Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

H is for Harry Hoffman’s Hunger Hepburn

Blogging from A to Z

He Did This Just For YouHe Did This Just For You. Finished 4-9-14, Christian, 64 pages, pub. 2000

My cousin gave me this slim book(let) a few years ago and I just got around to taking the 20 minutes or so to read it.  This is a great book to give a person to explain the Christian faith in the simplest of terms.  There’s nothing new here, but it might be a good thing to have to pass along to someone who needs reassurance.  The very cool art on the cover was left for Lucado by an anonymous churchgoer.

 

actorKatharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn was a woman before her time.  Now she would be considered a rebel, or trend setter, but back in the 1930′s her independent and feisty nature turned audiences off and after successes she became known as box office poison.  Until a turn on Broadway in The Philadelphia Story gave her an opportunity to turn her reputation around.  She bought the rights to the story and in 1940 made one of my favorite movies ever.  Her outspoken personality, unconventional life, and a 25 year affair with actor Spencer Tracy make her one of the more interesting (and talented) actresses of the 20th century.  I think I’ve seen about 10 of her movies and consider some of them my favorites – Desk Set (1957), State of the Union (1948), Summertime (1955).  Do you have a favorite movie of hers?

movieThe Hunger Games, 2012

I have a confession to make.  I have not read The Hunger Games trilogy (gasp!).  I was impressed by how well done the movie was and I fell in love with Katniss.  She was a bad ass and I loved her bravery and smarts in the face of opposition.  The games themselves were cool and I was on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next. I liked the next movie too and am so looking forward to watching the rest. Maybe because I love the movie(s) so much I have no desire to read the books.  That may be a first for me.

bookHarry Potter series by JK Rowling

I admit that I didn’t fall in love with the series until book 3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but after that I couldn’t get enough.  For those of you who have read the whole series you understand when I say that I remember where I was when THAT BAD THING happened in book 6.  I was visiting a friend in Chicago and I was trying to sneak in some reading time before dinner and then, bam!, tears.  I had to pull myself together enough to look like a normal adult who wasn’t all wrapped up in Harry Potter and I think it worked.  I am looking forward to reading these with Gage someday, but they may be a little too magical for him.  Time will tell.

authorBeth Hoffman

Beth’s first book Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt was the first book I read in 2010, then I was able to interview her through an exchange of emails before finally meeting her for the first time all in the same month!  I was able to meet her again last year when she was on her book tour with Looking for Me and consider her one of warmest and most genuinely appreciative authors I’ve met.  She also makes the time to stop by here and leave comments, isn’t she cool?  Listen to her speak if you can and for sure read her two books, both are excellent!

 

April 9, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | , | 14 Comments

G Quiz – guessing closed

Blogging from A to Z

How many of these titles and/or authors can you name?

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Sunday to enter.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  

You only need to guess one to be eligible for a prize.

g

1. The Lacemakers of Glenmara by Hether Barbieri   2. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn   3. The Girl You Left Behind by Jo Jo Moyes   4. The Galssblower if Murano by Marina Fiorato   5. Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier   6. The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw   7. Children of God by Mary Doria Russell   8. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon   9. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani   10. Hello Goodbye by Emily Chenoweth

April 8, 2014 Posted by | Quizzes | 14 Comments

G is for Gabaldon Grants Gilbert Glass Grapes

Blogging from A to Z

The Tuesday quiz will be the next post!

actorCary Grant

A few fun facts about the suave Archibald Leach…He was born in England in 1904.  When we was 12 his mother suffered a severe nervous breakdown so he ran away at 13 and joined Bob Pender’s Troupe, but his father found him and brought him home.  A year and half later he rejoined the troupe (with his father’s blessing) and travelled around England before the troupe headed to New York City in 1920. He worked as a stilt walker at Coney Island and as an audience plant with a mind-reading act before working on Broadway. He became a US citizen in 1942.  Married five times, divorced four and the father of one child.  He died in 1986 at the age of 82 of a stroke.

My favorite Cary movie if The Philadelphia Story.  Do you have a favorite?

bookThe Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Jeannette writes about her childhood traveling from state to state with her parents and three siblings.  She starts by telling her first memory, when she was boiling hotdogs and caught herself on fire – at the age of three.  She spends six weeks in the hospital before her father breaks her out.  So begins the adventure that is her life.  The children grow up in extreme poverty.

