arisha: (reina tanaka)
So now that we're almost a month into 2015, how about I post the rest of the books I read in 2014?

Read more... )
arisha: (vampire productivity)
Oh my goodness how have I not posted since February. :|

Well if you would like to read posts by me I have just written a stilted couple of reviews here in the [livejournal.com profile] japanesebookrec community. Which reminds me -- I have books to add (totally out of order) to my list!!

6. 劇団6年2組 (Gekidan 6nen 2kumi), which you can read about at the link above.

7, 8, 9, 10. The Spiderwick Chronicles #2, #3, #4 and #5 in Japanese!
I quite enjoyed this series for its content but also because my current reading level is such that I could understand them easily but still pick up a lot of vocab on the way. Now that I have finished them I feel like I am floundering a bit trying to figure out what else I can read. I got out the first book of the sequel series but it looks like it might be aimed at slightly older kids and so perhaps more difficult? We'll see I guess. At the moment I am reading Coraline which is going better than I would have expected. I really need to stop picking books from the translated section though ...

11. The Homework Myth by Alfie Kohn
An argument that there is no evidence that homework helps kids learn, and in fact it might be doing the exact opposite. I found this book perhaps abnormally interesting. It is pretty ridiculous how few studies have actually been done on the effects of homework! Also, my least favourite thing about this book is how every negative review on Goodreads employs an argument that Kohn totally deconstructs in the book. Did ... did you guys actually read it??

12. Achilles by Elizabeth Cook
I've mentioned this book before, but this time I wrote a much longer post about it here.

By the way, my super nerdy and ridiculous Trojan War blog has seven followers now.

What

How
arisha: (troy helen)
Had a pretty busy, sort of interesting week, so I'll try to write an actual ~Sarah's life~ post this weekend. But now I am just going to update you on my spontaneously made goal of reading thirty books this year.

1. Troy by Adèle Geras
A Trojan War book I did not care for say what!! You can read all my complaints over at the nerdiest blog I will ever have. You may or may not be surprised to know it has now received over 1,000 hits, although I suspect at least 70% of them were people looking for a copy-and-pasteable essay on the Odyssey.

2. にんぎょのいちごゼリー (Ningyo no Ichigo Zerii or The Mermaid's Strawberry Jelly) by Sueyoshi Akiko
It is kind of ridiculous how I have been studying Japanese for such a long time but still get really intimidated whenever I step into a bookstore here. I mean it actually really frustrates me because at home I LOVE wandering around bookstores. So I have decided to start reading a lot more non-textbook Japanese, and towards this goal I got a couple kids' books out of the town library. This one is aimed at pretty young kids (even the katakana has furigana) and is about a mermaid who makes strawberry jelly. So I mean it was cute, and easy reading practice, but really that's all I have to say about it. :3

3. きのうの夜、おとうさんがおそく帰った、そのわけは...(Kinou no Yoru, Otousan ga Osoku Kaetta, Sono Wake wa ... or Dad Got Home Late Last Night Because ...) by Ichikawa Nobuko
This book is aimed at slightly older kids, and I actually liked it a lot. It's written in a more spoken language style, where what you're reading is the story the father tells his son to explain why he got home late the night before. There are four stories and they're all pretty fantastical, but that's why I liked them! I also enjoyed how there were certain lines that were repeated in each story. Overall this book was super cute.

Now I am reading 2140 サープラス・アンナの日記 (2140 Surplus Anna no Nikki or 2140: Surplus Anna's Diary), which is the translation of a book called The Declaration. I borrowed it just because I liked the cover but actually I'm really enjoying reading it. It's aimed at about a fourth grade reading level but it's much longer than the above two books and even though I am only having to look up one word every couple of pages I am definitely going to have to put in some hours of reading this weekend if I want to finish it before it's due back. :d Hopefully I will start reading faster soon~

