Tag Archives: #History

Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Call the Midwife (TV Series)

After reading/listening to Call the Midwife on audio, I put off watching the show, as I knew that I would be hooked and want to binge watch. That doesn’t really bode well for me during the school year, so I put it off until the summer. And I am so glad that I finally took the time to watch the series.

Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Helen George (Trixie), Bryony Hannah (Cynthia), Jessica Raines (Jenny), Miranda Hart (Chummy)

The show, while some of it runs extremely close to the books by Jennifer Worth, takes on a life of its own and I have become highly attached to the characters. Over the five seasons that are currently available on Netflix, not one of them stands out above the others. The reason for that is that they are all amazing. Remarkable. Undeniably one of the best shows I have ever watched. Ever. And I mean that about every episode!

The show takes place in the East End of London in the 1950’s. Having just come out of World War II, the area has yet to rebound, as it historically was, and continues in the series, to be one of London’s poorer neighborhoods. When a new episode begins, you know several things:

  1. You will meet people who will do anything to make their lives better.
  2. Most people that you meet have a long history and a lot of family in the East End.
  3. The Nuns and Midwives of Nonnatus House will do everything in their power to help those in need.
Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Cliff Parisi (Fred), Helen George (Trixie), Bryony Hannah (Cynthia), Jenny Agutter (Sister Julianne), Pam Ferris (Sister Evangelina), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica-Joan)

What you don’t know when you begin, is that you will encounter the truth of the era, see people living in poor conditions with no bathrooms, no running water, but with homes as clean as they can get them, and watch as the Sisters and Midwives work through the squalor to bring babies into the world and help those who are desperately sick.


Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Laura Main (Sister Bernadette), Pam Ferris (Sister Evangelina), Jenny Agutter (Sister Julianne), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica-Joan)

In pretty much every episode you will also find yourself faced with a controversial issue, from a young nun who is questioning her call to God, women who are shamed for working outside the home, abortion, neglected children, stillbirths, thalidomide babies, racism, cancer, TB and with all of this, in every single episode, you will find some happiness. Some reason to smile.

Call the Midwife. A Propensity to Discuss TV Series review.

Charlotte Ritchie (Barbara), Victoria Yeates (Sister Winifred), Emerald Fennell (Patsy), Helen George (Trixie)

These nuns and midwives work and live together, not always in perfect harmony, but always in a way that supports their patients throughout every aspect of their lives. And it is so well acted and costumed that it takes you straight to the East End with every episode you watch.

From the history lessons, the quiet rise of feminism and women’s rights to work, to the life and death struggles and the advances in modern life due to medical advances, this, in my opinion, it is the best show on television.

I highly recommend it!

Links to all seasons: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link:  https://propensitytodiscuss.wordpress.com/book-reviews-list/

This post may contain affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products!

Dunkirk. A Propensity to Discuss movie review.


Over the weekend, hubby and I went to see the movie Dunkirk, which I had not even known about until he mentioned going to see it. We aren’t big on going out to see movies, so I was a little shocked that he wanted to see this one. Having been a social studies education undergrad, I love historical books, movies, and tv shows, so I was all in.

First, let me say that it is ridiculous that it costs the two of us a little more than $50 to see a movie in a theater with popcorn and a drink. Good grief! This is the reason we don’t go to the movies all that often. However, if you plan to see Dunkirk, see it in an IMAX theater if at all possible. You feel like you are right there, with the unmatched definition and clarity of the screen and the sound system pulsing through your body, it adds so much to the experience!

Second, let me say that if you like history at all, you must go see this movie. It was really good. If you aren’t into history but you like war movies, this movie is a must see! If you like intense, non-stop action, go see this movie. Get up…go now! It’s that good!

This is quite an interestingly conceived movie, as there is no main character, just back and forth between different soldiers, boat captains, and officers. Reading that, you may think that there is no one to specifically name as the focus of the movie and that you will get lost trying to follow all of the different characters. You won’t. It is a simple and yet magnificently told depiction of the Dunkirk evacuation.

Dunkirk. A Propensity to Discuss movie review.

