Through A Lens Darkly
I found the DVD titled Through A Lens Darkly to be a very interesting story about the portrayal of African-Americans in the American media. Before the Civil War, most media photographers were White, and they depicted Blacks as wild, uneducated animals. Newspaper cartoons were especially cruel. After the Civil War, this started to change as Blacks were recognized for their sacrifices during the war (and ensuing wars), and making important contributions to American culture. The number of Black photographers began to increase, and Blacks were now portrayed in a better light. Pictures were more artistic and respectful. The Black community began to make strides in all fields. Although discrimination still exists today, there's no doubt that Black photographers helped advance the cause of Equality and Civil Rights.
Through A Lens Darkly
Whether you grew up in the sixties, or just want to get a better understanding of this dynamic decade, which helped shape the country, you'll want to watch The Sixties. It does an excellent job of covering all the key aspects of the decade: the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the Space Race, the Assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy as well as Martin Luther King, Jr., the British Invasion. African-American leaders used peaceful resistance to fight for equality, while students protested against the war. New phrase began to infiltrate our language such as the Generation Gap, Hippies, and Drug Culture. There may never be another decade like the sixties. You owe it to yourself to view it.
Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome, by Bill Harley
Meet Charlie Bumpers, a fourth-grader who is always coming up against embarrassing worst-case scenarios. He keeps trying to make the best of bad situations, but things don't always work out the way he'd planned! In this story, Charlie is disappointed when he is cast as the Nice Gnome--rather than the Evil Sorcerer--in the class play. Attempts to write his way into a better part fail, but the production illuminates Charlie's quick instincts and supportive nature.
Memories Are Made Of This, by Deana Martin
I've always enjoyed Dean Martin's music, so when I was browsing the Overdrive catalog, I just had to download Memories Are Made Of This by his daughter Deana Martin. This is a powerful story of how the man from Steuben, Ohio, became a recording artist, comedian and film star. Despite his success, his personal life was less than perfect. He had several failed marriages, and was absent from his family due to his rigorous schedule. Nonetheless, he was a very loving and generous father. I was also surprised to read that, unlike his television and "Rat Pack" persona, he very rarely drank! It was all an act. His work ethic was impeccable, and he worked hard to become a success in the entertainment business.
This book provides a behind-the-scenes look at the great entertainer. Many important Hollywood figures visited his home. He became one of the most beloved entertainers+ of all times.
White Fur Flying, by Patricia MacLachlan
Zoe's father is a vet, and her mom has a passion for rescuing dogs in need, especially Great Pyrenees. The family provides a loving home for them until new owners can be found. With the dogs, a talking parrot and a family which enjoys animals, Zoe's house in the country is a lively, happy home. Next door is a home which is silent and sad. An unhappy young boy, Philip, is staying there for a time with his aunt and uncle while his parents "work on some difficulties". His aunt and uncle are well-meaning but awkward with children, and Philip has stopped speaking. Zoe, her sister, Alice, and Philip become friends. Gradually Philip comes out of his shell. A special rapport is established between the boy and Jack, the youngest and newest dog to be rescued by Zoe's family. Perhaps each senses the other's need for love and acceptance in the temporary homes in which they have been placed.
Zoe knows that saving dogs and saving boys are different jobs, but she learns that some parts are the same. Both take attention and care, understanding and time. And maybe just a bit of white fur flying.
Pee-Wee's Tale, by Johanna Hurwitz
A guinea pig in Central Park? Pee-Wee, once a boy's dear pet, has been secretly released into the wilds of Central Park. But instead of relishing his freedom, Pee-Wee is at first a stranger in a strange land--until he meets Lexi, a city-wise squirrel who gives his new stubby-tailed friend some tips as well as some confidence. A series of eye-opening adventures--from the search for Pee-Wee's former owner to his discovery of the power of reading--turns a timid rodent into an endearing hero.
Father of Invention
If you're looking for some subtle humor, then you should probably take a look at the movie Father of Invention starring Kevin Spacey. He plays a "fabricator" - someone who promotes unusual products such as a crunch machine that has a tv remote built in. A freak accident lands him in prison for several years, and when he comes out, he finds all his money is gone and his wife has remarried. His daughter is mad at him since he brought dishonor to his family. He comes up with a new idea to get him back in the game, but his family is less than enthusiastic. The daughter's roommates are hysterical!
