What to Read or Watch #MondayMusings #OpenBookBlogHop #Inspiration

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “What is your favorite genre to read/watch (movies/tv)? Any book recommendations?”

Lately, I’ve been drawn to memoirs, some historical fiction, and poetry. I recently read West with Giraffes, a fictionalized account of a true story of two giraffes, who, after surviving the hurricane that hit New York City in 1938, are transported across the country to the San Diego Zoo. You can read my review of this book here.

I don’t watch television anymore. In my opinion, there isn’t a lot on that’s worth watching. So, I can’t justify paying for cable. But once in a while, I’ll watch a movie, either a comedy or drama that doesn’t contain much violence, sex, or strong language. I recently enjoyed All Creatures Great and Small, a movie I’d never seen, although I’ve read many of James Herriot’s books.

How about you? What’s your favorite book or movie genre? You can click here to participate in this week’s hop and read other bloggers’ responses.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Reading and Watching  #TuesdayTidbit #Jottings #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

In the 1970’s when I was in high school, I read Ice Castles by Leonore Fleischer, a novel about a teenaged girl who becomes a famous ice skater, then goes blind. Being visually impaired but not into skating, I was nevertheless inspired by this character’s determination in the face of adversity.

Before I had a chance to finish the book, I saw the movie. I was just as spell-bound by this ice skater’s story on screen. Because I found it intriguing, although I knew how it ended, I decided to finish the book. I wanted to know if the book’s conclusion was just as satisfying as that of the movie, and it was. This was one of those movies that did the book justice.

Several years ago, I saw the movie,   Philomena, after it first came out. I hadn’t yet read the book. I was captivated by this true story of a woman in Ireland, forced to give up her illegitimate son, who, years later, tries to find him with the help of British journalist Martin Sixsmith.

Once I’ve seen a movie, I usually don’t read the book, but curiosity got the better of me. I was amazed at how much material Sixsmith provided that wasn’t in the movie. Granted, there is only so much time for a film to tell a story, but this movie didn’t even scratch the surface.

How about you? I’d love to hear about a movie you saw that is based on a book you read. Do you think the movie does the book justice?

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

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An Impoverished Little Princess #OpenBookBlogHop #WritingPrompts #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “Do you remember the first book that made you cry? Or maybe the last one?”

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I don’t remember the last book that made me cry, but A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett was a tear-jerker in the middle when Sara’s father dies, leaving her penniless, and she’s compelled to earn her keep at the seminary where her father sent her years earlier. I was in high school at the time, and it was so heart-wrenching that I couldn’t finish the book.

A year or so later when I was in college, I saw the movie, with Shirley Temple. It also made me cry, but they were tears of joy because the movie had a happy ending. So, I decided to try the book again to see if the ending would be the same. It wasn’t quite, but it was still a happy ending, and that’s what I like in a book and movie.

***

How about you? Do you remember the first or last book that made you cry? Please tell me about it in the comment field or click here to participate in this week’s hop and read what other bloggers have to say.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

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Website

 

 

Miracle on 34th Street #OpenBookBlogHop #Excerpts #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s question is: “With the slew of holidays coming up at the end of the year, do you have a watch list of shows/movies you like to watch to celebrate? What are they?

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I don’t watch television anymore, but there’s one holiday movie I try to see each year, A Christmas Story. It’s based on Gene Shepherd’s memoir about how he wanted a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas when he was a little boy. Although I’ve never wanted such a thing, this film brings back memories for me.

On the other hand, in my latest book, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me, the family has some holiday traditions, one of which is to watch a particular movie the night after Thanksgiving, as you’ll note from the excerpt below. This part of the story is told from the point of view of Natalie, who is sixteen years old. The scene starts as the family is finishing supper. Natalie’s ten-year-old sister Sarah is sick in bed.

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Finally, Grandpa asked, “Are we ready to watch Miracle on 34th Street?”

This was another of our Thanksgiving traditions. It was my sister’s favorite Christmas movie.

“Maybe Sarah will want to watch it with us,” I said, jumping up from the table. “I’ll go see.”

“I doubt it,” said Grandma.

“Natalie, I’ll check on Sarah,” said Mom, getting up from the table. “Why don’t you help your grandma with the dishes?”

“That’s a great idea,” said Grandma.

***

So, does Sarah feel well enough to watch the movie with the rest of the family? You’ll just have to read the book and find out.

How about you? Do you have a favorite television program or movie you like to watch during the holiday season? You can answer this question in the comment field or click here to participate in this week’s hop and read what other bloggers have to say.

Note: Starting next week, I’ll be moving this feature to Mondays, since most other bloggers seem to be posting their responses on those days.

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

 

 

Second Memoir Describes More of Actress’s Whirlwind Career #Friday Fun Reads

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Home Work: A Novel of My Hollywood Years

by Julie Andrews

Copyright 2019

 

What Amazon Says

 

In this New York Times bestselling follow-up to her critically acclaimed memoir, Home, Julie Andrews reflects on her astonishing career, including such classics as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Victor/Victoria.

In Home, the number one New York Times international bestseller, Julie Andrews recounted her difficult childhood and her emergence as an acclaimed singer and performer on the stage.

With this second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her phenomenal rise to fame in her earliest films — Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews describes her years in the film industry — from the incredible highs to the challenging lows. Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. The pair worked together in numerous films, including Victor/Victoria, the gender-bending comedy that garnered multiple Oscar nominations.

Cowritten with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews’s trademark charm and candor, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending, and inspiring.

 

My Thoughts

 

Having read Julie Andrews’ first memoir, Home, I like how her introduction to Home Work quickly fills the reader in on her earlier life. As a child, I enjoyed Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Her descriptions of how these films were made fascinated me. I also enjoyed her accounts of the making of her other movies and television programs, most of which I’d never heard of or seen. Her whirlwind of marriages, filming schedules, family drama, charity work, and traveling made my head spin.

As an author, I can appreciate her explanations of what inspired her to write Mandy and other children’s books. I believe my mother read Mandy to me when I was little.

In 1986, Julie Andrews returned to Broadway with her husband, Blake Edwards, to put together a production of Victor/Victoria. That’s where Home Work ends. I would like to know more about her career after that. I understand she developed some sort of throat problem, which made it difficult or impossible for her to speak. She must have recovered because her narration of the audiobook version of Home Work is exquisite. I hope she’ll write a third memoir.

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By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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