Ladies of Dagenham, Unite!

We_Can_Do_It!

Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins) is nothing out of the ordinary, working at the Ford factory and raising her children with her husband in their blue-collar suburb of London in 1968.  O'Grady works in the all-female section of the plant sewing seat covers, along with 146 other women. What starts out as a dispute over job designation grows into […]

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The Problem With Virtue

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Often when I read historical fiction, it seems that the 21st-Century world view is imported with the characters.  No more is this true than with the themes of sex and religion.  Fortunately, Marci Jefferson manages to avoid this pitfall in Girl on the Golden Coin. Young Frances Stuart, the protagonist, wishes only to make a good […]

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Hellenga and his Women

Galesburg

I picked up The Confessions of Frances Godwin by Robert Hellenga not entirely sure what to expect, but I thought a book in which a woman has conversations with God had to be at least somewhat interesting. I liked it even more than I thought I would. Frances does indeed talk to God (and He answers her back, […]

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Laughs Across America

American Road

Filmmaker John Waters has made a career as the Prince of Perversion; however, I have always found his movies rather wholesome in their own way. Unfortunately, investment in independent directors like Waters has gone the way of the real estate boom. This means that Waters has had to come up with other ways of funding his films. Role Models (2010) is […]

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Walter Mosley, Philosopher

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While Walter Mosley is best known for his Easy Rawlins mystery series, he has written some excellent stand-alone fiction as well. I just finished The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey on audio and loved it. Ptolemy Grey is 91, and slipping into dementia in his cluttered apartment. Robyn, not exactly a relative, but not exactly not, cares for Ptolemy […]

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Building a Mystery

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How did Jesus, an itinerant preacher with a few followers in a Roman backwater, become God? As Bart Ehrman in How Jesus Became God posits, there are two answers to this question. One is the spiritual, and the other is the history of the spiritual. Ehrman, a former Christian fundamentalist, is very upfront about his agnosticism but makes […]

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Negotiation Tips from the Undersecretary for Thugs

Bill Richardson

Whatever you make of Bill Richardson's politics, he can tell a good story and seems to enjoy it immensely. In fact, How to Sweet-talk A Shark seems to be less the book on negotiating techniques it claims to be and more an excuse to tell some hilarious and hair-raising tales from Richardson's time in public service. That said, […]

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Beware a Dashing Man

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  England, 1961, is in a full post-colonial hangover. Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is sixteen and full of dreams of Paris and the wider world. She gets them for a brief time by becoming the girlfriend of an older man, David (Peter Sarsgaard). David is dashing, glamorous, good looking, and rich. How he gets his money is a bit unscrupulous, […]

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Everybody Loves Bernie

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Need a favor? Any favor at all? In Carthage, Texas, Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is your man. While he is especially good with the performing arts, his vocation is as a funeral director, and he will even sing at your final ceremony if you ask. Bernie is especially good with widows, calling on them with care packages, which is how he […]

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The Midwife of Venice and the Harem

Roberta Rich has written only two books so far, but I enjoyed both of them immensely. In The Midwife of Venice, Hannah Levi, a midwife of legendary skill and confined to the Jewish Ghetto, makes a decision to help a countess in natal distress. She takes along her "birthing spoons", a form of forceps, with her despite the […]

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