It is the even-handed way that Walls tells her story that makes this book so wonderful.  She is not bitter or pointing fingers.  During her childhood years she and her siblings accepted their life and their parents and it was only later after  a move to West Virginia when things became unbearable that she became frustrated.  I am in such awe of her ability to come out of her situation intact and successful.  I don’t really want to spoil too many details because I think once you start reading it you won’t be able to put it down and at 288 pages it won’t take you long to finish.  Cannot recommend it highly enough.

authorDiana Gabaldon

I read the first four books in her Outlander series back to back and this was no small feet since they were all 600+ pages.  I also read them at a time when I was still working for Barnes & Noble and hand sold these to many customers, even quite a few men!  It has romance and adventure, history, war and time travel.  I met her at a book signing and she was smart and beautiful, add that to talented and she’s an easy pick!

movieWhat’s Eating Gilbert Grape, 1993

Usually I fall in love with the performances or the story, but in this case I can’t choose one because I loved them both.  Obviously, Johnny Depp is going to give you a good performance and this is one of his most normal roles.  He plays a long-suffering man of the house struggling to keep it all together with little thought to his needs.  But DiCaprio’s Arnie equally shines and he was more than deserving of the Academy Award nomination.  This was Leonardo before Titanic and showing his acting chops.  I was amazed at what he pulled off.  Those two performances alone make this movie a must see.

 

April 8, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | , | 15 Comments

F is for Four Freeman Foresters Fellowship

Blogging from A to Z

movieFour Weddings and a Funeral, 1994

This British comedy has an outstanding cast, not all of whom I was familiar with, and the humor is sometimes more subtle than in-your-face.  You really have to pay attention to appreciate all of the details.  Hugh Grant is the core of the movie but it is really the supporing cast who makes it so much fun – Kristin Scott Thomas, John Hannah, Andie McDowell, Simon Callow, James Fleet.

Watch it and get ready for wedding season :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALRW0GR3DSg

bookFellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien

I read this for a college class and loved it, this was way before the movies came out and I fell in love with them.  I didn’t have much experience with science fiction or fantasy and I was immediately drawn into Tolkien’s Middle Earth and the many adventures that awaited me there.  I should note that I’ve only read this first one.  I’ve tried to read The Two Towers several times over the years and have never made it past halfway before setting it aside.

actorMorgan Freeman

Is there anything he can’t do onscreen? He elevates every movie that he’s in, even when it’s a smaller part.  My five favorite Freeman roles would be 1.’Red” (Shawshank Redemption)  2.Somerset (Se7en)  3.John Rawlings (Glory)  4.Joe Clark (Lean on Me)  5. Fox (Batman trilogy)  What’s yours?

 

authorE.M. Forster

I’ve only read two books by Forster.  I read A Room with a View in 2011 and this is what I wrote.

I loved this short gem of a romance.  It addresses a young woman’s coming of age during the early 1900′s, a time that demanded little from her.  Lucy knew she wanted more, but she didn’t know what more meant.  Because she was scared of her feelings for a man who did not follow society’s rules she fled home to the security of a place that told her what her place was in the world.

I loved Lucy’s transformation and the humor Forster used to make this book fun and still important.  I loved the whole thing and was especially charmed by the end. 

Until I went back and read that I had forgotten I liked it that much.  I read Howard’s End in 2005, pre-blogging, and parts of that story have stayed with me over the years.  Given these two books I feel good about my F choice.  I need to read his most well know work, A Passage to India.  Have you read it?

April 7, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 15 Comments

E is for Ever Ethan Emerson’s Executioners

Blogging from A to Z

Daily bookish and filmish picks.

bookThe Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer

This  book about convicts and the death penalty is one that challenged the way I thought about both.  It’s based on a true story in 1976 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980.  I read this 15 or so years ago and I still remember the way it made me feel.  If you can commit to over 1,000 pages, it’s worth it!  I’d say 3 might be a little young to appreciate it but Gage wanted to take a look over breakfast anyway.

execu

 

