVU through Season 10 this year.

1. So You Think You Can Dance
2. Survivor
3. Castle
4. Glee
5. Raising Hope
6. Dancing with the Stars
7. United States of Tara
8. How I Met Your Mother
9. Bones
10. Fringe

My super notables:  The Tudors, In Plain Sight and 30 Rock.

I might go so far as to say that music was one of my biggest influences this year. I probably went to more concerts this year than I have every other year combined. Because my favorite songs are generally still my favorite songs from last year and the year before (with a few new exceptions), I’d much rather outline the best concerts of the year and the cds that I’ve been listening to obsessively.

CDs:

1. Lissie‘s Catching a Tiger, as well as her EP Why You Runnin’
2. Roisin Murphy‘s Ruby Blue
3. Mark Growden‘s Saint Judas
4. The Dresden Dolls‘s Yes, Virginia…
5. Black Gold‘s Rush

Shows:

1. Dresden Dolls at Tipitina’s in New Orleans
2. Black Gold at Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans
3. Citizen Cope at Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans
4. Simon Lott at Hi Ho Lounge in New Orleans
5. Mark Growden at Circle Bar in New Orleans

I think that just about covers the highlights of 2010, so all that’s left to say is Happy 2011!

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Show business, y’all

You might remember that in my (re)birth(day)(2010) post, shortly after my birthday, I mentioned that I got called in for a movie for two days. That movie was (at the time) called Brother’s Keeper and it stars John Cena, Patricia Clarkson and Danny Glover (the first and last of whom I met briefly while I was on set). It was an awesome experience.

The movie has since been re-titled Legendary and the trailer has just come out! If a scene looks like it takes place in a gym, I was probably there. My job was to run the scoreboard for all of the wrestling scenes, which were mainly shot at the same time, during those two days. So check out the trailer:

So, around April, I referred to my “new job,” which has been keeping me busy still. I’ve alluded to the fact that I’m working on a movie. But I haven’t said much more than that.

The same team that made Legendary — WWE Films — is making several movies in New Orleans, back-to-back. Brother’s Keeper/Legendary was the second film. In April, I started work on the fourth film and we’ve just finished the fifth and are about to begin the sixth. I don’t know much about the third film, but I was lucky enough to see the first film, Knucklehead, and it’s very good–very funny and charming. I can’t wait till it’s officially released. It shows up on Netflix, but without a release date yet.

I love my job, but it doesn’t leave much time or energy for anything else. I’ve been taking lots of notes and feeling very creative – but not very much writing at all. Reading also went by the wayside. I usually read at least ten books a month, but I think I’ve managed five since April. Maybe. I have  been watching movies, though.

Which has been something of a big deal. I *hated* the films The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Lovely Bones and reading the books they were based on became something of an issue in how I perceived the movie. Loved Eclipse, though I knew I would. Hated the remake of Bad Lieutenant (also filmed in New Orleans), which I knew I would. I never knew Mackenzie Astin (Iron Will!) was the younger brother of Sean Astin, which I discovered while looking up some facts for my last post. Thought Crazy Heart, while good, wasn’t as good as I’d heard, and Valentine’s Day was better than I’d expected (especially near the end, the last scene with Julia Roberts). Leap Year and When in Rome were both supremely cute, darnit! Found myself ruminating on both The Young Victoria and Amelia several days after I watched them. And The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus moved me in indescribable ways.

I’m going to have a hard time picking my best of the year in movies, though maybe an easy time with the books category since I’ll have read so few. Though I WILL make time for Mockingjay when it comes out at the end of next month. I probably won’t have much of a choice. I read the first book in one single night, all night, even though I had to be at work for like 7 a.m. the next morning. 🙂 It comes out on a Saturday, so maybe I’ll have to stay up all night and into the day Sunday reading it and then go to work. But I WILL read that book.

So, that’s the skinny on my job and a general overview of all the writing/reading I haven’t been doing and all the movies I’ve seen lately.  In case you were wondering. 🙂

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