Old Navy Swings into Spring

Monday, April 4, 2016

April's Books, TV, and Movies

Hello, dear friends.  I hope that you enjoyed your weekend.  I am looking out my kitchen window and watching it snow again.  I'm not one to complain, though.  Much.

Here is a list of books, tv, and movies that I am looking forward to this month.  I also threw in a few extras.  

When Breath Becomes Air has been on the bestseller list for quite awhile and has received a lot of hype from some bloggers as well as some celebrities.   Everyone's message is the same:  you must read this book.  I listened to this memoir on my walks, and I must share with you that it knocked the breath out of me.  And not in a good way.  It is a beautifully written book with a somber premise.  When I would put my earphones on to listen to it, I felt like they put 30 pounds of sadness on my shoulders.  I got three-quarters of the way through this book, and I just couldn't put the earphones on any longer.

Obviously, I am in the minority about this memoir.  Most people gave it five stars across the board.

So, what do I know?  
I didn't care for Eat, Pray, Love either which was a huuuuuuge commercial success, as well.

What Was Mine is another book that I listened to while walking.  This novel is chock-full of twists and turns.  One day, I took two walks (a first!) because I was close to finishing the book.  What Was Mine is a page turner at its best.

I am smack dab in the middle of Under The Influence and loving every minute of it.  I hope the sizzling tempo remains, and I am not disappointed by the ending.  I'll keep you posted.

Books I'm looking forward to reading.

Yes, I do judge a book by its cover.  
It sounds pretty good, too.

I haven't read anything by Fern Michaels in years.  This one sounds good.


I just want to say that just because Anderson Cooper is my boyfriend isn't the only reason I want to read this one.  I read Once Upon A Timea fascinating memoir written in Gloria Vanderbilt's own words years ago.  It covered the first seventeen years of her very depressing childhood that was laced with high society and entitled affluence.  I also read Anderson Cooper's memoir, which was also a great read.  

I think I am going to listen to it on audible because Anderson and his Mom narrate it.

Can you believe Gloria Vanderbilt is in her 90's?  Just goes to show you what a lot of moolah and good doctors can do.


I have a question for all my friends in blogland.  
Has anyone read this series?  What did you think?  

The Mister and I binge-watched the first season of Grantchester yesterday.  We both enjoyed it and look forward to watching the second season.

Call the Midwife is one of my favorite series on PBS.  I watched the first episode over the weekend, and it promises to be a great season.

I watched the first episode of this season's Mr. Selfridge.  As always, it doesn't disappoint.  I think this is Jeremy Piven's best role yet.  This is the last season and it looks like it's going to be a good one.

They're baaaaaack... on Wednesday, April 6th.

Lawd have mercy!
Southern Charm starts tonight!

Rotten Tomatoes

I dragged the Mister to this over the weekend.  
It was cute but definitely not as good as the first one.

Movies I am looking forward to seeing.


What can I say?  
I love Tom Hanks. 


I think that this looks like a good one.  I love Rose Byrne.  This flick opens on 4/22.


All my favorite stars  - this is #1 on my must see list.  This movie opens April 29th.

Do you have any book, movie, or tv suggestions for me?

Until next time...

Preppy Empty Nester
Preppy Empty Nester

I'm Katie. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am an empty nester meandering through my middle-aged years while entangled in the never-ending process of renovating an antique home on the South Shore of Massachusetts. I love to write about books, movies, TV, celebrities, decorating, and weekend adventures. My favorite writing material is derived from my family: the Mister, my girls, #1 and #2, and my two untrainable, rambunctious pups, Chowdah and Chili.


  1. A woman after my own heart, I love Tom Hanks in Anderson Cooper as motwell and did not like eat pray love, are we weird or what, lol!! Mothers Day and My Big Fat Greek wedding 2 look grand!! Fun list and I hope your Monday is lovely!

  2. Mr. Selfridge is interesting and I watched a special about the real Mr. Selfridge that revealed a depressing ending to his life. The show hasn't followed his exact story, so I'm wondering if they're going to give us a happier ending than reality.

    I also saw a segment on (I think it was 60 minutes or was it CBS Sunday Morning? - old age) about Gloria and Anderson (that's what they like me to call them). What a sad, victorious, amazing life they've had! The book should be great.

