My Month in Books and Movies- March 2022

BookAuthorGenreRating
MatrixLauren Graffliterary fiction/strong female characters/historical fiction1
The Kitchen FrontJennifer Ryanwomen’s fiction/historical fiction/strong female characters/friendship2
One Italian SummerRebecca Serlewomen’s faction/Mother-Daughter relationship/dealing with death/self discovery3
The Paris ApartmentLucy Foleypsych thriller/mystery4
The Book of TeaKakuzo Okakuranon fiction/Eastern philosophy5
The Ladies Midnight Swimming ClubFaith Hoganlight, friendship, things work out in the end, female power6
  1. Gorgeous language and vivid descriptions and words that you can get lost in. The point of this book isn’t so much in getting from point A to point B, but how the author does it. There is some depth to this, much to make you think about. I would not read this on the beach. Good for book clubs.
  2. This is a light read. However, I enjoyed it and thought it was an interesting look at how women survived WWII in England. Though the plot holds little surprise, I thought it was written without the usual cliched language.
  3. I like a good mother/daughter relationship book, and this one had some good moments. While some of it I thought was a bit “too much” on the whole I found this to be a pleasant, if not too exciting journey into a young woman discovering what is important in her life. I don’t think it’s good for book club.
  4. While this is something that would be considered a page turner, I was not flipping the pages at my usual rate. I did not love the main character, she was very blah to me, and this is the type of book that I think you need to like the protagonist in order to get into the book. Admittedly the last 80 pages was a decent roller coaster ride.
  5. There are parts of this book about tea and the ceremonies of that I thought were quite interesting and informative- some lovely insights. However, I detected a bias against Western philosophies. I don’t like to think of one as being better than another, or that any way is wrong, so there were parts of this book that I didn’t appreciate.
  6. This is so light you couldn’t even use it as a paperweight. This book is the equivalent to a very insipid Hallmark movie. I. Could. Guess. Everything. That. Was. About. To. Happen. If you need to shut your mind down and read, this is the ticket. If you want an actual book, keep searching.
MovieGenreWhere SeenRating
The BatmanDC comic/dark/dystopianTheater/AMC1
AtticaDocumentary/2022 Oscar NomineeAmazon Prime2
AutomatDocumentaryTheater/Film Forum3
The Outfitpsych drama/thrillerAMC4
After Yangdrama/sci fi/dystopianTheater/Quad5
Cyranodrama/musical/period/2022 Oscar NomineeTheater/AMC6
  1. I like my super hero’s dark, mysterious and on motorcycles…This is a dark, absorbing ride through Gotham. Beautifully filmed with gorgeous camera work. Pattinson was born to play the dark knight. At 3 hours, I felt it could have been a tad shorter, and I would have cut the ending which I felt gilded the lily…otherwise good for the genre.
  2. Straight up, no bells and whistles doc about the 1971 Attica uprising and aftermath. Well researched and executed. Disturbing however, so be prewarned…
  3. I love New York history and the automat was a very big part of that. I thought this was a light, fun doc that gave me some history of Horn & Hardart and the Automat. Fun clips from Mel Brooks and conversations with Carl Reiner, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Colin Powell
  4. A very understated psych drama with some twists and turns. The whole story takes place in a tailor shop and I like movies that are able to contain the drama within a few rooms- very play like. Not for those who prefer lots of action.
  5. This movie straddles the line between dystopian and sci fi, yet with a very subtle feel. Probably too subtle because the point is kind of buried in dreamy imagery and an understated Colin Farrell.
  6. First thing I thought of was that Shakespearean monologues are very similar to rap. I know Cyrano was written by Rostand, but a monologue is a monologue. I fear Joe Wright may have watched Hamilton before directing this movie. One earworm of a song and a few pretty speeches by Dinklage does not a movie make. Second thing I thought was there’s a reason why Keira Knightly used to do period pieces- I find many actors are not cut out to play characters from any time but the present.
Documentary Short TitleRating
When We Were Bullies1
The Queen of Basketball2
Audible3
Lead me Home4
Three Songs for Benazir5
Though I saw these at IFC theater in NYC, I think they can be streamed on either Netflix or HBO. These are the five 2022 Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Short.
Live Action Short TitleRating
Please Hold1
Ala Kachuu- Take and Run2
The Long Goodbye3
On My Mind4
The Dress5
These are the five 2022 nominees for Best Live Action short. I saw these at IFC in NYC and I am not sure if they are available to be streamed.

