Thursday, January 22, 2009
Overlooked or Underrated
I just finished an amazing novel "Bound on Earth" by Angela Hallstrom. This book has a literary flair without bogging the reader down. Angela follows a cast of characters throughout their lives with interconnected stories. A few years ago I read the "The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint" by Brady Udall. I love Brady's writing, but you kind of have to go through the mind of a man whose obsessed with sex, which let's face it--might be all of them, but it gets a little old. Angela's book doesn't do that. It has Mormon characters, but again isn't bogged down by trying to attach messages. In this way the book reminds me of Chaim Potok. I expect great things from Angela in the future. She's won some well-deserved awards.
Another book that I read a few years ago which is excellent and which hasn't received the attention it deserves is Arianne Cope's "The Coming of Elijah" which won the Marilyn Brown award a few years back. Arianne is young and has so much talent everything she puts to paper sings. Her writing makes me think of Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite writers. I can't wait to see what Arianne will come up with next.
One more book that came out in 2007, won some awards, but has been overlooked is Logan writer Janet Kay Jensen's "Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys" named after a Mormon folksong. This book brings together two clashing cultures mainstream Mormonism with Fundamentalist polygamists. I would say this book also is somewhat literary. It asks more from the reader than many of the fast-paced LDS suspense novels, but is well worth the effort. Janet is an excellent emerging novelist.
Two movies worth shouting about are: "Lars and the Real Girl." Honestly I think this might be one of my all-time favorite movies. I've seen it twice now and then went out and bought it. It's an independent film. Some indies are too artsy and you end up watching the whole thing and saying, what the heck? Not this show. It's the sweetest movie I've ever seen without being sappy.
One that came out some time back is Saint Ralph--another gem. This one is PG13 for some masturbation scenes, which since the main character is 14 is probably apropos, but still for those sensitive be fore-warmed. This movie is charming, sweet, well-done, and has a great message. Ralph's father is dead, his mother is in the hospital in a coma and he is going to a strict Catholic school. He needs a miracle and is convinced that if he wins the Boston marathon his mother will wake up.
A television series we've enjoyed which I heard will be canceled is Eli Stone. If it isn't too late check it out. It's about an attorney with a conscience because he has visions due to a brain aneurysm. It has a lot of guest stars, like Sting and Natlie Portman. My husband and I also love Chuck and Pushing Daisies.