January

JanuarycoverWelcome to 2015! Start off the year with some good books!

 

 

Chris – Technical Services

700sundaysBilly Crystal 700 Sundays, New DVD 792.7028 Billy Crystal

Based on his one-man Broadway show, this HBO comedy special will fill you with laughter, but more-so with tears – of joy and sorrow as he recounts the people and influences in his life that made him what he is today.

 

peopleuncountedA People Uncounted: The Untold Story of the Roma, New DVD 909.049 People Uncounted

For those interested in WWII history or the Holocaust this is an excellent film, but difficult to watch. A heartbreaking story of the people we call “gypsies” in Europe during the Holocaust in WWII and their continued marginalization.

 

Jacob – Circulation

borntorunBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall, Nonfiction 796.425 McD

Christopher McDougall was constantly getting injured while running. While researching relief for his foot ailments, he came across a tribe of Indians who live in Mexico’s Copper Canyons and enjoy running hundreds of miles without stopping or getting injured. Interested in discovering this tribe’s secrets and how ultra-marathon runners push their bodies to the limits, Christopher McDougall takes the reader from Harvard science labs to the hot, unforgiving canyons of Mexico. This interesting book takes a close look at what it takes to run and how deep down we are all capable of running great distances. Christopher McDougall is an award-winning journalist and writes a great narrative that is uplifting as much as informational.

Skyskyjackjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper by Geoffrey Gray, Nonfiction 364.1552 Gray

This book investigates the infamous case of a man who boarded a Northwest Orient flight in 1971, exhorted $200,000 from the airline, and then parachuted out of the plane over the Pacific Northwest to never be heard from again. Taking a look at never before seen FBI files and discovering possible new clues, Geoffrey Gray reworks the case, making sure to highlight the various scenarios and suspects. This book keeps the reader guessing and wondering if maybe after all these years the mystery will be solved.

Sue – Circulation

docmartinDoc Martin, starring Martin Clunes, DVD Doc, Series 1-6

This is a PBS series about a curmudgeonly London vascular surgeon named Martin who develops a phobia of blood and has to give up surgery. He moves to a small village in Cornwall where his aunt lives and he spent summers as a child to become the local general practitioner. His brusque manner does not go well with the local residents. The show is populated by colorful characters, including the local plumber and his son, the doctor’s receptionist, the village police officer, and a lovely school teacher named Louisa for whom Martin develops romantic feelings. The show is funny and entertaining and the Cornwall landscape is magnificent. It even has a big, lovable dog to top it all off. Season 7 will be filmed in 2015.

ajThe Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, New Fiction Zevin

This feel-good book begins with bookstore owner A.J. slowly drinking himself to death after losing his wife suddenly in a car accident. On top of his grief for his wife, a rare and valuable copy of a collection of poems by Edgar Allan Poe that A.J. was counting on to get him through declining sales at his store is stolen. A.J.’s life turns around when a two-year-old child is left abandoned in his bookstore shortly after the robbery. A.J. cares for the child, Maya, while social services is sorting things out and ends up falling in love with her and adopting her. Maya reinvigorates A.J.’s life, giving him a reason to live again and bringing new people and experiences into his life. A quick read that tells a lovely story of renewal, not only for A.J., but also others in his life, including his sister-in-law, suffering in a loveless marriage to an unfaithful husband, the local police chief, lonely like A.J., and Amelia, a publishing representative who visits A.J. a couple times a year to sell him books for the store, whom A.J. finds himself attracted to despite getting off on the wrong foot with her on her first visit.

LewisInspector Lewis, starring Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox, New DVD Inspector, Series 1-7

A spin-off of the BBC detective series Inspector Morse, this series follows Robbie Lewis, former sergeant to John Thaw’s Morse. Robbie lost his wife in a tragic hit-and-run and took some time away from the force. He now returns, promoted to detective inspector with a new sergeant named James Hathaway, solving crimes for the Oxfordshire police as he mourns his loss and rebuilds his life. Robbie and James are both complex characters and their relationship grows and deepens as the series goes on. In addition to excellent character development, the series also presents the viewer with intelligent, compelling mysteries. Entertaining and well-made, this is the kind of quality show you expect from the BBC. The show was cancelled after six seasons, but was then brought back for a seventh season. An eighth season has been announced and will be filmed in summer 2015.

Mary – Youth Services

savingmrbanksSaving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, DVD Saving

Author P.L. Travers is low on cash, luck, and morale when she is contacted by Walt Disney for the rights to her most beloved children’s book character, Mary Poppins. With great reluctance, she decides to go to Walt Disney’s studios to oversee the creation of her children’s book as it enters the film world. Emma Thompson plays a wonderfully complex and moving portrait of an author who writes for the very same reason Mary Poppins comes to the Banks family: not to change lives of children, but rather, the adults who influence their world.

smokeinyoureyesSmoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty, Nonfiction 363.75 Dou

Creator of the unexpectedly hilarious and poignant web series Ask a Mortician, Caitlin Doughty is a crematory operator and champion of the alternative death practice in the United States. If you ever wondered what life is like for those who take care of our dead, there is no greater place to look that Caitlin’s videos and writings. In her memoir, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, she chronicles her experiences at Westwind Crematorium, and her growth as a person, yielding pathos far beyond her years. (Also, if you are worried this topic sounds morbid, rest assured—she. is. hilarious.)

awesomewaveAn Awesome Wave by Alt-J, CD 781.66 Alt-J

An album that is sure to stand the test of time for its original sound, An Awesome Wave is the product of the indie British band Alt-J. It is quite hard to describe the atmosphere this music creates, but it is largely unique due to the vocals of Joe Newman. Lovely, melodic, and mellow; Alt-J is a group that defies categorization.

Corky – Circulation

oneforthemoneyOne for the Money by Janet Evanovich, Fiction Evanovich

In 1994, Janet Evanovich came out with One for the Money, the first book in her Stephanie Plum series. Before that, she had been a romance writer and since I was involved with Romance Writers of America, my friends and I planned to go to a book signing at Anderson’s in Naperville and afterwards take Janet out to dinner. (We lucked out; her publisher, Harper Collins, picked up the tab.) During that dinner, I learned about what went into the making of this new series. Janet spent two years researching this book: drinking beer with law enforcement types, learning to shoot, and practicing cussing. At the end of those years, she created Stephanie Plum, the heroine of this book, not exactly biographical, but according to Janet, “You can take the girl out of Jersey, but you can’t take Jersey out of the girl.”Janet’s research must have paid off. Each year for the last 20 years her latest book is a New York Times best-seller. Why has the series been so successful? I think it’s the characters, who are quirky and funny. Stephanie Plum, an out of work lingerie buyer, is also out of money. In the opening pages of the book, her car is repoed and her refrigerator is empty. I love it when the heroine starts at rock bottom – I always try to guess what I would do in that situation. Duh, get a job. So Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as a bounty hunter. Her first job is to track down an accused murderer and a cop and bring him to the police station. She has absolutely no skills to do this job. One for the Money is witty, fresh, full of surprises, and makes me laugh out loud.

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