Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Salon: A Reading Retrospective, February 2004

Flipping through the pages of my reading journal back to February 2004, I discover that I was on an adventure kick of sorts, whether I was fighting zombies, an evil prince, chasing down serial killers or revisiting the past. It is amazing the places you can go by just opening up a book.

The first time I saw the movie The Princess Bride, I wasn't impressed. My husband counted that among his favorites? Really? Then I saw it again and again and again . . . I have lost track of how many times I have seen the film, but I can say with a certainty that the movie grew on me over time, and I think of it quite fondly these days, and even recommend it to others who are looking for something quirky, funny, romantic and adventurous. (The soundtrack is pretty awesome too.)

It wasn't until February of 2004 that I settled in to read the book the movie was based on. Author William Goldman charmed me from the beginning of the introduction. I loved every word of his book. Reading about the characters was like visiting with long lost friends. How could I not fall in love with Buttercup, Westley, Fezzick and Inigo? I laughed and cried and even held my breath a few times. It is definitely one of my all-time favorite novels. I appreciate the movie all the more now for having read the book.

This year the movie Angels and Demons will be coming to theaters. The movie is based on the book with the same title by author Dan Brown, which I just happened to have read five years ago this month. Opinions of Dan Brown's novels are all over the map. Some readers love him while others cannot stand him. I was actually quite smitten with Angels and Demons. I almost feel embarrassed to admit it, with so many people out there who snub their noses at Dan Brown's books. But only almost. We can't all like the same books.

The Da Vinci Code was getting a lot of press about that time, and I was interested in seeing what all the fuss was about. Still, I couldn't start with the sequel, most definitely not! And so, Angels and Demons made it into my hands first. I actually liked Angels and Demons over The Da Vinci Code, which I read later that same year. The whole science versus religion controversy has always interested me, and it made for a great story line in the novel. Angels and Demons was fast paced and thrilling. I read it in only two sittings, all within the same day. I remember commenting to my husband as I read that I thought the book would make a great action movie. I hope the upcoming movie will do it justice.

I have yet to see the movie The Five People You Meet in Heaven based on Mitch Albom's book of the same title, but I did read the book in February of 2004. It was sappy, sure, but I liked the message of how interconnected we all are, and I liked the author's writing style. It led me to read another of his books a couple of years later.

Other books I read that month five years ago included Resurrection Row by Anne Perry, Jack & Jill by James Patterson, and the Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton.

As you can tell, I have movies on the brain. It may have something to do with the upcoming Academy Awards show. I am in between books at the moment, trying to decide what to read next. So many choices . . .

Random Thoughts:
  • I joined Twitter. I am not sure why. I am sure it had something to do with my husband talking about it all the time lately.
  • There are about ten books sitting in my immediate TBR pile that I wish I could read all at once, right now.
  • I am having trouble thinking of what to write for my review of a book I recently finished. Every time I sit down to start on it, I draw a blank. I actually liked the book, so that's not the problem.
  • I do not like it when I am not feeling up to reading.
  • I hate being sick. I hate being in pain. Okay, I'm done whining about it. For now.
  • I discovered that Parker is a good pill taker. But only when my husband is giving him the pills.
  • My cats, Anya and Parker, both prefer hardback books.
  • My computer has kitty bite marks in one corner.
  • I am going to spend the day reading an actual book.

Newest Acquisitions:

Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America - and Found Unexpected Peace by William Lobdell ~ Harper Collins First Look Selection (talk about long subtitles!)

The Mechanics of Falling and Other Stories by Catherine Brady ~ TLC Book Tour

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford ~ Because you all talked me into it.

The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-Six by Jonathon Keats ~ Another one that's all your fault. You know who you are.

Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh ~ A random buy--my husband says I was drawn to it because it sounds like something I would have wanted to do.

(I will not be around much this week either, I am afraid. I'm still feeling pretty rotten. I nearly didn't get this post finished and posted. Thank you all who sent me well wishes. I truly appreciate your kindness.)