What Inspired Me: February 6, 2022

  1. On a very snowy Saturday we made our way uptown to Carnegie Hall- luckily we were slated to eat at a place directly across the street from both the venue and the R train. The cake was quite decadent. And we tool at least 12 layers home…
  2. Orpheus Chamber Orchestra has no conductor- they democratically choose the artistic director and someone to kind of nudge the musicians into placed and such. However it works, it’s lovely. We were treated to a premiere of Tuxedo: Plaid x Plaid by Hannah Kendall, who was in the audience for the performance. Lovely piece, and wonderful concert all around.
  3. So I decided to move the exercise bike in front of the TV. This requires me to move the coffee table back. Which of course facilitated Betty jumping on the couch and climbing onto the table because, I guess, she could…
  4. Film Forum is back at their amazing film festivals! Saw Flesh and the Devil, a silent film which was accompanied by a pianist. I love when movies are accompanied by live music. (ask me how bummed I am that I didn’t get tickets to the upcoming screening of Raiders with the Philharmonic backing it up…) The movie also started and ended with a talk by Robert Gottlieb, author of Garbo. Really fun and intersting tidbits about the actress and the movie.
  5. The next festival I partook in is made up of films featuring NYC, and made between 1945 and 1955. I saw Jigsaw, a movie about hate groups and how they try to infiltrate things. While not a great movie, it was worth seeing as part of historical context about what was on the minds of people post WWII. Lots of cameos including Henry Fonda and Marlene Dietrich.
  6. Year of the Tiger. We headed down to Chinatown to help the local economy and celebrate the new year. Our restaurant had duck, so we decided to partake. Great meal all around.
  7. Order is restored as galleries 165 and 166 were finally reopened!! I also saw new exhibit In the Orbit of Jacques Louis David: Selections from the Department of Drawing and Prints. I routinely enjoy prints and drawings, but I wasn’t overly impressed with what was displayed. I did quite like the one thing I photographed.

Ok- this is where I ask you if something is coincidence, or something else. Remember Bloganuary? And remember the “describe yourself as a tree” prompt? Also- remember the next book you’re reading prompt…

So, I’m reading “The Exiles” by Christina Baker Kline, and I come across this section:

“Evangeline nodded. For a moment all of them were quiet. Then she said, “Well, I don’t know if this will help but…” She took a breath. “When you cut down a tree, you can tell how old it is by the rings inside. The more rings, the sturdier the tree. So…I imagine I’m a tree. And every moment that mattered to me, or person I loved, is a ring.”

I would also like to give a shout out to Tater. He was an influence on one of my posts this week, but I neglected to give him his due! http://theycallmetater.com/2022/01/31/tater-mentions-joe-rogan-even-though-he-didnt-want-to/

Don’t forget that on the first Friday of every month there will be Five Word Friday!! Come up with five words to describe your life!!

