Category Archives: Movies

Fifty/Fifty check in: week 2

A little late with the Fifty/Fifty check in this week, although I got my reading and watching done (and some writing, that’s why I’m late with the check in).

In books, I was all about self-help. In movie(s), it was all about the crying.


The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less & Create Success by Sage Cohen.

This book is pretty much what it says it is. Tips and tools for writing more and finding what you want to write as well. One huge plus is the author presents the material as options, not as “must do’s.” If you don’t know where to start in organizing your writing life, this would be a good first stop.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

It must be the New Year! We’re all about productivity and success. This was my audio book for the weekly commute and I also enjoyed. I’m all revved up now to tackle the world–or at least my little corner of it.


War Horse (film)

War Horse: A recent movie! In a theater! I know. And one that involves crying in public. Even better. Especially when it involves crying with one’s daughter in public.

Yeah, I took Kyra (and Andrew–I wasn’t too worried about him). Initially, I wasn’t sure this would be a good idea. Especially when Kyra sat through the Titanic preview (now in 3D!) with both hands clamped over her mouth.

Two and a half hours later, we emerged, tear-stained and emotionally drained. But it was worth it. She did like the movie; she loved Joey the horse (she’s a horse girl). Plus, both kids like history, so this spurred all sorts of conversations afterward. Kyra wants to learn more about World War I. (And how many nine-year-olds say that?)

Visually, the film is stunning (sometimes hard to watch, but stunning all the same). It’s been a while since I’ve sen a movie in a theater and I don’t regret choosing this one.

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Filed under 50/50, Books, Kids, Movies, Reading, War Through The Generations, Writing

Fifty/Fifty check-in: week 1

Well, week one of 2012, and I’m off to a pretty good start. If you stop in at the Fifty/Fifty site, you’ll see others are as well.


I started the New Year with a couple of special books.

The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry

This was the Kindle deal of the day on December 30th and I immediately downloaded it. I gobbled it up as the first book of the New Year, only slightly embarrassed that I haven’t read it before now. The book was the 1994 Newbery Medal winner and I look forward to sharing it with Kyra in a year or two.

Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

I downloaded this novel in verse as soon as it was available on Kindle. A few years back, I was lucky enough to judge this book in manuscript form in a couple of writing contests. It was one of those entries that left me with that WOW feeling. It was so much fun to read it in its published form. Check out Sarah’s site for more information on novels in verse.


Gosford Park

I watched one movie this week, although it wasn’t easy. See yesterday’s post to find out why.

Despite the distractions, I enjoyed Gosford Park. I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to watch it. Actually, I can (again, see yesterday’s post).

My movie list this year will be a long parade of Really? You haven’t seen that? Embarrassing as this is, there’s an upside: think of all the good movies I can put on my list.

Looking forward to week two!

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Filed under 50/50, Books, Movies, Reading, YA

Blame Spy Girl

English: "G" rating of Motion Pictur...

Last night I managed to watch my first movie for the fifty/fifty challenge. I haven’t watched a lot of movies recently. There’s something about having small children that reduces your entertainment options to those that are strictly G-rated.

Oh, sure, I’d make it to the theater now and then, or watch a DVD when the house was, by some miracle, empty. But mostly? If I couldn’t watch it with the kids, I didn’t watch it.

Fast forward a few years. As far as entertainment goes, things are a bit more laid back. We can have family movie night where the movie appeals to all of us. We each have our own genres we like and the ability to watch on our own.

What better time than now to attempt the movie portion of the fifty/fifty challenge?

So I took out the headphones and the portable DVD player and got all set to watch Gosford Park. Things were going well. I was cozy; the movie was good. Then I noticed Kyra, changing into all black. She smoothed out her hair and added a headband, because, and I quote:

“Spy Girl is always fashionable.”

She spent the evening creeping from one side of our living area to the other, where I was sitting. (Our living area is one big open space. I’d call it a “great room” but that sound pretentious.) Every time movement caught the corner of my eye, I’d glance up.

Spy Girl would curse her bad luck at being spotted and start all over again.

Did I mention that this went on for at least two thirds of the entire movie? (The first third was spent in Spy Girl preparation.)

Is it any wonder I haven’t really watched a (non-rated G or PG) movie at home for the last fifteen years?

Spy Girl is always fashionable. She is also distracting.


Filed under 50/50, Kids, Movies

Reading Challenges for 2012

Last year January, I remember reading a post on an email group from an author complaining about the number of books she had to read for the Rita contest. Her complaint, and I’m paraphrasing, was:

Eight books! I don’t even read eight books in a year!

My initial response, which was totally nonverbal, looked something like:


Seriously? You’re an author (and yes, yes she was) and you don’t read. Really? Her excuse? She had all these contracts and was just so busy. Because, you know, the rest of us aren’t.

I do understand not having enough time to do a lot of pleasure reading. Or, when there is time, being too tired. Just last night, I fell asleep reading, only realizing it when my Kindle pitched forward and thumped me on the chest.

And every once in a while, I’ll entertain the idea of simply being a reader–forget this writing stuff. Sadly, it never works out and I end up writing again. But my point is: why write if you don’t read or don’t like to read?

So with that in mind, I’m taking on two reading challenges this year. First, I’m doing the War Through the Generations challenge again. This year the challenge focuses on World War I. I’m doing something a little different this year, too. Normally, I’ve signed up for the “dip” level, which is 1 – 3 books (and yeah, you saw me skate in with book 3 at the last moment).

For 2012, I’m upping the number of books, trying the “wade” level of 4 – 10 books. Sure, to “win” all I really need to do is read one more than I normally do for this challenge. Still. It’s a little intimidating.

The other challenge is the Fifty/Fifty challenge. Fifty books and fifty movies, all in one year. You can combine this challenge with other ones, which is what makes it so great–beyond the neat community already starting up over there.

If you’ve never done a reading challenge, I think this one would be a great place to start. It’s meant to get you reading and watching things you haven’t read or watched before. Already there’s movie and books suggestions.

My personal goal, beyond the challenges, is to read 75 books. If I end up watching 50 movies, we might have to throw a parade.

Wish me luck. Or better yet, join in and keep me company.


Filed under 50/50, Books, Movies, Reading, Reading & Writing, War Through The Generations

2012: 50 books, 50 movies + me

I may be crazy, but I’ve signed up for a second reading–or should I say, reading and watching–challenge for 2012. So here’s the deal. In 2012 I will read at least fifty books and attempt to watch fifty movies.

Clearly, I’m more confident about the books (just finished book 67 last night for 2011) than I am movies (um … last movie I watched … yeah, I’m drawing a blank, unless you count the last part of Aquamarine that I watched with Kyra).

But after really thinking about it, I realized that a challenge where you sit back and relax for ~ 2 hours each week is probably a good thing. Between the stack of DVDs I have and streaming on my Kindle Fire, I am pretty much set for this.

Plus, I can totally combine this challenge with the War Through the Generations one. All in all, it looks like I will be thoroughly entertained in 2012.

So, anyone else with me? For more info, click on the image above. Or here. That works too.


Filed under 50/50, Books, Movies, Reading