This is a very funny movie. The acting is superb. Spacey displays such range in all the roles he plays. You won't regret watching it.
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him, by Luis Carlos Montalvan
An extremely powerful memoir of a soldier returning from Middle Eastern combat, Until Tuesday captures the physical and mental trials of a decorated veteran who tries valiantly to recover from the horrors of Iraqi combat. Montalvan is an extremely honest writer and gives the reader a vivid account of the traumas he experienced as he attempts to re-enter civilian life. He does study and eventually receives a masters in journalism from Columbia University. It is obvious he benefitted greatly from his education as his writing is clear, well-crafted and very readable. His story gets a totally warm and loving development as he finally realizes that his life would be greatly enriched by getting a service dog to aid in his recuperation. Thus, Tuesday, a gorgeous golden retriever, enters his life. The effect Tuesday, specifically trained to aid injured war veterans to regain a normal life, has on Montalvan makes for terrifically interesting and touching reading. This is a wonderful book - moving, informative, and perhaps most of all a great testament to how one human being faced terrible odds and, with the help of a dog, learns how to create a positive life after living through horrible experiences.
Caught By The Sea: My Life on Boats, by Gary Paulsen
Gary Paulsen, author of many award-winning young adult books, writes about his relationship with the sea in Caught By The Sea: My Life on Boats. He explains his naivete when he buys his first boat, and heads out to sea alone - with no experience. A sudden storm comes up, and he is blown further out into the ocean. Although the waves threaten to sink his boat, he hangs on and somehow survives the storm. Rather than being discouraged, he develops a new respect and love for the sea. Paulsen believes the boat "owns" the man, not the other way around. He's admitting that one can become obsessed with sailing a boat, and meeting the challenges of the sea can become addictive. By trial and error, he learns how to sail and get himself out of some pretty tricky situations.
This downloadable book is exciting and entertaining. His descriptions of Nature are masterful. Sometimes you may get lost in the terminology, but this isn't a big problem. The message is more important. Another man may have given up pursuit of the sea, but Paulsen was attracted to it.
Winter of the World, by Ken Follett
Continuing the story Follett began so well in Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, the second installment of his Twentieth Century Trilogy, resumes the saga of the families he created in his first part of the trilogy. The English, Welsh, German, American and Russian characters find themselves involved in challenging and tumultuous events as Europe struggles to recover from the devastation caused by World War I. Major developments such as the world-wide Depression, rise of Hitler and Nazism, the beginning of the Stalinist era in Russia, and the events that caused Europe and the world to dissolve into more world-wide catastrophic years of brutal fighting are the backdrop as his wonderfully-crafted characters experience these historical happenings. In particular, the Pearl Harbor attack is vividly brought to life as the Dewar family, members of the American military, are stationed in Honolulu on that fateful day. Follett also creates gripping depiction of life in Germany both under the Nazis and the terrible humiliations the Russians dealt to the Germans after they had defeated the German Army. As with Fall of Giants, Follett has written an extremely readable story in Winter of the World that captures so well the explosive years of 1933 through the Second World War. His third installment of this trilogy, Edge of Eternity will let readers follow these families during the last decades of the Twentieth Century. Winter of the World is highly recommended after reading Fall of Giants.
Who Was King Tut?, by Roberta Edwards
Ever since Howard Carter uncovered King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922, the young pharaoh has become a symbol of the wealth and mystery of ancient Egypt. Now, a two-and-a-half-year-long museum exhibit of Tut's treasures is touring major cities in the U.S., drawing record crowds. This Who Was . . . ? is complete with 100 black-and white illustrations and explains the life and times of this ancient Egyptian ruler, covering the story of the tomb's discovery, as well as myths and so-called mummy curses.
Walls Within Walls, by Maureen Sherry
After their father, a video-game inventor, strikes it rich, the Smithfork kids find they hate their new life. They move from their cozy Brooklyn neighborhood to a swanky apartment on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. They have no friends, a nanny who takes the place of their parents, and a school year looming ahead that promises to be miserable.
And then, one day, Brid, CJ, and Patrick discover an astonishing secret about their apartment: The original owner, the deceased multimillionaire Mr. Post, long ago turned the apartment itself into a giant puzzle containing a mysterious book and hidden panels--a puzzle that, with some luck, courage, and brainpower, will lead to discovering the Post family fortune. Unraveling the mystery causes them to race through today's New York City--and to uncover some long-hidden secrets of the past.