 

movieEver After, 1998

I’ve seen this movie more times than I’m willing to admit.  This is a  romantic retelling of the fairytale Cinderella as the great great great-granddaughter of the real Cinderella wants to set the record straight.   Drew was luminous as Danielle/Cinderella.  And Angelica Huston as the stepmother?  Perfection.  This is a Cinderella story that I think has a great message for girls.  Hint-Cinderella doesn’t wait to be rescued, she takes care of  that herself.

authorRalph Waldo Emerson

In college, I took a class on transcendental authors during a particularly difficult time, it was the quarter that my grandfather was sick and passed away. I was forced to read and keep a journal and these writers (Emerson, Thoreau) really comforted me somehow.  I’m sure some of my world view comes directly from reading them.  I haven’t taken the time to read them in awhile and I need to remedy that.  Here’s a quote that I need to keep handy as I reach my limit of the new 3-year-old tantrums I’ve been living with.

“Men are what their mothers made them.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you want to try Emerson or think that you should, read Self-Reliance, start here.

actorEthan Hawke

He’s been in some very good movies – Dead Poets Society, Reality Bites, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.  I find him likeable and enjoy his performances.  I did think it was in poor form to knock up the nanny though.  Was he trying to become a cliché?

April 5, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | , | 7 Comments

D is for DaVinci Dirties Deaver Downey

Blogging from A to Z

These are the same four categories every day and the best match I could come up with for the letter.  It was a good mental exercise!   Some people have been commenting that they are all time favorites, but unless I say so that’s not the case.  But they are the best person, book or movie for each letter :)

authorJeffery Deaver

I really love Deaver’s series about a former NYPD criminologist who became a quadriplegic in the line of duty, Lincoln Rhyme. Great mysteries with lots of red herrings and flawed characters.  I’ve read and loved the first 9 of the series and #10 came out last year so I need to find time for it.  The first book, The Bone Collector, was turned into a movie starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie that was pretty good.  I’ve read some of his standalones and prefer to revisit Lincoln instead.  He was a lawyer before turning to writing full-time.  Good choice!

actorRobert Downey Jr.

I first remember seeing Downey in Weird Science back in 1985 (watch this 30 second clip, he’s totally 80′s)

But it wasn’t until the sugary sweet romance, Only You, in 1994 with Marissa Tomei that I recognized his good looks and charm.  He had well-known addiction issues that kept him off the screen for awhile but he managed to keep acting and rebounded with amazing commercial success as Sherlock Holmes and Tony Stark (Iron Man and Avengers movies).  He is so quick and witty that he brings a spark to all of his roles.  I loved him in Tropic Thunder and The Soloist along with many others.  He’s so fun to watch and brings energy to every movie he’s in.

movieDirty Dancing, 1987

This movie takes me back to my teens every time I see it.  There are so many cultural references that make it a must see for teen girls, I think.  I loved the story of an awkward girl falling for an older, much more experienced man and I adore the soundtrack. She’s Like the Wind makes me melancholy when I hear it, maybe, due to the lost innocence of youth.

bookThe DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

I loved this book. Once I started reading it was impossible for me to put down.  Honestly, we were going to a party  (and I love parties) the day I started reading and I took the book with me in the car so that I could read for the 15 minutes it took us to get there, never mind that I get sick if I read in the car.  Luckily no headache but I was grumpy that I had to put it down.

I love puzzles, I love fast-paced thrillers, and I thought the story of a possible descendent of Jesus was captivating.  Some people won’t read it because of the sacrilege of Jesus having a child.  Okay.  But it is fiction so I don’t think your religious views are really going to be challenged here.  I’ve gone on to read all of Dan Brown’s books but this is still my favorite one.  Although I liked Digital Fortress too and that starts with a D :)

April 4, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | , | 13 Comments

C is for Craig Coben’s Christian Crash Confederacy

Blogging from A to Z

Product DetailsAmerican on Purpose by Craig Ferguson. Finished book 4-2-14, rating 4/5, memoir, 268 pages, published 2009

There’s just something about Craig Ferguson that I love.  I don’t often watch his show BUT BG (Before Gage) I was able to catch him more often.  I think it’s the twinkle in his eye, his Scottish accent, and his intelligence that make him so easy to watch.  If you are a fan of his then you should read this book.  It tells of his life growing up in Scotland and his love affair with America from a young age.  He is first rocker, then stand-up comedian, then actor, but through it all he is an alcoholic with a drug problem.  His wrap-up at the end of why he became an American citizen will make you smile,  be a little proud and give some hope for our idealized potential (if you are American).  He tells his stories with humor, embarrassment, appreciation of his good luck, and honesty.  It was good memoir for fans.

