August Wrap Up and Favorites

A few days late, but I’m here. In August I read a total of 37 books and watched 3 bookish movies.

10-kids picture books (non-fiction)

6-adult fiction

5-thrillers

5-kids picture books (fiction)

3-romance

3-kids fiction

3-adult non-fiction

1- poetry

1-kids graphic memoir

Here are the few since my last update…

In Good Company Flora finds her husband’s first wedding ring, in the bottom of a file cabinet, a ring he had supposedly lost in a Lake years ago. What follows is the past and present lives of two couples and one daughter, each getting a chance to show their perspective.

I listened to the whole thing so it was at least that good, but I had a difficult time caring about any of the characters, except maybe the daughter. And the story, the way that it jumped around,didn’t help me get invested. I thought the end was well done. If you like books about complicated marriages (aren’t they all?) then this will probably appeal to you.
We watched Sarah’s Key, based on the bestselling book that I finally read last month. Alternating between 1942 and 2002 Paris it explores the French roundup of its Jewish citizens during WWII. I thought both the book and movie were good and I always like seeing Aidan Quinn onscreen 🙂

My book of the day is also one of my favorite books of August (the others are shown). Just Last Night looks like a cute romance from the cover. But even though there is some romance, this is more about friendship and loss and coming through stronger. It was not at all what I expected and I loved it! But beware I shed a tear or two in the middle.

FAVORITES

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What was your favorite read of August?

Posts about this month’s books…

August 7

August 14

August 22

August 28

Paris in stories, page and screen

I’ve been reading, watching, drinking, and puzzling my way through the city for Paris in July and for my book a day challenge. Let’s see where I’ve been since Sunday…

We watched the 2011 movie Hugo and I tried some Chateau de Segries 2019 Cotes-du-Rhone from France for Paris in July. We hadn’t seen the movie or read the book about the orphan boy who could fix things and lived at a train station. The movie was good as was the full-bodied wine. I didn’t have a full second glass since it’s 14.5% alcohol. My body doesn’t handle red wine as well as it used to! It only took a few days to empty the bottle 🙂

I’ve also included a few pics taken from where we stayed our last night in Paris. Such beautiful views.



While the boys played in the river I took Lonely Planet Kids Paris City Trails for a northeast Ohio nature walk. I loved this book! It’s 100 pages of beautifully laid out facts with stories and photos. A few quick, fun facts from the different spreads shown.

“No ladders and buckets are needed to clean all the pyramid windows (the Louvre)- every three weeks the job is done by a remote-controlled robot.”

“Sixty-six feet below ground, in the limestone tunnels that sprawl beneath Paris, lie the skeletons of 6-7 million Parisians. The public can explore 1.43 miles of the tunnels, but that’s just a fraction of the 186 miles that actually exist.”

“In 2010, a Parisian park introduced chilled sparkling water to its drinking fountains to persuade Parisians that tap water was just as good as the stuff in plastic bottles.”

“$16 is the current fine for jumping into the Seine.” (This is shown with all of the Clevelanders in the Chagrin River)

“120. The number of bicorne hats Napoleon used during his military career.”

“The French have been eating frog legs since the 10th century. Today the French frogs are protected, so the frogs in Paris plates are often shipped in, live, from Asia.”

Sitting here with my coffee and new journal (❤️ @etsy ) enjoying this beautiful summer morning. I TRY to read an inspirational/meditative book and journal every morning, in reality it’s like 4 days a week.

I finished up my morning reading book for the last month, Peace is Every Breath by, my favorite, Thich Nhat Hanh. This isn’t my favorite of his, but it was okay. This could also count for this month’s challenge because he wrote it while living at his Plum Village retreat in France, but we also read..,

Madame Eiffel: The Love Story of the Eiffel Tower. I adored the illustrations, all back and white with highlights of pink. The story was okay, but after realizing it had no basis in reality I was confused 🤨 Don’t let your kids read it and think it’s true like I did.

And if you’re still reading, the photos are from outside Pompidou Center. We met our friends there because it was close to our last hotel. There was some crazy stuff in there. We were there a few hours before moving on, but I still remember vividly some of the installations, they were that bold and, some, disturbing.


