Showing posts from February, 2017

Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

Manchester by the Sea (♦♦♦♦)

Lee Chandler, a handyman in Boston, receives word of his brother's passing in Manchester, MA. He makes arrangements to be there for a week while he settles his brother's affairs and arranges the funeral. It is there that Lee finds out, through the lawyer, that his brother left him in custody of his son Patrick.
Lee is a complicated man in his own right. He drinks frequently; he starts bar fights. Deep down, though, he is fighting demons. Demons that threaten to overcome him as he goes back to the coastal town of Manchester.
Manchester by the Sea is a poignant movie about grief, and how to keep on living after a devastating loss. Some people are good at moving on, as is Lee's ex-wife Rudi (Michelle Williams), and others, like Lee, just don't know how to keep on living.
Through flashbacks the audience is given the full story, the one that is referred only in whispers by the townsfolk, and what a crippling tragedy it is! The musical score is excellent. I was particularly ove…

Snapshots - #14

The movies...
A Man Called Ove, (Swedish), (♦♦♦♦♦): Curmudgeon Ove oversees the gated property where he resides. He has recently quit his job of forty years and his only dream left is joining Sonja, his late wife, in the hereafter. Little does he know that he will have to perform small acts of kindness towards his new neighbors that will change his outlook on life.
Not too long ago Dorothy @ The Nature of Things reviewed Fredrik Backman's novel A Man Called Ove, and I realized that I wanted to read it. This movie is a Swedish adaptation of the novel and Backman co-wrote the script.
A Man Called Ove made me experience a gamut of emotions; I laughed hysterically in the first half of the movie, and by the end I cried so hard...It is one of those movies that make you think about one's approach to life. Curmudgeon Ove is a character that starts out angry with life and people in general, and by the end one realizes he has a heart of gold (hence the crying). Worth seeing!
Inferno (♦♦♦♦):…

Conclave by Robert Harris (♦♦♦♦)

The Pope is dead. Cardinals from all over the Christendom begin to arrive in the Vatican to choose the new Pontifice. The last Cardinal to arrive in Casa Santa Marta is the Archbishop of Baghdad; he claims to having been created in pectore (kept close to the chest, as in secret). His documentations support his claim, and he is admitted.
As Cardinals assemble in a conclave, factions emerge and personal interests align according to the currents extant in the Church today (i.e., traditionalists, moderates, liberation theologists, etc). On one side are the Third World Cardinals, grouping those of Africa, Latin America and Asia. The North Americans have a contingent as well, as do the Europeans and the Italians. The Italians in particular, are divided into two factions; those who support the Patriarch of Venice—a staunch traditionalist—, and those who see the more moderate former Secretary of State, Cardinal Bellini, as an attractive alternative. In the middle of it all, is Jacopo Cardinal …

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (♦♦♦♦)

Blurb taken from Barnes and Noble:
February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery…Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.
From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erup…

Stolen Beauty by Laurie Lico Albanese (♦♦♦♦)

Klimt’s muse and art patron, Adele Bloch-Bauer, and Maria Altmann, Adele’s niece, narrate their lives and times in Vienna of fin de siècle and the first half of the 20th century. Klimt’s works of art and the Nazi occupation of Austria with the emotional scars and physical horrors inflicted on the Jewish population—first in Austria and eventually all over Europe—provide the backdrops, as do the Nazis’ thievery of art, wealth and goods.
Stolen Beauty has as its subjects the lives of Adele Bloch-Bauer—subject of Gustav Klimt’s portrait “Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer 1”, nicknamed by the Nazis “Lady in Gold”—and of Maria Altmann, Adele’s niece. Maria Altmann is the subject of the 2015 movie Woman in Gold, which chronicles her legal efforts to be recognized as the rightful heiress of the above-named portrait, and recover it after being illegally appropriated by the Nazis during their occupation of Austria in 1938.
If you saw the movie, as I did, you probably think you know the story that Sto…