The Book of Books – PBS (tie-in)

bookofbooks.jpgA random find at the library on the New Books shelf, this beautifully produced book was a joy to behold in terms of how it felt, looked, and the photos. It’s a book based on the PBS series, “The Great American Read,” which lists the top 100 fiction titles chosen through a “rigorous national survey” of 7,200 people who were “demographically and statistically representative” of the U.S. who were asked to name their most-loved novel.

This is actually the tie-in book for the eight-part TV series that “explores and celebrates the power of reading” and seems to be part of a “multi-platform digital, educational and community outreach campaign designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books”. (Sounds like a noble goal to me!) (Haven’t seen this just yet though.)

So, this book does just as it says on the tin: lists 100 book titles, along with some background about the author, the plot, and the historical times, so it’s a very readable eye-friendly collection. I’m not sure if it’s listed in a numerical order of some kind (like a Top Forty would be on the radio), but regardless, it’s a pretty good mix of titles, some that were of no surprise (Pride and Prejudice and Catcher in the Rye) along with some that are not in the usual suspects list: Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight etc…

(Plus – it’s always nice to read a list of must-read titles and find out how many you’ve already read. Or is that just me? 🙂 )

What was really well done with this title was that it was printed in a great font put on to some heavy glossy paper, along with some great photographs of earlier book covers. It was a heavy book (due to thigh quality production) so more of a coffee table book, but it was a joy to read.

(The only thing to mar the experience was an occasional typo or error in the text. Would have been easy enough to fix with a sharp-eyed editor, but for some reason that didn’t happen. And these weren’t even huge errors. Just ones that someone somewhere should have probably caught.)

So, what were some of the titles? As mentioned, you have the obvious ones (such as P&P and Catcher), but then you’d turn the page and there’d be one that surprised you, not because of the title not belonging on the list (although I’d argue that about a couple), but more because the list strays off the High School Reading List which made a nice change.

Other little treats included in the book are many of the included books’ first lines, occasional lists of themed items such as “Admirable Female Characters” and also the inclusion of some of the “non-traditional” titles (for example, Sister Souljah’s The Coldest Winter Ever, Kathryn Stockett’s The Help or Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code) so it was a good reminder of some of the other titles that are out there.

So, rather an enjoyable romp through some book titles along with some super-great production values.

(And if you’re curious about which titles made the list, check here.)

Advertisements

Catch-Up Time…

 

catch_up

So, thought I’d give you a looksee into the inner circle of the life of Just One More Page. It’s fascinating, let me tell you. 🙂

book372Finished up a quick (and must admit rather forgettable) read of “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. I remember it being hilarious when I read the first time, but this time, meh. (And that’s the risk you run with rereads, I think.)

So – ok read but no need to put it up on the TBR pile any more. Out the door with you, Bill.

 

 

Peaky_Blinders

We’ve been sucked into the fantastic BBC/Netflicks series called “Peaky Blinders”, a series that follows some Birmingham (UK) travelers who form an organized crime network that grows and grows and grows… The actors are great, but let me give a warning about the accents: Americans may well need subtitles until you get the hang of it. Truly – this is riveting stuff and it would be very very easy to binge-watch this series. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a summer TV series.

 

vivian_meierWhen my sis visited me, we ended up watching the documentary “Searching for Vivian Maier” which is truly an intriguing story about a young man who buys a box of negatives and photos in an auction. Opening the box, he finds some high-quality photographs so, curious to know more, he follows the clues to who the photography was. The journey leads to a nanny who took more than 100,000 street photos, but kept them all private. Who was this person and why did she keep the photos secret?

(Along with this detective trail, the question is also raised that since the nanny/photographer is now dead, do we actually have the right to show her photos without her permission? Interesting…) My sis and I are contemplating going to Arlington to see an exhibition there of her work…

Anyway, a fascinating look into a very private person…

And then I’ve been doing some cross-stitch. I had put it down for a while and then picked it up again. Sucked in as usual (which is rather fun)…What’s up in your world?

crossstitch1

You Screen, I Screen, We All Screen…

televisionAlthough I am a huge fan of the written word, I am also partial to a good movie or TV series (as long as it’s a good story), so thought I’d let you know what we’d been viewing recently. Something to know about our watching habits is that when we discover a new TV series, we become kinda sorta obsessive about watching it straight through episode after episode in rather a blitz. (We tend to discover older TV series so we can do this. Luckily.)

The most recent TV series we have found (well, kudos to the DH for this find) is “The Killing”,  a U.S. detective/cop drama which is set in recent times in Seattle. The first season (which we’re on) follows what happens when a young female high school student called Rosie Larsen is murdered. The director(s) of this series take the perspectives of multiple different people involved on varying levels with this murder and it’s fascinating to see how the drama develops. (We’re on Season One/Episode 8 or similar and so far, we are only about one week into the investigation which clearly shows how deep in detail the shows go.) The characters are flawed but understandable, they have backstories which are convincing and have realistic reactions. Plus it’s set in Seattle! It rains! All the time! (At least it does in this show.) The only minor challenge is that the lead detective chews gum as though her life depends on it which was distracting at first. (She smacks her gum. A lot.) However, as the story progresses and we get to know her character a bit more, it makes more sense (although it’s still annoying to a non-gum-chewer such as moi). Anyway, loving this series. Every episode ends as a cliff-hanger. Fab stuff.

Another TV series in which we immersed ourselves (but have now caught up with) was The Fall, a British BBC 2 show (I think) that is set in Belfast. Another crime/detective show which features Gillian Anderson (she of X Files which my dad used to love) who sports a very convincing English accent. Again, good plot and believable characters who are tied into a serial murderer. (Fascinating how they are portraying the criminal guy.) Recommend this one. (This one is also cold and rainy all the time. Can you tell I have had enough of Texas summer?…)

And then we watched the 1944 film of Gaslight,  a psycho thriller which follows a married couple with the husband playing serious mind games with the wife. Stars Ingrid Bergman and some people who I have not heard of, and is really good. (It turns out that “Gaslighting” is an accepted verb in some circles. Who woulda thunk?)

gaslight