Category Archives: Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

This is a collection of Book, Movie, and Music reviews by the Oak Brook Library’s staff. Topics include Fiction, Non-Fiction, Comedy, Drama, Tragedy, Mystery, Science Fiction, History, Psychology, Business, Science, Self-Help, Spirituality, Religion, Philosophy, Politics, Poetry, Fantasy, Thrillers, Nature, Biography, Horror, Food, Cook Books, Travel, Young Adult, Sports, and the Classics.

November 2017

november2017coverIt’s November, a time to be thankful for everything good in life including family, friends, food, books, and music. Check out some of our recommended titles!

 

 

Theresa – Youth Services

eleanoroliphantEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, New Fiction Honeyman

Thirty-year-old Eleanor Oliphant has worked the same job since getting out of school. She can’t stand her coworkers and looks forward to her weekends which entail ordering pizza and drinking large quantities of vodka. The only time the doorbell rings is if it’s the landlord, the gas company, or her Social Services case worker. (We later find out why this is the case.) Her only phone conversations are with “Mummy,” who does nothing but ridicule her.

One day everything changes. She and the unhygienic IT guy from work happen to witness an elderly gentleman collapse in the middle of the street as they are leaving work. Eleanor, who would never have become involved, is begrudgingly coerced into action. This incident has flung Eleanor into social situations she has never experienced. Her life drastically changes from here.

This book will have you laughing out loud at Eleanor’s lack of social skills, commentaries, and brutal truthfulness. As the story progresses, we learn why Eleanor is the way she is, and how she overcomes the tragedies she has endured.

Melissa – Technical Services

shadowlandThe Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova, Fiction Kostova

In her newest historical adventure, Kostova writes of Bulgaria in post-WWII times. The protaganist, Alexandra, has just arrived in Sophia from America in the spring of 2008 to teach. Her first encounter with native Bulgarians proves to be a bungle, and she finds she has accidentally left with one of their packages: an ornately carved urn inscribed with a name. As she attempts to find its owners, she learns more about the man whose remains she carries, and it proves to be both an exquisite and excruciating life. Kostova’s researched details and heavy reliance on setting pull the reader in on another journey both through continents and through time.

Chris – Tech Services

webandofangelsWe Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan by Elizabeth M. Norman, New Nonfiction 940.5475 NOR

The “women” were the Army and Navy nurses left on Bataan and the island of Corregidor tending the wounded, when General Wainwright surrendered on May 6, 1942. For them, war became Hell.

The nurses, along with soldiers and civilians were caught by the Japanese and sent to prison camps at San Tomas and Los Banos for three years to wait out the war. Upon coming home after the Japanese surrender; life continued to be hell for many. This was due to malnutrition, tropical diseases, what we refer to as post-traumatic stress disorder,
and lastly the non-recognition of their female leaders who kept their morale up and kept them focused.

All written from first-hand accounts, diaries, letters and in-person interviews, it is a true saga of women in WWII.

Pat – Circulation

strangerinthewoodsThe Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, New Nonfiction 921 Knight, C. Fin

This is the true story of a 20 year old man who walked into the Maine woods with a small number of items who chose to live in seclusion. He robbed lakeside summer camps (vacation cabins) for food and basic supplies. He devised systems and carved a life that allowed him to live for 27 years in the brutal Maine woods, sometimes in 20+ below zero winter weather. He only interacted with other people twice, once saying “hi” to a hiker and once with hand movements and body language only.

The story of Christopher Knight is a remarkable one. It is well worth reading for the insights it gives into an extraordinary mind and the amazing tale of survival that very few could have accomplished.

Chris – Circulation

slowdiveSlowdive by Slowdive, New CD 781.66 Slowdive

British shoegaze/dream pop band Slowdive have returned with a new album after 22 years, and boy was it worth the wait. Universally acclaimed by music critics, this album doesn’t falter like others do when bands decide to reform after a lengthy hiatus. It continues and even expands upon the band’s former work, taking it in new, masterfully-crafted directions from veterans. Listeners can expect to become enveloped in atmospheric, swirling guitars and airy vocals that blend into the mix. The music will soothe the spirit and send it into a “slow dive” into euphoria. Standout tracks are singles “Star Roving” and “Sugar for the Pill,” and “Falling Ashes,” the album closer that, to me, sounds exactly like its title describes.