4. The Prestige by Christopher Priest
SUPER VAGUE COMMENTS WRITTEN IN AN ATTEMPT NOT TO SPOIL ANYONE: I've seen the movie twice, and liked it enough to want to read the book, but at the same time I kept putting it off because I thought the book wouldn't be that enjoyable if you already know all the secrets that get revealed at the end. Well I was totally wrong. Most of the book is set in the 1800s, like the movie, but it also includes a few chapters about the main characters' descendents. I'm not entirely sure why they would still be interested in the feud between the two magicians, and as a result it took me a bit to get into their chapters, but the ending was totally worth it. OH MAN the ending was soooooooooo creepy from one character's point of view and soooooooooooooooo heartwrenching from another's. I seriously feel like it is going to give me nightmares forever, but I mean IN A GOOD WAY. And it was pretty significantly different from the ending of the movie. Actually, overall I was really surprised how different the book is from the movie; the general plot and characters and themes are the same, but they frequently take different paths. What I felt was the biggest reveal in the movie is kind of just dropped into conversation in the book, haha. And it was really cool to see the book doing things that the movie wouldn't be able to do, simply because it's a different medium. Waugh you guys it was so good, I'm afraid to start another book now because I will be disappointed if I fail to choose one that keeps me engrossed for hours every night even when it's totally creeping me out. xD
arisha: (troy helen)
So I'm spending my day off work reading Troy High, which is pretty much the best book of my life. Not only because it's an unashamedly cracktastic retelling of the Trojan War, but also because I can relate to it:

Just as I reached out to grab the door handle to get in, the car moved forward two feet.

"Perry, stop it," I said. I reached for the handle again, but once more Perry let off the brake and made the car lurch forward.


All at once it becomes clear to me why I've always had such a dislike of Prince Paris of Troy - because he is my brother.

Also, this paragraph is amazing:

Lucas walked in, followed by his friends Owen, Ackley, and Patrick. ... Owen was friendly, but Ackley kept more to himself and was always shadowed by his best friend, Patrick. Also, I doubted Ackley had wanted to spend much time in my presence over the past year, ever since Hunter injured his ankle in the game between Lacede and Troy.

hahahahahaha omg, I love it. The best part of this book is figuring out who people are supposed to be. This paragraph killed me. xD

Also please note that Cassandra plays flute in marching band and Agamemnon is the tenth grade class president, how can this book possibly get any more amazing.
arisha: (mj)
Oh man I haven't updated my lists in forever. Books!

Hitching Rides With Buddha: A Journey Across Japan, Will Ferguson
In which the author chronicles (mostly humourously) his attempt to hitchhike from one end of Japan to the other. It's a pretty neat book and would probably make for an interesting introduction to Japanese culture. There were some parts where I disagreed with Ferguson - at some points it seemed like he was trying to pass off culture shock as something one only experiences in Japan, and of course I didn't care for his quick dismissal of J-pop - but I have to admit I loved the passage on Noh and yeah, overall I really enjoyed this book.

Building a Company: Roy O. Disney and the Creation of an Entertainment Empire, Bob Thomas
So a few years ago I read Neal Gabler's fantastic 800-odd-page Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, and every Disney biography I have picked up since has just paled in comparison. Unfortunately that remains true for this, the only biography I've seen so far of Walt's older brother and business partner. Building a Company isn't a bad book, and it included a number of passages that were new to me and really interesting, but I wish it was better organized and more fleshed out so that I could more readily recommend it. Less than a hundred pages into the book and we're already at Disneyland's opening day, what is that?!?

Also omg the last chapters made me so sad it was ridiculous.

In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build a Perfect Language, Arika Okrent
My own contact with conlangs is pretty much limited to that month or two in high school where I was sorta kinda learning Esperanto but stopped when I realized it was boring me. I borrowed this book from the library not actually expecting that I would read it. (I know that doesn't make sense. Don't ask questions.) Instead, I whipped right through it and now I'm sad to be done! This is a super interesting book about languages that people have created. Okrent profiles the creators behind the best-known conlangs, gives quick explanations of how the languages work, and discusses the themes that emerge when one looks at the hundreds of conlangs that we know of. There are also really interesting passages that describe certain features of natural languages, emphasizing the fact that words have certain meanings not because of any logical reason, but because that's what we agree that they mean!

Also, as someone who dropped Esperanto because its artifice bored her, I really enjoyed the chapters where Okrent described her experiences with Esperanto culture - and even with the evolution of the language! Of course now it seems obvious to me that if a conlang has speakers, it's going to evolve, but somehow that had never occurred to me before. So interesting!

