Paperback: Horns, by Joe Hill

No idea what made me pick this up in the bookstore the other night but it was actually kinda tough to put down…despite being really nasty and vile and mean and icky. People have been killed, tricked, screwed over and continue to mess with each other throughout the book. But at the very deep down heart of it is a sweet teenage love story gone wrong. And there’s some clever wonderings about theology folded in as well if you’re interested in that.

I’m definitely interested in reading more of Hill’s stuff although I definitely need a palate cleanser before that.

Big Screen: Big Eyes

Christoph Waltz is SO (appropriately) creeptastic in this movie. And then I think about who and how he is in other movies…and then I listened to him being interviewed by Elvis Mitchell on The Treatment…and I’m wondering if creepy is where his true acting forte lies. (GAH. Horrifying.)

This is such an intensely weird, unsettling story. Well acted, well directed. But certainly not lovable.

There were some things about it that I thought could have been fleshed out more. And in some ways it’s one of those movies that doesn’t really GO anywhere with what it’s got to say (it just calmly tells this woman’s story from one point to another). But it’s worth seeing.

Paperback: The Years of Rice and Salt, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Gift from Dad for christmas in 2007, finally found its way to the top of the list. Heh.

First book finished in 2015 and it’s a doozy–I started it back in November and while admittedly I don’t have designated reading time these days (I’m not on public transit for school), it took me longer than it could have. It’s got numerous, very disparate sections as the characters keep (unbeknownst to themselves) reincarnating and regrouping in different places and times. There were some sections I just looooved (Nsara) and others I had a hard(er) time maintaining focus/interest in.

But throughout he’s not just telling you a story or having characters interact–this is a novel (and novelist) of big, huge, ginormous ideas and just as the characters in this book struggle with them through all different times and places, they are the questions that really inform our entire existence. So exhausting to think about at times! The ideas of how we move through our own histories, and how we arrange our belief systems, and how we choose to negotiate with others… truly fascinating, sometimes disturbing, never boring.

Having JUST finished an entire year of Project Life (scrapbooking, basically), I couldn’t stop grinning at this quote: “What’s hardest to catch is daily life. This is what I think rarely gets written down, or even remembered by those who did it–what you did on the days when you did ordinary things, how it felt doing it, the small variations time and again, until years passed.”

And questions like this one are what keep me up at night, usually worrying for my students’ futures in this messed up world of ours: What causes well-fed and secure people to work for the subjugation and immiseraton of starving insecure people? How many people can the Earth support? Why is there evil? How can we make a decent existence? How can we give to our children and the generations following a world restored to health?”

Because when it comes right down to what’s really important: how can we be decent humans in THIS life…and possibly our next?

Love Actually.

Although I have watched this movie numerous times, and will probably continue to do so*, I pretty much agree with every single thing this (long) article details about its true non-romanticness. Especially this:

The fundamental problem with Love Actually is that it presents romance as either absurdly easy—something that strikes you like a thunderclap and requires only a single grand gesture in order to be fulfilled—or all but impossible. Notably absent is the idea that love might ever be worth a little sustained effort: some mutual exploration and discovery, a bit of care and nurture, maybe even the overcoming of an obstacle or two.

*I really watch it because I enjoy the Hugh Grant performance so much. It is a nice pairing with either Two Weeks Notice OR Music and Lyrics, both charming lovely movies.

p.s. I just rewatched it last night after totally cracking up over this tweet (& video).

I’ve only been reading this book for five minutes and already I’m in love.

As a mystery quietly begins.

Winter never altogether vanishes, even in the warmest summer. You can always find it lingering, if you look.

And a little bit later.

But when you find your soul, you have to go. When you find your true shape, when the wind lifts you up, when you remember who you are, you have to go.

Both from Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull.

I really loved this little anecdote.

There was a guy I was reading about in the 1700’s whose wife was 10 minutes late at the dinner table every [night] so he took those 10 minutes to work on a novel and he ended up writing 3 very successful novels that way by squeezing in those 10 minutes. I think that’s the trick is giving yourself that time and scheduling it in.

from this interview with Mark Frauenfelder.

I love that idea of even just in 10 (or 15 even!) minutes a day, you eventually DO have something to show for your time.

(It’s repeated again in this article.)

I got to both of these from this article, from this post by Maggie, whose blog I really love.