I found this performance to be a bit mystifying. It featured the Soweto Gospel Choir and an international fusion dance group. The choir moved around and danced during the performance. Overall, I would say there was a lot of energy and movement and skill, but I felt the lack of a discernible story to tie it all together.
I was impressed with the first bit of this movie, which had very little predictable dialog—very little dialog at all. It’s just scenes of Sad Keanu, basically…
John Wick is alone except for his vintage hot rod and a puppy thoughtfully gifted to him by his late wife. So when the entitled, oblivious son of a Russian crime boss takes a fancy to his car, steals it, and kills the puppy, leaving him completely alone, what does he do? Why, he goes back to his life as the best professional assassin ever, letting nothing stand between him and his doomed target. (I mean, you know it’s a revenge plot, right?)
Gone are the days when noir was black and white and grey; here you’ve got grey, sure, but also yellows, reds, blues, and greens. It’s slick and modern and moody. I guess the stylization is a big reason the violence was not unenjoyable. There’s a lot of death, but it’s not a lot of senseless grunting and bloody messes. It feels clever. More than that, it feels just. It’s also got some rather funny deadpan moments that keep it from feeling too heavy.
See below for a plot summary with SPOILERS.
I have nothing good to say about this book. I do not understand how it can possibly be a bestseller.
I’m not the only one who feels like it’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Here’s an excerpt from a PW review of Wintersong that encapsulates my objections succinctly:
“The plot meanders, the stakes are ill-defined, and the characters lack depth and verisimilitude.”
If you think I’m cherry picking and only this one snooty publishing gatekeeper disliked it, yes, I am cherry picking—but here are some notes from an editor and book blogger who was similarly underwhelmed.
If you want to know more about why I didn’t like Wintersong, dive in to the rant below.
When and Why I Read Wintersong
I am reading this for the Middle Grade / Young Adult Fiction Book Club. It is marketed as a retelling of the 1986 movie Labyrinth.
Genre: young adult fantasy / romance
Date started / date finished: 13-Jun-19 to 17-Jun-19
Length: 448 pages
ISBN: ASIN B01C2TAATC
Originally published in: 2017
Amazon link: Wintersong
This book of folktales was a gift brought back for me from Uzbekistan with a couple of other items:
The booklet is not a top-quality production, and has some flaws and errors. By far the worst error is that one of the stories was accidentally split into two parts, the second part printed on an earlier page and the first part printed on a later one! Still, the translation is accessible, the introduction is informative, and the folktales are entertaining.
The stories are a mix of humor, wisdom, and foolishness. The central character, Mulla Nasreddin or Nasrudin, is known by a variety of names with a variety of spellings. He is sometimes clever and sometimes obtuse.
See below for some examples of his shenanigans.
When and Why I Read Mulla Nasreddin Folktales
This small booklet was purchased for me recently in Uzbekistan.
Date started / date finished: 12-Jun-19 to 13-Jun-19
Length: 46 pages
Originally published in: 2018
I am, still, not a fan of James Joyce.
I read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as a high school student. When I re-read it again recently for the Hungry Hundred Book Club I asked myself, more than once, why I’d even bothered, not having liked it the least little bit the first time around.
Enough was enough, I told myself. Lesson learned. I was never going to read more Joyce. Life’s too short to spend time trying to like stuff I don’t actually like, regardless of how ‘important’ the stuff purports to be. But then, I read more Joyce anyway! Why did I do that?!
When and Why I Read Dubliners
The Irish Embassy in Singapore invited local readers to participate in Bloomsday by reading James Joyce's short story collection Dubliners and coming for a discussion on 14 June 2019. I saw it as an opportunity to pursue the question of whether Joyce is really the founder of ALL modern fiction, as has been asserted.
Genre: literary fiction (short stories)
Date started / date finished: 30-May-19 to 05-Jun-19
Length: 150 pages
ISBN: Project Gutenberg 2814
Originally published in: 1914
Gutenberg link: Dubliners
Why do I feel like there was too much shouting? (Also, too much crying? Sheesh, Kathy, calm the heck down.)
The 1933 Katharine Hepburn film is an unsubtle adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic American novel Little Women. Then again, the book at times is less than subtle in its advocacy of Christian selflessness. Moreover, I get the sense that compared to the films of the day, Little Women represented a victory for realism: it was a departure from overblown, melodramatic, stereotyped adventures.
I decided to watch Little Women (1933) after the Hungry Hundred Book Club meetup, when I saw three classic film adaptations—Little Women 1933, Little Women 1949, and Little Women 1994—listed in a friend’s copy of the book. Many critics seem to consider the 1933 adaptation the best of the bunch.
See below for more of what I thought of it, as well as a plot summary in the form of a list of incidents included in the movie.