Before having a child, I was a self-described bibliophile. I could read an entire novel in a single afternoon or burn the midnight oil engrossed in a fascinating book. The public library is still one of my favorite stomping grounds – I just seem to utilize the “renew” feature of the catalog a bit more than pre-Beckett days.
Reading is now a luxury that I enjoy when I am able to soak in the quiet peace that is a sleeping child. The only problem is that I am often so exhausted at the day’s end that any amount of relaxation puts me into a near catatonic state. So, if a novel or a movie can keep this multi-tasking mama from grabbing some always needed shut-eye – you know it’s good.
The “check it out” section of the blog is where you’ll find these must-reads and must-watches that deserve glorified recognition for being able to keep me awake from start to finish!
Blue Vinyl (2002) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0303307/
This is an interesting documentary because it’s almost 10 years old and it’s talking about problems and fears that aren’t as mainstream as they are today. The plot centers on the concerns of plastic, PVC in particular, manufacturing and exposure and the assumption of “innocent until proven guilty” that we as a society have given to plastic’s potential dangers. The film quality is just so-so and the characters are a bit hokey – with the exception of the director’s elderly father who is a crack-up – but the information is exceptionally good and the historical perspective is enlightening.
The film received rave review from critics upon it’s release and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival and for the Emmy for Best Documentary. It’s running time is a bit of 90 minutes and we were able to watch it using the “instant play” feature through Netflix (love it!).
King Corn: You are what you eat (2007) – http://www.kingcorn.net/
This is one of the best movies I’ve watched in a long time. The documentary follows two best friends from college, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, as they plant and grow a single acre of corn in Iowa and follow it from seed to plate. The movie investigates the absolutely confounding financial predicament of this heavily subsidized crop and it’s magnanimous role in our food system.
I particularly like the way that the movie expertly weaves together the stories of individuals with a deep history growing corn, the government’s role in the debacle and the way that each one of us is literally made up of corn. The two main characters are engaging with their wit and humor and the farmer they work with is just a good-old-soul.
An absolutely “must-see” movie and a big thumbs up from Ferry and Ferry!
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer (2009) – http://ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com/
Memoirs are my genre of choice because I love reading about characters that are living and breathing and not just figments of someone’s imagination. Farm City’s author, Novella Carpenter, has surrounded herself with characters like you’ve never met, adventures that rival the greatest novels and a heartwarming, vivacious, can-do attitude that is infectious and supremely entertaining.
The memoir follows Novella’s adventures building up and working a farm in one of Oakland’s roughest neighborhoods on an abandoned city lot. We are talking full-fledged farm complete with a huge variety of vegetables and fruits, beehives (my heart goes pitter-patter), pigs, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits. It’s an absolutely wonderful story and one of those easy-reads that you become engrossed in and can’t put down.