Here’s what I picked for this month, including short reviews:
wr. & dir. Lena Dunham ft. Allison Williams, Adam Driver, and Jemima Kirke
“From writer/director/actor Lena Dunham and comedy veteran Judd Apatow, this scripted half-hour series focuses on a group of 20-something women in New York and their adventures in post-collegiate floundering. Over the course of Season 1’s ten episodes, the four girls try to figure out what they want from life, from boys, from themselves and each other.”
I’m only on Season 3 at the moment but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to rant and rave about Girls for my monthly staff pick. I was a little hesitant to pick up Girls due to the media’s mixed reaction to its success and my indifference for Dunham’s Tiny Furniture. I am, however, glad that I gave the show a try because I instantly fell in love. Dunham is fearless when it comes to writing and being on screen. She tackles controversial topics like mental illness, not-so-great relationships and post-collegiate hardships with grace and a genuine sense of humor. What resonates with me the most is the dense honesty that is put into the four main characters. Many people are turned off by self-centered Hannah, naive Marnie, unreliable Jessa, and immature Shoshanna but I adore how the characters are imperfect. Anyone and everyone can relate to a character in Girls. You can’t expect T.V. show characters (or characters in general for that matter…) to be perfect and well rounded, that’s not realistic. Dunham really hits the nail on the head when portraying real life people. I’m in my “20 something’s,” a recent college graduate and my relationships with my friends do, in fact, echo some of the drama that surrounds Girls. Even though you may not be a 20 year old girl living in NYC with little to no paychecks, still give this show a shot. Dunham’s fresh and witty writing won’t disappoint. Don’t take the show too seriously, as some people may do. While the show does discuss real life topics, it’s also a comedy. At the end of the day, you’re meant to laugh at the ridiculous, and often times eccentric, plots the girls find themselves in.
The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
“Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel– a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.”
It may seem strange that I’m going from discussing the comical Girls to the thought provoking and critically acclaimed audiobook, The Book Thief. Perhaps my September Staff Picks attest to my wide ranging tastes in, well… everything. Don’t let the genre placement (Young Adult) dissuade you from reveling in Zusak’s writing. I recommend this audiobook to all ages. What makes The Book Thief unique is the featuring of Death as the narrator and the differing perspectives Zusak offers. The Book Thief follows what it was like growing up in a sympathetic German household. Forced to coincide with the Nazis, orphan Liesel, and her foster family, must face the terror of rebellion and compassion for those attacked during World War II. There is a philosophical element present, which I think sets the book apart from the rest. Liesel, towards the beginning her journey, did not know how to read but learns to throughout the book. Towards the climax of the novel, when the frail Jewish man arrives, she is charged with compassion and the desire to build a relationship with the him—they achieve this through books and words. The Book Thief validates the strengths of the human spirit and how even the smallest amount of love can save someone’s life.
Check out the movie adaptation too. In my opinion, it is one of the best book to movie adaptations of 2013.