read it: big little lies

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Title: Big Little Lies

Author: Liane Moriarity

Book Number: 10 out of 75 (as part of my 101 in 1001 journey)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★  (One star = couldn’t finish; two stars = didn’t like; three stars = enjoyable; four stars = great read; five stars = fantastic)

Summary: Welcome to the Australian, beachside community of Pirriwee Peninsula, where the parents of the students at Pirriwee Public School create as much drama as your favorite reality show.

Madeline is a passionate, confident woman whose ex-husband and his hippie wife have recently relocated to Pirriwee. To add injustice to annoyance, their five-year-old daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest child, and her teenage daughter could not want any less to do with Madeline.

Madeline’s friend, Celeste, is gorgeous and kind, but rather preoccupied. Everyone assumes its because she is mother to kindergarten-age twin boys – but is that all?

Together, Madeline and Celeste befriend young, new-to-town Jane and her young, also-entering-kindergarten son. Jane is shy and seems to be holding onto some secrets herself, but when on the kindergarten orientation day a line gets drawn in the sand, the three quickly become allies in what will play out as a year-long battle culuminating in a death at Pirriwee Primary School’s annual trivia night.

Told in flashbacks and pieces of witness testimony, piece by piece the secrets of Pirriwee’s residents are revealed, true natures come to light, and, finally, we learned who was killed – and why.

Thoughts: I LOVED this book. I read it in November 2014 while I was recovering from ACL surgery. It made me laugh out loud and cry. It made me fantasize about living by the sea and feel warm waves of gratitude for my wonderful family, husband, and friends. It made me wish I could write and create engaging characters with as much depth and seamlessly address difficult issues with as much grace and realism as Moriaty can. It made me text my friends who aren’t in book club with me and tell them to read this book.

Have you read Big Little Lies? What did you think? If I liked Big Little Lies, what other books would you recommend?

Are you on GoodreadsI am. Let’s be friends!

(above image source)

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oscars 2015

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My husband and I rarely fight over the TV.  We both enjoy watching sports and most of the same TV shows. We hardly ever want to watch different programs as the same time.

Except for last night.

Last night, I wanted to watch the Academy Awards – from the very beginning, on the red carpet. Dan wanted to watch the Grantland basketball hour with guest Kobe Bryant. This meant for the last half hour of the red carpet and the first half hour of the actual ceremony, our living room was a battleground. I ceded ground during the red carpet, but surged back at 8:30 when the ceremony began. During J.K. Simmon’s acceptance speech, Dan said, “We don’t have to listen to the speeches, though, right?” and switched to Grantland.

Me: “DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THE OSCARS ARE?”

Dan: “Do you not understand who Kobe is?”

Me: “IT’S THE OSCARS. THIS IS MY THING. I’VE LOVED IT LONGER THAN I’VE LOVED YOU.”

It was a bit dramatic.

Once 9:00 hit and Grantland was over, peace returned to our humble abode and it was all Oscars, all night. My favorite moments of the show were:

  • How adorable Anna Faris and Chris Pratt were on the red carpet with Robin Roberts. Don’t they just seem like a couple who could live next door to you and be your best friends?
  • The opening number. I love anytime Neil Patrick Harris or Anna Kenderick sing, and Jack Black always cracks me up. Plus, I thought all the visual effects were flat-out awesome.
  • NPH in general. He was a great host, with just enough of an edge (“Snowden couldn’t be here for some treason”) mixed with just enough corny (“This Oscar presenter is just so lovely you could eat her up with her spoon”).  I even enjoyed the briefcase bit, though I know not a lot of people did.
  • Quoting Robin Williams in the presentation of Best Supporting Actor, which was a nice homage to the late Oscar winner.
  • NPH introducing Jennifer Aniston and David Oyelowo as a presenting pair by saying, “Both of whom deserve to be here,” a nod to the fact that both gave strong and well-regarded performances in movies this past year but failed to be nominated for an acting award.
  • Idina Menzel and John Travolta presenting Best Song together and joking around about Travolta’s mispronunciation of Menzel’s name last year, plus NPH’s intro and follow-up jokes to their presentation (“Travolta will be back next year to apologize to Idina for all the face touching”).
  • Acceptance speeches: J.K. Simmons’s request that everyone call their parents; Patricia Arquette’s call for equal pay among the sexes (plus Meryl Streep and J. Lo’s reactions); Common andJohn Legend’s eloquence; Graham Moore’s “stay weird, stay different” message; Dana Perry speaking about her son Evan and saying “we need to talk about suicide, out loud”; Eddie Redmayne’s adorable excitement; Julianne Moore being happy to win an Oscar because it could mean an extra five years of life with her younger husband; Michael Keaton saying, “I’m just happy to be here.”
  • The PERFORMANCES. What a year for them! The supreme talent that is Jennifer Hudson giving a beautiful tribute to those who passed away; a pure fun performance of “Everything is Awesome” complete with Lego Oscars; Tim McGraw singing “Not Gonna Miss You,” very gracefully – the lyrics of which were just heartbreaking; Common and John Legend’s incredible performance of “Glory,” with such strong lyrics, Legend’s gorgeous voice, and the crowds of people walking behind them across a replica bridge. AND LADY GAGA HOLY MOLY. She looked so classy, and her pure talent and traditional training shown through. I was so blown away.

What were your favorite moments of the Oscars this year? What winners do you agree and disagree with the most?

weekly gems

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Delicious drink “Love Elixir” at dinner this weekend.