Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gramps' Pumpkin Pie

A visit to Grammie and Gramps' house in Kane, PA for the holidays was always accompanied by Gramps' family-famous pumpkin pie. He actually did that part of the cooking, which was one of his very few specialties (along with his daily oatmeal-to put hair on your chest.)

Tip: use pre-made Pillsbury crust flour a little before putting in the pie pan and cover the edges of your crust with tin foil (cut a longer sheet into long thirds), you can remove for last 5 or 10 minutes, it will keep the crust from getting too brown. It will make several pies with a little "pumpkin juice" left over- which everyone in our family fights for.

Pumpkin Pie


1 large can of pumpkin
3 eggs beaten lightly
1 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
2 cups scalded milk

Except for the pumpkin can, triple all the ingredients... this third of the recipe works for the smaller can of pumpkin but somehow is never a good as the big batch.

Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Cope's Corn P-A Style

Growing up in Pennsylvania, this dish was always a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas for us. I've adopted it and kept it going in Chicago, even being able to find Cope's brand corn occasionally. Love this stuff!

TIP? Mom always cooked it in another flat pan full in an inch or two of water to help even the cooking and added crackers on top...

Cope's Corn

Baked Corn Supreme

1 15 oz can Cope’s corn, drain liquid***
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup scalded milk
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp crackers to top

Combine all ingredients. Bake in buttered baking dish for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

Serves 4 – 6

***Note: Dried corn may be used in this recipe as follows:Grind contents of package (7.5 oz), in a blender or food chopper, add 5 cups cold milk, 3 ½ Tbsp butter or margarine, 2 tsp salt (optional), 3 Tbsp sugar, and 4 well beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly. Bake in buttered 2 qt casserole for 60 mins in 375 degrees F preheated oven.

Sabrina's Sweet Potatoes

I don't like sweet potatoes and we never had them growing up for holiday dinners but many friends who I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner for would talk about how they loved sweet potatoes as part of their Turkey Day dinner growing up. I just didn't make them. But, when a former co-worker, Sabrina, swore by this recipe... her family, she said, fought over it... I thought I'd give it a try. Not only did I love it but she was right- it was a big hit and now it graces all my holiday tables and is always requested by my friends. Thanks Sabrina!

Sabrina's Sweet Potato Souffle


2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (29 oz can or 2 15 oz cans)
3/4 stick of butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon


1/2 cup flour
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Blend the first 6 ingredients and and pour into a casserole. (Can prepare the day before and cover leaving it in the fridge). Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes

Crumble the topping ingredients together. After the 20 minutes, remove the casserole from oven and sprinkle topping over top. Return to oven and bake and additional 10 minutes or until set.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: A Carina Little Story- Doesn't Blow

I sort-of liked The Glassblower of Murano. Nora goes to Venice after her husband divorces her for a uglier woman. Her idea is to focus on her glassblowing career, inspired to go not only by a desire to develop her own artistic skill with glass but also by a desire to find a link to family, more precisely to a famous glassblower ancestor of a father she never knew. Not surprisingly she has to overcome some obstacles and finds some romance along the way. A lot of her success comes from her being a pretty blond that inspires men to move mountains to help her.

What did I like? Well, I lived in Italy for a year, love Venice and the clever juxtaposition of the two family members lives being tied together generations apart was done fairly well and the vehicle was good. If you like romances and a little historical fiction, you will enjoy very much. The history of the glassblowers was the most intriguing part, I thought.

What didn't I like? I didn't really like the heroine of the book, and those kinds of books are always hard sells. I never really connected to her and didn't really ever feel bad for her. I think it is just a character development issue for me. Her fish out of water story wasn't from her living in a new place, it was because she gets shunned at the workplace? She spends time telling us about the mother and her relationship with her. Then, for someone so concerned about "family" I didn't see a mention of her calling her mother to tell her about any of her big news, though she didn't have a problem mentioning how our erstwhile detective hero called his friends right away. She's supposed to not be concerned about money after the divorce but then we find out she's relieved she's been paid so she can make one month's rent... no other mention of money in the whole thing.

Do I want to spend a whole book with someone I wouldn't like very much at a dinner party? As far as I could tell, Nora's only redeeming quality was that she was pretty and could decorate an apartment... interesting tidbits, but not a fleshed out person for me to like. Yes, yes, if the writing is good enough, the character development is good, the story is good I don't have to like the character... here, the writing was decent in parts, the story was good in parts. The problem was that just when I was getting ready to keep reading, I kept getting distracted by the break-out italicized thought quotes that were thrown in. The way I read-and I'm a fairly fast reader-made me stop this book a couple times and put it aside to read something else because I would stop and slow down so often in order to read the quote bubbles. If Marina had just told me what they were thinking in the text, I would have been happier. Again, maybe not an issue for everyone.

Enough of this story stuck for me, in the end I would say that especially if historical romance is your deal, then read it. For me, I'm going to wait to see what Fiorata Marina comes out with next... with such smart ideas to anchor the book, I think practice with her writing will only make her better and I'll be willing to give her another chance.

Monday, August 24, 2009

GIDDY As a SCHOOLGIRL Over This One...

I... AM.... SOOOOO...EXCITED!!! I mean I am jumping up and down, excited!!! Okay, so I posted before about Song of Fire and Ice being done by HBO back in October of 2008. Oh. So. Long. Ago. So, long ago in fact, that I kind of thought it wouldn't happen.

