Emma, Wild, Phantom Tollbooth, Under the Skin

I keep getting fed up with books and not finishing them. What is wrong with me? Two recent give-ups were The Buried Giant and The Book of Strange New Things. The former I dropped because it just go so boring, and the latter I dropped because the Christian missionary main characters didn’t ring true for me and my brain got tired from arguing with the book.

I didn’t quite finish Wild by Cheryl Strayed, which was this month’s pick for book club. I meant to read the whole thing, I was quite enjoying it, but for some reason I got within twenty pages of the ending and forgot I was reading it until I went to write this blog post. I didn’t feel any inclination to finish it, so take from that what you like.

Emma and The Phantom Tollbooth were assigned to my students in our homeschool coop (Middle School and 4th/5th graders, respectively. I had some great conversations with the middle schoolers (all girls) about love and character and integrity. The 4th/5th graders are ending their year with Phantom Tollbooth so we haven’t talked yet, but I worked out my lesson plans and am pretty excited about what we’ll be doing. The book is illustrated by Jules Feiffer, who wrote one of my younger daughter’s favorite books, Bark, George!

My last book, Under the Skin, almost went unfinished–I read the last 10 pages in the library right before I returned it. The movie version with Scarlett Johansson was my favorite of 2014 and I was curious to read the book the movie was based on. I basically gave up on one Michel Faber book (Book of Strange New Things) in favor of another (Under the Skin) and it worked out really well. Under the Skin had way more narrative power than Book, making me want to turn the pages and find out what happened next. But it’s also one of those rare instances where the movie version exceeds the book artistically (hi there Last of the Mohicans). I agreed wholeheartedly with all the changes made between the book and the film, and felt that the film was way more powerful and thought-provoking than the book.

By the way, don’t you love that DVD cover for The Last of the Mohicans? Here it is again. It’s like, “Happy birthday! I got you Daniel Day Lewis. Enjoy!”

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