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.

April 2019

april 2019It’s April! Spring into the new season with one of our Staff Picks! April 7-13 is also National Library Week, so show your local library some love by stopping in for special activities!

 

 

Pat – Circulation

can you ever forgive me.jpgCan You Ever Forgive Me?, starring Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant, and Dolly Wells, New DVD Can You…

Based on a true story, Lee Israel, played by Melissa McCarthy, is a writer, an alcoholic, has no money, her cat is sick, and she is months behind in her rent. She began forging letters from famous literary people and succeeds in fooling honest, hardworking sellers who trusted her. When her letters cause suspicion, she has her friend, Jack Hock, a flamboyant drug dealer sell the letters for her. Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant are both excellent in this movie.

 

Paula – Circulation

blackkklansman.jpgBlacKkKlansman, starring John David Washington, Laura Harrier, and Adam Driver, New DVD BlacKkKlansman

Based on a true story, BlacKkKlansman recounts the work of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American to serve as a detective on the Colorado Springs Police Department. After joining the force, Ron makes contact with the leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and decides to infiltrate and expose the activity of the notorious hate group. Bringing in fellow detective Flip Zimmerman, Ron goes undercover as a new member of the KKK. Ron handles all communication by phone, while Flip pretends to be Ron in person. The film brilliantly depicts the dangerous events of the case and the risks that had to be taken to take down the KKK. It is dramatic and emotional, and an excellent parallel to some of the hateful events that are happening in today’s society.

Hubbell – Circulation

the facebook dilemmaThe Facebook Dilemma, New DVD 302.231 Facebook…

Facebook’s privacy troubles began long before the Cambridge Analytical scandal and the phenomenon of ‘fake news’ predates the 2016 American presidential election. Frontline’s analysis mixes older, forgotten footage of candid interviews and expert opinion to demonstrate Facebook’s past history of manipulating and exploiting its users data. It also focuses on Facebook’s inability to keep with its own growth and how that problem allowed armies of trolls to influence public opinion and sow discord.

 

Melissa – Technical Services

one more thingOne More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, by B.J. Novak, Fiction Novak

Many people know B.J. Novak from his role as Ryan on “The Office”, and are aware that he was also a staff writer for the show. As a fan of the series, I expected his stories to be similar in their usage and style of humor. They were not, at all, and yet they were still so much fun. Novak is an incredibly talented writer, and these stories are some of the most creative I have read. At times, he takes a seemingly mundane phrase or idea and delves so deep into its history or practicality, and does so in ways that literally make the reader laugh out loud. Though I hesitate to use the word “fun” should people read that as “trivial”, but they are so much fun, and still so inventive.

 

Jake – Administration

man-who-caught-storm.jpgThe Man Who Caught the Storm: The Life of Legendary Tornado Chaser Tim Samaras, by Brantley Hargrove, Nonfiction 551.553 HAR

Tim Samaras is a man who likes thunderstorms and tornadoes. He spends his springs chasing them all across the Midwestern plains taking photographs and video. Soon though this is not enough. He wants to prove to the scientific community that the center of the tornado can be penetrated and that vital data can be gathered. Samaras puts his nontraditional education and tinkering skills to the test in trying to complete the task. This book follows his quest and demise. An interesting book that gives a look at storm chasing, while showing one man’s determination.

 

 

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March 2019

march 2019It’s March, and you’re in luck! We have more picks for you at the library!

 

 

 

Paula – Circulation

star is bornA Star is Born, starring Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, and Sam Elliot, New DVD Star is Born

One of the most talked about movies of the year, A Star is Born lives up to its hype. The film focuses on the relationship between rock star Jackson Maine, played by Bradley Cooper, and struggling artist Ally, played by Lady Gaga. When Jackson first meets Ally, he is instantly drawn to her. Believing she has enormous potential, Jackson brings Ally into the spotlight to start her career as a singer. As Ally’s fame grows, her relationship with Jackson is tested as he struggles with his own personal demons. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper have undeniable chemistry together, and flawlessly portray the hardships of balancing fame and stardom with life at home. Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Actor and Actress, and winner of Best Original Song, A Star is Born is a film everyone needs to see.

