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The Week in Review: 03.01.2019

March 1, 2019
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the-week-in-review

Between the Covers

Finished last week:

COME WITH ME by Helen Schulman is rather hard to describe.  It’s the story of Amy and Dan and their three kids – their family is struggling to keep things together.  Amy works for the son of an old old college roommate in his tech start up company.  He’s created a program that simulates all your alternate lives and he’s using Amy as a guinea pig – needless to say, she doesn’t like some of what she sees.  Dan is without a job and decides to head off to Japan with Maryam to work on a documentary.  He’s attracted to Maryam and lies to Amy about where he’s going.  Meanwhile, their son Jack is having a intimate, virtual relationship with his girlfriend who lives far away.  Things come to a head when there’s a crisis at home and Amy can’t get hold of Dan.

I had mixed feelings about this book.  I get that Schulman is making a commentary on technology and the pervasive use of media in our lives but it felt like she tried a little too hard at times.  I had trouble buying the program that could create alternate lives and also felt like Schulman included a few too many social issues.  But the book made me think and that’s always a good thing.  I read this book for book club and look forward to seeing what everyone else has to say about it.  (I won this book from Book Club Cookbook’s Gallery Match program.)

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Since I loved PACHINKO so much, I decided to read Min Jin Lee‘s first book, FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES.  Set in a Korean community in Queens, New York, the story centers around Casey Han.  Casey’s parents immigrated from Korea and run a dry cleaning business.  Casey has recently graduated from Princeton but hasn’t found a job so she’s living with her parents.  When she and her father argue, he kicks her out of the house and Casey finds herself relying on friends, new and old, to survive.

I loved the characters, the setting, and the writing in this, Lee’s debut novel.  I thought Lee did a terrific job of weaving topics like privilege, racism, sexism, and class (among other things) in this multi-generational story.  Lee is oh-so-smart and a fabulous storyteller and I look forward to whatever she writes next.  (I won this book from Grand Central Publishing.)

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I AM BILLIE JEAN KING by Brad Meltzer is the seventeenth book in his Ordinary People Change the World biography series for kids.  Told from the first person point of view, it shares King’s accomplishments both on and off the tennis court.  King fought for equality, especially for women in the sporting world with a lot of success.  I well remember watching her play Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” and being thrilled when she won.  I thought Meltzer did a terrific job highlighting her achievements, even giving some background information when necessary – such as the disparity in winnings for the men’s and women’s tennis circuits and what it means to be gay.  I listened to the audio version of this book so I didn’t see the illustrations but I do love the cover.  I was very impressed by the audio production which is narrated by Robin Miles and various others.  I loved this book so much, I’d like to go back and read some of Meltzer’s other biographies for kids.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Carl and I grew up with the music of Queen so decided to watch Bohemian Rhapsody Sunday night.  I’m sure everyone knows it’s the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen.  The movie begins as the band is formed and ends with their performance at Live Aid.  I’ve heard mixed things about the movie and, to be honest, I can see why.  I enjoyed the music of the movie but thought the acting and the way the story was told were rather flat.  There were several inaccuracies and some of them bothered me.  Maybe this is one of those movies best seen on the big screen.  Frankly, I’m surprised it was nominated for Best Picture.  We’re in the minority, but neither one of us loved this movie but I liked it more than Carl did.

We watched the first episode of Trigger Warning with Killer Mike.  Killer Mike is one half of the hip-hop duo Run the Jewels and is an activist in the Atlanta community.  The first episode of his show focuses on black owned businesses.  When Killer Mike learns that one dollar stays in the Asian community 28 days, the Jewish community 21 days, the white community 23 days, and the black community 6 HOURS, he decides to only support black owned businesses for 3 days and it’s harder to do than he thinks.  This made us think about black owned businesses in our community and, I’m sad to say, we could only think of one.  I thought this show was thought provoking and well worth watching but if nudity or language offend you, you might want to skip it.

Off the blog

  • I got our taxes done over the weekend and am glad to have that task behind me.

  • I hosted this month’s book club meeting.  We discussed COME WITH ME by Helen Schulman.  There were mixed reactions to the book but we had a terrific discussion about social media, technology, family dynamics, and loyalty.  I think it was one of our longer book discussions.

  • I started the puzzle my sister gave me for Christmas.  It’s fun but tough so far.
  • In spite of all the rain, I walked three miles every morning and averaged almost 17,000 Fitbit steps a day.

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

27 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2019 5:29 am

    I definitely have to get to books by Min Jin Lee – you have made such enthusiastic recommendations!

  2. Beth F permalink
    March 1, 2019 6:30 am

    Echoing Jill! Also the Meltzer book — I’ll see if I can check a digital copy out of the library. I think I’d like to see the illustrations.

  3. Diane permalink
    March 1, 2019 7:08 am

    I’m planning on reading Panchinko in March- so many have loved it. I also have her first book! The Schulman book also appeals to me. Great sounding book for the group.

  4. March 1, 2019 8:24 am

    I think the alternative lifestyle is too much for me but the Lee book caught my interest. I like Freddy in any form so I loved the movie.

