Tag Archives: Biography

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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June 2018

june2018

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

 

 

 

 

Jean – Reference

radium girlsThe Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, by Kate Moore, YA 363.17 MOO

If you have ever wondered if corporations have the public’s or worker’s best interest at heart, this book will cure you of that belief. This is an amazing and under-told story of young women in their early twenties (and teenagers) after WWI who worked in factories painting luminous watch dial-faces with paint mixed with toxic radium. These women suffered terrible effects of radioactive poisoning and died horrible deaths within years. The companies knew of the harmful effects, and kept their employees in the dark. Some workers were even outright fired as they became ill. The women brought ‘David and Goliath’ lawsuits (some on their deathbeds) against the corporations and won hard-fought protections for workers everywhere.

Paula – Circulation

westworldWestworld, Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, and Ed Harris, DVD Westworld Season 1

Westworld is the thrilling tv series about a theme park gone wrong. Set in the future, Westworld exists as a park that allows vacationers to indulge in their wildest fantasies without any consequences. The inhabitants of the park are robotic hosts that are created to serve the needs of the guests that come to visit. However, as some of the hosts begin to gain sentience, a chain reaction of events occurs, plunging the park into complete chaos. Westworld is a phenomenal series full of complex details and unforgettable characters. The fast-paced story and numerous plot twists will leave you guessing until the very end.

Hubbell – Circulation

deadwoodDeadwood, Starring Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, and Molly Parker, DVD Deadwood

HBO’s Deadwood is frequently classified as a show which was canceled too soon. It is an ultrarealistic time period piece taking place in the black hills of South Dakota in the 1870’s. The main characters are, generally, based off of real-life ones, including brothel owner Al Swearengen, sheriff Seth Bullock, and other famous western characters like Calamity, Wild Bill Hickock, Annie Oakley, and others. The show takes care to frame the drama in the historical context of its time. It was simultaneously hilarious, shocking, dirty, and endearing.

Jacob – Administration

durrellsThe Durrells in Corfu, Starring Keeley Hawes, Josh O’Connor, and Milo Parker, DVD Durrells in Corfu

The Durrells in Corfu is a PBS Masterpiece television series about an English mother that moves her four reluctant children to a Greek island in hopes of starting anew. The series tracks the ups and downs of this family, often in a comedic way, as they acclimate to a new culture and a new way of living. The series has great characters and breath taking scenery. Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

 

Chris – Technical Services

tree of forgivenessThe Tree of Forgiveness, by John Prine, New CD 781.64 Prine

The Tree of Forgiveness is an excellent album by John Prine, a folk, country, and protest musician from Chicago. If you visited the clubs in Old Town in the ’70s, you would have definitely heard him.

 

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May 2018

may2018It’s May! Enjoy the warm weather with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Paula – Circulation

lady birdLady Bird, Starring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Tracy Letts, New DVD Lady Bird

Lady Bird is a beautiful coming-of-age story about a high school senior who dreams of getting out of her hometown of Sacramento. Christine, who goes by the name Lady Bird, is tired of her poor, under-average life, and longs to go to a more sophisticated college in New York City. The film follows Lady Bird as she pushes herself to overcome the challenges of “living on the wrong side of the tracks,” and of the strained relationship with her strong-willed mother who she constantly butts heads with. Filled with charming humor and a wonderful cast of characters, Lady Bird is a heart-warming film worthy of its five Academy Award nominations.

Chris – Technical Services

so b itSo B. It, Starring Talitha Bateman, Alfre Woodard, and Cloris Leachman, New DVD So B. It

Based on a bestselling book by Sarah Weeks, and with excellent performances by its three main female characters, this story is of a young girl’s struggle to seek the truth about her family which then sends her on a cross country journey.

 

Lisa – Youth Services

loving vincentLoving Vincent, Starring Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, and Aidan Turner, New DVD Loving Vincent

A unique and beautiful film. Each scene is hand painted in the style of Van Gogh’s paintings. The story takes place after the artist’s death and follows various people and scenes he painted in Arles.

