April!

Well it’s April. That’s all I got. Here’s some items you should check out at the library:

Mary – Reference

ImageDuke of Midnight – By: Elizabeth Hoyt – New Fiction: Hoyt

This book was a great escape from the suspense/thriller books I’ve been reading lately. It lightheartedly had blackmail,l backstabbing, revenge and, of course, romance. The story begins with a Duke disguised as a masked “Ghost of St. Giles” pursuing two women; And, ends with the Duke falling in love with a lady’s companion. Ah…

ImageSilent in the Sanctuary: A Lady Julia Grey Mystery – By: Deanna Raybourn – Fiction: Raybourn

Second in the Lady Julia Grey Mystery Series. Set in the 1880′s Julia thrives when there is intrigue and dangter in her life. A bit of a melodrama with stories within stories within stories; unique characters, relationships unfinished, smoldering tension and a murder to be solved with a twist! Excellent writing, great characterization and a finely orchestrated mystery.

Sue – Circulation

ImageCollected Poems of Sara Teasdale – Nonfiction: 811.52 Tea

I find Sara Teasdale’s lyrical poetry to be beautiful in its imagery and simplicity. This collection includes poems from all of her published volumes. She was born in 1884, growing up in Missouri. She moved to New York City as an adult and passed away in 1933. Her poems are mostly about romance and natural beauty, but also explore human loss and death. She struggled with unhappiness in her lifetime and committed suicide at the age of 48. In some of her poems, you can sense her depth of emotion and a focus on endings, especially in her final volume of poems, published the same year as her death. One of her most famous poems, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” speaks of the world after a human war and how wildlife and nature go on without caring about the fate of humans. One of my favorite of her poems is “Night,” a short and simple but lovely poem about finding beauty in the world. Others poems in this collection that I enjoyed reading are “A Prayer,” “Leaves,” “Meadowlarks,” and “Wood Song.”

ImageSelected Poems – by Wendell Berry – Nonfiction: 811.54 Ber

Wendell Berry is an American poet, as well as a novelist, essayist, and farmer. His poems speak to the importance of man living in harmony with nature, with an emphasis on preserving the land and farming with natural methods. This book is a collection of some of his best poems from the first 25 years of his writing career. My favorite poem in this collection is “The Peace of Wild Things,” which contemplates how humans fear and worry about things that haven’t even happened while wild animals live in the moment and have more peaceful existences.

ImageThe Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing – Edited by Kevin Young – Nonfiction: 811.54 Art

We have all suffered loss in our lives. I have been able to find some solace after loss through books. This book is a collection of poems whose subject matter encompasses loss, grieving, and healing. The book is divided into sections that roughly follow the stages of grieving and offers poems for each of the sections: Reckoning; Regret; Remembrance; Ritual; Recovery; and Redemption. The majority of the poems are contemporary, written in the latter part of the 20th century, with a few classics from earlier times as well. The poems are quality works in their own right, and are not only for the recently bereaved. Some of my favorite poets are represented in this work, including Mary Oliver, James Wright, Li-Young Lee, Galway Kinnell, Philip Larkin, and Billy Collins. Some of the poems are heartbreaking, but many of them are also hopeful or express gratitude. They are all beautiful and moving.

Margaux – Circulation

ImageBinny For Short – By Hillary McKay, With Illustrations by Micah Player – Juvenile Fiction: J MCKAY

Binny thinks of her life in two acts: the first act, up until she was eight years old, when her father was still alive and her dog Max had not been given away. We meet her when she is eleven and her Great-Aunt Violet has passed away and suddenly Binny and her family are no longer living from paycheck to paycheck. When Aunt Violet leaves the family her home, Binny moves to a home by the sea where she makes new friends and a new life. The modern illustrations add a fun element to this poetic read.

ImageJoey Pigza Swallowed the Key – by Jack Gantos – Juvenile Fiction: J Gantos

Joey Pigza can’t do anything right. He makes his grandma mad, he can’t sit still in class, and he drives his teachers crazy (especially when he forgets his ADHD medication). The grownups in his life are getting so fed up with Joey that they are thinking of transferring him to a special education center downtown. Joey’s goal is to stop being a disappointment to everyone he cares about. This heartbreaking story is, at its heart, about a boy whose goal is to stop disappointing everyone he cares about.

 Mary – Youth Services

ImageAscending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey—Interviews Compiled by Karen Wilkin—J NONFICTION: 921 GOREY

Edward Gorey, as a person, was a subject of mystique, and speculation due to his private nature. He lived, after all, in a New York apartment filled with cats, and was most commonly found wearing a heavy fur coat, paired with sneakers. Since his famous, and peculiar line drawings had an Edwardian-aged, morose edge to them, many people many people assumed that while Edward Gorey was alive, he was A.) British and B.) Dead. None of which—quite needless to note—were true. Ascending Peculiarity is a collection of the best, most comprehensive interviews during Gorey’s lifetime. They expose the private, fascinating man quite well. If you were ever interested in Edward Gorey—as an artist or person—this is an essential read.

Matt – Reference

ImageWarpaint – By: Warpaint – New Audio CDs: CD 781.66 WARPAINT

Warpaint are a fantastic group from Los Angeles who make hypnotic indie rock. Their songs have catchy rhythms with dark undertones and edgy lyrics which elevates this group above many of their west coast peers.I just saw them at The Metro and they put on an amazing show. Definitely a band to watch.

ImageThe Last Waltz – By: The Band – New Audio CDs: CD 781.66 BAND

If there was a more perfect sound for what would be called Classic Rock, no other band has made it better than “The Band”. A group of musicians who gained notoriety with their tours and recordings with Bob Dylan, adopting their name after many people called them ‘the band’ instead of their actual name. The Last Waltz is a staple in the history of live recordings: debateably the best ever. Featuring artists such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Dr. John, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, and Bob Dylan to name a few.

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March!

Excuse us for our tardy post this month. As we find ourselves (hopefully) thawing out here’s some things to check out at the library.

