Tag Archives: History

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.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

March 2017

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

 

 

 

Pat – Circulation

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

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

 

Angie – Reference

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

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

Chris – Technical Services

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

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

Chris – Circulation

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

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under and Movie Reviews, Book, Music

November!

This is a very late edition of the blog. Apologies to our loyal readers.

November: leaves, football, Thanksgiving. Here are some things to do while you wait for turkey.

Sue – Circulation


sparrowsAn Episode of Sparrows
by: Rumer Godden, YA: Godden

Although classified as a young adult novel, this is really more of an adult novel with a child as the main character. It is a lovely story of redemption and transformation set during post-World War II London. A young girl named Lovejoy, abandoned by her mother and living with a poor restaurateur and his wife, plants a secret garden in her bombed-out neighborhood using stolen soil and seeds bought with money stolen from the local Catholic church offering box. A neighborhood boy, Tip, helps her with the garden after his group of friends destroyed her first attempt at a garden. Tip and Lovejoy develop a strong friendship while cultivating the garden. Complications ensue when adults in the neighborhood discover the children’s actions. In the end, Lovejoy’s garden affects the lives of a number of people in the neighborhood for the better.

841887018838_p0_v2_s260x420The Bletchley Circle, Starring: Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Julie Graham, NEW DVD: Bletchley

An intelligent series from PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery, this series tells the story of four women who worked together at Bletchley Park during World War II, breaking German codes. Now the war has ended and the ladies have returned to their normal lives, unable to share their war work with their loved ones because it is still classified. The main character, Susan, sees a pattern in murders that have been committed throughout the city and shares her ideas with her husband, a policeman. He is skeptical, unaware of her experiences during the war, but takes her to see his boss anyway. When that lead doesn’t pan out, he loses confidence in her. She then recruits her three friends from Bletchley Park and they investigate the murders on their own. This is an exciting thriller. A second season has been ordered by PBS and will air in the spring of 2014.


throughdogsearThrough a Dog’s Ear, Volume 1: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion
, CD 784 Through

This is an excellent music CD of soft piano music created especially for dogs to help calm them. It is great to play for a dog who is afraid of thunder or fireworks to help keep him calm during a storm or on the 4th of July. It it also soothing music for people to help them wind down and fall asleep. I have always needed total silence to fall asleep and now I turn this music on at night when I go to bed and it really does help me fall asleep. It’s also great for kids to get them to settle down and sleep – I play this for my niece and nephew at bedtime when they sleep over. I wouldn’t play it all day for your dog (there are other music CDs for dogs meant to be played throughout the day), but it works well for calming during stressful times and at bedtime.

Mary – Youth Services

51YfDmh7eULBlack Books Series 1-3 Starring: Dylan Moran- DVD BLACK

Bernard Black (comedian Dylan Moran) is the nihilistic, depressed owner of a bookshop called “Black Books.” The British sitcom begins with Bernard Black finding a strange foil and friend in an accountant, Manny, who he comes across in his shop. One drunken night later, Bernard Black mistakenly hires a very confused Manny to help him run Black Books. Once this irreversible transaction is made, Bernard Black is forced to live with the decision of having a person around who loves other people. And as for people, well; they are what Bernard Black hates the most. Black Books is a witty, dark, and very British gem.

CuckoosCallingCoverCuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – NEW FICTION : Galbraith

High up, overlooking a deserted London street, this crime novel begins with the death of a promising young model. Of course this situation has been played at before dozens of times within the genre (please, no more dead models), but J.K. Rowling, writing posthumously under the name Robert Galbraith, brings within these pages an illuminating new crime novel, which in its execution, avoids cliché. It follows wounded war-veteran Cormoran Strike as he delves into this bizarre death with his partner, Robin. Along the way, the two are thrown into an ugly world of wealth, were navigating it secretly is the only means of obtaining the truth.

tinker_tailor_soldier_spy_300Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy  Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch – DVD: TINKER…

This is the type of film you watch, re-watch, then proceed to question your life, and then you watch it again. With pristine, enviable writing, each character within this Cold War espionage film is both a public man, and a private human being. And for me, this is what makes the film set apart from others on the same topic. And of course, the fates of these masked individuals are all intertwined with the dullness, bitterness, and confusion of the Cold War. Told through flashbacks, and tense, yet cool characters, this is a film that will continue to baffle me. Recommended!

