It's getting cold outside, so start reading and watching

So many great videos and books, so little time….It’s getting cold in the north and darkness is setting in early all over. More time for streaming video.


Here’s a couple recommendations:


Video


Seaside Hotel (PBS Masterpiece). Eight seasons as of 2021 with a ninth promised. In Danish with subtitles. This soap opera set in a Danish seaside resort begins in 1928 and continues through 1943. It features a recurring cast of characters with whom you might just want to spend each summer. The egotistical actor and his newest wife, the two businessmen with young families, the social servant and his ethereal wife, the widowed bridge player, and a complete cast of hotel owners and staff. It’s a very upbeat show worth the time.


Atlantic Crossing (PBS Masterpiece). If you missed the broadcast earlier this year, time to watch this Norwegian drama about the fall of Norway to the Germans in World War II and the Crown Princess’s flight to the US and her relationship with FDR. I know, you’ve probably seen plenty of WWII in books and video, but this eight episode series is from a different perspective and it is riveting. Pay special attention to the family relationships among the different royal families!


Borgen (Netflix, Apple TV). In Danish with subtitles. Three seasons of Danish politics turns out to be pretty interesting fare. Well written and acted. The Danes are turning out some excellent series. Robin and I should be able to speak Danish by the time summer arrives.


Books


A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson. Fiction. On the longlist for the Booker Prize. Set in northern Ontario in 1972, it’s a story of “relationships of characters brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past.” Lyrical writing. I would compare her writing to that of Elizabeth Strout (Olive, Olive Again, etc).


The Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead. Fiction. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize (they had a great list this year). A multi-generational family saga focusing on Marian Graves who fights her way out of a small Montana life to become a premiere aviatrix through the World War II era and beyond. (Yes, more WWII—but only tangentially). Loves and losses with a lot of the history of women aviators thrown in for good measure. Longish at 600+ pages but worth it.


Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox. Non-fiction. More memoir than “tell all”, Fox’s story of her life is totally involving. She starts with her early life and education including time evading Burma’s oppressive regime, attending Oxford and being recruited by the CIA. She tells how her job impacted her personal life and how she worked in the most unstable regions of the world to prevent terrorist attacks, even carrying her baby with her on some assignments (that was scary). Very well written by an obviously talented writer.

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