This book is in my personal library and I finally read it!

 

authorHarlan Coben

I fell in love with Coben when I first read Tell No One in 2001 and went on to gobble up everything he wrote.  I had a chance to meet him at a book signing in Houston and he was so personable and funny and so appreciative of all the fans who had turned out that it made me that much more happy to support his career.   I actually purchase his new books in hardcover, one of the few I do that for.

bookA Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Some of you may know this Pulitzer Prize winning book (In 1969, at the age of 32 this college instructor took his own life. It was three years later that his mother found his manuscript and handed it over to Walker Percy. He in turn handed it over to the people who would make it a publishing success.)  The tragedy of how it came to be published adds an extra layer to the book, a books that is full of layers already.  It’s satire, the characters are outrageous and the New Orleans setting is perfect.  Not for everyone, but I laughed, a lot, and fell in love with Ignatius J. Reilly.

 

actorChristian Bale

He got me as Bruce Wayne in 2005′s  Batman Begins. I have gone on to watch and love him in so many other movies; The Prestige, 3:10 to Yuma, American Psycho.  The man has range and depth and I’m likely to watch any movie that he’s in the cast.  Do you have a favorite Bale movie?

movieCrash, 2004

I saw this many times the year it came out. I loved each of the individual stories and I loved how they all came together.  It made me think about stereotypes and how much one act or person can affect so many others.  It won an Oscar Best Picture and I don’t think you can go wrong with this all-star cast.

April 3, 2014 Posted by | 4 Star Books, Blogging from A-Z | | 21 Comments

B is for Bullock’s Beloved Blume Breakfast

Blogging from A to Z

movieBreakfast Club, 1985

breakfast clubAs a child of the 80′s and a lover of all things John Hughes, it is no surprise that this is my choice.  I loved all of Hughes’s movies but this is the one that takes me back to high school.  It’s about the stereotypes we want people fall in line with and how much we can grow when they don’t.  Five students were stuck together for an eight-hour detention (I can’t believe this is ever true, is it?) and  they learn more about how much they are alike than different.  At one point in time I had large chunks of this movie memorized and my friends and I would act out the dialogue.  Fun times :)  I hope this classic will stand the test of time, but just for fun let’s do a recast…

The Brain - Josh Hutcherson

The Jock - Taylor Lautner

The Prom Queen – Jennifer Lawrence

The Basket-case – Emma Watson

The Criminal – Alex Pettyfer

The Principal – Bryan Cranston

My cut-ff age was 24.  What do you think?  Have any nominations?  Maybe I’ll chance my dream cast :)

actorSandra Bullock

I fell in love with her in While You Were Sleeping in 1995 and have had a girl crush ever since.  That movie is one of my go-to comfort movies.  The woman can do little wrong (Except maybe choose better husbands in real life. Never did get the whole Jesse James thing).  She is pretty and funny and has a sparkle in her eye just to let you know that she’s on to you.  The Proposal and The Blind Side are two other favorite performances, she won an Oscar for The Blind Side.  Do you have a favorite Sandy movie?

bookBeloved by Toni Morrison

When I read this in 2012 I fell in love.  The writing is perfection and the story of ex-slaves after the war was heartbreaking and triumphant.  I consider this a must read, but be prepared for a slow start.  Don’t give up, it’s worth the ride.

 Paul D had only begun, what he was telling her was only the beginning when her fingers on his knee, soft and reassuring, stopped him.  Just as well.  Just as well.  Saying more might push them both to a place they couldn’t get back from.  He would keep the rest where it belonged: in that tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be.  Its lid rusted shut.  He would not pry it loose now in front of this sweet sturdy woman, for if she got a whiff of the contents it would shame him.  (p. 86)

I just checked the movie out of the library and am anxious to see if  Oprah can do Sethe justice.

authorJudy Blume

I still have my childhood copy of Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret and it’s well-worn.  I don’t know many women my age that didn’t read it.  Blume gets it.  She wrote about getting your period, masturbation, teen sex, divorce. bullies, all things that are still so relevent today.  She didn’t shy away from hot button topics.  I remember a copy of Forever (there was sex!) was passed around in the fifth grade like it was porn and I guess in the fifth grade it was!  I’ve read most of her books for younger teens and even her few adult books (they didn’t work as well for me, but Wifey had t he same embracing of taboo subjects) and consider her a classic children and young adult and pre-teen author.  I wonder how she reads to the new generation. Do they still read her books?

