It’s February! Let’s hope for an early spring and stay warm inside with a good book!
Sue – Circulation
The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade by Virginia Smith, New Fiction Smith
This is a charming book, the first title in a new series about Goose Creek, Kentucky, and its residents. The book centers around Al and Millie, a married couple with grown children. Al is near retirement and looks forward to peaceful days and some traveling. Millie, however, has other ideas and plays her husband of nearly 40 years just right to get her way. She wants to buy a dilapidated house in town and turn it into a bed and breakfast. Al is horrified by the idea and sees his retirement dreams going up in flames. Will he be able to put the kibosh on Millie’s plan or will he soon be a new business owner instead of a retiree? Meanwhile, the new veterinarian in town gets off on the wrong foot with one of the most outspoken residents of the town. Will she ever get a client or is she finished before she’s even begun? Then there is Norman, incensed that the mayor isn’t giving the job of painting the town’s water tower to his son, Little Norm, who did such a bad job the first time around that it needs to be repainted already. Norman launches an all-out campaign against the Town Council, dividing the residents into two sides. Funny and light with a warm heart, this is an enjoyable read and I look forward to more Goose Creek tales. The second book is called Renovating the Richardsons and it is being published on February 1, 2016.
At Home in Thrush Green by Miss Read, Fiction Read
A title in the Thrush Green series by British author Miss Read that inspired Jan Karon’s Mitford series. This is a gentle read that follows the lives of a group of people living in a small village in the Cotswolds. The characters include Charles, the kind-hearted vicar, his gentle wife Dimity, Dimity’s brash best friend Ella, eccentric Dotty with her household of animals, Albert, the ill-tempered sexton, the maiden schoolteachers Miss Watson and Miss Fogerty, and others. The books are comforting and slow-paced and take you back to a simpler time and a simpler life. No violence, no bad language, no modern technology, just a group of people living out their lives in a small community. The series began in the 1950’s and continued until the 1990’s, but all the books in the series have an old-fashioned charm. This title chronicles a year of life in Thrush Green. New homes for elderly residents are being built in the village on the site of the former rectory that burned down the previous year. Some problems arise as the homes are built and once the residents move in, but in the end all is resolved and the village is peaceful once more. This is a sweet, charming series for those who enjoy gentle reads and reading about English country life and want an escape from the hectic and violent real world.
Sit! Stay! Speak! by Annie England Noblin, New Fiction Noblin
Addie inherits her late aunt’s house in the small town of Eunice, Arkansas, and moves there from Chicago. She plans on moving back to Chicago once she fixes up and sells the house, but is happy for a respite. Since losing her fiance in an accident two years ago, she doesn’t feel at home in Chicago anymore. But in Arkansas, Addie finds a whole new set of problems facing her. On her arrival in Eunice, Addie finds a pit bull terrier puppy who has been badly abused and left for dead. She adopts him and names him Felix. While nursing Felix back to health, Addie makes friends with the local vet tech and meets a man named Jasper, for whom she develops romantic feelings, but he sends her mixed signals. As Addie investigates what happened to Felix, she uncovers illegal activity going on in town and gets herself on the bad side of a dangerous man. It turns out life in Eunice isn’t so simple after all. Though it deals with serious issues, the book is a comfort read with charm, romance, and a happy ending for both Addie and Felix. The book also includes authentic Southern recipes, including hush puppies, cheese grits, and chocolate gravy.
Michelle – Administration
The Martian starring Matt Damon, New DVD Martian
Full disclosure – I did not read the book! However, this movie was even better than I anticipated. Matt Damon created a lovable character that the audience could really root for. He was very entertaining, even though he spent most of the movie without a co-star. The movie is able to maintain a high level of suspense throughout that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Ant-Man starring Paul Rudd, New DVD Ant-Man (Blu Ray)
Not being familiar with the character before watching the movie, I couldn’t imagine a movie about a man turning into an ant being a good watch. I gave it the benefit of the doubt since Marvel has yet to let me down and they did it again. It is a great, funny movie with a lot of action. I will never look at ants the same way!
