Posts Tagged ‘ book club ’

Book/Movie Announcement: The Fountain and His Dark Materials

Here we go folks!

Movie:  The Fountain, Darren Aronofsky

Synopsis:
Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Past, present, future. Through time and
space, one man embarks on a bold 1000-year odyssey to defeat
humankind's most indomitable foe: Death. Hugh Jackman plays that man,
devoted to one woman (Rachel Weisz) and determined to protect her from
forces that threaten her existence. His quest leads him to a Tree of
Life…and to an adventure into eternity. Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem
for a Dream
) directs, continuing his string of imaginative, involving
filmmaking with a tale alive with ideas and filled with astonishing
vistas. "Not many films can blow your mind and break your heart at the
same time, but this one will."

This film wasn't well received, but I think that's because it is difficult to understand.  And if it's difficult to understand, it might just be right up our alley. πŸ™‚

Extra Credit: The Orphanage, Guillermo Del Toro
It's still in theaters so it's not fair to make it the main movie, but GO SEE IT.  It's from the maker of Pan's Labyrinth, only it's *better.*  Yes, you heard me.  Go watch it and come back so we can discuss it!

Book: His Dark Materials Trilogy, Phillip Pullman

Synopsis:
From Amazon.com: These books are what the very best of Children's literature does. They
are entertaining and fanciful, yet they simultaneously challenge and
educate both the mind and heart. Like hot soup when you are sick, they
are "Good and Good for You."

"His
Dark Materials" are a great counter-point to the mindless fun of Harry
Potter and friends. Pullman's writing is educated and insightful, his
characters are real and multi-faceted. The series is packed with
adventure, ideas, beliefs, fantasy, talking armored bears, Texas
Balloonists, animals, gypsies, and just about everything else. The tone
of the series is serious, and as dark as the name implies.

"Chronicles
of Narnia;" "Prydain Chronicles;" "The Hobbit;" "Harry Potter;" "The
Time Quartet;" "Wind in the Willows;" and now…"His Dark Materials."
Philip Pullman, welcome to the club.

Controversy:

These books have caused quite the controversy, as they were written by an atheist, and the story is said to be very anti-religious.  Because of this, I think *everyone* should read them.  There's no use debating whether or not they are good or bad, or harmful or insightful if we don't know what we're talking about.  No matter where you fall theologically, these books are an exciting ride, and can lead to some pretty awesome discussion!

Note: Normally, we put it to a vote, but this round I have very little time, so I'm picking the book and movie selections based on what I'm already reading/watching.  I hope you guys don't mind, and I think they're decent enough choices that we can have some fun with them. πŸ™‚

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Happy Death

We're not dead.

I'm not, at least.  I just have been having a tough time getting into this book, or any for that matter.  πŸ™‚

Feel free to keep reading and posting your own thoughts though!

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Pilgrim and Holy the Firm Summary

Holy the Firm

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Here are the links to everything we discussed regarding Annie Dillard’s books!


Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Straying Trail of Blood
Random Quotes
Laura’s Reaction


Holy the Firm

Quotes
Dillard and Christianity
Comparing the Days



Magnolia

I *just* finished watching it.

I really, really liked this movie.  I'm not sure I fully get it with just one viewing, but the main message reads loud and clear.  Do not tell me this is just novelistic.  Do not tell me these things only happen in movies.

I'll probably post more on it later.  I just wanted to say how much I liked it. πŸ™‚

PS  Spoiler (highlight to reveal): I love the frogs!  How awesome is that?

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Book/Movie Announcement: Happy Death and Magnolia

Not too many people voted, but it's all good.  Not too many people participate either, but it doesn't matter.  I'd rather have quality than quantity, and boy do we have it. πŸ™‚

Here's the book for this round:

Happy Death

Albert Camus

"As the novel follows the protagonist, Patrice Mersault, to his victim's
house — and then, fleeing, in a journey that takes him through stages
of exile, hedonism, privation, and death -it gives us a glimpse into
the imagination of one of the great writers of the twentieth century.
For here is the young Camus himself, in love with the sea and sun,
enraptured by women yet disdainful of romantic love, and already
formulating the philosophy of action and moral responsibility that
would make him central to the thought of our time."

"An intriguing and entertaining study in characters going through
varying levels of crisis and introspection. This psychological drama
leads you in several different directions, weaving and intersecting
various subplots and characters, from a brilliant Tom Cruise, as a
self-proclaimed pied-piper, to a child forced to go on a TV game show
and the pressures he faces from a ruthless father."

Happy reading/watching! πŸ˜‰

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Voting Time!

I know it's been a while, but I like to wait until at least more than one of us have finished before we move on.  That said, it is now time to vote for the next book/movie!  As always, if you don't like the suggestions I put here (they're really more like idea starters) feel free to let me know what you *want* to read! πŸ™‚

Book Suggestions:

The Fall

Happy Death

The Children of Men

The Fall – Albert Camus
"Elegantly styled, Camus' profoundly disturbing novel of a Parisian
lawyer's confessions is a searing study of modern amorality."
Camus is one of the most famous existentialists…although he distanced himself from the movement at the time.

