Friday, October 30, 2015

Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig

What an interesting little memoir, that I can only describe as completely raw .  We meet author Matt Haig, who fifteen years ago found himself dealing with a intense, all encompassing depression, that took over his life for a couple of years.  He is able to describe it in a way that many doctors can't, the pain, and crippling loss of feeling that made everything hard, the times when he found no joy in doing anything, when it became hard to walk, to leave the house, to be left alone, or to be with anyone, when books and music lost their magic, and when the world didn't make any sense.

What is also magical is that Matt Haig is able to articulate so well is his journey out of deep depression, how being able to run stretched his body and helped refocus his mind, how regaining a joy of reading helped to escape to new worlds, and the love of his family and partner helped him feel love. 5/5

Thursday, October 29, 2015

After You - Jojo Moyes

I'm a bit meh about this one. On one hand it was nice to find out what happened to Louisa Clark, how her life carried on, and I felt like her life carried onto predictable chick lit land where she encountered traditional chick lit characters.  I wasn't surprised by anything in this book, although it was a nice gentle read.  I also sense that this was a set up for book 3 - and book 2 always ends up being a bit of boring middle ground. 2/5

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Way We Wore - Daphne Selfe

In this little memoir, the author Daphne Selfe tells us about her life with her growing up through some of the clothes she and her family wore.  After some modeling in her twenties, she had a long and happy marriage and brought up her children, before finding fame as a senior model, and now in her eighties is more in demand than ever.  With her long grey hair and dancers figure she now travels the world for ad campaigns and magazine photos and is a much needed vision of woman that we need in the media.

I enjoyed her stories, such an interesting period to write about and somehow I wonder if there will be such interesting books from the youngsters now, if in sixty years they will be writing poetically about converse sneakers, skinny jeans, beanies and flannel shirts? 4/5

Friday, October 23, 2015

Make Me - Lee Child

Oh hot boyfriend Reacher you sure are at a crossroads, just like the picture on the front of this latest adventure.  Again we find you in a rural town wandering round discovering trouble.  I am not going to be jealous that you found another lady friend, I know a man has needs.  I just am disturbed that if you have no luggage where do you carry your toothbrush and your lynx (oh and spare undies too)?

The first 3/4 of this book felt dragged out to me, and I found it hard to believe that you would get involved in someone elses business without an idea of what was going on.  It felt a bit forced to me.

So buddy - I hope while out shopping for a manbag we can find you on a more exciting adventure.  We are close to breaking up but I am prepared to give you another chance.  2/5

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Martian

I had a middle aged lady day out today.  It started out lovely and sunny, but with a brisk breeze that increased throughout the day.  I thought the movie was on at midday, but it was only showing at 3pm, so I took myself off for a wander.  I had a lovely lunch, a chicken cannaloni and salad, that was light on the chicken and heavy on the broccoli in the filling.  It was tasty, and I thought about complaining, but I would feel embarrassed when I had scoffed the whole lot down.

A bit of shopping for a couple of small items filled in a few hours before I headed off the cinema.  There were a whole 9 of us in one that seated 400, so we all got good seats.  Anyway, such a good movie.  It is always a good one when one actor can hold the majority of the story and Matt Damon does a great job of holding the story together.  3D is often a bit of a gimick for me, not adding to the story and often distracting me making me aware of the computer generated images that annoy me.  This one was not so bad, but I often find I have to stop a couple of times to take the glasses off as they are uncomfortable and annoying.  Certainly worth watching in the movie theatre, I think these movies need to be shown on the big screen.  5/5

Friday, October 16, 2015

Big Eyes - Friday Night Movie Night

I have decided that this middle aged lady needs to treat herself on a Friday night - no more Coronation St for me.  Poor peoples tv has slim pickings on a Friday night, as all the hipsters are out mooching into their craft beers and munching on their paleo/quinoa/kale bites that they forget about us oldies at home.  Still I have a mountain of shows on the DVR and with apple tv access to a pile of movies,  popcorn is in the pantry and a cool beverage is ready in the fridge .

So this is the perfect chance to catch up on some movies that I had thought about going to see, but didn't find the time and at $18 to see a movie in town, it is half the price and with the comforts of home.  And I like the comforts of home - the couch and the fridge are cheaper than going out.

So Big Eyes is a biographical movie about the artist Margaret Keane who is famous for paintings she made of mainly girls with huge eyes, which graced many of our bedrooms in the 1970s.  Her artist husband starts by selling her paintings, and convinced that people won't buy lady art, makes her stay home and paint the pictures while he takes credit, telling people and journalists that is his art.

Directed by Tim Burton, the movie is able to hold its own stylistically with beautiful sets with lovely saturated colour and convincing street scenes.  Amy Adams is always a delight to watch, her shy and awkward portrayal of the artist makes it an interesting watch.  I like period pieces, wondering if a modern woman would stand for being treated the same way we see Margaret being treated.  How now being a single mother, she would be able to live life the way she wanted and have the success for herself rather than having to hide behind her husband.


Friday, October 09, 2015

Hope - Amanda Berry + Gina DeJesus

We all know the story now, of how three young Cleveland women get to escape from being imprisoned in a house for years.  In this book Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus get to tell their own stories, and it is a pretty honest and brutal, especially making me nervous about letting your kids know to never take a lift from a stranger, even if he is someone you recognize.  Delusional and controlling, this monster keeps these three girls chained up in his house, abusing them daily.

You have to admire their courage to survive to be able to see their families again, and to get on with living a normal life after their escape.  Especially as a female, I think this book resonates so much with me, as it tells the story of being taken by the boogie man, yet I love that these three women have each stood up and given interviews and written their stories down, taking his power away and reclaiming theirs. 5/5

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Breakfast, School Run, Chemo - Julia Watson

Julia Watson was a young mum of four, trying to study and juggle home life with her husband when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer.  This book chronicles her life from diagnosis to now, and includes many of her published articles and blog posts.  You have to admire the girl, and I loved her honesty about her struggle, especially when people think you should be upbeat all the time and look at the positives.  It's pretty rubbish being told you have a terminal illness, and you can understand her fear of leaving her family and her lovely life.  Terrifying stuff.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Dog Master - W. Bruce Cameron

This book is about the imagined step of pre historic man, who took the step of turning a wolf into a pet, going from being hunted to being a team.  Centered on two different small tribes, both trying to survive by hunting the food and keeping the family members alive while surviving the elements, and being killed themselves.

I did enjoy the book, it is well written and entertaining, but I couldn't help but feel a bit jaded from the Clan of the Cave bear memories, especially as the book ended in a place that you know that there is another book waiting in the wings.  I just hope there are not another 7 - I don't have it in me to do a long series.

So as I head to bed I am grateful for my quilt, electric blanket and feather pillows, knowing that I would have been a rubbish cave woman, running and chasing and sleeping rough are not my things. 3/5

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Fear the Darkness - Becky Masterman

Oh I liked the look of this book on the shelves, and picked it up from the library.  Bridgid Quinn is a 60ish year old retired FBI agent, trying to settle in the suburbs of Tuscon.  She is asked to take on her brothers niece to prepare her for university.  I liked that I thought I could guess where this one was going, but the ending did surprise me, as there were a few unexpected twists and turns to keep the story fresh.

This is the second book, the author has written about this character, so I am looking forward to reading her earlier story.  4/5