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The Week in Review: 01.25.2019

January 25, 2019


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

TAKING COVER: ONE GIRL’S STORY OF GROWING UP DURING THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION by Nioucha Homayoonfar is a good introduction to the changes women experienced in that middle eastern country after the Shah was deposed.  Homayoonfar moved from Pittsburgh to Tehran with her Iranian father and French mother when she was five years old.  Initially, she missed her old friends but she adjusted quickly and came to love her life in her new home.  Her father’s family was loving and accepting, she made friends in her new school, and her parents had a baby boy who she loved dearly.  Things changed, though, during the revolution – boys and girls no longer went to the same school, she was required to wear a scarf and couldn’t be alone with a boy in public, and religious classes became mandatory.  I appreciated Homayoonfar’s story but wish she’d given a little more background and detail since this book is aimed at middle grade readers.  Don’t get me wrong, the book is well worth reading (what National Geographic book isn’t?) – I just think she could have done a little bit more with it.  I suggest reading and discussing this with your middle grade student.  (Review copy provided by Media Masters Publicity.)


THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris is based on the true story of Lale and Gita, two prisoners at Auschwitz concentration camp who met when he tattooed her prisoner number on her arm.  His attraction to her was immediate and he did all he could to help her (and other prisoners) survive, using the privileges of his position to benefit himself and others.  I enjoyed this book, with its sympathetic characters and compelling storyline, but there were several things, like the mention of penicillin, that made me think it was pretty loosely based on facts and this article agrees with me.  Morris’s writing is very accessible so this was a quick read for me and I think it’s worth reading especially for those who enjoy historical fiction about World War II.


MY WISH FOR YOU by Kathryn Hahn starts with

My wishes for you are many.
But at the top of the wishes:
I want you to be you.

and goes on to emphasize having fun, being expressive, and loving yourself.  It’s a message most parents and caregivers want to convey to their little ones so I think both parents and youngsters will enjoy this book.  It’s definitely geared towards girls, though, and I think Hahn could have included boys in the narrative.  Brigette Barrager‘s bright, colorful drawings are delightful and I love that the characters in them are diverse.  I think this was a sweet picture book to share with toddlers.  (Review copy provided by Scholastic.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

A friend and I went to see The Upside because we thought the trailer looked pretty funny and it did have some funny moments but most of them are in the trailer. This is another movie that’s based on a true story.  Dell Scott (played by Kevin Hart) is hired by Phillip Lacasse (played by Bryan Cranston) to be his caregiver.  Phillip is filthy rich and has led a privileged life and Dell has recently been released from prison and is struggling to get his life in order.  There were quite a few clichés in the movie and it was pretty predictable but I still enjoyed it more than I expected to.  Cranston and Nicole Kidman (as his assistant) both had solid performances but, as far as I’m concerned, Kevin Hart was the star of this movie.  I think you’d be safe to wait for streaming with this one.

Off the blog

  • It’s been so cold, we had friends over for a “Souper” Sunday.
  • Our weather has been up and down all week.  The lows were in the low 20s a few nights and in the mid 50s another.  It’s hard to know how to dress!

  • I’m almost through with my latest puzzle.  Vance gave this one to me for my birthday and it’s been tough.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged almost 17,000 Fitbit steps a day.


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

26 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2019 6:20 am

    I also read that article from The Guardian. I guess when memory is involved, it’s probably always tricky. I did appreciate that Heather Morris went out of her way to say she was calling it fiction because she was concerned about that also. It’s a good story in any event, and I think your review gets it just perfect!

  2. January 25, 2019 7:05 am

    I’m on a bit of a break from WWII novels but I know I’ll get back to them so will keep the Morris title in mind. Your puzzle looks very challenging! Stay warm!

  3. Diane permalink
    January 25, 2019 9:02 am

    Looks like you had a busy and productive week Kathy. So many books set during WWII time period.

  4. January 25, 2019 9:18 am

    I want to see The Upside. I love Cranston and Hart, so I’m pretty excited 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you have a great weekend!

  5. January 25, 2019 10:03 am

    I’ve got Tattooist in my TBR pile.
    I plan on seeing The Upside. Did you ever see the French movie, The Intouchables? The Upside is based on that movie. And it is a very good movie.

  6. January 25, 2019 11:45 am

    Your weather and I would not get along.

    The Upside has gotten some horrible reviews but everyone I know who has seen it, has said decent things about it.

