Saturday, April 27, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 4.27.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Gearing up for the annual ArtSeed Art-a-thon - 10 hours of art-making (and volunteer duties).
It will be my 8th year there!
Please consider a sponsor donation to help reach our goal. (here)
It would mean a lot to me :-)

2. Attending another monthly chocolate happy hour at Fog City News - see my picks for this month (here) and sharing the moment with a couple friends.

3. Artwork by Malika Favre (here) who have done recent covers for the New Yorker magazine.



Dear America:
Notes of an Undocumented Citizen
by Jose Antonio Vargas
-Memoir, Filipino | Goodreads

SOMETHING timely in regards to undocumented citizens.

Freebies: from Free Little Library

The Patrick Melrose Novels
(Patrick Melrose #1-4)
by Edward St. Aubyn
-Contemporary Fiction, England | Goodreads

CURIOUS to read this before watching the tv series with Benedict Cumberbatch.

AND watched: on DVD

Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti (2017)
Gauguin - Voyage de Tahiti (original title)
Director/Screenplay: Edouard Deluc
Screenplay: Etienne Comar, Thomas Lilti, Sarah Kaminsky
Stars: Vincent Cassel, Tuheï Adams, Malik Zidi
-Biography, Drama, Romance | imdb | my rating: 4

Focused on French painter Paul Gauguin's affair with a younger lady in Tahiti.

DOES not come across as a likable person. Although, his art pieces created in Tahiti are beautiful, innovative and vibrant for his time.

I wanted to see this film after viewing the Gauguin exhibit currently on display at the deYoung museum. The presentation of his early works and his evolution as an artist were interesting to see. However, he as a person also comes off unlikable.

AND watched: in theatre for SFFilm Festival

Diamantino (2018)
Directors/Writers: Gabriel Abrantes, Daniel Schmidt
Stars: Carloto Cotta, Cleo Tavares, Anabela Moreira, Margarida Moreira
-Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Portugal | imdb | my rating: 5

Diamantino, the world's premiere soccer star loses his special touch and ends his career in disgrace. Searching for a new purpose, the international icon sets on a delirious odyssey where he confronts neo-fascism, the refugee crisis, genetic modification, and the hunt for the source of genius.

SELECTED as the surprise screening for the festival.

LOVED this. Despite the focus on Diamantino character, I found it to be a female-centric film. Lots of issues to talk and think about with this one.

Ask Dr. Ruth (2019)
Director: Ryan White
Star: Ruth Westheimer
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

A documentary portrait chronicling the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America's most famous sex therapist. As her 90th birthday approaches, Dr. Ruth revisits her painful past and her career at the forefront of the sexual revolution.

VERY interesting to learn about Dr. Ruth and her past and present.

AND watched: in theatre

They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)
Director: Peter Jackson
-Documentary, History, War | imdb | my rating: 4

A documentary about World War I with never-before-seen footage to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war.

COOL to see colorized historical film footage.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)
Director/Writer: Terry Gilliam
Writer: Tony Grisoni
Stars: Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Joana Ribeiro
-Adventure, Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

Toby, a disillusioned film director, becomes pulled into a world of time-jumping fantasy when a Spanish cobbler believes him to be Sancho Panza. He gradually becomes unable to tell dreams from reality.

WACKY world that revolves around a Don Quixote character. Fun cast.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, April 26, 2019

April is National Poetry Month

Soft Science
by Franny Choi
-Poetry, LGBTQ | Goodreads

Soft Science explores queer, Asian American femininity. A series of Turing Test-inspired poems grounds its exploration of questions not just of identity, but of consciousness―how to be tender and feeling and still survive a violent world filled with artificial intelligence and automation. We are dropped straight into the tangled intersections of technology, violence, erasure, agency, gender, and loneliness.


CELEBRATE National Poetry month with poetry by Franny and her latest release above.


