June 2010: In Brief (Part 2)

Girls Gone Wild (Camping At Assateague Island) – My camping trip this year was an all-girl event with the daughterling, her friends, and me. These fantastically fun girls put up and took down the tents & canopy, washed the dishes, swam in the ocean for hours, dug in the sand, and had me laughing all the time.

Fiction Books Finished:
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Grace Lin (***) – [2009] A fairytale-type story about a young Chinese girl who leaves her poor, but cozy, home in order to seek a better life for her parents. Along the way she befriends a dragon who is also seeking answers about his life.  It’s a sweet tale that would make a good read aloud for  classroom or bedtime reading.  [Middle grade fiction for ages 9-12]

Non-Fiction Books Finished:
No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process, by Colin Beavan (****) – [2009] Like the movie, Colin Beavan’s sincere honesty about trying to do something about climate change is what makes this book so readable. Both the movie and book chronicle his yearlong experiment to have no impact on his environment — eating locally, making no trash, using only human powered transportation, and for 6 months, using no electiricity as well.  While the book has more details and resource material, either version gives a good feel of Beavan’s project and will probably inspire you to make your own environmental changes — even if they aren’t as drastic as the ones Beavan tries. [Read on my Kindle]

Good Bye Lenin! (****) – [2003]  After his mother wakes up from a coma, a devoted son tries to keep his mom from getting too excited.  Unfortunately his Communist East German mother fell ill right before the fall of the East German government.  So keeping her healthy means hiding all the sudden changes from her.  While the situation is played for laughs, the movie also speaks to the deeper issue of sudden change and just how hard this was on East Germans.  It also nicely shows how the free market can be equally as oppressive at times. [Saw in German with English subtitles on DVD through Netflix.]

An Education (*** 1/2 ) – [2008] Intelligent sixteen-year-old Jenny is courted by an older wealthy man in 1960’s Britian.  Carey Mulligan makes this average movie worth watching.  The story is based on a memoir so the ending is refreshingly modern with a moral that one wouldn’t see in an actual movie on this subject in the 60’s. [Saw on DVD through Netflix]

Julie & Julia (****) – [2009] The story of Julia Child’s start into the cooking world is intertwined with the story of a modern day blogger trying to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook in just one year. I really enjoyed this movie, not only is it a movie about blogging, but the details of Julia Child’s life are fascinating.  I had no idea she had a civil service career before she started cooking or that she started cooking school when she was middle-aged. (Saw on DVD through Netflix]