Commentary #97: Thoughts on “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

When Al was on a recent business trip, I made a list of movies I wanted to watch after getting home from work. Having little success in locating many of them through Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, I found Won’t You Be My Neighbor? through Amazon Prime Video.

I’d heard this documentary made you cry, and it’s definitely true. I learned a lot about Mr. Rogers, both the man and the genesis of the television show.

Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom, Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal) is masterful storyteller.

I was a bit worried about the length – A little more than 90 minutes. I wasn’t sure if the “whole story” would be captured in that time frame. Neville, however, proved me wrong.

The interviews were amazing. Neville captured everyone he possibly could – Joanne Rogers, John Rogers, Jim Rogers, Elaine Rogers, Yo-Yo Ma, Francois Clemmons. And Fred Rogers and Koko the gorilla in archival recordings.

The show originally debuted in Canada in 1962. It began in the U.S. in 1966 on the regional Eastern Education Network. Its national debut was on February 19, 1968.

One of the interesting things about the documentary was seeing the origin story. I knew the show covered topics that most children’s programming avoided, but it was fascinating to see archival footage from 1967 and 1968, discussing the Vietnam War and Robert Kennedy’s assassination, among other things.

I started watching Mister Rogers before I could talk. New episodes aired on PBS until 2001, so I remember the “modern era” of the show. I learned about things from how Crayola crayons are made, factories, jobs, books, conflict, death, friendship, family, and more.

This documentary is filled with nostalgia, and one of the best things I’ve seen in 2019. I’m very happy Morgan Neville decided to do this – I hope it was as rewarding for him as it was for me.

Watching this now is the perfect lead-up to the upcoming film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks. I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving week. You’ll find me first in line for tickets.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #88: The Logophile Book Tag

The Logophile Book Tag - Page to Page

Image Credit: Page to Page

Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts is incredible in many ways. She’s a wonderful writer, bullet journaler, book reviewer, and a great woman!

Here’s the link where I was originally tagged:


From Jenna’s post:

Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall recently created her own book blog tag called The High School Stereotypes Book Tag. Always wanting to create my own book blog tag, Kelly has inspired me to give it a go!

The tag is called The Logophile Book Tag. A logophile is “a lover of words.” Since I’m truly fascinated with the concept of language and words, this seemed fairly appropriate. All the questions below are based off of remarkable yet seldomly used expressions or terms.


The Rules

  1. Thank the person who tagged you (you can skip me ha-ha)
  2. Pingback Bookmark Your Thoughts’ original post so I can see your lovely answers!
  3. Pingback the person who tagged you so they can see the post.
  4. Bonus: If you wish to, tag at least three people to do this tag.

Effulgent | Brilliantly radiant

A book with a beautiful cover

Caraval

Image Credit: Amazon

I think this book has been my standard answer for cover art/design. I keep circling around in terms of reading it. Maybe in 2020?

Metanoia | The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life

A character who goes through a major transformation

Image result for dr jekyll and mr hyde book

Image Credit: Amazon

I remember learning about the book through Wishbone.

Sockdolager | Decisive retort; mic drop

A character who always has a good comeback

The Sherlock Holmes Collection by [Doyle, Arthur Conan, Classics, ReadOn]

Image Credit: Amazon

Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite characters of all time.

Sesquipedalian | Containing many syllables; long winded

The longest book you’ve read

Image Credit: Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

  • The Bible, roughly 1,200 pages.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 759 pages.

Ephemeral | Lasting for a very short time

The shortest book you’ve read

TheGreatGatsby 1925jacket.jpeg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

At 218 pages, this is a book I think everyone should read. I know some people don’t like it. I was assigned to read it in 12th grade, and I fell in love with it. I re-read it every year.

Serenity | The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled

A book that makes you feel calm and happy

Image Credit: Amazon

I love this book. It’s a childhood staple for me. It always reminds me of the Christmas spirit.

Oblivion | The state of being unaware of what’s happening around you

A novel with a complex plot

Image Credit: Amazon

This was another book I was assigned to read in high school. I ended up eventually enjoying it, but magical realism is a tough genre for me.

