Tag Archives: Drama

June 2018

june2018

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

 

 

 

 

Jean – Reference

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

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

Paula – Circulation

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

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

Hubbell – Circulation

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

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

Jacob – Administration

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

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

 

Chris – Technical Services

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

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

 

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May 2018

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

 

 

 

 

Paula – Circulation

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

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

Chris – Technical Services

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

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

 

Lisa – Youth Services

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

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

 

 

Melissa – Technical Services

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

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

Jean – Reference

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

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

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April 2018

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

 

 

 

Jean – Reference

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

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

Hubbell – Circulation

artemisArtemis by Andy Weir, New Fiction Weir

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

Paula – Circulation 

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

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

Pat – Circulation

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

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

Michelle – Administration

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

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

Chris – Circulation

origin of symmetryOrigin of Symmetry by Muse, CD 781.66 Muse

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

 

 

 

 

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March 2018

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

 

 

 

 

Pat – Circulation

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

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

Jean – Reference

readyplayeroneReady Player One by Ernest Cline, YA Fiction Cline

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

Paula – Circulation

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

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

Chris – Circulation

sciencefictionScience Fiction by Brand New, New CD 781.66 Brand New

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

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January 2018

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

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

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

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

Chris – Technical Services

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

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

Chris – Circulation

atomicAtomic by Mogwai, CD 781.63 Mogwai

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

Hubbell – Circulation

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

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

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

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

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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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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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March 2017

march2017coverIt’s March! Spring is coming; winter is going. Usher in the new season with some of our recommendations below.

 

 

 

Pat – Circulation

lightbetweenoceansThe Light Between Oceans starring Micahel Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, and Jack Thompson, New DVD Light Between Oceans

A young World War II veteran, Tom, numb from his years in combat, takes a job as a lighthouse keeper on a remote island. He meets, Isabel,  who is from the local town on the mainland. They are soon married and living on the island.
Their happiness is marred only by their inability to start a family. When a rowboat with a dead man and his infant daughter mysteriously washes ashore, Isabel believes their prayers may have been answered.
Tom is torn between reporting the lost child and pleasing the woman he loves, making a choice with devasting consequences.
Kilkillingtherisingsunling the Rising Sun by Bill O’Reilly, Nonfiction 940.54 O’RE
While I knew the basic facts surrounding the atomic bombs, I got a much better picture of the bloody battles, huge decisions, and historic personalities that culminated in the decision the drop the atomic bomb and brought an end to the war in the Pacific.
I feel it’s a great historical read with so much to learn from this book.

 

Angie – Reference

raininportugalpoemsThe Rain in Portugal: Poems by Billy Collins, New Nonfiction 811.54 COL

Billy Collins contributes wisdom, wit, emotion, curiosity, and his adroit use of words to over forty new poems in his first new book in three years. Most of his poems read like micro stories based on observations of everyday objects, past personal events, pets, art, travel, and loneliness— to name a few. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins is the poet to read if you are not “into poetry.” Of course, he is also a poet to read if you enjoy poetry. Fans of Charles Bukowski, Richard Brautigan, Garrison Keillor, and modern poetry will also appreciate The Rain in Portugal. Billy Collins is a skilled architect of the modern poem, and if you enjoy The Rain in Portugal, also check out Sailing Alone Around the Room (811.54 COL) by Billy Collins.

Chris – Technical Services

otherwordlyOther Wordly by Yee-Lum Mak, New Nonfiction 415 MAK

Every language has words for the odd and the wonderful. Some languages have words for feelings that we can’t quite put into words.
Beautifully illustrated, a quick read which will make you “Balter” (verb, English).

Chris – Circulation

The Bones of What You Believe by CHVRCHES, CD 781.66 CHVRCHES

bonesofwhatyoubelieveCHVRCHES is a power trio out of Glasgow, Scotland that creates catchy electropop. The Bones of What You Believe is their debut album featuring the hit single “The Mother We Share.” They have described themselves as being an alternative band that uses lots of electronics like synthesizers, keyboards, and samplers. But behind the shimmering and dreamy synths are introspective and metaphorical lyrics. This is an immediately danceable album that hooks you in with Lauren Mayberry’s seemingly sweet but powerful voice. Other highlights on the album include “We Sink,” “Gun,” “Under the Tide” (sung by keyboardist/sampler Martin Doherty), and “Recover.” If you’re wondering about the “v” in their name, they chose to use it to be more easily searchable online.

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February 2017

feb2017coverIt’s February! Let’s hope for an early spring and in the meantime enjoy the recommended titles below.

