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WATCH LIST: February 2013

Have you read or watched anything on this list? Would you recommend it to others?

By Observer Staff

Triumph of the Wall
DIRECTED BY BILL STONE (Bunbury Films)


Documentary filmmaker Bill Stone follows a novice builder in rural Quebec aiming to construct a 1,000-foot-long dry stone wall in eight weeks. Eight years later, it’s still incomplete. As deadlines passed, “girlfriends left, pets died . . . I figured I had to blame somebody,” Stone says. The film is the story of two friends working through frustrating expectations and learning the art of finishing what you’ve started. Feb. 8

The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus
BY DAVID BURNS (Oxford University Press)


Focusing on a little-known chapter of American biblical criticism, historian David Burns describes how progressive thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries conceived of a radical Jesus whose contribution to the world was simply setting a good example. They imagined Jesus, not as the divine son of God, but as a freethinker who could bridge the gap between religion and modern-day civilization. Feb. 5

The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture and What It Means for Our Future
BY DARRELL BRICKER AND JOHN IBBITSON (HarperCollins Canada)


Elites from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa used to be the key economic and political drivers of Canada. That’s no longer so, argue the authors of The Big Shift. In recent years, the power balance has tipped to western provinces and Asian immigrants. Canada is becoming polarized — east versus west, urban versus rural — and few even realize it. Feb. 26

Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World
BY MATTHEW GOODMAN (Ballantine Books)


Inspired by Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days, two young female journalists set off from New York on Nov. 14, 1889, to race each other around the globe. Nellie Bly was a hard-hitting newspaper reporter, Elizabeth Bisland an arts-loving magazine writer. With vivid detail, Matthew Goodman captures the dramatic journeys of these two extraordinary women. Feb. 26


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