Tag Archives: DVDs

May

Mary – Youth Services

 hoursposterThe Hours—Starring: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore— DVD: HOURS

Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel written in 1999, The Hours revolves around the lives of three characters; Clarissa Vaughan (Streep) a modern New-Yorker creating a party for an AIDs stricken friend and poet, Richard Harris; Laura Brown (Moore) an unhappy housewife in the 1950’s; and the author Virginia Woolf (Kidman), trying to write her novel,  Mrs. Dalloway. These women all share in common one trait: the need to provide for others, and the simultaneous loss of themselves to degenerating metal health. This work speaks volumes, and should be viewed by mothers, daughters, fathers, and men alike. Deserving of all the accolades it has earned, this film is a celebration of the tact, care, and blinding strength of women, making explicit the need to recognize the bravery of those who triumph over depression and save their own lives. And equally, to accept the pain faced by those who could not.

fryandlA Bit of Fry and Laurie—Starring: Stephen Fry, and Hugh Laurie—DVD: FRY

Actor Hugh Laurie (House MD, Jeeves and Wooster) and Stephen Fry (QI, Sherlock Holmes)—as so many English tales go—became the best of friends when they were sent off to school. Cambridge, in their case. After being members of the Cambridge sketch comedy group, Cambridge Footlights, Fry and Laurie made their mark as a dynamic comedy duo. A classic work in sketch comedy, A Bit of Fry and Laurie has the rare quality of being equally well-written comedic material, as well as uproarious in performance. The deep friendship and idiosyncrasies between the two real-life friends is also such a joy to watch.  A Bit of Fry and Laurie will surely continue to be regarded as some of the best, classic comedy work.

augustosageAugust: Osage County—Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abagail Breslin—DVD: AUGUST

If August: Osage County is not the quintessential piece of American familial dysfunction, I officially crown it as such. Originally a Chicago stage play by Tracy Letts, this piece explores the heart of fear, illness, and toxic personalities that plague an American Midwest family. Violet—the venomous matriarch of the Westin family—is diagnosed with terminal throat cancer. And in the process of dying, she draws family back to their Oklahoma homestead, where secrets are housed, and the family’s finest and darkest moments have taken place. Streep plays an astounding, pill-popping Violet, who is critically portrayed as an abused individual, and an abuser, herself. She is well-matched by her eldest daughter, played by Julia Roberts. I think that despite criticism—this is the best movie adaptation of the play we will have. So come into the Westin house, take a seat—but please, don’t stay awhile.

Margaux CIrculation

18054175The Good Luck of Right Now – by Matthew Quick – New Fiction: QUICK

Bartholomew Neil was a 38-year-old man who lived with his mother. Until she died. Now his mundane existence of attending Saturday mass, going to the library and taking care of his ailing mother has been interrupted, and the friends and confidants he meets along his journey of self-discovery and independence are his new normal. His attempt to navigate life in Philadelphia is explored through letters to his favorite celebrity, Mr. Richard Gere.  Quick’s use of a letter format and tongue-in-cheek humor will draw you in and leave you wanting more of Bartholomew’s naïve perspective on love, friendship, and trust.

7728889The Diviners – by Liba Bray – YA CD: BRAY

Evie O’Neill’s supernatural gift for reading objects has a knack for getting her into trouble. That’s why she’s been sent to live with her mysterious Uncle Will in New York City. However, New York City in the 1920’s is no punishment for Evie who wants to see her name in lights. When Will is called in by the police to investigate a gruesome murder seeped in occult phenomena, Evie might be the only person who can help find the twisted killer. Bray’s latest novel is filled with jazz, teenage mutiny, and an irreverent sense of death. If you want an even more immersive audiobook, this is one of my absolute favorites, although we do have both the text and audio versions.