So yeah - of the three books in this post this one is my favourite, and you should all be nerdy like me and read it because it's awesome. :D
arisha: (Default)
Book!

The Last Train From Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back, Charles Pellegrino
An account of the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and the month or so afterwards), drawing on forensic evidence as well as the experiences of many people who were either involved with the bombs' transportation or affected by their explosions, with special focus on a few of the people who managed to survive the atomic bomb twice.

I have a few complaints about this book: Read more... )

Having said all that, this book is really interesting and worth reading. I felt like it gave me a better idea of the bombs' range of destruction. It also includes scenes that start to break down stereotypes about what Japan was like during the war, which I appreciated.

Two random things: this book features Luis Alvarez, who I read about in Night Comes to the Cretaceous, and it also claims that Spider-Man's creator was indirectly inspired by the Nagasaki bombing. (Radioactive spiders!)

Two things I didn't know: there were American POWs who were affected by the blasts, and the plane that went to Hiroshima in order to film the explosion was called Necessary Evil. Wow.

Movies!

Firefly Dreams, 2001
A misbehaving teenager is sent to live with her relatives in the countryside where she finds her character arc. This movie was very slow and quiet, to the point that halfway through I opened up another window and started reading Wikipedia while I watched. But at the same time, I'm not sure I'm criticizing it for that? The pace kind of suited it. Also, Yumi was my favourite character and this movie made me miss hanging out with my grandma. :(

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 2007
After finished the above book, I wanted some visuals that weren't sketches, so I found this online and watched it all illegal like. It's made up of interviews with survivors mixed with archive footage mixed with modern footage (including a part where teenagers in Harajuku are asked what happened on August 6, 1945 and have no idea - which really surprised me!). It's pretty short, and wasn't as in-depth as I'd thought it would be, but it was still interesting. There was a bizarre sequence showing how several female survivors of the blasts were brought to the U.S. in order to receive plastic surgery, free of charge, and were even on the show This is Your Life ... I dunno, it all seemed really weird to me. But the visuals here definitely made up for the lack of visuals in the book, although I couldn't even look at some of them. I'm definitely moving on to a cheerier topic now. :(
arisha: (troy achilles)
Movie Documentary series!

Terry Jones' Barbarians (2006)
Quite an interesting four-part series covering the groups of people (the Celts, the Goths, the Parthians, the Vandals, the Huns, the Greeks?!) that the Romans considered barbarians. It was pretty interesting and, I'll admit, was more intelligent than I thought it would be (I didn't expect that one of the guys from Monty Python would be a historian!). I liked when they paired modern-day footage with Jones' narration of historical events (like, he'd be discussing some ancient battle and meanwhile you're watching tourists wander around Rome), because, as usual, I love me some juxtaposition. So yeah, it was pretty good, although as usual I don't think I retained anything. :3

Book!!

The War That Killed Achilles, Caroline Alexander
So my review of this book can be summed up the same way almost all of my Trojan War-related reviews can be summed up: this book is FASCINATING. Now, for all I know it could be filled with information that everyone else already knows; I heart the Trojan War but it's only recently that I've started reading academic works about it, as opposed to novels. But oh man this book was amazing and if I didn't have such a huge pile of library books to get through I would totally have started rereading it already. brb fangirling )
arisha: (troy achilles)
two random pics )
arisha: (myrna loy is awesome)
Book!

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell
My goodness but I'm failing at finishing any book that isn't pop psychology. :/ This book was interesting enough and I whipped through it pretty quick but I dunno, it wasn't amazing. I felt like its conclusion contradicted itself. The part where he talked about how improv works was really interesting to me though, and actually answered some of the questions I often have while watching Whose Line is it Anyway? x)

Movies!