Michelle – Administration

p15444050_v_v12_adBohemian Rhapsody, starring Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, and Ben Hardy, New DVD Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody is a highly entertaining look at the career of the band Queen and their lead singer Freddie Mercury. The movie presents an uplifting story and enjoyable musical performances. Oscar winner Rami Malek becomes Freddie Mercury and you almost forget you are watching an actor. That said, the movie isn’t exactly true to history, with some important moments missing or only briefly mentioned and other moments are pure fiction created for the movie. The timeline of events is also blurred quite a bit in favor of smooth storytelling. In spite of that, the movie is great fun and may be the most entertaining biopic I’ve seen.

Jean – Reference

dear fahrenheitDear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life, by Annie Spence, Nonfiction 808.6 SPE

A collection of very short (and funny) essays about the author’s love for various books she has read during her lifetime. Any book-lover will laugh out loud at least once while reading these “Love Letters and Break-Up Notes” to books!

 

 

Theresa – Youth Services

the nestThe Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, Fiction Sweeny 

This is a story about a very dysfunctional family with four gown-up siblings who have lived their lives believing that they will have a trust fund (“The Nest”) to count on in their aging years. Left by their father who has since passed away, it has made it easy for them to live their lives in a financially careless way. When Leo, the eldest brother, has gotten himself into some legal trouble, their alcoholic mother takes it upon herself to give him a large portion of “The Nest.” His siblings are furious, to say the least when they hear of this news.  With a cast of very interesting characters, this title keeps you wanting to continue reading more! As a popular book club choice, this title will give the reader much to think about and discuss with others who have read the book.

Chris – Circulation

my lucky lifeMy Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business, by Dick Van Dyke, Biography 921 VAN DYKE

After reading Dick Van Dyke’s memoir, I am a fan of his courage and drive, not just as an actor, but life itself. It takes you to his days before he was an actor during his struggles. He started his career like most of us, not loving it. He started as a door-to-door salesman and moved wherever he could to get an acting gig. Radio took him to his next journey into live acts on stage. He married, had family, and moved several more times. He fell into a dark time in his life, finding drinking his friend. Overall, he is now much older, wiser, and very happy with his blessing in life.

Hubbell – Circulation

proximaPróxima Estación Esperanza, by Manu Chao, CD 781.63 CHAO

Required listening for hippies, transients, Spanish learners, bums, and Iberians. This is the binational, French, Spanish, Manu Chao’s second formal solo album and he is still really weird. Some of the songs are spliced with the same beats and melodies as others with different lyrics transferred on top of them. You may only understand about 40% of the words, but this album will make any day sunny.

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February 2019

february 2019It’s February! Fall in love with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Paula – Circulation

mary shelleyMary Shelley, starring Elle Fanning, Douglas Booth, and Bel Powley, New DVD Mary Shelley

This film tells the story of famed author Mary Shelley and the inspiration behind her greatest work, Frankenstein. After meeting and falling in love with poet Percy Shelley, Mary is thrown into a life of love, heartache, adventure, loss, and torment. She then uses this passion and despair as fuel for her story of Victor Frankenstein and his monstrous creation. Elle Fanning delivers an excellent performance as a young, haunted Mary Shelley. It is a dark yet enjoyable film that shows how loneliness and the absence of love can create monsters in us all.

Michelle – Administration

first manFirst Man, starring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, and Corey Stoll, New DVD First Man

First Man is a look at the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the moon. I did not know much about Armstrong to begin with and this movie was full of facts that I was not aware of. The movie is based on the book of the same name by James R. Hansen and is the only official biography of Armstrong and was written with the support of him and his family and coworkers. Unlike most other space exploration movies, this film does not glorify the astronauts, but shows their more human side, in both the triumphs and tragedies. This is a great movie for anyone interested in a closer look at Armstrong and the Apollo missions. However, there is one caveat, I did not like the way some of the film was shot. There are way too many extreme close-ups that I found distracting. The movie stars Ryan Gosling as Armstrong, Clarie Foy as his wife and a host of other well-known faces, including Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll and more.

a simple favorA Simple Favor, starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and Henry Golding, New DVD Simple Favor

A Simple Favor centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), who seeks to uncover the truth behind her new friend Emily’s (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding) in this stylish thriller filled with twists and turns, secrets, murder and revenge. The movie is a strange mix of comedy and thriller that I found to be an enjoyable new take on the genre. It is directed by well-known comedy director Paul Feig.