But, fast forward ahead and here I am today... looking at an IMDB page that has some of my FAVORITE actors cast in the roles I so love in the books. First off... can we say JENNIFER EHLE playing Catelyn Stark? She is amazing (I simply adore her as Pride and Prejudice's Eliza Bennet.) Okay, so for one of my favorite characters, she is perfect. I like her enough in that role that I would be excited for that alone.

But now consider that we also have SEAN BEAN!! playing Eddard Stark. Can that be any better? Perhaps you remember him as the bad guy he played in National Treasure or the great Sharpe series (based on the Bernard Cornwell books). Mark Addy, the guy who plays Roland in the guilty-pleasure flick, A Knight's Tale (also with Heath Ledger and Paul Bettany) cements it and that is only three characters. If they're doing this good of a job at casting these roles... the rest of them have to be stellar as well. Just see who they have playing Tyrion Lannister...

I'm officially excited.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Review: A Gentleman's Daughter and the Pentagram of Death

Pride and Prejudice AND Zombies? Come on! I was so excited! A longstanding Pride and Prejudice/Jane Austen fan, the A&E/BBC television miniseries which featured Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle left me firmly gaga over the story. I got the added benefit of the craze with the Helen Fielding Bridget Jones series- both movies and books parroting P&P (and even talking about Collin Firth's swimming scene) and the Bollywood version-Bride and Prejudice, and I loved them all, except for the Kiera Knightly version, which I thought was okay but why try to remake something so soon after the last one which was perfect in all respects. Though Jennifer Worick does make a good point when she says she wants to punch Mr. Darcy in the face (see her blog post here.) because Darcy ruins all other men for we of the Austen-loving set. How does one measure up? (Unless you're Jamie Fraser, which alas is another literary character and one we won't get into here *sigh*.)

To this book, I say-eh.

Don't get me wrong, it gives me another chance to read Jane Austen. I like zombies. However, I think Seth Grahame-Smith stole some of the non-girliness and integrity that I like about Miss Eliza Bennet. That may sound strange because he does let her be a Chinese-trained zombie killer. She still swoons a little much for my taste. If it weren't for Jane Austen's filched language, I might even pick this as a really good book... but unless you're going to really spin a story with with your own spin... the stolen language left me a feeling a little disappointed and the original is so good that I think this version was a little flat for me.

I still liked it, think it was fun and especially if you're not a big Jane Austen fan, you probably wouldn't know the difference and would really like it.

Read it, it is fun and one can never get enough P&P in my humble opinion.

Review: Terre D'Ange Gets a Fresh Breath of Air

I happily picked up Jacqueline Carey's Namaah's Kiss after reading the other books in this Kushiel Fantasy series, first with Phedre and then with Imriel's stories, but they are the stuff of legend when we finally get to Moirin's story.

Moirin grows up a little bit of a witch in the woods with her mother and discovers that her father was from Terre D'Ange, so the goods of both her parents are speaking to her and giving her guidance. She ends up controlling her powers working with an Asian guru, who takes her on the adventure of her life. She rises to the challenge and helps in the quest to save the Princess... a nice change from the boys always saving the day.

I really like this series, usually a proponent of the George RR Martin or Robin Hobb books, they are a total guilty pleasure and I'll keep reading them as long as Carey keeps churning them out. She does a nice job in creating worlds and with her characters. Sometimes the characters are a little shallow (I admit) and the story is obvious but it does what it advertises and gives me a good fantasy read with a little bit of happy smut for good measure. Enjoy!

Review: Not For Tai Chi Neophytes

So, I asked to review this book hoping for some tips on the basic princilples of Tai Chi. As a stressed out professional, I've been thinking it might be a good outlet for me. However, this is written for an advanced Tai Chi practitioner. Even though I think some beginners would have been better served if there had been more photos to show what poses the author was talking about, but I still enjoyed reading it. And if I ever get past the beginner's stage, I'll definitley go back and reread.
I feel like the author's Tai Chi background is only part of the draw of the book. The instructor seems wise, kind and thoughtful in his presentation, which I really appreciate. I would recommend for anyone who is either 1) an advanced user or 2) someone who has gotten a good head start and can take advise from Mr. Chuckrow. A DVD might be a nice value add for this book.

Review: Scary Vampire Struggles

I write this with a confession, I read the first 20 pages of The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan a few months ago when I received an ARC copy to review. After those pages I stopped off at a local grocer to pick up some dinner and planned to read for hours when I got home. Turns out it fell out of my bag between the store and home and I was devastated. Because I started this book very very excited which caused my imagination to race, I raved about it to friends and told them to expect something really good in June. I thought the book started like a fun Michael Crichton-style of writing. It reads, I told them, like a movie- if you try you can actually see the film as you're reading it. Needless to say, I bought it as soon as it came out.

The hero, a disbelieving scientist, has a romance with a co-worker while struggling to come to terms with his divorce and keep his kid. Meanwhile the 8-foot vamp shows, in a bid to propogate his kind across the US? or maybe just have a big snack. He is a thinking vamp, but it appears the rest of the vamps with the worm-like appendages in their systems are all zombie-vamps... incapable of thought or emotion, just out for brains, um I mean blood.

The scientist works for the CDC and they treat it like the plague... spreading across the islands of NYC. Our hero struggles. He struggles between the ex-wife (and of course her new idiot husband) & the reltationship he is creating with his co-worker hookup. He struggles with alcoholism. He struggles with losing the son that is so much like him. He struggles with being a healing doctor vs. a zombie vampire killer. After just one run-in, he becomes the target of the UberVamp and a couple of the struggles are resolved for him.

