Did you see Anna Karenina last weekend? Or did your husband insist on Skyfall or Lincoln? Or, more likely, since having kids, do you get out to the movies about as often as you get a hot stone massage?
If you haven’t read Anna Karenina–which would take roughly 33 hours and 24 minutes–try out this new flick starring Keira Knightly and Jude Law (2 hours, 10 minutes, done). The lavish, tragic tale may be old, but it’s ripe and juicy. The famed author Leo Tolstoy weaves together searing social commentary with epic love and tragedy. I listened to this book on a cassette tape with my mom during a 1400-mile car ride. Oh, the ending. We cried. And I better just leave it at that.
I’m a sucker for adapted late 1800s classic literature on screen. Give me Keira Knightly any day. I live for Price and Prejudice. Or maybe I break for Jane Eyre. That’s a tough call. Note to husband: Accents and period costumes are much bigger turn ons than James Bond.
The tickets are bought. And I’ve been pumped for days, make that months, make that years.
I tore through the books as they came out, but that’s not a surprise considering how much I love young adult fiction and especially teen angst. I have always been lukewarm on vampires, but this book sunk its teeth into me. Who wouldn’t want to be Bella? Two hot, powerful guys are willing to die for her. Bella is no kick-ass superhero like Buffy (well, she might be, *spoiler*), but she represents the ultimate teenage girl fantasy. She is respected, worshipped and loved by two boys, and then she gets to choose between them. Anyway, the Twilight series led me to more critically aclaimed fare like Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. Goodness. You need to read that–and skip the boring Tom Cruise/Brad Pitt movie version.
But you don’t need to read the Twilight series. As much as I liked the books, I adore the movies much, much more. Collectively, I’ve seen Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn Part 1 at least 30 times. Should I be admitting that on the Internet? I’m going to go one step further on over-sharing: I’m spilling the beans that my dear, patient husband digs Twilight, too.
Check out the trailer at the jump. Will you be getting in on the action? Or are you–sniff, sniff–totally glad that it’s over?
My inner teenager needs to throw a party. By this time next Friday, I’ll have my tickets to the November 16 opening of the final Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Pt. 2. I am a proud Twilight Mom who will be cheering for vampire Bella and her new hybrid baby.
Okay, so I haven’t read Days of Blood & Starlight yet. It’s the sequal to Daughter of Smoke & Bonethat was my number one YA book addiction last year. It follows the plight of a blue-haired heroine named Karou who glides in and out of other-world portals delivering teeth to a father who looks like a monster. Enter a vicious and beautiful angel named Akiva and shocking secrets unravel. The author’s language and imagination are breathtaking–and fantasy isn’t usually my genre. Laini weaves teenage love and insecurity with religion and racism and too many other engrossing topics to list. I’ve been biting my nails waiting for Blood & Starlight. My poor kids will not get much attention this weekend. Lucky me, there is a third book on the horizon in this trilogy.
Another favorite author, Rachel Cohn, just released a startling futuristic book about a beautiful clone with pink eyes who isn’t supposed to feel anything. She is a human robot of sorts who is created to serve the richest people in the world on a small island so beautiful that even the air is intoxicating. Rachel Cohn had me hooked with her earlier books like Gingerbread. But this one is vastly different. She switches from realistic dramatic fiction to science fiction with humor, insight, intelligence and a wild imagination. Readers will be totally surprised to find out what the clone, Elysia, is capable of doing. I’m happy I’ll get to read more of Elysia’s story. Beta is the first of a four-book series.
David Levithan’s beautiful trademark lines are often about thoughtful and complicated people who are in dizzying relationships. He, along with Rachel Cohn, wrote Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist, which was turned into a great movie. Last year, David tried his hand at adult fiction and wrote a book I’ve gone on and on about: The Lover’s Dictionary. (If you like 500 Days of Summer and other indie flicks, this is for you.) Every Day, his summer young adult release was so different from anything I’ve read. It’s about a sort-of person named A who wakes up in a different body every day. A falls in love with a girl, but A is not male or female. Things get complicated because A can be anything–beautiful, ugly, sweet, smart, mean and more. A is a loving, kind being stuck in an ever-changing and impossible situation. The commentary about gender and color lines are tear-inducing.
Read these books, or give them to an adult or teen. They will make you relish young adult fiction and the way it can bring you back to high school without really having to go back to high school. That is perfection. Do you read YA? What are your favorites?
What’s it like to be a 26-year-old media mogul? I have no idea. I do know that I love Lena Dunham,and the last episode of ‘Girls‘ on HBO was epic. It was titled ‘She Did.’
Yes, she certainly did.
Today, Lena Dunham signed a $3.5 million book deal with Random House. (That publishing house rocks, BTW. I did my book ‘Redemption‘ with them.) Dunham is working on a collection of essays called ‘Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned.’ Supposedly, it’s along the lines of Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants.’ They’re also comparing it to Nora Ephron‘s stuff. Yes. Definitely yes.
Even though I’m 12 years older than Dunham, I relate to what she writes about young women’s career, guy, money and friend woes. Her show reminds me of my 20s and makes me glad that I’ve graduated to the next decade. The darker ‘Girls’ gets, the more I like it. Twisted and funny is a winning combination.
While we’re waiting for Dunham’s book–from what I read, most of it is already written, and it should be out within a year–check out Dunham’s first movie called Tiny Furniture. I’ve seen it three times on Netflix.
What would you do on the day you got a $3.5 million deal? I’d be planning my trip across India. Instead, Dunham, is fretting. Around the time the deal was announced today, she tweeted:
Obsessed with midwives? I am. Not so long ago, midwives were a lifeline for pregnant women and their families. Today, they’re wonderful additions to standard healthcare. Get advice about them here and here.
Get a dose of what midwifery was like in the old days with a great TV show, ‘Call the Midwife,’ and a moving novel, ‘The Midwife of Hope River.’
‘Call the Midwife‘ could be the new ‘Downton Abbey‘. It’s that good. It’s about Jenny Lee (pictured above), a young midwife in East London in the 1950s. She navigates the social mores of her era while helping pregnant women solve their complicated problems. She’s the new girl among the seasoned nuns at her Anglican hospital, and she’s just as shocked by the soon-to-be mothers as she is by the nuns who have become immune to their sad stories. I couldn’t stop watching. What happens to the Spanish mom who went into early labor? Can Jenny help another patient with her sudden case of preeclampsia? Find out this Sunday at 9 EST on PBS. (If you missed last week’s series premiere, catch it here.)
‘The Midwife of Hope River’ is a novel set in West Virginia during the Depression. Main character Patience Murphy loves helping women bring their new babies into the world, but she is hiding secrets that keep her from getting close to anyone. Patience is a loving, intriguing and enlightening protagonist. Her realistic birth stories are fascinating. That’s because the author, Patricia Harmon, was herself a midwife in rural communes and, later, in hospitals. Harmon’s memoirs, ‘The Blue Cotton Gown’ and ‘Arms Wide Open: A Midwife’s Journey,’ are also supposed to be informative and entertaining.
I love fiction that sheds light on history, especially the histories of mothering.