 

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

roomwithsecondbestviewThe Room with the Second Best View by Virginia Smith, New Fiction Smith

This is the third book in the delightful Goose Creek series (preceded by The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade andSirius: The Little Dog Who Almost Changed History by Jonathan Crown). In this book, Millie and Al are working on the Victorian house they bought with plans to convert it to a bed and breakfast. They aren’t planning on opening for a couple of years yet, but with their close friends Justin and Susan getting married soon, Millie has invited some of the wedding guests to stay at the house (without telling Al, of course.) When Justin’s formidable great aunt shows up three weeks before the wedding, will Al be able to survive her demands and will Justin and Susan survive her attempts to take over the wedding planning? Meanwhile, Millie and her best friend have had a falling out over preparations for the town’s 150th anniversary celebration. If you want a fun and light, feel-good read, I recommend the titles in this series. Also includes recipes.

hundredpiecesofmeA Hundred Pieces of Me by Lucy Dillon, Fiction Dillon

Gina is rebuilding her life after a serious illness and divorce. She decides to simplify her life and keep the 100 things that mean the most to her. When she is landed with an underfed, frightened greyhound who has been abused, Gina, who is not a dog person and knows nothing about caring for a dog, decides to drop him off at a shelter, but as he grows on her and she sees in him another being who needs a fresh start in life, they develop a bond. The book shines a light on the abuse often suffered by greyhounds used for dog racing when they don’t perform well or get old or injured. This is a bittersweet and touching story about healing from past wounds and moving forward.

midnightplanThe Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron, Fiction Cameron

This mystery is loads of fun! It has humor, suspense, action, supernatural elements, romance, loyal friendships, and a cute dog. Ruddy is a former college football star down-on-his luck and now working as a repo man. When he begins to hear a voice speaking to him, he fears he is losing his mind. But it turns out to be the voice of a murdered man named Alan who wants Ruddy to help him bring his killers to justice. Throw in a good-looking but dim-witted best friend, a sister trying to keep the family business afloat, her harebrained new boyfriend, and the daughter of the murdered man, for whom Ruddy falls hard, and you have a laugh-out-loud supernatural mystery that will keep you compulsively reading until the final page. The lead and supporting characters are a delight and you root for them to succeed as they get into one jam after another.

ordinarygraceOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, Fiction Krueger

Touching and beautifully written, this is a gripping coming-of-age novel about tragic loss and finding hope in the aftermath of such loss. The events of the summer of 1961, when Frank Drum was 13 years old and living along the Minnesota River with his parents, older sister, and younger brother, changed all their lives. Frank tells his story 40 years later, looking back at that fateful summer. It was a summer filled with tragedy, beginning with the death of a boy hit by a train and followed by more personal losses for Frank and his family. Though suffering great loss, the family also experienced small miracles that summer that brought healing to their broken lives.

gooddogGood Dog: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty edited by David DiBenedetto, Nonfiction 636.7 Dib

Celebrating the special place dogs hold in our hearts, this is a collection of over 50 essays, by turns funny and moving, written by a multitude of noted authors about dogs that have touched their lives. Each dog is unique and special in his or her own way, with quirky personality traits, yet all the essays have one thing in common: the love the authors have for their dogs and how that love was returned wholly and unconditionally.

Pat – Circulation

sullySully starring Tom Hanks, New DVD Sully

On January 15, 2009, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger landed a U.S. Airways jet with 155 passengers and crew in the middle of the Hudson River in New York City after Flight 1549 was struck by a flock of Canadian geese seconds after takeoff from La Guardia Airport. He saved all aboard and became a hero around the world.

Sully is portrayed by Tom Hanks, who is brilliant, and in every role he plays he is fully committed. The story itself also provides some interesting insight into the event. Clint Eastwood does a good job of making a story we already think we know interesting. Definitely enjoyed it and thought it worth seeing.

Chris – Circulation

lovelessLoveless by My Bloody Valentine, CD 781.66 MY BLOODY VALENTINE

With the theme of Valentine’s Day comes Loveless by My Bloody Valentine, but for those who may be less fortunate in this area. This album is heralded as the definitive shoegaze album by both critics and fans. Originating in the late 1980s, shoegaze is a subgenre of alternative rock that got its name from the performance style of of the artists-they often get enveloped in their own world and just gaze down at their shoes instead of the crowd. That being said, this is a very personal style that the listener can get lost in especially with headphones. My Bloody Valentine piles layers upon layers of guitar effects and distortion in their production, burying the vocals underneath and in effect giving them a dreamlike quality. This style is in full effect on Loveless, thus why the album has become synonymous with shoegaze.

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May

May2016It’s May! Take a book outside and enjoy the glorious sights and smells of spring!

