Water For Elephants DVD Release Soon!

As the story opens, Jacob is living out his days in a nursing home and hating every second of it.  Now in the last stages of his life, he recalls a happier, carefree time, when he literally had run away from it all and joined the circus. 

It had not started as a happy journey however.  Jacobs parents are killed in an auto accident week before he is about to complete his college medical exams to become a veterinary.  Once he has buried his parents, Jacob learns that the home he live sin was mortgaged for his schooling and he is about to lose it all.  With nothing left but the shirt on his back, he takes off and jumps a train, soon to be discovered as a Benzini Brothers (second-rate at best) Circus Train.

Water For Elephants is the story of Jacobs time with the circus, starting from the bottom of the bottom and working his way up not only in stature, but also in the eyes of Marlena, the wife of the jealous and abusive animal trainer, August.

In 2009, my book club, The Bookies, read Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen.  In a phrase, we loved it from “I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other.”  Our group loved this book and it led us to such a great discussion of the realities and harshness of the inner workings of the circus.  Later, when it came to out year in review awards that we do every year, Jacob won for our favorite male character in a book club read for 2009, and Sara Gruen took our best newly read author award. 

On November 1, the DVD release of Water For Elephants will hit the stores. (SSQQUUEE!!!!) I was offered a pre screening of this movie to post my thoughts on and having loved (LOVED!) the book so much I jumped at the chance to see the DVD.

I did not have time to get the Bookies together for a screening, but still plan to do so…. instead, I treated myself to the viewing of this movie one evening and was as giddy as a school girl to experience it.  Robert Patterson (Jacob) and Reese Witherspoon (Marlena) are cast well.  I was very impressed with how they handled both the parts. 

Although it has been two years since I have read the book, it easily came back to me through the movie.  Charlie, Camel, Kinko… there are some colorful characters in both book and movie!

I would have liked to have seen more of the flash backs we see in the book of older Jacob to young Jacob, but honestly, I feel the movie works and is a beautiful compliment to the book.

If you have not read the book I highly encourage you to do so, and certainly make sure you get a chance to see this movie as well.  For those of you who have, or will be, experiencing both book and movie, I am attaching a page of questions for you to review with your book group or friends. 

Book to Movie Study Guide

Harry Potter and The Dealthly Hallows … a movie adventure

Finally!  Yesterday afternoon Chance and I ventured 23 miles past out local movie theater (with our noses in the air) as we made our way to a newer and rumored more “cushy” theater.  We stopped at a Dairy Queen brazier in the area and stocked up on burgers and fries which I promptly placed in my purse.

Yes…. yes I did.

All of this for what you may ask?

The much awaited showing of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows of course!

We arrived early and were thrilled to walk into a theater that had large comfortable chairs and plenty of room.  I literally “SSSQQQQQUUUEEEEEDDDD” when the opening to the movie came on the screen (seriously – ask Chance… I did.)  I grabbed my mushroom swiss out of my purse and got comfortable.

I loved it.


I know sometimes it is hard for such a long anticipated movie to live up to the hype but I was not disappointed.   True to the book each scene was like a chapter… coming to life!  Hold on to your seats… if you are like me, The Deathly Hallows will send you back in time and suddenly I was remembering the first books, and my kids reactions – and the excitement to see them reading and talking excitedly about a book….

I really have a lot of memories entwined within these books!

There are several moments in the movie I would love to chat about but I do not want to spoil anything

Halloween Costume 2011?

for anyone who has not seen this yet.  Let me just say I have always enjoyed watching Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix.  She is so incredible in this role.  (She may be my next Halloween costume!)

I remember this was the book that was such a leap for me.  I loved the characters and I loved the setting of Hogwarts… when circumstances pulled Harry, Hermione, and Ron away from the school… I wasn’t sure where they were headed or what this meant for the storyline, but I was in.  All in.  J K Rowling did not disappoint me them and the movie did not disappoint me now.  In all honesty, it was an emotional experience to see this characters on the big screen working towards finishing up a much beloved series.

In a word:  Bitter sweet.

I would highly recommend you see it.  In fact, I will see it again when my son is in town this weekend.


Freebie Friday: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Giveaway now closed…. Our winner on August 7 was WANDA!!!!!!

Thanks everyone for playing 😉

It’s Summer.  My favorite season!  In honor of Summer and all the movies recently that have come from books, I offer this weeks Freebie Friday as:

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Kidd Monk.

secret life of beesSet in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping.

I recently learned at a festival where they had bees displayed in hives working the honey like nobody’s “beesness” (lol) that a bee in their lifetime will only produce one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.   Not a typo.  That’s it.

So now knowing this…. here is how you can enter to win this great book! AND to sweeten the pot (LOL I am on a roll today!) I will add a jar of honey to this giveaway.

1.  Leave a comment here with an interesting insect fact or a comment about an insect incident you have had… (wow – say that fast….)

2.  Blog tweet or shout from the rooftop about this giveaway and leave link here in a separate comment (oh, if you go for the shout from the rooftop, that is going to require a picture!)