Kingdom_Hearts_HD_1.5_ReMIX_box_artKindgom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX – by Disney Interactive Studios and Square Enix.- PS3: KINGDOM HEARTS

Sora, Riku, and a huge cast of Disney characters are back with more worlds to discover. Fans of the old Kingdom Hearts games will appreciate the enhanced graphics and inclusion of nearly three hours of remastered graphics from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. New players will revel in the PS3 exclusive trophies and  the opportunity to play alongside Disney favorites like Simba, Goofey, Mickey, Alice and many more in levels based on the hit Disney movies. This game combines Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, and Kingtom Hearts 358/2 Days into one game

Sue – Circulation

241387When Crickets Cry – by Charles Martin – Fiction: Martin

This is a beautiful love story, telling two separate stories that interconnect. The first is about a man and his wife, who grew up together and are passionately devoted to each other. This story is told in flashback, while the present day story involves that man and his friendship with a young girl named Annie who is very sick with a heart condition. The man has been a widower for five years and has withdrawn from society due to his grief and guilt over his wife’s death. But when he meets the sick little girl, he finds himself getting involved in her life despite himself. It turns out he has a secret he has been keeping since his wife’s death, and that secret has a direct impact on Annie’s future.

16130405The Lavender Garden – by Lucinda Riley – New Fiction: Riley

This is a sweeping saga of two families that takes place over a span of more than 50 years. Emilie is the last surviving member of her family – one of the richest aristocratic families in France – following her mother’s death. Sebastian comes from an English family. Emilie’s father, Edouard, and Sebastian’s grandmother, Constance, served together during World War II – Edouard as a high-ranking member of the French Resistance and Constance as a member of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE). The book cuts between the present day, telling of the relationship that develops between Emilie and Sebastian, and the war years, telling of Constance and Edouard’s actions during the war, as well as the actions of Edouard’s family and household, including his sister Sophia. The war-time events have an effect on the present day, and as Constance and Edouard’s story unfolds, we see the repercussions of those war-time events affecting Emilie and members of her household and Sebastian and his brother Alex. The book is compelling – you want to keep reading to find out the secrets still untold from the war, and the war story is an exciting tale of espionage, danger, and the sufferings and deprivations caused by the war, as well as the bravery of Resistance members and the SOE.

kingdom001Kingdom – Starring: Stephen Fry, Karl Davies, Celia Imrie – DVD: Kingdom, Seasons 1-3

Peter Kingdom, played by the brilliant Stephen Fry, is a genial, kind-hearted lawyer in a rural Norfolk town. Unlike some lawyers, he really cares about his clients and is more interested in helping them than in taking their money. This series focuses on his professional and personal life. He has many oddball clients in his small town and his family is equally troublesome, with a brother missing, presumed dead after apparently drowning himself in the North Sea and a mentally unbalanced sister who has come to live with him and wreak havoc in his home, driving his loyal assistant to distraction. The show is funny and warm with well-written, engaging episodes and interesting characters.

Matt – Reference

Deltron_3030_Event_2Event 2 – By: Deltron 3030 – New CD’s: CD 781.649 DELTRON 3030

Deltron 3030 is the brainchild of three legendary figures in the Hip Hop Scene: Del the Funkee Homosapien, Kid Koala and Dan the Automator. Their first collaboration, The Event, was a sonic masterpiece mixing together galactically inspired beats with lyrics referencing all manner of Sci-Fi books, movies, and sprinkled with some Anime and space fantasy elements. This album is the long-awaited follow up and it does not disappoint. It’s a weird trip with Deltron Zero in his superfuture of 3040 but one you won’t want to miss.

Orphan Black Season 1 – Starring: Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, Jordan Gavaris – New DVDs: ORPHAN BLACK

If you’re not watching Orphan Black then you are missing out on the best Sci-Fi/Action/Conspiracy show on television. It starts with Sarah: an orphan returning to New York who sees a woman who looks like her on a train platform jump in front of a train. She then takes the woman’s identity and finds herself in the middle of a vast conspiracy that will have you binge watching this series. Seriously, it is addicting as it is good.

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July!

Hello and welcome once again to our little blog. Here are some things we liked and hope you’ll check out!

