Saturday, January 31, 2009

How Do I Spell Depressing: T-H-E R-E-A-D-E-R

I have not posted about many movies here on Besotted Bookworm but I saw a movie last weekend called “The Reader.” Given that I write a blog about reading I thought this would be a good movie to comment on. Let me first share with you the story of how I got to go see “The Reader.” Please note I will be giving away some plot details so if you want to see the movie stop reading now.
My girlfriend Debbie and I had decided to get together and go to the movies. After looking at a list of movies we narrowed it down to “Defiance” starring Daniel Craig, a WWII movie:
Four Jewish brothers must escape Nazi-occupied Poland in this WWII drama directed by Edward Zwick, based on a true story. After fleeing to a remote forest, the brothers join the ranks of the Russian resistance fighters, who took up arms to help set other Jews free from the Nazi regime of imprisonment, torture, and murder. (synopsis from
and “The Reader” starring Kate Winslet an erotic thriller set in post WWII Germany:
Director Stephen Daldry (The Hours) helms this adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's best-selling novel in this tale of a man's (Ralph Fiennes) sexual encounters with a woman (Kate Winslet) in post-World War II Germany. - (synopsis from
Violent war movie vs. sexual thriller, of course I picked “The Reader”. Wouldn’t you?
Mistake. Big Mistake.
“The Reader” was a well made movie. Kate Winslet, Ralph Fiennes, and David Kross were phenomenal and yes the 1st half of the movie was every 15 year old boy’s favorite kind of dream. Kate Winslet is a 30 something woman who conducts a wild affair with a 15 yr old boy. She is illiterate and has him read to her whenever they are together, often times before proceeding to the sex Then the movie took a very tragic, and weird twist. Later when the young man is in college studying to be a lawyer he attends a huge court case that turns out to have her as one of the defendents who were former SS guards at Auschwitz. She and six other female guards are charged and prosecuted for the burning deaths of 300 prisoners they left locked in a church that burned to the ground. Because she is illiterate and unsympathetic she ends up getting the worst verdict of life in prison. He is devastated by the verdict especially when he realizes she is wrongly convicted because she won’t admit she can’t read. Several years later after he is now a successful lawyer, divorced with a college age daughter he begins sending her recordings of the books she loved to listen to along with new titles. She actually learns to read by following along with him in books she gets from the prison library. Are you thinking justice or a happy ending are on the way. You would be wrong, very wrong. Twenty years after the verdict she is to be released from prison. They contact him since he is the only person to ever communicate with her to help her make the transition from prison life to society. All is set but then she hangs herself! What! Huh! NOOOO!! Talk about depressing! I wanted to do harm to myself after watching that! Instead I went immediately to the Tikki Room and had two Magheritas.
DANG, I should have gone to the war movie.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sophie Metropolis Do you buy or do you check out?

Stephanie Plum meet Sofie Metropolis. Sofie lives just up Hwy 95 in Astoria New York. While your family hails from Hungary and Italy Sofie’s family is pure Greek. Both of you live just down the road from your parents who have grandparents living with them. You are a bounty hunter for your cousin Vinnie. Sofie is an aspiring P.I. with her Uncle Spiros. Stephanie, you do have one up on the romantic connections over Sofie with Joe and Ranger. Ranger, yum! Sofie has a hot blooded Aussie mystery man named Jake Porter that is no slouch.
Ok, so Sofie is a total copy cat down to the crappy almost marriage to a cheating jerk and owning a gun that she really doesn’t like having. Sofie at least owns the apartment building she lives in while you are still stuck renting. Oh and Sofie didn’t wreck a vehicle even once during the whole book.
There is absolutely nothing original in “Sofie Metropolis” Ms. Torington has completely stolen like Milton Burl from Janet Evanovitch but I like the story anyway. Sofie had never seen a snarky remark she didn’t like. I loved the whole Vampire Romanoff part of the story and mistaking a cello case for a coffin, (it was dark in that basement). Also, Ms. Torington is a fresh perspective on the quirky modern girl trying to make her way in the world genre. I do have to say Grandma Mazur is still the funniest grandma in the world, sorry YaYa Metropolis.
While I don’t think I would spend money on this book, it is definitely worth checking out at the library. There are 2 more books in the series.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The name is Green, Simon R. Green

