BookAuthorGenreType of ReadRanking/Rating on Goodreads
And There was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American StruggleJon Meachamnon fiction/bio of Abraham Lincolnperspective1/4.51
Someday, MaybeOnyi Nwabinelifiction/griefbook club2/4.00
MaureenRachel Joycefiction/light/sequelbeach read3/4.11
A Quiet LifeEthan Joellafiction/slice of life/different perspectivesbeach read4/4.19
Flying SoloLinda Holmesfiction/slice of lifebeach read5/3.60
The Art of Living: Reflections on Mindfulness and the overexamined lifeGrant Snidercartoons/adages on livingquiet reflection6/4.11
London’s Number One Dog Walking AgencyKate McDougalnon fiction/memoirbeach read7/3.72
The CloistersKaty Haysfiction/mystery/psych dramabeach read8/3.54
Owner of a Lonely HeartEva Carterfiction/rom combeach read9/4.00
  1. Abe- This was a pretty readable bio of Abe. Straight forward and without much fluff. The things I found interesting were: 1) A little girl wrote to him and said that if he grew a beard he wouldn’t look so weird. The next time he was out in public he had a beard. Coincidence? 2) Washington Dc was always rat infested (a peeve of my daughter’s) 3) Back then the President didn’t pick the Vice President- the convention did. Points to ponder- what if Hamlin were the president instead of Johnson?
  2. Someday- This book is about grief. I didn’t enjoy it as a fun romp, but liked its honest portrayal of someone dealing with a difficult time in their life. I thought the characters were nicely portrayed, but would have liked a little more on some. The writing was easy yet powerful. This is heavy subject matter so this book is not for everyone, but if you want to tackle grief, give it a try.
  3. Maureen- I am a fan of Harold Fry, and this is sort of sequel to the Fry books. I like the way Joyce writes: she makes you think, but without banging you over the head. While this is fairly easy to read, it is somewhat thought provoking, but I don’t think I would read it for book club, unless you read all three and discussed it in tandem. Only read if you’ve read the others- though it might be the weakest of the three.
  4. Quiet Life- This is like the Hallmark Channel of books- folksy characters- some bad things happen to good people- by the kindness of others people begin to live again. Maybe not a tear, but a sniffle. All is right with the world- Understated and readable- not too distressing on the emotions, but of course there is some conflict. A quiet book.
  5. Flying- On the plus side, the main character is unapologetically plus size. She says she wears a size 18, but the book isn’t about her coming to terms with her size- she accepts it and we move on. But that being said, it’s almost like the author threw darts at a dartboard when coming up with plot lines- the book lacks real depth and we circle around lots of nothing.
  6. Art of Living- This is one of those little books you put on your nightstand and read a page or two to give you a brief moment to pause and reflect. Some of the cartoons were quite good, while others were boring. It’s average.
  7. Dog Walking- Book about young woman dissatisfied with her job who decides to tackle dog walking as a career. It’s got some moments, but other than some anecdotes about pesky owners, it was underwhelming.
  8. Cloisters- Average psych drama about a young woman trying to make a name for herself in academia. Parts of this story are quite interesting, but there’s a few things that didn’t make sense to me. But as it takes place at the Met Cloisters- I had a vested interest
  9. Owner- Cute and predictable boy meets girl, boy loses girl formula. It’s fine but nothing to run out and read
MovieGenreWhere Seenranking/Rotten Tomatoes
Closedrama/coming of age/foreign (French)Theater- Angelika1/90/83
A House Made of Splintersdocumentary/foreign language (Russian)/children in foster care in UkraineTheater-IFC- but there is no American distribution for this film- I saw it through DOCNY- a documentary film festival organization2/96/80
You Peopledramedy/social issues/satire sort ofStreaming- Netflix3/42/36
Of An Agedrama/coming of ageTheater- AMC4/87/89
Pale Blue Eyedrama/mystery/period/historical fictionStreaming- Netflix5/63/70
To Lesliedrama/addiction/relationshipsTheater- Angelika6/95/86
Navalnynon fiction/documentary/RussiaStreaming- HBO MAX7/99/91
Your Place or Minerom comStreaming- Netflix8/32/38
Babylonfiction/hollywood epicTheater- AMC9/56/52
80 for Bradybased on a true storyTheater- AMC10/62/89
Alice, Darlingfiction/relationshipsTheater- AMC11/83/46
All the Beauty and the Bloodshednon- fiction/documentary/Nan GoldinTheater- IFC12/95/48
Shotgun Weddingrom comStream- Amazon13/45/52
Marlowedetective/noir/Philip MarloweTheater- AMC14/23/35
  1. Close-Understated coming of age story about two adolescent boys- honest and raw and emotional. Oscar non Foreign film
  2. House- Doc about Ukranian foster care facility that houses children of alcoholics who have been placed there by the state. This was filmed in 2020, so events unfolding presently were not a factor. This is an emotional piece and highlights how children suffer in these circumstances. Emotional and raw. Oscar nom – Documentary feature.
  3. You People- On the surface, this is a rom com- two people meet and fall in love. When you dig down deep, this is a movie about social issues, hypocrisy, and how the world works in 2023. I think everyone should see this movie.
  4. Of an Age- This is a decent coming of age story about a 17 year old boy. It’s broken up into two parts- I thought part one was quite good- honest dialogue, subtle yet powerful acting. I thought part two was a bit of a mess- it was too understated and left me with more questions than answers.
  5. Pale Blue- Interesting story about EA Poe when he was at West Point, and how he assisted in solving a murder. Fairly intriguing story that captured my attention thanks to solid performance by Christian Bale
  6. To Leslie- Tells the story of a woman who battles with alcohol, and how that battle has affected her relationships with friends and family. Moving performances by Andrea Riseborough and Alison Janney in a supporting role. Oscar nom Best Actress (Riseborough)
  7. Navalny- Tells the story of Navalny, who attempted to run against Putin, had an attempted assassination against him, and what it’s like trying to work for change in Russia. Straight up question and answer doc with lots of actual footage. I think this is worth a watch. Oscar nom for Best Documentary
  8. Your Place- Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon being cute and adorable as best friends for twenty years. Totally predictable but if you like the genre give it a whirl
  9. Babylon- Epic about Hollywood as the silent era comes to a close. Beautifully filmed, lots of glitz, but the film was one big drug fueled orgy. And it’s over three hours long. While there are some good moments in the film and a better than average performance by Brad Pitt, this is mainly a bore. Oscar noms for Original Score, Production Design and Costume Design (and deservedly so in these three categories)
  10. 80 for Brady- Cute film, based on a real story, about a group of friends, who are in their 80s, and their improbable trip to the superbowl to see their hero Tom Brady. I’m thrilled to see woman of a certain age starring in movies
  11. Alice- Interesting topic, relationship gone wrong do to domineering boyfriend- This could have been a good movie, but was reduced to tawdry Lifetime movie status. I felt like all the actors would rather be someplace else
  12. All the Beauty- Lacks a distinct POV- Deals with emotional issues but in a clinical non feeling way, which says a lot. Oscar nom Best Documentary
  13. Shotgun- j Lo’s wedding gets hijacked by pirates…do I need to say anything more?
  14. Marlowe- I love hard boiled 40s noir film, which this film was intended to be…great cast used poorly- misdirected and misguided, with continuity issues. The worst part was, the theater was more crowded for this than it was for films with better ratings. This is obviously a genre that people want to see- so can’t they make a good detective film? or is an audience of people of a certain age not the audience they want?

