The Audio Drama Directory offers an extensive menu of audio performances of stories in every genre. Ratings for the programs are also listed. You can also record your own performances and upload them on the website. When you're stuck in bed, traveling, hospitalized, receiving chemo treatments, or having vision problems, you can enjoy dramatized stories for free!
Books and movies are great escapes when you're feeling low. The last thing you want to do, though, is read or watch something that terrorizes you or makes you more depressed. Here's a compilation of titles of uplifting books that were turned into movies. I've read them all and loved them. I've seen most of the movies, and will vouch for their medicinal value! Enjoy, and feel free to leave your own suggestions in the Comments!
The Help by Katharine Stockett
In the midst of the racial tension of the 1960's, a young journalist in Birmingham, Alabama named Skeeter decides to expose the truth about what goes on behind closed doors between the African American hired help and their employers, the well-off local families. The clandestine interviews in her published book open up a hornet's nest. The stories told by the help reflect the pain of the racial struggles occurring in that time and place, yet their wonderful humor will make you laugh out loud.
The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Actually one of a series of books about best friends growing up in the 1960's, following their hilarious high jinks and devastating disasters into their elderly years. Every girly girl will recognize their own besties in Teensy, Carol, Necie and Siddalee, the characters that make up this circle of friends, and will identify with the experiences of coming-of-age, through to middle age and beyond. Truly highlights the importance of friendship and staying connected for our happiness and well-being, and to help make sense out of this life.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency By Alexander McCall Smith
Another series of novels, this focusing on the founder of a detective agency in Botswana, Precious Ramotswe. A wonderful array of characters with adorable quirks and simple everyday situations that somehow turn into great adventures are a trademark of McCall Smith's novels (his other series are delightful, as well), as are protagonists who are driven by their sense of morality and ethics in a not-so-moral-and-ethical world. The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency has been produced as a series on HBO and is available on video.
Quentin's and Tara Road by Maeve Binchy
Two novels that you'll hate to finish because they start to feel like home. Quentin's, a popular restaurant in Dublin, is a hub for good food, personal drama and celebration. Both the staff and customers have a story to tell. So does the restaurant itself. The Brennans, who run Quentin's, have their own struggles, too. Quentin's also features in the book and movie, Tara Road, a story about two women, one in America and one in Ireland, who switch homes to get away from their troubles. Reading and watching what goes on in Quentin's is like hunkering down in your own favorite eatery, people-watching, eaves-dropping on the gossip, and catching up with old friends. The late author was a master of creating endearing characters that become old friends (some actually will be, as you may have met them in a previous Binchy book).
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Nursing home resident Mrs. Threadgoode befriends Evelyn, a woman struggling with menopause and a mid-life crisis. She tells Evelyn a story about two women, tomboy Idgie and her friend, Ruth, who ran the Whistle Stop Cafe in 1930's rural Alabama. The story serves up a large helping of laughs, tenderness and even a murder. As Mrs. Threadgoode's story unfolds, its effects on Evelyn's life become profound. I've watched this a hundred times and could watch it a hundred more. Towanda!
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Vianne and her young daughter arrive in a quiet, uptight little French town to open a chocolate shop, and turn the town upside down. Vianne's uncanny ability to read and fulfill her customer's desires with divine chocolate creations lead the residents to succumb to all sorts of temptation. Meanwhile, Vianne succumbs to her own temptation with a gypsy lad (played by Johnny Depp in the film). This story and the movie are truly delicious treats!
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
After watching this movie at the theater, I drove straight to Kmart and bought the book. Liz Gilbert's life came to a crossroads and a screeching halt. She had had everything she wanted. But divorce kicked her in the head, making her question what is truly important in life, and sent her on a journey of self-discovery that went far beyond her comfort zone. She ate her way through Italy, prayed in India, and learned about love in Bali. An enviable quest, and a delightful story!
Anything Can Happen by George Papashvily
Published in the 1940's, this book is such an oldie but goodie that it's out of print. I was fortunate to find it on the family bookshelf, but you can find it at libraries and Amazon. Papashvily was a Georgian immigrant who came to the US only to discover that things weren't quite as he thought they'd be. But he learns that anything can happen, and it does. He meets people who help him assimilate to a foreign culture, and his cheerful optimism buoys him along the way to create a new life for himself. A touching memoir of life as an immigrant, and a very quick and enjoyable read. I haven't seen the movie yet, but it's gotta be as sweet and heartwarming as the book.
