Friday, March 4, 2011

February Book and Movie Report

Hand that Rocks the Cradle by Nathaniel Bluedorn

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson contains a novella (I Am Legend) and a bunch of short stories. When I first started reading it I thought I might have nightmares from the vampires but I persevered and after the first few scenes the attacks are not as frightening. Many of the stories were a bit more physically violent than I usually read, and certainly not appropriate for children, but they were often intelligent. The novella, by the way, is very different from the recent movie.

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Ted Lawson is the tale of his experiences as one of the pilots sent to bomb Tokyo on the Dolittle Raid after Pearl Harbor was bombed. It was enthralling and I tore through the book in two days. A young man (though one old enough to engage in conversations of the reality of war) would thoroughly enjoy this book as a part of a history study of WWII. It was written during the war, so the Japanese and Germans are identified plainly and bluntly as enemies of all Americans. The Chinese and many missionaries in China are repeatedly praised. It's been made into a movie, but I haven't seen it.

The Swiss Family Robinson (Signet Classics)  by J. D. Wyss is, of course, the story of a family shipwrecked on an island and forced to survive in relative paradise but isolation for over ten years. I was amazed at how quickly I read and how interested I was to see what would happen next because the writing itself was a bit ponderous. Though their knowledge of natural history and "modern" (early 1800s) industrial techniques vastly improves their quality of life, a good bit of it is not really accurate. It should also be noted that this is some sort of enchanted island that contains kangaroos, penguins, lions, tigers, ostriches, and elephants, among other animals. It may also be disturbing to contemporary readers that upon nearly ever encounter with a newly discovered animal, they shoot one or two.

A Wonder-Book for Boys and Girls  by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a collection of classic myths retold for children. They were wonderful and I'm considering reading them with the kids next year. I'm currently reading the second volume, Tanglewood Tales.

We also saw a few movies recently that were interesting enough for me to want to share.

Food, Inc.Food, Inc. - We actually watched this in January. It's not a objective documentary, but a movie with an agenda. I can't say whether all they claim is true. (I'd like to know what some of our friends with big commercial farms think.) If even a part of it is true, though, it should change how you think about food. We already eat very few processed foods, try to have a large garden and raise our own eggs, but this movie made me want to do even more. It's available to watch instantly at Netflix.

The Karate Kid (the new movie) was surprisingly good. We enjoyed it immensely. Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan were fun to watch as a team. I loved some of young Smith's expressions. I have to admit I couldn't help thinking about my children facing bullies and how complicated and difficult that can be. Hopefully they'll be much older before we have to deal with it. There was also one scene where the two children kiss. (They're only twelve.) It didn't seem crucial to the plot and I think the movie would have been better without it.

BabiesBabies - Have you seen this movie? I loved watching these babies grew up and was fascinated by what was shown. It's also not an objective documentary. In my case, it generated more questions about how other cultures raise children than it answered. I am also sure I would never let them come and film my children or my house! The babies are adorable and many of their facial expressions are universal. Even Kansas Dad seemed to enjoy the bits and pieces he saw as he was being productive around the house while I held the sick baby and watched. This one is also available to watch instantly on Netflix.


  1. Wow, in the last week and a half, Hilary and I have watched both Food, Inc. and Babies as well! And it's not that we've been watching tons of movies either -- we just happened to find them on Netflix streaming and thought they'd be good, which they were!

  2. And we just watched Waiting for Superman this past week, as well -- another interesting but not objective documentary. It wasn't available to stream, though.


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