  1. My name is Domingo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!


    The Five People Movie didn't impress me as much as the book did.

    My kitties don't have a preference on the book type. Oliver has announced himself King of the Land (i.e. our house). His meow is so funny... like a cranky old man. He's just barely one!

  2. I have always wanted to read the book A Princess Bride!

    Did you get Signora da Vinci yet? I hope so, otherwise I'm worried about it!

    I also preferred Angels and Demons and am looking forward to the movie. I hope you feel better soon!

  3. I love The Princess Bride! It is definitely one of those movies that grows on you. I don't think anyone who loves it has only seen it once or twice. I know I felt a little confused that everyone loved it when I first saw it, but now I do too. I liked the book as well, but this is one of those peculiar cases when the movie is better.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  4. Hi Wendy! So good to see you posting, and I hope you'll feel better soon.

    I was smittened by Dan Brown's Angels & Demons too. I can't wait for the movie to be out.

    Like you, there are a couple of books I wish I could read all at the same time. How I wish I could take a reading vacation. Hmmm...

    Have a good week ahead! :)

  5. Hello Kitty! I hope you are feeling better soon.

    I read The DaVinci Code and was soooo disappointed. Then I read Angels & Deamons and LOVED IT!!! I cannot wait to see the film and it had better be better than The DaVinci Code. It may also be the first film we see on an opening weekend when we move back to the states on May 12th!

  6. Wendy, so glad to hear from you but I definitely understand about taking a break when you aren't feeling well. Take care of yourself and take as long as you need.

    The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies. So many good quotes. You know, I've never read the book. I need to remedy that at some point.

    In February of 2004, I seem to have been reading several of Jennifer Chiaverini's quilt series books - back to back. That's all I see in my journal. Hmmm....

  7. For someone feel so rotten you wrote a great post!! I never saw or read The Princess Bride! I think I missed out! I also just picked up a hardback copy of the Da Vinci code for .25 at the library sale last weekend. (looks like its never been read!) But I'm thinking I should read Angels and Demons first. I've been leary of Dan Brown because of all the hype. I think I'll read them both this year. I think you'll love Hotel by Jamie Ford. My kitty hates all books because they take attention away from him - he's not thrilled about the computer either. He sites right in front of the monitor and refuses to move. I hope you start feeling better Wendy! Enjoy your day of reading!

  8. Sorry to hear you are under the weather. I hate being sick, too! But, if you can curl up with a good book...

    I joined Twitter, too, but haven't seen the benefit of it. I guess I just don't really get it. I'll be interested to know how you like it.

    Rest up this week!

  9. The Princess Bride is one of my dad's favorite movies, though I think it took a little while for it to grow on me, too. The book is on my wish list!

    I too wish I could successfully read about 10 books at a time right now (well, maybe always). Unfortunately, I'm stuck with my feeble ability read one maybe two concurrently and even those very sloooowly. Oh, well.

    Anyhow, hope you start feeling even better soon!!

  10. Love this retrospective. Hope you feel better this week! I'm having trouble this week reading more than 2 pages at a time...

  11. Sorry to see you're feeling so rotten.

  12. I so understand that "10 books I want to read all at once" statement. I'm a little under the weather myself (dental in my case) and can't bring myself to read at all.

  13. I love that movie, saw it over and over and over until I can quote along with all the lines. But for some reason the book didn't work for me. Which really disappointed me a lot. The pages about pages and pages which were edited out about Buttercup packing/unpacking her trunks of clothes got on my nerves.

  14. Wendy, Thanks for a great post and much to think about over the next week. I hope that you start to get back on track with your health. I've been sick since last Saturday and even with antibiotics I'm just now starting to feel good to yourself and rest!!!

  15. The Princess Bride is probably the most re-watched movie of all time!

    Rest and Recover (and Read)!

  16. Sorry to hear you're still not feeling well. I hope you recover soon!

    I did my reading retrospective this week too. I kind of wish now that I'd started doing mine for 2004 too, instead of 2002. It would be fun to compare what we were both reading 5 years ago.