  5. March 1, 2019 9:13 am

    Small Fry is on my list…and Finding Dorothy looks intriguing. Great looking book club! Enjoy your weekend.

  6. March 1, 2019 9:28 am

    Hi Kathy. I can’t make a comment any more when I go on your website. I put in all of my information, including my website, and the URL symbol keeps coming up. I seem to be locked out for some reason.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    On Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 1:02 AM Bermudaonion’s Weblog wrote:

    > BermudaOnion posted: ” Between the Covers Finished last week: COME WITH ME > by Helen Schulman is rather hard to describe. It’s the story of Amy and > Dan and their three kids – their family is struggling to keep things > together. Amy works for the son of an old old college ” >

  7. Patty permalink
    March 1, 2019 10:01 am

    Today we are watching the snow fall. It has been a very chilly week! I am just reading and doing ordinary stuff this week. You certainly read some interesting books this week. That puzzle looks mystifying!

  8. March 1, 2019 10:32 am

    COME WITH ME sounds interesting and that picture of your book group is very nice. Glad you guys had a good discussion. We’re getting another blast of cold air this weekend, but I’m hoping it’s the last one. I keep saying that. One of these days it will be the last one. Ha! Have a good week, Kathy!

  9. March 1, 2019 1:15 pm

    I think I’d enjoy the Ordinary People Change the World series so I’ll look for the books. I haven’t seen Bohemian Rapsody but would like to.

  10. March 1, 2019 2:54 pm

    Kathy, thank you for your thoughtful reviews. Technology has certainly changed the way we communicate, to say the least, and Schulman’s new novel sounds interesting. (I’m glad that I grew up before the floodgates opened, although I suppose I’d have adapted.) I’d like to read either of Lee’s books. I really enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody. Thanks for sharing your photos. Have a terrific weekend, Kathy!

  11. March 1, 2019 3:51 pm

    I still haven’t read anything by Min JIn Lee, but I finally got Pachinko from Audible. Now to find time to listen! It’s been so rainy here, so I haven’t been out walking nearly as often as usual.That puzzle looks like a lot of fun. I’ve been working on a tough one, too. It’s of Van Gogh’s painting “Night Cafe.” Have a great weekend, Kathy!

  12. March 1, 2019 3:52 pm

    Ah, it’s actually called Cafe Terrace at Night.

  13. March 1, 2019 5:34 pm

    I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody, but I think it was because the main actor did a really good job at being Freddie Mercury and I LOVE the music rather than because the film is excellent. Trigger Warning with Killer Mike sounds like a really interesting series, I’ll check it out.

  14. March 1, 2019 5:59 pm

    Ack! I just watched Trigger Warning with Killer Mike and it is totally interesting! Thank you for the suggestion.

  15. March 2, 2019 6:10 am

    I liked Bohemian, but I did not feel it was worth an oscar

  16. March 2, 2019 9:46 am

    Thanks for reviewing “Free Food…” — now I really want to read it!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  17. March 2, 2019 12:55 pm

    I did not realize Min Jin Lee had a previous book, I want to look for that one!

  18. anitaglebeau permalink
    March 2, 2019 3:52 pm

    I haven’t read either of Min Jin Lee’s books, but I have a copy of Pachinko, oh so many books. I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody for the music and peek inside of Freddie’s life, but beyond Rami’s performance I didn’t think the movie was that great. I missed many of the movies this year, so I can’t say what was best. You’ve had nice busy week.

  19. March 3, 2019 1:17 pm

    I’m so glad you loved Free Food for Millionaires as much as I did… can’t wait for Min Jin Lee to write another book!!

  20. March 3, 2019 8:00 pm

    I just got Pachinko in from the library. I am in the mood for something light. I hope this is lighter than There There. That was such a painful read.

    A long discussion is usually a good sign of a good discussion, I think.

  21. March 3, 2019 10:02 pm

    I get the feeling I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody more than you did, but I share some of your thoughts on it. At least the music was fun and I thought Rami Malek was really good.

    That puzzle looks like fun!

  22. March 4, 2019 10:18 am

    Come With Me sounds like an excellent book club discussion book.

    In consistencies in Bohemian Rhapsody aside, I really enjoyed the movie and the music. I think Malek did a fantastic job. I loved Queen as a kid, which is right around the time before the Live Aid concert and after.

  23. March 4, 2019 12:26 pm

    The premise of Come With Me sounds a little out there. Alternate lives? Meh.

  24. March 5, 2019 7:35 pm

    I love the Brad Meltzer books!

  25. The Cue Card permalink
    March 6, 2019 6:21 pm

    Come With Me sounds like it has a lot going on in it, maybe too much. I still need to read Pachinko and I’m glad to know that her debut novel is really good too!

  26. Literary Feline permalink
    March 10, 2019 10:56 pm

    FREE FOOD FOR MILLIONAIRES sounds really good. I am glad you enjoyed it. I am glad you book club discussion of COME WITH Me went well. Sometimes with the books that aren’t a big hit with everyone have the most interesting discussions. I hope you have a wonderful week!

  27. bookingmama permalink
    March 14, 2019 6:48 am

    I need to read Min Jin Lee’s novels! They sound amazing!

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