 

 

Melissa – Technical Services

the-gift-of-fear.jpgThe Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence, by Gavin de Becker, Nonfiction 362.88 DEB

De Becker has spent his career predicting violent behavior. His firm advises many of the world’s most prominent figures and helps them to evaluate threats, including our own government. In this book, he explains how true fear is a gift, and uses real-life cases as examples for ordinary people can predict violent behavior. Whether it be an angry ex-boyfriend, a disgruntled employee, or a persistent suitor, these types of people always give clues as to their intentions. Violence is never truly “out of the blue”. De Becker shows readers how they can be more attuned to the red-flags, as well as how to best handle those types in volatile situations. Definitely a must-read for true crime fans.

Jean – Reference

the woman who smashed codesThe Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies, by Jason Fagone, Nonfiction 652.8 FAG

Excellent story about a lesser-known female figure who actually had an out-sized role in early code-breaking. Elizebeth Friedman worked for the Coast Guard, which fell under the government branch of the Treasury Department before there was a National Security Administration, FBI, or CIA. Although her husband William was a co-founder of the NSA and Signal Intelligence, her work was classified and unknown until recently. This is an easy-to-read and fascinating account of code-breaking, first with an aim to bust rum-running operations during prohibition, and then during WWII to bust the German Enigma code machines, using little more than just her brilliant mind, paper, and pencil.

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April 2018

april2018It’s April! Spring into the new season with one of our Staff Picks! April 8-14 is also National Library Week, so show your local library some love by stopping in for special activities!

 

 

 

Jean – Reference

nomadlandNomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, Nonfiction 331.398 BRU

Retirement is often viewed as a time that is earned after one puts in a life-time of hard work, including idyllic views of selling the family home and traveling the country in a recreation vehicle. However, after the economic collapse in 2008, when many retirees lost their savings and many people found their mortgage underwater, living in an RV, car or van became a necessity after many walked away from their homes, no longer able to afford them, or able to sell them. Having little-to-no retirement savings left, these retirees find themselves traveling the country looking for temporary work in order to pay for gas and food. They are referred to as “Workampers” and corporations such as Amazon and large agricultural conglomerates have tapped into this alternative sub-set of the workforce by providing campground facilities surrounding their warehouses and farms. The work these seniors do is often back-breaking, low-pay, and often provides no benefits and few worker protections. It’s a fascinating, yet dire, look at a subculture of the labor force in America.

Hubbell – Circulation

artemisArtemis by Andy Weir, New Fiction Weir

Andy Weir’s second novel following his made-to-movie The Martian stays closer to home and follows the story of Jazz Bashara, a porter (and sometimes smuggler) working in the Moon’s first city, Artemis. Jazz is drawn into a mystery involving the city’s wealthiest resident, its government, and, most importantly, the unique mineable resources which make the entire endeavor profitable. Like in The Martian, Weir’s humor and down-to-earth, if not salty, dialogue shine in the rendering of the novel’s protagonist and we find her just as easy to follow as the mystery and intrigue itself.

Paula – Circulation 

dunkirkDunkirk, Starring Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy, New DVD Dunkirk

Dunkirk is the heart-pounding true story of the evacuation of Allied soldiers that were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France during WWII. Surrounded by German forces, British and French troops desperately tried to stay alive while waiting to be rescued. The film is told in three separate timelines, each focusing on events that occurred on land, sea, and in the air. Nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, Dunkirk is an awe-inspiring and emotional film that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Pat – Circulation

glass castleThe Glass Castle, Starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts, New DVD Glass Castle

The Glass Castle is a biographical drama based on Jeannette Walls’ best selling memoir. It depicts Walls’ real-life childhood spent squatting in homes and living in poverty.
Four siblings must learn to take care of themselves, as their free-spirited parents both inspire and inhibit them. On the way home from a dinner with her fiancé, Jeanette (Brie Larson) spots her parents, Rex (Woody Harrelson) and Rose Mary (Naomi Watts), digging through the trash. She then remembers her childhood, when she, her parents, and her siblings would go on the run every time her father lost a job, their lack of food, Rex’s drinking and the time she burned herself as a child while boiling hot dogs. She also remembers the wondrous times such as planning the “glass castle” that they hoped to build someday, or Rex letting the children choose their very own star as a Christmas present. Outstanding acting, the movie is a powerful story of dysfunction, abuse, and thriving against all odds.

