Month: May 2011

Check It Out Blog

Neither Here Nor There

Neverwhere audiobook coverEver wonder what really happens to those people who slip between the cracks?  In the genius twisted mind of Neil Gaiman, there are actually two Londons.  London Above is the world of Richard Mayhew and his rather uneventful life — uneventful, that is, until he stops to help a girl who is bleeding on the pavement.  Soon after, ominous men appear at his door, he becomes invisible to his friends, and he discovers an underworld known as London Below.  Neverwhere, read masterfully by the Audie Award-winning author himself, is a story of a mysterious quest, strange alliances, and characters both funny and creepy.  Lose yourself in the dark imagination of spaces in-between.

LISTS: Christian Albums with Energy

Does your faith need a pick-me-up?  Not all Christian music is meditative.  You’ll also find albums that pump up the excitement via rock, rap, indie, and pop.  The lyrics are still thoughtful – some even have humor – but the tempo is much more fun.

To turn up the volume and start living out loud, click here!

The Choice of How You Age

Younger Next Year for Women book cover Younger Next Year for Women is a common sense, motivational approach to living stronger, longer and getting your sexy back . Take control of how you age through the outspoken advice of Chris Crowley, a seventy-three-year-old man in better shape now than he was in his fifties, and Henry S. Lodge, his M.D. Crowley is your humorous, tell-it-like-it-is coach and Lodge brings the facts. Which are these – no, you can’t make your skin and hair look like they were in your twenties, but if you put in the effort of eating right and exercising, you can certainly have an active life much longer than society has led women to believe.

The Times They Are a-Changin’

Miss New IndiaAnjali Bose (call her Angie, please) has “it”, that indefinable quality that makes an impression.  She may not be the prettiest or the smartest, but she isn’t ordinary.  Born into a traditional lower-middle class family in Gauripur and facing an arranged marriage, she longs for more than what she sees around her but doesn’t really see a choice.  When fate gives her a terrible push, she turns to her teacher for help in getting to Bangalore where a different life awaits.  In Miss New India, a thought-provoking new work by Bharati Mukherjee, we are introduced to an India both blessed and cursed by change.  As for Angie, opportunity and trouble have ways of finding her.  Which will win out?

LISTS: The Best Worst Movies

Troll DVD cover There are many ways a movie can entertain us, but some abandon traditional standards of quality with such lunatic gusto that they offer their own unique pleasures. Often best viewed with a group of friends, these are the cream of the crop of the rarified so-bad-it’s-good category.

Honest, Stripped Down Music

Barton Hollow album cover You may have heard of The Civil Wars when their song “Poison and Wine” played on Grey’s Anatomy. Then there was the time they took the stage at A Prairie Home Companion. Oh, and Taylor Swift has been tweeting about how much she loves them for a year now. Not a bad start for a country/folk duo that have only been around since 2008. Barton Hollow, The Civil Wars’ debut album, showcases the Appalachian vocal styling of Joy Williams and John Paul White by surrounding them with a laid back latticework of guitar picking and piano. If you are tired of busy, over-dramatic, pop music, try out The Civil Wars.

Wackiness Ensues

MicmacsFrom the creator of Amélie comes another step into the fanciful, big-hearted, and odd.  Micmacs (2009) is the story of a video-store clerk who takes a stray bullet to the head.  With no place to go, Bazil (Danny Boon) finds himself adopted by a motley crew of lovable eccentrics who live in a secret self-made junkyard treasure trove.  When he decides to strike back at the city’s weapons manufacturers, his new friends offer their unique talents (including physical contortion and Rube Goldberg-like contraptions) to give the heartless profiteers their comeuppance.  Written and directed by the imaginative Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Micmacs is a trip into the strange and wonderful.