Saturday, February 3, 2018

(2) Weeks in Review - 2/3/2018

It's been (2) weeks since I posted some mini reviews so thought I'd try to catch up as I sit here with my second cup of coffee.  Last week was my book group meeting, we discussed, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (my second time reading it). It made for a lively discussion and everyone there said they enjoyed the book.

Tomorrow's Super Bowl will prove interesting in our house. My husband is a Philadelphia native and life long Eagles fan and, me as a life long New Englander, once again will be rooting for the Pats.  (Last time Eagles were in the Super Bowl (2003 or 2004) they lost to the Pats). To make it interesting I have a $30 bet with the hub and a $20 bet with his friend from Phili. Any Super Bowl plans for you? I do wish Pink was the halftime show instead of just singing the National Anthem.



Yesterday we went to see - Three Billboards Outside of Epping, Missouri. We both liked it an awful lot and, once again proves how anger, eats away at you unless you can find away to let it go.









Other movies we watched were repeats for us, but ones we enjoyed as well.











I finished (3) books over the last (2) weeks. 


Picador - 2015

A woman in my book group recommended, Why I Read by Wendy Lesser was a book for booklovers - it's just over 200 pages.  Part of the prologue really spoke to me so I decided to give it a try -- ...“Reading can result in boredom or transcendence, rage or enthusiasm, depression or hilarity, empathy or contempt, depending on who you are and what the book is and how your life is shaping up at the moment you encounter it.” 

Reading is such a personal taste experience and clearly my choices over the years were not the same as the author here as I've only read 10/100 that are her favorites. There were so many books that she wrote about that I have never read so maybe, I'm not the "bibliophile" I thought I was. When she went into some detail about these books I hadn't read, I found myself skipping ahead - just in case I decided to try the book in the future.  My favorite part of the book was the fact that she included a list of her 100 all time favorite reads.   Here they are in case you are interested---(The 10 that I read are highlighted)

Ackerley, J. R. MY FATHER AND MYSELF
Ambler, Eric. A COFFIN FOR DIMITRIOS
Austen, Jane. PERSUASION
Baldwin, James. NOTES OF A NATIVE SON
Balzac, Honore. COUSIN BETTE
Bellow, Saul. RAVELSTEIN
Bennett, Arnold. THE OLD WIVE’S TALE
Bishop, Elizabeth. THE COMPLETE POEMS
Bolano, Roberto. DISTANT STAR
Bowen, Elizabeth. THE HEAT OF THE DAY
Carroll, Lewis. ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
Cather, Willa. THE PROFESSOR’S HOUSE
Chekhov, Anton. THE LADY WITH THE DOG & OTHER STORIES
Coetzee, J. M. DISGRACE
Collins, Wilkie. THE WOMAN IN WHITE
Conrad, Joseph. UNDER WESTERN EYES
de Waal, Edmund. THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES
Der Nister, THE FAMILY MASHBER
Dickens, Charles. DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickinson, Emily. FINAL HARVEST
Dostoevsky, Fyodor. CRIME & PUNISHMENT
Dyer, Geoff. OUT OF SHEER RAGE
Eisenberg, Deborah. TWILIGHT OF THE SUPERHEROES
Elkin, Stanley. VAN GOGH’S ROOM AT ARLES
Ellison, Ralph. INVISIBLE MAN
Farrell, J. G. THE SIEGE OF KRISHNAPUR
Faulkner, William. ABSALOM, ABSALOM!
Fitzgerald, Penelope. THE BEGINNING OF SPRING
Flaubert, Gustave. SENTIMENTAL EDUCATION
Ford, Ford Madox. PARADE’S END
Ford, Richard. THE BASCOMBE NOVELS
Forester, E. M. A PASSAGE TO INDIA
Gissing, George. NEW GRUB STREET
Gluck, Louise. A VILLAGE LIFE
Goncharov, Ivan. OBLOMOV
Greene, Graham. THE QUIET AMERICAN
Grossman, Vasily. LIFE & FATE
Gunn, Thom. COLLECTED POEMS
Handke, Peter. A SORROW BEYOND DREAMS
Hardwick, Elizabeth. THE SIMPLE PLAN
Hardy, Thomas. JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hazzard, Shirley. THE TRANSIT OF VENUS
Heaney, Seamus. THE HAW LANTERN
Herzen, Alexander. MY PAST & THOUGHTS
Highsmith, Patricia. THE COMPLETER RIPLEY NOVELS
Hopkins, Gerard Manley. POEMS
Howells, William Dean. A HAZARD OF NEW FORTUNES
James, Henry. THE GOLDEN BOWL
Lahiri, Jhumpa. UNACCUSTOMED EARTH
Lampedusa, Giuseppe di. THE LEOPARD
Lawrence, D. H. SONS AND LOVERS
Li, Yiyun. GOLD BOY, EMERALD GIRL
London, Jack. MARTIN EDEN
Lowell, Robert. LIFE STUDIES
Macdonald, Ross. THE BLUE HAMMER
Mailer, Norman. THE ARMIES OF THE NIGHT
Malcolm, Janet. IN THE FREUD ARCHIVES
Malouf, David. THE GREAT WORLD
Mankell, Henning. SIDETRACKED
Mann, Thomas. BUDDENBROOKS
Mantel, Hilary. BEYOND BLACK
Marias, Javier. A HEART SO WHITE
Maxwell, William. SO LONG, SEE YOU TOMORROW
McEwan, Ian. THE INNOCENT
Melville, Herman. GREAT SHORT WORKS
Michaels, Leonard. COLLECTED STORIES
Mistry, Rohinton. A FINE BALANCE
Munro, Alice. FRIEND OF MY YOUTH
Murakami, Haruki. HARD-BOILED WONDERLAND & THE END OF THE WORLD
Norris, Frank. THE PIT
O’Connor, Flannery. WISE BLOOD
Ondaatje, Michael. RUNNING IN THE FAMILY
Orwell, George. THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER
Pinsky, Robert. SELECTED POEMS
Platonov, Andrey. SOUL & OTHER STORIES
Price, Richard. CLOCKERS
Roth, Joseph. THE RADETZKY MARCH
Roth, Philip. I MARRIED A COMMUNIST
Rushdie, Salman. THE MOOR’S LAST SIGH
Queiros, Eca de. TH MAIAS
Sebald, W. G. THE RINGS OF SATURN
Serge, Victor. THE CASE OF COMRADE TULAYEV
Stafford, Jean. THE MOUNTAIN LION
Stendhal, THE CHARTERHOUSE OF PARMA
Svevo, Italo. ZERO’S CONSCIENCE
Theroux, Paul. THE FAMILY ARSENAL
Toibin, Colm. THE MASTER
Tolstoy, Leo. WAR & PEACE
Trevor, William. THE CHILDREN OF DYNMOUTH
Trollope, Anthony. THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Turgenev, Ivan. VIRGIN SOIL
Twain, Mark. HUCKEBERRY FINN
Verne, Jules. THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
West, Rebecca. THE FOUNTAIN OVERFLOWS
Wharton, Edith. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH
Wolff, Tobias. IN PHARAOH’S ARMY
Wright, Richard. NATIVE SON
Zola, Emile. THE LADIES’ PARADISE