Libeled Lady (1936)
Man, how awesome are Myrna Loy and William Powell, I wish they could star together in every movie ever. I really enjoyed this movie, and I loved that it includes a scene where a woman proposes to a man. I don't even know if I've ever seen that in a movie before! How awesome. :D

Ladrón que roba a ladrón (2008)
I took this out of the library expecting a fairly bland thriller; the only reason I borrowed it was because it was in Spanish. So I was quite surprised when it turned out to be pretty much a comedy! And I really enjoyed it - it was really well done, ignoring the plot holes I'm choosing to ignore. x) Also, I loooove that the movie takes place entirely in the U.S. but like 95% of the dialogue is in Spanish. (And there's also a shot taken at those who think monolingualism is awesome, aw man I loved it.) You can watch the trailer here although it makes the movie seem a lot cornier than it actually is.

Easy to Wed (1946)
A colour remake of Libeled Lady that stars Lucille Ball. I almost didn't even make it to the end of this movie; they pretty much took the exact same script used for Libeled Lady, changed the locations, added some filler, and then filmed it in such a way that made it SO AWKWARD. I felt like all the jokes that worked in the original version just fell flat in this one. I did like the very last scene a bit better in this version, but overall I'd definitely say to avoid this one and watch the original.

Black Rain (1989)
A Japanese movie about a family and their neighbours in the years following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This actually wasn't as completely depressing as I thought it would be, which in a way made it feel more realistic to me. Like, of course the family had bad days, but they managed to have good days, too. This was a really good movie, although both the ending and the alternate ending left me going, "... What? That's the end? It can't end there!! I don't get it~~~~"

Toy Story 3 (2010)
This is definitely not the deep thought I promised, but I was telling my brother about this movie today and very minor spoiler )
arisha: (escaflowne merle)
Books!

1. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell
I've totally been failing at reading this year, unless reading Peru guidebooks counts. Pretty much every book I've borrowed, I've lost interest one or two chapters in. :| But I guess all I needed was some pop sociology, because I managed to finish this one! (It has a chapter on how Blue's Clues is an evolved form of Sesame Street, how could I not finish it?) It's a really interesting book, although as usual with books of this type, I don't have anything more to say about it.

2. Shakespeare: The World as Stage, Bill Bryson
I read this book on a recommendation from [livejournal.com profile] lysanderpuck, and I really enjoyed it! It's a biography of William Shakespeare that's really honest about what exactly we do and do not know about him, and it also manages to put his life into context in an understandable way, something I didn't get from the other biographies I've read. Apparently some of the things I'd believe to be true about Shakespeare are in fact total guesses, which is good to know! I also very much enjoyed the last chapter, in which Bryson deals with all of the Shakespeare-didn't-write-Shakespeare theories in one fell swoop, by pretty much saying "ANAGRAMS ARE STUPID AND YOU HAVE NO PROOF FOR ANYTHING!!" Bill and I are now BFFs, just so you know. xD

Movies!

18. Liar Game (Season 2), 2010
Oh Liar Game, how are you so amazing, and why can't you go on forever so I can watch a million episodes of you? :( It took me a few episodes to really get into this season, as it has a bit of a different look and feel from the first season, but soon enough I was hooked again. I kind of want to play that smuggling game in real life, not gonna lie. xD Also, Katsuragi is an awesome antagonist. The movie has just been released in Japan and I can't wait to see it; judging from the previews it looks like the writers have finally decided to act on the ~romantic tension~ that's existed between Nao and Akiyama since, I dunno, about five minutes into the first episode. ADFSlAE;HQkLAS FINALLY!!!!

I also feel the need to mention that I was quite amused when I realized that neither Nao's ailing father nor Akiyama's time in jail were ever mentioned in this season. And I had expected the former to turn into a big and obnoxious plot point!

19. Alice in Wonderland, 2010
My favourite part of this movie was that I watched it at an employee screening, and when one of my co-workers pulled out his cell phone, another one shouted, "Don't be a Tommy Texter!" hahahaha oh gosh.

My second favourite part of this movie was the dress that Alice wore when she was in the Red Queen's palace.

Yeah, that's pretty much it.
arisha: (potc3 tea party)
So I somehow managed to force myself out of bed this morning in time for my first Korean lesson! My only other classmate is travelling to South Korea later this year, so mostly what we did today was memorize travel expressions, and I was a bit like :| But at the end of the class I asked the teacher (who is CRAZY ENTHUSIASTIC, hahaha love it) if we're going to learn the writing system, and she asked if I want to learn Korean a bit more academically, and I was like YES PLEASE. So next lesson we'll be mixing it up a bit more. I AM EXCITED TO STUDY GRAMMAR.

