I’ve said before that I tend to shy away from sci-fi and fantasy books. I’ve read a couple of books in that genre that I’ve liked, and I chalked them up to isolated incidents. Today, I am humbly apologizing to the science fiction genre. I’ve read a book that I absolutely loved, The Keeper of the Isis Light, and now I know that these books can be touching, intense, and human, even with aliens and spaceships as a setting. Read this book; it’s fantastic.
Also, in today’s review I’ve included a couple of classic sci-fi reads: A Wrinkle in Time and Fahrenheit 451.
This week, Hot Toasty Rag reviewed 33 Paul Newman movies, and all reviews are now posted to his page, in case you missed a few and wanted to catch up. One of Paul Newman's trademarks was his gorgeous eye color, and next week's star will be a co-star of his also famous for her eye color. (That was your hint!) Any guesses? Check back on Saturday to find out!
This week's Star of the Week is Paul Newman! I gave you a pretty tricky clue, so don't feel bad if you didn't guess it. Check back every day this week for 3 new reviews, and to start things off, I've posted three of his best movies to his page:
Cool Hand Luke, Somebody Up There Likes Me, and Hud (my personal favorite). Enjoy!
It’s customary to read scary books in the wintertime, but what about lightweights like me? I like to watch scary movies in the middle of the day, sunlight streaming in all the windows, and the volume on low. Heehee. So, if you’re like me, maybe you like to read scary books in the summertime. Here are three for your enjoyment this July.
SVU 11.5: He's Watching You
The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Cuckoo's Calling
Hope you've enjoyed two weeks of Shirley MacLaine's movies! All 40 of her reviews (Yep, 40--I told you I loved her!) are posted to her page. Monday we'll honor a new Star of the Week, and here's a hint:
Next week's star was a costar of Shirley's, and in the movie, he played her husband.
This week on Hot Toasty Rag, we're honoring Shirley MacLaine! I absolutely love her and try to watch all her movies, so I think the reviews might continue to stream in for 2 weeks instead of one. Check back every day this week and next for 3 new reviews. And to start things off, here are 3 of Shirley's most famous films: The Apartment, The Children's Hour, and Terms of Endearment.
I haven’t posted book reviews in a while, so here are three book I polished off over the past few weeks. For those of you who are enjoying The Rag’s movie reviews, I read the book behind the Oscar nominated film Albert Nobbs. And those of you who are keeping up with the Sweet Valley University series, I have the next two installments: No Means No and Take Back the Night. Enjoy!
We've celebrated Kevin Costner this week, and today, the last of his 22 movie reviews are posted on The Rag. Who will be our next Star of the Week?
Hint: She was in a movie with Kevin Costner, and she played his former love interest.
Any guesses? Come back on Monday to find out!
This week on Hot Toasty Rag, we're celebrating Kevin Costner! His page is up and running here, and be sure to check back every day for 3 new reviews.
To kick things off, we have Rumor Has It, American Flyers, and No Way Out.
Today is the last day to celebrate Jennifer Aniston, and all 29 movie reviews are now posted on her page. Tomorrow will feature a new "Star of the Week" on Hot Toasty Rag. Any guesses?
Here's a hint: He's a blond cutie pie co-star of Jennifer's. Check back tomorrow to find out who!
The Rag's first star of the week is Jennifer Aniston! All the movies I'll be reviewing are listed on the Jennifer Aniston page in black; when I post the reviews, they'll be linked in red. And as you can see, the Movies page is up and running! Be sure to check back every day this week for 4 new Jennifer Aniston reviews :)
To start the week off, reviews are posted for Along Came Polly, The Good Girl, Life of Crime, The Object of my Affection, and Office Space.
Up until now, I've only reviewed books on The Rag. But there's a page at the top titled "Movies" so I guess I'd better start filling it.
How to start posting movie reviews, I asked myself. Classics first? Favorites first? Then it hit me; I'll post by actors instead! After all, how often do we say, "I'm going to see that 1937 movie that got mediocre reviews"? Versus, "I'm going to see that Mark Wahlberg movie!" I say that all the time, lol. But you know what I mean.
Starting tomorrow, Hot Toasty Rag will honor a "star of the week" and I'll post reviews of all the movies of his or hers that I've seen. Any guesses as to who the first one will be? Find out tomorrow!
As you know by now, I was a film student at Chapman University. As you also know, I changed my major. There isn’t a blog long enough in the world to tell you all the reasons, so I’ll stick to today’s topic. There was one teacher in all the film classes I took in three years who was different from the rest: John Badham.
When I got my class schedule before the term started and saw “Directing 1, Prof. John Badham” listed, I flipped. One of my all-time favorite movies was and is Point of No Return—I actually watched it once a week for a few years—so I knew who my teacher was. Of course, I walked into the first class scared out of my mind, terrified to meet the man who directed my favorite movie! There isn’t a nicer man in the world, and to this day, my autographed DVD case of Point of No Return sits high on my shelf, near my acting awards and other prized possessions.
If all my teachers had been even one-tenth as kind as Professor Badham, I wouldn’t have changed my major.
John Badham has written two books from his decades of experience directing. It’s no surprise that I loved them. To see if my reviews are just utterly biased (they’re not) or if you should go out and read them too, check out I’ll Be in My Trailer and John Badham On Directing.
