The Flight of Gemma Hardy transports the story of Jane Eyre to twentieth-century Iceland and Scotland, successfully honoring the source material while still offering a few surprises. The graceful, lilting narration of reader Davina Porter perfectly renders Gemma’s progression from neglected waif to independent young woman.
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Michael C. Hall can’t seem to escape death. Before he was Dexter, he was a mortician in Six Feet Under. He’s part of a quirky family whose lives are entwined with the funeral home their father left after suddenly dying. Although the setting seems maudlin, the show is about relationships, expected and unexpected, and their complications.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch, cinematic history’s first transsexual, glam-rock musical, follows German expatriate Hedwig and her hilariously unpopular band The Angry Inch (named for Hedwig’s semi-botched sex-change operation). Their cross-country tour plays a chain of cut-rate family seafood restaurants in a film about pain, love, and what identity means.
The Orchard by Theresa Weir tells the story of a street-wise girl who marries into an old and well-respected farm family. Insight is given on farm traditions, the standard use of pesticides, its effect on the land, and dealing with the iron will of a family matriarch.
Valerie of Research Services recommends The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh:
It is said that non-verbal communication can be just as, if not more powerful than, what is spoken aloud. Victoria Jones is a mistrustful soul who has been shuffled from one foster home to another, and has even endured homelessness. It is at age ten, when she is placed with Elizabeth, that she finds solace in flowers and their meanings. Later, Victoria has an uncanny ability to convey messages through the bouquets she creates, and builds a future on this skill…but a catastrophic secret from her childhood is nearly enough to jeopardize her one chance at happiness. Can this self-described “thistle-peony-basil kind of girl” overcome her past and learn the true meaning of love? Just as receiving a bouquet of flowers creates a pleasant memory, so too will this story of faith and redemption.
“Write this down, and don’t forget, that the best of times ain’t happened yet,” sings William Elliott Whitmore in the title track from his latest album, Field Songs. Whitmore is a one man folk band whose well-worn voice carries the ambitions, longing, and occasional anger of the working class man.
Sail the seven seas on the HMS Surprise with Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) and Doctor Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany). Nominated for ten Academy Awards, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, based on Patrick O’Brian’s naval series, will supply enough thrills for even the most adventurous viewers.
Sunday, Monday, every day’s a happy day for television superstar Garry Marshall, in My Happy Days in Hollywood. There’s no mollycoddling here. From his mom warning “Beware of the boring,” to his dad’s note “Sorry you had to get a tooth pulled. It’s over now,” Marshall’s memoir charms and entertains.
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.
Mary Jane of Research Services recommends The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern:
It just appears. It opens at dusk, closes at dawn – the Night Circus. Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, written as a National Novel Writing Month project, tells the tale of Celia and Marco who are manipulated and trained by their respective magical guardians to become great magicians and battle to see who is better. At first they don’t know who their opponent will be or where they’ll play. Eventually, they realize that the circus is the public venue for their competition. Marco and Celia’s lives slowly become enmeshed in a dance of love, joy, deceit, heartbreak, and magic. In the competition, only one can be left standing. Who will it be?