Books & Movies

Hey, folks.

As you probably tell by my inert progress bar, heh, I haven’t been doing much writing of late.  Not sure when I’ll get back to Project Element 7.  I’ve kinda just been pondering about…things.  My life in general.  What’s important to me, what isn’t.  And in my ponderings I’ve discovered something quite disturbing: I’m kinda sick of the Internet right now. *collective gasp* I no longer want to be on it any more than I have to.  Though, of course, it’s still very much a necessary evil.

Maybe that means I’ll also have to change my writing habits and somehow detach the Internet from it.  Hmm…

Anyway, back to what I was really planning on talking about.

First, the movie.

I went to see Hugo on Monday with a friend.  Generally, I really liked it.  Especially in 3D.  The movie didn’t make extravagant use of that feature, yet at the same time I couldn’t imagine watching it in the regular theatre.  Somehow, the 3D version just brought the story that much more to life.  You really felt like you were in this romantic take on Paris–‘k, ‘cept for the fact that pretty much everyone was speaking English.  Anyhow, the images were so clear.  You could actually see dust floating though the air.  It was a neat experience.

The pace was unusual, though.  Like in anime where they sometimes have those long awkward silences… But Scorsese’s silences were of the intentional kind, so for me it kinda worked.  It was still awkward in an almost Frenchy, quirky way, but that’s just part of the charm of the movie.  That said, I can see why a few reviewers criticized the movie for its pace, considering it’s supposed to be for children, too: kids may grow bored at first until the pace picks up some later on during the film.  With our go-go-go culture (here in the U.S. anyway) the use of negative space like this just isn’t something most kids would be used to.

Another point I’ve seen critiqued is Scorsese’s attention to (for some it may be more like “lecture on”) film history.  If you’ve ever seen Inglourious Basterds, you’ll know what I mean.  But personally I liked these bits.  Why shouldn’t filmmakers educate their viewers a bit on the history of film every once in a while?  I, for one, learned something new and found it to be entertaining.  It was all tied into the plot anyway, so it’s wasn’t exactly trivial stuff.

One last thing I liked were the child actors: Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz.  Asa especially said some pretty insightful things for a kid–though, I guess the credit goes to the writers for that, heh.  The whole movie was thoughtful.  It had its light, playful moments and its dark, brooding ones and was overall delightful, imo.

And I don’t know the name of the singer during the end credits, but she has a really nice voice.  And the fact that the lyrics were in French and therefore largely incomprehensible to me only added to the magic.

Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

…Oh, yeah!  I also watched Another Earth which I really enjoyed from an artistic POV, though from a scientific POV some may have one or two gripes about it… Also, Brit Marling, the main actress in the movie, wrote the story herself–which I thought was impressive.

Now, about a book.

One day I was thinking about how I never use the Literati my grandmother gave me for graduation and how sad that was, and I happened to be on Goodreads at that time. While there I saw an ad for an international bestseller called The Time In Between by María Dueñas (her blog is in Spanish, FYI).  So I figured, hey, why not buy that on my Literati?  Try to finish reading a novel on that thing. (So far I’ve gotten too distracted while using the device to get through an entire book. -__-)

The novel is actually pretty good so far (still reading it).  It has a simple storytelling style and does a lot of telling instead of putting the reader right there in the moment, but somehow that’s okay with me.  My inner critic was mumbling things about this at first, but the story and the characters are so immersing that eventually he just had to shut up.  Also, it’s on the longer side, over 600 pages, but that’s what I’m used to, heh.

Why is it an international bestseller?

Well, I could suggest several reasons, but I’ll tell you why I personally am liking it thus far.

  1. It’s got espionage.  Um…hello?  (I’ve barely scratched the surface of this element in the novel, though the threads are certainly being woven…)
  2. The supporting characters are great–a real strong point for Dueñas.  They’re all so interesting.  Especially the smooth and charming Ramiro; you just know right away he’s going to be trouble.  In any case, I’m really enjoying the characters.
  3. I can relate to the main character, Sira Quiroga, the daughter of a humble seamstress.  (Immediately, I thought this might be another Coco Chanel story, but…that seems unlikely at this point.)  After a few unfortunate life events take place, she decides to open up her own business sewing clothes for expatriates in Morocco.  Since I’ve been considering doing something similar with interior design, the story strikes a particularly resonant chord in me just for this reason.
  4. It explores a place and time in history that is uncommon to see in fiction–at least on this side of the world.  It starts in 1935 just before the Spanish Civil War (SCW) and trails into WWII.  Before reading this novel my only exposure to this locale during this point in history was in an art history class learning about Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and while watching Pan’s Labyrinth (set some years after the SCW, yet the story is heavily influenced by it).  That said, I find a return to this theme and setting of the SCW quite interesting.

There are other reasons why I like this novel, but those are the main ones.

So that’s what I’ve been up to–in the storytelling department, anyway.

How about you folks?

Watch any good movies lately or read any good books?


18 thoughts on “Books & Movies

  1. Hey Tiayana,
    Glad to see you’re still around. Yes, the Internet can be one heck of a time sink. But don’t forget about us.
    I hope whatever’s happening in your writing isn’t discouraging you too much. Sometimes writers need a break or to write something new. Don’t worry, the well will fill up again and you’ll feel the urge (if that’s what’s happening).
    Thanks for your reviews, I haven’t gotten to see a movie in theaters in a long time. The wife doesn’t much like them and I hate watching them alone. Hugo looked interesting and as much as I HATE those bloody glasses, I may need to check it out.
    Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.


