The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is superbly written almost in a poetic way. In 1939 Germany, Death has never been busier, yet it’s captivated by a young orphan who learns to find comfort in the written word. After the Nazis burn the town’s books, Liesel steals from the mayor’s own library and shares with a Jewish man hiding in her home. You will not be able to put this book down because of its award-winning writing.
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Worth’s The Midwife tells the fascinating story of her life as a midwife in 1950’s London. Set in the East End, where she worked with nuns from St. Raymond Nonnatus, Worth chronicles the rigorous drama and inspiring magic of birth. It’s a captivating memoir. After reading, watch the excellent television series it inspired.
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.
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.