Month: March 2015

Lost Between the Lines…

I am admittedly the Kathryn who may be a tad more on the “dead inside” end of the spectrum. Rarely do movies, books, songs, etc move me at tears.  That being said, while Still Alice is a very poignant look into the interworking of a family as a disease tears them apart physically, mentally, and emotionally, I felt somewhat disconnected from it.  Perhaps some of that disconnect was intentional on the part of Lisa Genova who writes in a decidedly third person perspective on a deeply personal disease.  Perhaps we are meant to feel like outsiders as a way of sharing in Alice’s disconnect from her life, forced to be an outsider by her disease.  Then again, perhaps I am over thinking it. Looking back, I didn’t really love the writing style. Very staccato and foreshortened, it made for an easy read.  Similarly, Genova did not spend much time expanding on somewhat played out archetypes in her characters.  There is the daughter that is passionate but rebellious. There is the daughter that is straight and narrow but kind of a …

Crying on the Beach

I read Still Alice over the course of two days while on vacation during my spring break from teaching. I know – not quite the beach read you’d expect. It felt a little awkward crying on the beach while everyone around me was enjoying the sun and sand, but it was worth it. I appreciated the pacing – it was such a fast read, and I loved the perspective of the novel as well as some of the storytelling devices that Genova used to really show Alice’s view. Specifically, the repetition of chunks of texts, sometimes whole paragraphs – it really places the reader in Alice’s shoes. For example, at the lunch lecture, you feel through Alice the awareness that something is off, but experience the lack of awareness of what that is. Don’t get me wrong – it can be uncomfortable to have an understanding as the reader that the narrator does not have, but it was a very interesting, eye-opening, and in many ways necessary approach to telling the story of Alice. It’s interesting that Genova …

Put Your Tissues Away But Keep Reading

My hunch is I’m one of the few who feels the way I do about this book. Let’s see if I’m right… Admittedly, until we chose this as our March book I wasn’t going to read it. Mainly because the idea of this happening to someone I love made me want to ignore anything having to do with it. Plus, after hearing what a handful of my friends thought of “Still Alice,” my fears of this being an emotional and heartbreaking read were only amplified. So I readied myself with a box of tissues, a few hours of privacy, and got to reading. But I was actually surprised by how unemotional it left me. As someone who cries easily, I expected to be more moved by Alice’s story and have spent some time trying to figure out why I wasn’t. I think a big part of it is because it was told from her point of view, we didn’t experience much of how the family was affected. And with this type of disease, that’s arguably the …

Intense, But Hopeful

Our first review is up for Still Alice! Here’s Katherine C’s review of Still Alice: I liked this book a lot. I’m hesitant to say loved, it’s not really the kind of story you can love (let’s be honest, it’s sad). But I really enjoyed Genova’s writing style, the characters and the way she told Alice’s story. It’s hard for me to separate my experience reading this book from my experience with Alzheimer’s disease. So first I’ll share a bit about my experience…

What Happened to Cinderella?

How many fairy tales have been made into movies? Too many to count, so we won’t. But let’s add to the list Disney’s new live-action version of Cinderella. Given that this is another in a very long line of Cinderella remakes, it surprised us with great reviews and opening numbers. Although maybe it shouldn’t considering it was directed by Kenneth Branagh (Academy Award nominated actor and director). It premiered mid-March outdoing Fifty Shades of Grey with a $135 million opening weekend. AND it scored 84% on rotten tomatoes. We guess there’s no denying fairy tales are a hit. But does anyone even remember where they came from? Fairy tales started as short stories filled with folkloric characters portraying a certain legend or lore. They were found in all different cultures, each with its own take on particular life lessons, and they weren’t too kid-friendly. In one of the oldest tales of Cinderella for example, she is a slave girl from Thrace. And, well, it’s not the ‘fairy tale’ story we know today. In fact, some think it was the story of a real woman …

{Still Alice} Cover Redesign

Hello! I’m sure you recognize these images as the poster for the movie and the original book cover. The movie poster was re-purposed to serve as a book cover shortly after the film was produced… and, well, there’s nothing I hate more than a “now a major motion picture” book cover! I get it. If you make a movie of it you want to show it off. But inevitably the “motion picture” cover ends up looking like a cheap ad (admittedly, I’ve seen worse). In the case of Still Alice I definitely like the original butterfly cover best, and it pulls from a good theme in the book. But I figured the cover could use a makeover. Granted, this won’t always be the case with every book we read for Bookly, but for Still Alice I designed TWO new cover options…     Alice is a character of such intelligence and motivation, and suddenly she finds herself losing her every day independence; a trait that defines so much of who she is. Was? And the first time we witness her symptoms is when she’s out for one …

Gillian on Film, Again

If you haven’t heard of Gillian Flynn, or at least Gone Girl, we can just assume you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years. But assuming you do know about her books, and the latest movie, do you also know about the other movies in the works, the TV show, and the sequel? Well, read on and we’ll fill you in… First, in case you’ve recently come out from under the aforementioned rock to join civilization, here’s what you need to know about Gillian Flynn… She’s an author, and now also a screenwriter, who was born in Kansas City, Missouri (where a lot of her books take place). As a young girl she was painfully shy and escaped into the world of books and the horror films her father took her to see. Such interests have molded her into an author of uniquely dark fiction that takes seemingly normal towns filled with seemingly normal people and twists it into something deliciously eerie and broken. Initially she attempted a career in police journalism after getting a Masters in degree in …

March Book

It’s finally here, our first Bookly Club book! First things first. As you may already know, each book we read is meant to fit the time of year in which we read it. And the theme for this month is “Screenplay.” Did you spend any time this winter watching the Golden Globes, SAG Awards or Oscars? Well, we just passed awards season, and since we’re stuck in bitterly-cold climates (if you’re not, count yourself lucky) those shows were among the few highlights during this sub-zero season. So in honor of Hollywood’s recent self-congratulations, we’re reading a book that’s been made into a movie.     In fact, this book has been made into an award-winning film which has won a lot of praise during the most recent awards season. Published in 2009, Still Alice is a story of a woman actively fighting her battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. A terrifying illness affecting millions. The first-time author, Lisa Genova, has her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard University and tells the compelling story of 50-year-old Alice Howland’s demise into the frightening world of forgetting. It seems like this will be a really hard story to read, especially for those …