the danish girlThe Danish Girl follows the lives and work of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. This movie is based on the real lives of these two Lili Elbe was a transgender Danish painter, born Einar Wegener. Einar and Lili were married and lived together painting and illustrating different portraits and landscapes.

Einar Wegener was a Danish landscape painter born in 1882 who married Gerda Gottlieb when they were just 21 and 19. This movie begins with them being happily married with a loving relationship. One of the couple’s friends walks in on Gerda painting Einar as he is holding up a dress and wearing heels and tights. The friend says that they should start calling Einar, Lili instead. This name-giving serves as a sort of shift for Einar.

Einar begins dressing up more as a woman with Gerda even helping him get into character one night when they go to a party. Einar ends up in full Lili garb and this new persona is born. Einar begins treating Lili as if she is a totally separate individual from himself. Einar has begun his transformation into completely becoming Lili, something he always knew he wanted to be. Einar and Gerda’s relationship becomes strained, but they don’t stray from each other’s sides, eventually settling in Paris with Einar fully transitioning to live openly as Lili.

This movie follows Einar’s journey to Lili and how Lili struggles to accept the truth that this ‘Lili’ persona is her true an authentic self. He reveals that he is a woman, that he was simply born into the wrong body, but that it sometimes feels like he has two people in his one body and that they are both fighting to see who will take over. Einar struggles with revealing this admission because the doctors he visits sometimes either do not believe him or wish to send him to a mental institution. Lili eventually meets a doctor who tells her that he can help her become her true self through sex reassignment surgery, something she desperately wants. Gerda and Lili’s relationship evolves and changes throughout this movie as both of them struggle to deal with their new identities. This movie was sincerely eye-opening for me and the actors did a wonderful job of portraying each character.

This movie is also a book, available in a physical copy and also as an OverDrive ebook.


my berlin kitchenIt takes courage to turn your life upside down, especially when everyone is telling you how lucky you are. But sometimes what seems right can feel deeply wrong. My Berlin Kitchen tells the story of how one thoroughly confused, kitchen-mad perfectionist broke off her engagement to a handsome New Yorker, quit her dream job, and found her way to a new life, a new man, and a new home in Berlin—one recipe at a time.

Luisa Weiss will seduce you with her stories of foraging for plums in abandoned orchards, battling with white asparagus at the tail end of the season, orchestrating a three-family Thanksgiving in Berlin, and mending her broken heart with batches (and batches) of impossible German Christmas cookies. Fans of her award-winning blog The Wednesday Chef, will know the happy ending, but anyone who enjoyed Julie and Julia will laugh and cheer and cook alongside Luisa as she takes us into her heart and tells us how she gave up everything only to find love waiting where she least expected it. (description from publisher)

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is a delightful little love story.  Judging from the cover art,  I was expecting it to take place earlier in the century, but it is definitely set in the present day, in a charming English country village called Edgecomb St. Mary.

Major Pettigrew, though retired, is the personification of a very proper English gentleman, fond of all things British, including a cup of freshly brewed tea.  When his brother dies unexpectedly, he is surprised to find himself drawn into a friendship with Mrs. Ali, a local Pakistani shopkeeper.  As their friendship develops into something more, they discover that many of their friends and neighbors have trouble accepting their new relationship.  Throw is some scenes from some recalcitrant family members and you’ve got yourself a full-fledged drama.  Well, okay, it’s not a tragedy like Romeo and Juliet, but it is sweet, it is sensitive and it is a refreshingly real love story featuring more “mature” participants.  But then, love is not only for the young — and we can all choose to be young at heart.