Tag Archives: fantasy

August 2018

august 2018

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

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

the tudorsThe Tudors, Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, and Natalie Dormer, DVD Tudors Seasons 1-4

I recently re-watched the Showtime TV show The Tudors and I still found it to be an entertaining work of historical fiction mixed with actual events that occurred. The show follows the reign of King Henry VIII as a young man through the end of his life, highlighting his many marriages, the relationships in-between and his slow descent into cruel madness. Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as Henry VIII and the show also features Henry Cavill as the Duke of Suffolk, Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn and many other faces you may recognize. A word of warning, however, the show does not shy away from the bloody violence that was so abundant at the time. As they say – viewer discretion is advised!

Jean – Reference

baby teethBaby Teeth, by Zoje Stage, New Fiction Stage

For fans of Stephen King and Gillian Flynn, a psychological thriller in the vein of The Omen, that is creepy, yet fun.  For parents Suzette and Alex, their seven year old daughter’s perplexing behavior becomes more and more sinister as they try to make sense of her inability to speak (or is it an unwillingness)?  As we read alternating chapters in Hanna’s voice, it becomes clear that there is more going on than childish misbehavior.  But as we delve deeper and deeper into her psyche, the reader begins to wonder – is it a simple lack of ability to communicate, or is it just pure evil?

Paula – Circulation

AGameOfThronesA Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin, Fiction Martin

A Game of Thrones is the first book in the epic fantasy series A Song of  Ice and Fire, and the basis for the hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones. The series tells the story of the war for the Iron Throne between the Seven Kingdoms, and each of the noble families that claim they have the right to rule the land of Westeros. Each chapter is written from a different character’s point of view, giving the reader a unique experience by being able to see the conflict develop from multiple different sides. It is an exciting read as much as it is complex, dark, and bloody.

Pat – Circulation

then she was goneThen She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell, New Fiction Jewell

Then She Was Gone is a psychological thriller. This book is about a young girl, Ellie, who goes missing one day on her way to the library. Ten years later her mother, Laurel, meets a man, Floyd, in a coffee shop and they strike up a friendship. When Laurel meets Floyd’s nine year old daughter she is taken aback at the striking resemblance she has to her missing daughter and she understandably cannot let the mystery go. The book was mysterious, sad, crazy, but engaging. Also some parts are disturbing, so be prepared for that.

Hubbell – Circulation

nobody knows your nameWhere Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball, by John Feinstein, Nonfiction 796.357 FEI

Minor league baseball players toil in small cities, ride buses across the country, eat crappy food, and stay in cheap motels. Washington Post columnist John Feinstein compiles the stories of nine minor league baseball players whose careers are marked by varying degrees of success. One waits eighteen years between major league at-bats. Another experiences fantastic success at the major league level and helps his team to a World Series championship only to be demoted after the post-season. Feinstein explores the day-to-day life of these players and coaches, but also uncovers some of the darker unknowns of minor league service. They lack a labor union, have no collective bargaining rights, are exempt from overtime pay and, on average, make less than minimum wage, all of which is explicitly permitted by law.

Melissa – Technical Services

11millionHow Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews, Nonfiction 320.01 AND

This book is an essay about integrity in politics and the consequences that derive from a lack of it. The author notes the Nazi government tactic of repeatedly lying to its citizens in order to get them to board the trains to concentration camps, and give up their wealth and security. He also explores how lying is regarded as commonplace in American politics. This essay is relevant for all governed peoples, and for all time.

 

 

 

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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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February 2018

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

 

 

 

 

Chris – Technical Services

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

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

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

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

Michelle – Administration

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

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

Paula – Circulation

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

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

Chris – Circulation

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

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

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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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September 2017

september2017coverIt’s September! Time to hit the books again! Why not check out some of ours?

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

whiteprincessThe White Princess, starring Jodie Comer and Jacob Collins-Levy, New DVD White Princess

The White Princess is a mini-series based on the book by Philippa Gregory and it follows the marriage of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. It is a sequel to The White Queen, though you can watch it as a stand-alone. I thought that this series was really well acted and it kept me engaged throughout. If you are a fan of historical dramas or in the history of the royal house in England, this is a great show to watch.

