Picks from the Hermitage
Like many Americans, my daily life has centered around my home since the pandemic began this past spring. I miss seeing friends and family and sharing traditions and moments with them.
The pandemic has slowed life down for many of us, and that might be a welcome change. Rarely venturing beyond my own neighborhood provides me with more leisure time to spend with books, films, and shows.
I’d like to share some favorites from the past few weeks:
- The Planter of Modern Life: Louis Bromfield and the Seeds of a Food Revolution by Stephen Heyman: I picked up this book after reading a one-paragraph New York Times book review. Bromfield was a best-selling author and screenwriter who attempted to build a sustainable farm in his native Ohio amid the Great Depression and World War II. Can’t recommend this book enough. (I wrote my own review for Sapientia.)
- The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald: Ostensibly, this is a novel framed around the narrator’s walking tour through the English eastern seaboard. The narrator’s wanderings spur discursive historic and personal meditations accompanied with photographs, press clippings, and images. Is this book fiction? History? Memoir? I never knew for certain, but I was captivated after just a few pages.
- Knives Out: This film is a contemporary and fun take on the murder-in-a-locked-room manor mystery and the archetypal eccentric detective. Daniel Craig demonstrated a real comedic flair in his role as the aforementioned sleuth. I imagine it was a nice challenge for Craig to play a role other than a larger-than-life action star.
- Derry Girls: After reading a review penned by a former colleague, I decided to give this series a chance. I’m glad that I did. Derry Girls follows the shenanigans of a group of high school students in Derry, Northern Ireland during the Troubles in the early 1990s. If you’re looking for a comedy with memorable characters and real depth, this might be the next show to binge-watch.
Still, stories captured on the page or screen can never replace the pleasure of a morning coffee with a friend or celebrating a family event. I look forward to enjoying those again. In the meantime, I’m looking for reading and viewing suggestions. I hope you’ll share yours.