Wednesday, April 15, 2009

R is for Required

I worked the Book Fair at the kids' school yesterday. We were all talking books and it made me think of books/TV/movies which, I believe, should be required viewing for everyone.

Did y'all see that reality show that was on last year called The Baby Borrowers? I'm not generally a fan of reality shows. They are full of hysterical drama and not the hysterically funny that one would hope for. Most of them are so scripted you can practically feel the cue cards in your own hands and they all seem to reward very bad behavior.

Baby Borrowers was a bit different. There was no reward to "strive" for. These were just teenagers who were convinced that they were A) going to stay together as a couple forever and B) were ready to handle a house, job, and babies. They were put into a cul-de-sac of homes, one couple per home. At first they were given babies, then toddlers, then tweens/teens, then elderly folks.

It. Was. AWESOME! Those poor kids had no clue what they were in for. They couldn't even handle the babies much less the other sets of people they were given. (The parents of the loaner children were in another house with full-time monitoring along with a full-time nanny (who wouldn't get involved unless there was a safety issue) in the house at all times). They all had to choose someone to go to work during the day and one to stay home. It was very interesting to see how some kids who you thought would be slackers really stepped up and vice versa.

I believe in my heart that the show should be required viewing for all kids. Give them the sex-ed talk, then make them watch this show. Very eye-opening.

Last year, I also watched a movie called Bordertown. It was, sadly, very eye-opening as well. "Based on a true story" it hits on the subject of factories in Mexico. These factories run 24/7 and pump out hundreds of TV's/computers/etc. per second. The workers are primarily women because the women will work for lower wages and complain less. The thing is, the companies that left America to open these factories are too cheap to pay for proper security to get these female workers to and from their homes safely. The rape and murder toll is astonishing. Thousands every year. Antonio Banderas' character said, "If you want to make a snuff film, rape someone, be a serial killer, or just kill someone for any reason - just come here." The Mexican government not only denies these numbers, they actively cover up the murders so as to not lose the business these factories bring the country. They know all about it. I'm also quite sure the companies that own the factories know all about it. The women are expendable and it's a disgusting, dirty little secret. I recommend everyone rent this movie and after you've watched the movie, watch all the Special Features as well. I don't know what, if anything can be done about it but if anyone has any ideas how we can stop this madness, I'm all for it!

I was trying to think of any books that I would consider Required Viewing but since what I read is mostly fiction and mostly entertaining, useless fiction, I couldn't think of any. Maybe Roots. That one really taught me a lot of truth (in fiction) about slavery that I didn't know about.

I'm going to go ahead and review some other books and movies I've been perusing lately.

Rory O'Shea Was Here - This movie was a wonderful blend of funny, sad and poignant. It stars the ever beautiful James McAvoy as a young man with Cerebral Palsy. He has full vocal range and the use of 2 fingers ("for motion and for self-abuse" as he says). He's just arrived at a home for other people with similar disabilities and he hates it. He accidentally befriends another young man with CP. The other man can't talk in an understandable fashion but Rory understands him just fine. Rory keeps trying to get approved for independent living funds but is consistently denied because he's considered a troublemaker. His friend is a straight arrow and gets the assistance and hires Rory to be his interpreter ("2 for one" says Rory). It's an outstanding film.

Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series - I finished this massive tome on April 2. It was 816 pages containing all 5 of the HGG books plus a short story about Zaphod. This book was strange for me. I think I had it built up in my head that it was going to be roll-on-the-floor-laughing funny. (Guess I forgot it was written by an Englishman and the English humor is a bit drier and more subtle then American shenanigans.) And after Roots and Queen, I was sure I was going to fly through this book. Not so much. It's one of the few books that I'd seen the movie first (a couple of years ago) and that was helpful in that it gave me a better mental picture of the creatures in the book. I had a difficult time getting into these books, though. I don't know why! They were creative and pretty funny. They were engaging and interesting. It just took me forever to get through them. Strange.

The next book on my list for the year is Mists of Avalon. On April 4th, I read the Acknowledgements and the Prologue. I looked at the number on the last page (867) and sighed. I was thinking it was going to be another long one to get through. The next night I started on the book. I read 50 pages right off! And another 50 the next day! I'm on page 170 now but I'm completely engrossed and engaged in this book. I'd be in it every day but other things are making me very busy right now. The sequel (prequel, actually) that I've scheduled to read after this is Forest House and it's a more reasonable 480 pages so I should be able to stay on track for my "scheduled" reading.

I listened to 5th Horseman on audiobooks and it was good. Entertaining and keeping in line with the Women's Murder Club as established so far. These books are great entertainment while I make my Stitch Savers.

I also listened to another audiobook recently. I don't remember how I found the blog Faster Then Kudzu but I've been reading it for about 3 months now and I really like it! It's the author Joshilyn Jackson and her blog is so well-written and funny! She talks about being an author (she's just finished writing her 4th novel) and I it finally occurred to me that if I like reading her blog so much, I should check out her novels. I put her first novel on my ipod and.....
well, it reminded me why I don't attempt fiction. I've had a strange and wonderful life and I love writing about it. Occasionally, I toy with the idea of writing fiction. Then I read books like Gods in Alabama and they are so well written! I know I'd never stack up. The way she unfolded the story was excellent. There's 2 twists in the book - the one, I sort of guessed at. I didn't know for sure until it was actually revealed, it was just a passing thought - you know, "I wonder if..... nah". The other twist (the first twist in the story) shocked me completely! Excellent! Can't wait to get the next one in my pod.

Wishing for more downtime to read, Ruth!


Olga said...

First of all- DON"T FAINT!!!!
I'm the ghost in the machine....
I will have to look into those movies and the kenzu thingy- sounds veddy interesting. I've been reading and listening to audio and thats about all- I actually have quit the computer almost entirely- I dunno why, lazy? maybe....Or two steps from the nut house. heh.the word verification is 'stair rat' today- weird

kmkat said...

Maybe you found Faster Than Kudzu from me? Or maybe we both found it from the same source. I've been reading it for about the same length of time as you and have listened to The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, read Between, George, and requested Gods in Alabama from the library.

Yarnhog said...

I first read "The Mists of Avalon" when it came out when I was a kid and fell completely in love with it. In the years since, the author has come out with several other related books, including "The Forest House". She also has books about the Trojan war, Atlantis, and I think a couple of other topics, all of which are done in a similar way, and all of which are also great. (They're all on my bookshelf.)

Heide said...

Marion Zimmer Bradlay died back in 1999 but she left quite a legacy. Not only did she write books of her own, but she established several periodicals that collected and published shorter works for new/lesser-known science fiction and fantasy writers. Roots was good but I didn't care much for Queenie. It seems that in recent years my literary selections have been centered around juvenile fiction. I try reading most of the books that my three daughters read. This way I know what they're reading for possible mommy censorship (some of the teen novels can get graphic) as well as for discussions. I miss having time to read for hours on end though... one of the trade-offs of motherhood though, as you are well-aware. Cheers!

JessaLu said...

Love your reading list! :o)

I noticed you mentioned you were having trouble with paypal and quickbooks, I spent the last year of my life trying to get the two to mesh and finally figured out what I was doing wrong (it was 99% paypal's fault) I hope you figured yours out but if you didn't, I'm happy to let you know what I did to fix it all! ;o)

Nell said...

Why not throw Anna Karenina on the pile?