Choi Jeong Min
by Franny Choi

For my parents, Choi Inyeong & Nam Songeun

in the first grade i asked my mother permission
to go by frances at school. at seven years old,

i already knew the exhaustion of hearing my name
butchered by hammerhead tongues. already knew

to let my salty gook name drag behind me
in the sand, safely out of sight. in fourth grade

i wanted to be a writer & worried
about how to escape my surname — choi

is nothing if not korean, if not garlic breath,
if not seaweed & sesame & food stamps

during the lean years — could i go by f.j.c.? could i be
paper thin & raceless? dust jacket & coffee stain,

boneless rumor smoldering behind the curtain
& speaking through an ink-stained puppet?

my father ran through all his possible rechristenings — 
ian, isaac, ivan — and we laughed at each one,

knowing his accent would always give him away.
you can hear the pride in my mother’s voice

when she answers the phone this is grace, & it is
some kind of strange grace she’s spun herself,

some lightning made of chain mail. grace is not
her pseudonym, though everyone in my family is a poet.

these are the shields for the names we speak in the dark
to remember our darkness. savage death rites

we still practice in the new world. myths we whisper
to each other to keep warm. my korean name

is the star my mother cooks into the jjigae
to follow home when i am lost, which is always

in this gray country, this violent foster home
whose streets are paved with shame, this factory yard

riddled with bullies ready to steal your skin
& sell it back to your mother for profit,

land where they stuff our throats with soil
& accuse us of gluttony when we learn to swallow it.

i confess. i am greedy. i think i deserve to be seen
for what i am: a boundless, burning wick.

a minor chord. i confess: if someone has looked
at my crooked spine and called it elmwood,

i’ve accepted. if someone has loved me more
for my gook name, for my saint name,

for my good vocabulary & bad joints,
i’ve welcomed them into this house.

i’ve cooked them each a meal with a star singing
at the bottom of the bowl, a secret ingredient

to follow home when we are lost:
sunflower oil, blood sausage, a name

given by your dead grandfather who eventually
forgot everything he’d touched. i promise:

i’ll never stop stealing back what’s mine.
i promise: i won’t forget again.


* This poem previously appeared on the Asian American Writers’ Workshop website.

* Source: Poetry, February 2016 (here)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Happy Release: The Book of Flora by Meg Ellison

The Book of Flora
(The Road to Nowhere #3)
by Meg Elison
-Dystopia | Goodreads
Release date: April 23, 2019

In this Philip K. Dick Award–winning series, one woman’s unknowable destiny depends on a bold new step in human evolution.

In the wake of the apocalypse, Flora has come of age in a highly gendered post-plague society where females have become a precious, coveted, hunted, and endangered commodity. But Flora does not participate in the economy that trades in bodies. An anathema in a world that prizes procreation above all else, she is an outsider everywhere she goes, including the thriving all-female city of Shy.

Now navigating a blighted landscape, Flora, her friends, and a sullen young slave she adopts as her own child leave their oppressive pasts behind to find their place in the world. They seek refuge aboard a ship where gender is fluid, where the dynamic is uneasy, and where rumors flow of a bold new reproductive strategy.

When the promise of a miraculous hope for humanity’s future tears Flora’s makeshift family asunder, she must choose: protect the safe haven she’s built or risk everything to defy oppression, whatever its provenance.


The Bambritch Book

Fog moon, summer
Year 144, Nowhere Codex

Last night I dreamt I was back in Nowhere again.

I don’t know why. I haven’t seen Nowhere in so many years that I can’t number them, and I only ever stayed there for a few days, maybe a week.

But it was where I met Alice. Alice, the drugmaker with the impossible curls and the cruel, clever mouth. Alice, the keeper of som for sleep and hands for waking. Where Eddy brought me when I decided not to go home to Jeff City. Eddy, living child of Ina, killer of the Lion and liberator of the Lion’s harem. Eddy, my lover and my hero, whom I lost in the end. Eddy, raider of the road and hero of Nowhere. Eddy, forever in my heart. Alice and Eddy gave me my first taste there of something I hardly knew was possible, and it was where I learned something I would never forget. Nowhere. Nowhere. Nowhere.