I wanted to play Azul last night but Gage wanted to work on the Paris puzzle as a family. Last time I showed you the Eiffel Tower and now you get a peek at another “piece” of the puzzle 😄.

I also listened to this story collection by Jojo Moyes while working on the puzzle and running a few errands. I loved the longer first story, a novella really at 151 pages. It’s about two people finding each other at the wrong time. But can there really be a wrong time for true love? Nell falls in love with Paris and Fabian and goes back to England after their weekend romance, but is that the beginning or the end? I’m not telling.

The rest of the stories were entertaining, but brief, and mostly forgettable. Still, I liked the book as a whole even though I’m not a short story fan.

Paris fun to be continued…

2020 Favorite Movies & Stats

I’ve watched 49 movies this year, down by 1 from last year.

2020 was my most watched year with 7.

We managed 3 trips to the movie theater this year, all pre-Covid. Going to the theater again is something I really look forward to in 2021.

I wrote 1 Book VS. Movie post, Before I Go To Sleep.

I wrote 1 Favorite Movie post – #29 Psycho. This 1960 film was also the oldest one I watched.

Most watched actress was Jennifer Garner with 3 (Wakefield, Wonder Park, Peppermint).

Most watched actor was Ryan Reynolds with 3 (6 Underground, Self/Less, The Croods)

My 5 Favorite Movies

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri poster.png

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, 2017

Just Mercy Official Poster.jpg

Just Mercy, 2019

Enola Holmes poster.jpeg

Enola Gay, 2020

Ckfilm.jpg

The Cincinnati Kid, 1965

1917 (2019) Film Poster.jpeg

1917, 2019

I continued my 5 Word Movie Reviews with $ for Charity .  Keep adding to my reviews and maybe you can choose the next charity!

Fave Film #29 – Psycho

The poster features a large image of a young woman in white underwear. The names of the main actors are featured down the right side of the poster. Smaller images of Anthony Perkins and John Gavin are above the words, written in large print, "Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho".(1960)

Director – Alfred Hitchcock

Cast – Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, John Gavin, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam, John McIntyre

Marion is in love and her lover can’t marry her because he doesn’t have the money.  Taking matters (and her boss’s money) into her own hands she flees Arizona and heads to California.  Along the way she becomes panicky after a policeman starts following her.  On a dark and rainy night she ends up at the Bates Motel, where an awkward proprietor takes an interest in her and she has second thoughts about the money.

Why I Love It – This movie didn’t waste a scene, there was no extra fluff.  We are introduced to Marion as a woman itching to get married and Sam, a man reluctant because of money issues from the very beginning.  Marion surprises us and the tension is ramped up to the point that when she finally arrives at the Bates Motel we take a deep breath.  Until we don’t.  It was perfect storytelling in my opinion.  I know that it differed from the book a bit so I want to give that a read someday.

Not only did I think the thriller was expertly put together, surprise after surprise, the cast was great.  Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh had some sweet scenes and some not so sweet ones.  Leigh made Marion sympathetic, yet not soft, and Perkins?  So good.  I also loved the jaded private eye with a heart Martin Balsam as Detective Arborgast.

For an old movie this holds up remarkably well and deserves it’s classic label.  And who can forget that shower scene?

See if the Alfred Hitchcock can convince you to watch it…

 

Here’s the list of my 100 favorite films.

 

Book vs. Movie

Yesterday was my 20th Book v. Movie  post and a comment by Kathy got me thinking.  She mentioned that she wasn’t surprised that I liked the book better than the movie.  As book lovers isn’t that generally true?  So, I decided to look through my posts.  Of the 20, 14 were clearly the book, 4 were clearly the movie and 2 were so close that if I allowed myself to call a tie I probably would have.

Then I got to thinking about a few of my favorite movies, the ones where I’ve read the book too, but clearly adore the movie more.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961 poster).jpg The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).jpg Under the tuscan sun poster.jpg

What are some of your favorite movies that you love more than the book so I can add them to my watch list?

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.

 

Fave Movie #51 – Crash

Crash ver2.jpg2004

Cast- Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillion, Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser, Terrence Howard, Chris Bridges (Ludacris), Thandie Newton, Micheal Pena, Ryan Phillipe, Larentz Tate

Directed by Paul Haggis

Winner of Best Picture Oscar and Best Original Screenplay

It’s Los Angeles around Christmas and the lives of a diverse cast of characters intertwine to show the ugly underbelly  of racism.  A politician, a detective, a director, a thug, policemen and others all face their own demons in this excellent ensemble film.

