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The Week in Review: 11.23.2018

November 23, 2018


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

In MARILLA OF GREEN GABLES, Sarah McCoy imagines the life of Marilla Cuthbert, a minor character from the Anne of Green Gables series, before Anne came to live with Marilla and her brother, Matthew.  When she was a young girl, Marilla’s aunt Izzy came to visit when Marilla’s mother was close to giving birth again.  Izzy was smart and independent and influenced Marilla a great deal.  Marilla and John Blythe began courting at about the same time.  When her mother passed away in childbirth, Marilla became responsible for the household and cared for her father and brother.  Once she got over the worst of her grief, she looked for other outlets and began some charitable work, leading her to greater causes.

It’s been years since I’ve read ANNE OF GREEN GABLES so I was a little worried about picking this book up.  It turns out I worried needlessly.  You can follow the story and characters in this book just fine, even if you don’t know a thing about Anne Shirley.  I thought McCoy stayed true to the spirit of Green Gables and found this book to be utterly charming.  I felt transported back to 19th century Prince Edward Island and would love to revisit Anne and her adventures now.  (Review copy provided by Harper Collins.)


OSKAR CAN . . . by Britta Teckentrup is a cute picture book about a young bird named Oskar.  He can do lots of things like ski, sing and jump almost as high as his friend.  The book ends with, “What can you do?” to encourage youngsters to think about their abilities.  I think the strength of this book is Teckentrup’s illustrations which use geometric shapes and bold colors.  It’s a quiet book that might not make a huge splash but can be used to spark discussion.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)


When I read the description of National Book Award winner, THE NINTH HOUR, by Alice McDermott, I thought it was a book I’d love.  The publisher describes it this way:

On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove—to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his pregnant wife—“that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.

We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations.

The characters we meet, from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the novel, who becomes the center of the story to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined, are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence. Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement by one of the premiere writers at work in America today.

I had the book on audio and decided to read it that way.  It’s narrated by Euan Morton, who has a great voice but, for some reason, it didn’t work for me.  I was a CD and a half (out of seven) into the book and I realized I had no idea what was going on, so I decided to quit.  I hope to revisit this one in print in the future.  (I won this book from A Bookworm’s World.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I enjoyed the more compact version of the Dancing with the Stars finale and thought one night of dancing was sufficient.  I always look forward to the freestyle dances and they did not disappoint.  I was shocked to see Bobby Bones win.  He wasn’t the best dancer so he obviously has a huge fan base but I’d never heard of him before.

Carl and I rented Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the documentary film about Fred Rogers and his long running television show for children, Mister Rogers Neighborhood.  I never saw the show as a child and, when I saw it as an adult, I found it a little bit cheesy.  Vance and his friends loved it, though, so I knew there was something special about it that I didn’t get.  Since watching this touching movie, I get it – Fred Rogers spoke to children and was all about compassion and acceptance.  I was moved to tears more than once and thought the movie was well done.

Off the blog

  • I celebrated a big birthday on Saturday and some of my friends went out of their way to make sure it was extra special.  They made arrangements with Vance to decorate the store after hours on Friday and also flocked our yard.  Needless to say, it all made me feel wonderful and I had a great day.
  • One of the hard drives in my computer failed on Sunday evening.  Carl replaced it Monday and I spent half the day installing drivers and learning Windows 10.
  • Vance is out of town so Carl and I worked for a few hours and then had a quiet Thanksgiving celebration yesterday.
  • Deb from Readerbuzz won the autographed copy of MARILLA OF GREEN GABLES by Sarah McCoy.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged just over 16,600 Fitbit steps a day.

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

23 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2018 7:30 am

    What a fun birthday celebration! I have the Fred Rogers doc on my wish list. Now I just need to carve out some time to watch. Have a great week!

  2. Sarah's Book Shelves permalink
    November 23, 2018 7:55 am

    Ha – so I recently discovered the big literary awards should actually deter me from reading those books! Per my post today…

  3. November 23, 2018 9:41 am

    A perfect way to celebrate your big day!!

  4. November 23, 2018 10:13 am

    I 100% agree with everything you said about both DWTS and Neighbor.

  5. November 23, 2018 10:55 am

    I remember thinking Mr. Rogers was cheesy, too, but you’re right that his overall approach was inviting to the kids.