 

 

Sue – Circulation

truthaccordingtousThe Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows, Fiction Barrows

This captivating novel is narrated by 12-year-old Willa Romeyn and set during the summer of 1938 in a small West Virginia town when she learns the truth about her family and their past. Willa lives with her father Felix, her aunt Jottie, and her little sister Bird. Felix is a selfish man whose actions in the past and today have hurt his family, but Willa adores him and women can’t refuse his charm. Jottie is the rock of the family, keeping everything together and raising the girls. It is the Depression and the Romeyns have taken in a boarder working for the Federal Writers’ Project under the WPA, set up by the Roosevelt Administration to provide work during the Depression. The boarder, Layla, is a spoiled and sheltered senator’s daughter who has been cut off by her father and forced to work after refusing to marry the man he picked out for her. Layla’s arrival sets in motion a series of events that will rock the Romeyn family, revealing a long-kept secret from the past. Layla’s assignment is to write the history of the town. As she interviews residents, she hears various versions of the same events, and chooses to write a more colorful history than the staid town leaders are ready for. As the town’s history is revealed, so is the history of the Romeyn family revealed. We learn how subjective the truth can be, depending upon who is telling it. The pace of the book starts out slow, like the sweltering summer heat of West Virginia, but then picks up and becomes really engrossing as we learn more about the dark family secret that has torn apart the lives of Jottie and Felix. This book shines – the characters are so well-developed and we see Willa grow up before our eyes as she discovers some hard truths about her family.

fallenlandFallen Land by Taylor Brown, New Fiction Brown

Fallen Land is a powerful story of love and survival set in the American South during the Civil War. Fifteen-year-old Callum, an orphan originally from Ireland, falls in with a band of Confederate guerrillas in Virginia in the later years of the war. The men are brutal, and after trying to help a young woman named Ava they found living on her own from being assaulted by the men, Callum leaves the group and returns to the girl. But the leader of the group, a former colonel in the Confederacy, is killed by Union soldiers when confronting Callum, who stole the Colonel’s magnificent horse, Reiver, in his flight. Believing Callum to be the Colonel’s killer, the rest of the Colonel’s men and a vicious bounty hunter set off in search of Callum and Ava in order to collect a bounty on the head of the Colonel’s killer. Callum wants to reach the coast of Georgia, where distant relatives live, in the hope that they will take Ava and him in. As they travel, they are relentlessly pursued by the bounty hunter. Their path follows the wake of General Sherman’s march through Georgia and we see the utter destruction wrought by Union troops. The book helped me realize the full horror of Sherman’s march. I was appalled by the murder of family pets – so pointless, just cruelty – and the sheer brutality of the destruction of property and livestock. The writing is beautiful. Taylor uses descriptive language to great effect, describing the destruction of the land, but the beauty that is still there to be found. Callum and Ava are well-drawn characters. Callum fears what the war is making him while Ava is strong and sensible. Along their journey, the pair also meet a number of memorable characters. The novel is well-paced, the story line flowing smoothly and keeping the reader absorbed until the end.

summerbeforewarThe Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson, New Fiction Simonson

This beautifully written novel opens in the summer of 1914 in the small village of Rye, East Sussex, shortly after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. The residents of the village are blissfully unaware of the major changes that are coming to their world and their way of life. The main characters are Beatrice, a young woman who has settled in the village to take on the job of Latin mistress for the local school (with some opposition due to her gender) and the Kent family: Agatha, her husband John, who is high up in the government and has more of an inkling of what is coming than most, and their two nephews, Hugh, a surgeon in training, very serious and respectable, and Daniel, a handsome and charming poet, who flaunts the rules of society. Society and respectability are everything in Rye and the local women can be vicious against those who don’t measure up to their standards of respectability. Beatrice is on the cusp of this society, being a woman who doesn’t intend to marry and wants to live a life of meaningful work (and rides a bicycle!), but with Agatha’s support, she fits in. Though Rye is respectable on the surface, there is much simmering under the surface, including a homosexual love affair, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and bigotry against local gypsies. We see how women were limited in their choices in that period of time and how easily they could be ostracized from society for actions that are commonplace today.

The novel is slow-paced and gentle, until the end, when the setting shifts from Rye to France, juxtaposing the charming pastoral life of Rye with the horrific violence of the front. Though a long book told at a slow pace, I truly cared about the characters and was invested in their fate. We see the horror and stupidity of war and the suffering of innocents caught up in it and the waste of promising lives, but also how suffering and loss can make people reach for what they truly want and find happiness.

onlyloveOnly Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington, New Fiction Tarkington