Michelle – Administration

handmaids taleThe Handmaid’s Tale Season 1, Starring Elizabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, and Alexis Bledel, New DVD Handmaid’s Tale Season 1

Based on the book by Margaret Atwood, the show is a dystopian look at a not-too-distant future that could be waiting for us. Following a coup, America is ruled by a repressive, religious regime that has taken away the rights of all women. Due to environmental reasons, there are few women who are able to bear children. Those women have been collected and forced to become Handmaids. The show follows the story of one Handmaid named June and those around her. The book was written in 1985, but its themes are so relevant to the concerns in today’s society. The Handmaid’s Tale has received both Emmy and Golden Globe wins. Catch up now before season 2 begins on April 25.

Chris – Circulation

origin of symmetryOrigin of Symmetry by Muse, CD 781.66 Muse

Regarded by many as their seminal work, Origin of Symmetry put Muse on the UK’s map back in 2001. This is the album that would gain them genre labels such as progressive rock and space rock, which are accurate descriptions of the kind of music they made for this album. Their use of synths and electronic effects create an atmosphere of both hurtling through space and of gently floating wherever momentum takes you. Both of these feelings are present on “Citizen Erased” and “Space Dementia,” two of the progressive tracks on the album. Standout straight up alt-rock singles from this album are “Bliss” and “Plug In Baby,” the latter of which features one of the most iconic guitar riffs of the 21st Century. Muse expertly blends rock with classical, electronic, and progressive influences. This is an album not to miss if you have not heard it before.

 

 

 

 

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March 2018

march2018It’s March, and you’re in luck! We have more picks for you at the library!

 

 

 

 

Pat – Circulation

aloneAlone: Lost Overboard in the Indian Ocean by Brett Archibald, New Nonfiction 613.69 ARC

In this intense memoir, Archibald describes how in the middle of the night in 2013, he fell into the Indian Ocean off the side of a boat he and his friends had chartered for a birthday surfing trip. His friends discovered his disappearance eight hour later. For the next 28 hours he struggled to survive.
A breaking news story surfaces on social media and a frantic search got under way.
Alone is the incredible tale of what it takes to defy needle-in-a-haystack odds and survive what should have been certain death. I highly recommend this book.

Jean – Reference

readyplayeroneReady Player One by Ernest Cline, YA Fiction Cline

This exciting novel is set in the near future, where the online world has become more immersive and all-consuming, and people now spend their entire days connected to a virtual reality world called OASIS. The founder of OASIS is worshipped by gamers and computer programmers who document every minute detail of his video games, writings and 1980s pop culture. The founder dies and in his will, he leaves his billion dollar fortune and ownership of the OASIS to the winner of an online game he has created. With so much at stake, and cut-throat competition from mega-corporations, homeless teenager Wade embarks on a dangerous quest to solve the riddle and escape his dreary reality to win the ultimate prize. *Soon to be a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg*

Paula – Circulation

professormarstonandthewonderwomenProfessor Marston and the Wonder Women, Starring Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, and Bella Heathcote, New DVD Professor Marston

Everyone is familiar with Wonder Woman, the most iconic female superhero of our time. This movie reveals the secret and unconventional history of Wonder Woman’s creator and the women who helped to inspire her. William Moulton Marston, a psychology professor and contributor to the invention of the lie detector, was in a polyamorous relationship with his wife and one of his former students. Forced to hide their relationship from the public, Marston used this and the feminist ideals of his partners to create the Wonder Woman comics. The movie does a fantastic job of portraying controversial issues such as sexual freedom and support for the gay community during a time when such issues were not to be discussed in public. It is not only intriguing and informational, but it also tells a powerful story of love and fighting for what you believe in.

Chris – Circulation

sciencefictionScience Fiction by Brand New, New CD 781.66 Brand New

If the rumors are true, this album may be the last from alternative/indie legends Brand New. They are set to break up in 2018 with Science Fiction being the long-awaited product of the eight years since their last full-length effort. If it is truly their last, it certainly makes a statement, not by being loud and bombastic, but by the notable lack thereof. This is a very understated album compared to the rest of their work. They removed the sudden shifts in energy within a single song from their previous two albums. This one is more consistent and flows from song to song steadily–it is certainly in no hurry to leave. The beauty this time, instead of a package of immediately catchy alternative tunes, is in the production and craftsmanship of each song and their cohesiveness as a whole. I recommend “Lit Me Up,” “Out of Mana,” and “Batter Up.”

