Tag Archives: being there

5 for Friday: What I’ve Been Reading

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I have found a way to bring even more reading into my life… I’m not much of an e-reader person. I don’t own one nor a tablet and I’ve tried to read a bit on my phone, with little success. (I’m easily distracted.) So, generally, I read traditional books at night before bed. I listen to audiobooks on CD in the car on my commute. And now, I listen to e-audiobooks downloaded from the library onto my phone while I’m working around the house.

For some reason, with this round of books, many have been made into movies! With a few exceptions, I usually find the book better than the movie. But consider how many hours you invest in a book versus a movie!

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Evidence Not Seen
by Darlene Deibler Rose (nonfiction) – worth a read

Even if you know me pretty well, you probably don’t know that I don’t subscribe to any one particular religion. I do believe in a greater power; but how can we believe that one religion is right and all others are wrong? I find that sometimes individual religions get caught up in the details. That being said, I will tell you that this book is one that I would have never picked up in my life if I would had known just how much specific religious beliefs were entwined in the story…

I chose it because it was on a list of books every woman should read… and my local library only offered it as an e-audiobook. I started listening to it while I was doing housework – washing dishes and putting away laundry all with earbuds in my ears! (I have found that if I just put it on in the background, I don’t listen to it as closely and it becomes just that – background.)

But this memoir is truly a wonderful account of a woman as a WWII POW in New Guinea. This was a part of World War II of which I had no knowledge and I felt enriched both mentally and spiritually afterward.

Shhh!!! Don’t tell my mother-in-law, I bought this book for her for Mother’s Day. I think she will love it.

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A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L’Engle 
(fiction) – worth a read

My fourth grade teacher read this book out loud to us, but even though I was a good student, I didn’t pay attention. To be honest, I don’t know why. Maybe it was a time in my life that I got easily distracted. Maybe the book didn’t capture me at the get-go. I don’t think of myself as one who easily gets into fantasy or sci-fi novels. But it took the movie coming out for me to be inspired to read it on my own.

Better 30 years later than never, right?

It still took me some time to get into. While a few of the characters and little blurbs did come back to me, I still kept thinking, this is a children’s/middle grade book?! I read an article where one of L’Engle’s granddaughters read it at seven years old! I can’t even imagine that. I still felt lost by much of the symbolism and parallels within it. I felt like deep within, I was missing so much of it. Although, I’ve read several accounts of readers getting something different out of it each time they read it.

But in the end, it tells so much… and in so many ways. I can see why this book stands the test of time. (Pun not intended.)

I have not yet seen the movie. Would anyone recommend it?

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NOW EAT THIS!
150 of America’s Favorite Comfort Foods All Under 350 Calories

by Rocco DiSpirto (nonfiction, cookbook) – Skip

Rocco DiSpirito is a Celebrity Chef who has learned how to lose weight by adapting recipes using his culinary skills. I appreciate his ability to create adaptations to America’s comfort foods; but this book wasn’t really for me. So many of the dishes are ones that I don’t really crave or eat often. And sometimes, he substitutes reduced-this and sugar-free-that items that are loaded with chemicals and fake foods.

All of that being said, I did flag an Onion-Garlic Puree in the Sauces section which consists of just onion, garlic, water and S&P. He says that it “is designed to be a base ingredient and is a great way to build flavor and texture without adding fat.” I’m intrigued. It’s recommended in making mac and cheese without a lot of butter or cream or in stirring into sauces or soups. It also goes into the only other recipe I flagged in this book: Creamy Parmigiano-Reggiano Sauce.

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EVERTHING, EVERYTHING
by Nicola Yoon (fiction) – worth a read

I sometimes think I’m not into YA novels, but then I realize I devoured ones like The Hunger Games. After picking this book up from the library after being on hold, I almost took it back with the intent to read something else. I’m glad I didn’t. I needed something like this. While the themes of the book are not light, the reading was quick and easy. I loved looking at life from a new {and perhaps more grateful} perspective.

Sometimes I need a quick, easy ready to even out all of the other books in my life.  Apparently, this book is a movie, now, too.

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Being There
by Jerzy Kosinski (fiction) – worth a read?

