All posts filed under: March

Questions, Questions, and More Questions

I finished Annihilation yesterday. Before I started (the day before yesterday), I told my husband, “I think you would like this book.” So when I finished, he asked if I thought he would like it. I responded, “ummm….” and he responded, “WOW! That’s a glowing recommendation.” But here’s the thing, I really liked this book. I couldn’t immediately recommend it to him because I have no standard of comparison. It’s very different from any book I know that he really likes. It reminded me of a book I read a long time ago, but I honestly can’t remember what book it was (mom brain). The way I found to describe it to him was it’s like if Jurassic Park was not about dinosaurs, but just about some unknown creepy stuff. Descriptive, I know. I loved that the narrative was told through the biologist’s journal. I love that at the end you’re sort of free to decide where the rest of her story goes (and, spoiler alert, the second book in the series does not pick up with her …

March Book

We’re very excited about this month’s read! In March, post awards season, we like to pick a book that’s been (or will be) made into a movie. Did you notice that of the nine 2017 Best Picture nominees, five were based on books: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, and Moonlight? Well this year we’re getting ahead of the game and reading a book that’s being made into a movie as we speak and set to be released in September of this year. The book is the first in Jeff VanderMeer‘s Southern Reach trilogy. In fact, Katherine C. read it earlier this year and said it’s a can’t-put-it-down, unlike anything she’s read, must-read! And, well, that’s a pretty big sell so we couldn’t resist. This month we’re reading Annihilation. Annihilation was released in 2014 and describes a team of four women (bonus points for Women’s History Month) who set out into an area known as Area X. All you have to do is read the dust jacket and you’ll be instantly hooked … “Area X has been cut off from the rest of …

A Spotlight on Betrayal

I’m fessing up: I didn’t read Betrayal. Mainly because I saw “Spotlight” and was afraid reading the book would be redundant. As it turns out, after talking with some of the other Bookly Clubbers, I might need to keep it on my TBR list. But in lieu of a book review, I’m here to give you my thoughts on the movie, which I was thrilled to see win Best Picture at the Oscars this year. Saying I enjoyed this movie sounds a bit strange since it’s such a disturbing story, but you know what I mean. So let’s get to what I liked/didn’t like, bullet point style. As much as I LOVE Rachel McAdams (and I really really like her), I thought her performance was a bit meh. She has a tendency to play characters that don’t seem to push her far beyond just playing Rachel McAdams. But still, I’ll see [almost] any move with her in it. (Note: DO NOT see “Aloha.”) Mark Ruffalo was GREAT. I thought he played the character well, and made Michael’s neuroses …

{Betrayal} Cover Redesign

I‘m sure most of you have heard about this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture: SPOTLIGHT. It’s an intense story about The Boston Globe’s special “Spotlight” team of journalists who, in the early 2000’s, investigated a decades-long conspiracy in the Catholic Church. And the book, Betrayal, is what the Spotlight team wrote after their years of award-winning investigative reporting. It’s a serious read that deserves a better cover than either of what’s currently out there. So, as I do on occasion (when having two kids under two-years-old will allow), I’ve re-designed an alternative cover for our March read. I tried to keep a subtle religious theme with the text and image column creating the shape of a cross, and then tying in the newspaper influence with the subhead copy being arranged in a way that’s similar to a newspaper column. I think if Betrayal actually hit the shelves with this cover, the book could reach a whole new audience! But, for now we’ll just keep it between us until my little ones grow up and I have …

An Unlikeable Must-Read

Betrayal was a difficult book to read. Frankly, at times it felt like reading just a laundry list of sexual abuse crimes. Gory detail after gory detail. One after the other, after the other. You get the idea. And as I was reading my husband kept asking me, “are you liking it?” and I wouldn’t know how to answer. I’m not sure if this is a book you can “like.” It’s not one you read casually. Instead, it’s one you read out of necessity. The stories this book tells are important ones that I think everyone should know more about. To catch you up to speed, Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church was written by the Spotlight team of journalists at The Boston Globe in the early 2000’s. It unveils the Boston-area Catholic Church’s deliberate negligence and cover-up of sexual abuse crimes committed by hundreds of its clergy members, allowing them to abuse thousands of victims for decades. The book is a compilation of the 600 different Spotlight investigative reports. It’s a battery of case files, statistics, victim testimonies, and allegations. As I was reading, …

March Book

Image © NPR.org Every year Hollywood’s awards season starts in November and doesn’t end until late February. The Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Academy Awards are some of the most well-known (probably because their red carpets get full E! coverage). And if you’re anything like us, you make time to watch all the fashion, speeches, glitz, and glamour of self-congratulatory Hollywood. But there’s one pattern we’ve noticed over the years, and that’s the number of nominated films that are based on books. In fact, of the 87 films awarded the Academy Award for best picture since its inception in 1928, 62 have been based on books. This year alone, seven of the eight films nominated for best picture are based on books: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian, Room, The Revenant, and Spotlight. So, as you may already know, March is our Screenplay month when we read a book that’s been made into a movie and ask ourselves the question; is the book really better than the movie? Which brings us to our book choice this …

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…