And then I went to the university bookstore and bought this, despite the fact that I am annoyed someone got around to writing such a book before I did. The movies in it are actually not my favourites, but Tarzan is in it!! And seriously, I am just crazy surprised that a book based on learning Spanish through dubbed American children's movies (uh, and Rocky III?) actually exists, and got published, and everything. Today the world is awesome. xD

FUN FACT: One of my dreams is to one day write a super awesome but also super useful language textbook. I might or might not sometimes work on such a thing in my spare time, DON'T JUDGE ME.

Edit: (What the heck at the review on that Amazon page - the reviewer laments the fact that this book doesn't include a phonetic guide for the Spanish vocab words. Uh ... you're doing it wrong. I also enjoy how she suggests that if you can't make your own sentence using the words in the scene you just watched, the solution is to WATCH IT AGAIN. Because ... that'll help ... ???)
arisha: (troy achilles)
Since I'm unlikely to finish another book by tomorrow night, I guess I'll go ahead and post this now. The numbers link to the entries where I wrote about each book; the books that I liked the best/would recommend the most are in bold.

Books I Read in 2009 )
arisha: (morning musume shabondama)
I am sick for like the third time this month, what is this this is ridiculous. :| And it's an actual unpleasant sort of sick, too, not just "wahaha I lost my voice!"

Book:
24. Return to Titanic, Robert D. Ballard with Michael Sweeney
Every so often I spend an afternoon reading about the Titanic, don't ask me why 'cause I don't know, and that is how I found out about this book. Robert D. Ballard was among those who first discovered the Titanic's current location, and this book covers his 2004 return to the site. To be honest, I'm not really surprised to see it only has three stars on Amazon.com. I thought the book would be more about the ship and what's been happening to it at the bottom of the ocean, and there was some of that of course, but there was also a lot of rehashing of info that everyone already knows, and a bunch of boring passages about the equipment they used to explore the ship, and there were definitely not enough pictures, especially since Ballard spends a large chunk of the book arguing for the need to preserve the ship and show it to people not through stolen artifacts in museums but through other, less intrusive methods.

Also, this book made me feel really guilty for enjoying that travelling Titanic museum exhibit as much as I did. :|

Movies, etc.:
53. Shoujo Kakumei Utena, 1997
Oh my god, I finished watching this anime like two weeks ago and I still have no idea what to say about it. It's really interesting and really elegantly animated, and while I agree with the reviewers who've said it could've been about ten episodes shorter, overall I did enjoy watching it. I think my main problem with it was that I felt so let down by the ending. I'd heard multiple times that the ending was supposed to be amazing, so maybe I just built it up too much. But I didn't feel like I was watching the grand conclusion to the series, I felt like I was watching just a regular episode, complete with a whole bunch of stuff that I didn't understand. :| Ugh, even after reading a whole bunch of fan interpretations of this series, there's still so much that I don't understand, and so yeah. I'm really not sure what to say about this one.

54. Watchmen, 2009
[livejournal.com profile] athena_crikey and [livejournal.com profile] the_wykydtron made me watch this, although they were also kind enough to tell me when to shield my eyes. haha, I don't know, I just don't like watching violence! I remember once when I was talking about how I thought V For Vendetta was a really violent movie, and all of my friends were like, "Wut." So yeah. x) Anyway anyway, I didn't hate this movie like I expected to, and it definitely takes place in a really interesting world. I liked Rorschach's little speech about how he couldn't ignore the darker deeds of humanity, but overall I'm kind of confused as to why fandom seems to love him so much. Also, this is a little random but: I think it was when we were watching 300 that [livejournal.com profile] the_wykydtron pointed out how in Hollywood sex scenes, the focus is always on the woman's face. OMG SO TRUE WITH THIS MOVIE. HELLO MALE GAZE, HOW ARE YOU?
arisha: (troy achilles)
How weird that the year I wasn't really feeling the Christmas spirit turned out to be the year where I got some of the bestest presents evarrr! First world materialism, go! )

