Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finished Objects: Farewell Gifts

During the last year I've been tutoring a young Korean woman in English as a second language. Recently she found out that her husband has been transferred back to Korea - they'll be leaving in September. I made farewell gifts for her, her 18-month old son, and her baby due in December. For her I made the old reliable gift item, Fetching fingerless gloves. For her son I made my basic mittens from a knitting booklet that must be at least 40 years old. For the new baby I made the Simple Baby Hat from Blue Sky.

Book: "Loving Frank"

What's up with two recent books about the wives and lovers of Frank Lloyd Wright? And why am I drawn to read them? This book is less ambitious than T. C. Boyle's The Women in that it focuses on just one of them - Mamah Borthwick. However, she is probably the most interesting, and the author does a good job of making her understandable and real.

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

Movie: "Paper Heart"

Charlyne Yi and her puppets are very appealing. This movie is partly a documentary about Charlyne's attempt to find out from others whether true love exists, partly a puppet show, and partly a maybe true but maybe staged report on her relationship with Michael Cera. It was charming, but not wonderful.

My rating: *** (out of 4)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Movie: 500 Days of Summer

Whimsical (maybe a little too)
Great use of music
Episodic in non-chronological order

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

Book: "Bearing the Body"

Holocaust survivor father, Sol, his 60's radical son Daniel, and a second son, Nathan, are all troubled as a result of Sol's experiences. The book explores how memory affects our lives through the decades. When Daniel's drug problem leads to his death, Nathan goes to San Francisco to try to sort out what happened and Sol invites himself along. In the process, each is forced to confront his own weaknesses and failures.

My rating: *** (out of 5)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Movie: Julie and Julia

This movie follows Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep) during the time she attended Cordon Bleu in Paris until Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published. It also follows Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams), whose blog described her project of making all the recipes in that book during a one-year period. Amy Adams does an admirable job, but she's no match for Meryl Streep playing a considerably more interesting character. It made me want to come home and cook boeuf bourguignon.  That would have been a far better choice than what I actually did do:  buy 2 pints of Ben and Jerry's and plow through almost an entire carton.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Book: "Then We Came to the End"

I enjoyed this book very much. It's about workplace relationships in an advertising agency that is losing business and gradually laying off the staff. An employee who has been laid off is said to have been "walked Spanish" (after the pirates on the Spanish main who walked captives by the scruff of their neck to the plank). There is the office romance, the charming raconteur who always has a flock of employees in his office listening to his stories, the office clown, the other types found in all offices, and the gossip, rumors and paranoia that settle in during difficult times in a business. And if that isn't enough, at the end the author throws in some postmodernism.

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