Melissa – Reference


inferno“Inferno”
– by Dan Brown – NEW FICTION: Brown
Having read all of his books, I was disappointed by his last, “The Lost Symbol”. I felt Brown found a successful formula, and was sticking to it, leaving little surprise for his readers. However, I was intrigued by this book because it focuses on Dante’s Inferno, which I find fascinating. I was eager to read it and I was not at all disappointed this time.
Robert Langdon returns as the intelligent art and symbology professor who finds himself involved in a complex web of deceit. This time, he doesn’t seem to know too much as he has lost his memory, and readers discover the truth along with him. Brown offered quite a few surprises. This book keeps all of the high points of his writing, such as his historical knowledge, creative characters, and social commentary, while adding different mystery-writing techniques.


bookthief“The Book Thief”
– by Markus Zusak – Young Adult: YA Zusak
The Book Thief is actually a young girl, Liesel, who takes to stealing books during the height of World War II. These books are used to help sustain her family and others among the different horrors going on around them. The story is narrated by Death as he perceives the happenings during this time. He is among the many fascinating characters in this beautiful tale of courage told during a dark time.

Mary – Youth Services


sixfeetSix Feet Under
 – Starring:Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy – DVDs: SIX FEET UNDER 

In a narrative of acrid wit where a visit from a dead father, an avocado-colored hearse,  and plenty of dead bodies are the ordinary, the TV series Six Feet Under delves straight into one of the most longstanding social stigmas: the topic of mortality. With piercing insight into the human condition, this series is consistently humorous, as it is bitter and distressing. And as this journey is taken with the Fisher Family, one can find some amity, or reflect on what it means that everyone, everywhere, along with everything, will come to a final end.


royaltThe Royal Tenenbaums
Starring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Gwyeneth Paltrow – DVDs: ROYAL

When a bitter father lies that he is dying of an aggressive cancer while taking tic-tac “cancer pills,” he brings his children, now grown adults, back from their estrangement and into his life. In this black, absurdist comedy, one is challenged with the choice between the ties of family, and the need to make one’s way and move ahead from an odd and damaging childhood. The thee Tenenbaum siblings are shown—past and present—in a darker, moody atmosphere. The dialogue is smart; the music is a lost atmosphere to past eras. A brilliant, funny, and remarkably odd film.

Matt – Reference


melbrooksMel Brooks: Make a Noise – Starring: Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Joan Rivers, Cloris Leachman – NEW DVD: DVD 791.43092 MEL BROOKS

If you love Mel Brooks as much as I do (and you probably do) then you need to see this documentary. This movie goes over the turbulent career of one of the greats of American comedy as he narrates his professional highs and lows talking about films such as Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, The Producers, Spaceballs and many more. The movie also features Brooks’ friends Carl Reiner, Cloris Leachman, Joan Rivers, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Tracey Ullman and others. A very entertaining movie.


hilariousHilarious
 – By: Louis C.K. – NEW CDs: CD 1792.76 LOUIS C.K,

If you have casually been paying attention to comedy then you know about Louis C.K. He’s been around the comedy scene for a while now and his unique take on life is one hardened by his life experiences and his genuine attitude. In Hilarious C.K. talks about society, his kids, relationships, sex and parenthood. C.K. is always fantastic and is at the top of his game.

 

Check back next week for more suggestions!

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June!

Sorry for the delay! Here’s some items to check out.

Jacob – Circulation

MV5BMTIxODg2NDU1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc3MDM0MQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_Hot Fuzz – Starring: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – DVD: HOT…
In this offbeat English comedy Simon Pegg plays a London cop named Nicholas Angel. In the film Nicholas is sent to a small town as punishment for being too good of a police officer. Once in this small town, Nicholas starts noticing a variety of strange occurrences. It is while investigating these happenings with his witless partner that humor ensues. If this film makes you laugh, be sure to check out Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s other collaboration Shaun of the Dead.

180px-YearoflivingbiblicallyThe Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible – By: A.J. Jacobs – 220 JAC

As the title indicates, this book is about a man trying to follow the bible as close as possible for one year while living in New York City with his wife. Not only does he strive to follow the major rules that everyone has heard of, but also the less popular rules as well. This man’s journey is not only profound, but also humorous. It will cause you to look at the bible in a whole new way. A very interesting read.

Mary – Youth Services

cover1“The Night Bookmobile” – by Audrey Niffenegger – Fiction: 921 NIFFENEGGER
Heaven for a bibliophile? In the case of this illustrated novel for adults, Audrey Niffenegger presents this very world housed within a rusted out Winnebago. With the familiar setting of Chicago, this illustrated story tells the tale of a young woman who stumbles upon this book-lover’s paradise, or The Bookmobile Winnebago, which contains everything she has ever read in her life. The tale is an ode to lifelong readers, librarians, and a darker testament to the cost of not finding ways to integrate fiction into forming a better reality.