Paula – Circulation

mementoMemento, Starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Joe Pantoliano, DVD Memento

Guy Pearce stars as Leonard, a man with anterograde amnesia who is trying to track down his wife’s murderer. Due to his condition, his search for this man proves difficult because Leonard cannot develop new memories. He can remember everything up until his wife’s murder, but he quickly forgets everything that happens to him afterwards. In order to compile information, Leonard keeps a series of photographs and notes, and tattoos clues on his body that will lead him to the man who killed his wife.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, Memento is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. In typical Christopher Nolan fashion, the story is told in a complex series of events and plot twists that will keep you guessing throughout the entire film. Just when you think you have something figured out, new clues are revealed that force you to rethink which characters are telling the truth and which ones not to trust.

Pat – Circulation

undergroundrailroadThe Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Fiction Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a plantation in Georgia where conditions are especially rough. Her mother escaped when she was very young leaving her to fend for herself. When a fellow slave tells her about the Underground Railroad, she finds the courage to run for her freedom.
The story portrays the amount of abuses that blacks were vulnerable to–all the daily abuses and even the killing of slaves in the most brutal ways.
There is something essential about reading this kind of book. In the United States it’s too easy to forget the dark times in our history.

hillbillyelegyHillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, Nonfiction 921 Vance, J.

J.D.Vance had grown up poor in rust-belt Ohio, in a family that was, by his account, highly dysfunctional. His book describes how he transcended severe disadvantages to attend Yale law school and go on to a lucrative career.
Vance’s father was absent and his mother an erratic and neglectful parent with alcohol and substance abuse problems.
Vance’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love”. They got married and moved North from Kentucky to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them.
This is a family history that is also a troubling analysis on the loss of the American dream for a large portion of this country.

Chris – Circulation

knightofthesevenkingdomsA Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin, Fiction Martin

Comprised of three novellas published during the writing of the series A Song of Ice and FireA Knight of the Seven Kingdoms follows Dunk and Egg, a knight and his squire as they travel Westeros almost one hundred years before A Game of Thrones. Martin’s vivid and engaging writing returns to tell these tales, but in a more compact form than in the novels. That being said, these stories are full of the history and ancestors from the main novels. Fans of the series will enjoy meeting familiar and new families and traveling to new locations mentioned in the main series, but never visited. Even in these short tales, Martin adds his classic dramatic twists and plots of romance. The honorable Dunk and quick-witted Egg are sure to entertain in their various exploits with villagers and nobility alike.

Brigitte – Youth 

soloSolo by Kwame Alexander, New YA Alexander

If you aren’t familiar with Kwame Alexander’s other works (The Crossover, Booked) you should know that 100% of this book is in verse. While that might be intimidating or even off-putting to some, it adds to the intimacy between the reader and the narrator. While Alexander’s other works skew younger, this is a decidedly Young Adult book. Solo is about familial relationships, first love, and the uncertainty that comes with the end of high school. Blade is a young man about to enter into the adult world but who doesn’t know who he really is. When a family secret is revealed to him, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery, and ends up finding out more about his family than he bargained for.

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April 2017

april2017coverIt’s April! Spend a rainy day inside with some of our picks! April 9-15 is also National Library Week, so show your local library some love by stopping in for special activities!

Michelle – Administration

eyeintheskyEye in the Sky starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, and Alan Rickman, DVD Eye in the Sky

This fast-paced movie is an interesting look into drone warfare and the politics behind war in the electronic age. It appears to take place in mostly real-time and shows the tense conflict between ethics and military casualties. Eye in the Sky stars Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul and Alan Rickman in his final onscreen role.

silence_fallen_layout.inddSilence Fallen by Patricia Briggs, New Fiction Briggs

This is the 10th book in the Mercy Thompson series and it is still as fun to read as the first. The series follows shape-shifting coyote Mercy Thompson as she finds her way into trouble in the supernatural world and works to save herself. While she is surrounded by those more powerful, including werewolves, vampires and the fae, Mercy is an exceptional heroine who never waits to be rescued.

Chris – Technical Services

unlikelycatladyAn Unlikely Cat Lady: Feral Adventures in the Backyard Jungle by Nina Malkin, Nonfiction 636.8 MAL

A born and raised “Brooklynite” (New York) writes of her true adventures as an indoor cat lover and outdoor caretaker of a feral cat family that chooses her backyard as home base.

