Tiny Furniture

May 9, 2012

 

Tiny Furniture
By Dunham, Lena
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Have you heard the buzz about the new HBO TV show, Girls?  Creator Lena Dunham’s first feature film was recently released on DVD and is the perfect introduction to this new voice in comedy. The filmmaker herself plays Aura, a recent college graduate who returns to New York and moves back in with her mother and sister (played by their real-life counterparts). Though Aura is gripped by stasis and confusion about her future, Dunham locates endless sources of refreshing humor in her plight. As painfully confessional as it is endlessly amusing, Tiny Furniture is an authentic, incisive portrait of a young woman at a crossroads.

The Richer Sex

April 24, 2012

The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family
By Mundy, Liza

This is a fascinating account of male/female relations and how women are currently out earning men in some areas and are on track to surpass them entirely in the near future. Mundy looks at the historical background (for centuries men were the breadwinners and women made less money), the current era where women are starting to surpass men, and what this means for marriages and relationships. She interviews couples where the female is the higher earner and also interviews various researchers (economists, sociologists, anthropologists) and reports on their research into the subject. From the publisher: “The first in-depth examination of this cataclysmic social revolution, “The Richer Sex” is one of those rare nonfiction books that will cause men and women to rethink how they are living their lives and what the changes around them mean.”

 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
By Alfredson, Tomas
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Based on the novel by the famous John Le Carré, this Oscar nominated movie is a wonderful period spy thriller.  Gary Oldman stars as George Smiley, a retired officer in Britain Secret Intelligence service. He is called out of retirement to uncover a possible double agent in the Circus (MI6). Set in 1973, when the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West was well established, the movie excellently evokes the decline of Great Britain as a super power and the atmosphere of the early 1970s. An accomplished cast, which includes Colin Firth, John Hurt, and Tom Hardy, and wonderful direction creates a film that is a powerful blend of drama and suspense.

 

Faith

March 27, 2012

Faith
By Haigh, Jennifer
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Faith is a novel about the impact of the Catholic priest abuse scandals on a Irish Catholic suburban Boston family. From the publisher description: “Estranged for years from her difficult and demanding relatives, Sheila McGann has remained close to her older brother Art, the popular, dynamic pastor of a large suburban parish. When Art finds himself at the center of the maelstrom, Sheila returns to Boston, ready to fight for him and his reputation. What she discovers is more complicated than she imagined. Her strict, lace-curtain-Irish mother is living in a state of angry denial. Sheila’s younger brother Mike, to her horror, has already convicted his brother in his heart. But most disturbing of all is Art himself, who persistently dodges Sheila’s questions and refuses to defend himself.”

Faith is an absorbing book about family bonds and the role of religion in shaping the people we become.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

March 14, 2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene
By Durkin, Sean
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An absorbing psychological thriller,  Martha Marcy May Marlene stars Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a young woman rapidly unraveling amidst her attempt to reclaim a normal life after fleeing from a cult and its charismatic leader (John Hawkes). Seeking help from her estranged older sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy), Martha is unable and unwilling to reveal the truth about her disappearance. When her memories trigger a chilling paranoia that her former cult could still be pursuing her, the line between Martha’s reality and delusion begins to blur

Defending Jacob

February 27, 2012

Defending Jacob
By Landay, William
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An assistant prosecutor begins to investigate the brutal stabbing murder of a middle-school student in the woods.  Soon, he is removed from the case when his son Jacob, a classmate of the murder victim, becomes the primary suspect. It’s obviously all a mistake, since he has over 20 years experience investigating and prosecuting criminals.  The author does an excellent job leading the reader through to the end in doubt.  Was it Jacob who killed his classmate… or not?

The House at Riverton

February 16, 2012

The House at Riverton
By Morton, Kate
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Enthralled by Downton Abbey? Kate Morton’s juicy first novel about the tangled relationships between the upperclass and their servants will keep you occupied while waiting for new episodes.

From the publisher description: “Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline.

In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they — and Grace — know the truth.

In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace’s youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever.”