alexcat: (100 things book)

The Persian Boy
I ran across this book when it came out in paperback about 1973 or so, I'd guess. That would have made me 13 or so. I think I may have already read Mary Renault's Theseus books, The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea but this one blew me away.

Bagoas was such a beautiful character to a young girl with his yearning and his beauty. Renault's language was so poetic and lovely to me and still is. Just writing about it makes me want to reread it once again. Not sure how many times I have read it over the years, but it remains my favorite book of all books.

I am sure there are flaws in the book but I am not sure what they are. I loved the way Renault could make the reader feel as if they lived in the ancient world and knew Alexander and his contemporaries. She was wonderful at conveying life in ancient Greece.
alexcat: (100thingsmovies)

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

Jurassic Park
I had read the book by Michael Crichton and loved it. I told Larry when I read it that it would make a great movie. I secretly just wanted to see DINOSAURS! I have loved them since I knew what they were and I figured this was a chance for someone to make wonderful dinosaurs onscreen. I was right! The real true stars of the movie were and always will be the dinosaurs. The first time that Alan Grant and Ellie see the dinosaurs, it took my breath away too --- there on the large screen were giant creatures that looked as real as a cat or dog! The t-rex was magnificent as well. And the raptors and the triceratops... all of them were great. Oh and I liked the plot too!
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I am taking this one up to finish

{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

I chose to do 100 movie or books that I loved or hated. I actually did 17 of them and you can find them under the tag '100 things'.
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Iron Man is simply a delight. I'm pretty sure that Robert Downey Jr. is the reason. I had dismissed this man in the past as a useless druggie and promptly never thought about him again until I rented the Iron Man DVD. God what a delightfully funny man he is! Tony Stark is part Bill Gates, part Richard Branson and a whole lot RDJ. He has everything but that's not quite enough for him as he ventures into the superhero realm. Such a tiny little man in a big ol' suit! I liked the second one as well and am looking forward to number 3 soon.

These are not serious dark superhero films. if you want that, watch Bale as Batman. These are fun like Thor, Captain America and the Avengers, all of which I eagerly await more of too. So when you have an afternoon off, rent both Iron Man movies and have some fun with Tony Stark and his high tech world of adventure!
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The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice
(The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, Beauty's Release)

These three are on my hated them list. I never loved Anne Rice’s writing that much to begin with. I read and reread Interview with the Vampire over and over before I decided that I liked it. You must understand that there just wasn’t much vampire anything out there at the time so I read it. I liked vampires.

Anyway, back to Beauty. I read them in the early 2000’s. Someone recommended them and like an idiot, I bought them. For some reason, reading these books made me want a bath. They were such a turn off. They weren’t sexy or hot. They were nauseating and disturbing. I wanted to rewrite them and murder Alexi.

Let me backtrack a bit. I do not like BDSM. Pain is not fun and being tied up by anyone just makes me insane and angry. I’d probably kill anyone who did those things to me again. My life is painful enough without help. I have tried to understand this and as the years pass, the whole thing has left me cold. I don’t understand anyone who lives this way and I certainly don’t want to waste any of my life reading Anne Rice’s take on it.

Anne Rice is a ponderous and pompous ass at the best of times and this is not her best work. These books are as badly written as bad fanfiction though not as bad as 50 Shades of Grey, nothing is THAT bad. Maybe if you like being a pony, you’d like them. *SHUDDERS* Her other 'erotic' fiction is as unsexy and stupid too.

I have tried to think of something else to rec in it’s place but the only other ones I’ve read were Story of O, which was almost as stupid as these are and Fanny Hill, which I don’t remember at all.

Maybe I’m just not the girl to read BDSM stuff!
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Another one of my favorite movies of all time, Raiders of the Lost Ark gave me the action hero that I'd always wanted but I didn't know it.

He is the culmination of all action heroes - dashing, brash, irreverent, brilliant and afraid of snakes! What more could a girl want? This movie was simply lots of fun. It had the quintessential bad guys in the Nazis and the quintessential search in the search for the Ark. It took the cliched hero of old and gave him a rakish spin with Indiana Jones and his hat and whip. Indy screwed up a lot but we loved him even more for his foibles.

He is Han Solo in his own adventure, literally. The first was the best of the movies but the whole franchise was great fun. John Rhys-Davies gave us lovable Sallah, Indy's pal and his source of info in Cairo. Belloq, rival gone evil and working with the Nazis. Marion, Indy's once and future ladylove, who actually annoys me quite bit. If she's so tough in Tibet, why is she such a weenie in Egypt?

