Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What My Daughters Taught Me - Joseph Wakim

Joseph Wakim is a young father of three, when his wife Nadia dies at age forty leaving him to raise their three young daughters alone.  In this memoir he describes various periods of their life together, from having to take on house hold chores, do all the cooking, style their hair, buy sanitary products to letting the daughters go out into the world dating and driving.  It is a whole new world for dads to take on, and you have to admire that he was able to carry on with humor and lots of patience.  3/5

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Orpheus Clock - Simon Goodman

After his father dies in his eighties, music producer Simon Goodman and his brother receive a box of his papers, discovering secrets about their family neither of them were aware of.  Their grandparents had been part of a wealthy German banking family, owning smart houses and a vast art collection of both old masters and impressionist works.  After being murdered by the Nazis,  the paintings, clocks and ornaments were scattered throughout Europe and America and their father had spent much of his life trying to track down and claim what belonged to the family.

Simon Goodman decides to take on his late fathers task of reuniting the art back to the family, which initially proves difficult due to the reluctance of the art world, auction houses, museums and governments to recognize that this art was taken by force and under duress.  It is a fascinating read, and I was amazed thinking of the amazing wealth of the Guttman family and how quickly that was all taken away from them. 4/5

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Why Not Me? - Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is an extremely likeable character.  She is  beautiful,smart and clever and boy does she work hard, creating and writing her show as well as starring in it and trying to have a life in the little time off she gets.  She is pretty candid, talking about issues like her weight, her love life, and I liked that there was less emphasis on trying to be funny like so many celebrity memoirs lately and rather was more memoir  like.

So like most people reading this book, you walk away wanting Mindy to be your best friend. 4/5

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Chosen Queen - Joanna Courtney

I love a good well written historical fiction story, and Joanna Courtney  did a great job with this first novel in a series.  We get to meet Edyth, only fourteen whose beauty catches the eye of a king.  Her future once determined by her parents is about to change as they are forced out of their home and into distant Wales.

It was a joy to pick up this book and read as it was a world where so much could change so quickly.  Full of battles, Vikings and never being sure of who your enemies were must have made it challenging.  For women even more so, when they often have little say about who they will marry and how they could live their lives. 5/5

Saturday, December 19, 2015

5 Flights Up - Middle Aged Lady Movie Night

Currently I am hosting a few germs from one of the nice patients I was looking after last week.  So it was a day of pottering round at home.  I was going to have an early night, but instead decided that a little movie would make the evening better.  I had considered seeing this one at the cinema when it played here recently, but it was only on a limited release and seemed to come and go super quickly.

Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton play Alex and Ruth, a couple who have been married for forty years and lived in the same Brooklyn apartment, 5 flights walk up with their senior dog Dorothy.  Now as they age they realize that it may be a wise time for them to consider moving.

This one was a sweet quick watch.   Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton made a sweet couple  nd are magic to watch on the screen.  It is easy to be mesmerized by Morgans silky voice and I could have listened to him talk  all night.  The apartment they lived in was lovely and as we all know about the trouble with buying and selling houses, the plot of the movie is not hard to predict.  Still a sweet middle aged lady 4/5.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Year of Yes - Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is the incredibly talented creator and writer of the television shows Greys Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal and producer of another show.  She is a busy lady working 10-12 hour work days and bringing up three adopted daughters.  An introvert, she realizes that she is good at saying No, and decides to push herself and say yes, opening herself up to new challenges.  Along the way, she begins to see that she begins to enjoy her life more, that she takes joy in experiencing the moments, rather than worrying and panicking when thrust into the limelight.

I enjoyed the book and understand her issues, it is hard often to be introverted in a world where being an extrovert is worshiped, so I understand her instinct to want to stay home on the couch.  I just couldn't help but feel a bit talked down to.  3/5

Monday, December 14, 2015

Born With Teeth - Kate Mulgrew

I was thinking that if you broke down the formula of most memoirs, you usually find it divided into threes.  A childhood/growing up into adulthood, adult work and relationships and then their current situation.  Kate Mulgrew manages these well, telling us about growing up in a large family, her career as an actress and her relationships and life as a mother.

I learnt a bit as I only knew her from Star Trek and only realized through this book that she was Red on Orange is the new Black.  I wish there was more about the new series, but I guess that was all pretty new when the book was written.  Writing seems to come naturally for her, and she kept me entertained with her story telling. 4/5

Monday, December 07, 2015

Music Monday - Hello

Adele sounds amazing!!!  I keep playing this one on the way to work to get into my happy place.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Block

In NZ and Australia we are tantalized every year by a series called The Block.  Four young photogenic couples are chosen to do up four almost identical houses, renovate them, then they are auctioned off and they get to keep the profits.  Tonights NZ series finished tonight, and although I haven't watched it all I have tuned in every now and then.  On the whole the houses are pretty amazing and done in a modern relaxed style with lots of white, and black floors and grey details.  Certainly very livable and roomy, although I often wonder about their heating choices as they seem to have a heat pump in the living room, but no heating in the bedrooms and lack of storage as few have cupboards for putting the vacuum cleaner and mops in or enough storage in the bathrooms.

My big beef is that I think these shows have gotten a bit out of control over the past few years.  Tonights winner was sold for $1.35 million dollars, giving the young couple almost $200,000 in profit which is good for them.  I am glad that for all the hard work, all couples made some money and come out ahead.  I just wish that the houses were more affordable, more realistic financially.

I am not a huge fan of the NZ version, but I love watching the Australians as they have more access to a huge range of furniture and design choices, whereas the poor Kiwi cousins get to shop mostly at Freedom Furniture giving a bit more of a boring generic look.

With lots of home shows, I would love to see something a bit more down to earth and simplistic.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

The Way

This is the second movie I have seen about walking the Camino in the past month, and I have read a few blog posts too.  I am not taking it as a message that I need to do it, although I can certainly see the appeal.  I did want to watch another movie, but this one popped up so I thought I would take a chance and watch.

Martin Sheen is an Ophthalmologist caught up in his work and golf, and doesn't understand his sons need to travel and experience the world.  Then he gets a call, he is needed in France, and ends up walking the Camino.  On his journey he is joined by three others, who all start off as strangers but become friends - you know the story.

A good old 3/5.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Born Survivors - Wendy Holden

This is an amazing true story of three young women who enter Auschwitz in early stages of pregnancy.  While the rest of their families are killed, all three find themselves alone and it is truly amazing that they get to survive and deliver their babies.  It is pretty hard to imagine how these poor women were treated and the conditions they had to suffer, and this bought me pretty close to tears on many occasions.  The brutality is truly astonishing, it is hard to believe that anyone could have survived through such horrors and it is a shame that everyone does not know these womens stories.  4/5