Sue- Circulation 

ImagePukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs – by: Ted Kerasote – NON-FICTION: 636.7 KER

Many people don’t take the best care of their dogs, not because they don’t care, but because they are ignorant of what is actually best for them and especially what harms them and they trust vets and pet food companies that don’t have their dogs’ best interests at heart, but profits. Some of the issues that negatively affect dogs’ health that are discussed in this book include: poor nutrition, especially poor quality dog food that causes cancer and shortened lifespans; over-vaccination that weakens dogs’ immune systems and invites disease; and overuse of and exposure to chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, flea and tick products, household cleaners, etc., which are also a factor in causing cancer. Ways that are suggested in the book to improve health and longevity include: feeding a more natural diet, consisting of high quality protein and eliminating wheat, corn, soy, artificial ingredients, and ingredients that have been exposed to pesticides/herbicides, and also providing clean drinking water; vaccinating only in puppyhood or not more than every seven years rather than annually; and using natural flea and tick control products rather than chemical-laden products. If you have a dog or plan on getting a dog, I urge you to read this book and follow its suggestions for a healthier and longer life for your dog.

ImageNew and Selected Poems – by: Mary Oliver – NEW NONFICTION: 811.54 OLI

Mary Oliver is my favorite contemporary poet. She has won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for her poetry, as well as numerous other awards. I find her poems to be beautiful, moving, and inspiring. They invite you to contemplate your role in this world and how you live your life. Oliver grew up in the Midwest and now lives in New England. Her poems are filled with images of nature, particularly the natural world around her Massachusetts home – woods, ponds, the Atlantic Ocean, and the animals that live there. She is a keen observer of the natural world, and encourages readers to connect to nature through our senses. She urges us to make something worthwhile of our lives while we are here on earth, rather than focusing on spirituality. Her poems promote living your life fully and exuberantly and paying attention to the natural world around you. They celebrate nature and the uniqueness and beauty of all living creatures. This book is a collection of 142 of Oliver’s poems from the 1960s through 1992. I love all of her poems, but if I had to pick a few of my favorites from this collection, I would choose “The Summer Day,” “Wild Geese,” “When Death Comes,” and “The Rabbit.”

ImageThe Patron Saint of Lost Dogs – by: Nick Trout – NEW FICTION: Trout

The first fiction novel by veterinarian Nick Trout, who has written several nonfiction titles about his experiences as a vet. The novel tells the story of Cyrus, a veterinary pathologist who inherits his late father’s veterinary practice in rural Vermont. Long estranged from his father, Cyrus has not been home in many years. His plan is to sell the practice and get out of there as fast as he can. In the meantime, he is taking over the practice’s clientele, along with his late father’s partner. As a pathologist, Cyrus has not had to work with living animals and their human caregivers in a long time and his bedside manner leaves much to be desired. As Cyrus gets to know the quirky townspeople and their pets, he may just have a change of heart about selling up and leaving. A sweet and funny story about healing the past and starting fresh.

Mary – Youth Services

ImageAngels in America—Starring: Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, Mary-Louise Parker – DVD: ANGELS IN AMERICA

There is little that can be said to truly evoke the experience of seeing Angels in America. Whether it is the play, or this truly outstanding HBO miniseries adaptation, this is one of those works that you wish was a necessary viewing material for humanity. At its narrative skeleton, it is the distressing story of social, political, and religious entanglements with spread of AIDS, at the dawn of our new millennium. Of course—since this was originally a stage play adaptation—that is far from the entire story. There are fantastical black-winged angels, hallucinations of tundra vacations, the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, and an ending, which I promise, will be the one of most indescribable you have seen. With most actors playing multiple roles—and being shockingly hidden beneath them—this is a humanist, complex masterpiece not to be missed.

ImageSquirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modern Bestiary—By: David Sedaris—Downloadable EAudiobook, found at eMediaLibrary

Easily one of the least well-received works of humorist, and essayist, David Sedaris, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modern Bestiary, is one of my favorite pieces of writing, period. Not his usual self-reporting on his life, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is a book of some of the darkest fables one could hear. And, despite the whimsical illustrations, this collection is not for children. Anyway, I doubt they would need the words therein. These stories are written for adults, and meant for adults. Their experimental quality makes them strangely familiar, yet nightmarish. And, as always with Sedaris—do not read his works. Listen to him read them through audiobook. There is so much to be gained from his stories when read in his ever-so peculiar voice.

Michelle – Administration

ImageRush – Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Directed by: Ron Howard – DVD: RUSH

This movie is a thrilling look into the fierce, real-life rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, Formula One champions in the 1970’s. Knowledge of or interest in Formula One isn’t necessary to enjoy this story. Like all Ron Howard movies, it comes down to a story about human nature and the human experience. Chris Hemsworth stars as playboy racer Hunt and Daniel Bruhl shines as Lauda. I would definitely rate this as one of the best sports movies of all time!

Matt – Reference

ImageThe Lies of Locke Lamora – By: Scott Lynch – FICTION: Lynch

Scott Lynch is one of the best Fantasy writers out there. His Gentlemen Bastards series begins with The Lies of Locke Lamora and it is a doozy. Locke: an orphaned child learns to be a pickpocket before finding himself in the care of a priest who isn’t quite a priest and teaches him the ways of the con man. As an adult, Locke leads a crew to try and get a big score out of a wealthy dupe only to find himself and his friends in a predicament that will make you turn that next page over and over again. Lynch’s writing is a superb mix of filthy intelligent dialogue and action that leads to well-fleshed characters and an interesting world. Rarely do other authors do what Lynch is doing this well.

ImageWho is WIlliam Onyeabor? – By: William Onyeabor – NEW AUDIO: CD 781.66 ONYEABOR

William Onyeabor is a groove genius. His songs have this great flow to them that have a natural funk to them. Onyeabor himself is a master keyboard player and arranger. His lyrics are deadly humorous: talking about things like nuclear annihilation or heartbreak with a smirk. He’s a master of what he does and this CD is a great gem of dance and world music.