And I feel like I've said this about a million times already, but I have also been LOVING the fandom card exchange I took part in. You guys are amazing and I'm glad to have been able to share a little bit of the holidays with you. <3 :D

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go clean off my desk so I actually have somewhere to put all this stuff when I leave for work in two hours. :P
arisha: (hercules)
Since sometime this past summer I've been slowly watching the anime Shoujo Kakumei Utena. Last night I finally got to episode twenty, and discovered that the song that plays during the duel scene is about Neoptolemus and Priam. OMG AWESOME. The Trojan War is everywhere!! xD

Book:
23. Every Living Thing: Man's Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys, Rob Dunn
Oh my gosh I loved this book. It's similar to Night Comes to the Cretaceous, which I read earlier this year, in that it discusses scientific discoveries, but with a strong focus on the lives of the scientists who made those discoveries. And the subject is so interesting and the writing style is so smooth and beautiful~ haha so yeah, I would definitely recommend this book. I continue to wish though that I had a brain for science ... I finished this book ten minutes ago and I already feel like I've forgotten most of it. :(

Movie:
52. The Princess and the Frog, 2009
GUYS. 2-D Disney is back and I could not be more thrilled!! princealia's review and the_wykydtron's review pretty much cover everything important that I wanted to say about this movie, but if you want to hear my nitpickier (and SPOILERIFFIC) points, then read on ... )

Edit: Just read the Kills Me Dead review, which offers a different opinion (although I agree about the songs). I am ridiculously stoked to read all the different opinions of this movie! Oh, Disney. It's been way too long. <3
arisha: (koharu kusumi)
Uuuugh my sleeping habits are sooooooo gross right now. I had to FORCE myself out of bed at one in the afternoon today. I hate this. D:

But in other news, I just watched this unsubtitled Morning Musume interview and understood quite a large chunk of it, so yay! :) (And yay for Aichan talking about Disney Sea. xD )

Answers to yesterday's book meme:

1) The Elephant Vanishes, Haruki Murakami, and I'm kinda surprised no one guessed this just because I was under the impression that Murakami's so hot right now. I don't love his writing but I like it well enough; mainly I keep this book around because I find collections of short stories somehow really inspiring and motivating. x)

2) The Odyssey, Homer. I thought this would be slightly less obvious than if I had gone with The Iliad but perhaps I am incorrect in that assumption.

3) Full Frontal Feminism, Jessica Valenti, although [livejournal.com profile] the_wykydtron is correct, I ignored the fact that there's an introduction.

4) Notre-Dame de Paris, Victor Hugo. Guys, what's the point at which you recognized this one? I'm curious. xD

lol, one non-fiction and then three translated fiction. Actually I think most of the books I own these days are non-fiction, and a lot of those are language textbooks ... I don't think this meme would work very well with those. :|

In other news, it's Friday night and I hope This Is It sells out tonight because it still hasn't yet!! Meanwhile we have nine showings a day of A Christmas Carol, what is this madness.
arisha: (morning musume shabondama)
Stolen, complete with pretty formatting, from [livejournal.com profile] chroniclers:

♦ Take four books off your bookshelf
♦ Write the first sentence
♦ Write the last sentence on page fifty
♦ Write the second sentence on page one hundred
♦ Write the next to the last sentence on page one hundred fifty
♦ Write the final sentence of the book
♦ Let your friends guess what book it is


Read more... )

Man, I really feel I don't own many books that could be guessed like this!

In other news, I really hate this time of the year when the sun has set before I even leave for work.
arisha: (troy mortal hero)
My goodness but it has been forever since I updated my list of books I've read/movies I've watched this year! And I have pathetically little to show for it. D:

Books!

20. On Michael Jackson, Margo Jefferson
Reading reviews of this book after I'd read it, I came across one that pointed out that this book provides you with more questions than answers, and my reaction to that line was "THAT'S IT! That's why I didn't like it!" This book is made up of four cultural study-type essays written in a style that makes the entire book feel like fiction. There were some interesting passages, and then there were some passages that I definitely didn't even understand. Basically I spent most of the book thinking, "... And your point is?," because Jefferson does bring up so many different questions and then just as easily discards them. And at one point it seemed that she was trying to use the National Enquirer as a serious and legitimate source, so in the end I must confess I'm not much of a fan of this book.

