Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Title: The Color Purple, Author: Alice WalkerThe Color Purple. Finished 9-19-17,  5/5 stars, classic, 295 pages, pub. 1982

The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name.

Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.

from Goodreads

Celie did not have an easy life.  Abused by her father and then her husband, she relied on the love of her sister to get her through.  When Nellie goes away and Celie doesn’t hear from her she begins writing letters to God. When her husband brings home his mistress, Shug, to live with them, Celie finally starts to see herself in a new light.

This is not an easy read.  It’s emotional, sexually explicit and might wake you up in ways that you don’t like.  Walker has created such a powerful group of women that you can’t help but feel empowered, even when they aren’t.  Celie’s perseverance gives a voice to all the women who experience abuse, verbal and physical, and still manage to stay on their feet.

Honestly, it was one of those classics that I thought would not live up to the hype.  Only it did.  It exceeded expectations and now I’m anxious to get my hands on the movie. I want to spend more time with Celie and Sofia and Shug and Nettie.  I kind of want to read it again right now.  In 1930’s Georgia what kind of life did black women lead?  Still relevant and still addictingly readable.

 

This was my 16th selection for the Classics Club and I have until January 1, 2020 to get to 50.  I am woefully behind!

October 12, 2017 Posted by | 5 Star Books | 5 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall Covers

Today the Broke and the Bookish is asking for book covers that scream fall.  I found these on my shelves.  I love fall in Ohio.
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October 10, 2017 Posted by | lists | 4 Comments

Monday mini-reviews

There were a few books that I can easily group together from last month’s book a day challenge, so I’m trying to get those out of the way first.  These three books were all written by women writers and for the most part I had similar feelings about them.

Title: The Writing Life, Author: Annie DillardThe Writing Life. Finished 9-25-17, rating 3.5/5, memoir, 111 pages, pub. 1989

Annie Dillard has written eleven books, including the memoir of her parents, An American Childhood; the Northwest pioneer epic The Living; and the nonfiction narrative Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. A gregarious recluse, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.    from Goodreads

I admit that I picked this up at a book sale because it was short and  I’m so glad that I made the impulsive choice.  I’d never read Annie Dillard before, but found her writing beautiful.  She doesn’t make the writing life sound like very much fun, but I loved the honesty and the insight into how a mind can go a little nutty while writing.  If you are a writer or even just want an inside look into the writing  life I think this slim book is worth reading.

Title: A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman, Author: Joan AndersonA Year By the Sea. Finished 9-14-17, rating 3.5/5, memoir, 190 pages, pub. 1999

During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. Like many women in her situation, Joan realized that she had neglected to nurture herself and, worse, to envision fulfilling goals for her future. As her husband received a wonderful job opportunity out-of-state, it seemed that the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking both of them, she refused to follow him to his new job and decided to retreat to a family cottage on Cape Cod.   from Goodreads

I really connected with this woman who was feeling out of sorts in her life.  Her sons were on their own and her husband came home and said that he had taken a job that would force them to move.  I got her.  I was rooting for her when she embraced new challenges on her own.  I’ve never lived on my own, always having a roommate, so I was living vicariously.  It started strong, but she did lose me a little halfway through.  I liked then ending so, all in all, I’m glad I read it.

Title: Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, Author: Dani ShapiroHourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage.  Finished 9-29-17, rating 3/5, memoir, 145 pages, pub. 2017

Hourglass is an inquiry into how marriage is transformed by time–abraded, strengthened, shaped in miraculous and sometimes terrifying ways by accident and experience. With courage and relentless honesty, Dani Shapiro opens the door to her house, her marriage, and her heart, and invites us to witness her own marital reckoning–a reckoning in which she confronts both the life she dreamed of and the life she made, and struggles to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become.   from Goodreads

This slight memoir flitting around her marriage from before to beginning to present with little vignettes about things that happened over the years of their 18 year marriage.  The writing was beautiful and some of it was thought provoking, although I had expected it to go a bit deeper.  I enjoyed the writing so I’ve to added some of Shapiro’s fiction to my reading list.