Chris – Circulation

Awake by Tycho, CD 781.63 TYCHO

awakeTycho is one of those bands you listen to when you just want to chill out. In a genre appropriately labeled chillwave, Tycho creates dreamy compositions using synthesizers, guitars, and other electronics. A steady and driving but not overbearing beat supports the rest of the instruments. Completely instrumental, this is a perfect soundtrack to a lazy night in with friends or a cruise down the highway after long day. Awake is Tycho’s third album, each one becoming a bit more electronic.

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June

It’s June! EnjoyJune2016cover the beautiful weather outside and check out the recommended titles below.

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

brittmarieBritt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman, New Fiction Backman

This is another outstanding novel from Fredrik Backman, author of A Man Called Ove, full of warmth, love, and wisdom. Britt-Marie is separated from her husband after 40 years of marriage. She is so afraid of being alone – of dying alone – that she wants a job, any job she can get just so people know she is there. After hounding the girl who works at the unemployment office, Britt-Marie gets the position of caretaker for a shut down recreation center in the dying town of Borg. Once she gets to Borg, she finds herself getting involved in the lives of the remaining residents, especially a pair of siblings who play soccer even though their soccer pitch has been sold and their coach has passed away.

Britt-Marie has dedicated herself to others all her life, first her parents and sister, then her husband, so that she never learned how to be herself or found out what she wanted from her life. A tragedy in her childhood has shaped her life and her husband didn’t respect her, crushed her actually, and she let him, so her self-esteem at the beginning of her journey is zero. However, in Borg, Britt-Marie starts to open herself to new experiences and learn to let go of her pretensions and live a little. Britt-Marie is a very sympathetic character who you will root for to finally live for herself and make the correct choices. The supporting cast of characters are also wonderful. Backman excels at creating eccentric, lovable characters. The book is exceedingly funny and also sad, but leaves you feeling uplifted.

MrRosenblumMr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomons, Fiction Solomons

This is a lovely book, gentle and sweet and beautifully written. Jack and Sadie are German Jews who left Germany in the 1930’s and emigrated to England. Upon arrival, they were given a handbook explaining English customs and how to assimilate. Jack took the handbook to heart and his greatest wish is to be the quintessential English gentleman. He makes a list of goals and eventually achieves them, except for being granted membership in a golf club. His name and his accent seem to prevent him from being fully accepted. So Jack decides to build his own golf course. He buys land in Dorset and uproots his wife from their London home to move to the country and build his course. The rest of the book details Jack’s trials and tribulations getting his course built and explores his relationship with his wife and daughter, as well as life in a small village. Jack’s wife, Sadie, lost her parents and younger brother to the Holocaust and she suffers from survivor guilt and depression over this since she escaped and they didn’t. Meanwhile, Jack is eternally cheerful and optimistic, so there is a divide between them. Jack is a wonderful character – you can’t help but root for him and feel for him when things don’t go his way.

curiouscharmsThe Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick, New Fiction Patrick

This is a lovely story about a man grieving the loss of his wife and finding his way again. A year after the death of his wife Miriam, Arthur is packing up her clothing to give away when he comes across a charm bracelet with eight charms on it. He doesn’t recall ever seeing Miriam wearing the bracelet and he wonders about it. One of the charms, an Indian elephant with an emerald, has an Indian phone number engraved on it. Arthur calls this number and speaks to a man who knew his wife when he was a child. Arthur had no idea Miriam had ever been in India and this makes him question what else he didn’t know about her life before they met. This sets Arthur on a journey to discover the story of all the charms that will take him to different parts of England, as well as other countries, where he meets numerous people from Miriam’s past who take him out of his comfort zone and broaden his viewpoint. It is a spiritual journey as well as Arthur questions his life with Miriam and if he ever really knew her at all. Overall, this is a feel-good read as Arthur’s journey allows him to remember the love and joy of his married life and to be free to move forward, as well as reconnect with his children who have drifted from him since their mother’s death. Arthur is a sympathetic character and the various supporting characters all add color and charm to the novel.