    • I’m not sure what’s going on with my writing right now. I just feel like I want to be away from what I know, a break from everything. Not sure for how long, but…yeah. (If I had the money & means I’d just go traveling for a while or something. But that’s not gonna happen anytime soon…)

      That doesn’t mean I’ll stop blogging, though. Just less often.

      About the 3D glasses…the ones at Harkins theatres aren’t so bad. 😉 The designs are getting better. A little.


  2. Sometimes a break from this is really good. I sometimes like to bury my head in the sand and pretend nothing is going on around me 😉 There is a lot of noise, and distraction that can get to you sometimes.

    I haven’t seen any good movies in a while! Books? I blogged about a few weeks ago? That’s about all. It’s just been busy with holiday prep.

    Also glad to see you haven’t completely disappeared! Hope you have a good holiday season.


    • Yeah, I remember you blogging about five or so books–some I’ve added to my to-read list!

      And thanks for the holiday wishes. I hope you enjoy yours, as well. 🙂


  3. Welcome back. As we all said when you mentioned you needed a break – hey, take the break you need, we’ll be here when you get back (and we did and stil do hope you’ll come back).

    As for books, movies… no movies recently, no. Dear Wife and I don’t get out much, and movies aren’t usually the first thing we go for when we do get out. Books… most recently finished Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which I talked about extensively on my blog. (I really liked it… except when I didn’t; mixed feelings lead to lots of bloggage.) Focused on writing… for now… but I’ll be picking up another book soon, I’m sure (most likely candidate: The Hunger Games).


    • Thanks, Stephen. 🙂

      The Magicians sounds really interesting. That’s another one I’ll have to check out, as well. As for The Hunger Games, I actually started reading that, too, with all the rave about the movie that’s coming out soon. The beginning is pretty good, so far, but I’m a book hopper so it’ll be a bit before I finish it with The Time In Between also in my sights, lol.

      Anyhow, I’m really looking forward to the movie–especially since Jennifer Lawrence is supposed to be playing the main character Katniss. After seeing her performance in X-men: First Class, I think she’ll do great in this movie. She seems to have this understated maturity and strength about her that will translate well into Katniss’ character.

      These are exciting times for writers, as it seems so many books are being turned into movies or tv shows these days! Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker will be coming out next in theatres.

      (BTW: has anyone seen Winter’s Bone? I was thinking about renting that one; it’s got Jennifer in it, too.)


  4. The novel sounds good! Tell us how it turns out.

    As far as your growing hatred of the internet, I say hey, enjoy it. The internet is such a distraction, and while It’s nice to see you blogging again, as long as you’re spending more time Writing and less time Googling I guess it all works out just fine. 🙂

    I might see Hugo one of these days. Stereoscopic viewing sounds like a real treat.


    • Will do!

      Yeah, it is distracting. I’ve lost my focus on this novel lately and it’s been hard motivating myself to get back into it. :/ Not that I’ve stopped believing in it or loving it; I still think about it often. It’s just…maybe my expectations for myself–for the novel–have been too high, and it paralyzes me to wonder how on earth I’ll get this thing to where I want it to be when I’m only halfway there. (I’m sure even after this round of edits I’ll have some more work to do, even if it is less extensive work.)


  5. Well, writing is not really connected with the net. People were writing long before the internet., you know. Even me. :-). I’m starting a new project and so far it’s all fountain pen and paper.

    On the other hand, blogging requires a computer, and I want to join the chorus of people who hope you keep blogging, at least occasionally.

    I really want to see Hugo. It sounds very good. I’ve never seen Asa Butterfield, but I’m a big fan of Chloe Moretz. She was great in Kick-Ass and Let Me In.


    • Well, I don’t mean to altogether disappear from the blogosphere; that’s never been my intent. I just need to limit how much time I use the Internet ’cause it’s easy for me to overdo things, heh.

      I haven’t seen Kick Ass yet, but I ought to! Heard it was good.


      • Oh, yes, limit the internet. That’s one reaon I write with pen and paper in the first place. — to get away from the distraction. It amazes me that people can write novels on computers which are on the net. They must have more wlll power than me.

        And do see Kick-Ass, and let me know what you thought. Critical reaction was mixed, but I thought it was really entertaining, and Moretz was amazing (that’s the one thing the critics did agree on).


  6. I don’t see any problem with a director, or even a movie educating the audience on film history so long as he/she/it does so in entertaining fashion. Literature is steeped in remixing reverence, and it’s done some great goods, like the illumination of Virgil through Dante.


  7. I quit blogging and the internet for about six months…I just got burned out. So I know how you feel.

    You’ve been working on that WIP for sometime now, and maybe you just need to let it sit there. Time and distance can be your friends.

    I hope to see Hugo with my oldest son very soon, as I think we’ll both like it. I heard that the actor, Asa, is set to play Ender in the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game that they’ve been talking about FOREVER.


    • Yeah, I have, but that’s why it’s frustrating to be in this position of not being inspired/motivated to continue working on it ’cause I just wanna get it done! lol

      I tried working on a chapter last night and just wasn’t producing good stuff. (Fell asleep at one point. z_Z) Maybe I will let it sit a little longer before going back to it…

      Oh, wow, that’ll be a huge role for Asa. I’m surprised they didn’t make a movie for that book sooner!


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