Wolf Hall on TV

WolfHall

Have you guys been digging the Masterpiece adaptation of Wolf Hall (Sundays on PBS) as much as I have?  If you’re not familiar, it is based on Hilary Mantel’s phenomenal novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.  I am so stoked for the finale next week!  Here are some of my observations of the show so far:

  • As much as I love James Frain as Cromwell in The Tudors, I think Mark Rylance is superb.  I love his facial expressions, and you can practically see the wheels turning in his head as he calculates how to handle things.
  • Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn.  Despite the gutteral Frenchie way she pronounces Cromwell’s name, I think she’s the perfect combination of haughty and vulnerable.  I can’t wait to see how she performs during the final episode depicting her downfall.
  • The kid who plays Rafe is SO stinking cute.  Makes me want to see him in The Maze Runner.
  • The supporting cast is excellent.  Mary Boleyn is crafty, Lady Rochford is conniving, Norfolk is pompous, Henry is infuriating.  And I was excited to see Ed Speelers from Downton Abbey as Edward Seymour.  He’s easy on the eyes.
  • I read a HuffPo review the day after it premiered, before I actually watched it, and at first I was confused by the comparison to The Shield (one of my all-time faves).  Now I totally get it.  It’s all about the non-verbal cues and the tension.

Needless to say, I’m loving it, and I can’t wait until next week!

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Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

then came youRating: **** (4/5)

Published:  Washington Square Press, 2011

Format: Trade Paperback

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Chick Lit

Source: BEA, signed copy

I went into this book with really low expectations because I didn’t think I would enjoy Weiner’s brand of chick-lit. But I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t overly corny or girly or romance-y. It deals with the ethical and social issues of egg donation, infertility, and surrogacy. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of four women involved: egg donor Jules, surrogate Annie, would-be mom India, and India’s stepdaughter Bettina. Each woman is a little bit selfish and desperate, but noble in their ultimate pursuit of happiness and stability. During the process of creating life, they all encounter some form of tragedy, but are able to find themselves along the way. There we’re a few minor things that irritated me (if you’re going to have a character work at Target, at least get their uniform right: khakis and red shirts), but overall, I liked the premise and the storytelling was decent.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

weiner

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The Sisters Who Would Be Queen by Leanda de Lisle

the sisters who would be queenSubtitle: Mary, Katherine, and Lady Jane Grey, A Tudor Tragedy

Rating: ***** (5/5)

Published: Ballantine Books, 2009

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Nonfiction (Tudor History)

Source: Personal collection

This book seeks to discredit the myths surrounding the Grey sisters that have evolved over the centuries, especially the 9-days Queen Jane.  The role they would all play in history is certainly tragic. Jane’s execution at the hands of Mary I and Katherine and Mary’s persecution by Elizabeth I are really just multigenerational family grudges.  The issue of succession is a constant reminder of the tumult that Henry VIII created.  Though Jane never wanted to be queen and is often cast as a pawn by either her mother or her father-in-law, she was willing to fulfill her dynastic responsibility for her Protestant faith.  Katherine’s secret marriage is a timeless love story and the cruelty and stubbornness of Elizabeth is heartbreaking.  While Mary is often a historical afterthought, she was also the victim of a spiteful and insecure monarch.  These women yielded great power just because their grandmother was the sister of Henry VIII and because of their royal blood, they were thrust into the drama of the Tudor era and were denied happy lives.

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Ugly Bathroom gets a Facelift

Another project has been completed on our quest to make our condo marketable.  A little background: the original owner was quite fond of wallpaper.  I had already removed plenty of it from the kitchen and the guest bathroom, but this project was just too big (and too high) for us to handle on our own.  Without further ado, the before:

The painter did a great job despite some impossible to remove wallpaper (it wasn’t coming down without taking the drywall with it, so he sealed it and plastered over it).  But then again, anything was an improvement on what it was before.  I’m sure you’re dying to see the results:

 

Now, I know the light fixture and vanity area is still pretty dated, but I’m just not willing to spend a fortune upgrading them when the new owner can do whatever they want.  The space is huge, and that in itself is a great selling feature.  And I do think the dark grey really makes the white tile pop.  All that’s left to do this weekend is clean up the shower and fix the drain and we are all set!