(read more here)

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

The Way of All Flesh
by Ambrose Parry

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2018
Publisher: Canongate Books
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Historical, Scotland
Hardback: 416
Rating: 5

The Way of All Flesh
The Art of Dying - release date: August 19, 2019

First sentence(s):
No decent story ought to begin with a dead prostitute, and for that, apologies, for it is not something upon which respectable persons would desire to dwell.

A vivid and gripping historical crime novel set in 19th century Edinburgh, from husband-and-wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman

Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Simpson's patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.

With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh's underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.

My two-bits:

I love the writing style and dialogue. It captures the time period well. The medical field and some forensics are means to uncover the mystery in this tale.

There is a setup for romance or strong friendship between the two main characters which would be fine either way as the characters are of the likable sort.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Release: Gloved Heart by Charlotte Brentwood

Gloved Heart:
A Regency Romance
(Hearts of Amberley Book 2)
by Charlotte Brentwood
-Romance | Goodreads
Release date: April 20, 2019

Can she ever trust again?

Amy Miller is struggling to come to terms with her new life as a mother, while being a reluctant guest in a rigid gentry household. A victim of abuse, she is determined to never trust a man again.

Henry Russell has loved Amy for as long as he can remember, but his family want nothing to do with her. A chance encounter with Amy rekindles a friendship which might save them both.

The discovery of a secret which holds the key to Amy’s past will change them forever, and jeopardise any chance they have for happiness. Can Henry show Amy that true love will give her everything she could ever need?

Note, although this is a 'sweet' read, there is some subject matter that may offend sensitive readers, including mention of a rape and very mild violence and coarse language.


Amy was glad of the ride back to Briarwood. She was so weary she thought her legs might give way. Her emotions were close to the surface, threatening to brim over. Henry had touched on more than one nerve with his innocent line of questioning just now. He was right to wonder why a respectable couple such as the Fortescues, who she had hardly said a word to in her life, would stoop so low as to house an unwed mother when no one else wanted her. She had asked herself that question many times; it was reasonable for him to wonder too.

