Books and Movies
I am frequently asked what I am reading and watching. See below for books I am reading currently and enjoying tremendously as well as some recommended movies.
Mother of Mine: A moving Swedish film about a boy who is adopted by a farmer and his wife during World War II. The actress who plays the farmer’s wife is a revelation. Bring your handkerchief to this one.
Killer Instinct and Public Enemy Number One: These are two French films that together tell the story of the French bank robber Jacque Mesrine, who is played with tremendous charisma by Vincent Cassel. I remember when Mesrine was killed in Paris in 1979. He had a Robin Hood type of reputation. The films are great, and at the center of them is a towering performance by Cassel.
A Separation: The Iranian film that won this year’s foreign film oscar. And deservedly so. The film, about the fallout of a couple’s decision to separate, achieves something rarely seen in films today: it gets you to care equally about all the characters and to view the events through each of their stances. A morally ambiguous tale that will stay with you.
I’ve Loved You So Long: A French film starring the amazing Kristen Scott Thomas, who is British but is fluent in French, and in my view, even a better actress in French. This one is heartbreaking, about a woman released from prison, trying to start a new life and keep her troubled past secret. She is terrific in this one.
Queen to Play: another French film, this one with the great Sandrine Bonnaire as a maid who discovers an innate ability to play chess. Also stars Kevin Kline, who is quite good in French. The film is about chess, yes, but also about class, money, and the human need for companionship.
Aerogrammes, by Tania James: One of the best short story collections I have read in years. The stories are funny, tender, and always full of humanity. The first three stories are knockouts.
A Good Fall, another terrific short story collection, this one by Ha Jin, the author of Waiting.
The Confessions of Max Tivoli, by Andrew Sean Greer: This is not a new book, but it’s lovely and moving, about a man who ages backward –born old, becomes younger and younger. It has the same conceit as the Brad Pitt film, but is far more effective and emotionally rewarding. The final few pages are so beautiful.
Sigh No More, by Mumford and Sons; Folk music with a rich, pounding sound. The songs, many of them about disappointment, self-discovery, start softly and build thrillingly to a full chorus made of guitars, banjos, violins, drums. My favorite new band.
Khaled speaks at UNHCR World Refugee Day events
Each year on June 20th the United Nations and countless civic groups around the world celebrate World Refugee Day (WRD).
WRD was established by the United Nations to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence. 1
This year, as part of his talk with the UN press core, Khaled spoke about the refugee issues and importance of WRD in his own life. Read what Khaled said about refugees and his own personal connection with WRD. See Khaled’s video for the UNHCR’s 2012 WRD campaign. See Khaled’s interview with BBC’s Jane O’Brien.
1 – UNHCR site
Upcoming Events with Khaled
Khaled will be a featured speaker as part of the Harker School’s speaker series in San Jose, California on November 30th at 7:30 pm. Khaled will speak about his foundation in an event that will be moderated by emmy award winner, Cheryl Jennings from KGO Channel 7 ABC news. Tickets are available now both for the event as well as a private reception with Khaled.