    I found out late last night that our student ministry pastor killed himself. My feelings are all over the place today. This guy was light personified. To hear that he suffered from mental illness and depression, and yet remained to be so bright for all of us, breaks my heart.

  7. January 25, 2019 12:15 pm

    I have been going back and forth on The Upside. I love Nicole Kidman and Bryan Cranston in everything I’ve seen with them…..but I am not a fan of Kevin Hart. However, if he does a great job in this film, I might have to reassess him. LOL.

    But I think I’ll wait for the streaming. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your weekend.

  8. January 25, 2019 2:02 pm

    This was a slightly busy week. Appointments took us out of the house almost every day. I like this kind of schedule but it is tiring for me sometimes. It’s really cold here, too, and we are going to get even colder weather tomorrow.

  9. January 25, 2019 3:52 pm

    Is that a remake of the French movie? Must be

  10. January 25, 2019 4:03 pm

    I was wondering if most of the best moments from the Upside were in the trailer. I’ll wait to stream it. I also appreciated the Tattooist of Auschwitz.

  11. January 25, 2019 7:00 pm

    THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ interests me, as well as the movie, The Upside. Thank you for sharing some of the highlights of your week, Kathy! Your average step count is impressive, as usual. Have a terrific weekend! 🙂

  12. January 25, 2019 11:48 pm

    I like the book with the backdrop of the revolution. Always nice to read about another culture though I’d personally find restrictions horrendous.

  13. Beth F permalink
    January 26, 2019 6:44 am

    I had the Tattoo book on my list, but I never got to it. I’m off to read the article now.

  14. January 26, 2019 7:48 am

    My sister is reading THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ now and her initial reports are positive, too, but I’m taking a break from war books for a while.

  15. January 26, 2019 9:51 am

    I want to read both of the books you featured this week! That puzzle looks impossible. I can’t believe you find time to do that with everything else you do. You’re amazing!

  16. January 26, 2019 4:54 pm

    I can’t stand “historical” novels that don’t bother to get the details right. So I definitely will avoid that one. Thanks for the warning.

    We often see trailers for films where we suspect that all the good parts are used up by the trailer itself!

    best… mae at

  17. January 27, 2019 7:54 am

    That is a movie I was certainly considering, so I thank you for sharing your honest thoughts about it. I will wait to stream, as advised.

    Our weather has been warm and cold, sunny and rainy. We even had snow (well, most would call it sleet) one day. Odd weather.

    Have a lovely week. You are enjoying life.

  18. January 27, 2019 9:54 am

    I read The Tattooist of Auschwitz last year and read it in two sittings… I started it one evening and picked it straight up the next morning to finish it. It was so compelling.

  19. January 27, 2019 3:27 pm

    Glad to see you mostly enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It’s on my to-read list. I really need to get back to reading more historical fiction.

  20. January 27, 2019 4:22 pm

    That puzzle looks incredibly difficult! I need more color in my puzzles, although the one I’m working is still a challenge in spite of the various shades of blue, green and brown. I’m eager to read The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I recommended it to my book club, but haven’t heard if it made the cut or not. I’ve added the movie to our Netflix queue since we rarely go to an actual theater. Stay warm and have a great week!

  21. January 28, 2019 2:41 pm

    The movie The Upside reminds me a bit of the new book by Lisa Genova, Every Note Played. I’m planning to rent it when it comes out. Several of my friends have loved The Tattooist, but I didn’t know about that other article. Interesting viewpoint on fiction based on real events. I’m not sure I’ll read it though. I’m getting more and more sensitive to brutality and it tends to keep me awake at nights.

  22. The Cue Card permalink
    January 28, 2019 6:21 pm

    Thanks for the word on the movie The Upside — I think I will wait till it streams. Glad to see you’re reading another Umrigar novel, great. Nice reviews as usual. Enjoy your week.

  23. January 30, 2019 6:55 am

    The WWII book interests me.

  24. February 6, 2019 2:02 pm

    I’m glad that you liked the Tattooist 🙂 I’m guessing the confusion with some known facts is why he wanted it to be labeled fiction. It’s the same way I felt when reading Shantaram. I think sometimes facts, when long past, can become confused and when that happens to a storyteller? A story that is based on truth but made more exciting by a few additions. Trust me, I’ve had this conversation with my husband who drives me crazy when he purposely embellishes a perfectly good story!

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