Weekly Book Wrap Up- January 16

I’m a few weeks in and still feeling confident about my book-a-day-goal.

I read 3 kids books with Gage, 2 adult books, listened to one adult book, and watched one movie adaptation. Only one was truly non-fiction.

I’ve listed them in the order I liked them best and included my Instagram pics and summaries.

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton was my favorite book this week and the Netflix adaptation, The Midnight Sky, was my least favorite. You can read my comparison of the two here.

What I said about the book… I’ll be watching the movie later this week, but it’s going to have a high bar. This book was wonderful. ❤️

Augustine is an old man stranded at an outpost in the icy north. All of the other researchers were evacuated due to ‘rumors of war’ and there’s been radio silence for over a year. Sully is part of a crew on a two year mission to Jupiter when, just as they begin their journey back to Earth, they lose communication. Their stories, told in alternating chapters, intersect.

It would be doing it a disservice to label it as sci-fi or dystopian and leave it at that. This is a quiet, contemplative book with just enough tension to make you want to keep reading. It’s a book about survival, not just of the body and planet but of the mind and the human spirit.

What I said about the movie…No. No. No. After reading Good Morning, Midnight and loving it, this George Clooney Netflix movie adaptation felt all kinds of wrong. There was a Sully, hurtling back to Earth, and an Augustine, isolated on ice. But everything that made the book so wonderful, it’s quiet look at the meaning of life among other things, was lost in translation. 

We both learned at lot with this one. Who Was Dr. Seuss? by Janet Pascal.

I learned a lot about Ted. He wasn’t a serious student and a disappointment to his father. Drawing ads was how he made his living after college. He made movies for the Army during WWII and eventually even won two Oscars. He had college friends who gave him an introduction to the publishing world and he never looked back. Each of his most famous books were explained from the beginning of the idea to how the story was received. That was this book nerds favorite part.

I never know what Gage’s takeaway will be from these longer, around 100 page, books so I was happy when I heard the first thing he told his dad. “Dad, did you know Dr. Seuss was voted Least Likely to Succeed?” His first takeaway was that what labels people place on you have no impact on what your life will become. I’d be okay if that’s the only thing he learned (but it wasn’t 😁)

My Buckeyes may have lost is resounding fashion, but the book of the day, Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares was a good one.

We started learning about Maryland this week so we read this 40 page picture book of one of their most famous citizens. Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares was a great read. As someone who knows very little about baseball and it’s players beyond the names, this helped me see George beyond the Babe. He was sent to live at a reform/orphanage at 7 years old, even though he had two parents and a little sister. The people in that school became his family and he never forgot them.

Great story and illustrations make this a fun read for kids and their parents 😁

The second of the In Death series, Glory in Death by J.D.Robb.

Glory in Death is book 2 😂. J.D.Robb (or Nora Roberts or the uninitiated) knows how to write a good mystery with hot chemistry between her two main characters and this series has the added bonus of being set in the future.

What does police detective Eve Dallas do when prominent women start getting their throats slashed? Why make herself more prominent, of course! This isn’t hard to do since her bedmate is one of the wealthiest, hottest, most famous men on this planet (or any other).

I figured out the killer by halfway through, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book. Robb/Roberts knows how to keep you turning the pages.

Worth Dying For by Lee Child, the 15th in the Jack Reacher series.

 Reacher makes a pit stop in Nebraska and leaves death and justice in his wake.

Jack Reacher is one of those heroes that both satisfies and shocks. He’s a drifter, who always seems to find trouble wherever he goes, or it finds him, and his complicated moral code and stubbornness make stepping away impossible for him. He’s violent, but he’s also trying to right wrongs, so you want to cut him some slack.

I liked this one and was surprised at the end.

Tornado by Betsy Byars.

Tornado was a perfect sized book to take turns reading to each other in one sitting, 47 pages with a few pages of illustrations. Tornado was a black dog who was in his dog house when it was picked up by a tornado and flown to another yard. There are stories within stories, each told in first person, so I had to keep making sure Gage knew who was talking, but it was otherwise an easy to read book with an old fashioned feel. There were even a few pages where Gage was trying not to cry as he read, so the story drew us in.

A nice book for the beginning reader.

Book (Good Morning, Midnight) VS Movie (The Midnight Sky)

Title: Good Morning, Midnight: A Novel, Author: Lily Brooks-Dalton
2016
The Midnight Sky poster.png
2020

I read the book and watched the Netflix adaptation starring and directed by George Clooney this week. I sometimes sit down to write these comparisons and I don’t know who will come out on top until I’m done typing. That’s not the case with this one. I’ll try to give specifics without spoiling the good stuff.

