Book AuthorGenreBook Club/Beach Read/Personal Inspiration/How ToRating
The BodyguardKatherine Centerfiction/women’s fiction/light fiction/rom comBeach Read1
Don’t Cry For MeDaniel Blackfiction/literary fiction/epistolaryBook Club2
The Beekeeper of AleppoChristy Lefterifiction/literary fiction/refugees/lossBook Club3
The HomewreckersMary Kay Andrewsfiction/women’s fiction/cozy mystery/HGTV centricbeach read4
Again, RachelMarian Keyesfiction/women’s fiction/addiction/loss/lots of triggersBeach Read5
Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack LightHelen Ellisnon fiction/essays/middle age womenbeach read6
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult TimesKatherine Maynon fiction/self help/guiding through difficult timespersonal growth7
Any Other FamilyEleanor Brownfiction/women’s fiction/adoption/infertility/new view of familybeach read?8
The Summer PlaceJennifer Weinerfiction/women’s fiction/family saga/multiple viewpointsbeach read9
Delphine Jones Takes a ChanceBeth Morreyfiction/women’s fiction/confidence/moving on/beach read10
The Locked Room (Ruth Galloway 14)Elly Griffithsfiction/cozy mystery/sequelbeach read11
Marrying the KetchupsJennifer Closefiction/different POV/family sagabeach read12
  1. Bodyguard– This is not an Pulitzer nominee, or a quotable book, or one with lyrical language. However, what it is, is my perfect beach read. It’s light, it has humor, it has a very likeable main character, it’s told in a light and breezy manner. Yes- you can predict all the way through the book, but I didn’t care- I was all in for the ride. Textbook rom com. I’m guessing it will be in my top 10.
  2. Don’t Cry For Me– Beautiful and touching and sad first person narrative about a man coming to terms with what it means to be a man and a father, and how he regrets mistakes that he made, and wishes that he’d come to grips with things sooner.
  3. Beekeeper– Beautifully worded sad tale of a man trying to survive Syria and the refugee process. Not a lighthearted travel romp, but a gut wrenching tale of survival both mental and physical. Would make for a great discussion on many levels.
  4. Homewreckers– This is how I like my beach reads- a little mystery, a little romance, and a little home design. There is nothing ground breaking about this novel, but it’s a fun story, with likeable characters, and it moves at a reasonable brisk pace. My con is that the 32 year old heroine seems older, not like the basic millennial we’ve all come to know, so I don’t know how authentic this character would feel to someone younger than me. If you need a pleasant distraction, this might work.
  5. Again, Rachel– Over 500 pages- does any book need to be that long? There’s a lot to unpack in this book, and it deals with many triggering subjects, yet it does so with a light hand, so I don’t know how discussionable this book would be in a book club setting. The author is obsessed with expensive things and beautiful people, and I could have done without the clothing descriptions and gorgeous characters- it takes away from the harsh realities that this book deals with. That being said, I think Keyes is a decent writer for the genre.
  6. Bring Your Baggage– Ellis is a witty and clever writer, with a sense of adventure. I have no doubt if you met her at a party she would have you laughing. She talks of being a woman of a certain age, and all the fun things that surround that. Charming and funny, but I think you need to be a woman of a certain age to appreciate
  7. Wintering– The theme of this book is how to embrace winter in order to, I guess, balance out your life. She thinks of winter and cold and snow as a sort of renewal- taking a cold bracing swim to sort of prove that you’re alive, then sheltering yourself in blankets and hot drinks as a way of taking care of oneself. I found it a refreshing perspective, but not necessarily one that I want to embrace. However, I am going to try to think more positively about winter, traditionally a less favorite season of mine.
  8. Any Other Family– A woman has four children and they are adopted by three different families- this is a story about how the three families form a different family so the siblings will know and grow up with one another. The concept is interesting- the story itself is trite and predictable in places. I saw some flashes of myself, the not so good parts, in two of the characters, and that’s a wake up call that I didn’t need. It’s not a bad book, I just don’t know if I can recommend it, or who I would recommend it to. It does have some moments that made me think.
  9. Summer Place– Weiner is a decent storyteller. That being said, sometimes the stories are a little too much. While I get why we have the word “coincidence”, there’s a point where it stops being “Oh wow no way” and the unpredictability becomes predictable. I was a big fan of Weiner’s older works, and then she really started to slide for me. While this book is better than her last few, it lacks heart- as if she’s telling the story but doesn’t really believe it herself
  10. Delphine– Entirely average, predictable and lackluster novel about a 30 year old woman and her attempt to get on with her life. There is nothing remarkable nor notable to say about this book- you can pass
  11. The Locked Room– I really look forward to the Ruth Galloway mysteries. That being said, this book is by far the worst in the series. Set in early pandemic, she uses the pandemic as one of the characters. First off- don’t really want to read about the pandemic, as I lived it. Secondly, to use it as a backdrop to a story is fine, but Griffiths beats you over the head with it, often repeating the same trite phrases and ideas. I only need to hear about the clap for hero’s once in a novel- by the fifth time, I’ve lost interest in what the author is saying. On top of this, the mystery is boring, and too much personal stuff. It seems as if Griffiths was really phoning this one in.
  12. Marrying the Ketchups– This book whines its way from page to page. The characters are insipid, excel at blaming others, hold grudges, and are generally people I would never want to hang out with. The author had an agenda, and once you get caught in a spiral of an agenda, it’s hard to come up with a worthwhile book. Am pretty sure this will fall at the bottom of the list at year’s end. What a bunch of bull.
MovieGenreWhere SeenRating
Vengeancedrama/family/misconceptions/American ideologyTheater- AMC1
Emily the Criminaldrama/thriller/dark/american ideologyTheater- AMC2
Bodies Bodies Bodiesdrama/horror/who dun it/american ideologyTheater- AMC3
Nopesci fi/Theater- AMC4
My Old Schooldocumentary? non fiction- story of a guy and what he didTheater- Film Forum5
The Territorydocumentary/foreign language (Brazilian/Portuguese/Tupi-Kawahiva)/deforestation of rain forest and displacement of indigenous peopleTheater- Film Forum6
Love Songdrama/lonliness/love/companionshipTheater- AMC7
  1. Vengeance– Strong film written and directed by BJ Novak (who also stars) about NYC writer who thinks he has all the answers and knows better, then travels to Texas and learns things he never thought he needed to know. Excellent screenplay, understated acting- just a well made film about the misconceptions of what is right and what is wrong in America. Everything makes sense.
  2. Emily– Tight thriller about chasing the “American dream”, and the pitfalls therein. Good film if you’re OK with looking at harsh realities and the lengths people will go to for money
  3. Bodies Bodies Bodies– On the surface, this is a horror/who dun it, but when you get past the occasional blood and gore, what you are left with is a wry, observational view on society with a slight comic edge. This movie actually made me think, and the ending was nothing short of brilliant. In broad strokes- I am interested in the overall trend in the movies that are coming out and what it says about who we are in this present time.
  4. Nope= I loved Get Out, so if I have the opportunity to see a Jordan Peele, I go see it. There are parts of this film that are quite well crafted and interesting, but I’m not really a sci fi person, so I don’t know if I got all the nuance.
  5. My Old School– This is the true story of a guy in Scotland who pretended to be a teenager and reenrolled at his old school. Alan Cumming lip-syncs the voice of “Brandon Lee” and his story of how and why he did this. Also interviewed are some of his classmates and teachers. Very interesting and well told story leaving you with lots of questions.
  6. Territory– You view a documentary to learn, or get more knowledge on a particular subject. What makes a good doc? Is it balance of both sides, startling imagery, entertainment, or just the facts ma’am? I’m not quite sure. I know I learned about the situation in Brazil regarding the deforestation of the rain forest. I got a glimpse into both sides of this. But this doc missed the mark for me- I left feeling emotionless. But I don’t know if a doc is supposed to pull the heartstrings…
  7. Love Song– Quiet and gentle story about a woman trying to find her place in a world without a partner. It’s the cinematic equivalent to literary fiction- nothing much happens, and we need to interpret life by what the main character doesn’t say. While there are some nice moments, I felt like the movie lacked something. Sometimes you do need more words.

