Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Heaven... I'm In Heaven :-)

I figured I'd title this post Heaven because I have been in some pretty major book bliss here lately AND the two books I want to talk about this time around deal with characters in Heaven. But before I get to those books -- check out my recent scores!!

A few days ago:

LOVE that the Dollar Store sells books! I've found some great ones there in recent months!
 (not just these, but previously too) -- That Evanovich one was one I grabbed for my mom, she loves the Stephanie Plum series. That Love Pirate one sounds dirty but it's actually about Jesse James' son -- the original 1800s one, not one of the slew of celebrities calling themselves that now -- tells the story of how he turned out after the murder of his father. Love me some history books :-) Grand Total here $7

 Clearance tables at Barnes and Noble -- do not miss checking out the red sticker deals! It's 50% off marked price so most of these only cost $2-3 a piece. Total was about $17 I think, with tax. I'm usually the book geek around here but the HG Wells and Jules Verne BDBs (Big Damn Books) were ones my hubby grabbed for himself. Hehe... passing on the illness one shopping trip at a time :-P

And, just today:

Went by the Goodwill to look and see about options for stuff my mom needed, didn't really find what I was looking for for her, thought I'd just glance real quick and see if any titles on my to get list popped out at me. Damn if even my quick glance turned out to be a stretch of time!  Found some great stuff though! About $15 worth here. Those two on the bottom are a couple I picked up at the Dollar Store today while I was picking up some cleaning & beauty product basics.  My husband's reply: "I think you're the only person left in NC who hasn't read Cold Mountain yet." In my defense, it's been on my list awhile, just haven't gotten to it -- and I DID see the movie lol. 

I've really gotta get my library renovation done lol. 

So about those books taking place in Heaven:

I started out with the YA (at least I think it's meant to be YA, the writing is entertaining but nothing super deep) novel Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. Pretty quick read, short chapters but I like the story. Liz is just shy of her 16th birthday when she's hit by a car one day while riding her bike to the mall. She doesn't die instantly, but is in a coma. After some time, the family reluctantly chooses to take her off life support and Liz boards the cruise ship (no really, in this book the dead go to Heaven on a cruise ship) to Elsewhere (aka Heaven) where she meets up with her Grandma Betty, who died from breast cancer before Liz was born. 

Didn't always like how Zevin described Heaven -- called Elsewhere in this book -- but like I'm going to fault her for how she imagines Heaven?
I like how Elsewhere had daily activities, "observation decks" where you can view your loved ones back on Earth, and everyone had to have a job but it had to be a "calling" rather than just something to do for money. You had to work a job that made your soul happy. I like that idea. Even up there, everyone gets to stay busy. I loved how Zevin made Marilyn Monroe a psychiatrist there. Can't imagine where you'd find me, right? LOL. That's right, that would be one stellarly kept library up there! In Elsewhere, there are people who fish all day, people who take care of pets that have passed on and are new to Elsewhere (that's Liz's job there). Just the idea of aging backwards made me sad for some reason. 

There's one of those "interview with the author" segments at the end of this book where Zevin is asked "What would your readers be most surprised to learn about you?" Her response: "Assuming they'd read Elswhere, they'd probably be surprised to know how much I don't care about the afterlife. The way I really feel about it is 'que sera, sera'."

"Out my window, you'll see a library built by Frank Lloyd Wright. People who know these things say it's better than any of the buildings he did on Earth. And Elizabeth, it's not just buildings. You'll find new works here by many of your favorite artists. Books, paintings, music, whatever you're into! I just went to an exhibit of new paintings by Picasso, if you can believe it!" Liz's Grandma Betty introducing her to Elsewhere

When I was talking to my husband about some of the stuff I was reading in this story, I was surprised and impressed that a YA novel could so easily bring us to having this really interesting dialogue about how we imagined what's out there. Would we see each other? Would we see our beloved critters? How 'bout the pets from our childhoods? So yeah, this is a fun, fast read for those that like a dash of paranormal in their library, and it'll even get you thinking about life up there. Do we continue to love our loves? Do we get new loves?

Love In Heaven

Right around the time I was finishing this book, I saw that one of my favorite old movies, an adaptation of one of my favorite old books, was being aired that evening, so I went and grabbed my copy of the book to read that afternoon. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by Josephine Leslie. This is the story of a widowed woman who decided to move out of the home of her husband's family and take her two children to live by the sea. She rents out a cottage formerly owned by Captain Daniel Gregg. Captain Gregg was rumored to have committed suicide and now haunts the house (he later sets the record straight about what really happened). The ghost-captain at first resists the presence of Mrs. Muir but they eventually come to an arrangement agreeable to both of them. Over the years, Captain Gregg becomes Mrs. Muir's best friend (aside from her housekeeper) and uses his skills from "the other side" to help her along in her life, while falling in love with her himself. Sweet, sweet story. Not to mention Captain Gregg's hilarious curses and outbursts at female silliness! Again, a very short read but perfect for a chilly day in! Get yourself a cuppa cocoa and settle in with this vintage paranormal romance


I've seen the film so many times, it's impossible for me to read the book and not put Captain Gregg's dialogue in Rex Harrison's voice :-P. The captain was a fun, salty character in the book but Harrison put a whole new element in it that just tickles me every time I watch the film. Not sure why but once the story made it to the silver screen, the son was not in the picture, only the daughter, played but a very young Natalie Wood. Gene Tierney was freakin' gorgeous as Mrs. Muir. But that fits because the character's name is Lucy, which the captain changes to Lucia, saying Lucy is more for women who whimper and whine and resort to the man for all answers but Lucia is for a strong and beautiful woman with life and spark in her veins. So you couldn't really have a real dowdy person playing Lucy / Lucia onscreen. 

Something interesting I learned watching the beginning credits of this film -- did you know Oleg Cassini designed Tierney's costumes for this film? Lucky girl! Tierney was actually married to the legendary fashion designer between 1941-1952

Rex Harrison as "The Ghost" Captain Gregg

Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison
“The Ghost And Mrs. Muir”, (1947)