Moonlight (2016) (Mild Spoilers)

cyy-htkvqaadir8Written by: Barry Jenkins, based on “In Midnight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Directed by: Barry Jenkins

At around age nine, growing up in Miami in the 1980s, Chiron (pronounced Shy-rone, not like the mythological centaur) has already learned to take care of himself. His mother (Naomie Harris) is sinking into the quagmire of addiction, and he is relentlessly tormented by bullies, who have already labeled him a “faggot.” He’s too quiet, too sensitive, too gentle — and he’s on the fringes of exploring the fact that he’s gay. In his struggle for self-preservation, Chiron camouflages himself in silence.

Continue reading “Moonlight (2016) (Mild Spoilers)”

Jude (1996)

Directed by: Michael Winterbottomjude-movie-poster-1996-1010472794

Written by: Hossein Amini, based on Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

In her ongoing quest to expose me to the most brutally depressing movies possible, a few weeks after persuading me to watch Tyrannosaur, my daughter Sarah introduced me to Jude. This adaptation of Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy features memorable performances by Christopher Eccleston (before he got a Tardis), Rachel Griffiths (Hilary and Jackie), and Kate Winslet.

Raised by his aunt in Victorian England, young Jude Fawley dreams of becoming a university scholar. He’s inspired by his teacher, who tells him if he studies hard, he can shape his own future

Continue reading “Jude (1996)”

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan


MudboundHardcover, 328 pages

Published: Published March 4, 2008 by Algonquin Books (1st published January 1, 2008)

Setting: Mississippi, 1940s

Literary Awards:  ALA Alex Award (2009), NAIBA Book of the Year for Fiction (2008), PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for Fiction (2006)


Henry and I dug the hole seven feet deep . Any shallower and the corpse was liable to come rising up during the next big flood: Howdy boys! Remember me?

Continue reading “Mudbound by Hillary Jordan”

Minding Ben by Victoria Brown



Hardcover, 352 pages

Published: April 12, 2011 by Hachette Books (1st Published April 1, 2001)

Setting: New York City


Sixteen-year-old Grace leaves her native village in Trinidad to fulfill her dream of starting a new life in New York City. With a mixture of sadness and euphoria, she boards a plane, leaving her devoted mother, who relies on prayers, scriptures, and — if all else fails — a slight sense of martyrdom, her sick, disabled father, and her younger sister Helen.

Continue reading “Minding Ben by Victoria Brown”

Fruitvale Station (2013)

indexWritten & Directed by: Ryan Coogler

Setting: San Francisco Bay Area

Recommended by:  Alex Withrow

This week I hit a milestone that was inevitable, I suppose. For the first time, someone got angry and “unfriended” me on Facebook. And I wasn’t even being a sarcastic ass … honestly.

It started when I reposted an article highlighting my support of Black Lives Matter.

Continue reading “Fruitvale Station (2013)”

This Little Piggy by Bea Davenport




Kindle, 288 pages

Published: October 1, 2014 by Legend Press

Setting: Northeast England


In the summer of 1984, England is in the throes of a massive coal miner’s strike. The beleaguered miners, many of whom are raising families in shabby housing developments, struggle to survive until the time comes to return to work. Others, like Rob Donnelly, cross the picket line to support their families, inciting the wrath of their neighbors. Then Rob’s infant son, Jamie, is killed outside his flat on the Sweetmeadow Estate, and hostilities escalate.

Continue reading “This Little Piggy by Bea Davenport”