Saturday, September 9, 2017

Week in Review - Books and Movies


The first week of September passed in a blur - Two granddaughters hit new milestones, one began preschool 3 days a week and absolutely loved it, and the oldest began kindergarten, another success.  The third granddaughter gets one more year home with mom and preschool next year; we are all getting older.

Yoga, dining out, movies out, pedicure and preparing for a Vermont getaway rounded out the week.  I also finished (2) books.  

This week with will include a hair appointment,  lunch with friends from high school, yoga and time in VT.

As we enjoy perfect early fall weather, (70 degree days and 45-50 degree nights) our hearts go out to those in Houston and Florida and elsewhere affected by the recent hurricanes.

BOOKS READ this WEEK


Before, Durning and After by Richard Bausch
(2014) Knopf

Yet another more recent novel (2015) set against the backdrop of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A story in (3) parts: "Before, During and After" we meet Natasha Barrett, who works for a US Senator - her life in flux, after her most recent relationship with a married man ended.

AT a party, in April of 2001, Natasha meets Michael, a recently divorced Episcopalian priest, 16 years her senior. Great sex = plans to marry (be prepared for details). But, before they are scheduled to marry (and weeks before 9/11), she flies to Jamaica for a pre-wedding vacation while Michael stays back to attend a wedding in NYC.

Something awful happens to Natasha in Jamaica which she keeps to herself but, it's something that changes her and her relationship with Michael, leaving him confused and suspicious, leaving the reader with a story that is sure not to end well.

Great character development of flawed characters and, although the story seemed to veer off track at times and slow, for the most part it was a good story. I will say that because of all the detailed sex some readers will be put off by this novel.

4/5 stars


Penguin - Sept 12, 2018

Shaker Heights, OH touted as the perfect neighborhood for a happy life, well, maybe not for every family who lives there.  We learn from the very first page that the home of the Richardson Family burns to the ground and, that the fire was most likely set by their youngest child, Izzy.

The story takes place in 1997-1998, Shaker Heights  is a neighborhood with strict rules, and strict parents who expect their children to be high achievers. In fact, he oldest daughter, Lexie is expected to enter Yale in the fall. The two sons that follow are Tripp, a popular, athlete and Moody, quiet and shy but a good student. The youngest daughter Isabel (Izzy) is seen as somewhat out of control as she's not afraid to speak her mind, and feels like she's treated differently than her siblings. Father is a defense attorney,  and nosy mom works as a local reporter. 

When Mia Warren, an artist, and teenage daughter Pearl move into the Richardson's rental house, the two soon become more entwined in the Richardson's lives, which in unplanned and unintentional ways stokes the impending fire. To say more would really lead to spoilers.

I loved this book, carefully, crafted characters, dysfunctional families, race, prejudice, secrets, and more. This one would make for a fantastic book club discussion 

fantastic story - 5/5 stars



The Glass Castle (2017) - (Overview) A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who's an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children's imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty.

OMG - I loved the memoir by Jeanette Walls, and the movie was fantastic as well. Woody Harrelson plays the alcoholic father and the vivid dysfunction of this family at times brought me to tears. My husband thought it was excellent as well and we couldn't stop talking about it. Have you seen this one?


We decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary viewing of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) on the Big Screen and was happy we did. Believe it or not,  I don't think I ever saw the full movie before this - just bits and pieces. We really enjoyed this on the big screen.


Solitary Man (2009), starring Michael Douglas was one movie I had never seen, and, although it wasn't the best movie we ever saw, we enjoyed it.

(Overview) - A car magnate (Michael Douglas) watches his personal and professional life hit the skids because of his business and romantic indiscretions.

Have a Great Weekend

35 comments:

  1. Diane, you've had a busy and good week! I'm happy to hear about your darling granddaughters. I'd like to see The Glass Castle soon. I read the book (a memoir) a few years ago and found it quite absorbing. Little Fires Everywhere sounds like a wonderful book. Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Thanks Susan. I hope you do get a chance to see Glass Castles, it's terrific.

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  2. Wasn't Little Fires Everywhere great?! So glad she didn't have a sophomore slump!

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    1. Sarah, yes, totally loved that book and now that this author is 2 for 2 she's on my favorite author's list.

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  3. How exciting for your granddaughters - they sure are growing up fast! I'll probably listen to Little Fires Everywhere next. I wasn't sure about The Glass Castle movie and loved the book so much, I thought I might skip it.

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    1. I hope you will enjoy Little Fires as much as I did. I hope the audio is well done.

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  4. I agree with you about The Glass Castle. The book is in my top 12 all-time. And I thought the movie was a solid 3.75/4.

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    1. Want to read the book again as I read it when it was first published.

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  5. Your week was perfect! Fun to watch the grands hit milestones, isn't it?

