Tag Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

2017 – Happy Belated New Year!!

34th_norwich_fireworks_10654750355I’m back!! It’s a good feeling to be back. I apologize for the slightly extended, unintended hiatus from blogging. I meant to blog a lot during the holidays, but did not feel well and decided to let everything slide. But I am very excited for this new year of 2017.

I was trying to think if I had any New Year’s resolutions for my blog this year, but I do not have anything specific. I have enjoyed blogging far more than I ever thought I would and what has been most rewarding by far is hearing from all of my readers. It has broadened my horizons, broadened my thoughts on these films and books,and shown how these things connect people and how they matter in all our lives. Thanks so much for all your contributions and sharing!! I’ve realized that the primary reason I blog is to share my passion and learn what other people think.

A Few Movie-Related Things That Happened in 2016

I was accepted as a member of the Classic Movie Blog Association (CMBA)!

Bought a new TV and a blu ray player. What a difference that has made. Of course, it has also meant that we needed to update a few of our movies. Most prominently: Charade. I popped in an old DVD and it was nearly unwatchable. Apparently, the old TV was so bad that I never realized how bad the DVD was. But Criterion’s blu ray edition is so worth it. Absolutely stunning. I never even knew she was eating green lettuce at the beginning of the film.

I’ve been teaching a class I call American History and Culture Through Film. It is once a week and it has been a wonderful opportunity to share (btw, one silent film that has received almost universal enthusiasm from my high school students is The Mark of Zorrowith Douglas Fairbanks). I am trying to highlight how much one can learn about America’s culture (the music, the books the films are based on, how people dress, the changing attitudes, racism and tolerance, what the different genres and stars says about the era they are set in). But I’ve also learned a lot. My TA last week blew my mind be observing – after hearing me try to describe the dynamic use of the camera in the last days of the silent era – that it seems like they used the camera much as music is used today, to set mood. I never thought of that before, but I think it’s true.


Reading Goals for 2017

I did not read nearly as many books as I wanted last year, but have higher hopes for this year. My list includes:

The Divine Comedy – Dante

Random Harvest – James Hilton

Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

Black Narcissus – Rumer Godden

Othello – Shakespeare

Bring on the Girls – Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse

Paradise Lost – John Milton

I’m feeling a bit ambitious this year, but we’ll see how it goes.

Movie Watching Goals for 2017

I don’t actually have many movie watching goals for this year. I tend to watch as the spirit moves me. I want to see Black Narcissus after I read the book…and get my hands on a blu ray edition. My understanding is that Powell and Pressburger films particularly benefit from the clarity and vibrancy of blu ray. Also Red Shoes.

I would also like to see Cabin in the Sky12 Angry MenOn the Waterfront, and a few Marx Brothers films. But my biggest goal is to see many of the films that TCM and Fathom Events are presenting in select theaters: Singin in the Rain, An Affair to Remember, All About Eve, North by Northwest, The Godfather, Bonnie and Clyde, The Princess Bride, E.T., Casablanca

I’m seeing Singin in the Rain this weekend in theaters, which seems a fitting tribute in memory of Debbie Reynolds. I’m trying to talk as many people into coming with me as possible.

What are your goals for this coming year?


Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Books, Movies


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Books I Promised Myself I Would Read – The Elusive One: War and Peace

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAEvery year, I make a list of books that I want to read. Usually in making the list, however, my eyes are bigger than my stomach, or my brain, in this case. I read perhaps half the books on the list. But on that list, every year, there are a few books that I have absolutely promised myself that I will read, no matter what else happens in my life. They are usually works of fiction and usually large books (I never have to promise myself that I will read non-fiction; that just happens and tends to follow the whims of my current interest in life, whether it’s the crusades, classic films or WWI).

The books I promised myself I would read in 2014 were:

I read every one of them except War and Peace. And I’d promised myself in 2013 that I would read it! I tried to read it once, years ago, and got halfway through only to get bogged down in a battle. By the time I was ready to dig back in I realized that I had been away too long and could not follow the thread or keep up with who all the characters were anymore. I didn’t want to start the book all over again, so the book has been sitting, tauntingly, on my bookshelf ever since, with the spine creased to remind me that I have once attempted to plow my way through.

What makes it worse is that my sister has already read it three times and is planning on reading it again this summer! I asked her why she keeps reading it and she said it is because the book has so much in it, she never feels that she quite has a handle on it.

I am going to read it this year…so help me!

Here are a few other books that I have promised myself to read:

Wuthering Heights – I’ve never wanted to read this book before because Heathcliff sounded exactly like the kind of character I would hate. What I’d heard gave me the impression of his being a Count of Monte Cristo kind of character and the Count’s thirst for revenge, hardness of heart regarding all the suffering he causes and complete certainty that he is right to wreak his revenge very much repelled me when I read the The Count of Monte Cristo several years ago. However, I watched the 1939 Wuthering Heights. I was right; I didn’t like Heathcliff, but as I was reading an introduction to the book, I read that there are actually divergent views of the book. Some people feel the book is all about Cathy and Heathcliff, while others are interested in the children and see Heathcliff as more of a temporary disturbance: he tries to wreak revenge, but when he is dead everything goes back to the order that was before him. The author of the introduction felt that both elements are in the book and I am now extremely curious to see what it is like.

Charles Dickens: A Life Defined by Writing – written by Michael Slater, I have had this book on my shelf for at least five years now and I am resolved that this year I shall read it. It has always seemed to me that once I get a book on my bookshelf, I never read it. I am always so busy trying to finish my library books that the books I own go by the wayside. 2015 is going to be the year of the books I own!

Dracula – I’ve watched several film versions in 2014 and I thought it would be fun to make comparisons.

Show Boat – I love Jerome Kern’s musical and especially the 1936 film version with Irene Dunne, Paul Robeson and Helen Morgan. I suspect that I will like the musical better than the book, by Edna Ferber, but you never know. Ferber was a very popular author in her time and had several of her books adapted into movies.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood – I am on a quest to read every single novel written by Charles Dickens and I have three more to go: Edwin Drood, Nicholas Nickelby, and The Old Curiosity Shop.

Do you have any books that you have made a special promise to yourself that you will read?


Posted by on December 31, 2014 in Books


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