Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

December’s Movies and $ for Charity

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 $66.

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.

Wonder (film).pngWonder, 2017 (Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, Izabela Vidovic                   Grade A

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”

Full of heart and love.  (Kathy)


Lion (2016 film).pngLion, 2016 (Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Nicole Kidman, Divian Ladwa)    Grade B

That boy stole my heart.


ToTheBonePoster.jpgTo the Bone, 2017 (Lily Collins, Carrie Preston, Keanu Reeves, Lili Taylor, Alex Sharp, Leslie Bibb, Brooke Smith)    Grade  B+

“Your courage was a small coal

that you kept swallowing” -Anne Sexton


Ferdinand (film).pngFerdinand, 2017 (Voices-John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Cannavale, Peyton Manning)         Grade B

Cute take on classic story


Two men and two women, sitting on the floor, shoulder to shoulder.Drinking Buddies, 2013 (Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, Jason Sudeikis)           Grade B

Can women and men be friends?


BrightPoster.jpegBright, 2017 (Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Edgar Ramirez, Ike Barinholtz     Grade C+

Bringing LOTR into modern times.


Trading Places.jpgTrading Places, 1983 (Dan Ackroyd, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche)    Grade C

Genes versus Environment circa 1980’s

One of Eddie Murphy’s best.  (Kathy)



The Brotherhood of JusticeBrotherhood of Justice,  1986 (Keanu Reeves, Keifer Sutherland, Billy Zane, Lori Loughlin)         Grade C-

Watch for the 80’s cast only.


Frankenstein (2015 film).jpgFrankenstein, 2015 (Xavier Samuel, Carrie-Anne Moss, Tony Todd, Danny Huston)                                                        Grade D

Disturbing on so many levels.

 

December 28, 2017 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | 3 Comments

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1)Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Finished 9-22-17, rating 4/5, children’s classic, pub. 1964

Unabridged audio performed by Douglas Hodge and enhanced with sound effects.

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!  from Goodreads

The audio was excellent and even had sound effects.  At only 3 1/2 hours I want to listen to it again with Gage because I think he would love it since he loves both of the movie adaptations, although I have a marked preference for Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka.  I loved the original and this took me right back there, to my childhood, excited every time one of the few channels on TV was showing the movie

Is Willy Wonka the best person to hold up as an example of all good things?  Nope.  But the story is so fantastical and fun that I can overlook that.  Charlie and his Grandpa have such a heartwarming relationship that the warmth and goodness coming from them makes up for the meanness of the others.  Already having the visual in mind when reading the book didn’t stop my imagination from adding more to the mix.  I can’t say enough good things about the audio production and am glad that I experienced the story that way for this one.

This was my 20th selection for the Classics Club and I have until January 1, 2020 to get to 50.  I am woefully behind!

December 26, 2017 Posted by | 4 Star Books, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Three bestselling authors in one post!

As the year winds down and Christmas preparations hit high gear I’m just going to knock out short thoughts about these three books I’ve finished recently.

Title: Rogue Lawyer, Author: John GrishamRogue Lawyer. Finished 11-2-17, rating 3/5, fiction, pub. 2015

Unabridged audio read by Mark Deakins.  11 1/2 hours.

Sebastian defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult, who is accused of molesting and murdering two little girls; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house.  Why these clients? Because he believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, even if he, Sebastian, has to cheat to secure one. He hates injustice, doesn’t like insurance companies, banks, or big corporations; he distrusts all levels of government and laughs at the justice system’s notions of ethical behavior.    from Goodreads

Jason and I listened to this on a road trip and it was okay.  Sebastian was a fun character and the cases he found or that found him were fun, but I wanted to dive a little deeper into each of them.  I didn’t realize at the beginning that it was more a series of short, sometimes connected short stories, and that took away some of the enjoyment for me.  Jason liked it better than I did.

Title: Friction, Author: Sandra BrownFriction. Finished 12-6-17, rating 4/5, thriller, pub. 2015

Unabridged audio read by Stephen Lang.

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?    from Goodreads

I haven’t read Sandra Brown in years and I really enjoyed this thriller.  I could have done without the (few) sex scenes, but I really liked Crawford, a Texas Ranger, and Holly Spencer,  the judge deciding his child custody case.   There were layers to the mystery and the narration by Lang was excellent.

