Friday, June 29, 2012

The Chaperone - Laura Moriarty

The Chaperone - Laura Moriarty (2012)

It is so satisfying to pick up a book and think that you will enjoy it, and to love it immensely and don't want it to end.

It is 1922 and  Cora is a stay at home housewife with two grown sons, and is married to a local lawyer. She volunteers to take on the role of chaperone, to local fifteen year old dancer Louise Brooks who is to attend a dance school in New York for the summer.

Once both women travel to New York and get settled in, we get to learn about both of them and their pasts.  I enjoyed both stories, and felt like I could picture them hanging out together.  I also enjoyed the fact that in the 1920s times were changing, and that many women were looking at the restrictions that they faced and changing them.

For me it was a wow - a 5/5 as I loved the time it was set in, the writing, the characters and the stories they told.

The Secret of Happy Ever After - Lucy Dillon

The Secret of Happy Ever After - Lucy Dillon (2011)

Michelle is separated from her domineering husband, and moves herself off to a small village where she opens a homeware shop.  When the bookshop next door becomes vacant, she takes it over with dreams of stocking lots of lovely bed linen in it.

Having to keep the books going for a year, she employs her new friend Anna to run it, being a big book  lover.  Anna who is newly married and a stepmother to three young girls has her own dreams and plans.

I enjoyed most of this book, bookshops and friends are always a good combination, and if I had to be critical, which I often do is that it was a bit too long, and two thirds of the way through I started skim reading.  3/5

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Shoe Sunday

I dig these puma sneakers.  I can see myself wearing them with 3/4 pants at a lake or at the beach, enjoying the sunshine.  It's nice to dream on a grey chilly winter day.  You can buy them at Endless, but they won't ship to NZ.  Oh well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Two Moms - Zach Wahls

My Two Moms - Zach Wahls (2012)

I saw Zach Wahls on the Ellen DeGeneres show recently.  At 19 he had appeared in front of Iowa politicians at a public hearing about Gay marriages.  He is a child of two lesbian moms, who spoke with such wisdom and strength, and I had to admire his composure.

In NZ we have had civil unions for gays and lesbians for quite a few years, giving equal rights hopefully for our gay friends.  To be honest, I wonder what all the fuss is in other countries.  It hasn't made any families fall apart here, the world keeps spinning.

His moms must be so proud of him, and I love that people are standing up and questioning why his moms and other gay and lesbian couples continue to be discriminated against in their legal rights and medical care.

A touching memoir that was a surprise from a twenty year old 3/5


Beginners - DVD  (2011)

Ewan McGregor my secret boyfriend has been busy lately. As well as fishing in the Yemen, he has been in LA looking after his ageing father.  His dad is played by the charming Christopher Plummer, who truly shines in this movie.

After the death of his wife, and in his seventies Dad declares that he is Gay and looking for love.  At the same time he is diagnosed with cancer and we get to share both their journeys.  There were some truly sweet moments in this movie, and sorry Ewan, but I am so in love with that little dog.

Sweet and charming - 3/5

Sunday, June 17, 2012

33 Postcards (2011)

So Saturday night was a great night for a cheap curry and Roti bread (Roti Chenai), then a mint/choc +biscotti icecream at Cafe Eis here in Wellington, then a movie at the Paramount.  I tell you - it was a big night out in the city. It was super chilly, and most people were huddled in front of the rugby.

There were several shows on at the same time, so it was a last minute choice to see this one.  It is the story of Mei Mei (Little sister), who is left at the orphanage in rural China when she was six.  She grows up helping out with the choir, and at age sixteen is given the opportunity to tour Australia.

Since she was young, she had been receiving postcards from a family who sponsered her, and so when she gets the chance she goes to search for them.  What she finds is not what she expected.