What Inspired Me- November 7

  • You never know what you are going to see around NYC- a plaque dedicated to writers, a snow globe dedicated to Broadway or a Naked Cowboy
  • Nowon is a amazing restaurant in the East Village. It’s Korean inspired, however they clearly make one of the most delicious burgers in the city. Also, their soju based cocktails are incredibly tasty. Of course, they sent a text to confirm our reservation. When I replied “Y”, the reply text came back “It Gon Be Lit”.
  • Velvet Underground documentary is quite good, though, I did not know much about them save Lou Reed, Andy Warhol and Nico. The director showed people talking, but I had no idea who some of them were or their relation. The closing credits did give a quick bio, but would have been helpful to know during the actual doc.
  • NYPL for the Performing Arts advertised a display of mini broadway sets. Bleh. It was extremely lackluster. Though I am seeing a revival of Company next month, so seeing the original 1970 set design was somewhat interesting
  • 90th anniversary of Frankenstein. Love this movie. However, I realized that in the credits, the author credit was listed as “Mrs. Percy Shelley” Can you imagine?
  • Had the roti breakfast at Miss Lily’s- Caribbean/Jamaican food. Jerk sausage.Yum.
  • Molly’s cupcakes for our Halloween Treat- Mine was bottom left- Apple Pie flavor. SO GOOD. I mean…sooooo good….piece of buttery pie crust on top, apple filling inside, cream on top.
  • Thoughts of a Colored Man is one of the best plays I’ve seen in awhile. Thought provoking, well acted, script just eloquent and beautiful and real. If in NYC try to see. Full Disclosure- I received tickets for this play for free via God’s Love We Deliver, a non profit I volunteer with. I was not given the tickets in exchange for a review either favorable or otherwise
  • Met exhibits- Permanent Collection Egypt. Emperors, Artists & Inventors: Transformative Gifts of Fine Arms and Armor (special exhibit closing 2/21/22)
  • Brooklyn Museum- Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: A Crack in the Hourglass, An Ongoing COVID-19 Memorial (closes 6/26/22) Baseera Khan: I Am an Archive (closes 7/10/22)

I know that I have showed you lots of wonderful images of things that I did this week, but I must add that my heart has been very heavy. Sometimes you can go through the motions, and you can actually laugh and enjoy, but it doesn’t mean that you feel good all the time. This is why I laugh at the whole “Be Positive” movement- I did all the be positive stuff I could muster and it still didn’t make me feel any better- it just distracted me for little chunks of time. While distraction can be good, it shouldn’t be the only tool in your toolbox. I know that I have been angry or sullen in my posts this week- that a byproduct of working through feelings and emotions- sometimes it can’t help but come out in writing. Also why I think journaling is an awesome idea… And here I go again writing a long drawn out thing when I only intended to write one line.

Be well.

What Inspired Me: August 22

  1. Let me start with this- my daughter went back to college….
  2. Secondly- the best thing about driving home from DC is stopping in Baltimore for Chaps Pit beef. I have no idea what pit beef is, but I know it’s delicious
  3. I love fried green tomatoes (whistlestop optional) – these were pretty good
  4. We did a brief sightseeing jaunt in DC before we headed home-
  5. Had a wonderful in person book club- helped that we all liked the book
  6. Bryant Park has a wonderful “reading room”- outdoor tables and books and magazines. They also sponsor reading/writing events for free. I attended a memoir writing workshop given by Cullen Thomas. He is a wonderful speaker and hope to eventually take a class with him. He also is a cross between James Marsden and Rob Lowe, which in LA speak means he’s quite attractive.
  7. My Tea Society celebrated Coco Chanel’s birthday at Bergdorf Goodman. We had a lovely tea followed by a little quality time at the Chanel counter. There just may be a new lipstick in my collection…every black dress needs a red lipstick every now and then
  8. I saw Aretha. Jennifer Hudson is quite good- however the movie is quite average overall
  9. On my way to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden I experienced subway delays/issues….It was only a track fire and not someone letting their girlfriend drive the train though (true story). As I stood trying to figure out how to get to the garden, all I could think was first subway issue in 18 months- we’re back baby…
  10. Lost Leonardo very interesting if you are an art geek
  11. Obviously- I took time to get in as much self care as possible!!!

What Inspired Me

  • I saw “Green Night” in theaters- I didn’t love it…so much so that I forgot to take a picture of the movie poster
  • I went to the Met with my daughter- it’s fun seeing exhibits with her because she makes me think about things in a different way. She doesn’t like staged photos- she prefers when they just happen. Made for an interesting discussion
  • Costume exhibit was awesome-What was interesting was that they focused a lot on the actual making of costumes. We had a 10am ticket, but if you are at the exhibit later, they have artisans working on things that will be used on Broadway when it reopens.I love looking at clothes. Wearing them is optional…
  • My daughter and I went to Angelina when we were in Paris- it was fun to experience it in NYC
  • Saw two oldie movies at Film Forum- I am trying to support Film Forum because they show old movies and do festivals, like the Bogart and Women Behind Hitchcock that I saw this past week.

Highlights of the Week That Was April 11

Chocolate Cream Pie from Petee’s Pies