Incidentally, when I brought him my DVD case and asked him to sign it, he asked, shocked, “This one’s your favorite?” Totally adorable. And it just shows you, what you put out into the world can influence people, even when you’re not expecting it.
Hi everyone! Here at The Rag, we've reviewed a whole bunch of books. I think it's over a hundred.
Anyway, that's a lot of scrolling, so to make things easier, I've redone the "Books" page, separating the books into Nonfiction, Memoirs/Bios, and Fiction. There's still a lot of scrolling to do if you're browsing the fiction, but I think it helps. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Maybe tomorrow I'll do some nonfiction to even the score.
Well, this is a surprise! I don’t go in much for scary books. I’ve never read Stephen King or James Patterson, and I screamed my head off when I watched the movie The Others. But, here I am, reviewing (favorable, mind you) three spooky books!
Sweet Valley University # 8.5: Wanted for Murder
My first major while an undergrad at Chapman University was film production. I ended up changing my major, but that’s another story.
During the three years I took lots and lots of film classes, I also read lots and lots of books. Today, I’m reviewing three books that kept me company all those years ago, during my writing and comedy classes. Check them out!
Writing the Comedy Film: Make ‘em Laugh
Comedy is a Man in Trouble: Slapstick in American Movies
Romantic Comedy: Boy Meets Girl Meets Genre
Certain literary characters are iconic household names, like Atticus Finch, Scarlett O’Hara, and Holden Caufield. Unfortunately, for those three, their books weren’t named after them. Then again, that makes their memories that much more indelible, doesn’t it, if they stand out even without being the title character?
Today’s post reviews three classic novels, each named after the lead character. What are your favorite classics?
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Phantom of the Opera
Alright, it’s a new month! Hot Toasty Rag has officially been open for 32 days now, and since we’re now so old, it’s time to work on ourselves. That goes for you too! It’s time for a few self-help books. (Tomorrow I’ll go back to novels, don’t worry)
Anger issues? Someone done you wrong? Check out The Forgiveness Formula.
Are you a twentysomething? Are you trying to understand that generation? Look no further than Twentysomething: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck?
And, for the ladies out there—or men who hate women—you can read Don’t be That Girl, if you dare. . .
Remember when I promised to make up the difference on tomorrow’s post? Today is here, and I have four spectacular books to share.
I call them the “Alanna books” even though the name of the series is “The Song of the Lioness” because the main character Alanna has become such a staple in my household since I was a child, it doesn’t make sense to call her books anything else.
These aren’t standalones, so start with the first one here. These are stories of knights of old, and the one girl who longed to be one of them.
The First Adventure
In the Hand of the Goddess
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man
I don’t happen to like Shakespeare. In fact, I can’t stand him. Now, why is my post today about The Bard, you might ask? Because I’ve actually read one book that helped me appreciate his stories. The author has made an illustrated, hilarious version of Shakespeare’s plays! Even if you already liked him, you’ll still love it: Tales from Shakespeare
And in King of Shadows, a young actor gets to go back in time and meet The Bard himself! How? Find out in my review!
I know I usually post three reviews, but I only have two Shakespeare-related books to share. I’ll make it up in tomorrow’s post.
Happy birthday Marilyn! As everyone knows, I love Marilyn Monroe the actress. The woman? Well, when you’ve read as many biographies as I have (over a dozen) that becomes a very loaded question. If you’ve never read a biography about one of America’s most mysterious, beloved stars, what are you waiting for? And if you have, but you’d like to read more, this will be the first of many posts with Marilyn books, so I’ll be sure and share all the ones I’ve read—and what better day to start than on her birthday?
Marilyn Monroe: Quote Unquote
The Marilyn Monroe Treasures
Sue Monk Kidd’s debut book was The Secret Life of Bees, an instant best-seller and home to the New York Times bestseller’s list for two years. Her most recent book The Invention of Wings, is sitting on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. In between the two, she wrote another book club favorite The Mermaid Chair, which I have reviewed today along with her debut novel.
The Moonflower Vine is my third book today, but it wasn’t written by Sue Monk Kidd. It has the same sort of flavor: many different women finding each other’s strength and a secret lurking in the shadows. Check it out!
I’m only sharing three books today, so my list of classics is by far non-inclusive. What classics would you like to see reviewed on The Rag?
Today’s list is kind of a “man list”. What guy didn’t enjoy the required reading list in high school of Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?
Well, I’m a girl, so I just might feel differently about them…
Ah, memoirs. Such a broad range for something as simple as one person telling his or her story. Memoirs can include an entire lifespan, or just a slice, an event, or a day. They can be in the format of a poem, snapshots of life, loquacious literature, or just a conversation with a tape recorder.
Today, I’m sharing the dirtiest, nitty-grittiest memoirs I could find. Not really, but I have read them, and I’d certainly classify them as gritty. From three very different authors—a television actress, an Irishman, and a sociologist—come three very different stories of addiction, childhood, and poverty in the slums of Chicago.
Check them out!
Remember the rage that swept across America, the desire to own a little pet pig? When our parents wouldn’t buy one for us, we settled for stuffed animals, toys, calendars, stationary, and of course, little piggy books. I wanted a little pig more than anything in the world, and for a few years, my room was all pink-and-white piggy themed. My brother counted once; I had 35 piggy items in my room.
So, from a former wannabe pig owner, here are three pig books:
Oink! My Life with Mini-Pigs
Piglets at Play
[photo credit and full story can be found here)