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The Week in Review: 07.06.2018

July 6, 2018
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Between the Covers

Finished last week:

FAILURE IS AN OPTION: AN ATTEMPTED MEMOIR by H. Jon Benjamin is fairly well named.  In it, Benjamin admits to some success but mainly shares his failures throughout life.  I wasn’t familiar with him before I picked this book up but that didn’t keep me from liking it.  His stories range from his failure at waiting tables to his parents “discovery” of P. F. Chang’s.  He also shares failed pick-up lines and some of his struggles as a father.  I found some of the stories pretty funny but have to admit that I didn’t really “get” some of them.  Benjamin narrates the audio version himself and does a great job.  In the end, this book was a little uneven for me so I liked it but didn’t love it – I suspect fans of Benjamin will love it, though.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


OCEAN MEETS SKY by The Fan Brothers is a sweet, imaginative picture book with absolutely gorgeous illustrations.  It’s the story of young Finn who misses his grandfather and the stories he would tell.  On what would have been his grandfather’s 90th birthday, Finn builds a boat to see if he can find “a place far away where ocean meets sky” that his grandfather described to him.  Parents and children alike will enjoy Finn’s story and will love looking at the illustrations over and over again.  I noticed something different almost every time I looked through this fabulous book.  I would happily hang the art from this beautiful book on my walls.  In case you can’t tell, I adored OCEAN MEETS SKY.  (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)


THE SECRETS BETWEEN US by Thrity Umrigar is the story of Bhima, an Indian woman who works as a maid and cook, scrimping and saving every penny she can in order to send her granddaughter Maya to college so she can have a better life.  There never seems to be enough money, though, so, after a chance encounter with Parvati, Bhima comes up with a plan to make more.

I didn’t want to give too much away so I kept my description of this wonderful book brief.  I didn’t realize it was the sequel to THE SPACE BETWEEN US (a book I haven’t read) until I was partway through the book but this obviously stands alone because I had no trouble following the story.  Umrigar is one of my favorite authors and I think she knocked it out of the park with this one.  Her writing is beautifully descriptive and her characters are absolutely fabulous.  I loved the story and the setting and I learned a lot about class and gender in India.  Bhima and Parvati and their little corner of Mumbai felt real to me.  I cried big, ugly tears at one point and let out a sigh of contentment when I finished the book.  (Review copy provided by Harper Collins.)


Currently reading:

On the Screen

I really wasn’t all that interested in I, Tonya until Allison Janney won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress but I talked everyone into watching it Sunday night.  It’s the story of Tonya Harding and her involvement in the Nancy Kerrigan incident.  The movie portrays Harding’s mother as mean and abusive.  When their relationship got too tumultuous, Harding married Jeff Gillooly to get away from home and found herself in another bad relationship – one in which she gave almost as much as she got.  Harding was somewhat of an outsider in the skating world so when competition was tight for the 1994 Olympics, her ex-husband decided to take matters into his own hands.

I’m not sure how accurate the movie is but it certainly portrayed Harding in a sympathetic light.  The movie is unique because actor’s break the fourth wall on numerous occasions.  The acting was terrific (I can see why Janney won an Academy Award) even if the skating scenes were not well done.  Overall, I thought the movie was entertaining and well worth watching.

Off the blog

  • Our nephew is here to celebrate the 4th with us.  When he’s here, Vance stays with us too.
  • I walked at least 3 miles every morning (even getting caught in a downpour one day) and averaged just over 17,500 Fitbit steps a day.

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

23 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2018 4:08 am

    The Unrigar book is new to me. Didn’t know about this one. Such a descriptive very realistic author.

  2. Beth F permalink
    July 6, 2018 6:32 am

    I read the first Unrigar book and am looking forward to this one … I just need to find some extra time. The picture book looks so beautiful! I’ve been on the fence about seeing the Harding movie.

  3. Diane permalink
    July 6, 2018 6:40 am

    You had a nice week Kathy. I want to read the Umrigar but when I saw it was a sequel (read first book years ago) I put it aside. Glad to know that I don’t need a refresher.

  4. July 6, 2018 7:05 am

    I have Tangerine on my list to read soon. I didn’t get to it this week…maybe next?

    I saw I, Tonya because of Allison Janney, too. I’ve enjoyed her in a variety of movies and TV shows, so even if nothing else was good, I knew she would be. As it turned out, I was glued to the screen.

    Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your weekend.

  5. July 6, 2018 8:19 am

    I love Umrigar’s writing, too, and have The Space Between Us on my kindle. Will read it before the sequel. I, Tonya is still on my list… glad you enjoyed it!

  6. July 6, 2018 9:28 am

    The only book of Unger’s that I’ve read is The Story Hour, and I loved it. I want to read The Space Between Us and then The Secrets Between Us.

    I’d like to see that movie when it comes to my area.

  7. July 6, 2018 10:47 am

    I’ve never Umrigar. And I completely agree with you about I, Tonya. Janney deserved the Academy Award, and the movie was entertaining. I thought Robbie did a great job too.

  8. July 6, 2018 12:33 pm

    I loved Thrity Umrigar, I have her book on my TBR pile.

  9. July 6, 2018 1:07 pm

    I haven’t seen I, Tonya and don’t really feel the need to. Kerrigan’s MIL was a professor here and I heard all sorts of stuff.

    Hope you had a nice 4th. I liked having a day off mid-week but now I am all messed up thinking it’s Tuesday.

  10. July 6, 2018 2:34 pm

    I watched I Tonya, but, eh, it was ok

  11. Patty permalink
    July 6, 2018 5:06 pm

    Your week sounded lovely. The books you read sounded lovely. I want to get that ocean book…sorry about your drenching! Den is never without an umbrella…which I find very annoying…but we never get wet!

  12. July 6, 2018 6:59 pm

    Wow thanks for the review of the new Thrity Umrigar novel — I will get it. I liked her last one “Everybody’s Son” so I think I will like this one. My husband & I also found the I, Tonya movie entertaining and worth watching. It was well done — and a bit humorous and even insightful not only about her — but of the culture & world & media back then too.

  13. July 6, 2018 7:08 pm

    Ocean Meets Sky got my attention. I checked the catalog of my library and discovered they had ordered ten copies. I’m eager to “read” it with my grandson. I haven’t seen that the movie is in our area, but I’ll keep an eye out for it. Have a great weekend Kathy.

  14. July 6, 2018 9:10 pm

    The Secrets Between Us sounds really good!

  15. July 7, 2018 9:31 am

    I have the Umrigar book but have been avoiding it because I didn’t read the first, so it’s good to hear I can just plow on in!

  16. July 7, 2018 11:04 am

    I like the concept of Grandpa being where the “ocean meets the sky”. What a gorgeous book.

  17. July 7, 2018 1:57 pm

    I really liked I, Tonya, too. I was surprised how good it was, actually. Just discovered your blog and I love exploring all your reviews!

  18. July 7, 2018 5:12 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed Umrigar’s follow-up to The Space Between Us! I loved that book so much and can’t wait to read the sequel!

  19. July 7, 2018 7:43 pm

    The Secrets Between Us sounds riveting. I’d like to see I, Tonya now. Thanks for your honest reviews here, Kathy. I hope you’re having a terrific weekend.

  20. July 7, 2018 9:09 pm

    I want to see I, Tonya because of Allison Janney too. Love Umrigar’s books.

  21. bookingmama permalink
    July 9, 2018 4:53 pm

    I need to read Umrigar’s new book. I always love her novels.

  22. July 11, 2018 3:37 pm

    Ocean Meets Sky sounds wonderful, and Umrigar’s book sounds fantastic

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