Review of the Painted Veil

The Painted Veil The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Not only was jury duty fun, but in chatting with one of my fellow jurors we got to talking about books made into movies. We discussed Atonement and she asked me if I had seen the Painted Veil. I had, but hadn’t read the book and so the next day she gave me her copy.

I didn’t seek out the book after seeing the movie, because, as mentioned before I’m a lazy reader and don’t like to work while reading. For me, many authors published before 1950 require more attention that I’m willing to give. Not this one. This was a very readable book and the internal thought process of the characters were fascinating. My favorite book/movie difference was the “did you leave your toupee?” question as the lovers were hoping to avoid detection. I also found the descriptions of the babies in the Chinese orphanage interesting. More than once they were described as “not quite human” I hope that we have evolved to the point where we find babies around the world darling, rather than “not quite human.”

Once again, the book does a much better job illustrating the internal shifts in the main character. Not surprisingly, this was a much better book than movie.

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Things neglected because of my Math class.

Well, the blogs, as you may have noticed. But also reading the entire paper. Every morning I arrange the paper in the following order: “How we live” section (formerly known as the Living, this section has the very important advice columns and the comics as well as the “fluffy” parts of the paper, including my TV review boyfriend Peter Ames Carlin.) After the Living section comes the Metro, then the Business section and after that the Front Page. That way, I can read my way from inconsequential (my favorite) to the local news to the national and international. But because of the Math class, some days I don’t even make it through the local section, much less to the international. That’s annoying because two days later I don’t understand what half of the letters to the editor are talking about.

I also don’t have as much time to garden, or read. The math class is necessary, but it’s not exactly pleasurable. But non-Math class things have been happening. I just don’t get to post about them. Alas. Maybe soon I will get to at least tell about the books I have been reading. And the movies I’ve seen. I’ve just watched three especially good ones. Not to mention the fact that I’m still writing letters and getting letters. Why today, I just got three postcards from one Sara Sterner. And I just spent 2 1/2 days as juror #4 on a civil case. That was fun. And Matt graduates June first.

So that’s what’s going on now.

Until later,

Review of Lucky

Lucky Lucky by Alice Sebold

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
A hard book to read, but an important one. Sebold takes us through the journey that began when she was raped at the end of her freshman year of college. The moment-by-moment description of the rape was particularly fascinating, though not pleasant to read. I made the mistake of starting the book right before bed and it kept me awake for awhile. It was disheartening to realize that Sebold was the “perfect rape victim” and still had a tough time getting a conviction.

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Jury Duty!

I’ve been waiting my whole adult life to get called to Jury Duty. You could say I’ve been chomping at the bit to do my civic duty. Way back in 1997 I was called. It was a perfect time to miss a day of school; my classes had just started and there wasn’t much going on. But all I was required to do was call a number the day of and see if I had to come in. Which I didn’t . So that wasn’t any fun.

10+ years later I get called again. This time: Jackpot! I not only got to go down to the courthouse and sit in the big room with the comfortable chairs, but my name got called and I got to experience voir dire and then! I got to be on the jury! It wasn’t the most exciting case–a civil case where we had to decide if the injuries the plaintiff sustained in a motorcycle accident in 2005 were limiting her activities today–but I enjoyed the entire experience. We had a great judge and it was fun to see how an actual courtroom compared to what happens on t.v.

In my case a lot of the procedure was the same, but what the lawyers said wasn’t quite as polished as in the movies. It makes sense, though. In the movies the actors get to memorize lines that someone else has written. Actual lawyers have to actually talk off the top of their heads. Also, when one lawyer objects and both of them and the judge go into chambers to discuss the matter? We don’t get to find out what they are talking about. The most surprising thing to me was that the jury could ask questions of the people on the stand. There was a whole procedure involved, but all the questions that were submitted by my jury were asked and answered. It provided extra insight into the case we wouldn’t have had.

For the deliberations portion, I got to be the Presiding Juror. That’s what they are calling the Jury Foreman these days. I got to help run deliberations and to write our findings on the official sheet of paper. And then I got to hand that piece of paper to the clerk so the judge could read it. I enjoyed deliberations and thought that people were fair and thoughtful. Afterwards, the judge came back to the jury chambers and we got to ask him questions about the case, which turned out to be very enlightening.

Overall, it was a fabulous experience and I’m glad I was picked.

This house.

This house is down the street from where I live and I love it. Big porch, huge back yard, right on the Max line. So why does no one live here? When I moved to this street in 2007 I assumed that the absentee owners were getting ready to put it on the market. The house was painted, it got new windows and a new roof. Someone comes once per week to keep the yard up. I waited for the “for sale” sign to go up, but it never did and the house has remained empty.

Three sentence movie reviews–All the Real Girls

Every once in awhile I fall in love with a movie as I did with this one. This movie portrays the most real reflection of an early-twenties relationship I have ever seen. As a bonus, it also contains delightful vignettes which have little to do with advancing the story, but are wonderful.

Darn it, I need one more sentence. It’s just a single word: Magic!

Also, don’t you think the phrase “every once in awhile” should have morphed into one German-esque looking word: everyonceinawhile.

I also feel the same about the phrase “this morning”. Let’s remove that space. We say it as one word anyway. “thismorning”

Gone, Baby, Gone. Dennis LeHane

Gone, Baby, Gone Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I get obsessive about some things. I rented the movie Gone, Baby, Gone on a Friday and liked it so much I watched it again on Sunday. I reserved the book from the library and had it by Tuesday. Part of my affection for the movie, it must be told, had to do with Casey Affleck’s Patrick Kenzie, but the other part had to do with how incredibly cool his partner Angie was. The movie didn’t spend a lot of time worrying about her which I find rare as Hollywood seems to exist partly to keep women in their place. But that’s a post for another day.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I got the book and Angie is even cooler than she was in the film. Ah, Hollywood, you never let me down. Anyway, good book. Fast-paced, funny with very good character sketches as well as good social commentary. I like Dennis LeHane especially for those last two traits.

Overall the book was solid and I was pleased to find out there are several books with these two characters. I’ll be reading them.

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