At first I thought we had made a good choice with this movie, a third of the way through I was convinced that we were just watching a stereotypical good girl lost in the story tale and by the end, well I wondered if had been written by a repressive government as a reply to Maos last Dancer.  Beware of the people in the West, they tell lies about their better lives.  1/5

Taken - Robert Crais

Taken - Robert Crais (2012 )

Way back in the day, Lee Childs Jack Reacher used to roam the mean streets picking off the bad fellows and quietly going to the next hotspot.  Lately however, he has been stuck going up and down the same country roads, picking off the same gang of toughies - much like a 90's computer character stuck on the same stage.

Back on the real mean streets of LA we have Cole and Pike who in this episode are off to find a missing daughter and her boyfriend, plucked from the desert by a gang of bajadores - gangs who prey on other bandits.

  It is pretty grim stuff, it did  make me cringe in several scenes,  with the thought of people smuggling being a modern day slavery.  There is pretty extensive violence portrayed but somehow you can always sense that the baddies will get their comeuppence in the end.

So if you are sick of strolling with Jack Reacher - don't forget to give Robert Crais a go - he's good! 4/5

Bill Cunningham New York

Bill Cunningham New York - DVD (2010)

So I have decided that I could afford a DVD to watch on Frugal Friday.  That means that I allow myself to go crazy with a $20 note.  So it was a DVD, a burger and some corn chips still left me with some coinage to spend at the market on Saturday morning.

I had REALLY wanted to see this movie last year, and it played for months at the arthouse cinemas that peppered Wellington.  Sometimes though, the gardening or friends are more important, so it had be shelved to my watch when comes out on DVD file.

Bill Cunningham is in his eighties and works for the New York Times shooting street styles and going to society events photographing the fashion.      In this movie the team follow him around on his day to day activities which he loves, and to his tiny apartment filled with filing cabinets, and his single bed propped up on boxes.  Slightly eccentric, his enthusiasm and dedication to what he does is inspiring, and it was such a sweet insight into the life of one man.  4/5

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wild - Cheryl Strayed

Wild - Cheryl Strayed (2012)

Wow.  I was trying to get to bed early last night, but when you only have twenty pages left of a good book, you have to ignore your instincts and just read the damn book.  I didn't really expect to enjoy this one, a book about hiking.  I used to think I like hiking and walking, but to tell the truth, I like my bed and a good shower.

So Cheryl is in her twenties and trying to deal with her demons.  Her mother has recently died, her marriage is over, she has been involved with drugs and a destructive relationship.  So seeking to escape and discover herself, she grabs a sleeping bag, tent, some books and the heaviest pack in the world and takes off on a walk on the Pacific coast from California to Oregon.

So it is not all Eat Pray Love thank goodness, at times she really hates what she it doing, and I could picture how bad her toenails and feet were, and I wondered how she could have done it without any training.   Her writing made me feel like I was on the journey with her, and even though I didn't expect it, I found myself looking forward to reading more about the journey.  5/5

Oranges and Sunshine

Oranges and Sunshine - DVD (2010)

After a tasty dinner of mashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots and Pork steak, me and my bloated tummy needed to rest up on the couch.  TV was a bit on the dire side, so I had got a couple of DVDs out to watch.

It is based on the true life story set in the 80s of an English social worker Margaret Humphreys, who is asked to look for some missing  family for adults, who as children were sent out to Australia.  Looking into the cases she discovers that thousands of children from childrens homes were told that their parents had died, and they were sent on boats to be placed in childrens homes in Australia, and often abused and neglected.

It was the work of Margaret and her charity that finally resulted in a apologies from the UK and Australian governments to the child migrants.  I had read many of the articles about this case, and would be keen at some stage to read her book.  The movie was a bit dry, and I felt myslef being a bit distracted while watching it.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

We Bought a Zoo

We Bought a Zoo - DVD (2011)

I read the original book this movie was based on a year or so ago, and I had thought of going to the cinema to see it when it came out.  But the crazy cinema prices keeps me away from most movies lately, also getting older has made more tight with my money, and if it is a sunny day I feel guilty sitting in the cinema and on a rubbish day I would prefer to stay home.

So after a tasty dinner out with the bestie and an early stop into a local pub to watch the rugby test match, I was home by 9.45pm and able to sit down and watch the DVD before bed.

