Great Books Best of 2018

Happy holidays from all the staff at the Great Books Foundation!
It will be quiet at the offices here until after the New Year.
To celebrate the year’s end, here are some staff contributions to our best of 2018 list!

Peter Walton, CFO

Book:
“A Tiding of Magpies” by Steve Burrows, the fifth in his Birder Murder series. Combines my love of birds with a fascination with murder mysteries (a fascination started by “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”).
Song:
“Sober to Death” by Car Seat Headrest. Some fine, pithy lyrics (“Good stories are bad lives.” “We were wrecks before we crashed into each other.”), but highlighted by the last 1:45 being just the repeated phrase “Don’t worry, you and me won’t be alone no more” over alternating 12-string guitar and an electric guitar thrash.
Film or TV Show:
Incredibles 2. Every bit as good as the first one. The fight between Jack Jack and the neighborhood raccoon is hilarious.


Kelly Emanuel, Sales Representative and Trainer

Book:
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris A very powerful story of a young man who is forced to tattoo identification numbers on incoming prisoners to Auschwitz. The book chronicles how Lale Sokolov risked his life to assist other inmates, and how he vowed to stay alive to marry Gita, a young girl whom he had to tattoo, and fell in love with during his internment.
Film or TV Show:
Bisbee 17: A documentary on the deportation of 1100 striking copper miners in the rural Arizona town of Bisbee.


Danielle Martin, National Training Instructor

Book:
Educated by Tara Westover
Song:
Lucinda Williams “This Sweet Old World”
Film or TV Show:
Nailed It! (Netflix)


Liz Johnson, Sales Representative

Book:
Fidelity by Thich Nhat Hanh
Song:
Wait by Maroon 5
Film or TV Show:
LaLa Land


Brian DeSoto, Assistant Director of Sales

Book:
“Never a Hero” by Richard DeSoto (2010). The overnight transition from a teenager, to a leader of men. The message of persistence, determination, and accomplishment are easily relatable to occupations far away from the battlefield. Sure, Richard is my uncle and re-reading this has given me a greater respect and admiration for him. But, more so, it’s given me an even deeper gratitude for all of our soldiers.
Song:
“Bear Down Chicago Bears”. This tune is played after each Chicago Bears score. It’s been a little while since a Bears team has looked this good. Not trying to jinx anything, but it’s my favorite song since “The Super Bowl Shuffle”.
Film or TV Show:
“Avengers: Infinity War” was my favorite movie-going experience of the year. The story itself was outstanding, but it was the first theater experience of Marvel’s Avengers series with my son. Not only a great movie but a great memory for me.


Linda Barrett, Senior Training Consultant

Book:
What School Could Be by Ted Dintersmith
Song:
Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson sung by the Spooky Men’s Chorale (pre-2018 but I first heard it this year).
Film or TV Show:
The Great British Baking Show


Denise Ahlquist, Senior Training Consultant

Book:
A new translation of The Canterbury Tales by Sheila Fisher. This outstandingly ng version with side-by-side modern and Middle English came out in 2012. And the original was probably written around 1387. But the characters and tales are so vivid and still worth discussing, and I’m preparing to lead it next summer at Toronto Pursuits 2019.
Song:
When I was streaming WNCW and they played “Apolitical Blues” by Little Feat on Election night 2018 as I was in a DC hotel room watching voting returns come in.
Film or TV Show:
Ha, ha! I am WAY behind, as we just started watching The Sopranos this year! One I most want to watch but haven’t gotten to yet is America that Me.


Kriko Michaels, Sales Representative, and National Training Instructor

Book:
Where I’m Calling From (selected stories) – Raymond Carver
Song:
Good to Be Alive Today – Michael Franti and & Spearhead
Film or TV Show:
Captain Fantastic – Matt Ross


Nancy Carr, Senior Editor, and Training Instructor

Book:
Francisco Cantú, The Line Becomes A River
Song:
“Home,” morgxn and Walk the Moon
Film or TV Show:
The Last Prosecco


Josh Sniegowski, Multimedia Content Developer

Book:
Pet Sematary
Song:
Steven A. Clark – Feel This Way
Film:
Mission Impossible: Fallout
TV:
Better Call Saul


Amanda Brenner, Senior Production Editor

Book:
Florida by Lauren Groff
Film or TV Show:
BlaKKKlansman directed by Spike Lee


Valentina Texera-Parissi, CEO

Film or TV Show:
Handmaid’s Tale- resonates with me because of the eerie parallels to what is happening to my home country of Venezuela.


Michael Elsey, Director of Digital Media

Book:
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter – a light nimble book with depth and sadness and faint shimmers of hope. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was thisclose also. A YA adventure yarn with awesome characters and world building. And there is a heist!
Song:
This is America by Childish Gambino – but have to watch the video to make it resonate with all its power and fury
Film:
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse – amazing animated visuals that elevate an emotional story with heart, humor and action.
TV:
Season 3 Daredevil on Netflix – up from the ashes and into the heart of darkness. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?


Louise Galpine, Executive Director of Creative Development

Book:
Top three: The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich, The Last London by Iain Sinclair, and Heimat (Belonging) by Nora Krug.
Film or TV Show:
Visages Villages (Faces Places) dir. Agnes Varda and JR

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