Posted in Books, Libros

Book Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Becoming was released on November 13 of the year 2018, and was dearly awaited by lots of us still craving some memories of those days filled with sanity and people trying to improve things in higher government. Yes, this is a memoir, a bibliographic piece that goes back to the earlier years of our most beloved First Lady.

Becoming

Opening up about who you are and exposing your roots are things that come naturally when you are proud and honest about yourself, it is not as easy to do when you are a public figure and need to protect your deepest thoughts and feelings about situations, subjects, and people; in this book Michelle Obama succeeds in showing us a broader picture of herself, her thoughts and mindset about stuff we could only see from the outside when they were happening.

When you are a public figure, people have expectations and it is clear that the way people perceive and think about you is usually not the way you are. I try to avoid this practice, I usually don’t follow big personalities and never obsess about anybody, but when it comes to politics and writers I am always interested. I can say that with Mrs. Obama I am guilty of having my own perception, which is why I was struggling with the book a bit before midway because I couldn’t reconcile the person in my mind with the one being portrayed in words.

I was reading this person that was coming across as closed-minded, rigid, goal oriented, change-resistant because I was comparing her with my warm, light-spirited, easy-going portrait of Michelle Obama, the one we all came to embrace. As I kept reading though, it became clear how facing personal doubts, meeting new people, experiencing new environments, exploring new ideas, getting to know some else’s issues and vicissitudes shaped a lot the mind, soul, and path of this wonderful woman. That is life, and that is the point of this title, we truly get to experience her Becoming and are left aware that she is not yet done.

Aside from getting to really see Michelle, we also get a view on a few inside rules and ways of politics, government, a glimpse of how things are done and get done, an idea of how our leaders process things before delivering it to the people, how they live and how difficult it is to be humans in a way, to be individuals. I am truly glad we had the opportunity to have such wonderful minds in charge for a while there, and even if we took a hundred steps back, I am confident we do know better.

If you admire the Obamas, appreciate the way they conducted themselves while in office, the light they provided and the intelligence with which they stirred, you will appreciate this book. If you saw Michelle Obama as a strong example for girls and woman everywhere, you will appreciate this book.

 

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Posted in Libros, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline.

The Girls was published in June of 2016 by Random House as Emma Cline‘s debut novel, it has had an acceptable welcoming, currently 3.6 stars on Goodreads. I went through this book in about a week or two as I decided to make it my companion on Audible during my bi-daily commutes.

26893819The truth is I was instantly caught by the narrative, even if it got a little confusing as we jumped through the different time lapses of our main character on the audio version, the story manages to take us along for an interesting ride, at least during the first chapters.

Evie Boyd is not a complicated person, it could be said she is rather the opposite of complicated, she is a big blank. I personally believe that this feature (her blankness) is probably what makes her so IMPRESSIONABLE -yes, with capital letters-. I don’t know if I was supposed to relate to her at some level but it was really difficult.

I was not alive during the 60’s and I haven’t talked much with people who were about those days… I am not sure if I am trying to use this as an excuse for my uneasiness with everyone in this book but maybe it is a good reason, not having the right mindset and context to place myself in those years has made me unable to relate with their mentality.

I have felt lonely, but I believe through this book we get to meet the highest degree of loneliness, of the needing to belong and the longing for approval. The sad thing is it all appears to grow exponentially with Evie’s age instead of the other way around.

I understand that personality and character are developed mostly in our teenage years, and that feeling left out could be dangerous and unpleasant. I understand young Evie, I tried to be most patient with her and her many discomforting actions; older Evie though, a grown woman and her need for acknowledgment, acceptance, appraisal… it was truly annoying. 

I wish I could say more, I had discontinued this review and decided to rescue it halfway through the black hole of my drafts. This will teach me to finish my ideas right after the book is fresh and sound. Anyway, did you read this book? What are your thoughts?

Posted in Cine

Reseña de Película: Song One (2014)

one-songEl filme se estrenó en el 2015 en los Estados Unidos, siendo diriguido y escrito por Kate Barker-Froyland. Basándose en la premisa de que todo lo que hace falta para recuperar miles de memorias es una canción, Franny (Anne Hathaway) hará todo lo posible para ayudar a su hermano Henry (Ben Rosenfield) a despertar de su presente estado de coma a través de la música, su más arraigada pasión.

