Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Saturday, June 30, 2012

TV Shows Rediscovered

My online activities these past three weeks have somehow been limited. Somehow, I’ve been preferring couch time over sitting in front of my computer monitor. That could be good (because it means more Zzzzs and de-stressing), but also bad for a blogger (no new posts, no commenting).

For the most part, Alfred has encroached on my computer time since he discovered this zombie game. I don’t know what it’s called and frankly I am not that interested. I was giving him PC time because he was supposed to be finishing up on the photos we took for the Sagada wedding. Well, it is my opinion that he has spent more time gaming, than working. But he is bound to contest that judgment.

If there is one good thing that’s come out of all the TV watching I’ve done, is that I’ve rediscovered some TV series I used to love.

One is Everybody Loves Raymond


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I love the Barones! Debra is definitely not perfect, but she does her best to keep the home running. She does a good time keeping up with her often-times difficult mother-in-law Marie. That one can get any daughter in law crazy! She just doesn’t know when to back off! The spouses in this show each have their unique but wonderful relationship.

As far as I can tell, I probably haven’t seen an entire season of this show straight through. I’d just chance upon a marathon, or the odd couple of episodes some week. This now goes onto my list of TV shows I want to watch in full.

It ran from 1996 to 2005. There’s going to be a lot of episodes to look for and watch (about 210!)!

Here’s another rediscovered TV show – Desperate Housewives -


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This is the 8th and final season of the show revolving around Wisteria Lane. It’s been a long time since I watched them, I was surprised a bit about how much they’ve changed. They look older, and a lot different. I remember getting DVDs of Seasons 1-3 I think, but along with many of my DVDs, I can’t find them! I’m not sure I ever got them back from loaning to a friend, or if they got thrown out. Just as well, I’d have to watch all 8 seasons again anyway.

Final season. Wow. These long-term shows become part of people’s lives don’t they? I remember how big a deal it was that Friends was ending. Sad that Pinoy seryes don’t have that long lasting hold on people anymore. What was the last Pinoy teleserye that lasted for more than a year?

There are other shows that I rediscovered recently, I’ll try and share them next time. Meanwhile, what’s your current favorite TV show and why? What is your all-time favorite?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

This one is a keeper. I’ve added it to my list of favorite books. Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.


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I must admit, I am a late bloomer as a Wicked fan. Had there been no Glee, I might never have learned of this tale. I loved that episode, and I’ve since loved the song Defying Gravity. Since then I have prayed that someone takes the musical to the Philippines. I really wouldn’t miss it. I’ve already missed Saigon, Mamma Mia, and recently The Sound of Music. If Wicked comes to Manila, I won’t be able to forgive myself for missing it! But that is a dream for now. I wonder if the movie version is finally being filmed? Rumors have circulated for years, yet still it hasn’t come out. The original Broadway cast have matured and critics are saying they’re too old to be cast in the film.

Then I realized that there IS a way for me to find out the back story of the Wicked Witch of the West. The musical was based on a novel! Thanks to a book sale earlier this year, I finally got my copy. Smile 

The book’s claims are true, I now cannot look at Oz the same way I did when all I knew of Oz was Dorothy’s story. It is amazing how the author painted a picture of good and evil, reminding us that  they’re  not always as different from each other as black and white.

Wicked is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West. The very one that Dorothy conquered, upon orders of the great Wizard of Oz. In Wiz, we are just told that the witch (or witches, for that matter) was vile, and enslaved the inhabitants of their realm. In Wicked, we find out who they really are and what they stood for. There was no denial of the title, let them call her the Wicked Witch. But in what way was she wicked? What were her crimes?

When I first picked up the book to read it, I couldn’t go farther than maybe the first chapter. I couldn’t make anything of it. The words were floating over me. I gave it a rest, and tried again a few weeks later. The second time turned out to be the right time. Everything clicked, and the story unfolded before my eyes.

Elphaba is such a character. I just love her! For a girl as different as she is, she sure grew up to be quite the confident young woman. There definitely is no one like her. I wonder though why the aversion to water? Where had it come from? That’s something that Maguire didn’t bother to explain (or did I miss it?).

As for Glinda, I thought for sure she was going to be the Wicked Witch! I don’t understand why Elphaba wouldn’t give upon her. Well at least she didn’t stand by her snobbish friends when they pulled a mean prank on her green roomie. They were such an odd pair as roomies, and later on as friends. I think they had quite an interesting school life. One without a P.E. subject, hehe. There were no Sports in Shiz. But come to think of it, there didn’t seem to be any Sports played in the whole of Oz. None that was written about. So naturally, there were no gossiping by the gym lockers! Haha Smile I did wish to see Elphie finish school though, and maybe even finish the experiments and studies of Doctor Dillamond. Her going underground to join the rebellion had come too soon.

