1. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow, if you like courtroom drama books. My mother recommended it to me, saying it was one of the few books she and my dad had both liked. She added, "Now, there will be some scenes that you will not like to think of your mother as reading..." OH INDEED, INDEED THERE WERE. But I still liked the book. I'm watching the movie now, and I'm glad I read the book first or I would have had trouble figuring out what was going on and who was who. [Edited to add: The movie cuts out about 9/10ths of the book, and Harrison Ford makes one single facial expression through the entire thing. I think I'd only recommend the book.]
2. Sita Sings the Blues. This is one of the oddest movies I have ever seen (funny/accurate summary from the Wikipedia article: "It intersperses events from the Ramayana, illustrated conversation between Indian shadow puppets, musical interludes voiced with tracks by Annette Hanshaw and scenes from the artist's own life"), and it's free. That is, you can have it for free. You can also buy it, if you want to support the artist, and Paul and I liked the movie so much we HAVE bought it for people. It's like nothing else I've seen, a weird mix of 1920s/30s music and four kinds of animation and...I don't even know what to tell you except to try it and see if it's to your tastes as well. Maybe watch some of the samples on YouTube. (My favorite is the song "Rama's Great." Very catchy.)
3. Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr. I read this long enough ago that it's now bargain-priced, and all I remember is that it kind of blew my mind and I wanted to remember to recommend it to you. It's about this guy who gets alien/omniscient advice, starting in THE WOMB, and I was kind of envious.
4. I don't necessary RECOMMEND Friday Night Lights (Netflix link) per se, but I want everyone else to watch it because I'M watching it and I want to refer to it and be understood. It has been highly recommended to me from a variety of sources and it's very soapy (it reminds me a lot of One Tree Hill)---but it's QUALITY soapy and I'm near the end of season 1 and I'm still watching (I credit Connie Britton and the guy who plays Landry), so at this point I want to have company watching it so we can talk about it.
5. This song seems a little WRONG in some hard-to-put-a-finger-on way, but Paul and I both get it stuck in our heads ALL THE TIME, and the kids love it:
6. The Diniwilks post Compromise was for me a highly interesting and entertaining look at how negotiations/decisions go in someone else's marriage. I strongly identified; it's similar in our household.
7. The book Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. (I hadn't realized this was the same author as two of my childhood favorite books, Witch Week and Charmed Life.) We've watched the movie (Netflix link) a few times and we all like it, but the children watch it with the acceptance they give to all things they don't yet understand about life, while their father and I watch it thinking "What the?" The book makes much more sense, and is very different in many ways. I'm giving it to Rob and William to read, too.
8. Paul reads to the kids each night in three age-divided batches, and The Penderwicks was the book he just finished reading to the oldest group. He said he didn't expect them to like an old-fashionedy book about four girls, but they were RAPT. So then I read it too, and I liked it a lot. It reminded me of the kind of books I liked as a child, like Little Women and The Five Little Peppers.
9. Paul assures me that everyone has already heard of the game Age of War, but _I_ hadn't heard of it, so there. Henry and I have continued to play Sonny pretty much every day, and Age of War is NOT a turn-taking game so we were a little freaked out at first (the transcript would show me saying "AAAAAAAA they're coming at us!! AAAAAA what am I supposed to do?? AAAAAAAAAAA they keep shooting!! AAAAAAAAAA pause it pause it pause it!! AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!). I recommend playing it with a 13-year-old sitting next to you and patiently bossing you, because I don't think I would ever have figured out how to play it otherwise.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...