book adjacent, not a book

Not a Book: Murder Among the Mormons

I’m on a bit of a documentary jag on my TV viewing at the moment – and no I’m not counting Selling Sunset and Selling Tampa as documentaries – they’re definitely “constructed reality” or whatever they’re calling it now. Anyway this week I watched all three episodes of Murder Among the Mormons across two nights and it was really good.

Murder Among the Mormons looks at three bombings that took place in Salt Lake City in Utah in 1985. It soon becomes apparent that the bombings are linked to the trade in historical documents – and particularly to a series of documents related to the history of the Latter Day Saint movement. It’s got interviews with most of the key figures in the story and looks at the run up to the bombings, the bombings themselves and then the investigation looking to find the perpetrators.

Regular readers of the blog will know that the weirder corners of American religion and religious history and this fitted right into that niche for me. It’s not actually even a new release – it came out almost a year ago but despite all the murder mysteries I read, I’m not usually a big true crime murder mystery person because there’s no guarantee you’re going to get a resolution the way you are in a book that’s sticking to genre conventions. So I probably wouldn’t have watched this if it wasn’t for this tweet from Julie Cohen:

I mean how can you resist trying to find out about the magic salamander. And there actually not a lot more I want to say about the actual contents of the documentary. Because if you go into this not knowing any more than I’ve told you at the top: car bombs linked to the trade in historical documents then this will be a really wild ride. I can’t speak to how it works for you if you already know the story – but the makers of the documentary have put this together incredibly cleverly. So, it’s only three hours of your life – go, go, go.

And if this is your first toe in the corner of the various of Mormonism, then do go have a look at my posts about Under the Banner of Heaven, the season of Unfinished about Short Creek and also relatively recent BotW Educated.

Have a great Sunday!

book adjacent, Recommendsday

#Recommendsday: Book-adjacent stuff to watch

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been having some problems concentrating on books at various points during the Current Situation, so I’ve been watching a lot of TV in those concentration lapses. As I watch news all day every day at work, I don’t watch news on my off days, and tend to favour non-news TV. I thought today I’d mention some of the bookish things that I have watched, along with all the Drag Race, Tiger King, My Lottery Dream Home and Great British Menu.

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

A couple of years back I read Judith Mackerell’s The Unfinished Palazzo, about a house in Venice that was owned by Luisa Casati, Doris Castelrosse and Peggy Guggenheim. When I wrote about the book in my Rich People Problems nonfiction post last year, I said I would happily read more about any of them, which is true, but Peggy is the one I ws really curious about. So imagine my delight when I found a feature length documentary about her on BBC Four the other week.  And it turns out, she’s just as interesting as I thought she would be – and possibly as much of a nightmare to be around as I suspected too.  I am still definitely in the market for a good book about her – but this was a very good watch.  Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict is available to watch for people in the UK (with a TV licence) on the BBC iPlayer for another nine days.

Becoming Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama’s memoir was huuuuuge when it came out – huge to the point were a year on it’s still not out in paperback and there’s still a hold queue for it at my library. Now Netflix has a new documentary that follows her on the tour she did to promote the book, which saw her talking to huge arenas and small groups. If you haven’t read the book (and I haven’t yet) it is a really good insight into her life and her story. I assume if you have read the book, it does the same but even more so! It’s got bonus appearances from Barack Obama, and for the news junkies like me you get to see behind the scenes of some of the TV interviews you may have seen her (and her mum) do at the time of the booklaunch. This one’s on Netflix now.

Wise Children

There’s a lot of theatre that has been on YouTube or TV during the lockdown, but this has been one of the most interesting to me. This is an adaptation of Angela Carters book about two ageing music hall stars, the unacknowledged daughters of the most famous Shakespearian actor of the day. I read the book two years ago, and while it is very good it didn’t really strike me as a show that would be easily adapted for the stage – despite the fact that it is about the theatre. But Emma Rice has done it and now we can all watch. I haven’t got to the end of this yet, but I’m really enjoying as much of it as I have watched. Wise Children is available to watch for people in the UK (with a TV licence) on BBC iPlayer until at least the start of June.

Howl’s Moving Castle

I read the book the other year, but I saw the film first and it has a special place in my heart because of that. All of the Studio Ghibli stuff is available on Netflix now, so if you haven’t seen them already, now is your chance. I’m planning on watching it again – but this time with subtitles instead of the English language dub.

Voila – a few ideas from me. Please put any suggestions you have for me in the comments – I will run out of Drag race soon…

Happy Watching!