Paula – Circulation

gothamGotham, Starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, and Robin Lord Taylor, DVD Gotham Season 1

Before becoming the police commissioner of Gotham and a major ally for Batman, James Gordon fought crime as a detective on the Gotham City police force. This series centers on a young Jim Gordon and his struggles to clean up the crime ridden streets of Gotham, while also helping a teenage Bruce Wayne along on his journey to becoming Batman. One of my favorite things about the series is that it also places a significant focus on the origins of popular Batman villains, such as Penguin, the Riddler, and Catwoman. The villains are each given a major personality that causes them to be some of the most likable characters on the show. You will find yourself rooting for the villains rather than the so-called heroes of Gotham. This series does an amazing job of delving into the years before Batman, and shows how the darkness of Gotham corrupts even the lightest of hearts. It is a must-see for all Batman fans.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

October 2017

october2017coverIt’s October! Check out our picks for some sweet treats!

 

 

 

Chris – Circulation

villainsVillains by Queens of the Stone Age, New CD 781.66 Queens of the Stone Age

Sludge rock superstars Queens of the Stone Age are back with something a bit different than their typical grime-heavy sound this time around. They called on Mark Ronson, the prolific producer of artists such as Adele, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Kaiser Chiefs, for Villains and it shows. The whole album is infused with more rock’n’roll and dance vibes from vocal melodies to guitar sound. But what makes Queens of the Stone Age and this album so great is that they don’t lose their unique identity, their swagger, their musicianship, even while toying with their sound. Josh Homme’s haunting and cocky vocals, crunchy layers of guitar, and those deep bass lines are all still present, if a little bit cleaner. Songs in particular to check out include their first single “The Way You Used to Do,” “Feet Don’t Fail Me,” “The Evil Has Landed,” and “Villains of Circumstance.”

Michelle – Administration

concreteandgoldConcrete and Gold by Foo Fighters, New CD 781.66 Foo Fighters

To be honest upfront, I have to admit that I am terribly biased as the Foo Fighters are one of my all-time favorite bands. That being said, I think that their new album is a great addition to the Foo catalog. The songs are catchy and you’ll definitely find yourself tapping along. If you enjoyed any of their previous albums, I’m sure this one won’t disappoint.

Hubbell – Circulation

vietnamwarThe Vietnam War, New DVD 959.704 Vietnam

Renowned documentarians Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s most recent film covers the history of the Vietnam War. Using raw primary source footage and countless interviews from soldiers and officials from both sides of the conflict, Burns & Novick provide an objective account of one of America’s most controversial wars. In addition to recounting the military and political aspects of the conflict, the film also contextualizes the entire experience within the seismic cultural shifts of 1960s America.

tonierdmannToni Erdmann, starring Peter Simonischek and Sandra Huller, New DVD Toni Erdmann

One of this years Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language film, Toni Erdmann is a quirky but profound film about a father’s attempt to reconnect with his workaholic daughter. Winfreid’s father creates an alter-ego, Toni, and infiltrates his daughter’s professional and personal life. Full of dark humor and also tender moments, the film is deserving of its critical accolades: “If a single movie were enough to silence reports of the death of cinema, it would be this one” (NYT).

inthegardenofbeastsIn the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, Nonfiction 934.086 LAR

Larson, author of The Devil in the White City, Dead Wake, and many other narrative fiction works, tells the story of the American ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, in the months leading up to the outbreak of World War II. It is an incredible first-hand account of the actions of the Third Reich as they created the national support for the war. It provides a nuanced review of how the world let the Reich become what it did as the international community looked the other way.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

September 2017

september2017coverIt’s September! Time to hit the books again! Why not check out some of ours?

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

whiteprincessThe White Princess, starring Jodie Comer and Jacob Collins-Levy, New DVD White Princess

The White Princess is a mini-series based on the book by Philippa Gregory and it follows the marriage of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. It is a sequel to The White Queen, though you can watch it as a stand-alone. I thought that this series was really well acted and it kept me engaged throughout. If you are a fan of historical dramas or in the history of the royal house in England, this is a great show to watch.

