Sunday, January 02, 2011

Media Consumed: December 2010

Books Read
The Odyssey Homer
*Benny and Penny in the Big No-No Geoffrey Hayes
+The Best of FoxTrot, Volume I Bill Amend
*The Sons of Liberty, Volume I Alexander & Joseph Lagos
Candle, Star and Christmas Tree Charles Albert & Charles Wallis
People of Show & Awe Adam & Andrew Kipple, Luke Wherry
Voyage of the Dawn Treader C.S. Lewis
+Tastes Like Chicken Scott Hilburn
+I'm Tempted to Stop Acting Randomly Scott Adams
Danger Zone David Klass
+Big Nate from the Top Lincoln Peirce
The Great Typo Hunt Jeff Beck & Benjamin Henson
+The Best of FoxTrot, Volume II Scott Adams
+Christmas is Together-time Charles Schulz
+Shapes and Colors Richard Thompson
*The Smurf King Peyo
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus L. Frank Baum
True Grit Charles Portis
The Complete Idiots Guide to Geocaching
Better Than Life Daniel Pennac
*The Odyssey, Graphic Novel Gareth Hinds
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day Mark Batterson

December was the most productive month of reading I have ever had in my entire life. I completed reading 22 books in December 2010. That's the most I've ever read in a month. Not only that, but it allowed me to reach a goal of mine I've had most my life: reading at least 100 books in a year. It has now been achieved. Not only that, but two of the books I read last month are two of the best books I read during the year.

Those two books are Shapes and Colors and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Shapes and Colors is a comic strip collection of the comic strip "Cul de Sac". It's written by a man named Richard Thompson. The strip is a notable one and is really beginning to find it's stride. It's a strip that the elusive Bill Watterson (of "Calvin and Hobbes") is a fan of; he wrote the introduction to the strip's first collection. On the other hand, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day is a non-fiction Christian book. It's one of the best Christian books I've read in a long time. It's full of great info, advice, and suggestions. I will be posting a few quotes from it on my blog from time to time.

As for the other works, it was nice to completely re-read The Odyssey again. I first read it in college. I read most of it again a few years ago when I was teaching. It's a great story. I read the Robert Fagles translation this time; I can't read Greek so I'm not sure how close his translation comes to the original, but his version flows together really well.

The Sons of Liberty, Volume I is an interesting graphic novel worth investigating. It's about two run away slaves just before the time of the American Revolution who are found my the son of Ben Franklin. He performs electrical experts on them which give them superpowers. The book is well drawn and the story is highly intriguing.

The Chronicles of Narnia are my favorite books, but I re-visited Voyage of the Dawn Treader so I could clearly know the differences between the new movie and the book.

Danger Zone is a very well-written young adult novel that revolves around basketball, but is really about racism, terrorism, and identity. If you're an English major or love grammar and fixing typographical errors, check out The Great Typo Hunt. It's an entertaining and educational true story written in an epic style about a group of people (2 men mostly) who spend several months traveling around the country fixing typographical errors and educating people about grammar and mechanics.

Lastly, I read True Grit so I could compare the new Coen movie to the actual novel. The John Wayne movie is a good movie. The Coen version of the novel is just as good, but it's a different type of movie. However, the novel is the best of all three.

Movies Viewed for the First Time
One Night in the Tropics
Voyage of the Dawn Treader
*Johnny Tremain
Public Enemies
Tron: Legacy
True Grit
Patchwork Girl of Oz
His Majesty, the Scarecrow
Magic Cloak of Oz
Speed Racer
Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!
Yogi Bear
For Your Consideration
Lost Reality
Keep 'Em Flying

I thoroughly enjoyed both Voyage of the Dawn Treader and True Grit. True Grit is a better adaptation of the novel on which it is based, but Dawn Treader keeps true to the spirit of the novel and all of the vital parts (spiritual elements) of the original story are there.

Valiant is an excellent animated film that no one seems to know about. I highly recommend it for families with kids.

I enjoyed Hooper and For Your Consideration. Though not great, both are good movies that aren't a waste of your time.

One Night in the Tropics was the first of two Abbott & Costello movies that I watched. Tropics was the first film they appeared in. The other Abbott and Costello movie I watched was Keep 'Em Flying. It's the Air Force Abbott & Costello movie and has a couple of sly references to both Buck Privates and In the Navy.

Lastly, I found Speed Racer to be an atrocity. It's like a mash-up of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Dick Tracy with a bunch of racing stolen from Super Mario Kart.

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