If you’re a fan of Christopher Guest movies (like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show), you’ll love his TV series, Family Tree. Tom Chadwick plays an Englishman who inherits a mysterious box from a great-aunt he has never met. This begins a splendid, funny adventure to find his roots.
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Karl Pilkington is a British TV and radio personality. He works with Ricky Gervais. I love everything Pilkington does, like An Idiot Abroad, where he travels to the Seven Wonders of the World with twists orchestrated by Gervais. Also, try The Ricky Gervais Show for more hysterical, dry wit.
You must check out the Danish costume drama A Royal Affair. It is based on the true story of a fiery and forbidden romance between an insane Danish king, his royal physician, and the independent-minded Queen. This affair leads to a revolt that changes a nation.
Zero Dark Thirty is a dramatization about the 10-year search for Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. Maya is a young CIA officer who refuses to give up the search even when it involves torture. Maya and Seal Team 6’s efforts ultimately secure bin Laden in this engrossing film.
The End of Your Life Book Club is the true story of Mary Anne and Will, a mother and son, finding the power of books as she is dying of cancer. For two years, they read an array of genres and deeply discuss topics such as gratitude, listening, and love.
Penny Marshall, star of Laverne and Shirley, has lived by a few simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have FUN.” My Mother Was Nuts, Marshall’s intimate memoir, talks with humor and heart about how she stumbled into acting and directing.
Barb of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends Wonder by R.J. Palacio:
Wonder is a beautifully written novel filled with characters that touch your heart. Auggie Pullman was born with severe facial deformities. He learned to hide from the alarmed stares of others. Auggie has always been home-schooled, but entering the fifth grade, his parents have enrolled him in a private school. Predictably, Auggie has some terrible experiences at school when a bully tries to turn the other kids against him, but luckily he has loving parents, a sister, and caring teachers to help him along the way. This is a thought-provoking, fast read and a great book to open up discussions about love, support, and judging people on their appearance.
Sally Koslow’s Slouching Toward Adulthood is part serious investigation and part hilarious memoir. If you have twenty-something children living at home after college, you will love this witty take on why so many “carefully nurtured wunderkinds” are now moving so slowly into adulthood.
I must recommend two new CDs because they are both so fabulous! If you want to get lost in the 1920s, check out the soundtracks for Midnight in Paris and Boardwalk Empire. These two outstanding albums let you toe-tap to swell Jazz Age songs.
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, by Deborah Feldman, is a compelling memoir that shares what female life is like within the Satmar sect of Hasidic Judaism. This book is an intriguing story of a young woman intent to live her own life despite her community’s objections.