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    1. Thanks Mary, yes, those little girls and this big events are so special.

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  6. I have The Glass Castle but haven't read it yet so will wait to see the movie. I'm still debating whether to read/listen to Little Fires Everywhere. Glad to know you loved it though.

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    1. I want to read Glass Castle again after seeing the movie.

      Vicki, I know you live in FL so I hope you are safe.

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  7. My bookclub went to Glass Castle. We had read the book many years ago and none of the women who went to the movie had been around when we read it. They all said they never could have finished the book, that the movie was so hard to watch. It really was a terrific adaptation.

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    1. The movie was so powerful. Really hit you in the gut at times.

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  8. I'm eager to see Glass Castle when it hits Netflix. I thought the book was very good. We just watched Hologram for the King (Tom Hanks) last night and I enjoyed it a bit more than my husband. Little Fires Everywhere sounds good. I'm finishing up A Celibate Season by Carol Shields, which is very good. Enjoy your time in Vermont. Where are you headed? I hope we get up there with our trailer one of these years. I'm sure it's a mob in the fall, so maybe we'll aim for early summer.

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    1. Les, there are so many great parts in Vermont, we try to visit once a year.

      Woodstock is a quaint, favorite town but, I also love Manchester, Burlington and Brattleboro -- so many covered bridges in VT>

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    2. Thanks for the recommendations, Diane. I'm adding these towns to our list. :)

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  9. A vibrant post with lots of books and movies to think about. I'm taking notes like crazy. Sounds like your life is full. Enjoy!

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    1. Judith, glad u liked the post, it's good to be back posting. Hope all is well with you.

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  10. Sounds like lots of goodies! We just watched Close Encounters on a small screen.

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  11. That sounds like a lovely week! I finally got out for my pedicure today. Since my nails were so short, I had to get tips put on. I hope the girls are having a grand time at school! It's so fun and exciting when they are little. Everything is so new to them. We've had a 10 degree reprieve this week and again next with 90 degree days. It was rather chilly Thursday morning, though. I think fall weather is trying to sneak in and steal the last of summer. I hope you have a great week and enjoy your lunch date with friends!

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    1. Charlie, here in New England, I usually get pedicures until the beginning of October and then it's heavy sock weather LOL Hope all is well with you, and, thanks for stopping by.

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  12. It sounds like you had a very nice week, Diane! I am glad your grandchildren have gotten off to a good start this school year. My daughter has too. I look at her now and she looks nothing like that baby girl she once was. They really do grow so fast--and we more slowly with them. Before, During, After sounds like something that belongs on my wish list. I would really like to read Little Fires Everywhere. The more I hear about it, the more I want to read it.

    I do want to jump back into 1st Chapter/1st Paragraph, but it may have to wait until the week after next. I've got my posts for next week scheduled already and it depends on how much I want to mess with that tomorrow. I already feel like I've spent too much time online this weekend playing catch up. My husband and daughter did get me out of the house today for my daughter's soccer game and breakfast out for my birthday. That was a nice treat. I hope you have a great week, Diane!

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    1. Wendy, so nice to have you stop by and glad to hear that Mouse is doing well in school. Hope to be visiting other blogs more very soon. Have a great week.

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  13. It seems a lovely week. I have a grand daughter starting proper grade 1 in January and am looking forward to it. Everyone is growing up.

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    1. How exciting for your granddaughter. Our little one loves "everything" about school so far.

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  14. I was a big fan of The Glass Castle when it was published, as were all the members of one of my reading groups. Three of us saw the movie in the theater and found it an excellent adaptation of the book.

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    1. Judy, glad you and friends liked the movie as well. I forgot the grandmother part UGH

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  15. Good luck to your granddaughters and school.

    Time is indeed going by so fast. I remember seeing Close Encounters in the movies when it first came out.

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    1. Thanks Brian Joseph, and just how do those years slip by so fast?

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  16. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Glass Castle, both book and movie! I could not take my eyes away from the screen...

    I am eager to read Little Fires Everywhere, and although I've noticed Before, During, After, seeing it today reeled me in. It's now on my list.

    Enjoy your time in Vermont!

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    1. I was glued to that screen for Glass Castle as well. Harrelson was amazing.

      BTW - you can probably still get a VINE copy of Before, During and After, if interested.

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  17. I love Shaker Heights so I am anxious to read Little Fires Everywhere. We live about 15 minutes away and I'm there often enough to have visited Zillow to see what's available there :) The so-so reviews scared me off of The Glass Castle, but now I've read a few of you book bloggers who have loved it. I'll have to see if it's still playing somewhere.

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    1. Oh WOW, I didn't realize Shaker Heights was an OH town? We have a Shaker Heights in a town near where I grew up in MA.

      You MUST see Glass Castle - unbelievably well done.

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