I, for one, have hit a bit of slump as far as reading goes this past month. Maybe because it was the end of the school year and activities were in full swing. I’m certainly looking forward to summer when reading is such a pleasurable, leisurely pastime. We’ve also become engrossed in a TV show, so movies have fallen to the wayside (ah, the tangles of shows!). But again, summer is a great time to pick a list of movies to work through over the more relaxed season. Yes, perhaps I’m purposefully forgetting that life only picks up during summer time, especially for farmers, but still, I’m resolved to carve out more time for reading, watching, and listening the next few months. They’re just too good to do without!
A companion piece to the current exhibit at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth is a beautiful book—beautifully put together, beautiful to look at, beautiful to hold. - Sarah
Recently started flipping through my dog-eared copy of Harvard professor Harvey Mansfield’s Manliness, and I’m finding it every bit as amusing, provocative, refreshing and shocking as I did when I first read it in college. - Sarah
We recently watched The Guardians directed by Xavier Beauvois. Set in France during WWI, it tells the story of a farming family, focusing on the women who must continue life and work despite the men’s absence. It is beautifully shot and paced like a meditation. The story is humble and unambitious, relishing everyday life and drawing out its beauty. The grit of the women in taking on feats of manual labor and supervision is impressive. So too is how the men waste no time returning to farm and house work while on leave. It was also striking in showing machinery literally replacing men. The women could manage decently well, but could not do without help. While so many elements should make this film great, the end is frustrating, one character arc in particular is disappointing and borders on unintelligible, and the movie ultimately tries one’s patience. The elements of beauty, pacing, and savoring of everyday life work much better in the same director’s masterpiece Of Gods and Men. - Sophie
Rendezvous in Paris by director Eric Rohmer (available on Prime). A set of three vignettes that illustrate love in Paris…but so much more about human relationships, and human weakness. Rohmer was once described to me as "the Whit Stilman of France.” That’s a good description; this film didn’t disappoint. - Sarah
The Dream Podcast This was a pretty fascinating podcast. During the first episode or two I was thinking “blah blah blah I already know I hate Multi Level Marketing”, but it ended up that what was just annoyance and vague distrust of a very pushy business model became a seriously unsettled disturbance at a very ethically questionable business model. I have some issues with the host's finesse as a journalist - I do think that sometimes she sinks into the same rhetorical tricks that she accuses her subjects of, for instance - but I think she has a sharp mind and I kind of like her prickly personality. - Maria