Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I loved this book and its main character so much! Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is a tale of loneliness and trying to overcome childhood trauma, a story of not fitting in and not understanding why. I don't want to give anything away by detailing her struggles and their outcome, but the story grabbed me immediately and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen.

I sympathized with Eleanor even though I could see why other characters often found her odd or difficult. As author Gail Honeyman said in an interview with The Bookseller: "I thought it was important that Eleanor was never self-pitying, because I think as a reader that is when you lose sympathy for a character. Even if [a character] has been through horrendous experiences, if they are seen as self-pitying, it’s a very distancing thing. She’s broken but she’s not destroyed. She’s a survivor of it all."

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Me by Elton John

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of all the music I've loved in my life, I come back most often to Elton John's songs, the tracks least likely to prompt me to change the dial or tell Alexa to skip. I'll listen to it the rest of my life, and I'm sure people will still be listening to it many lifetimes after I'm gone.

Maybe I enjoyed every page of his autobiography, Me, so completely because I'm a fan, but I don't think it's only that. The writing is simple, engaging and honest, with a thread of humor and self-awareness running through it like a clear, sparkling stream. It swept me along.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Fun with The Oscars

I never cared to watch award shows when I was single, and I still don't – with one exception: The Oscars. Since my husband and I like watching movies together, seeing which ones scoop up awards is a fun game for me. My husband may grumble that he doesn't care about the Oscars, but we always have a good time watching and comparing notes.

With the help of printable ballots offered by various websites, we make it into a no-stakes sporting event. If you want to play at home, grab a ballot and mark your votes in advance. PureWow offers a great printable ballot. You can also peruse the Oscar Nominees laid out with nice thumbnails to jog your memory of a given movie or role. That site also offers a printable ballot. (Several sites have ballots; I like to look over a few and find one without a lot of unnecessary extra graphics and a layout I like for printing.)

Monday, February 3, 2020

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These essays had a comfortable sense of familiarity to me. They made me laugh, nod my head in recognition, or mull over the truth that even when your world sounds pretty great in many respects (as the author's certainly does), you can still get sucker-punched by life and your own issues. Hell, even when you have some pretty significant problems, you can usually count the ways millions of people in the world have it worse – yet knowing that doesn't make your troubles melt away like a snowman in the sun.

Many passages reminded me of myself ... in small ways. The messed up ways rather than the "You're winning at life, pal!" ways. Her dire sense of direction, the need to plan things out, get things right, check off boxes, be responsible and reliable and expect others to behave similarly. Sometimes annoying the shit out of others with all of that. Taking up the slack at work or anywhere really; if others don't do what needs to be done, stepping up. And end up taking on too much. Swimming in anxiety at times. Yep, sounds familiar.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

What to Watch February 2020

So many shows, so little time. As my husband points out, it's a good problem to have. My personal list of shows and movies we want to get to at some point is LONG. Every month it gets an overhaul as I add the list of new shows I'd like to watch and cut what we've already seen.

I'm sharing my new monthly additions here for anyone else keeping an eye out for new and returning shows. I'll include links to all the new content for a given service for you to browse as well.

And away we go!

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Sisters by Dervla McTiernan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The narrator, Aiofe McMahon, delivers an outstanding performance of a somewhat flawed short story. I can't determine how much of the momentum that kept me hooked was the story itself, and how much the dynamite voice work.

I don't want to give spoilers, so I won't go into detail on the weak areas. I will say the author has a great way of weaving a story, it's just that some of the threads were a bit thin. But at the same time, there were many parts of the narrative that resonated for me, particularly the relationship between the sisters and the challenges and obstacles they faced as young woman early in their careers.