Pat – Circulation

whenbreathWhen Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, New Nonfiction 616.994 Kal 

Paul Kalanithi was a talented and dedicated neurosurgeon who, against all odds, is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer while only in his thirties. This memoir tells the story of the almost two years from diagnosis until Dr. Kalanithi’s death. He was married to Lucy, who sounds like an amazing woman. When he died he had and infant daughter, Cady.

This book is and excellent and moving account of a terminal illness, an inspirational story, and a look at the human spirit.

Michelle – Administration

redqueen Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, YA Aveyard

I continue to find myself drawn to YA series and this was the next one to catch my eye. This rich fantasy series can be described as The Hunger Games meets a superhero origin story. In this story, society is divided into two groups, those with red blood and those who have evolved into having silver blood and a superpower. Thus, the Silvers rule while the Reds suffer through a despondent life and perpetual war. Things are turned upside down with the discovery of a red-blooded girl who has a superpower no one has seen before. The first two books in the series, Red Queen and Glass Sword, are out now. Books 3 and 4 have been commissioned and are expected to be released in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

deadpoolDeadpool starring Ryan Reynolds, New DVD Deadpool

After years of negotiation, Ryan Reynolds finally brought his Deadpool to the big screen. If you like superheroes, but wish they wouldn’t be so heroic all the time, then Deadpool is the hero you’ve been looking for. This fast-paced story isn’t for the faint-hearted, but if senseless violence, crude behavior, and dark humor are your thing – this is the movie for you! The movie also stars Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, and TJ Miller.

Dagmar – Circulation

mynameislucybMy Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout, New Fiction Strout

Elizabeth Strout, who is a Pulitzer Prize winner for her previous novel, Olive Kittenridge, has a new powerful novel published: My Name is Lucy Barton. This time, the heroine of the story is raised in incredible, almost unbelievable poverty outside the small town of Amgash, Illinois. The youngest of three children in a greatly dysfunctional family, she takes refuge in school, where it is peaceful and warm. There she discovers her love for books. Especially one book makes a life- changing difference for Lucy. It is about a girl named Tilly, who is a little bit like Lucy. Tilly also endures a childhood full of hardship, and seems strange to others because she is dirty and poor. Books, Lucy explains, brought her things and made her feel less alone. So Lucy thinks that she will become a writer and write books and people would feel less alone. Due to her diligence at school, Lucy gets a college scholarship and thus is able to escape the family’s misery and poverty. While in college, she gets married, and moves with her new well-to-do husband to New York. While living there, Lucy seldom looks back. She is trying to get used to the idea of living in a big sophisticated city and raising her two beloved daughters, while also attempting to write. She has a lot to catch up on because she comes from a world which is incomprehensible to people living around her. not only did the family have little heat and little food, they had no books, no magazines, and no TV. When Lucy gets seriously ill, her wealthy husband asks Lucy’s mother to come to New York to keep her company while she is in the hospital. Five days which they spend together bring a lot of memories – good and bad – of the old days. Lucy and her mother reestablish their problematic but loving relationship. Eventually, Lucy becomes a published author and woman in her own right. After her daughters grow up, she divorces her distant husband, who developed an interest in another woman. She herself happily remarries later. It is a simple but a touching story which offers a wealth of emotion, from sadness and loneliness to simple joy and redemption.

Chris – Technical Services

joyJoy starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, New DVD Joy

This movie is funny, exasperating, depressing, and then…Joyful as she overcomes all obstacles.

 

 

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March

Marchcoverdog

March is here. We’ve almost survived another winter! Enjoy the thaw with a good book.

 

 

Jacob – Circulation

wintersboneWinter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell, Fiction Woodrell 

Facing the prospect of losing the family home, a young girl must track down the whereabouts of her deadbeat dad. On her search, Ree discovers a lot about herself, her father, and her rural community. Set in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Woodrell crafts a chilling story that leaves you astounded by the courageous actions of the story’s heroine. A very good read.

blueberryyearsThe Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family by Jim Minick, Nonfiction 634.737 Min

Jim Minick has a dream of owning and operating an organic blueberry farm. This is his story. It details everything from his struggles with pesky critters and hot Virginia sun to the triumphs of the first berries and the people who pick them. Because Jim chronicles his experience with humor, the book is entertaining and informative.

