This month’s RWL was heavily influenced by the audiobook chosen for our traveling to & from Dallas– Rob Lowe’s “Stories I Only Tell My Friends”. We chose it on a whim, but really loved his writing and decided to watch all his movies! A fun blast from the past to watch so many 80’s and early 90’s movies, and neat to see how far cinematography has come since then. Hope you enjoy!
JB – World War Z by Max Brooks. I thought this book was going to be a lot close to an easy escape read about zombies but it is so well written and it’s written in the way you would expect a definitive history of Vietnam POWs or World War II veterans would be. The premise is that the narrator is a journalist asked by the UN to help collect information for their after action report concerning the Zombie War. The history of the Zombie War is established on the first two pages and it’s not kitschy, you just accept the Zombie War as a historical fact and proceed. The story is a series of interviews that really speak more about globalism than zombies and they are so compelling. April started to read on while I was reading in bed one night and as I turned the page she told me to wait because she got hooked and had to finish.
April – Elsie- Adventures of an Arizona Schoolteacher 1913-1916 by Barbara Anne Waite. When I’m looking for something new to read, I often visit the Kindle “Free Books” page and try to choose wisely (because usually there’s a reason why they’re free). This memoir gave a view into this young girl’s life as a remote school teacher in the sparsely populated state. She grew up in California and went to college, but was sent to different parts of Arizona to get teaching experience. She has to face the challenges of harsh winters and flooding, living with a roommate in tiny quarters, little communication with her family, and very interesting romantic encounters. A really fun read.
April – My Dog Skip by Willie Morris. This was on the list last week, but I hadn’t had the chance to read it yet. What a great little book! I love Skip so much, even if he is a dog that I’ve never met. It’s funny, though, how much I automatically pick out vocabulary words that teachers will probably use when teaching the book. I really miss mandatory school reading, even though it was such a challenge to do it in the later years (let’s be honest, no one has the patience to read Dickens in high school). Am glad I got to experience this book with JB and Rickiea (who also had the opportunity to go to lunch with the Mayor & his wife for reading the book!), and would recommend it for dog lovers and kids alike.
JB – 40daysofdating.com – Two friends end relationships at the same time. One is quick to fall in love and the other jumps ship before relationships get serious. They are graphic designers who often collaborate on projects so started a dating project. They see each other every day for 40 days, go on three dates a week and one weekend trip, visit a couples counselor each week and fill out a questionnaire every night. It’s such an interesting read and their problems in their relationship are everyone’s problems so it’s kind of beautiful – public service dating if you will.
JB-The Outsiders – The way Rob Lowe talked about the affect making this movie had on him made me expect more from it even though I had seen it before. It was fun to watch so many famous actors get their start but the movie veers from the book in a way that isn’t even good. It was recently recut and mastered to follow the books story and I want to see that.
Class– I remember being put off by the simplicity of the title, but it was a fun movie. A little weird and taboo in places (the character that Rob plays walks in on his roommate faking suicide, and a very strange accidental relationship with said roommate’s mother), but a nice Saturday night at home movie.
JB- “Oxford Blues”- What a fun movie. Rob Lowe’s character enrolls in Oxford so that he can get close to a duchess he is obsessed with. He gives up a rowing scholarship in the states to go. It’s a super-fun ’80s movie.
April -Truman Show– I re-watched this movie with my mom when I went to visit her, and loved getting to see it again. It always leaves me thinking and wondering, but also thankful for the ability to choose and be (somewhat) in control of my life.
April -Pitch Perfect– After hearing snippets of quotes from this movie for about a year now, I finally decided to watch it. Probably on a Saturday when JB was at work. I LOVED it. I don’t think I wanted to, because it’s predictable and Glee-ish, but I’ve always been a big fan of Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson was absolutely hilarious. I’m trying to convince JB that it’s worth a watch, but who knows if he’ll ever be in the mood for this “girly” movie.
April -Mea Maxima Culpa– I watched this movie when I was sick for 4 days straight, 3 of which were JB’s birthday weekend….oops. While he was meeting up with friends in Oxford, I watched this HBO documentary in between my sea of tissues. The documentary interviews grown men who attended a boarding school for deaf children in Milwaukee and the clerical sexual abuse that happened to them by the head priest at the school. The story was sad and dark as it uncovered weird Vatican practices and the Catholic Church’s avoidance of the issue for so long. It was especially sad to hear these men’s stories because no one would listen to them even when it was brought to an adults attention. A very interesting documentary that I would recommend watching.
JB – 30 for 30 series: “The USFL” – This made me miss the XFL (Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon’s short-lived attempt at creating a football league) and regret that I wasn’t around with the USFL took off. The 30 for 30 series is fascinating. I like it because April is into stories and I’m into sports so we can come together and watch it. I’m also sort-of tricking her into watching sports with me. I learned that many of the NFL’s greatest players of the ’80s got their start in the USFL.