Brigitte – Youth Services

high noonHigh Noon, starring Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, and Thomas Mitchell, New DVD High Noon

Sick of the frigid temperature outside? Why not dive into a classic Spaghetti Western like High Noon? Fight a gang of outlaws with Gary Cooper under the New Mexican sun before riding off into the sunset with Grace Kelly. This newly remastered classic is sure to keep you warm all day long!

 

 

mary-shelley-creator.jpgMary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator, by Catherine Reef, New Nonfiction YA 921 SHELLEY, M. REE

Have you ever wondered who created Frankenstein? The story of Frankenstein’s creator is a strange, romantic, and tragic one, as deeply compelling as the novel itself. Catherine Reef brings Mary Shelley back to life in this Nonfiction YA book about a woman who was truly ahead of her time.

 

 

Melissa – Technical Services

first comes marriage.jpgFirst Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Story, by Huda Al-Marashi, New Nonfiction 306.81 ALM

As a child of Iranian immigrants, Huda, like so many other second generation immigrants, faces a seemingly constant struggle between the culture she is raised in and the culture in which she lives. The focus of this memoir is on the practice of marriage in Muslim culture within America. Huda is eager to partake in the religious traditions, yet still finds herself drawn in by American romantic tropes and looks for ways to meld the two. Her memoir is an engrossing glimpse into the love life of a woman seeking to simultaneously fulfill her romantic dreams of two vastly different cultures.

Hubbell – Circulation

marwencol.jpegMarwencol, DVD 617.481 MARWENCOL

The inspiration for the 2018 release Welcome to Marwen starring Steve Carrell, Marwencol is the true story of Mark Hogancamp. Sad, but ultimately inspiring, the film shows Mark to us in the one place he feels comfortable, creating an enormous miniature WWII era town in upstate New York using customized figurines and props. He creates stories for his characters and chronicles all of their activities with professional level photography. Mark’s story was uncovered and then exhibited to the modern art world, where his personality is free to come through. Mark’s past, though, includes an extraordinarily violent beating which left him near death and wiped his memories. He must literally re-learn and re-invent himself with limited cognitive ability. As always, the true story exceeds the current retelling.

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January 2019

january 2019It’s January! Spend the new year with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

alphaAlpha, Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, and Marcin Kowalcyzk, New DVD Alpha

Alpha is the story of a young man trying to survive in extreme conditions and the friendship that he discovers with a wolf that is also trying to survive. While it sounds like a story that we’ve all heard before, it has one huge twist – it takes place 20,000 years ago. It does tell the story of survival and friendship, but also serves as an origin story of dogs as domestic pets. The movie is worth watching for the beautiful cinematography alone and I would recommend it to any dog lovers out there.

Jean – Reference

the library book.jpgThe Library Book, by Susan Orlean, New Nonfiction 027.47 ORL

A fascinating recount of the fire that destroyed the Los Angeles Public Library on April 29, 1986. As a librarian myself, I was shocked not to know about this event. But as the author explains, it happened within days of the Chernobyl disaster which dominated the news. Susan Orlean does a nice job of interweaving the story of the fire with the history of libraries in general, and the “who-done-it” angle of the arsonist who started the fire. Recommended for anyone who loves books and libraries.

Hubbell – Circulation

kitchen confidentialKitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain, Nonfiction 641.5 Bou

Anthony Bourdain’s first non-fiction book (did you know he wrote a chef inspired murder mystery first), Kitchen Confidential is both biographical and exploratory of Bourdain’s beginnings as a line cook to his rise as a premier New York chef. It is simultaneously hilarious, depressing, and revealing. And, you might learn a thing or two about cooking for yourself.