Having a dreary pajama day?
~ Laughing exercises your innards and makes
good chemicals flow through your body!
~ Just use your computer to have some fun!
Pogo.com - every kind of game you can imagine (I love Poppit and Scrabble myself!)
Netflix.com - Norman Cousins famously helped himself heal with funny films -- this is a
treasure chest of old and new films and television series that you can stream
for just $9.99 a month. Check out classic tv comedies like "Frasier," "Dick Van
Dyke" and "Saturday Night Live," as well as last season's favorites.
freerice.com - improve your vocabulary while feeding hungry people around the world!
freekibble.com - test your dog and cat trivia knowledge and help feed shelter pets!
dailykitten.com ---- get your daily doses of CUTE, then I dare you not to smile!
mentalfloss.com - quirky, interesting, weird, wonderful, useful AND trivial information that
will make you go WOW!
YouTube. com - Search for your favorite comics and comedy bits. Even Martin and Lewis,
Bob Hope, and Red Skelton for baby-boomers!
CleanJoke.com - take your pick of topics and have a good chuckle!
Share your favorite humorous websites by leaving a comment on this blog.
We all need an escape or distraction now and then, especially one that leaves us feeling good. If you can't take a vacation, then watch a feel-good movie! Here are some of my favorites from the past few years that you can find on your online movie service. Feel free to share some of your own by leaving a comment!
WRECK-IT RALPH (2012 PG) An obsolete video game bad-guy wants to be a hero, and does the unheard-of by entering other games to, ultimately, save the arcade. This Walt Disney animated movie is such a delight to watch, and it is one that the whole family will enjoy. I especially loved the character of Vanellope, the glitchy, gutsy little girl that befriends Ralph. Vanellope's personality is EXACTLY the mirror of a little kitty named Bug, who has cerebral palsy and was rescued by my friend. When you watch the film, you'll understand what I'm talking about. Adorable and full of surprises, no matter how many challenges she faces.
WHIP IT (2009 PG13) Truly loved this film! It was the perfect vehicle to display Ellen Page's gutsy talent. Kudos to Drew Barrymore for her sensitive yet bold direction. This is a different kind of coming of age film - a young woman passionately embraces the aggressive physical sport of roller derby while tip-toeing through her mother's plan for a future of beauty pageants. The acting, script, direction...everything in this movie was well done, and highly entertaining.
VALENTINE'S DAY (2010 PG13) I guess I'm a romantic at heart. I really enjoyed this movie. A great all-star ensemble cast and a number of parallel stories come together in unpredictable ways making a nice afternoon or evening of viewing, with or without someone to snuggle with. My favorite bits are Anne Hathaway's phone conversations (hysterical), Topher Grace's surprisingly buff body, Shirley MacLaine just because she's Shirley MacLaine, Hector Elizondo for the same reason, and the look in Eric Dane's eyes when his love comes to call. I also enjoyed the caring that Ashton Kutcher showed for his best bud, Jennifer Garner. It doesn't have to be Valentine's Day to enjoy some vicarious heart-throbbing lovin'. I would watch this again. In fact, I've already watched it three times!
LEAP YEAR (2010 PG) Amy Adams can do no wrong. Once again, she's given us a delightful, entertaining love story that leaves you smiling. I'm just wondering how she managed to negotiate the Irish countryside in those high heels!! This film is full of physical comedy as well as subtle nuances. Something for everyone, and clean enough for the family to watch.
IT'S COMPLICATED (2009 R) LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED, LOVED IT!!! Finally, a rom-com with maturity that speaks to the issues of divorce after a lengthy marriage and grown kids. It IS complicated...for all involved! The script is tremendously funny and sensitive. Meryl Streep is wonderful as the divorcee caught up in a whirlwind of confusion when her ex seduces her. Alec Baldwin is great as the ex, married to a trophy wife with a five year old brat, who falls goofily in love again with his first wife, turning his world upside down. Steve Martin plays his most subdued role ever as the somewhat vulnerable and fragile architect who also becomes an object of Meryl's affection. And the cast playing the grown children of Streep and Baldwin were so true-to-form when the crazy affair of their parents comes out in the open. I laughed out loud, cringed, smiled smugly, even felt a little teary during this wonderfully entertaining rollercoaster-of-a-film. Highly recommended to those of us over 40...but even my male 18 year old next door neighbor loved it...so that says something for its merit!
