The World Without Us describes the relationship between humans and nature using science with a dash of philosophy to imagine what would happen if the earth was suddenly without us. The human impact on nature and the restorative abilities of the earth are clearly explained in this pop science read.
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The Testing is not your average dystopian! To attend college, those who live in the United Commonwealth must undertake the Testing. For Cia, who desperately wants to attend college, the Testing is more dangerous than she could imagine and it’s not a fight to pass, but a fight to survive!
Think you know WWII history? You might be surprised! The Ghost Army explains how the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops – made up of artists, sound technicians, and radiomen – created the grand illusion of American troops that held the line against German forces in major battles of the war. Amazing!
Ginny of Research Services recommends Stella Bain by Anita Shreve:
In 1916, an American woman wakes up with amnesia in a French hospital. She remembers her duties as a nurse’s aide and ambulance driver and that her name is Stella Bain…or is it? Dr. Bridge, a cranial surgeon who nurses Stella back to health, helps get her an appointment inside the British Royal Navy’s headquarters. While there, a former friend recognizes Stella, and Stella’s memories begin returning – like why she left her home and what drove her to the French battlefields. As Stella’s story unfolds, Shreve takes us back and forth between Europe and the United States, before and after WWI. Shreve vividly examines trauma, shell shock, and memory loss while effectively tracing a woman’s journey to recover her past.
The Happiest Millionaire is a favorite lesser-known Disney musical that offers toe-tapping charm. Fred MacMurray is a wealthy father who keeps pet alligators in his mansion and hosts a Bible-and-boxing club in the stables. Lesley Ann Warren, Greer Garson, and the irrepressible Tommy Steele add to the family fun.
With its chilly upper-midwest setting (accents included), Fargo is the classic Coen brothers’ film. A botched kidnapping planned by a bungling William H. Macy is met with the polite, small-town-smarts of a pregnant police chief (Frances McDormand). This is dark humor at its best balanced with warm humanity.
Before Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood and director Don Siegel teamed up to make the tense, gothic melodrama The Beguiled. Set near the end of the Civil War, The Beguiled tells the story of a Union soldier wounded in Southern territory, who finds refuge in a girls’ school.
Enticed by a friend’s recommendation, I discovered the operatic group Il Divo. Wow! What powerful voices and what a full orchestral sound supports this talented quartet of male singers. If you like dramatic, deep music like Andrea Bocelli, but also enjoy pop music, try Il Divo, their first, self-titled album.
Researchers have long acknowledged black influence and culture within popular music…but not until recently has anyone studied black presence in country music. Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music is an erudite, heavily footnoted essay collection that demonstrates how country music is not only “the white man’s blues.”
Anne of Research Services recommends On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the 21st Century by Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka:
When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as pope in March 2013, he was a mystery to most of the world. In Argentina, however, he was a significant figure who believed in interreligious dialogue. His discussions with the Rabbi Abraham Skorka in Buenos Aires were published in Argentina in 2010. On Heaven and Earth is an English translation of this work. It offers a glimpse into the hearts and minds of these learned, thoughtful, sincere men who share their views without reservation. Skorka and Pope Francis discuss 29 challenging world issues with respect and frankness. These conversations allow the reader to develop their own views on these important topics. On Heaven and Earth is a thoughtful book for those with or without belief.