Story/Plot There are ‘rumors of war’ and the Arctic outpost is being evacuated, but Augustine decides to stay behind, even after being told that there would be no return to pick him up. After a few weeks he discovers a girl who had been left behind. The story then switches to Aether, a spacecraft on its way back from Jupiter (book) or a newly discovered planet near Jupiter (movie) with Sullivan, Sully, as our storyteller. In the book this is a two year mission and it’s only after they wrap up their Jupiter studies, one year and two weeks after leaving earth, and head back home do they realize that they have no communication from Earth. In the movie the timeline is sped up, but the result is the same, no contact with Earth. This is where the book takes on a reflective tone on isolation, hope, and the strength of human spirit. The movie struggles to thrill the audience with gadgets and makes-no-sense scenes. The movie became nonsensical to me. Not to spoil anything, but the contact between the two is not the same. Augustine wasn’t searching for the Aether in the book, they just happened to find each other for 3 short conversations before the end. The movie chose to make this a time driven thriller. Everything they changed for the movie, and it was a lot, was a detriment to the story. Clearly… Thumbs Up – Book

The Visual The movie was beautiful. The stark whiteness of the Artic and the grandness of the Aether. The movie always holds the potential advantage here and The Midnight Sky didn’t disappoint. Thumbs Up – Movie

Characters/Actors Sigh. The movie has some great actors (George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler), but they didn’t hold a candle to the characters in the book. Augustine is dying from old age in the book, but they changed it to him being so sick that he needed to give himself some kind of complicated treatment in the movie. Augustine was much more active in the movie. The space crew was so emotionally raw in the book, each showing their breaking point with every new day that there was no contact from Earth (imagine almost a year of this). Sully was NOT pregnant in the book. I realize that it was written in because Felicity was pregnant in real life. I was okay with this, but she and the rest of the crew (in the movie they were minus one member) really got the short end of the stick in the depth department, even as the holograms tried to humanize them. Thumbs Up – Book

The Ending This is always difficult to discuss without giving too much away and that is especially true in this case. The Aether comes back to see Earth (in the movie it looks like something bad had happened, but in the book it looked the way it always had just with no electricity) and they must make decisions. Things are different between the book and the movie as far as the space crew goes, but it was mostly the same with Augustine. The big reveal? It was more subtle in the book. The ending in the book and movie made some people mad and confused. I happened to like the ending of the book and felt it went perfectly with the intent of the story. As for the movie ending, I don’t know. I was confused by the choices it made. Thumbs Up – Book

And the winner is… the book! And it wasn’t even close.

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on: (Before I Go To Sleep) (The Little Prince) (Charlie St. Cloud) (Far From the Madding Crowd(The Girl on the Train) (Tuck Everlasting)  (Northanger Abbey) (Me Before You) (And Then There Were None) (Still Alice) (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

This Week – 13 Year Blogiversary!

Highlights of the Week – I didn’t post about it, but the 7th was my 13th blogiversary! It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been sharing pieces of my life on this little slice of the universe for longer than I’ve been a mother. It boggles the mind. I’m SO, SO thankful for the many women (and men) I’ve met through book blogging over the years, some still blogging, some not, but we’re still in touch. I’m not always the most consistent blogger, but this always feels like home.

#booked365 is going strong. I’m 10 for 10 as you’ll see below. I’m feeling good about my chances of being successful in reading a book everyday, allowing for movies based on books when needed. I reading a book right now with the intention of watching the movie the next day and comparing them so you might hear about that next week.

#50in50 is going not as well 🙂 I’ve lost 8.2 pounds in the last month, so that’s good. I’m reading my Noom lessons and tracking my weight and meals, but my elephant sometimes overpowers my driver (noom analogy). I’ll get there. Still losing weight so that’s a good thing.

Low point of the Week – watching with my son the horror that we all saw unfold this week in our nation’s capital, a place I called home for 3 years. That’s all I’m going to say about it or I may not stop.

Books Finished

Disappearing Ink by Travis McDadeConversations with Rbg by Jeffrey RosenThe Brothers Kennedy by Kathleen KrullThe Stone Girl by Dirk WittenbornThe Falconer by Elaine Clark McCarthyWho Was Dr. Seuss? by Janet B. Pascal

Currently reading

Good Citizens: Creating Enlightened Soc…
Integrative  Wellness Rules: A Simple G…Glory in Death (In Death, #2)Good Morning, Midnight

Posts

You can see how I felt about all of the books I read here. My #booked365 and #50by50 goals here.

On the TV

Jason and I watched the first season of Bridgerton.

Bridgerton Title Card.png

Well done!

