Sweet Land

I’m not a huge television fan, but occasionally something so engaging comes across the screen that there’s nothing I’d rather do than snuggle up and let myself get swept away to another landscape, another time, another story.

Know what I mean?

For me, there’s no better time to get lost in a good movie than a chilly winter’s night over a holiday weekend.

So, let me share with you my recommendation for your next “me-time” movie night:

Sweet Land.

This is not a husband’s movie (read: action), or a kid’s movie (read: animation), although some of each would certainly enjoy it. At its heart, Sweet Land is a genuine woman’s movie, and a farmgirl’s movie at that.



Some of you may have seen this quiet, unsung gem (it was released in 2007 with plenty of critical acclaim, but not a lot of promotion). Those of you who haven’t are in for a treat. The story is simple, rooted in the American aftermath of World War II, but based on a short story by Will Weaver.

What counts most in this movie is its engaging cast of characters …

A gutsy German mail-order bride named Inge lands on the vast plains of Minnesota, where she is to marry Olaf, a young Norwegian immigrant farmer of few words. Forging a marriage under these conditions would have been challenging enough, but the task becomes even more complicated when the local minister forbids the marriage on the basis of Inge’s nationality (anti-German sentiment was still raging in the wake of the war), and the town banker is determined to foreclose on a neighboring friend’s farm.

I won’t say more, lest I give too much away, but I will tell you that friendship, happiness, laughter, and love are as plentiful as wheat in the fields. And the lovely Elizabeth Reaser’s portrayal of Inge adds sass and spice to a seemingly bleak northern town populated by tight-laced settlers.

Here’s the Sweet Land movie trailer for a sneak peek:





Genius Editor

New York Times, October 26, 2013:

“The humble board book, with its cardboard-thick pages, gently rounded corners and simple concepts for babies, was once designed to be chewed as much as read. But today’s babies are treated to board books that are miniature works of literary art. Booksellers say that parents are flocking to these books.”



Classics like Sherlock Holmes, Anna Karenina,



and Pride & Prejudice



are the brainchild of non-other than my own editor, Suzanne Gibbs Taylor, creative director at Gibbs Smith, a small publisher in Salt Lake City. The Times (front page!!!!) story went on to bring us even better news! “While the publishing industry is still scraping through the digital revolution, children’s books have remained relatively untouched. Most parents are sticking to print for their young children even when there are e-book versions or apps available, and videos like the once ubiquitous “Baby Einstein,” founded in 1997 as a fast-track to infant genius, have fallen out of fashion.” I’d say Suzanne ranks the genius category. I couldn’t be happier for her!


And if that doesn’t impress you, Suzanne’s store in Layton, Utah just might:

“One chick’s clutter
is another chick’s cluck.”



Or Suzanne’s adorable red glamper:


With a tag line that reads: To Enrich and Inspire Mankind, Gibbs Smith Publishing is in fact, doing just that, starting with the teething set.