Paula – Circulation

mementoMemento, Starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano, DVD Memento

Guy Pearce stars as Leonard, a man with anterograde amnesia who is trying to track down his wife’s murderer. Due to his condition, his search for this man proves difficult because Leonard cannot develop new memories. He can remember everything up until his wife’s murder, but he quickly forgets everything that happens to him afterwards. In order to compile information, Leonard keeps a series of photographs and notes, and tattoos clues on his body that will lead him to the man who killed his wife.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, Memento is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. In typical Christopher Nolan fashion, the story is told in a complex series of events and plot twists that will keep you guessing throughout the entire film. Just when you think you have something figured out, new clues are revealed that force you to rethink which characters are telling the truth and which ones not to trust.

Pat – Circulation

undergroundrailroadThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Fiction Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a plantation in Georgia where conditions are especially rough. Her mother escaped when she was very young leaving her to fend for herself. When a fellow slave tells her about the Underground Railroad, she finds the courage to run for her freedom.
The story portrays the amount of abuses that blacks were vulnerable to–all the daily abuses and even the killing of slaves in the most brutal ways.
There is something essential about reading this kind of book. In the United States it’s too easy to forget the dark times in our history.

hillbillyelegyHillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, Nonfiction 921 Vance, J.

J.D.Vance had grown up poor in rust-belt Ohio, in a family that was, by his account, highly dysfunctional. His book describes how he transcended severe disadvantages to attend Yale law school and go on to a lucrative career.
Vance’s father was absent and his mother an erratic and neglectful parent with alcohol and substance abuse problems.
Vance’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love”. They got married and moved North from Kentucky to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them.
This is a family history that is also a troubling analysis on the loss of the American dream for a large portion of this country.

Chris – Circulation

knightofthesevenkingdomsA Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin, Fiction Martin

Comprised of three novellas published during the writing of the series A Song of Ice and FireA Knight of the Seven Kingdoms follows Dunk and Egg, a knight and his squire as they travel Westeros almost one hundred years before A Game of Thrones. Martin’s vivid and engaging writing returns to tell these tales, but in a more compact form than in the novels. That being said, these stories are full of the history and ancestors from the main novels. Fans of the series will enjoy meeting familiar and new families and traveling to new locations mentioned in the main series, but never visited. Even in these short tales, Martin adds his classic dramatic twists and plots of romance. The honorable Dunk and quick-witted Egg are sure to entertain in their various exploits with villagers and nobility alike.

Brigitte – Youth 

soloSolo by Kwame Alexander, New YA Alexander

If you aren’t familiar with Kwame Alexander’s other works (The Crossover, Booked) you should know that 100% of this book is in verse. While that might be intimidating or even off-putting to some, it adds to the intimacy between the reader and the narrator. While Alexander’s other works skew younger, this is a decidedly Young Adult book. Solo is about familial relationships, first love, and the uncertainty that comes with the end of high school. Blade is a young man about to enter into the adult world but who doesn’t know who he really is. When a family secret is revealed to him, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery, and ends up finding out more about his family than he bargained for.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

August 2017

augdogdays2017It’s August! The dog days of summer have arrived! Beat the heat with some of our cool picks!

 

 

Chris – Circulation

crackupCrack-Up by Fleet Foxes, New CD 781.66 Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes are back after six years of waiting for a follow-up to 2011’s Helplessness Blues. All that time away gave them the opportunity to transform their sound into something grander, not just rehash what they had done on their previous two albums. What they have done on Crack-Up is evolve their unique brand of indie folk into a progressive folk style. The compositions are less lyrically structured and more instrumentally expansive. The focus is really more on the concept of the album as a whole rather than the individual songs. The album ebbs and flows naturally itself, and even within songs. This is usually a style implemented by rock and metal artists, but Fleet Foxes pull it off beautifully, and in doing so lead the folk genre to new bright adventures down seldom-trodden paths.

Paula – Circulation

kingsmanthesecretserviceKingsman: The Secret Service, starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, and Samuel L. Jackson, DVD Kingsman

Eggsy is a troublemaker just trying to get by on the streets of London. Before being sent to jail, he is recruited to join the Kingsman, a secret British spy organization that protects the world from monumental threats. As he learns what it means to be a Kingsman, Eggsy and the other agents must try to stop a villainous tech genius from killing off the majority of the world’s population. Filled with non-stop, fast paced action and witty humor, this movie will keep you on the edge of your seat. Colin Firth amazes in his character as Agent Harry Hart, and will leave you desperately wanting more.