 

Paula – Circulation

the spy who dumped me.jpgThe Spy Who Dumped Me, Starring Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, and Sam Heughan, New DVD Spy Who Dumped…

The Spy Who Dumped Me is a hilarious account of a breakup gone wrong. After finding out that her ex-boyfriend is a spy, Audrey and her best friend Morgan get dragged into an international conspiracy and are forced to go on the run across Europe. With the help from a charming British agent, Audrey and Morgan set out to save the world while picking up their own espionage skills along the way. Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon have effortless chemistry as the two best friends turned spies. Their crazy adventures will have you laughing throughout the entire film.

Brigitte – Youth Services

beartownBeartown, by Fredrik Backman,  YA Fiction Backman

This Young Adult novel was on several summer reading lists as well as being a Lincoln Award winner for 2019. Set in a small town, this novel tells the story of a junior ice hockey team who are about to compete in the national semi-finals. While the premise seems like a straightforward sports novel, this book is anything but. Fredrik Backman (who also wrote A Man Called Ove) takes the reader deep inside this small community that hinges its happiness on a set of teenaged boys who are unprepared for local fame. A crime is committed – and covered up, leaving everyone scarred. The characters have various viewpoints with rich relationships. All events are interwoven, leaving the reader both elated at hockey games and devastated in the players’ personal lives. More than anything else, Beartown forces readers to think about the ripple effect of their actions, and tackles difficult subjects such as the idealization of celebrity and personal integrity.

Theresa – Youth Services

tattooist of auschwitz.jpgThe Tattooist of Auschwitz, by Heather Morris, New Fiction Morris

This book is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, who in 1942 was forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners. Using the privileges of his position, Lale risks his own life to help keep fellow prisoners alive. He also manages to fall in love along the way, and vows to somehow survive the camp and marry his beloved Gita. As another look into the atrocities of the Hitler regime, this is ultimately a hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

 

 

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December 2018

december 2018

It’s December! Enjoy the holidays with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

an-easy-death.jpgAn Easy Death, by Charlaine Harris, New Fiction Harris

This is the first book in Harris’s new series Gunnie Rose. It is the story of Lizbeth Rose, who is a gun-for-hire, otherwise known as a gunnie, in the southwest country of Texoma, formerly in the United States. Lizbeth is hired by Russian wizards to help them find a direct descendant of Rasputin. The book starts off slow as the reader is dropped into a world that is familiar, but different from our own. However, the story picks up steam once this new world unfolds. While this is a different type of story than the ones Charlaine Harris usually writes, if you are a fan of her Sookie Stackhouse or Midnight, Texas series, I’m sure you will enjoy this story as well.

Pat – Circulation

killing the ssKilling the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminal in History, by Bill O’Reilly, New Nonfiction 940.5318 O’RE

Killing the SS is informative, well written, and gripping. Bill O’Reilly relates the stories of seemingly ordinary people who turned into ravenous animals during the war, then tried to slip away to other countries after the war. It’s very revealing to read just exactly who helped these evil people (Catholic Church, Red Cross, various governments). His focus is on four of the worst and most notorious war criminals in WWII: Adolf Eichmann, Martin Bormann, Klaus Barbie and Joseph Mengele. Everyone should read Killing the SS to understand what human nature is capable of justifying in their minds. My only problem is that some parts of the book seem a bit disjointed.

Hubbell – Circulation

mad menMad Men, starring Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks, and Elizabeth Moss, DVD Mad…Season 1

Ranked on many “best-ever” lists, Mad Men follows the high-stakes world of 1960’s Madison Avenue, New York advertising firms. But beyond the show being an excellent period piece, its central story is that of the troubled Don Draper, a womanizing, hard-drinking, but brilliant creative executive with some pretty darn serious personal demons. The series also adeptly touches on cultural themes from the time including radical shifts in politics, race, sexuality, and gender equality.

Jake – Administration

home-alone.jpgHome Alone, starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern, J DVD Home…

A young Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) and his entire extended family are travelling to Europe for the Christmas holiday. In the confusion and chaos of getting a large family to the airport on time, Kevin is left home alone. The family does not realize their mistake until they are on the plane. For a couple of days Kevin must rely on himself, while defending the family home from two pesky burglars. Watching Kevin’s ingenuity in thwarting the robbers is inspiring. This over-the-top, heartwarming film is my favorite holiday movie.

