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Dancing Concessions Monday Movie Meme logo
For today’s Monday Movie Meme The Bumbles asked us to name our favourite prison films. Listing Shawshank Redemption is not allowed! LOL

* Following links is at your own risk — beware of spoilers in plot descriptions! *

Still from Shutter Island One of the first films I thought of is Martin Scorsese’s recent feature Shutter Island. Sort of an oldfashioned B-movie that is real fun to watch! With ‘future hero‘ Leonardo DiCaprio playing an US Marshall called in to solve the mysterious disappearance of a psychic resident out of Shutter Island prison — yes, which is of course set on an isle :) Bringing to mind that other famous escape from a prison island: Escape from Alcatraz, with Mr Clint Eastwood. I was 9 at the time and don’t remember much, so I can’t put it in my top-3 ;) Hey, I was 3 years old when Papillon came out, so I dare not even mention that classic! LOL
Still from A Prophet Another movie I saw this year was the impressive Un Prophète (A Prophet) which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film. I would not dare use the word ‘fun’ in this case, because it was quite a depressing experience. If you’re one of those optimists thinking goal will help criminals to get back on the right track, you need to go see this picture and wake up.

Sandy from You’ve GOTTA read this! threw in American History X and I’ve been thinking about whether to add it to my list too. I love that picture and believe everybody should go see it; it’s SO good. (Who doesn’t love Edward Norton anyway? And why doesn’t he play in more movies? *mope* ;) Still, I don’t really remember it as a prison film, so I’m excluding it with a heavy heart ;)

Birdy (still from the movie) If I was allowed to recommend only 1, my absolute favourite film would be the cult classic Birdy by Alan Parker (music by Peter Gabriel). Matthew Modine and Nicholas Cage — God, they’re young! — prove to be high class actors in this mesmerizing movie. Yes, I know we all have doubts about Cage sometimes, but think back to his part in Birdy and you can rest assured ;)

Now of course I’m cheating a little because Birdy is not really locked up in jail but in a mental hospital… Still, he’s in detention and when I think back to it, it really feels like prison. As it did to Birdy!

Under Lock and Key ~ Peter Gabriel (2:25)

Did I miss anything YOU would put in your top list of prison movies?


Logo Monday: What are you reading?Yesterday I was so busy getting my buddy review of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman online with Elsje that I missed out on the Sunday Salon. Same thing happened last week, so today I decided to join in Sheila’s weekly meme on Book Journey: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? to bring you up-to-date.

Cover Silence, by Shusaku EndoI finshed reading Shusaku Endo’s book Silence for the Japanese Literature Book Group and Japanese Literature Challenge #4 on June 10th. I hope I’ll manage to review the book before the discussion starts on June 28th! Because it is set in Japan just after the country has been closed to foreigners (except Dutch), it was quite appropriate to read after The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (which I hope to review soon too) and it also brought to mind The Bridge of San Luis Rey and one of my all-time favourite movies The Mission.

Cover Geketende Democratie (Japan), Hans van der LugtAfter Silence I picked up some Dutch nonfiction about Japan: Geketende democratie, Japan achter de schermen by Hans van der Lugt. It hasn’t been translated into English (yet) but literally the title means ‘Democracy in Chains: Behind the Scenes in Japan’. Hans van der Lugt has been a correspondent in Japan for one our national newspapers (NRC Handelsblad) from 1995-2006. It’s an interesting book but I feel like reading a novel as well so I’ll be starting The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch in the next few days. We’re going on a short trip to one of the Wadden Islands in the North Sea so a book with such a title seems appropriate. It is also part of my personal challenge and the What’s in a Name challenge — I’ll be happy to finally cross it off my wishlist!

I’m still keeping up with the Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book read-along. I’ve read all my entries for this week (#110 in the Morris edition) but I just don’t have anymore time to tell you all about it. That’ll have to wait to another Sunday Salon — or It’s Monday! What Are You reading? :)

Again, Gnoe seemed to have disappeared from earth after her last update in hour 19 of the readathon. Yeah, well: this weekend wasn’t as relaxing as I had meant it to be ;) I tried to keep my calender clean of other activities, but in the end I failed ;) So I had a fun but full few days.

The hard part for me in the readathon is balancing actual reading with community activities like cheering and mini-challenges. In October I had read for 6 and a half hours; 300+ pages. It’s not that much more this time, even though I’ve kept myself on a tight leash about pc-time — and I was WAY more relaxed!

Next time (yes, you’ve read that right) I should try to feel less frustrated about this sort of thing. Because I really think the community aspect is an important part of the readathon: otherwise I could do a 24 hour session on my own! And it’s like Kihana said in her comment: as long as you have fun — fun while reading makes for a 100% successful Read-a-Thon!