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February 2018

february2018It’s February! Keep warm inside for a bit longer with some of our recommendations!

 

 

 

 

Chris – Technical Services

gentleartofswedishdeathcleaningThe Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: how to free yourself and your family from a lifetime of clutter by Margareta Magnusson, New Nonfiction 648.5 MAG

“Dostadning” or Swedish death cleaning, is a term than means remove unnecessary things and make your home nice and orderly, before you pass on. By deciding how to get rid of things now, it removes the burden of your family having to do it later. In this quick-reading, 100 page book, she gives examples of how to go about it in the most efficient way. This art of decluttering can be done by anyone at any point in their life.

“Death cleaning is as much for you, as for the people who come after you.”

It is also something you can do for yourself, for your own pleasure. “One’s own pleasure, and the chance to find meaning and memory, is the most important thing. It is a delight to go through things and remember their worth.”

Michelle – Administration

goodbyechristopherrobinGoodbye Christopher Robin, Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Will Tilston, and Margot Robbie, New DVD Goodbye Christopher Robin

This movie tells the story of Author A.A. Milne and his young son Christopher Robin, who was the inspiration behind the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. The instant fame for both father and son changed their lives and their relationship completely. It is a well told story behind the story that we all know and love. The movie stars Domhnall Gleeson as A.A. Milne and the adorable Will Tilston as his son. It also features Margot Robbie and Kelly Macdonald.

Paula – Circulation

outlanderOutlander, Seasons 1 and 2, Starring Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and Tobias Menzies, DVD Outlander

After the end of WWII, British combat nurse Claire Randall and her husband Frank travel to Scotland for a second honeymoon. While there, Claire is transported back in time to 1743 amidst a battle between the British army and the Scottish Highland clans. In order to survive, she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior with a haunting past and stubborn will. The two develop a passionate relationship, causing Claire to be torn between her past with Frank and her new life with Jamie. Outlander is an excellent mix of fantasy, romance, and history. It centers around the events of the Jacobite rebellions seen through the eyes of the Scottish clans and their efforts to save their way of life. As you follow Claire through her adventures, you can’t help but get swept up in the grand cultures of the 18th century and the relationships she develops with a vast array of characters.

Chris – Circulation

luciferiantowersLuciferian Towers by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, New CD 781.66 Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Godspeed You! Black Emperor is one of those bands that presents to you an experience in the form of an album. In the past, this experience has included extended passages of drone or ambient noise, but this time around, they switch it up a bit. Shorter than their previous efforts and seemingly more focused, Luciferian Towers does away with most of these stretches and fills them in with spacey guitar or drums. GY!BE is a band known for their social commentary on heavy topics, usually reflected in their music and song titles. But despite the dark album title, the music contradicts it in what is perhaps an album of hopefulness displayed in the energy and melody infused by the instrumentalists. This is a fantastic album to introduce new listeners to the band and their unique style.

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January 2018

january2018It’s a new year! Resolve to check out your library and some of our staff picks!

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

windriverWind River, Starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, New DVD Wind River

Wind River is the story of a veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service (Jeremy Renner) who helps a young FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier tragedy. It is well-acted and the story held my interest throughout. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded, letting me learn bits and pieces as the investigators made those discoveries. The movie states that it is “based on true events” but is actually all fictional, but based upon the fact that a number of Native American women go missing every year.

Chris – Technical Services

viceroyshouseViceroy’s House, Starring Gillian Anderson, Hugh, Bonneville, and Michael Gambon, New DVD Viceroy’s House

If you like historical/biographical movies you will enjoy Viceroy’s House, directed by Gurinder Chadha. The final Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, is tasked with overseeing the transition of British India to independence, but meets with conflict as different sides clash in the face of monumental change. Hugh Bonneville & Gillian Anderson play the Lord and Lady Mountbatten.