In case you don’t know (I didn’t), the Dunkirk evacuation, sometimes referred to as the Miracle of Dunkirk, was the evacuation of Allied (British and French) soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, in northern France, between May 26 and June 4, 1940, during World War II. At the end of the first day, 7,669 men were evacuated, but by the end of the eighth day, 338,226 soldiers had been rescued by over 800 boats, the majority of those being the personal boats of fishermen and tradesmen from Great Britain.(1)

Dunkirk. A Propensity to Discuss movie review.

There is no real down time in this movie. It is non-stop action from about 3 minutes in until the final credits, so be prepared for about 103 minutes of being on the edge of your seat. Even though you know the outcome of more than 330,000 of these men, you are gripped with fear in a what will happen in every scene, one right after another, for the ENTIRE MOVIE!

It was written, co-produced and directed by Christopher Nolan. The cast stars Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy. Many of these men played Oscar worthy roles in this movie, and according to a Dunkirk historian, there are only minor discrepancies between the movie and the actual evacuation.

So, if you have a little time on your hands, and some extra money, head out to see this one. It truly is worth it!

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

(1) Dunkirk evacuation. (2017, July 31). Retrieved July 31, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkirk_evacuation

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link:  https://propensitytodiscuss.wordpress.com/book-reviews-list/

This post may contain affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products!



The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Admission time. I had heard about Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, but for some reason, I had been putting off reading it. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I do love historical fiction, but I was in a mystery-thriller phase that I just could not work my way out of.

Last week, however, I wanted something different, so I decided to go for it. And go for it I did. All 592 pages. Perhaps my mind knew that I would not be able to put it down once I started. Whatever it was that kept me from reading it before, I am so very glad that I finally got around to it. And I read it, ALL of it, in just over 1 day. I truly could not put it down! YES! It is that great.

Two sisters. One steadfast and true. One temperamental and headstrong. After the death of their mother and the day their father sent them away, both want nothing more than to be loved again. Vianne is married to Antoine, whom she has loved and been loved by since she was 14 years-old. Isabelle has been kicked out of one boarding school after another.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. A Propensity to Discuss review.

When news of war comes to France, Vianne remembers her father the way he was before the first Great War and how he was never the same afterward. Isabelle only remembers the man from after the war; the one who never wanted her.

With Antoine called to fight, Vianne is left to care for their daughter, Sophie, when the Germans invade France. She has no idea how she will cope. Isabelle wants to fight for France. She wants to join the Resistance and do whatever possible to free France from the horrible Nazi regime.

Differing dispositions and ideology separate the sisters, but as conditions in France turn into a real-life nightmare, each sister must tread her own dangerous path to survive the Occupation.

This is now one of my favorite books of all time. It is historical fiction, real-life, heartache, terror, love, and forgiveness all wrapped up in a story that you will not want to put down until you make it to the final page. And then you will want more.  Unputdownable!


5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.


This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

What is so common about common core?

In a world of technology with instant internet access it seems as though perhaps common knowledge is no longer something to be taken for granted. Before the age of word processors I was able to spell pretty much any word that was thrown at me. Now I have become so reliant on spell check that I stumble at times over the simplest of words. It is frustrating.


What's so common about Common Core? Visit https://propensitytodiscuss.wordpress.com/

Sit a while and read

That being said, what is so common about common core? I know, different use of the word. But still, I would hope that common core would be common knowledge or that it would become such. Common core is not changing the content but rather changing the engagement of the students toward how the content is disseminated. (BTW, I spelled that correctly!)

Instead of simply reading a book, common core relies heavily on questioning and analyzing its contents. Does this mean that reading for pleasure is no longer accepted? NO. It means that reading leads to a deeper understanding. I have always been of the belief that reading teaches more than I could ever teach someone. However, reading and questioning what you have read teaches even more.

Should libraries/librarians change everything that they have done in the past to meet common core standards? I don’t think so. I think we should just be pushing the analysis level of what is being read or researched.

It’s not so hard to do on a small scale to get started. When a student returns a book after reading it, ask them a few questions about it. Don’t drill them; just be interested in what they have to say about the book. From this the “why” and “what if” questions can arise. Granted it is not a full lesson to meet common core standards, but it is a way of helping students to engage more about what they are reading.

