Made into movie
I grew up on Harry Potter: going to the midnight release parties at Borders for the books, going to the movies as each one came out, and, of course, wishing that my Hogwarts letter would arrive, even if it was years later than Harry's, Hermione's, and Ron’s. One of the reasons that I loved the wizarding world that Harry Potter and his friends lived in was all the wonderful creatures they encountered, both the good and the bad. I would spend hours imagining how our muggle world would be different if they existed—or maybe . . . if we knew they existed.
Pamela J. Toler’s Heroines of Mercy Street is the true history behind the popular PBS series set in occupied Alexandria, Virginia, during the Civil War. Caveat here: I did read the book before watching a single episode. I found Toler’s narrative to be engaging and an excellent window to the time. With wildly varying levels of training (many, such as Louisa May Alcott, had only nursed family patients while another trained with celebrated British nurse Florence Nightingale), they all had a sense of duty and enthusiasm for the job that did not wane as the war ground on—though it did exhaust them and occasionally kill them.
Best friends since childhood, Rosie and Alex thought not even an ocean could separate them when Alex's father accepted a job in the United States, but that was until Rosie received life-altering news and decided to remain in Ireland. Rosie's dreams of college and running a glamorous hotel were dashed, while Alex's life went on as planned, attending Harvard and eventually becoming a surgeon.
I love Batman. I remember watching the old, cheesy shows when I was a kid. Now, Batman is much more about kicking butt and taking names. Look at all the gadgets! Look at the revamped Batmobile.. err.. Bat Tank? And, oh-my-gosh, the video games. I love the Arkham video game series and am very sad that it has come to an end with its latest installment. I just want it to keep going.
So, if you’re like me and love the elements of the Arkham Batman games—the martial arts, the riddles, the toxins, and the betrayal, check out these books filled with all those delightful, Batman-y characteristics.
Can it ever be morally acceptable to sacrifice one life to save many? That is one of the questions you will find yourself considering as you read The Lifeboat, by Charlotte Rogan. In the summer of 1914, Grace elopes with Henry Winter. After a stay in London the young couple is returning on an ocean liner to America to announce their marriage to Henry’s family. A mysterious explosion on board leads to the sinking of the ship. Henry sacrifices his own safety to secure a place on one of the lifeboats for Grace. There are 39 people on the lifeboat, and it becomes very clear early on that the boat is overcapacity.
With the success of the TV series The Walking Dead, zombies are now considered one of the most popular monsters in pop culture. People who just recently became interested in zombie-related works may be surprised to learn how long zombies have existed in the public’s imagination. The following films provide plenty of thrills and chills featuring the undead:
Superman is perhaps the longest lived of the classic Golden Age superhero characters to remain in the public imagination, and, in addition to a 75-year history of comic book publication, the character has also had a long career on the silver screen. Unlike many other superheroes, Superman has an extensive history of being utilized as a film character, and his film appearances have influenced his portrayal in comic books in many fascinating ways.
R is a zombie. He can’t remember his name so he is down to one letter. R lives in an old airplane and collects pieces of his crumbling civilization. He loves Frank Sinatra and the Beatles and listens to them on old vinyl records. He reminds me of Pixar’s Wall-e. R is in the early stages of decay so he doesn’t look too bad, but he does eat brains. He grunts and groans, he shrugs, and he shuffles in classic zombie fashion. A typical male, he is a man of few words. Although it is hard to be a fan of the walking dead, Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies charmed me and also made me think about what it means to be human. We sometimes need monsters to remind us of our humanity.
Taking Victor Hugo's novel, Les Misérables, and transforming it first into a play and then into a movie is like selecting from among the finest of crown jewels and crafting them into a beautiful brooch. Having seen the stage play many years ago and having read the book many, many years ago, I found the movie eminently satisfying, indeed beautifully done.
I had misgivings. They had, I thought, studded it with Hollywood stars just to draw the audiences. Nevertheless, it is very well cast. It was some time before I recognized Hugh Jackman since his first appearance was as the imprisoned Jean Valjean with grubby face and closely-cropped hair. It was not until he emerged as the respectable Mayor and beneficent factory owner that he was easily recognizable. Valjean's crimes had been the stealing of a loaf of bread and the subsequent breaking of his parole for which he is relentlessly pursued by the dogged Inspector Javert, played by Russell Crowe.