Monday, March 28, 2016

Big Ideas, Simply Explained from DK Books

Over spring break we enjoyed a "staycation" of sorts (if you call de-cluttering the house a staycation). We had some extra time to enjoy our giant collection of books, including our most recent finds - two wonderful books from DK's Big Ideas Boutique. These books tackle big topics (think philosophy, science and even Sherlock Holmes) with simple explanations and great big, beautiful pictures. My husband picked out The Movie Book from the boutique because he and I have long been extreme movie addicts.

Yes, we even like Citizen Kane. And we're not just pretending we like it to sound sophisticated. We took a couple of film classes together as electives in university and those were some of the best courses ever. We probably won't be watching Rashomon again any time soon, but we can certainly look it up in The Movie Book, where we are reminded that director Akira Kurosawa was the first Japanese director to find popularity in the West. A timeline of significant films in the fifties shows us that 1950's Rashomon tells a crime story in different viewpoints, "a template that would be imitated in many movies."

The chapters progress from early visionaries (think Battleship Potemkin) to contemporary cinema (such as The Hurt Locker and Boyhood). The book explores 100 of the best films ever produced and contains highlights from ever genre (New Wave, romantic comedy, sci-fi) and different parts of the world. It's really like several university film courses condensed into one handy book!

My major in undergrad was English and I so yearn for my kids to love books as much as I do (and did as a child). My daughter shows promise in this regard but my son is largely consumed with video games. At least he plays online with his friends now so there is some socializing involved. That's something. But one story both of the kids really do like is The Little Prince. My husband has exposed them to it because he loves it and has taught it to students in the past. (I admit it isn't a favourite of mine.) DK's The Literature Book has a whole section on Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince in case you read it and wondered what the heck it was about.

The Literature Book's timeline shows us that The Little Prince was published in 1943 when the author was exiled in the US during World War II. The two full pages exploring the novella tell us that, "Like many of the great literary works from this era, The Little Prince is not strictly a 'war' novel but it is shaped by the political and social context that the war brought about." There are many fascinating revelations about more than 100 key poems, plays and novels in The Literature Book, which guides us through 4,000 years of literary history. One of my fave sections is Romanticism and The Rise of The Novel (1800-1855) which includes such gifted female authors as Jane Austen, Mary Shelley and the Bronte sisters. The only problem is I want to put down the book and pick up a novel!

Have a look at the Big Ideas Boutique. What topic would you like to explore in more detail?

Find The Books in Canada

The Literature Book
The Movie Book

Find The Books in the US

The Literature Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained)
The Movie Book (Big Ideas Simply Explained)

*I received books for review purposes. All opinions are authentic and my own. This post contains affiliate links.


  1. I love books,its nice to see others enjoying them !

  2. OH don't your boys look so studious in your pictures and what a lovely sectional lol

  3. OMG my daughter would freak for the movie book!!

    1. It's nice to have a reference for movie-watching ideas. :)

  4. Informative stuff. Actually, I'm also a student and find out the solved or answers to my syllabus questions & landed here. When I finished reading, I put a book down with a shrug. I thought it was too simple, too cheap and trite. At the same time, I felt similarities to other Murakami novels. Its a fact you have also shared an enjoyable and informative piece of content here. Anyways, thanks for sharing the nice piece of stuff with us.

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