100129-ninestories75csm“Nine Stories”—by J.D. Salinger—Fiction: SALINGER

What very few individuals know is that J.D. Salinger was also an astounding short story writer. Often overshadowed by his other works—such as the cult-classic novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” or the novella collection “Franny and Zooey”—J.D. Salinger’s short stories often go overlooked. “Nine Stories,” fittingly-to-title, is a collection of short stories, which expose the struggle of artistic and sensitive individuals in society. Within these short stories is all one could desire; a trip to the beach, biting wit, war, love and loss. Each story is embedded with a writing-style that is distinct, and always indelibly accurate in dialogue, and haunting; like the dead cigarette smoke of all Salinger characters.

Matt – Circulation

the_master_turkish_poster_color_high__spanThe Master – Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix – New DVDs: DVD: MASTER

This is a story about Freddie Quell: a World War II Navy veteran who just can’t seem to find his place in the world after the war’s end. An alcoholic, Freddie drifts from place to place finding work where he can get it, but his wild ways keep him from settling down. He ends up stowing away on the ship of Lancaster Dodd: leader of a movement of his own creation. Dodd, his wife Peggy, and their family of followers give Freddie a new way to live and indoctrinate him in their belief system. An engrossing story about personal identity, loyalty, belief with strong allusions to L. Ron Hubbard and the development of Scientology.

Kiss_kiss_bang_bang_posterKiss Kiss Bang Bang – Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer – DVD Kiss…

Harry Lockheart leads a life of petty crime in Los Angeles until, mid-escape, he barges into in an acting audition and gets a role in a movie as a detective. Harry then decides he likes his new persona and finds himself in the middle of a real murder investigation which puts him in over his head. A darkly funny movie with plenty of action and one of my favorites.

 

god-bless-you-mr-rosewaterGod Bless You, Mr. Rosewater – By: Kurt Vonnegut – FICTION: VONNEGUT

While not one of Vonnegut’s best known works, it is one of his most idealistic and funny. Eliot Rosewater is of a wealthy family and spends most of his time as a volunteer firefighter and full-time drunk. When Eliot decides that he wants to give away the money in the Rosewater Trust, we see Eliot’s life fall apart in a comically tragic way. As I said, this is Vonnegut at his most idealistic and addresses things like wealth, society, and altruism with an overall Humanistic message.

Check back next month for more!

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February!

February is here and we have some things for you to check out!

Melissa – Reference

In2ition+2CellosIn2ition – By: 2Cellos – New CD’s: CD 787 2Cellos

This record covers a wide variety of music styles and shows just how versatile the cello really is. The two members of the band play their cellos and often have guest vocals, including Elton John. The songs range from “Highway to Hell” by ACDC to “Clocks” by Coldplay. My two favorites on the disc were “We Found Love” and “Benedictus”.

 

12908137Little Night – By: Luanne Rice – Fiction: Rice

Luanne Rice tells the story of a family who has encountered some of the worst tragedies possible, and only continues to experience death, betrayal, and violence. The daughter is expelled from the family, though it is viewed by some as the escape they can only dream of. As the story progresses, readers learn more about the seemingly awful decisions made, and hope for whatever mending is possible. Although it seems dark, this is a story of courage and resilience, as well as true loyalty. The characters are well developed, and it is clear just how easy it is to fall into a vicious cycle with seemingly now escape.

Jacob – Circulation

da_dvdcover.previewDownton Abbey – Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith- DVD: DOWNTON ABBEY

This is a British television series set in the early 1900s. The series portrays the Crawley family and the servants who work for them. The characters are complex and compelling. The scenery is beautiful. If this does not keep you coming back, the plot twists will for sure. Seasons 1 and 2 are on DVD and season 3 is currently running on PBS. Don’t miss out on this great melodrama.