Rantipole | To be wild and reckless

A reckless character

Image Credit: Amazon

Alaska Young – One of my favorite characters! This is also my favorite book from John Green. Highly recommend.

Nefarious | Wicked, villainous, despicable

Your favorite villain

Image Credit: Amazon

Lady Macbeth!

Ineffable | Too great to be expressed in words

Your favorite book or book series

Image Credit: Amazon

Harry Potter. Always.

Trouvaille | Something lovely discovered by chance

A book you didn’t expect to love

The Battle of Jericho - Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

This was one of the first books I read from Sharon M. Draper. I’ve read nearly every book she’s written since then.

Nostalgia | A wistful desire to return in thought to a former time in one’s life

A book or character that makes you feel nostalgic

A Walk to Remember (Hardcover).jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

As an author, Nicholas Sparks makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I read almost all his books between middle school and college. I did my college senior thesis on his books and the perceptions of love and romance with female readers. This book, in particular, reminds me of middle school, high schools, and times gone by.


Tag! You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #76: “Bravo, Mia!”

Bravo Mia - American Girl

Image Credit: Amazon

Here’s the link to the first Mia book:


The first book illustrated several themes. Mia is trying to find her own way among her hockey-loving brothers. She’s dealing with a tough new coach, and snotty Vanessa. Now, she has to triumph over tragedy. Will she make it to Regionals?

Along the way, she discovers several things about her family, friends, and, most importantly, herself. She’s growing up, and trying to do what she loves. However, she also clearly understands the meaning of sacrifice, much better than many of her peers. And even Vanessa changes her tune a bit.

I appreciated the story flowing pretty seamlessly from the first book to the second. And the punches keep coming. For a child audience, these two books are a hard look at a big family who is trying to get by, but they still work together and have fun, and I think that’s a good thing.

Through the local rink and the chance to perform at Regionals, Mia gets a taste of what figure skating could look like for her in middle school, high school, and beyond.

I think both books are still relevant to today, in 2019. It teaches about following your dreams, and working hard to achieve them.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #75: “Mia”

Mia - American Girl

Image Credit: Amazon

I have a whole shelf of my bookcase dedicated to American Girl books. It will always be this way, period, end of story.

I remember reading Mia several years ago. I was fascinated with the doll when she was the Girl of the Year in 2008. But, at that time, I was in college, and I wasn’t about to breathe a word of liking American Girl dolls and books at school.

Now, 11 years later, I’m loud and proud. And I own Mia the doll as well.

I wrote stories about ice skaters and figure skaters when I was a kid. I did a report on Michelle Kwan in fourth grade. I wasn’t a good ice skater myself, but I was always taken by the figure skaters on TV, and especially during the Olympics.

Reading Mia’s story brought back that nostalgia, but it also reflected the mid- to late-2000s appropriately. I really appreciated the partial story line about the U.S. economy and what became the Great Recession, where Mia’s parents are working multiple jobs and barely making ends meet for their four kids. It made it relevant to readers when it was published, no matter how sad.

I’ve always liked how American Girl pays attention to details. In addition, these books are good for many ages to read! Although clearly written for younger girls, I enjoyed reading it as an adult. And the illustrations are beautiful, too.

Come back tomorrow for the review of the “sequel,” Bravo, Mia!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Awesome Authors #19: Lois Duncan

Lois Duncan

Image Credit: AZ Quotes

I hadn’t thought about Lois Duncan in years!


Born in April 1934, she was the oldest child of professional magazine photographers. Raised in Pennsylvania at first, her family relocated to Florida, where her parents became circus photographers. She played in the woods and read. Duncan started writing and submitting manuscripts to magazines at age 10. She sold her first story at age 13. After graduating from high school in 1952, she enrolled in Duke University. However, she dropped out the following year to start a family with the man who became her first husband, Joseph Cardozo.

Her writing career continued throughout the 1950s, publishing over 300 articles for various magazines. Her first novel, Love Song for Joyce, was published in 1958. In the early 1970s, she was hired to teach journalism at the University of New Mexico, after living in Albuquerque for nearly 10 years. While teaching, she enrolled in classes at the university. She earned her B.A. in English in 1977.

