odds and ends: winter’s bone, lotr blu

My sluggish pace with reading in 2012 continues unabated into the final month of the year. I usually average reading about 40-50 books a year in a variety of genres (actually, more than that if you consider mediums like comics and graphic novels, but I digress) but in 2012, I found myself in a bit of a book slump. If I read more than 30 books this year, I’d be surprised. This worries me slightly but I’m mindful that the back half of ’12 has been a doozy, with professional and personal challenges aplenty. Hopefully I’ll get myself back on track for 2013.

That being said, this past week I absolutely raced through Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell.

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Winter’s Bone strikes me as a weird sort of “quest” story where in the main character Ree Dolly spends the majority of the narrative looking for her absent father in order that she can save her family’s home, which the guy put up for collateral to a bail bondsman. Ree is a wonderful persistent protangonist and Woodrall does a good job of giving his readers enough description of life in the Ozarks, even while his characters speak in terse, spark terms.

I’m glad I hadn’t seen the Academy Award nominated movie before I read Winter’s Bone but I am planning on checking the flick out this weekend. Hopefully it measures up to this terrific book.

———-

Speaking of book to film adaptations, a few weeks ago I impulsively bought The Lord of the Rings movies at Wal-Mart.

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Normally buying LotR for home viewing is kind of a fool’s errand. Putting aside the spectacle of the flicks being muted by watching on a regular-sized television, Warner Brothers/New Line have made so many versions of these movies available in so many formats it’s hard not to feel like you’re missing something by having just one. Do I buy the theatrical versions or the extended editions? Do I shell out for Blu-ray or scoop up DVDs? There are a ridiculous amount of options and I’m not a big enough fan to give it much thought.

In the end, an online sale pushed me toward buying the Theatrical Editions on Blu-Ray, $10 bucks for all three movies. The package came with a $5 dollar coupon off a ticket for The Hobbit attached to the cover. As I was planning on seeing The Hobbit in theaters anyway, I figured it might be fun to revisit the original movies.

Indeed it would be. I tried all the discs out when they were delivered yesterday and they look pristine on my HD television. Moreover, I have fond memories of watching The Fellowship of the Ring in the winter of 2001. The one-two combo of Fellowship hitting theaters so soon after the first Harry Potter adaptation made for an unplanned but wonderful cinematic match and if you’ve read anything I’ve written here thus far, you know I tend toward nostalgia quite easily.

Of course, we’re not in the winter of 2001 anymore. I’m no longer a sophomore in college. The demands on my time and attention are divided between work and family; I simply do not have the nine hours necessary to throw myself back into Middle Earth with abandon. It’s one of the reasons I was fine with picking up the theatrical editions. Should I ever get the chance to watch these movies… I’m not going to have the time to watch the additional hours Peter Jackson later cut back into the original flicks. Hope springs eternal and perhaps over Winter Break I’ll decide to do a marathon but until then, this set’s going to take its’ place on my Blu-ray shelf.

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