Sunday, July 27, 2008

Summer Books & Movies

Time for an update of books I've been reading & good movies we've watched this summer!

I have continued with my "nonfiction" theme this summer. However, I haven't read a lot of books because the four I started with took me a while to get into. The material was heavy and I couldn't read long portions of them at a time. But, they were excellent reads & I highly recommend them. I also got hung up early in the summer reading 2 young adult fiction books that were just awful--boring stories, bad dialogue, but I couldn't put them down because I had to know how they ended. That ate up some of my summer reading time.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch I wouldn't recommend this to pregnant women--I cried through most of it, but it was an excellent read. The book is about one man's struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University and gave his "Last Lecture" about life and living up to your dreams. Unfortunately, he passed away last Friday.

Princess Trilogy by Jean Sasson This is a series of three books (Princess, Princess Sultana's Daughters and Princess Sultana's Circle) about life for women in Saudi Arabia in the 20th century. They were recommended by a friend living in this area of the world and they were excellent. A warning: they are not for the faint of heart. They would be rated R or more for sexual content because the stories she tells are graphic. But, the books gave me a greater understanding of the culture, Muslim religion and the human rights atrocities that people face, even today.

Currently I'm reading The Big Year by Mark Obmasmcik. This was recommended to me by my sister. It's about the sport of birding and it is actually very interesting. In birding, the great achievement is to have a "big year"--or to spend one year trying to see as many birds as possible across the US and Canada. This book is about 3 men who try to break the record in 1998.

I've also read a number of baby books this summer, but I won't bore you with those details. I will say my favorite has been The Baby Whisperer.

Other books on my list right now are:
How Soccer Explains the World
My Father's Secret War
A Walk in the Woods
On My Own Swedish Island
Mother Without a Mask
Beyond Band of Brothers

We'll see how reading goes once the baby comes...

Joel and I have had LOTS of time to watch movies this summer. We love Netflix and have gotten our money's worth in the past few months. We also went to a few movies at the movie theater in May/June, which is unusual for us. Here are a few we've watched:

Indiana Jones: For the most part, it was pretty typical Indiana Jones, but I wasn't too sold on the whole alien bit. Can't wait to see if they start a new series with his son.

Prince Caspian: Great interpretation of the CS Lewis book. I thought The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe followed closer to the book in keeping to a kid-friendly version. Caspian the movie is more for older kids (Lewis wrote the book for kids of all ages), but still kept true to the spirit and story of the book.

Get Smart: Great movie, very fun. Entertaining. Joel wrote an article about this movie on his blog.

Iron Man: We saw this one by coincidence with a friend and I am glad that we did. It was a great movie--lots of action without being too gory and very limited sexual content. I don't think there was any questionable language either, which is a plus in a movie like this. The best part? The soundtrack. I loved it.

Pride: A lesser-known movie in the same line as Coach Carter or Remember the Titans. Excellent movie about a black man who inspires some kids in his community to start a swim team. Joel also wrote about blog about this movie.

Live Free or Die Hard: You get exactly what you expect from this movie--lots of action, big explosions and a bit of dialogue. It was a fun action movie.

PS I Love You: WARNING: Not for pregnant or emotional women. I cried from START to FINISH during this movie. I was a mess! But, I would give it 5 stars. An excellent movie that takes the viewer through the grieving process.

Fool's Gold: Fun, entertaining, silly and totally unrealistic movie. But, I enjoyed it. We also like Sahara, which is in the same category as this movie.

Bella: Like Pride, this was a lesser-known movie to come out a year or so ago. It is a beautiful movie about a woman who gets pregnant and can't decide what to do with the baby. A man from work befriends her and the movie goes from there. I'm not usually one for the "low budget" films, but this was a must-see.

Blood Diamond: Typically I do not watch movies that are so full of blatant violence, but this one came recommended to me from my mom. The movie is set in Sierra Leone and they recently had some pastors visit their retreat center from that country. While they were visiting, they watched this movie and narrated about how accurate parts of it are. Obviously, the overall story line is fiction, but the violence in that country was real. For a toned-down version of this similar story, I recommend reading A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah.

Transformers: I missed seeing this movie in the theater last summer. It was another great action movie and very fun to watch. Can't wait for the sequel--coming next summer!

The Bourne Trilogy
: Obviously I had seen all of these movies before--they are my all-time favorite. But watching them all in a 24 hour period was the highlight of my summer movie watching experience. I LOVE this guy. I would love to know if they are going to make #4. I would be the first one in line. We'll have to find a babysitter first...

Movies to see in the near future:
Mamma Mia!
Batman (Joel only--I'm not so interested at this point)
And I'm sure there are others...we have a long list on Netflix just waiting to be watched.


my3boys said...

A few things:
1. You said we'll see how reading goes after the baby is here. I don't know if you plan on nursing, but that is the PERFECT time to read!
2. My mom saw Mamma Mia yesterday and raved about it!
3. I love the Bourne movies too and I would also love to watch Baby J sometime so you and Joel can go to a movie!

Jean said...

Hi Sarah, This is Jean Sasson, the author of the PRINCESS books. I'm so glad that you are now acquainted with a courageous and fascinating princess from Saudi Arabia. And, I wish you great luck in your new marriage and new life... I hope you get to read more of my books while you are "nesting." Love in a Torn Land, Joanna of Kurdistan, is a beautiful love story -- Mayada, Daughter of Iraq might be difficult for you if you thought the princess books were difficult to read because MAYADA is the true story of what happened to Mayada and her cellmates in a prison in Iraq (during the time of Saddam). Thanks, again... Jean Sasson

Ski said...

I think you would also like "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

Now I want to read the Princess books. How cool that the author left you a note.

Like my3boys said nursing is a great time to read at least after the first few weeks, when your comfortable with the whole process. It became my favorite nursing time, especially in the afternoon when Meghan was resting.

Anonymous said...

Girl...when do you have time to read all these books? :)
I'm impressed! Thanks for The
Big Year - will be getting that for my father-in-law to read.

Thinking of you - 24 days!!!
Cousin Chris