ImageFor Sentimental Reasons – By: Django Reinhardt – NEW AUDIO: CD 781.65 REINHARDT

Django Renhardt is one of my favorite jazz musicians. He brings a chemistry of bravado, light sensitivity, and blinding speed that makes his guitar playing truly unique. This is a collection of 18 rare tracks, six of which haven’t been officially released in the United States. A must listen for the jazz enthusiast.

Check back next month!

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February

Hopefully the deep freeze of January will give to something resembling livable weather. Here’s some things to check out next time you’re here!

Kristin - Circulation

ImageComet’s Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life – By: Steven Wolf – NON-FICTION: 636.70832 WOL

If you love the relationship between dog and man, this book is for you. The story of a man facing debilitating back issues and how he adopts and self-trains a former racing greyhound to be his service dog. A true story, the book cites the struggles of slowly losing independence due to illness and the joys of dog ownership and one dog’s devotion to his master. This is a heartwarming read and recommended for everyone, but especially dog lovers.

 

Margaux – Circulation

ImageDot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives – By: Randi Zuckerberg – NEW NON-FICTION:  303.4833 ZUC

Everyone’s heard of Mark Zuckerberg, the man who started Facebook. Although Randi Zuckerberg no longer works for the multinational organization, she did learn a thing or two in her time there. Do not plan a presidential town-hall meeting in an empty warehouse in two weeks while you’re almost nine months pregnant, for example. The most important thing she took away from working at Facebook and working with other online organizations for years was that there is a balance that can be struck between being tech savvy and being, essentially, a robot.

With section titles like “DotSelf,” “DotFamily,” “DotCareer,” and “DotLove,” Zuckerberg breaks down the essential parts of a modern woman’s life and gives tips and cautionary tales about how technology can be fit into one’s life. Her book reads like a conversation with the book’s audience which makes it much more a fun read than a scholarly one. Because she’s writing from first-hand experiences, it might be difficult at times to relate to her (especially being a Chicago native who is just finishing graduate school) but she does bring up some excellent points about authenticity online and the evolution of the modern woman’s brand as it is represented across multiple social media platforms.

I’d recommend this book to any person who feels the need to be constantly plugged in to their iPhone, iPad or other technological device. Zuckerberg’s message is although it’s arguably the most difficult habit for a citizen of the 21st century to break: having time away from technology is a reward in and of itself.

Sue - Circulation

ImageThe Sweet By and By – By: Todd Johnson – FICTION: Johnson

This is a touching story about friendship and growing old. It is set in North Carolina and centers around a nursing home. Over the course of many years, it tells the story of five women connected with the nursing home – two residents of the home, a nurse working there, her daughter, and a hairdresser working there. The story is narrated by each of the main characters in alternating chapters, which allows you to get to know and understand each character more deeply. A lovely story, filled with wisdom and celebrating friendship and following your own path in life.

ImageThe Distance from Normandy – By: Jonathan Hull – FICTION: Hull

A single mother can’t handle her 16-year-old son Andrew, depressed after the suicide of his best friend. After he gets expelled from his Chicago school for bringing a knife to class, his World War II veteran grandfather in California, Mead, takes him in for several weeks in order to try and reach the boy. Andrew and his grandpa don’t have much in common, though, and Andrew instead forms a bond with his grandpa’s neighbor, a widow with eyes for Mead. After Andrew makes a serious mistake, his grandfather, at his wit’s end, decides to take Andrew on a trip to Normandy where he was part of the D-Day Invasion, hoping the experience will help Andrew mature and realize his good fortune. Mead has demons of his own as a result of his war experiences and both grandfather and grandson learn some valuable lessons on their trip.

ImageAll Creatures Great and Small – By: James Herriot – NON-FICTION: 636.089 Her

The first book in James Herriot’s beloved five-book collection: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All, and Every Living Thing, first published in the 1970s, with the last book being published in 1992. James Herriot was the pen name of the British veterinarian Alf Wight. These books are a fictionalized account of his life as a country vet in England. He began his career in the 1930s by joining the practice of a vet in rural Yorkshire. The books are funny and warm-hearted, but also touched with sadness as they detail both the triumphs and the tragedies of veterinary medicine in that time period. Herriot had a gift of bringing a scene to life and bringing out the humor in a situation. He also was very compassionate and you can see the love he felt for his animal patients and human family and friends shine through in his writing. If you are an animal lover and you haven’t read James Herriot, you are missing out on a special writer.

Mary – Youth Services

ImageThe King’s Speech — Starring: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush - DVD: KINGS SPEECH
If you have not seen The King’s Speech, it deserves all the accolades it has received. The film focuses around the friendship of King George VI (Firth) and an unlikely ally: a speech therapist, and a failed theatre actor, named Lionel (Rush). Based off the true relationship between these two men, The King’s Speech delves into the lives of the monarchy, speech disabilities, and an unconventional friendship which affirms the power of each individual’s unique voice in society.

 

ImageThe Hobbit – By: J.R. Tolkien – YA: TOLKIEN
There is something quite depressing about being in my twenties, a book lover, a librarian, a youth service librarian, AND not having read The Lord of the Rings Series. (Believe me; I am more ashamed for myself than you possibly can be.) For those of you that haven’t read it, (and those of you who want to start the series) The Hobbit is the tale that comes before the Lord of the Rings adventures. Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, is swept into an adventure for the first time in his life, and as the reader, of course, brought into this richly layered fantasy world, as well. Also: look out for our stunning vintage copy of this tale at our library. But please don’t lose it. (I have access to records.)

 

Check back next month for more!

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First Post of 2014!

Happy New Year to you! The colder it gets the more we’d all like to stay inside. Snuggle up and enjoy some of these items from our collection!

Sue - Circulation 

poetry180Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry – Edited by Billy Collins – Nonfiction 811.6 Poe

A collection of 180 poems, all written by contemporary poets and chosen by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. My favorite poem in the book is “Dog’s Death” by John Updike, a heartbreaking, but beautiful tribute to the poet’s late dog and the devotion and love of dogs. Another poem in the collection that moved me is “St. Francis and the Sow” by Galway Kinnell, which speaks of finding beauty beyond physical appearance – that all beings have their own loveliness within and we need to look deeper and believe in ourselves. I also enjoyed “Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad” by Jan Heller Levi, about a son looking back on his relationship with his father with the benefit of maturity, and seeing the relationship from a different perspective. The 180 poems are all diverse and you are sure to find some that speak to you as these three spoke to me.

