I took my wife on a date to see the movie “Austenland” at the dollar theater at the Gateway Mall on Thursday (I wasn’t quite sure what to expect). The movie is about a Jane-Austen-obsessed woman (played by Keri Russell) attending a Jane-Austen-themed resort where women pay big money to experience what it’s like to be in a Jane-Austenish romance with gentlemanly actors (no touching!). I LOLed throughout the movie and I was pleasantly surprised by this chick-flick. Russell’s rendition of “Hot in Here,” by the rapper Nelly, was fantastic too. Jane Seymour, Bret McKenzie and Jennifer Coolidge also starred. I haven’t read any of Jane Austen’s work. Even after seeing this movie I can’t say I have any desire to read Jane Austen’s novels. There is no appeal. However, there is a chance I’ll try Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Pride and Prejudice with Zombies.”
A note: For the time being, The Book Monster is going bi-weekly!.
An observation: I have been drinking a ridiculous amount of tea lately. Yogi brand Echinacea Immune Support tea is delicious, it has a hint of mint among other natural flavors, and is perfect for sipping while reading on a dreary day during fall or winter.
Infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau was found guilty of Criminal Contempt for making false claims about his book, “The Weightloss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.” National Public Radio reported, “In a series of infomercials, Trudeau claimed the book revealed a “miracle substance” discovered in the 1950s and kept secret by food companies and the government that allows people to eat anything, not exercise and not gain weight.” According to NPR, Trudeau violated a 2004 court order that prohibited him from making false claims in his book.
The Los Angeles Times reported that in Lafourche Parish, La. voters decided to continue to fund the library over diverting funds to the jail. Parish Council Chair Lindel Toups said libraries have too much money than blasted libraries for the activities taking place inside such as, “teaching Mexicans to speak English.”
The second volume of Mark Twain’s Autobiography was released. Ben Tarnoff’s review in The New Yorker is fantastic: “When Mark Twain opened his mouth, strange things came tumbling out. Things like hoaxes, jokes, yarns, obscenities, and non sequiturs. He had a drawl—his “slow talk,” his mother called it—that made his sentences long and sinuous. One reporter described it as a “little buzz-saw slowly grinding inside a corpse.” Others thought that he sounded drunk.”
Nicola Barker’s “Darkmans” is a mixed bag. This borderline-experimental book was hilarious but I felt it was too long (838 pages). I was underwhelmed by the ending of the book too (I think I missed something and I may go back through and skim over certain key points in the book and then finish the last chapter). During my reading of this book I moved from New Mexico back to Oregon and I was sidetracked by travel, friends, family, and other books (this may have to do with the underwhelming ending too). Set in England, the book follows an eclectic cast of characters (Barker’s character development was fantastic) through a series of strange events, some more exciting than others, as history subtly lurks in the shadows and pushes some characters to madness.
I’m a sucker for nostalgia. Earlier this year I nabbed “Winnie the Pooh” from my parents house in Beaverton and this last week I started reading it. Author A.A. Milne wrote the Pooh books at the request of the adult non-fictionalized version of Christopher Robin, Milne’s son. The books are a result of Milne telling stories to his son. After reading the first two chapters of the book I realized this book should have an alternate title: “Winnie the Pooh, or A.A. Milne is Clever.” Clever indeed, and I chuckle just thinking about the antics of Pooh and friends. The simple nature of the characters results in a lot of well-intentioned bad ideas that are enacted by this cast of Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals. I wouldn’t recommend this book to everybody, but if you like to laugh and you don’t mind reading a book geared towards children, read it.
Other things I’ve been reading:
• Neil Gaiman’s “The Graveyard Book.”
• Selections from Mas Udi’s “The Meadows of Gold.”
• “Bears: A Brief History,” by Bernd Brunner.
• The May 2013 issue of Outside magazine.
• The Mountains of Madness, by H.P. Lovecraft.
• A couple poems from the Winter 2013 issue of “The Gettysburg Review.”
Don’t forget to share this column with your friends who love to read. Also, I’d love to hear from you if you have any comments, requests, rants, praises, or two-sentence book reviews or anything else that has to do with books and literature. Hell, if you send me an e-mail you could end up in the column: [email protected]