Leslie's Bookcase

celebrating and recommending unforgettable books

Category: Movies

A Man Called Ove warmed my heart

I read once that (paraphrase here from my memory)  it is impossible to hate someone if you know his or her story.

At first, I didn’t really like Ove, a grumpy and routine-based elderly man featured in A Man Called Ove: A Novel though I did find him an amusing character. Here’s a sampling of Ove:

“Ove is the sort of man who checks the status of all things by giving them a good kick.”

and

“Ove doubts whether someone who can’t park a car properly should even be allowed to vote.”

Likewise, I knew Ove would not be a fan of me, exampled by this:

“How can anyone be incapable of reversing with a trailer? he asks himself. How? How difficult is it to establish the basics of right and left and then do the opposite? How do these people make their way through life at all?”

However, as Ove’s “story” was revealed to me, I started liking him. And I felt that his character would eventually become tolerant of me as well…though I am 99% sure I’ll never learn to back-up a trailer, also a disappointment to my husband!

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A guide to the Oscar-nominated “Best Pictures”

I concentrate on finding the best books, so I let “the Academy” sort through the year’s best movies for me. Then I go into a frenzy trying to see as many as possible before the awards show.

This year – for the first time – I saw ALL of the Best Picture nominees BEFORE the Academy Awards. My movie quest was super fun and kept me returning to theaters many times during the past few weeks and more recently to the local Redboxes. I finished my ninth movie yesterday, just in time.

As it turned out – thanks Academy – I enjoyed most all of these movies. Below are my brief reflections and recommendations with no spoilers…I want you all to enjoy these movies as much as I did! At the end, I’ll give my votes to win the major awards.

Disclaimer: I am not a movie critic or a movie expert; I am just a normal person who saw all nine of these movies, and these are just my opinions!

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Moonglow, Moonlight, and the phases of the moon

Last week I finished the book “Moonglow” and saw the movie “Moonlight.”

My double moon experience was a coincidence, but it left me contemplating these vastly different life stories with references to the same moon.

Moonglow: A Novel

Moonglow was on my Fall-Winter reading list and it has since been named as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards. It is based on the death-bed confessions of the author’s grandpa, including many stories he heard for the first time in the last week or so of his grandfather’s life.

The title here references the grandfather’s passion for space travel. I will never look at the official photo of the Challenger space crew the same due to one of the stories told in this book! Also, the first time he saw his wife was by “moonglow.”

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Three updates upon my return to the madding crowd

Upon my return to the madding crowd, I have three updates:

1) First, some sad news: I have to say RIP to my beautiful old book, the old-smelling copy of Far from the Madding Crowd (Penguin Classics) previously read by Gene Kaufman with a textbook control card. I’m keeping the card for a bookmark, and I’m keeping the cover too, but unfortunately, the rest of the old book needs to go into the recycling bin because it is literally falling apart.

Rest assured this old book got one last good read:

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Because my blog typically focuses on literature, this post would ideally be about a book. Unfortunately, my intended book remains marked at page 98. I haven’t picked it up in days, and I might not.

I expected to read “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and then blog about how the fabulous movie of the same name is actually based on an even more fabulous book. What a typical blog that might have been.

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The Great Gatsby, From Page to Film and Back Again

If you see me breaking into swing kicks during my neighborhood walks, it’s because I’m listening to the Great Gatsby soundtrack. I admit it—I’m in love with all things Gatsby right now.

This affair started around 15 years ago though I can’t remember exactly when I first read the book or when I read it a second time. In fact, I recently had to admit to myself that I couldn’t remember much about it at all minus some passages I liked and a general story line. So, when I walked over to my glorious bookcases, with the intention of plucking it out for a quick re-read before seeing the new Baz Luhrmann film, I stared at my Fs in disbelief. (Yes, most of my fiction is alphabetized, one of the very few areas of true organization in my life.) In fact, I found nothing from F. Scott Fitzgerald there except a collection of short stories. I walked away disturbed and confused, wondering what had happened to my book in which some favorite passages were underlined.

Amazon Prime comes fast but not as quickly as my opportunity to finally go see the new film ended up presenting itself. With two pre-schoolers, it is rare that “no kids” coincides with a specific movie’s schedule, so these opportunities must be seized quickly. Thus, my re-reading was, gasp, going to have to wait until after the film. I cringed at this literary faux pas.

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Roger Ebert’s Life Itself

I had the pleasure of meeting Roger Ebert recently. Not personally, of course; sadly, he passed away on April 4, 2013. Still, our nightly conversations through his memoir Life Itself: A Memoir went something like this:|

 

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