Tuesday, July 21, 2009

mini updates on my life

1) I saw HALF-BLOOD PRINCE!! And every minute of it rocked. I think I'll go see it again.

2) I finally finished reading ANNA KARENINA. It took five weeks of pretty diligent not having any kind of fun in order to squeeze in enough reading time.

3) The RM brought home tons of assorted Japanese snacks from a new (super cheap) Japanese bakery/bento shop called Zaiya in Cooper Square. Which is where you will find me everyday for the rest of my life.

4) On Twitter, someone (you know who you are!) called Editorial Ass "Moonrat's semi publishing related blog." Semi! Woe, how far we have fallen. (Then again, I did just blog about movies, books, and sushi, so.)

That's all for now.

xxx

38 comments:

Amanda said...

1) Half-Blood Prince rocked!

2) Anna Karenina didn't.

3) Japanese snacks...I couldn't say one way or another.

:)

Joe Iriarte said...

Anna Karenina is a source of intense regret for me. It's one of only a couple of books I ever started and didn't finish*. I didn't absolutely hate it. I was making my way through it incrementally when my house, and my copy of the book, was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. After months of martial law, looters, hotel rooms, reconstruction, etc., I finally came to the point where I could even *think* about leisure reading . . . and I just *couldn't*. By that time, I would have had to start all over, though I had been about 2.3 through, because I had lost the thread of the story. And there was no way I could bring myself to backtrack.

It still gnaws at me.

*The other was Atlas Shrugged, which occasions much less regret. No natural disaster there, I just threw it across the room midway through the John Gault speech, feeling like it was abusive of an author to make me read the same story over and over, with ridiculously long harangues masquerading as plot to boot.

Joe Iriarte said...

er, 2/3 of the way through. Damn inability to edit comments!

Kiersten said...

Semi-publishing but completely-awesome.

Laurel said...

You made it through a Russian! Congrats!

I've started them all and not finished one. I'm not scared of a big book but I need an occasional non-dreary moment to keep me going.

Can't wait to see HBP despite the fact that I muttered through the last three saying things like "that's not in the book" and "I don't think it looks like that!"

That boy I married sits patiently beside me and just passes me more popcorn to make me shut up. He's a wise, kind man.

~Aimee States said...

I made it through 9 pages of Atlas Shrugged, and about 25 of Anna Karenina. Holden Caulfied needs a facepunch. (I just thought I would throw that last one in for flavor)

Laurel said...

Yay, Aimee!

I always thought that Holden was a whiner. Literary blasphemy, I know.

Janet Reid said...

sushi and snacks!!!! Yes!! Count me in.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Kiersten beat me to it.

MattDel said...

For what it was, Half-Blood Prince worked very very well, but both the fiancee and I agree with Laurel on this one. After the movie we were dissecting it in terms of what was cut and what wasn't.

Yeah, we're purists. But not the kind who complain about details like Hermione's dress in the fourth movie being the wrong color (which was a complaint I did hear).

Oh and congrats on getting through Anna Karenina. I personally have no real desire to read any of Tolstoy's work, no matter how "genius" it is.

Precie said...

Ditto Kiersten!

BuffySquirrel said...

So, what did you think of Anna Karenina? It's better than that awful Madame Bovary (a whiner who never learns). But not as good as War & Peace imo.

Given that most teenagers whine about Anything and Nothing At All, it's amazing how little tolerance Holden Caulfield gets for whining about his dead brother....

moonrat said...

Joe--Oh no!! A story of great tragedy!! Tolstoy would have appreciated your woe. Levin, his AK hero, struggles mentally and emotionally with his reading list, too.

Kiersten--why thank you :)

Laurel--don't hold your breath on this one!! They made up a lot. But it all serves (in my opinion) to quickly further character development while also maintaining the pace.

moonrat said...

All Holden haters--yeah, I didn't like him that much, either. But I LOVE Salinger's know-it-all short fiction. All of it. I really heart the Glass family.

moonrat said...

