Tag Archives: Crime

February 2020

february 2020It’s February! Fall in love with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

 

Jean – Reference

nine perfect strangersNine Perfect Strangers, by Liane Moriarty, Fiction Moriarty

This is a light, fun story that is a perfect winter read. Each chapter is in the voice of one of nine characters who are struggling in mid-life, and on impulse each one signs up for a 10-day “health retreat” in the middle of the outback in Australia. The owner of the retreat and her staff have their own secrets, and the author reveals each storyline in pieces to keep you reading until the end.

 

Chris – Technical Services

this is really warThis is Really War: the Incredible True Story of a Navy Nurse POW in the Occupied Philippines, by Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, New Nonfiction 940.5472 LUC

The author describes the experiences of Dorothy Still, one of twelve navy nurse POW’s in WWII. Held captive in a POW camp, they continued to nurse the sick and dying, even though they were also facing starvation.  All 12 came home. Highly recommended, powerful story of the will to survive and fight against all odds.

 

Hubbell – Circulation

juniorJunior: Writing Your Way Ahead in Advertising, by Thomas Kemeny, Nonfiction 659.1023 KEM

Copywriting is not what it used to be. And creative work in advertising has changed a lot since the days portrayed in Mad Men. However, not everything has changed. Thomas Kemeny did not go to a traditional ‘portfolio school’ nor did he have a pedigree to get him in the door at some of the nation’s top advertising firms. He explains in his debut book (which is somewhere between memoir and textbook) how he did it and how he made a name for himself in an uber-competitive creative field without much help. It’s also blue, which is different.

Chris – Circulation

starbucksHow Starbucks Saved My Life: a Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else, by Michael Gates Gill, Biography 921 Gill

Michael Gill, who was a big time Advertising Exec, was forced to step out of his comfort zone and old privileged habits after 25 years. Let go from his job, in his 60’s, divorced, and finding it hard for anyone to hire him, set him on a humbling journey.  While he sat in a Starbucks and knew he no longer could afford the expensive coffee and needed insurance, he changed his life by excepting employment at Starbucks as a last resort.  In a not so great neighborhood (he thought) in New York, with his new role serving people, new young female manager, and people from different backgrounds, he was challenged daily. He experienced things he never had to deal with since things were just handed to him in the past. This journey was so much harder, yet he found a way to survive and accept, realizing nothing in his past life was as good as this.

Paula – Circulation

jokerJoker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, and Zazie Beetz, New DVD Joker

Joaquin Phoenix takes on one of his most challenging roles yet in this extremely dark origin story for one of the most notorious villains ever created. Phoenix stars as Arthur Fleck, a deeply troubled man with a mental illness no one understands. All Arthur has ever wanted to be since he was little was a comedian, but all of his efforts at becoming one have failed. His dead-end job as a clown and mediocre stand-up gigs only make him a target of brutal physical and verbal abuse. As you watch Arthur’s descent into madness, you are torn between sympathizing for him and being utterly disturbed by him. Phoenix does an excellent job of portraying the tortured man, and shows how abuse from others can drive a person into darkness. The film is a good platform for raising awareness of mental health issues while also giving us a viewpoint for the Joker that we’ve never seen before.

Michelle – Administration

jexiJexi, starring Adam DeVine, Alexandra Shipp, and Michael Pena, New DVD Jexi

I had not heard of this comedy starring Adam Devine, but I was looking for a laugh so I gave it a try. The movie proved to be very silly, but made me giggle. The story follows a guy named Phil who gets a new phone with a very intrusive AI assistant named Jexi. At first, Jexi seems to be able to help Phil improve his life, but then things take a turn to the ridiculous. If you are looking for a fun way to unwind, I recommend you check out this movie!

