Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VO-A’s radio magazine in Special English.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today, we tell about the most popular books, movies and recordings of the year two-thousand-two.
Most Popular Books of 2002
The newspaper U-S-A Today recently listed the most popular books of last year in the United States. It creates the list from information about the number of books sold during the year. Shep O’Neal tells us about a few of these books.
The most popular book on the list is “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by British writer Joanne Rowling (ROE-ling). It is the fourth book in an extremely popular series of stories for children. The books tell about an English boy named Harry Potter who learns that he has magical powers. They describe the adventures of Harry and his friends at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Harry is usually in danger from an evil wizard, Lord Voldemort. So far, Harry has defeated him each time they have met. Joanne Rowling says she will write seven “Harry Potter” books, one for each year he spends at Hogwarts School. The fifth book is expected to be published later this year.
The second most popular book of two-thousand-two is called “A Painted House.” It was written by American legal expert John Grisham. Mister Grisham is well known for writing stories about lawyers. “A Painted House” is a different kind of book for him. It is about a family’s ability to survive on a farm in the southern state of Arkansas in the nineteen-fifties. The story is told by seven-year-old Luke Chandler, who sees a murder on the farm. Critics say the book includes wonderful descriptions of life on a farm and examines the relationships between the boy and his parents and grandparents.
U-S-A Today says the third most popular book in the United States last year was “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold. This story is also told by a child, but this child has been murdered. Fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon tells about her life and death. The book shows how her family and friends are affected by her death. Critics say “The Lovely Bones” is about how people heal and find a way to connect to each other after a great tragedy.
Most Popular Movies of 2002
At the end of the year, the American movie industry reports about the most popular movies of the year. The two most popular movies last year were fantasy stories about heroes with special powers who battle the forces of evil.
The movie that earned the most money in ticket sales around the world last year was “Spider-Man.” It has earned more than eight-hundred-million dollars since it opened in May.
The movie is about a quiet teenage boy named Peter Parker who is bitten by a genetically engineered spider. This changes his body. He becomes extremely strong and fast, and has special powers, like a spider. He can climb up walls and jump from one tall building to another. Peter uses these powers to help people. He hides this secret from everyone as he battles the evil Green Goblin, who in normal life is the father of his best friend.
The second most popular movie around the world in two-thousand-two opened in December of two-thousand-one. “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring” also has earned more than eight-hundred-million dollars around the world, but in a longer period of time than “Spider-Man.”
Its story was first told in a book by British writer J.R.R. Tolkein. The story tells about a place called Middle Earth where a battle is about to start between the forces of good and evil. Frodo Baggins, a human-like creature called a hobbit, is the hero of the story. Frodo must take a magic ring back to where it was made and destroy it so that the forces of evil will be defeated. “Fellowship of the Ring” is the first of three books that tell about his journey. The movie is also the first of three that will show the struggles of Frodo Baggins and his allies to save their world.
Both “Spider-Man” and “Lord of the Rings” were produced by major movie companies which spent a lot of money to make them. One popular American movie called “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” has earned more than two-hundred-million dollars so far. It was made by a small independent group that did not have much money to spend. It is the most popular independent American movie ever made. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a very funny movie about an American girl whose family came from Greece. It shows what happens when she decides to marry a man who is not Greek.
Movie critics say it is popular because it is one of the few movies today that people of all ages can enjoy. People say they like the movie because the family is similar to everyone’s family, whether they are Greek or not.
Most Popular Recorndings of 2002
Each December, Billboard Magazine lists the most popular albums, records and performers of the year. Mary Tillotson tells us about a few of them.
Billboard magazine says the top album of two-thousand-two was recorded by rap music artist Eminem. It is called “The Eminem Show.” Here is a song from that album, “Without Me.”
Billboard says the male rock group Nickelback recorded the top single record of two-thousand-two. Here is that song, “How You Remind Me.”
Billboard says the second most popular song of the year was recorded by the top female recording artist of two-thousand-two. We leave you now with that song by Ashanti. It is called “Foolish.”
This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Kwasi Smith. And our producer was Paul Thompson.