Sue – Circulation

thehumansThe Humans by Matt Haig, Fiction Haig

I loved this funny, compelling, and deeply touching novel. When a Cambridge mathematics professor named Andrew proves a complex mathematical hypothesis, an advanced species from a distant galaxy comes to earth and kills him. They feel that humans are not ready to handle the consequences of the knowledge this breakthrough would lead to. They send an alien of their species to earth to impersonate the professor. His job: to kill anyone with whom the professor shared his knowledge, as well as his wife and son. This species is devoid of emotion; they are completely logical. Much of the humor in the book comes from the alien Andrew interacting with humans. For example, when he first arrives, he is nude and he can’t believe the uproar this lack of clothing causes. As alien Andrew continues to live on earth and among humans, including the wife and son, he begins to feel emotions for the first time, which confuses him greatly. He has been told that humans are destructive and greedy. He sees this, but he also begins to see more: he listens to music and is moved by the beauty of it; he enjoys eating peanut butter; he finds wisdom in the poems of Emily Dickinson. When he grows to love the family dog, he is in serious trouble. Now that he knows love – completely illogical, yet wonderful, and like nothing he has ever experienced on his home planet, how can he fulfill his mission and kill the two humans closest to him?

hill top farmThe Tale of Hill Top Farm: The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert, Fiction Albert

The first book in an eight-book series, this is a gentle read featuring Beatrix Potter, the author, illustrator, and naturalist, set in the Lake District of England, where Potter in her later life became a farmer. Her farms have been preserved by the National Trust and can still be visited today. This series is a fictionalized account of Potter’s life, with many accurate historical facts. It takes place from the time she buys her first farm in the Lake District to her marriage of a local man. In each book, Potter solves a mystery in the community. The local animal population plays a large role in each book and helps to solve the mysteries. A charming series, especially for animal lovers and those who appreciate life in the country.

broadchurchBroadchurch, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, DVD Broadchurch, Season 1

This British drama is set in Dorset, England, along the coast. It tells a single story across eight episodes. The body of an 11-year-old boy is found on the beach in the small, close-knit community of Broadchurch. DS Miller and her new boss, DI Hardy, investigate the case. Miller is a local and close friends with the mother of the murdered boy, while Hardy is a newcomer to the area with a questionable past. The show is powerful and intense, dealing with such a terrible event, and each episode is gripping as the story deepens and we see how many lives are affected by the murder and watch as the community is torn apart. The show is extremely well-done and deals honestly with the emotions of the characters caught up in the drama. We see the press descend on the town and innocent people suffer as gossip and suspicion grow. The show had a shocking ending that I didn’t foresee. A second season will air in 2015, with many of the cast members from season one returning.

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd, Fiction Todd

dutyThe first in a mystery series by the excellent historical fiction author Charles Todd. This series centers around the life of Bess Crawford, an English colonel’s daughter who grew up in India and is now serving as a nurse on the battlefields of World War I. In this story, a dying soldier asks Bess to deliver a message to his family. While on leave, Bess visits the family and becomes suspicious about their reactions to the message. As she investigates further, she becomes involved in a murder mystery involving the dead soldier’s brother and uncovers years of lies and deception. The book evokes the atmosphere of the age and the mysteries are compelling and complex. I also highly recommend Todd’s Ian Rutledge mystery series, set in the immediate years after World War I and focusing on a Scotland Yard detective who returned from battle suffering from shell shock and his struggles to return to society as he investigates cases.

Mary – Youth Services

goodomensGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Fiction Gaiman

This book was definitely out of my comfort zone. But sometimes, that’s quite a good thing. In this seamless collaboration, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett create a story about our world, but in what appears to be the not-so-distant future of the impending apocalypse. The story focuses on an angel named Aziraphale (part-time antique book dealer, full-time angel) and Crowley (demon who inspired Eve to eat the forbidden fruit). Both Crowley and Aziraphale come to an unlikely partnership because – after all they have done to meddle in human affairs – they find that they quite like living a mortal human life. (The sushi restaurants, mostly.) Filled with irreverent humor, and a British touch for linguistics, I would recommend Good Omens to any fantasy lover, or any fan of quite clever British humor.