 

April 2, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 28 Comments

A is for Audrey’s Absolutely Allen Apartment w/ an Autism Quiz

Blogging from A to Z

April is Autism Awareness month and as many of you know my son is on the mild side of the spectrum.  People see mild and think everything is okay and they’d be mostly right. It’s been over a year since his diagnosis and he has made so many strides (the school system keeps telling me he doesn’t need what I ask for because he is too high functioning and while that’s nice to hear it is not at all helpful) but equal strides have been made in my thinking and accepting of the diagnosis. We are in a much happier place than we were a year ago, but it has come through hard times and hard work (most of that by Gage).  His story is still being written.

There are quite a few characters in fiction that are on the autism spectrum and that’s this week’s quiz.  See if you can match these titles with their character who is or is most likely on the spectrum.

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Sunday to enter.  All extras can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  

You only need to guess one to be eligible for a prize.

1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time (Haddon)   A. Christopher Boone

2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Foer)       E. Oskar Schell    

3. The Rosie Project  (Simsion)        H. Don Tillman

4. Oryx & Crake (Atwood)          J. Crake    

5. Al Capone Does My Shirts (Choldenko)       I. Natalie Flanagan             

6. Someone Else’s Love Story (Jackson)        G. William Ashe     

7. Marcelo in the Real World (Sandoval)       D. Marcelo Sandoval 

8. House Rules (Picoult)       C. Jacob Hunt    

9. Dear John (Sparks)      F. Alan         

10. Love Anthony    B. Anthony Donatelli 

And as promised, here are my A favorites…

actorAudrey Hepburn

I’ve loved her since my teens and her luminous beauty and graceful spirit still draw me to her movies to this day.  Did you know she is the daughter of a Dutch baroness?   She spent her later years as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and died too young at 63.  My favorite movie of hers is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, one of my all-time faves.  And I really love  Roman Holiday and Two for the Road too, one at the beginning and one at the end of her great career.

bookAbsolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

I have a favorite A title for three different periods of my life and this happens to fit my current state, even though it is a young adult book.  Jason and I listened to the audio read by the author on a road trip and fell in love with it.  Fiction loosely based on Alexie’s life growing up on the Spokane reservation, Junior will steal your heart.  It’s funny and heartbreaking at the same time, not an easy thing to achieve.

authorSarah Addison Allen

I could have just as easily said Jane Austen, but Jane sometimes makes me work for the pay-off and Sarah just lets me have the fun.  I love the lightness and the ease of her writing and the magical element she seamlessly makes a part of the story.  I’ve read all of her books and still consider her first, Garden Spells my favorite.

movieThe Apartment (1960)

This comedy is full of laughs but also has a dark edge to it that makes it stick with you after it’s done.  Lemmon is a nice guy who gets taken advantage of and MacLaine is a naive girl who gets taken advantage of and this bond forms a friendship.  This won a Best Picture Oscar and Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine were also nominated for Oscars.

April 1, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, Quizzes | 26 Comments

Blogging from A to Z and a WINNER!

Blogging from A to Z

Last year I participated in this challenge, to post something for every letter of the alphabet in April, and had fun.  This year I decided to try it again but with a bit of a different spin.  I will still have regular posts (quizzes on Tuesdays, some book reviews, etc.) but I will also be sharing my favorites for each letter.

bookmovieauthoractorI know you will all will be on the edge of your seats waiting to see my picks :)  Maybe we’ll have some sort of vote at the end! It’s been a fun exercise for me and I’ve realized that you may want to change your name to something starting with X of you want more recognition!

I hope you’ll stick with me through April’s alphabet.

And now for the winner of Sarah Addison Allen’s latest, Lost Lake (chosen by my friend Henrietta)……..

Hannah! (Word Lily)

Thanks to all who entered.  Stay tuned. I have a few fun things to give away this month :)

March 31, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 8 Comments

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 244 other followers