Archive for August, 2009

28th August
2009
written by Steph
Mind you, it's a day unlike any other... including the one described in the book!

Mind you, it's a day unlike any other... including the one described in the book!

Today Persephone Reading Week (hosted by Claire at Paperback Reader and Verity of The B Files) draws to a close.  I’m more than a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to prepare appropriately for this joint reading experience and stock of up on some Persephone titles in advance, but I was happy to be able to at least read one book in the spirit of the week.  I’m sure it won’t be my last!  I dearly hope these two lovely ladies will host another PRW at some point in the future, as I’ll certainly be there with bells on if they do! As I had no more Persephones to actually read, I figured I could still participate in kind by watching the film version of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.  I’ve been wanting to see the movie for a while (it’s the reason I even knew the book existed), but was determined to wait until I had actually read the original source material (I’m very compulsive about this).  Now that I have, I moved Miss Pettigrew up my queue. (more…)
27th August
2009
written by Steph
But will I be into this movie?  That's the really important thing!

But will I be into this movie? That's the really important thing!

Normally Tony is very good about indulging my desire to watch bad movies. While he might not be first in line to see the latest chick flick, then again, normally neither am I. But sometimes I do want to see a predictable rom com where I can turn my brain off, but hopefully still be charmed. These tend to be cases where Netflix comes into play, so that we can watch from the relative safety and privacy of our own home. This is how I get away with watching crap like Twilight and, well, He’s Just Not That Into You. In this case, though, I actually watched this one day at home over lunch while Tony was at work, because while I knew he would watch it with me, I knew it would probably be little to no fun for him, so I figured I would save him the agony. To be fair, I was expecting this movie to be so bad that I wound up being mildly impressed by how not bad it was. Don’t get me wrong, the movie isn’t really very good, but I had expected it to be so irredeemably bad that I wound up feeling it had perhaps been too harshly judged by its critics. It’s not reinventing the wheel, it’s not breaking any new ground, but I don’t know that this is a huge crime against the movie-going public. It’s a romantic comedy! I’m not saying these can’t be thoughtful and well done, but that’s not normally their m.o., and moreover, the people who tend to go see them generally don’t want them to be surprising! If you go to see The Proposal and Sandra Bullock and Mr. Scarlet Johansson don’t fall in love at the end of it? A bunch of people are going to be pissed! (more…)
26th August
2009
written by Steph
Portrait of the Chef as a Young Jackhole

Portrait of the Chef as a Young Jackhole

As self-professed foodies, one of the shows Tony & I enjoyed most this summer was Top Chef Masters.  We were truly sad to see it come to an end, as each week we were dazzled and excited by all these top-of-their-game chefs concocting mouth-watering creations each week.  Sure the new season of Top Chef has started up, but it’s already clear the cooking won’t be nearly up to the same standards we’ve now come to expect, and unfortunately the show will feel the need to add in interpersonal dramas, as if the cooking itself weren’t exciting enough.  With a TCM-sized hole in my life, I found my appetite was whet for a deeper look into all things food.  Thus, I sought out Anthony Bourdain’s memoir of sorts, Kitchen Confidential. Now, Tony and I have tried to watch No Reservations, Bourdain’s tv show.  After all, on paper it combines two of our passions: travel & food.  But unfortunately, we just couldn’t get into it, and this was largely due, I must confess, to Bourdain himself.  I find him really unpalatable, so brash and arrogant… a guy who’s trying way to hard to show how bad-ass he is, that he doesn’t give an eff, who thinks he’s God’s gift and oh so funny and snarky.  I’m sorry, but no.  I don’t need his snipey commentary!  The places he’s visiting and the food he’s eating are interesting enough without all his asides.  But maybe if he were just less of an asshole I wouldn’t mind – after all, we’re fine with Alton Brown’s travel food shows, and we’ve become mildly obsessed with Man v. Food (another Travel Channel show).  So really, the blame lies squarely with Bourdain, I’m afraid.  Still, I figured that maybe if I didn’t have to HEAR him, perhaps I could stomach him on paper. (more…)
25th August
2009
written by Steph
P1030168_v2

What a surprise... more books!

Ok, it’s been over a month since our last book buying expedition (our last trip was on the 4th of July weekend), which I think is some kind of progress!  I aim to visit the bookstore no more than once a month, because any more frequently than that would feel pretty decadent.  Also, there’s no way I can read fast enough to keep up with bi- or tri-weekly trips (not that that would stop me).  This time I managed to accrue 10 books in our stack to sell back before venturing to McKay’s.  I figured if I can commit to ensuring that I trade in at least 10 every time we visit then that will be a good way to curtail frivolous and unnecessary spending.  We didn’t get very much money for our trade-ins (just under $1 per book…), but as they say, every little bit helps, since we were able to walk away with 9 books for just $14.  And maybe the math might seem a little strange to you, but it was actually nice to see we were coming away with fewer books than we entered with as it means one less book to store at our apartment! Now, onto the loot! (more…)
24th August
2009
written by Steph
G'day, G'day!

G'day, G'day!