affinityAffinity by Sarah Waters, Fiction Waters

Recovering from a suicide attempt, Margaret Prior has been urged to look into charity work as a remedy for her failing mind. She agrees, and volunteers in the women’s ward of Millbank Prison, London. While at the prison, Margaret meets an enigmatic prisoner, Selina Dawes, who is a self-proclaimed spiritualist and medium. Both Margaret and Selina grow close in each other’s company, and finally, they try to find a way for them both to escape their suffocating lives – and against all odds, to set Selina free. Set in the Victorian Era, this novel is a whirlwind of desire, lies, desolation, and most of all, the hope for freedom that those on the fringes of society long for.

 thisisallyoursThis is All Yours by Alt-J, New Music 781.66 Alt-J

Here we are again reviewing another Alt-J album, but you can’t help it; their music is phenomenal. This is All Yours is an otherworldly blend of dull melancholy, combining elements of rock, indie, and electronic sounds that is sure to be unlike anything you have ever heard. Alt-J is a new sort of Radiohead; a quiet place in a noisy world.

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March

Excuse us for our tardy post this month. As we find ourselves (hopefully) thawing out here’s some things to check out at the library.

Sue- Circulation 

51KXYwPojnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs – by: Ted Kerasote – NON-FICTION: 636.7 KER

Many people don’t take the best care of their dogs, not because they don’t care, but because they are ignorant of what is actually best for them and especially what harms them and they trust vets and pet food companies that don’t have their dogs’ best interests at heart, but profits. Some of the issues that negatively affect dogs’ health that are discussed in this book include: poor nutrition, especially poor quality dog food that causes cancer and shortened lifespans; over-vaccination that weakens dogs’ immune systems and invites disease; and overuse of and exposure to chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, flea and tick products, household cleaners, etc., which are also a factor in causing cancer. Ways that are suggested in the book to improve health and longevity include: feeding a more natural diet, consisting of high quality protein and eliminating wheat, corn, soy, artificial ingredients, and ingredients that have been exposed to pesticides/herbicides, and also providing clean drinking water; vaccinating only in puppyhood or not more than every seven years rather than annually; and using natural flea and tick control products rather than chemical-laden products. If you have a dog or plan on getting a dog, I urge you to read this book and follow its suggestions for a healthier and longer life for your dog.

986b22ae2597f3ab85bc571557952ffa New and Selected Poems – by: Mary Oliver – NEW NONFICTION: 811.54 OLI

Mary Oliver is my favorite contemporary poet. She has won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for her poetry, as well as numerous other awards. I find her poems to be beautiful, moving, and inspiring. They invite you to contemplate your role in this world and how you live your life. Oliver grew up in the Midwest and now lives in New England. Her poems are filled with images of nature, particularly the natural world around her Massachusetts home – woods, ponds, the Atlantic Ocean, and the animals that live there. She is a keen observer of the natural world, and encourages readers to connect to nature through our senses. She urges us to make something worthwhile of our lives while we are here on earth, rather than focusing on spirituality. Her poems promote living your life fully and exuberantly and paying attention to the natural world around you. They celebrate nature and the uniqueness and beauty of all living creatures. This book is a collection of 142 of Oliver’s poems from the 1960s through 1992. I love all of her poems, but if I had to pick a few of my favorites from this collection, I would choose “The Summer Day,” “Wild Geese,” “When Death Comes,” and “The Rabbit.”

15818555The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs – by: Nick Trout – NEW FICTION: Trout

The first fiction novel by veterinarian Nick Trout, who has written several nonfiction titles about his experiences as a vet. The novel tells the story of Cyrus, a veterinary pathologist who inherits his late father’s veterinary practice in rural Vermont. Long estranged from his father, Cyrus has not been home in many years. His plan is to sell the practice and get out of there as fast as he can. In the meantime, he is taking over the practice’s clientele, along with his late father’s partner. As a pathologist, Cyrus has not had to work with living animals and their human caregivers in a long time and his bedside manner leaves much to be desired. As Cyrus gets to know the quirky townspeople and their pets, he may just have a change of heart about selling up and leaving. A sweet and funny story about healing the past and starting fresh.

