Whew! Another (reading) year has passed. I set a goal to read at least seventy-five new books and I far exceeded that. Somehow, I read over 110. This does not include titles I re-read. I was very happy with the books I chose this year. The majority I rated four stars, but around 40 percent of them earned five stars from me.
At the beginning of this year, I set some reading goals for myself. Honestly, I didn’t do as well with these as I would have liked. The two goals I did manage to accomplish were to quit more books and to read more non-fiction. My non-fiction consisted mainly of biographies and film history. I read about the friendship between James Stewart and Henry Fonda, interviews with classic film stars, books on costume design, biographies on Jean Arthur, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Ava Gardner and one about the last years of Bette Davis’ life. Continue reading “2018 Book Year in Review”
The Man Who Invented Christmas gives a new and welcome spin to A Christmas Carol by telling its’ creation through the eyes of the author Charles Dickens. Despite his previous publishing success, Charles Dickens is in financial straits. With a growing family, an expensive new London townhome and a spendthrift father, funds are very limited. His most recently published books haven’t been as successful. For this reason his publishers are hesitant to back a new book. Not to mention Dickens is struggling with writer’s block. Dickens close friend and agent, John Forster, encourages and support him through his difficulties, until inspiration strikes. Despite the lack of demand for a holiday story, Charles Dickens insists it is a tale that needs to be told. As such, he decides to self-publish putting his family in even further financial peril.
As Dickens writes his story, he faces several challenges. There is the growing disconnect between himself and his neglected wife. Another battle he faces is with his main character, Scrooge, who challenges him more than he expects. A third is the fractured relationship with his father who unexpectedly arrives for a visit. This also forces Dickens to wrestle with the ghosts of his own past history. It creates an intriguing intertwinement of the author’s life with that of his character.
I think I’ve seen just about every film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s book that is known to man. No matter the version, I’ve always loved the March family and their relationships with each other and those they adopt into their circle. But, I’ve never been happy with the romantic relationships as portrayed on screen.
After watching the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder again recently, I decided it was high time I finally read the book for myself. Especially since my strategy for reading more classics is to tackle the novels of film adaptations I really enjoy. And that is how I finally found myself reading Little Women.
The story of the four March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy is so well-known that I hardly think I need to summarize it here. Suffice it to say, that at over 500 pages long, the book gives much more time to developing and detailing these beloved characters, their relationships, their personal growth, their trials and triumphs.
You are the gull, Jo, strong and wild, fond of the storm and the wind, flying far out to sea, and happy all alone. Meg is the turtledove, and Amy is like the lark she writes about, trying to get up among the clouds, but always dropping down into its nest again. Dear little girl! She’s so ambitious, but her heart is good and tender, and no matter how high she flies, she never will forget home.
Three wealthy but lonely older men invite strangers into dinner on Christmas Eve. Displaced Texan James Houston and Jean Lawrence, a teacher join not only George, Chad and Michael, but also their housekeeper, former Russian countess Madame Tanya for a surprisingly merry Christmas. The three older men form a strong bond with the young James and Jean and act as matchmakers for the new couple.
As months pass, those bonds grow tighter and transform not only the lives of the elderly men, but also Madame Tanya. They become a family of love if not blood. When the three men pass away, they continue to watch over Jean and James from the here after, determined to see them happy. But James rise to instant fame as a singer brings with it many temptations and challenges his relationship with Jean. Will the men’s supernatural guidance be enough to keep them together? Continue reading “Classic Film Review – Beyond Tomorrow (1940)”
My winter TBR list consists of books which I really want to read, but which I haven’t gotten around to yet. With the holidays upon us, I don’t have as much time to whittle away at those lonely titles that are waiting to be read. But, I am resolved to make the effort.
I’ve always been a romantic at heart. However, not every romance has a happy ending. But that does not make them any less a love story. Such is the case with the film Waterloo Bridge, one of classic cinema’s great romantic tragedies.
Myra Lester, a woman with no family, is a dancer in a ballet company in WWI London. A chance meeting during an air raid introduces her to the aristocratic Captain Roy Cronin. Roy is immediately smitten. Myra, however, is a bit more realistic, even fatalistic, about their chances of happiness. In spite of it all, she is quickly swept off her feet by Roy’s optimistic gallantry and they are soon engaged. But their plans to marry are interrupted by Roy’s orders to return to the front.
With the help of friend and fellow dancer Kitty, Myra manages to endure the separation. But Myra’s and Kitty’s circumstances go from bad to worse, especially when Myra receives news that Roy is dead. Giving up on her happy ending Myra does what she must to survive. Then Roy miraculously reappears very much alive and still in love with Myra. She too still loves him, but questions whether her war time experiences have ruined her ability to marry him.
Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family’s small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin–and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.
Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he’s never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he’s determined to make her give him a second chance.
When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they’re forced to confront their past and who they’ve become–and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.Continue reading “Book Review – Falling for You”
Today’s Topic: Freebie (Make up your own topic, or use a previous TTT topic you might have missed.)
Hosted by: That Artsy Reader Girl
Do you ever feel like you are slow to learn certain things about yourself? I sure do. It’s only in the past year that I have discovered that I actually enjoy reading stories featuring the marriage of convenience trope. Although, I’ve read many such books over the years, it’s only recently I realized my own reading pattern in choosing these types of books.
There’s just something about two people who aren’t initially in love making a lifelong commitment that fascinates me. Many times, they are strangers, sometimes they are known to each other. But either way, I love “watching” them discover each other in a new light as they work to combine their lives.
Although this trope is easier to write into a historical fiction story, there are also several well-written contemporary tales of these marriages on this list.
Have you ever watched a movie that took you by surprise? Perhaps, it turned your expectations on end? Or maybe, you went in knowing nothing about the film and found yourself responding to it rather strongly? Such was the case for me with Nurse on Wheels, a British comedy starring Juliet Mills, daughter of John Mills and sister to Hayley.
I grew up with the Disney films of Hayley Mills and hold very fond memories of them. It was for this reason alone that I took a chance when I saw Nurse on Wheels show up in the TCM schedule recently. I had never seen Juliet Mills in a film before and knew absolutely nothing about Nurse on Wheels. I expected I might like it, but didn’t guess that it would be my favorite film discovery of the year.
Well, November was an interesting month in film for me. Thanks to a busier schedule with the holidays and a plethora of new Hallmark Christmas movies to keep up with, I didn’t watch as many classics as I normally do.
This month I managed to watch nineteen titles, although three of these were silent shorts. I also watched three silent feature films which were all extremely memorable. I added in a documentary on Mary Pickford this month too which was very fascinating. It was as much about her as it was the history of early film. I would have to say my pick of the month is the silent Where Are My Children? It is one which will stick with me a long time. Continue reading “November 2018 Film Quickie Reviews”