 

 

 

 

October 9, 2017 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books, 3 Star Books | 6 Comments

A few mini-reviews from last month

Last month while reading a book a day, I had very little time to review books on this blog, so I’m going to group these four with the reviews from my 30 day challenge.  The rest of the books I’d like to take some time with and will post about later.

We are working on yeast issues in the house so I’m trying to convert over to this diet, but it is a very difficult thing to force on a 6 year old.

Title: The Everything Candida Diet Book: Improve Your Immunity by Restoring Your Body's Natural Balance, Author: Jeffrey McCombsThe Everything Candida Diet Book. Finished 9-30-17, 4.5/5 stars, diet, 304 pages, pub. 2014

This book is an excellent resource and surprisingly progressive in it’s knowledge.  Highly recommended if you suspect you have a candida problem. You can treat at home without a doctor using diet and supplements.  It has lots of recipes.  The two I’ve tried so far have been big hits with all three of us.

Title: Candida Albicans: Could Yeast Be Your Problem?, Author: Leon ChaitowCandida Albicans. Finished 9-20-17, rating 3/5, health, 150 pages, pub. 1998

Candida Albicans is a parasitic yeast that is present in all of us, but in most people it does no noticeable harm. This book provides a comprehensive and non-drug programme for its control.   from Goodreads

This was a fine overview of the issue, but dated.  There are better, more current books out there.  I only read this one because a friend loaned it to me.

Title: Why I March: Images from The Women's March Around the World, Author: Abrams BooksTitle: Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope--Voices from the Women's March, Author: Artisan Finished 9-24-17, rating 4/5, current events, pub. 2017

Between the two, Why We March: Signs of Protest and Hope by Artisan Press and Why I March: Images from the Woman’s March Around the World edited by Samantha Weiner and Emma Jacobs, I preferred the former (on the bottom in the picture).  It had quotes from the march in Washington DC that the other didn’t.  Both were great and took me back to one of the most inspiring days of my life.  This country needs a little more protesting and a little less sitting on our butts and complaining about people who don’t agree with us.  There were marches on every continent – even Antarctica – and no arrests. I will always support a peaceful protest. I was inspired all over again.  Here are a few of my favorite signs.

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October 6, 2017 Posted by | 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Top Ten Tuesday – My Bookish Boyfriends

Today the Broke and the Bookish are asking for our book crushes.
Even before the series premiered on Starz, Jamie from the Outlander series would have been #1 on this list.
If not for the movie, Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings trilogy wouldn’t have made the list.  But it counts because I did read the first book first, right?
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice has also greatly benefitted by the men who have portrayed him onscreen.
 
Home (Myron Bolitar #11)
4. Myron Bolitar and/or Win Lockwood III  from Harlan Coben’s long running series.  Maybe we could alternate date nights?
Deadly Love (Francesca Cahi...
5. It’s an old series, but the Deadly series by Brenda Joyce gave me TWO brothers to crush on, with Calder winning my (and the heroine) in the end.
Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3)Paradise (Second Opportunit...A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmo...Whitney, My Love (Westmorel...
6. Pretty much any hero from the old Judith McNaught romances are worthy to be on this list.  One author whose books I’ve reread most over the years.
The Best Man (Blue Heron, #1)The Perfect Match (Blue Her...Waiting on You (Blue Heron,...
7. I also crush on all the guys in Kristan Higgins’ Blue Heron series.
One for the Money (Stephani...
8. Morelli or Ranger, Ranger or Morelli?  I’d probably take either one in the Stephanie Plum series.  If I wasn’t already happily married that is 😉
The Informationist (Vanessa...
9. Miles Bradford in the Vanessa Michael Munroe series is a stand up (and hot) guy.
Into the Wilderness (Wilder...
10. I loved Nathaniel Bonner or Between-Two-Lives by the Mohawk from Into the Wilderness.
So, who are your literary crushes?

October 3, 2017 Posted by | lists | 14 Comments

September’s Movies and Money for Charity

Jason and I finished our binge watching of the first season of Ozark on Netflix and loved it.

How as your movie month?  Anything I need to see?

Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment and earn $1 for charity.  Once we get to $100 the person with the most reviews will choose the charity.  Click here to see the past winners, the charities they chose and the other reviews you can add to.  Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $59.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to participate when you can each month.  It’s fun for me and for everyone else who reads it.  I’m not looking for a critical review, just a few words about how you felt about the movie.  This is ongoing so you can leave your 5 words anytime.

It (2017) poster.jpgIT, 2017 (Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Olef)   Grade B+

Creeped out by the clown.

Preteens fight a murderous clown!   (Heather)


Home Again poster.jpgHome Again, 2017 (Reese Witherspoon, Michael Sheen, Candice Bergen, Nat Wolff, Pico Alexander, Jon Rudnitsky   Grade C+

Wasted romantic potential, but sweet.


A black and white image, showing faces of the cast members. The image is split down the center and mirrored.Mother!, 2017 (Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Barden, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer)   Grade F

Should have left halfway through.

 

September 30, 2017 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | 6 Comments

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

Title: Winesburg, Ohio, Author: Sherwood AndersonWinesburg, Ohio. Finished 9-9-17, rating 5/5, 247 pages, pub. 1919.

Winesburg, Ohio (1919) is Sherwood Anderson’s masterpiece, a cycle of short stories concerning life in a small town at the end of the nineteenth century. At the center is George Willard, a young reporter who becomes the confidant of the town’s solitary figures. Anderson’s stories influenced countless American writers including Hemingway, Faulkner, Updike, Oates and Carver. This new edition corrects errors made in earlier editions and takes into account major criticism and textual scholarship of the last several decades.    from Goodreads

I’m glad that I decided to add in classics this month.  When I asked Jason how I was going to fit in a book today he told me he thought the challenge was too hard.  But by focusing on books on my shelves that I haven’t take the time to read I discover gems that if I hadn’t given myself a deadline may have sat on the shelves for several more years.  Winesburg, Ohio is one of those.  It takes place in Ohio, check.  It’s on my Classics Club list, check.  Fellow book blogger Care sent it to me years ago, check.  Desire to read it, not so much.  It’s a series of short stories and looked pretty boring. It wasn’t.
Winesburg, Ohio is a series of 22 stories set in the fictional town.  Anderson wrote them in 1915-1916 and Winseburg was a small farming town in northern Ohio. Newspaper reporter George Willard is in most of the stories as a main character or in the periphery.  Life in this town left no one unscathed, but the stories were beautifully intertwined, like a puzzle.  I was always happy to pick it back up to see who I’d be hearing about next.  The structure was unique at the time and it credited for influencing many writers like Hemingway, Faulkner, Updike, and Bradbury.  I loved it!

This was my 16th selection for the Classics Club and I have until January 1, 2020 to get to 50.  I am woefully behind!

September 26, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

An Unexpected Life: A Mother and Son’s Story of Love, Determination, Autism, and Art by Debra and Seth Chwast

An Unexpected Life: A Mother and Son's Story of Love, Determination, Autism, and ArtAn Unexpected Life. Finished 9-8-17, 3.5/5, memoir, pub. 2011

Diagnosed with severe autism as a toddler, Seth Chwast seemed trapped in his own insular universe. His family endured anguish, sought countless therapies, and almost gave up hope. Then, at age 20, Seth took a painting class, and everything changed. Miraculously, he revealed an innate ability to create amazing artworks that reflect his own unique perspective and gave him a voice he had never had.
Written by Seth’s mother, Debra, An Unexpected Life tells the story of their long difficult path, and her determination to help her son. Although Seth cannot safely cross the street alone, he is an icon for anyone who has been in a hopeless situation and then triumphs. More than simply a memoir, this visually breathtaking volume is infused with hope, inspiration, and art.  from Goodreads

Jason and I were able to hear locals Debra and Seth speak at an autism conference years ago and it was inspiring to see what this tireless mother has done to make her son shine.  Seth was diagnosed with autism at a young age and Debra says in the book that she cried for three years.  “For most of Seth’s childhood I was frantic confused, weepy and in over my head”  She read and tried every therapy she could find, but when Seth turned 18, she was told that he was most suitable for dry mopping (whatever that is).  She hired art therapists, art teachers and just plain artists after it became apparent that Seth had a gift.  You can check out his paintings here.  Since then they have travelled extensively, had films made about him and even been on the Today Show twice.  His works have hung in some very prestigious places and yet he needs 24 hour supervision.  Even when he paints she must pay someone to be there otherwise Seth wouldn’t even pick up a brush.

