As a star on the TV’s best soap opera, “The Bold and the Beautiful,” I appeared as CFO of Forrester Creations seven different times. Like megastars, Prince, Bono, and Sting, my character had just one name on the show: Chapman.
Unfortunately, once a soap opera episode is shown, it’s never shown again. It is, as they say, in the can. I always lamented this short shelf life, that is until COVID-19 hit. The dearth of new TV shows during the stay-at-home lockdown resulted in the streaming of old B&B shows on the internet. This happy byproduct of a miserable scourge led to my recently receiving a residual payment of $6.81 from SAG for those streamed shows. Yes, I am indeed a proud card-carrying member of SAG!
I bring all this up as evidence that COVID-19 has turned most of us into TV zombies looking for whatever we can to fill the hours, including reruns of soap operas. With that in mind, and as a newfound connoisseur of online entertainment, I’d like to recommend the following series: Both seasons of “Charité” and all three seasons of “Babylon Berlin” on Netflix.
I also recommend all seven seasons of Amazon Prime’s “A French Village.” You’ll especially love this if you’re like me and are obsessed with anything relating to World War II history.
The above streaming series are all dramas. For a change of pace, I highly recommend a laugh riot, “Death at a Funeral.” This is a traditional feature-length film. But be sure to get the 2007 British version—not the tired American remake that came along in 2010.
With all the TV products out there, if any of you are still reading or listening (Audible.com) to books, here are a few of my favorites.
For some reason, I never had a chance to read “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother.” Since its publication in 1995, it has become a classic. So, if you’re like me and somehow missed it, now’s your chance to read this truly magnificent book.
“The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life” by Lauren Markham is a true story about 17-year old twin brothers who escape El Salvador’s gang violence and abject poverty by illegally entering the U.S. Rather than rehashing abstract arguments about illegal immigration, this deeply moving book gives us the human side of the story.
I don’t relish books specifically written about leadership. I do, however, enjoy biographies about people who also happen to be great leaders. One of those is Gen. George C. Marshall, America’s great soldier-statesman. I found David Roll’s new bio, “George Marshall: Defender of the Republic,” masterfully written and filled with many great leadership lessons.
As for memoirs, I really enjoyed “My Young Life” by Frederic Tuten. His description of meeting Ernest Hemingway is alone worth the price of admission. Another memoir I found fascinating is Woody Allen’s “Apropos of Nothing.” I know this is a controversial book, but Woody Allen is one of our leading filmmakers whose voice deserves to be heard, including his compelling defense against the allegations of molestation made against him.
Those who have followed my summer book recommendations over the years know that I almost always include a dog story. This year, I’m going to shake things up a bit and recommend a cat story, “A Street Cat Named Bob and How He Saved My Life” by James Bowen. To find out how Bob did that, you’ll have to read the book. It’s truly an amazing story.
I hope one or more of the above tickle your fancies. If not, remember “De gustibus non est disputandum” (In matters of taste, there can be no disputes).
Editor’s Note: When Jim Doti, president emeritus of Chapman University, is not opining on matters of taste, he is preparing economic forecasts such as his mid-year review, which is scheduled as a virtual conference at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23. To view the free forecast, register at https://economicforecast.chapman.edu/registration.