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Mixed Media Roundup: May 2023


Beneath the Wide Silk Sky 

By Emily Inouye Huey
Reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema

Samantha Sakamoto is an amateur photographer and dreams of winning a photography contest and its prize money to help her dad make his final payment on their farm.  

Little does Sam realize how perilous her dream will become. In the days following Dec. 7, 1941, discrimination against Japanese Americans intensifies, and their belongings, suddenly considered a threat to national security, are confiscated—including Sam’s camera.

In the months ahead, as Sam experiences and witnesses the oppression of her Japanese American community she begins to see her passion for photography and its power to document events as a means to fight oppression. At times searingly painful, unflinchingly honest, and achingly hopeful, Beneath the Wide Silk Sky is historical fiction at its best. (Scholastic Press) 


Physical 100 

Reviewed by Daniel Jung

The premise of the Korean TV import Physical 100 is familiar: 100 contestants live together and compete in athletic challenges. The losers are eliminated until the last contestant standing wins 300 million won (roughly $240,000). 

But instead of rooting for individual contestants, I found myself rooting for the best matchups, the truest sense of gameplay, and the most honorable competition. 

Physical 100 is refreshing because we see that for these contestants, virtues such as honor, fair play, and teamwork are more valuable than a pile of cash. In other words, we get a sense of the Beatitudes in real life. I hope that other reality competition shows will notice Physical 100 and follow in its footsteps. (Netflix)


Dancing in the Wild Spaces of Love: A Theopoetics of Gift and Call, Risk and Promise

By James H. Olthuis
Reviewed by Mary Li Ma

James Olthuis explores the theme of love through a trifold lens. Chapters 1-4 focus on how God created love, not just ex nihilo (out of nothing), but ex amore (out of love). In Olthuis’ words, “creation was birthed in love.”

Chapters 5-8 discuss the image bearers of a God who is love. “It is in loving (or not loving) that we show (or betray) our humanity,” Olthuis says.

Finally, Olthuis presents an ethical treatise about human suffering when love is lost. As humans seek healthy relationships with each other and paths of healing from injustices, there ought to be a “radical politics of love.” Olthuis, a psychotherapist, emphasizes the importance of personal growth and emotional healing as part of the journey. (Wipf and Stock).


Extraordinary Attorney Woo

Reviewed by Sara Kyoungah White

Extraordinary Attorney Woo follows Woo Young-woo, a brilliant young attorney with autism. Though she graduates at the top of her law school class, she struggles to find a job because of her neurodivergence. After finally starting as an attorney at a large law firm in Seoul, her photographic memory and intelligence help her excel in a variety of difficult court cases. But she also struggles to find her way through office bullying and the assumptions made by her co-workers and friends. She navigates morally ambiguous cases and experiences her first budding romance—as well as the complications this causes.

Starring Park Eun-bin, Kang Tae-oh, and Kang Ki-young, Extraordinary Attorney Woo is Netflix’s sixth-most popular non-English-language show of all time. (Netflix)

The Lowdown

From Pandemic to Renewal: As Chris Rice examines eight interrelated crises exposed by the pandemic era, he provides pathways for followers of Christ to bring transformation and healing to their lives and communities. (May 23, IVP)

Starring Priyanka Chopra Jones: In Love Again, in dealing with the loss of her fiance, Mira Ray sends a series of romantic texts to his old cell phone number, not realizing the number was reassigned to journalist Rob Burns’ new work phone. (Sony Screen Gems, in theaters May 12)

Action, Comedy, Drama, Adventure, Fantasy: Jin Wang, an average teenager, juggles his high school social life with his home life. When he meets a new student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as Jin is unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological figures. American Born Chinese stars Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan. (Disney+, May 24)

A Movie Version Is a Safe Bet: Tom Hanks pens his debut novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, about a humble comic book that inspires a multimillion-dollar superhero action film. (Knopf, May 9)

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