I thought I’d try something different this month. I am going to include the goodreads and rotten tomatoes scores along with my rating, just to see how I align with them.

BookAuthorGenreBook club/beach Read/Personal Growth/How toMy Rating/Goodreads
The Bullet That MissedRichard Osmanmystery/cozy/#3 in a series/comedy overtones/people of a certain ageBeach Read1 /4.54
Our Missing HeartsCeleste Ngfiction/literary fiction/dystopian?book club2 /4.01
The Hound of the BaskervillesSir Arthur Conan Doylefiction/mystery/classic/Sherlock Holmesbeach read (though i read for book club)3 /4.13
The No- ShowBeth O’Learyfiction/love story/women’s fiction/alternate viewpointsbeach read4 /3.90
The Golden CoupleGreer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanenpsych thriller/mysterybeach read5 /4.02
Yours CheerfullyAJ Pearcehistorical fiction, WWII England, love story, plucky heroine, sequelbeach read6 /3.94
Martha Stewart’s Very Good THings: Clever Tips Genius Ideas for an Easier, More Enjoyable LifeMartha Stewartnon fiction/how tohow to7 /3.65
A Shoe StoryJane L. Rosenfiction/rom combeach read8 /4.11
The Unsinkable Greta JamesJennifer E. Smithfiction/women’s fiction/relationships/lossbeach read9 /3.91
  1. The Bullet– I loved this book. It is exactly what I want from a cozy mystery: fun characters, clever writing, interesting story and just enough red herrings to make it interesting. This might be my favorite in the series. You either like cozies set in England, or you don’t- but if you like the genre, give this a try!
  2. Our Missing Hearts– Ng is clearly a good writer. Her prose is well paced, and she knows how to set a mood and a feeling. However, we need to be careful when writing “dystopian” novels- you can’t just play off an agenda and call it dystopian. We also need to be careful about agendas, especially when there are multiple ways that they can be interpreted, and in the case of this book, a person is going to solidify their own beliefs, but not necessarily consider alternate points of view. Beware of the wave of books which will try too hard to make a point.
  3. Hound– This is just a classic, old school mystery. You either like Holmes or you don’t. I found it fun and a tad campy, which I’m not sure was the intention of ACD, but that’s how it reads in 2022 for me.
  4. No Show– The actual writing is formulaic and cliched- the author uses the same tired descriptions multiple times throughout the novel. However, the story itself is worth note: it’s a love story, but O’Leary has found a way to breathe life into what can be a tired genre. If you want a light love story, and don’t care about being dazzled by wordplay, try this out.
  5. Golden– This is a pretty good psych thriller. Very female oriented, as the two protagonists we follow are women. I felt there was probably one or two too many red herrings, but it was an enjoyable, easy read. If you’re a fan of the genre you will probably enjoy.
  6. Yours Cheerfully– This book has a plot, sort of, but tends to meander aimlessly. The heroine is a little too plucky, bordering on annoying. I felt the characters were one dimensional, and didn’t spark my interest to care about them. Alas, I fear that there will be a third book to this series, but I can’t imagine reading it. Hard pass unless you ADORED the first one in the series, Dear Mrs. Bird. And even if you liked that one, beware…
  7. Martha– There’s nothing wrong with this book. There’s also nothing right with it. I didn’t learn anything new from this book, so therefore, it’s useless. You can pass.
  8. Shoe Story– This is so lightweight even the hard cover copy wouldn’t damage you if you dropped it on your foot. The characters were the least interesting characters ever, as they were so one dimensional and lifeless, as if the author had a bunch of paper dolls and chose to make a book based on stereotypical traits. Even the clever use of designer shoes gets really old really quickly. Don’t read it…
  9. Unsinkable– The title lies- this book totally sinks. OMG what a whiny bunch of characters. The protagonist is a spoiled brat. There is nothing to like about her, and this is an easy reader- of you don’t like the character you have nothing. Don’t read this titanic of books
MovieGenreWhere SeenRating/RT critic/RT audience
Tardrama, present day, cancel culture, harassmentTheater – AMC1 /94/75
Broscomedy/rom com/Theater- AMC2 /88/90
Decision to Leavedrama/mystery/foreign language (Korean) Theater- AMC3 /93/91
Triangle of Sadnesssatire/some comic moments/morality tale/eat the rich/literary fictionTheater- AMC4 /73/80
Ticket to Paradiserom com/A list starsTheater- AMC5 /56/89
The Good Housedramedy/family/relationships/substance abuse/woman trying to be everythingTheater- AMC6 /71/76
The Storied Life of AJ FIkryromance/based on a novelTheater- AMC7 /36/88
  1. Tar– I thought this was a well executed piece of film. Screenplay, directing, acting all first rate. Be forewarned though- this is the film equivalent of literary fiction, so while there is a plot, that is not what holds this together, it is character driven and a masterclass in acting for Cate Blanchett. While I think the film skews too long, and there are a few scenes that I would rework, it is well done, and I can’t imagine it will not get a few Oscar nods. So thought provoking that I hours later I was still texting my friend who I saw the movie with about plot points and overall theme.
  2. Bros– This is a tender and charming rom com about people who don’t know if they want to be in a relationship. Billy Eichner is a great writer and this movie has just the right amount of heart and sarcasm to be enjoyable
  3. Decision to Leave- Hitchcockian is the first thing that came to mind as I watched this film- the camera angles, the lighting, the plot evolvement, and these things were all in the plus column for me. However, there were some things I didn’t quite understand, and I left with more questions than answers. Unsure about character motivation. But, it is a well made film.
  4. Triangle– This movie makes a point, and then bangs you over the head with it. This is the movie equivalent of literary fiction- mostly character study, the plot is not as important as other things, lots of ambiguity. I have no doubt that I will be thinking about this film and its themes, it just drags in places and clearly could have been 30 minutes shorter. But interesting concept
  5. Ticket– This is not an Oscar caliber film. However, if you like George Clooney and/or Julia Roberts, this is probably worth a watch (though you can wait for streaming) It’s light and sweet but the chemistry between the two stars is evident. Alas, the other love story in the movie is flat…
  6. Good House– This is the movie equivalent of women’s fiction- matriarch trying to overcome her own childhood, and trying to keep her family afloat, and what she has to do to get there. While is gets a little too much in parts, if you like the genre about a woman who thinks she’s stronger than she is, jump on board and watch
  7. Fikry– This book got horrible critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but as I loved the book it was based on, and I have a soft spot for Kunal Nayyar, I went to see it anyway. While not a great movie, too many ambiguous plot points and lack of explanation, the movie works somewhat as a romance/love story. I’m not saying rush out to the theater, but if you want a sweet story with some ups and downs, watch it when it’s on cable or streaming.