Chris – Technical Services

17182421The Returned by: Jason Mott – NEW FICTION: Mott

What if the dead suddenly appeared, alive and well as the day before they died? They can’t explain where they have been, they are just back.  Are they real, are they a threat?  This story explores this “what if scenario” and how individuals, towns, and governments react.  A new-age morality play by a brand new author Jason Mott.

 

17288635The Distancers: An American Memoir by: Lee Sandlin – NEW NONFICTION: 920 Sandlin

The lives of a German American immigrant family who settled near Edwardsville, Illinois in1850.  Boyhood remembrances of summers spent on a farm in the rural Midwest.  Learning life lessons from those who lived through wars and depressions and the significance of respecting your roots and the people that came before.

 

Check back next month for more!

Leave a comment

Filed under and Movie Reviews, Book, Music

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under and Movie Reviews, Book, Music

May 2013

Hello and welcome to Sprummer. That’s Spring and Summer in one season, which is how its been feeling. Here’s some suggestions:

Jacob – Circulation


clapton“Clapton: The Autobiography”
– by Eric Clapton – Non-Fiction: 781.66 CLA
Eric Clapton chronicles his life in this touching autobiography. Not only does he detail the famous albums and musicians he is associated with, but he also shares his personal struggles and triumphs. It is these personal touches that make the book memorable. You learn what makes this man tick and why he is so successful writing songs and playing guitar. This is a great read.


chicago“Chicago: Then and Now”
– by Kathleen Maguire – Non-Fiction: 977.311 MAG
If you like Chicago and historical photographs, then this book is for you. Kathleen Maguire does a great job compiling pictures of old and new Chicago and then giving you the details in print. My favorite pictures are of horse carriages going down Lake Shore Drive in 1905 juxtaposed with the traffic of today’s LSD. This is a must read for any Chicagoan.

Melissa – Reference


mortality“Mortality”
– by Christopher Hitchens – Non-Fiction: 921 HITCHENS
This is Hitchens’s final work before he died, and it is as intelligent and well-written as his fans have come to expect. Although it is a small book, it was full of information and though-provoking points. The title makes it clear what this book is about, and Hitchens uses his own state of dying to reflect on life. He points out what a struggle it is for most people to accept their own mortality which leads them to hope for something more after death. The most interesting aspect of this book is the way he uses his own illness to construct arguments for his case, and does not change ideologies as many thought he might. He distances himself from the situation and still composes compelling arguments.


feast“The Feast of Love: A Novel”
– by Charles Baxter – Fiction: BAXTER
The characters in this story are connected through happenstance and love. Each character relates his or her experiences to the reader, who plays the role of a writer recording the tales and forms of love. The characters were complex and well-developed, though at times too self-aware to be realistic.
The story is well-crafted, and the reality of the situations is a strong feature of the book.

Matt – Circulation

MOSQUITO“Mosquito” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Music: CD781.66 YEAH YEAH YEAHS

When this band broke their style of straight, dark minimalistic rock was a breath of fresh air. Then they went on hiatus. Now they’re back and this album delivers some great songs from a very talented trio. There’s even a guest spot by Kool Keith as Dr. Octagon! A solid album.


embroyonic“Embryonic”
– The Flaming Lips – Music: CD 781.66 THE FLAMING LIPS

While this record came out in 2009 it was the last full Flaming Lips album and since our library doesn’t have the new record (yet) I’ll talk about this one. In regards to their other albums its heavier: heavy sounding, full of distortion and sound effects. While this record was panned by many, its a solid album with only a few faltering tracks. It still has all the good things about the Lips: good lyrics, solid compositions and memorable songs.

Check back next week for more recommendations!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under and Movie Reviews, Book, Music

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under and Movie Reviews, Book, Music

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under and Movie Reviews, Book, Music