Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Thirty Days - Mark Raphael Baker

This is a pretty raw memoir from Mark Raphael Baker, which he writes about his family and his beloved wife of 33 years Kerryn. He gives a picture of their family life , how they met, how their parents relationships affected their experiences, how they fell in love and their plans for the future.  When Kerryn is diagnosed with stomach cancer he helps her to navigate the ten months until her death.  It is a book about not only grieving, but about living your life to the end, about still making plans and helping your family to be able to continue on without you on.  He talks about dying, death and how all of our lives change in ebbs and flows over our lives, but primarily this is a book about love and family. 4/5

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Last Tudor - Philippa Gregory

I haven't read any Philippa Gregory novels for some time, but liked the premise of this story.  It tells about the end of the Tudors with Lady Jane Grey, who was  manipulated by her family and in laws to become Queen for 9 days before being beheaded as a traitor at only 16 years old.

We also get to meet her younger sisters Katherine and Mary, who are at the mercy of their cousin Queen Elizabeth the First and must follow her instructions or risk being branded traitors like their sister.

For me this felt like an original story about three sisters where there is little written about them, and I enjoyed the novel, easily getting lost in the Tudor times and thinking about how heavy and awkward those big dresses must have been to wear. 4/5

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Middle Aged Munster Night In - Four Weddings and a Funeral

Well it was a stay at home Saturday here, which was quite pleasant.  Chores were done and comfy pants worn .  I saw Four Weddings and a Funeral was on.  Can you believe it came out 24 years ago?

At the time it came out I lived in London and I remember going to see it at a cinema in Wimbledon which had 1/2 smoking and non smoking seats.  So you coughed all the way through and came out stinking.

At our work Christmas party that year one of the young girls turned up wearing a knock off of the Versace safety pin dress that Luz Hurley wore to the premiere.   The boys at work talked about it for months after.

Oh and I had a boyfriend who was an extra in the final church scene.  It was so long ago I can't remember what he looked like - haha.

So everytime I watch the movie it makes me smile and remember my years living in London.  I love it's easy English charm and funny characters, and have a soft spot for a young Hugh Grant.  So a highlight if the holiday season as all the old movies are rolled out again.  A refreshing change from car chases, computer generated special effects and super heroes.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How to be Champion - Sarah Millican

Sarah Millican is an English comedian who makes me smile everytime I see her on a show.  I have only seen comedy specials and the her participation on the many variety/game shows that seem to fill the tele late hours.  She is down to earth and funny, and reading her book felt very much like she was sitting next to me telling me her stories. 

Her book is part autobiography and part self help in how to get on with your life, to ignore the bullies, how she was able to move on after her divorce, why she doesn't want children, how after a variety of mundane jobs she decided to try being a comedian.  All of it was interesting and entertaining, and I felt at the end of the book I liked her even more. 4/5

Monday, November 27, 2017

Before I Go To Sleep

Ironically I did nod off watching this one on the couch.  At 99c on special at iTunes it wasn't a great loss to miss some of the middle of the story.  So Nicole Kidmans character who  has amnesia, wakes up each morning beside her husband Ben with no memory of the night before.  With help from her doctor she tries to figure out how she can be reminded about what has happened earlier to her.  Not is all as it seems of course, and she tries to figure out how she lost her memory and the suspicions she has about her husband.

I thought I would love it - Colin Firth, Mark Strong are all good actors - Nicole Kidman is a bit meh for me but she can still carry a film.  I couldn't help but feel that if I were waking up next to Colin Firth each morning, I would be happy.  Not having to go to work and swanning round in the big house would be cool too.  Colour me jealous, but I would have made the most of it, rather than being all morose and moody.

So it is a sad 2/5 from me.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Founder

Finally the wifi at home is working better, so I can catch up on a few shows and watch more movies while at home.  There is not much to watch on free television, so it is a treat to be able to stream a few things here and there.   The Founder was a 99c special on apple iTunes a couple of weeks ago, so it was time to watch it before it expired.

It is the story of Ray Kroc one of the founders of the McDonalds chain of  fast food restaurants.  Its an interesting story, but I can't really say I enjoyed it.  Ray seemed to have spent his time ripping off the original McDonalds founders brothers Maurice and Richard.  He seemed to undermine them at every turn, and ended up mega rich, while the brothers were forced to close and were not legally entitled to the money that had been promised to them.  His sneaky business tactics did not make me like him, and in the end I became a bit bored with this movie.  2/5

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Survivor Cafe - Elizabeth Rosner

This book is primarily a memoir - it tells the story about Elizabeth Rosner, whose Jewish parents met after the war, a father who was taken to Buchenwald and mother who escaped the Ghetto to hide in the forest for two years, married and immigrated to America.

 Living with the stories of their wartime experiences, the author considers what happens as they grow older and when they die - who will tell these stories? How the children and families of survivors also suffer from the pain that parents still feel and carry.   She also talks about many other major traumas in recent history and the effect on survivors and their families - how they move forward yet still honor their loved ones.  4/5

Friday, November 24, 2017

Grief Works - Julie Samuel

Julia Samuel is a counsellor who writes about some of the types of clients she has dealt with who come to see her about the death of a loved one.  She tells us there stories, and some of the things that they did to deal with the death of a partner/parent/child.  Interesting too were those people who seeked out her services as they were preparing for their own death.

It can be tricky for a lot of people to deal with as each death affects us differently, and everybody has their own way of processing that pain, and you can see that her job is to help guide people into moving on with their lives while acknowledging the loss.

While interesting - I felt a bit detached from this book. 3/5

Thursday, November 23, 2017

How Hard Can It Be - Allison Pearson

I do barely remember reading the original Kate Reddy novel by this author, many moons ago.  Now Kate Reddy is back.  Her kids are teenagers, her husband it busy riding his bike and ignoring her and the elderly parents are causing problems of their own.  Her 50th birthday is fast approaching and so Kate finds herself shuffling all of her family round, as she has to head back into the workplace which is full of colleagues who are half her age.

Being the same age myself, I could understand her position, but I found it all terribly predictable and a bit smug and self important.  I felt that if I knew Kate, I wouldn't like her much and felt like I had to trawl through this brick of a book. 2/5

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lost For Words - Stephanie Butland

I feel sad - a book about books and bookstores should be the type of book I really get into but something just didn't sing to me, and I had to give up after 50 pages.