Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Still, I'm glad we did it

Today is the birthday of Will, the moderator of our classic movie group. Last night we had a little celebration -- cupcakes, salsa/chips and a birthday card. It took him by surprise and made him very happy.

I was disappointed by how small the group was. There were Joanna, Betty and me -- the party organizers -- and Norman and his wife. And Will. That was it. Usually we have between 10 and 30 film lovers in attendance.

I blame it on the movie. Unfaithfully Yours is another one of the Preston Sturges comedies Will (and so many other classic film buffs) are so terribly fond of. I don't think these movies have aged well. The comedy is too broad and the performances lack the airy charm of other screwball comedies. (How I wish Cary Grant
had played the Rex Harrison role!) I don't think I'm alone in my antipathy, as attendance has dwindled throughout this series.

But Will works very hard on these screenings. He leads the discussion with the same enthusiasm whether there are five of us, or 15 or 25. So I'm glad we took this opportunity to show our appreciation.

As if more proof is required

The best people love the Cubs. Yes, that's the Holy Father with a cap and a ball signed by the whole team. (He's with Cardinal Blace Cupich).


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1. What are you currently reading? Till the End of Tom by Gillian Roberts. Amanda Pepper is an English teacher at Philly Prep who skips out of a particularly dull all-school morning meeting because she's dying of boredom. Moving down the school's majestic marble staircase, enjoying freedom from assembly and thinking about her upcoming lesson plan, she literally stumbles upon a dead man. And the mystery begins. Who is he? Did he trip and fall on his own or did he have help? I began this book years ago and put it aside, bored after a few pages. Clearly I've changed because printed pages between two hard covers can't, but now I'm enjoying it. I used to devour the books in the series -- the Philadelphia setting is unique and carefully drawn, Amanda is multidimensional, and I can relate to her relationships with her boyfriend CK and her best friend Sasha. The murder mystery is unfolding slowly over pages/days, but that feels appropriate to the circumstances of the case.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Paul McCartney: The Life by Philip Norman. Exhaustive, entertaining and surprisingly emotional. While the first 28 years of Paul's life have been explored almost day-by-day in other books, this book takes him beyond the Beatles to the 74-year-old grandfather he is today. For me, the most interesting parts of the book aren't the passages devoted to the music -- I have all those songs in my headphones and know how I feel about them -- but how he dealt with the overwhelming curves life threw him. For example, he meets the love of his life and is finally ready to settle down with one woman after bedding literally thousands. At the same time, The Beatles break up and his career begins to unravel with cruel speed and in full view of the world press. Likewise, years later when he is honored with knighthood by the Queen, his wife can't attend because she's dying of cancer. So this book is not only the chronicle of an event-filled public life, it's a highly personal story, too.
3.  What will you read next? Hercule Poirot's Christmas. I picked it up at the library's used book sale back last summer, but now it's time has come.