A Happy Death – Albert Camus
"As the novel follows the protagonist, Patrice Mersault, to his victim's
house — and then, fleeing, in a journey that takes him through stages
of exile, hedonism, privation, and death -it gives us a glimpse into
the imagination of one of the great writers of the twentieth century.
For here is the young Camus himself, in love with the sea and sun,
enraptured by women yet disdainful of romantic love, and already
formulating the philosophy of action and moral responsibility that
would make him central to the thought of our time."

The Children of Men – P.D. James
"Near the end of the 20th century, for reasons beyond the grasp of
modern science, human sperm count went to zero. The last birth occurred
in 1995, and in the space of a generation humanity has lost its future.
In England, under the rule of an increasingly despotic Warden, the
infirm are encouraged to commit group suicide, criminals are exiled and
abandoned and immigrants are subjected to semi-legalized slavery.
Divorced, middle-aged Oxford history professor Theo Faron, an
emotionally constrained man of means and intelligence who is the
Warden's cousin, plods through an ordered, bleak existence. But a
chance involvement with a group of dissidents moves him onto unexpected
paths, leading him, in the novel's compelling second half, toward risk,
commitment and the joys and anguish of love. In this convincingly
detailed world–where kittens are (illegally) christened, sex has lost
its allure and the arts have been abandoned–James concretely explores
an unthinkable prospect."

Movie Suggestions:

Children of Men
To go with the book, if we choose it.

Tsotsi
"Captivating audiences worldwide, this compelling story of crime and
redemption has earned countless awards around the globe. On the edges
of Johannesburg, Tsotsi's life has no meaning beyond survival. One
night, in desperation, Tsotsi steals a woman's car. But as he is
driving off, he makes a shocking discovery in the backseat. In one
moment his life takes a sharp turn and leads him down an unexpected
path to redemption … giving him hope for a future he never could have
imagined."

Magnolia
"An intriguing and entertaining study in characters going through
varying levels of crisis and introspection. This psychological drama
leads you in several different directions, weaving and intersecting
various subplots and characters, from a brilliant Tom Cruise, as a
self-proclaimed pied-piper, to a child forced to go on a TV game show
and the pressures he faces from a ruthless father."

Oh, and as an FYI, I haven't read or watched any of the above books/films other than the movie version of Children of Men.  πŸ™‚

Happy Voting!

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Holy The Firm – Comparing the Days

As promised, a look at the days when compared and contrasted.Β  Here’s a pretty little chart!Β  Sorry if the thoughts are in fragments.Β  I swear it makes sense when you read the book! πŸ™‚

More comments on Day Two:

  • Heartbreak, “caught holding one end of a love”
  • Everything good looks fake
  • Chart of possible (bad) reactions to a Day Two event (I didn’t even realize that she was providing them until it was pointed out to me):


More comments on Day Three:

  • There are no clean hearts, there are no depraved hearts.Β  There is no one but us.
  • Ambiguity
  • Anything can happen – expect the unexpected
  • Danger
  • Love
  • Perfect faith = bad
  • We become the flame, sacrificing ourselves to give light to others
  • Irony – holding pairs of opposites together (“I am myself falling down slowly, or slowly lifting up.”)
  • Christ – Human and Divine, Eucharist – Christ with a cork
  • Holy the Firm – Matter and Spirit
  • Joy, Bliss

Holy the Firm

Annie Dillard

General Comments:

  • Difference between Tinker Creek:Β  Enters into human suffering…the *real* mystery of life.
  • “Nothing is going to happen in this book.”
  • This isn’t about things changing for us, it’s about *us* changing.Β  It is about personal transformation.
  • Like Denise Levertov’s poem, City Psalm

“I
have seen
not behind but within, within the
dull grief, blown grit, hideous
concrete facades, another grief, a gleam
as of dew, an abode of mercy,
have not heard behind but within noise
a humming that drifted into a quiet smile.
Nothing
was changed, all was revealed otherwise;
not that horror was not, not that the killings did not
continue,
not that I thought there was to be no more despair,
but that as if transparent
all disclosed
an otherness that was
blessed, that was bliss.
I saw Paradise
in the dust of the street.

  • In both days 1 and 2, we think we have life figured out (especially in day 2!)
  • In day three, we know more than anything that life is a mystery (I only know enough to want to worship).
  • The movement from Day One to Day Two is not in our control, and in fact goes against what we want (remnants of Kierkegaard?)
  • The movement from Day Two to Day Three cannot be forced either, and often feels like a revelation
  • Day Three inevitably collapses into Day One…and the process repeats…but hopefully we progress closer and closer to truth
  • Day Three experiences parallel that of mysticism and gnosis.
  • Is there any connection to Nietzsche’s three stages?

Symbolism (brief):

  • In the beginning, the spider web is holding together beauty and violence
  • Islands represent eternity coming into time: “Here is the fringey edge where elements meet and realms mingle, where time and eternity spatter each other with foam.”
  • Who is a moth lit with flame?
    • Julie Norwich (Julian of Norwich was an anchoress and Christian mystic)
    • The little god
    • Annie herself
    • The seraphs
    • The nun, thinker, and artist

Okay, that’s all I have.Β  I hope it helped! πŸ™‚