21. The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science, Natalie Angier
Very interesting and funny, but as usual I think I forgot most of it as soon as I finished it. :X I do remember one thing, only because it was so shocking to me -- according to Angier, in terms of size, a human adult is to a cell as a cell is to an atom. THAT SOUND YOU JUST HEARD WAS MY BRAIN BREAKING. I just cannot even picture something being that small!!

22. Wild Blue: A Natural History of the World's Largest Animal, Dan Bortolotti
After my visit to the Ocean Discovery Centre, I wanted to read about sealife! So I borrowed this book on blue whales, and I really enjoyed it. I whipped through it pretty quickly, especially the earlier chapters. This book discusses whaling quite a bit, and it sounds rather more horrific than I'd ever pictured it being, but it also gives a lot of space to the methods scientists are inventing in order to study the blue whale, a particularly difficult animal to study. Really interesting! Marine mammals are my favourite animals for sure. xD <3

Movies!

44. 21, 2008
I was soooo distracted when betaraider and I watched this that I barely remember any of it, but I do remember that we were completely underwhelmed. I feel I very rarely give bad reviews, but ... this is one.

45. Inkheart, 2009
[livejournal.com profile] the_wykydtron and I had been anticipating watching this movie since we first saw the trailer in front of Twilight (we would've even seen it at the theatre except that I was in Japan when it came out and by the time I returned it was gone!). xD For the first half hour, I LOVED THIS MOVIE. Then it started trying desperately to be more epic than it needed to be and I just got frustrated with whoever's idea that was. I can't hate this movie though. It features my boy Brendan Fraser! And that guy who was an author, omg. I loved his reactions to seeing his own characters in the flesh, they were just too perfect. xD

46. The Glass Slipper, 1955
I stumbled across this on TCM and it was pretty interesting. A retelling of Cinderella in which Cinderella spends half the movie being rather unlikeable! I got kinda bored near the end when there was an extended dance sequence that did nothing for the plot (this is the same reason I didn't enjoy An American in Paris, not gonna lie -- and haha, please note that both of these movies star the same actress), but then there was the most pathetic day for night shot I think I've ever seen, and in a way that made up for it! hahaha, seriously, they obviously filmed that stroke-of-midnight scene about twelve hours early. >xD Oh, and the fairy godmother character was fantastic and I'm totally going to be her when I grow up.

In other news: brb, listening to this song on repeat forever~~
arisha: (potc3 liz)
This will not be the greatest entry ever; I ignored my lists for a bit and now I don't remember what I wanted to write about any of these. :X So - books!

17. The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession With Virginity is Hurting Young Women, Jessica Valenti
I was pretty happy when [livejournal.com profile] the_wykydtron lent me this, because I enjoyed Valenti's previous books but when this one was released I was broke. xD; The Purity Myth is more academic than either Full Frontal Feminism or He's a Stud, She's a Slut, which I was really happy to see, and also I feel it takes a whole bunch of issues and ties them together a lot better than either of her previous books. So yeah, this book is about the virgin/whore dichotomy, but it also manages to be about a whole lot more.

18. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Amanda Foreman
So I have this tendency to seek out the original stories behind all the movies I watch, even if that means reading a four-hundred-page biography just to see how accurate The Duchess is. xD; Not that reading this book was a chore - it actually turned out to be really enjoyable! The writing style manages to convince you you're reading a novel that just happens to be true, haha. Well, to be honest, I was bored by the longer political passages, but the rest of it was really interesting. Oh~ that crazy eighteenth-century nobility! ;)

19. Achilles, Elizabeth Cook
This novel is short enough that I read it in an afternoon, but now I kind of wish I'd savoured it a bit more, because it was so much better than I'd thought it would be! Read more... )

Movies!