Psych_season1_dvd Psych Seasons 1-7 - Starring: James Roday, Dule Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson – DVD: Psych 

If you want a serious crime drama, Psych is not for you. But if you want a laugh-out loud, irreverent crime show, give Psych a try. The show stars the hilarious James Roday as Shawn, a fake psychic whose real ability is his uncanny attention to detail and photographic memory, and Dule Hill as his long-suffering best friend Gus who helps Shawn run their psychic detective agency and assist the police department in solving crimes. The show deals with a different case each week and the relationships among Shawn, Gus, Shawn’s dad, and the two police detectives Shawn and Gus work cases with, Lassiter and Juliet. Watch and laugh and see if you can find the pineapple – each episode features a pineapple somewhere in it, a long-standing joke since the pilot. Season 8 begins this month on USA Network.

bolgBlackout - by Connie Willis – FICTION: Willis

Part science fiction and part historical fiction, this book is set 50 years in the future when time travel has become possible and historians travel back in time to experience historical events firsthand. Three students from Oxford University travel back in time to World War II: Eileen is taking care of evacuated children in the country, Polly is working as a shopgirl in London during the Blitz, and Mike is observing heroes who helped rescue soldiers from Dunkirk. Historians believe that their presence in the past does not affect the outcome of history; however this theory might prove to be wrong when something goes awry and Eileen, Polly, and Mike are trapped in 1940 and can’t get home. The story is continued to its conclusion in a second volume, All Clear, also found under Fiction Willis. This is an excellent novel, rich in details about the everyday life of English civilians during the war, complex, and exciting.

Mary – Youth Services

singlemanA Single Man—Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode - DVD: SINGLE MAN

After the sudden death of his partner, George (Colin Firth) has the last day of his life planned. The only predictable part of the plan is the small shotgun he carries in his briefcase, which, he reasons, will be a suitable prop to end the day. While making the effort to carry on his last day as normal, this British professor teaching in California is overwhelmed with increasingly strange and mesmerizing details of life. Colin Firth plays a complex, dark character, whose microexpressions are enough to make your stomach curl in some scenes, guiltily laugh in others. Based off a novel of the same title, this is a brilliantly dark drama of love, loss, and the universal need for human connection.

Margaux - Circulation

9781442408920_p0_v5_s260x420Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – By: Benjamin Alire Sáenz – Call Number: YA SAENZ

It’s 1987 in New Mexico and Aristotle is on a mission to spend the summer by himself. His plan is working perfectly until he meets Dante at the local pool. In attitude, the two are complete opposites. However, they both share a love for reading and culture. After just one summer, the two are best friends. Dante’s father is transferred to Chicago and his letters to Ari go largely unanswered. When reunited the following summer, Dante reveals a secret to his best friend that will change their relationship forever. This novel has a very introspective mood that is heightened by Dante’s tumultuous family history. If you’re a fan of any of Rainbow Rowell’s work, or Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, you’re bound to fall in love with Dante and Aristotle.

fangirlFangirl – By: Rainbow Rowell – Call Number: YA ROWELL

When Cath and her twin sister Wren start college at the University of Nebraska, the last thing Cath expects is a change in the status quo. Cath is used to spending every moment possible with her sister and a majority of the rest of her time is spent on her dirty little secret: writing fan fiction about Simon Snow (a character not unlike Harry Potter). But when Wren takes her freshmen year as an opportunity to “branch out,” Cath becomes a shut-in. Her roommate seems to have a vendetta against her, and her roommate’s boyfriend insists on talking constantly. Throughout the novel, Cath tries to come into her own and figure out a balance between her Simon Snow obsession and trying to figure out dating, friendship and family in college. This might be a formidably sized novel but the story moves quickly.

Matt – Reference

savages-silence-yourself-album-cover-press-300Silence Yourself – By: Savages – NEW CD: CD 781.66 SAVAGES

This French foursome has an aggressive, raw sound that pushes them above many of the post-punk acts around. The songs are excellently crafted yet feel unhinged as their wild energy coupled with articulate emotions gives each song an exciting conflicting feel. Definitely one of the stand out records of 2013.

homepage_large.57db3cd1We The Common – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – New CD:781.66 THAO

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down have been a buzz band for a few years now and they don’t disappoint. Their songs are as catchy as they are inspired mixing styles into a seamless unification of indie, pop, folk and dance.

Check back next month for more!

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December!

Here we are: back into winter, back to the holidays, and onto a new year full of exciting possibilities. We hope you enjoy your holidays and time with family and friends. Here is a few things our staff enjoyed and we will continue to share what we like from our collection in the new year. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Pat – Circulation

sycamorerowSycamore Row – By: John Grisham – FICTION: Grisham

If you like A Time to Kill, you will almost certainly enjoy this book. Grisham uses the same characters for this story.  It’s about a handwritten will by a man named Seth Hubbard done so the day before he hangs himself and whether or not the will is valid.  This is a very thoughtful and engaging drama with a good story line.

 

Sue – Circulation

RedbirdChristmasA Redbird Christmas - By: Fannie Flagg – FICTION: Flagg

I love most of Fannie Flagg’s books. This is one of my favorites. A wonderful read for the holiday season, it tells the story of Oswald, a man who receives a terminal diagnosis from his doctor in Chicago and goes to spend what may be his final Christmas in a small, rural town in Alabama. There Oswald becomes friends with people in the tiny community, including his next door neighbor Frances and the local grocery store owner, Ray, as well as Ray’s bird Jack, a cardinal that Ray took in as an injured fledgling who now lives in the store. Then a little girl named Patsy, neglected and abandoned, appears in town. Shy and physically disabled, Patsy develops a deep bond with Jack. When something disastrous happens, things look bad until a Christmas miracle heals the town. A sweet and inspiring story that will leave you feeling uplifted.

