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The BV Newsroom Recommends Their Favorite Books and Movies

Eddie Wokas:

My book recommendation is for a novel called Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg. Raphael Bob-Waksberg previously created and wrote the Netflix series Bojack Horseman, and I fell in love with his witty, goofy, and emotional characters and stories. Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory is a series of short stories centered around different themes of love. While this may sound sappy, the themes of love are strongly interwoven in creative and funny stories. Ever wonder what it’s like to be a dog when your owner gets a girlfriend? There’s a story about that! What about working at a U.S. Presidents amusement park and learning how to be more than just Chester A. Arthur? There’s a story about that too. Every single vignette in the book is just as entertaining and charming as the last, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone.

My movie recommendation could be several different options, but I think I’ll stick to my usual recommendation, Whiplash (2014). The best synopsis for the film without spoiling it I’ve seen was on its Letterboxd page: “Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity.” Whiplash is the most memorable physical experience I’ve had while watching a movie. For the most part, many people are relaxed while watching movies, with the exception being thrilling and frightening moments. However, Whiplash left me with my heart racing, my mouth hanging open, and my body tensing up multiple times throughout its runtime. While many may be uncomfortable in that state, the sheer perfection and entertainment Whiplash delivers makes that feeling euphoric. While many people contest that La La Land is Damien Chazelle’s more revered film, I’d argue that Whiplash is a modern masterpiece, and will be remembered over its successor for that euphoric thrill. It is my second favorite movie of all time, and unlike my favorite movie, Whiplash is something I feel I can recommend to every single person, and they will be very entertained.

Jayha Buhs-Jackson:

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

Formerly a banned book due to its sexual content, Amy Tan creates a powerful, heartfelt, realistic and semi-biographical narrative surrounding four immigrant Chinese women and their relationship with their Chinese American daughters. Each chapter shifts to a different character's perspective, providing insight into each individual’s childhood, upbringing, and reasonings for who they are. The American born daughters must be American enough and follow Chinese traditions/values while the mothers have to pass on these traditions and carry their past trauma. A novel that would give you joy, sorrow, and spark a reflection on your own relationship with your mother.

Alani Summers:

The Song of Achilles is a wildly popular and well known story of two Greek lovers who eventually find their way to tragedy. Madeline Miller writes a beautiful and passionate story that enraptured me from beginning to end. Her writing style absolutely blew me away. Every few sentences, I just had to pause and reread an incredible metaphor over and over again. I must admit, I got a little bit of writer's envy: bitter over that fact that I couldn't come up with some of the vivd descriptions she used. Though it is a romance novel, the two main characters are written so wonderfully and by the first couple of chapters, you're already on the edge of your seat. Romance isn't often my go-to genre, but I found this book absolutely fascinating; especially with the touches of action, Greek history, and engaging plot lines woven in. It's a novel that easily pulls you in until suddenly, it's three in the morning and you're halfway through. No amount of praise can ever do the magic of this story justice. Fans of Percy Jackson and Greek History fans will adore this book; but it's one I would recommend for all readers.

Hannah Peoples:

What should I choose? For hours I racked my brain with this question in mind. As a bookworm I sifted through hundreds of books I love, my favorites shelf on Goodreads - even the book I am currently reading which took me so little time to fall in love with. Should I choose Vicious by V.E. Schwab for sci-fi thriller fans? My all-time favorite, Les Miserables for lovers of classics? The beloved Six of Crows for high fantasy fans? I came to the conclusion that Poems from the Moor by Emily Bronte was the only option. In this collection of poems, she bares her heart and mind to her readers. We see the life of this beloved writer through a new lens of tragedy, love, hate, anger, and sorrow. My favorite poem from this collection has been "A Death - Scene" for the last year or so, and my love for it has only grown. "That thou, to cross the eternal sea, Wouldst yet one hour delay..." Bronte bargains for moments more with her friend as he dies. She conveys a multitude of emotions that are usually ugly, cynical, longing, and ones hopeful; ones people tend to keep hidden from the light of day. Emotions that often stray from one another, all on a page. I will always recommend this book as a way to get a feel for the life of a poet during the 19th century, or just if you have any downtime and want to read.

The movie I chose was far easier. While I cannot provide a niche, unknown, artistic one, I can allow myself to provide a favorite of mine. Dead Poets Society has wrung praises from audiences and critics alike. It is a tragic and lovable tale following a group of students at a prep school and their teacher played by Robin Williams. This film is poetic and beautiful, with a message of anti-conformity that still reigns true now. It has been a favorite of mine for years; watching it with a cup of something warm and a blanket never fails to serve as a comfort for me. Readers will love it, poets will love it, writers will love it, and those who have seen it will always find the perfect rainy day to watch it a second or third time.

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