The end shows us what the sequel will give us... the Uber-Vamp League of Justice is poised to strike back at the newly arrived blood-sucker for outing them. Hope it is better now that we've met and kind of like the hero... I get the character-building aspect but we hopefully won't have to be introduced to any more of his struggles.

The friends they pick up along the way really make this book for me... the Giles to our hero's Buffy, Setrakian knows and informs and is primed to fight the vamps. The rat-catcher who knows how to eradicate vermin. He's ridiculous and I really like him.Aside from all that, it was a fun story.

I love vamps and their stories (not the lovey-dovey Twillight kind either) and the good definitely outweighs the bad here so I will definitely read the sequel and/or the rest of the trilogy (with hope in my heart that they will surpass this one) and will see the movie. ( )

Review: A Great American Novel

I read America America by Ethan Canin some time ago and neglected to write a review.

Cory Sifter has the good fortune to have a hard-working blue-collar father who has shown his mettle to the rich Metarey family who owns the town nearby. Luckily his worth and value do not go unnoticed by the patriarch of the family who assumes Mr. Sifter's son will have many of the same qualities and sees first-hand that he is a smart hard-working boy. Set in New York, the small-town newspaper man looks back on his story and the story of those who helped him become the man he is.

When I think of this book, I am mindful of authors all of the country striving to write "The Great American Novel." The idea of a poor boy going to a prep school, making all the right contacts and making his way in the world through wits, hard work, reliability and loyalty (all-American, in a Statue of LIberty, apple pie kind of way) while highlighting the entitlement of the rich and the corruption of politics? I think Ethan Canin has moved a step closer to the ideal than any book I've read in a long time. I do see tinges of Richard Russo and John Knowles, but Canin owns this story and I'll be happy to read anything he writes going forward..

The character development is excellent, the story is solid, and the characters have stuck with me. It goes in the pile of books that I know will be reread. Like John Irving novels, I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who appreciates a well-told story.

One caveat is that I do think there are points where the story is a little slow but despite that, I never lost interest.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Between my move at the beginning of May, my very very busy month of May and June with respect to my work schedule and my end of June move to Seattle for the summer, I haven't had time to post much lately but many things to add and I hope to catch up over the weekend of the 4th. See ya in Seattle!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good and Bad Yinzers

State of Play opened this weekend, and since there isn't too much else out there I went to see it. It was okay, I liked it. I would recommend others see it, but I wouldn't tell someone to rush out to see it. The cast was great in some respects, just okay in others. The storyline was fun, but I kept waiting for Jack Bauer to rush out and shoot someone. Ben Affleck was okay. Rachel McAdams okay. Russell Crowe better. Helen Mirren... always love her, she is great. 

As a side note and as someone who grew up in Pennsylvania, I liked that they made the friendship from PA days...Crowe is the "Yinzer" is someone from Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has this weird vernacular where folks say "yinz" instead of "y'all" or some other form of that like maybe..."yous guys"? So, when you say, "What are yinz up to this weekend"...it is like asking "What are you guys doing this weekend?" Since it is pretty much the only place that they say it in the U.S., a Yinzer is someone from Pittsburgh. Also Crowe calls Ben Afleck's character  "Liberty" the whole time, which is a small town outside of Pittsburgh, in Allegheny County. Even better? Crowe has Steelers gear all over the place. I know this is based on a British TV show, so I'd like to figure out where the relationship is from from that show. I wonder if it is comparable.

Monday, April 20, 2009

L-O-S-T, Season 5, Episode 13 ("Some Like it Hoth")

Doc Jensen's teaser article is here; his review is here; and Totally Lost is here.


I started the discussion on Friday 4/17:

I can't believe we didn't talk about this, this week! What did you guys think? So one of the new guys who landed nabbed Miles earlier. What lies in the shadow of the statue? Doesn't that sound like some bad line from a Chevy Chase movie gone awry?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Signs Meets Some Numbers

Knowing could have been so much better. My friend Jay says that it is Christian allegory, but I don't see that side of it. I really don't. I think that there is nothing allegorical about it. It is straight-on, a question of faith from what I saw. My brother said it sucked. I was just annoyed by the ending, really but didn't mind most of the rest of the flick. First of all, Ebert gave this four stars and seems to be truly impacted by the roll of the dice vs determinism question. Ebert also gave Signs four stars but seemed to revel more in the idea of the fear being built at that time, along with the anti-payoff, than he did in the issue of faith that the movie brought out for me. To me these are the same movie really with different endings. 

To me, Signs is a much better film. While the Aliens come and there are crop circles (let's face it, that part is a little ludicrous), we see how the faith of one man becomes restored based on a prognostication by his dying wife that the former Preacher has to recognize, thereby getting his life back. Here, with Knowing, we have a Minister's son who after his wife dies, thinks that "Shit Happens" and there is no pre-ordained determination of how things happen and comes to believe only through some preprinted numbers on a sheet of paper that indicate to him that God has a very specific plan. Oh yeah, and there are Aliens who just happend to have gotten God's memo and nab some kids to prepopulate another world with Earth's children. We didn't see any pre-existing colonies like we did at the season finale of Battlestar Gallactica though. (I'm just saying.) 

So the payoff for Mel Gibson's character is that he gets his mind and his family back and get's to see the world through eyes of faith. The payoff for Cage's character is that his kid survives, he hopes, and then he burns to a crisp. And Ebert says that Signs didn't pay off? 