220px-Amy_Grant_-_The_Christmas_CollectionThe Christmas Collection - By: Amy Grant, CD 781.72 Grant

A CD of holiday music sung by Christian artist Amy Grant. It includes holiday classics such as “Silent Night”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, as well as more contemporary songs, including “Grown Up Christmas List” and “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)”, which is a moving song that took my breath away with its beauty the first time I heard it. Grant has a lovely voice and I enjoy her renditions of the holiday classics and especially like “Breath of Heaven”.

wishinandhopinlambWishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story - By: Wally Lamb – FICTION: Lamb

A nostalgic look at growing up in a Catholic family in the mid-1960s, reading this book reminded me of the movie “A Christmas Story”, based on Jean Shepherd’s book of the same name. The book describes the months leading up to Christmas in the Funicello family, as told by fifth-grader Felix, a distant cousin of Annette, who was at the height of her fame back then. Humorous and light-hearted, the book is fun and a tribute to a more innocent time in American history.

 

Melissa – Reference

inthelakeofthewoodsIn the Lake of the Woods - By: Tim O’Brien – FICTION: O’Brien

Tim O’Brien has created a mystery unlike any other I’ve read.  He has crafted two of the most complex characters I have ever had the pleasure of examining.  A married couple retreats to a cabin in the Northern United States to reevaluate their lives and love.  Naturally, not all goes as planned and readers are left to examine the evidence, the perceived evidence, and decide for themselves just what really happened in the lake of the woods.

 

cover-opposite-love-pb-nowavailableThe Opposite of Love - By: Julie Buxbaum – FICTION: Buxbaum

I picked this up after finding myself wanting a light, easy romance (isn’t that what we all want?).  Despite fulfilling that need, this book also has a very real focus on the complexities of love and all its forms.  Emily, the main character, has worked herself to the bones at a NYC law firm to make a strong career while having a fun relationship with a doctor.  Her life appears to be idyllic to many, though she discovers suddenly that it is anything but.  For those looking for a fun read, this is a real treat because it is at times jaw-droppingly unpredictable, relatable, and even heart-wrenching.

Mary – Youth Services

hannibaldvdHannibal—Starring: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and Gillian Anderson –NEW DVD: Hannibal

Hannibal is not your typical, late-night American crime procedural. Based off the iconic Hannibal Lector Series of books, this psychological crime drama follows Dr. Hannibal, a criminal psychiatrist, culinary artist, and part-time cannibal. Unknown by the police as a direct cause of most of the area’s crime, Dr. Hannibal sets out in a small Minnesota town, along with a talented, yet disturbed criminal profiler, to uncover a series of bizarre crimes. Hannibal is unexpectedly humorous; it is disturbing as well as insightful into the ways it examines our fallible, yet complex human minds.

belljarThe Bell Jar- By: Sylvia Plath —FICTION: Plath

Some narratives cover difficult topics, while guiding the reader in the process of storytelling. The Bell Jar does not adhere to this convention. This semi-autobiographical and only novel written by Plath is unparalleled in its ability to make the reader feel what it is like to suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, or Depression. Told through the eyes of a fictional narrator, Esther Greenwood, the novel covers her descent into mental illness, while getting a taste of her illustrious new life in New York City. There are staccato bursts of honesty, desolation, and humor which make this novel unforgettably true to the topic it covers.

hawkingMy Brief History - By: Stephen Hawking —NEW NON-FICTION: 921 Hawking

Having tea with Stephen Hawking is on the top of my bucket list. This is not a joke. Sadly this autobiography of Stephen Hawking is probably as close as I, or any of us will get to understand the personal life behind the brilliant physicist who changed the way we perceive the universe. Although this personal narrative is not quite “personal,” it is filled with humorous and compelling biographical details.  Also, for us physics geeks, there are sprinkets of black hole talk, cosmology, and dashes of theory to keep us satisfied. The book, when reading it, feels as if you sat down at Mr. Hawking’s house, and he began to talk about his life, but went on a physics tangent. I found it charming.

Chris – Technical Services

conjuringThe Conjuring - Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston – NEW DVD: CONJURING

If you are a fan of the Exorcist or Amityville Horror the new movie the Conjuring is for you.  Be prepared for a good storyline and some very scary scenes.  It will keep you on the edge until the end.

 

 

That’s it for 2013! Check back in January for another list of things to check out!

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November!

This is a very late edition of the blog. Apologies to our loyal readers.

November: leaves, football, Thanksgiving. Here are some things to do while you wait for turkey.

Sue – Circulation

ImageAn Episode of Sparrows by: Rumer Godden, YA: Godden

Although classified as a young adult novel, this is really more of an adult novel with a child as the main character. It is a lovely story of redemption and transformation set during post-World War II London. A young girl named Lovejoy, abandoned by her mother and living with a poor restaurateur and his wife, plants a secret garden in her bombed-out neighborhood using stolen soil and seeds bought with money stolen from the local Catholic church offering box. A neighborhood boy, Tip, helps her with the garden after his group of friends destroyed her first attempt at a garden. Tip and Lovejoy develop a strong friendship while cultivating the garden. Complications ensue when adults in the neighborhood discover the children’s actions. In the end, Lovejoy’s garden affects the lives of a number of people in the neighborhood for the better.

ImageBletchley Circle, Starring: Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Julie Graham, NEW DVD: Bletchley

An intelligent series from PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery, this series tells the story of four women who worked together at Bletchley Park during World War II, breaking German codes. Now the war has ended and the ladies have returned to their normal lives, unable to share their war work with their loved ones because it is still classified. The main character, Susan, sees a pattern in murders that have been committed throughout the city and shares her ideas with her husband, a policeman. He is skeptical, unaware of her experiences during the war, but takes her to see his boss anyway. When that lead doesn’t pan out, he loses confidence in her. She then recruits her three friends from Bletchley Park and they investigate the murders on their own. This is an exciting thriller. A second season has been ordered by PBS and will air in the spring of 2014.