The world is on the verge of disaster. We are being threatened from within and without. What to do!? What to do!? Well, take a pinch of Monty Python absurdity, add a dash of Monster, Inc and mix liberally with James Bond references and you have Shaman, Shaman Bond, aka, Edwin Drood. He is the new head of the Drood family. They are the secret protectors and rulers of earth. They have a secret power in the form of a golden torc that makes them the baddest, badass super heroes in the universe and I do mean the universe. With the help of a crazy cast of villains and good guys Shaman takes on the worst the universe and his family can dish out and always manages to save the day. Author Simon R. Green mixes Sci/Fi and fantasy with quick Bondian quips and creates a new espionage novel while keeping his tongue firmly in his cheek.
First Eddie is declared rogue and then, after discovering an ugly little secret the family has been hiding for the last millennia he feels obligated to take the reins and lead the family back to their original mission of protectors not dictators.
Molly the witch of the Wild Wood is Edwin’s magical girlfriend. She may not have a golden collar but she is one evil wench with a heart of platinum.
Uncle Jacob is the lingering phantom who can’t remember why he is still around.
Martha Drood is the Matriach of the Drood family and trust me with a grandma like her you won’t be a afraid of black widow spiders. Everything she does is all for the good of the family and the world, no matter how much it might hurt.
The Armorer, aka, Uncle Jack is a former field agent turned Q. There isn’t a weapon he doesn’t like or
Mr. Stab is a villain who you might think regretted his choices but at his heart is a psychopath.
Manifest Destiny is to the Droods that Chaos is to Maxwell Smart.
Strange Matter…you decide.
Simon R. Green is no stranger to the Sci/Fi, Fantasy genre. His Nightside series takes the classic potboiler and gives it an original modern and distinctly monstrous spin. There are 2 books in this new Torc series and they are well worth the read.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I do want to know

Hi there! As I have stated in my intro I am a reader and a writer. I want to use my love of writing to share with others my love of reading. I need your help. Let me know what works and doesn’t work for you as a reader. What is it about other blogs that you really like, that make you come back and visit or better yet subscribe? What do you like about my blog? What do you dislike? I have seen a lot of blogs include reading contests, passing awards and discussing other hobbies that are of interest of the host/ess. I am seriously looking for feedback so I can create a place you enjoy visiting and enjoy sharing. So come on all you readers out there let me know what you are thinking, reading and doing!
Thanks in advance for your imput!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Stalking Susan is a good first effort

Julie Kramer is a new author and I think she has some great potential. Her debut novel “Stalking Susan” gave us a new sleuth in the form of Riley Spartz. Riley is a TV news reporter. This kind of job seems perfect for the thriller genre and it seems odd to me that it hasn’t been used in the past. Her concept is great but I think she needs to tighten up the story for it to be a true thriller.
Ms. Kramer writes what she knows since she is a freelance news producer for NBC programs like Dateline, the Nightly News and the Today Show. I have said before I don’t read for educational purposes but I do enjoy learning new things when I read and I learned a lot of little tidbits and behind the scene tricks of the tv news biz in this fast reading novel.
The story revolves around a cold case her long time friend and retiring detective Garnett has been working alone. Garnett has been following this case for 10 years and now that he is retiring he is passing on what he has accumulated to Riley hoping it will inspire her to get back in the investigative saddle and bring about the solution to the decade old crimes. Garnett believes a serial killer at work. The case involves the murder of 2 women; both named Susan, both killed on the same day in November. Riley is a successful news reporter who has been out of commission for a year mourning the death of her husband.
Red herrings abound in this novel which becomes a bit silly at times. Midway through the novel it is as though Riley sees suspects in everyone including the guy who brought her the story in the first place. I wondered if somehow she would actually connect these crimes with the one that killed her cop husband a year earlier. It felt like the story got out of control and Ms. Kramer wasn’t sure where to go with it. I felt like she had this great story and had so much to put into it but worried about being too wordy so she skimmed across everything. I never felt like we got to the meat of the story. The sub-plot of the TV newsroom and the cutthroat world of getting your story on air were really more entertaining than the mystery itself.
I will definitely read the next book with the hope that Ms. Kramer got all the tangents out and settles into a tighter story.