Friday, July 13, 2018

I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy

I loved this book! I expected to like it...I'm one of those people who loves watching special features on a DVD and hearing behind the scenes stories about my favorite movies. You've Got Mail is one of my favorite movies ever, one that I can rewatch a hundred times and never get tired of it. I also really enjoy Sleepless in Seattle a lot. (I had only seen When Harry Met Sally once. After reading this book, I watched it again and while I enjoy certain parts, it's not even close to the same level as the other two are for me!) So obviously this book would appeal to me, but I didn't expect to love it as much as I did.

First of all, it's not exactly a scholarly study of rom-coms, if that's what the title leads you to believe. There are a few passing references to other ones and certain directors and such, and how modern romantic comedies have and haven't changed from the 1930s and 40s. But mostly it's a tribute (an honest, non-glossy one) to Nora Ephron and the stories of the making of her three most loved movies.

I loved reading all about these movies! I learned so much, and I kept reading out random facts to my husband. (Like, I never knew that her parents were a screenwriting team during Hollywood's Golden Age.) There was so much of interest here. At the very beginning, the writing jumped around a bit and I found it confusing, but then things settled into a mostly chronological order and it was easy to follow. The writing style was clear and descriptive enough to suit this sort of book.

So yes, I highly recommend this book if you're a fan of these three movies. Just keep a notepad handy, because if you're like me, you'll be making a list of movies you want to watch or rewatch while reading this. And I also want to read some of Nora Ephron's works now!

(Really my only complaints are that there wasn't more information about Julie and Julia, because I really love that movie too, and the smattering of f-words in quotes from different people.)
Note: I received this book for free from the publisher, and this is my honest review.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

What I Read: June

June was a pretty good reading month, though some of what I read was a bit mediocre. I managed five books, though to be fair two of them were very short and I was already halfway through East of Eden at the beginning of the month. :) As always, click on the titles to read my Goodreads reviews!

East of Eden, by John Steinbeck. This was a book I'd been wanting to read for at least 10 years now, but I'd always found it too intimidating. I'm so glad I finally picked it up! It was depressing and full of unlikable characters, but I was completely drawn in. This is the kind of book that you don't want to put down, and that you constantly think about even when you're not reading it. I can definitely see why it's considered a classic, and I look forward to reading more Steinbeck!

Stella by Starlight, by Sharon M. Draper. I wanted so badly to love this book! But unfortunately I didn't. The story felt dull and the ending was anticlimactic, and it felt like the writing was dumbed down for kids. Very disappointing.

On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan. Mixed feelings about this book! It was a good book, in its way, but it was awkward and uncomfortable to read, and ultimately depressing. I did really like the writing style though, and I thought the story was told in an interesting way.

My Father's Daughter, by Tina Sinatra. Frank Sinatra is one of my favorite singers, and while I knew that his personal life had rough This book was so depressing, mostly due to the fact that apparently his last wife was a horrible person. It was a big mess and Tina really dwells on that here, which took away from the book for me.

The Missing Girl, by Shirley Jackson. I'm a fan of Shirley Jackson, but I didn't really feel that the three short stories in this tiny volume are among her best! I guess it would be a decent introduction though, if you'd never read any of her other work (except The Lottery, which most people seem to have read).

{Just realized I used the word "depressing" to describe three of the five books I read this month, ha.}

Friday, July 6, 2018

Knitting: two pairs of socks.

Here are my two most recently completed sock projects! The first ones I actually finished back in May but never posted here because I was so frustrated with how lackluster the photos kept turning out. These socks are really so vibrant in person, but I feel like they're impossible to take pictures of. They're plain socks with the heel from Hermione's Everyday Socks. The yarn is from Old Soul Fiber Co. and I picked it up at Black Mountain Yarn Shop on our honeymoon! I love how these turned out.

Ravelry project page.

The second pair are once again, plain socks with the Hermione heel. (I just think this heel looks so pretty!) I wasn't very happy with these at first...I didn't like how the colors were pooling, especially considering how pretty this yarn was caked up. But they've grown on me! The main yarn is from HauteKnitYarn, which I bought last year at Carolina Fiber Fest. The colorway is called Bright Copper Kettles, so of course that drew me in. :) The yellow contrasting yarn is KnitPicks Stroll Tonal in the Poppy Fields colorway. I love how perfectly it matches the bits of dark yellow in the other yarn!

Ravelry project page.

Friday, June 8, 2018

What I Read: May

May was a decent reading month! Once again, I read four books: two that I really enjoyed, one that I didn't like, and one reread. As always, click on the titles to read my Goodreads reviews!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. I picked this book up years ago at Goodwill, and it had been sitting on my shelf ever since. Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy it very much! I understand what it was trying to do (it's written from the viewpoint of a 15 year old boy with autism), but it just didn't click with me. The writing felt repetitive and I didn't like the bad language. If it hadn't been such a short book, I probably wouldn't have finished it!

The Man in the Brown Suit, by Agatha Christie. Of course I enjoyed this very much! It's one of Christie's earlier books, and it feels a little different. It's more adventure-y than murder mystery-ish, I guess. I was confused for a while, trying to figure out who was who, but once things settled down, I really liked it.

Rainbow Valley, by L.M. Montgomery. It's been three or four years since I read the rest of the Anne of Green Gables series. I think if I had read this one back then, after the others, I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much. But now it was so nice and comforting to be back in that world! It is a bit misleading for this to be an Anne book, because even Anne's children are more secondary characters in this one. But it was very funny and charming!

As You Wish, by Cary Elwes. This was a reread for me. It's still good, but it felt slightly more repetitive this time. Probably because Kenny and I recently watched The Princess Bride again and watched all of the special features too! The stories about Andre the Giant are still my favorites.

Friday, May 4, 2018

What I Read: April

April was an okay reading month! Once again, I read four books...that seems to be the monthly number I've settled into and that's good with me. :) One of these was a reread. As always, click on the titles to read my Goodreads reviews!

Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen. This one wasn't exactly what I expected! After reading the blurb on the back, I thought I knew what it would be about but it turns out the blurb wasn't very accurate. (I went into that more in my review.) The writing was beautiful and the descriptions made me feel like I was there, seeing what the author was seeing. This book is a little out of my comfort zone, and not the sort of thing that I usually read. It's not one that I would be very anxious to pick back up, but while I was reading it, I enjoyed it! (I mostly skimmed the additional stories in the back, Shadows on the Grass. Most of it seemed repetitive from the main book.)

Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers. I absolutely loved this book when I first read it eight years ago. Unfortunately upon rereading it, it wasn't quite as amazing as I remembered, but it's still very charming and sweet! The book Mary Poppins is so different from the Disneyfied movie version: she's vain and snarky and rude, but I still really like her, ha. :) There's a lot of magical imagery in this book.

Jim Wrenn, by William Guerrant. This book was lent to me by a friend in knitting group, and it's actually written by someone I know: a vendor at the same farmer's market where we sell. I enjoyed it very much, though it was definitely pretty sad (lots of deaths and hardships). It was strange but also neat to read about places that I know in my hometown!

Mary Poppins Comes Back, by P.L. Travers. I didn't read this whole book! I don't own an individual copy of this second Mary Poppins book, so I read it from this bind up of the first four books. I did enjoy this, but not as much as the first one. Even though Travers comes up with very creative scenarios, a couple of the chapters in this one felt very similar to ones in the first book. I think I'll enjoy this series more if I spread them out a bit instead of reading them all at once.