Lastly, I'm not buying that you either A) think that there is determinism or B) think that things are accidental. I lie somewhere in the middle, personally. Just because I might believe in God, doesn't mean I think that fate and plan are tied irrevocably to that belief in God. But, that is another story. 

Empathy is Universal

Tom and I went to see Good Bye Solo this weekend, a film by Ramin Bahrani. Roger Ebert gave it four stars and calls Bahrani the "new Great American director."Red West and Souleymane Sy Savane play the two title characters. I didn't know it at the time but Red West was a longtime Elvis bodyguard, apparently, who fell out of favor when he busted up a drug dealer's visit to The King. I'm just going to talk about what happens in the movie so don't read unless you want to know what happens. If you're planning to see it and don't want any spoilers, don't read on.

The story centers around two unlikely friends. The first is a Winston-Salem taxi driver, nicknamed Solo who is one of those guys who has a million friends (suprisingly to me as it is set in Winston-Salem, from all different cultures) and a bunch of sidelines he dabbles in. Solo picks up character #2, William, a depressed older man who enjoys going to the movies but who we find out in the first scene who wants to go to the mountains, offering to pay $1000 and have the cab drop him off on October 20th, and just leave him there.

The unspoken (throughout the whole movie) suicide plan of a passenger he doesn't know prompts Solo, the Sengalese taxi driver, to try to give William a glimpse of his own life, thereby giving William a sense of hope. He takes him out drinking trying to remind William of comraderie and talks to him of women. He takes William home to his own house to meet his wife and Stepdaughter, Alex, who plays a pivotal role in highlighting the role of parenthood in each man's life. Solo is devoted to his stepdaughter and his unborn baby with his Mexican wife Qiera. Whereas, we find out William has a daughter somewhere who he fell out of contact with and spends his nights going to the movies to see his grandson who sells tickets at the ticketcounter to see, the relationship unknown to the teen. 

Much of William's character is deeper than we see-he is a closed book. We don't see what has lead him to this point, we only see the man who has determined his own fate and the anger he feels toward Solo for trying to bring him back to the land of the living by connecting their lives. Solo is an open, and friendly book, finding empathy for the man who wants to end his own life and trying to figure out the reason so he can help fix whatever problem Williams has. At the same time, we see Solo pursuing his own life and dreams... in his search to become a flight attendant, in his relationship with his wife and stepdaughter. In his friendships, with people all around the city from the janitor at the hotel where William stays to the friends of all ethnicities he plays soccer with he is contrasted with William who is seemingly alone and with no one.

Yet at the end of the movie, Solo seems to accept that William is going to do what he wants to do and in friendship decides to be there for him til the end. At the same time, he somehow resolves to not end up like William and insists on his stepdaughter accompanying him to take William to the mountains.

It is a beautifully film, not necessarily cinematically, though each shot has its purpose, but in that  it leaves you thinking and caring about the characters...Roger Ebert, in his review, says:

A film like this makes me wonder if we are coming to the end of the facile, snarky indie films. We live in desperate times. We are ready to respond to films that ask that question. How do you live in this world?

But I disagree. I think that everyone has a point of view. Just because your point of view is snarky doesn't mean it is any less relevant and most of the so-called "snarky" films I see often have a deeper underlayer that seek to find a "how do you live in this world?" kind of qustion though often in an agreed-snarky way that make them good. I did like this but walking out, when my friend says "What was the point?" just makes me like it more.  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

L-O-S-T, Season 5, Episode 12 ("Dead is Dead")

EW stuff is up: Teaser (here); Review (here); Totally Lost (here).

NIEL started us off this week:

John Locke: So how did it go down there?
Ben: It let me live, I have a small favor to ask of you exalted one. Could we stop by my old house, I need a change of pants.

WOW, that was the best episode of the season last night, but it went by so fast. So what happened to the whole "If I take him he will not remember anything" or is it he just will not remember being shot by the crazy Iraqi terrorist in the jungle? And we see Ben shows his soft side, he won't kill Danille, the baby or Penny. But Caesar, yeah he had it coming acting all big and bad and he is the leader, blah blah. The smoke monster and the Anubis the four toed statue, Widmore was banished for sneaking off and having a child off island. And finally Locke is old Locke again and not a sniveling pansy.

Oh yeah, "what lies in the shadow of the statue" ?

Great episode.

KELLY responded with some good tidbits she found on Lostpedia:

....interesting translations of the hieroglyphics
Ben's secret door

Roughly translated, then, they appear to read "to summon protection...".


The boarding pass featured on ajirairways.com has hieroglyphs in semi-transparency in the corners and along the top and bottom which producer Damon Lindelof translated to mean "underworld".

Monday, April 6, 2009

Wheel of Time! Final Trilogy Announced

So, TOR has announced that the final trilogy is going to be released for the Wheel of Time Series. The first of the final trilogy and the 12th book in the Wheel of Time is called The Gathering Storm and will be released November 3rd, 2009. Amazon has the audio release listed but not the book yet that I can find... I'm sure it will be up there soon.

Brandon Sanderson is doing the final series after the passing of Robert Jordan. He has been working with the family who took notes on Robert Jordan's vision for the finale of the book.

Crossing my fingers that Brandon and a view of the end of the series will breath life into it.

