Stephen King and Tim Sample team up for this amusing story about a fireworks competition gone awry. It’s the Maine natives versus the summer people and, with pride on the line, neither is willing to back down. Needless to say, it doesn’t end well. A fun, short (about an hour) listen.
Beryl Markham is famous for her 1936 solo flight around the world, and notorious for shocking behavior. Circling the Sun tells her story, starting with her unconventional childhood in colonial Kenya after her mother returned to England when Beryl was five. A fascinating look at a fascinating woman.
This film is a great addition to the western genre but not in the traditional sense of conflict between cultures or survival. A young man, Jay, is in search of the woman he’s in love with who has fled Scotland to the American west with her father. On his journey west, Jay meets Silas and realizing he is out of his depth contracts Silas to guide him through this wild and dangerous territory. Unknown to Jay there is a bounty on his sweetheart and her father, dead or alive, and Silas is after the $2000 reward among other interested parties. Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smit-McPhee provide excellent performances as well as Ben Mendelsohn who plays an eccentric outlaw. There are lots of fortunate and misfortunate events that provide humor and further the characters on their journey which is filmed beautifully in an atmospheric landscape.
Helen Mirren has another perfect performance in this historical drama based on actual events. Mirren portrays, Maria Altman, a woman in her later life attempting to regain ownership of a famous painting of her aunt, created by world famous artist Gustav Klimt, which was illegally seized from her family by the Nazis during WWII in Austria. The film has flashbacks to her time as a young child and young adult in Austria and her escape from the Nazis occupation. A fascinating look at one woman’s personal struggle to revisit her past, with the help and sacrifices of a young attorney, and address the injustice done to her family.
The classic story by Thomas Hardy is of an independent and headstrong woman, Bathsheba, who has three very different men pursue her. Carey Mulligan is perfect as Bathsheba giving her all the qualities you expect with passion and strong emotions. Matthias Schoenaerts along with Tom Sturridge and Michael Sheen portray her various suitors equally well. The drama is filmed in Dorset England which is the location in Hardy’s story and is the perfect setting for this Victorian tale of relationships and adversity.
Despite threats from mobs and gangs, Roberto Saviano is not afraid to write books exposing the evils of the black market. In Zerozerozero, Saviano explores the inner workings of the global cocaine trade. He charts its increasing role in the world economy and, by extension, its grasp on all of us.
One of the oldest and most fascinating species of animal is the salmon. The President’s Salmon offers a rich history of the Atlantic salmon, primarily revolving around the Penobscot River, the last stronghold for the Atlantic salmon in America and a key battleground site for the preservation of the species.
Rob Gronkowski, one of the best tight-ends and biggest goof-balls the NFL has ever seen, has written a book. It’s Good To Be Gronk not only documents many successes Gronkowski has had in the NFL and pop-culture, but it also explores some difficulties he has overcome to get where he is.
Project Animal Farm documents Sonia Faruqi’s worldwide search for solutions to animal cruelty in the food industry. Faruqi lives with farmers, hitchhikes with strangers, and has many other experiences all over the world. Through these experiences, she develops surprising insights and solutions, both about the food industry and herself.
Daylight Starlight Wildlife by Wendell Minor
As the title suggests, this is a picture book of nature’s contrasts. Explore visual paintings of animals active during the day (diurnal), those active at night (nocturnal), and those that are active at twilight/sunrise (crepuscular). This would be a very useful classroom resource with which kids can identify creatures, both familiar and unfamiliar, and can compare and contrast. Also useful are the latter “Fun Facts” which include additional information pertaining to the animals depicted in the book. Appropriate for children ages 3-5