hacksawridgeHacksaw Ridge, starring Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, and Sam Worthington, New DVD Hacksaw Ridge

Set in WWII, Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of army medic Desmond Doss. As a pacifist, Doss refused to bear arms during training and in battle, causing much tension and backlash from his fellow soldiers. Despite this, Doss never lost touch with his faith, and went on to save the lives of 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa without firing a single shot. For his valiant efforts, Doss was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Hacksaw Ridge is one of the best war pictures I have ever seen. It is filled with raw emotion and powerful strength that captivates all viewers. Andrew Garfield delivers an outstanding performance as Doss that rightfully earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Michelle – Administration

Smallville, Seasons 1-10, DVD Smallville

Smallville, one of my all-time favorite shows, follows Clarsmallvillek Kent from his teen years in Smallville through to the beginnings of his superhero days in Metropolis. The show followed a strict “no tights, no flights” rule, so don’t expect Superman. You will get to see Clark’s ever evolving relationship with Lex Luthor, his childhood romance with Lana Lang and the Lois and Clark origin story, with special appearances by the Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary and more . This is the show that ushered in the era of current superhero shows. One small caveat, if you are starting with season one, the special effects are pretty cheesy, but they do greatly improve as the show progresses. Smallville stars Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Erica Durance as Lois Lane and Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen.

Jacob – Administration

accountantThe Accountant, Starring Ben Affleck, DVD Accountant

Ben Affleck is a math whiz who uses his talents to help corrupt organizations and individuals with their financial issues. Always in danger of being caught by either the government or competing criminals, Affleck must work quick to unravel the disappearance of a large amount of money. This fast paced movie entertains and keeps the viewer guessing as to what is going to happen next.

Brigitte – Youth

myfrienddahmerMy Friend Dahmer by Berk Backderf, YA 364.152 DER (GRAPHIC BK.)

My Friend Dahmer by Berk Backderf is a Young Adult book that tells the true story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s life during his high school years. As the author was a close friend of Dahmer’s this graphic novel provides a unique insight into his life before he became a notorious serial killer. Themes touched upon in this novel include friendship, empathy, responsibility, and teenage isolation. This graphic novel has been made into a movie, set to be released later this year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

July 2017

july2017coverIt’s July! Celebrate the summer and freedom with friends and family and some of our recommendations!

 

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

whothoughtthiswasagoodideaWho thought this was a good idea? : and other questions you should have answers to when you work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco, New Nonfiction 973.932 MAS

Mastromonaco, a former White House Deputy Chief of Staff during the Obama administration, wrote this funny and interesting look behind the scenes at the White House. She shares amusing, scary and downright embarrassing stories about her time in politics, starting as an intern for Bernie Sanders, working for the Kerry campaign and then joining Obama’s administration. What makes this book different from many other political books is that it is presented from the point of view of a woman in her 30s. Reading this book makes me yearn for the Obama years!

weinerdvdWeiner, DVD 328.73 Weiner

This documentary is an examination of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s 2013 mayoral campaign. It is a fascinating look at the inner workings of a man who threw away his career, had a very good chance for redemption and blew it – losing everything in the process. Watching this documentary, I went the whole spectrum of feeling sorry for him to wanting to smack him upside the head. I am still amazed that someone with so much potential could keep making the same mistake over and over again!

aunitedkingdomA United Kingdom, New DVD United Kingdom

This film is based on the true love story between the future King of Botswana and a white English woman in the 1940s. It stars David Oyelowo as Seretse, who is studying in London before taking his rightful place as King and Rosamund Pike as the woman he falls in love with and through their love, they change the course of African history. Their decision to marry just as apartheid is beginning in South Africa causes an international uproar. Before seeing this movie, I was completely unaware of this story and I think it is one that people need to be familiar with. It is a beautiful story of the triumph of love and an intriguing look at race relations from the perspectives of both the English and the Africans. Oyelowo gives another great performance as a man torn between his love for his wife and his love for his people.

Pat – Circulation

walkingwiththeenemyWalking with the Enemy starring Jonas Armstrong, Hannah Tointon, and Ben Kingsley, New DVD Walking with the Enemy

Set in 1944 in Hungary and inspired by true events, this powerful drama depicts the heroic efforts of Elek Cohen, whose real name was Pinchas Rosenbaum, and many others to try and save thousands of Jews from extermination in that country during WW2.

