Reading with Gage

A few books that Gage and I have read together in the past week have stuck with me.  I sort the donations to our library friends group 2-3 times a week.  Over the weekend I discovered this Dav Pilkey early classic and it both freaked me out and filled me with a certainty that my 9 year old would think it was hilarious.  I was correct on both counts.

Kat Kong Kat Kong by Dave Pilkey (of Captain Underpants fame) is a ‘live’ picture book first published in 1993. 

There is so much humor in the short dialog and so much disturbing cat and mouse imagery that it’s hard not to find this a cult classic.  I brought it home for Gage and on a whim looked it up and it’s a 4.1 in Accelerated Reader so he can actually take a quiz on this at school this week, lololol.

We also read another forgotten classic…

The Magic Finger The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl, illustrated by

This is notable for a few reasons.  First published in 1966, the story, while about a girl who could do amazing and magical feats with her finger, centered around the question of whether it’s okay to hunt animals.  “I can’t stand hunting.  I just can’t stand it.  It doesn’t seem right to me that men and boys should kill animals just for the fun they get out of it.”  The family that we spend the most time with has two vegetarians for this very reason and  this year they added a third for health reasons.  Gage, only conscious of things that he has a vested interest in, has latched onto these lines the few times we’ve read it.  And he’s been asking if Jason or I plan on going vegetarian this year (he’s all about those challenges).  These are good discussions to have.  The story tidies itself up in a predictable, but satisfying way… if you side with the hunted.  The actual magic finger raises more questions than it answers which is a bit problematic, but still a lot of fun.

We’ve read other books this week, but these have been my favorites.

 

This Week (or is it last week?)

I’d like to have these posted on Saturday, but even with me getting up at 6 in the morning it obviously didn’t happen yesterday.

Fave pic

IMG_3127 On Monday Gage and I tried a local restaurant that had so many choices for him.  We shared this plate of gluten-free fries (so much harder to come by than you think) and then he ordered a hamburger, but he could have had a gluten AND dairy free pizza and any number of other sandwiches.  Can you tell how excited I am about this?

Highlights of the week

Having Gage home from school and Jason taking lots of time off at the end of the year and two days this week.  I don’t remember Jason ever taking this much time off (with breaks to deal with clients as needed).  Lots of being at home as a family is always a good thing.

Gage had a day (6 1/2 hours) at Lego camp.  Followed by a day with 2 different play dates totaling 5 1/2 hours.  That’s after starting the week with a bowling/arcade morning with a group of 6 boys.  I’m not sure how interested he is in going back to school on Tuesday.

Also, I started a new year of challenges.  This month I start getting up at 6 every day.

Could’ve been better

I’ve got no complaints about the start of this decade.  Oh wait!  It’s the 5th and I haven’t finished a book!  It’s probably all that family time I’m so happy about 🙂

Currently reading

Liars' Legacy Hands Up Our Better Angels: Seven Simple Virtues…

Currently listening

The Complaints

Received in the mail

Title: Stay, Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde (a win from Vicki at I’d Rather Be At The Beach)

 

Movies watched

Self/less DVD Release Date | Redbox, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon

Plans for the rest of weekend

Not sure what we’ll be up to when Gage gets back from Grandma’s house.

What about you?

I’m linking up with theSunday Salonthis week.

 

 

 

First Book of the Year

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Every year Sheila hosts First book over at her blogBook Journey and I’ve participated for quite a few years. Before Sheila started hosting this event I never much thought about what my first book of the year, and now the decade, would be.  I decided to go with an ARC I received from an author I’ve met a few times and email with occasionally.  She’s authentically refreshing.  It’s a sequel and was released yesterday.  I hope to carve out some some to start reading today.  IMG_E3102 Liars’ Legacy – A Jack and Jill Thriller by Taylor Stevens continues the story of brother and sister assassins who took down the leader of the global network at the end of the first book.  Now the government is after them as they try to make their way out of the country to meet their high profile Russian father for the first time.

Later today head over to Sheila’s to see what everyone else is starting the year reading.  What are you reading today?

2019 Movie Favorites and Stats (with my favorite Netflix binges)

I watched 50 movies this year, up 10 from last year.

2019 was my most watched release year with 19.

I saw 15 of those at the movie theater and 6 were animated.

I wrote 1 Book vs. Movie post (The Little Prince).

I wrote 1 Fave Movie post (#51 Crash).

The oldest movie I watched was Little Shop Around the Corner, 1940.

Newest crush – RBG, The Opposite of Sex.

Cutest Couple – Harold & Maude, of course (Harold & Maude, 1971)

Most disappointing movie of the year, A Wrinkle in Time.

Most watched actor was Chris Evans (Cellular, Avengers Infinity War, Avengers Endgame, Knives Out)

Most watched actress was a 9 way tie with 9 actresses!  That’s a first.  Not worth listing them all 🙂

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

My 5 favorite movies this year

Ford v. Ferrari (2019 film poster).png Ford vs. Ferrari, 2019

Avengers Endgame, 2019

Hacksaw Ridge poster.png Hacksaw Ridge, 2016

Green Book (2018 poster).png Green Book, 2018

On the Basis of Sex.jpeg On the Basis of Sex, 2018

Our favorite Netflix series that we watched this year were Marianne, The Haunting of Hill House, Ozark 2, Stranger Things 3.  I’m always open to good suggestions!

