You know, having neither school nor work does wonders for media consumption, as does access to St. Louis libraries. Nineteen movies and six books, including Stranger Than Fiction, Before Sunrise, The Queen, The Wrong Man, Volver, V for Vendetta, We are Marshall, The English Patient, Eragon (book), and Ficciones after the jump.
Category: Books and Reading
I’m not quite finished with the December reading/watching recap, but since publishing “best of” lists is the thing to do at the end of the year, I figured I could go ahead and do that. And by “best of 2006” I mean “best that I saw or read in 2006,” because, as usual, I was not proactive enough at theatres and new release bookshelves to give any sort of a best movies or books released in 2006 list.
Top Ten Films I Watched in 2006 (none of the lists are in any particular order…most are chronological of when I saw them, because that’s the order of the records I started from)
- Brick (original reaction)
- Grave of the Fireflies (original reaction)
- In a Lonely Place (original reaction)
- Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (original reaction)
- Downfall (original reaction)
- The Constant Gardener (original reaction)
- Wit (original reaction)
- Grand Illusion (original reaction)
- The Queen (original reaction)
- Volver (original reaction)
- Match Point (original reaction)
- Munich (original reaction)
- Pickpocket (original reaction)
- Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (original reaction)
- Inside Man (original reaction)
- Good Night and Good Luck (original reaction)
- The Departed (original reaction)
- Talk to Her (original reaction)
- Transamerica (original reaction)
- Little Miss Sunshine (original reaction)
Ten Films You Probably Haven’t Seen But Ought To
- Junebug (original reaction)
- Primer (original reaction)
- Cache (original reaction)
- Elevator to the Gallows (original reaction)
- November (original reaction)
- Sholay (original reaction)
- Thumbsucker (original reaction)
- Smiles of a Summer Night (original reaction)
- Thank You for Smoking (original reaction)
- A History of Violence (original reaction)
Some Films I Really Had Gotten to St. Louis Before I Had to Go Back to Waco:
Top Ten Books I Read This Year
- Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (original reaction)
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (original reaction)
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (original reaction)
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (original reaction)
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (original reaction)
- Hitchcock’s Films by Robin Wood (original reaction)
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (original reaction)
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard (original reaction)
- Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (original reaction)
- One by One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden (original reaction)
Top Five TV Shows (network only; I can’t keep track of cable)
Top Five Guilty Pleasure TV Shows (by this I mean either that they aren’t really GOOD, but I like them, or merely that I enjoy them, but not in a substantial, fannish way)
- Desperate Housewives (ABC)
- The Amazing Race (CBS)
- Bones (FOX)
- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (FOX)
- Standoff (FOX)
On the subject of TV shows, 24 will probably be joining the first set of TV shows this spring, and American Idol will certainly be joining the “guilty pleasure” set in LIKE TWO WEEKS! Just so you know, this blog will likely be taken over by American Idol fever after the premiere on January 16th.
Two…count ’em, TWO…movies this month. How freakin’ pathetic is that? And one of them was because I was writing about it for class. Oh well, there are twelve books. That’s right. More than I’ve ever read in a month before, ever. Well, yes, all of them were for school. Or work. A lot of them are plays that I read into a CD burner so that the stage design professor I work for in the theatre department could listen to them later.
What do grad students talk about in their downtime? Why, what books to kick out of the canon of English literature, of course!
I think between ten or so of us, we nominated the following for de-canonization:
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Romeo and Juliet (not all of Shakespeare, just R&J)
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Charles Dickens (my contribution)
Herman Melville (thanks to Lis over at
I would also add Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I’m sorry, but Holden Caulfield is the whiniest character I’ve ever read, and he needed to shut up and grow up. (Incidentally, I strongly disagree with Woolf’s nomination, and also Fitzgerald’s–I would, however, devalue The Great Gatsby in favor of Tender is the Night.)
What would you kick out of the canon?
I know all I’ve posted about lately is school. But it has been sort of prominent in my mind. ;) Not as prominent as it should have been. I completely gave into my procrastination tendencies this week, writing my final paper for Metaphysical Poetry last night from 7pm-midnight, then collapsing–until I woke up at 4am with inspiration for the final few paragraphs. So yeah, I got up and wrote them from 4-6am, then went back to sleep until 8. Then my plan was to edit it, but I…didn’t. I looked over it, fixed a few words here and there, then turned it in. Whatever. I don’t know if the fact that I don’t care is good because it’s keeping me from getting overly stressed about something that honestly isn’t life and death to me, or if it’s bad, and a sign that I will always be sloppy about everything (which I tend to be now). Oh well. I don’t care. See? Huh.
Hee. I just marked the Metaphysical Poetry paper completed on my Remember the Milk todo list, and it was the last thing on the list, and now it says “You have no incomplete tasks! Woohoo!” Which is exactly how I feel about it. :)
Anyway. Everything is now finished except for a final tomorrow morning, which I do need to study for, because it’s going to be half an essay requiring references to at least twelve different works that we read throughout the semester, and we have to discuss how they all related to some theme (man-woman relationship, man-God relationship, etc.). I think I’m going to do heroism, but it’s a lot easier to find in the Old English/Anglo-Saxon works than in the 16th century stuff, so I’m going to have to make up some stuff.
The GOOD NEWS. I got my Howards End paper back today, and I got a 95%! From one of the hardest graders in the department, or so I hear! And he really thinks I have a chance at publishing it. That’s exciting. Certainly nothing else I wrote this semester is close to publishable, not even the one for Bibliography and Research that’s supposed to be publishable. By the time that one was due this past Tuesday, I was already beyond caring. My goal for next semester: manage my ability to care better, so I get the really important stuff done while I still care about it.
Question for seminary-type people. Or other historically-minded people. I did the Metaphysical poetry paper on the relationship of George Herbert to his religious environment, and I found enough good stuff for a ten-page paper, but it got me interested in Calvin’s church community. Do you have any suggestions for not-too-difficult-to-read books about the Genevan church, and also the Zwinglian one? After skimming three or four books about the Reformation in general, I sensed that some of them are, uh, a little biased, so I wasn’t sure how far to trust some of them beyond the basic historical facts. A lot of the English poetry in the early seventeenth century seems to be as critical of Geneva as of Rome, though from what I can tell, Anglicans like Herbert were largely Calvinistic in theology, so I think it’s more of a critique of Geneva’s liturgical style and system of church government (which I couldn’t quite ascertain from any of the books I had…was it basically Presbyterian? Or congregational?). I guess I just need some good basic Reformation histories that aren’t too biased.