Thursday, October 4, 2007

Two More Books And A Movie

I actually feel accomplished today! I signed up for all of my benefits for the new job, read 3 books (though one was a picture book and one was a short little 111 pg, fun book) and saw a movie. I guess it's my last hurrah before heading off into the real world on Monday. So here are a few more reviews.

Shaun Tan's The Arrival may be the most beautiful book I've ever seen. Tan is an illustrator/author that I learned of through Carl. Carl highly recommends The Red Tree and I haven't picked it up yet because I haven't been able to find it. Eventually I'll pick up a copy through Amazon. The Arrival is a 128 page picture book that tells the story of an immigrant. It could be the story of any immigrant going to any new land, but it happens to be the story of a man heading off to a bizarre yet beautiful world that is so unfamiliar to anything that we know of today to set up a home for his wife and child. The food, the creatures, the jobs, the way of life, the way of travel...it's all new and bizarre and told beautifully through Tan's haunting, sepia toned artwork. Each villager that he meets has their own story of how they came to the land and what they left behind. What Tan presents is an homage to every migrant that's ever traveled to a new world and set up a new life for themselves. The story is told through pictures only - no words, and no words are needed. This is a beautiful book and I can't help but feel that every family should have a copy on their bookshelf.

The next book is the first in a series. It's the Edgar & Ellen series by Charles Ogden, written for young adults/children and the first book is Rare Beasts. This book was such a delight to read :) It's like A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I never really got into) meets Tim Burton. Edgar & Ellen are mischievous twins who live in a town called Nod's Limbs in a dreary, towering house. All of Nod's Limbs is considered the "good side of town" except for the block that Edgar & Ellen live on...that would be the "bad side of town" thanks to them. Their parents left on "vacation" a while ago and never returned and they are now left to themselves with the only adult around being the creepy groundskeeper. Edgar and Ellen both have pasty white skin and black hair plastered to their heads and where their red and white striped footie pajamas all the time. Their favorite past time is basically torturing each other, but when Ellen is about to slice her brother open with a pendulum after finding him in a game of hide and seek, they decide that they are bored with their normal games. So of course, they go to aggravate their one eyed hairball of a pet named, well...."pet". Pet is watching his favorite TV show that's talking about exotic animals and the twins get a wonderful idea. If they could find their own exotic animals to sell, they could make tons of money to buy things to wreak havoc on the town with! So they kidnap all of the town's pets and do a little altering of them and try to resell them as....Rare Beasts. This looks to be a great series and very light but fun reading. There are 4 books out in the series so far and I'll be picking the others up. Edgar and Ellen are also Target's Halloween mascots this year! So I'll probably go out tomorrow and buy the halloween DVD special that's for sale there as well as the pop-up book (I love pop-up books!)

And finally, I saw an absolutely amazing movie tonight! Finally, Across the Universe was released here. For those who don't know, it's a musical focusing on the Vietnam war era and features over 33 Beatles songs sung by the actors throughout the movie. This movie was just phenomenal, and if it's playing near you...go see it! I've never gotten goosebumps so many times in 2 hours. It's beautifully done with so much emotion, power and meaning put into it and I was just amazed at the genius put into this movie. It was visually stunning and one of those movies that you just get lost in. I could see this movie 10 more times in the theater and I'm sure it would still bring waves of emotion over me each time. Check it!

27 comments:

Kailana said...

Man, Across the Universe STILL hasn't opened here :(

And, Shaun Tan is fabulous, huh? I have been eyeing that new book, but there are so many others I want.... decisions, decisions.

DesLily said...

well you certainly managed to cheer yourself back up after that other book! (glad my post nudged you in the right direction!)

Debi said...

Edgar and Ellen...I think they've turned that into a TV show on Nicktoons, right? Definitely want to check these out. (I'm with you, I could never really get into The Series of Unfortunate Events...I enjoyed the first couple, but then they all started sounding the same, and I gave up after the first six.)

Anyway, sounds like you had a truly phenomenal day!

Stephanie said...

Edgar & Ellen is SO going on my list!! It looks like it will be fantastic fun!!