38 thoughts on “My Month in Books and Movies- 10/22

  1. I’ve not (yet) read any of Richard Osman’s books, and have – somehow – also managed yet to read anything by Celeste Ng. I suspect both will be resolved in due course, although I have a little backlog after reading along with the Booker Prize longlist.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If you like Elizabeth Strout, then ‘Oh William’ is worth reading, and I thought ‘Booth’ from Karen Joy Fowler was a really good read. The winner is very literary, if with an undercurrent of ironic and very black humour. I enjoyed ‘The Trees’ from Percival Everett, and it was nearly my favourite until the latter chapters, which I felt let it down somewhat. It also had a nice line in black humour, if with a lighter touch.

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      2. Oh & I completely forgot ‘ Small Things like These’ from Claire Keegan was just a lovely read, if about a difficult subject (the Magdalene laundries in Ireland). Short and sweet.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read much lately because we are bingeing on Breaking Bad. Yes, it’s our first time to watch it, although my kids watched it when it came out. No wonder my kids are so cynical. Anyway, forgive me for commenting this on your post, lol, but I am wondering if you watched it. The story has totally blown me away, but I love psychodrama. We are getting close to the end, but not done yet, so no spoilers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I realize I’m in the minority but I watched two season of breaking and I was bored by it. While the acting was great, I just can’t watch a show where I hate every character

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always like seeing if we have any common items when you put out your lists! A few this time- mostly in the movie section. Not on the list- I just watched Don’t Worry Darling- heard it was sort of Stepford Wives genre…it kept me entertained.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My daughter saw that…she said she liked it especially the end, so I’m intrigued enough to consider it. Problem is, this is movie time….so much to see in the coming months

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll have to look at The Bullet, I do enjoy a cozy mystery. My wife is a fan of Celeste Ng and enjoyed Missing Hearts. Movies, we went to see Ticket to Paradise simply because we were looking for a movie you see at the beach – low expectations but enjoyable. It delivered. We conisdered Tar (I’m a fan of Blanchett’s work) but we didnt want anythign cereberal hence Ticket to Paradise LOL. Thx for the reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m seeing people mention Richard Osman and from your description it sounds like it’d be a fun read. I’ve not heard of any of the movies on your list. Do you watch them on a streaming service or go into a theatre?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ng is a gifted writer of prose…she knows how to write a gorgeous sentence. I didn’t think her plot was linear, and I know it doesn’t need to be, but it’s not really literary fiction, but more like a thinly veiled treatise. But, probably worth a look

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  6. Some interesting sounding choices here. I read the Hound of the Baskervilles in high school. Now I think it is one of those lost classics that can’t be assigned anymore. The movies though, I would have to search for them because I haven’t seen one. Which was your personal favorite?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed immensely your report especially the books which most interested me. I think the campiness was part of the period for the Baskerville/Holmes book – I am a fan and enjoy SH but in small doses so I don’t overdo it. I did enjoy Dear Mrs Bird so probably would enjoy yours cheerfully. I know books are like foods and other things – some people hate cilantro and say it tastes like soap for example. I enjoy your honest and knowledgeable analysis and tip my hat to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mrs bird had a charm that this one lacked…the heroine seemed more guileless. In the sequel, her antics seem way more manufactured, like the author decided to get her in trouble in each chapter but it just read like a laundry list

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      1. That is an interesting observation, very keen. I don’t think my reading senses are as well developed as yours. I might know it was a poor sequel but not be able to identify the reason.

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  8. Keep the reviews and rankings coming. I liked your old format better because I liked knowing the source/reason why you chose the book. In this new format, I was a little confused but finally understood that by your rating you actually meant your ranking. After I figured it out, by looking at your comments under your table, it was totally clear and usable to me.

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