 

 

 

 

December’s Movies

What did you see this month that you’d recommend?  I admit that I’ve watched way too many Hallmark movies already 🙂

You know the drill, 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 $27 right now.  Your charity could be next 

A blonde-haired man sits behind the wheel. He wears a fleece jacket and a pair of brown driving gloves. Above reads a tagline, "There Are No Clean Getaways". Drive, 2011 (Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Oscar Isaac)        Grade B+

One bad decision leads to another.


Knives Out poster.jpeg Knives Out, 2019 (Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Amas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Christopher Plummer)     Grade B+

Stylish star-studded who-dun-it.


Klaus poster.jpeg Klaus, 2019 (voices-Jason Swartzman, JK Simmons, Rashida Jones, Will Sasso, Norm MacDonald, Joan Cusack)    Grade B+

Mail Carriers are the true heroes.

I fell asleep during the movie. 😦  (Kathy – sorry it was too funny not to share only because I loved it so much :))

 Nicely done. I even cried.  (Michelle)

New favorite Christmas time movie.  (Heather)


Home alone poster.jpg  Home Alone, 1990 (Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard)     Grade B

A very resourceful 8 year old.

I just don’t believe that’s possible.  (Janet’s Smiles)

We never miss watching yearly.  (Michelle)

So ridiculous, you can’t stop.  (Emily)

His family is the worst!  (Heather)


Drawing of Harold holding various deadly items (left) and Maude on the right Harold and Maude, 1971 (Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles)   Grade B

Love knows no age.

Loved Harold and Maude.  (Lloyd)

My Greatest Hits From The 2010’s

A decade has come and in a few short days will be gone here at Stacy’s Books and I thought I’d take a look at my all-time most popular posts from the decade (in pure clicks, not engagement).

  1. 2012 – Book vs. Movie – Under the Tuscan Sun
  2. 2012 – Book vs. Movie – The Secret Life of Bees
  3. 2010 – Baby-To-Be Update
  4. 2010 – Baby Movie Quiz
  5. 2017 – Book vs. Movie – And Then There Were None
  6. 2010 – The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  7. 2011 – Monday Movie Meme – Bring on the Heat
  8. 2015 – Book vs. Movie – The Hound of the Baskervilles
  9. 2016- Book vs. Movie – The Blind Side 
  10. 2012- Graphic Novels Quiz

I’m glad to see a few of my weekly quizzes made the cut.  I loved doing them, but am just not in a place to do it right now.  I’m also glad to see that a Monday Movie Meme made the list.  I miss seeing my friend Molly blog (she was also my partner in crime reading War and Peace).  It was fun to read the update on Gage before we knew he wouldn’t be a Tara or Lily.  Only one book review in the bunch, but a worthy one.  And then domination by my continued book vs. movie series.  I need to get busy – I only posted one of those in 2019 and apparently they are in demand, lol.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the new decade will bring!

2019 Book Favorites and Stats

I read 86 books this year.

17 were published in 2019 and 17 in 2018.

64 were fiction, 22 were non-fiction.

Of those fiction 27 were authors new to me.

48 women authors, 36 men and 1 both.

33 were audio books. (I think that’s a record!)

Favorite Cover The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

I continued with 11 series (Lucas Davenport #28 & #29, Mrs. Pollifax #11 & #12, Kinsey Millhone F & G, Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence # 2 & #3, Blue Heron #5, Inspector Rebus #2, #3 & #4, Ravenels #4 & #5, Lincoln Rhyme #13 & #14, Cormoran Strike #4, Robert Langdon #5, Me Before You #3)

I tried 9 new series books (not sure what I’ll continue with at this point).

I read 9 books for the Classics Club (Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, I Had Seen Castles by Cynthia Rylant, Sarah, Plain and Tallby Patricia MacLachlan, The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon,The Giver by Lois Lowry, Animal Farm by George Orwell, Washington Square by Henry James, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum,The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Expury)

I read two books first published in the 1800’s – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 and Washington Square in 1880

Shortest book – Sound Bites by Aaron Broadstreet, 44 pages

Longest book – Lethal White by Robert Galbaith, 656 pages

Most read authors with 3 each, Ian Rankin and Maria Shriver.

My 5 Favorite Books

Title: Becoming, Author: Michelle Obama Becoming by Michelle Obama. “Michelle Obama was a normal, yet accomplished young woman with a lucrative career and two Ivy League degrees when she was introduced to a hot shot intern who would change her life forever.  She is real and warm and selfless in so many ways.  I always respected her strength as first lady and was happily surprised to have her exceed any expectation I placed on her.”

