Thursday, July 30, 2009


Book: Sabriel
Author: Garth Nix
Like/Don't Like: I managed to like it, even without a glossary.

I'm going to admit that I'm not that big of a fantasy fan and I generally stay away from it. But there were several circumstances that led me to this book: 1.) a lot of reliable people have recommended it, 2.) in the last month I have started and stopped 4 books because either the writing was bad, the story was not to my taste, excess smuttiness, or combinations of the three, 3.) it was at the library and I was desperate.

But even desperation cannot take away my initial problem with fantasy, which is this: Fantasy fiction doesn't do such a hot job of explaining itself. It just dumps you in the middle of a made-up world without any kind of context and you have to do all this work to figure it out. I personally find this distracting. I lose all interest in the story because I can't get passed not understanding the details of the world the story is set in. I spend a large chunk of the book with the feeling that I missed a page, or I didn't read closely enough because half the time I have no idea what the characters are talking about.

I suppose if I had read a lot of fantasy when I was a kid I wouldn't have such a problem with it now. But I never did. I didn't read the Narnia books until I was in college. Lord of the Rings - not until after college. Same with A Wrinkle in Time. All those classics you probably read as kids weren't even on my radar.

I'm not sad about this at all. I had a great time reading as a kid. I'm just saying that reading fantasy now as an adult is like trying to learn Finnish as an adult.

And I'm also just saying that this book could have used a glossary. Or a 2 page appendix giving me a little hint as to what free magic was, and how there came to be two worlds, and who are the Clayr, and what's the difference between a necromancer and an Abhorsen, and who was Sabriel's mom, and what's with all the dead, and not just all the dead but all the different levels of dead including, but not limited to, Sendings, Hands, and Shadow Hands, and how does one become a Charter Mage and why are some of them outside of the Old Kingdom.

You probably read that last paragraph and thought, "I don't even know what you're talking about!" Which is exactly how I felt through most of this book.

The only thing that kept me going was that it was a pretty interesting story about this young girl named Sabriel who has to travel into the Old Kingdom to find her dead father. Only he's just mostly dead. (Thinking of Miracle Max in the Princess Bride also helped.) And about halfway through I started to get my bearings and decided to just ignore all references to magic or dead things or charter-whatevers that I didn't get and enjoy the story. Which I did.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Movie: Confessions of a Shopaholic
Like/Don't Like: It was okay

I never know what to say about movies like this. Because you know what you're getting when you watch it. It was cute, and there were crazy clothes, and life lessons learned. And isn't Hugh Dancy just so charming? But it wasn't mind blowing or anything. There were some moments when I was feeling like I may have a heart attack because nothing makes me stress more than money issues. So those scenes when she was spending way too much I wanted to scream, "Don't Do It!!!!" But that's about as riled up as a gal can get with this sort of movie.

I guess the best I can say is that I didn't feel like it was a waste of time to watch.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Movie: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Like/Don't Like: Eh, liked

I feel like maybe I should watch this movie again. Because I think I should have liked it more. I mean, it was alright. I guess. But it was long...and long...and kind of slow at times. It didn't have anything to jump start it like the other ones. It just kind of gradually started and didn't pick up steam until the last 45 minutes or so. They spent the bulk of the time playing up the romance between Harry & Ginny and Ron & Hermoine. I vaguely remember that taking up a lot of the book (it's been a while since I've read it so I basically remember that Dumbledore dies) so I get it. Maybe they were trying to be faithful. But maybe they could have been faithful to the parts that didn't involve love-sick glances and longing sighs. What is this, Twilight?

I really hate saying that because I wanted to love this movie. I really did. I love Harry and his gang. I love the books. I love the movies. But I didn't love this one. Neither did the guy sitting a few rows behind me who loudly yawned about every 10 minutes or so. And then I think I heard him snore a few times.

Although the girls behind me were dying...DYING...over it. They loved it. They squealed and kicked my chair and at the funny parts one girl laughed so hard that she spit what felt like crushed up pieces of ice on the back of my head. Ah, youth. (Side note: She also had a very wet and snotty laugh. She sounded like a pug. Weird.)

So I didn't love it but there were plenty of things to like about it. For one thing, there's Alan Rickman. I love him as Snape. Love him! His words just sort of seep out of him. And I thought they did the whole scary part at the lake in the cave bit brilliantly. I was sufficiently scared. Ron and the love potions was pretty funny. Plus, it's just nice to be with them again. Like a family reunion with your fun relatives. Not the relatives who bug you.

Let me know if you've seen it and what you thought.