This is a wonderful novel about the relationship between two brothers and their family growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s in a small town in Virginia. The novel is narrated by Richard, nicknamed Rocky by his brother, as an older adult looking back on his life. Richard is seven years old when the novel opens and idolizes his older half-brother Paul, a teenager with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, a cool car, and a taste for rock n’ roll, especially Neil Young. Richard speaks with such an authentic voice you feel as if a friend is telling you a story while sitting on the patio drinking a beer. The book is funny, sad, nostalgic, tender – a lovely story of a family’s ups and downs over Richard’s childhood into his young adulthood. As he comes of age, he experiences abandonment, reconciliation, and first love, as well as darker moments. The characters are richly drawn and all flawed in their own way. We meet Richard’s father, called the Old Man, his mother, the Old Man’s second wife, much younger than him, Paul’s high school girlfriend Leigh, and other residents of the community, all of whom play a part in Richard’s growing up and his education about life. The book defies genre, as it is part Southern Gothic, part domestic fiction, and part mystery. It is very entertaining and well-written and, as the title says, it is ultimately about love between family members and how love can overcome life’s obstacles.

Theresa – Youth Services

ourendlessdaysOur Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, Fiction Fuller

In 1985, eight-year-old Peggy Hillcoat is taken from her London home by her survivalist father. After bringing her to a ramshackle hut in the wilderness, he tells her that the rest of the world, including her mother, has been destroyed. Nine long years pass with harsh winters and times of near starvation. Peggy eventually sees another person and realizes that her father is wrong.

It isn’t until Peggy returns to civilization and her mother that the author reveals how the human mind can play tricks on us. Under such circumstances, sanity may be lost, causing one to do unthinkable things.

The author, Claire Fuller, takes the reader back and forth in time. At points it may seem like the dreariness will never end, but the conclusion had me wanting to reread the book!

Hubbell – Circulation

14931493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles Mann, Nonfiction 909.4 Man

Writer Charles Mann’s 1493 is an engrossing account of world history in the post-Columbian era. The meeting of Europe and the Americas, as well as with the East, irrevocably altered the course of the natural world. Mann explains how global temperature increases were caused by the reforestation of North America following population decline from European illnesses. Or how the discovery of silver in South America opened up the Pacific and catapulted China’s economy. It is a fascinating and well-written book.

greatwarofourtimeThe Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism – From Al Qa’ida to ISIS by Michael J. Morell, Nonfiction 363.325 Mor

Written by former CIA deputy director Michael Morell, The Great War of Our Time is an insightful, first-hand account of America’s counter-terrorism world before and after 9/11. Morell was President Bush’s daily intelligence briefer and his 9/11 day-of account is emotional. What the book is really about, though, is Morell’s explanation of some CIA failures and also successes and that threats abroad continue.

Michelle – Administration

creedCreed starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, New DVD Creed

I have been a huge Rocky fan since I was a kid; a true child of the 80’s, Rocky IV is my favorite. I had not been thrilled with any sequels after that, so I went into this newest addition to the Rocky franchise with excitement and trepidation. I was more than pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Creed. The story line is great and more heart-wrenching than I was expecting. Sylvester Stallone gave his best performance in years and Michael B. Jordan held his own as Adonis Creed. I think this movie is great for both us Rocky fans and the younger generation who may not be familiar with the franchise.

Dagmar – Circulation

irrationalmanIrrational Man starring Joaquin Phoenix, New DVD Irrational

In Woody Allen’s latest film, Irrational Man, Joaquin Phoenix beautifully plays a classic Allen figure: a renowned but disillusioned philosophical professor who takes a new job at fictional Bryalin College on the East Coast. When he arrives, he is preceded by the tales of his brilliant teaching, near-legendary passionate affairs, and global crusades. He is a mysterious man who is plagued by a bleak depression and doubts about his place in the world. Unknowingly, he creates a lot of commotion in the small provincial university town, starving for something new and exciting. He draws the not so subtle advances of Rita (Parker Posey), a lonely science professor looking to escape from a dreary marriage, and soon surrenders to Rita’s insistent seduction tactics. At the same time, he also enchants one of his brightest students, and daughter of his academic colleague, Jill (Emma Stone). While Jill has a doting and uncomplicated college boyfriend, she finds this professor and his exotic past thrilling, exciting, and irresistible. The professor tries to keep his blossoming friendship with Jill strictly platonic, but eventually, she becomes much more than just a friend. However, not even the stimulation of new friendship and romance can quite get the professor out of his depression, nor ease his feelings of futility concerning his teaching and writing. The turning point for the tormented professor comes when Jill and he eavesdrop on a conversation in a diner, listening to an unhappy turn that a complete stranger’s life has taken. The professor makes a resolution, which in turn gives him a purpose and enjoyment of his life once again. His “meaningful act” becomes the talk of the town, the subject of dinner-party chatter, campus gossip, and speculation from students and faculty. The film culminates in a surprising end with a nearly Hitchcockian twist. This “suspenseful mind-teaser” (Rolling Stone) is definitely a worthy edition to the work of Woody Allen.

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