Paula – Circulation

a-christmas-carol.jpgA Christmas Carol, starring Patrick Stewart, Dominic West, and Richard E. Grant, J DVD Christmas Carol

Of all the different versions of A Christmas Carol, this one is my favorite. The legendary Patrick Stewart delivers an outstanding performance as the wicked Ebenezer Scrooge, a man who cares more about business than the welfare of others. Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his dead business partner Jacob Marley, who warns him he must change his ways or suffer the consequences of his actions in death. He is then visited by three spirits, who hope to thaw the icy heart of the old miser and force him to realize there is more to life than profit. It is the perfect film to watch for the holiday season.

 

 

 

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November 2018

november 2018

It’s November! Give some thanks and enjoy our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Melissa – Technical Services

capoteCapote, Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Clifton Collins Jr., DVD Capote

Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in this biopic portraying the author Truman Capote as he began writing In Cold Blood. Hoffman captures the vivid presence and complexity that Capote was known for, and received a Golden Globe for his performance. In Cold Blood was the first of what we now know as the true crime genre, and paved the way for Helter Skelter, Dateline, true crime podcasts, and the like. Capote depicts how the author befriended the criminals and how he at times crossed the line for what was appropriate or ethical, all in service of the book that would make him the most famous author in America.

Paula – Circulation

book-club.jpgBook Club, Starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen, New DVD Book Club

Book Club is a hilarious comedy about four best friends whose love lives are completely turned around after reading the Fifty Shades of Grey series. For their monthly book club, the women choose the steamy series in hopes that it might give them some inspiration to change their seemingly boring love lives. Sparks fly and comedy ensues as new romances are found and old flames are rekindled. The film is as charming and funny as it is relatable. A better cast could not have been put together to portray this dynamic group of friends.

Hubbell – Circulation

911.jpg9-1-1, Starring Angela Bassett, Connie Britton, and Peter Krause, New DVD 911 Season 1

Do you like mindless, brain-numbing, action-packed television!? Car accidents, impalements, mega-earthquakes, and more! 9-1-1 was a hit for FOX when it aired in 2017. Its plot and character development are by no means nuanced, but there is enough there among the characters (all of whom are police, firefighters, or 911 call center employees) to keep you invested in their well-being while the sometimes absurd emergencies they encounter are more than entertaining.

Chris – Technical Services

the-escape-artists.jpegThe Escape Artists : A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Greatest Prison Break of the Great War, by Neal Bascomb, New Nonfiction 940.472 BAS

British RFC (Royal Flying Corps) pilots imprisoned during WWI in Holzminden, a land locked Alcatraz, made a “great escape” and a 150 mile trek to freedom in Holland in summer, 1918. A great read, I highly recommend it.

 

 

Jean – Reference

the-other-einstein1.jpgThe Other Einstein, by Marie Benedict, Fiction Benedict

“Behind every great man, is a woman”. This novel envisions how the Theory of Relativity, a ground-breaking physics theory credited to Albert Einstein, could just as easily (or likely?) been the brainstorm of his equally brilliant wife, Mileva Maric, a scientist in her own right, who has been erased by history.

 

 

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October 2018

october 2018

It’s October! Check out our Staff Picks for some good tricks and treats!

 

 

 

Pat – Circulation

deal with the devilA Deal with the Devil: The Dark and Twisted True Story of One of the Biggest Cons in History, by Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken, New Nonfiction 364.163 ELL

This is a very interesting and informative account of two investigative journalists from CNN Money who researched the French psychic Maria Duval scam. The scam spanned decades in which people, mostly vulnerable adults, where scammed out of $200 million dollars. Victims received personalized letters from a woman who, claiming amazing psychic powers, convinced them to send money in return for riches, good health, and good fortune. Ellis and Hicken travel around the globe and dig deep into obscure records to find the perpetrators of a silent but devastating crime.

Paula – Circulation

the conjuringThe Conjuring, Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, and Lili Taylor, DVD Conjuring

Based on the true case files of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring is the terrifying account of a family who was haunted by an evil spirit in the 1970’s. After moving into a new home, the Perron family must call on the famed Warrens to help them when strange and dark things begin happening in their farmhouse. The Conjuring is definitely one of the scariest movies I have ever seen. The fact that these events may have happened is truly haunting. In addition to a sequel, it has also inspired other horror films such as the Annabelle movies and The Nun. If you’re looking for a good scary movie to watch for Halloween this year, The Conjuring is the perfect one.