ImageThrough a Dog’s Ear, Volume 1: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion, CD 784 Through

This is an excellent music CD of soft piano music created especially for dogs to help calm them. It is great to play for a dog who is afraid of thunder or fireworks to help keep him calm during a storm or on the 4th of July. It it also soothing music for people to help them wind down and fall asleep. I have always needed total silence to fall asleep and now I turn this music on at night when I go to bed and it really does help me fall asleep. It’s also great for kids to get them to settle down and sleep – I play this for my niece and nephew at bedtime when they sleep over. I wouldn’t play it all day for your dog (there are other music CDs for dogs meant to be played throughout the day), but it works well for calming during stressful times and at bedtime.

Mary – Youth Services

ImageBlack Books Series 1-3 Starring: Dylan Moran- DVD BLACK

Bernard Black (comedian Dylan Moran) is the nihilistic, depressed owner of a bookshop called “Black Books.” The British sitcom begins with Bernard Black finding a strange foil and friend in an accountant, Manny, who he comes across in his shop. One drunken night later, Bernard Black mistakenly hires a very confused Manny to help him run Black Books. Once this irreversible transaction is made, Bernard Black is forced to live with the decision of having a person around who loves other people. And as for people, well; they are what Bernard Black hates the most. Black Books is a witty, dark, and very British gem.

ImageCuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – NEW FICTION : Galbraith

High up, overlooking a deserted London street, this crime novel begins with the death of a promising young model. Of course this situation has been played at before dozens of times within the genre (please, no more dead models), but J.K. Rowling, writing posthumously under the name Robert Galbraith, brings within these pages an illuminating new crime novel, which in its execution, avoids cliché. It follows wounded war-veteran Cormoran Strike as he delves into this bizarre death with his partner, Robin. Along the way, the two are thrown into an ugly world of wealth, were navigating it secretly is the only means of obtaining the truth.

ImageTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy  Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch – DVD: TINKER…

This is the type of film you watch, re-watch, then proceed to question your life, and then you watch it again. With pristine, enviable writing, each character within this Cold War espionage film is both a public man, and a private human being. And for me, this is what makes the film set apart from others on the same topic. And of course, the fates of these masked individuals are all intertwined with the dullness, bitterness, and confusion of the Cold War. Told through flashbacks, and tense, yet cool characters, this is a film that will continue to baffle me. Recommended!

Chris – Technical Services

ImageThe Returned by: Jason Mott – NEW FICTION: Mott

What if the dead suddenly appeared, alive and well as the day before they died? They can’t explain where they have been, they are just back.  Are they real, are they a threat?  This story explores this “what if scenario” and how individuals, towns, and governments react.  A new-age morality play by a brand new author Jason Mott.

ImageThe Distancers: An American Memoir by: Lee Sandlin – NEW NONFICTION: 920 Sandlin

The lives of a German American immigrant family who settled near Edwardsville, Illinois in1850.  Boyhood remembrances of summers spent on a farm in the rural Midwest.  Learning life lessons from those who lived through wars and depressions and the significance of respecting your roots and the people that came before.

Check back next month for more!

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October!

Leaves, pumpkins, corn mazes, costumes and candy. October!

Pat - Circulation

A-street-cat-named-bob“A Street Cat Named Bob: and How He Saved My Life” by: James Bowen, NON-FICTION: 636.8 BOW

Bob is no ordinary cat. This is a heartwarming story of a profound friendship between a man and his cat. Hard times brought them together as they find their way on the streets of London. Drawn together by mutual circumstances they are two great souls who have come together to remind us of the power of friendship and the power of love!

Sue – Circulation

The-House-At-The-End-Of-Hope-Street-May-13-p170“The House at the End of Hope Street” by Menna van Praag, NEW FICTION: PRAAG

An enchanted house that has stood for two centuries offers refuge to women who have lost hope and helps them turn their lives around. Over the years, such notable women as Florence Nightingale and Sylvia Plath have stayed at the house and their spirits still inhabit it and offer advice to the current residents of the house. The book tells the story of three women who find their way to the house and how the house and its keeper, Peggy, affect the women’s lives and how Peggy’s life is changed also. Although the book addresses serious issues in each woman’s life, the tone is optimistic throughout and the book celebrates each woman’s individuality. A magical and original story that provides satisfying resolutions for the four women.

6698447-M“Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts” by Lucy Dillon, FICTION: DILLON or AUDIOBOOK: CD DILLON

Rachel is at a crossroads in her life after losing her job and her boyfriend. She inherits her late aunt’s dog kennel and rescue. Through running the kennel and trying to find homes for the dogs, she meets a group of people whose lives are changed as a result of their experiences with the dogs and each other. A warm story about finding happiness after disappointment, especially good for dog lovers.

Right Ho Jeeves“Right Ho, Jeeves” by P.G. Wodehouse, FICTION: WODEHOUSE

If you’ve never read a P.G. Wodehouse novel, you are missing out on one of the funniest writers ever. This is the second novel in his Bertie and Jeeves series, about bumbling, good-natured, but not too bright Bertie, and his personal manservant, Jeeves, whose large brain gets Bertie out of one jam after another. Wodehouse was brilliant at creating complicated plot lines that are all brought together at the end of the story. In this book, Bertie is trying to help his shy and socially awkward pal Gussie work up the nerve to propose to Madeline, while also helping his aunt pay off her gambling debts and trying to patch up the argument between his cousin and her fiancee, but Bertie’s efforts, as usual, go wrong and much hilarious mayhem ensues until Jeeves works it all out in the end.

Mary – Youth Services

jane_eyre.large“Jane Eyre” – by Charlotte Brontë – FICTION: BRONTË

Most book-lovers have (at least a mental) bucket-list of books to read. And on this to-read list, Charlotte Brontë ’s Jane Eyre usually comes up. And sadly, most of the individuals who have this on their bucket-list are females. This makes me want to pull the ginger hairs out of my head. You see, when finally coming around to read Jane Eyre, it defied all of the images it is usually tagged with. It is more life narrative than romance. It is the story of a strong-willed woman, yes, but it shines with human resilience and vigor. And of course, there is a touch of Brontë madness. Please do yourself a favor: move this up on the book bucket-list. Save a ginger.

