Rhoda Reads and goes to the movies

This page will serve as a sort of blog. I am frequently asked what I would recommend; what I am reading now. So here I will put my informal responses to what I am reading now and what I have plans to read next.

We just saw the film "Marshall" and I highly recommend it. It shows the young Thurgood Marshall (before he argued Brown vs. the Board of Education and ended school discrimination) at work on a civil rights case in 1941 in CT. Great actor. And even better, his co-star Josh Gad plays his reluctant Jewish partner in the case, Sam Friedman, and shows Sam's development into the great civil rights attorney he will become. Very close to the facts, just a few changes to increase the drama of the situation. Loved it.

Watercolor by David Orme-Johnson

Watercolor by David Orme-Johnson

My husband painted this picture of me reading on our beach. If he wants me to model for him, he has to take me as I am, book in hand, totally absorbed. He likes to tell the story how once I was reading and he was putting a wood frame around our window air conditioner in Iowa just next to me. At his request I looked up to see and praise the completed job and exclaimed, "Oh, great! You were able to just put up the original wood pieces." I hadn't heard the sawing, the hammering, furniture being moved, ladders taken up and down. Where was I? Deep inside, watching the sights and sounds unrolling in my mind!

Click here to visit my husband's art website.


I just finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, but I will write about it a bit later. Off to floor duty.

I just read Elinor's Lipman's collection of essays I Can't Complain, published over the years with new material on her son and recent experience being widowed and writing this novel The View from Penthouse B. Lipman is one of my favorites. She is generous, forgiving, compassionate, and humorous. Her dialogue has me barking with laughter. This novel is about a divorced sister, a widowed sister, and a gay young man who all room together, unemployed, and making the most of their meager resources, and supporting each other emotionally, gastronomically, and in many other ways. It is a tale of forgiveness (and, boy, is there a lot to forgive), grieving, coming back to life, and lots of love in all directions. Thoroughly enjoyable.

But my favorite Lipman is The Inn at Lake Devine. A young Jewish girl finds she is not welcome in the Catskills at goyisha summer places, and grows up, and up. Totally fun and charming. You may remember a movie And Then She Found Me with Helen Hunt and Colin Firth. It was loosely based on her novel of that name. A young woman is, shall we say, stalked by her birth mother, years after her adoption. And they must come to terms. The movie was fun, but the novel was better. Not so photogenic, but wry and funny and so, so human, in the best sense of the word. And forgiving, and compassionate, etc. Who turned me on to Lipman? Beth Gutcheon. But that will be another post.

12/1/2013  Wow! Am I the last person in the western world to have read this book? Published in 1978 it quickly became a best seller and there is a DVD made in 1984 of a series of broadcasts (Amy Irving, Omar Shariff, etc.) and I have just ordered that. It was an incredible read, and a tour of India of the late 19th century ending with the second British War with Afganistan. It should be required reading for anyone involved in the politics of Afganistan and the US involvement there. Mollie Kaye was born in India and grew up there under the British Raj. After getting educated in England, she returned to India and married an officer in Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides. That experience along with her grandfather's tales inspired this novel, which is amazing, especially for a woman, because it gives an account of the soldiers' lives and battles with intense love, respect, and attention to detail. And she tells the tale from all view points, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, British, Afgan, etc. I loved it. And it's a romance too. Can't wait to see the videos which were filmed in India.

11/24/2013   This morning as I sat on our porch in the autumn mist, I was reading the Atlantic Monthly. I selected it as part of a reward I got for answering some survey. I hadn't read it in years but remembered liking it. And liking it, I do. The articles are so intelligent, so thoughtful, so relevant. I read the whole thing cover to cover. Love print and pages!! And I am going to renew when the time comes.

One of the things I like best are the book ads. Publishers post their new books and books are advertised. Yum. I am going to look at Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore. It was short-listed for the National Book Award. It is said to be brilliant and gripping. It's from the point of view of Mrs. Benjamin Franklin. Sounds interesting, eh?

And the Gap Year: How Delaying College Challenges People in Ways the World Needs by Joseph O'Shea. My granddaughter will be graduating from high school and two years and this might just be good for her.  Also Teen Ink, a monthly magazine written by teens. Maybe I'll order that for her for Christmas from me, the grandma who loves books and writes.

And I just downloaded onto my Kindle What Maisie Knew a novella by Henry James. I haven't read James in maybe 40 years, but I remember his subtlety, his pace, his language. A movie version is being advertised and it looks appealing. But I have to read the book first so the movie doesn't interfere with my reading. Anyone else? Awful. Don't bother. I couldn't even finish it.


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