BOOKS

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

by Richard Louv

In this groundbreaking new book, child advocacy expert, Richard Louv, describes a generation of children so plugged into electronic diversions that it has lost its connection to the natural world. Louv links the increase in the rates of obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and depression in children to the lack of nature in their lives.

The book reflects Louv’s talks with parents, children, teachers, scientists, religious leaders, child-development researchers, and environmentalists, all of whom recognize the threat and offer solutions. Louv describes an alternative future, in which parents help their children experience the natural world more deeply and, in the process, experience the joy of family connectedness.

Last Child in the Woods has been translated into nine languages and published in thirteen countries.

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

by Rob Bell

In his controversial book, Love Wins, evangelical pastor Rob Bell challenges the traditional Christian views of heaven, hell, and the afterlife. He asks the question: “Would a loving God condemn people to eternal damnation forever?”

Bell persuasively interprets the Bible as a message of love and redemption and argues in favor of a God whose love and forgiveness encompass Christians and non-Christians alike. Whether Rob Bell is considered a hero or a heretic, his alternative message is at the forefront of a rethinking of Christianity in America.

A best-selling author and speaker, Bell was profiled in The New Yorker and named by Time Magazine in 2011 as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

The Garden of Allah

By Robert Hichens

The Garden of Allah, published in 1904, is the story of Domini Enfilden, a wealthy and unhappy English woman in her early 30’s who, after several years of caring for her dying father, travels to Algeria in search of rest, renewal, and meaning. She falls in love with and marries Boris Androvsky, whose well-kept secret threatens their new-found happiness. In this grand tale of adventure and romance in the Sahara Desert, Domini ultimately finds strength and purpose in serving as God’s instrument for the redemption of another.

An international success, The Garden of Allah was later made into a successful film. Robert Smythe Hichens, 1864-1950, English journalist, novelist, and short story writer, also collaborated on several successful plays.

Damien the Leper

by John Farrow

This is the true story of Father Damien de Veuster, a Catholic missionary priest from Belgium, who in the late 1800s volunteered to serve the then leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Thrusting aside all thoughts of personal danger, he immersed himself in their day-to-day life, caring for their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. After sixteen years, he contracted leprosy himself and died of the disease in 1889. His unforgettable journey of heroic courage, devotion and selfless service comes to life in this splendid biography, which has become a classic over the years.

Father Damien, who was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday October 11, 2009, is considered the patron saint of lepers and outcasts, as well as those with HIV and AIDS.

John Farrow (1904-1963), a well-known Hollywood film director, in 1954 took a sabbatical from his film career to write this biography of the leper priest.

George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution

by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

George Washington’s Secret Six is a fascinating and gripping account of the Culper Spy Ring, six completely unknown heroes of the American Revolution whose identities were hidden for almost 200 years. So carefully guarded were the members’ identities that one spy’s name was not uncovered until the twentieth century, and one remains unknown today. But through the recent discovery of long-hidden letters and correspondence, historians now have enough evidence to show that the Culper Spy Ring played a significant role in turning the tide of the Revolutionary War in America’s favor.

Drawing on extensive research, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger have painted compelling portraits of the secret six and acknowledge a long overdue debt to six American heroes.

Brian Kilmeade is the author of two previous books about sports, while Don Yaeger has written twenty-three books, including seven New York Times bestsellers.

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel

The Monuments Men is the inspiring true story of the unsung heroes who risked their lives to rescue what they could of Europe’s great artistic and cultural treasures stolen by the Nazis during World War II.

Commissioned by the U.S. Army, this special force, known collectively as the Monuments Men, consisted of over 300 museum directors, curators, art historians, architects and others from 13 nations. They remained in Europe for up to six years after the war to oversee the restitution of stolen works of art and returned more than five million artistic and cultural items to their rightful owners. Their role in preserving cultural treasures of Europe was unprecedented.

