In the past couple of weeks I finished a book and a TV series that I feel compelled to recommend because they were both so good, and really engaging.
The Boys in the Boat, a true story about an underdog rowing team from the University of Washington (as in Washington state) and their bid for the 1936 Olympics, held in Berlin on the cusp of Hitler's rise to power. This book was soooo interesting, and not just because our kids were in crew (that made it very interesting, though, as I understood the incredibly important role of the coxswain better), but because of the deep dive the author took into this event in history, and the interesting way he presented all the characters' background.
In the spirit of Laura Hillenbran's Unbroken (fun fact: Louis Zamperini, Unbroken's protagonist, also competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, as did the famous Jesse Owens) and Seabiscuit, The Boys in the Boat was a real page turner and an excellent book. Seabiscuit, Unbroken, and The Boys in the Boat are all set in the same era. What an interesting time in history! Another interesting tidbit: Did you know that the Berlin Olympics was the first time the Olympic torch was carried from Greece to the olympic site? As described in the book (and on Wikipedia!), Adolf Hitler saw the link with the ancient Games as the perfect way to illustrate his belief that classical Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich. Cam read the book over Christmas break, and Mark is reading it now...highly unusual since he's not much of a reader, but he's pulled in as well. Just an excellent read!
Making a Murderer", a 10 episode true crime documentary on Netflix. Whoa. People have been talking about this series since it aired in December (2015), so I decided to tune it to see what all the hubbub was about. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE. The true story of Steven Avery who was wrongly imprisoned for 18 years for a rape he did not commit, and was released when the true attacker was identified, only to be arrested two years later, charged with murder. The defense in the murder charge made a VERY strong case for corruption in the police force, which resulted in targeting Avery and possibly framing him in the murder (he had a pending civil suit against key members of the law enforcement in his town because of the previous wrongful imprisonment). You may have your own opinion, but it's my opinion that he (and his nephew, who was also pulled into the case) were wrongly convicted, and a lot of people in America feel the same. What a disturbing miscarriage of justice. Last week Dateline had an special on the case, but I have not had a chance to watch it yet. A really compelling and very disturbing abuse of power by law enforcement. Catch it if you can.
While you know I am no fan of winter, it does provide a great excuse to read and catch up on good TV. Am I right?!