Do you have a guy on your list that is just impossible to shop for? Well, not anymore. Here are Midtown Review’s top 5 gift books for the men on your list this season:
Concerned about the obvious stereotyping in this list? Me too. So for those who have broken the mold, I offer this…
Ah books and movies, movies and books. Sometimes I have a hard time choosing which I like better. It’s like choosing between chocolate and vanilla. For some people there is no contest – they fall firmly on one side or the other. For me, I’d just as soon have them swirled together (in a cone, please). So when I can get my books and movies together in the form of a favorite book adapted for the big screen, I couldn’t be happier. This month there are several such yummy treats to choose from:
1 – I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT (based on the book by the same name by Allison Pearson)
Opens tomorrow – September 16th, 2011
The movie stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks, Olivia Munn,Kelsey Grammer and Seth Meyers which is reason enough for me to want to go see it.
As an employee at a Boston-based financial management firm, Kate Reddy (Sarah Jessica Parker) struggles daily to balance the demands of her high-powered career with the needs of her husband (Greg Kinnear) and children. When she gets an account that requires frequent trips to New York and her husband gets a new job, Kate finds herself spread even thinner. Complicating Kate’s life even more is new business associate Jack Abelhammer (Pierce Brosnan), who throws temptation into the mix.
This is one of those books I kept meaning to read but didn’t but the movie looks like it could be fun, and I miss Sex and the City, so I’m in.
Yeah it’s hot out. In fact in some parts of the country, it’s hard to think about anything else but how freakin’ hot it is. But we at Midtown Review are here for you. Today’s list of cool reads have absolutely nothing in common. They’re just cool. And will hopefully prove to be a welcome distraction from the heat.
|1 – COOL HAND LUKE by Donn Pearce. This 1965 classic inspired the famous movie starring Paul Newman. Pearce also wrote the screenplay. Have you seen the movie? Now it’s time to read the book. Coming from his own experiences, the novel depicts the lives of chain gang convicts with brutal honesty and brings us Cool Hand Luke, war hero turned “pretty evil feller,” whose refusal to “git his mind right” becomes part of his fellow convicts’ mythology of survival.|
|2 - COLD MOUNTAIN by Charles Frazier. Another highly acclaimed book turned movie to add to your list if you haven’t already read/seen it. The book tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the American Civil War who walks for months to return to Ada Monroe, the love of his life; the story shares several similarities with Homer’s The Odyssey. The novel alternates chapter-by-chapter between Inman’s and Ada’s stories. It was Charles Frazier’s first novel, a major bestseller, and winner of The National Book Award.|
|3 – THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD by John le Carré. Graham Greene calls THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD “the finest spy story ever written”. That’s pretty cool, no? Written in 1963 by real life MI-5 and MI-6 agent David Cornwell using the pseudonym John le Carré, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD was also made into a movie starring Richard Burton. See… even more reasons to stay inside in the air conditioning. Read the book AND watch the movie.|
|4 – IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. If you want to really be chilled to the bone, read Truman Capote’s true crime story IN COLD BLOOD. The book tells the story of the savage murders of the Clutter family in Holcomb Kansas in 1959 and investigation, capture, trial and execution of the killers. Probably more famous than the murders themselves is Capote’s own role as observer and the odd attachment he forms with one of the murderers. Yes, you can also watch the 1967 movie of the same name and/or the 2005 biographical film called Capote.|
|5 – SO COLD THE RIVER by Michael Koryta. Not in the mood for an old but cool classic? Then how ’bout a new cool thriller. This one does not (yet) have a movie made from it. It just came out in January after all, but Michael Koryta is an award winning author and this book, his first foray into the supernatural, is said to be some page turning, scary goodness.|
Enjoy – and stay cool.
– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor
Happy National Doughnut Day!
