Tag Archives: Comedy

August 2019

august 2019It’s August! Enjoy the rest of the summer with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

Paula – Circulation

the publicThe Public, starring Emilio Estevez, Alec Baldwin, and Michael K. Williams, New DVD Public

Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to work in a public library? Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, The Public shines a pretty accurate light on the daily happenings of public library life. Estevez stars as Stuart Goodson, an overwhelmed librarian who makes an effort to care for the library’s regular patrons, many of which are homeless or mentally ill. When a bitter cold snap hits the city of Cincinnati, the homeless population bands together for a sit-in at the library to seek shelter from the cold. The “occupy” movement forces the police to be involved, causing a standoff between the police, the homeless population, and the librarians who have chosen to defend them. The film also acts as a good social awareness message for the challenging issues of homelessness and mental illness, and what actions must be taken in order to help address them. The film is as moving as it is educational, and even provides a few good moments of library humor.

Michelle – Administration

shazamShazam!, starring Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, and Asher Angel, New DVD Shazam!

The DC universe finally takes a break from the doom and gloom with Shazam! This is the story of a 14-year-old foster kid who gets the ability to transform into a fully grown adult superhero on command. It’s a funny and touching story of family and responsibility in a world full of super powers, superheroes and super villains. The movie stars Zachary Levi, Mark Strong and Asher Angel.

Chris – Circulation

the clean plateThe Clean Plate: Eat, Reset, Heal, by Gwyneth Paltrow, Nonfiction 641.563 PAL

Gwyneth has made it her lifestyle to live green and clean. The recipes in this book may challenge you to try something new, maybe making it your regular go-to. She has listed foods to avoid and foods to add on a daily basis that can help reset and heal. She will introduce you to her favorites and special treats that are actually tasty. She also has some expert Q&A on detoxing, heart health, and more.

Brigitte – Youth Services

ottolenghi.jpgOttolenghi Simple, by Yotam Ottolenghi, New Nonfiction 641.512 OTT

The end of summer leaves me exhausted, hot, and unable to even think about using my oven. With Ottolenghi Simple by world famous chef Yotam Ottolenghi I have been saved. This is truly the cookbook for the laziest of people. Every recipe takes 30 minutes or less with 10 ingredients or less. Every recipe is a celebration and is guaranteed to make you look like a professional chef, even when you’re not. Minimal hassle, maximum joy; exactly what I want after a long day of serving OBPL patrons!

Hubbell – Circulation

lingoLingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages, by Gaston Dorren, Nonfiction 306.44 DOR

Linguist and polyglot Gaston Dorren’s accessible Lingo takes us on a quick jaunt through Europe’s languages. We don’t learn grammar or syntax trees here; rather, we’re introduced to the many quirks and overall diversity of the European languages. Don’t expect to gain fluency from Dorren’s book, but do expect to be surprised.

 

 

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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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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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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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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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December 2017

december2017coverIt’s December! ‘Tis the season to be reading (and watching and listening to) some of our staff picks!

 

 

 

Paula – Circulation

christmasstoryA Christmas Story, Starring Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, and Darren McGavin, J DVD Christmas Story

A Christmas Story is a classic holiday movie that the whole family will enjoy. No Christmas is complete without watching nine year old Ralphie struggle to convince his parents, teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect gift to receive. Narrated by Ralphie as an adult, the movie hilariously reflects on childhood memories that anyone with a crazy family can relate to. From leg lamps, to flat tires, to pink bunny suits, A Christmas Story will leave you laughing as Ralphie and his family celebrate the holiday season in their own unique way.

Lisa – Youth Services

sickenedSickened: The True Story of a Lost Childhood by Julie Gregory, YA 921 Gregory

This bittersweet autobiographical book accounts the author’s upbringing as a survivor of MBP (Munchausen by Proxy). Decades go by of missing out on school and friendships while her mother takes her to hundreds of physicians claiming her daughter has a fictitious heart condition. A good read.

