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Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday 5ive- January 17, 2020

Welcome to the Friday 5ive, a weekly blog post about five things that caught my attention during the week. The weather here as everywhere has been crazy- 68 degrees on Sunday to 20 degrees today.

1) I heard such great things about the movie Little Women so I bundled up and walked 15 blocks to go to the nearest theater showing the movie. It was fantastic! The performances, from the Oscar nominated Best Actress Saoirse Ronan to Best Supporting Actress  nominee Florence Pugh (whom I have never seen before and she knocked me out), Timothy Chalamet (wonderful as Laurie) to the veteran actors Laura Dern (Marmee), Meryl Streep (Aunt March), Tracy Letts and Chris Cooper (he'll make you cry as Mr. Lawrence) are all brilliant. Greta Gerwig should have nominated for Best Director, she does a phenomenal job here. Every detail is perfect- the cinematography, the production and set design, the costumes- it is all gorgeous. It takes a skilled director to take the story back and forth in time and not once confuse the audience, and Gerwig does it beautifully using color palettes and hairstyles. If you only see one movie this year, see Little Women.  Take your mom, sister, aunt, daughter, sons, husband, and girlfriends too. (And don't forget the tissues.) Find showtimes here.

2) When I go to the grocery store in NYC, I carry my big, sturdy Costco bag that can hold a lot of groceries, but sometimes I go out and can't carry a bulky bag. My sister-in-law gave me this sweet cloth bag with a book design, and it rolls up small enough to fit in my big wallet that I carry everywhere with me. Today I used it when I stopped at the new Target store after my movie theater trip and it is perfect.
My new bag

3) The New York Public Library is celebrating its 125th birthday this year with a new library card honoring the most checked out book in their history- Ezra Jack Keats' The Snowy Day. I fondly remember my mom reading that book to us as kids, and I loved reading it to my boys too.  (We had a lot of snowy days in central New York.) I also learned from our Book Cellar historian Dorothy that Ezra Keats drew a self-portrait that is hanging in our Webster branch of the NYPL. Keats gave it to a woman who founded the Friends of Webster Library years ago, and they gifted it to the branch. It's hanging right inside the door of the library.
Keats' self portrait

4) While shopping in Agata & Valentina, our local Italian specialty shop, I saw an interesting new item- Black Spaghetti. It's made with squid ink. I've seen it on restaurant menus, but never in a grocery store. I'd like to try it, but I'm not sure someone else would be as adventurous. Has anyone made this?

5) What I'm reading this week- I read Michael Finkel's The Stranger in the Woods, the true story of a young man who one day just left his car by the side of the road and disappeared into the woods of Maine for 27 years. He built a tented domecile, and didn't interact with another human being all that time. He broke into vacation cabins to steal batteries, food, books, and propane tanks, and although he never hurt anyone, he made the people in the area very uneasy as you can imagine. It is an unusual story, made more so by the fact that he lived on someone's property and was so close other people but was not caught for 27 years.  People who like true stories will want to read this one.
The Stranger in the Woods

I'm in the middle of a debut novel, Adequate Yearly Progress, by Roxanna Elden, which is billed as "the Office but set in an urban high school" by The Washington Post book reviewer. The setting is a high school in Texas which has a flashy new superintendent who hires a consultant who turns things upside down with all kinds of "improvements" that have long acronyms of nonsense. The more the teacher characters are developed, the more I'm liking it. I think my teacher friends will relate. I'll have a full review when I'm finished.  It publishes February 11th. 
Adequate Yearly Progress

Stay safe and warm my friends!



  1. I loved Little Women too. I'd like to see it in the theater again. The Stranger in the Woods sounds fascinating.

  2. You had a very eventful week and I enjoyed reading about it! I have a fold-up bag more or less like that which is useful even though I live in a drive-mostly town. I especially like it in museums or big stores where it's annoying to have a coat to carry -- I can bundle up my coat and carry it efficiently, and then not have to remember where I checked it.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com