The Hobbit

Over the winter break I took my 12yo to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
We both love going to the movies and often enjoy escaping from the rest of the family and heading off to the theatre to see a flick together.

I was hugely annoyed when word got out that Peter Jackson was turning the story into a trilogy.
I mean, LoTR was written in three deliciously thick novels, it was, is, and had to be a trilogy. (And let me just say that the books and movies were all epic and filled me with joy.)
But ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien is ONE story in an average sized book – how (and why?) would it be split into three films??

Three films? I raged, well I’m not going to see them!

When The Hobbit started playing in a theatre near me, my disgust at this obvious ploy to squeeze more money out of the movie going public was quickly smothered by my desire to just go see the movie.

As we settled in to our seats with armfuls of popcorn, boxes of candy and drinks large enough to double as fish bowls, I checked the time on my phone and calculated when we’d be done. Part of me whimpered miserably in anticipation of the achy limbs I was sure to experience after sitting in the same place for almost 3.5 hours.
(movie: 2h 50m + trailers: 20m + we got there early to ensure good seats.)

And then the film started and I was transported to The Shire.

The movie has some stuff that is not in the book, but it was really, very good. I wasn’t keen on the rabbits pulling the sled – just a bit too weird – but the rest of the story was well done.
In fact, the only part that I did not like – was that it ended. I could easily have sat there for another hour and watched more.

I might go see it again.

A review: The Casual Vacancy

I decided to ask Santa for J.K. Rowling’s latest novel ‘The Casual Vacancy’ but it wasn’t in any of the gifts under the tree, so I bought it for myself.
I just finished reading it last night while the family watched The Lion King.

First of all I feel that it’s important to state that this is not a kids book! (Apparently there were some unhappy parents out there who had failed to pay attention to this fact. See reviews on Amazon.)
‘The Casual Vacancy’ is J.K’s first novel for adults – it says so on the inside flap of the jacket – and it contains bad language and some adult themes (sex and drugs, but no rock and roll.)
Set in the quiet little English country town of Pagford, this novel follows the lives of some of Pagford’s citizens as they interact with each other following the death of Barry Fairbrother – banker and member of the parish council.
The void left by Mr. Fairbrother’s death is felt throughout the community, in different ways and for different reasons, and soon the people of Pagford find themselves set against each other.
His position on the council is up for grabs, and his side of an old argument is now missing it’s best fighter.
Lines are drawn, alliances made and broken, secrets exposed.

The Casual Vacancy is an intriguing tale of life in a small town, where everyone knows each other and if you’ve ever lived in a small town you will definitely understand it.

I enjoyed reading this novel, the characters are real, sometimes disarmingly so. The twists and turns of the story keep things moving along, and the pages turning – I would recommend this book to a friend with the phrase ‘it’s quite good’ but would I have picked it up in the first place had it not been written by J.K.?
No, I don’t think I would.

Books my kid is reading

My twelve year old recently read ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ by John Green and couldn’t stop singing it’s praises.
I haven’t managed to pry it away from her to read myself, but from what she says it’s a wonderful story of a teen who is dealing with a diagnosis of terminal cancer.
So for Christmas I bought my kid ‘Paper Towns’ (also by John Green) and she was very pleased and proceeded to stay up late, reading night after night, finishing in the wee small hours of the new year.
I also gave her a gift card for Barnes and Noble, so as soon as breakfast was cleared away today she begged me to take her shopping – and now she has ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ by John Green to look forward to.
She hasn’t started reading her latest acquisition just yet though, because she is determined to make it through ‘The Hobbit’. She started reading Tolkien’s tale of Bilbo Baggins as soon as I handed over my well loved copy, but it’s been tough going, detailed descriptions are bogging her down – I admire her determination to keep trying.

I love that my daughter has found an author that she loves.
Dear John Green, please keep writing great novels.