AMF-Amok-download-leak-260568_250x250“Amok” by ATOMS FOR PEACE—CD 781.66 ATOMS FOR PEACE

Haunting and soothing, Amok is a creation with a tired-sounding voice at its heart. Radiohead lead singer, Thom Yorke, along with other individuals in this superband, bring their own styles, and music concepts into this album, which makes it stand out. There is a palpable feeling of stress in Yorke’s hypnotic vocals. A voice, perhaps, that is aware of the weight it has.

Matt – Circulation

JANELLE-MONAE-ELECTRIC-LADY-e1376434058729“The Electric Lady” by Janelle Monae, NEW CD: CD 781.63 MONAE

There is no one like Janelle Monae right now. Her blend of Afrofuturistic funk/psychedelic/R&B gives her a sound so unique it almost has no genre. “Electric Lady” is a follow up to her amazing 2010 record “The ArchAndroid” and is an excellent next step for this incredibly talented artist and performer.  This is a record that you need to hear straight through because I promise you’ll replay it again and again.

Check back next month for more!

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September

Back to school, end of summer, here’s some things that aren’t a bummer:

Mary – Youth Services

Invisible Man“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison– FICTION: ELLISON

Not to be mistaken with The Invisible Man, a science fiction novel by H.G. Wells, Invisible Man is quite a strange tale, and an essential read for any individual. Immersed in his own darkly-moody atmosphere, the unnamed-narrator lives underneath the bustling life of Harlem during the early 1950’s, quite literally, in the sewer. Accompanied by the blinding-white glow of 1,369 light bulbs he criminally routed to burn from a black-discriminatory lighting company to his underground home, and a Louis Armstrong record, this unnamed man reflects on his past, witnessed horrors in the struggle for black freedom, his humanity, and where he has been throughout his life. And possibly…if it is all worth going back to again, above the underground.

amonstercalls“A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness – YA: NESS

Equally poignant for adults as this will be for younger people, A Monster Calls is a rare tale of beauty, which captures accurately the pain, and confusion of time passing, and loss. The original idea for this novel was conceived not by the book’s author, Patrick Ness, but rather, it was the concept of Siobhan Dowd, a young adult author who died of cancer before the story could be written. Taking this concept, but creating the story in his own way, Patrick Ness could not have written a more extraordinary book. Stacked with the most difficult of themes, the author met the task with brilliance, the strangest humor, and maybe, most remarkable of all: the bare truth.

Sue – Circulation

foyle's war-0“Foyle’s War” Sets 1-6 Starring: Michael Kitchen - DVD FOYLES WAR

An intelligent, well-written PBS mystery series set during World War II on the coast of England. It stars Michael Kitchen as Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle, solving crimes on the homefront while the country is at war. Foyle is assisted by his young female driver, Sam, and his sergeant, Milner. A widow, Foyle also has a son who serves in the RAF and participates in the Battle of Britain. The series mixes fictional crimes with historical events of the war. Many episodes explore obscure happenings of the war that you may not have known about. The writing is historically accurate and you will learn about the life of civilians during the war and gain a better understanding of events of the war while also enjoying complex murder mysteries. See a new Series 7 this September on PBS.

9780670026685_p0_v1_s600“Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince” by Nancy Atherton – NEW FICTION: Atherton

The latest novel in the Aunt Dimity cozy mystery series. This is a light-hearted and feel-good series – there is rarely a murder committed; rather most of the mysteries investigated are minor crimes or not even crimes at all. The charm lies in the characters, who grow as the series moves forward. It follows the life of Lori, an American who inherited a cottage in England from her Aunt Dimity – a woman whom she never met and only heard of through stories told to her by her late mother. After Lori comes into Aunt Dimity’s inheritance, she meets the spirit of Aunt Dimity, with whom she is able to communicate. As Lori gets involved in one predicament after another, Aunt Dimity’s spirit helps guide her in her investigations.

9781561452651“Out to Pasture: But Not Over the Hill” by Effie Leland Wilder – FICTION: Wilder

The first book in a series by an octogenarian about a feisty older widow living in a retirement home in the South. Through letters and diary entries, she tells of the crazy adventures she and her fellow residents have. Not a sad book at all, but uplifting and touching, a positive and funny look at coping with aging and how life still has meaning and can be fun and exciting at any age with the right attitude.

Matt - Reference

eleanor-friedberger-personal-record“Personal Record” by Eleanor Friedberger – CD: 781.66 FRIEDBERGER, E.

As one half of the band The Fiery Furnaces, Friedberger has broken out as an excellent solo artist. This release comes after the excellent album Last Summer and keeps much of the mood and energy of that first solo debut. Here Friendberger is exploring her song subject matter while also keeping her songwriting as sharp as ever.

Mikal_Cronin_-_MCII“MCII” by Mikal Cronin – CD 781.66 CRONIN, M.

At the end of the summer I discovered a great summertime record: Mikal Cronins “MCII”. Cronin mixes in great guitar work with a side of west coast surfer elements mixed in with indie rock sensibilities. This album has some great hooks and melodies and there’s a little bit of Brian Wilson’s influence in a lot of these songs.

Check back next month for more!

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August!

Here we are in August. Summer is ending and school is right around the corner. Here’s some things we liked!

Melissa – Reference

Image“What the Dog Saw” – by Malcolm Gladwell – NONFICTION: 814.6 GLA

This series of essays demonstrates fascinating elements of every-day things, such as the marketing history of hair color, panic versus choking in athletes and performers, the rise of breast cancer, late-blooming geniuses, and the trouble with recruiting successful college quarterbacks.
As usual, Gladwell is a delight to read. Without trying to push opinion or facilitate interest where there is none, he reveals the (often) surprisingly fascination history behind every-day objects and events.