Title: E Is for Evidence (Kinsey Millhone Series #5), Author: Sue GraftonE is Evidence. Finished 12-13-17, rating 3/5, mystery, 200 pages, pub. 1998

Kinsey Millhone series #5 (1-A is for Alibi, 2-B is for Burglar, 3- C is for Corpse, 4- D is for Deadbeat)

Being a twice-divorced, happily independent loner has worked like a charm for P.I. Kinsey Millhone—until holiday weekends like this one roll around. What she needs is a little diversion to ward off the blues. She gets her much-needed distraction with a case that places her career on the line. And if that isn’t enough to keep her busy, her ex-husband, who walked out on her eight years ago, pops back on the radar…

It all begins with a $5,000 deposit made into Kinsey’s bank account. Problem is she’s not the one who deposited the money. But when she’s accused of being on the take in an industrial arson case, Kinsey realizes someone is framing her…     from Goodreads

I like Kinsey.  She’s fiercely independent, successful, but also a bit lonely.  Some of her personal relationships were missing in this one. but we did get to meet one of her ex-husbands so that was fun.  I thought this one dragged a but did pick up the pace with a letter bomb.  These mysteries are always quick which is another reason I like this series.

 

 

December 18, 2017 Posted by | 3 Star Books, 4 Star Books | 3 Comments

Dark Matter by Blake Couch

Title: Dark Matter, Author: Blake CrouchDark Matter. Finished unabridged audio 4-29-17, rating 4.5/5, sci-fi thriller, pub. 2016

Read by Jon Lindstrom

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.

Is the life Jason remembers just some crazed dream? And can he survive long enough to discover the answers he needs?     from Goodreads

So, I was browsing through some favorites lists this week, saw Dark Matters on a few and wondered why I hadn’t considered it for my own favorite list.  Because I loved it, I really did.  To come up with my list I browse my list of 4.5 and 5 star books here on the blog and I didn’t remember seeing it.  So I checked Goodreads, yep, and then did a search here and…nada.  I’m not exactly sure how a book I read and loved in April could have been forgotten, but it was.

I really loved this thriller of endless universe realities.  It was a wild and crazy ride!  There was lots of science, but also lots of mind-tripping fun.  I think the fact that Jason also read it made it so much better since he could clue me in on some of the more technical questions I had.

I know I’m short on details at this late date but do yourself a favor and give it a try even if it’s not in your comfort zone.  I think there is a very good possibility that you will love it.

 

 

December 15, 2017 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | 4 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Favorite Books This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, so head on over there to see what other bloggers have loved this year.

I’ve read 73 books this year and will probably finish 3 more before the end of December, but none of those will be making this list 🙂

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017.