Hubbell – Circulation

sneaky-pete.jpgSneaky Pete, Starring Giovanni Ribisi, Peter Gerety, and Margo Martindale, New DVD Sneaky Pete Season 1

Marius is to be released from prison. Marius has no family or loved ones to return to. Marius steals his cell mate’s identity. Marius becomes Pete. Marius, coincidentally, is sneaky. Sneaky Pete is thus born. He knocks on the door of Pete’s family who haven’t seen him since he was a child. What Pete doesn’t expect is that this seemingly docile and loving family (with the always excellent Margo Martindale and Peter Gerety playing Pete’s grandparents) has a past and secrets of its own. Pete is faced with tough choices as he balances feelings of closeness with a newfound “family” and his previous life of psychopathy and avarice.

Michelle – Administration

woman walks aheadWoman Walks Ahead, Starring Jessica Chastain, Michael Greyeyes, and Sam Rockwell, New DVD Woman Walks Ahead

In this movie based on true events, Jessica Chastain plays Catherine Weldon, a New Yorker who travels alone to North Dakota in 1890 to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull. The films follows their growing friendship as well as the growing tensions between the Native Americans and the US Army in the lead up to the Massacre at Wounded Knee. This was an interesting story of both human relationships and the strength of a woman who was trying to follow her heart. The movie also stars Sam Rockwell and Michael Greyeyes as Sitting Bull.

white collarWhite Collar Season 1, Starring Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, and Tiffany Thiessen, DVD White Collar Season 1

This show had been on my list to watch since it premiered in 2009, but it wasn’t until the recent rave reviews from my sister that I finally checked it out from the library. The show stars Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey, an extremely charming art thief and con man who begins working with the FBI in exchange for an early release from prison. He works with FBI Agent Peter Burke, played by Tim DeKay, to catch other white collar criminals. The show is very witty and makes me laugh out loud at times. The two leads have great chemistry, which makes the show work even though the premise is slightly unbelievable. If you are looking for lighthearted entertainment, this is the show for you!

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September 2018

September 2018

It’s September! Enjoy the last few weeks of summer with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

Jette – Circulation

cat on a hot tin roofCat on a Hot Tin Roof, by Tennesse Williams, Nonfiction 812.54 WIL

Margaret and Brick are two of the many characters in this intensely moving play that definitely keeps you turning the pages to see how they will resolve their family problems as they get ready to attend a birthday party for a member of the older generation. I viewed this play on stage too. Truly intense!

 

 

 

chosen by a horseChosen by a Horse: a Memoir, by Susan Richards, Nonfiction 636.1 RIC

I enjoyed and recommend this book for women who love horses. It’s a true story of one woman’s experiences with a sickly mare she picked up at the SPCA. The mare chose her to save its life. She does so through patience and love, and spares no expense. Very descriptive narrative.

 

Pat – Circulation

what the eyes dont seeWhat the Eyes Don’t See, by Mona Hanna-Attisha, New Nonfiction 615.925 HAN 

Written by the doctor who sounded the alarm and led the fight about the Flint water crisis. The crisis was about water that GM didn’t use in their factories because it corroded their machines, but was still given to the people of Flint. This is a thoroughly well done account of her taking on the indifference of city, state, and federal agencies to advocate for the city’s children. This is a must read if you have a passion for social justice, public health, education, and/or exploring the incredible injustices faced by those living in poverty. This is an excellent book. Highly recommended.

Paula – Circulation

hope never dies.jpgHope Never Dies, by Andrew Shaffer, New Fiction Shaffer

Hope Never Dies imagines what life would be like for former President Barack Obama and former VP Joe Biden after leaving the White House. When an Amtrak conductor dies under mysterious circumstances, Obama and Biden team up once again as amateur sleuths to try to solve the case. The infamous bromance between the two is taken to a new level in this hilarious buddy mystery thriller. Full of suspense, adventure, and classic Uncle Joe jokes, Hope Never Dies continues the legacy of two of America’s greatest heroes.