JB – Paperboy – This movie got terrible reviews and seemed a little disjointed but I loved it. It starts as just a weird movie and ends as a bloody terrifying thriller with a weird indie-romance in the middle. I think that’s why it got bad reviews. But, the acting from Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Kusak and Nicole Kidman was amazing and the cinematography was beautiful. My final reaction was something like when I watched Iron Sky, “Was that the best movie or the worst movie I’ve ever seen?”
April -Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe- As mentioned, we listened to this on our travels at the beginning of this month. I had always thought of Rob Lowe as just being a pretty boy who stumbled into acting by accident one day when he was modeling for Calvin Klein or something. I love his character on Parks & Rec and have recently fallen in love with Sam Seaborn of the West Wing, but couldn’t decide on whether it was the writing or his acting that made me love his characters so much.
Well. We were both pleasantly surprised when we started the book that not only has he been working hard to become an actor since he was 8, he’s a great writer as well. He tells stories with eloquence, and provides little details to things you would never think to ask. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the book as much if I read it myself or if another person read the book for audio. I loved getting in the car and “hanging out” with Rob, hearing each inflection and pronunciation (would have never read “socs” right by myself) so that you can feel the heaviness or celebration alongside him. We decided to start watching his extensive catalogue, and love knowing all the background information about each film. I would highly recommend listening to this book.
JB – Born Standing Up by Steve Martin- If you read the book yourself, I bet it’s funny. Steve Martin read it to me and his voice stayed fairly monotone. He didn’t seem too interested in telling me his story. I love his comedy and laughed out loud a lot while reading the book but for some reason didn’t really enjoy it overall. It’s short though, so check it out and let me know if I was just too tired.
April – This American Life, “500” – On their 500th episode, Ira and some of the TAL staff revisited some of their favorite segments throughout their time on air. My favorite was one staff member’s inability to not cry during a performance of inner-city girls singing an apology song to their mothers & grandmothers during a show they were putting on in juvenile detention. I was at work doing dishes while listening to this part, and could NOT keep it together. Some really wonderful radio moments are shared in this episode, you should listen to this as soon as possible.
JB – “Collapsible Lung” by Relient K – This record has gotten a lot of flak because it’s not congruent as an album or because it’s too poppy or because it’s not “Christian enough” because it talks about poor relationship choices and alcohol. I think it’s beautiful. It takes you through a very personal and confusing place in a life that could easily be compared to lead singer Matt Thiessen’s. It’s no secret to Relient K fans that he’s had some ups and downs with relationships and life in the past few years. This album goes through a distinct phase in life experienced by lots of men who grow up in the church that I like to the “The 20s.”
The last track, Collapsible Lung, is beautiful and it brings the whole album together, because it is disjointed and mistakes are made by the songs’ main characters. The final song talks about redemption and looking back and deciding it’s time to pick yourself up and be the man you’re supposed to be. “I’m getting by with my collapsible lung |And it’s a good time 100% of the time |And I’m like a ladder with a missing rung |And it’s a slow climb headed back to the sky | And I’m feelin’ backwards when I’m trying the most | And I hope haven’t heard the last words from the holy ghost | Cause I think that I’m supposed to be well on my way by now”
JB: NPR Education- Ole Miss Race Relations – This was a cool story because our intern in the newsroom and editor at the Daily Mississippian Adam Ganucheau (Gesundheit) spoke about a really stupid racially charged protest during the Obama re-election at the campus. This year, campus leaders are talking to students about how important their reactions are because they do have free speech but they also have the ability to say whatever they want to the entire internet and saying things that aren’t true or hateful isn’t going to help anyone. The event involved about 50 freshmen burning an Obama campaign sign and yelling racist stuff. People tweeted out that there were riots on campus and within hours national news crews were checking into it. That would be disappointing anywhere but somewhere like Ole Miss that has worked so hard over the past 30 years to right past wrongs and inequalities is at a disadvantage.
April – Freakanomics, “The Upside of Losing”- A very interesting look at how giving up really is the better choice. Against what we’ve been brainwashed to think as Americans, that we should win and persevere no matter the cost, and refreshing to know that sometimes you need to just quit.
April – Fresh Air, Maria Branford – I was lucky enough to be stopped by a train at Crosstown when this episode was originally aired, and was in fits when I took the time to listen to it all the way through. SO FUNNY. Especially funny to me because I understand her weird mentality and psychological struggles as a fellow mental illness have-r. Except I have never thought to kill my family & friends and chop them up in little bits. I guess if you have all nice thoughts in your head, you wouldn’t relate to Maria, but I can guarantee you will laugh at the stand up special she does in her living room for an audience of two (her parents), The Special Special Special. Should listen to this when your’e having a bad day and wouldn’t be embarrassed to occasionally snort out loud.
April – Radiolab, “Blood”- I love super scientific podcast because it reminds me of college and I have such a thirst to know everything about everything. This podcast uncovered the not-well-known industry of blood, especially blood banks. Did you know that the Red Cross and other organizations profit from your blood you altruistically give? And that the average cost of a pint of blood is $300? You should listen to this.
Did you read, watch, or listen to anything special this month? We’d love to hear about it!