Buffy--I liked it OK. I didn't love it, like some people seem to. I appreciated moments of it, but was unthrilled stylistically (reading it made me question my commitments to literature in translation, actually, a whole other heretical conversation). But the thing is, I had just finished reading Middlemarch, another 800+ page tome, but one that was written in English--and just about every sentence of which was full of punch, humor, and/or style. AK was a lot of telling.

I DID really like the very sophisticated take on "love"--and how it applied (in the same word) to marriages, friendships, and lovers. I like that Kitty could "fall in love" with Anna, as could Lev; Tolstoy was (in a way) firing at the binding sanctity of marriage, a permanent arrangement based on a quick and changeable feeling.

I'm sure there's something more meaningful I meant to say about that but I lost my own train of thought. Sorry.

Oh! But I did find Anna very relateable, despite her sin against Kitty. I had read a modern retelling (WHAT HAPPENED TO ANNA K) a few months ago, and liked it, but there was a VERY different twist in Anna's character there (at least to me)--I see her more as a desperate woman trapped by social convention than an interfering sociopath.

moonrat said...

Oh, I really didn't care for Book 8. Most of it felt very unnecessary to me.

brionywilliamson said...

Movies, books and sushi are all vitally important and should be discussed at all times, in my opinion...

...I'm going to see Half Blood Prince on Sunday, I've not read Anna Karenina twice now, and if you are ever in Oz I can recommend an AMAZING SUSHI PLACE.

Melanie Avila said...

I'm on page 575 (out of 817) of Anna Karenina. This is my second attempt and I will finish this thing if it kills me. When I was losing interest at the mid-way point, I reminded myself that if I could read the entire Twilight Saga in 10 days, I sure as hell better be able to finish this. The trash talk is working.

Did your version have notes? Did you read them? I gave up after Part II.

moonrat said...

you can do it, Melanie!!

mine did have notes--i stopped reading after book 4. i found them ultimately not that helpful. read the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation, which i've heard is the best--i'm assuming you've got the same?

Melanie Avila said...

Yes, that's the version I have. :)

I've checked the notes a couple times when the footnote seems unexpected, but it's too much of a PITA with such a big book.

Also, I can't decide which woman is supposed to be the one on the cover. I'm thinking Kitty, but I don't know...

Joshua Gordon said...

I'll just come straight out and say it.

I saw HBP, and I felt it was a tepid interpretation of a lavishly orchestrated novel. Harry and Ron's relationship 'issues' took centre stage, and I was mostly annoyed by that.

I do respect everyone else's right to like it, though. For sure.

Briane P said...

What'd you think of Anna Karenina?

Martha W. said...

Moonrat - you are awesome! I love this blog!

Laurel - I am totally with you there! I loved the movie, thought it was the best one yet but there were times when I had to say 'Huh?' and 'Why did they leave that out?'. And, yes, my hubby was there with the popcorn too! :)

Joshua - I am somewhat of a purist too. I always leave the theater shaking my head (though I have to check out the dress color again - thx!) but I can also appreciate a good movie based on the wonderful imagination of a kicka$$ writer! Think of it that way & the movie gets much better... ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

Your anna karenina story reminds me of my Moby Dick reading.

Susan McBride said...

I loved HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, too! I'm definitely going again with my hubby (went with a friend yesterday). I can watch any/all of the Harry Potter movies again and again.

Cheers,
Susan

JenniferWriter said...

I also read AK this year for the first time. I liked Anna but felt as though Tolstoy had taken a real woman and forced her to act a certain way in order for him to talk about his thoughts on marriage. I was mad at him the entire time.

I liked Vanity Fair much better, if one can even compare the two (well, both are old, long, and famous for their female characters).

sex scenes at starbucks said...

One time I had Japanese version of Chicklets. I never had gum with flavor that lasted so long. I still have the box.

Laurel said...

sex scenes at starbucks:

Cool! Can you order it online?

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Moonrat, I've been wading through The Three Musketeers for the fill-in-the-gaps project, which probably isn't as long as Anna Karenina, but certainly feels like it. Some parts are hilarious, but the melodrama is almost killing me.

