metro mama

Monday, April 09, 2007

Roundup

I haven’t been excited enough to write much about the last few books I’ve read (except Lullabies for Little Criminals—LOVED it. Review coming soon). But here are some quick thoughts:


The End of the Alphabet

On his fiftieth birthday, Ambrose Zephyr is given a month to live. He and his wife, Zipper, embark on a trip around the world to all the places Ambrose wants to see, from A to Z.

This was a short, sweet little read, that’s beautifully packaged.


Helpless

Barbara Gowdy’s latest is well-written and provocative. The story, about the abduction of a young girl, is told from various perspectives: Rachel, the 9-year-old victim; Rachel’s single mother, Celia; Nancy, the abductor’s girlfriend; Ron, the child abductor. I really didn’t enjoy the novel—I was uncomfortable with Gowdy’s empathy towards Ron. And I found the conclusion a little unbelievable.

Have any of you read it? What did you think?


The End of East

The End of East is Jen Sookfong Lee’s first novel. Set in Vancouver’s Chinatown, Sammy Chan returns home from Montreal to care for her aging mother. There she pieces together her family’s history in Canada, going back to her grandfather, Seid Quan, the first to emigrate to Canada.

This is an interesting multi-generational immigration tale, particularly the story of Sammy’s mother, battling post-partum depression while living in a strange country with a domineering mother-in-law. The prose is often powerful, but I felt most of the characters weren’t very well developed, especially Sammy’s. Overall, I was disappointed.

***

As for what I’m watching, we saw Babel this week (it took us two nights to watch it, it’s so frickin’ long). I’m kind of ambivalent about it. It was well-acted. I liked the individual stories—they were compelling and fairly well-paced. But the sum isn’t as good as the parts—it didn’t really come together for me. I think he’s saying something about how we’re all connected and we all make bad decision that have far-reaching consequences, blah, blah, blah. But it just seemed banal. The director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, is also behind 21 Grams, which I think was a far better film.

What did you guys think of Babel?

***

I saw the stage production of Edward Scissorhands. I really enjoyed it. One of our new Mommy Blogs Toronto contributors, Mama Drama, has written an excellent review of the show, here.

I made the most wonderful discovery at the show. Did you know you can order your intermission drinks in advance?! This is the best thing ever. You no longer have to choose between peeing and drinking. You order and pay before the show starts. Then, at intermission, you can make a beeline for the bathroom, and when you’re done, your drink is there waiting for you. That rocks.

***

Last night we watched Stranger Than Fiction. Loved it. Very clever.

I really want to get out to see Grindhouse this weekend, but I'm so pressed for time. Has anyone seen it yet?

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10 Comments:

Blogger crazymumma said...

where do you find the time.

honestly.

11:58 AM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

Haven't read any of them, but I'm looking forward to reading books of my own choosing, now that I'm in the final stretch for school.

Hoping to see Stranger than Fiction tonight as a reward for studying on a Saturday!

(Thanks for the nod, btw..)

12:52 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

We just watched Babel last night. I found the stories interesting, and I think you are right that it is about connectedness and small bad decisions that have huge consequences, but what does he want us to feel or do with that information? I thought it was visually interesting. But, bottom-line: My husband had to scrape me off the sofa afterwards, I was so done in by the nanny's story.

4:24 PM  
Blogger jen said...

I didn't care for Babel...I loved it conceptually but was disappointed that the message wasn't tighter...it just didn't do it for me.

i think you should start a book club, Met..get all of us reading something together and then discuss. i'll be your first member, i read like a racehorse, dude.

in fact, have you read Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian? He wrote Midwives years ago?

5:26 PM  
Blogger Mamalooper said...

Didn't care for Babel either. I liked it but didn't love it. It reminded me of Crash in that they both are very.important.films that make the Academy think it is wise and thoughtful.

Loved Children of Men and want to see it again.

Liked Stranger than Fiction - a lot. Great concept and well executed. Used to hate Will Farrell but now like him after seeing him in a few indie movies.

Haven't seen Grindhouse but Ebert and Roeper gave it middling reviews.

For books, am in the middle of the Madonnas of Leningrad and thinking of picking up the new Ian McEwan book for the next read. I have SOOOOO many on my to-be-read-pile.

6:33 PM  
Blogger metro mama said...

jen: I just might do that. No, I haven't read anything by him. What do you recommend to start?

crazymumma: my secrets--a baby who sleeps well, no cable, and insomnia!

7:30 PM  
Blogger jen said...

I just finished Double Bind and liked it a lot. If you want, I'll send it to you.

And I still vote for Book Club.

3:00 PM  
Blogger cinnamon gurl said...

Stranger than Fiction is about the only movie I really want to see these days, but I still haven't quite gotten around to it. Soon I hope. Thanks for the reminder.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous L.A. Daddy said...

I liked Stranger Than Fiction but I caught Children of Men on Friday night. Very strong movie (and as a filmmaker, I was very impressed by the scene in car when they were being shot at -- that was all one take...)

I'm also impressed that your bio says that you like Apocalypse Now... you're probably the only woman in history who was not only forced to watch it but actually liked it! I wanna party with you cowboy.

4:13 PM  
Blogger petite gourmand said...

I saw babel in the theatre when it first came out.
I agree- a bit long.
But I still enjoyed it.
I felt horrible for the Mexican nanny in the story.
it gave me nightmares..
I may never leave lulu with anyone other than my parents again..

I seriously need to cancel the cable around here so I can read all the great books that you have suggested..

9:38 PM  

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