[This week includes the anniversary of my dad’s death. Even after 18 years, there’s still a feeling of sadness. My mother told me that you’re not truly an adult until your parents are gone; she was right.]

To Rome With Love- Rome may be unforgettable but this movie is not. Penelope Cruz was a compelling prostitute, but Alec Baldwin as a voice of reason?  Come on! But Woody Allen, like Old Man River,  he just keeps turning them out

The Dark Knight-Watching the Batman trilogy made me reflect on the difficulty of playing a super hero because you have to be convincing as the super hero and convincing as the alter ego.  Christian Bale was convincing as a laconic and scary Batman, but he did not succeed at being the dashing lightweight Bruce Wayne.

The Age of Miracles by  Karen Thompson Walker [extra credit for the author who according to the book jacket wrote this first novel “in the mornings before work.”]  This book is a gentle, wistful piece of science fiction which is not what I usually associate with the genre.  Julia, the narrator, describes what happens when the earth’s rotation begins to and continues to slow down. The results, of course, are bad, Julia is a sixth grader; the plot is as much about what it’s like to be unpopular as it is about the effects of the slowing rotation. In fact, the title “age of miracles” refers to the overnight development of pre-adolescents. The book  isn’t great but it works.

soldier’s heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point by Elizabeth Samet.  Elizabeth Samet teaches literature at West Point, obviously likes what she does and cares about her students.  Even if she isn’t the first person to say this, this book makes a persuasive case for the value of literature  in showing the inevitability of ambiguity and its relationship to the difficulty of making good moral choices, an issue that her students face when they go off to war. Samet gets extra credit for including a reading and film list.  Samet’s portraits of her literate, thoughtful colleagues, including one who killed himself in Iraq, reminded me that the military is not stupid; the politicians are.

P.S. Useful  military abbreviation. OBE=Overcome by events

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