Oh the new year. So full of wonderful possibilities and those promises you make to yourself that you probably break by second week. Here are some new things for that (kind of) new you.
Courtney – Reference
Wild describes the real life journey of one woman on a 1,100 mile solitary hike through California, Oregon, and Washington in the ’90s. After her mother dies suddenly from cancer, twenty-two year old Cheryl Strayed’s (a name the author fittingly chooses for herself) life falls apart. Her once tight-knit family soon scatters away from her, she continually cheats on her seemingly “perfect” husband time and again, and after her marriage dissolves, she jumps into a toxic relationship that results in a dangerous heroin habit. Thus, four years later and with nothing left to lose, Strayed decides to hike the massive Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on her own, despite her utter lack of preparedness (or a proper fitting pair of boots). Strayed weaves her past with her present as she tackles the trail, meets eccentric and amiable characters along the way, and not so amiable characters in rattlesnakes, bears, and other critters. Strayed tells her story with brutal honesty, never sugarcoating her own shortcomings and mistakes, as well as with a skilled storyteller’s voice. You will find yourself rooting for Strayed as she hitchhikes to and from the PCT, small towns and remote campsites, constantly struggling to get by on $20 or less at a time. But most of all, you will root for Strayed to find in the PCT what it is she needs to move on with her life. Wild is an Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection.
Melissa – Reference
Dawkins collects information from all the sciences into this book to discuss the nature and workings of our planet and universe. He also shares the various myths different cultures have used (and still use) to explain these workings.
A truly interesting and educational read, Dawkins not only seeks to enlighten his audience, but also wishes to relay the message that magic exists in finding real answers to mankind’s questions.
This book is an essay that discusses integrity in politics and the consequences that derive from a lack of it. Andrews encourages the public to not only heed the promises and intentions of politicians, but make them accountable for each.
The author succeeds in avoiding party politics, and discusses the role of politicians in general. The most intriguing section of the essay includes his discussion of the role of politicians in the Holocaust.
Matt – Circulation
Much like sushi itself this documentary seems simple: its a story of Jiro Ono a sushi chef who owns a small restaurant. But just like sushi once you bite into it the movie releases a complex and satisfying story about Jiro Ono: 3-star Michelin chef whose small, 10-seat restaurant is so exclusive it is the only 3-star restaurant in Japan and reservations are made far in advance. For anyone who loves food this is an excellent movie as the viewer gets to watch Jiro and his sons at work while learning about Jiro’s life and his philosophies of cooking. I recommend you don’t watch this hungry, or you may find yourself pausing the movie to order take out.
This is that show that you’ve probably heard about but were on the fence. I’m here to tell you: watch this show. To say it is addicting would be apropos. The story starts with Walter White a high school chemistry teacher whose life is turned sideways when he learns he has lung cancer. Walter wants to find a way to pay for the outrageous cost of his treatments and leave some money behind to take care of his family. He then runs into a former student Jesse who dropped out of school to deal drugs and Walter finds that his chemistry skills are put to use to cook the best methamphetamine recipe on the black market. Walter finds out that his life gets more complicated the deeper he gets into his second life as he slowly morphs into someone different. This show is dark but very funny and a great sketch of the nuances and tragedies involved with methamphetamines and America’s attitudes about drugs but also an honest look into the healthcare industry and a man battling cancer.
Community is an easy show to describe: its about people at a community college who form a study group and become friends. What isn’t easy to describe is how good this show is. It is not like any other show you have seen. The characters are all starkly different from each other and each episode is funnier than the last. Packed with pop culture references and the best writing on television, its a show with episodes that will have you watching them repeatedly if only to catch the jokes you laughed through the first time. It has a big cult following and is one of the most underrated comedies currently on television.
Come back next month for more recommendations!