    Thanks as always for the tips.

  3. Wow -- thanks for the tips -- can't wait to check some of these out! Also love Anderson Cooper and Tom Hanks! Hope you have a great week!

  4. Call the Midwife is a current fave. Mercy Street was gritty but good. So glad to hear I am not the only one who didn't like Eat Pray Love! Have a great week, Katie!

  5. My Brilliant Friend is our book for book club this month. I can't wait to read it. Going to find it today. :)

    I don't blame you one bit for putting aside the sad book. There are too many wonderful stories to stick with one you aren't enjoying!

    1. Hey Katie, I'm so glad you shared this at Thoughts of Home on Thursday. Everyone needs a great recommendation for a book. Thank goodness for Pinterest so we can save all the great ideas.

      I love movie reviews too because I don't want to waste my popcorn money at a bad movie. :)

      Have a great weekend.

    2. Just finished My Brilliant Friend last night. Hmm, I've only read the first and I think it's a trilogy. Not sure that I will read the others. Have you read it?

      Also, didn't you post about the movie Brooklyn? Watched it yesterday and loved it!

  6. I really enjoyed the new 60's vibe to Call the Midwife. And, I just added The Summer Before the War to my wish list yesterday. Just finished The Widow and it was really good - blogging about it this week :-)

  7. You are so far ahead of me. Lots of good reading selections. And I am kicking myself that I missed the Midwives last night. bummer. I will need to see if I can find it on KET (kentucky educational television)...off to check on that now. Have a great week. sheila

  8. Great list here, my friend. As you know, I loved Lies and Other Acts of Love which will officially be released this week! Go Kristy! Right now I am reading Stories I Only Tell My Friends - Rob Lowe's biography. I absolutely love it so far and am very impressed with his writing. Having followed his career from the beginning, I love learning how he met fellow actors and reading about the details of his acting career. Seriously, such a fun read. Now I want to check out that Jeremy Piven show. My husband and I binge watched Entourage a couple months ago and since then, I have become a huge fan of his. Tom Hanks and Anderson Cooper are awesome! Enjoy your day!

  9. I'm definitely with you in Grantchester and Tom Hanks. I just like watching Tom Hanks being Tom Hanks.

  10. I'm definitely with you in Grantchester and Tom Hanks. I just like watching Tom Hanks being Tom Hanks.

  11. These look like great suggestions. I missed the last season of Mr. Selfridge, but I picked back up last night and it's pulled me back in. Also, Anderson Cooper can't be *your boyfriend because he's *my boyfriend. Just sayin.

  12. Ok....great reviews. My copy of Anderson Coopers new book in on it's way...preordered from Amazon. I adore him and Gloria Vanderbilt. My library contains a few of her books..huge fan of them both! Also looking foward to the HBO documentary on them! Call the Midwife and Mr. Selfridge are delightful!!! Southern Charm is on our watch list, of course, as is RHNYC...my favorite girls! My Big Fat Greek Wedding II is on my list too! I adore Tom Hanks...so we have some great things to look foward to!

  13. Your recommendations are always the best! I always enjoy reading, watching, and listening to everything you recommend! I'm glad to know your opinion of When Breath Becomes Air since I was hesitant to read it as a lung cancer survivor (caused by environment). I enjoy Southern Charm immensely, but please don't judge all of us in Charleston by the stars' antics�� Thanks for everything, Katie! I plan to make Mister's delicious recipe for my class reunion this summer.

    1. I'm glad you're staying away from When Breath... So glad that you are a survivor. Don't worry I don't judge all of Charleston by Southern Charm. Just watched Kathrine on WWHL - what a fruit loop. I think TRav is just as bad. Glad to hear you are trying the Mister's recipe. Have a wonderful week and thank you for taking the time to comment.

    2. I really appreciate your kind words! Yes, Katherine and TRav are both quite "interesting". Wish I would have watched WWHL. Many people in Charleston are mortified by the show. A local bookstore is having a signing with Kristen Woodson Harvey on April 30 which I hope to attend because of your recommendation. My classmates and I look forward to tasting the Mister's recipe! Hope you have a great week with warmer weather.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Clearly I am not very good at typing comments on an ipad!