  1. Title: A Man Called Ove, Author: Fredrik Backman I fell in love with Ove and his collection of merry wo(men).  For every trouble he caused those surrounding him, at least one blessing was given out.  Ove was a man with a heart, who didn’t always play well with others.  His pregnant neighbor picked him up and kept him moving until, finally, he embraced the loving circle that surrounded him.
  2. Title: Mariana, Author: Susanna Kearsley There is history, romance, and a perfect sense of place in all Kearsley books. Julia was sure she’d found her house and she packed up and moved from London to a small English village without a second thought.  She was a children’s book illustrator and was able to make a few friends right away just as she was being transported back in time.  It’s tricky when you are going back and forth between time periods and characters.  Inevitably, you are drawn more to one story than the other.  This one did a great job of tying the two together so I was invested in both.
  3. Title: The Color Purple, Author: Alice WalkerAbused by her father and then her husband, Celie 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 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. Celie’s perseverance gives a voice to all the women who experience abuse and still manage to stay on their feet.  It exceeded expectations and now I’m anxious to get my hands on the movie.  Set in 1930’s Georgia it’s still relevant and addictingly readable.
  4. Title: The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Author: Ernest J. Gaines Jane was a true survivor.  This fictional book, spanning her 110 year life really comes full circle in the end and I would have been happy to spend another 110 with Jane.  Jane was a little girl of 10 or 11 when Lincoln freed the slaves and she left her plantation with a small group hoping to walk their way north from Louisiana.  When something bad happens Jane is left in charge of 3 year old Ned and she must rely on her wits to keep them safe and free.  She eventually comes to raise him like her own son and find both happiness and heartache, never leaving her beloved Louisiana.  Jane is a warrior, a realist, and a trailblazer.
  5. Title: Little Fires Everywhere, Author: Celeste NgShaker Heights is a real place and I love it.  Ng chose to show the Shaker that she grew up in and I think it’s fair, and even though it has changed over the years it does still remain a progressive hotspot with old mansions lining picturesque streets. The Richardson family embodies this perfectly.  I understood and felt for every one of the characters and even when I didn’t like them I understood them.  The story centers around not only the fight over a baby left at a fire station by a distraught mother but also the mysterious Mia.  So many layers to this story and they were all connected by mothers.  I loved this book because it is overflowing with gray area.
  6. Title: The Hate U Give, Author: Angie ThomasThomas has taken a very important problem in America today and thrown back the curtains in a way that allows us all in on the experience.  Starr witnessed not one, but two, of her best friends get shot, one by a gang drive-by and one by a police officer.  It’s the one by the police officer that has turned into a national story and a powder keg for the community. Starr and her family live in the ghetto, as she likes to say, her father owns the local food shop and her mother is a nurse at the local hospital.  You will fall in love with Big Mav and Uncle Carlos.  Starr spends an hour in the car to go to a prep school, where she has white boyfriend and is one of the few black students.  As she tries to come to terms with the shooting and aftermath she tries to keep her involvement a secret from both areas of her life for different reasons.  It’s a powerful read told from the perspective of a 16 year-old girl who lives two lives and how a horrific tragedy forced the two to collide.  Starr acts like an adult most of the time, but her decisions show that she is also still a kid trying to figure out the crazy world we live in.
  7. Title: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Author: Trevor NoahI don’t keep up with Comedy Central’s The Daily Show much since Jon Stewart left, but I have seen Trevor and he’s good.  He’s smart and I love smart guys. Trevor’s honesty and humor about his early life during South African apartheid was shocking while still being entertaining. His mother is black and his father is white.  Reading how he could not walk with his dad to the park or grocery shop with his mother made me so sad.  The memoir ended too soon and I wish it had been longer.  We read this one for our book club and it was universally loved.
  8. Title: A Life in Parts, Author: Bryan CranstonCranston’s dad was an actor and left his three kids when they were young.  Cranston and his brother survived their childhood together, living with relatives, traveling overseas, and taking a motorcycle road trip across America.  Cranston has led a very bold and ambitious life and he pulls no punches.  It started a little slow, but for most of this book his stories made me laugh out loud or have a motherly concern for his wellbeing.  If you are at all interested in reading about the acting life or love Walter White then this will be a good fit for you.
  9. Title: Rules of Civility: A Novel, Author: Amor TowlesThis beauty of a book felt like a classic throwback.  The language, the atmosphere, the characters, the story.  Perfection. Katey was smart, independent, driven, and, ultimately, likeable.  This is a perfect New York City story, circa 1938.
  10. Title: Circling the Sun, Author: Paula McLainBeryl’s English mother couldn’t handle her life in 1920’s Kenya so she moved back to England with her son, leaving Beryl with her father.  Beryl was able to run wild as a child and was accepted by the local native tribe, at least until she was old enough to be sent away to school.  She was attacked by a tiger and lived to tell the tale.  She was fearless with horses and broke every mold a woman trainer could in the 1920’s.  Her unbridled nature led her to questionable relationships and choices, but she always maintained her independence and paid dearly for mistakes.  She was an immensely flawed character, but that made me love her that much more.

If you’ve done your own list please leave a link in the comments so I can check it out.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | lists | 19 Comments

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Title: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Author: Trevor NoahBorn a Crime. Finished 9-20-17, rating 4.5/5, memoir, pub. 2016

Unabridged audio read by the author.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother: his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.    from Goodreads

I don’t keep up with Comedy Central’s The Daily Show much since Jon Stewart left, but I have seen Trevor and he’s good.  He’s smart and I love smart guys.  Also, as some of you may remember, we were able to have three Africans who were attending Mandela training here in the US over for dinner one night this summer and one of them was from South Africa, so I felt a connection with Trevor and the stories from his home country.  Trevor’s honesty and humor about his early life during apartheid was shocking and entertaining. His mother is black and his father is white.  Reading how he could not walk with his dad to the park or grocery shop with his mother made me so sad.  The memoir ended too soon and I wish it had been longer.  But now he can write another book and earn another payday.

