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Monday
December 06th, 2021

the four winds spotlight pageELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

I see a lot of book titles working up the bestselling books list on the rail of this entertainment page and recently, I took a chance and borrowed another book I’d been seeing on the list for quite some time, Kristin Hannah’s “The Four Winds.” The story takes place in 1934, the middle of the Great Depression, and follows Elsa Martinelli and her children as they move to California trying to find a better life after being driven away from their home in the Great Plains due to the horrific dust storms and other bad circumstances. 

One of the major things I enjoyed about the book was the level of detail and description throughout. Hannah describes the dust storms so well, I could almost legitimately picture the dust and dirt and hear the howling winds of each storm. Hannah also does a great job describing the drought conditions and absolute barrenness of the lands of the Martinelli farm that force Elsa and her children to leave. The descriptions are also pretty historically accurate of those conditions, as well as the descriptions of boarded up and bankrupt storefronts, and all of that culminates into how much EVERYONE struggled during the Great Depression, particularly in the Great Plains.

And it is not the description of the external conditions Hannah describes so well. Every character is given a spotlight throughout the book as far as expressing feelings and emotions, and the reader gets the point of view of everyone, from Elsa’s feelings of wanting to be loved by someone and wanting a better life for her children, to daughter Loreda’s feelings of wanting there to be more to life than just surviving each day. Each emotion is expressed so well, and it’s all written so naturally that everyone can relate to at least some part of what the characters are thinking and feeling. The only minor gripe I have with this aspect is I wish Loreda would have had a “Come to Jesus” moment where she realizes how much her mother is doing for them earlier – she’s a total brat throughout pretty much the entire book and focuses on only HER pain and frustration, and it’s not until basically the end when she even somewhat feels bad about how she treated Elsa. I wish there would have been a little more character development and maturity with her character, because I found it rather hard to sympathize with her as the story went along. 

dan dan the magic man spotlight pageDan Dan the Magic Man prepares a trick with his pet rabbit during a 2019 performance at Liberal Memorial Library. He will be returning to the library for a performance starting at 10 a.m. July 1. L&T file photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

Liberal Memorial Library will become a more magical place for children and their parents thanks to an upcoming show. 

Dan Heath, aka Dan Dan the Magic Man, will be doing a performance July 1 on the front lawn at Liberal Memorial Library, with the show starting at 10 a.m. Heath said he is excited to be coming back to Liberal for a performance. 

“We always get a huge, awesome crowd in Liberal. This is my 19th year doing summer reading performances in Southwest Kansas, and it's always awesome to come to Liberal and perform there,” Heath said. “The audiences are always wonderful, the children always love live entertainment, and the summer reading program there is very large, which is always great because it shows how important literacy is to the community. It's always a great crowd there, so we love coming to Liberal.”

in the heights spotlight pageUsnavi (Anthony Ramos) and Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) share a tender moment in this scene from “In The Heights.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a massive delay with many things last year, especially the movie business. One of the many movies that had its release postponed (and one I was particularly looking forward to) was the movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical “In The Heights.” The movie tells the story of a corner in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan in New York City, where each member of the community pursues their dream of a better life. And even though the movie’s release was postponed, I have to say, it was totally worth the wait. 

The first thing I have to say about this movie is it has A LOT of energy – i.e., if you were take the energy that practically vibrated  from this movie, you could power practically the entirety of New York. The musical numbers are full of energy, the colors and scenery design are dazzling to look at, and the costumes are also quite colorful (particularly in the big club scene about 2/3 through the movie). Overall, the movie is very bright and vibrant and it would be nearly impossible to be bored while watching it. 

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