    Whoa this post could keep me busy and in my pjs for an entire week:) So excited about Southern Charm, thought I didn't need reality TV anymore thanks to politics but when I heard its coming back, cleared the calendar and even canceled out on a girls dinner tonight just to see it:) Its gross out anyway, I would much rather be inside watching SC!!
    Gloria Vanderbilt looks amazing and I read another of her memoirs which I found really fascinating. Just finished What Alice Forgot and thought it was really good, well written and very engaging.
    I really liked When breath becomes air but totally agree its a heavy duty subject and was often hard to shake, I had missed a reading that a friend of mine invited me to that his wife did...would have loved to have gone. Thanks for the other books and how cute does Mothers Day look? Thanks for a fun post!!

  16. Hi Katie! Thanks for coming to the Marmelade Gypsy! Sure looks like we are spending our Sunday evenings exactly the same! (We also have Doc Martin at 7, so from 7-11 I don't answer the phone!) Have you read James Runcie's Grantchester books? They're good. And I love the series. And Midwife. And Selfridge... and just about anything Brit!

    Which leads me to the book you judged by its cover -- that's on my list, too, along with Gloria/Anderson, Ferrante and maybe now that I've seen your lists, more of yours! All the best!

  17. I love all of those PBS shows! Nothing better than PBS, I am not familiar with the other shows you mentioned. I cannot wait to read these books! By the way, I did not like Eat Pray Love Either.

    Have a great week!

  18. Always love hearing about what others are reading. I didn't like Eat Pray Love either! And, looking forward to seeing Mother's Day as much of it was filmed here locally.

  19. I read Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend and the three books that came after it. MBF is a bit slow-going at the beginning, but obviously once I got into it I was hooked in a big way. Glad to hear someone else wasn't wild about Eat Pray Love.

    1. Thanks Maggie. Glad to know that MBF does get better so I'll stick to it. Have a great week!

    2. I love everything by Elena Ferrante - I started with Days of Abandonment and then read the Neapolitan series - hang in there with MBF!

  20. Of course, Grantchester and Call the Midwife are two of my favorites, and I just listed them on my Media Monday post. Did you recommend Mozart in the Jungle to me? If so, I loved it. I also can't wait to read The Summer Before the War. Did you read her other book Major Pettigrew? It was really good too!

    I love these posts, I always get so many ideas. I plan to catch up on all the seasons of Mr. Selfridge before starting the current one.

  21. I'm soooo excited that Southern Charm starts back tonight! My husband just had to rearrange his "viewing schedule" tonight so he could watch it with me (LOL)!

    My mom loves the Fern Michaels books, she has many of them downloaded on her Kindle.

    Katie, have you seen Miracles from Heaven. My husband and I went to see it a few weeks ago and it is wonderful...but I must warn you, take a lot of tissues. I'm downloading it on my Kindle and my mom's as well.

    I'm sorry you're still experiencing old man winter. Should I tell you what a gorgeous day it is here in Alabama? Perfection! Oh well, it won't be long until we'll be roasting from the humidity but I love spring in the South.

    Take care!

  22. You've mentioned some books and movies that I like so I'll write down some that you recommend. I keep my book reviews on Goodreads. Are you on Goodreads? I could look you up. Enjoy your week!

  23. I detested Eat Pray Love. You're the only other person who has said the same thing. We're watching Grantchester too - loved last season and this one has started well. Thanks for the recommendations - I'll be back to check on them again.

  24. You must read Helen Simonson's first book "Major Pettigrew's last stand". I've been waiting years for her to come out with her new one. Can't agree more about Eat Pray Love. ICK. I use to work in Frenchtown, NJ right next door to the store she owns with her husband, business called"Two Buttons". Another ICK.
    Plus Outlander starts again this coming weekend.
    Love all the PBS shows, they are the best.

    1. Thanks so much for telling me about Helen Simonson's book. I will download it. I'm so glad I mentioned Eat, Pray, Love. I wasn't the only one who didn't like it!! Have a wonderful week.

  25. Try the TV series "Indian Summers", the British Raj in India between the wars.
    I also loved "Under the Influence". I think that Joyce Maynard's best book by far was "To Die For", which was decimated in the film. Powerful and moving. I still remember it intimately.
    The talking book of "The Summer Before the War" is next on my very large stack.
    I was so delighted to find your blog today and I'll come back. (By the way, I worked in a public library for 24 happy years. They actually paid me!)