Even though the story had been heavily Hollywoodised, there was a certain charm to the story of the widower with two kids, who takes on a run down zoo, hoping to restore it to glory and be able to open with paying customers.

I think I prefer Matt Damon being sensitive and sweet to his other muscle bound running roles.  The kids were cute and of course Scarlett Johansson was the perfect love interest, and at least wasn't overly made up for her role as a zookeeper.      So at $4 to lend it from the library, I must say it was a good Saturday night show.

The Good Father - Diane Chamberlain

The Good Father - Diane Chamberlain (2012)

Travis is raising his young daughter Bella on his own, when a series of setbacks lead him to becoming homeless.  Looking for work, he then risks it all by taking on a job with dangerous consequences.

It was a good story, raising lot of what ifs and what would I do, although I did find the multiple leads a bit confusing.  I am sure that many parents feel the same confusion and despair lately, as trying to get and keep a job has become more and more difficult.   Then trying to afford a house and childcare costs are issues that Travis and many other parents face and wrestle with daily.

A worthy 3/5.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Boy Who Fell To Earth - Kathy Lette

The Boy Who Fell To Earth - Kathy Lette (2012)

I had an infatuation with Kathy Lette years ago, especially after seeing Puberty Blues at the movies while an impressionable teenager. I loved a book, I did, but somewhere along the way we broke up, and went our separate ways. So this is the first book of hers I have picked up for a good ten years.

This is the story of Lucy, who after her husband ran off, is left with her autistic son Merlin to raise. We get to join Lucy, in her search for a new man in her life, where Merlin often inadvertently speaks his mind and scares any new fellows away.

Of course we get the rough as guts Aussie bloke turn up, to give Lucy a good time in the sack, and to educate Merlin on the ways of the world.

My impression was that I was amused for most of it, some of it was a bit cliched but in the end I was a bit ho hum about it all. 3/5

Monday, June 04, 2012

Kris Jenner.... and All Things Kardashian - Kris Jenner

Kris Jenner....and All Things Kardashian - Kris Jenner (2011)

I picked this one up from the library this week, and stayed up and read it all in one go, in a couple of hours.  Because of only having poor peoples tv, I have only managed to see a few of the shows, when house sitting and watching a Keeping up with the Kardashians marathon.  You can't avoid them though, that whole Kardashians are everywhere, magazines, TV and papers.

I didn't expect to like the book, I thought it would be all superficial frothy staff, however it did surprise me.  Kris met her first husband, Robert Kardashian while she was a young flight attendant.  I didn't really know much about her marriage or friendship with OJ  and Nicole Simpson, which took up a lot of the book.  Her second husband Bruce Jenner was covered as well, and I did admire her for putting her family first, and after several bouts of losing all of her money, in a period of a few short years, she has made them an almost household name and made them very very rich.  Her determination and devotion to her family have to be admired.

So, it surprised  me by being both readable and engaging, and I learnt somethings along the way.  For that, I have to give it a 4/5

Agorafabulous - Sarah Benincasa

Agorafabulous - Sarah Benincasa (2012)

This is the most modern of memoirs, one where you lay your dirty secrets out for all to view.  Sarah Benincasas is a university student when she becomes overwhelmed with everything and retreats to her room.  Becoming scared to leave, she even resorts to starting to pee in containers, scared to leave to go to the bathroom.

In a moment of clarity, she realises that she is in trouble, and calls her parents to come and pick her up and take her home.  There she goes through therapy, and begins to start again, finding a couple of jobs and signing up for more college courses.

It was an honest story of modern depression, and although I did inwardly cringe at the thought of laying all of your secrets out on the table, but can see that so many people would relate to Sarahs feeling.  I was a little amused at the amount of money and time she invested in her college education, only to become a comedian.  Nothing wrong with entertaining people, and I think she does it well.  I just think that being at college may have been one of the triggers for her depression, and that she was doing it just because that was what was expected of her. 

Anyways - I'm going to give it a 3/5