French Class

So, I saw this movie this morning at Talk Cinema by Olivier Assayas called The Summer Hours or en francais, L'Heure d'Ete, starring Juliette Binoche among others.  Apparently, IMDB says that the French Press calls her "La Binoche" affectionately. I've been a fan of hers since The Horseman on the Roof. I liked it. It wasn't great and probably won't win any awards but it was a nice film. Anyway, a family meeting for their mother's 75th birthday are the heirs of a former French painter who had a great impact on all their lives though the 3 kids (including Binoche) barely remember him. When their mother dies, they are tasked to decide what to do with the legacy their mother has maintained of her uncle's art collection. Much of the collection ends at the Musee D'Orsay (which is an amazing museum and if you haven't been in Paris, I just love--built in an old Train Station.) 

There are some weird family secrets and some problems that they have but the artistic aristrocracy is closing its doors for practical matters (at least partially for this family)... presumably Binoche's character still uses her artistic side to move in those circles. It is a touching look at the way practical objects affect the past and present for families and a nice honest look at the characters. The eldest brother who sort of is the "boring" one (and economist) who has remained behind in Paris while his sibs have moved on to China and America, is the one who really carries this movie though. His sentimental side balanced with his practical side make him the silent hero in the family even though the art of his great Uncle are what his mother held up as heroic. Also, with the end of the Artistic Aristocracy, there are some subtle (and not-so-subtle) tie-ins to Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. You'd see them if you know the play.

The cinematography was great though, and after the movie, Michael Phillips commented that it was done by Eric Gautier, who also was the director of photography on Into the Wild and it shows. Just a nice movie, a little serious so don't see if you're looking for a romp.

Great Soundtrack, Fun Flick

Saw Adventureland on Saturday starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristin Stewart. Fun movie, captures that indecisive angst about what to do when you grow up when you're just finishing college. Do you go to grad school? Do you try to get a job in corporate America? Do you get a crappy job in your hometown and work until the next step starts. Jesse Eisenberg's character, James, just happens to do the in-between thing and gets a "Games" job at the local amusement park, presumably Kennywood but there are Adventurelands all around the country so really could have been anywhere. I really like the character played by Martin Starr, Joel- the Russian literature fan who embraces his geekiness with gusto but is probably the coolest person in the movie. I've liked that kid since he was Bill Haverchuck in Freaks and Geeks as a friend of the little brother.

The soundtrack to this movie was EXCELLENT... Yo La Tengo did the music and did a nice job with it. I'm really looking forward to seeing them at Pitchfork this summer.

As a sidenote, I'm personally partial to Knoebel's Grove... if you're ever caught in Central PA in the summer... it comes highly recommended.

Friday, April 3, 2009

L-O-S-T, Season 5, Episode 11 ("Whatever Happened, Happened")

There are Doc Jensen's Teaser Article (here), his Review (here) and Totally Lost (here).


I started out this week's discussion:

So, what did you y'all think?

I thought it didn't advance us too much, but I liked the episode. I loved the Hurley/Milo Banter. Loved Jack acting like a spoiled brat... in effect taking his ball and leaving the game because he doesn't get to be captain. Loved Sawyer when he was hearing about Clementine.

Kate, who typically annoys the bejesus out of me was good last night. I liked seeing the maternal side... she stopped being selfish and let Aaron go. She took care of Ben even though he was psycho. I like that it is Sawyer's ex who talks sense into her.

Best of all... Richard Alpert taking Ben into the Temple. I can't wait to find out what's in there... Queen of the Damned? (sorry for those of you who haven't read Anne Rice)...

Best comment? From Roger "That guy doesn't ever ask a question he doesn't already know the answer to." (Sawyer goes from dimwit/hot con man to being THE Man)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

L-O-S-T, Season 5, Episode 10 ("He's Our You")

As always, let's start with Doc Jensen's spoilers article (here) and his review (here) and Totally Lost (here).

Frank noted: Did anyone notice the new Dharma symbol that Hurley "The Cook" had? Thought it was a nice touch. (See here.) And the following fun stuff (see here).
JJ got us started in our discussion this week:

Hey everybody. last night's episode was ok... nothing really special for the most part. until the freaking ending blasted everything in the universe apart ! ! ! ! ! !

now i kind of new Sayid wold make a play to kill Benry at some point once he found out when they were, but i thought the island would not let him be killed. so much for that! (my jaw was on the ground for like five minutes after Sayid pulled the trigger. even though it's Ben, he was still just a kid. unbelievable and shocking to see.) so, is this a massive "course corrections?" i don't see how because for me this changes absolutely everything. the writer's have made it clear that they do not use paradoxes with the time travel writing, but this is like the mother of all paradoxes... Faraday has layed out rules that the Losites can't change the past, but Sayid just did and big time. let's break it down.... if Benry is really dead as a child:

Benry now cannot wipe out Dharma and become leader of the others
Benry will no longer kidnap Alex from Danielle Roussou when she is an infant
Benry will not lead the others to bring certain people to the island, mainly Juliet, but potentially the Losties as well
no abduction of Walt or raids on the tail section
no capture by Danielle
no torture by Sayid
no killing of Ana Lucia and Libby by Michael to free Benry from the hatch
no cages no runway gets built on hydra island for flight 316
no war with the others
no huge manipulation of John Locke and everyone else....
and possibly NO plane crash of 815 at all!!!! why? because with Dharma not wiped out by Ben, then Swan would still be operational with two people, therefore if Desmond still were to shipwreck, then he would never be taken to the hatch and would never be too late in pushing the button when he was off killing Kelvin which causes 815 to crash,

which, in turn would mean the Losties never go to the island anyway, so how could Sayid even be there now to kill Benry? and what's more, Benry couldn't be there for to overthrow Widmore as leader of the others, possibly making Penny an indigenous island hositle (therefore never meeting Desmond and never giving him reason to sail in the race and shipwreck on the island at all!!!) is your head hurting yet? how about this: no murder of John Locke, no murder of Anthony Cooper by Sawyer, no murder of Alex by Keamy to acquire Benry, no freighter, on and on and on....

so, if all that is true, then everything that happened on the show up until now hasn't happened anymore making it all meaningless, or still happens but now by totally different means: DESTINY.