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Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carroll and Nickolas Cook

zombielandRating: ** (2/5)

Published: Sourcebooks, 2011

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Children’s Zombie Mashup

Source: Personal collection

If you thought the regular Alice in Wonderland was the stuff of nonsense, add zombies to the mix, and it’s downright ridiculous.  While I can understand all the rage of taking classic books and incorporating the popularity of zombies, it didn’t quite work here.  The macabre aspect didn’t mesh well with Lewis Carroll’s lightheartedness.  And I still don’t even know if Alice herself was turning into a zombie and that’s why her hair was falling out and she was craving raw meat (though I had expected she would want braaaaiiiins).  It tried to be more clever than it was (Black Rat instead of White Rabbit, meat pies instead of tarts), but bringing the undead into one of my favorite stories was a bit of a mess.

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The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

outsidersRating: ***** (5/5)

Published: Laurel Leaf, 1967

Format: Former library hardcover

Genre: Young Adult:

Source: Personal collection

This incredible book is timeless and unforgettable and it was the perfect book for me to read it when I did. Ponyboy’s narration is so emotional, raw, and angry, yet honest and forgiving. It was devastating and hopeful and incredibly moving.

***Spoiler Alert***

I was barely keeping it together when Johnny and Dally died, but when Darry called Ponyboy “baby,” I lost it.

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Readathon Updates…

zombie hatterUpdate 5: 6:09 pm.  Last update of the day, folks!  So I am participating in the mid-event survey:

1. What are you reading right now? Alice in Zombieland
2. How many books have you read so far? 1.7
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I’m going to finish Alice, and if I’m still motivated, I’ll try to finish The Sisters Who Would Be Queen, an excellent biography of the Grey sisters.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?  I just took them in stride.  When the dryer buzzed, I folded laundry.  When the dishwasher finished, I put the dishes away.  When the Hubs put Friends reruns on, I allowed myself to get a little distracted.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  This is not my first rodeo, but I bought waaaay too much food.

The Hubs is watching the Bulls game, and the Hawks also play tonight, so I’m going to keep reading and may do another update in the morning.  But I also have dinner to prep, which I’ve been doing in increments (breaking down a rotisserie chicken, shredding cheese).  We are having enchiladas tonight with all the fixings.

Despite the event not going as planned, I wasn’t going to let it ruin my day.  I got some chores done and I am so happy I finally read The  Outsiders.

Update 4:  3:00 pm.  I finished The Outsiders, and WOW.  I was barely keeping it together when Johnny and Dallas died, but when Darry called Ponyboy “baby,” I lost it.

Pages read: 199

Snacks: Very spicy radishes and cheese itz

Currently reading: Alice in Zombieland

Update 3: 1:28 pm.  I’m participating in my first challenge: Treasure Hunt, and the task was to find a book with a tree, a weapon, and snow.  I culled all three from my nonfiction shelf:

treasure hunt

I bought this awesome bracelet a few weeks ago.  It has interchangeable letter charms, and what’s more fitting than expressing book nerdiness on a day like today!  It came with the whole alphabet and the possibilities are endless.

book nerd

We had grand plans to make brie and raspberry jam grilled cheese for lunch, but since we’re not hosting company, we made that  for dinner last night.  So we just had McD’s for lunch.  The Hubs and I have been so good about not eating fast food, this is the first time I’ve had a burger and fries in MONTHS.

Update 2: 12:05 am.  Almost 100 pages down and I am loving The Outsiders so far.  I got a little choked up when Johnny was in the hospital.  It is raining and dreary, so it’s the perfect day to be cuddled up in my hoodie in my chair.  I’ve snacked on pistachios and giant mutant blueberries.

IMG_0755

Update 1: 10:23 am.  I’m taking a break to shower, start a load of laundry, and put some dishes away.  I’m 60 pages into The Outsiders and I’m loving it so far.  No snacks yet, but I think I might dig in to the goodies after I’ve done some chores.

I lie to myself all the time.  But I never believe me. -Ponyboy Curtis

Good morning everyone!  Plans have changed and I’m reading solo, but I’ve had a breakfast of yogurt with fruit and granola, and I’m ready to get started.  I actually set my alarm for 8:00, which is super early for me on a Saturday, but I’ve got my coffee and my old River Trails Jr High library copy of The Outsiders, so I’m snuggled up in my jammies and diving in.

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