Movie Mondays: Love on the Rocks

2014 brought audiences three excellent, and disturbing, portraits of marriages tested and challenged. These three films are smart, mature works that are sure to make every couple examine their relationships, with blinders off.

Gone Girl needs little introduction, but for those unfamiliar with the phenomenal bestseller that the movie is based on, here we go. Nick (Ben Affleck) comes home on his fifth anniversary to find his house a mess and his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike) missing – but clues presumably provided by Amy indicate she’s gone missing of her own free will. Gone Girl has all the elements of a pulpy psychological thriller, but is leaps and bounds above similar fare due to strong direction from David Fincher and complex characters that examine the question at the heart of the book and the film – how well do you really know your partner? If you’re like me, your partner won’t look at you the same way for several days. Continue reading “Movie Mondays: Love on the Rocks”

Family lives and relationships in fiction: 10 books to try

As families have changed to become more inclusive so has our concept of what used to be called “domestic fiction” or “women’s fiction.” Here are 10 newer stories that reGirls in White Dresses available at SPLflect social changes and are of interest to a wider variety of readers.

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
Realizing it’s time to get their lives together, Isabella, Mary and Lauren gather time and again in a collection of stories that highlight the angst of post-college years for those who don’t fit the mold.

Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
In a plan to normalize life after her bout with cancer, Kate vows to confront her fears, starting with a white water rafting trip, and challenges her friends to conquer their own demons. By a Seattle author.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Sisters Rosalind, Bianca and Cordelia gather at their childhood home to care for their cancer-stricken mother, though it’s apparent each daughter brings baggage of her own to sort through.

Falling Together by Marisa de los SantosFalling Together in SPL catalog
Despite their falling out, Pen and Wil arrange to meet Cat at their college reunion. When Cat doesn’t show, a search for her sets them on a long journey, both physical and emotional.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Lexi, whose drug-addicted mother recently died, and two high school friends drive home drunk after a party, with tragic results that continue a long line of bad luck for Lexi and her new family.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Dana Witherspoon knows her father is a bigamist and so does her mom and even though it’s annoying to keep the secret, no one expects Dana to befriend her own half-sister.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
After a head injury, Alice wakes up on the floor of her spinning class  and has lost 10 years’ memory. She’s shocked to discover she’s 39, has three kids and is in the midst of a custody battle with Nick, whom she’s certain she loves.

I Think I Love You by Alison Pearson
Middle-aged Petra discovers a missed opportunity to meet her teenage idol, David Cassidy, and tries to reclaim that chance with the help of a reporter who nurses his own unrequited desires.

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsFind this book in the library catalog
Another Phillips laugh-out-loud romp lands Meg in Wynette, Texas, where her intervention in her friend’s nuptials makes her the town pariah.

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Suk Sin
Separated from her husband at a busy South Korean train station, Park So-nyo disappears and her loss makes her family realize how much she sacrificed for them, perhaps including her happiness. A bestseller in Korea.

You’ll find these 10 titles and 22 more in our Seattle Picks: Family Lives and Relationships list in our catalog.


An Unfinished Life

We all start out so damn sure, thinking we’ve got the world on a string.

If we ever stopped to think about the infinite number of ways

we could be undone,

     we’d never leave our bedrooms.


I’ve had a plethora of women in my life expecting children. Some married, some not, some engaged, some first time mothers, and some expecting their second child. Being an only child I am completely enthralled with these little bundles entering my life. It gives me the opportunity to be an auntie to these little ones and an even better friend.

But sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. Some babies don’t get their first steps and some siblings don’t get that brother they’ve been patiently waiting for. Some relationships are tested, while others completely fall apart. Sometimes distances are too far to cross when a friend’s life is quietly unraveling.

During some of these trying times I’ve been running across material in the library that has soothed me and pushed me to examine my life, to hold tighter, and to let go.

Revolutionary Road, directed by Sam Mendes, shows us a more unpleasant revolroadside of marriage. Set in 1955 we meet April and Frank Wheeler, played by Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio, a seemingly perfect young couple filled with all the hopes and dreams that start out, but then quietly and silently vanish.  Based on the novel by Richard Yates we see both characters give in and give up in order to live in their suburban confines, while having little satisfaction at home and work. When April suggests moving to Paris it reignites their hopes, but with skepticism silently stewing in Frank April attempts to make sure their dream comes true no matter how high the cost. Continue reading “An Unfinished Life”

Reminds Me Of Garden State

“Maybe that’s all family really is a group of people who miss the same imaginary place.”

