These cooler autumnal evenings (now that the equinox is past) are perfect for enjoying books and movies, so here are a few recommendations based on my recent experiences.
Two books: a book of short stories called Something Is Out There by Richard Bausch. They are separate stories about a range of characters, but each and every one pulls you in from the very beginning and they seem more like novels in terms of engagement with the characters and their situation. These are contemporary tales of interpersonal nuance, told with the keenest of psychological insights. I've read many stories and novels by Bausch and always admired his style, his directness, and his intelligence. He and his brother Robert (also an excellent novelist) are twins, perhaps the only twin novelists??
Also: a historical novel (not my usual) by Melissa Jones, sister of Sadie Jones, whose two novels I enjoyed thoroughly and discussed in an earlier post here. This one is called Emily Hudson. It's based somewhat on the life of Mary "Minnie" Temple, the cousin of Henry James. The book is partially told in letters and the rest in third-person narrative and is very well done and engrossing. Emily is a thoroughly admirable young woman of her time and very brave. The cousin character that presumably is Henry James is a cruel, despicable, and arrogant individual indeed.
Movies: two DVDs this weekend of a very different nature but both good and worthwhile. Crazy Heart, with Jeff Bridges (I still remember his dad, Lloyd, from Sea Hunt), Maggie Gyllenhall, Robert Duvall, and Colin Farrell. It's the perfectly hearbreaking story of a worn-down hard-drinking country singer-songwriter and his attempt to save his own life. The music is fun as well, of course, even though country music isn't my top choice most of the time.
Second film is Adoration by the Armenian-Canadian director Atom Egoyan. This was probably one of the best movies I've seen in a while in terms of serious cinema. It's a deep and complex exploration of a family's issues and their extension into global issues of terrorism and fear, the role of new technology in self-expression, self-discovery, and the pursuit of truth ... and many more serious and fascinating themes, beautifully filmed and wonderfully acted.
I rarely get comments on these blogs posts (too bad ... I would enjoy them), but if you have read or seen something good lately, please share that here. Thanks.