Song One es un filme bastante inclinado a la música y a la poca apreciación de su pureza en el mundo artístico hoy en día. Pretende recordarnos el hecho de que estamos rodeados de talentosos artistas, que nos regalan su material diariamente en las estaciones de metro, en las aceras o en pequeños clubes.

Franny experimentará toda esta magia musical a traves de los gustos y diarios de su hermano en su intento de conocerlo más a fondo y sentirse más cerca de él. Así descubrirá al artista James Forrester (Johnny Flynn) y la belleza de sus canciones.

 

Admito que me encantaron algunas de las canciones del soundtrack, siendo tan a fin mi oido con el folk, quizá un poco obvio que mi favorita sea In April. Aquí les dejo el soundtrack.

 

El filme seguramente no estará en tu lista de favoritos o destacados pero, al catalogarse como un drama ligero que combina romance y música, es una muy buena opción para pasar un rato cuando nada está en plan, además de que un gran plus es ese talento femenino brilla en demasía.

Au Revoir!

Posted in Uncategorized

Six Months, Three Days: Cuento corto.

full_andersweber_6monthsSix Months, Three Days es una novela corta de género romántico – ciencia ficción escrita por Charlie Jane Anders, publicada en la página Tor.com en Junio 2011 y galardonada con el premio Hugo en 2012 por mejor Novela corta.

Ésta historia combina atractivas temáticas como viajes en el tiempo, clarividencia, realidades alternas, entre otras. Podría decirse que es una mezcla entre las premisas de Mr. Nobody y The Time Traveler’s Wife.

Sin ganas de arruinar la experiencia de futuros lectores, les invito a leer la historia de Judy y Doug, y a sumergirse en su interesante desarrollo. El cuento está en idioma inglés, disponible en el primer enlace de éste escrito. Go ahead and enjoy it!

Posted in Libros, Series de TV

Actriz Krysten Ritter Publicará Primera Novela “Bonfire”

Un Blog de Jorge L. Castanos

Krysten Ritter es una actriz bastante conocida dentro de la actual cultura pop dada su amplia gama de roles, principalmente en la pantalla chica, destacándose su estelar papel en la serie de Marvel Jessica Jones y su rol como Jane Margolis en Breaking Bad; sin embargo, de una manera u otra, Krysten ha estado en nuestros radares por varios años, en mi caso la recuerdo como Lucy en Gilmore Girls (2006-2007) y quizás otros la recuerdan como Gia en Veronica Mars (2005-2006).

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La realidad es que Ritter cuenta con una interesantísima batería de facetas, por ejemplo es tejedora profesional y le encanta restregar en nuestras pantallas sus perfectas puntadas cada vez que tiene oportunidad a través de su Instagram… Okay okay, esto es solo parcialmente cierto, pero lo que es completamente cierto es que es cantante principal de la banda musical indie Ex Vivian lanzando un álbum…

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Posted in Series de TV

Review of Netflix Original series LOVE.

Like Jimmy Fallon’s Random Picture Word Association game where you have to react with the first word that pops into your head in relation to a picture, since I ran into Love being available in Netflix, my mind screamed ANNIE HALL. Sometimes when I get those associations I immediately look around to see if anyone thought the same -humans, they sometimes seek corroboration on their thoughts-, but on this I couldn’t find anything.

It is not just the dorky male main character and the cooler female lead, it was more than those first obvious similarities, it was the vibe that got me to compare. Two human beings connecting on an interesting way and trying to figure out love, its meaning and its many ways. I believe that’s where the series is going, even if they couldn’t quite capture it in a ten episodes season as the one hour thirty three minutes of the movie did. But they could get there, there’s another season on the way.

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The Original Netflix series was launched on our current 2016 under the creative mantle of Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust (who also plays Gus). We know Apatow from his involvement in the production of multiple movies and TV shows (which you can find on the info linked to his name), say some of my personal favourites are Girls on HBO and Begin Again (2013), movie that I reviewed on this same blog, but heads up it’s all in spanish.