Married twice, Duncan had five children. Her youngest daughter, Kaitlyn, was murdered in 1989. After her daughter’s death, Duncan’s writing shifted to lighter fare, particularly children’s picture books.

Her 1966 novel, Ransom, received an Edgar Allen Poe Award. She was the recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1992. In 2014, she was awarded the Grand Master award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Duncan died on June 15, 2016. She was 82. Although the cause of death was not disclosed, her second husband, Donald Arquette, noted his wife had suffered several strokes in prior years.


Killing Mr. Griffin (1978)

Book cover with a black-and-white marble pattern, showing the title of the novel centered in red, and blue skull and bones at the bottom right

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’m pretty sure this is first book of Duncan’s I read. Every book written by her, I borrowed from Russell Memorial Library in Chesapeake.

Summer of Fear (1976)

Summer of Fear 1st edition.png

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t remember reading this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did.

The Third Eye (1984)

The Third Eye (novel).jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

This one absolutely freaked me out. I don’t think I picked up another book by Duncan for at least six months after this.

Don’t Look Behind You (1990)

Don't Look Behind You.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I don’t remember reading this one, but I want to. It’s set in Virginia!

I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973)

I-Know-What-You-Did-Last-Summer-Book-Cover.png

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I didn’t make the connection between the book and the film adaptation (1997) until years later.

Chapters: My Growth as a Writer (1992)

Chapters My Growth as a Writer.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

I’ve always been interested and intrigued by authors and their memoirs or autobiographies.

Who Killed My Daughter? (1992)

Who Killed My Daughter.jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Being such a fan of true crime, this book is already climbing toward the top of my next TBR list.


What about you? Have you read any of Lois Duncan’s works?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #73: “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone” *Re-Read*

Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone

Image Credit: Amazon

Thank you, J.K. Rowling, for pulling me out of what looked like a long reading slump.

I finished the series for the first time roughly a decade or so ago, after waiting what felt like FOREVER for Deathly Hallows to be available at the library.

Late last year, I decided I wanted to re-read it all. And it did not disappoint!

I was surprisingly nervous when I started reading the first few lines. Having read all the books, and seen every movie adaptation multiple times, I wasn’t sure how this re-read would go. Thankfully, I was worried for nothing.

I was instantly transported to Rowling’s London. I fell in love all over again. Her writing is truly spellbinding. I couldn’t put it down, promising myself one more chapter.

I felt almost the same way as I did when I was first taken by these books. I was a “late bloomer” with the books. While my friends had read and re-read the books years before I started, I was a bit of a fantasy snob. I declared I wasn’t interested in a book about wizards and witches. J.K. Rowling, darling, you proved me wrong.

Nearly 20 years after first falling in love and wanting more of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, Professor McGonagall, and Dumbledore (and having to actually wait for the next book to be released!), I’m so happy I decided to re-read this book. The minute I closed the book, I wanted to go downstairs and crack open The Chamber of Secrets.

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #85: Song Challenge

1980s Music

Image Credit: Pinterest

I wasn’t tagged for this. However, I love everything Kristian at Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table posts. When I saw this on her blog, I wanted to participate, too!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post:


A Song Challenge from Laura Venturini

The original post was created by Laura Venturini. You can find her post here:

Weekly Song Challenge-Round 9

Rules:
Copy rules and add to your own post, pinging back to this post.
Post music videos for your answers to the musical questions.
Tag two people to participate!


1. Post a music video of a song by an artist popular in the 80s.

Rick Astley – “Never Gonna Give You Up”

2. Post a music video of a song that makes you wanna shake your groove thang!

Van Halen – “Jump”

3. Post a music video of an acoustic version of a popular song.

Eric Clapton – “Tears in Heaven” (MTV Unplugged)


Tag – You’re It!

  • I’m not tagging anyone specifically. But, if you want to participate, please do!

Thanks for sharing your post, Kristian! You inspired me to get back to the blog after a long 11-day hiatus. Thank you!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