Book/Film Recommendations Wanted

Peeps, I am currently looking for book and film recommendations within the following parameters:

Books: Anything outside of the SF genre.

Films: Anything that’s not a SF film, YA movie, or Romantic Comedy

No time-limit in terms of the release – I’m currently going back over nearly a decade of recommendations people have made that I never got around to watching, and it covers a lot of ground.The limitations are explicitly there because I want stuff outside of my particular taste and comfort zone, which have grown increasingly calcified in recent years.

If you’ve got something you’ve loved, let me know.

  6 comments for “Book/Film Recommendations Wanted

  1. fictionmachine
    11/01/2016 at 10:01 AM

    There’s a great Japanese film titled Villain that I haven’t managed to quite get out of my head since watching it. You should also track down some Johnnie To movies from Hong Kong: I particularly recommend Throw Down, PTU, Exiled and Election 1 and 2.

  2. 11/01/2016 at 10:39 AM

    I strongly recommend anything by my favourite author, KJ Charles who writes largely m/m romance, largely of a historical or fantasy bent. Particularly recommended: Think of England. There is explicit m/m sex in most of her books, in case you’d like to be aware of that going in, but they’re also lovely and interesting books. (I always much prefer a romance novel that has more going on than just two people falling in love, and KJ Charles delivers in spades.)

  3. sleech
    11/01/2016 at 11:29 AM

    For a TV series, check out Deutschland 83. It’s a German (with subtitles) espionage drama basically looking at one of the great Cold War crises from the East German point of view. It’s got some lovely touches showing the relationship between West Germany and the US. It’s eight episodes of some o fthe best TV I’ve seen in a long, long time.

  4. Thoraiya
    11/01/2016 at 12:33 PM

    OMG today I started reading “Foreign Soil” ( ) by Maxine Beneba Clarke and it is AMAZING!

    Now that I think about it, I remember when it got shortlisted for the Stella, and I was all “eh, short stories, boo, I wish it was a novel” but then I borrowed it from the library forgetting that it was short stories, and now I don’t care 🙂

  5. 11/01/2016 at 4:21 PM

    Some of my top non-fiction books (where top = infinitely rereadable, entertaining and informative, and occurring to me off the top of my head):

    Early Birds by HC Miller: a raconteur and pre-WWI Australian Aviation Pioneer – fascinating and frequently hilarious
    Flying Nurse by Robin Miller: HC Miller’s daughter, aka “the sugar-bird lady” who flew the polio vaccine around Australia and did aircraft maintenance in a pencil skirt (her mother was Mary Durack who wrote Kings in Grass Castles)
    My God, It’s A Woman by Nancy Bird: Trained with Kingsford Smith, one of Robin Miller’s teachers and Qantas named the first A380 after her. Early flying doctor services, the other side of the Green Mountains/O’Reilly’s air crash disaster, etc. Not quite as well-written as the first two, but fascinating.
    Reach for the Sky by Paul Brickhill (book or movie): Biography of a pilot who had both his legs amputated and then became a WWII flying ace, escaped from Colditz, etc. Funny, charming, gripping.
    Between Silk and Cyanide by Leo Marks: Autobiography of a code-writer for SOE in WWII, who later became a film writer. Funny, clever, compelling, and wrenching, for and as he devised codes in London (rather than breaking them at Bletchley) he met all the famous agents-in-occupied territory (The White Mouse, The White Rabbit, the four who blew up the heavy water plant etc). Also features a brief appearance by Helene Hanff, the author of…
    84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff: the correspondence between HH (an opinionated New York writer) and the staff of a second-hand bookshop in England just after the war, the bookshop being owned by Leo Marks’ dad. This is a very short book, as is Underfoot in Show Business, her account of failing to make it on Broadway, and all that post-war New York bohemian society.
    Cameos of Crime by M O’Sullivan, Qld police commissioner in the ’40s: a collection of anecdotes about policing in Qld and Brisbane in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries (and he met the patriarch of the Duracks which links it back into the first few recommendations.
    A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird, an intrepid Victorian lady-traveller, about travelling through pioneering Colorado in the height of the Old West.
    The Charge of the Light Brigade (or The Reason Why) by Cecil Woodham Smith: An account of the disastrous battle in the Crimean War which effortlessly, infuriatingly, draws in all the strands of Regency society and corruption to make a gripping account of the irreconcilable differences between two men.
    Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother by Penelope Mortimer: A genuinely funny, acerbic, informative account of an eccentric, privileged, much-assassinated family at the beginning of the 20th century.
    The Mitford Girls by Mary S. Lovell: A century-spanning family biography. One fell in love with Hitler. One was an active fascist. One eloped with Churchill’s nephew to fight in the Spanish civil war, moved to America and became a communist. It is out-of-control.
    The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford (the above-mentioned communist sister): a searing, informative, society-altering and fascinating account of the American funeral industry.
    Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy: full of history and anecdotes of the early frontiers of computing.
    Life Among the Doctors by Paul de Kruif: Essentially a history of major moments of public medicine in the first half of the 20th century, but full of people and story. He also wrote The Microbe Hunters, a classic of which I have fond but non-specific memories.
    The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine by Dr James le Fanu: an overview of major medical breakthroughs of the 20th century.

    • 11/01/2016 at 4:33 PM

      Movies are a shorter list!

      Zulu (Stanley Baker and Michael Caine): the opening scenes are a bit over-long, but after that it’s a tense, contained, compelling, occasionally progressive and occasionally not, and very influential film. Also, Stanley Baker as Chard is the only actor I’ve ever fallen for (although no-one understands this).

      What’s Up Doc: (Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neill) – slapstick ’70s homage to the Hepburn/Tracy comedies. Best car chase in cinema history.

      My Family and Other Animals: the BBC movie of Gerald Durrell’s memoir of removing as a child to Corfu with his eccentric British family in the 1930s. Charming, kind, with a marvellous ensemble cast (including Imelda Staunton).

      Our Mutual Friend: A typically solid BBC miniseries of the Dickens novel, which is my favourite book, and I shall always be fond of the series for introducing me to it. Keeley Hawes, Paul McGann.

      Reach for the Sky: the movie of the biography mentioned above.

      Goodbye Lenin: After growing up in East Berlin, a young man has to conceal the fall of the wall from his sick mother in case the shock proves too much for her. Ultimately, about the times we have to lie to people because we love them.

Leave a Reply