It's a good book, but it's not my Typee...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...the Movie

I was lucky enough to see a preview screening of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies last night. Based on the smash hit book by Seth Grahame-Smith, it comes to theaters February 5, 2016.

What you need to know: Doctor Who works for Cersei Lannister. Meanwhile, Tywin Lannister has five daughters who are definitely dangerous enough to be on Game of Thrones. More than one actor from Bridget Jones's Diary shows up. Heads explode.  Got it?

I read the book ages ago, so I really can't say how closely the movie follows the original plot. And I don't know how much that really matters in a case like this. In a packed theater of men and women of all ages, everyone seemed to have a good time. There's intrigue and entrails, romance and violence, and so many misunderstandings between characters, you'll think you're watching Shakespeare.

Seriously, this is an exciting movie whether you read the book or not and whether you like zombies or not (as I've mentioned before, I'm sick and tired of them). As long as you can handle people's faces falling off, you'll be fine.

If you like reading this type of thing, Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Unholy Night are good choices as well. And I think I heard something about some lady named Jane Austen writing a similar book.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Boys in the Boat: Five star review!

Daniel James Brown has written an engaging, fascinating, touching book. The Boys in the Boat is the best book I've read in a long time. We're reading it for one of my book clubs and I remember voting for it when we selected our books for the year (I like boys, I like boats, what's not to like?) but I had no idea what a wonderful experience I was getting myself into. Well done, me.

The subtitle says it all: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. What more do you need to know? A few more things, actually. Yes, there were nine of them in the boat as it raced toward the finish line, but then there were the amazing coaches who pushed them beyond any imaginable limits, the rowing genius who built their lightning fast shell, their families and their girlfriends who struggled and hoped along with them as the country was clawing its way out of the Depression. There were also the countless fans who followed their races and cheered them on in an era when rowing was one of the biggest sports around.

Brown's writing is so rich in detail and relevant facts that it feels like reading Eric Larson, which is high praise indeed. I have no interest in sports in general, but rowing has such a aura about it. It's a sport of the monied and well-bred. But as Brown shows us, sometimes it pays off to be an outsider. The boys in this particular boat were from humble origins, some of them working every free minute to earn their way through school at the University of Washington. By the end of it, you'll want to shake hands with every last one of them or maybe hug them and bake them pie.

Check out the book trailer on Goodreads.

Rating: 5 stars
Genre: nonfiction
Recommended for fans of: nonfiction, history, WWII, sports, the Olympics, the Pacific Northwest, manliness, America