Business first please:
I said I would send the Russian travel book, Berezina by Sylvain Tesson to a random person who commented on the last post. I used Random.org and the winner is Kaggsy of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings. Karen, if you email a mailing address at psbparks at ymail dot com, I will post to you at the beginning of next week. I hope you enjoy it.
Binging on films:
This week has really flown by and I admit I have no idea where the time went. I have been reading and also attended a couple of films. Little Women was enjoyable but more for the costumes and scenery. They flash back and forth a few times which at times confused me momentarily but then all became clear. I have seen so many interpretations of this film I guess now I have it covered more than enough. The book remains the best way to know this story. Timeless.
I also saw the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. Starring Tom Hanks, it is the story of Fred Rogers who presented the American childhood show, Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood in the USA from 1968 to 2001. It was a very gentle show and although I was too old for it at the time, I remember my younger brother watching it and the impersonations he did of Mr. Rogers kept our family in fits of laughter several times. I enjoyed the nostalgia of it.
Last night I saw the film, Bombshell with a couple of friends. It is based on the sexual harassment that happened to the women broadcasters on Fox News by the CEO and the women’s case against him that resulted in his leaving the organisation in 2016, just before the American election of Donald Trump. As I won’t have anything to do with Fox News, I was unaware of all of this, though none of what I witnessed surprised me. Fox News isn’t even registered as a news organisation but instead is listed as entertainment. Why so many Americans think Rupert Murdoch’s Fox TV news program presents unbiased news is beyond me but hey, to each their own. Of course being a Hollywood film it was full of drama and spit and polish. I don’t usually run to see a lot of American films unless they are more independent but to see three in two weeks is a record for me. It was more of a social opportunity to spend time with friends than having any real desire to get to these films.
I did get excited to hear the producers of the Downton Abbey movie that was so popular last year are looking at making yet another full feature sequel. I think they were surprised at how much money they made from the first one so that is probably the best incentive. Now, they just have to try to get all of the actors gathered together again to move forward. We’ll see…
The book I immersed myself in this week was Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout. I really loved Olive Kitteredge as the first Olive book. I also enjoyed e mini-series made of it with Frances McDormand starring as Olive. As I read the book she is who I pictured in my mind.
Olive Again is constructed the same as the first book and picks up from the end of Olive Kitteredge and goes to almost the end of her life when she is in assisted living. The chapters feature various people in the town of which she lives and she pops up here and there. Sometimes she features quite a bit in the chapter and other chapters she is a passing character.
Elizabeth Strout has such a good way of defining and writing about characters in a community and by the end several characters are intersecting in each others lives with Olive somehow touching all of them. I really enjoy the format.
I know a lot of people probably wouldn’t like her as a person but I love her. She is acerbic and cranky with a very hidden heart of gold. As I grow older I find myself blurting out things when annoyed and I can hear Olive’s voice in my head-=. Sometimes it worries me how easily I could become her. She is one of my all time favourite characters in a book and I really do come close to knowing her as a non-fictional character. I guess this is very complimentary of Strout’s writing. If you enjoyed the first Olive book then I think you will enjoy the second one. If you didn’t like the first one then it is probably best to skip the second one. I think they are both books I could happily read again at a later date.
I’m undergoing some treatment for an eye problem at the moment (nothing to worry about as it is treatable but necessary) and the drops I’m using really cause the eye to be sensitive to light. It also aches quite a bit for a few hours after the drops so I am only reading in fits and starts.
I downloaded the Classics of American Literature narrated by Arnold Weinstein on Audible.com. I listen to it for 30 to 45 minutes each night when I first go to bed each night. I set the sleep timer for 30 or 45 minutes and as it finishes I am either asleep or just about to sleep. The entire course is 44 hours long. I’m finding it very interesting. Mr. Weinstein is a professor in literature at Brown university and is very knowledgeable.
I have heard lectures on Washington Irving, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe and am currently listening to lectures on Nathaniel Hawthorn. He discusses their personal lives and then really dissects their most prominent writings. Currently he is really giving a great deal of information about the Scarlet Letter. I read this book in high school and hated it. But now I am much older and learn what Hawthorne was trying to relate through it, I am finding it much more interesting.
I guess that pretty much summarises the week so I will finish this off and get the Berezina book wrapped, ready to post. Enjoy your weekend.