Chris – Circulation

sleepwellbeastSleep Well Beast by The National, New CD 781.66 National

Indie/alternative rock act The National are back with their seventh album, Sleep Well Beast. This effort continues the tradition of mildly bending their sound in a different direction with each release. This time, they make use of electronics to compliment their signature sound, but not overtake it. A few songs break from the normal ambling pace that The National are known for to bring a bit of a hurried tone to this album. But otherwise, that melancholy drifting and Matt Berninger’s iconic baritone are as good as they ever were, as is his dark, intelligent, and dense songwriting. So while some elements may sound new, it is still unmistakably another excellent album by The National.

Hubbell – Circulation

landofmineLand of Mine, Starring Roland Møller and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, New DVD Land of Mine

Land of Mine is an Academy Award nominated Danish film which tells the story of German POWs forced to defuse land mines on the Danish coast after World War II. The movie explores the relationship between the German prisoners (many of whom were mere teenagers) and their Danish captors. Two of the Danish officers take vastly different approaches to the POWs, creating a dramatic conflict and resolution.

americangodsseason1American Gods Season 1, Starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, and Emily Browning, New DVD American Gods Season 1

American Gods, based on author Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name revolves around the main protagonist Shadow Moon. After being released from an unwarranted prison sentence, Shadow Moon meets Mr. Wednesday, one of the old gods. The plot of the series pits new gods (like Mr. World, the god of globalization) against older ones (like Bilquis, the Goddess of Sheba). The gods wield power based on the number of followers they have. The old gods have lost power over the years and fight to regain control of the people’s faith. The series can be disjointed at times but is visually stunning and has received excellent reviews.

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October

October2016It’s October! Enjoy trick or treating, bonfires, falling leaves, apple cider, and all the other great things about fall and check out the recommended titles below.

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

weareallmadeofstarsWe Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman, New Fiction Coleman

This is a beautiful book, sad in parts, but ultimately uplifting and inspiring. It tells the story of two women: Stella and Hope. Stella is a nurse working at a rehabilitation and hospice center. Since her husband, a solider, returned from duty with a serious injury, their marriage has been in crisis. Hope is a young woman with cystic fibrosis recovering from a life-threatening infection at the center. Knowing that her life expectancy is limited because of her disease, Hope has been afraid to live fully and is isolated and sheltered. Both of these women are at a crossroads in their lives and have to decide how to live going forward. Each character narrates her own chapters. Secondary characters are Grace, a dying patient of Stella’s with a secret, and Hugh, a man who has a connection to the center that is revealed as the story goes on. One aspect of the book that I found especially moving was the inclusion of letters written by Stella for patients who are nearing the end of their lives, interspersed throughout the book. They mainly either express regret over actions taken or not taken by the writers or ask their loved ones to go on living and be happy once they are gone. The letters are extremely touching and really get down to the gist of what makes our lives whole.

leavinglucy

Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon, New Fiction Solomon

In 1917, teenager Beatrice, the daughter of well-to-do Jewish parents in Massachusetts, becomes pregnant after an encounter with a naval officer introduced to her by her mother. Not wanting to leave the baby to an orphanage, Beatrice instead abandons the baby in her uncle’s pear orchard, where unknown persons steal their harvest each year. Beatrice watches as the pear thieves discover and take the baby. Ten years later, Beatrice’s grief over her loss has frozen her in time, wiped away her aspirations, and kept her in a state of depression. She flunked out of college, she stopped playing the piano, though a gifted pianist, and she chose to marry a homosexual man in a marriage of convenience. Now living with her Uncle Ira, whose health is declining, Beatrice hires Emma, the wife of a local fisherman and mother of nine children, to nurse Ira. Unbeknownst to Beatrice, Emma is the woman who took in Beatrice’s baby, now a ten-year-old called Lucy Pear. Meeting Emma is the beginning of taking away Beatrice’s inertia and freeing her to move forward, while Emma’s life also changes due to her meeting Lucy’s birth mother. This is an absorbing novel, filled with the honest emotions of strong characters who face difficult life choices and live with the consequences, and who find the strength to move on from past mistakes and make new lives for themselves.

turnTurn Washington’s Spies starring Jamie Bell, New DVD Turn, Seasons 1 and 2

This is a Revolutionary War drama inspired by the book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose that details a spy ring that fed information about Redcoat troop movements to General Washington during the war. The main characters are four friends who grew up together in Long Island: Abraham, a cabbage farmer with a wife and young son, Ben, an officer in the Continental Army, Caleb, also in the Continental Army, serving under Ben, and Anna, Abraham’s former fiance, now married to another man and running a tavern in their hometown. The show begins slowly, setting up the characters and background information, and builds momentum as the series goes on.

