This is where history changes, Bill does not become President as his sexual advances whilst married (to someone weaker than Hillary) ruins his political career. Again, this I don't really buy, it is saying that without Hillary, Bill would never be president. And yes, I totally believe Hillary strengthened Bill's standing, but that charisma would always be there, Hillary or not. As the story continues there are little moments like this I didn't exactly buy. But in all, they didn't ruin this highly entertaining read. It was interesting to see where Sittenfeld thinks or wishes the cards had fallen. It made me smile and also made me perplexed. There is an alliance with Hillary and someone else late in the novel that I found very difficult to believe, despite the way it was sold to us. I loved the ending but also found it sad. I know all of this is a bit here and there, I just don't want to spoil the plot. This is a great book, totally worth reading. I am sure everyone will have bits they are unsure about, how can you not!!??
Women and Leadership: real lives, real lessons by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – This was a fascinating read. Julia and Ngozi interview 8 high profile women including Theresa May, Hilary Clinton, and Jacinda Ardern about leading as a woman, power and much more. From these interviews they come up with 8 hypotheses including hair, clothes, and presentation, bitches/witches, do women support women and what the women have said about them and the take aways from these chats. It is a great read about great women.
Letter to my Younger Self: 100 inspiring people on the moments that shaped their lives - this was a fun read, filled with all sorts of interesting people. The thing I took mostly from the book is that pretty much most of these people knew or were doing what they became famous for at that young age. So stick with it people!
Books that saved my life: reading for wisdom, solace and pleasure by Michael McGirr – there are a lot of these books around, short chapter, essay style writing about books and their impact on the author’s life. I want to love them but I always want more. They never really explain why they really impact, they often pick the obvious and I feel like I could do a better job…maybe I should! Having said that, this is a good read, full of classics and favourites.
Literary Paris: a photographic tour by Nichole Robertson - This was a lovely escape into photos of all things literary accompanied by words; prose, poetry, descriptions, essays etc.
A Writer's Paris: a guided journey for the creative soul by Eric Maisel - I loved this and know I will go back to it again and again. It is full of information and tips on how to write in Paris (or anywhere). It also delves into everything literary about Paris, including libraries, bookshop, where famous writers lived and wrote and so on. It includes travel information, history, and everything literary and is an amazing little guide. It really stirred up my creativity which is great.
What they didn't teach you in Art School by Rosalind Davis and Annabel Tilley - I never went to art school nor did any of the information within this book really apply to me, but it was a fascinating read. This is a great book for anyone wanting to sell and promote their art.
Triumph: Jesse Owens and Hitler’s Olympics by Jeremy Schaap – I listened to this on talking book and really loved it, although the reader left a lot to be desired. It tells the story of Jesse’s poor upbringing and the unleashing of his talent and his road to the Berlin Olympics. It also tells in great detail about that particular Olympics. I have a thing for Olympic history, and it was a great listen.
The Artificial Horizon by Clive James – I listened to Clive James reading his own poetry. Sheer magic. What a man, what a voice, what lovely and hilarious poems. Including his hilarious ode, Give me the sweat of Gabriela Sabatini, and tributes to The Eternity Man and Philip Larkin, this is word porn at its best!
An Elderly lady is up to No Good by Helen Tursten - This is a teeny book with 4 short stories in it, all based around Maud who is 88, has no family, likes to travel but dead bodies seem to follow her around. What is going on? This was a quick read and loads of fun!
MIB: International – This was a worthy follow up with Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the MIB roles. Usual aliens and mole situation. Emma Thompson cameos as a head on the agency. Loads of fun.
Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears – much like the tv show this was style over substance, but really that is the whole point of Miss Fisher and what style she has. Set overseas, in London and the middle east, there is the usual espionage, but also gems and curses! Some of the Australian cast end up following her, through her usual adventures. Lots of high speed chasing, camels on the sand-dunes, quick sand, and guns. The set designs fabulous and Miss Fisher and friends look spectacular. This is light but fun.
Palm Beach - this was a nice light film about a group of friends in their 60s meeting for a weekend to celebrate a birthday. The actors are Sam Neil, Richard E. Grant, Jacqueline McKenzie, Bryan Brown, and Greta Scacchi. There are secrets to be unraveled, and issues dealing with ageing for all of them. This was good light entertainment, but pretty much rolled as you would expect.
