Saturday, January 26, 2013

Random Reviews, 1

When I asked what kind of posts y'all would like to read, one thing was suggested more than most: book reviews.

I guess that since I'm an English teacher, y'all think I read a lot.  Unfortunately, during the school year, I do not have time to read nearly as much as I'd like to on my own.  Honestly, I'm generally too drained from the school day when I get home, and all I want to do is zone out in front of the TV.

So, these "Random Reviews" will be a mix of books, TV shows, and movies.  And, I don't believe I'm a very good "reviewer," so I think my "reviews" will really just be random thoughts.  :)

A Book

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After seeing one of my students read this book and discussing it with him, I knew I had to buy it.  Unfortunately, it just sat on my shelf.  I let several students borrow it, and when they returned it only a few days later (having read the entire thing in that short of time), I knew it was a must-read.

Unwind is a dystopian young-adult novel that takes place after the Second Civil War - the war on reproductive rights.  The war decided that abortions would be outlawed but that parents could "stork" their babies (leave them on others' doorsteps and force another family to adopt the baby) or "unwind" their children between the ages of 13 and 18.  When a child is unwound, every part of his or her body is donated to another human: the hand goes to an amputee, the liver goes to someone in need of a transplant, etc.  The novel follows three teenagers who were set to be unwound for three very different reasons.  It is really, really interesting -- and frighteningly realistic.  No wonder my kids loved it.

A TV Show

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I have heard the fuss about Downtown Abbey for quite a while now, but I was never super-moved to see it.  On a whim (and after finishing Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead), The Boy and I started season one on Netflix.  And before we knew it, we were on season three.  We. are. addicted.

If you are the only other person in America who has yet to see Downton Abbey, it takes place at a huuuuuuge manor in England right before (season one), during (season two), and after (season three) World War I.  It follows the lives of Lord and Lady Grantham and their three daughters as well as the servants that work for them.

My favorite character is Sybil, the youngest daughter, as she is strong-willed, stubborn, and opinionated, especially for the time period in which she lived.  I also love Mr. Bates and Anna, two of the servants.  They are just so darn sweet.

Please watch this.  And then please talk about it with me.

A Movie
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The Boy is a former film major and, therefore, loves everything cinema.  In addition, he is just as excited about the Academy Awards as I am and wants to see all of the nominated films before the big night.  Last weekend, we hit up a matinee of Django Unchained.

Typical of other Tarantino films, Django was quite gory.  And, it was an amazing film.  It definitely did not seem like a three-hour movie and instead flew by.  Christoph Waltz definitely deserves his nominations (and Golden Globe win), but I'm surprised that Jamie Foxx wasn't nominated for anything.  His portrayal of a slave turned bounty hunter was incredible.  And, when is Leo going to get some recognition for his acting skillz?!

Anyway, go see Django.  We loved it.

In Conclusion

(Do you like how I'm ending this post with the phrase that is banned from all of my students' papers?)  I just wanted to wrap up this most random of posts with a note to say that I'll try to do this somewhat regularly but that the reviews will most likely happen whenever I finish a book.  :)

Peace out, yo.


  1. I might be Tarantino'd out for awhile: we just watched Pulp Fiction because Debbie and Steve hadn't seen it, and then we saw Inglorious Basterds the other night.

  2. What do you think the politics of Unwind seem to be? I loved reading it, but I just wasn't sure what he was getting at. There's a sequel, you know. :). Love your reviews!

    1. Have you read the sequel? I'm waiting for it to come out in paperback. :)

      I couldn't quite figure out the politics either - I kept trying to decide if the author was pro-life or pro-choice, and every time I thought I had it figured out, something made me change my mind. I kind of liked not knowing!

  3. I can't believe this! I have just set Unwind as one of our year 9 texts for 2013! We go back up school this week, and I am really nervous- I hope the students love it as much as I did! I hope you don't mind the comments I keep posting as a random stranger! Melissa

    1. Keep the comments comin'! I love 'em! Let me know how Unwind goes over with the kiddos - like I said, mine have LOVED it!