97094445Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World – By: Michael Lewis – New Non-Fiction: 330.9 LEW

Michael Lewis (Moneyball and the Big Short) travels to the countries of Iceland, Ireland, and Greece in an attempt to discover what led to their financial meltdowns. During his journeys he comes across numerous characters that help paint a picture of what happened. This humorous read is light in nature, but gives great insights to the complexities of global finance.

Matt – Circulation

DeadwoodSeason1_DVDcoverDeadwood – Starring: Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, John Hawkes- DVD: DEADWOOD

The “Wild West” period of American history has, like none other, been subject to over-romanticizing. People know of exploits of big-name heroes and dusty, lawless towns. Well, here’s a Western drama that’s a little more grounded in history than most and isn’t afraid to be the rough, dirty and dangerous place that was the American West. The show begins with former sheriff Seth Bullock and his business partner Saul as they arrive in Deadwood, South Dakota just as Wild Bill Hickock is rolling into town and Deadwood is just being put on the map. This show has masterful performances from Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane and will have you hooked from the start. The show’s language has its own foul poetry and loves to show, dirt, blood and all, a taste of the real Wild West.

bored_to_death_-_season_1_2_disc_nordic-11943300-frntlBored To Death – Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis – DVD: BORED TO DEATH

Bored to Death is the story of Jonathan Ames: a man whose writing career is stalled and has been left by his girlfriend. He decides to put an ad on Craigslist as a private detective and try to live his life like the hard-boiled detectives he reads in old pulp detective books. Accompanied by his suave literary agent and his hapless best friend, Jonathan’s misguided adventures are always hysterical.

 

Come back next month for some more recommendations!

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January

Oh the new year. So full of wonderful possibilities and those promises you make to yourself that you probably break by second week. Here are some new things for that (kind of) new you.

Courtney – Reference

12262741“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” – by: Cheryl Strayed – NEW NONFICTION: 921 STRAYED, C.

Wild describes the real life journey of one woman on a 1,100 mile solitary hike through California, Oregon, and Washington in the ’90s.  After her mother dies suddenly from cancer, twenty-two year old Cheryl Strayed’s (a name the author fittingly chooses for herself) life falls apart. Her once tight-knit family soon scatters away from her, she continually cheats on her seemingly “perfect” husband time and again, and after her marriage dissolves, she jumps into a toxic relationship that results in a dangerous heroin habit.  Thus, four years later and with nothing left to lose, Strayed decides to hike the massive Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on her own, despite her utter lack of preparedness (or a proper fitting pair of boots). Strayed weaves her past with her present as she tackles the trail, meets eccentric and amiable characters along the way, and not so amiable characters in rattlesnakes, bears, and other critters.  Strayed tells her story with brutal honesty, never sugarcoating her own shortcomings and mistakes, as well as with a skilled storyteller’s voice.  You will find yourself rooting for Strayed as she hitchhikes to and from the PCT, small towns and remote campsites, constantly struggling to get by on $20 or less at a time.  But most of all, you will root for Strayed to find in the PCT what it is she needs to move on with her life.  Wild is an Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection.

Melissa – Reference

15929264“The Magic of Reality” – by: Richard Dawkins – NON-FICTION: 501 DAW

Dawkins collects information from all the sciences into this book to discuss the nature and workings of our planet and universe.  He also shares the various myths different cultures have used (and still use) to explain these workings.

A truly interesting and educational read, Dawkins not only seeks to enlighten his audience, but also wishes to relay the message that magic exists in finding real answers to mankind’s questions.

A1tgMgJxNYL._SL1500_“How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” – by: Andy Andrews – NON-FICTION: 320.01 AND

This book is an essay that discusses integrity in politics and the consequences that derive from a lack of it.  Andrews encourages the public to not only heed the promises and intentions of politicians, but make them accountable for each.

The author succeeds in avoiding party politics, and discusses the role of politicians in general.  The most intriguing section of the essay includes his discussion of the role of politicians in the Holocaust.