I am Johnny Cash - documentary about the life of Johnny Cash. Filled with loads of interviews of his family and contemporaries. Plenty of footage, from television, filmclips, home footage and concerts. It enjoyed this but wanted more.
Brillo Box (3c off) - this was a quirky short documentary about a New York family that owned a special Brillo Box but traded it for a painting back in the 70s. Filmed and directed by Lisane Skylar, she remembers the box from her childhood. Her parents were contemporary art collectors, but were not rich and did not have a lot of space. So when they saw something new they wanted, they would trade or sold older pieces. Her father paid $1000 for a yellow Brillo Box BUT said he wanted Andy to sign it. He had a friend that knew Andy and had it arranged. This was the only box signed. Mr Skylar had a clear box made to put it in to preserve it. The box was eventually traded for a painting and that was that. When Lisane was looking at childhood photos she saw the box and decided to see if they could track it. The doco is just gorgeous, her parents real characters and lovers of art, and the outcome of finding the piece is quite remarkable. If you love art, Warhol, NY culture, or just plain quirky, this you will definitely love. I know I did!
Ali and Cavett: the tale of the tapes - this was a fabulous documentary about the friendship between Muhammad Ali and DIck Cavett, the talk show host. An unlikely pairing if you ever saw one, but Dick had great respect for Ali and Ali loved that. They become best friends and Ali was on the Cavett show many many times. The documentary follows the evolution of the friendship with Ali's history during that time. Absolutely compelling and fascinating stuff. I was always such a fan of Ali, so this was a real treat.
Don’t Waste Your Anger – The Smith Street Band – Don’t Waster Your Anger is a lovely melancholy album that refreshingly deals with a lot of heartbreak on the back of Wil Wagner’s attempt at suicide. Thankfully he is back on track and putting his experiences into his art and we are all the better for it. The Smith Street band are often described as punk, but I wouldn’t say that, I hear a lot of early U2 in their work to be honest. This is a great listen, and if you listen to the lyrics carefully it can be quite profound.
Paul Weller on Sunset – easy and smooth, as you would imagine.
American Uptopia on Broadway by David Byrne - this is the soundtrack of the successful tour and Broadway show THAT I MISSED OUT ON!!! Yeah, I had opportunity to go, but had seen Byrne a few years earlier doing what looked like a similar show so opted out. HUGE MISTAKE!!! This is brilliant, and full of Talking Heads and Solo stuff reworked. Loads of energy and now I know that Spike Lee (I love him) is making a documentary of the show I am excited I will get to 'see' it.
Julia Gillard and Cate Blanchett - I have finally gotten up-to-date with Julia Gillard's fantastic podcast, but really loved the one with Cate. Coming from very different backgrounds, but the same feminist sensibilities it was a great chat.
Overwhelmed and Dying - Judith Lucy's podcast - I devoured this 8 episode podcast in 2 days, and loved it. It comes from a depression after her brother died and her boyfriend stole of a lot of her money, and hitting 50. She spends time wondering whether life and romance are really worth it, and it is a funny and at times dark ride but totally entertaining as only Judith can be. Highly recommend.
In Bed with Nick and Megan - I have started this podcast which has been around for ages, with the cutest couple ever, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. They interview people they know and it feels like you are eavesdropping on a personal conversation. I really enjoy it, but sometimes they feel like they run a little too long and sometimes Megan talk a little too much. But other than that, another fun podcast to listen to. They are prolific, so loads to choose from. But if you want a nice place to start, their double date with Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen is wonderful.
Twinsthenewtrend Reaction Videos - I spent a lot of time this month down this wormhole. Twins, who are in their early 20s and love rap, listening to classic songs for the first time and filming their reaction to said song. Absolute pure joy. It is almost (almost) like hearing the song for the first time again yourself. There are hundreds to choose from. It is worth the visit, you will thank me for the honesty and joy. Their reactions to Queen and SInatra are gold, also Phil COllins, In the Air Tonight, but then some 'newer' songs like Hey Ya and You Can't Touch This are also great.