    I enjoyed both The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Sure, they're not literature with beautiful prose, but they're fun, suspenseful stories when you just want something like that. I look forward to seeing the new film of A&D sometime.

    I really want to read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and am very tempted, even in hardback.

    Again, I hope you feel better soon. Take care!

  17. Aww. I hope you're feeling better soon. Curling up with a cat and a book sounds wonderful.

    So, are you going to share your Twitter user name so that I can follow you??? I've been on Twitter for a while and didn't get it at first either. Now, I check it first thing in the morning, lol. I also got the Mister hooked on it too. :D

  18. Blogger needs to allow you to edit your own comments, lol. I searched for you on Twitter, found you, and followed you. Take care.

  19. I read Da Vinci Code five years ago--well, five years ago exactly I was working on The House of the Spirits, but it was the read just before that. I didn't read Angels and Demons until later that year (didn't like it as much). And didn't like The Princess Bride first time you saw it? Inconceivable!! :) I LOVE that movie, but probably because I grew up with it. I haven't read the book--like you said last week in your comment, I don't do well with reading the books after seeing the movies.

    Glad to see you back!

  20. Sorry to hear you are still not feeling well! I've read both books by Dan Brown and while I liked them both I ended up liking The DaVinci Code better :) I will be interested in seeing the movie when it comes out though. Get better soon!

  21. I've heard many people say they enjoyed Angels and Demons more than The DaVinci Code. I have it, but haven't read it yet...

    Hope you feel better soon!

  22. Princess Bride book and movie are favorites in their respective fields. It's just one of those things. As for books to read next, how about taking a book-movie break? I know this season always gets me frustrated with how many good books are ruined by bad movies (though I suppose a number of good books are also supplemented by movies... it goes either way).

  23. Wendy, I'm with you, I hate being sick and hate it even more when I find it so hard to concentrate on a book while sick. I was hoping you were doing better. Mine just keeps lingering on. I'm going to relax soon and try to finish up my book. I hope you can do the same. Feel better!

  24. When I was in junior high, I used to read aloud to my baby sister, and one of our favorites was The Princess Bride. We also loved the movie - and quote from it frequently at family gatherings!

    "Love, twue love..."

    "Only mostly dead."


    Hope you feel better soon.

  25. I'm not as attached to The Princess Bridge the movie as some (though I did very much enjoy it), but I think it's because I read the book first. It sounds like multiple viewings might fix it, though :P

    I really hope you feel better soon!

  26. I liked Angels and Demons, but I wasn't a big fan of The Five People you meet in Heaven. I hope they do a better job with the Angels & Demons movie than The DaVinci Code. I thought the movie was a snoozer. I'm glad you are back and hope you are feeling better!

  27. I remember all of the press and I did try to read The Da Vinci Code but I don't think I was really in the mood for it. I actually own the illustrated edition now but I still haven't read it. I did like the movie a lot though. I think I'll try to start Angels and Demons before I try to read the sequel the next time I pick it up.

    I have yet to read the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven but I loved the movie lol. I'm in a bit of a classics and YA mood myself. I read a classic that has been made into a few films the other day, just finished a Newbery Honor, and I plan to read it's sequel which is a Newbery winner sometime tomorrow lol.

    When I start drawing a blank, I start doing research on the book (looking up interviews etc.) or the author and somehow it always sparks something and I end up with a review! Hope you feel better soon and get a lot of reading in!

  28. Oh, I have to see The Princess Bride one more time!

    It's difficult when I get stuck for words about a book I've enjoyed reading. I'll step away for a while and come back to writing about it later, if I'm inspired. Hope you feel better.

  29. My laptop has kitty bite marks in the corner too!

    I read The Da Vinci Code. Someone forced a copy on me and I enjoyed it very much.I think you have to put writing into perspective. Not everything is art or literature. Sometimes things are just a good, fin, entertaining tale. I have heard that Angels and Demons is the better book, but I have not as yet gotten around to reading it.