20 thoughts on “My Month in Books and Movies: August 2022

  1. I “tried” to watch Nope last night and admit that while watching I was doing other activities. It started to dredge up memories of the Nicholas Cage oddity Prisoners of the Ghostland with it’s neo-Western sort of theme. Emily and Love Song are on my list and now I may attempt Bodies as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. With Nope, I felt like i missed the point I guess…I think there were things that went right over my head because I was trying to understand the sci fi elements. However, as I alluded to…I find the films coming up now as a whole show a reflection of society now, and im interested in watching how this plays out…Emily and Bodies were surprisingly good, especially as they’re not my usual movie fare. Well told stpries

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know a lot went over my head and my need to avoid trying to understand the message by engaging elsewhere (it happens often with movies) allows me to realize I mostly want to be entertained- not looking for hidden, deeper meaning! Apparently I no longer have the attention span for deep, socially introspective thought 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nope was an allegorical film about capitalism. How far people will go to make a quick buck. I loved Get Out, I liked US, and with the exception of the of how the monster was conceived. I hated Not of planet earth. Here’s hoping movie #4 is better.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I might check out the wintering book—anything to make the next Midwestern winter more tolerable, lol.
    I checked out the Marrying the Ketchups book online because I was curious about the agenda. That would turn me off also—too bad because some might be drawn to the Chicago storyline.
    Always looking for good book suggestions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think wintering is a good read if you need a pick me up, and don’t want too much coddling. I hated all the characters in ketchups. That almost never happens

      Like

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