Matt – Circulation

810Fw8dOh4L._SL1500_“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” – Directed by: David Gelb, Starring: Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono, Masuhiro Yamamoto, Daisuke Nakazawa – DVDs: JIRO 641.5092

Much like sushi itself this documentary seems simple: its a story of Jiro Ono a sushi chef who owns a small restaurant. But just like sushi once you bite into it the movie releases a complex and satisfying story about Jiro Ono: 3-star Michelin chef whose small, 10-seat restaurant is so exclusive it is the only 3-star restaurant in Japan and reservations are made far in advance. For anyone who loves food this is an excellent movie as the viewer gets to watch Jiro and his sons at work while learning about Jiro’s life and his philosophies of cooking. I recommend you don’t watch this hungry, or you may find yourself pausing the movie to order take out.

breaking-bad-season-2-poster“Breaking Bad” – Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte, Aaron Paul, Raymond Cruz, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt – DVDs: BREAKING BAD

This is that show that you’ve probably heard about but were on the fence. I’m here to tell you: watch this show. To say it is addicting would be apropos. The story starts with Walter White a high school chemistry teacher whose life is turned sideways when he learns he has lung cancer. Walter wants to find a way to pay for the outrageous cost of his treatments and leave some money behind to take care of his family. He then runs into a former student Jesse who dropped out of school to deal drugs and Walter finds that his chemistry skills are put to use to cook the best methamphetamine recipe on the black market. Walter finds out that his life gets more complicated the deeper he gets into his second life as he slowly morphs into someone different. This show is dark but very funny and a great sketch of the nuances and tragedies involved with methamphetamines and America’s attitudes about drugs but also an honest look into the healthcare industry and a man battling cancer.

91ZoGCoGjaL._SL1500_“Community” – Starring: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Chevy Chase, Jim Rash, John Oliver – DVDs: COMMUNITY

Community is an easy show to describe: its about people at a community college who form a study group and become friends. What isn’t easy to describe is how good this show is. It is not like any other show you have seen. The characters are all starkly different from each other and each episode is funnier than the last. Packed with pop culture references and the best writing on television, its a show with episodes that will have you watching them repeatedly if only to catch the jokes you laughed through the first time. It has a big cult following and is one of the most underrated comedies currently on television.

Come back next month for more recommendations!

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November!

So here were are in crisp November just around the corner to Thanksgiving. Here are some things to make your holiday a little warmer.

Melissa – Reference

13503109This Is How You Lose Her” – by Junot Diaz – NEW FICTION: DIAZ
 
Diaz has compiled several short stories with a continual protagonist by the name of Yunior.  He has a really unique voice; he is intelligent and educated but still at home on the streets.  Each story is about the universal topic of love and all its forms; from romantic to familial, simple to complex.  However, though each chapter is an exploration of love, they are retrospective, thereby centering on loss. 
            Diaz fluctuates frequently between Spanish and English, and while my Spanish is elementary at best, there were few instances where meaning was lost.  Diaz is truly a gifted writer, and I often found myself repeating his lines to myself. 
 
Turn of the Screw” – by Henry James – YA: James
 
n511912542_1665309_8017171This book is one my all-time favorites.  A group of friends begin to share ghost stories around the fire, which leads to the telling of an old tale.  A governess is hired to care for two children in a country house, and after some time, she begins to see the figures of a man and woman, whom she later learns are the former governess and former valet. 
            James leads the readers through the psychological thriller, preying of the fear of the unknown.  Unlike many other tales, James does not attempt to explain the phenomena.  Doing so can often cause the tale to lose something, and the focus is on the questions rather than the answers. 
 
Jacob – Circulation
 
148821Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture” – by: Ross King – NONFICTION: 726.6 KIN 

Brunelleschi’s Dome tells the story of an unlikely architect who found a solution to finishing the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in 15th century Florence, Italy. His clever solution won him many critics, but also fans. One fan in particular was said to be Leonardo Da Vinci. Scholars believe that some of the Da Vinci’s mechanical drawings were inspired by the elaborate cranes Brunelleschi designed to complete the dome. This is a great Renaissance read.

10690678Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” – By: Michael Lewis – NONFICTION: 796.357 LEW

This is a great baseball book. It looks closely at the Oakland Athletics and their general manager Billy Beane. Beane realizes that Oakland will never be able to compete with the larger market teams such as New York with their giant payrolls, so he devises a whole new way of fielding a team. He and his staff begin analyzing players using statistics and metrics that no other team is using. Within a couple of years, Oakland is consistently competing for the playoffs, while spending a fraction of what teams like the Yankees are spending. This book turned the baseball world upside down and highlighted the genius of Billy Beane.