THE BLIND SIDE (2009 PG13) The Blind Side is the most inspiring, heartwarming film I've seen in ages. This true story exemplifies how generosity of heart can make a huge difference in someone else's life, as well as your own. It also makes it clear that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Big Mike Oher is an oversized marshmallow, a product of the projects who escapes a dark future with the help of a headstrong but big-hearted woman and her family. Big Mike, who has been shown to have high protective instincts, goes on to become a star football player, guarding the team as he would his family. Sandra Bullock finally found a film worthy of her talent. She deserved the awards. Quinton Aaron was wonderful as Big Mike....keep your eye on this young actor! He's going places! Thank you to the filmmakers for making a film that rises far above the typical trash heap of Hollywood narcissistic self-indulgence!
THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE (2009 PG13) I've always been intrigued with films that mess with the concepts of time and mortality, such as "Meet Joe Black", "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", and "Slaughterhouse Five", just to name a few. This film tops the list. It's a beautiful romance with a twist, and the story is unforgettable. The Time Traveler's Wife is about how one soul is meant to be with a certain other soul, throughout time. Henry time travels due to a genetic anomaly that he can't control. Throughout his life, and throughout Clare's, their lives entangle and their love endures. The storyline is very clever and there are so many lovely twists throughout that you'll be entranced from the start to finish. I haven't read the book yet, but the film made me want to. I loved everything about this story, the acting, the settings...everything, and would watch this again and again. Well, wait a minute - there was one thing I did not like, and that was the band playing during the wedding dance. I'd rather eat glass than to hear them again. But even that did not mar the movie enough to make me give it any less than 5 stars!
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE (2006 R) Abigail Breslin is a delight to watch in this road-trip comedy as a wanna-be contender in a children's beauty pagaent. If you think your family is crazy, wait til you meet this one! There is nothing about this movie that I didn't like....the cast, the script, the direction, the scenes....all fantastic. Really enjoyable flick, full of smiles!
500 DAYS OF SUMMER (2009 PG13) Such a lovely little film. If you have ever gone, or are now going, through that dreadful period after a break-up when you just can't figure out what went wrong, you'll really appreciate this story. The characters are charming, the music really adds to the emotions of the scenes, and even though this is about love gone wrong...you can't help but feel uplifted at the end. I enjoyed it.
SHINE (1996 PG13) David Helfgott was a child prodigy whose father's cruelty and ambition drove David to a breakdown. Still performing today, Helfgott is a gifted and broken man with a delightful, child-like spirit. I had the pleasure of meeting the real David Helfgott and listening to his music at a starlit outdoor concert in Australia a few years ago. I had already seen the film twice by then, and after meeting Helfgott, I have got to give a heck of a lot of credit to Geoffrey Rush for his portrayal of the pianist. He was not an easy personality to recreate - his mind is all over the place and then latches on to a segment of thought like a pitbull, all expressed in his rapid-fire conversation with you. He was a genuinely friendly and delightful man, if you take the time to listen carefully to what he says, a brilliant pianist, and as quirky as quirky can be. Geoffrey Rush couldn't have done a better job in his performance - he was phenomenal in his portrayal. And what a heart-wrenching yet inspiring story! Though the story is tragic at the onset, you can't help but love Helfgott's spirit, and the film leaves you feeling truly delighted!
MARILYN HOTCHKISS BALLROOM DANCING AND CHARM SCHOOL (2005 PG13) This film was a real surprise...a true dark horse. It is sweet and sentimental, and though the characters are all carrying around tragic baggage, the Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing and Charm School provides a venue of transformation. This film is listed as a comedy, and it has many comedic moments, yet the emotionality of the film runs much deeper than most comedies. You'll see a few surprises in the cast of characters, too, including Robert Carlyle who is now famous for his portrayal of Rumpelstiltskin in the tv hit, Once Upon a Time!
CB, your website creator and blogger, is a certified Holistic Health Educator and writer.