September 22, 2017 § 5 Comments
Some reading and watching …
News of the World by Paulette Jiles. In post-Civil War Texas, Captain Jefferson Kyle is a circuit riding newsman who entertains small-town audiences by reading excerpts from major newspapers. He accepts an offer to return Johanna, a 6-year-old girl who has been held captive by Kiowas, to her family, and the book charms with the developing relationship between the 60-ish Kyle and the young girl who at first speaks only Kiowa. Their adventurous 400-mile journey from northern Texas almost to San Antonio makes for thrilling reading. This small book is worth your time.
Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne. The once-nearly invincible Comanches ruled the plains of Texas and eastern New Mexico. One of their great war chiefs, Quannah Parker, a white man, had been kidnapped as a child in one of their raids, and grew to be an implacable foe of the whites. This is his story, and that of the Comanches, and how their iron grip on the plains finally succumbed to the flood of white settlement and overwhelming U.S. military power.
The Earth is Weeping, by Peter Cozzens. A thoroughly-researched, fair, and even-handed account of the thirty years of conflict between the western Indian tribes and the United States government. Cozzens is the author of Black Hawk Down.
Bottle Rocket. Wes Anderson’s movie about three slackers who somehow manage to pull off a robbery, hide out, and then try another, all in a madcap attempt to avoid growing up and facing life. What happens to them as they are repeatedly slapped around by reality is at turns funny, pathetic, and head-shaking.
Lion. Based on the autobiographical book by Saroo Brierly, the true story of boy in India who is separated from his poverty-beset family in a remarkable chain of events, and is adopted by an Australian family. Tortured by vague recollections of his earlier life, he strives to find his Indian mother and siblings. It’s a moving, enthralling story.
Burn After Reading. From the Coen brothers, with Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich, and Richard Jenkins. Maybe not quite as crisp as many other Coen treats, but there are plenty of laughs in this black comedy about a fitness instructor who tries to blackmail a former CIA operative. Add in rampant adultery, clueless government intelligence agents, the Russian embassy, and plenty of Coen irony, and you have an entertainment that’s fun to watch.