Never seen it? Do.

Indy is the man George Lucas would have been if he weren't Luke Skywalker!
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is probably the funniest thing I have ever read. Hands down! There are five books in the trilogy:
1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
3. Life, the Universe and Everything
4. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
5. Mostly Harmless

In these books we learn what is important when one travels the galaxy. First and foremost is that you should always take a towel. You never know when you'll need it. And of course, The Guide. The books are peopled with such unforgettable characters as Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox and the lovely Trillian. We meet the most boring species in the galaxy: the Vogons, the best drink in the galaxy: the pangalactic gargleblaster and of course the answer to question of Life, the Universe and Everything: 42.

We meet aliens and robots and even get to visit the Restaurant at the End of the Universe where diners can see the universe end nightly.

I found the whole series great fun and many giggles. In the world we live in, giggles are very important.

Don't forget your babelfish!
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Fifty Shades of Grey falls into the second set of things in this meme: Books and movies I hated.

This is simply one of those books that makes anyone who actually writes cringe. It was originally a fanfiction called Master of the Universe about Edward and Bella, the Twilight-ers who seemed to have enthralled all the tittering teens and their moms in America. Well, this piece of offal is worse. It's being billed as mommy-porn and is selling like crazy. I was recently in our local Barnes and Noble and women were all over it.

When a young lady I know was talking about how wonderful it is, I decided that I needed to see for myself so I searched and downloaded a copy. I refused to pay money for drivel and drivel it was.

It is the story of a student named Ana, who is as boring as Bella, who she really is, and her new billionaire boyfriend, Christian, who is a sadistic little shit masquerading as a Master. His only redeeming feature is... well, he doesn't have one. His grey flannel slacks hang on his hips a lot and repeatedly. Ana has an Inner Goddess who she mentions at least 300 times.

The characters were flat and the sex was flatter. The book was written by a Brit who didn't even bother to learn an American phrases... she mentions prams! I've nver heard any American use that word.


Don't buy, don't read it. It really is as bad as they say and even worse than Twilight. That ought to scare you off if nothing else will. I give it 0 stars and would give it a minus if there were such a rating.
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Sacajawea is another historical novel that I adore. It comes in at a whopping 1400+ pages but I found the read worth the time. It is the story of the young woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition to explore the lands in the west all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It's a story of a new country as well as the moving story of an Indian girl.

Sacajawea was the daughter of a Shoshoni chief before she was captured and made a slave in another tribe. She was won in a game by a white trader and ended up as one of his several Indian women. He joins Lewis and Clark as a guide and insists on taking Sacajawea, who is pregnant at the the time.

Ms. Waldo uses the known history of Sacajawea, though she does depart from the common thought that she died at 24. There is some evidence in oral tradition that Sacajawea lived many years with the Comanche then returned to the Shoshoni after her Comanche husband died.

This book is an adventure from first to last and I recommend it if you're interested in the subject at all!
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Ride the Wind is the novelization of the life of Cynthia Ann Parker, a child who was stolen by the Comanche when her family was massacred in 1836. She was 9 years old and she became a member of the tribe and lived with them for 24 years. She completely forgot the ways of her people. She married a chief and bore him several children, one of whom was Quanah Parker, the last free chief of the Comanche. She was rescued by the Texas Rangers at 34 and died 10 years later, refusing to ever become a white woman again.

I read this book in 1985 for the first time and I have no idea how many times since. I loved those 'Indian' themed romances at the time and picked this one up as one of those but it was so much more. It was the story of a woman first but it was also the story of the fall of the Comanche nation. It's told with brutality and beauty and it broke my heart every time I read it. I found myself there with Naduah(her Indian name)as she grew from a child to a woman, as she became Comanche and rode into battle with her beloved husband.

It is still in print and I'd recommend it if you have an interest in Native American history but are not ready for hardcore history yet or if you love a very good story. The story of Cynthia Parker is a part of American history that everyone should know.
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Lost Souls is a vampire novel but it's not like any others I've read. Poppy Z. Brite's vampires are born, a separate species than humans but they do feed on humans. It is the story of Steve and Ghost, two human boys with a band called Lost Souls? and a group of vampires: Nothing, Zillah, Twigs and Molochai, and Christian. The boys live in a fictional town called Missing Mile, NC and the vampires blow into town and nothing is ever the same.

