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Shelf Life: Media from Then and Now for Readers in the Sacramento Region

08/31/2017 03:48PM ● Published by David Norby

ALBUMS

THEN

 There Goes Rhymin’ Simon—Paul Simon

There’s optimism in “Kodachrome,” deep parental love in “Loves Me Like a Rock,” and deeply troubled concern in “American Tune” reflecting on the uncertain times of 1973. It’s all balanced beautifully with the final lullaby, “St. Judy’s Comet.” There Goes Rhymin’ Simon could not possibly leave you wanting. 


NOW

 Dark Matter—Randy Newman

Newman plunges his songwriting needle into the bulging vein of the “current state of things” and comes away with not only blood but marrow, too. He’s cutting right to the heart of things with songs like “The Great Debate” and “It’s a Jungle Out There,” plus beautiful moments of just pure storytelling like “Sonny Boy”—all proof that Newman is still very much here. 


BOOKS

THEN

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This fictional retelling of the final months of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a maid convicted of the murder of her master in 1829 and the last person executed in Iceland, is carefully researched, and compassionately recreates the inner life of Agnes—attempting to give her some of the humanity that history denied. 


NOW 

 See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

“Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother 40 whacks…” Debut novelist Sarah Schmidt pulls the infamous case of Lizzie Borden out of the past and into the realm of the senses with a carefully researched retelling of the day of the murders, and examines what might have compelled the extreme and bloody acts of violence. 





DVDs

THEN

Superman: The Movie

Superman is the ultimate feel-good superhero movie. As a kid, watching Christopher Reeves soar through the air on VHS in a darkened living room felt like actually flying. The 100-percent natural goodness of Reeves literally vibrates through the screen. And Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor is genius: villain as used-car salesman. 


NOW 

 Wonder Woman 

I’m 41 years old and Wonder Woman made me cry tears of joy. Gal Godot’s incarnation of my childhood hero is like Lynda Carter on Leg Day. Strength and grace: in spades. But above all: Kindness. Goodness. The movie itself is full of badassery, including a truly majestic Robin Wright on horseback. (And a partially-clothed Chris Pine.) See it, by Hera!   

By Sharon Penny

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