  30. I'm sorry you're still not feeling well, Wendy - I hope this week is better! I'm still having some pain in my right hand and shoulder from the accident (or else the weather), but otherwise we are healing up - and we brought home a new car today!

    There's a lot in the book version of The Princess Bride that's not in the movie, but I like the fact that Goldman did his own adaptation - it makes me feel that the changes have more integrity. I enjoy the book, but I LOVE the movie, which I have seen literally dozens of times.

    I read Angels and Demons before The Da Vinci Code. I think they're both examples of how someone can tell a great story and not necessarily be a great writer. I liked Angels and Demons better too.

    That Losing My Religion book intrigues me. I'll be looking forward to finding out more about it from you.

    Feel better soon :-)!

  31. I really love the new header photo you have. What an adorable kitty.

  32. * I joined Twitter. I am not sure why. I am sure it had something to do with my husband talking about it all the time lately.

    I don't know why I did either!!!

    * There are about ten books sitting in my immediate TBR pile that I wish I could read all at once, right now.

    I have the same problem.

    * I am having trouble thinking of what to write for my review of a book I recently finished. Every time I sit down to start on it, I draw a blank. I actually liked the book, so that's not the problem.

    Don't you just hate that. I have one too..wonder if it's the same book. LOL

    * My computer has kitty bite marks in one corner.

    Very funny..I can relate, my printer never works right because of my cat Houdini
    * I am going to spend the day reading an actual book.

    Glad you are feeling better:)

  33. I hope you're feeling better, Wendy!

    I haven't read Angels and Demons but I really enjoyed Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and Digital Fortress. I'm looking forward to watching the film adaptation of A&D even though I haven't read the book, so by then I'd appreciate the book much more. ;)

    I hope you've a great week ahead, Wendy!

  34. I read the Mitch Albom book and really loved it. The movie was okay, but I loved the book so much more!

  35. OMG I love the Princess Bride. I don't think it gets any more classic. I won't even start quoting lines, because then I'd be leaving a 5000 word comment.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  36. I see you are reading The Woman in White. I love that book. I read it on the Trans-Siberian Express when I was returning home from Mongolia. As I recall, my copy had more than 900 pages, so it was great for such a long journey.

  37. I love Princess Bride the movie. I really need to get my hands on the book.

    I hope you feel better soon, Wendy. If nothing else, I hope you feel like reading.

    Get well soon.

  38. I LOVE The Princess Bride! I should read the book too.

    I have been having problems with reviews lately too. It also doesn't help that I am so far behind on them.

    I hope you love Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet!

  39. I enjoyed The Five People You Meet in Heaven book, but the movie wasn't as good.

    What a neat post! I wish I kept lists of the books I read back then.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  40. I liked the book The Princess Bride so much--especially the way it is told--that I didn't want to watch the movie for a while. But then I did, and like you, got to like it better as I watched it again...and again.

  41. It's so fun to read your reading in retrospect post! You know, I think I also read Angels & Demons before the DaVinci Code. I'm such a stickler for reading things in order :)

    Feel better!!

  42. I have heard so many wonderful accolades for both the movie and the book, but sadly I have yet to make time for either one. They are definitely on my TBR and TBW lists.

    I wanted you to know that I gave your blog a shout out and an award today. I have so enjoyed reading your posts over these past few weeks.

  43. Can't wait to read your review of The Book of the Unknown. I would love to talk about some of the stories with you when you're done.

  44. I hope you're feeling better soon, Wendy! It's no fun being too sick to read. :(

    I read Princess Bride in the 11th grade and loved it, so I was hideously diappointed in the movie. Since then, I've been more forgiving of it but intially? Dreck.

  45. Sher - I have heard mixed reviews of the The Five People movie. I probably will watch it someday just because I won't be able to help myself, but I admit I'm not in a hurry right now.

    Parker is definitely the king of my house, although his subjects give him a run for his money. :-)

    Amy - I hope you will get a chance to read it someday. It's a great book.