Troy and Lisa and XX and i all watched the show together last night... we had out brains scrambled pretty good over this. but Troy and i talked about it and thought of a few things:

Benry isn't dead at all and everything still happens
Benry is dead, but "course correction" will make everything still happen but through perhaps a WORSE leader then Benry
Benry is dead, but none of it is really happening except in the minds of the Losties as their consciousness flashes through time, like Desmond, but without going back and forth

but then i thought of a couple more things: what if Benry dies so John Locke can become the leader of the others, but much younger so Ben never does? what if John (the supposed "intended leader" of the others) is a worse leader then Benry, and all the afore mentioned incidents still happen, but by HIS hand, generating new memories in all the Losties heads and changing how they relate to each other and their alternate pasts.....what if the title of the next episode is our answer: "Whatever Happened, Happened" and all this talk, indeed is just drivel. that it all will still happen anyway, because Benry will get resurrected, just like Locke was.

this episode, flying in the face of "the rules" and everything the writers have said they hate about time travel has really got me thinking... they wouldn't do this if it were paradoxical.. they must be doing something to either trick us or pose a completely different direction in the show to get us to the end without being able to figure it all out.... i can't wait to hear how evasive and non-helpful they are during the podcast later today. in the season's opener, Pierre Change tells the construction boss building the Orchid when he asks if they are going to go back and kill Hitler not to be absurd. that, "you can't change to past." just like Faraday says later in the same episode. well the "Hitler" of L O S T was just killed as a boy in the past... did his adult self just go "poof" in 2007 and vanish from the make shift infirmary with the 316 survivors? is 316 even there now? i can't figure any of it out now.... they have got me (and us) right where they want us.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tuck Shop Talk

Sophie Okonedo absolutely steals the show in Skin. Based on the true story of Sandra Laing, the movie follows a woman whose genetic make-up left both she and her brothers looking black in a white apartheid South Africa though both her Afrikaner parents were white. Her never-bending father, played by Sam Neill, teaches his children to "never give up." So, we see young Sandra grow up with a foot in two worlds, where the whites don't like her because she looks black but her white designation doesn't allow her to be treated as black. 

There are threads that run through the whole movie. Her father has a tuck shop, her husband runs one and at the end of the movie we see that she has opened one too off of the side of her home. The battle between her father and mother, her battle with her father, her relationship with her mother all anchor the rest of story. 

The movie does a beautiful job of telling a tale of racism and sexism while Sandra is coming of age. She is forced to step outside the bubble her father has created for her and then when she marries, she is forced to step outside that bubble as well in order to stand on her own two feet. This isn't a movie to go to if you are looking for a romp. It brings up a lot of issues that are never resolved and makes you think while your heart is breaking for Sandra's plight. 

I read a book in undergrad called, Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane that this movie made me think of. Also a coming of age story in Apartheid-era South Africa, it is an autobiography that tells of the oppression Mark Mathabane faced and triumphed over by maintaining his head and spirit. Sandra Laing had to take that same journey after looking at the world through "white" eyes. So, I can't even imagine the scars it left on her, but somehow she also perseveres.

Go see it... it isn't a "hero" movie, like Hotel Rwanda, that Okonedo also stars in, but it is thought-provoking and touching and it is a smart movie that I definitely enjoyed and can recommend wholeheartedly.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Duplicitious Commercials

Duplicity suckered me in with the payout of a fun Rom Com meets Spy movie vibe. I admit it, I am a S-U-C-K-E-R for those kinds of films. I like Julia Roberts, I *heart* Clive Owen but the film fell flat for me somewhere about a quarter of the way through and leaving out the Comedy bits and the Romance falling flat in what is hyped as a Rom Com is not a good way to go.  

In the classic love/hate relationship Julia plays the spy game for the CIA and Clive comes off asthe British equivalent. Their romance leaves them primed to scheme to steal a big "idea" from competing corporate giants. There is double dealing through the whole movie and the romance, steamy in places and dry in others. Not wanting to give any spoilers, I'll just leave you with this...
I feel duped. There are, granted, moments where both Julia sparkles and Clive sizzles and even places where the spy bits are fun. So, it is decent, but if you wait to see it until it comes out on video, you wouldn't be missing anything. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

L-O-S-T, Season 5, Episode 9, ("NAMASTE'')

Doc Jensen's story from last week (here) & Doc Jensen's Teaser (here). Totally Lost? (here).

Of course, always read his review (here).