3.  For any comments you make during this week on any of my other posts (starting today thru next Friday) you will receive one extra chance to win per comment)  *You must have the original comment (#1) here first to qualify for this one.

US only entrants please and no po box numbers.  Be sure I have a way to contact you if you are the winner.


This giveaway will end Friday August 7.

Oh – Have fun!  😉

Pride and Predjudice (Movie) Austen Challenge – “Tastes Like Chicken”

I know that is a strange header for this review – but I find it appropriate.  You know how when peoplepride try to get you eat something new they say “it tastes like chicken?”

Well… I really like chicken.  Pride and Prejudice was trying something new.  I liked it very much.

I watched this movie as part of the Austen Challenge put on by Stephanie’s Written Word. Up to this point, I have not read or watched anything Jane Austen.  Even to me that seems odd as a reader for as long as I could well… read.  It’s not that I haven’t wanted to – I have Emma, and Pride and Prejudice on my book shelf.  It just seems that there is always something new and exciting to read and I guess I just never made it to them.  The Challenge for me is a good thing.

The movie was good and made me reach fpr the book off my shelf.  Maybe now it is time to dig into a little Austen…

My Sisters Keeper – The Movie

This afternoon I was able to  see the movie version of Jodi Piccoult’s My Sisters sisKeeper (see my 2006 review of the book here)

I was excited to see it as this was my first Jodi Piccoult read that knocked my socks off at what an amazing author she is.  I was also, as with any book to movie… a little cautious.  We tend to love our books and can take changes a bit personally.

The movie… I really enjoyed it.  I found it heart achingly beautiful and if not for having read the book previously I probably would have come out of the theater feeling blissfully satisfied.  Without giving too much away, I will just point a couple things that didn’t need to change (book to movie) but did…

1.  The brother character of Jesse was deeply troubled in the book and with due cause as all the families attention went continuously to the care of Kate.  In the movie they touch on this slightly, but make him more of a caring and overwhelmed brother.

2.  Of course the changing of the ending.  I actually only heard that it was different yesterday from a friend.  And yes, it was a different ending and while it worked, I believe the book ending is far better.

movie sisters keeperI was curious as to what Jodi Piccoult thought of this rather big change to her book so I looked on line and found this statement written by her:


“Yes, I know the ending is different. Yes, I know some of you are very upset. I didn’t change it. The author has no control over the movie, and it was hard for me to accept too. However, there’s a great deal in the movie that I think is great, and I enjoyed watching it – and I hope you did too. Please don’t email me asking me why I changed the ending, or “let” Hollywood do that – it wasn’t something I had any control over.”  ~ Jodi Piccoult

Final thoughts:  The movie captured the story line well, I had many of the same emotions as I had when I first read the book – from at first disliking the mother and finding her impossibly cruel, to moving toward compassion when you start to see the bigger picture of a mothers heart.  I cried like a baby through many parts of the movie.  I think seeing it was more emotional for me than reading it.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

I had a couple books that I had read a while ago that have recently become movies so I thought it would be fun to blogangels on them as I had read these books before I even knew what blogging was.  One of these books is My Sisters Keeper (see review below this post)…. the other, Angels and Demons.

I like to call my book club the Bookies – ahead of their time.  In 2005 we read this book and chose it as our best book we read that year.  Now in 2009, it is a movie.  Apparently we werent the only ones that thought it was pretty darn good.

Prior to my blogging debut, I wrote all the books I read into a three rng binder and kept reviews there.  No kidding.  I have wrote everything I have read and my thoughts (reviews) long before I ever knew that I would one day be doing it publically.  I have everything I have read since 2002.

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati–dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism–is alive, well, and murderously active. Brilliant physicist Leonardo Vetra has been murdered, his eyes plucked out, and the society’s ancient symbol branded upon his chest. His final discovery, antimatter, the most powerful and dangerous energy source known to man, has disappeared–only to be hidden somewhere beneath Vatican City on the eve of the election of a new pope. Langdon and Vittoria, Vetra’s daughter and colleague, embark on a frantic hunt through the streets, churches, and catacombs of Rome, following a 400-year-old trail to the lair of the Illuminati, to prevent the incineration of civilization.

Here are my original thoughts on this book:

January 22, 2005:  Once again I have experienced a great read by Dan Brown.  My first experience was last summer when I read The Davinchi Code which was a fantastic read.  Now reading Angels and Demons for our book club, I see similarities in his writing style.  Robert Langdon (same main character in both books), is called tot eh scene of a crime at the Vatican.  I really enjoy reading about the Vatican = what a beautiful and mysterious place.  Breda, in our book club has visited there and had pictures at the review.  BREATH TAKING!

I actually finished reading this book on the plane to Costa Rica on our family vacation.  I gave it to a person who I met onthe plane, a fellow reader and I have to share good reads!

