Thursday, November 30, 2006

November 2006 Books and Movies

The Life of a Children's Troubadour - An Autobiography

I've gotten a lot out of reading this book. My mother was in touch with all things kid friendly in the late 70's and Raffi's first album, Singable Songs for the Very Young is imbedded in my psyche. I didn't realise how far imbedded until I started teaching vocal music to mostly primary children. Every song I have taught that I remember from my childhood has been an out of the park hit with my students. He was a pioneer in children's music and even with never having children of his own, nor being trained as a teacher, he has an insightful grasp of primary pedagogy. As I grew up and lost touch with Raffi's music, naturally he kept making more, and now I have that many more songs to teach. His writing style is straightforward and interesting, very much from the heart. His Armenian background has shaped so many aspects of his life and musical career. His passion for ecology, which started in 1989, grabbed my attention and I was impressed by the large contribution he has made to protecting the environment. Raffi is one of the guest speakers at the Toronto Reading for the Love of it conference in February, and after reading this book, I signed up for that particular session. I'm hoping to get a chance to speak to him about his work and (for the kid in me) get my old album signed.

The Men I Didn't Marry
Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger

Another fun read from this duo. The main character Hallie is unceremoniously dumped by her hubby on the day they drop off their youngest daughter at college. Hallie decides to look up all her old boyfriends, hence the title. The first three quarters of the book breezes along, sometimes a little too easily, and the plot is written that everything falls into place a little too conveniently. I had already started composing my blog entry to that effect when the book took a sudden turn and turned the predictable plot on it's head. I'm looking forward to their next novel.

James Bond - Casino Royale

Normally I get around to seeing the James Bond flicks eventually, but I actually saw this one on the second day because Mike really wanted to see it as soon as it came out. As Bond movies go, it was your typical bang and shoot em up with a heathly side of female flesh for distraction. The new Bond is super sexy (and I don't go for blonds) and fits the role nicely. Fits a speedo nicely as well, check out the scene where he rises from the water! The plot is somewhat thin because of the lack of real villanous henchmen and the bosses they work for. Judi Dench was great, but I miss Q! Overall, it was a good distraction from everyday life.

The Botox Diaries
Janice Kaplan and Lynn Schnurnberger

I really enjoy these authors. They have a fun style and it's light easy reading. It's interesting because when I was in my 20s I really enjoyed novels and shows like Sex and the City about women in their 30s and now that I'm in my 30s I'm enjoying reading about women in their 40s. It's kind of like a preview into what life might be like in 10 years. Their heroines are always funny, a bit klutzy and always charming. I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

The Debutante Divorcee
Plum Sykes

A much better read than her first novel, Bergdorf Blondes. I just liked the main character Sylvie so much better. A cheeky novel about rich divorced socialites and their one token married friend in NYC. Very glamorous, an easy read and very absorbing. Cute all's well that ends well ending to boot. Fun!

The End
Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events

I loved this series...right up until book 13, The End. It was a big disappointment. So many mysteries were hinted at during this series, it seemed a real let down to not find out any answers. Things are left up in the air, presumably to write more books in the future. I had hoped for better. Many others who I've talked to say the same thing. I wonder what the kids think. I'll ask them as soon as I can find one who has read it!

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