This movie serves as a brutal reminder of the horrific acts of the Nazis and others, but also illustrates the true bravery of the men and women who took actions and resisted their evil.

It’s no Schindler’s List but a little-known WW2 story that needed to be told.

Chris – Circulation

wolvesWolves by Rise Against, New CD 781.66 Rise Against

Chicago-native punk-rockers Rise Against remain amazingly consistent with their new album Wolves. This is the eighth studio album in their almost twenty years as a band, but they are as urgent as ever. Urgency is one of the themes of the album, especially in terms of speaking out and being active. They advocate that the best time is now to let your voice be heard so issues of injustice and global harm can be resolved and not persist to a point of irreversible damage. Their political, social, and environmental message is conveyed over the typical energy of punk compositions. The first four tracks are the standouts on the album: “Wolves,” “House on Fire,” The Violence,” and “Welcome to the Breakdown.” I’ll also note that there is a parental advisory on this album for some strong language in a few songs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

June 2017

june2017coverIt’s June! Summer is just around the corner! Grab a good read and enjoy the warm weather.

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

fromcradletostageFrom Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars by Virginia Hanlon Grohl, New Nonfiction 920 GRO

Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana, interviews other mothers of successful musicians and shares their stories. The mothers all have unique and interesting stories of raising children hit by the music bug, including Dr. Dre, Josh Groban, Kelly Clarkson, Mike D, Tom Morello, Adam Levine and more. The author is in a unique position to be able to relate to her subjects and she also shares her own stories of raising Dave. It is a thoughtful collection of short stories and a good read for anyone interested in today’s musical creators.

Melissa – Technical Services

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, Fiction Burnet

hisbloodyprojectIn a search through his family history, the author uncovers some documents relating to murder trial involving one of his ancestors. Roderick Macrae is the son of a crofter living in the Highlands of Scotland in 1869 and from the outset, we know that he is on trial for murder. He is an exceptionally bright young man, and we hear his side through his written memoir. We then hear other perspectives, and learn that each is in itself unreliable. The journey of the book is motive and state of mind. What were the real reasons for the murder? Is Roderick a murdering psychopath or a man pushed beyond his limits? Did he suffer a fit of insanity or is he wholly sane? The colorful characters help bring this book to life, and at least one is based on an actual historical individual: a prison doctor who specialized in criminal psychology. My favorite aspect of “His Bloody Project” is the deft manner in which Burnet presents each side of case; each tale is perfectly rational and yet they are mutually exclusive. This book is a thrilling tour through historical Scotland that offers much more than its description as “thriller” as it touches on class conflict and preconceived biases. The book earned a much-deserved spot as a finalist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

Pat – Circulation

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman, Nonfiction 940.53 ACK

zookeeperswifebookWhen Germany invaded Poland, bombs devastated Warsaw, and the city’s zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonia Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen “guests” hid inside the Zabinski’s villa. They ended up saving the lives of hundreds of people.

Sometimes the text does get a bit bogged down in details but the bravery of these people is amazing and truly uplifting. A fascinating true story.

Chris – Circulation

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, New Fiction Gaiman and YA Gaiman

norsemythologyMuch like author Neil Gaiman states in his intro to Norse Mythology, my initial encounter with the Norse gods was through Marvel’s incarnation of Thor, the god of thunder. Getting myself wrapped up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and being a fan of Gaiman’s easy-to-read but intellectual writing style, I had to check out this book. His experience in the fantasy genre and his previous works about gods and mystical creatures lend him to be the perfect candidate to bring some of these ancient stories back to life in a way only he can.

This is a collection of selected Norse myths mainly involving Odin, Thor, and Loki, the three figures with the most lore remaining. The book does a great job introducing these players and revealing their quirks. Gaiman wisely begins his telling with the very beginning–the creation of the gods and the Nine Worlds. He continues with their various exploits such as how Odin lost his eye, where Thor’s hammer came from, Freya’s wedding, Thor’s journey to Jotunheim, and his fishing trip. He appropriately ends the novel with Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. This is an excellent starting point for anyone curious about Norse mythology or anyone looking for a well-written collection of fantasy stories.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

May 2017

may2017coverIt’s May! Head outside with a good book or CD and enjoy the fresh sights and smells of the season!