Cover Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffenegger)And yes, I absolutely enjoyed it. A major difference with the October readaton was that I have only been reading in 1 paper book and 1 audio book. I had planned on starting with short stories, but the novel I had started a few days before, Her Fearful Symmetry, is such a pageturner that I didn’t feel like picking up anything else. It even bothered me when I had to switch to Paul Auster’s Invisible on audio when I had to bake for today’s hanami picnic!

Now, here are my answers to the end-of-the-event meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
    Hour 9 (= hour 11 for me because I had started early), when I got back from the butoh peformance and I was tired. I now know for sure: I just need to sleep during the readathon because I get really depressed when I don’t.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
    Definitely Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger!!! GREAT Readathon book!
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
    Nothing in particular. But for me it worked well to start earlier in the day (starting at 2pm is no fun).
  5. How many books did you read?
    Two, but I finished none.
  6. What were the names of the books you read?
    Her Fearful Symmetry (Audrey Niffenegger) and Invisible (Paul Auster) on audio.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?
    Do you really need to ask? I thought I’d been quite clear on that! LOL
  8. Which did you enjoy least?
    Well, since I’ve only read two… Invisible, by Paul Auster. But that’s because I found it hard to concentrate on the audiobook when I also needed to concentrate on my cooking.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
    I wasn’t a cheerleader but I’m very grateful to those who were!
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
    I want to participate again in October! I thought springtime would be better for a readathon but now I’m not so sure anymore… Maybe next time I’ll even be an official cheerleader! I’m already used to cheering, so… ;)

The finals

24 Hour Read-a-thonTime period: Sat 10.30 – Sun 11.30 (with a 4 and a half hour time-out on Saturday night)

Total of time read: 8 hrs 0 mins
Total amount of pages read: 224 pages (& 1 hour of audio)
Mini-challenges I participated in: 4 (Intro meme, Kick Off Champions, Book Title Poetry, End of Event meme)

I lost track of my blogging and cheering time, but I’d say about 4 hours.

The Pillow Book

I had planned to read this weeks batch of The Pillow Book entries during the readathon, but…

1) My main readathon book was way to exciting to switch to something else.
2) Again, I didn’t get as much reading done as expected, or hoped.

Excuses, I know. I’ll just need to catch up with Sei Shōnagon once I’ve finished Her Fearful Symmetry! Which probably won’t take too long since I plan on reading every free moment in the next few days ;)

Other bookish things

Book The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de ZoetI’m really happy to have received The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet this week: David Mitchell’s new novel. I’ve been looking forward to it for years now! I’ll probably start reading as soon as I’ve finished Niffenegger, oh — and the next entries for The Pillow Book of course ;) A random connection between these two novels (I’m forgetting about the journal for a minute) is a Dutch character in an English book. Mitchell has Jacob de Zoet (obviously) while Marijke de Graaf plays a role in Her Fearful Symmetry.

This also was the very last week of Bookcrossing Convention Monopoly. Team De Boekenleggers didn’t win, but we did manage to loose all our books during the game! Our last release was on Easter Monday, in the busy shopping street of Lage Vuursche — where there’s only one actual shop… Thanks to iiwi for being such a great game host!

The Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

The book
I’m still reading part 3 of I Am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki, a Japanese classic from 1907.

The tea
I’m drinking some Chung Hao Jasmine in original Japanese tea cups made from Arita porcelain. This Chinese tea is also a classic.

The comfit
With my book and tea I’m relishing the #1 award winning Dutch bonbon of 2009: ‘bullet’, by Visser Chocolates. It’s a luxurious cherry flavour, with a soft mochi-like filling at bottom.

Thursday Tea buttonDo they go together?
The protagonist of my book is (obviously) a cat and I don’t see it drinking tea, but its master Sneaze could definitely be enjoying this classic beverage during the many languishing hours in his study or on the veranda. In the early 1900’s Chinese tea had been an imported product in Japan for many centuries.

The cat is a sweet tooth and likes mochi… so the candy is perfect too! And look at those gorgeous colours: all gold, green and burgundy red in the glow of a soft winter sun!

Thursday Tea is a fun meme for tea loving readers, hosted by Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.

You would think that during these cold days we’d like to watch some sunny movies… But not The Bumbles. This week’s Monday Movie Meme is all about winter!

Of course everybody thinks of the fun Coen Brothers film Fargo first. Me too. But two other movies sprung to mind even before that!