Chris – Circulation

atomicAtomic by Mogwai, CD 781.63 Mogwai

Atomic is the latest soundtrack effort from Scottish post-rock giants Mogwai. This album is the result of the band reworking the soundtrack they created for the BBC documentary Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise which examines the atomic age, from the accidents to the wars. What Mogwai created is an emotional journey to different aspects of this era. The science is evident on tracks with an industrial feel, like being in a centrifuge. Other tracks represent the devastation wrought on societies with melancholic strings and passages of quiet. This entire instrumental album is more restrained than Mogwai typically are with their compositions, but that just makes it tighter and more consistent on a thought provoking topic.

Hubbell – Circulation

blitzedBlitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler, Nonfiction 362.2995 OHL

Many are familiar with the evidence about the use of drugs, especially amphetamines, by Hitler himself. In Ohler’s book, he examines the widespread use and production of narcotics by the Nazi regime. Using the nation’s developed industrial network, the Third Reich poured resources and money in developing and distributing forms of amphetamines and cocaine to its populace and also to its soldiers. The Third Reich simultaneously demonized drug and alcohol use by its perceived internal enemies while using the same propaganda machine to peddle its own drugs to its people.

broadchurch1Broadchurch Seasons 1-2, Starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, DVD BROADCHURCH

The first season of this murder mystery series gripped Britain at the time. The mystery of who killed young Danny Latimer was even hidden from the cast until the last two episodes. David Tenant and Olivia Colman play detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller in the fictional town of Broadchurch in southern England. The cliffs and views of the area along with great performances from the primary and secondary characters have made Broadchurch a hit. The second and third seasons deal with new crimes in the area but the story and characters from Season 1 are still very much involved.

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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.

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September

September2016coverIt’s September! Welcome cooler weather with the change of season and check out the recommended titles below.

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

lilacgirlsLilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, New Fiction Kelly

This book is set from 1939-1959 and alternates among three characters, each of whom narrates her own chapters: Caroline, a New York socialite working for the French embassy, Kasia, a Polish teen, and Herta, a Nazi doctor. Kasia and Herta’s stories intersect when Kasia is caught working for the Polish underground and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp, along with her sister and mother, where she becomes a victim of gruesome medical experiments. It is not until after the war that Caroline’s part in the story becomes clear. The book is harrowing, showing the atrocities committed by the Nazis, but also inspiring, celebrating the strength and will of the victims.

Having each character tell her story in her own voice makes it more powerful. I felt so sad for Kasia that she struggled to make a life for herself after the war due to the psychological scars she carried and it was chilling and disgusting to see Herta’s hatred for Jews and her justification for the horrors she committed. The book was thoroughly researched by the author and is historically accurate, though the characters’ stories are fictionalized. Caroline and Herta were real people and Kasia and her sister Zuzanna are based upon real victims of the Ravensbrück medical experiments.

jonathanunleashedJonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff, New Fiction Rosoff

Jonathan is in his early twenties and just out of college. He moves to New York City to start his adult life. He is quirky and thinks outside the box. His passion is drawing comics, but he ends up at a soul-sucking job as a copywriter working for a client that sells office supplies. He has a girlfriend who is totally wrong for him – it is obvious to everyone in his life that she is not his match, but still he gets engaged to her on the spur of the moment when the bridal magazine she works for offers to pay for the ceremony, in exchange for live streaming it and doing a magazine spread. Even while engaged, Jonathan meets a few other people who interest him romantically, yet he clings to the idea of marriage to this woman. Jonathan’s life changes when his brother leaves his two dogs with him when he goes overseas for a work assignment. Jonathan develops a strong bond with the dogs – Sissy, a sweet cocker spaniel, and Dante, a very intelligent, work-driven border collie. Jonathan worries that the dogs are unsatisfied with life in a big city and he visits a vet, who suspects that he is projecting his unhappiness onto the dogs, who are dogs after all and take things as they come. Jonathan is a likable guy, but somewhat exasperating as he is stuck and miserable but afraid to make any changes in his life. The reader sees long before he does that he is making the wrong choices. The dogs sense it too and help Jonathan to find wisdom about the best way to live his life, nudging him in the right direction. The dogs’ antics are funny and clever, leading Jonathan down the path to a more rewarding life. The book is very funny and passionate dog lovers will savor it. A fun, light-hearted read.

