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.
Monsiseur Lazhar: A very moving Canadian film (in French with subtitles) about an Algerian born substitute teacher, with a sorrowful past of his own, connecting with a classroom whose previous beloved teacher has committed suicide. The final five minutes are riveting and beautiful.
The Italian: A Russian film about a boy who runs away from an orphanage to find his natural mother. Could have been maudlin and mawkish, but it is beautifully handled with great sensitivity.
Polisse: This one is a punch in the gut. A French film about a squad of policemen working in a child abuse unit. The movie is really about the toll of the work on the lives of the policemen. Some of the most natural acting you will see in any film.
Looper: Ok, this is not my typical recommendation. But it’s a great action movie with a time travel subplot that went surprisingly unnoticed this year. Lots of twists and turns, and always clever and suspenseful.
Moonrise Kingdom: If you are a Wes Anderson fan, you will love this one. If you are not, you will still love it. The auteur’s latest, about a pair of twelve-year olds who fall in love and elope, is also his most accessible and mainstream movie in years.
The Tenth of December, by George Saunders: An eclectic short story collection full of surprises and at times surreal, dark humor. His prose is so fresh and so inventive, and his ‘point of entry’ into a story so inventive that you cannot fully appreciate his genius until you have re-read the stories, which I highly recommend.
Consider the Lobster, by David Foster Wallace: A brilliant collection of essays from the late, great Wallace. The title essay and the one on David Lynch alone are worth the price of admission.
A death in Venice, and other stories, by Thomas Mann: Going back to a classic. Mann is a genius at worming into the minds of alienated, reserved, solitary creatures who are striving to hold their immense passions at bay.
Children of the Jacaronda Tree, by Sahar Delijani: This book will be published later this year, but I recommend you look it up, as it gives a chilling insider’s view into the lives of two generations damaged irrevocably by the tyranny of the Iranian regime.