(Update 6/23/2009)  Looking at my old review I see I left out my favorite part of the book, and that was the library.  I remember reading about the library of rare important books, air pressurized, temperature control and guarded in a locked glass room….  I thought if I could only have 10 minutes in that room to breathe in those books….  (much the same feeling I had when I watched the movie National Treasure with Nicholas Cage and they were in the rare library room…bookies awards

As for the movie, I found it a slight disappointment as I had with Davinchi Code as well.  Not really important to the book perspective, but I have to mention that Tom Hanks was not what I pictured of our character Robert Langdon.  Granted, he looked better in Angels and Demons.  I think what disappointed me the most is the fact of how easy it all comes together in the movie version.  In the book you go through a long interesting process of clues and codes… wrong turns and deep plot… in the movie its like they turn a corner and it is just magically there.

The book, then and now rated a great fiction read.  I would recommend not judging this book by the movie.  Read the book.

My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult

My book club read this in 2006…. (pre blogging) I was still at that time journaling everything I read in sisters keppera large three ring binder.  The book turned out to be voted on as the book book we read of that year and I have that in my library on a plaque.  I love that three years ago that we had chosen a book to be the best book we had read that year as a group is now going to be a movie.  It’s not the first time we have done that…. but hey, thats a whole other blog post.

So – with the movie coming out soon, I thought I would dust off my notes on this book and blog review it at this time, using my thoughts from three years ago.  This was, at that time, the first Jodi Piccoult most of had ever read.

The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a serious disease are explored with pathos and understanding in this 11th novel by Picoult (Second Glance, etc.). The author, who has taken on such controversial subjects as euthanasia (Mercy), teen suicide (The Pact) and sterilization laws (Second Glance), turns her gaze on genetic planning, the prospect of creating babies for health purposes and the ethical and moral fallout that results. Kate Fitzgerald has a rare form of leukemia. Her sister, Anna, was conceived to provide a donor match for procedures that become increasingly invasive. At 13, Anna hires a lawyer so that she can sue her parents for the right to make her own decisions about how her body is used when a kidney transplant is planned. Meanwhile, Jesse, the neglected oldest child of the family, is out setting fires, which his firefighter father, Brian, inevitably puts out. Picoult uses multiple viewpoints to reveal each character’s intentions and observations, but she doesn’t manage her transitions as gracefully as usual; a series of flashbacks are abrupt. Nor is Sara, the children’s mother, as well developed and three-dimensional as previous Picoult protagonists. Her devotion to Kate is understandable, but her complete lack of sympathy for Anna’s predicament until the trial does not ring true, nor can we buy that Sara would dust off her law degree and represent herself in such a complicated case. Nevertheless, Picoult ably explores a complex subject with bravado and clarity, and comes up with a heart-wrenching, unexpected plot twist at the book’s conclusion.

(as written on 9/8/2006) This book?  Fantastic!  Jodi Picoult has an incredible gift with words.  Her writing keeps you on the edge of your seat, the court case felt so real I may as well have been juror #1, hanging on every word.   This book gives a different twist to sisters Kate and Anna.  Kate has leukemia and Anna, her younger sister is born to supply Kate with the much needed bone marrow and blood cells that Kate needs.  When Anna turns 13… she hires a lawyer for rights to her own body.  This book makes you love, and it makes you hate.  It deals with moral issues and matetrs of the heart.  On a 1 to 5 rating I give it a 7+!  READ IT.  YOU WILL LOVE IT.

(Today – 6/23/3009)  As we all know by now, Jodi Picoult is not a one hit wonder author.  Her name is well known for her incredible writing skills and her way of taking a hot topic and putting a twist on it so you see the whole thing from a different view point.  In my book, she is a must read.

I will add an update to this post after I have seen the movie.  I have seen the previews, which brought it all back, and they made me cry…. can’t wait to see what the movie does to me.

The Other Boleyn Girl – MOVIE REVIEW

One of the things the Bookies like to do is see the movie of a book that we have read.  This puts a little extra zip into our group when we get to the occasional outing. 

On Thursday five of us were able to go and check out  The Other Boleyn Girl movie at Movies 10.  I was really excited to see what they had done with the movie as the book was so incredible. 

Seeing this movie I was somewhat dissapointed.  Many key facts were left out – and I realize when you read a 735 page book, the movie is not going to be able to put all details in… but definate holes were left in the movie version.  My friend Joelle went with us to the movie and having not read the book, she had a lot of questions for me as the movie just didn’t put things together well.

One thing I felt held true was at the end when Anne is found guilty and they take her to her death.  Her speak is right on as recorded in history, and I found this part extremely real as she realized that no one would save her this time and she really was going to die. 

Overall – I found the movie to be of average rating.  Nothing exceptional and I do not care to see it again.  If I had not read the book prior to seeing the movie, I don’t think I would be as fascinated with the whole times of Henry the VIII…  (another movie from a book did just as poorly a couple years ago was Memoirs of A Geisha). 

In my opinion – read the book, it is filled with facts and interestingly real characters. 

Skip the movie.