Recent Reads and Movie Watching Update

Book Review, Books, Journal, Movie Review / Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Happy Wednesday! It’s been a while since I’ve journaled so today seems like a good day for it…we’ll see if the kiddos cooperate with that idea. (They didn’t so it might be Thursday when you read this.)

I’ll start with the watching/reading updates since I haven’t done that in a while.


We’ve seen a few good ones lately.

1. Finding Neverland

I discovered this little gem at the library and it was quite lovely. I had never heard the story of how Peter Pan (the original play) came to be. It’s a captivating story that takes you on an adventure into the the writer, J. M. Barrie ‘s, vivid imagination as well as on a journey through experiences and events that occured in his life and others around him that eventually formed into the story we know as Peter Pan.

I was impressed with the role played by Johnny Depp in a way I’ve never seen him before (a non-flighty pirate!…though he did act the part of a pirate at one time during the movie in a much more dignified way than his more recent films.)

This movie spoke not only to my childhood nostalgia but also to my writer’s heart. If only I could sit and write the pictures that dance in a constant stream through my mind, oh the books and stories I’d write!

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.” J. M. Barrie

2. Saving Mr. Banks

We watched this a while ago but I couldn’t remember if I had shared about it or not. Watching Finding Neverland reminded me of Saving Mr. Banks in that they are both stories about how two of my favorite childhood movies came to be. It’s always fascinating to me to hear more about all the work and thought that goes on behind the scenes before a great movie/play even gets to the stage. I’d recommend both these movies.

3. 12 Years a Slave

My husband put this on our Netflix queue and we weren’t sure how it would be and it turns out that it is quite exceptional. I’ve been thinking about this movie for several days now and am even more keenly aware again of the atrociousness of this very ugly part of our American (and human) history. I’d like to try and read the book sometime, but I’m afraid also of what horrors I will read about.

The thing about this movie though is that it’s not a “good” movie because of the horrible crimes against humanity portrayed. What makes this movie great is the resiliance – the perseverance – this man and his fellow captives portray. Despite the inhuman treatment endured, they continued on. Though their dignity was stripped, slashed, shoved, and spat on – they kept on. This movie made me feel both shame and hope. I could say more but don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just say – watch it.

Any other movie recs you think we should try out?


1. Momnipotent: The Not-so Perfect Guide to Catholic Motherhood

I was given this as a gift in exchange for an honest review and because I will be part of the Momnipotent Book Club hosted by It was a pleasant read and I really enjoyed it. It’s got a lot of practical tips on how to survive motherhood and it’s full of friendly and wise encouragement for all moms and women.

The thing that surprised me the most about this book is how honest and real Danielle is about motherhood, the joys and the struggles. I didn’t feel so alone in my struggles.

You can read the interview with Lisa Hendey and Danielle Bean for more info.This was my favorite part about why Danielle said she wrote the book:

What I hope more than anything is that women will learn that they are not alone. I have such a heart for struggling moms because I have been there myself. Motherhood is hard, and the worst feeling in the world sometimes is feeling like you have to put on a happy face and that you are alone in the struggle. We can only benefit gathering together and sharing honestly about the blessings of motherhood, but also the very real challenges of our vocations.

And I couldn’t agree with her more on this –

We women need each other. We need the kind of unique encouragement and support we can only get from one another.

It’s not too late to order Momnipotent if you’d like to join the online book club at CatholicMom!

2. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box

My husband got this book from work and asked if I’d like to read it with him which was just about the most romantic thing my non-book lover husband could ask of his book-a-holic wife. It’s written for those in working environments but a lot of the concepts can be applied to parenting and marriage and all relationships. I’m only into the first chapter so we’ll see how it goes.

3. The Nanny Diaries: A Novel By Emma Mclaughlin, Nicola Kraus

My mom and sister watched and recommend The Nanny Diaries movie and I enjoyed that a lot so thought I’d give the book a shot. So far it’s fun and interesting and may even give me some things to ponder about parenting. Has anyone else read this or seen the movie? What did you think?

4. The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living

This is Lisa Hendey’s newest book set to release in November and she generously invited me to read a pre-release copy in exchange for an honest review. I’ve only just started it and already am feeling more generous and trying to say “Yes” more to God. I’ll share a full review once I’m done but I can already tell it’ll be a good one so go ahead and reserve youself a copy !

5. In the School of the Holy Spirit

Still plugging away at this one slowly. Every time I pick it back up I think – why did I stop reading this? This is exactly what I need to hear and think about right now! Here’s a good excerpt I read recently (last word is difficulties) –

Ok, that’s all the Reading/Movie updates and now I’m tired and you’re probably bored so I’ll come back with other non-book/movie updates another time.

What books have you read recently that you’d recommend that I can add to my “To-Read” Shelfari?

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4 Replies to “Recent Reads and Movie Watching Update”

  1. Movies-It’s been years since we watched Finding Neverland, but I remember it being quite a snooze. Saving Mr. Banks went down considerably in my estimation after I read how much of it is fabricated. Either make it an original story or stick to the facts. A little dramatization is Ok, but not when you’re altering critical moments, but still saying “based on a true story.” It’s my biggest movie pet peeve right now. I just finished reading Mary Poppins and Mr. Banks is barely in it, so it seems so strange that Travers would be so indignant that the story was about saving him.
    Here’s my review for 12 years, which will definitely be in the top 10 this year: A beautiful, important movie. Sean Bobbit’s cinematography and Zimmer’s score deserved nominations. Ejiofor conveys volumes with a haunted look-should have won the Oscar. Puts much in perspective, it is unfathomable how they were treated. I especially appreciated how it showed they were robbed of their humanity to do the right thing, they had to stand by helpless or risk death.”

    As for recommendations: for the love of pete, move Short Term 12 to the top of your queue. It is driving me crazy that none of our friends have yet to watch it! At the risk of building up unreachable unexpectations: it is SO. FREAKING. GOOD.
    Joel recently blogged…Show and Tell (or Shameless Classroom Bragging) My Profile

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