Book 55: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (2003)

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This book used to be so popular that I thought it would somewhat be worth reading. Not at all. This is yet another book about a fourteen-year-old girl with her teenage hangups – written by an adult who may have forgotten how it’s like to be a child. Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper at least has an interesting premise (albeit an annoying set of font types), but The Secret Life of Bees is just dull. Maybe if I didn’t have any other books to read I would continue reading and finish it. As it is, I already borrowed many many books I actually want to read.

Book 21: Concise History of the Catholic Church by Thomas Bokenkotter (2004)

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I’m sorry, I thought I knew what “concise” means. At 600+ pages including appendix and index, this is the thickest book I have to read this week. I only ended up skimming it though. Even though I’ve never been an especially good Catholic, I actually know the history of the Church. (See how it is capitalized? That makes all the difference.) Of course it helps that I also took a couple classes on Western civilization and read The Da Vinci Code. I am truly the enlightened one.

Although comprehensive, this book may be even better if it were more engaging. The author tries so hard to cover everything about the Church from A to Z that he barely brushes upon the more interesting parts. I mean, come on. All I wanted was some sensationalism and made-up anecdotes. Those would have kept me awake.

Movie 8: Hero (2002)

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Chinese title: Ying Xiong

Strange. I normally like Chinese movies, and I’m a big fan of Jet Li. That said, you would think I’d love this movie from the bottom of my heart. But I don’t. Maybe my memory is deceiving me, or maybe it’s the snobbishness kicking in, but Chinese movies used to be a lot better. During a fight the characters move so unnaturally, making it obvious that they are hanged and choreographed by some invisible strings – as though they’re puppets.

It reminds me a lot of the time I watched either House of the Flying Daggers or Bulletproof Monk (I forgot because I’ve seen way too many movies) where the fight scenes look equally idiotic. I need some real action! Real fights! See, this is where I have a sudden appreciation for Jackie Chan (I dislike him otherwise and I seriously think he’s ready to retire).

The story is great, though. Historical movies always make me want to learn the real history behind it. I want to know how much of the movie is true and how much of it is made up. (I was both intrigued and disappointed when I found out about the historical Princess Anastasia of Russia. And Anna Anderson. And such.) Unfortunately, I have no idea where to begin where China is concerned. I promise I’m going to pick up a history book on China one of these days. Yeah, one of these days. Definitely.

Book 9: Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen (1982)

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This book reminds me a lot of Anne McCaffrey’s books and of how much I hate dragon stories. So dull. I should give Christopher Paolini some credit for writing the only dragon story (sort of) that didn’t bore me to tears so far.

I already got the entire trilogy, too.