 

 

Pat – Circulation

lionLion starring Dev Patel, Mara Rooney, and Nicole Kidman, New DVD Lion

Lion is the critically acclaimed movie that tells the story of a 5-year-old boy in India who gets lost on a train. It takes him thousands of miles from home. Frightened and alone, he survives on the streets until he is adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, with only his memories and Google Earth, Saroo Brierley set out to find his lost family.
It is an incredible, touching, true story–definitely worth watching. All the actors did a beautiful job.
Chris – Technical Services
hellstracesHell’s Traces: One Murder, Two Families, Thirty-three Holocaust Memorials by Victor Ripp, New Nonfiction 940.53 RIP
Victor explores the family history of the Kahans and the Ripps during the 1920’s and 1930’s and their changing lives as they move from Belarus, Poland, Germany and finally France. He travels to 6 countries and visits 35 Holocaust sites “to spark the past to life” and to understand what was behind their decisions and why did one side of the family survive and the other side did not.
One statement Victor made in regard to memorials or remembrances: “The stars have to be in alignment, all the elements have to be in place, if a memorial is to be effective-and one of those elements is the viewer.” p102
Another statement found on a memorial really struck home with me, “As you pass by, read their names, your memory is their only grave.” p.200
sleepwalkerThe Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian, New Audiobook CD Bohjalian
This bestselling author and master storyteller takes us into the world of parasomnia and a heart breaking family tragedy. A layered mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Michelle – Administration
founderThe Founder starring Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, and John Carroll Lynch, New DVD Founder
This is the story of how McDonald’s “founder” Ray Kroc stole everything from the McDonald brothers to create the first and largest fast food franchise in the world. There is so much to this story that I did not know. Michael Keaton does a wonderful job portraying Kroc! The movie also stars Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch at the McDonald brothers. I can’t recommend this film enough!
Melissa – Technical Services
chronicleofadeathforetoldChronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Fiction Garcia Marquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez tells the story of Santiago Nasar’s murder in the novella “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”. Nasar is a young man living in a small Columbian town. He attends the wedding of an extremely wealthy newcomer and his local bride. The morning after the wedding, the bride is shamefully returned to her family, and Santiago Nasar is murdered by the bride’s brothers. The murder is addressed in the very first sentence, so there is no mystery regarding its occurrence. The mystery comes in how numerous villagers knew of the impending murder but did nothing to intervene, despite having no ill feelings toward either party. Marquez gives vivid detail of the village, allowing readers to map out Nasar’s last day on earth: where we went, who he spoke with, and who knew of his fate. What makes the novella most interesting, in my opinion, is its portrayal and treatment of guilt, as well is its misdirected accountability.
Chris – Circulation

kodamaKodama by Alcest, New CD 781.66 Alcest

The latest album from blackgaze pioneers Alcest is somewhat of a return to form from their previous offering, Shelter. Known for combining the black metal and shoegaze genres, they expertly interweave walls of intense distorted guitar, delicate finger-plucked segments, harsh vocals, and melodic ethereal vocals (all in French). Kodama does away with the blast beats typical of black metal and their earlier works (a continuation from Shelter), but revives the harsh vocals absent from Shelter.

Lead vocalist/ lead guitarist Neige has said that his love of Japanese culture, specifically the anime film Princess Mononoke (J DVD Princess Mononoke), was his inspiration on Kodama. In Japanese folklore kodama are tree spirits, a prominent concept in Princess Mononoke, and appropriate subject matter for a band like Alcest. Their music is a journey to another realm, and this time the listener is whisked off to a spiritual Japan where humans and spirits collide.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

April 2017

april2017coverIt’s April! Spend a rainy day inside with some of our picks! April 9-15 is also National Library Week, so show your local library some love by stopping in for special activities!

Michelle – Administration

eyeintheskyEye in the Sky starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, and Alan Rickman, DVD Eye in the Sky

This fast-paced movie is an interesting look into drone warfare and the politics behind war in the electronic age. It appears to take place in mostly real-time and shows the tense conflict between ethics and military casualties. Eye in the Sky stars Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul and Alan Rickman in his final onscreen role.

silence_fallen_layout.inddSilence Fallen by Patricia Briggs, New Fiction Briggs

This is the 10th book in the Mercy Thompson series and it is still as fun to read as the first. The series follows shape-shifting coyote Mercy Thompson as she finds her way into trouble in the supernatural world and works to save herself. While she is surrounded by those more powerful, including werewolves, vampires and the fae, Mercy is an exceptional heroine who never waits to be rescued.

