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Book and Movie Recommendations

by Clarity Magazine
Fall 2013 No Comment

Clarity Magazine recommends the following books and movies:

BOOKS

Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing
by Anita Moorjani

In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down. As her organs failed, she entered into a coma and had an extraordinary near-death experience (NDE) which allowed her to understand why she had cancer, and that resulted in a remarkable and complete recovery of her health. Born in Singapore of Indian parents, Anita Moorjani is currently one of the most sought after motivational speakers.

Seabiscuit: An American Legend
by Laura Hillenbrand

In elegant, simple prose, Laura Hillenbrand opens a window onto the rarefied world of thoroughbred horse racing and tells the amazing story of Seabiscuit, a race horse who looked more like a cow pony than a thoroughbred. Seabiscuit enjoyed great celebrity during the 1930s and 1940s and became one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history.

Quick Service
by PG Wodehouse

One of the main reasons to read this light novel from 1940 is to make the acquaintance of Joss Weatherby, a bright, exuberant, insanely optimistic and intelligent young artist who falls in love with Sally Fairmile, a poor relation and companion to Mrs. Steptoe, a wealthy ex-American determined to enter and conquer the landed and titled social circles of England. Filled with great schemes gone astray and suspicious butlers, Quick Service has witty asides and threads galore that only a master like PG Wodehouse could bring to such a satisfying conclusion.

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief
by Francis S. Collins

In this deeply personal book, Francis S. Collins, a pioneer geneticist and director of the Human Genome Project from 1993 until 2008, recounts his spiritual journey from atheism to belief in God. Written for believers, agnostics, and atheists alike, Collins draws extensively on his considerable scientific background in both physics and biology and, in particular, the leading role he played in the Human Genome project, bringing a modern perspective to the age-old questions of faith and belief.

Collins is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and currently serves as the Director of the National Institute of Health.

Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence
by Joseph J. Ellis

In Revolutionary Summer, the eminent historian Joseph Ellis describes the events leading up to the birth of America during the summer of 1776. In a brilliant and seamless narrative, he meticulously examines the most influential figures of the time, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Britain’s Admiral Lord Richard and General William Howe. He weaves the political and military events into a single story, and shows how events on one side influenced outcomes on the other.

A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winner, Ellis recently retired as the Ford Foundation Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College.

Team of Rivals
by Doris Kearns Goodwin

This brilliant biography by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin offers fresh insights into Lincoln’s leadership style and his deep understanding of human nature and motivation. She makes a case for Lincoln’s political genius by examining his relationships with three men he selected for his cabinet, all of whom were his rivals for the 1860 Republican nomination.

MOVIES

Gattaca, 1997
This 1997 science fiction film presents us with a vision of the future in which eugenics and DNA play a primary role in determining social class. With one eye on his lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut, a genetically flawed but determined Vincent Freeman, with the aid of a DNA broker, assumes the identity of a genetically superior man in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

Great Expectations, 1946
Based on Dickens’ classic novel, this 1946 British film tells the story of young Pip, a penniless orphan, who is transformed into a gentleman of means by the generosity of mysterious benefactor. Along the way Pip learns many important lessons and, ultimately, when he discovers the identity of his secret benefactor, the true meaning of loyalty and friendship. Considered by many to be one of the finest literary adaptations ever made, as well as one of the greatest British films of all time.

Available: DVD; NR

Moondance Alexander, 2007
Based on a true story, this comedy-drama is the story of Moondance Alexander, a plucky teenager who lives in Colorado. Faced with the difficulties of her father’s passing and the eccentricity of her mother, she is confronted with another uneventful summer, until she discovers a lost pony named Checkers and feels an immediate bond with him. Convinced that he is a champion jumper, she persuades Checkers’ owner to train both of them for the Bow Valley Classic later that summer. Despite criticism from her peers, she discovers what it takes to land in the winner’s circle.

Available: DVD; Rated G

Something the Lord Made, 2004
Set against the background of Depression Era Jim Crow America of the 1930s, this Emmy award-winning HBO film dramatizes the complex and sometimes volatile relationship between white surgeon and cardiologist Dr. Alfred Blalock and his black assistant, Vivien Thomas, who in the 1940s together pioneered modern heart surgery. Although Thomas earned Blalock’s unalloyed respect, Thomas’s status as a second class citizen prevented him from getting the recognition he deserved.

After Blalock’s death in 1964, Thomas remained at Johns Hopkins for 15 years as Director of Surgical Research Laboratories. In 1976, in recognition for his work in the medical field, he was presented with an honorary doctorate degree.

Available: DVD; NR

A Bug’s Life, 1998
This Pixar-animated comedy film based upon a retelling of Aesop’s fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, is about an inventive ant named Flik and his attempt to defend his bustling colony from a horde of rowdy, freeloading grasshoppers that arrive each year to terrorize the colony and take their food.

Fed up with their bullying, Flik sets off to find warrior bugs that are willing to fight the grasshoppers, but what he doesn’t know is that he has actually recruited a group of bugs that turn out to be an inept, down-on-their-luck circus troupe in need of a job. When the misunderstanding finally gets cleared up, there is only little time left for a new plan, which has to work, or else. Blending classic Disney storytelling and the mysterious underground world of bugs, this is a film that can be enjoyed by all.

Available: DVD; Rated G

Close Encounters of the Third Kind, 1977
This science fiction adventure film, written and directed by Steven Spielberg, tells the story of Roy Neary, an electrical cableworker who, while investigating a series of massive power outages, finds his life completely changed after a mysterious encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO).

The film has received numerous awards and nominations and has been widely acclaimed by the American Film Institute. In December 2007, it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

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