Cathy – Circulation

the best we could doThe Best We Could Do: an Illustrated Memoir, by Thi Bui, Nonfiction 973.0495 BUI

This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

 

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December 2019

december 2019

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

 

 

 

 

Brigitte – Youth Services

gremlins.jpgGremlins, starring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, and Hoyt Axton, J DVD Gremlins

Want to watch something truly magical this holiday season? Try the 1984 classic movie Gremlins. Gremlins are cute & cuddly…until you get them wet or feed them after midnight. When a wary inventor buys a mogwai as a Christmas present for his family, he has no idea what wrath he hath brought. So pop some popcorn & get ready to laugh at this Christmas horror movie!

 

Hubbell – Circulation

true detective.jpgTrue Detective Season Three, starring Mahershala Ali, Stephen Dorff, and Carmen Ejogo, New DVD True Detective Season 3

Series creator Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective veered off course in Season Two but was outstanding in its third iteration. This may well be because Pizzolatto himself is a native of New Orleans where the first season took place. After Season Two’s detour to L.A. and the CHP, this story feels so much more authentic taking place in rural western Arkansas, examining the disappearance and potential murder of a brother and sister. Mahershala Ali plays Wayne “Purple” Hays, a Vietnam vet and Arkansas state trooper alongside his partner Roland West, played by Stephen Dorff. The show spans over 30 years, with parallel story lines from the time of the investigation itself and of a present day documentary crew revisiting the unsolved crime after unearthing new evidence that could damage the reputations of the investigators themselves. Ali is amazing as always, being instantly believable as a sharp-witted, fearless detective and a semi-lucid but still focused, aging man. Just like in Season One, the story twists and turns, exposing secrets along the way which even the most seasoned TV seer can’t envision.

Michelle – Administration

let it snow.jpgLet It Snow, by Nancy Thayer, New Fiction Thayer

If you are looking for a light-hearted story for the holiday season, this book is for you. The story follows a Nantucket shopkeeper who finds love with a rich businessman, just to discover that his father, who happens to be her landlord, is the biggest Scrooge of all and is planning to raise her rent and drive her out of business. The story takes place over Christmas and the author really brings a festive spirit to the book.

 

Jean – Reference

their little secretTheir Little Secret, by Mark Billingham, Fiction Billingham

A detective mystery set in England. DI Thorne is investigating what appears to be an open and shut suicide case of a woman who jumped in front of a metro train. He feels compelled to dig deeper, and uncovers a con-man who is preying on vulnerable women and swindling them out of their life savings. I really enjoyed the interaction of the male and female detective partners, as well as the English setting and euphemisms the author intersperses throughout.

 

Chris – Technical Services

hidden in plain view.jpgHidden In Plain View: The Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad, by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, Nonfiction 973.7 TOB

The patterns we see in quilts originally had hidden meanings which historians are just starting to decipher. Using geometric patterns as codes and stitching, information could be passed in a non-written way. Many West Coast African cultures used oral history to pass on knowledge and brought this with them when they were enslaved.

 

Paula – Circulation

pentatonixChristmas is Here!, by Pentatonix, CD 781.72 Pentatonix

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without the angelic voices of Pentatonix tackling some of our favorite Christmas songs. Pentatonix, one of the best known a cappella groups in the music world, put their unique spin on holiday classics such as Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas, and Here Comes Santa Claus, and a few other winter related songs like Sweater Weather and Waltz of the Flowers. Their five-part harmony perfectly blends together to create a seamless transition from song to song. This is only one of four Christmas albums Pentatonix has; check out their other three as well!

 

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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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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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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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August

Augustdogdays2016The dog days of summer have arrived! Enjoy the remainder of the summer and check out the recommended titles below.

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

allgirlfillingThe All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg, Fiction Flagg

This is a delightful book, full of warmth and humor. It tells the story of Sookie in present-day Alabama and Fritzi in the World War II years in Wisconsin. Sookie is a dutiful mother and daughter, looking forward to some down time after getting the last of her daughters married off. Her mother, Lenore, is the leading citizen of their small town and quite a handful. In her eighties, but still going strong, she is narcissistic and makes Sookie feel that she is inferior. There is a history of mental illness in the family and Lenore seems to be losing her marbles, something that Sookie fears is in her future too. When Sookie receives a registered letter from the Texas Department of Health, the news therein is shocking to her and sends her on a quest to learn more about herself and her family history. This is where her life and Fritzi’s life intersect. In alternating chapters, we follow Sookie’s story in the present and Fritzi’s story in the past. The book includes a fascinating history of a part of WWII that I knew nothing about and the interesting history of the development of filling stations in the U.S. after cars became more popular. Sookie is an absolutely charming character – so funny and good-natured. This is a feel-good read about strong women finding their own path in life, very humorous and endearing.

