I wrote my 2017 reading list about a year ago about trying to focus my 2017 reading on more serious political books & memoirs & mix in a few light-hearted books here & there to keep me sane.
So here’s what I’m reading now. A little light & funny. A little heavy. A little gory. & a little calm for the soul.
What’s on my end table: I’m finishing up Fire & Fury by Michael Wolff & also What Unites Us by Dan Rather.
What’s on my kindle: Clash of Kings (Game of Thrones book 2) & Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.
What I’ve read in last year:
- Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (started 2017 with this one & it ended up being so appropriate with what happened in Charlottesville etc)
- In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (called my dad & made he & my mom listen to this pre-WWII book on the US ambassador to Germany)
- Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (such a great read on the Great Migration),
- Our Kids by Robert Putnam (didn’t make it all the way through for book club but reminded me of sociology books),
- I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi (laughed til I cried),
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed (an adventure & come to find yourself story that had been on my want-to-read-list for years)
- The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines
- The Book Thief (everyone should read this WWII novel),
- Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean (another one for book club that I didn’t make it through, reminded me of a college text that I’d have slept through),
- Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel (didn’t finished by book club but I enjoyed reading the stories of these vets, want to watch the movie)
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (I didn’t know his back story & it was a fascinating read)
- Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (loved this book then had to see the movie)
- Game of Thrones by Martin (so much content on the characters I love from the series)
- What Happened by HRC (just finished it this week. I didn’t make it through a chapter without crying over what could have been vs what our current reality is)
What’s on my To Read list:
- 13 Reasons Why by Jay Ashley (I watched the show on Netflix, been meaning to read the book)
- Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
- A Wrinkle in Time (not sure why I never read this one in HS, movie review coming soon!)
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria (I requested this one at the library & it arrived at the same time as 3 others, so it’s back on my to read list)
Upcoming books I have my eye on:
- Yes We (Still) Can by Dan Pfeiffer
- The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes
- & my old school BlogHer buddy Jill Krause’s 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver (not having more babies here but I love reading her words & so excited for her!)
I’ve also been on a podcast kick while traveling & at work. I’ve found I can best focus on work & tune out my co-workers/background noise while listening to Pod Save America & the other Crooked Media podcasts, Stay Tuned with Preet & I’m trying to figure out how to listen to Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love here at work too.
What am I missing? Any books you’ve loved recently? What’s your favorite podcast? As summer (ok, spring!) is almost in sight, we tend to be in the car more & I do love reading while traveling.
Confession, I’m not a Marvel fanatic. But my husband is, so I’ve seen most of the recent Marvel character movies. Including one 2 days before Zach’s water broke as I was uncomfortable AF in the theater chair (but that’s another story for another post). But I did see the one where the Black Panther character was introduced & kinda knew the Marvel story line with him.
So when I got to invite to attend the pre-screening of the new Black Panther film last week, I immediately replied for husband & I to go. Kid duty ended up meaning that he stayed home while I went. After all the hype going into this film, I was excited, but since I’m not a huge super hero movie lover, I wasn’t sure it would live up to the talk.
Oh but it did! In case you weren’t one of the millions of people who went to see Black Panther when it opened nationwide this weekend, I’ll keep this post spoiler-free.
But y’all! This isn’t just a Marvel character movie. The timing on this one is so perfect for our time. It’s a film about the Black Panther – T’Challa (played by Chadwick Bodeman) returns home to Wakanda after his father T’Chaka (played by Lupita Nyongo) died (in a prior Marvel film) to succeed to the throne & take his place as king.
T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018
It’s a film about Africa & it’s hidden gems – debates on pro/con of keeping your countries “gems” for yourself or sharing your wealth. The scenery was breathtaking. The technology was amazing- futuristic & so cool. Wakanda is not an actual country & it’s power source, vibranium doesn’t exist, but the film-makers did an amazing job of working in nods to Africa costumes & customs.
Talon Fighter over Wakanda..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018
It’s a movie about family. About being a king & what the responsibility of being a leader is. & the support it takes to continue to be a leader. & in Black Panther, that support was so amazingly female!
L to R: Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and Okoye (Danai Gurira)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018
Oh my goodness, I just loved the STRONG female characters in this film. His ex-girlfiend Nakia (played by Lupita Nyongo), General Okoye (played by Danai Gurira), mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) & super scientist sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) stole the movie for me. Made me laugh out loud & cheer them on!
Shuri (Letitia Wright)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018
L to R: Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Shuri (Letitia Wright)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018
L to R: T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018
The film wasn’t all female of course. T’Challa was helped by friends such as Zuri (played by Forest Whitaker), W’Kabi (played by Daniel Kaluuya) & CIA guy Everett K Ross (played by Martin Freeman). Plus cousin Erik Killmonger (Michael B Jordan) & in the “bad guy” role, Ulysses Klause was played by Andy Serkis.
L to R: Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) ..Ph: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018
Zuri (Forest Whitaker)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018
L to R: Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2018
If you couldn’t get to the movies with your significant other for a belated Valentine’s day night at the movies this weekend, go soon! I think you’ll enjoy it, especially if y’all are into the Marvels characters. Also, have you seen the Wakanda the Vote initative?! Love it!!! Text WAKANDA to 91990 to register to VOTE!
While I did enjoy the early pass to see Black Panther, my review was not swayed by their generosity.
I think Zach & Lucy have reached (finally) an awesome age to watch movies at the theater. They get it ~ the excitement, the big screen, the popcorn!
So when we were invited (& you were too!) to go check out Paddington 2 recently, I was so excited! We studied up, watching Paddington the Saturday (& Sunday) beforehand. Zach & Lucy (& us too) had the characters fresh in our minds & couldn’t wait to see what kinds of trouble Paddington might get himself into &, we hoped with the help of the Brown’s, out of!