    I am still waiting on Signora da Vinci. I'm thinking it got lost in the mail since it hasn't shown up yet. :-( Thank you for trying though! Unfortunately, these things happen. Sometimes I think they happen more to me than anyone else though.

    Meghan - I am glad I am not alone in that. I remember thinking how silly it was the first time I saw it. :-)

    I am feeling better, thanks! One of the downsides to having a chronic illness is that it sometimes flares up and knocks me down.

    Alice - Thank you, Alice. I am feeling better. I hope it lasts!

    The previews for Angels and Demons look good. Hopefully that will prove to be the case.

    A reading vacation would be so nice!

    Planetbooks - Thank you. I'm doing better today.

    I'm hoping the movie Angels and Demons turns out to be good. I thought the movie version of The Da Vinci Code was decent, but I would have liked more from it.

    Kay - Thank you, Kay! I know you understand very well the need for time off when health issues wear you down.

    You are definitely right! The Princess Bride is very quotable. I should break it out and watch it this weekend. :-)

    I've heard great things about Jennifer Chiaverini's series. It sounds like your February five years ago was a nice light reading one. :-) Never a bad thing!

    Lisa - That's sweet of you to say! If only you knew how I slaved over it. Haha!

    I would recommend you see The Princess Bride movie at least once, but then, you might be like me and wonder what all the fuss is about the first time around. :-)

    A little advice about reading Dan Brown's books. Space them out if you can. They're very similar formula wise. I thought they were fun books, but nothing all that special. I've always been so amused how much of a controversy The Da Vinci Code caused.

    Parker does that to my husband all the time--sits right in front of his monitor. :-) He used to do that with me until I got the laptop. Now I battle with Anya who wants to lay on my chest or across my arms while I type.

    Linda - If only I felt up to curling up with a good book! I wasn't even feeling well enough to do that, I'm afraid.

    I'm still trying to figure out what Twitter is all about--if there is a benefit or if it's more of a time eater that I really don't need to invest in. How are you finding it so far?

    Megan - I hope you like the book when you read it. I thought it captured the mood of the movie quite well, although I know some might disagree with that.

    You and me both with the one, maybe if I'm lucky two books at once thing. Ho hum. We do the best we can, right?

    Sarah - Thank you. I hope your reading picked up this week too!

  46. Kathy - I'm feeling better today. I'm hoping it lasts awhile!

    Lisa (Books.Lists.Life - I hope your dental problems are all resolved. That's no fun!

    Jeane - You really are a fan of the movie! LOL I'm sorry you didn't care for the book though. I actually thought the "author's notes" about editing out bits of the book were part of the book's charm, but I can see how that wouldn't appeal to everyone.

    Staci - Thank you. I hope you are feeling better, Staci!

    Jenclair - I bet it is one of the most re-watched movies of all time. :-)

    Nat - Thank you. I enjoy reading your retrospectives and think it is great that you can go back so far. I wish I could!

    You're right about Dan Brown's books. They are fun, even if not great literature. Sometimes fun is all we want.

    Trisha - Thank you! I still didn't manage to get much reading in, but at least I'm feeling better. That must count for something, right?

    I am glad you found me on Twitter! I'm still trying to get the hang of it.

    Trish - At least I like The Princess Bride now. That's what really matters. :-)

    Samantha - I'm looking forward to seeing how the movie turns out. Hopefully it will be good.

    Priscilla - Early on, it seemed like whichever of Dan Brown's books a person read first was their favorite, although I've noticed that isn't quite true anymore.

  47. AnonChild - My heath problems turned me off of reading the past couple of weeks, so I don't think over saturation was a problem. I'm just looking forward to feeling well enough to want to pick up a book again.

    I've actually been quite impressed with the book to movie translations lately that I've seen.

    Dar - I am doing better, thanks, Dar. It just took longer than any of us would have wanted. I do hope you are feeling better now!

    Carrie K. - The Princess Bride seems like it would be very suitable for reading aloud. Love those quotes!