Hubbell – Circulation

legion.jpgLegion, Starring Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, and Rachel Keller, New DVD Legion Season 1

Legion is weird… It’s about David Haller, a man who has spent more time in mental institutions than the outside world. He is a diagnosed schizophrenic, or at least that is the medical explanation for his symptoms. Legion and David are tied to the X-Men mutant universe. When David meets a new patient, a new explanation for his symptoms begins to emerge. David discovers a separate identity – and a new dangerous reality.

Chris – Technical Services

southeasternSoutheastern, by Jason Isbell, CD 781.66 Isbell, J

If you like the sound of a Martin acoustic guitar and the poetry of songs similar to John Prine, you will like the soulful songs of Jason Isbell, a Grammy Award winning American singer/songwriter from Green Hill, Alabama.

 

 

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August 2018

august 2018

It’s August! Enjoy the rest of the summer with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

the tudorsThe Tudors, Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, and Natalie Dormer, DVD Tudors Seasons 1-4

I recently re-watched the Showtime TV show The Tudors and I still found it to be an entertaining work of historical fiction mixed with actual events that occurred. The show follows the reign of King Henry VIII as a young man through the end of his life, highlighting his many marriages, the relationships in-between and his slow descent into cruel madness. Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as Henry VIII and the show also features Henry Cavill as the Duke of Suffolk, Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn and many other faces you may recognize. A word of warning, however, the show does not shy away from the bloody violence that was so abundant at the time. As they say – viewer discretion is advised!

Jean – Reference

baby teethBaby Teeth, by Zoje Stage, New Fiction Stage

For fans of Stephen King and Gillian Flynn, a psychological thriller in the vein of The Omen, that is creepy, yet fun.  For parents Suzette and Alex, their seven year old daughter’s perplexing behavior becomes more and more sinister as they try to make sense of her inability to speak (or is it an unwillingness)?  As we read alternating chapters in Hanna’s voice, it becomes clear that there is more going on than childish misbehavior.  But as we delve deeper and deeper into her psyche, the reader begins to wonder – is it a simple lack of ability to communicate, or is it just pure evil?

Paula – Circulation

AGameOfThronesA Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin, Fiction Martin

A Game of Thrones is the first book in the epic fantasy series A Song of  Ice and Fire, and the basis for the hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones. The series tells the story of the war for the Iron Throne between the Seven Kingdoms, and each of the noble families that claim they have the right to rule the land of Westeros. Each chapter is written from a different character’s point of view, giving the reader a unique experience by being able to see the conflict develop from multiple different sides. It is an exciting read as much as it is complex, dark, and bloody.

Pat – Circulation

then she was goneThen She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell, New Fiction Jewell

Then She Was Gone is a psychological thriller. This book is about a young girl, Ellie, who goes missing one day on her way to the library. Ten years later her mother, Laurel, meets a man, Floyd, in a coffee shop and they strike up a friendship. When Laurel meets Floyd’s nine year old daughter she is taken aback at the striking resemblance she has to her missing daughter and she understandably cannot let the mystery go. The book was mysterious, sad, crazy, but engaging. Also some parts are disturbing, so be prepared for that.

Hubbell – Circulation

nobody knows your nameWhere Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball, by John Feinstein, Nonfiction 796.357 FEI

Minor league baseball players toil in small cities, ride buses across the country, eat crappy food, and stay in cheap motels. Washington Post columnist John Feinstein compiles the stories of nine minor league baseball players whose careers are marked by varying degrees of success. One waits eighteen years between major league at-bats. Another experiences fantastic success at the major league level and helps his team to a World Series championship only to be demoted after the post-season. Feinstein explores the day-to-day life of these players and coaches, but also uncovers some of the darker unknowns of minor league service. They lack a labor union, have no collective bargaining rights, are exempt from overtime pay and, on average, make less than minimum wage, all of which is explicitly permitted by law.

