OMG JOHN McCLANE!!!

They could make a thousand Die Hards and I would see every single one. I want to marry John McClane so that I can follow him down a rickety fire escape while he breathlessly murmurs ‘Stay close. Stay close to me.’

Sure, there are probably a hundred things wrong with it if I thought about it too much, but why would I want to do that? It is a perfect summer movie – there are explosions, the good guys win, there is a cute sidekick, a pretty sexy villain, there are car chases, and, of course the line. Sure, it’s not as good as the first one – without Alan Rickman, how could it be? And, despite being good at chase scenes, I think John McClane is better in a confined space – but it is pure fun and I will go and see as many as they will make for me.

Summer movie tally = 4-2 (I think…Ratatouille, Pirates, Ocean’s 13 (with EDDIE IZZARD), and Die Hard vs. Shrek and Spidey. Right?)

In other news, I really want Justin Long a Mac now.

Fiction

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheevers by Julia Quinn

Well, here she is. My dark secret. The only romance author that I still read (er, except for Celeste Bradley, but shhh!). And she let me down! This has happened once before, with one of the Bridgerton novels (I don’t remember which…Francesca and Michael, maybe? I don’t know.). She had me at the start, halfway through I was still there, and then…I got bored.

I don’t know why, it’s a (variation on a) premise that I usually like – girl’s loved hero since, well, forever, eventually hero realises that she’s not just the girl next door or…his sister’s best friend, etc. and they live happily ever after. The girl (Miranda) was likable, the hero was, too (although not really a standout…Dunford remains my favorite of all Quinn’s heroes), and yet…I got bored. About three quarters of the way through, I gave up and started reading backwards from the end to see how it all worked out. Yes, I know they live happily ever after, but I wanted to know what made the hero finally realise that he loved the girl. And even then it seemed a little lame.

Still, it’s not a bad book. I think Quinn could basically just close her eyes and jab at a keyboard and she’d come up with a better-than-average romance novel, it’s just that when your standards (and expectations) are so high, if it’s anything less than what you’d expected, it’s just not the same. So, again, a good enough romance novel, just missing that extra spark that Quinn’s usually have.

Actually, after looking at her website, it appears that the next one will be the first of a planned two-book series, so maybe this one was just sort of a placeholder until those. That would explain the slighty lackluster feel to it… Whatever it was, I’m sure it was just a fluke.

My rating: B

Fiction

The Professor’s Daughter by Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert

So, like I said. Graphic novels. Not, like, Spiderman or X-Men or anything (not that there’s anything wrong with those), more like Bone. That sort of thing.

This one…is a little odd. I love the premise (a mummy and the curator’s daughter are in love in Victorian London) and I adore the artwork – so gorgeous (how do you make a bandaged mummy handsome? I have no idea, but they pulled it off!), but the actual plot is a little…odd.  It’s a very slim book, so things happen very quickly and there are some not quite believable actions taken. But. The artwork is definitely, definitely worth it, as is most of the plot. It’s more moments where you’ll be a little confused as to why someone thought that was the best way to solve a particular situation, but it’s really not too big of a deal. Not when there’s a charming, debonair mummy to be had!

My rating:

Art = A+

Story = B

You can figure out the average on your own based on what’s more important to you. 😉 

     

Non-Fiction

 

Persepolis and Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi

Okay, I realise that I’m probably the last person to finally read these books, but memoirs aren’t always my thing. But I’ve known about these books for quite a while and, as you’ll see, I seem to be going through a bit of a graphic novel (or in this case, memoir) phase, so I finally decided to check them out. It was well worth it. I don’t have a lot to say about them, mostly because I don’t feel like I know enough to say what I mean or what they deserve to have said about them. The first one left me with an oddly empty feeling, more because I really didn’t have any way to know how to feel at that point, and also a little bit scared because sometimes it seems like things like that aren’t as far away as we (or maybe just I) like to think they are…

But if you haven’t read them, you should.

My rating: A

On a lighter note…

Yarn Harlot by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Very fun. Probably only if you’re a knitter, otherwise half the time, I expect you’d just be confused. Pearl-McPhee has such a chatty voice – probably she’s honed it while writing her blog – that it just feels as if you’re talking to your best knitter friend. From attempts to store her stash without her family knowing quite how out-of-control it’s gotten (even I have not yet resorted to keeping it in my kitchen cabinets…not that I actually have kitchen cabinets, but you know) or tearing apart a car to find her favorite double-pointed needles, it’s all stuff that most knitters have either dealt with before…or at least come close.

The only thing I thought this book was missing was pictures. She often talks about interesting pieces that she’s knitted or is working on (wedding sweaters that mysteriously double in size during blocking, a lacy sheep shawl) or funny things that involve her knitting in some way (a mischievous squirrel desperately devoted to a fleece left out to dry) that I wish there’d been pictures of.

My rating: B+ (It would’ve been an A- if there’d been pictures…)

Oh, dear…

You know you’ve hit summer television when the best thing on is Becker reruns… Now that it’s stopped thundering, I’m away to hop in the shower and then see about getting some book reviews posted as I’m a wee fair bit behind…

I ❤ elipses…

Non-fiction

Sound Bites by Alex Kapranos

I am in love. I wish I could describe food the way Alex Kapranos does.  Hell, I wish I could describe anything the way Kapranos does.

I think it was The Guardian  that asked Alex Kapranos, singer and guitarist for Franz Ferdinand to write a series of articles about the food he encountered while on tour. This book, Sound Bites, is the slim, but satisfying compilation of his articles. Holy cow, the man can describe. Some of the food sounds really good, some of it sounds repulsive, but all of it is described in delicate, evocative detail. Whether it’s a pastry in Soho (oh, my god, I practically drooled all over the page) or marrow bone (I…didn’t know what this was, but from his description, I’m pretty sure I wish I didn’t know now), the scene is meticulously set.

He definitely has a way with words that is…unexpected. I mean, I know songwriting is wordcraft, but still. This was a treat to read. And there are lots of little asides that add a really nice, intimate touch. Like he says he wears sunglasses, not too look cool, but because, since he can’t make eye contact with everybody in the audience, he’d rather not connect with just a few. Or something like that – trust me, he said it much more elegantly.

So who’s Alex Kapranos? Here he is (in the red and black-striped shirt), with the rest of the band:

Man, I wish he’d describe me. And, no, that’s not a euphemism… Okay, well, maybe it is, but I also wish he’d literally describe me. 😉

My rating: A-