She wanted to believe his assertions that they wanted to make her more like them so she would belong. But she couldn’t bring herself to foster such a happy illusion; she was no more an innocent young girl who would see the best in people first. She knew most people were hiding something, and their actions were not always a good indicator of their motivations or intentions. In fact, sometimes they acted to deliberately deceive. She couldn’t believe the Fortescues would intentionally hurt her, as there was undeniably an altruistic motive for most of their actions. But their efforts to re-make her in the image of a lady were an affront to her very identity.
“Miss Miller?”
Amy turned to see Henry waiting for her on the cart. She laughed at him. “Come now, Henry, don’t address me as if you were my chauffeur. It’s only Amy, and it always has been.”
She stepped towards the box and he automatically offered his hand to help her up. She stared at it, dismayed.
It was perfectly natural for him to help her up into her seat, but despite her recent familiarity with him, she still could not stand to let their hands touch. She tried to fight the irrational terror which overtook her. Nothing bad would happen, it would be over in a matter of seconds and Henry was not going to abuse the situation, was he? But she could not bring herself to put her hands in his.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
He shook his head as if to dismiss her apology. “It’s nothing, just put your foot here, and hold on here, and you can pull yourself up.”
She nodded, did as he instructed, and managed to hoist herself up onto the seat.
Henry took up the reins. “Are you comfortable?”
She met his eyes and nodded again, startled by how close his face was to hers. “Thank you.” Her voice came out as a squeak and she immediately felt herself colouring. She focussed on the lane ahead as Henry brought the cart around and steered the mare down towards the road.
He sat as far as he could to the right of her while still maintaining control of the cart, but the seat was not very wide, so their thighs were still only inches apart. She could see his muscles flexing within his buckskin trousers. Suddenly she was unbearably warm.
Comfortable? Perhaps too comfortable.
She could not resist taking sly glances at him as they bounced along towards her home. The freckles across his nose had multiplied, giving him a boyish charm. His shock of fiery hair was tossed about in unruly waves like a turbulent sea. He caught him looking at her, and threw her a bashful smile, which she couldn’t help returning before forcing her eyes to her lap. She caught a whiff of his scent; he smelled of the grasses and earth and a rich, masculine aroma.
The motion of his hands guiding the reins caught her attention as they rounded a corner, and she took in his strong, toned forearms. He’d rolled his shirt up above his elbows, and even beneath all that fabric his upper arms bulged. His chest strained against his waistcoat. He was a robust working man, of course he would be… strapping. It was just that she’d never had such leisure to observe all this before. Or perhaps she had just never taken notice, never appreciated him in his masculinity. She’d been a slip of a girl when she’d last spent any length of time with him, without any notions of forming attachments. Now, she was all too aware of him, and the nearness of him. She began to feel a little light-headed, and her heart seemed to be pulsing through her entire body.
She hadn’t felt like this since… her breath quickened as a painful pang hit her heart. She’d rather not remember the last time.
“Amy? Are you all right?”
Henry was looking at her seriously as he guided the cart through the gates that led to Briarwood.
She tried to slow her breathing, but the rising panic could not be quelled.
The last time she had felt this way, it had nearly destroyed her. It had made her giddy, blind, defenceless. She’d been a gullible fool, and she had paid the price for her infatuation with her innocence.
Fear closed over her heart in a vice-like grip, and she clutched the sides of the seat with white knuckles. She could not explain to him, could not summon any words lest she begin to cry.
The cart came to a stop outside the house, and she leapt to the ground, nearly falling over.
“Amy!” Henry cried, dismounting in a flash and coming around to her side. “What on earth is the matter?”
She darted away from him, wishing she hadn’t let her fancies get the better of her, that she could go back to the simplicity of their recent friendship. Perhaps she still could if not tempted in such a way.
“Goodbye, Henry,” she called as she began walking away from him. “Thank you.”
Then she turned and took quick steps up to the front door, banging until she was granted admittance. Once inside, the house felt like a safe place for the first time. She was in no danger of being overcome by treacherous feelings here. She went to her room and closed the door, leaning back against it. She would have no reason to see Henry again, and it was just as well. She could not risk putting her heart in danger again.

A word from the author:

I hope readers enjoy the second book in the “Hearts of Amberley” series. GLOVED HEART can be read as a standalone but if you’ve read THE VAGABOND VICAR you’ll enjoy seeing your favourite characters again.

As a mother of a young baby, I was able to pour my heart into this story of a new mother, Amy Miller, adjusting to her life in less than ideal circumstances. She has sworn off men for good, but she comes to rely on the friendship of Henry Russell. She resists her growing feelings for him, building walls around her heart. Just as she begins to trust, the revelation of a secret will ruin everything.

This is also a book about strong women and the relationships between them. It’s really the women who drive the story and I loved exploring their unique bonds despite their different stations in life. The men provide the sparks and also the problems, just like in real life!

Author bio:

Charlotte developed serious crushes on a series of men from age fifteen: Darcy, Knightley, Wentworth and Brandon. A bookworm and scribbler for as long as she can remember, Charlotte always dreamed of sharing her stories with the world. 

Earning a degree in communication studies, she was seduced by the emerging digital world and has since worked with the web and in marketing. She is a member of the Auckland chapter of RWNZ. 

Now mother to an adorable human tornado, Charlotte is trying to find the time for reading, seaside walks, warbling at the piano and quaffing far too many hot chocolates.

Find out more about this book and author:

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 4.20.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Eating yummy teri-burgers at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan town

2. Admiring the Nuido embroidery display and description (silk threads on silk fabric technique) at the Cherry Blossom Festival

3. Attending two weeks worth of the 2019 International SF Film Festival - good stuff (details)

The historic 1920's Castro theatre is one of the 10 venues for the the festival.



Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
by Mario Giordano
-Mystery, Italy, Sicily | Goodreads

FOR my face-to-face group, Foreign Mystery Book Club.

