Friday, June 26, 2015

I'm on a little Anna Quindlen kick right now!  This is the 4th novel of hers I've read.  She is or was a columnist for Newsweek magazine - and I know I've read some of her columns.  I find it interesting that someone who writes columns for a news magazine - and good columns at that, because she got a Pulitzer for them - also writes some compelling novels about families and life and tragedy.

This story is not for the faint of heart - a family is destroyed by a violent act by a crazy young man. The back story is beautifully told, with lots of authentic details and word pictures.  And the story of the family's survival is well wrought. 

I may just pick up another one of her books - until I find a new author to become attached to!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Number 38 - and it's a movie too - didn't know that!!

So I swore off buying books, and then started getting inordinate numbers of Kindle books.  So I swore off those for a while - and went to the library - and our Monrovia Library does not have a huge selection!!  So I went to the Arcadia Library and got a couple more Anna Quindlen books - I quite like her style, and she's been prolific, so I may be set for the summer!!

This is a story of a woman dying of cancer - not for everyone maybe - but it's well-written and a compelling narrative.

The character in the story - the mother with cancer - was born in 1945 - maybe that's why I could identify with her.

Turns out this is a movie too - one with Meryl Streep - I may have to find it and see it!!

I'm open to suggestions too, by the way!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Movie nights!!

Harry and I were looking for something to watch - and this came up - and since I love all things Cary Grant, I proposed we watch it.  Harry is a good sport about indulging my love of Cary Grant!!  I have seen this film many times - and always love it!!  I can never get enough of the look on Cary Grant's face when he goes into the bedroom and sees the painting and realizes Deborah Kerr is crippled - and he has judged her unfairly - and he closes his eyes and you can feel the anguish!!  He should have been given an Academy award for that scene alone!!  (We are talking 1957 here.)

Later Harry was browsing around and found the original film that this film was a remake of - Love Affair with Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne.   The only thing missing from this 1939 version was the Vic Damone theme song.  The 1957 version was word for word the same as the 1939 version.  I'm wondering how often that gets done!!

If it hadn't been so late, I would have watched Sleepless in Seattle too!

Taylor won tickets to the Pasadena Laemle Theater, but said they really could never use them since it's a ways from their house - so she gave them to us!!  What a treat - FHE tonight was movie night - I'd been wanting to see this.  Thinking now maybe I should re-read the book too - and maybe re-watch the 60's version with Julie Christie!!

The film is well-done, beautiful cinematography, acting is great, the Boltwood chap does a superb job at being "madly" infatuated with Bathsheba!!

And Gabriel Oak really reminded me of Ry Nebeker with hair - but those are little details - the overall film is a visual and auditory feast!!

Check it out!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chugging right along on the library trail!!

Chugging right along with the reading material!!  I actually went a few days without reading a novel - got caught up with some of my New Yorker reading!!  Decided I not only needed to quit buying physical books, maybe I shouldn't buy so many Kindle books either!!  So I went to the library - and found a nice stash of Anna Quindlen novels for my reading enjoyment!!   (I'd gone a couple of times looking for some other authors - only to discover that our little Monrovia Library can have a limited selection at times!)

This is the second one by her I've read - you may have noticed that I kind of like to pick and author and then read everything they've written!!  I had read Still Life With Bread Crumbs and enjoyed it, so was ready to try another one.

This one is about a large old house - and a baby abandoned on the doorstep - in a cardboard box!  There are other details too, but Ms. Quindlen has woven a nice little tale of love, loss, and learning.

I'm off to the library for another of her books - good thing she has a long list of them!

I am also an unabashed Grisham fan - and love Theodore Boone too.  Was happy to hear he had a new one out.  I confess that they all seem to run together for me.  They are actually "forgettable" stories - but they are fun to read!  (Note to those not familiar - they are adolescent stories - Theodore Boone is perennially 14!!)

Stay tuned - these two are numbers 36 and 37 for this year's list of 52 books!!

Monday, June 08, 2015

Chuggin' along on the reading train!!

In spite of the busyness of my days, and nights for that matter, I manage to keep reading some compelling book that causes me to just plop down in the comfy leather chair under the windows in the living room and read instead of doing other stuff - like update my blogs for example!!

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is one such novel that turned out to be quite compelling.  Like Suite Francaise, Sarah's Key, and All the Light We Cannot See, it deals with the critical summer of 1940 when Paris fell, with nary a whimper, to the might of Hitler's Germany.

Each of these novels emphasizes a different aspect of those horrific times, but also weaves a tapestry - for me at least - of the more human aspects of those years.  Each story is very personal - but political too, so it seems important and significant - probably because individual stories are the most important.

The Nightingale was a bit of a "thriller" because you didn't find out the identity of the narrator until the end.  It wasn't perfectly written - as literature it really didn't make the cut.  But it was compelling and engaging - qualities I look for.

You just might enjoy it!

Since I so enjoyed Station Eleven, I decided to look for other books by the same author.  This was one.  It is nothing like the first book I read.  It is not dystopian.  But it is an intriguing plotline that I have never quite encountered before.  Don't want to spoil it - it can be heartbreaking at times - so I won't give too many details.

And Ms. St. John Mandel is a pretty good writer - she created a world that is nothing like any world I know - but it seemed very real the whole time!!

Let me know what you think!