Michelle – Administration

16655352“Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story” – By: Arnold Schwarzenegger – NEW NONFICTION: 921 SCHWARTZENEGGER

This is an in-depth look at the very interesting life of a man who has been Mr. Universe, a huge action star, a businessman and the Governator.  Schwarzenegger doesn’t shy away from the unflattering, while making sure you are aware of all he has accomplished.

 

Green_Day_-_Uno!_cover“Uno!” – By: Green Day – NEW AUDIO: 781.66 GREEN DAY

Green Day return to their simple punk roots, leaving the rock operas behind.  The songs are short and snappy and stick in your mind long after you’ve stopped listening. This is the first album in a three part release over the next couple months.

 

 

battleship-dvd-cover-35“Battleship” – Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Rihanna – NEW DVDs: BATTLESHIP

After the movie was panned by critics, I didn’t have high expectations but Battleship provided entertainment and explosions.  What more can you ask for? If you are looking for pure movie fluff, this is the DVD for you.

 

 

Check back next month for more recommendations from the library!

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Picks for September

Here we are winding down the long summer nights into the (hopefully) cooler Autumn days. So as the leaves begin to change and school starts up, grab a warm glass of cider and curl up with some of the things we enjoy and hope you will too.

Melissa – Reference

 

 The_Sense_of_an_EndingThe Sense of an Ending – By: Julian Barnes – Fiction: BARNES

 This novel is both enigmatic and fascinating.  The story follows the experiences of a young man through his formidable years and the experiences that shaped him.  Later in life, he receives a letter that forces him to question what he thought he knew about his friends and himself.

Julian Barnes sets up the novel perfectly.  As soon as I finished, I had questions about what really happened versus what was perceived to have happened, which I think is exactly the message Barnes wanted to deliver. 

 

 5345The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town – By: John Grisham – NONFICTION: 345 GRI

 Although Grisham isn’t known for his nonfiction, he certainly is an adept researcher.  “The Innocent Man” relates the tale of two men who were found guilty of the rape and murder of a young woman in a small town.  Although neither man had a spotless record, they did not commit this crime.

Grisham takes readers through the inaccurate police investigation and unlawful trial that led the two men to serve twelve years in prison.  One man received the death penalty and narrowly missed his execution.  I thought this book would be very upsetting to read, but it was in fact quite humbling.

 

Theresa – Youth Services

 Stitches-David-SmallStitches: A Memoir – By: David Small – Non-Fiction: 921 Small.

 Author and illustrator David Small effectively tells a story of his own sickly childhood growing up in Detroit. Using hauntingly beautiful illustrations and  minimal dialogue, this graphic novel captures spellbinding snippets in time. Quickly paced, Small’s grimly dysfunctional family life and lonely existence keep the reader’s morbid curiosity piqued. Although sad and disturbing, this memoir reveals Small’s amazing ability to survive, overcome, and perhaps even forgive family members for their shortcomings.  

Matt – Circulation

 

 81ZowVA-D8L._SL1500_Parks and Recreation – Starring: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Rob Lowe – DVDs: PARKS AND RECREATION

 For people who have not seen this show, you need to see this show. Parks and Recreation is about Leslie Knope: an idealistic government worker who loves her home town of Pawnee, Indiana. You can’t help but root for Leslie as she tries to improve an apathetic town with an excellent cast of characters whose quirks make this show a constant cavalcade of solid satire and a warm show with real heart. Every season this show gets better and is the best comedy currently on television. 

 

 foundation-isaac-asimovFoundation – By: Isaac Asimov – Fiction: ASIMOV

 This is the first in one of the most influential Sci-Fi series of all time Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series. This was the first book written in the series but not the first of the series as Asimov later wrote two prequels. I started with Foundation and was instantly hooked by the premise: the galactic empire is collapsing and PsychoHistorian Hari Seldon has come up with a mathematical formula mixed with psychology and evolutionary theory to predict major events in the collapse of the empire. Seldon decides to make The Foundation on two worlds at opposite ends of the universe to scientifically advance the primitive cultures of the outer worlds while trying to slow the coming collapse from within.