When it comes to the cast, let’s say that I see these unconventional characters clashing together and I really liked the result. Gillian Jacobs is a must love, having lots of facets to choose from, we can go from the freakishly nice person she played as Mimi-Rose in Girls, up to the complicated addict, sort of jerky trying to improve girl that we see along these episodes as Mickey Dobbs. Paul Rust is as well an instant charm who I just have known as Denis Cooverman in I Love You, Beth Cooper but was pleased to see again on this show as the sweet nerdy guy who just had his heart broken and is trying to figure out his next step, named Gus Cruikshank. And even Charlyne Yi, who I found utterly and completely annoying on House MD -in a lovely way, of course- has a presence on the show, to add a bit of IT to the parade. For the complete cast list, just hit it here.

Alongside the lines, we are signing to see a symposium on love that comes non-lineal, non-boring, not directed to a room full of people expecting to hear about it, it is just what you take of it and again, reminded me of Annie Hall, just that in the latter everything is more explicit and you got the sense that you’re being taught a thing or two.

Love truly is a roller coaster.

I have a soft spot for these kind of material, from where you can extract basically whatever you want, it all depends on you and your points of view. This show could end up being another romantic/comedy/drama that gets tiring after a few episodes or it can live up to its true potential through the eyes of the viewers and the meaning they are able to extract from it all.

Already expecting Season 2 and in the mean time will probably watch Season 1 again, not because it was such mind blowing but because that is what good friends and partners often have to do for their love ones. We’ve all been there.

So, this was just a reduced review mostly wanting to throw into the net the idea of similarities between these two pieces of filmed entertainment.

 

Posted in Libros

Book Review: A Man called Ove.

a-man-called-ove-by-fredrik-backmanGetting old provokes a mixture of feelings, some look forward to a long life while some others fear what might happen to them as time progresses. The truth is time never stops, at least not objectively; and times are always changing, leaving behind everything and everyone which or who refuses to cope — oh, hello Darwin’s natural selection. Could this be the real reason why we develop relationships? why we come together as groups, couples or friends? To have someone to grow old with, to have witnesses, a thread to the world, connections to reality, to avoid being left behind, feeling left out of the race…

What happens when we lose all of that and end up alone with ourselves? We would say that we still have ourselves and our skills, but what about when this happens at an age where we are also being displaced from a productive working life, when society finds us obsolete, where ways narrow and doors close? This is where we find Ove.

Ove is a tough old man that has been brought up with strong values, believing in fairness, in the clearness and weight of actions over words. To him things should be done in a certain way and as this allows little space to flexibility, ends up putting to the test the patience of others that surround him.

To have your life resumed on paper could be difficult, all of your struggles and hard moments, surfacing to those shallow waters of memory’s deep sea. Sounds smart to be avoided and yet memoirs are so popular nowadays. Let’s say that Ove didn’t sign up for this but we have been given a ticket to sit through glimpses of his life, those that defined his character, to better understands how a person becomes what a person presently is.

As it is common in life, plans change course most of the time, as ships thrown into stormy waters. So, as non-oficial guardian of his neighbourhood, Ove sets himself to keep busy with his customary tasks and making sure everyone follows the rules. Nonetheless some days these little things become minimally fulfilling and Ove, as a practical man, has his mind set on his next logical step.

If we think about it, the relationships that are most meaningful for us today surely started in a peculiar way, by chance, creating havoc inside our little closed worlds, marking us forever. To Ove was a turmoil indeed to have new neighbours moving in the house in front of his, mostly in moments he most wanted to be left alone with his business.

From that moment on we will meet a display of characters that soon invade Ove’s reduced bubble, allowing us to meet him not all over again, but then again not as a loner and inside himself, and more as the caring and sweet being we knew was in there all along protecting itself from a cruel environment.

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Fredrik Backman delivers a well elaborated story that gives us lots to think about, mostly on regards of the ways of our current society. A Man Called Ove was published in 2012, originally in Sweden, was -to our delight- translated to English around 2014 by Henning Koch and published by Atria Books with an approximate of 337 pages on his paperback presentation.

I personally listened to this story on Audible, narrated by George Newbern, with a duration of 9 hours and 9 minutes. This is one of those books that I have listed “have to own”, so I will be buying it soon and giving it a home on my bookshelf.