Book 50: Twelve by Lauren Myracle (2007)

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I was very impressed when I picked up the first book in the series: Eleven. After reading a lot of books for girls, I was expecting for the main character to be whining over the most trivial things. As it turned out, eleven-year-old Winnie was a smart girl who knew what she was doing. She could be naive at times, but overall she was smart and I admired her.

After reading Twelve, though, I feel like Winnie is turning into one of those valley girls. Her narrative is sprinkled with the word “like” and the phrase “Oh God.” And at the end she decides she likes malls because she’s becoming a teenager.

She’s still bearable in this book, but I must wonder how the next book is going to be like. Should I give up on Lauren Myracle like I gave up on Meg Cabot? Stay tuned for the answer.

Movie 16: Secret of My Success (1987)

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I like Michael J. Fox as much as I like Emilio Estevez and Kirk Cameron, but this movie is just stupid. So this Kansas boy flies over to New York and can somehow charm his way to the top of a company and outsmart an experienced businessman . . . and stuff. No, it just makes no sense. Maybe I’m too used to seeing Mr. Fox as Marty McFly – a teenager of the 80s who goes back to the future, but he isn’t believable as a Kansas boy.

The story is also stupid. I hate it when a female character is supposed to be smart and then gets into bed with someone she’s just met. Then of course she gets all disappointed when she finds out unpleasant things about the guy she’s fallen for. Yeah, that doesn’t exactly spell out “smart” to me.

This movie is entertaining to some extent, but not something I’d recommend.

Book 36: The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia by Noah McCullough (2006)

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This book was written by a ten-year-old who became especially interested in politics after the Florida fiasco. Wouldn’t he have been still in kindergarten back then? He must be a real genius . . . or something. I don’t doubt that his editor must also have worked extra hard before this book was published. I’m sorry, but I highly doubt that a kid could write that well. It’s bad enough he’s led us to believe that he knows politics. Cute stuff, though.

What is strange is the way he expresses what I swear is an admiration to George W. Bush. If I didn’t know any better, I could’ve sworn he is Republican. Glad he’s not allowed to vote until another eight years.

Book 35: The Book of General Ignorance by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson (2006)

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 Hello, people. I’m back.

We will start today with one of the best books I have ever read. It is as informative as it is well written. It corrects several myths that have persisted and informs us on facts that we would never have bothered to look up on our own. Among other things, I learned that that we have at least nine senses, there are at least fourteen states of matter (as opposed to just solid, liquid, and gas), and Alexander Fleming wasn’t the one who discovered penicillin. A particularly memorable phrase is the authors’ description of the Oompa Loompa as “multicolored futuristic punks with Mohawks hairdos.” I’ll certainly remember that for a long, long time.

All in all, a very nice book. A quick read and I was sorry I finished it so fast.

Movie 13: Grease (1978)

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I read somewhere that Grease is the High School Musical of yer parents’ generation. I also read somewhere else that it is the best teen movies of the 1980s. Me being me, I just find it hard to find something to criticize harshly in any old movies I see. People seem to have better acting skills back in the old days, or maybe I just like anything old. Nevertheless, I have several things to note:

– John Travolta looks a lot skinnier and, well, younger. He still looks too old to be in high school, but seeing him in a leather jacket and tight pants – and wearing that hairstyle – compensates for everything that is wrong in my life.

– Although Grease is supposed to be like High School Musical, I am reminded of Mean Girls. The Pink Lilies (or they’re called something pink anyway) are a lot like The Plastics, aren’t they? And they don’t have to be cheerleaders. too.

– Speaking of whom, the cheerleaders wear very long skirts! I almost died choking when I first saw that. Imagine cheerleaders today wearing that kind of uniform. Horror.

– Speaking of which, all the girls seem to be wearing slightly-below-the-knee-length skirts. I couldn’t help thinking of something. Twenty-years from now, teenagers would be laughing at the gelled hair and the baggy pants boys are sporting . . . and the various ridiculous outfits girls are wearing. Hell, I’m laughing at some of them already.

Edit: After watching the whole movie, I came to the conclusion that it is like High School Musical in that it is stupid beyond reason (no offense, y’all). I did like the music, especially “Summer Nights” and “Grease Lightning” (which I think may be because my dad used to put those on when I was younger), but the vocals are terrible and the dances are so horribly choreographed.

I also hated the ending. Why on earth did Sandy (by the way, I found out the actress who played her was thirty at the time) become a bad girl? That sends all the wrong message. It is romantic in a way, but it’s mostly stupid. In the end, there’s no way the relationship will work.

Book 24: Flocabulary by Blake Harrison and Alexander Rappaport (2006)

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In theory, this book is an excellent idea. In practice, it is horrible. None of the songs make much sense; things happen without a single uniting idea behind them. It teaches redundancy and it keeps saying the same thing using different words (what?). On at least one page they mistake “you’re” for “your.” Terrible. The exercises also seem pointless. They give you multiple-choice questions, and four of the five choices are words that you don’t see in the song those questions are based on. That makes it pretty easy to get the right answer without knowing your vocabulary as long as you’ve skimmed through the list before you do the exercise.

I would still recommend this book simply because it’s amusing and the songs will help some people increase their vocabulary.

Book 12: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (2005)

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This is such a cute book. Percy is such a cute boy. I think it could’ve been better if the Greek Mythology weren’t directly involved. Centaurs and satyrs (and dragons) have been such accepted figures in a typical fantasy story that they could’ve existed in this book without any direct reference to the gods. Anyone, one shouldn’t write about characters like Zeus and Athena. They’re such known characters that if you mess around with them their fans are not going to like you very much.

Another thing is the copy I had (the paperback one with the green cover) had a good chunk of the book missing. So I returned that one and got another copy – only to later find out that it had the exact same miserable pages missing. So now I’m going to get a completely different version before I can complain even more about this book.

Edit: Hm, okay. So apparently there’s going to be Lightning Thief the movie. I’ve been getting a lot of hits from those keywords. I already got a new copy, by the way. I just haven’t had the time to finish it yet.

Edit#2: OMG, OMG, I finally finished this book on August 23, 2007!!1! Maybe if I didn’t pause midway I would’ve appreciated the story as much as I did when I first read it. It just becomes stupider and stupider towards the end, I don’t know. I maintain that a modern writer shouldn’t play around with archaic characters. I hope the movie will be able to pull it off. Thanks everyone who has googled the movie, come across this page, and enlightened me about its existence in the process.