drblakemysteriesThe Doctor Blake Mysteries starring Craig McLachlan, New DVD Doctor, Season One

This is an Australian mystery series set in the late 1950’s. Dr. Lucien Blake returns home to Australia after being away for 30 years to take over his late father’s practice while also serving as the police surgeon. Lucien suffered much during WWII, losing his family and being a prisoner of war of the Japanese. He is a very private man with a stoic disposition and he doesn’t care what the locals think of him, but he is a fine doctor and tenacious while on a case to find the truth. Lucien is looked after by Jean, a war widow who was also the receptionist and housekeeper for his father. The district nurse and Jean’s nephew, a police constable, also board in the house.

The show has a serious tone to it. The colors are washed out so everything appears drab, almost black and white. The writing and acting is strong and the period detail is authentic. Dr. Blake is interested in forensics and is ahead of most of his peers in its use, but he also delves into the psychology of the victims and suspects to find motives, giving the show a human touch.

Mary – Reference Services

waypointkangarooWaypoint Kangaroo by Curtis C. Chen, New Fiction Chen

Kangaroo is sent on a mandatory vacation to Mars after he bungles yet another mission. On the interplanetary cruise, he finds himself involved in solving a double murder. Since nothing is ever easy for Kangaroo, he learns that it is actually a massive conspiracy which threatens peace between Earth and Mars. This is a fun summer read for anyone who loves a good spy story. It contains intrigue, action, science fiction, fantasy, romance, and lots of humor.

secondlifenickmThe Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton, New Fiction Hamilton

Steve Hamilton has created a new anti-hero, Nick Mason. In the past, Nick made some poor choices in life – largest amongst them being poor judgement and robbery. He is now paying for those big-time.

The story begins with Nick in prison, serving time for a robbery and the death of an FBI agent. He had been happily married with a 4-year-old daughter. Now he’s divorced and has five years under his belt in the maximum security prison when an offer granting his early release comes his way. He accepts, but the deal comes with deadly terms. Darius Cole, working his empire from his jail cell, now controls Nick. He’s given a new house, new car, and money to burn. The only stipulation is that when his cell phone rings, he must answer and do as directed. As the crimes become more dangerous, Nick’s anxiety and turmoil increases to the point that he is willing to risk all to break free.

Dagmar – Circulation

dinnerwithedwardDinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship by Isabel Vincent, New Nonfiction 921 Vincent

Isabel Vincent is an investigative reporter who just moved to New York from her native Canada. She is new to the city, not quite happy at her job and lonely in her unfulfilling marriage. As an act of kindness, she promises to keep an eye on her friend’s aging father, a recent widower, who just lost his wife after a long and happy marriage of 69 years. Edward, who dearly misses his beloved wife Paula, accepts the newcomer to his life with open arms and agrees to host intimate dinner parties for Isabel, who enjoys their get-togethers tremendously. An unexpected, very unique and precious friendship and a special bond develop between the two. It is not only about the exquisite food and drink that Edward prepares for Isabel so carefully, it is his lessons about enjoying and appreciating good company, beauty, love and life in general, that Isabel is after. Soon Edward plays an important role of mentor in many ways to Isabel, teaching her to slow down, to respect herself, and to live in the moment. “There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drank,” Isabel quotes the famous food writer M.F. K. Fisher, and agrees with her that dinner with a friend “can sustain us against the hungers of the world.” The book is a tribute to food, to life, to love, and to Edward.

