Thursday, November 21, 2019

Renia's Diary - Renia Spiegel

This one is a hard one to write about.  A true story of a young Jewish girl Renia, growing up in Poland during the second World War.  Isolated from her mother and younger sister, she misses them deeply.  I just found that most of this story was about her pining for her boyfriend and worrying about her friendships, like most teenagers with little mentioned about what is going on around her.  The most interesting part was the final chapter about what happened after the war, and how her diary was discovered. 1/5

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Hand Maid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

I've read the original novel several times over the years, watched the movie, and enjoyed the current tv series very much, so I thought I would reread the story as a graphic novel.  It is pretty true to the original story and makes it digestible in one quick and easily read.   Its pretty grim stuff.

I am sure that most people are aware of the story.  In a not too distant dystopian future in the country of Gilead, furtile women are transformed into handmaids whose job is to produce babies for their infertile ruling classes.  The story centers on Offred, a young woman who is separated from her young daughter and husband, and tries to figure out how she can escape from this rigid controlled society.  4/5

Monday, November 18, 2019

Music Monday - Down By The Water - PJ Harvey

I have only just discovered this tune, and can hear it playing in my head several times a day.  I'll obsess over it for a while and then probably forget about it for a while. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Face It - Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry singing Heart of Glass with Blondie in 1978 marks a sort of growing up for ten year old me, I felt like this must be what being an adult was like.  I so wanted this book to be more rock'n'roll, more punk rock, but beside from the odd bit of name dropping it was all a bit meh.  Maybe she waited too long to write the book, but is seemed a bit boring and dull - the opposite of what I wanted from her, I expected her to be the cool, hip funny girl.  She has got to travel the world and meet scores of interesting people over the decades, but most of this was barely mentioned. 

I think my expectation of a memoir is to learn more about the person, and to hopefully come away knowing more about them and liking them even more than when I started.  Neither of which I achieved after reading this book, which just left me feeling sad.  2/5

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Middle Aged Lady Movie Night - Gloria Bell

OMG I feel special.  A movie targeted at me - a middle aged lady.  I'm too old for super heroes and car chases, and as I'm not a pensioner yet I'm not really that enthralled with the grey parade of pensioners that are wheeled out to grab the grey dollar.  I am that forgotten customer, the middle aged lady. 

Gloria played by Julianne Moore,  is in her fifties, divorced and still working while dealing with her young adult children who are getting on with their lives without her.  She spends her weekends getting dressed up and going out to dance to old tunes.   She meets Arnold, but he comes with his own baggage and things aren't too dreamy and smooth. 

Look, it was quiet and at times made me a bit sad, but it was saved by the luminous Julianne Moore, and the soundtrack that makes me think it is worth a 4/5.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Body - Bill Bryson

I think that considering all the shows and movies we watch and read, most of us know surprisingly little about our own bodies.  Bill Bryson has a way of giving us all the information we like in easily readable and entertaining chapters without overwhelming us with lots of dull information.  Even though I work in a medical field and have read a lot of books, I still found this a quick and amusing read even though it was a solid 400 pages.  5/5

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Cilka's Journey - Heather Morris

This is another of those stories that will stay with you.  The author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz follows up on filling in the story of Cilka Klein, one of the characters of the earlier book, but this definitely can be read alone.   As a 16 year old sent to  Auschwitz Birkenhau she is picked out because of her beauty and abused.  It is hard to imagine what horrors a girl had to see and do in order to survive in such circumstances.

When the war ends, she is then charged by the soviets with being a collaborator and given a 15 year sentence to a Siberian gulag.  There the horrors continue, with little to eat, hard labor digging coal and being abused by the male prisoners,  but she is able to find friendships with the women she is imprisoned with and help work in the hospitals and ambulance. 

Sitting in our warm and cozy homes it is hard to imagine what women like this went through during the war, and wonder if we would have had the strength to survive. 5/5

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Middle Aged Lady Movie Night - The Aftermath

I'm just about all movied out here.  It has been a mega week of watching lots of shows in the evenings and I saved this for a Saturday night viewing.   Dinner was eaten, the living room was hoovered and it was time to sit on the couch with a bunch of grapes.

It felt like a welcome back to Kiera Knightly, as she seems to play this delicate 30s/40s type of women very well.  She seemed to be everywhere a few years ago, and then I guess she slipped away to have some babies of her own and have a life.  She is perfect in this role as Rachael Morgan, who comes to Hamburg in 1946 to live with her husband, all breathless  pouty looks and quiet tears.  They are to live in the requistioned house of German Stefan Lubert and his daughter Freda and all characters are dealing with their own grief and worries about how they are to move on post war.

I guess its more Sunday night cinema than blockbuster but it suited this middle aged lady quite well.  4/5

Friday, November 08, 2019

Middle Aged Lady Movie Night Double Feature - King of Thieves + The Mule

This middle lady is blowing out the internet budget this week, watching 2x movies tonight.  It was blowing a gale out there, and it is easier to sit at home on the couch in comfy clothes and spend little to no dollars on entertainment.  Yes - I have turned into my father quicker than I expected.

King of Thieves is a British film based on the Hatton St safe deposit burglary that occurred in 2015.   Led by Michael Caine, it is a distinguished group of actors all of whom I had to google as I was surprised at their ages and how old they looked in the movie.  I liked that it was kept mainly serious, and there was no need to make this heist film a caper, like so many of the ones that have come out recently.  A solid 4/5.

The Mule - well I have to say it is pretty amazing to think that Clint Eastwood plays the main character, and directed and produced this film at 89 years old.   It too is based on a true life story of a simple flower grower, who after threats to foreclose on his home, takes on a job of delivering drugs.  Passing unsuspected across borders, he manages to make several runs, all increasing in value each time, but little does he realize that the DEA are on his tail.  It is somewhat of a quiet movie, but I just felt like telling Clint that he looked tired, and in need of a good long rest on a lazyboy with his feet up.  I guess that is not really in his nature, and one has to admire his work ethic.  4/5

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Middle Aged Lady Movie Night - Second Act

Because I am middle aged and becoming rather stingy, the thought of wasting 99c by missing out on watching my apple itunes specials appalled me.  So I buckled in and ate my dinner, while watching this Jennifer Lopez vehicle Second Act.  While I get its heart of gold, working girl vibe, it was a pretty lame effort.  Jennifer Lopez plays Maya Vargas, an assistant manager at a value shop who gets looked over for promotion and the job is given to someone with a college degree.  So she looks elsewhere for new work, and due to some social media assistance lands a big job with a beauty company.

It is one of those movies, that seems to wrap up all the cliches from other movies without having much charm or wit of its own.  I wanted to like it, I was in the mood for a bit of feel good fun, but it all came over a bit flat for me.  2/5