I think I found this one refreshing even when I read it years ago because the vampires were monsters, true monsters in every sense of the word yet I still felt for Christian, the eldest of the crew and the one who actually had sympathy for humans.

There are several short stories featuring these characters and another novel Drawing Blood that they appear in though it is not a true sequel. I think the real sequel was never finished. If you like dark, gothy things, give this one a try.

Poppy Z. Brite wrote several horror novels, then a few darkly humorous foodie novels and is now retired and living in New Orleans. Poppy is now Billy Martin and is a craftsman and fiction editor in his hometown. He makes wonderful little homemade blank books which you can find on Ebay.
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It is one of my favorite novels and one of Stephen King's classics. It takes us all back to those things we feared when we were children, those dark, unnamed things that we were sure lurked in the closet or under the bed.

IN the little town of Derry, Maine, all the fears of seven kids come out in one ugly almost godlike monster that we will come to know as It. It was usually seen as a clown, Pennywise the Clown, who has actually become an icon of evil to an entire generation. He certainly was to Sara.

But I loved the kids, the Losers. The nerdy geeky kids with problems of their own and a monster to conquer too. They even come back as adults to finish the job.

The book is long but never boring, always urging you to turn the page for more and more and I always felt that the book delivered. King described the 'real' it in a way that simply could not be translated into a movie. I won't go into the rest of the plot or even much of the plot. It's simply something you need to read for yourself. If horror stories are your thing, then this one is perfect. Stephen is a master at reaching down deep and finding what terrifies and then scaring the crap out of us with it.

If you haven't read it, do. There will be more Stephen King in this list too. Several more.
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The Lion King was the first movie I ever saw 6 times in the theater. Sara loved it so much that we went every chance we got. I think it is my all time favorite Disney movie. The opening music is wonderful and the movie nets lets you down. It has everything: humor, music, love, loyalty, evil, magic, jealousy, rage, murder, and Pumba and Timon with the meaning of life!

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was so cute as Simba. Who could resist him when he sang "I just can't wait to be King?" We already adored him from his role on Home Improvement and his other movies. James Earl Jones and Jeremy Irons, as heroic father and evil uncle were perfectly cast too. I can't see the Borgias now without calling the Pope Scar! Then there are the hyenas(Woopie Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings) and Simba's sidekicks(Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella). last but never least is Rowan Atkinson as Zazu and his songs are great!

The most outstanding thing is the music. Elton John did the music and there are some wonderful songs especially Circle of Life.

If you've never seen it, see it and remember "Hakuna Matata"!
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Sta Wars is my favorite movie of all time. I remember it - no idea where or who with but I remember sitting in that theater in 1977 seeing that huge Imperial ship fly over the top part of the screen and I remember my jaw dropping. NO one had done anything remotely like this before. Never mind that it was tiny models and popsicle sticks, Star Wars was magical! I fell head over heels in love with angsty teenage Luke Skywalker. Even his name was romantic. And the way he looked wistfully at the two suns of Tatooine as they set... oh my.

There was so much that made me love it and see it probably 100 times so far but nothing actually captures it like that first time. That 70's Show did an ep where the gang went to see Star Wars and they all sat totally entranced... that was me!

Of course, there were other characters too: Han Solo, Chewie, ObiWan, Leia, the Droids and of course, that future cultural icon: Darth Vader. Oh my!

I am still an avid fan. I have hundreds of toys, books, vids, dvds, um... shirts, plushies...there are even some empty Mtn. Dew cans in my collection in the basement. And magazines, posters... well, you get the idea.

George Lucas might be a lot of things but he gave me more joy than most anyone else in the world and I thank him for that.

If you've not seen it, do. It's history!
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Catcher in the Rye is not a book I love or like even. I read it a kid and again a few years ago to see if I liked it better. I did not. I simply did not identify in any way with Holden Caulfield. I have to admit that I was mostly bored by this novel but I find that is true of most of the 'famous' young adult novels of my time. (I'm thinking of A Separate Peace.) I found nothing that interesting in the story and I am having a hard time here coming with more than I've already said.

J.D. Salinger was famous for this and for being a recluse but he never produced anything approaching this one in fame. I do remember that he had his photo removed from the back of Catcher in the 90s because he didn't want anyone to see him. It had only been there for something like 35 years... go figure.

I won't say don't read it - but I will say don't blame me if you find it as dull as I did.
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Black Beauty has always been one of my favorite books. It's actually one of the first books I remember clearly but I have no idea if it was read to me or whether I read it. I suspect it was read to me. As a child, I loved horses so much that I wanted to BE a horse. I spent most of my time walking around on all fours and making horse sounds so it's easy to see how this is a favorite of mine.

