Book Recommendations

I'm going to inflate my ego a bit and consider myself the arbiter of taste for some, at least with respect to entertainment.  Lately, I've been asked for some book recommendations.  Although some of these novels have been out for quite some time, I'd like to take the opportunity to recommend a couple.

First, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  Recently adapted for a movie, this novel follows a veterinary school drop-out as he travels with a circus featuring a sweet-natured elephant.

Water for Elephants

Second, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  Another series primed for movie adaptation, this series follows the adventures of teenager Katniss Everdeen as she competes in the Hunger Games, a to-the-death competition of wits and skill.  I promise you, you won't be able to put these books down.  You'll devour each book with a voracious appetite.

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset

Finally, I'd like to recommend The Help by Kathryn Stockett, also recently made into a movie.  The Help chronicles the efforts of a Southern white lady and a team of African-American maids describe the life of the help in the 1950s/60s.

The Help

Let me know if you like them!

Body of Proof

Aaaaaand, we're back!  Sorry for the delay folks, but life has caught up with me, and sadly, my TV life has suffered.  But I'm popping back in for a minute to discuss a "new" show, Body of Proof.

Body of Proof follows Dr. Megan Hunt, a headstrong, but emotionally unavailable, medical examiner (ME) in Philadelphia.  Dr. Hunt, a former surgeon, killed a patient on her surgical table due to some type of weird paralysis that resulted from a car accident.  Thus, her position as an ME: you can't kill someone if they're already dead.  As is natural in the TV world, Dr. Hunt and her ragtag group of fellow medical examiners, medical investigators, and police detectives team up to solve crimes a la HOUSE (except it's diagnosing cause of death to solve crimes instead of determining what ails ya). 

What's more interesting, however, is Hunt's relationships with her co-workers and her estranged daughter.  TV vet Dana Delaney does a great job of portraying the brash, socially inept, but fashionable, doctor who seems to care more for her dead patients than those alive and well orbiting her very existence.  She breaks interrogation protocol to find the killer; she smothers her daughter with well-intentioned actions, trying to win back the affection lost due to her former grueling surgical schedule; and she bosses her superiors around at the Medical Examiner's Office.  For all her wit and intelligence, Hunt lacks social grace and awareness, which makes her a semi-interesting character for primetime television.

And this brings me to a certain observation.  Why is it that TV's main characters need to be flawed or troubled in some way?  I guess it would be quite boring to watch the well-adjusted, loving, married mother without a tragic past solve crimes every week.  Some of the draw, at least for me, of watching television is the escapism: the possibility of aliens, the supernatural, or just watching fictional characters live their flawed, but normal, lives.  Although quite important, plot isn't everything.  Without complex, compelling characters, television shows just wouldn't be that interesting.

Body of Proof airs on Tuesday nights 10/9c on ABC.  My Grade: B.


FOX Breaking In to the Half-Hour Comedy

FOX is rolling out another half-hour comedy, Breaking In.  After one episode, I think it's worth another look.

Breaking In has an interesting premise.  Think ALIAS/Covert Affiars meets The Office.  Christian Bale, playing his usual mysterious figure (except for the angst), runs a security company that breaks into customers' homes/facilities to test their security systems.  His underlings include Melanie (played by Odette Annable, formerly Odette Yustman, just off her recent marriage to Dave Annable), the lock-picking genius; some dude that pulls office pranks a-la-Jim from The Office; a Dwight-like intelligence specialist; and finally Cameron, played by Bret Harrison, who is basically the equivalent to Bret's former character, Sam, from Reaper. 

Cameron is a hacker genius that duped his university computer system into noting he had a full scholarship.  Living up the college life for seven years, Cameron is psyched to squander his 20s in complete comfort due to his hacker efforts.  But that hedonistic life doesn't last for long.  After being hired to test the university's computer system, Oz (Christian Bale) discovers Cameron's potential, as well as his charade.  Using Cameron's hacker past to blackmail him to work for Oz, Cameron is enveloped by the wacky world of comedic espionage.  Chaos ensues.

As comedies, this is par for the course: nothing to rave about, but better than others.  But if you're in the mood for a little chuckle, check out Breaking In on FOX Wednesday nights after American Idol.