I pulled this book off my TBR shelf after seeing the movie. The book was written in 1970, but the movie filmed almost a decade later. I do like the concept of the novel – a man with no background getting ahead in society just by uttering very few words, despite his upbringing and education (or lack thereof). But I still didn’t get any closure or understanding of the ending. I kind of wanted to throw the book up against the wall!

I haven’t read many books from the 70s. Was this the style?

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Do you prefer to read the book before seeing a movie adaptation?
If you’ve seen a movie, would you go back and read the book?
Why?

Cheers~
Carrie

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5 for Friday: 5 Movies I Watched Last Week

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Usually, when my husband goes out of town I post about all the fun food I cooked that he can’t normally eat. (I did that here, here, here and here.)

Instead, this week I’m posting about 5 movies that I watched during the eight days my husband was on vacay. Normally, my husband is the one who is in search of the movies for us to watch, whether it be at home or in the theater. I just like not having to think. But in my library account a couple of weeks ago, I found a “list” I created some time ago. It was probably collected from movies recommended on a blog.

And it’s not that my husband wouldn’t watch any of these movies. In fact, I think he would have liked almost all of them. It’s just sometimes the timing has to be right. Some of these movies I checked out on DVD from my local library, one or two I found on Netflix, and I believe one I found on Amazon Prime for free.

These are most likely movies the mainstream has not seen! If you click on the title, you can get a description and sometimes a trailer of each movie at imdb.com.

In no particular order, here they are:

Hector and the Search for Happiness
2014

This movie almost has it all. A feel-good movie at it’s best, it has love, humor and even adventure. Highly recommended.

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The Grocer’s Son (Le fils de l’épicier) 
2007

I love foreign films, but especially French ones so I can brush up a bit. This one is quintessentially French, not in the upbeat, romanticized way that Amélie feels to the outsider (although I adore that movie!); but in a more rugged, real sort of way. In any case, I enjoyed it. So should anyone who has a family member who is an outcast or feels like an outsider. Recommended.

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Madame Bovary
2014

This is probably the 6th version of this story ever filmed. This adaptation of Gustave Flaubert’s novel is entirely in English. It made me realize that I had never read the book or saw any of the prior films. How can this be? It was time. It’s a classic tragedy that, although set in the 1800s, stands the test of time. Recommended.

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Being There
1979

I have no idea where I found this film and what inspired me to put it on a wish list! I was a child when this film with adult themes debuted, so there was probably no other way I would have ever watched it. Oh how movies have changed in the past 30-40 years! I felt it a bit slow-moving; but that can just be what I’m used to these days. Interestingly Peter Sellers, who played the main character, was nominated for an Oscar in this role and won a Golden Globe for it as well. He died about six months later.

I did like the movie, but I didn’t quite understand the ending. (I also didn’t like the title. Just a simple The Gardener would have sufficed.) The screenplay was adapted from the book, by the author, so it prompted me to look it up. It was on my list of “short” books (under 200 pages) and on my (literal) TBR shelf. It ended up being the next book I read. (More on that in a book post!)

And although the protagonist is not autistic, because of the movie Rain Man, I pictured Dustin Hoffman playing this role within the first ten minutes of viewing this movie. Interestingly, he narrates the audiobook version!

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The Hedgehog (Le hérisson)
2009

When I first slipped this French movie into the DVD player, I forgot to adjust to English subtitles. Then I realized, I was understanding nearly every word the girl was reciting! (As long as they speak clearly enough, I usually can get the general gist in most movies, but often put on subtitles when Rob is around or for extra help.)

Then I realized that I had seen this movie before! I don’t know when or where, but I had a vague recollection of the characters.

I didn’t remember everything; however and actually gasped?! shrieked?! out loud during the main turning point in the movie. It was an excellent rewatch. And while the thought of an 11-year-old planning a suicide attempt sounds dark, it’s not as depressing as that. It turns into a feel-good movie of sorts, highlighting many aspects of the human condition, in the most French way possible. Highly recommended

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I guess I was in the need for a few feel-good movies this week!

What kind of movies do you like to watch when you are alone?
What are your favorite feel-good movies?
I’d love to add them to my future watch list!

Cheers~
Carrie