We were overjoyed with Paddington 2!
Paddington was his same sweet, friendly, funny bear self that Lucy & Zach fell for in the original Paddington film.
Paddington 2 begins where the first film ended, the rare bear, Paddington happily lives with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens & in Paddington fashion, has befriended almost everyone in the neighborhood. Paddington, in search of the perfect birthday gift for his Aunt Lucy, ends up being a witness to a crime. Then Paddington, the Brown’s & friends spend the rest of the movie trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of the gift & get Paddington out of trouble.
We laughed out loud, L&Z got a little bit nervous, & we were all happy at the end. I think Lucy & I might’ve even had a sweet little tear in our eyes at one point! Zach & Lucy loved the cooking scenes. They laughed & laughed over the laundry. Our friend Jack “loved how Paddington made friends with all the neighbors & had special friendships with each one”. I loved how Paddington showed everyone how being polite wins every time.
when Mommy says pose for a photo an hour past bedtime…
In the weeks after (as y’all know, I’m usually universally late) watching this new film, we’ve picked up 7 Paddington bear books from the library & re-watched the original movie weekly. Zach & Lucy can’t wait for us to watch Paddington 2 at home when it comes out on DVD.
Have y’all seen Paddington 2 yet? What age did you find was the “sweet spot” for taking kids to the movies & them last all the way through?
While we were given advantage movie passes to see Paddington 2, their generosity didn’t change my review of the film.
Zach, Lucy & I are so excited to have the opportunity to see the promotional screening on the new film Paddington 2 NEXT Tuesday Jan 9th at 6:30p at the North Hills theater. And even better, you & your family can join us!
Per the email I received about this film, here’s the synopsis. In this new adventure, Paddington is now happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief. This film has been rated PG for some action and mild rude humor.
Check out the official preview!
If you can join us, & we hope so, use this code ST0109 at www.wbtickets.com to print your tickets. (I can admit 10 prints with 4 passes per ticket for a total of 40 seats!)
Stay warm this weekend! We plan to do lots of cuddling on the couch watching movies!
I’m sure you’ve heard of the new Disney*Pixar film coming out just in time for Thanksgiving weekend family trip to the movies: COCO arrives in theaters today!
Zach & Lucy were so excited to see Coco! They posed in front of the first poster when we saw it after the showing of The Man Who Invented Christmas.
We’ve been talking about it for a couple weeks when we’d see the trailers on TV including this one.
Coco Official US Teaser Trailer
They were excited for the music. I was too! I was also just a lil nervous to how my more fearful Zach would take a film that centers around the day of the dead & features a ton of skeletons. I had high hopes Zach would get wrapped up in the story & forget to be nervous, but I brought my husband along with us just in case.
The main character Miguel (voiced by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of being a musician like his hero Ernesto de la Cruz (voiced by Benjamin Bratt) despite his family’s generations long ban on music. Balking his family, Miguel sets off to try to prove his talent, but due to a mysterious & magical chain of events, winds up in the colorful Land of the Dead. Together with a charming trickster he meets named Hector (voiced by Gael Garcia Bernal), Miguel tries to discover the real truth about his family’s past.
Lucy loved it. She laughed. She got a little nervous & used it as an excuse to climb in my lap & cuddle. & my extra napkins (leftover after our popcorn snacking) came in handy when I realized I wasn’t the only one shedding a few tears towards the end!
Lucy with her favorite COCO characters
& my suspensions about Zach rang true. Once Miguel was in the Land of the Dead (which coincided with their usual bedtime), Zach turned to Jason & said, I’m tired, let’s go home. While he was tired, he was also too scared to stay. So they spent a good 45 minutes in the lobby while Lucy & I watched Coco.
Of course as Lucy talked non-stop on our drive home about silly Dante the dog & how Hector/Ernesto/Miguel got along in the Land of the Dead, Zach wanted to hear all about it & wished he’d stayed in. But we all agreed, Coco will be a film we have at home & re-watch (over & over) once it’s on DVD.
I think this will become the next huge Disney*Pixar hit! COCO is fun & funny for the kids while also bringing home (even for 5.5 year olds) that family & generations of family is sweet, special & treasured. A perfect reminder as we head to be with 4 generations of family this Thanksgiving holiday. Hope you & yours have a very happy Thanksgiving!
While I was giving passes to see COCO for myself & family, their generosity did not effect my honest review.
Are you in the holiday spirit & ready to go to the movies this Thanksgiving weekend?! I know of a couple great new films coming out & I’m so excited to share my thoughts on them with you. First up.
The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the behind the scenes magical tale of Charles Dickens & how he came up with the infamous Christmas Carol, the novel that forever changed Christmas as we know it. The film is based on the book by Les Standiford of the same title & shares how Charles (played by Dan Stevens) used real life events & people along with his wild & vivid imagination to create the timeless characters we all know & love including Marley, Scroogie (played brilliantly by Christopher Plummer) & tiny Tim.
This film is rated PG & is considered a comedy, drama. Hearing Christmas & PG, I decided to bring along Zach & Lucy as well as my aunt to our showing. I should have watched the Man Who Invented Christmas trailer first. Zach & Lucy loved the reclining seats, the popcorn & the costumes. But they didn’t “get” it. The story was just over their 5.5 year old heads.
My aunt & I really enjoyed it though. We loved that it is based on a true story & gave us the background story of Charles’ family as well as depth behind the characters I love. So, if you have older children, tweens/teens, take them & go start the holiday season with a movie that will help you remember what Christmas really is all about.
While I was giving passes to see COCO for myself & family, their generosity did not effect my honest review.