I’ve been away from the computer for a bit because I lost my WiFi network at home. So I have a few updates all at once.

1. I finished Moon Palace and I still have great things to say about that book, but I also must add that I did not like it as much as I liked The Book of Illusions. I have been reading that Sunset Park, Man in the Dark, and Invisible are among Paul Auster’s better efforts, so I’ll be adding those to my list.

2. I went to the library and checked out Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (somehow I had previously let that one slip by me) and The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. There were others closer to the top of my list, but my neighborhood library is small and I didn’t feel like driving around to other local libraries. So I started reading The Year of Magical Thinking, which is about how Didion deals with the death of her husband. Not the most cheerful subject matter, but I will finish reading it nonetheless.

3. I watched Winter’s Bone, one of the recent Best Picture nominees, and I was impressed by the film, I was impressed by the whole backwoods underworld created, but most of all I was impressed by Jennifer Lawrence. I had never seen her or heard of her before this film was released, but basically, I think she’s the next Charlize Theron. And she’s so young, I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next. Also, she looked ridiculously gorgeous at the Oscars. John Hawkes gave a great performance as well, I like that guy. I stalked him on IMDb a bit after I watched the movie. Since I couldn’t get online after I watched it, I should have jotted down some notes or typed up a Word document so that my impressions and opinions were fresh, but this is what I’m left with. It’ll have to do.

4. Last night, I watched 127 Hours. I was dreading it; when an IMDb synopsis states that “a mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder…and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive”, it’s not hard to realize what exactly he has to resort to. But because it was also a Best Picture nominee, a Best Actor nominee, Danny Boyle directed it, and it’s based on a true story, I knew I needed to watch it.  Um, wow. Let me just say that it is a very powerful, moving film and the acting and editing is mesmerizing. But that scene that I’d been dreading turned out to be the 2nd-most-difficult thing in cinema to watch after the whipping of Jesus in Passion of the Christ. It wasn’t really about the blood and gore, there have definitely been more graphic scenes on celluloid before. It was just so painful and draining to try to understand how strong the will to live must be and how much courage it would take to break and then cut off your own forearm. Biting down, screaming, and just finding a way to do it without passing out. I couldn’t shut my eyes, the scene is too important, unlike in other films where most violence is just gratuitous. The gory scene of this film is the whole point of the film. It serves to demonstrate how strong the will to survive can be and the amounts of untapped strength that can be summoned when the only other option would be to surrender to death. I had my forearms on my forehead though, tears were streaming down my face, and I started to feel a bit sweaty. And then that film kept me awake after the credits had rolled, and I couldn’t go to sleep. It might be helpful to have someone’s hand to squeeze during this; I watched it by myself. Phew. I definitely recommend it though.


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