Monthly Archives: August, 2012

Hollywood Never Gets It Right (Review: “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”)

The photographer’s grandmother among the cast of The Sound of Music in 1967.
(photo by Sarah Macmillan)

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing media lately. Aside from my recent post on media discernment, I had a lively discussion with some friends about the same subject, and there’s always another trashy TV show or a movie like Magic Mike to start a firestorm. It’s enough to make you want to give up all movies, TV, and books and go live in a cave.

Well, maybe it’s not that bad. But I do start longing for something uplifting. Real life is tough, but there is hope, and sometimes I need stories that remind me of that. This seemed like the perfect summer to continue my quest to learn the rest of the story. Previously in this column, I discovered that the family behind Cheaper by the Dozen had some madcap moments, and that Yours, Mine, and Ours was much more about faithfulness than either movie version made it seem. Since the hills of Zilker Park are alive this summer (see the bonus at the end), I turned my attention to The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.

Read my review of the real story at Austin Catholic New Media.

How God Calls Us Back (Review: “Brideshead Revisited”)

photo by Ell R. Brown

Sometimes, I fail at being Catholic. As I’ve mentioned before, I try to live my faith and usually succeed, but I am far from perfect; if anything, I am acutely aware of how imperfect I am. The one constant is that I always come back. God is loving and merciful, so he always takes me back. Remembering that God is eternally waiting for my return keeps me going. When I look back on times I wandered away or felt great despair, as if God had forgotten me, I can see little hints of how those moments led me toward today. In the much-recommended classic novel Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh presents a family saga of spiritual journeys.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

Booking Through Thursday: Branching Out

Amy asks:

Name a book you love in a genre you normally don’t care for. What made you decide to read it? Did it make you want to try more in that genre?

Bookish Sarah asks an interesting assortment of questions:

What genre do you avoid reading and why?

I had a surprisingly great time reading A Canticle for Leibowitz. I like watching sci-fi since my dad got me hooked on Star Trek: TNG, but I never thought I would enjoy reading it (except for a couple of Trek books). I think it helped that it was religious sci-fi, which was a totally new genre for me. A friend of mine told me recently that he was interested in the same book, and while Googling for reviews, he came across mine! It helped me and the world (well, sort of). I plan to read Ender’s Game eventually, but that might be it for me and sci-fi.

I definitely avoid reading erotica. I posted a Facebook declaration against 50 Shades of Grey. Part of my campaign against it is to inform people that it’s not so much the content that I’m against; I dislike it, of course, but erotica has been around for ages. I dislike the mainstreaming and apparent harmlessness. Hallie has a whole set of ways to spice up your marriage without 50 Shades, so you can’t even use that excuse. Real love is never about pain (or even just about sex). Genres like erotica convince people to believe a lie.

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Swap With

Well, it’s definitely not Tuesday, but let’s see if I can get to ten this week, anyway.

Top Ten Book Characters I Would Switch Places with for 24 Hours

  1. Buttercup from The Princess Bride: I always forget this is a book, too. I just re-watched the movie with a bunch of friends a few weeks ago. I also have to admit that this one is stolen from the original poster, but, come on—who wouldn’t want those “eyes the color of the sea after a storm” to stare into?
  2. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter: Yes, she does get tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange, and have to fly even though she hates it, and dates a jock, and all that, but it’d be nice to get to her core for a day. And I’d get to be with Ron Weasley, who might have a temper but will belch slugs for you.
  3. Alanna of Trebond from the Song of the Lioness Quartet: She has drama, but she gets to be a female knight. That’s pretty cool. I would probably avoid hooking up with a theif (how much am I still myself and how much do I become her?), but swordfighting and riding horses and being a magician would be cool.
  4. Elaine from Avalon High: Aside from the obvious cool factor of being in a reincarnated Arthurian legend, she hangs out in the pool a lot, and she draws the attention of the most popular boy in school. She also has professors for parents, and she is in a really good place at the end of the story.
  5. Antonia from The Possibilities of Sainthood: She’s Catholic, so I’ve got that on lock already. She wants to be a saint, and she has her head on straight despite seeming a little bit crazy sometimes. Except for being Italian and a high school student, maybe she is me.
  6. Turtle Wexler from The Westing Game: She is also in a great place at the end of the book. She’s smart, and she makes something great of herself. She’s a little bit mischievous, too.
  7. Gaia from Fearless: I can’t believe I almost forgot her! Gaia has a lot of drama going on, but she speaks a bunch of languages, is Russian, is deadly powerful in a variety of martial arts, lives in New York City, and has Ed and Mary for best friends. Good times all around…for a day.

That’s all for today, I think. I read someone’s else’s list for this topic, and she realized (as I have) that she reads too much dystopian fiction to want to trade with most of the characters she knows! #dystopialoversdrama

7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol. 183

— 1 —

I am so obsessed with the Target back-to-school commercials. School supplies and 80s music? An English teacher covering the Go-Gos? Yes, please!

— 2 —

Then comes the science teacher. Very apt choice of song to cover, by the way. (Edited to add: It’s “She Blinded Me with Science.”)

— 3 —

When the music teacher gets involved, things get pretty epic. It makes me want to buy denim and tell him what’s the word. Word up.

— 4 —

Then, ¡se tiene el mismo comerical en español!

He’s singing to “Blame It on the Boogie,” by the Jackson 5. Translated by me, he says “Hello, parents. I’m the music teacher, and with me, your children will get the best grades. [Lindsay’s note: Cute pun with “grades” in Spanish and “(musical) notes” in English.] For that, they will need: (enter music) They’ll need crayons! They’ll need scissors, snacks for lunch, and they’ll need some sweaters! T-shirts with designs, sneakers and socks, some pants, and the backpacks they like. (voiceover) School asks you for a lot. Target has it all.”

— 5 —

And, if that wasn’t enough, the Music Teacher gets to break it down a little more.

— 6 —

In non-Target commercial news, I had my first official FOCCUS facilitation session this week with the couple I’m preparing for marriage. It went very well. I asked what they thought of the (beginning of the) process after we finished our meeting, and they said it was more helpful than they’d expected. See? Not everything is just red tape; sometimes we’re just trying to help people make good decisions.

— 7 —

On Tuesday, my morality group had what I think was my favorite discussion so far. We discussed the situation with the Vatican investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women’s Religious and its moral implications. I managed to keep my cool and be civil and clear (I think). We raised some great issues related to the situation. I’m very interested in the actual result after the LCWR gathering this weekend. Remember, charity in all things!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Booking through Thursday: Picking and Choosing

Two questions about selecting your books.

Pooch asks:

Overall, what factor most influences your choice of your next read?

Sefcug asks:

What is it that makes you want to read a book by an author you have never read before?

I’ve been reading a lot more Catholic books since last July for my ACNM column. I don’t review Catholic or other Christian books exclusively, but I know those will appeal to our readers. When I choose another book, I have to make sure it has an easily approachable Catholic angle. It can feel a little restrictive sometimes, but I try to pace my reading so that I can also fit in books I want to read just because I want to read them. And it gives me a reason to read some books I should have already read.

With my pleasure reading, I will give almost any YA a chance. I’ve gotten a lot of recommendations from Goodreads or my college friend Sarah. I recently purchased Unwind from the former recommendations and Delirium from the latter. I don’t read Forever Young Adult anymore (I got too depressed reading reviews of books I knew I’d never have time for), but they liked Delirium, too. I’m optimistic, but I am a little bewildered at the size of the paperback. It might as well be an inexpensive hardcover!

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