I think I agree that Asian snacks are about the best in the world. In China we had these little round dried noodle cakes (it's hard to explain) that came in all sorts of flavors. Yum.

moonrat said...

Amy--oh yes!! I've read a couple of his. I read Three Musketeers, but already knew the story inside out. Then I read Queen Margot. I really enjoyed it, but yeah, my general impression was, why does everyone spend so much time hiding in the closets?

Ello said...

I just saw Half blood prince with Oldest. Was quite happy except Oldest, who just finished reading it kept insisting on telling me what was cut and what was changed and it drove me mad because I hate when people talk to me during a movie. grrr. I'll have to go back with Da Man to see it again. Not that I don't love Oldest - but there's a reason I refused to reread the book before going to see it.

I hated Anna K - HATED IT!!! I have had heated near violent arguments with my sister who loves Anna K and tries to badger me into agreeing with her that it is the best piece of literature in the whole world. I would rather eat a petrified donkey's turd wrapped in Da Man's stinky socks. But then again, she loves Catcher in the Rye and I hated that book also. Needless to say - we don't see eye to eye on literature. She is such a literary snob.

I_am_Tulsa said...

Moonrat, I have been super busy but somehow I managed to see Harry Potter twice this week!

i am very interested to know what kind of Japanese goodies they are selling at that store!

moonrat said...

Ello, you make me laugh, even in my own comments section.

Tulsa--one thing I had was a GIANT inari zushi!!! nummm.

Kronski said...

Wait a minute. A Harry Potter movie was actually good? I haven't seen it yet, but I am very, very skeptical. Especially after the OotP fiasco.

moonrat said...

Kronski, my dear, I enjoyed this HP movie even more than I enjoyed OotP.

Perhaps we must agree to disagree.

Pamala Knight said...

I'm going to take your review as the solemn truth as I'm off to see HP this weekend. And score one more for the RM for finding this gem where sushi, snacks and baked goods all cohabitate. He must REALLY love you.

Jolie said...

So Anna Karenina was not fun, then?

HBP was SO disappointing for me! All of the danger and chaos and urgency in the book was missing from the movie.

For example, a boy is bleeding to death on the floor, and Harry and Snape just stare at each other?! Where is the screaming for help? Where's the frantic rush to heal Draco? Where is Harry's mad sprint to hide the book? People are supposed to be RUNNING to get stuff done in this story. I do not see any running.

AND WHERE IS THE BLOODY BATTLE AT THE END? I wanted to see some freakin' child endangerment!

/rant

Tom Felton really pulled this one off, though. HBP was the most important installment in the series for his character, and he did a great job with it.

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

Re: Anna K. -- I appreciated Jenniferwriter's comment about Tolstoy using Anna as a puppet for his ideas.

Moonie, I left this comment over at fillinthegaps.blogspot.com, but perhaps you won't see it there, since the post is way old.

Let me just say, Moonie, that I spent a long time reading A.K. -- 5months, I think. And I kept thinking it wasn't quite worth all that wading. Flashes of innovative realism, of course, and a great burst of energy at the end (the train scene) but I wasn't as wowed by the characters (especially Anna herself) as the rest of western civilizations seems to be. But the funny thing is, I do keep thinking about it, and I'm glad to have read it. And here's the kicker: this week I just read "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" -- Tolstoy lite! Only about 100 pages! And I loved it. Much more focused, great voice and details and character study. Quite heart-breaking, actually. I realize now that one of my problems with Anna K was both its bagginess and its moralizing -- I could feel the author working out his ideas about peasantry and politics and sex on the page. Whereas "Death of Ivan..." seems like a more organic story, a true outgrowth of Tolstoy's own barely processed terror of death. A more true book, for me.

Have I ever mentioned Jay Parini's "The Last Station"? It's a historical novel about the end of Tolstoy's life that explains so much about his marriage, philosophies (which at the end, were rather anti-sex and anti-everything), and more. I liked Last Station when I read it. I enjoy it even more in retrospect, as I add more Tolstoy readings on top of it.

(P.S. -- I really liked the HP movie! 'Snogging' and teen angst --much more fun than I thought it would be!)