If you are a teacher (not just English teachers) this method can work for you as well. Remember what I said about reading being a great teacher? Yep, that means for all content areas. A student who becomes more analytical about novels should certainly be able to transfer that ability to a math or science problem, right? Students who question what they read in a book will hopefully be able to use that same skill to question issues in social sciences. Recognizing sentence structure used in both fiction and non-fiction certainly helps the student as a writer and to analyze literature…and, well, that should be a given in an ELA class.

Fine Arts, you ask? Why yes. How much inspiration for painting or sculpture in period form can come from reading about a certain time period? Would a play or manuscript be better understood if the setting were better understood through reading background information? The history and uses of food and spices could enhance a culinary arts class.

In science, current events can be used weekly, if not daily. How many articles are there in the news that relate to science? The 24 hour period before 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 there were 6 articles that related to biology, 3 for chemistry, and 1 for physics on the New York Times website. This was a search conducted using the terms listed above. If you go to a topic such as “disease” you get about 23,800 articles. Hmm, bet you could narrow it down to a certain topic. Especially since that website lets you search articles back to 1851.

Wait, articles all the way back to 1851? What that what???  That means…No way! You are kidding! Nope, not kidding! Social studies gets covered, too. How much more interested would students be in looking at actual news articles and corresponding pictures of 1945 events than just what a very dry, very boring textbook has to say about it. Doesn’t the thought of reading one of those textbooks just make you want to roll your eyes and groan? If you type in Hiroshima, Japan and search back through 1851, you get 2960 results. You can see the before, during and after of the bombing. What a concept. Studying a country, not just a year.

I could go on and on and on….But I will not.

Reading is not the main ingredient (spell check caught me here) of the common core standards. But I am a librarian/media specialist after all. I love to promote reading. I love to see the understanding come alive when students find just the right book and learn to like and then love to read.

I love to see students succeed; it is the biggest part of what makes my job so enjoyable. Well, that and the fact that I am surrounded by books!

Who the heck am I?

I am a wife, mother of 3, mother-in-law of 1, crafting, book-reading, techno-nerd, librarian/media specialist/teacher-librarian. (Pick one.) The ALA –American Library Association can’t decide what to call us, so I will take any of the three.


I could, very easily, become a hoarder. I love crafting and making things and I love reading. I could have bookshelves full of books and little quirky bits I’ve made. However, I have a slightly OCD side that likes things to look neat and orderly. Clearly a holdover from my neat-as-a-pin parents. Clutter. Messes. Craft projects. Printed craft ideas. Paper. Stuff. Everywhere. Then along came Pinterest. Just what I needed! I can now pin things to board after board. My OCD tendencies are very happy because everything has its own little happy place.

When I want to make something, I go to my craft board. Read, you say? Yes, I have boards for books. Work? I am a library lady, remember? I have a board for the library, for marketing in the library. Collaborate with teachers? Yes, librarians do that! So I have education boards…all content areas plus a little humor thrown in for good measure. You can’t make it in education without a well-rounded sense of humor!

Not into education, you say? Well, I am nothing if not well-rounded! Do you like jewelry? There’s a board for that! Art? Journaling? Doodling? Zentangle? Yep! Boards for that.

A little more convincing needed? How about decorating your home? Or building and decorating a dream home when you win the lottery? I keep hoping to win, but I don’t really play, so I doubt that will come to fruition. 😉 And a Board for moving your stuff once you get that house! OOH…Furniture. I have one of those Boards! Re-purposing items? Check! Organizing? Check! Plants and gardens? Check! Swimming pools? Check!

There are also Boards for nostalgia (I’m a 60’s baby, 70’s child, and 80’s teen = lots of nostalgia!), my favorite state: Georgia! (I’m a peach.), history, photography, mosaics, parties, holidays, owls (HOO doesn’t love those?), sewing, food and syringomyelia. (That’s a post for another day.)

There are quite a few Boards on miniatures. I have a small obsession. Pun intended.

Perhaps I should start a Board for ADD? My Pinterest account may look a little like I need some attention in that area. That will have to be a post for another day also. I think most educators have a touch of ADD in them.

Anyway, please stop by and check out a Board or two. Or twelve…fifty…Oh, heck, just check out all 103 of them. Although soon there will 105. I don’t really like numbers that don’t end in 0 or 5. I’m strange that way. Just makes me a little uncomfortable.