Title: A Ladder to the Sky, Author: John Boyne A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne. “This is one of those novels with a main character so horribly delicious that it makes you want to look away.  It may even force you to shut the book and put it down for awhile, but you keep glancing at it and eventually you pick it back up and steel yourself for some ugly happenings.  Okay, maybe that was just me.  The storytelling for this book was just so good.  Love or hate the main character of Maurice, you have to revel in the way his story unfolds, first through the voices of those he had wronged and then through his.”

Title: The Flatshare, Author: Beth O'Leary  The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.   “Tiffy was a ray of sunshine, but was healing from a breakup, hoping it wasn’t permanent.  Leon had a girlfriend who took it upon herself to screen the girl that would be sharing his flat, but couldn’t muster sympathy for his imprisoned brother.  The two, never in the apartment at the same time, communicated by post-it note.”

Title: Winter Garden: A Novel, Author: Kristin Hannah The Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah.  “The story starts with bickering sisters Meredith and Nina, nothing too different than other stories I’ve read, but then their father takes ill and it’s important they’re all together.  This is also when we start hearing about the cold mom, Anya, who seemed to dislike both girls growing up.  As the three women must help each other, the story of Anya’s life in Russia takes center stage.  Her story drew me in and kept me turning the pages as fast as I could.  It was that good.  The sisters faded into the background for me as I read in horror the things that Anya faced.”

Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. “He is a Vietnam monk who coined the phrase ‘engaged Buddhism’.  Engaged Buddhism refers to Buddhists who are seeking ways to apply the insights from meditation practice and dharma teachings to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice. (wikipedia)  Because of his peaceful protest belief he influenced Martin Luther King Jr. during the Vietnam War and was actually nominated by King for the Nobel Peace Prize that year.”

 

 

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a merry Christmas here with a day we all stayed in our jammies.  We introduced Gage to Home Alone for the first time 🙂  I hope you all had a great day, and that you all received at least one gift that you loved as much as Sammi loved her new green mouse.  For Gage it was the microscope Santa brought him.  He spent hours making slides.

IMG_3090 (2)

 

I read a book that I had given my mother at Thanksgiving and she gave back to me yesterday saying that she loved it.  Today was a perfect time for the short read The Purpose of Christmas The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren.  At only 127 pages it was a quick read about the reason we celebrate Christmas and all of the ways that Jesus Christ has changed the world and how we can accept him and do the same.  He wrote it for believers and non-believers alike.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz Series #1), Author: L. Frank Baum The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Finished audio 9-1-19, 3.5/5 stars. classic, pub. 1900

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the classic story of fantasy that has delighted readers young and old for decades. Dorothy finds herself transplanted to the magical land of Oz when her house is sucked up by a tornado. To get back home she must follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard to help her get back to Kansas. Along the way she meets several interesting characters, including the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion, who join her on her travels to ask the Wizard for help of their own.  from Goodreads

As I was updating Goodreads with my book reviews of 2019 I realized that I had somehow neglected this one.  It’s been a while, but I remember being struck with how different it was from the movie.  Yes, there is still Dorothy and her dog, her three companions, some witches and flying monkeys, but it was darker than the movie.  There are no ruby slippers and the backstory was nonexistent.

It opens with the cyclone and Dorothy being swept off to a place that was inexplicable.  She meets the tin man, lion and scarecrow and they do go off on adventures, but there is imprisonment and evil too.  But as with the movie, everyone needs friends such as these, willing to go the distance with you and for you.

I liked it even though it felt (at least listening to the audio) different than the iconic movie, which is okay since I have no great love for the flick.  It’s a story that you recognize but don’t really know and that somehow makes it work.

This is   my 33rd selection for the Classics Club challenge.  I have until January 1, 2020 to get to 50 (lol).

 

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Title: The Flatshare, Author: Beth O'Leary The Flatshare. Finished 12-18-19-19, 4.5/5 stars, fiction, pub. 2019

Unabridged audio read by Carrie Hope Fletcher and Kwaku Fortune and these two completely sold it.  They were fantastic and I looked forward to getting in the car everyday to spend more time with them!  8 CDs.

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…    from Goodreads

This was the perfect time for this!  I was perusing the library shelves when I saw this and recognized it from around the blogosphere.  It was light, but with some heavy issues that figured prominently into the storyline.  Tiffy was a ray of sunshine, but was healing from a breakup, hoping it wasn’t permanent.  Leon had a girlfriend who took it upon herself to screen the girl that would be sharing his flat, but couldn’t muster sympathy for his imprisoned brother.

The two, never in the apartment at the same time, communicated by post-it note.  How weird would it be to come in one day and someone has moved in all of their stuff and you share a bed (different sides of course), but you don’t meet them?  Bizarre.  I loved the months and months of post-it notes that built this relationship into something that both needed.  It was Tiffy who found a reason to finally meet him through their jobs, only Leon bailed and the notes continued.

I loved the romance and the issues.  Tiffy’s boyfriend was emotionally abusive, Leon’s brother was wrongfully imprisoned, and a search for a long lost love brings them both together for a common cause.  This was fun with just enough heft to give it legs.  I do think the audio may have enhanced my enjoyment.  This was a Goodreads finalist for best romance and I would have voted for it if I’d read it in time.