Plans for the Weekend

Jason’s dad sent Gage some fancy rockets that he and Jason are building and we’re going to take them to a field and watch them fly 600 feet or more in the air. Maybe I can get some exercise by chasing them around after they land who knows where.

Have a great week everyone!

Weekly Book Wrap Up, the First 9

I have no idea if this will be the way I do this in the future, but I do want to have all the books I read this year listed so we’ll try this. It’s the 9th and I’ve reads 9 books, woo hoo! I’m going to list the book in the order I liked them and include some of my thoughts about them. Let me know what you thought if you read any of these.

3 adult fiction, 3 adult non-fiction, 3 kids books – all non-fiction.

The Falconer

The Falconer by Elaine Clark McCarthy.

The Falconer by Elaine Clark McCarthy is a hidden gem. Published in 1996 at only 134 pages it was a wonderful way to spend a few hours, entrapped in the words of a poet. It was beautiful, odd, tragic.

After I finished the book I told Jason I had to sit with it for a bit before we watched something together (we eventually watched the finale of Bridgerton). Not only was I caught up in the story and the beautiful way it was told, but the ending elevated it and I wasn’t quite ready for it to be over.

India has just found out she has cancer and has maybe six months to live, so you know from the get go that this will likely not end well. It’s a book about living, death, the afterlife, passion and what our life choices look like when we know the end is near.

Will also appeal to anyone interested in falconry.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds Ibram X. Kendi.

 It’s a Remix of the National Book Award-winning ‘Stamped from the Beginning’. Kendi wrote a book about racism, from inception to current day and Reynolds made it easily accessible to teens in about half the number of pages.

Reynolds has a very conversational writing style that makes it all interesting and easy to digest. The complexity of some of the civil rights icons of the past is fascinating. Are you a segregationalist, assimilationist, or an antiracist? Turns out that some of these leaders were more than one at different points in their lives. I learned a lot and also was able to see different points in history in a new way. I think this is a must read starting point for teens.

Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law

Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Life, Love, Liberty and Law by Jeffery Rosen.

What an inspirational listen. The woman was a force and women everywhere lost one of their biggest champions when she died last fall.

The book was a series of conversations between friends, some of which were in front of audiences. I especially liked the end where there was a real clip from a talk given, so you can hear her voice and the applause she received when she was done speaking. Some of the conversations overlapped or covered some of the same thoughts more than once, but her thoughts on a multitude of court cases, the Supreme Court when she joined and today, and how she viewed the future, left me sad all over again that we lost such a voice for women and all the disenfranchised. We were lucky to have her. Loved this audiobook.

Disappearing Ink: The Insider, the FBI, and the Looting of the Kenyon College Library (Kindle Single)

Disappearing Ink: The Insider, the FBI and the Looting of the Kenyon College Library by Travis McDade.

David Breithaupt was hired as Kenyon College Library’s part-time supervisor after a decade spent in NYC working around books and writers. At Kenyon he managed to walk out the door with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of, sometimes rare and irreplaceable, books. He treated the library like his own personal candy store for a decade. He was finally found out when someone recognized something Breithaupt was trying to sell on eBay and contacted the school.

I enjoyed this story for many reasons but having many parts of it take place so close to where I grew up was my favorite. If you have any interest is learning a little about how college libraries work or true crime then this is a winner.

The Stone Girl

The Stone Girl by Dirk Wittenborn.

This is a monster sized book (480 pages) with a lot and subsequently not much going on. Evie’s childhood in the hills of the Adirondacks was full of angst and self-reliance. She managed to get out, even making a life and family in Paris, but her past became her present when her daughter got sick and she had to go back home.

I liked the story, but it felt really bogged down with the addition of so many characters. I would have liked it a lot better if it had been 100 pages shorter. I actually started this book last summer, put it down because my pleasure reading took a back seat to homeschool. I’m glad I finished it because the second half was better than the first.

The Brothers Kennedy: John, Robert, Edward

The Brothers Kennedy: Jack, Robert, Edward by Kathleen Krull and Amy June Bates

The Brothers Kennedy: John, Robert, Edward by Kathleen Krull and Amy June Bates is 40 pages and a nice introduction to the Kennedy’s for the older picture book set. I’m not sure why Joe isn’t in the title since he gets his own section and is part of the storytelling (this bothers me more than it should). The book isn’t perfect but it does explain each of the four brothers and what they believed in. It really gave me the opportunity to expand on the book with more information as we read. When each brother died it showed the rest mourning, counting down until there was only Teddy (Edward). So, its not your light, upbeat kids book, you could feel the tragedies this family suffered as its 3 oldest sons were killed.

Who Was P. T. Barnum?