Ever since Garden State came out I’ve been trying to recreate the sensation I got when I saw that movie for the very first time. You know the laughing, crying, not wanting the story to end. Here are just a couple items in our collection that call that to mind:

bookofjoeShortly after graduating from High School Joe Goffman leaves and never looks back, but you can’t always run away from your past and fifteen years later its time for Joe to come back home. There will be no welcome banners or a welcome home parade because when you write a best selling novel putting down everyone and everything in your home town people aren’t too enthusiastic about your return home. It doesn’t matter that your dad is in the hospital after suffering from a stroke, no one cares that you’ve hit writer’s block with your possible next novel, the bullies in high school are still going to beat you up and even your own brother doesn’t want to see you.  Not to mention the copies of your book strewn all over the lawn of your childhood home by none other than the neighborhood book club! The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper, slated to become a movie in 2010, will have you laughing, crying, and reminiscing about your own past regrets.

In My Blueberry Nights we meet Elizabeth, played by Norah Jones, who is myblueberrynights2suffering from heartbreak after she has discovered her boyfriend has cheated on her. She finds solace in the small New York City diner where she learned of her ex’s indescresions and soon after gets to know the guy behind the counter Jeremy, played by Jude Law, and his blueberry pie. At the diner she finds comfort, but it’s  memories soon become too great and she decides to leave New York. She ends up in Memphis working at a diner and bartending at night then it’s a off to Vegas all the while sending postcards to Jeremy. Along her journey she meets plenty of characters who help her grow and understand the bigger picture: you can’t runaway forever especially when what you need has been there all along.

The novel Hunting and Gathering by Anne Gavalda takes us to Paris, the city of Light, but you’d be surprised how many broken people occupy a place hunting-and-gatheringknown for romance. You have Camille an artist unaware of how truly talented she is hiding in a freezing hovel wasting away and working nights cleaning office buildings, Franck who has no time to visit the grandmother who raised him, but rather slaves away in a restaurant that is not his and lacks the intimacy in his one nights stands to create a real relationship, Philou, Franck’s roomate, who disguises his anxiety by memorizing the factoids and histories of France and can recite his entire family tree, and Paulette, Franck’s lonely grandmother, covering up the bruises so no one will notice she is falling apart. When these four strangers’ lives begin to intertwine they heal in ways they never imagined. This novel was also made into a French film titled Ensemble, C’est Tout starring Audrey Tautou.

My Night with Greg Kinnear

“There is a story about the Greek Gods; they were bored so they invented human beings, but they were still bored so they invented love, then they weren’t bored any longer. So they decided to try love for themselves. And finally, they invented laughter, so they could stand it.”

I put two promising titles on hold. One that would make me think and the other to make me laugh…without realizing it they both starred Greg Kinnear!

Love gives us promise, but it can be a promise so easily broken whether it’s a parent for a child, a woman for her lover, or something as pure and innocent as a first love. Although still grieving from his son’s death Professor Harry Stevenson, played by Morgan Freeman, is the outsider seeing love the way others whom are in it can’t. He sees Bradley, played by Greg Kinnear, oblivious to his wife falling in love with a woman right in front of his eyes; he sees Chloe and Oscar start on the precarious path of young love. Behind closed doors everyone has a story…some give too much of themselves, but others don’t give enough. In the movie Feast of Love, which is based on the novel The Feast of Love by Charles Baxter, one thing is for sure love always comes when you least expect it in varying ways and situations and can just as easily leave in the same way.

In the movie Baby Mama Kate Holbrook’s career has been her life. Concentrating on the demands of the job while ignoring thebabymoma ticking baby clock until she decides to ignore it no longer, but it seems a little too late for her to start on the path of motherhood. Seeking a surrogate she meets the eccentric Angie who not long after being chosen is pregnant, but its not all nesting and patiently waiting when Angie shows up on Kate’s doorstep with no place to live. Angie’s frazzled world and Kate’s over organized life aren’t too picture perfect. How does this odd couple come out on top despite the power struggle? Just add Rob Ackerman smoothie guy, played by Greg Kinnear, a fake pregnancy, and a T-shaped uterus.