The Peacemaker – This is an older movie about terrorists getting their hands on nuclear weapons, with Nicole Kidman and George Clooney chasing them. Lots of cliché action scenes, you know, the car exploding in the background as they run away (jump!), the inevitable fist fight with the bad guy at the edge of a cliff, and of course, attempting to disarm the bomb while the time runs down. I’m married to someone who studies and works with issues of weapons of mass distruction, so when he finds another movie about nukes, we generally watch it. I didn’t love the movie, but it wasn’t terrible, and other than the F word several times, there wasn’t anything inappropriate.
Bill Cunningham New York – This is a nice documentary about Bill Cunningham, a fashion photographer for the “On the Street” column of the New York Times. I’ve seen people recommend this, people who are into clothes, and I figured that I would not watch it because I figured it would make me depressed about my whole sense of style and fashion, but I had a cold this week and while resting and watching endless TV, this came up on my Netflix, so I watched it, and it had quite the opposite effect on me. The thing about Bill Cunningham is that he seems very authentic, true to himself, and very respectful to people of all walks of life, and he would never make fun of anyone for what they were wearing, he just wanted to document it all. It was overall enjoyable, and not depressing. In fact, it made me feel even less like being a slave to fashion than I already do, but in a happy way, not in a rebellious, angry at the industry way, just like: well, I can wear whatever I want and if someone is judging me for it, it’s their problem, and I’m fine even if Bill Cunningham wouldn’t take my picture.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage (Alfred Lansing) – Pretty amazing story about an attempted Antarctic expedition, Shackleton and his crew were going to do the first transcontinental exploration. This is right around WWI, so they have no particularly advanced technological gear for dealing with the extreme conditions they would encounter. They didn’t make it across the continent, they didn’t even make a landing on Antarctica, but they all survived, sometimes because of luck, sometimes because of skill, sometimes because of sheer determination. There were a lot of things that I didn’t understand when the author talks about navigation and maneuvering through the sea, because I’ve never sailed on a ship and I don’t know anything about these things, but that doesn't detract from it, and it was a riveting story.
How to Be a Pirate (Cressida Cowell) – The second book from the "How to Train Your Dragon" series. Hiccup has a grand adventure looking for pirate treasure, he's learning bit by bit how to be a hero, because it doesn't come easy for him. Another fun, quick read, and no techno-babble about how to actually sail and navigate a ship.
The Red House Mystery (AA Milne) – This was a fluffy, fun mystery from the author of Winnie the Pooh. It had lots of Sherlock Holmes references and a secret passage. I’m a sucker for secret passages. I actually listened to this book, I found a website where you can download free podcasts of books, they are mostly older and not under copyright. The ones I’ve listened to so far are all very well done. If there’s a book you want to read but you don’t want to spend money on it and the library doesn’t have it, and it’s a classic, I recommend looking on this website.
I Thought It Was Just Me: Women reclaiming power and courage in a culture of shame (Brene Brown) – This book is so, so good. Brene Brown researches shame and its effects on women and this book is all about how to build resilience to shame. Here is a good video of here explaining some of her research and it is a good introduction to the book. The book goes into more detail about how to identify when what you feel is shame instead of something else, like embarrassment or anger or guilt, and how empathy is the opposite of shame. She shares a lot of stories from the women that she interviewed, as well as some from her own life. Some of these stories hit me right in the gut, and some of them didn’t seem as applicable to me, but I could definitely understand why they were painful experiences. I would recommend this book to everyone that I know. If you have ever felt in some way that you are not enough, and it worries you because you think you're the only one (I’m raising my hand over here), read this book! I would be interested to see what my husband thinks of all of the topics in it, but he probably won’t read it because of the title, he seems to be under the impression that it is weird feminist stuff, and it isn’t.