Robert M. Edsel is the founder and president of the Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art. His other works include Rescuing Da Vinci. The film The Monuments Men, based on the book, was released in February 2014 to wide acclaim.

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MOVIES

My Name is Khan, 2010

This 2010 Indian drama film depicts the journey of Rizwan Khan, a Muslim man who is attempting to deliver a personal message to the President of the United States: “My Name is Khan, and I am not a Terrorist.”

Khan lived happily with his Hindu wife and stepson in the United States until September 11, 2001 when attitudes towards Muslims underwent a sea-change. The tragedy of 9/11 puts a strain on their relationship and disrupts their lives in tragic ways. Their marriage finally breaks apart when their son is killed in a racially motivated attack. In the heat of the moment Rizwan is told to leave and to return only when he has given the message to the US President. To win back his wife, he embarks on a touching and inspiring journey across America to find the president.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

The Importance of Being Earnest, 2002

This 2002 British-American romantic comedy-drama, based on Oscar Wilde’s play of the same name, is a satirical look at the social conventions of late Victorian England.

Two friends, Algernon and Jack, are proper gentlemen, who unbeknownst to each other use the same pseudonym, “Ernest” in order to escape burdensome social obligations. All is well until they inadvertently run into each other at the same country house using the name Ernest. When their deceptions threaten to spoil their romantic pursuits, only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day! Wilde’s brilliant tour de force about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and romantic entanglements has helped to make The Importance of Being Earnest his most enduringly popular play.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

Shackleton 2002

This 2002 British film tells the incredible true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s remarkable 1914 Antarctic expedition, the astonishing hardship that his crew endured, and his heroic efforts to save them from certain death. In a series of unfortunate events his ship, The Endurance, became trapped in the pack ice and eventually sank, leaving his 28-man crew stranded. Determined to get help, Shackleton undertook an epic journey across 800 miles of the Southern Ocean in an improvised lifeboat and trekked across an uncharted mountain range to a whaling station on South Georgia Island, where he was able to organize a rescue party for his stranded crew. Not a single man was lost in this real-life epic adventure.

Filmed in the UK, Iceland and Greenland, the film used first-hand accounts by the men on the expedition to re-tell the story.

Available: DVD; NR

The Kid, 2000

This funny and insightful family movie is a warm-hearted parable about second chances and discovering what’s really important in life. Russ Duritz (Bruce Willis) is a wealthy, work-obsessed L.A. image consultant who is blunt, demanding and obnoxious. Into his well-ordered life one night he discovers a surprise intruder, who mysteriously turns out to be a charming 8-year-old version of himself. The kid, Rusty, can’t believe he’s turned out so badly. When Russ finally figures out that he’s not hallucinating, he and Rusty find a way to reconcile the person he used to dream of becoming with the man he actually is.

Available: DVD; Rated PG

Pygmalion, 1985

In this BBC adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s best-known play, phonetics professor, Henry Higgins, wagers that he can transform Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl of the lower classes, to speak proper English and thus be taken for a lady. However, Eliza Doolittle teaches the egotistical professor that to be a lady means more than just learning to speak like one. In the end the experiment is a resounding success and the wager is won. Along the way, Higgins develops an affection for Eliza but when he takes all the credit for her transformation, and forgets to acknowledge her efforts, Eliza asserts her independence and strikes out on her own.

Available: DVD; NR

Enchanted, 2007

In this classic Disney fairytale, the beautiful princess, Giselle, is banished by the evil queen from the animated world of “happy endings” to the chaos of modern-day New York City. Shocked by this strange new environment, she is now adrift in a world badly in need of enchantment. But as the city begins to wear down the fairy-tale exterior of the once-carefree princess, the frightened Giselle soon finds herself falling for a friendly but flawed divorce lawyer whose compassion helps her to survive this strange and dangerous new world.

The film won the 2007 Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Motion Picture. It also received two nominations at the 65th Golden Globe Awards, and three Academy Awards nominations.

Available: DVD; PG

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