Mouthing Off – Some of my brief recent reviews of worthy new books posted elsewhere

For the heck of it, and because I love spreading good news or putting in a good word about books and movies new and wonderful, it occurred to me that I might re-post some of my on the fly mini-reviews here in the hopes you might find the titles interesting and want to explore them further yourselves.

So without further fanfare or ado, I will just replicate and pontificate forthwith with abandon (wink) :



Yesterday Road
Yesterday Road
Price: $4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Bough, July 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This is the poignant tale of an old man at the end of his life who goes on a quest, takes to the road, to search for his past. All the incidental temporal and fleeting concerns and worries of his life have been shed, have fallen away and have been left behind, forgotten, like an old dead skin, having been recognized for what they are, that is, transient and unimportant details, nothing but needling distractions blocking the apprehension of the wonder, beauty and significance of one’s own life and life itself. Most people, the narrative says implicitly, “miss the point” and are too numbed by temporary and shallow irritating static and dystonia of their lives to apprehend the wondrous import of the miracle of life itself, and so miss it altogether. This wisdom and insight seems to be the privilege of the very elderly only, those facing the reality of their own deaths and the end of consciousness.Under such terminal pressure, looking death in the eye, the recapture and review of one’s past, the memory of even lost memories, becomes of utmost importance, becomes the Holy Grail, the Golden Fleece, the Golden Bough of one’s life.Yesterday Road is a beautiful tale, moving, memorable, and very nicely and humorously told.

The Beautiful Couple and Other Stories
The Beautiful Couple and Other Stories
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars These wonderful stories, so layered and richly textured, July 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
These wonderful stories, so layered and richly textured, so understated, are almost, for me, too painful to read. Author Lawrence Naumoff explores the most tender and sensitive areas of the heart and soul in a love relationship, all the exaltation, fear, doubt, suspicions, all the hopes dashed then lifted and restored only to be dashed again, as if the heart were chained to a ferris wheel and that’s just the way “love” is and what it is.OW! It hurts! As the old pop song says, “love hurts!” The stories here are nevertheless seductive and engrossing, for they snare the reader unawares, and so easily,ineluctably, because these painful truths are laid bare by the sleight of hand of a master of fiction and narrative, and so subtly and wisely shown, demonstrated, “in action.”
Beautiful writing by a hugely talented and accomplished author.
Elizabeth I [HD]
Elizabeth I [HD]
Price: $8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Intense dramaturgy and histrionics, but overall disappointing, July 10, 2014
I’m fascinated by the historical Elizabeth I and that era of English history (Shakespearean! Yeah!), but was a bit disappointed in this film. Loads of raving, surely, and stampedes of stomping and storming around, flinging of arms up in the air in exasperation, fury, frustration, etc., an abundance of swoons, faintings, gory and grisly killings, a logorrhea of angry words shouted, tears shed in buckets, dire threats made through mouths like bellows, an amplitude of be-headings, yes! Heads impaled and displayed in public by roadsides on stakes! An attack, by God, on blessed England by the the evil mighty Spanish Armada, replete with endless feverish sword fights to the bloody deaths of many a stalwart Englishman, guns shot, misfired, innocents maimed and killed on purpose and by accident, a sour flood of nasty court intrigue, politics and skullduggery–pseudo-historical mayhem aplenty!
Good Lord, all the cannons fired, the cascading cannonades! Rousing stuff. Quite. And the voluminous flirtatious skirts flounced and twirled, luminously embellished with precious jewels and all the 24 Karet gold Frenchy embroidery, and the big fluffy bloated petticoats, like ample field tents in a major battle, offering cover, a natural habitat for secret liaisons, late night rendezvous, and lickerish (Shakespeare’s word) secretive carnal indulgences better left unsaid. Oh, my.
But, but.  Sad to say, there was something false or “faux” about the entire tone of the movie (or any such movie, really, that resorts to such hyperbole at the expense of intelligence and accuracy) and something whacko in the performances of the actors, so over the top, so  way overdone and self-consciously “acted.”
I loved the costumes, I confess, I covet Eliz R’s wardrobe. Even so, ensembles and fashions do not a great movie make. Yet what rich and textured material it is for the right actors and director.


About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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2 Responses to Mouthing Off – Some of my brief recent reviews of worthy new books posted elsewhere

  1. Thanks for the warm, thoughtful review, Margaret. I’m getting verklempt here…


  2. Don’t go that far, Kev! Dangerous territory, for me, anyway. “Kudos,” smack that word against your face and come to your senses, haha!


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