Films, Books, Musings-With the Glamour of Old Hollywood and the Flair of the Retro

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Free Kindle Ebook Alert! The Well Lived Laugh by Rachel St John Gilbert

In Books on December 31, 2012 at 9:12 am


It”s that time of year when people make New Years resolutions. Some people make too many and some set their sights too high. Some people give every effort and crash and burn by January 7th. Some people claim they will give up things they don’t even do- ” Smoking and drinking and bad women…”. A few people are adamant that they don’t make any resolutions at all.

Whatever you do, at some stage, and probably many times during this coming year, you will want something to change, you will want things different. Your weight, your commitments, your family-life or your job will start to seem like a struggle you just can’t handle anymore and you will have some thinking to do and changes to make.

Luckily, there is a book that can help guide you through the times when it is all too much and you are wondering if ‘it’ is worth the battle. The book is The Well Lived Laugh by Rachel St. John Gilbert, I reviewed it here earlier in the year and now I am happy to announce that the ebook version is FREE at today! (31/12/2012). If you have a Kindle or can download the Kindle app, you can start reading it today, but there is also a paperback version available (order online in Australia). It’s also a great time to share the free offer while it lasts with with your friends- I see another busy year ahead for all of us.

Below is my previously posted review, if you missed it.

Rachel St. John-Gilbert realised Oprah’s job was already taken and ” being a deep thinker and encourager by nature, I dabbled in the writing world to see if God might use these gifts in that field”.

Well Lived Laugh (Designing A Life That Keeps You Smiling) is one of her books written about ” some of the pressures that weighs on womens’ minds” and encourages the reader to ” decide for themselves how to view them”.

At the end of each chapter is a questionaire section designed to help you decide how seriously you feel pressured by that chapters topic. The questions are designed to determine whether you need to ‘ease up’ the pressure you may be putting on yourself.

Chapters deal with common pressures women face, such as weight ,youthfulness, doing it all and making something of yourself. St. John-Gilbert is know for her quirky, humourous style and the anecdotes in this book help illustrate each topic in a very low-pressure and relatable way. Yet, this is not a book about ‘giving up’ or avoiding pressure. St John-Gilbert acknowledges that ” not all pressures are bad-some are a catalyst to positive change.”

The main message is knowing your priorities. When we determine our priorities, rather than allowing outside pressures to govern us, we can live by our beliefs and actions with confidence and enthusiasm rather than burning out trying to live by standards that are imposed by society or our need to be perfect or liked.


Friendly Persuasion- A Movie Review

In Movies on December 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm


Allied Artists Pictures Corporation.1956. Colour.

” I’m just his father, Eliza, not his conscience. A man’s life ain’t worth a hill of beans except he lives up to his own conscience.”

Set in 1862 during the American Civil War, Friendly Persuasion shows a Quaker Family in Southern Indiana trying to hold true to their pacifist beliefs in a time when the choice was not whether or not to fight, but for which side to fight.

Quakers are formally known as The Religious Society of Friends, they are a Christian denomination founded in 17th century England, who sought freedom from religious persecution by migrating to America and other countries. In a nutshell, they practise plainness, pacifism and believe in equality for all people. Though early American Quakers owned slaves, by the time of the civil war they had changed their views and no longer believed in slavery but they also did not believe war was the way to gain freedom. Some Quakers did go on to fight in the war but most did not. For their part, Quakers were involved in the Underground Railway which helped migrate slaves to the safety of the northern states.

In the film, based on the book by Jessamyn West, Gary Cooper plays Jess Birdwell, the patriarch of the Birdwell family, who are Quakers living in a town that also is inhabited by other citizens who are not so strict in their views. The Birdwell family each must deal with culture clashes. Little Jess (Richard Eyer) is spirited and sometimes must be reined in but he is good hearted and lovable. Teen daughter Mattie (Phyllis Love) is particularly finding it a struggle to be plain as she discovers romance, music and dancing. Josh, (Anthony Perkins) the grown son suffers most with a struggle to define his character as a young man when strength is gauged by physcial toughness and the willingness to fight in the war. Jess’s wife, Eliza (Dorothy McGuire) tries to keep steering the family back to their Quaker ways but even she can not stop the changes the Civil War will bring.

The role of Jess Birdwell was first offered to Bing Crosby and Montgomery Clift. Gary Cooper balked at playing the father of grown children, though he was 55 at the time of filming and he never watched the completed movie because he hated the way he appeared in the film, but I found him likable and believable. Both Katherine Hepburn and Ingrid Bergman turned down the role as Eliza Birdwell, yet Dorothy McGuire plays the role with convincing virtue and grace.

On a personal note, my ancestor William Nichollias was sent to Tasmania as a convict from England. He was a Quaker and became married to a colonial Quaker, Isabella Rayner in 1835 ,this was the first Quaker marriage in Hobart Town,Tasmania.

The Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society by Augusta Trobaugh- A Book Review.

In Books on December 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm


Tea-Olive is a southern town in the U.S.A. where the women are named after Christian hymns, where manners are paramount and men are expected to be gentlemen but the little town is about to be the setting for a murder.

The proposed victim is new-in-town Judge Hyson Breed who is, not only a yankee but also a bully with appalling manners. He soon marries Sweet, a naive, lovelorn member of the Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society, much to the other members’ puzzlement and dismay. If the bird watchers suspicions are right, the Judge has married Sweet only for her land and he also plans to urbanise the land willed to the Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society by their late member and friend, Love-Divine. As time wears on, the Judge’s real character begins to show through and it is decided by bird watchers, Beulah and Zion that something PERMANENT must be done to save the town.

Augusta Trobaugh has written a comic murder mystery where the real mystery is whether or not the murder will actually take place! Real issues of abuse and corruption are just beneath the surface of the humour in this novel, making the story and the characters very real and likeable. Any reader would want to join the Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society if it meant a having friendships that share troubles and sorrow with tireless support and care, and the bonus of southern hospitality, with the pleasure of meeting over high tea with generous helpings of sweet treats.

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