Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The way Elizabeth Strout writes can knock you sideways. The characters feel achingly real, and the little details about their lives are insightful and beautifully phrased. For instance:

"And any unpleasantness that may have occurred back in his home, any uneasiness at the way his wife often left their bed to wander through their home in the night’s dark hours—all this receded like a shoreline as he walked through the safety of his pharmacy."

It "receded like a shoreline." You can almost feel that emotion, touch it, see it. What a simple yet stunning use of simile. I don't know what sorcery this is, but we'll call it a gift. One the author has, one she shares with us.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Everyone's a Critic by Jennifer Weiner

This quick, light read dishes out a revenge fantasy from an author sick of feeling disparaged or ignored by literary critics. 

You can tell Jennifer Weiner has had it up to here as you read Everyone's a Critic. All the unlikable traits heaped on an increasingly unfortunate critic, Laurel, lets you know Weiner is pissed. The bladder-infection-from-Hell the critic suffers tells you Weiner is ready to BURN IT DOWN. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

What to Watch December 2019

Holidays are here, and it's time to make your list and check it twice ... your December viewing list, that is. Santa will take care of the gifties, but I've got you covered on what to watch.

My personal picks for new shows and movies dropping on streaming services in December are below, along with links to full listings of what's coming to each streaming service. I've also compiled a list of links to a slew of holiday viewing guides you can find here, that includes everything from Hallmark Christmas movies to where to watch classics like It's a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story.

And away we go!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Holiday Viewing Guide December 2019

A veritable blizzard of Christmas movies will swirl around us like a joyous winter storm of festive cheer this holiday season, and the hardest part is keeping track of them all. So as my gift to you, in addition to my regular monthly listing of new shows coming to streaming, I've compiled a list of links to a host of holiday viewing guides.

Whether you want Hallmark Christmas movies, original new titles created by Netflix or Disney, classics like It's a Wonderful Life or Elf (yes, that is now a classic!), or musical specials and repeats of holiday episodes of classic TV sitcoms, I've got you covered!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Dear Girls by Ali Wong
I love Ali Wong's Netflix special Baby Cobra. It's hilarious. This book is no Baby Cobra. It's not bad, but temper your expectations.

Also, if you're shocked by strong language or frank talk about sex, please don't read this and give it a dismal review somewhere solely for those reasons. You should know that's part of the deal with Wong going in.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life is very funny at times and I love Wong's insight into life as a female comic, though that's only a small slice of the book (I listened to audio). As it's a letter to her daughters, most of it is also about her husband, childbirth, raising young children, dating, and her experiences as an Asian American woman. She shares some interesting stories from her life, and some not so captivating.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

With We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson weaves an overall mood of fear, hostility, menace, and madness without being overt or graphic. I was chilled.

I'll leave it at that, as Goodreads can fill you in on the synopsis if you're interested. If you prefer not to know too much (and I think that's best), skip the synopsis and dive in! At 162 pages it's not a huge commitment of time.

Reading anything by Shirley Jackson makes you want to know more about Shirley Jackson. The "Introduction" I found preceding the first chapter of Castle gave some background and insight into Jackson's life; not a lot, just enough to leave me wanting more.

You've probably even read her work and don't know it. At some point a teacher or friend surely laid before you a short story called "The Lottery."  What life, what experiences, creates that disturbing, unforgettable tale?