Freebies: from Free Little Library

I Might Regret This:
Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff
by Abbi Jacobson
-Memoir, Essays | Goodreads

THE illustrations sprinkled in looks interesting.

Nobody Is Ever Missing
by Catherine Lacey
-Contemporary Fiction, Mental Illness | Goodreads

COVER catches my eye every time. Finally got a copy.

AND watched: in theatre part of SF Film Festival

Asako I & II (2018)
Netemo sametemo (original title)
Director/Screenplay: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Screenplay: Sachiko Tanaka
Based on book by: Tomoka Shibasaki
Stars: Masahiro Higashide, Erika Karata, Sairi Itô
-Drama, Romance, Japan | imdb | my rating: 5

Asako lives in Osaka. She falls in love with Baku, a free-spirit. One day, Baku suddenly disappears. Two years later, Asako now lives in Tokyo and meets Ryohei. He looks just like Baku, but has a completely different personality.

ONE of those "what if" movies that keeps you thinking about it well after the end credits.

First Night Nerves (2018)
Baat go leuiyan, yat toi hei (original title)
Director: Stanley Kwan
Writer: Jimmy Ngai
Stars: Sammi Cheng, Gigi Leung, Baihe Bai
-Drama, Hong Kong | imdb | my rating: 5

Cheng Cong, the matriarch of a wealthy Shanghainese family in Hong Kong, is financing the production of a new play in Hong Kong's venerable City Hall. The play is Two Sisters, a retro melodrama in the vein of Tennessee Williams, written and directed by the trans woman Ouyang An. As the two sisters of the title, the production will star Yuan Xiuling (a stage veteran making a comeback five years after retiring from the theatre, and one year after the death of her faithless husband Cheng Jun - who was Cheng Cong's younger brother) and He Yuwen (a smart movie actress making her stage debut, who happens to have nursed a career-long rivalry with her co-star).

STRONG ensemble cast of women makes this film delightful and beautiful to watch.

This screening included a Q&A with the director, Stanley Kwan. He mentions that his mother and relationship with her was part of the inspiration for the film.

Trial By Fire (2018)
Director: Edward Zwick
Screenplay: Geoffrey Fletcher
Based on The New Yorker article by: David Grann
Stars: Laura Dern, Jack O'Connell
-Biography, Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

The tragic and controversial story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed in Texas for killing his three children after scientific evidence and expert testimony that bolstered his claims of innocence were suppressed.

CONTROVERSIAL indeed. Learned about the Innocence Project (here)
The Innocence Project, founded in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck at Cardozo School of Law, exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.

This screening was a tribute to Laura Dern and included Q&A with her and director, Edward Zwick. Amazed with Laura's varied and successful body of work - lovely lady.

Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly (2019)
Director: Cheryl Haines, Gina Leibrecht
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly expands on the unprecedented exhibition @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, organized in 2014 by the film's director Cheryl Haines.

GOT a better understanding of the different aspects of the @Large exhibit from the inspiration to the artwork and logistics of transport and execution.

This screening included a Q&A with director, Cheryl Haines, Ai Wei Wei and John Kiriakou. Interesting to learn how the thousands of postcards sent from the exhibit affected the lives of the recipients.

The Innocent (2018)
Der Unschuldige (original title)
Director/Writer: Simon Jaquemet
Stars: Judith Hofmann, Naomi Scheiber, Christian Kaiser
-Drama, Switzerland | imdb | my rating: 5

Ruth is committed to her work, her family, and her faith, but when an ex-lover is released from prison and comes back into her life, her convictions are threatened.

LOVED the transformation process of the protagonist.

This screening included a Q&A with director, Simon Jaquemet. Spoke of the non-religious aspects of the film.

Project Gutenberg (2018)
Mo seung (original title)
Director/Writer: Felix Chong
Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Aaron Kwok, Jingchu Zhang
-Crime, Mystery, Hong Kong | imdb | my rating: 5

The Hong Kong police are hunting a counterfeiting gang led by a mastermind code-named "Painter". In order to crack the true identity of him, the police recruits gang member Lee Man to unmask "Painter's" secret identity.

