Monday, February 7, 2011

the family who opened the world's eyes and ears to musical theatre.

I think it goes without saying that a biography written about The Hammerstein's, by a Hammerstein, can beat up all of the other biographies based on this family. I mean, seriously.

The Hammerstein's: A Musical Theatre Family written by Oscar Andrew Hammerstein III covers FIVE generations of this extremely talented family business that changed Broadway forever. The Hammerstein's influenced the development of American musicals even before the Rogers and Hammerstein team made their permanent place in entertainment history. Although Oscar II  (grandfather) is the main focus in this bio, Oscar Andrew has still created an incredible history piece, filled with pictures, background and important events of his family's legacy. He will be the first to admit that although his family, especially Oscar II, played a major role in the creation of Broadway, his grandfathers work was not flawless. This bio is based on the Hammerstein's success as well as their personal story of an American family living the American dream.

Carousel, The King and I, The Sound of Music...all have some Hammerstein in them. Come on! Even you twenty-somethings can appreciate these Broadway favorites.

WWII fiction.

In The Postmistress, author Sarah Blake looks at World War II through the eyes and life events of three distinct women all connected through means of private and public media. If you are looking for an historical account of World War II, this book is not for you. This novel is the story of Frankie, Emma and Iris, and how this monumental war affected their lives.

The Postmistress is set in the time immediately before the United State's involvement in World War II. Frankie is a female journalist working in London. Emma is a young, vulnerable wife whose husband has decided to go to London to see where he can apply his medical skills to help the English war effort. Iris is the spinster postmaster for a small town in Cape Cod. Emma and Iris are connected by location, as they both live in the same town, and by Emma's letters to her husband. They feel a connection towards Frankie through her radio broadcasts, as she fights to bring the truth of the war to Americans, using the first portable voice recorder (cool side note). Ultimately, these women's lives are brought together by tragedy.

It's not perfect, but it is read worthy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

the girl with daddy issues.

BAHHH. I barely have time to read for pleasure at the moment, as you can tell by my scarce number of entry's last month. Grad school is kicking my ass. I am taking four classes this semester, and I think my hair is falling out. Okay, no it's not, but I feel like something dramatic should be happening. WAHHHH.

I knew that this dragon tattoo series would take over my life, regardless of how much reading I have to do for school (which is A LOT by the way, okay I'm done complaining). In the second installment, The Girl Who Played With Fire, our girl Lisbeth Salander is just as odd as ever, thank god for that. I have to say, Stieg Larsson did not make me want to rip out my eyeballs as much this time around. Readers were given the chance to learn more about Salander's childhood, which was nice because the first book was mildly vague on her past.

The story revolves around murder, as every good thriller should I suppose. Salander somehow got mixed up in the murder investigation of two people that she did not even know. If you read the first installment of the series, then you know Salander, and you shouldn't be surprised. Her life is a bit unfair. Throughout the book, we are kept on edge. Not knowing if Salander is a murderer, or if the killer is one of the many other screwed up characters we meet along the way. Then there's Mikael Blomkvist, whom I adore. Salander has kept her distance because of their past romance, and her inability to express actual love for another human being. She desperately needs his help, which he is always willing to give, but will her stubbornness end in her demise?

I am not going to say that the second was better than the first, because that would be a lie. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I did wonder a little bit about Larsson's thinking as I read. He kept us wondering and curious through the entire book, and then gave us the answers so nonchalantly. I was just kind of like, "oh." That's how I felt, "oh."  Not,  "OOOHHHHH," not "OHHHH NOOOOO," just "oh."  However, he is dead and unable to defend himself, so there will be no criticism here. I cannot wait to see what's in store in, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.