Most of the main characters are based upon real people, but historical facts have been significantly changed for dramatic purposes, so don’t expect the show to be historically accurate, but it is exciting and entertaining. And it may prompt people to learn more about the historical people portrayed in the series. The show is filmed in Virginia. It is well-made with strong production values. Seasons 1-3 have aired on AMC and it has been announced that Season 4, to be aired in 2017, will be the final season.

Chris – Technical Services

beyondthecallBeyond the Call: The True Story of One World War II Pilot’s Covert Mission to Rescue POWs on the Eastern Front by Lee Trimble with Jeremy Dronfield, New Nonfiction 940.54 Tri

The story of Captain Robert Trimble (Lee’s father), a distinguished flyer in WWII who was sent on a mission to recover POWs in Poland near the end of WWII. Another story of heroism from all those years ago, that might not have been told. Fascinating and heartbreaking.

Michelle – Administration

savingSaving Hope starring Erica Durance, DVD Saving Hope, Seasons 1 and 2

Saving Hope is a Canadian TV drama that is part Grey’s Anatomy and part Ghost Whisperer. The show stars Michael Shanks as Dr. Charlie Harris, the chief of surgery who ends up in a coma after a car accident, Erica Durance as Dr. Alex Reid, Charlie’s fiancée and fellow surgeon, and Daniel Gillies as Dr. Joel Goran, Alex’s former boyfriend and Charlie’s replacement at the hospital. In the first season, Saving Hope follows the lives of these main doctors, as well as their co-workers and patients. Charlie, in his comatose state, is able to communicate with other patients who are also in a coma or have recently passed. Alex tries to juggle caring for Charlie and her patients, while also dealing with the reappearance of Joel in her life. It is a fun twist on the average medical drama that has kept me intrigued well into season three.

Hubbell – Circulation

zeitounZeitoun by Dave Eggers, Nonfiction 921 Zeitoun Egg

Zeitoun is a true account of one man’s experiences in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Zeitoun is Syrian immigrant Abdulrahman Zeitoun, who owned a painting business with his wife in New Orleans. After the flooding, Zeitoun canoed about the city, distributing any resources he had and rescuing survivors. In a twist of fate, Zeitoun was arrested by national guard officers and subsequently jailed without a trial or medical attention for close to 30 days. In the meantime, his property, where he had been taken into custody, was left unlocked and unsecured by the authorities and was subsequently looted and damaged. David Eggers’ account of Zeitoun’s awful experience puts 9/11 anti-Islam sentiment against the backdrop of the worst natural disaster in American history.

Chris – Circulation

community

Community, The Complete First Season starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase, DVD Community, Season 1

Welcome to Greendale Community College where you’re already accepted! Make some new friends in Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), the recently unemployed lawyer; Annie Edison (Alison Brie), the studious recent high school grad who has a knack for perfection; Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), your source for anything related to pop culture; Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), the bumbling activist; Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), the former high school football star that got injured; Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), the religious optimist that you don’t want to mess with; and Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase), the inheritor of Hawthorne Industries. Your Spanish teacher, Ben Chang (Ken Jeong), is only slightly ahead of the class in his lessons. Ian Duncan (John Oliver) will be your apathetic psychology professor. Finally, Craig Pelton (Jim Rash) is your dance, costume, and event-loving dean.

Throughout the first season of this highly-acclaimed but ultimately unfortunate sitcom, you will celebrate all of the holidays and zany school promotional events in a way that only Greendale can. The script is smartly written, packed with subtle, and not so subtle, jokes. It helps to be up on pop culture to understand some of the more subtle ones, but isn’t necessary to have a good time watching the show. Community is described as being very “meta,” meaning it knows it is a TV show, but goes along with it and the tropes anyway. Loaded with gags as well as Easter eggs, this show is worth a second viewing to catch even more. Season 1 gets better with every episode, exploring relationships and real-life crises mixed in with the humor. Community has a lot of heart, so maybe it will capture yours.

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