Chris – Technical Services

unlikelycatladyAn Unlikely Cat Lady: Feral Adventures in the Backyard Jungle by Nina Malkin, Nonfiction 636.8 MAL

A born and raised “Brooklynite” (New York) writes of her true adventures as an indoor cat lover and outdoor caretaker of a feral cat family that chooses her backyard as home base.

Chris – Circulation

Awake by Tycho, CD 781.63 TYCHO

awakeTycho is one of those bands you listen to when you just want to chill out. In a genre appropriately labeled chillwave, Tycho creates dreamy compositions using synthesizers, guitars, and other electronics. A steady and driving but not overbearing beat supports the rest of the instruments. Completely instrumental, this is a perfect soundtrack to a lazy night in with friends or a cruise down the highway after long day. Awake is Tycho’s third album, each one becoming a bit more electronic.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

March 2017

march2017coverIt’s March! Spring is coming; winter is going. Usher in the new season with some of our recommendations below.

 

 

 

Pat – Circulation

lightbetweenoceansThe Light Between Oceans starring Micahel Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, and Jack Thompson, New DVD Light Between Oceans

A young World War II veteran, Tom, numb from his years in combat, takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on a remote island. He meets, Isabel,  who is from the local town on the mainland. They are soon married and living on the island.
Their happiness is marred only by their inability to start a family. When a rowboat with a dead man and his infant daughter mysteriously washes ashore, Isabel believes their prayers may have been answered.
Tom is torn between reporting the lost child and pleasing the woman he loves, making a choice with devasting consequences.
Kilkillingtherisingsunling the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly, Nonfiction 940.54 O’RE
While I knew the basic facts surrounding the atomic bombs, I got a much better picture of the bloody battles, huge decisions, and historic personalities that culminated in the decision the drop the atomic bomb and brought an end to the war in the Pacific.
I feel it’s a great historical read with so much to learn from this book.

 

Angie – Reference

raininportugalpoemsThe Rain in Portugal: Poems by Billy Collins, New Nonfiction 811.54 COL

Billy Collins contributes wisdom, wit, emotion, curiosity, and his adroit use of words to over forty new poems in his first new book in three years. Most of his poems read like micro stories based on observations of everyday objects, past personal events, pets, art, travel, and loneliness— to name a few. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins is the poet to read if you are not “into poetry.” Of course, he is also a poet to read if you enjoy poetry. Fans of Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, Garrison Keillor, and modern poetry will also appreciate The Rain in Portugal. Billy Collins is a skilled architect of the modern poem, and if you enjoy The Rain in Portugal, also check out Sailing Alone Around the Room (811.54 COL) by Billy Collins.

Chris – Technical Services

otherwordlyOther Wordly by Yee-Lum Mak, New Nonfiction 415 MAK

Every language has words for the odd and the wonderful. Some languages have words for feelings that we can’t quite put into words.
Beautifully illustrated, a quick read which will make you “Balter” (verb, English).

Chris – Circulation

The Bones of What You Believe by CHVRCHES, CD 781.66 CHVRCHES

bonesofwhatyoubelieveCHVRCHES is a power trio out of Glasgow, Scotland that creates catchy electropop. The Bones of What You Believe is their debut album featuring the hit single “The Mother We Share.” They have described themselves as being an alternative band that uses lots of electronics like synthesizers, keyboards, and samplers. But behind the shimmering and dreamy synths are introspective and metaphorical lyrics. This is an immediately danceable album that hooks you in with Lauren Mayberry’s seemingly sweet but powerful voice. Other highlights on the album include “We Sink,” “Gun,” “Under the Tide” (sung by keyboardist/sampler Martin Doherty), and “Recover.” If you’re wondering about the “v” in their name, they chose to use it to be more easily searchable online.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

February 2017

feb2017coverIt’s February! Let’s hope for an early spring and in the meantime enjoy the recommended titles below.

