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The Week in Review: 10.11.2019

October 11, 2019
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Between the Covers

Finished last week:

When I saw NEW KID by Jerry Craft reviewed on Helen’s Book Blog, I knew I had to read it and, thankfully, our library had a copy.  Even though he wants to go to art school, Jordan Banks’ parents have decided to send him to Riverdale Academy Day School – a prestigious prep school with very few students of color – and he has to navigate being the new kid in a school where most of the kids have known each other their whole lives and still try to fit in with his friends in the neighborhood.

This full color graphic novel is fabulous.  Not only is it about fitting in – it’s about racism (both subtle and glaring), friendship, and bullying.  I think all kids from middle school on up can benefit from reading this book and most will see themselves in at least one of the characters.  Both the art and the story are wonderful and will appeal to both avid and reluctant readers!


Sisters Ruth and June have always been competitive and that competition has caused a rift between them.  June is living a glamorous life – married to a doctor and working as a Betty Crocker – while Ruth is struggling to keep her family farm running while her husband suffers from a sleeping sickness that’s sweeping across the country.  Their mother goes to help Ruth and calls June and asks her to visit, reuniting the sisters for the first time in years.

Set during the Depression, THE SISTERS OF SUMMIT AVENUE by Lynn Cullen is a story of family, loyalty, and forgiveness.  I was anxious to read it after hearing Cullen speak at SIBA and, I’m sorry to say, it didn’t live up to the lofty expectations I’d set for it.  I thought the writing was great, loved the time period, and appreciated the historical detail but wanted a little more from the plot, the pacing, and the characters.  The story is told from three points of view and the transitions weren’t very smooth.  I enjoyed the book but can’t say that I loved it.  (Review copy provided by Gallery Books.)


I REMEMBER NOTHING: AND OTHER REFLECTIONS is a series of essays by Nora Ephron.  She studied journalism and recalls her first job in the mailroom of Newsweek because women couldn’t write for the magazine at the time.  She eventually became a researcher, though, filling in details for reporters.  She also writes of what she calls the “Six Stages of E-mail,” from initial excitement of getting email until the forwarded spam starts rolling in.  Also included is the story of a restaurant naming a dish after her and her disappointment when it’s later removed from the menu.  I obviously enjoyed some of the essays more than others and found this collection to be pretty uneven.  I listened to the audio version which was narrated by the author – she did a terrific job and made the book an enjoyable experience.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

When I went to see Judy, starring Renée Zellweger, the audience was completely female and of a more mature age and, even though, Zellweger’s performance is outstanding, I think that’s what it will take to appreciate the movie.  This biopic film tells Judy Garland’s story by alternating between her time on the set of the Wizard of Oz and her final days performing in London without much explanation.  If you’re not familiar with Garland’s life story, I think it would be confusing.  The middle of the movie really dragged for me.  Zellweger will surely win some awards but the movie will not.  This is a movie you can wait to see streaming.

Off the blog

  • A dear friend of ours passed away last week and we attended the memorial service Sunday.

  • We went on a little day trip to shop and met a couple of my childhood friends for lunch.  It was so good to catch up with them.  (The picture was taken with a wide angle lens and makes the guys look bigger than they are.)
  • We walked at least three miles every day, except the day we went on our day trip (see above) and I averaged almost 14,500 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

20 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2019 6:30 am

    I Remember Nothing does sound a bit uneven, even just in terms of the topics covered. I could see some of them being much more intriguing than others.

    I’m curious what you think about The Body! I can’t decide whether I want to read it or not. It does sound fascinating but I’m not always crazy about Bill Bryson’s books.

  2. October 11, 2019 6:39 am

    What a great week for you all around.

    Nice photo of you and your friends.

  3. Beth F permalink
    October 11, 2019 7:43 am

    Yeah, You are so right about Sister. Sigh. We’re going on a driving trip and I’ve been saving The Body so Mr. BFR and I can listen together. We love Bill Bryson.

  4. October 11, 2019 7:59 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Judy. I’ll wait to stream. Re the Ephron book – I still want to read I Feel Bad About My Neck so it will be a while before I get to IRN.

  5. October 11, 2019 8:21 am

    I think listening makes Nora Ephron’s essays an even more enjoyable experience… she did such a great job narrating!

  6. Lloyd Russell permalink
    October 11, 2019 9:20 am

    I agree with you on Judy. I would recommend it just to see Zellweger. She was really outstanding.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 1:01 AM Bermudaonion’s Weblog wrote:

    > BermudaOnion posted: ” Between the Covers Finished last week: When I saw > NEW KID by Jerry Craft reviewed on Helen’s Book Blog, I knew I had to read > it and, thankfully, our library had a copy. Even though he wants to go to > art school, Jordan Banks’ parents have decided to” >

  7. October 11, 2019 9:31 am

    I loved that Nora Ephron book…and I am glad I can wait to see Judy online.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  8. October 11, 2019 10:55 am

    I have been reading trying very hard to be current with books sent to me. I seem to be always behind though.
    Its raining during the nights and certainly helps to keep temperatures manageable.
    Christmas is coming very fast but not looking forward to the festival as children and grandchildren too far away.

  9. October 11, 2019 2:00 pm

    So sorry about your friend! I have New Kid on hold at the library and want to see Judy.

  10. October 11, 2019 5:39 pm

    Oh sorry to hear Judy isn’t a better movie; want to see. I liked the Ephron book on audio, funny. Great having her read it.

  11. October 12, 2019 2:20 am

    Eeek drags in the middle, not a fan of that

  12. October 12, 2019 7:58 pm

    I am sorry to hear of your friend’s passing.

    New Kid sounds like an exceptional graphic novel. Keep up the great step count, Kathy, and enjoy your weekend. 🙂

  13. Helen Murdoch permalink
    October 12, 2019 11:26 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your friend! But, I am so happy to hear you read and loved New Kid; it really is fantastic!

  14. October 13, 2019 8:48 am

    I loved reading New Kid. I liked it so much that I nominated it for the Cybils.

    We have been to three funerals recently and we have another on Monday. It is hard to lose our friends and family. I’m sorry for your loss.

    I’m looking forward to the new Bill Bryson book. Some of my favorite reads have been written by Bryson.

    Have a good week.

  15. October 13, 2019 7:24 pm

    I’m sorry about the loss of your friend.

    New Kid sounds like something my 8th grade son and I would both like.

  16. October 14, 2019 6:23 am

    I’ve heard Judy was well acted, but don’t know enough about her life to want to see it in a theater.

    I’m sorry for your loss. It’s hard to lose people.

    I hope you have a great week.

  17. October 15, 2019 12:13 pm

    I love Bryson but his last few books he seemed overly fussy and not the funny, enjoyable writer I knew. I am interested in your thoughts on his latest.

  18. Diane permalink
    October 17, 2019 7:10 pm

    Just catching up here and wanted to say that I LOVED Nora Ephron’s books – I Remember Nothing and I Feel Bad About My Neck were 2 faves.

    I hope to catch the JUDY movie as well.

    So sorry about the passing of your friend.

  19. October 22, 2019 11:11 pm

    My movie loving friend said the same thing about Judy! Renee great, the movie not so much. I read a different Nora Ephron book of essays a few years ago and had a hard time staying interested.

  20. bookingmama permalink
    October 28, 2019 8:01 pm

    NEW KID looks amazing! I love that the book has some great messages and that’s it’s in graphic novel format. Hopefully it will appeal to a wider audience.

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