38. Romeo and Juliet, 2004
After the greatness that was Orestes, I went in search of more Japanese theatre and found this, once again starring Light as the title character. xD; One thing I liked about this version is that it really emphasized how young Romeo and Juliet are, to the point that their ridiculous youthful enthusiasm turns the balcony scene into a funny scene, something I hadn't realized was allowed!! One thing I didn't like about this version is its Mercutio. He's fine, he's just not at all the way I picture Mercutio. So. :X

39. Love*Com, 2006
She's tall! He's short! How can they date without being made fun of?!?! So you'll forgive me if I started watching this movie expecting the shallowest thing ever. And it kinda was, but it was also a movie that embraces its ridiculousness and in the end I LOVED IT! xD I mean, it features a fourth-wall-breaking karaoke sequence, so I feel quite confident in saying that this movie's target audience was: me. xDDD

40. Elizabeth: The Acclaimed Saga of England's Virgin Queen, 2002
A four-part documentary series. Not much to say about this except that I found the facts of the Earl of Essex story more interesting than the fiction of The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, and you all know how annoyed I get when the taking of creative license results in a story that's worse than the original!! D:<

41. The Great Yokai War, 2005
I got this out hoping for a fun family fantasy film of the sort that seems to be my guilty pleasure, but omg it was so much more disturbing than an American movie of this genre would ever be allowed to be. o_o Also, Agi was the coolest character in the movie and I was pretty annoyed that she only got about half as much screentime as she should've, and then had a really lame death. Also also, I think my enjoyment of this movie would've been much improved if I had a better knowledge of Japanese folklore, but even if I did I'm still not sure I would've liked it ... :/

42. Romeo + Juliet, 1996
I had a blast watching this with betaraider, but in the end I have no idea whether I liked it or not. Read more... )

43. Shinobi: Heart Under Blade, 2005
I feel this movie made up for The Great Yokai War in that the cool characters actually got some screentime! And I was pretty thrilled that the boring love story at least had an ending that wasn't cliché. This movie also features Tokugawa Ieyasu and everyone's favourite teacher from Gokusen, and I apologize to everyone but I'm pretty sure I was more excited to see the former. xDD;
arisha: (potc3 liz)
uuuugh, annoying night at work. x_x Not made any better by the fact that Slytherin is currently in last place, what the heck!! Although we did spend much time discussing the Hufflepuff ability to come back in the next life as a vampire. xD Oh, RPattz.

Anyway - books!

14. The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man's Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt's Greatest Mystery, Bob Brier and Jean-Pierre Houdin
I think I expected more out of this book. Well, mainly I think I expected the authors' theory - that the Great Pyramid was built using an inner ramp rather than an outer ramp - to have already been proven more than it had been at the time of publication. I mean this book practically ended with a cliffhanger!! And I also wish it had been a documentary rather than a book, because there were some parts I really couldn't picture. Like when they were talking about the Great Gallery being used as part of a pulley system, I would've really loved to see some sort of animation to go along with that because I kind of didn't get it. Overall I enjoyed the book, but yeah, I am too impatient to deal with that sort of ending. :P

Random: there's one part in the book where Brier says that, back when climbing the pyramids were allowed, he used to take tour groups to the top of the Great Pyramid on New Year's Eve. Best way to spend New Year's Eve EVER!!

15. Snakes and Earrings, Hitomi Kanehara
This was entertaining enough to fill two hours, I guess, but I have no idea why it won an award. I found a review that praised it for its portrayal of alienation, but to that I say: everything that comes out of modern Japan is a portrayal of alienation!! D:

16. Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character, Jonathan Shay
This book compares the combat trauma experienced by American soldiers in Vietnam with the combat trauma portrayed in the Iliad in an attempt to better understand both. As you might imagine if you know me at all, I found this book hugely interesting. Seriously, the more I learn about the Iliad, the more in awe I am of it. achilles starved for war )

In conclusion: I have no idea how anyone else would feel about this book, but I thought it was fascinating.

Movies!

36. Orestes, 2006
"Orestes" is a Greek tragedy written by Euripides (who seems to be my favourite of the Athenian playwrights, hahaha); this particular stage-version-on-DVD is in Japanese and stars the guy who played Light in the Death Note movies. AND I LOVED IT!!! TWO attacks of Trojan War fangirling in the same LJ entry?! Sarah, that is too much! )

37. Les Misérables, 1998
I quite liked this although the acting and dialogue were sometimes quite ridiculous. Unfortunately that's all you're getting from me about that one - I've already spent way too long on this entry!! x)

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