I am not sure if I have ever documented it here, but I generally dread watching movies that are more than 90 minutes long.  Normally I can stretch myself to 2 hours if necessary, but in most cases, movies past the 120 minute mark are needlessly bloated and I get grumpy about having had to sit still for that long.  Plus I tend to get bored and sleepy.  Maybe part of this stems from the fact that we don’t have any kind of cable (basic or otherwise), so we tend to watch Netflix stuff during the evening… and if a movie is longer than 2 hours, then that means a good chunk of our night is gone if we’re watching it on a “school night”.  So things did not bode well for Australia going in, and some might wonder why it even wound up on our queue.  Well, I love me some Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge is probably one of my top 10 favorite movies) AND I have recently been going through a phase where I am fascinated by the land down under (mostly the accents, I think)… so both of these factors managed to cancel out the 165 (!!!) minute runtime and we decided to give this a go. (more…)
23rd August
2009
written by Tony

I don’t get this movie. I mean, I get it, I just don’t get the allure. Steph and I watched this for the first time the other day and we were both kind of left flat. I am aware that this is probably a pretty unpopular opinion since I know very well that there are a lot of Hepburn fans out there and that this movie is well loved by many. Before I get in to why this movie was so uninspiring, I’ll detail the plot for those of you who have not seen this movie (or saw but didn’t pay attention). Hepburn plays an escort (essentially, Capote was much more explicit in his novel about what she did for a living, but her assumed name is Holly Golightly — you be the judge) who is living out some sort of selfish delusion that involves her taking little to no responsibility for her life or her actions, so much so that she even abandons her patrons mid-date (despite this being her bread and butter) and has yet to unpack her apartment after one year of occupancy. George Peppard plays Paul, who is essentially a kept man. His wealthy benefactress comes and goes throughout the movie and everyone does a good job dancing around the fact that he is a gigolo. Mickey Rooney is the blaring Asian stereotype, Mr. Yunioshi, who lives upstairs. I guess I thought the 60s were more enlightened or something, but putting Rooney into yellow face just astounded me. Patently offensive may not be the right turn of phrase, but it’s where I’m left at the end of the day. (more…)
22nd August
2009
written by Steph
Like an episode 24... only with more makeup

Like an episode 24... only with more makeup

First off, this marks my 44th book read this year.  An odd number to flag, I realize, but one with personal significance for me.  You see, last year I read a grand total of 44 books.  So this read was momentous because it signaled that anything I read from here on out will be an “improvement” over last year… I didn’t really set myself any hard goals number-wise for 2009 as I don’t really see the point in that (it seems to detract from the real reason for reading, in my mind), but I did think somewhere that I could probably hit 50 books.  And now, with just over 4 months to go, I’m sure I will! (Wouldn’t it be sad if I somehow didn’t manage to read 6 books in the next 17 weeks or so?) Now, one thing I’ve been lamenting privately to Tony about is the fact that this year has had some really good (even great) reads crop up for me, but I haven’t encountered any 5-star books.  That is probably more important than reading lots of books, and I’ve been feeling a bit bereft that the magical alchemy that produces a perfect book for me has been so elusive.  Every book I pick up, I do so with the fiercest hope that it will somehow shake my very foundations of who I am as a reader.  I very much hoped that Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day would be that book. (more…)
21st August
2009
written by Steph
Note: unless you are seeing a movie based on a comic book, guys in capes are a bad sign...

Note: unless you are seeing a movie based on a comic book, guys in capes are a bad sign...

We are big Paul Rudd fans here, although I don’t think we really realized this until seeing I Love You, Man earlier this year. Twice. Sure he was always on our radar, shining in flicks like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy… Heck, I’ve even liked him a good deal since I was a teen when he played Paris in William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, and who can forget Clueless? (I haven’t a clue! Ha!) But despite all of these factors, our stance towards Rudd was essentially that his appearance in a movie would be a welcome and happy surprise, but he wasn’t really a motivating force in terms of getting us to actually go see a movie. And then we saw I Love You, Man and got to thinking that Paul Rudd is genuinely a funny dude and maybe we need to watch more of his stuff and should get pro-active about doing so. This is how we came to rent Role Models. (more…)
20th August
2009
written by Steph
Well, at least the one thing I'm sure of is that I think the cover is pretty...

Well, at least the one thing I'm sure of is that I think the cover is pretty...

One of the perks of interning at BookPage is that about once a month we have to purge old ARCs in order to make room for all the new ones that keep flooding in. The actual purging process is not actually that fun (since it involves a lot of heavy lifting), BUT when I get put in charge of this (as I often am, as it’s a job no one really wants to do), it does mean that I get to rescue anything that looks good. Which means that any books that we have doubles of or that didn’t get covered in the relevant month’s issue, I can take home with me! I don’t always avail myself of this as we all know I have plenty of books to read as it is, but that is how I came across this copy of Fall by Colin McAdam (the book was published in late June). I’d never heard of the author before (or really anything about this title), but I was intrigued by the pretty cover art and the premise didn’t sound half bad either.

The back cover tells us that this will be the story of two boys, Neil & Julius, who are roommates at an elite boarding school. Neil is awkward and a bit of a loner, while Julius is dashing and popular, but despite their differences, they forge an unlikely friendship. Both are in love with a girl named Fall (though only one of them is dating her… I’ll leave it to you to guess which one), who winds up throwing their worlds out of orbit when she winds up missing. Her disappearance causes the cracks to appear in their friendship, while the two boys attempt to deal with their loss in their own ways.

(more…)

19th August
2009
written by Steph
Not to get all Sally Field on you, but we just found out that at least one of you (or maybe more, we don't know!) nominated us for some lovely Book Blogger Appreciation Week Awards.  If you did nominate us, then you know your reasons, but for those who are curious (and haven't been reading comments), we're up for Best Collaborative Blog (don't lie... it's because we got married, right? 😉 ), and Best Literary Fiction Blog. [Updated to add that we were also notified today that we've also been nominated for Best Writing, which is really so gratifying.  Thank you!]  To say we're surprised is an understatement!  We definitely didn't see this one coming, but thank you for the support and the appreciation... in this case being nominated is really an honor in and of itself! [P.S.  New content coming soon... we just have to finish reading something, and get off our lazy butts and review some of the movies we've been watching...]
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