Image from Cold Fever Cold Fever, by the Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridrikson. I absolutely loved this movie about a successful Japanese businessman whose plan for a 2-week winter holiday in Hawaii (to play golf) changes when his grandfather reminds him that he should go to Iceland for the 7 year anniversary of his parents’ death.
Image from Wintersleepers Winterschläfer (Wintersleepers) by the German director Tom Tykwer. A movie about an unfortunate accident in an Alpine resort that had me contemplate the concept of ‘guilt’ for a long time after…

Both these films are gems to look back on in my personal movie history and I’d love to see them again. Ha! The dvd of Cold Fever should arrive any day now!

Image from Frozen River But there’s also a more recent movie I would like to mention: last year’s Oscar nominated film Frozen River, by Courtney Hunt. It’s a story about two working-class women who smuggle illegal immigrants in the trunk of a car from Canada to the United States in order to make ends meet. A hard life that seemed quite realistic to me — what would I do?

I get a warm feeling thinking about these great movies. Let’s cuddle up with a cup of hot chocolate, right now! ;)

I always enjoy reading Sandy’s Monday Movie Memes on You’ve GOTTA read this! Last week I came close to joining in the fun (on a Sports topic, no less :-o) and today I really couldn’t resist. We’re talking MONSTER MOVIES! Or is it movie monsters? ;)

Well, meet some of my memorable favourites. Monsters, I mean.

The Plant in The Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Cute sapling turns into a man-eating monster demanding to be fed. Hold on to your critters and loved ones!

Louis de Pointe du Lac & vampire Lestat in Interview with the Vampire (1994)
One evil spirit to feel sorry for and another to avoid no matter what. The first time I noticed Brad Pitt is actually good at acting ;) And Tom Cruise only needed to dye his hair to look crrrrrreepy ;)

King Kong in King Kong (1933, 1976, 2005)
Gotta love ‘m, don’t you? Just one big scared animal. Not scary. Okay, he made a bit of a mess, but don’t we all sometimes?

Edward Scissorhands in Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Could Johnny Depp ever look frightening? Noooooooooo. Beware of those claws though!

Gollum in The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)
Okay, he doesn’t really count — I only saw a short piece of one of the movies of The Fellowship of the Ring. But I saw HIM and I loved Gollum in Tolkien’s book trilogy — he is uncanny and oh so sad.

De Plaaggeest (The Bully) in Bassie & Adriaan (1978)
As a child I was really scared of a prankster looking like a joker in a well-known television series about a clown and an acrobat, Bassie & Adriaan. And I mean HORRIFIED. It was just an obviously dressed up guy but hey, I couldn’t sleep!

The Monday Movie Meme is hosted by The Bumbles.

Thursday Tea is a fun meme for tea loving readers, hosted by Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog. I might not participate every week (so no need to worry ;) but I would like to every once in a while! To play along, all you need is some tea, a book, and the answers to these questions:

  • What tea are you drinking (and do you like it)?
  • What book are you reading (and do you like it)?
  • Tell us a little about your tea and your book, and whether or not the two go together.

The tea
I’m drinking organic green tea with ginger and lemon. Spicy! Because it’s cold outside: it has been snowing for the first time this winter :) It’s a Dutch brand, Piramide, using Vietnamese green tea from around Suoi Bu village. It is perfect for days like this.

The book
I’m reading The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson for my online bookgroup, the Boekgrrls. I can’t say much about it yet because I’ve only just begun and I like to know as little as possible about a book before I start… One thing I found out yesterday though is that one of my teenage idols, Simon Le Bon, has read it as well — and it was his disappointment of 2009 :\

Do they go together?
Yes, definitely! You only need to look at the picture to see that even the colours match ;) GOLD & hot! Since the tea is spicy it warms me up quite thoroughly; the ginger having a ‘bite’. This all fits with the beginning of my book, in which the protagonist causes a terrible car accident, getting horribly burned… Fire, heat and pain. Yes, I winced while reading :\
The cup I’m drinking from is one of my favourites, Arito ceramic from Japan. I’ve got a whole set of these :)

There’s also a thematic relation to tea as a water based drink. Of course burn victims dehydrate enormously, so they need a lot of fluids. And the title, The Gargoyle, refers to a grotesque carved stone with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building. The term originates from the French gargouille, originally ‘throat’ or ‘gullet’; cf. Latin gurgulio, gula, and similar words derived from the root gar, ‘to swallow’, which represented the gurgling sound of water (according to Wikipedia). I admit that this is a bit far-fetched and would make all teas appropriate if taken seriously. I just thought you might find the information interesting ;)

My last half hour has been spent on cheering and answering the questions of the End of the event meme.