The book is gorgeous and there are at least 120 paintings included, each one including Seth’s own description of it.  Seth and his mother have benefitted from an abundance of money, so this is not the autism story many can afford, but that in no way diminishes Seth’s talent.  He’s a true artist.  It’s how he communicates with the world.  You can visit his website here.

September 22, 2017 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

The Reluctant Mystic by Nancy Torgrove Clasby

Title: The Reluctant Mystic: Autobiography of an Awakening, Author: Nancy Torgove ClasbyThe Reluctant Mystic. Finished 9-5-17, 3/5 stars, memoir, 110 pages, pub.2016

“It felt like the whole world was shaking, inside me and all around me. It felt like bliss-perfect peace. This light was pouring through me, and as it was pouring through me, it was teaching me things.” So begins The Reluctant Mystic: Autobiography of an Awakening, the story of an extraordinary spiritual experience-one moment in a massage therapy office that forever changes the trajectory of the author’s life. In this compelling memoir and meditative guide, Nancy Torgove Clasby, an ordinary mother of three small children, gradually pieces together the greatest mysteries of life after a spontaneous awakening completely redirects her focus and energy and leads her to become a healer. More than twenty years later, Nancy has gone on to help hundreds of people with life-threatening illnesses, as well as those grieving lost loved ones. Along the way, she has been guided by three wise teachers and inspired by her many courageous clients. In Nancy’s words, “Each of us has a gift, and our purpose is to reconnect with that gift and then give it away.”  from Goodreads

I am not well-versed in mystics or healers, but was willing to be educated because this book was short, 110 pages.  One day this mother of three young children was in a session with her massage therapist, when the world opened up to her.

“I was on the table, fully clothed, and he was working at my head.  All of a sudden, my body started to shake, and it felt like I left my body.  My eyes were wide open, so I could see the room I was in, but I could also see through what I later found out was my “third eye,” which is an invisible energy center everyone has that sits in the middle of the forehead and is the seat of intuition.”  page 7

She sought out the advice of those around her and found supporters, including a rabbi, reverend and doctor, that would help push her in the right direction.  She learned to understand her gifts more clearly and spend the next 20 years as a healer.  I admit that much of it was too much for me, in part because it was new, no doubt.  But she was sincere and truly open and how rare is that?  She included pages written by her mentors, but the bulk of it was stories about some of her patients.  She included some different meditations at the end that left me feeling wonderful.  I love meditation and don’t do it often enough.

I can’t say I was the target audience but I’m glad I read something out of my comfort zone.  I feel a little more enlightened 🙂

September 21, 2017 Posted by | 3 Star Books | 3 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Fall TBR

I love to see these lists on other blogs and have wanted to jump in for a while.  Today is the day!  The Broke and the Bookish host this weekly meme so hop over and see what other bloggers are talking about today.

I’m currently reading A BOOK A DAY for my September Challenge (head on over to My 30 Day Challenges to check it out).  I’m reading biography/memoirs and classics mainly from my shelves, so my upcoming TBR pile looks like this.

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This book a day challenge is hard enough so I reserve the right to switch any of these books at any time when the mood strikes 🙂

Here’s what I’ve read so far this month; Love That Boy by Ron Fournier, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Lawson, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, The Reluctant Mystic by Nancy Torgorve Clasby, The War of the Worlds by HG Wells, A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston, An Unexpected Life by Debra and Seth Chwast, Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill, Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell, Dryland by Nancy Sterns Bercaw, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K  Jerome, A Year by The Sea by Joan Anderson, and Herman Hesse: A  Pictorial Biography

September 19, 2017 Posted by | lists | 9 Comments