Who Was P.T. Barnum? by Kirsten Anderson

Barnum was a prankster and always ready to exchange truth for a great story. He was born with privilege since his grandfather was a important man able to provide Taylor (PT) with his first businesses. And there were many before he finally found his true calling.

This book was fun and full of Barnum’s biggest successes and failures. It was also interesting to learn a little more about his political life in his later years. A good, quickish read for anyone who loved the movie.

You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

It was a cross between Mean Girls and Strangers on a Train. I like psychological thrillers, but this one failed to grab me. Shay was a sympathetic character, mostly, but the reveal at the end didn’t really wow enough for me to love it.

Henry and the Huckeberries: A Visit with Mr. Thoreau at Walden Pond by Sally Sanford and Ilse Plume

he author calls this story reality fiction. It’s based on an actual documented huckleberry party. Thoreau is joined by three children, two of them based on children who wrote about their experiences later and one based on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s son. Thoreau and Emerson helped me fall in love with transcendental writing so I love that these characters and story were based on real people and event.

The story might be a little slow for smaller kids but older elementary kids will get something out of it, especially the nature lovers! And the illustrations were perfect.

This Week – A New Year

I haven’t done one of these updates since August! Those first few months of homeschooling were so time-consuming. They still are, but now we’ve got a rhythm to our madness and a tutor (via Zoom) 4-5 hours a week, so we’re doing okay.

I’ve started the year with two personal goals and you can read about them here. Essentially, I’ll be finishing a book every day and losing 50 pounds by October. I’m thinking big 🙂 I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to blog about the books. Instagram is my daily update with my thoughts on the books so I hope you’ll follow me there. Here’s what I finished this week…

Title: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning, Author: Jason Reynolds
Title: You Are Not Alone: A Novel, Author: Greer Hendricks
Title: Who Was P. T. Barnum?, Author: Kirsten Anderson

I also did a 2020 wrap up of favorite books and movies. I’m trying to get around to everyone’s blogs this week to catch up with wrap up posts.

Last year I signed up for one reading challenge, Book’d Out’s Nonfiction Reader Challenge and I promptly failed to participate in any way 😦 So, we’re going to give that another go this year! We’ll see if I can have a better showing at the Nonfiction Nibbler level. That’s 6 books from her list of 12 categories. I got this 🙂

My Ohio State Buckeyes beat Clemson in the College Football Playoff and that was a fun evening 🙂 We also let Gage stay up til midnight on the 31st and bang some pots and pans on our deck when the ball dropped. It’s been cold, but we’ve been able to take some family nature walks and we’ve done some puzzles together which as been fun. Gage won our 2 and a half hour Monopoly game yesterday.

Oh, and we watched

Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween (2018) poster.jpg

I’m really hoping that this week we can put the election and all of the various shenanigan’s to rest and go back to being a model of adult behavior for our kids and the world.

Happy 2021! Goals and First Book

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone 🎉. Tis the season for reflection and thinking about what the new year could bring. 2020 has been a year of challenges, loss, and unexpected silver linings for many of us. I’m an only child who loves/needs to be around people and isolated by myself in equal measure. Having Jason and Gage home with me 24/7 since April has been a true blessing, but one that leaves me perpetually drained. My mantra of ‘just get through it’ isn’t something I want to carry over, even if the challenges of the pandemic do continue. So I’ve got two big things I want to do this year.

I’m calling my first goal #booked365. I’m going to read a book a day and post them daily on Instagram. I’ll most likely post here every few days. There is a caveat. Because my goal is not to be anti-social I might throw in a movie based on a book on the days when we need family snuggle time on the couch for a few hours. Figuring in at least a once a week movie that still leaves over 300 books. Is this even possible? I think so. Gage and I read at least 2-4 books together a week and those will count, but it will still be a good personal challenge. And for those weeks that are hard I can sit back and watch a movie based on something I’ve read. I’m looking forward this bookish year.

My second goal is very cliche as far as resolutions go, but it’s to lose 50 pounds by the time I turn 50 in October. A few weeks ago, during a sleepless night, I joined #noom with that goal in mind and I’m already down 5 pounds. I’m still a newbie but it did help me get down to root inspiration for my goal and having that front and center has helped. Losing a lot of weight is rarely (if ever?) just about looking better in a pair of jeans and it’s no surprise after some reflection and work on the noom lessons that my inspiration has to do with the little man who needs me to live forever.

I’m so excited that Sheila continues to do this every year. When I read Untamed by Glennon Doyle last week there was a chapter about racism and white women’s role in it that struck a cord with me. So much so that when I was going through my possible first book of the year choices this one called my name. See if you can find me! I’m also representing my Buckeyes who are playing in the Sugar Bowl tonight 🙂