Mary – Youth Services

Angels_In_America,_2003_TV_mini_series,_DVD_coverAngels in America—Starring: Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Emma Thompson, Mary-Louise Parker – DVD: ANGELS IN AMERICA

There is little that can be said to truly evoke the experience of seeing Angels in America. Whether it is the play, or this truly outstanding HBO miniseries adaptation, this is one of those works that you wish was a necessary viewing material for humanity. At its narrative skeleton, it is the distressing story of social, political, and religious entanglements with spread of AIDS, at the dawn of our new millennium. Of course—since this was originally a stage play adaptation—that is far from the entire story. There are fantastical black-winged angels, hallucinations of tundra vacations, the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, and an ending, which I promise, will be the one of most indescribable you have seen. With most actors playing multiple roles—and being shockingly hidden beneath them—this is a humanist, complex masterpiece not to be missed.

7857195Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modern Bestiary—By: David Sedaris—Downloadable EAudiobook, found at eMediaLibrary

Easily one of the least well-received works of humorist, and essayist, David Sedaris, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modern Bestiary, is one of my favorite pieces of writing, period. Not his usual self-reporting on his life, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk is a book of some of the darkest fables one could hear. And, despite the whimsical illustrations, this collection is not for children. Anyway, I doubt they would need the words therein. These stories are written for adults, and meant for adults. Their experimental quality makes them strangely familiar, yet nightmarish. And, as always with Sedaris—do not read his works. Listen to him read them through audiobook. There is so much to be gained from his stories when read in his ever-so peculiar voice.

Michelle – Administration

Rush-international-poster-2Rush – Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Directed by: Ron Howard – DVD: RUSH

This movie is a thrilling look into the fierce, real-life rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, Formula One champions in the 1970’s. Knowledge of or interest in Formula One isn’t necessary to enjoy this story. Like all Ron Howard movies, it comes down to a story about human nature and the human experience. Chris Hemsworth stars as playboy racer Hunt and Daniel Bruhl shines as Lauda. I would definitely rate this as one of the best sports movies of all time!

Matt – Reference

lies-of-locke-lamoraThe Lies of Locke Lamora – By: Scott Lynch – FICTION: Lynch

Scott Lynch is one of the best Fantasy writers out there. His Gentlemen Bastards series begins with The Lies of Locke Lamora and it is a doozy. Locke: an orphaned child learns to be a pickpocket before finding himself in the care of a priest who isn’t quite a priest and teaches him the ways of the con man. As an adult, Locke leads a crew to try and get a big score out of a wealthy dupe only to find himself and his friends in a predicament that will make you turn that next page over and over again. Lynch’s writing is a superb mix of filthy intelligent dialogue and action that leads to well-fleshed characters and an interesting world. Rarely do other authors do what Lynch is doing this well.

 

61ZeLnV12UL._SL500_AA280_Who is WIlliam Onyeabor? – By: William Onyeabor – NEW AUDIO: CD 781.66 ONYEABOR

William Onyeabor is a groove genius. His songs have this great flow to them that have a natural funk to them. Onyeabor himself is a master keyboard player and arranger. His lyrics are deadly humorous: talking about things like nuclear annihilation or heartbreak with a smirk. He’s a master of what he does and this CD is a great gem of dance and world music.

 

VARESE61996For Sentimental Reasons – By: Django Reinhardt – NEW AUDIO: CD 781.65 REINHARDT

Django Renhardt is one of my favorite jazz musicians. He brings a chemistry of bravado, light sensitivity, and blinding speed that makes his guitar playing truly unique. This is a collection of 18 rare tracks, six of which haven’t been officially released in the United States. A must listen for the jazz enthusiast.

 

Check back next month!

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February

Hopefully the deep freeze of January will give to something resembling livable weather. Here’s some things to check out next time you’re here!

Kristin – Circulation

16287508Comet’s Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life – By: Steven Wolf – NON-FICTION: 636.70832 WOL

If you love the relationship between dog and man, this book is for you. The story of a man facing debilitating back issues and how he adopts and self-trains a former racing greyhound to be his service dog. A true story, the book cites the struggles of slowly losing independence due to illness and the joys of dog ownership and one dog’s devotion to his master. This is a heartwarming read and recommended for everyone, but especially dog lovers.

Margaux – Circulation

17383998Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives – By: Randi Zuckerberg – NEW NON-FICTION:  303.4833 ZUC

Everyone’s heard of Mark Zuckerberg, the man who started Facebook. Although Randi Zuckerberg no longer works for the multinational organization, she did learn a thing or two in her time there. Do not plan a presidential town-hall meeting in an empty warehouse in two weeks while you’re almost nine months pregnant, for example. The most important thing she took away from working at Facebook and working with other online organizations for years was that there is a balance that can be struck between being tech savvy and being, essentially, a robot.

