2014 Book ReviewBooksentertainment

That’s Entertainment: Summer Books and Discovering Jack Bauer

By August 12, 2014 June 20th, 2019 10 Comments

Books of late:

1. Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan. Not only one of the best memoirs I’ve read, but one of the best books. Fantastic writing. Kelly writes of being a nanny to two children who have recently lost their mother. It’s funny, sad, and left with me loving my mother even more. Read this book! You will love it so much.


A favorite passage: Of course, maybe there’s nothing about any of us that doesn’t in some small way touch back to our mothers. God knows, every day I spend with the Tanners, I feel like I’m opening a tiny flap on one of those advent calendars we used to hang in the kitchen every December 1, except instead of revealing Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus, it’s my mother. I can’t see all of her yet, but window by window, she is emerging.

2. Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman. Kerman is a very skilled writer and compassionately writes about the real women in prison, many of whom simply have no life skills and opportunities. I didn’t like everything about this book, especially the sexuality, but if there is a huge lesson from this book, it’s this: Your past catches up with you. Dear children: Please do not smuggle drugs into the country no matter how exciting it seems.


3. To get me in a middle-grade writing mood, I reread Matilda by Roald Dahl, Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary, and Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls. I’m looking for a funny middle grade…any suggestions? I also read Travel Team by Mike Lupica to see what 13-year-old boys love (my son loved this one.)

4. The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni. I just gotta say – well done, Dianne! It was my pleasure to interview Dianne a few months ago. If you like the King Arthur tales (I adore them!), adventure, and fantasy, you’ll like this book! Next up is Jessica Lawson’s The Actual and Truthful Tales of Becky Thatcher. I’m ordering the Tom Sawyer collection for Christmas, which includes Jess’s book (how cool is that???) and hope the children don’t mind if I steal it first….

5. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. First of all, the author’s name is “Rainbow.” Secondly, Ms. Rainbow is from Omaha (like me!) and this book begins on a public school bus in Omaha. Of course I had to read it.

This young adult book has excellent writing, great “voice,” and a good story. But I hid it from my children first, because of the locker-room and school bus language and second because of the sexuality. On the other hand, it was both laugh-out-loud and heartbreaking. You root for “the misfits.” These kinds of books are important. It made me want to adopt all the children who need good parents, clothing, a toothbrush, and kindness. Cope (my 15-year-old), did find the book, gobbled it up in one night and declared it “the most depressing book I’ve ever read. Gosh!”

Many thought-provoking discussions and I’m glad I found this.


6. 21 Principles – Divine Truths to Help You Live by the Spirit by Richard G. Scott. I have a new habit I’m working on. I try to get up every morning around 6 so I can read scriptures, something spiritual, or meditative for the day. I sit on the floor in front of the east-facing window and feel the sun on my face. Even if I only read 5-10 minutes, it makes a tremendous difference in my day. This is an easy read with many profound thoughts from one of my heroes; a brilliant and spiritual giant who teaches simply, yet deeply.

A Short Story:

1. Meet the Vines by Nina Badzin. Bravo! So good. Go HERE to read the very short story – and then vote so Nina can win. I’ve long wanted to write short stories but I don’t really know how. Thank you, Nina, for showing me how it’s done! Very inspired.

A TV Show:

1. So, I’ve discovered this show called 24. It has this totally cool counter-intelligent agent named Jack Bauer. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Yeah, I know, that was so ten years ago…but this is my life. The 8th season was on TV last fall and I told Gregor that we should give it a try since we’ve heard about it for so long! So we started watching (did you know the whole season takes place in a 24-hour period and goes at such a frantic, violent heart-pumping pace that you just can’t STOPPPP watching it? Oh, you knew that? Well, it’s brilliant.) So of course we watched, were immediately hooked, and realized there is backstory (Audrey!) Like, seven seasons of backstory!

Thanks to Amazon Prime, we can watch one, or two, or three episodes every night so that I’m completely sleep-deprived and walking around like a zombie. We’re on season 3 and when Jeff Goins writes that the secret to keeping a marriage strong is having something to look forward to? Well, it’s 24! We’re obsessed. Like Friday-Night Lights obsessed (though no one can quite take the place of Riggins.) I could go on and on about Jack Bauer. My husband likes that he’s so cool and no man or woman can stop him from saving the world one bad guy at a time and I like him because he’s so polite. I mean, he says thank you and please all the time!

I’ll stop now.

The One Movie I’ve Seen:

1. Maleficent. Loved it. Angelina is wow.

A Great And Brilliant Talent:

1. Lastly, I loved Robin Williams so much. He was an inimitable talent. It’s strange to feel the loss of someone you’ve never met, but I do. I especially loved Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Hook. For years, his Peter Pan message echoed through my head…To live would be an awfully big adventure! Rest in Peace, brother. Thank you for being such a decent human being and for entertaining us so well, all these years. “O Captainmy Captain! our fearful trip is done;”

That’s entertainment, reporting from here. And now, if you’ve got any recommendations I’d love to hear!





  • Marathon Glenn says:

    The only two things you need to know about 24:

    1) Jack is always “15 minutes out”. Because, apparently, Southern California is geographically about the size of Boston.
    2) Jack is always allowed to make decisions that fall within morally gray areas in order to catch the bad guy, because there is always “no time”.

  • So many take-aways from this post! I need to read that Glitter and Glue memoir, need to see Maleficent, and can’t believe I still haven’t read any Rainbow Rowell books. So much to catch up on 🙂 And yes, my hubby and I watched Dead Poets Society last night in honor of Robin Williams. Such sad news, such great joy he brought people.

  • Oh, and thanks for the shout-out! So glad that you’re getting the collection!

  • Julia Tomiak says:

    I like your entertainment round ups. Can you do these more often? I’m working on The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo in the MG dept.- I think she’s a fantastic writer. Will let you know. Yay to E & P, great voice with characters who feel very real. The latest TV addiction for the hubby and I : Sherlock. He’s so darn smart. Must order Jessica’s book! And, apparently I’m also quite out of touch – going to Google now to research the death of Robin Williams. What a loss. Watched Dead Poets with my son a few months ago…

  • Julia — Thanks for the shout out!
    I tried a couple times to share this post on Twitter, but the link always came up broken. 🙁 I don’t know what’s up with that.

    I have never watched 24, and I’m afraid to start. Netflix binge-watching has already consumed too much of my writing time this summer!

  • I mean Amy! AMY!
    I saw Julia’s name on the comment above and completely lost track of who I was talking to …

    And no, I don’t have Netflix on right now, so I can’t give that as an excuse.

  • Nina says:

    This was SO generous of you to share my story! Thank you SO much! Wow!

    And loved reading your reviews. I’ve read several of them. I liked Orange is the New Black, but nearly as much as the MUCH MORE dramatic version on Netflix. If you think the book has a lot of sex— you ain’t seen nothing. Holy moly.

  • Dana says:

    My husband and I binged watched the first four seasons of 24 the summer before the fifth season started. I totally get the obsession. Loved Nina’s story too – I hope she wins! Thoroughly enjoyed your entertainment report, and catching up with you!

  • Alana Eaton says:

    Have you read “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd? I’m reading it now and it’s wonderful. Your blog makes me want to read more–definitely will get “Glitter and Glue.”

  • Lindsey says:

    Thanks for all the tips! I heard the woman who wrote “Orange Is the New Black” interviewed on NPR and it definitely piqued my interest. I’ll have to check some of these out. And I had no idea you guys were obsessively watching 24. Scott and I have never watched it, but maybe we will now! 🙂 (Sadie just woke up – gotta go nurse her). Looking forward to coming over tomorrow night!

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