    I hope you enjoy In Pieces…and I also have Becoming waiting for me. Have a great weekend…and having to work on a computer all day is not fun…but maybe you learned a lot, too.

  6. November 23, 2018 10:56 am

    I was also surprised with Bobby winning DWTS, but he truly started from nothing and ended up being a fairly decent dancer which is the true spirit of the show. I also enjoyed the Fred Rogers documentary. Since I didn’t have cable growing up, PBS was the channel that had kids’ shows and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was one of them. I too enjoyed reliving the episodes and the focus on his life. What a fun surprise for your birthday!

  7. November 23, 2018 11:43 am

    Sounds like you had a terrific birthday 🙂 Hope you have a great weekend!

  8. November 23, 2018 2:23 pm

    I want to read Marilla.

    I was rooting for Bobby Bones to win since I heard he was going to be on the show, before it even began. I’ve been a fan of his since I read his first book. I want to read his second book in 2019.

    My son owns the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. We plan on watching it as soon as the holidays are over.

    I didn’t enjoy In Pieces at all. 😦

  9. November 23, 2018 3:00 pm

    Yes the Marilla book was good. I liked to see how she became the women she is in Anne

  10. November 23, 2018 4:23 pm

    You had a busy week with your big birthday! I think quiet Thanksgivings were the norm this year. It is so cold here that I am chilled to the bone! But I read a lot this week and felt good! I know you had a wonderful birthday!

  11. November 23, 2018 4:53 pm

    I’m glad you had such a nice birthday celebration. I’m looking forward to reading the Marilla book along with the first Anne book with my bookclub. I hope they go for my combo suggestion! We’ve had a lot of quiet Thanksgivings, but yesterday was pretty busy with houseguests. I enjoy both. 🙂

  12. Diane D permalink
    November 23, 2018 6:32 pm

    Happy Big Birthday Kathy! I listened to the Ninth Hour on audio and thought it was pretty good; I didn’t love it though. Have a nice weekend Kathy.

  13. November 23, 2018 8:14 pm

    Your week sounds like a lovely one. Glad everything went off well.

  14. Beth F permalink
    November 24, 2018 7:09 am

    I think you made the right choice about the Alice McDermott book. I stil have Sarah’s book to to read but can.not.wait! Sounds like you had a nice holiday and a super-duper birthday!

  15. Lauren Becker permalink
    November 25, 2018 12:20 am

    Happy Belated Birthday! I love that your friends really made you feel special. I hope you enjoy Becoming. My sister bought it today for my mom, so we all hope to read it at some point.


  16. November 25, 2018 1:33 am

    Kathy, I’m glad that your birthday was extra special, and that you had a nice Thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing some of the highlights from your week. I’m interested in reading MARILLA OF GREEN GABLES and BECOMING.

  17. November 25, 2018 5:31 pm

    Wow, you had an eventful week from great birthday celebration to computer failure! I’m glad you’re doing great now. Happy Birthday- a few days away.

  18. November 26, 2018 12:44 am

    You have great friends! Happy 60th 🙂 I LOVED Mr. Rogers as a kid and really need to get my hands on the documentary, I’ve only heard great things.

  19. November 26, 2018 1:48 pm

    Wow, that’s a big birthday! Happy Birthday…what a way to celebrate. Mr. Rogers was always a favorite with me. I can’t wait to see that movie. I also cannot wait to read McCoy’s new book. I haven’t read Green Gables ever, but I’m glad to see I don’t need to..but it may inspire me to go back and read it.

  20. November 26, 2018 11:04 pm

    Marilla of Green Gables sounds wonderful! I’ve watched all the movies of Anne Shirley and I know I would love this book. That documentary of Mr. Rogers sounds like one I would watch.

  21. bookingmama permalink
    November 27, 2018 8:12 am

    MARILLA was such a good book. I honestly wasn’t expecting it! I need to watch WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR. Mr. Rogers is deeply revered in Pittsburgh!

  22. November 27, 2018 1:32 pm

    Happy belated Birthday! It’s so wonderful to be appreciated. I definitely intend to watch the Fred Rogers documentary; I’ve heard really good things about it.

  23. November 28, 2018 2:43 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday to you!! I got hit with a cold. I am still not 100% but I was down and not able to even look at a computer so I am just now catching up on posts.

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