Calico Joe by John Grisham

Watching baseball to me is about as exciting as watching paint dry.  Well, I might like it somewhat better than that cliche portends if I have a connection to one of the teams playing, but it is not something I would normally choose to do.  So why did I pick up a book about baseball?  I like John Grisham’s legal thrillers and I was aware that his newest book, Calico Joe was on the New York Times Bestseller list and was a fairly short book.  Why not see how a good writer deviates from his normal genre?

I found myself enjoying the story and immediately getting caught up in the characters lives.  The story jumps between August 1973 when a professional baseball player, Calico Joe Castle is hit in the head by a pitcher, Warren Tracey and then thirty years later when Warren Tracey is dying of cancer.  Narrated by Paul Tracey, the book has a heartfelt message of righting wrongs, when Paul, estranged from his now dying father, pushes him to ask forgiveness from the man he hurt.  Grisham has successfully branched out of legal thrillers with a couple other titles also, Painted House,  Skipping Christmas, Bleachers, and Playing for Pizza. 




Single-Handed 2

>Set in the stark and breathtakingly beautiful Connemara area of Ireland, this DVD set continues the story of Jack Driscoll, Sergeant in the local Garda. As one of two policemen in the remote and rural area, Jack is enmeshed in the events of the local community and his work and private lives are intertwined. He is following in his fathers footsteps as the local garda, but is constantly trying to distance himself from the corruption and influence that his father wielded in the community. Jack has grown up in this community and knows the local residents and their families well, making it more difficult for him to investigate crimes.  Intelligently written and with compelling stories and complex characters, this police drama differs from many others as it lacks car chases and shootings, instead emphasizing relationships and the dark undercurrents in the community. This set contains 3 2-part stories, all with plot twists and turns, and with excellent acting by the cast. Single-Handed 2 is an engrossing drama about a man trying to maintain his honor when surrounded by corruption–an excellent drama from Irish television. MPL also has the first episodes of Single-Handed available.

Ides of March


The release of this film in an election year provokes thought about our election system–the finances, the deals, the behind the scenes negotiations that candidates can be involved in along the way to winning an election. Stephen Meters (Ryan Gosling) is an idealistic  campaign worker for presidential candidate Gov. Morris (played by George Clooney)–a man with values and goals that Meter can believe in. As the campaign for the primary in Ohio goes on, deals are made and scandal is uncovered, leaving Meter disillusioned and cynical. Not an action movie, this drama concentrates on the flawed mechanisms of our political system, with excellent performances by Gosling and Clooney (who also directed the film) as well as Philp Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti. The Ides of March is a film about politics but also about the people involved and how they are changed by the process of campaigning for election. The film has been nominated for an Academy Award for the Screenplay and was nominated for several Golden Globe Awards–Lead Actor for Ryan Gosling, Best Director for George Clooney and for Best Dramatic Film.