My Rating 3.5/5 stars

Alternate Side; Anna Quindlen
Random House - 2018

I think I've read everything Anna Quindlen has written so I was excited to read her upcoming March release as well. Alternate Side, taken place in Manhattan's upper west side. The Nolan's, Charlie and Nora, have two children in college and live a comfortable life.  Their particular block is on a dead end street, that has a coveted parking lot with a waiting list, their neighbors as well as the Nolan's have hired help (everyone seems to use the same handyman) and, most everyone seems to get along. One day when Nora returns home from her run with her coveted bagel in hand and is shocked to learn of an incident that has taken place that not only rocks their insular neighborhood but her own marriage as well.

I enjoyed reading this one but, it is a super, slow moving story. I thought it was an interesting look at  relationships and how sometimes it's not until something major happens that one begins to stand up, take notice and sometimes take sides.

My Rating 3.5/5 stars



Grove Press - 2012

Phillip is a university professor and Nina his wife loves to paint; the couple has been married over 40 years and have one adult daughter who is 35.  One day when Phillip comes home from work as Nina is preparing dinner, he decides to take a nap and -- never wakes up.  Nina spends the next 24 hours holding his hand and reflecting on their marriage -- good times and bad.

I love Lily Tuck, spare but quality writing - reflective but told in the present.  The author has a way of drawing you into the lives of your characters and had me reflecting on my own marriage and relationships.  Just over 200 pages, this was another enjoyable book by Lily Tuck.

My Rating 4/5 stars

34 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had a great two weeks! I really want to see Billboards (and so many other of the nominated films). It feels like with work and life errands and reading I don't get to the movies anymore.

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    1. Can't wait to see the Oscars; we loved Shape of Water, The Post and Three Billboards!

      It's tough to squeeze everything in when you work FT.

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  2. I'm not a big Pro football fan, but now that I know Pink will be singing the National Anthem, I'll watch! Maybe we'll keep it on for the commercials, but I don't really care for the game.

    I need to move that Jodi Picoult book to my nightstand so I can get it read this year. I've heard such good things about it and I enjoy her books. I see she has a new one, too!

    Three Billboards looks like a great movie, but I'm sure it's pretty intense. We'll catch it on DVD.

    Why I Read sounds like a book I'd enjoy, but she certainly reads a lot of heavy books. The only one on the list that I loved is A FINE BALANCE by Rohinton Mistry.

    I love Quindlen, but her past two novels haven't wowed me, so I may wait and get this new one at the library. I do want to also get Lily Tuck's book. She sounds like an author I'd enjoy!

    Hope you win your bets. :)

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    1. Les, I do like the commercials during the Super Bowl and most every song tat Pink sang. Three Billboards was fantastic.

      As for Lily Tuck, her books are short; I hope you'll enjoy them.

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  3. I was so excited about Alternate Side until I read that it was slow moving. I added I Married You for Happiness to my tbr list at the library.

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    1. Vicki - Alternate Side is super slow moving. I did like reading it though - weird I know.

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  4. Nice to see your latest reading, etc. I can see why the book about reading was something that appealed to you. I went down that list and found 4 books that I've read. I love Persuasion and A Fine Balance. Will try the Quindlen book at some point, but am not rushing to it. The Picoult book is the April choice for a book group that I attend now and then. I'm planning on reading it. Super Bowl - well, if the Cowboys aren't in it, I don't care. So, I don't care. LOL

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  5. I am making a note of the Quindlen book though when I will get to it is another story! I must be the only reader reading Gone Girl now!!!!

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    1. LOL - Funny, I did not like reading Gone Girl but, liked the movie!

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  6. We don't watch any football here but we will watch the Puppy Bowl. You and the Hubby cheer on!

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  7. This is the second 3 star review I've seen for Alternate Side. I adore Quindlen (just started reading her in late 2016) and was so excited she had a new one out. I'll be reading it anyway, but with tempered expectations.

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    1. Yes, IMO, this one wasn't her best, but it's hard not to find something in her stories not to enjoy.

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  8. I've read six from the list. Bet I've read a bunch she hasn't though, lol.
    Good luck with your best, Diane, and enjoy the game!

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  9. What a wonderful, meaty post with lots to think about. I'm interested in all the books you've discussed. In the list of 100, I noted that in quite a number of cases, I liked other titles by an author more than the one that was her favorite. But I must say, I'm curious about all the ones I don't know anything about. Thank you so much for posting the list!

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    1. Judith, I was very surprised that I hadn't ever hear of many of the titles she loved.

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  10. I am interested in all books you mentioned although reading through the list of books recommended in the first book, I haven't read that many either. Hmm... Now the Lily Tuck sounds like a must read. I love those quiet stories that make you reflect on your relationships and life. Have fun watching the game tonight!

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  11. Pink sang the National Anthem? I will have to look for it on line. I enjoyed reading about your movies and reads.

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  12. Of that list I've only read 5. Many I haven't even heard of before!

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    1. Same is true here, where did she come up with these titles?

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  13. Too bad the game did not work out better for you. I was quite surprised by the Philly win. I also liked the 3 Billboards movie. Perhaps it'll win the Oscar?

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    1. In the end I was happy for my husband that he got to finally see the Eagles win a super bowl in his lifetime.

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  14. Diane,
    The Lily Tuck book sounds wonderful (and I like that it's short, manageable). Have a great week!

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  15. I'll read anything Anna Quindlen writes, even if it is a little slow. Hope you're having a good week :)

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    1. Thanks JoAnn, the Anna Q book was good just slow and not her best.

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  16. Sorry you lost the bet. I've only read four of the books on her list.

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    1. LOL , my husband didn't want to take my $$ but, I insisted and said I would have taken his if the Pats won.

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  17. I might have tuned into the Super Bowl if Pink had performed during the half-time. As it was, we were busy with other stuff, the game not really of interest to us at all. I think you are the only person I know who was cheering for the Patriots. :-)

    The Wendy Lesser book sounds interesting. I like the quote you shared. Sometimes I find myself struggling with books like that if I am not familiar with enough of the books the author references. I've read maybe three or four on the list you shared. A bit sad. Haha. I hope you have a great weekend and week, Diane.

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    1. Yes, I wish she was the 1/2 time act instead of Justin T. I don't know where Lesser came up with that list LOL.

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  18. I always love book lists! It's always fun to see how many you've read and how many you think are ridiculous for being on the list at all. I've only read 5, but was excited to see Clockers by Richard Price on there. I read that 20 years ago and loved it so much. I've added the Lily Tuck to my reading list.
    It looks right up my alley.
    Congrats on the win!!!!

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