With section titles like “DotSelf,” “DotFamily,” “DotCareer,” and “DotLove,” Zuckerberg breaks down the essential parts of a modern woman’s life and gives tips and cautionary tales about how technology can be fit into one’s life. Her book reads like a conversation with the book’s audience which makes it much more a fun read than a scholarly one. Because she’s writing from first-hand experiences, it might be difficult at times to relate to her (especially being a Chicago native who is just finishing graduate school) but she does bring up some excellent points about authenticity online and the evolution of the modern woman’s brand as it is represented across multiple social media platforms.

I’d recommend this book to any person who feels the need to be constantly plugged in to their iPhone, iPad or other technological device. Zuckerberg’s message is although it’s arguably the most difficult habit for a citizen of the 21st century to break: having time away from technology is a reward in and of itself.

Sue – Circulation

5775498The Sweet By and By – By: Todd Johnson – FICTION: Johnson

This is a touching story about friendship and growing old. It is set in North Carolina and centers around a nursing home. Over the course of many years, it tells the story of five women connected with the nursing home – two residents of the home, a nurse working there, her daughter, and a hairdresser working there. The story is narrated by each of the main characters in alternating chapters, which allows you to get to know and understand each character more deeply. A lovely story, filled with wisdom and celebrating friendship and following your own path in life.

432472The Distance from Normandy – By: Jonathan Hull – FICTION: Hull

A single mother can’t handle her 16-year-old son Andrew, depressed after the suicide of his best friend. After he gets expelled from his Chicago school for bringing a knife to class, his World War II veteran grandfather in California, Mead, takes him in for several weeks in order to try and reach the boy. Andrew and his grandpa don’t have much in common, though, and Andrew instead forms a bond with his grandpa’s neighbor, a widow with eyes for Mead. After Andrew makes a serious mistake, his grandfather, at his wit’s end, decides to take Andrew on a trip to Normandy where he was part of the D-Day Invasion, hoping the experience will help Andrew mature and realize his good fortune. Mead has demons of his own as a result of his war experiences and both grandfather and grandson learn some valuable lessons on their trip.

18929854All Creatures Great and Small – By: James Herriot – NON-FICTION: 636.089 Her

The first book in James Herriot’s beloved five-book collection: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All, and Every Living Thing, first published in the 1970s, with the last book being published in 1992. James Herriot was the pen name of the British veterinarian Alf Wight. These books are a fictionalized account of his life as a country vet in England. He began his career in the 1930s by joining the practice of a vet in rural Yorkshire. The books are funny and warm-hearted, but also touched with sadness as they detail both the triumphs and the tragedies of veterinary medicine in that time period. Herriot had a gift of bringing a scene to life and bringing out the humor in a situation. He also was very compassionate and you can see the love he felt for his animal patients and human family and friends shine through in his writing. If you are an animal lover and you haven’t read James Herriot, you are missing out on a special writer.

Mary – Youth Services

9755737The King’s Speech — Starring: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush – DVD: KINGS SPEECH
If you have not seen The King’s Speech, it deserves all the accolades it has received. The film focuses around the friendship of King George VI (Firth) and an unlikely ally: a speech therapist and failed theatre actor, named Lionel (Rush). Based off the true relationship between these two men, The King’s Speech delves into the lives of the monarchy, speech disabilities, and an unconventional friendship which affirms the power of each individual’s unique voice in society.

the-hobbit-tolkienThe Hobbit – By: J.R. Tolkien – YA: TOLKIEN
There is something quite depressing about being in my twenties, a book lover, a librarian, a youth service librarian, AND not having read The Lord of the Rings Series. (Believe me; I am more ashamed for myself than you possibly can be.) For those of you that haven’t read it, (and those of you who want to start the series) The Hobbit is the tale that comes before the Lord of the Rings adventures. Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, is swept into an adventure for the first time in his life, and as the reader, of course, brought into this richly layered fantasy world, as well. Also: look out for our stunning vintage copy of this tale at our library. But please don’t lose it. (I have access to records.)

Check back next month for more!

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