Friday, November 24, 2017

Grief Works - Julie Samuel

Julia Samuel is a counsellor who writes about some of the types of clients she has dealt with who come to see her about the death of a loved one.  She tells us there stories, and some of the things that they did to deal with the death of a partner/parent/child.  Interesting too were those people who seeked out her services as they were preparing for their own death.

It can be tricky for a lot of people to deal with as each death affects us differently, and everybody has their own way of processing that pain, and you can see that her job is to help guide people into moving on with their lives while acknowledging the loss.

While interesting - I felt a bit detached from this book. 3/5

Thursday, November 23, 2017

How Hard Can It Be - Allison Pearson

I do barely remember reading the original Kate Reddy novel by this author, many moons ago.  Now Kate Reddy is back.  Her kids are teenagers, her husband it busy riding his bike and ignoring her and the elderly parents are causing problems of their own.  Her 50th birthday is fast approaching and so Kate finds herself shuffling all of her family round, as she has to head back into the workplace which is full of colleagues who are half her age.

Being the same age myself, I could understand her position, but I found it all terribly predictable and a bit smug and self important.  I felt that if I knew Kate, I wouldn't like her much and felt like I had to trawl through this brick of a book. 2/5

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lost For Words - Stephanie Butland

I feel sad - a book about books and bookstores should be the type of book I really get into but something just didn't sing to me, and I had to give up after 50 pages. 

Monday, November 20, 2017


I always find it relaxing to settle down and read. I usually read before bed for an hour or so, and after work if I have time, and snatch minutes here and there before work or on days off.  A good book may manage to be read in a day or two, but more often than not it is 3 or 4 days at the moment.  I am having a bit of a crisis though, as I have a huge pile of books waiting to be read, and so many good ones.  So as the night air is chilly on this spring evening, I will get the dishes finished and head to bed early and try to almost finish the novel I am reading.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Jane & Me - Caroline Knight

Caroline Jane Knight is the 5th great niece of the writer Jane Austen.  She grew up at Chawton House - the home of the Knight family, where Jane Austens brother Edward Knight inherited.  Caroline, and her brother are the last of the family to live at the house, and in this book she writes about the rich history of the Knight and Austen family.

This however is the story mainly about Caroline and her life, and somehow I think I was expecting to find some Jane Austen secrets in the book.  A found manuscript, a hidden locket or bonnets found in the attic - alas it was not to be,and I came away none the wiser about the author.  I did however get an understanding of how tough it must have been two hundred years ago, when women's lives were at the mercy of the menfolk of the family.  How they relied on the their fathers and brothers to look after them, and there must have been limited security, as the women would often be made homeless when husbands and fathers died.

With a great increase in the interest in Jane Austen in the past few decades, Caroline Knight to her credit has been telling her story at events, and updated the family history  of Chawton House, which was last written about 100 years ago by her great grandfather.  She has also established a foundation to assist with literacy using her famous great aunts name.  3/5

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Don't Let Go - Harlan Coben

I like Harlan Cobens novels - he has the ability to keep his stories even paced and filled with a good mixture of tension and amusement.  In this stand alone novel, Detective Nap has returned to his home town to investigate a couple of crimes that raise questions about what happened in his life 15 years ago.

The story had quite a few twists and turns, you can never be quite sure how it will go, and I liked that but somehow I didn't quite believe it and for me it felt a bit forced.  Maybe because there are so many thriller books/movies/shows around that I have become a bit jaded, and  it has become a bit more  difficult to find a story that feels original.  It is a genre of books that I don't read as much of anymore.  Maybe its not him - its me! 2/5

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Blue Planet 2

Oh Blue Planet 2 - you blew my mind tonight.  With your beautiful soothing blue oceans and graceful  critters gliding around.  I never knew there was a fish who could use a tool to open clams - mind blown.  Fish that can track birds, and leap up and catch them - boom - mind blown again.  Beautiful scenes off the New Zealand coast of dolphins and whales gathering together and appearing to communicate and play together - boom, boom,boom.

David Attenborough is a treasure too - the real voice of the series and he makes even the most harrowing scenes palatable.  I'm the girl who wasn't allowed to watch Lassie as a child, as it upset me too  much, and so I find scenes where animals are starving or hunting others a bit hard to watch.  So I hope it is playing for you soon.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tulip Fever

I remember getting the original novel that this movie is based on years ago, and not being able to finish it although at the time it was hugely popular.  A bestie invited me to see the movie today, and I had seen the shorts and was looking forward to it.

Visually the set and costumes brought you straight into the period - the costume and set designers had done their jobs superbly.  Everything looked straight out of the amazing paintings that litter the walls of all the great art museums.  The story itself was good, but there just seemed to be something lacking in this movie, I think the chemistry was lacking between the main characters, they all seemed a bit wooden in their roles.  Although we were given a few sex scenes, they seemed to lack any passion and it is often the quieter moments when a look or a glance or a touch is more real and full of emotion, and there were little to none of these given to the audience.

I wanted the movie to flow too, and yet it felt a little disjointed and slow, trudging through the scenes.  What could have been a great movie, was just ok.  3/5

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Hunger - Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay has written a book about what it is to live in her body.  Her body that suffered a rape when she was just a child, and now as an adult - a large female adult she is brutally honest about how it is to carry her body around.   How her family and friends as well as strangers talk to her about her weight, how they look at her and act around her. 

I think all of us females have issues - we all see our faults, we worry about how we look and we spend out life comparing ourselves to others, and most of us feel that we are not good enough.  How are lives would be better if we were taller, thinner, had bigger breasts, bigger butts, longer hair, better skin, nicer teeth, more muscles etc, etc...  Imagine if we could all be happy and even proud of these beautiful bodies that carry us round, that carry us through our lives. 

This book was a great read, I devoured it in a couple of nights, and now will seek out her other works. 5/5

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Let Me Go

We went and saw this one on a Saturday afternoon, and for me it was a bit of a fail after being on call overnight, I may have nodded off several times missing major dramatic parts of the movie - although my friend also had a secret little snore too.  I do recall reading the book that it is based off some time ago.  Helga is in her sixties and travels back to Vienna to see her elderly mother, who  she hasn't seen in some time.  Her young grand daughter travels with her to have her own experience in the city. 

Instead of being a loving reunion it is terribly confronting as the elderly Traudi is proud of her past - of  assisting in Auschwitz in torturing and killing women and children, and deserting her own child to serve the Reich.  She does not understand why her daughter doesn't love her. 

More a Sunday evening drama than a Saturday afternoon entertainment.  3/5