sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 9, 2009

end of year fun
posted by soe 4:20 pm

Rudi and I traditionally spend New Year’s Eve at the movies. It started out with just seeing one movie, but has morphed into seeing anywhere from two to four, depending on what’s playing where and when — and if anyone else wants to go with us.

It currently looks like it will just be Rudi and me on our own this year, but what still remains up in the air is what we’ll see. Because we live in a major city, we are lucky in that many of the Oscar contenders open here at year’s end to be eligible for the award season.

Does anyone have suggestions for movies to see? Things that you’ve seen in the last few weeks that might still be playing here? Shows you’ve heard good buzz about? Films featuring a favorite star?

We didn’t make it into the advance screening of the George Clooney movie, Up in the Air, last week, so that’s definitely on our long list. (Calling it that suggests there is more than one film on it at the moment. I’m just thinking ahead right now…)

Leave us tips in the comments…

Category: arts,dc life. There is/are 5 Comments.

into the stacks: dairy queen
posted by soe 3:04 am

Dairy Queen, by Catherine Murdock

From the jacket: “‘When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.’ Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D.J. can’t help admitting, maybe he’s right…

“Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D.J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.”

My take: This had been on my to-be-read list for ages, probably since it first skyrocketed into the blogosphere shortly after it was published three years ago. I finally picked up a copy from the library over the summer and couldn’t believe how great a narrator I’d been missing out on.

D.J. is a farm girl from Wisconsin who’s good at sports, bad at English, and frustrated with her family. Her father got hurt and the brunt of the work running their struggling dairy farm has fallen on D.J. (and, to a lesser extent, her younger brother) while he recuperates from surgery. When a dear family friend sends over summer help (hoping she’ll help instill him with some discipline), she knows she ought to be grateful. But when it’s the quarterback from the rival high school, a boy with a reputation of being a poor sport and a lazy jerk, D. J. flips out:

“So when Brian Nelson stepped out of his fancy new truck in his fancy new work boots that his mother probably bought him at Wal-Mart, I was just about as angry as I’ve ever been.”

Eventually, D.J. and Brian are able to work together — on farmwork, on football, and on life skills. But will that be enough to help Brian be the leader he wants to be or for D.J. to solve the communication problems plaguing her family, including the ones that have kept her two older brothers away from the farm? Or will old habits prove too hard to overcome?

Not only is her character endearing, but D.J. also has a great voice:

“I know when you watch TV about half the characters are gay, and probably in New York or Los Angeles or someplace like that you could meet tons and tons of gay people, and I’m okay with that. Some folks around here say mean things, but, hey, as long as you drink your milk and don’t call me Dairy Queen I don’t care what you do. But I also know Wisconsin doesn’t have any gay people. Or if it did, they all left.”

Can’t you just imagine a sophomore in high school thinking that?

There are two more books featuring D.J. as the main character and I’ll be seeking them out at the library. If you like realistic teen fiction (fans of Sarah Dessen, I’m looking your way), I’d suggest picking this one up soon.

Pages: 288

Category: books. There is/are 3 Comments.