Why I Love It – The all-star cast and the way that Haggis put all of these different stories together was so satisfying to me.  Michael Pena’s character almost broke my heart and Sandra Bullock’s anger resonated.  But it was the rest of it, all of it, the bad with the good that make me love it.  Matt Dillion and Thandie Newton’s scenes together? Full circle storytelling.  Same with Don Cheadle.

The hate and prejudice was so in your face.  It’s out in the open and not blunted by political correctness.  It’s an anger, unfortunately, that is alive and well in 2019.  I know it’s no for everyone, but for me it was real and raw and shines a light on things that people don’t like to discuss.

Charity Winner…

is Best Friends Animal Society chosen by Heather (Gofita’s Pages)!  

Our Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles

The mission of Best Friends Animal Society is to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. We do this by helping end the killing in America’s animal shelters through building community programs and partnerships all across the nation. We believe that by working together we can Save Them All.

 

$100 was sent in Heather’s name to this wonderful charity.


Would YOU like to choose the next charity?  It’s not hard.  Every month I write a 5 word review of the movies I’ve seen and to encourage participation I ask you to write a 5 word review for the ones that you’ve seen too.  It’s fun!

Every ‘review’ is worth $1 and when we reach 100 I send $100 to the charity of the person who has contributed the most reviews.  In the past I’ve had people spend a few hours submitting reviews of all my past movies so their charity could get the money. Go for it.

Want to get started?  You can browse through 8 or 9 years of monthly posts (easiest way) or you can look through this list and click on the movies you want.

2017 Movie Favorites & Stats

I watched 50 movies this year, that’s up from 41 last year and doesn’t even include the 30 documentaries that Jason and I watched last January.

I wrote 5 Book Vs. Movie posts (The Girl on the Train, Tuck Everlasting, Northanger Abbey, Me Before You, And Then There Were None)

My second most popular post of the year was Book Vs. Movie And Then There Were None.

I wrote about 3 of my Top 100 Movies (17-Shawshank Redemption, 89-Catch and Release, 90-Desk Set)

We saw more movies at the theater than in years past with 20.

The oldest movie I watched was It Happened One Night, 1934

My favorite animated movie was Captain Underpants.

Newest crush is Matthias Schoenaerts (Far From the Maddening Crowd)

Cutest Couple- Will & Louisa (Me Before You)

My most watched actor was Keanu Reeves with 3 movies (To the Bone, Brotherhood of Justice, John Wick 2)

My most watched actress was a 3 way tie with 2 movie a piece  –Anna Kendrick (Trolls, Drinking Buddies), Janelle Monae (Moonlight, Hidden Figures), Reese Witherspoon (Home Again, Sing)

Most despised movie of the year – Mother!

I continued my 5 Word Movie Reviews with $ for Charity and in April gave $100 to the American Red Cross, as Tony requested.  Keep adding to my reviews and maybe you can choose the next charity!

My 5 favorite movies this year

The Big Sick.jpgThe Big Sick, 2017. Humor and heart in a perfect combination.

Wonder (film).pngWonder, 2017. Such a heartwarming story of acceptance.

Room Poster.jpgRoom, 2015. So disturbing, but full of love between a mother and son.

Three women standing in the foreground. In the background a rocket is launching.Hidden Figures, 2016. Trailblazing women for the win.

Dunkirk Film poster.jpgDunkirk, 2017. Not your typical war movie.

What were your favorite movies this year?

 

V – Viggo Mortensen

Blogging from A-Z

Viggo Mortensen had many roles before his star making turn as Alagorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I’d already noticed him in G.I. Jane (not in a good way), A Perfect Murder, Psycho, A Walk on the Moon and 28 Days.  But it was his role as Aragorn that most of us sat up and took notice of his leading man abilities.  Since then his roles have only gotten bigger and more varied.  I will watch whatever he is in.

As the controversial dad in Captain Fantastic…

The softer side of Aragorn…

As the sexy Blouse Man with the backwards name…

He wasn’t the nicest guy in Eastern Promises…

What’s your favorite Viggo role?