Saturday, January 20, 2018

Week in Review - 1/20/2018

More snow, cold temps and inactivity on my part (yoga canceled on Monday & Wednesday) has resulted in me finishing (3) books this week and watching (4) movies as well.  Here's what I read and saw.

 My Absolute Darling; Gabriel Tallent
Riverhead - 2017

4/5 stars

My Absolute Darling was a painful, coming of age story which takes place in northern California near Mendocino.  Fourteen year old Turtle Alveston is somewhat of a wild child but she has a good reason. Her mother died and her father, Martin,  is whacked. She goes to school but her grades are poor and she doesn't have any real friends.  She detests most girls and women that she meets and although she seems to know that the way her father treats her is wrong (he physically and sexually abuses her), he is all she knows.  The reality begins to set in for Turtle after her grandfather dies and her father takes off only to return home with a ten year old girl he has picked up and seems to be thinking about her as his almost grown daughter's replacement.

This book told in the third person and is a tough read. It's very detailed when it comes to the physical abuse Turtle endured.  The writing is good but, seemed very slow at times as well.  Definitely not a book all readers will be glad they read.  

Atlantic Monthly Press-2017

 5/5 stars

A short novel, just over 150 pages, “Sisters,’’ tells the story of a marriage. Told in the first person by an unnamed narrator who happens to be wife #2.  Wife #2 is obsessed with finding out everything she can about her husband's first wife, (also unnamed). She plans ways to run-into her, has conversations and questions her two teenaged step-children and, when it feels okay to do so,  questions her new husband. Where wife #1 is tall and blond, wife #2 is short and dark. Both women live in Manhattan and, the husband, who travels a lot for work, is mostly out of the picture, but we do get a good glimpse at the way the couple meets and his inner persona.

I loved the writing and the fact that it written is very short chapters, this is one enjoyable book, that is meant to be read slowly and savored.  An intimate look at a marriage, obsession, infidelity. Loved this little gem.

An American Marriage; Tayari Jones
Algonquin - 2018
4/5 stars

Married just over a year, Roy, a young executive and Celestial, an artist are a black couple getting their rhythm as husband and wife.  One day Roy is arrested for a crime he didn't commit. He is tried, convicted and is sent to prison. While they await the appeal process, Roy makes the best of prison life in Louisiana while Celestial must try to adjust to life on the outside without Roy.  When Roy is a free man, 5 years later, he hopes to return to Celestial and resume their life together but, does time change what this young couple once had?

A well-written, timely novel about racial injustice and the how it affects a marriage.


The Post  (2017) - A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.

Be sure to see it on the big screen!


Before I Go to Sleep  (2014) - A woman wakes up every day, remembering nothing as a result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, new terrifying truths emerge that force her to question everyone around her.


Held my interest but just okay
(I never read the book)


The Wizard of Wall Lies (2017)The fall of Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme robbed $65 billion from unsuspecting victims; the largest fraud in U.S. history.


 Very good; worth seeing!


The Book of Henry (2017) With instructions from her genius son's carefully crafted notebook, a single mother sets out to rescue a young girl from the hands of her abusive stepfather.

Disappointed; I was expecting something different!



32 comments:

  1. Sisters sounds good, I may end up reading it.

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    1. I loved Sisters; any book that you can read in one sitting and love is a bonus.

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  2. Haven't read any of the book or seen any of the movies. I did read BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP a few years ago and liked it. It was on the front-end of the current wacky psychological thriller trend. Sorry about your yoga classes. We're finally getting over our last cold snap. I'm beyond ready for that.

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  3. I've got My Absolute Darling in print and on audio and I've been debating on which way to read it. Since the abuse is detailed, I'd probably do better with print.

    I love the cover of Sisters and think I'd like the book too.

    I have plans to see The Post with a friend on Tuesday.

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    1. I think you will love The Post. I don't think I could listen to My Absolute Darling.

