Although I have watched the Christmas Carol in movie and cartoon format, I have never read the original Charles Dickens text. As we get closer to Christmas, I thought that I would try and get into the festive spirit by reading about Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Through visits from three ghosts, he learns lessons and is able to change his future by changing his present.
“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!”
The narrative is very descriptive and is indicative of 1843, when the novella was written. Having seen different versions of the movie, it is easy to picture the ghosts described and to hear Tiny Tim as he exclaims “God bless us, every one!” This enduring story of redemption and second chances is one that everyone should read. The message is important, not only at Christmas but year round as we need to be kind and thoughtful to others. Everyone should read the original story at Christmas!
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will to shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!”
In preparation for the Gone Girl movie release, I reread this suspenseful thriller detailing a troubled marriage and a missing wife. It has been two years since my first read of this novel and i had forgotten much of the detail. I enjoyed the book just as much the second time around as I did the first especially knowing what some of the characters looked like.
The story is about a woman who had been immortalized, by her parents, as Amazing Amy in a series of children’s books. Amy seemed to play a role and tried to be perfect in the shadow of these books. The couple moved to Missouri , Nick’s childhood state, to care for his ailing mother and the relationship experienced the challenges of job loss, marital and financial issues.
When Amy suddenly disappears without a trace, Nick is left behind to solve the clues that Amy left as part of an anniversary tradition. Each clue leaves Nick more implicated as the police investigate and the media demonizes the less than emotional husband. The plot is ripe with twists and the book was difficult to put down.
Having the author write the screenplay led to a storyline that was similar in both mediums. The movie made the viewer gasp at times and the character assignment was terrific. While I was disappointed with the ending during the first read, after watching the movie, I was more satisfied with this conclusion. I would highly recommend reading and watching Gone Girl!
In preparation for the movie, also named This is Where I Leave You, I thought that I would reread this book. It was very interesting reading it again, but this time visualizing the characters that were cast in the movie including: Jason Batemen as Judd, Jane Fonda as the mother and Tina Fey as the sister, Wendy. This is Where I Leave You is full of family angst, sarcasm and frustration as each character struggles with their own issues in the midst of their family togetherness.
The novel starts with Judd, coming home to find his wife in bed with his obnoxious boss on her birthday. Shortly after, Judd’s dad dies and he returns home along with his 3 siblings to sit Shiva for 7 days to fulfill his father’s last wishes. Spending a whole week together brings to light issues, both past and present, as the family is visited by an odd mix of family, friends and neighbours who pay their respects.
The novel is funny and entertaining as they come to terms with old grievances and their current situations. The descriptions and wording are obviously written by a male author but this coarseness suits the characters and the story. I look forward to watching the movie and comparing the book to the screen.
Movie Update: This movie was actually even better than the book!! Usually, movies based on books leave me disappointed but this movie had great characters and was both hilarious and emotional. The casting was terrific and each character was dealing with their own set of issues. The movie avoided the coarse descriptions of the book and followed the plot lines quite closely. I would recommend that you take a night out and enjoy this movie as it is “laugh out loud” funny!
Every now and then, I feel the need to read a classic. This is a fairly quick read and has been a controversial part of high school curriculums. It is the sad story of Lennie, a mentally challenged man and his friend George who did his best to look out for him as they travelled to find work on a ranch. Lennie was a very large and child-like man who loved soft things. He did not understand and could not control his own strength in situations of stress.
As the pair travelled, George looked out for Lennie, speaking for him and helping him to find a job that used his strength. George tried to keep Lennie out of trouble and would frequently repeat their dream of buying a farm, which animals that they would keep and how Lennie could look after the rabbits.
Life was not simple, and Lennie could not control his own strength leading to sad events. As George repeated their dream, he showed his strength and how much he cared for Lennie. This was a sad tale of friendship and makes the reader consider what would happen next.
Although this book is an autobiography, it is hard to believe that anyone could live the life of Jordan Belfort. He chronicles his life of excess and his addiction to drugs, sex and alcohol while telling the story of his fraud within the stock market and money laundering. The book has recently been made into a movie with the proceeds of the books, movie and speaking engagements intended to repay over $110,000,000 to investors.
Belfort ingested cocktails of drugs leading to having his stomach pumped and a stint in a rehabilitation center. His substance abuse came peaked when he pushed his wife down the stairs and drove through his garage door with his young daughter in the car. He tells the tale of entering rehab, deciding that he was finished with drugs and having no withdrawal symptoms leaving the reader to wonder if this is a bit of fiction.
The book characterizes the greed and excess of the Wolf on Wall Street and I will not be rushing to watch this movie about a selfish man who felt that he was above the law. It is sad to think that he is profiting by telling his story and getting paid $30,000 for each speaking engagement.