    Nymeth - Nothing beats the book, even if you've seen the movie a dozen times. :-) It's just a fun movie. I am not sure I would count it among my favorites that way my husband does.

    Kristy - The previews for Angels and Demons look pretty decent, but we'll see. Previews can be misleading.

    Jen - I hope you enjoy them when you read Brown's books, Jen. I never invested in the illustrated version of The Da Vinci Code since reading the regular version was plenty for me, but I know people who swear by it.

    I think you would like the book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It's definitely a feel good story, but sometimes a person needs just that.

    I still haven't finished my review of that one book. I want to do that this weekend. I usually do that too--research the book, even read other reviews if necessary, something I rarely do until after I've written my own. I've given myself permission to keep the review extra short. That should help. :-)

    Gavin - Thank you.

    I may just watch it this weekend again. :-)

    I'm going to try again on that review this weekend and hopefully will make some progress.

    Nicole - So your laptop has kitty bite marks too! It adds personality to the computer doesn't it? ;-)

    You're exactly right about putting writing in perspective. Sometimes a person craves something fun and entertaining without all the trappings of artistic writing and high brow literature.

    Florinda - Thank you, Florinda. I was so sorry to read about your accident. How are you feeling? How's the new car? New cars are so much fun--except the payment part. :-)

    One of the things I had written in my reading journal about the book The Princess Bride was how glad I was that Goldman wrote the script for the movie. I think it definitely helped with the translation.

    I'm hoping to start on Losing My Religion this weekend. The premise really caught my eye--especially in a personal way.

    Wisteria - You too, huh? I'm still wondering why I joined Twitter, to be honest. LOL

    There are just too many books out there I want to read right now. To have more time in the day . . .

    I worry that my printer will stop working one of these days since my cats are constantly sitting on it. They just look so comfy up there . . .

    Melody - Thank you, Melody. I am feeling better. I have Digital Fortress around here somewhere waiting to be read. I hope you have a great weekend!

  48. Yvonne - I love Mitch Albom's writing style.

    Kim - Haha! It's hard not to quote the movie or book!

    And thank you! I'm so glad I'm feeling more like my old self.

    Ian - I enjoy The Woman in White when I'm reading it, but I'm afraid when I put it down, it's easy to forget about it. I'm not sure this was the best time to read it. Maybe I need a long train ride so I can stick with it for long intervals, which is what I think the book requires.

    Nikki - Thank you, Nikki. I never did get back into the reading like I hoped, but maybe now that I'm feeling better.

    Melissa - The book is definitely worth checking out.

    How is the review writing coming? I still need to finish up that one I was stumped on. Maybe tonight or tomorrow.

    Anna - I've heard mixed reviews about the movie. I'll probably get around to watching it someday just to see for myself. :-)

    Now that you are blogging about books, you'll be able to do a retrospective soon yourself!

    Jeanne - You too! The book was so good. And that movie grows on you after awhile, doesn't it?

    Iliana - I'm glad you liked it. :-) I prefer to read books in order if I can help it. It definitely has its advantages!

    Molly - When you do get to them, I hope you like them!

    Thank you so much for the award, Molly, and your kind words. I really like your blog too. :-)

    Aarti - It couldn't resist picking up a copy while I was out and about. It sure sounds good.

    Carrie K - Thank you, Carrie. I'm definitely ready to dive back into my books again! I've missed them.

    Haha! It was a while to get used to the movie, doesn't it?

  49. I loved reading The Princess Bride! I thought it was even better than the movie, which I've seen numerous times. I'll have to post a picture of a t-shirt my hubby gave me this year for Christmas. It has a name tag on it, if that gives you any clues. ;)

    I also love all the quotables in the book/movie. My favorite is, "Mawidge" and "Twu wuv". Remember that scene?

    I hope you enjoy The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I thought it was a lovely book.

    Take care of yourself and get well quickly!!

  50. Les - I thought the book was better than the movie too. :-)

    I can't wait to dive into The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I've heard such great things about it--not to mention I love the title.


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