We read this one for our book club and it was universally loved. Don’t miss it!!

December 11, 2017 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | 4 Comments

Yes Please! by Amy Poehler & Something New by Lucy Knisley

Two memoir catch ups!  How did I get so behind?!

Yes Please! Finished 9-27-17, rating 4/5, memoir, pub. 2014

Unabridged audio read by Amy Poehler.  7 hours 30 minutes.

Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central’s Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy’s one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is “Yes Please!” then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like “Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend,” “Plain Girl Versus the Demon” and “The Robots Will Kill Us All” Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by.   from Goodreads

Amy read it along with a few friends helping along the way: Kathleen Turner, Seth Meyers, Patrick Stewart, Carol Burnett, her parents, and probably one or two more that I forgot about.
I liked it, but for me, I felt like she was trying too hard.  Maybe that’s just part of her charm, because I know she’s funny.  I laughed and learned that she’d been at this comedy thing longer than I thought.  I was impressed to learn about the Upright Citizens’ Brigade that she helped form, less impressed with her sex tips. She is accomplished and successful and full of energy.  I LOVE Parks and Recreation and might have loved a book written by the great Leslie Knope even better.


Something New: Tales from a Makeshift BrideSomething New. Finished 9-29-17, rating 3.5/5, graphic memoir, 292 pages, pub. 2016

A funny and whip-smart new book about the institution of marriage in America told through the lens of her recent engagement and wedding…. The graphic novel tackles the all-too-common wedding issues that go along with being a modern woman: feminism, expectations, getting knocked over the head with gender stereotypes, family drama, and overall wedding chaos and confusion.    from Goodreads

This is my third book by the talented graphic artist and author and this fell between the first two for me.  I liked it and loved her drawings, but I was also bored.  Wedding planning is a wonderful and tedious business and it is probably most interesting to the people who know you or are going through the same process.  I do think this would be a perfect gift for the newly engaged.

 

December 7, 2017 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books, 4 Star Books | 3 Comments

Ack! Two way past their due date book reviews- Loving Frank & Rules of Civility

Title: Rules of Civility: A Novel, Author: Amor TowlesRules of Civility. Finished 8-28-17, rating 4.75/5, fiction, pub. 2011

Unabridged audio read by Rebecca Lowman

On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar with her boardinghouse roommate stretching three dollars as far as it will go when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a tempered smile, happens to sit at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a yearlong journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool toward the upper echelons of New York society and the executive suites of Condé Nast–rarefied environs where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve.

Wooed in turn by a shy, principled multi-millionaire and an irrepressible Upper East Side ne’er-do-well, befriended by a single-minded widow who is a ahead of her time,and challenged by an imperious mentor, Katey experiences firsthand the poise secured by wealth and station and the failed aspirations that reside just below the surface. Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her life, she begins to realize how our most promising choices inevitably lay the groundwork for our regrets.   from Goodreads

I listened to this beauty of a book and loved it.  It felt like a classic throwback.  The language, the atmosphere, the characters, the story.  Perfection.   Katey was a wonderful protagonist.  Unlike my problems with Mamah in Loving Frank, Katey was smart, independent, driven, and, ultimately, likeable.

This is a perfect New York City story, circa 1938, and I wish I had more to say to recommend it, but I waited too long to write this.  I read this for my book group but didn’t end up going to the discussion.  Later, one of the ladies mentioned she thought it had a Great Gatsby feel to it and she’s right (although I’m no GG fan I do appreciate it).  Read it!

Title: Loving Frank, Author: Nancy HoranLoving Frank. Finished 8-22-17, rating 4/5, historical fiction, pub. 2007

Unabridged audio read by Joyce Bean. 15 hours.

“I have been standing on the side of life, watching it float by. I want to swim in the river. I want to feel the current.”