 

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

roomwithsecondbestviewThe Room with the Second Best View by Virginia Smith, New Fiction Smith

This is the third book in the delightful Goose Creek series (preceded by The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade andSirius: The Little Dog Who Almost Changed History by Jonathan Crown). In this book, Millie and Al are working on the Victorian house they bought with plans to convert it to a bed and breakfast. They aren’t planning on opening for a couple of years yet, but with their close friends Justin and Susan getting married soon, Millie has invited some of the wedding guests to stay at the house (without telling Al, of course.) When Justin’s formidable great aunt shows up three weeks before the wedding, will Al be able to survive her demands and will Justin and Susan survive her attempts to take over the wedding planning? Meanwhile, Millie and her best friend have had a falling out over preparations for the town’s 150th anniversary celebration. If you want a fun and light, feel-good read, I recommend the titles in this series. Also includes recipes.

hundredpiecesofmeA Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon, Fiction Dillon

Gina is rebuilding her life after a serious illness and divorce. She decides to simplify her life and keep the 100 things that mean the most to her. When she is landed with an underfed, frightened greyhound who has been abused, Gina, who is not a dog person and knows nothing about caring for a dog, decides to drop him off at a shelter, but as he grows on her and she sees in him another being who needs a fresh start in life, they develop a bond. The book shines a light on the abuse often suffered by greyhounds used for dog racing when they don’t perform well or get old or injured. This is a bittersweet and touching story about healing from past wounds and moving forward.

midnightplanThe Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron, Fiction Cameron

This mystery is loads of fun! It has humor, suspense, action, supernatural elements, romance, loyal friendships, and a cute dog. Ruddy is a former college football star down-on-his luck and now working as a repo man. When he begins to hear a voice speaking to him, he fears he is losing his mind. But it turns out to be the voice of a murdered man named Alan who wants Ruddy to help him bring his killers to justice. Throw in a good-looking but dim-witted best friend, a sister trying to keep the family business afloat, her harebrained new boyfriend, and the daughter of the murdered man, for whom Ruddy falls hard, and you have a laugh-out-loud supernatural mystery that will keep you compulsively reading until the final page. The lead and supporting characters are a delight and you root for them to succeed as they get into one jam after another.

ordinarygraceOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, Fiction Krueger

Touching and beautifully written, this is a gripping coming-of-age novel about tragic loss and finding hope in the aftermath of such loss. The events of the summer of 1961, when Frank Drum was 13 years old and living along the Minnesota River with his parents, older sister, and younger brother, changed all their lives. Frank tells his story 40 years later, looking back at that fateful summer. It was a summer filled with tragedy, beginning with the death of a boy hit by a train and followed by more personal losses for Frank and his family. Though suffering great loss, the family also experienced small miracles that summer that brought healing to their broken lives.

gooddogGood Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty edited by David DiBenedetto, Nonfiction 636.7 Dib

Celebrating the special place dogs hold in our hearts, this is a collection of over 50 essays, by turns funny and moving, written by a multitude of noted authors about dogs that have touched their lives. Each dog is unique and special in his or her own way, with quirky personality traits, yet all the essays have one thing in common: the love the authors have for their dogs and how that love was returned wholly and unconditionally.

Pat – Circulation

sullySully starring Tom Hanks, New DVD Sully

On January 15, 2009, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed a U.S. Airways jet with 155 passengers and crew in the middle of the Hudson River in New York City after Flight 1549 was struck by a flock of Canadian geese seconds after takeoff from La Guardia Airport. He saved all aboard and became a hero around the world.

Sully is portrayed by Tom Hanks, who is brilliant, and in every role he plays he is fully committed. The story itself also provides some interesting insight into the event. Clint Eastwood does a good job of making a story we already think we know interesting. Definitely enjoyed it and thought it worth seeing.

Chris – Circulation

Image result for loveless my bloody valentineLoveless by My Bloody Valentine, CD 781.66 MY BLOODY VALENTINE

With the theme of Valentine’s Day comes Loveless by My Bloody Valentine, but for those who may be less fortunate in this area. This album is heralded as the definitive shoegaze album by both critics and fans. Originating in the late 1980s, shoegaze is a subgenre of alternative rock that got its name from the performance style of of the artists-they often get enveloped in their own world and just gaze down at their shoes instead of the crowd. That being said, this is a very personal style that the listener can get lost in especially with headphones. My Bloody Valentine piles layers upon layers of guitar effects and distortion in their production, burying the vocals underneath and in effect giving them a dreamlike quality. This style is in full effect on Loveless, thus why the album has become synonymous with shoegaze.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews