Spring is here! Take a book outside to read and enjoy the beauty of the season.
Linda – Technical Services
Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery starring Nathaniel Parker and Anthony Lemke, New DVD Still Life
First watch the videorecording, Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery, an excellent adaptation of the first in Louise Penny’s mystery series. Then indulge yourself by reading the books, all available in our adult fiction section under the call number F Penny. In order they are: Still Life, A Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder, The Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, A Trick of the Light, The Beautiful Mystery, How the Light Gets In, and The Long Way Home. Enjoy!
Sue – Circulation
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Fiction Backman
I loved this book. It is a beautiful story and so, so funny. Ove is a grumpy, anti-social man who has just been forced into retirement. All he wants is to be left alone, but his neighbors won’t have it. First, there is the pregnant woman who has just moved in, her mechanically-challenged husband, and their two young daughters who keep showing up at his door, then Jimmy, the young man next door, plus Ove’s long-term neighbors Anita and her husband Rune, whose health is in decline. Ove’s best-laid plans keep getting disrupted by these people. Though Ove is a grouch, we discover that he is an inherently decent man, but he possesses unwavering principles and so is very inflexible in his attitudes and actions. As Ove’s past is revealed through flashbacks, we see the heart-wrenching losses he’s suffered throughout his life and begin to sympathize with him and admire him. This book was truly a pleasure to read – it will make you both laugh out loud and cry.
Murdoch Mysteries starring Yannick Bisson, New DVD Murdoch, Seasons 1-7
This is one of my favorite television series. It is a Canadian show set in the Victorian era when Canada was part of the British Empire. The show stars Yannick Bisson as Inspector William Murdoch of the Toronto Constabulary. Murdoch is an intelligent, taciturn detective very keen on using new technologies such as fingerprints to help him solve crimes. One fun part of the show is bringing in real-life characters and inventions of the time. Such historical figures as Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle, Buffalo Bill Cody, and numerous others make appearances on the show. The show is also humorous in its suggestions that Murdoch himself created early prototypes of many later-to-come inventions, such as scotch tape. The show also has fun with the characters suggesting inventions that are yet to come, like the World Wide Web, paint-by-number kits, and many others. I find the mysteries to be intelligent and entertaining and I really like the characters and their interactions with one another. Besides Murdoch, there is his boss, Inspector Brackenreid, a gruff Yorkshireman transplanted to Canada, Murdoch’s earnest but inexperienced sergeant, George, who abounds with wild theories about crimes being committed by aliens or werewolves or other such supernatural creatures, and the lovely and strong-willed Dr. Julia Ogden, the pathologist who has had to work hard to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor in that time period. As the series goes on, we learn more about each character and the characters grow and change and their relationships with one another deepen. The seventh season concluded in 2014 and the show returned for an eighth season this year.
Above the River: The Complete Poems by James Wright, New Nonfiction 811.54 Wri
James Wright was an American poet from Ohio. He was born in 1927 and passed away in 1980 from cancer. His poetry was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, as well as other honors. In addition to his home state of Ohio, he spent time teaching in Minnesota and New York. He suffered from mental illness throughout his life and had several nervous breakdowns, yet his poetry celebrates the human spirit, as well as speaking out against social injustice. My favorite poem of Wright’s is “A Blessing.” The first time I read this poem, many years ago, it touched me emotionally. The gentleness of the horses, their quiet companionship, and the affection shown by them towards the speaker is moving. The mood of the poem is soft and tender, using lovely figurative language to express the speaker’s feeling of awe at the wonder and beauty of the natural world.
Mary – Youth Services
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger, Fiction Salinger
Sometimes you read a book and immediately wonder how the author created – and there are no other words for it – a small piece of magic. Franny and Zooey is one of those impressionable books. The work itself is a collection of two novellas, Franny and Zooey, respectively. The first novella tells the story of a disillusioned college student, a young woman whose scathing wit begins to be worn down as she opens her eyes to the world of indifferent adults around her. The second novella, Zooey, opens with a grown man sitting in a small bathtub within his childhood home, nursing a nervous breakdown as he awaits his sister Franny’s arrival from college. When this brother and sister – Franny and Zooey – talk to one another, the dialogue that ensues is rich, humorous, and expertly crafted by Salinger. Franny and Zooey is an unforgettable story, and I highly recommended it to anyone facing the blues of indifference. It’s a definite yearly re-read of mine.
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, New 921 Palmer
Two years ago, Amanda Palmer gave a TED talk that has a YouTube viewcount steadily climbing towards the 4 million mark. This talk shares the same title of her memoir, The Art of Asking, and it examines why we don’t ask for help, and how we can connect with each other through the act of asking for help. If someone does not know Amanda Palmer from this TED talk, or as a musician, she is especially known for her close connection with fans online, and most notably, her Kickstarter campaign that raised $1.2 million dollars to independently release an album. The book covers these aspects of her life, and also, it is a highly personal look at the figures and events that have shaped who she is. If debating between the book form of The Art of Asking or the audiobook, I would listen to the audiobook. Palmer reads it herself, and it includes her own music, and the music and voices of those you encounter in her stories. It makes for a highly effective, shining collaborative effort of artists and their ideas of what it means to make good art, and most importantly, how to be kind to yourself and live a quality life.
Brigitte – Circulation
Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels, CD 781.649 Run the Jewels
Released in late 2014, Run the Jewels 2 is arguably the best album of the year. It is certainly the best rap album of the year. Musical duo Killer Mike and El-P reflect on racism, poverty, and the economy in their sophomore album with emotion-driven lyrics and harsh beats. It’s truly a must-listen for any hip hop fan. (Note: the album contains explicit lyrics.)
Hubbell – Circulation
The Missing, starring James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor, New DVD Missing, Season 1
The Missing is a 2014 BBC original production rebroadcast by Starz in the U.S. Set in London, England and rural France, The Missing begins with a familiar premise when the Hughes’ (Nesbitt and O’Connor) son, Ollie, vanishes during the family’s vacation in the French countryside. The boy remains lost and the series resumes five years later; the couple is divorced, Emily Hughes remarried, while Tony Hughes still searches for his son, now presumed dead. The investigation is reopened with the help of French detective Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo), and the two uncover major flaws in the original investigation borne from police oversight and political corruption, which gives rise to the possibility that Ollie may still be alive. Tony persuades Emily to join them in reexamining the case, and the series concludes with a shocking finale that answers some questions but raises even more.
The Americans, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, DVD Americans, Seasons 1 and 2
Based loosely on the real-life Soviet espionage program, “The Illegals,” and also inspired by the experiences of show creator Joe Weisberg, The Americans tells the story of the seemingly innocuous Jennings family. Elizabeth (Russell) and Philip (Rhys) are introduced as two average D.C.-area suburbanites raising two children, but are quickly revealed to the viewer to be Soviet-born, expertly trained intelligence operatives leading a double-life. In the pilot, the Jennings meet new neighbor and FBI agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) and immediately begin to gain his trust in order to glean information about the FBI’s counter-intelligence efforts. The Jennings stop at nothing in carrying out their directives from their KGB superiors, which include seduction, blackmail, covert surveillance, and outright murder. Philip completes a sham marriage with an FBI office secretary. Elizabeth attends AA classes to befriend an employee of a government defense contractor. The series skillfully balances the couple’s covert intelligence activities with the ever-present prospect of their teenage children discovering their parents’ secret. The series has received critical acclaim and is gaining viewers each week as airs its third season now on FX.