Books and movies – Newton Daily News

By Curt Swarm


Ginnie and I went to Yellowstone again this year for vacation. Last year we were there and saw actual wolves in the wild feeding on a bison carcass. Not only that, but we were treated to an impromptu, outdoor lecture by famed wolf whisperer and author, Rick McIntyre. So, when planning for our trip, and hoping for a repeat of last year, we read McIntyre’s wolf books: “The Rise of Wolf 8,” “The Reign of Wolf 21,” and “Redemption of Wolf 302.” Whether you’re into wolves or not, these books are good reading. Jennie agrees.

My wolf craving not satisfied, I read “Decade of the Wolf” by Douglas W. Smith and Gary Ferguson. Remembering my college days when I read “Never Cry Wolf” by Canadian author Farley Mowat, I reread it.

Alas, because of flooding, the northern part of Yellowstone was shut down so we didn’t get to see wolves on this vacation. However, my journey into wolf literature was educational and entertaining. I commissioned one of my artist friends, Leo Clark, to do a wolf portrait and it looks very similar to McIntyre’s Wolf 8.

But my appetite was whetted for more of Farley Mowat, who is an excellent writer. So I read his “And No Bird Sang” (a war story), “The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be” (a dog story), and “Bay of Spirits” (a love story). I really appreciate Kindle.

Elizabeth Strout has a new book, “Oh, William.” Ginnie and I both read it. Ginnie was impressed — it’s sort of a chick book. I was more intrigued by a certain vulgar word Strout uses that I have never seen in print. Sorry, I can’t repeat it here, but I made a mental note to use it in my fiction writing. I like reading female authors because, generally, they write with more feeling than male authors, and use vulgarity more intelligently.

Ginnie was going through a box of books of her dad’s. I spotted Tony Hillerman’s, “Coyotte Waits” and grabbed it up. I read a number of Hillerman’s books 25 years ago, so thought I’d give it a spin. If you’re into well-written mystery, especially Navajo mystery, this fills the ticket.

Needing literature of substance, I picked up “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas, skipping the Intro, Foreword and Prologue. At the same time I started reading “Nothing but Prairie and Sky: Life on the Dakota Range in the Early Days,” by Walker D. Wyman (Copyright 1954). A true story, the narrator is from Winfield, Iowa and I recognize several last names. I’ve never read two books simultaneously before, especially books with such opposite subject matter. It’s sort of trippy, and refreshing.

I’m prejudiced of course, but the best book I’ve read lately is my own, “Task Force IED” which will be available this fall. I have been through it so many times, proofing galleys, I have it memorized. I’m still not tired of it. Be patient.

Movies: “Father Stu” starring Mark Wahlberg, pulled my trigger, Ginnie not so much. Not typical of Wahlberg’s macho karate-kick movies, it’s also based on a true story. Wahlberg helped financed it.

“Top Gun: Maverick” with cruising Tom Cruise, is a must see. If you don’t see another movie all year, see this one. It has all the bells and whistles that an outstanding movie should have, including vibrating seats. Jennie agrees. Pure entertainment.

“Elvis” starring Austin Butler and Tom Hanks is a hunk-of-burning love. Ginnie also agrees.

“Old Man” with Jeff Bridges, has us hooked. A mini-series on FX, we record then watch it so we can fast forward through the commercials. I identify with the old man part, big time, although Bridges, contrary to what I thought, is not the “Old Man.”

“Where the Crawdads Sing” is a special treat. Go ahead, sing along.

Contact Curt Swarm at [email protected]

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