The Books of Jacob

Once swallowed, the piece of paper lodges in her esophagus, near her heart.

The Books of Jacob, or: A Fantastic Journey Across Seven Borders, Five Languages, and Three Major Religions, Not Counting the Minor Sects. Told by the Dead, Supplemented by the Author, Drawing from a Range of Books, and Aided by Imagination, the Which Being the Greatest Natural Gift of Any Person. That the Wise Might Have It for a Record, That My Compatriots Reflect, Laypersons Gain Some Understanding, and Melancholy Souls Obtain Some Slight Enjoyment, Olga Tokarczuk, Riverhead Books 2022

Loved The Silmarillion? House of Leaves? And 17th century mid-European history? This 900 page novel might just be the thing for you!

You don’t? Avoid this.

Lessons in Chemistry

Back in 1961, when women wore shirtwaist dresses and joined garden clubs and drove legions of children around in seatbeltless cars without giving it a second thought; back before anyone knew there’d even be a sixties movement, much less one that its participants would spend the next sixty years chronicling; back when the big war were over and the secret wars had just begin and people were starting to think fresh and believer everything was possible, the thirty-year-old mother of Madeline Zott rose before dawn every morning and felt certain of just one thing: her life was over.

Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus, Doubleday Canada 2022

Oh, I had fun with this one! It’s history and a commentary on society’s sexism (in the sixties), there’s a bit of romance but more importantly female friendships and why one should invest in it and oi – there’s chemistry.

Literally.

Elizabeth Zott, our protagonist, is a scientist, a single mother and an opinionated voice on telly. Neither of those are approved of by a lot of people.

Author Bonnie Garmus throws a lot at her, but she manages to do so that it doesn’t turn into a melodrama, but someone’s life story (which happens, there are very tough breaks). Also essential is the speed and style of the story; nothing feels frilly or extra.

I flew through the 300+ pages in a day.

Lightyear

105 min.

That after less than thirty minutes gone I felt like this film was rounding things up probably was a sign that I wasn’t going to particularly enjoy this film.

This film was much too long. I don’t know if the length is for the adults watching, but with it starting uptempo only to crash into a subplot to introduce the villain.. no child will manage to continue. Source: me in the theater surrounded by children running in all directions after forty minutes.

You don’t notice how long a film is if it’s good, but Lightyear is dull. The Life Lessons are laid on thick, the laughs are few. Who is this for, and what is it about?

Even though I didn’t pay for the ticket, it still feels like a waste of money.

The Principles of Pleasure

3 x 50 min.

Enigszins arrogant dacht ik wel alles te weten over dit onderwerp. Hormonen, seksuele vrijheid, hokjesdenken etc. Je hersenen zijn je grootste seksuele orgaan en zo hebben we alles gehad.

Een deel was dan ook geen nieuws, maar hoe het werd gebracht was fris. Vrouw-gefocust, af en toe de giechels, veel informatie zonder het huiswerkgevoel te krijgen.

In drie afleveringen worden lichaam, geest en relaties behandeld. En seksspeeltjes zijn daar onderdeel van, mocht je van plan zijn dit samen met anderen te bekijken.

Essential viewing: voor vrouwen én mannen.

Quattro metà

90 min.

Misschien niet meer dan verwacht, maar wel charmanter dan verwacht. Dit is een variatie op Sliding Doors: we volgen vier mensen die op een verschillende manier een relatie met elkaar hebben/opbouwen en hoe dat ver- en afloopt.

Of het nu komt omdat het een Italiaans product is: er zit genoeg passie en drama in. Ongeplande zwangerschappen, vreemdgangers, verschillende dromen enzovoorts. Wat wel leuk is gedaan is dat elke combinatie zijn charme heeft, ondanks dat de karakters als duidelijke tropes worden geïntroduceerd.

Zowel intro als outtro zijn onnodig, maar niet onoverkomelijk. Met negentig minuten is er weinig builen te vallen, maar is er genoeg tempo en vermaak om dit wel in je weet-niet-wat-ik-wil-kijken-lijstje te zetten.