So writes Mamah Borthwick Cheney in her diary as she struggles to justify her clandestine love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. Four years earlier, in 1903, Mamah and her husband, Edwin, had commissioned the renowned architect to design a new home for them. During the construction of the house, a powerful attraction developed between Mamah and Frank, and in time the lovers, each married with children, embarked on a course that would shock Chicago society and forever change their lives.

In this groundbreaking historical novel, fact and fiction blend together brilliantly. While scholars have largely relegated Mamah to a footnote in the life of America’s greatest architect, author Nancy Horan gives full weight to their dramatic love story and illuminates Mamah’s profound influence on Wright.

from Goodreads

I went in to this one knowing very little about Wright’s personal life and I think that was a good thing.  As far as I can tell, very little is known about the real affair between Frank and Mamah so the author had great license to depict the two and their relationship.  Neither of them comes off as particularly warm and fuzzy.  They are both married with children when they meet and still manage to go off to Europe together leaving them behind.  Back in the early 1900’s this was more scandalous than we might find it today and they faced a backlash from the press.

Mamah left her very small children behind.  As easy as it might be to understand her attraction to a successful, gifted man, it was less easy to understand her abandonment of her children.  So, she had flaws, maybe just as many as Frank Lloyd Wright himself, but the story was compelling.  But, the ending, the ending!!  Wow.  I would recommend this one. As a matter of fact, a friend handed this to me at a party and told me I had to read it.  Now I’m telling you.

 

December 6, 2017 Posted by | 4 Star Books, 5 Star Books | 3 Comments

November’s movies & money for charity

Jason and I binge watched Stranger Things season 2 and we 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 $61.

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.

Room Poster.jpgRoom, 2015 (Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H Macy)                   Grade A

Totally wrecked this mama’s heart.

Watch with hands over eyes  (Jill)

Great adaptation of disturbing story.  (Kathy)

Brilliant, poignant, gut-wrenching abuse story (Heather)


The Meyerowitz Stories.pngThe Meyerowitz Stories, 2017 (Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson)          Grade B

Quirky, complicated family forced together.


Sing (2016 film) poster.jpgSing, , 2016 (Voices-Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C Reilly)   Grade C+

The cute ending saved it.

Adorable and fun animals singing.  (Heather)

Can’t help but sing along.  (Nise)

November 30, 2017 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | 7 Comments

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome

Title: Three Men in a Boat, Author: Jerome K. JeromeThree Men in a Boat. Finished 9-13-17, rating 3/5, classic, 211 pages, pub. 1889

Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a ‘T’. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks—not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.’s small fox-terrier Montmorency.

Three Men in a Boat was an instant success when it appeared in 1889, and, with its benign escapism, authorial discursions and wonderful evocation of the late-Victorian ‘clerking classes’, it hilariously captured the spirit of its age.  from Goodreads

This classic from 1889 is still funny.  Three young men and a fox terrier take a boat down the Thames River.  Jerome, Harris, and George are tired of the daily grind and decide to get away for a bit with a hilarious boat trip.  Mishap and everyday observances combine for a surprisingly modern tale.  I enjoyed it, but was bored at points along the way too.

I’m just going to leave you with a taste of the writing for dog lovers…

We got up tolerably early on the Monday morning at Marlow, and went for a bathe before breakfast; and, coming back, Montmorency made an awful ass of himself.  The only subject on which Montmorency and I have any serious difference of opinion is cats.  I like cats; Montmorency does not.

When I meet a cat, I say, ‘Poor Pussy!’ and stoop down and tickle the side of its head; and the cat sticks up its tail in a rigid, cast-iron manner, arches its back, and wipes its nose up against my trousers; and all is gentleness and peace.  When Montmorency meets a cat, the whole street knows about it; and there is enough bad language wasted in ten seconds to last an ordinary respectable man all his life, with care.

I do not blame the dog (contenting myself, as a rule, with merely clouting his head or throwing stones at him), because I take it that it is his nature.  Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs are, and it will take years and years of patient effort on the part of us Christians to bring about any appreciable reformation in the rowdiness of the fox terrier nature.

This was my 19th selection for the Classics Club and I have until January 1, 2020 to get to 50.  I am woefully behind!

November 29, 2017 Posted by | 3 Star Books | 4 Comments