Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dear Great Book Guru,  Last weekend, I went to see the classic film "Lawrence of Arabia" in Brooklyn's iconic BAM Harvey Movie Theater.  Recently renovated and restored to its 1920's gloriously gilded past, the Harvey is showing some of the best movies of the last decades and "Lawrence…. " was certainly one of those. Making it even more interesting and relevant was the picture it drew of how the Middle East of 2013 with its myriad of issues came into being. I would love to learn more about that period of history and its many colorful characters.  Any suggestions?  Loathe to Leave Sea Cliff but….

Dear Loathe to Leave…. I know just how you feel about venturing out of Sea Cliff on the weekend but sometimes one just has to do it. We joined Joseph Anzalone and Gillian DiPietro to see that movie in Brooklyn  and it was indeed incredible.  (Of course, we returned to Sea Cliff for a delicious dinner at the Metropolitan Bistro !) We were left with so many questions that I searched out some books for answers and I found an especially good one:  GERTRUDE BELL-QUEEN OF THE DESERT, SHAPER OF NATIONS by Georgina Howell. Bell was a contemporary of Lawrence's and in many ways more influential in determining the fate of that region. Born into the sixth wealthiest family in Britain, Bell had the means, personality, and intelligence to do whatever she wanted and her passion was Arabia. While she, Lawrence, and many of their allies were  ultimately viewed as  puppets of British imperialism, Bell remains a fascinating figure in a fascinating time.  Recommended!

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