Mary’s Top 10 for 2018
My Top 5 Books:
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
There is so much to like about this book. The two main characters are flawed, however, you will yearn for them to rise up & come to terms with their lives. I learned about Chicago (my home away from home), Paris, both present day and in the 1910’s, inspirational artists who were sowing their seeds in Paris in the early 1900’s, and last, but certainly not least, the AIDS epidemic at its height in 1980’s Chicago and its tragic aftermath.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This is a fantastic piece of historical fiction. Sunja, the main character, is an unconventional matriarch, whom we follow throughout the entire story. It begins in the early 1900’s with her birth, and culminates in 1989. This story is about 4 generations of a Korean family coming terms with what it is like to be Korean in a Japanese society. There is much to learn here about the perils and struggles of the Korean community.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
This is another superb historical fiction book. I learned a lot about tea… so much tea. Again, the main character, Li-Yan, is unconventional, yet so strong in her own quiet ways. The reader learns about farming tea, life in a small Chinese village, adapting to an ever-changing world, adoption and the impact, not only on the child, but the entire community.
Educated A Memoir by Tara Westover
I love good narrative nonfiction, and this certainly fit the bill. It never ceases to amaze me when I read about the resilience of children growing up in a very chaotic environment, raised by a parent lacking in nearly all conventional parenting skills … and yet these children survive, and in this case, achieve great academic success despite the odds. These type of books are great for book clubs because, trust me, you will want to talk about it.
Evicted by Matthew Desmond
This title was also the Library Community read. Unlike, the book above, not everyone is a survivor in this one. This book is about residents in low income neighborhoods in the city of Milwaukee, desperately trying to make ends meet, despite the unjust housing system in which they live in. This is a very engaging, readable piece of nonfiction.
My Top 5 Movies:
I didn’t know that I liked Ethan Hawke so much. I have not watched a movie this year that he has starred in that I didn’t love ( Maudie and Maggie’s Plan both wonderful too). This is a moving, yet feel-good kind of movie. It’s all about choices, second chances and moving forward.
I will admit that I nearly turned this movie off about 45 minutes in, and then everything changed, so hang in there. Tully is such a simple yet complex woman struggling with “the baby blues”. If you are like me, you will have compassion for Tully, you will understand Tully, in the end, you will love Tully.
I Am Not Your Negro
This film is a heartfelt & sweeping documentary of Alec Baldwin’s experiences in the tumultuous 60’s. You will be thinking about this one long after you hit the eject button. There is so much to learn about the great African American leaders, and the american experience of the African American community. We have so much to learn from our history, we simply need to take the time to listen.
I tried to stay away from Academy Award nominees & winners because they must be good, right? Not always the case for me, but with this film, they hit the nail on the head. Another feel-good film that follows a couple of artists pursuing…well, their art. Their relationship is so charming, their travels are interesting, and their art is wonderful. What more do you need?
Okay, I will admit I watched this one because I want to look like Amelie. Who doesn’t want to look like an adorable French woman? After watching this film, I want to be Amelie. I want to be a free spirited, unique, adventurous, kind & beautiful young french woman…oh, and live in France. For now I will live vicariously through this charming movie. By the way, it is in French, and watching foreign films makes me feel smart… another bonus!
I eyed this film on the shelf FOREVER, and it did not disappoint. This is a wonderful coming of age story about a 13 year old boy, but so much more. The film is about relationships, gentrification in Brooklyn, self discovery for the young and the old. Don’t judge these characters to hastily, they may surprise you.
I hope you can make time for, at the least, one of my choices in 2019. I would LOVE to hear about your choices too. Stop by at the Adult Reference desk & we’ll chat. Meanwhile, my best for a happy new year!