I try to see everything nominated for Oscars. IFC theater in NYC shows these every Oscar season. I appreciated each of these films and thought they were all well done. These are the Live Action shorts in the order that I liked them, with 1 being my favorite:

  1. An Irish Goodbye
  2. Night Ride
  3. Le Pupille
  4. Ivalu
  5. The Red Suitcase

35 thoughts on “My Month in Books and Movies- February 2023

  1. I’d like to see Shotgun because sometimes I need some brain candy to offset the seriousness of life. As for all the other movies you mention, I’ve not heard of them. When are the Oscars this year? Have they happened or are they coming?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. With all this readin’ and watchin’ where do you find the time to write?
    I don’t remember the last movie I really watched, probably an old black and white, and the last book I read was last summer, The Iliad and The Odyssey, my favorite. But I do recommend two series, both on Netflix,
    Hit and Run
    Both starring the same actor, Lior Raz and both from Israel.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a 10 part series documentry of Lincoln that we been meaning to watch. This reminded me of it. How interesting about the little girl’s letter!
    So when you read a book like flying do you finish the book or do you stop? Just curious. I isually feel compelled to keep reading but there are ones that I decide aren’t worth my time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing your reviews and thoughts. I haven’t read any of these books, but Abe looks interesting to me. Since I don’t go to the movies much (I’m not against movies, just don’t seem to have the time) I usually skip the Oscars. But I always like to know what movies are the good ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for the recommendation of Onyi Nwabineli. I’m looking for books written by non-Igbo Nigerian writers and this looks a good one.

    I’ll be suggesting the Navalny documentary to Himself, but we’ve already seen Shotgun. I used to think Himself chose rom-coms for me, but having put him straight that they’re not what I’d chose, I now wonder if they were always part of his own viewing choices for relaxation, along with the action stuff. Or that he really hates what I’d choose…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s