I really thought it was Boq that Elphie would fall in love with. But I am happy enough that she got to know love, and she got to feel wanted, even for just a few months. We never really got to know just how deeply she felt for Fiyero until the end. No surprise too that she didn’t know how to be a mother, she didn’t have much of an example to follow. But was it clear in the end, at least to Liir, that Auntie Witch was really Mother? Would he ever find Nor? Will he be a prince of the Arjiki?

Upon reading the last page of this book, I had the itch to reread The Wizard of Oz. I did, and it paled in comparison. Of course, they shouldn’t really be compared. One was written for kids, while the other is a retelling meant for an older audience perhaps. But I still can’t help but compare. Baum’s original fairy tale lacked the depth and vividness that Maguire’s Oz has.  The Oz of Wicked is indeed the 3D version as this review remarked. Though it is still definitely more of a fantasy, I must say that Maguire brought a lot of realism into Oz.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Who doesn’t know Alice? There have been so many reprints and adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland that surely, she’s a character that is known the world over.

But the characters in Underland (Wonderland) kept asking Alice – who are you? Are you the right Alice? Who is the right Alice? Who is the Alice that they are referring to?

Who am I? Am I the same person I was ten years ago? Will I be the same person in ten years? Thoughts to ponder. Smile


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The Mad Hatter in this movie adaptation seems more mad than ever. And Underland is undoubtedly darker. I guess I’d expect that from Tim Burton. I didn’t expect though, that this version isn’t about Alice’s first time down the rabbit hole. Although surely, for teenage Alice, it seemed like the first time. She had no recollection whatsoever of the first time she was here to visit.

It was nice to see that even as the film departs from the original novel, it still carries much of its themes and poses philosophical questions. Identity. Morality. Reality. What is real? Is Underland real or just a dream?  In the end, did Alice finally choose to believe (or accept) that it is part of her reality?

“I will wake up, anytime now.”

Oh don’t we all wish we could say that? We find ourselves in so many situations that we hoped were just dreams. And we can’t wait to wake up and go the opposite direction. Truth is, no one will wake us up from this dream. So if we don’t like the hand we’re dealt, we have to change it ourselves. If you don’t like your reality, only you can do anything to change it.

Now I want to see the old movie. And I want to reread the books as well. I don’t think I own it though, but all bookstores have it. I’m going to add that to the list, but on low priority. So many books waiting to be read.

Anyway. The movie must have been really amazing on 3D. Love the colors, the costumes and the makeup. A feast for the eyes.  Checkout the trailer:


As for me, I watched it on the iPad, while riding on a bus for this roadtrip.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Game of Thrones (Season 1, Episodes 1-6)


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Okay, I am a year late in joining in the Game of Thrones bandwagon. So what? Hehe.

I initially intended to read the books first before watching the TV series, but time away from home and iPad with all 10 episodes of the first season proved to be too much for me to resist. On the road trip down from Sagada I watched half of the first episode. I stopped only because there was so much sex and nudity and I didn’t want to make anyone who might be looking my direction uncomfortable. It might not be appropriate material for public transportation.

On May 31st I took a solo trip for work and had time on my hands. While in my hotel room (that I occupied for only 6 hours), then on the plane ride home, and then on the couch back home on June 1st, I went through episodes 1 to 6. Now, I do declare myself hooked.

Game of Thrones the TV series brings to life the medieval fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. The first book in the series is also titled A Game of Thrones. I love reading fantasy but I haven’t followed any series after Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time (haven’t even read the latest book), and Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth. I have started the Abhorsen trilogy but didn’t get to read the second book right away. And of course, there was Harry Potter.

Waiting for the next book in a series could be frustrating. Haha. The good thing about this series? Books 1 to 5 are already available. I just have to buy them. As for the TV version, Season 2 is about to wrap up as well. But I think I’ll take my sweet time before going through the last four episodes. I’m in no hurry to see what happens next. Smile

My favorite characters so far -

- The bastard son Jon Snow.

- The Imp, the dwarf Tyrion Lannister

- The Stark kids Arya and Bran. I love that Arya is interested in learning to fight, and being a Lord. She’s not so much in the Lady business but she does assert that she’s a girl too. Such a pity what happened to Bran but he is key in unraveling the dark secrets of the Lannisters. Why couldn’t those kids just play with a yoyo or jack stone? Why must they be involved in deadly games?

- The Khaleesi Dany Targaryen. She completely embraced her new life. No matter that her own brother sold her to Khal Drogo in exchange of an army that will help him win back the Iron Throne.

I hate that the Lady Stark took matters into her hands and seized Tyrion prematurely. The Hand was right in going against majority vote about the matter of the Khal and Khaleesi, if only the King would have listened. And finally, I look forward to how they can prove that the Queen’s kids are not true heirs of Baratheon.

Do you follow this series? How do you find it?