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  4. Just put a library hold on Sisters - sounds like my kind of book. We have a very small cinema on the island and The Post was sold out all week. Guess I need to plan ahead or go over to the mainland to see it. Hopefully your weather will improve next week.

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    1. I think you will like Sisters (a lot). I just requested another short, Lily Tuck novel called: I Married You for Happiness. I hope you are enjoying FL.

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  5. That was an excellent variety of goodies!

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  6. I think I will probably check out The Post. I am curious about it. Glad you liked it!

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    1. The Post is based on a true story and very appropriate to what's going on today.

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  7. I thought The Wizard of Lies was terrific. I had seen the first version, with Richard Dreyfuss, and thought it was good. But DeNiro and Pfeiffer were both really good.

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    1. I can't imagine Dreyfuss in that role. Good movie I agree.

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  8. That is quite a week of emotional material you got through. I am considering reading the Tayari Jones book. I've been trying to see The Post in the theater but for some reason it isn't playing anywhere close to me; very unusual for LA. I loved The Book of Henry. I saw The Shape of Water last week and loved that too.

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    1. I'm surprised you can't find The Post near you. Glad you loved The Shape of Water! Can't wait to see it again when it's on tv.

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  9. I'll add American Marriage to my list. It sounds like a fun read and I like that it is short.

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    1. Pat, Sisters was short, but, An American Marriage was average length. 300++ pages

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  10. I'm reading An American Marriage now..only 25% in, but am enjoying it so far!

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  11. Sounds like a good week. I am still working my way through the CYBILS non-fiction finalists and can't wait to post about them!

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    1. I'll be looking for your thoughts of the NF finalists. I just got Nomadland from the library and am looking forward to it. My husband just brought home Fire and Fury too LOL

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  12. I am sorry your yoga class was canceled, but it sounds like you got in a lot of reading thanks to the cold weather--and good reading too! An American Marriage especially sounds good. I haven't seen the movie, Before I Go To Sleep, but I enjoyed the book. I had planned to see the movie after finishing the book, but kind of lost interest in the idea. Sounds like I am not missing out. I hope you have a great week, Diane.

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    1. Thanks Wndy!

      I'm not sure I want to read Before I Go to Sleep now that I saw the movie.

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  13. Happy Sunday, Diane. Thanks for sharing some of your thoughts about books and movies. Sisters sounds like an excellent book. I saw the movie Fences this weekend (at home), and thought it was very well acted. Have a great week ahead!

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    1. I loved Fences when we saw it. Sisters is a very page turing sort of book.

      Hope you have a great week.

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  14. I have My Absolute Darling tucked away on Pippa...should read it soon.

    I loved The Post...and when I think back and remember how long the corruption lasted...it makes we weary about what lies ahead for us now. I liked your reaction to Fire & Fury. "OMG" says it all, doesn't it? If only Mueller can find everything he needs sooner rather than later.

    Recently I watched Before I Go To Sleep again...it still kept me riveted to the screen. I also enjoyed the book.

    Thanks for sharing, and have a great week.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed The Post Laurel, so appropriate to today.

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  15. I have a copy of An American Marriage. I'm looking forward to reading it. I agree with you on The Wizard movie. I thought it was well-cast and very interesting. There's still so much we'll never know to this story. As much as I am angered, I can't help but be fascinated.

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    1. Oh, yes, I can't imagine how these poor victims coped with losing everything.

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  16. I've been hearing good things about My Absolute Darling, in spite of the subject matter. I've got it on my library list and will read it later this year, I'm sure. The Lily Tuck books sounds very good, so I'll see if I can borrow those from the library, as well. My husband and I want to see The Post, but will wait for it to come out on DVD. I love Hanks and Streep and bet they are great in their roles! I read Before I Go to Sleep when it first came out and thought it was very good. A friend saw the movie and said don't waste your time, so I never did see it. You've confirmed my decision to skip it. :)

    I hope you're having a good week, Diane!

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  17. Oh good to know about An American Marriage -- I plan to read it. Also we are headed out to see The Post movie tonite. Can't wait to see it!

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