DETAILS and action of this movie gets you in this one. Nice take on counterfeit in so many ways.

The Farewell (2019)
Director/Writer: Lulu Wang
Stars: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Gil Perez-Abraham
-Comedy | imdb | my rating: 5

A Chinese family discover their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies.

DEFINITELY a film that sparks conversation.

This screening included a Q&A with director, Lulu Wang. Got the update on what happened in regards to her Grandmother and family after the film.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Blog All About It: Sweet


Sweets themed art work by Yukari Sakura who is part of Creativity Explored. See more of her works (here).


I tried ube (purple yam) with condensed milk drizzle on toast at Rise & Grind Coffee and Tea shop.


by Helen Oyeyemi
-Literary, Magical Realism | Goodreads

Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children's stories--equal parts wholesome and uncanny, from the tantalizing witch's house in "Hansel and Gretel" to the man-shaped confection who one day decides to run as fast as he can--beloved novelist Helen Oyeyemi invites readers into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.

Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there's the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it's very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (and, according to Wikipedia, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee's early youth. In fact, the world's truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread is Harriet's charismatic childhood friend, Gretel Kercheval--a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.

Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother's long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet's story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. Endlessly surprising and satisfying, written with Helen Oyeyemi's inimitable style and imagination, it is a true feast for the reader.


Super cute Dolce Gabbana ice cream dress to dream about.


Sweet Home Sweet Honey (2015-16)
Woorijib Ggooldanji (original title)
tv series
-Drama, South Korean | imdb

Found this sweet Korean drama available at the local library.


Monthly chocolate happy hour at Fog City News! (here)

April picks:
magazine - Little White Lies, cover story on film High Life directed by Claire Denis
chocolate - Castronovo Chocolate (here)
White Chocolate infused with Lemon Oil & Lemon Salt
Signature Collection - Patanemo, Venezuela 70%

FYI: Based in Florida, Castronovo is headed by one of the few female chocolatiers in the U.S.

She is in fact the only U.S. female chocolate maker to have ever been honored at the International Chocolate Awards, taking home awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016. -You May Be Surprised That Florida Makes Some of the World's Best Chocolate
May, 2017, Huffington Post (full article)


* part of the Blog All About It Challenge (here)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Hole by Hye-Young Pyun

The Hole
by Hye-Young Pyun
translated by Sora Kim-Russell

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2018
Publisher: Arcade; Reprint edition
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Korea
Paperback: 208
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Oghi slowly opened his eyes.

In this tense, gripping novel by a star of Korean literature, Oghi has woken from a coma after causing a devastating car accident that took his wife's life and left him paralyzed and badly disfigured. His caretaker is his mother-in-law, a widow grieving the loss of her only child. Oghi is neglected and left alone in his bed. His world shrinks to the room he lies in and his memories of his troubled relationship with his wife, a sensitive, intelligent woman who found all of her life goals thwarted except for one: cultivating the garden in front of their house. But soon Oghi notices his mother-in-law in the abandoned garden, uprooting what his wife had worked so hard to plant and obsessively digging larger and larger holes. When asked, she answers only that she is finishing what her daughter started.

A bestseller in Korea, The Hole is a superbly crafted and deeply unnerving novel about the horrors of isolation and neglect in all of its banal and brutal forms. As Oghi desperately searches for a way to escape, he discovers the difficult truth about his wife and the toll their life together took on her.

My two-bits:

Although this did not feel too much like a mystery, I enjoyed this as one of those slow burn horror stories.

Come to think of it, maybe the mystery was what was to become of Oghi.


* part of Books, Inc. Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here)

Monday, April 15, 2019

Missing, Presumed by Susan Steiner

Missing, Presumed
by Susan Steiner
narrated by Juanita McMahon

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2016
Publisher: The Borough Press
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, England
Hardback: 400
Rating: 4

DS Manon series:
Missing, Presumed
Persons Unknown

First sentence(s):
She can feel hope ebbing, like the Christmas lights on fade in Pound Saver.

Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed with snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw tries to sleep after yet another soul-destroying Internet date – the low murmuring of her police radio her only solace.

Over the airwaves come reports of a missing woman – door ajar, keys and phone left behind, a spatter of blood on the kitchen floor. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body. And as soon as she sees a picture of Edith Hind, a Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, she knows this case will be big.

Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance, as a senior officer tells the increasingly hungry press? And when a body is found, is it the end or only the beginning?

My two-bits:

I liked the start of this detective series which has a team mostly composed of women. It is set in a contemporary setting so the internet and mobile phones come in to play with investigations.


* Listened to audiobook version.

* part of ibc book club (here)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 4.13.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Catching up with a friend at tea time

2. Home made lunch (for workday) - that someone else prepared ;-)

3. Spotting a Louis Vuitton Wizard of Oz themed sweater on display



The Plotters
by Un-su Kim
-Thriller, Mystery, South Korea | Goodreads

CURRENTLY drawn to things Korean.

Author event:

Bookshop of West Portal hosted a jam-packed event with Lisa See and her new novel. Interesting to learn about the dangers of this diving profession.

The Island of Sea Women
by Lisa See
-Historical, South Korea | Goodreads

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.

SF Public Library and Booksmith hosted an Author Talk with Nebula Award winners Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz. Fun readings from their latest which included some singing ;-)

The Future of Another Timeline
by Annalee Newitz
-SciFi | Goodreads
Release date: September 24, 2019

A mind-bending and thought-provoking speculative thriller about a group of time-traveling geologists who are trying to prevent a dark future from coming to pass.

The City in the Middle of the Night
by Charlie Jane Anders
-SciFi | Goodreads

"If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives."

Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace -- though the perils outside the built cities are rife with danger as much as the streets below.

But in a world where time means only what the ruling government proclaims, and the levels of light available are artificially imposed to great consequence, lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage, and as common as grains of sand. And one such pariah, sacrificed to the night, but borne up by time and a mysterious bond with an enigmatic beast, will rise to take on the entire planet--before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence.

Freebies: Green Apple Books free bin

99 Nights in Logar
by Jamil Jan Kochai
-Magical Realism, Afghanistan | Goodreads

THE dog character got me curious.

AND watched: in theatre

An Elephant Sitting Still (2019)
Da xiang xi di er zuo (original title)
Director/Writer: Bo Hu
Stars: Yu Zhang, Yuchang Peng, Uvin Wang
-Drama, China | imdb | my rating: 5

Four people in a Chinese city live through a complicated day as their lives intersect.

WOW. This film felt an epic film that takes place in a span of a day. I thought I might leave this one with a heavy heart. But, not. Loved the filming style and how everything came together.

AND watched: in theatre - SFFilm Festival

Winter's Night (2018)
Gyeo-wul-ba-me (original title)
Director: Woo-jin Jang
Stars: Yang Heung-ju, Sang-hee Lee, Young-hwa Seo
-Drama, South Korea | imdb | my rating: 4

Winter's Night, the third film of Jang Woo-jin, is a tapestry containing of two stories: one is about a man and his wife wandering around Chuncheon and the other is about a soldier and a woman visiting him in the army.

STARTING the SFFILM festival with this one. This had a magical realism aura that blends the past and present in a beautiful way. It initially left me with a "huh?" which got me thinking.

AND watched: on DVD - nominated for the Oscar's 2019

Eternity's Gate (2018)
Director/Writer: Julian Schnabel
Writers: Jean-Claude Carrière, Louise Kugelberg
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac
-Biography, Drama, France | imdb | my rating: 4

A look at the life of painter Vincent van Gogh during the time he lived in Arles and Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

LOVED the cinematography with the colors and presentation. But found Van Gogh's story sad. Made me wonder, do all great artists have tortured souls?


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