Best of the Oscar Best – The Ladies

We are a movie loving house.  Somehow Jason finds more time to watch movies on his own than I do, but we see plenty together and with Gage.  On Friday Gage and I had a lunch and movie date to see the Lego Movie Part 2 and then Jason and I had a dinner and movie date to see Green Book.  That has never happened before but it was fun.  I like to watch the Golden Globes and the Oscars.  I admit the Red Carpet is my favorite thing to catch if I can.  All of those beautiful gowns!!

So I perused a list of past winners and thought I’d feature some of my favorites and see what you think.  I’m basing them on the performance, but the win wasn’t always my favorite movie of theirs.  Also, as I looked through the list I realized how many deserving women got robbed!

Best Actress Oscar winners.

Katherine Hepburn is my girl.  She did not win an Oscar for my favorite of her performances but did win a total of 4.  My favorite of the four was probably her 1968 win as Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter.  She also won for Morning Glory (1932/33), Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967) and On Golden Pond (1981).  Her independent nature and the sparkle in her eye make me love seeing her onscreen.

Audrey Hepburn (no relation) also won for a movie that wasn’t my favorite, but I did love her 1953 win for Roman Holiday as Princess Ann.   As much as I loved her onscreen it was her life and an activist that makes me love her.

Jodie Foster won two deserving Oscars.  One in 1988 for The Accused and one in 1991 for The Silence of the Lambs.  As dark as Lambs was the acting in that movie was so, so good.

Elizabeth Taylor also won two Oscars, but it’s the 1966 win for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf that gets her on my shortlist.  Jason and I watched it last month.  What a performance.  She also won in 1960 for Butterfield 8.  As a teen I remember thinking she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen when I’d watch her older films.

Shirley MacLaine won the 1983 Oscar for Terms of Endearment, a movie that wrecked me.  I always think of her first in The Apartment for a role that she was nominated for but she lost to Elizabeth Taylor.

 

Best Supporting Actress Oscar Winners

Jane Darwell as Ma Joad in 1940’s Grapes of Wrath was a perfection.  It’s funny as I was reading through the list I didn’t recognize the name, but when I saw the movie listed I pictured her perfectly in my mind because she was that good.

Ruth Gordon was so good and so bad in Rosemary’s Baby and totally deserved her 1968 Oscar.

Octavia Spencer pretty much elevates any movie she’s in and I was happy to see her win in 2011 for The Help.  I wouldn’t want to accept any pies from her though 🙂

Rita Moreno added energy to West Side Story and earned her 1961 Oscar.  WSS is not one of my favorite movies, but I did really like her performance.

 

Do any of my favorites jump out as your own?  Most of these are for older movies, but a favorite is a favorite.

 

The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife by Julia Justiss

Title: The Earl's Inconvenient Wife, Author: Julia JustissThe Earl’s Inconvenient Wife. Finished 2-11-19, 4/5 stars, historical romance, 288 pages, pub. 2019

Temperance Lattimar is too scandalous for a Season, until finally she’s sponsored by Lady Sayleford. The whole charade feels wrong when she doesn’t want a husband, but Temper feels awful when MP and aristocrat Gifford Newell is appointed to “protect” her at society events. With her past, she knows she’s not an ideal wife…but then a marriage of convenience to Giff becomes the only option!   from Goodreads

There was plenty of tension and strong-willed heroine exploits in this romance, but there was more too.  I learned a lot about Parliament.  It was refreshing to see an aristocrat actually working for the social good.  Giff did like the ladies a bit too much, but his devotion to his work was a plus.  Temper wanted only to be left alone to work.  After her dad denies her money, she tries a plan  that will leave her without a suitor after the season so that her dad must release her money and she can be left alone to travel around the world collecting artifacts.  As with any good Harlequin the two found themselves wanting one thing, but then discovering that something else made them happy.

This is part of a series and I thought it was well done. It was exactly what I needed, a bit of fun fluff.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Title: Where the Crawdads Sing, Author: Delia OwensWhere the Crawdads Sing. Finished audio 2-8-19, 4.5/5 stars, fiction, pub. 2018

Unabridged audio read by Cassandra Campbell.  12 hours 12 minutes.