shetlandShetland starring Douglas Henshall, DVD Shetland, Series 1 & 2

This is a detective series set in the Shetland Islands (part of the British Isles located in the far North and governed by Scotland) that follows Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and his team as they investigate crimes committed on the islands. The first two seasons have been released as a set, which comprises four two-part episodes that are based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. I find this series to be very well done, with compelling crimes and interesting characters. Each story is allowed to evolve, being two hours in length, moving at a slower pace than most American detective shows, which allows more emphasis on character and setting. The crimes are not cut and dried, but complex with numerous suspects, keeping you guessing until the end. DI Perez is a likable character, a compassionate man who is good at questioning witnesses and suspects as he has a comforting presence. We learn that Perez is a widower with a teenage stepdaughter who grew up on the islands. The beautiful but bleak, rugged landscape sets a mood of isolation and gives you a sense of a close-knit community that feels the effects of crime much deeper than that of a well-populated urban area.

Chris – Circulation

yourinnerfishYour Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin, Nonfiction 611 Shu

Have you ever wondered how the human body has come to look and function the way it does today? Have you noticed similarities between humans and other groups of life? There is a good reason for this–humans are essentially more complex versions of creatures from these other groups. There are even more similarities than you think because many features cannot be seen on the surface. In paleontologist Neil Shubin’s first foray into popular science, he tackles the task of relating 3.5 billion years worth of evolution–of bacteria, prehistoric fish, flies, and many, many others–to the current human form. For example, fish, whales, and bats all have similar “hand” structures to humans. Flies have some of the same genes that function the same way in humans as well. Shubin is successful in his task because of his experience in the field, breadth of scientific evidence, and clear, easily accessible writing style. This is a fascinating read for anyone curious about evolution and the amazing path bodies have taken over 3.5 billion years. There is also a three-part PBS series based on this book.

Melissa – Technical Services

allisnotforgottenAll Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker, New Fiction Walker

In this tale, a teenage girl named Jenny is raped at a party. While being treated in the hospital, she is given a new and controversial drug that will erase the memory of her trauma. The treatment is not as effective as it is purported to be, and the ghosts of the incident seem to linger in Jenny’s subconscious. Her family begins to crumble in the aftermath, as her father regrets this course of action and will not rest until the man is brought to justice. The narrator is Jenny’s psychiatrist as he works to help her uncover the truth of that night. A fun and creative thriller, and the movie rights have recently been sold.

Chris – Technical Services

canalzheimersCan Alzheimer’s Be Stopped? written by Sarah Holt, New Nonfiction DVD 616.832 Can

Scientists reconstruct the molecular chain of events which leads to dementia.They explore the leading theories and you meet individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s and the clinical trials they are participating in as the researchers test their theories. A peak behind-the-scenes of what is happening in Alzheimer’s research. Recommended viewing for those who wish to learn more about the medical research currently going on.

isawthelightI Saw the Light starring Tom Hiddleston, New DVD I Saw

Tom Hiddleston stars as Hank Williams, the country western singer who rose to fame quickly and burned out fast. During his short lifetime, he wrote many timeless and heart-wrenching songs still covered by musicians today. Tom does a terrific job portraying the charismatic performer with a troubled soul and interpreting his songs.

headincloudsHead in the Cloud: Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up by William Poundstone, New Nonfiction 306.42 Pou

If a few keystrokes can summon information in seconds, why should we bother learning facts? The author examines what Americans know and don’t know on a range of topics. He shows that many areas of knowledge correlate with the quality of our lives – wealth, health, and happiness – and even with politics and behavior.

Being well informed is about context as much as it is about factoids. It is the overview that permits the assessment of the particular that offers all-important insight into what we don’t know. Exposure to facts is good, but so is interacting with others of differing viewpoints. Discussion and debate hone opinions more effectively than reading facts.

walkingpointWalking Point: From the Ashes of the Vietnam War by Perry A. Ulander, New Nonfiction 921 Ulander

Memories of the war you may not want to hear about from a soldier who was there. 236 pages, very fast reading.

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