It was published in 1877 in the UK and is the autobiography of a horse. It is considered a children's book though it was not written or published as one. Anna Sewell was a lover of horses and wrote it to further the humane treatment of horses. This book was responsible for the outlawing of harness that forced a horse's head to stay up high so as to look good pulling a carriage.

If you love horses or just a lovely story, read it.

On an aside note, Sean Bean is in a movie version of the book from the 1990s. It's not so bad either.

EDIT: This book was banned in South Africa at one time because it had the word black in the title. Obviously the person banning it had never read it.
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Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite books and movies. I originally read GotW when I was a teen, maybe 14 or so. I actually had a copy that was printed with two columns on each page and was very thick. And I read like it was food and water. For the week or two it took me to read this book, I was consumed by Scarlett O'Hara and her trials and tribulations. It was romance novel ahead of its time... it won a Pulitzer in 1936. Of course it was romanticized but I found it a very anti-war novel. The young and old men of the south found that there is very little romance in being hungry and dirty and often wounded with no way to come home and not much to come home to. It is also different in that it has no happy ending. I rec that you read it but read it with the idea that it was written in the early 1930s and reflects the world as it was then.

The movie -- oh my -- I saw it a few years later in a theater too. I believe a good movie deserves watching on a wide screen and this one was quite a spectacle to behold. It was done in 1939 when my mama was 4 years old and it's still beautiful to see. And Vivien Leigh, who was quite breathtaking as Scarlett. CGI didn't exist but the burning of Atlanta is still quite the scene. The story is shortened a bit but the essence is there and is still the same - the horror of war for the soldiers and the ones left behind, the coming of age of a woman who'd never done anything in her life but be pretty. The film itself is history even if the history is totally accurate.
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3. The Blair Witch Project is probably the biggest waste of time ever made. It is the only movie I've ever been to that the audience stood and booed at the end. It was mostly just stupid. The handheld cameras were really seriously badly used. The only actual dialogue that the actors seemed to know was the work Fuck, which seems to be in every sentence uttered in the entire movie. And the plot...Well, it was Hansel and Gretel! Seriously. I read that it took 22,000 dollars to make. Evidently they rented cameras to film and used the rest of the money on booze and drugs. They surely didn't spend it on anything to make the movie interesting.

We actually stayed through the whole movie because I was certain it would actually get better. It didn't. I was amazed that anyone could claim to be scared by this silly mess but evidently they still are, according to the boards at IMDB, or maybe they're all 11 years old.

Don't waste your time on it. Get your nails done, get a haircut. Hell. gettting your teeth cleaned is better than this movie!
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{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

100 Books and Movies that I love or hate:

2. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice is a book that I both love and hate. I cannot tell you how many times I've read it. I hated it the first two times I read it. I think it was simply the only vampire story out there at the time. The story is actually kind of dumb and poor dear Lestat comes off as a monster indeed in this first book of what would be a long and often dull series, interspersed with Lestat being surprisingly humane at times. But not in this first book. He is a monster, albeit a lonely one who makes a companion who does not like him while still being drawn to him. Claudia is the child he makes to satisfy Louis' need for someone to love and then even she is taken away. Claudia is VERY creepy, being a monster in a five year old's body.

I do have to say that I much prefer Lestat in all his carnations to any of the romance novel vampires or to sparkly Edward or even to Charlaine Harris' mundane Bill. He is hungry, beautiful, lonely and many more things. Human is simply not one of the things he is.

If you've not read it, give it a try. It's actually one of Ms. Rice's better books.
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{Take the 100 Things challenge!}

100 movies or books that I loved or hated

1. <i>Tombstone</i> -  This is one of my very favorite movies of all time.  I have been a fangirl of the old West for 30 years and I never tire of tales of the Earps, Doc Holliday, Wild Bill Hickok, Billy the Kid or many other famous people who lived and have been immortalized in the movies.  BUT no one has done it in such style as they did in this movie.  While Kurt Russell is pretty good as Wyatt Earp, Val KIlmer is magnificent as Doc Holliday.  he played the consumptive  degenerate with such style and compassion that anyone who saw the movie fell in love with him. 

Here are a few of Doc's quotes:

1. It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.

2. I'm your huckleberry.

3. You know, Frederic fucking Chopin.

4. You're no daisy! You're no daisy at all. Poor soul, you were just too high strung.


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