Category Archives: Book/Film Review

Book Review:

‘Collected Works of A. J. Fikry’ by Gabrielle Zevin, 2014

This small work of fiction captures the reader’s imagination with the closeness of a small community living on an island. Pivotal is the bookshop. Here we meet a widower, grieving for his wife who was killed in a road accident, until a miracle happens.

Grief, friendship and love are the main ingredients. The love of books permeates the whole story, bringing together the main characters. ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ by Mary Ann Shaffer is of a similar ilk. Together they are delightful in their simplicity.

Sometimes I feel the need for an untroubling read before going to sleep. This fits the bill perfectly.

A Posy and Thank you to Margaret Rose:

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This is a bunch of flowers, ( photographed earlier in the year), as a thank you to Margaret Rose for her kind comments, introducing me to many who haven’t been here before, and for those of you who visit my site reguarly. IMG_2469IMG_2463

Theses are some flowers photographed yesterday .

Today I went to see a really quirky film, which was a story within a story called, ‘The Budapest Grand Hotel.’ I am always suspicious when they say any resemblance to anyone is coincidental, fictional characters, etc., as so often, fact is stranger than fiction.  M. Gustave says, ‘If you look and listen to the tales of others… there’s no need to have imagination when writing!’ Have any of you seen it?

The European hotel and grand house settings are beautiful. Perhaps my imagination is a little wild if I began to believe the story; but it implies, if you are kind to others, all will fall in your lap. M. Gustave H. is played by Ralph Fiennes, who acts the part of a legendary concierge . As he ages, his ‘lady friends’ age and he speaks of the ‘cheaper cuts having more flavour’ to Zero Maslafa, the bell boy, who is learning the trade from his master. The story is inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig, and is produced by Director Wes Anderson.

Genius and Rapture:

Going by train to the city has its advantages. As it takes a little over an hour each way, one is able to read. Today I started a book Janet, (an author/ teacher/ friend), lent me yesterday. Such friends are rare and precious!

What a delight to find such an interesting book. It is called ‘Dear Genius’, The letters of Ursula Nordstrom, collected and edited by Leonard S. Marcus. I wonder how many of you have read it?

Ursula Nordstrom, (UN), worked for Harper & Brothers, New York, for more than forty years. She became the first woman elected to the Board of Directors, Harper & Brothers in 1954. She was a most outspoken and caring editor in the Department of books for Boys and Girls for many years.

This is a quote to give you an idea of the sort of person she was:

“Asked pointedly by Anne Carroll Moore, the New York Public Library’s powerful superintendent of work with children, what qualified her, a non librarian, nonteacher, non-parent, and noncollege graduate to publish childrens’ books, Nordstrom just as pointedly replied, “Well, I am a former child, and I haven’t forgotten a thing.”

Her letters reveal her strength of character. It is exciting to hear of someone who would support writers she thought had talent, even during their difficult, non- productive times. I shall enjoy reading further…

Our trip to the city was to meet our new grand daughter, Hazel Elsa. Such perfection, and it makes one realize that miracles still happen. She was born yesterday and her new parents are understandably besotted, as are her numerous grandparents.

 

 

Review: ‘Winter Wish’ Dixie Minor

Dixie Minor’s Y/A book, ‘Winter Dream’, is set in the shadow of the north Georgia Mountains. The culture of a country town is reflected through the eyes of 18-year-old Jessie.

The loss of her mother at an early age permeates the story that encapsulates the uncertainties of youth.

Turmoil and dangers disrupt this peaceful town; combined with boy friend issues; suspense is maintained.

Jessie’s maturation is shown with her realization that she is not responsible for other people’s problems and happiness.

This book retains wholesome family values, without resorting to horror and terror. A welcome gift for any teenager. Dixie Minor is a fellow blogger and can be found at: http://www.dixieminor.wordpress.com

Sunday drive to Ballarat:

Day light saving ended today, helping us with an early start to travel to Ballarat. Driving accompanied by Alan Bennett reading stories made the two and a half hour journey there pass in a flash, as did the return journey.

I’m sure many of you have heard Alan Bennett reading his stories. The first one was called ‘Father! Father! Burning Bright’, (1999) followed by, ‘The Clothes They Stood Up In’ (2001).

Alan Bennett’s astute ability to observe and describe the idiosyncrasies of the mundane is remarkable. His sense of humour saved what might have been a sad, dour experience of the protagonist’s father dying, into an amusing escapade.

From simple ideas; human nature with its foibles are captured into webs of intrigue and enhanced by his warm, Leeds accent.

Another favourite novella written by Bennett is ‘The Uncommon Reader.’ It is a gem and for anyone who has not read any of his work, his humanity shines through.

We had a delightful day celebrating Jack turning 6. His chosen profession at the moment is to become a spy. A finger print pack was given, so he went around inspecting all of our fingerprints with a magnifying glass.

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Oh! to be six again! Jack and Mackenzie

 

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Book Review: ‘The Rosie Project’ Graeme Simsion

‘The Rosie Project’ Graeme Simsion 

At the moment I am reading ‘The Rosie Project’ which has had me laughing out loud! If you feel like something light but well written, this is the book for you. The protagonist is Don, a highly intelligent professor of genetics, and although he’s not aware of it, he has Asperger’s Syndrome. This story presents many delightful insights into the world of someone who sees things in a literal way without being able to read the subtleties of facial expressions.

He would dearly like to find a wife; so he prepares a sixteen- page questionnaire, The Wife Project is born. This is just the beginning, it develops with the help of his friend, a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker; someone who definitely doesn’t tick all the boxes. Predictable, maybe, but definitely a fun read.

The author, Graeme Simsion, is from Melbourne and he’s written plays, short stories and two non-fiction books. ‘The Rosie Project’ is his first novel and won the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. It is published by textpublishing.com.au

Book Review:

A Review: ‘And Then Like My Dreams’ (A Memoir)

Margaret Rose Stringer http://margaretrosestringer.com

This joyous and then poignant love story brings into focus two inseparable lives complimenting one another fully, following M-R’s disconsolate childhood.

Margaret Rose is a master story- teller. It is the final part that I found the most compelling. Her honesty: disclosing her intimate feelings, full of pathos and then devastation, one can’t help but be moved.

I put off reading this book because I knew it was going to be sad. In fact I borrowed it from the library, as I wasn’t sure I would like it. Having read it I shall order a couple of copies, as it is the sort of book one can give to someone else going through the drama of life. It is good to know that you’re not the only one who is suffering! The ending shows the strength that M-R gained, going on to study, work and write, finding her-self again. This gives hope; even though life will never be the same, it shows how strength can be achieved through adversity.

M-R is a prolific blogger and responder to other peoples’ blogs. Many of you will know her already. I recommend, ‘And Then Like My Dreams.’