Melissa – Technical Services

11millionHow Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews, Nonfiction 320.01 AND

This book is an essay about integrity in politics and the consequences that derive from a lack of it. The author notes the Nazi government tactic of repeatedly lying to its citizens in order to get them to board the trains to concentration camps, and give up their wealth and security. He also explores how lying is regarded as commonplace in American politics. This essay is relevant for all governed peoples, and for all time.

 

 

 

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July 2018

july2018cover

It’s July! Celebrate summer and the 4th of July with some of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

love simonLove, Simon, Starring Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, and Josh Duhamel, New DVD Love, Simon

Love, Simon is an adorable coming-of-age story, made in the same style as my favorites from the 80’s, but modernized to reflect society and teens today. The movie, which made me both laugh and cry in equal measures, is based on the YA book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” and follows the story of Simon Spier, who is keeping a huge secret from everyone in his life.

 

Chris – Technical Services

child in timeThe Child in Time, Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kelly MacDonald, and Stephen Campbell Moore, New DVD Child in Time

The Child in Time is a BBC Masterpiece Theatre 2017 production. Based on the award winning novel by Ian McEwan, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Kelly MacDonald as a couple who has lost a child. Don’t be put off by the heartbreaking story for it is “heart mending”, as a father works through the pain of a daughter lost. It is an exploration of love, loss, acceptance, and renewed hope and joy. I highly recommend it.

Hubbell – Circulation

the sinner'The Sinner, Starring Jessica Biel, Bill Pullman, and Christopher Abbott, New DVD Sinner Season 1

Jessica Biel is a happy new mother enjoying a day at the beach with her family when she commits a shocking act of violence without any provocation. She confesses, but the case’s detective, Bill Pullman, begins to ask questions about the true motivations of her crime. What is uncovered is a sad and sordid story of a sheltered girl, her devotion to a dying sister, and a hidden troubled upbringing. The Sinner surprises often, both in plot twists and sheer subject matter.

Paula – Circulation

lord of the ringsThe Lord of the Rings, Starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, and Viggo Mortensen, DVD Lord…Fellowship, DVD Lord…Two, and DVD Lord…Return

One of the greatest fantasy series of all time, The Lord of the Rings is an absolute work of perfection. The series follows a young Hobbit named Frodo and his group of friends who are sent on a quest to destroy the One Ring of Power in order to save Middle Earth from falling into darkness. In the book series, J. R. R. Tolkien, a master of fiction, created an entire world full of unique characters and breathtaking landscapes that are beautifully depicted in the films. Each major character has their own story line that progresses throughout the films and captivates the viewers in a way that most stories do not. The Lord of the Rings is by far my favorite movie series, and is a must-see for all lovers of fantasy, adventure, friendship, and heroism.

 Mary – Reference

the caregiverThe Caregiver: Poems, by Caroline Johnson, New Nonfiction 811.54 JOH

This collection of poems is both beautiful and powerful, and while written as a tribute to the author’s parents, they are relatable to everyone. Managing her parent’s terminal illnesses over twelve years, the author states to have, “found caregiving to be the most important, profound job I’ve ever had. It has been a privilege and an honor…”

 

 

Jean – Reference

upside downUpside Down in the Middle of Nowhere, by Julie T. Lamana, Juvenile Fiction J Lamana

The experience of Hurricane Katrina written in the voice of a 10-year old girl, living in the lower-ninth ward. This story will transport you to the world of a young girl who wants nothing other than to celebrate her birthday party with her happy, tight-knit family, and yet finds her life literally ripped apart by the devastating hurricane and its aftermath. Prepared to be sad, moved and inspired – this book will stay with you for a long time after you finish reading it!

 

Melissa – Technical Services

lincoln in the bardoLincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, Fiction Saunders

 “Bardo” is a state of being after death, similar to purgatory or limbo. It is where Abraham Lincoln’s youngest son, Willie, finds himself after dying of typhoid. He is not alone, rather surrounded by a truly colorful cast of characters whose forms are shaped by the lives they led; an artistic rendering of perpetual suffering. The prose itself is unique too, as the story is comprised entirely of either dialogue or quotes from historical sources. This is Saunders’s first novel, and it’s apparent why he won the 2017 Man Booker Prize for it. It’s vivid yet dark, and wholly transcendent.

 

 

 

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