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.  from Goodreads

Down in the North Carolina low country there was a girl the locals called the marsh girl.  Abandoned by her mother, her siblings and then by her abusive father, before the age of ten she fended for herself trying to survive.  Jumpin’ and his wife Mabel take pity on her by providing her a way to earn money and giving her a few necessities and friendship. Kya was truly isolated in extreme poverty at a very young.  The social workers came around and they even got her to school one day, but never could find her after that.  She knew the marsh better than anyone.  Tate, who worked in the waters with his dad befriended her and taught her to read, but too soon he was off to college and Kya was alone again.

This is a beautiful debut novel.  The writing was therapeutic to someone holed up for the winter, say, someone like me.  Kya was a great character and one made richer after you’ve finished the novel and had time to reflect.  Her extreme isolation and poverty gave way to her extreme self-sufficiency and loneliness and all of this led to the prejudice that landed her as a murder defendant.  In what could have been just a sweeping coming of age story, there comes a turn that puts her in town and on display for all of those who have shunned her for years.

I loved it and Kya will surely be sticking with me for a while.

 

An evening with Paula McLain

IMG_5456 (2)Our local library system, Cuyahoga County Public Library, has been hosting these A Cook and A Book events for a while, but I’d not been to one.  Now I may sign up for all of them regardless of the author!  What a great format.  It’s in the upstairs rooms of my favorite grocery store and we were greeted with Hemingway’s favorite daquiri (yum).  The charming Paula McLain talked about spending 14 years in the foster system of Fresno, California and her first paid writing gig – $25 for a poem in Cosmopolitan magazine.  She received her MFA from University of Michigan before allowing Cleveland to call her one of its own 15 years ago.  Of course, she talked about her books.  I’ve only read (and loved) Circling the Sun, but  her first bestseller The Paris Wife was about Hemingway’s first wife and her latest, Love and Ruin, is about his third.  She was granted access to Hemingway’s Cuban home (now a museum that the public can’t enter) and was able to spend three days there going through the house.  Which led to the last bit of the evening, Martha’s Mojo Criollo recipe that I’ll share with you.  We all got to try it and it was tasty.  It was a full hour and a half and a lot of fun.  I was going to read Love & Ruin, but when she explained that Hemingway’s son from The Paris Wife shows up in Love and Run all grown up I realized that I wanted to read them in order.  She was entertaining and warm and showed a lot of love for bad ass women (her words and mine :)).

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The Accidental Further Adventures of the 100-Year-Old Man by Jonas Jonasson

Title: The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man: A Novel, Author: Jonas Jonasson

The Accidental Further Adventures of the 100-Year-Old Man.  Finished 2-5-19, rating 4/5 stars, fiction, 448 pages, pub. 2019

The hysterical, clever, and unforgettable sequel to Jonas Jonasson’s international bestseller The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.

It all begins with a hot air balloon trip and three bottles of champagne. Allan and Julius are ready for some spectacular views, but they’re not expecting to land in the sea and be rescued by a North Korean ship, and they could never have imagined that the captain of the ship would be harboring a suitcase full of contraband uranium, on a nuclear weapons mission for Kim Jong-un. Yikes!

Soon Allan and Julius are at the center of a complex diplomatic crisis involving world figures from the Swedish foreign minister to Angela Merkel and President Trump. Needless to say, things are about to get very, very complicated.     from Goodreads

I didn’t read the first Allan and Julius story, but when Trish suggested I might like this I couldn’t resist.  An international caper with a crotchety old guy?  She knows me so well.

Allan and Julius are one of the most fun pairs I’ve had the chance to read lately.  Allan, who has led a very exciting life and gotten by with his gift of conversational nothingness, and Julius, the asparagus loving charmer always looking for a con, managed to find themselves in the most absurd situations.  I loved the chapters with those two, often laughing out loud at their antics.  They also managed to surround themselves with a somewhat cuckoo cast of characters who were easy to love.

The gift of this book is the humor, the light touch and easy way Jonasson manages to poke fun.  No political figure was too esteemed.  Kim Jong-un, Donald Trump, and Angela Merkel were hilarious in their interactions with Allan.  Allan and Trump golfing together was one of my favorite scenes.  Good stuff.

After a while I did find myself skimming through some of the chapters of secondary to world leaders characters and didn’t feel like I missed much.  At over 400 pages, I really just wanted the action focused on the main characters.

This was a fun book full of absurd situations.  I’d love to read a book about Allan when he turns 102 🙂

Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins for sending me a proof for this book tour.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Expury

Title: The Little Prince Deluxe Pop-Up Book (with audio), Author: Antoine de Saint-ExuperyThe Little Prince: Deluxe Pop-Up Book, Unabridged Text.  Finished 2-3-19, 5/5, children’s classic, 63 pages, pub. 2015

After being stranded in a desert after a crash, a pilot comes in contact with a captivating little prince who recounts his journey from planet to planet and his search for what is most important in life.

For over sixty-five years Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic, The Little Prince, has captured readers’ hearts. The whimsical story with a fairy tale feel has sold over 3 million copies in all formats. This exciting pop-up edition includes the complete original text accompanied by Saint-Exupery’s beautiful illustrations brought to life through paper engineering. Perfect for longtime fans and those meeting the little prince for the first time!   from Goodreads

Oh, how I loved reading this classic for the first time with Gage.  This pop-up book with all of the original text was amazing!  The three of us read a chapter at night for family reading time and I don’t know how we’re going to top it with our next family book.  Here’s a pic of one of the pages.

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Some of them just popped up and some of them had more interactive features.  It was well done and I plan on buying a copy since this one is from the library.

As for the story itself.  Jason and I laughed at the making fun of adults and sometimes Gage didn’t get the joke, but otherwise the story was a fun adventure story of a young prince from another planet. Well, it was fun until the end.  For some reason I was not prepared for the end.  It led to good discussion with Gage, especially since he’s been asking me very specific questions about Heaven these days.

I don’t know what took me so long to read this, but this is a fun book to read with your child and the pop-ups will only bring it more to life for the both of you.

This was my 25th selection for the Classics Club challenge.  I have until January 1, 2020 to get to 50.

 

A Quick Trip to Asheville

Jason and I took a 4 day weekend and turned it into a road trip to Asheville, North Carolina.  It’s a little over 8 hours from southeast Cleveland according to Google, but we managed to turn it into over 11 on the way down after a speeding ticket and a stop at the wrong hotel.  That’s what makes road trips so much fun!  We listened to Origin by Dan Brown on the way there and back and still didn’t manage to finish yet.

Asheville was lovely and I was most impressed by the two bookstores they had downtown that were within a mile of each other.

First we hit Malaprop’s and I loved it.  I spent some money.  When I went to find Jason in the café he was playing an online game with an exchange student from Chile.  They were trying to get themselves on the same team, lol.  Let me just say that I complain more often than I should that the game he plays on his phone is antisocial and now I can’t.  He’s making international friends!  So, I left them playing, or whatever nonsense was going on, and went back to shopping.  If I couldn’t complain about the game I could at least spend more money on the bookstore.

 

Immediately after Malaprop’s we went to Battery Park Book Exchange Champagne Bar.  

 

This space was so cool.  Not only did it have a full bar, but the furniture, décor and the way each room of books led you to the next was a place I could have spent hours exploring.  Alas, we did not have that kind of time.  The mimosa and food were excellent.

I posted some pics on Facebook and the one that got the most attention was the mirror selfie I took of Jason and I at Biltmore.  This made me smile since I took it because of one of my favorite pics that I took of Jason and me when we visited Versailles in France in 2010.  Two audacious homes.  Here are the two pics

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I could crop and blow up the one from Biltmore but I kind of like it the way it is.

I missed seeing Kathy this trip, but hopefully next time!  We’ve known each other online since 2008, but have never met in person.