A House for Happy Mothers by Amulya Malladi: This was a quick pool time read about two women, linked by surrogacy. I found the stories of both the Indian-American mother and Indian gestational mother to be truthful and heartfelt. The ending was not a surprise, nor were there any plot twists and turns but I really enjoyed this uplifting novel.
The Last Woman Standing: A Novel by Thelma Adams: Another Kindle First book! I ADORED this one! It’s a piece of historical fiction that tells the story of Josephine Marcus, lured out west by a smooth talking lawman, Jonny Behan, and her relationship with the famous Earps. Adams has reframed the famous shoot out at the OK Corral through a spunky and independent female voice. Granted, I love historical fiction but I really enjoyed this one. (Warning, there are some spicy bits if that isn’t your thing).
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman: I added this to my queue back in January as part of my Read Harder challenge. This post-apocalyptic literary epic tells the story of 15 year old Ice Cream Star as she is forced to grow up much too fast in a world built on the debris of a collapsed America. The language is unique and reminded me of reading Shakespeare – slightly different from modern English but once you’re a few pages in, the cadence finds itself. This is something I’d have never sought out myself but I’m glad I read it!
What I Watched: Ex Machina, X Men: First Class, (Dis)Honesty: The Truth about Lies,
Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison: I read this whole book in one night! I could not put it down – Holly tells her story with such honesty and in such an affable tone, it is hard to look away. While there were plenty of sordid details, she really focuses on her journey and how life at the Mansion affected her. I remember watching The Girls Next Door and it was really fascinating to see behind the curtain.
Just one book this month, but I have a looong flight coming up in August so hope to correct this soon!
What I Watched: Trainwreck, The Babadook, In Search in General Tso
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss: I borrowed by sister’s Kindle for our trip to Hawaii and this was one of the books she had on there. It was a brisk read but I did find the first two thirds where they recount how perfectly they all get along and how diligent and prodigious they are in making a new life on the island they are marooned on a bit exhausting. But the end was such a pleasant surprise as it was such a change of pace and tone. I’d love to read some criticism on this novel and see where it fits into the social and political time from whence it comes.
The Perks Of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: Another book on her Kindle 🙂 I haven’t ever read this before and found the narrative style to be both refreshing and draining. I love that Chbosky did something different by choosing to tell this story via letters but I found myself wanting the story to be more fleshed out / rounded out with details. I’ll have to check out the movie now!
What I Watched: Into the Woods, Kung Fu Panda, Waitress, Annie (2014), Napoleon Dynamite, The Princess and the Frog, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, The Giver, The Honorable Woman Season 1, Practical Magic, Groundhog Day
Let’s do better in April! Ok? OK!
What I Watched: This is Where I Leave You, Night Moves, Houdini (Parts 1 & 2) and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (watch it – such incredibly good TV)
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genvieve Valentine: Set in the 1920’s, this story follows 12 sisters who are locked up like birds in their incredibly wealthy father’s mansion. Each night they sneak out to dance in the speakeasies of Manhattan until he decides it’s time to marry them off. I really enjoyed this book, while not all the scenes were home runs (especially the earlier dance halls scenes felt forced). I’m glad I read it but I’m not sure I’ll seek out any other of Valentine’s novels.
Red Azalea by Achee Min: This was quite the haunting memoir of powerlessness in Mao’s Communist China. I was most surprised by exactly how obsessed the state is with controlling sex and intimacy. I enjoyed this personal peak into this period of history, particularly that it was from a woman’s voice and flew through this short memoir.
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier: I picked this up at the library because I loved Girl with a Pearl Earring but boy oh boy was this a slog! I love historical fiction (this is the second one I read this month) and really value that someone is telling the story of these two women scientists, who were discounted and overlooked explicitly due to their gender. I did not enjoy the obsession with class, while probably a player in the historical record, and it left me feeling sort of sad. We have so far to come.
What I Watched: Noah, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Under the Skin, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Interview, Zodiac, Sky Captain the World of Tomorrow, I, Frankenstein
Whew! What a year 2014 has been! I know that everyone says that but seriously how did the year go by so incredibly quickly? Here’s a look at the year that was…
Let’s start with books, shall we?
Book count: 37
Most moving book – I Shall be Near to You
Most recommended book – tie between Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hr Book Store and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
Most Reread: Harry Potter series – SO glad I did this this year!
And now for movies…
Movie count: 129
Film wise, this was the year of the SWINTON, at least for me. I realized halfway through Snowpiercer that she can literally be anything, anyone. She is magic.
My top films of the year are…
1- Only Lovers Left Alive
2- The Grand Budapest Hotel
4- The Imitation Game
5- The Lego Movie
6- The One I Love
Life wise, this was our first full year of living in Ohio. Last January, we went to Minnesota for cross country skiing and family time. It also brought a seasonal lay off M and a new car for our family. Spring was job hunting and hunkering down in the insane polar vortex. We started our journey to hit up all the Columbus Metro Parks, one we’re still working on! April meant a return to outdoor education for M. June brought a work trip to Atlanta for me. My favorite time of the year -SUMMER- brought the 4th of July was spent at an awesome party at my parents, with a walk down to Whetstone Park for fireworks. My older sister came up for the State Fair in August and then M and I headed up to the South Shore of Lake Superior to his family’s cabin to see his parents, sister & her family and his aunt. Fall brought both of us busy seasons at work but we snuck away for my birthday to Pittsburgh, our first trip alone in over two years. We’re wrapping up a busy holiday season with eyes on 2015. I’m going to do a ‘one little word’ for 2015, for the first time, so I’ll be sharing more on that soon too.