This week JJ started us off:
i really liked last night's ep.... each story left off as a cliffhanger (and they had quite a few stories going at once. i loved what they are doing with Radzinsky (he was Kelvin's partner in the Swan who killed himself way back in the season 2 finale - we never saw him, but heard Kelvin tell Desmond what happened to his partner when he asked about button pushing being a two man job) and the Swan being under construction. and i liked the tables being turned on Jack and his leadership. Sawyer laid it down on him.
Niel, you called it on Sun and Ben and Locke not being in the same time as the rest. i wonder why Sun did not flash with the rest of them to '77. i am wondering if that has to do with destiny for each character. and then the state of the barracks in in Sun's time in 2007 is a wreck, with Dharma logos still visible - that's hardly the state there were in at any time in season's 3 and 4 under Ben's control. all signs of Dharma were gone, at least in the barracks (with the exception of food). this clearly shows that the losties have done some timeline changing havoc in the past.... does Ben never see his 15th birthday now or what?

and what in the world happened to Faraday?
big mystery of the night: did you guys see the woman standing in the background behind Sun as Christian Shepard showed her the photo of Kate, Jack, and Hurly as new Dharma recruits in '77?!?!??!?! there was some strange woman back there, and it wasn't Claire!
[NOTE: later from JJ, sledgewed has totally caught it (woman with christian here)]

Thursday, March 5, 2009

L-O-S-T, Season 5, Episode 8 ("LaFleur")

Let's start off the week with Doc Jensen's Teaser and Review Article-not to forget Totally Lost


This week, Niel started off our discussion:

Morning Losties, 

I didn't think last night's episode was as good as others have been this season so far, but still a pretty good episode. And we are seeing a lot of Egyptian references, Sphinx, Heirglyphics,Ankuh, there are references on lost cubit that the 4 toed statue is that of Anubis and then Horace. They are almost beating us over the head with this stuff ! Couple of things I have this morning, why did Richard need Paul's body? I think Horace and Amy's baby will be Jacob and finally my wife pointed out a possibly mistake on behalf of the writers. Charlotte is listed as being born in 1979, we see what we think is a little Charlotte last night and Sawyer tells Juliet on the dock that is 1974??????? 

And finally just when life is all peachy for Sawyer, who shows back up??? Worthless Kate, and we all know what happens whenever Kate has a stressful situation... 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Oo La La! Nina Garcia is at Marie Claire

Running in Heels started, and OH... MY...GOSH...  Nina Garcia is in the House! You might know Nina from her previous stint as Fashion Editor and Editor-at-Large at Elle magazine. But more likely you know her from PR... speaking of... Project Runway is jumping ship all over the place... Bravo to WE, Nina Garcia? Elle to Fashion Director at Marie Claire. On cue, Ms. Heidi Klum appears at Nina Garcia's welcome party. I did watch the The Fashionista Diaries when it was on SoapNet and I must say that this is a much better show. [I wonder if it would have been taken to another level on TheFD if the doors of Jane hadn't been shuttered?] 

Now, we get to see Joanna Coles, Editor-In-Chief at Marie Claire in action during NYC Fashion Week, showing off Nina Garcia, her newest star. Honorable mention in that we get to see all the other people that make the magazine run with such style. The interns are doing what interns do, but trying to be somewhat reality show about it too.

  • INTERN 1: (my favorite right now) SAMANTHA - from Oshkosh, Wisconsin is the sunny Midwestern girl who is learning fast to be nobody's fool.  She started the show off right, assisting Joanna Coles and Nina Garcia in her first task and then helping the PR Girls on the Red Carpet for her second task. She might cry a little much but she's young. She'll get over that.
  • INTERN 2: (my least favorite) ASHLEY- the girl who looks like Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey. She started out by saying she wanted it and would take down the others to get it. She's already screwed up by being late and lazy packing photo shoot items and then spent the whole show complaining how Samantha got the choice jobs, and wasn't worth it and how she was just not up to it. The only one who hadn't screwed up yet, was Samantha. The pointing finger game is really lame Ashley. Plus, not inviting Samantha to the show? Karma is a bitch. Watch out.
  • INTERN 3: (California girl) TALITA - she's pretty, clearly has good taste but is walking a fine line between bitch and nice girl by playing to both Samantha and Ashley. She also reminds me of that girl that played Cinder from Little Darlings, Krista Errickson. And here we go with a big, HOWEVER... poor Talita, trying to work at Marie Claire and turns in her first writing assignment with spelling errors? Capital offense! (Yes, I crack myself up, and it does a double duty by being a Pride & Prejudice quote in the same breath-which I will use whenever possible, ie not sporadically- yes Clueless, sorry, I can't stop sometimes.) We'll see if she can turn me around but for right now... dumb won't cut it for a magazine gig.

I admit it, I did watch the SoapNet show, The Fashionista Diaries back in '07. Those kids were hysterical, the smallest thing such a huge drama. They did have their big shot by interning at Jane, Seventh House PR and Flirt! Cosmetics and then at CosmoGirl, once Jane closed its doors. But, I will say this... even though it is a very similar show in some ways, in others, the show is much more about the jobs that the interns are doing right now, than the love life of Bridget and Andrew. Serious rolemodels are guiding their way. I'm looking forward to a good RiH season.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Review: Towering World of Tamara Mellon- J.C N'est Pas La

I love fashion.So you can imagine how happy I was when I was recently sent an Advanced Reading Copy for the book, The Towering World of Jimmy Choo: A Glamorous Story of Power, Profits, and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe.  I've always been a comfortable dresser, but not matter how unsophisticated MY look might be, I've been a Vogue/Elle/Cosmo reader for years. The Prêt-à-Porter and Unzipped movies, two years in a row in the mid-90s? How could you not be a fan? Unzipped made me fall in love with Isaac Mizrahi. I was glued to my set when the sporadically aired Signé Chanel  would make its way into my TiVo queue and I had the opportunity to see the creative process that went in that year's Chanel haute couture collection. (See the beginning of the first episode on YouTube here... it is great!) Now, I have to say that it wasn't only because of the GORGEOUS dresses that Madame Martine as the head seamstress worked on or the braid-maker/farmer Mme Pouzieux were working on for the Chanel collection, though they were truly amazing. It was the whole process of all the work and creativity that went into the shows. Likewise, Project Runway had me at the very start. I loved seeing the competent Kara Saun create her magic for the first season of Project Runway, just seeing Daniel, Uli, Christian... they all swayed me to the beauty and joy of the creative process. But, when they are creative and I like them and then I love the clothes too... that's when I can't get enough.

