Sunday, May 31, 2009

Movie: "Summer Hours" (in French with English subtitles)

Seventy-five year old Helene has beencaring for the house, furniture, and artwork of her uncle who may also have been her lover. After Helene's death her three children have to decide what to do with the house and possessions. The son who lives in France feels the most attachment to the estate, but can't afford to buy out his brother and sister's share. His brother and sister live in China and the United States respectively, and aren't interested in owning a house in France that they would use only occasionally. The grandchildren feel little attachment to the possessions, but they do have fond memories of happy times with their grandmother at her home.

My rating: ****(out of5)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Book: The Women

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel about Frank Lloyd Wright's wives and mistresses. It reminded me of One Hundred Years of Solitude in that the relationships seemed to mirror each other. And Talesin burned down twice! Although, to be fair, the first time it burned was due to arson by a mentally deranged servant.

My rating: ***** (out of 5)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Book: The Tipping Point

I've read and enjoyed Gladwell's articles in the New Yorker. This book explains how small things can have large impacts. For example, he claims that zero tolerance for graffiti and enforcement of quality of life laws led to a dramatic decrease in crime in New York City. He also illustrates how large fashion trends can begin with a very small group of people.

I don't entirely buy into his theories, but the book is interesting and well written.

My rating: **** (out of 5)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Book: "The Sky Below"

Gabriel, an unlikeable minor criminal, works writing obituaries for a minor New York newspaper. He also ghost writes for an aging romance writer who he bribes to increase his income. When he develops a slow acting cancer, he takes off to Mexico looking for his father, who disappeared decades ago. He takes up with a rag-tag group of mystics and the book veers into magic realism.

My rating: *** (out of 5)