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Tom Hiddleston Loves "Miami" by Will Smith - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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May 20th, 2012


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10:09 pm - Tom Hiddleston Loves "Miami" by Will Smith
So on Thursday night I am flying to Miami to embark on a cruise to the Bahamas with dozens of Indian youth in the hopes of finding a wife and/or Indian friends. There will probably be snorkeling. And awkward social situations. Because I am terrible in crowds. I figure it will either be a good experience or a miserable experience, but either way, it will be a new experience.

I'm learning toward miserable because I have a headache and fever right now.



In Timeless, by Gail Carriger, the final book of the series, ALL IS REVEALED! Or something. In any case, Alexia travels to Egypt to answer the summons of the oldest living vampire and unravel the mysteries of whatever the hell her father was doing. Meanwhile, Biffy and Lyall remain to unravel the mystery of a shooting. I've enjoyed the last two books well enough, and I was kind of reading the series out of inertia, but I felt an unexpected fondness for these characters and this world during this book. Was it because it was the last one, or was it because it's actually better than the last two? Some things are certain: the new character introduced at the end of the last book is a delight, the dual narrative allows Biffy to shine in a way I didn't know he could, the plot is just simple enough to keep chugging along without too many complicated contrivances, the fact that the unflappable Alexia actually gets flapped a few times is good, and science!! It's a very enjoyable, breezy read, and a nice conclusion to the series.



A childhood favorite for many, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg, concerns Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, two kids who run away from home and go live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art because whatever, I guess. And there's some statue that may or may not have been carved by Michelangelo, and they decide to investigate.

The book has a few things going for it, most notably a narrator, although the narrator—the titular Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler—tells the story as an omniscient narrator despite not being omniscient, which was just confusing. And Claudia is amusing. But Jamie really steals the book; he basically has no filter (he's nine!) and says the darnedest things.

I really couldn't get into the book, find something to really care about. It seemed so...basic and simple, when the setup had potential to be a little more complicated and interesting. It leads up to some sort of epiphany about secrets or something, which I guess is...something.

On top of all that, the audiobook quality is terrible. The reader, Jan Miner, is fine; it's like your grandmother is reading you a story (and her voice for Jamie contributes to his stealing the book). But the recording is too sensitive, and you can hear her lip smacks and mouth noises and it's incredibly distracting; it's like your grandmother is making out with you.



While the Calliope Reaper-Jones books weren't my thing, I do enjoy a good children's book, and Among the Ghosts, by Amber Benson, which is reminiscent (but not derivative) of Coraline and The Graveyard Book, is a good one.

Noleen-Anne Harris Morgan Maypother, or Noh for short, goes to stay with her aunt for the summer and begins to explore the abandoned, empty West Wing of the New Newbridge Academy, where she makes some friends! Dead friends. What's amusing is that we get both Noh's perspective and the ghosts' perspectives, and the ghosts assume she's another ghost because generally "realies" can't see them. Noh gets caught up in the mystery of why ghosts are disappearing. Which must somehow involve ants. (There are ants on every single page. The illustrations by Sina Grace complement the story well.)

One of my favorite parts of the book is the occasional interjections from the narrator regarding a "nasty thing" waiting in the wings to do nasty things at some point. I love that sort of thing, and it gives the book a bit more personality. The writing style is clearly geared toward children, with few frills.

The ending is sort of bonkers and convoluted and could have used some more time to be developed (and it also seems like Benson was setting up a series), but it's also rather exciting and original, certainly not the way I expected the story to go.

Overall, it's a cute ghost story that lacks a certain something to make it great but is enjoyable nonetheless.
Current Mood: sicksick
Current Music: Beck - Derelict

(13 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:dachelle
Date:May 21st, 2012 05:23 am (UTC)
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I feel like your title has lured me in under false pretenses. I demand Hiddles!

Aw, I am sad you did not like From the Mixed-Up Files... It was one of my favorite books when I was little. Kids get to live in a museum! It's like nerdy child nirvana!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 21st, 2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
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Here, have some Hiddles!



Getting to live in a museum would be cool! Except they don't really do a lot in there!
[User Picture]
From:dachelle
Date:May 21st, 2012 02:59 pm (UTC)
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I will never get tired of that clip. Oh, Hiddles!

Ha ha, well, to be honest I don't remember that much about the plot other than that they get to live in a museum. I suppose it's the sort of book that's much more exciting when you're 8.
[User Picture]
From:homegoddess
Date:May 21st, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
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This is so weird. I was thinking about From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler this morning just before I read your post. I'd just listened to the news about the earthquake in Bologna. I haven't read it since elementary school. Also, congrats on your play!
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 21st, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
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Ha, what a coincidence! Oh, Bologna.

Also, congrats on your play!
Thanks!
[User Picture]
From:rufinia
Date:May 21st, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
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I looooove From the Mixed Up Files!

(And, um, Basil E. Frankwieler is the dead husband. I don't remember if we get the given name of the Mrs. ever.)

So, uh, have fun wife-hunting? ....although, I do have a friend in Chicago...
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 21st, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
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Everyone loves it! I am a jerk for not loving it!

(And, um, Basil E. Frankwieler is the dead husband. I don't remember if we get the given name of the Mrs. ever.)
Oops, left out the "Mrs." *edits to make you look crazy*

So, uh, have fun wife-hunting? ....although, I do have a friend in Chicago...
Oh do you.
[User Picture]
From:rufinia
Date:May 21st, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
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YOU ARE.

hey, now, space cow, I do NOT need your help to look crazy. Honestly.
[User Picture]
From:ethanvahlere
Date:May 21st, 2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
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It's been a while since I've read "From the Mixed-Up Files", and granted I also don't know how different it is reading it from listening to an audio book (I've never done that), but there are reasons why Claudia runs away. She feels her life is monotonous, and she feels no one, especially her family (except maybe Jamie) appreciates her (I don't know how your childhood was, but I certainly could appreciate that). They go to the museum not just because she's entranced by the art, but also for practical reasons; they can wash and hide in the bathrooms, and they can take the change people toss in the fountain (which people still do, by the way) and use that for money so they can survive. Also, given how many school field trips there were to the museum (I don't know how often that happens today), and the lower level of security back then, they could blend right in.
[User Picture]
From:rufinia
Date:May 21st, 2012 11:19 pm (UTC)
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I was, in high school, given money to take my then nine year old sister to the science museum of Minnesota on the bus and to see an exhibit on Jurassic Park. What we ended up NOT having was enough money to get home. So we went to a near by indoor park that had a lot of fountains, and I set her on lookout while I climbed all over them looking for enough quarters to get us home. I got the idea from this book.

THANK YOU MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER. YOU GOT US HOME AND WITHOUT BEING CAUGHT.
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[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:May 22nd, 2012 02:27 am (UTC)
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Everyone I know who read ...Frankweiler before age 12 LOVES it, even upon later rereads. Those who read it later in life at the recommendation of all the rest, in my experience have been significantly less enthusiastic. In conclusion: not a jerk.
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