When I saw the previews to Across the Universe, I knew that I had to see it!! Even an old Goth girl like me has a Beatles fetish! When I went to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame a few years back, they had a huge Beatles exhibit. I literally had tears running down my face at one station. It was a paperbag, and it held John Lennon's personal effects from the day he was killed. It even had his glasses...they were cracked. Yoko Ono had never even opened the bag....she just donated it. So sad. BUT back to the movie. It looks absolutely fantastic. I'm glad you liked it!

Chris said...

Kailana, What a bummer! I hope it opens up soon, you need to see it! The Tan book blew my mind, it was incredible...I highly recommend it ;)

Deslily, Anything had to be happier than that other book! And your post had me in hysterics!! lol...I swear, you give me the best laughs!

Debi, Are they a Nicktoons show? That's kind of cool! I'll have to check it out. It was a fun book. Series of Unfortunate Events just never hooked me. I read the first two books and then figured why continue putting my money into the series if I'm not liking it? Ah well. I did have a phenomenal day ;)

Stephanie, It's very fun :) And it takes all of 45 minutes to read, lol...but I think it's going to be a fun little series.

I've always loved the Beatles! There's just no one else who's done quite what they've done. The Rock-n-Roll hall of fame exhibit sounds incredible. I'd love to go sometime. One of these days...You'll love the movie...there's no way you can't! It was gorgeous.

DesLily said...

man..........
you have flown ahead of me with reading! Once we were at the same number of books (46?) now you are at 57! and I'm only going on 50! And....... if you count my 3 stories you have read that's 60 for you! Aggggggggggg! how can you say you read slow?! sheesh maurice!

Chris said...

Pat, LOL! I've been on a kick lately...but you have to take into account that one of the books was a picture book and the other was only 111 pages :p I'm putting yours down too on the "Pile of Books" blog too when I'm done if that's ok with you. I like to be able to look back at what I've read.

Nymeth said...

Both The Arrival and Edgar & Ellen sound wonderful, and both are things I have never heard of before.

Across the Universe is not playing near me either, but I will try to find out when it will be.

Chris said...

Nymeth, You'd love The Arrival. It's like a big art book! It's beautiful. Edgar and Ellen was fun :p Definitely not great literature, but it's a good read for the season. Across the Universe is having such a limited release and I don't understand why...it could be so successful in a bigger market.

Court said...

I got Rare Beasts a few years ago as a Christmas present from a friend - I love that book! I haven't read any of the other Edgar and Ellen books, so I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say about them when you get around to them. :)

DesLily said...

Of course it's ok with me! list it under : unpublish work lol.. I'm not sure I have a page count on them .. might have an old one.. before numerous edits I'll look around and email it if I do..

so one was a picture book and one 111 pages.. you still went way out ahead of me .. snot! :OP

Chris said...

Court, Isn't it great? I thought it was a brand new series...then I went to look on Amazon and saw that it's a couple of years old and that there are 6 or 7 books out now! Geesh...

Deslily, Great! Will do...I sincerely hope that one day I can list it as published..it really should be and I mean that! These stories are too good!

Melissa said...

I myself am a slower reader but have thoroughly enjoyed the realms of Alex Webster and The Gods. The arrival looks great, I think I will give it a try, thanks.

Chris said...

Melissa, That sounds fascinating! I'll have to check it out when I have the time. I hope you do check out The Arrival. It's a beautiful book!

Carl V. said...

Glad to hear positive Across the Universe feedback as that is a film that I really want to see.

I have yet to make it over to Borders to pick up a copy of the Tan book. It is one that I definitely won't be passing up considering how much I love The Red Tree and The Lost Thing.

I always wondered about that children's series by Odgen. I've picked them up many times but never left with one. I will have to remedy that.

Chris said...

Carl, I can't sing praises high enough for Across the Universe! This one has to win some awards. It was outstanding. If it's playing near you, I highly recommend it.

Of course, you'll love The Arrival. It's really one of the most beautiful books I've seen. It's sure to win some awards. I can't wait to get my hands on some of his other books now. His artwork just blows me away!

I've never heard of the Edgar and Ellen series before! I just saw them in Sunday's Target ad and thought they were cool looking and had no idea that the characters came from a series of books. Then I'm at B&N in the children's section and there's the books! So I picked the first one up. It's fun...the artwork reminds me of comics in the vein of Lenore.