    1. Alexandra, thank you so much for stopping by! I put "To Die For" on my download list. Thank so much for telling about it and Indian Summers sounds right up my alley. Alexandra, thank you for commenting and you were a lucky lady to work in the public library! Have a great week.

  26. I didn't like Eat Pray Love either, so there are two of us : ) I'm reading The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian. Holy moly! It's got my stomach all in knots. The language is really raw fyi, and the theme too (human trafficking and the human condition), but it's really well written and the emotional turmoil is excrutiating.

  27. I caNOT BELIEVE That is GLORIA on the COVER of the BOOK with YOUR BOYFRIEND!!!WHere have I been.............I haven't read ANY Of these books.I too am reading a book which is SO SAD it's hard for me to continue........I may just leave it on my nightstand forever.

  28. Did you see that the next HBO documentary "the life of" is going to be about Gloria Vanderbilt? I loved the Nora Ephron film. I just can't stand to read anything sad so I will stay away from When Breath Becomes Air. RHONY and Southern Charm are more my speed, although certain members of the Southern Charm cast are already getting on my nerves... I'm also looking forward to the Melissa McCarthy movie - looks like a lot of laughs!

  29. Wow, lots of great tips here! Maybe when the spring planting season is finished I can catch up with you on all of these! Have a great week Katie!

  30. Katie, Cool that we both like Grantchester, Mr. Selfridges and Call the Midwife Have you watched Shetland? I am soooo excited about Gloria and Anderson's Book and documentary!

    The Arts by Karena

  31. I haven't seen Mr. Selfridge yet and I think we will probably rent the series and see it that way. The problem is these shows are always on too late here and so it is easy to forget about them. I mean to tape them but always forget. Grantchester is the same. It's on too late for us. I agree about Eat, Pray, Love. Thanks for sharing your reviews and enjoy your evening.


  32. I love finding out what other people are reading because sometimes you need new authors to discover, especially if you have read all that your favourites have written and you are in that "waiting for the next book" period. This looks like an intriguing list! -Jenn

  33. Hi Katie my dear
    I was just catching up, and reading your lovely post about your ever so pretty daughter and adorable Jonathon, Im so glad you had a happy Easter weekend with them. Your hubs is a spectacular cook :)
    I have started an email to you, then I saw that you are watching one of the tv shows I was going to tell you about, Grantchester. Isnt it wonderful? We are on series 2, the last episode is tomorrow. I always look for things you may like, as I love your posts with your reviews tv, movie or books.
    I don't watch Indian Summers but if you like it, you must see both the movies of 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' they are really lovely.
    Recently we have had a spy thriller 'The Night Manager' by John le Carre, everyone raved about. I have yet to catch up on...
    My mother loves Mr Selfridge!! :)) Enjoy all your viewing/reading
    I will be in touch soon dearest Katie, much love to you
    Sally xx

  34. We tried one of the Elena Ferrante books but just couldn't quite commit to the series. And of course, we love Mr. Selfridge. We can't wait for Curtis Sittenfeld's new book, Eligible, to come out - it's the modern retelling of Price and Prejudice. Hope the sun is finally shining in your 'hood!
    C + C

  35. Saw Brooklyn last week---such a sweet movie!!! Susan www.themidlifefashionista.com

  36. Katie- I LOVE this list.
    Here are my reasons-
    I too don't like the prospect of sadness no matter how profound, and I was not a fan of Eat Pray and Love either.

    Can't wait to try the other titles!

    Thank you,
    White Spray Paint

  37. Katie,
    From all your comments, it makes me wonder where are all the people who liked Eat, Pray, Love. We read it for our book club, and I skipped a lot of it... did not care for it. I love Grantchester and have read some of the books. I Pinned this post to a new board so I can go back to see your other book recommendations since we seem to like the same kind of books. Oh, yes, love Tom Hanks and can't wait for his new movie.



Talbots New Arrivals for Spring!

Tuckernuck for Spring!

Recent Posts

Follow Along on Instagram

Number of photos to show


Autoplay Option


Autoplay Speed