Did you know it was National Doughnut Day today? Did you know there was a National Doughnut Day? Does the fact that there is a National Day for well… Doughnuts (and hot dogs and every other freakin’ thing under the sun) bother you in any way? Most importantly did you get your free doughnuts? These are the questions I ponder today as I procrastinate the mounds of reading I have to do to get ready for next week’s author interviews. (I will be talking to Mary Kay Andrews on Sunday and Darin Strauss on Tuesday).
So, in honor of the tasty doughnuts and the procrastination, I offer you a list of the top 5 reasons books are better than doughnuts.
- Books have far fewer calories than doughnuts.
- The holes in a book’s plot can make for an interesting discussion, the holes in a doughnut are just holes.
- You can carry a book in your purse without making a mess.
- Books do not get stale. An old book is a classic – and old doughnut is gross.
- You cannot clobber a would be attacker with your doughnut. Well, you could… but it would just be weird.
On that note, I wish you a Happy Friday, a Happy Doughnut Day and a lovely weekend.
– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor
Okay – so you’ve graduated. Now what? You could get a job, right? That is the next obvious step. But perhaps the goal of toiling away in a cube, working for “the man” is something you want to put off for a little while. Or maybe you’re trying your little heart out but the perfect job happens to be eluding you. If you’re parents are sassing you and your dog won’t let you have the best seat on the couch, I have some suggestions on how to fill your days.
|1 – Backpack through Europe with Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door. All the cool kids are doing it, so why not you? And trust me, once you start this working every day crap – you will not find the time. And besides, when else in your life are you going to be comfortable sharing a bathroom with a bunch of strangers?|
|2 – Get rich quick. You’ll need money for the above trip to Europe and The Dollar Bills will show you how to get it with LOADED!. And if that doesn’t work (which it probably won’t), you’ll at least have something to laugh about as your friends text you from the Eiffel Tower and you fight with Fido over the best treats and the remote control.|
|3 – Learn how to brew your own beer. This will be a necessary skill since you will not be able to afford to buy any and your friends will all be in Europe so you can’t drink theirs. Plus your mom will totally be into the mess you make in her kitchen. I’m suggesting BREW LIKE A MONK by Stan Hieronymus*, since his name is AWESOME. And you might as well get comfortable with the idea of being a monk since no one will want to date you now that you are a jobless couch potato.|
|4 – EAT. Eating is always a delightful way to fill the day and it goes so well with television. Especially a marathon of all the TV shows you missed while partying in college. Here, I am going to go out on a limb and assume your beer was good enough to drink and you are in now in need of a hangover cure. I’m recommending THE HUNGOEVER COOKBOOK by Milton Crawford who is my new best friend (whether he likes it or not).|
|5 – Watch or read Fight Club. This was a tough one. For number 5 I was debating between suggesting actually looking for a job or reading/watching FIGHT CLUB. I opted for FIGHT CLUB. Read the book, watch the movie, or perhaps just give yourself a good slap. Work can wait. You’ve got your whole life for that.|
– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor
*I think hieronymus would work well as a derogatory term for someone who has graduated college but never worked a day in his life. (e.g. That Dude is such a hieronymus). Try it. You’ll like it.
Happy Earth Day! Today I am doing my part to help Mother Earth by doing absolutely nothing. I figure if I sit perfectly still, I won’t be creating any trash or wasting any electricity. Okay, I had to make an exception to write this post – but after this I’m going to turn off the laptop (okay and the TV) and I pledge to do absolutely nothing. For the rest of the day. Well, maybe I’ll read. I only need one lamp for that, and I won’t have to turn it on until much later. AND it’s one of those environmentally friendly bulbs.
But seriously… whatever your beliefs… I think we can agree that conservation is good, landfills are bad and organic cotton is nice and soft. And we can always use a reminder on taking care of our planet. Of course, the wee ones still need to learn all about being green, and to that end I present today’s list:
Happy Reading and Happy Earth Day!
– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor
Did you ever wonder why non fiction is described in the negative… not fiction? Why is that section of the store not just called “truth”. Or perhaps “truthiness” as Stephen Colbert would say? Who knows? All I know is that for a long time, I steered away from non-fiction. Too much like school maybe, too serious, too… well… boring. But I’ve changed my tune. Perhaps it’s age that’s gotten me here, after all, I am now okay with brussel sprouts too, but I actually think it’s because there is more and more really well done, really readable non-fiction. So to that end, and without pondering why brussel sprouts are called brussel sprouts, I bring you today’s Top 5 List of New and Noteworthy Non-Fiction:
#1 – THE COMPANY WE KEEP by Robert and Dayna Baer
When CIA agents Bob and Dayna initially met on a mission in Sarajevo, it wasn’t love at first sight. They were both too jaded for that. But there was something there, a spark. And as the danger escalated and their affection for each other grew, they realized it was time to leave “the Company,” to somehow rediscover the people they’d once been.
As worldly as both were, the couple didn’t realize at first that turning in their Agency I.D. cards would not be enough to put their covert past behind. The fact was, their clandestine relationships remained. Living as “civilians” in conflict-ridden Beirut, they fielded assassination proposals, met with Arab sheiks, wily oil tycoons, terrorists, and assorted outlaws – and came perilously close to dying. But even then they couldn’t know that their most formidable challenge lay ahead.
Simultaneously a trip deep down the intelligence rabbit hole – one that shows how the “game” actually works, including the compromises it asks of those who play by its rules — and a portrait of two people trying to regain a normal life, The Company We Keep is a masterly depiction of the real world of shadows.
#2 – AMERICAN ROSE by Karen Abbott
With the critically acclaimed Sin in the Second City, bestselling author Karen Abbott Read More
Top 5 Pre-Orders for Spring 2011
I love having something to look forward to – a trip that’s planned with the tickets carefully tucked in a drawer, a concert or play coming up in the next few weeks, or an order I’ve placed and a package on the way. That’s one of the great things about books, there are always some new and fantastic reads right around the corner. For today, I thought I’d share a list of the top 5 pre-orders you need to add to your list:
#1 – TEN BEACH ROAD by Wendy Wax
On Sale May 3rd 2011 – Pre-Order Now!
Wendy Wax knows how to write a page turner, so I can’t wait to get into TEN BEACH ROAD. You’ll want to pack this one for your beach trip for sure… and if you can’t get to the beach you could trying mixing a batch of daiquiris and kicking the kids out of the sandbox.
Madeline, Avery, and Nikki are strangers to each other, but they have one thing in common. They each wake up one morning to discover their life savings have vanished, along with their trusted financial manager- leaving them with nothing but co-ownership of a ramshackle beachfront house.
Throwing their lots in together, they take on the challenge of restoring the historic property. But just as they begin to reinvent themselves and discover the power of friendship, secrets threaten to tear down their trust-and destroy their lives a second time.
At this time of year – when Winter just seems to drag on and on – you might find yourself in need of a little escapism. And if you’re going to go – you might as well go far. How ’bout to the future? Or another world? Or another world IN the future? And where better to find great stories of the future? In the past, of course. Today’s Top 5 List takes a look at some of the best classic Sci-Fi. So strap in and get ready for take-off. We’re getting out of here:
#1 – FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.
But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun—or fight them and be destroyed.
#2 – 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY by Arthur C. Clarke
2001 did seem way in the future when this one was written! Now, it has been Read More
This week it’s all about Oscar buzz. My friend Cindy is diligently working her way through all of the Oscar contenders while I am satisfied to get a chuckle from the the ridiculous TV commercials for the show starring co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Our regular contributor Denise Neary has turned her Oscar excitement bookwards and has a challenge for those of us that love both books and movies!
What is your favorite book that was turned into a favorite movie (okay, or favorite BBC series)?
A few more in serious competition for the top honor:
I loved that book so much, and cried from the moment of the first credit to the end of the last in the movie theater. Imagine how happy my fellow theater-goers were!
For me, that movie had three really interesting interpretations: Read More