NW by Zadie Smith highlights the paradoxes in human existence. It follows the lives of four London friends who grew up in the same impoverished area of northwest London. Ideas of class and ethnicity are major players in this character-driven, passionate story that keeps you guessing on what comes next.
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If you like dry English humor, then Kind Hearts and Coronets is for you. Louis plots the demise of family members, shortening the line of succession to become Duke. His conniving and lust for revenge is punctuated with humorous circumstances and whimsical dialog as he romances, manipulates, and eliminates his relatives.
Jesse Eisenberg lends his engaging voice to the mafia-inspired supernatural mystery, White Cat by Holly Black. Cassel comes from a family of curse workers who have certain “abilities.” When a white cat shows up in his dreams and his reality, Cassel knows something is very wrong.
He’s been dumped, and she’s squatting with innumerable roommates. Twenty-somethings Tim and Daisy figure the obvious solution is to pretend to be a couple to get a flat. British comedy series Spaced is full of quirky references, characters, and situations you’d expect from Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead fame.
Alice Buckle is a busy working mom. Right after her husband has an unexpected melt down at his advertising company, Alice has been asked to participate in the Netherfeld Center’s Marriage Studies Survey. This begins her identity as Wife 22. As Alice answers questions about her hope and dreams, the times she has loved her husband the most and loved him the least, she is forced to look at the bigger issues in her own life. In the meantime, the sparks are sizzling between Alice and Researcher 101. Wife 22 asks the question: Is it possible to have romance and passion in mid-life? One way or another Alice is going to find the answer to her own happily ever after.
Both electric and acoustic strains of the country music scene are showcased in the series soundtracks The Music of Nashville, Volume 1 and Volume 2, and it’s the original songs that make an impact. The best are the sweet yet sultry duets, especially those featuring newcomer Clare Bowen, but there’s something for every mood.
The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero invites you to embark on a journey in your own emotional and spiritual life. Scazzero explores transformative issues such as knowing your own heart, dealing with pain in your past, being vulnerable, and embracing loss and your own limits. Try it!
Brandon Graham’s quirkily unique graphic novel King City follows Joe, an aimless master of “cat-fu” (i.e., able to use his pet as an absurdly versatile weapon). Joe traverses through a densely pun-filled futuristic metropolis in this elaborate tale enhanced by a playful, high-energy style.
Our First Lady, Michelle Obama, wrote American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. This colorful book discusses the successes and failures of starting a garden. Community gardens are praised for bringing neighborhoods together and nutrition and exercise are touched on.
Gillian Welch is a singer-songwriter with bluegrass and Appalachian influences. Her albums The Harrow and the Harvest, Time (The Revelator), and Hell Among the Yearlings contain dark ballads, deep love, and feel both innovative and old time. If you like the Civil Wars, give Gillian Welch a listen!