Back to THE BOOK. Lauren Goldstein Crowe and Sagra Maceira de Rosen show the progress of Jimmy Choo leaving his Penang, Malaysia roots where his father was a shoemaker to end up designing shoes from his own luxury collection. After attending Cordwainers, he sold shoes at a stall after making them from a Kingsland Road, Hackney, Metropolitan Hospital ("Metropolitan") space-where artisans and businesses found a cheap, though perhaps unsavory location to create their wares. The real focus of the story, however, is on the unflappable Tamara (nee Yeardye) Mellon who convinced both Jimmy Choo and her father and his friends to invest in a Jimmy Choo-branded luxury shoe line. 

Tamara had seen Jimmy's potential for earning with a line of shoes after his sucess selling one-off pairs both in her role as an assistant to London Vogue Fashion Director, Sarajane Hoare and through her socialite friends she was partying with in London at the time. Her father used his Vidal Sasson connections from his years past to help get Tamara, J.C and Co., set up around the world, but particularly in America. As told, the success of the "perfect shoe" company was built from a recipe of Tamara's contacts, determination, her father's tough-as-nails business sense-which he clearly taught to Tamara, along with the mix of some luck and name recognition with celebrity (not the least of which was Princess Diana early-on with Jimmy Choo and then much later thanks to Sex and the City!) 

Goldstein Crowe and Maceira de Rosen's book reads like a very long mix between a fashion and business magazine article to tell how Tamara (together with Choo's niece-Sandra Choi, Robert Bensoussan and others) helped to build the Jimmy Choo empire from the ground up. They extoll how Tamara triumphed through personal loss when she got divorced, through sale and resale of the company up until now. Today she serves in the company's current incantation as the company's President, shareholder and board member. 

Signe Chanel showed how the Chanel staff posted a sign that showed whenever Karl Lagerfeld was in the office... it would say K.L n'est pas la or would flip for K.L est la! I would say the most tragic thing about reading this book for me is that J.C n'est pas la. I read the book hoping to find out how a kid brought up the hard way ended up having this great shoe empire, with the help of some visionary businesspeople. However, what I ended up reading about is what appears to be a crush by the authors for Tamara Mellon. At the end of the day, for me, it was Jimmy Choo who was missing from this tale. According to the authors, though he returned to run his own couture shoe business...he was considering shutting down because he was having trouble purchasing the quality shoe-components he needed to stay open. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

L-O-S-T, Season 5, Episode 7 (The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham)

See Doc Jensen's Teaser and Totally Lost-Part 1 for this week.

First off, as always let's start with Doc Jensen's review.


NIEL started us off on the LOST discussion this week:

I think they may have given something away last night, when Widmore gives Locke the papers and John asked who Jeremy Bentham was, Widmore tells him he was a British Philospher, "your parents had a little fun when they named you, so I thought i would to"  Perhaps a little slip that he and Ben, Richard all think he is a dolt and is not special. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BBC Poll Books

There is a FB thing going around with the below instructions saying that BBC says most people have only read six of these. I couldn't find that story and I admit some of these I should have read. Looks like I have a new project!) I highlighted the ones I need to read. But keep reading, the only 100-book list I could find reference to is below that and it is a different list, so I higlighted that too (looks like DIFFERENT project!)

FB Instructions:
1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Tally your total at the bottom.
3) Tag others and pass it on.

Here's the FB list (looks like I have 69 of them- not counting the COMPLETE works of Shakespeare or The Bible, some of them I have on my shelf waiting for me, some I started but never finished and some I'm embarrassed not to have read, but I only counted the ones I HAVE already read):

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling 
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 
6 The Bible Does reading parts of it in church count?
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy 
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller 
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare I guess, maybe?
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier  
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien 
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk  
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger  
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegge
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot (Actually embarrased I haven't read this.)
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald  
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens 
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams  
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck  
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll  
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame 
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy  
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens  
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis  
34 Emma - Jane Austen 
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (X)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (yeah, yeah... on my shelf)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (X)
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (X) 
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (X)
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown 
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (YAY!)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery 
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood 
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding 
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan 
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (you mean the Bowie movie doesn't count?)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen 
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley 
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon 
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov 
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold 
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac 
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding 
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville 
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens 
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker 
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett 
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson 
75 Ulysses - James Joyce  
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath  
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray  
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker       
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert  
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White  
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom 
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad  
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery 
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks  
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams  
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole 
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas  
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare Wouldn't this be included in 14?
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl  
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo  

According to the April 2003 BBC poll, the list is a little bit different and I've read 63 of these:

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
The Stand, Stephen King
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
The BFG, Roald Dahl
Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
Mort, Terry Pratchett
The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
The Magus, John Fowles
Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
Perfume, Patrick Süskind
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
Matilda, Roald Dahl
Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
The Secret History, Donna Tartt
The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
Ulysses, James Joyce
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
The Twits, Roald Dahl
I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
Holes, Louis Sachar
Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
Magician, Raymond E Feist
On The Road, Jack Kerouac
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Katherine, Anya Seton
Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie