I’ve read quite a few books in 2018. Below is the list of the best books of 2018, at least from my perspective.
- Becoming by Michelle Obama: Mrs Obama’s autobiography is insightful, down to earth and one of the best autobiographies that I have read in a long time.
- House of Gold by Natasha Solomons: House of Gold was described by another reviewer as a Jewish version of Downton Abbey. I couldn’t think of another description if I made it up myself.
- Pride by Ibi Zoboi: A modern-day Pride and Prejudice set in New York City, this Jane Austen adaptation feels old and new at the same time.
- We Are Going to Be Lucky A World War II Love Story in Letters by Elizabeth L. Fox: The story of a marriage during World War II told in a series of letter that will make you believe in love.
- My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher: When Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds departed this world two years ago, no one knew them better than their brother and son. The book is a love letter to them by one of the people who knew and loved them best.
- The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: A young girl growing up in the wilds of Alaska learns some hard truths about life, love and marriage.
- American Tantrum: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Archives by Anthony Atamanuik and Neil Casey: Based on the character created by Anthony Atamanuik on The President Show, it is a what if story in regards to the fictional Presidential library of you know who.
- Not Out Kind: A Novel by Kitty Zeldis: Just after the end of World War II, two women from vastly different worlds meet in New York City and forever change each other’s lives in the process.
- Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux: 150 years after the publication of Little Women, the book still resonates with readers across the globe and across the cultural landscape.
- The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict: Behind every genius is a supportive and loving spouse. But what happens when the spouse is denied her own genius because she is a woman?
That’s my list, what are your favorite books of 2018?
Filed under Book Review, Books, Downton Abbey, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Movies, New York City, Politics, Pride and Prejudice, Star Wars, Television
Two years ago today, we lost one of the brightest lights in our world: actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.
A day later, her mother, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds also departed this world.
Both women dealt with troubles that would have sent lesser women into a state of lifelong emotional turmoil. But both came out of their troubles stronger, wiser and funnier.
Carrie is best remembered for playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars films, though she had a long and varied career. She was also a writer and openly spoke of her issues with drugs and mental illness, encouraging others to do the same. For speaking openly about her battles with mental illness alone, she will always be one of my personal heroes.
Debbie Reynolds burst onto the screen and into our public consciousness in the 1952 film, Singin’ in the Rain.
There are some people in this world, who when they die, leave a cultural mark that will forever be with us. Both Debbie and Carrie left those marks that will be with us long after this generation has moved onto the next world.
RIP. In the words of our mutual ancestors, Z”l.
The allure of having magical powers is an idea that human beings have been considering and writing about for eons. The question is, if these powers did exist, would they be used for evil or for good?
In the 1998 Disney television movie, Halloweentown, Marnie (Kimberly J. Brown) is a young witch on the verge of her 13th birthday. But she must be trained by her 13th birthday or lose her powers. Marnie’s grandmother Aggie (the late Debbie Reynolds) is eager to step in as her granddaughter’s teacher. Aggie lives in Halloweentown and visits her family in the mortal world as often as she can. But this visit from Aggie is more than an ordinary visit. A dark force is threatening Halloweentown and it’s up to Marnie to stop it.
Even for a Disney channel television movie, it’s not bad. It has enough Halloween in it to make the kids watching jump out of their seat a little and the narrative has enough meat in it to entertain even the most skeptical of adults.
I recommend it.
In December of 2016, when movie fans across the world were grieving the loss of iconic mother/daughter duo of Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, Todd Fisher, Debbie’s son and Carrie’s brother was grieving for his mother and sister.
Recently Todd released a memoir about his life with Carrie and Debbie, entitled My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie. Born to Debbie and her first husband, Eddie Fisher, Todd and Carrie was raised among the whose who of the golden age of cinema. While Debbie’s career and personal life had quite a few ups and downs (two more marriages that went bust and financial struggles), Carrie had her own issues. While she gained fame playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise and later became a respected writer, she also famously tussled with mental health and chemical dependency issues.
I loved this book. It has humor, it has heart and it feels very personal. In addition to Todd’s memories, the book also contains anecdotes from Carrie and Debbie, in addition to family photos that the public has not been previously been privy to.
I feel like this is his way of saying his final goodbye to his mother and sister, while remembering the good times. For fans of Carrie and Debbie, this book allows them to do the same.
I absolutely recommend it.
Yesterday would have been the 61st birthday of actress, writer and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher.
Originally known to audiences as Princess Leia Organa from the Star Wars films, she was the daughter of the late singer Eddie Fisher and his first wife, actor/singer, the late Debbie Reynolds.
I could write about what her legacy is to the millions of Star Wars fans around the world and to the millions who are suffering from mental illness, but that’s been done. I want to remember as a woman who was not afraid to call out the bullshit, especially in Hollywood. Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke two weeks ago, the floodgates of women who were sexually assaulted, not just by Weinstein, but other men in Hollywood have come forward. One of these men assaulted a friend of hers and Carrie responded as only she could.
In honor of Carrie, I give you Star Wars Rap Battle: Han Solo vs Princess Leia.
Happy Birthday, Carrie. You are gone, but never forgotten.
Cleopatra is one of those polarizing figures in history. From a certain perspective, one could argue that she was a strong female leader in a world where men normally ruled. On the other hand, her time in power was not scandal free.
In the 1963 film, Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor plays the eponymous queen. Rex Harrison is Julius Caesar and Richard Burton is Mark Anthony. The film starts with the initial introduction of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar and ends years later with Cleopatra’s suicide after the death of Mark Anthony.
I have complicated feelings about this film. One hand, it is as historically accurate as films of this nature can be from this period (including the fact that Arab/African characters, including Cleopatra herself, are played by white actors). The other thing is that this film will forever be associated with the Eddie Fisher/Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton scandal. At the time of the making of the film, Elizabeth Taylor was married to Eddie Fisher, who left his first wife, Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. By the time filming was complete, Eddie and Elizabeth’s relationship was at an end and Elizabeth was headed toward her next husband, Richard Burton.
Do I recommend it? Well it is super long and it is, for lack of a better term a spectacle that I am not quite sure is 100% historically accurate. The answer is maybe.
While 2016 had it’s fair share of heartbreaking Hollywood losses, none felt harder or more poignant than the death of the legendary mother daughter Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher last week. While each was known for a brilliant career in her own right, together, they represented the best and worst of Hollywood.
With many of us still grieving, we have one more chance to say goodbye. Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds will be premiering on HBO this Saturday.
I have a feeling that this documentary will make the audience both cry and smile in remembering this brilliant and one of a kind mother daughter duo.
RIP Carrie and Debbie. Together in life and together in death.
I’m starting to think that death is playing a sick joke on us. I’ve stopped counting the number of celebrities we’ve lost this year.
Two days ago, we lost George Michael. Yesterday, actress and writer Carrie Fisher died from a heart attack. A short time ago, it was announced that Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds died from a stroke.
A friend of mine joked on Facebook that George RR Martin must be the man behind the throne this year.
Debbie Reynolds was one of the last living icons of the studio system. Her breakthrough role was in Singin’ In The Rain (1952), opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. Though Ms. Reynolds played the wide-eyed innocent in the 1950’s, her real life was far from her on-screen persona. She was married three times, her first husband, the late crooner Eddie Fisher was the father of her children, Carrie (of Star Wars fame) and Todd. Eddie infamously left his wife and children for Elizabeth Taylor after the death of Ms. Taylor’s third husband, Mike Todd. Enduring two more divorces and bankruptcy, Debbie Reynolds will stay in our collective consciousness as one of the legends of old Hollywood.
I have to admit that while I admired Ms. Reynolds for her decades long career, my favorite role of hers will be Bobbi Adler, Grace Adler’s(Debra Messing) mother on Will and Grace.
RIP Debbie, you and Carrie are back together.
In 1976, Carrie Fisher was the teenage daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and crooner Eddie Fisher. She made her screen debut in the 1975 film, Shampoo. While studying acting in London, she auditioned and won the part of Princess Leia in a new science fiction film, Star Wars. It would forever change her fate.
Recently, Ms. Fisher discovered a series of diaries she wrote while making Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. These diaries were published in a new book entitled The Princess Diarist.
What I loved about the book is how candid she was then and continues to be. On one hand, she was a normal teenage girl who was going through the same things that any teenage girl goes through. But few teenage girls can say that the they will go on to be pop culture icons, live in the sometimes perilous life of a celebrity and have an affair with their older and married and with children co-star.
I absolutely recommend it.