Saturday, November 30, 2013

Never Go Back - Lee Child

Ohhhh boyfriend, I am glad you took my previous advice and finally got off that country road.  It has seemed to take you years to get from there to here, and at least get to a city with more than a thousand people.  I am so glad that you went to a city, maybe grabbed a grande latte and got to have a shower or two.  I'm at least glad that the ladies you pick seem to have brains and understand your sarcastic wisecracks even if they seem pretty quick at dropping their pants, we understand your irresistible charms and are picturing a more Channing Tatum physique, rather than little Mr Risky Business.

Alas, my attention wasn't really grabbed by this latest adventure - I didn't find the clever in it and was a little bored.  There was a bit much driving around for me, even though I was glad you found a car or two it just seemed a little too convenient to find a hillbilly ATM burning at the time you needed cash.

So honey, take care, stay away from those country roads, quit the hitchiking, maybe use your pension money to buy a few more shirts, take a vacation, and head off somewhere new.  3/5

Friday, November 22, 2013

Margot - Jillian Cantor

Margie Franklin has a secret.  It is 1959 and she is working as a secretary for a Jewish Law Firm in Philadelphia, living her life quietly.  There is a new movie at the cinema "The Diary of Anne Frank", and Margie is finding it harder to hide who she really is.  She is really Margot Frank, the older sister of Anne, who escaped while being moved between camps.

I felt very emotional reading this novel, as I think she captured Margot, a character we all think we know well.  In Annes shadow while in the Annexe Margot feels slighted by her father, who has chosen to publish Annes diary, and make a new life for himself in Switzerland.

A 4/5 for me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Knocking on Heaven's Door - Katy Butler

The front cover of this book makes it seem like it will be grim reading, and after reading it I guess you can say it is not an easy read - especially if you have ageing parents.  Katy Butler lives a fair distance away from her parents, and her expectation is that they will have a gentle retirement and then some vague illness and die.  When her father suffers a stroke though, she finds that she is needed to help her mother with him as he returns home.  When his heart fails, a pacemaker is inserted to stabilise his heartbeats prior to a surgery.  As the years go by, her father also begins to suffer from dementia, sliding into becoming more frail and dependant on his wife and caregivers for daily help.

Less than a year after her fathers death, her mother then becomes ill and after the experience with her husband and his medical issues, Katys mother makes some different medical choices, with the end of her life not extended by surgical intervention.

In this memoir, Katy talks not only about her own family experience, but about the moral issues surrounding doing everything possible vs gentle waiting and a slow medicine approach to caring for our elderly relatives.  Working in a hospital I find myself asking the same questions, when I see elderly people who are subjected to vigorous surgery and treatments, ones which seem to only be prolonging the suffering and their dying.  For myself, I think I would much prefer a quality of my life rather than the quantity.

5/5 - As I will be thinking about this book for some time to come and think that it will certainly be worth a reread in a few decades, when I am sure not much would have changed in the care of elderly patients.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Unbreakable - Sharon Osbourne

I smiled all through reading Sharon Osbournes new autobiography - Unbreakable.  You think you know the stories, as so much about her family appears in todays popular press.  I try to avoid the tabloids and trashy magazines, only picking them up to read in waiting rooms and the work tearoom,  but maybe the websites are just as bad or worse at reporting on any bit of gossip from celebrity land, making us all familiar with tales of Sharon, Ozzy, Jack and Kelly.  Those stories though come to you in bits and pieces, so it was nice to hear from Sharon herself about many of the stories reported in the press in the past year or so, Jacks diagnosis with MS, the birth of grand daughter Pearl, Sharons recent surgeries and of course the almost breakup of Sharon and Ozzys marriage.

For all the drama in her life, I can't help but admire the strong love that she has for her family and that even with all the issues of years ago, her kids seem to be quite normal now and settled now their wild years are behind them.  Living with Ozzy sounds like a daily challenge, and not something I could handle, so good on her for sticking it out all these years.  4/5

Friday, November 08, 2013

Longbourn - Jo Baker

This is one of those books that has me mesmerized at the bookstore, as I picked it up several times and thought about taking it home with me, but alas my budget can't stretch to books at the moment.  So I had to return it to the stacks and reserve it from the local library.  We are all familiar with Pride + Prejudice, but this is the Downton Abbey version, told from the servants who bustled about the house taking care of the Bennetts, doing their washing, cooking the food, doing their hair and cleaning up after them.

I did find it a bit dry at the beginning, I struggled with the story and was a bit bored, but once it got into telling the story of Sarah the housemaid who begins to notice James, well a touch of romance was what the story needed for me, and I loved the second half.  I wasn't surprised to see on the back page that the story has already been sold to be made into a movie, as I can see it in my head already.  4/5

Saturday, November 02, 2013

About Time

Saturday night is often movie night round here, although I should say it is more like Saturday evening.  We went to burgers and fries at a local bar, that offers a Wagu beef burger that is huge and a drink for $20 which is quite the deal.  You do have to eat before 6pm though, which suits this old lady.  We then went and saw about time, which I knew a little about and did enjoy a lot more than I expected.

It's nice to see a love story about real love, the love you have not only for a significant other, but for your friends, your family, parents, siblings, family home, children, aunties and uncles.  There was a real mix in the audience for this movie, and I think everyone left smiling.  Made by Richard Curtis who did Notting Hill and Love Actually, he is onto another winner I think, a quieter more grown up winner.  5/5

Friday, November 01, 2013

The River of No Return - Bee Ridgway

Oh  I did enjoy this one, after a few dull time travel books I wanted one with a bit of magic, that captured how crazy it must be to slip through time.  We get to meet Nick, who is an English officer fighting the Napoleonic wars in Spain, where he is about to be die on the battlefield, but suddenly finds himself two hundred years in the future.  Taken in by the Guild a secret society who are said to control time, they tell him that there is no way back.  With memories of his family, and a dark eyed girl he starts a new life as a cheese maker.

Life for Nick is quiet, until the Guild come back into his life, needing his help to find out what is causing rifts in time travel - are the Ofan to blame?  For the Guild are not the only ones who can manipulate time to their advantage, and Nick has to figure out who the good guys are.

A 5/5 from me - I am sure the story has been left open for a second novel or two (but hopefully not seven more).  It has been a while since I actually didn't mind such a longish novel, and it was all down to the interesting time periods, good writing and likeable main characters.