Recommendations of the Week: 2/12-2/18

Each week, the staff here at The Anchor give their recommendations on an album, book and movie to enjoy. Here are our recommendations for the week of 2/14-2/18.

Album- Just As I Am by Bill Withers

Recommended by Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso

Just as I Am (Bill Withers album) - Wikipedia
Photo Credits: Wikipedia

Bill Withers had a voice that exuded calm warmth. His voice brought memories of summer barbecues, car rides with friends, and the chirp of summer crickets. At the same time, Withers had a voice that could bring on the most powerful of emotions. His commanding tone was able to express thundering, sorrowful emotions with confidence and control– as an example, his landmark song “Ain’t No Sunshine”. What I’m trying to get across here is that Bill Withers was versatile. He could get funky, he could slow things down to a ballad, he could sing soul, and he could write pop tunes too. He presents that skill best on Just As I Am, released in 1971. His funky tendencies shine best on songs like “Do it Good”, his soul comes out beautifully on “Hope She’ll be Happier”, and his groove gets exhibited well on “Better off Dead”. He was also a champion of the everyday, writing extensively on daily subjects like work, family, friends and loss, subjects that the average person could relate too. On Just As I Am, Withers opens with a soulfully arranged “Harlem”, where he sings about the struggles of Harlem with a sense of community. “Grandma’s Hands”, an ode to his grandmother, is another song with a subject that many can relate to, especially in the black community where grandmothers are often of great importance. Bill Withers at the end of the day, besides all of his fantastic thematic expression, also just made great music. He is a master songwriter whose influence stretches wide and far, and no where else does he exhibit his musical expertise best than on Just As I Am.

Film- Marcel the Shell with Shoes On by Dean Fleischer-Camp

Recommended by Sarah Nabi

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2022) - Posters — The Movie Database (TMDB)
Photo Credits:

In a world oversaturated with an immense amount of sameness, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a breath of fresh air. The film tells the story of Marcel, who is unsurprisingly a shell with shoes on. With just his orange sneakers, his grandma Connie, and pet lint Alan, Marcel manages to live life colorfully in a long uninhabited Airbnb. Eventually, the house is rented by a documentary filmmaker who, after discovering Marcel, decides to film him and his day to day activities. As we fall in love with Marcel and Connie we learn about the terrible disappearance of their family, and how they care for themselves in their absence. The film expertly covers what it means to live and love even when nothing makes sense or the world seems to be fighting against you. And even though he’s only an inch tall, Marcel has the heart of someone 100 times his size, ensuring that you’ll leave wondering how a movie about a talking shell that hang-glides on a Dorito for fun could have moved you to tears.. Nowadays it is so rare to find a film that is both so unique and well executed and Marcel the Shell with Shoes On accomplishes both.


Book- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Recommended by Castalia Litos

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries): 0099455014991: Christie, Agatha: Books -
Photo Credits: Amazon

While not the famous author’s most popular mystery, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd takes a unique point of view, that of a local doctor finding himself thrown in the middle of family secrets, lies, inconsistencies, and cold-blooded murder. Roger Ackroyd, the titular character, is murdered the same day of his secret fiancee’s rumored suicide, just after revealing that she had admitted to him that she had poisoned her ex-husband after being blackmailed. Enter Hercule Poirot, Christie’s famous Belgian detective, to deduce, along with Dr. Sheppard (the narrator) just who committed the infamous murder of Roger Ackroyd, yet the family, and Dr. Sheppard himself, learns much more than bargained for. Christie never misses a beat when it comes to the details, and despite the straightforward writing style she employs, the details and tiny quirks of her characters are never lost on the reader.

Notable Quote: “The truth, however ugly in itself, is always curious and  beautiful to the seeker after it.” – Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie)

If you want to submit your own recommendations, contact Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso at [email protected]