Dagmar – Circulation
Four Season in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr, Nonfiction 914.5 Doe
Many readers are probably familiar with the talented and successful author Anthony Doerr. For his writings, Doerr has won numerous prizes and awards, including the Rome Prize, one of the most prestigious awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which came with a stipend and a writing studio in Rome for a year. Doerr learned about the award on the day his wife Shauna and he came home from the hospital with their newborn twins. Doerr and his wife moved from Boise, Idaho, to Rome to spend a year at the American Academy when his twin boys, Henry and Owen, were only six months old. Doerr had planned to work on a new novel, which several years later became the highly acclaimed All the Light We Cannot See. In the process, however, he was enchanted by life in the Eternal City and wrote this delightful book as a result of his stay and experiences. He exquisitely describes his adventures in one of the most enchanting cities in the world – visits to piazzas and temples, and the vigil of a dying Pope John Paul II; but he also writes about the fun and frustration of living in a foreign country, about learning to negotiate everyday life in this “new” old world. He embraces these experiences, including the encounters with local grocers, bakers, and butchers of his neighborhood and makes them a part of his “Roman holiday.” This lovely, intimate book is a combination of a celebration of life in Rome, a fresh and wondrous look at new parenthood, and a fascinating look at creating the writer’s craft.
Hubbell – Circulation
Lingo: Around Europe in 60 Languages by Gaston Dorren, New Nonfiction 306.44 Dor
Despite the extensive linguistic study of most European languages, many details still remain under the surface. Dorren’s book takes a fun look at some of the lesser known European tongues. Each quick chapter focuses on a specific language or language family. Not too dense, the book lays out European linguistic diversity in an accessible manner and ties in the important historical causes of linguistic change.
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, Nonfiction 330.973 Lew
A hit movie in 2015, Michael Lewis’ The Big Short is the definitive insider’s look at the housing market crash that took place in the late 2000’s. It exposes just how few people it took to capsize the American economy. Lewis, a former investment banker himself, shows his unique insight into the greedy world of mortgage-backed securities trading.
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis, Nonfiction 330.9 Lew
Written by the author of The Big Short and Blindside, Lewis’ book about global financial bubbles is hilarious and terrifying. He tells us why Italians and Greeks don’t pay their taxes and why everyday Icelandic fishermen became the country’s largest investing bloc. Then, after lambasting the international financial scene, Lewis brings the message home and shows us Americans are no better at preventing or forecasting these catastrophic events.
Mary – Youth Services
Edward Gorey: His Book Cover Art & Design by Steven Heller, New Nonfiction 741.6 Hel
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Edward Gorey was an American illustrator. Best known for his gleefully macabre style, Gorey’s art embellished his own books, cartoons (the most famous being the opening sequence for the PBS Mystery! series), as well as hundreds of book covers for other writers. He illustrated covers which re-imagined the works of authors like Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, and Henry James. (On the subject of Henry James, Gorey famously said “I hate him more than anyone else…” Yet, he proceeded to do multiple covers of his work.) Edward Gorey: His Book Cover Art & Design is a collection of Gorey’s cover art, chronicling lesser-known covers he illustrated for other writers. Edward Gorey remains a singularity in the art field. Eclectic in personality and artistic style, this collection is a testament to the sheer volume and quality of his work, the likes of which we will perhaps never see again.
Mr. Holmes starring Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, and Milo Parker, New DVD Mr. Holmes
Based on the Holmes pastiche novel, A Slight Trick of the Mind, the film Mr. Holmes imagines the retirement years of the most famous fictional character of all times. Sherlock Holmes now lives in Sussex, with his housekeeper and her son. The narrative which follows is gorgeously shot, and has an intimate understanding of what it means to age, and the confusion and horror that accompanies irrevocable memory loss. Mr. Holmes, overall though, is a quiet film, but one that should not be overlooked. In the domestic scenes that take place in Sussex, all the way to Japan, this adaptation of Holmes gets right what most cannot: a look into the humanity of our favorite detective. Starring Ian McKellen, who, as always, is flawless.
Mad Max: Fury Road starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult, New DVD Mad Max
Having declared myself as not liking action films, I recently had to revoke my membership in the Please-Not-Another-Blow-Them-Up-Action-Flick Club. Mad Max: Fury Road is to blame. The post-apocalyptic world George Miller creates on-screen is a believably selfish; a world on the brink of ecological crisis. With water as a scarce resource, and women being exploited for their bodies, the leading regime is on the verge of collapse. Two individuals who escaped the dictatorship, Furiosa and Max, lead a crusade to free women and slaves. What follows is indescribably heart-pumping, dizzying action. Mad Max: Fury Road may be a glimpse at our own post-apocalyptic future, but it is one still filled with hope. Redemption ultimately rests in the hands of women, and they are not going down without a fight.