Bookfool said...

Oh, yeah, that's a great cover. I love that aged sepia look.

I haven't posted on this, but I have to share with you that the teacher in charge of my son's high school's yearbook looked at my swim photos and told the swim coach to ask me if I want the photography contract for the 2008-9 school year!! I might actually be employed, next year!!! I thought you'd like to know, since you're always saying such nice things about my photos. :)

Chris said...

Nancy, that's awesome!!! I'm telling you, you need to do something with your photography...it's just amazing! How exciting :D I was talking with my girlfriend's mom the other day, who's also a photographer, and we were talking about cameras because I'm looking at getting a better one. Then we started talking about people who buy really expensive cameras and complain about how the pictures still don't look good. And she said that "it's not always the camera's fault. Some people can have the cheapest camera and still take an amazing photo with it" And I thought of you right away...you could have a disposable walgreens brand camera and take amazing photos! I'm so happy for you..so is it just for the swim team or are they looking at other stuff too?

I'm telling you Nancy, you should sell some of your bookmarks and stuff too...you'd have a customer here ;)

Rhinoa said...

The first book does look really beautiful, but the second really caught my attention. It sounds very island of doctor moreau, but in a more fun way hopefully! Will see what you think of the next one and then hopefully give it a go.

The film sounds cool but not sure how The Beatles fit in... Not sure if it has been out in the UK yet.

Elizabeth said...

Adding my recommendation to Across the Universe. It's a must see on the big screen. Loved it.

Carl V. said...

By the way, I went out and used my 20% off coupon at Borders and snagged a copy of The Arrival!

Chris said...

Rhinoa, The Edgar and Ellen book was so much fun, I've bought the second one. Not quite Dr. Moreau ;) They just string them with christmas lights, paint them, and do other horrific things to them...but it's fun.

Across the Universe uses all Beatles songs throughout the movie and they really fit perfectly to describe what's going on throughout the film. It was really done perfectly and done with complete love and respect for the Beatles. I loved it!

Elizabeth, Wasn't it amazing?! I definitely agree that it's a must see on the big screen!

Carl, YAY!! I tried to get it at Borders first and couldn't find it, so I snagged it at B&N. Isn't it amazing? I want to frame every page!

Bookfool said...

Thanks, you're too kind, Chris. I'm not sure what all would be involved, but the coach mentioned swimming and football, so I'm assuming I'd be showing up for sporting events all over the place. I'll just have to ask, I guess. :)

I totally agree with your friend. It's funny how some people will look at photos and say, "Wow, you've got a great camera," and if you know better you think, "Ummm, yeah, the camera is great, BUT . . ." My old camera actually broke when we were in England, one time (argh!), and I had to buy a bunch of disposables. I was stunned how well the photos turned out. I just figured England's really photogenic. LOL

Well, gosh, thanks. I'd love to figure out how to sell my bookmarks, but I'm not sure I'm quite savvy enough to do business out of my home. I'll have to give that some thought. :)

Chris said...

Bookfool, EBAY!!! Lol...Do it just like Lisa Snellings-Clark does her sales. Post some stuff and the write on your blog that you posted it! It's easy, I used to sell on ebay all the time. Your stuff's too good not to share ;) So it sounds like you're going to be a sport savvy bookfool now, eh? That's so cool! Can't wait to see those action shots!

Booklogged said...

What a beautiful old book - the Tan book. I'm going to have to look for this one.

Across the Universe sounds wonderful. Thanks for telling us about it.

Chris Rettstatt said...

I picked up The Arrival earlier this year at Book Expo America (an advanced reading copy) and was stunned. It's so amazing. It's currently the jewel of my bookshelf.

I won't comment on Edgar & Ellen, because I work with the people who do the books and TV show, so I'm a little biased :)

Chris said...

Chris, Yeah, I'm still in awe over The Arrival! I really wouldn't mind having every page of that book framed. Tan's an amazing artist. It's proudly displayed on my bookshelf too :)

Very cool that you work with the Edgar and Ellen team. It's a fun little series. Just checked out your blog and I'm digging it! You have an awesome job! Wanna trade? ;)