After surviving breast cancer, Shakespeare professor and romance novelist, Eloisa James, takes a year long sabbatical in Paris with her husband and their children. James’s memoir is made up of expanded vignettes from her Facebook and Twitter posts. Her thoughts on Paris are literary, witty, insightful, and a tad pretentious— in the fun way one would imagine a romance novelist to write about Paris. James really gets into the fantasy of “living in Paris” with detailed descriptions of museums, fashion, cooking, eating, and shopping. The fantasy is balanced out though with the realities of life, such as her children struggling with their new school and her struggles with gaining—and then trying to lose— weight, due to all her enjoyment of French food. I listened to this audiobook over the course of a week and felt like I was visiting with an entertaining adventurous friend each day.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Age Group: Adult
Audiobook Version: Yes. Enjoyable and read by the author— though her voice takes a little getting used to at first.
iZombie has the potential to be a younger, less aging Castle or Bones-like procedural with entertaining cases, lots of humor, and likable quirky characters. It has the same executive producers as Veronica Mars and is based on the comic iZombie. Basically it’s like, what if Veronica Mars was a med student who got turned into a zombie.
Liv Moore—another acerbic, tiny blond, much like Veronica or Buffy — has the perfect life as a brilliant medical intern with the perfect fiancee. That’s all destroyed the one time she goes to a party with a colleague and is turned into a zombie. Now she works at a morgue, in order to have access to brains, and discovers she gets flashes of the person’s life when she eats their brain. Her zombie-knowledgable morgue co-worker volunteers her to help a cop solve the murder of the latest Jane-Doe, but tells him she’s a psychic, instead of a zombie, and Liv begins to build a new life for herself.
It’s on the CW on Tuesday nights at 9pm ET, available to stream on Hulu and the CW, and episodes are available for purchase on iTunes.
Obvious Child – In this funny, feminist rom-com movie, Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) is a New York City stand-up comic dealing with the break up with her long-term boyfriend and with an unwanted pregnancy after an amusing one-night stand. The movie deals with abortion in a funny, sweet, no-nonsense way as Donna figures out how to deal with the earnest guy from her one night stand. Jenny Slate, who played the hilariously obnoxious Mona-Lisa in Parks and Recreation, is both appealing and humorous as Donna. I also loved the interactions between Donna and her parents—overall an enjoyable movie. (Available on Netflix DVD and Amazon Prime, also on iTunes for purchase.)
Persepolis– This movie had been on my to-see list forever and I’m glad I finally broke down and watched it. It’s based on the graphic novel of the same title and follows a young girl’s experience growing up in Iran during the Iranian revolution. Her family has some connection with France too, because she and her family speech French—so the whole movie is in French with English subtitles. I remember watching the Iranian revolution as an American teen but only knew the details from an outsider perspective. This movie shows how the revolution personally affected its own citizens, especially young intelligent women. (Available on Netflix Instant and for purchase on iTunes or Amazon online.)
Frances Ha– One of those slice of life movies about some lost young creative person living in New York. I tend to like these kinds of movies. In this one, Frances is a dancer who is coming to terms with the fact that she’s probably not going to make it professionally in dancing. It’s a more likable Girls or Woody Allen movie. (Available on Netflix Instant, Netflix DVD, and available for rent or purchase on iTunes.)
The Fault in Our Stars- (Available on Netflix DVD, also available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon Online.) I think by now everyone’s heard about John Green’s charming romance about two teens with cancer. While I slightly prefer the book, the movie does an excellent job. If you’re one of the few people who haven’t read or seen it, I highly recommend it. Yes, it’s sad at the end, but it’s also funny, insightful, and utterly charming all the way through.
Princess Mononoke– (Available on Netflix DVD) – My son watched this movie with me when I was super sick with thyroid issues. I can see why it’s one of his favorite movies. It’s unique to western animation films in that there really is no “good guy” and no “bad guy”. Instead there are two groups with opposing ideas that they are equally passionate about.