24hrreadathonbutton1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
The hour before I went to sleep… I didn’t have fun anymore — that’s what fatigue does to me ;)

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Well, Coraline the grahic novel was great! And I could also recommend Be With You by Takuji Ichikawa: a very quick read that I finished just before the readathon started. Or The Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
It was great as it is! But I did have a hard time keeping track of the end-times of mini-challenges, since they varied and were in different timezones. Maybe next time we could just use readathon hours for that (i.e. “ends hour 9”)?

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
It was my first time participating so I have nothing to compare this year with… It was fun having Twitter because that really made it feel like a worldwide event. We even managed to get it an trending topic!

5. How many books did you read?
I finished only 2 and read about 1/3 of my read-along book. Less than I had thought, but it feels good anyway :))

6. What were the names of the books you read?

The Piano Man

The Piano Man



I Am a Cat

I Am a Cat

White filling for when WordPress gives me trouble

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
I can’t decide! They’re all quite different… Only time will tell. Getting myself a graphic novel was new to me, so that was the most surprising — especially since it reminded me of other books, and a movie as well.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
See my answer to question #7… I had the most problems concentrating with my first book: The Piano Man.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I was no cheerleader but I’m in real awe for those people! I did do some cheering myself though, even to the cheerleaders :)

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Yes! Definitely! It took me since April last to get used to the idea of participating as a reader, so I might get used to some other roles in the time until the next event!

A BIG THANKS to all the people who made this readathon possible and managed to make it such a great success! And I would also like to thank those people who weren’t participating but cheered anyway! It helped so much!

It’s Sunday 2:45 and even my hamster is fast asleep… So I guess it will be alright for me to go take a cat nap? But not before I’ve answered the Mid-event Survey:24hrreadathonbutton

1. What are you reading right now?
I Am a Cat, by Natsume Soseki (yes, still).

2. How many books have you read so far?
I finished 1 (The Piano Man by Bernlef) and started my current read after that.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
My graphic novels :) And Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger — that wasn’t on my readathon pile but Mr Gnoe finished it and it seems like a real pageturner!

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
Yes, prepare Mr Gnoe for my bumming around!

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Not really, just that I need to eat etc. ;) And sleep…

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
I underestimated it! It’s much harder than I thought to read continuously. I usually don’t have a problem with that — it’s the community aspect that I don’t want to miss out on!

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I know it’s up to myself to participate in challenges, but as far as I’m concerned a challenge an hour is a bit much…

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
I have to figure out a way to actually read more… Spend less time behind the computer. But I feel I’m already doing that! :(

9. Are you getting tired yet?
Yes. Definitely. Totally.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
I’ll have to get back to you about that!

Now, off to bed. Wouldn’t it be great if I could cheat and pretend daylight saving time won’t stop tonight? I could put the clock back and read an hour longer, it still being from 2 PM – 2 PM ;) Not too tired to think up a scheme like that! :P

24hrreadathonbuttonThe weather is great for a readathon: it’s RAINING! And the kitty cats are being cosy because of that :)

I have a hard time concentrating on my reading because of all the excitement… I didn’t expect that to happen! But veterans tanabata and nymeth tell me this is nothing to worry about. I trust them!

Status report

14:00 – 16:30 (Writing down these digits I hear the bleeps of the 24 tv-series in my head ;)

Cover De pianomanCurrently reading: De pianoman (The Piano Man), by Bernlef (I’m halfway the book at page 44)

Hour 1 readathon meme

The first mini challenge is a meme:

  • Where are you reading from today?
    I’m in Utrecht, The Netherlands, sitting in the chair I’ve shown you in my earlier post.
  • 3 facts about me …
    I’m 30+ (or rather 40-), work in a museum and have too many interests…
  • How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
    10, but I have no illusions about reading all of them!
  • Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
    Just to have fun and try not to spend too much time at my computer (and I don’t want to get cranky so I’ll take it easy ;)

Hour 2 readathon mini challenge

Wordlily challenged us to get the #readathon hashtag in the trending topics of Twitter. Well, it is! Unfortunately my browser crashed while updating (probably due to an Tweetdeck overload ;) so I guess I’m too late for participating in this mini-challenge. Here’s my screendump anyway.


Hour 3 readathon mini challenge

As requested by Hey Lady Whatcha Readin’ I’ve pinpointed myself on the map Where in the World is the read-a-thon? Did you know there are 361 readers participating all over the globe?

Progress since last update

Time read: 1 hr 11 mins

Mini-challenges I participated in: 3
Blogging time: TOO MUCH! 40 minutes

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!


Currently grazing

Twittering Gnoe

Gnoe herding…

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