Rife with allusions to the fall of the Roman Empire and the politics of the Cold War, Asimov tells a compelling narrative about leaders who use their wits and cunning in the face of fanaticism and militarization. An interesting read and a classic Sci-Fi series.

 

Check back next month for more suggestions!

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Filed under and Movie Reviews, Book, Music

Your Picks for July of 2012

Welcome to the first picks. Here’s how this works: we at the library want to share with you some of the great things in our collection. Staff members will share the things that entertain, intrigue, mystify or inspire them in books, music and movies. We will post monthly. Feel free to discuss your opinions or impressions in the comments section. We would love to hear some of your recommendations as well!

Matt – Circulation Desk
magicians The Magicians – By: Lev Grossman – Fiction: GROSSMAN

The story starts with Quentin, a whiny kid who loves a series of fantasy books set in Fillory, a land similar to C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. Quentin is about to graduate high school and has no idea what to do or where to go. He unwittingly tests for a secret magic school and finds himself at Brakebills with people as strange as he is and in a world completely divorced from the one he grew up in. This may be a book about twenty-somethings using magic, but it brings an honest look at the challenges facing someone starting out in a world they are beginning to understand. A great book and a very entertaining read as Grossman’s writing brings a grim sense of humor to a world of wonder.

 

coriolanusCoriolanus – Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain and James Nesbitt. – New DVDs: CORIOLANUS

There have been many modern adaptations of Shakespeare plays that keep the dialogue but update the scenery and costumes. Most of those are terrible. This one is actually good. It stars Ralph Fiennes as Caius Martius Coriolanus, a feared Roman general who has a particular disdain for the common people as he does for Rome’s enemies. When he returns from a successful campaign, he looks to become Consul in reward for his duty. He ends up getting tossed out of Rome and sent into exile by the people at the goading of rival senators. Coriolanus ends up joining a rival nation to take revenge on the home he once defended. An exciting adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s lesser known works.

Mandy – Youth Services

bearinatticThe Bear in the Attic – By: Patrick McManus – Nonfiction: 814.6 MCM

If you love the great outdoors and consider yourself a wilderness enthusiast, then you will enjoy Patick McManus’s outdoorsman humor.

 

Melissa – Reference


handmaidThe Handmaid’s Tale
– By: Margaret Atwood – Audiobooks: CD ATWOOD

The BBC production of the audiobook is wonderful.  Unlike many other dry readings of books, this production adds sound effects to the background, such as the patter of rain and swishing of windshield wipers during a tense car scene. As for the storyline, it was about a dark dystopia wherein human reproduction is on the steep decline and the harsh measures society takes to ensure the elite are the ones to procreate.  Sadly, the plot is not all that far-fetched.  My favorite aspect was the sampling of the male perspective given through The Commander, which wasn’t what I anticipated.  This tale is one that will stay with me many years to come.

languageflowersThe Language of Flowers – By: Vanessa Diffenbaugh – Fiction: DIFFENBAUGH

This story is of a young girl as she begins to make her own life upon leaving behind the cycle of foster homes she grew up in.  Her outlook is never self-pitying, but positive and practical.  She can form relationships because she chooses too without them being forced upon her, and she forms one with the owner of a flower shop.  The shop is really where she comes into her own, as she has a history with flowers, and (as the title implies) their language.  Through this “language” a number of lives are impacted.  This is a perfect read for Spring or Summer, where the reader can regard flowers in a new light.

Jennifer – Youth Services

ivegotyournumberI’ve Got Your Number -By: Sophie Kinsella – Fiction: KINSELLA

Light and fluffy chick lit novel which revolves around a harebrained plot of a lovable physiotherapist who makes a deal to share a “lost company cell phone” with a suave and debonair businessman. A perfect beach read that will tickle your funny bone!
strongerStronger – By: Kelly Clarkson – New CD’s: 871.63 CLARKSON, K.
American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson belts out inspiring and empowering lyrics which include bubbly pop, rock and electronic beats. Be sure to listen to the hit “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” and “Einstein” which are masterfully written, motivating, and hard to get out of your head.
Come back next month for some new picks!

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