Hubbell – Circulation

boysinboatThe Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown, Nonfiction 797.123 Bro or New CD 791.123 Bro (audiobook)

At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany, the American eight-oared crew team shocked the world and won an improbable gold medal. The varsity crew from the University of Washington did so against powerful, more experienced, older crews, especially the hand-selected German boat. This is more than a story about sport, though. The book mainly tracks one member, Joe Rantz, from his Depresssion-era childhood and unstable family life to his success on the world’s stage. Brown’s account also frames the story within the East vs. West mentality still prevalent in America at the time. The crew’s success put Seattle on the map and the Washington crew still remains a national powerhouse.

truthTruth starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford, New DVD Truth

One of the first in a string of controversies affecting national news anchors, Truth is about Dan Rather and CBS News’ fall from grace following their story about George W. Bush’s national guard service leading up to the 2004 election. It provides a refreshing retrospective on the story that brought down Rather and is anchored by great performances by Robert Redford (Rather) and Cate Blanchett (60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes). The story centers around what came to be proven as forged documents suggesting Bush had lied about his national guard service. They were, however, presented to 60 Minutes as authentic and unadulterated. The movie raises questions concerning journalistic responsibility and ethics, as well as the rise of corporate interest in the news media.

pentagonsbrainThe Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency by Annie Jacobsen, Nonfiction 355.07 Jac

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, is informally known as “the Pentagon’s brain.” It is the top-secret military research department which is responsible for advances in American military capabilities. From the first nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll to the space race, Agent Orange, and drones, Jacobsen’s book chronicles DARPA’s role at the forefront of these new technologies. The agency was created by President Eisenhower, the same man who warned the country of the so-called military-industrial complex taking shape at the end of his term. Since then, DARPA has decidedly become part of that group. In addition to DARPA’s historical role, Jacobsen examines the moral quandaries facing the agency responsible for some of modern warfare’s most devastating weapons.

Chris – Circulation

agaetisAgaetis Byrjun by Sigur Rós, New CD 781.66 Sigur Rós

Sigur Rós is one of the monsters of post-rock, a broad genre that is usually characterized by long songs, ambient sounds, and non-traditional use of the guitar. Hailing from Iceland, they sing in their mother tongue, Icelandic, and in a completely made-up, meaningless, scat-like language called Hopelandic. But don’t worry, you don’t need to learn a new language to appreciate their music. Singer Jónsi uses his voice as another layer of instrumentation to convey the melody on top of the humming synths and violin-bow-strummed guitar.

Their second album, Ágætis Byrjun, “A Good Start” in Icelandic, is the product of the band reworking themselves into what they originally envisioned. Coming in at over an hour of music with only two tracks under six and a half minutes, this is an album meant to be experienced. If you have the time, I highly recommend listening to it straight through. Each track blends seamlessly into the next, causing it to feel like one masterwork rather than a collection of individual songs. It is a journey transcendental in nature. You will be transported to a realm where nothing of this world is of any significance. If you only have time for a few songs, I recommend “Starálfur” for its iconic piano and strings, “Svefn-g-englar” for its mantra-like vocals, and “Flugufrelsarinn” for a calming experience. This is a perfect album if you want to slow down, reflect, and experience something new.

kveikurKveikur by Sigur Rós, New CD 781.66 Sigur Rós

Kveikur is the most recent release from Sigur Rós. Compared to Ágætis Byrjun, Kveikur is darker and a bit more aggressive. This is evidenced by titles translated as “brimstone,” “obsidian,” “iceberg,” “storm,” and “kindling.” Immediately, this is apparent to the listener from the opening of the first track “Brennisteinn” (Brimstone) with several hard blasts of sound, followed by heavy drums and, appropriately, a general atmosphere of fire and brimstone. The title track “Kveikur” has a similar feel. Never fear, there’s still plenty of atmospheric arrangements on here. “Isjaki” (Iceberg) even provides a cool down with a nice pop-like sound. Fans of Sigur Rós will find this a welcome addition to their discography. This might be an appropriate introductory album for new listeners, too. There is enough rock sound to segue into Sigur Rós’s unique brand of alternative rock.

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