Mary – Youth Services

Image“When You Are Engulfed in Flames” – by David Sedaris– Nonfiction: 814.54 SED

There is no modern writer as sardonic, and neurotic as Sedaris. Coupled with the audiobook which contains Sedaris’ peculiar voice, his strange life stories are bizarre, and disturbingly funny. His neurotic world preoccupies itself over what some may overlook, such as the horrors of coughing up a sticky lozenge on a sleeping flight passenger, or grave inconveniences, such as trying to book a shadow date at a busy morgue. Unforgettable and strange, Sedaris is definitely an American writer and essayist not to be missed.

Image“The Ocean At The End of the Lane” –By Neil Gaiman—NEW FICTION: GAIMAN

Most Costco employees probably know me by now. Have an excellent book come out, and I am eagerly awaiting its release. And then, proceed to read it on their sofas. This Neil Gaiman book is remarkably unlike anything else. It begins with a suicide at the end of a small lane in England, and ends as something much greater than what can be described effectively. This story is mournful, with razor-edge sharp characters, and is intrinsically captivating; my favorite Neil Gaiman work. This is a survival story of the human lives we lead, and it cuts deep into the reasons of why we live, and what keeps us here.

Image“My Brother’s Book”—by Maurice Sendak—NEW YOUNG ADULT: SENDAK

Completed before his death, this book is Sendak’s tribute to his late brother. In this other-worldly tale, Sendak explores the pain of losing others in a masterful, new, and spell-binding way. Once in an interview Maurice Sendak said, “There is no such thing as fantasy unrelated to reality.” This truth is nowhere more beautifully shown than this puzzling, small, and challenging life-narrative.

Matt – Reference

Image“Pythons” – By: Surfer Blood – NEW CD: CD 781.66 SURFER BLOOD

Surfer Blood is an excellent indie rock group from Florida whose influences blend late 50′s early 60′s surf rock with 90′s post-punk indie. This is a great summer record with excellent song structure and catchy hooks. 

Image“Random Access Memories” – By: Daft Punk – NEW CD: CD 781.63 DAFT PUNK

Ever since the band’s album Discovery Daft Punk has been the name in dance music. They keep pushing their own creative boundaries collaborating with different artists and making a neo-disco record using guitars, drums, and bass in addition to the midis, talkboxes, synthesizers and keyboards. Very catchy.

Image“….Like Clockwork” – By: Queens of the Stone Age – NEW CD: 781.66 QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE

Desert Rock rides again. Josh Homme, the only remaining original member of Queens of the Stone Age, writes another great album incorporating his style of droning hard rock music that is stylistically a mix of their two previous albums Era Vulgaris and Lullabies to Paralyze

 

Look for us in the first week of next month for more picks!

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July!

Hello and welcome once again to our little blog. Here are some things we liked and hope you’ll check out!

Melissa – Reference

Image“Inferno” – by Dan Brown – NEW FICTION: Brown
Having read all of his books, I was disappointed by his last, “The Lost Symbol”. I felt Brown found a successful formula, and was sticking to it, leaving little surprise for his readers. However, I was intrigued by this book because it focuses on Dante’s Inferno, which I find fascinating. I was eager to read it and I was not at all disappointed this time.
Robert Langdon returns as the intelligent art and symbology professor who finds himself involved in a complex web of deceit. This time, he doesn’t seem to know too much as he has lost his memory, and readers discover the truth along with him. Brown offered quite a few surprises. This book keeps all of the high points of his writing, such as his historical knowledge, creative characters, and social commentary, while adding different mystery-writing techniques.

Image“The Book Thief” - by Markus Zusak – Young Adult: YA Zusak
The Book Thief is actually a young girl, Liesel, who takes to stealing books during the height of World War II. These books are used to help sustain her family and others among the different horrors going on around them. The story is narrated by Death as he perceives the happenings during this time. He is among the many fascinating characters in this beautiful tale of courage told during a dark time.

Mary – Youth Services

ImageSix Feet Under - Starring:Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy - DVDs: SIX FEET UNDER 

In a narrative of acrid wit where a visit from a dead father, an avocado-colored hearse,  and plenty of dead bodies are the ordinary, the TV series Six Feet Under delves straight into one of the most longstanding social stigmas: the topic of mortality. With piercing insight into the human condition, this series is consistently humorous, as it is bitter and distressing. And as this journey is taken with the Fisher Family, one can find some amity, or reflect on what it means that everyone, everywhere, along with everything, will come to a final end.

ImageThe Royal TenenbaumsStarring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Gwyeneth Paltrow - DVDs: ROYAL

When a bitter father lies that he is dying of an aggressive cancer while taking tic-tac “cancer pills,” he brings his children, now grown adults, back from their estrangement and into his life. In this black, absurdist comedy, one is challenged with the choice between the ties of family, and the need to make one’s way and move ahead from an odd and damaging childhood. The thee Tenenbaum siblings are shown—past and present—in a darker, moody atmosphere. The dialogue is smart; the music is a lost atmosphere to past eras. A brilliant, funny, and remarkably odd film.

Matt – Reference


ImageMel Brooks: Make a Noise – Starring: Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Joan Rivers, Cloris Leachman – NEW DVD: DVD 791.43092 MEL BROOKS

If you love Mel Brooks as much as I do (and you probably do) then you need to see this documentary. This movie goes over the turbulent career of one of the greats of American comedy as he narrates his professional highs and lows talking about films such as Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, The Producers, Spaceballs and many more. The movie also features Brooks’ friends Carl Reiner, Cloris Leachman, Joan Rivers, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Tracey Ullman and others. A very entertaining movie.

ImageHilarious - By: Louis C.K. – NEW CDs: CD 1792.76 LOUIS C.K,

If you have casually been paying attention to comedy then you know about Louis C.K. He’s been around the comedy scene for a while now and his unique take on life is one hardened by his life experiences and his genuine attitude. In Hilarious C.K. talks about society, his kids, relationships, sex and parenthood. C.K. is always fantastic and is at the top of his game.

 

Check back next week for more suggestions!

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