Tag Archives: physics

April

aprilshowers1April is National Poetry Month and April 12-18 is National Library Week. So celebrate your local library and its positive contribution to your community while enjoying these recommended titles, including poetry and prose, as well as movies.

 

Sue – Circulation

flyingatnightFlying at Night, Poems 1965-1985 by Ted Kooser, 811.54 Koo

Ted Kooser grew up in Iowa and now lives in Nebraska. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2004 to 2006. His poetry is firmly rooted in Midwestern values and way of life. He writes of the simple lives of Midwestern farmers, writing often of his grandparents or other ancestors and objects or heirlooms from the past. His poems brilliantly use metaphors and similes to make his words come to life and show the joy and wonder of ordinary life. I find his poetry soothing and beautiful. I am a country girl at heart and long for the kind of simple, rural life that his poems celebrate. In this volume of poetry, I feel you get the most out of the book by readings the poems as a whole, but if I had to pick one that I liked the most, I would pick “Flying at Night”, which compares the light of a galaxy with the light in a farmer’s yard, showing at the same time the enormity of the universe and the interconnectedness of all life, large or small. I also liked “A Quarter Moon Just Before Dawn” where Kooser uses the metaphor of the moon as an old woman, stooping to “pick up a star that she’s dropped in her garden.”

collectedpoemsCollected Poems, 1951-1971 by A.R. Ammons, 811.54 Ammons

A.R. Ammons was an award-winning American poet, including a two-time winner of the National Book Award for Poetry. He was born to a tobacco farmer in 1926 and grew up in rural North Carolina. He passed away in 2001. His poetry is a warm affirmation of the beauty and wonder of nature and man’s relationship to nature. My favorite poem in this collection is “Eyesight”, in which a man is so busy that he misses the coming of spring. He laments to the mountains and they tell him that he can still catch spring if he travels further north, but it’s not that way with all things, some things if you miss them, they are gone forever. I like this poem because it reminds us to slow down and appreciate what is before us right now, whether it be the beauty of nature, our family, our friends, or anything else that may be lost and then it is too late.

annesextonThe Complete Poems by Anne Sexton, 811.54 Sex

Anne Sexton had a very troubled life, which is reflected in her poetry. She suffered from mental illness, spent time in mental hospitals, and took her own life at age 45. Despite this, her work has won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her poems are powerful and raw and speak of her personal struggles, as well as issues all of us face in our lives. My favorite poem of Sexton’s is “Courage”, which speaks of courage not as running into a burning building to save lives or something equally dramatic, but in many small moments over the course of our lives, such as a child riding a bike for the first time, a teenager surviving taunts of peers, adults surviving the death of loved ones, and the strength to face old age and all its indignities. It is a beautiful poem, very moving and inspirational.

finesummersdayA Fine Summer’s Day by Charles Todd, New Fiction Todd

This is the 17th book in the Ian Rutledge series by the fine historical fiction author Charles Todd. The series begins in 1919 with Ian Rutledge, a Scotland Yard inspector, returning to work following his service as an officer in World War I. What Rutledge is keeping a secret is that he returned from the war suffering from shell shock – today called post-traumatic stress disorder. In that time, soldiers suffering from this disorder were considered weak and were treated with contempt. During the war, Rutledge had a traumatic experience involving a Scottish soldier named Hamish under his command that led to Hamish’s death. Now Rutledge is haunted by the voice of Hamish in his head. Added to this, Rutledge’s boss dislikes him and treats him unfairly, which is why he has not been promoted, though he is an excellent detective with a strong history of solving difficult cases. This book is especially interesting because it takes us back in time to 1914, before the war began, and shows us Rutledge’s life pre-war and the last case he solved before he went to France. We meet some familiar characters from the series, including his fiance, whom we know later betrays him. The book also explains how the war developed over the weeks and months following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the British people’s attitudes and fears about a possible war. For those who have read the whole series, this is a fascinating look at Rutledge before the war damaged him. If you are new to the series, you could read this one first, since it is chronologically first, or start with book one and work your way up to this one.

Mary – Youth Services

normalheartThe Normal Heart starring Mark Ruffalo and Jim Parsons, DVD Normal

The Normal Heart opens at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City in 1981. It follows writer and activist Ned Weeks as he struggles to understand and aggressively fight against the blind eye cast upon HIV/AIDS, and those who were dying from it. Little can precisely describe what the true events of the HIV/AIDS crisis were like, but this film gives more than a glimpse into the horror and rage of the times. With a brilliant cast of individuals like Jim Parsons to Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts, this film is unspeakably difficult to watch, but is one of the best I have seen. Although ultimately hopeful, The Normal Heart reflects the belief of its playwright and screenwriter, Larry Kramer, that in the arena of human rights, there is still so much more work that needs to be done.

theoryofeverythingThe Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, New DVD Theory

If there is anything quite sparkling and dazzling to the Hollywood eye at the moment, it is the subject of The Genius. If the individual was the “tortured” type, well, throw in a brownie point. Stephen Hawking definitely had his fair share of challenges, and is quite the colossal mind, but I think what The Theory of Everything uniquely captures – unlike other genius-trope films – is Stephen Hawking as a human being. This film is heralded by Hawking himself, and is based on his first wife’s memoir of their life together, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, and it covers his early academic years, family, and working with the progression of his motor-neuron disease. Most notably, Eddie Redmayne (playing Stephen Hawking) becomes indistinguishable, absolutely sinking into the skin of man he portrays with a brilliant performance.

intothewoodsInto the Woods starring Meryl Steep and Johnny Depp, New DVD Into

Witches, princesses, and princes are all coexisting on the edge of the dark, dark woods. But what lies within those woods? It may sound like the setup for types of fairy tales we hear over and over – and we may be tired of – but thankfully, Into the Woods has the twist that only Stephen Sondheim can provide. A renewal of classic fairy tales, Into the Woods is a film based off a musical bearing the same name. It follows the fairy tales we all know – Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella – past their happy-ever-afters to endings that, well, aren’t quite happy at all. It must have been a massive undertaking to adapt the Stephen Sondheim musical to screen, but it was expertly done. And Meryl Streep is in it. What more can I say? Well: It’s quite good!

Jacob – Circulation

yeschefYes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson, OB Internet Download (e-book)

Marcus Samuelsson is an award-winning chef and this book chronicles his journey. His unique upbringing, born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by adoptive parents, provides interesting insight as he climbs the chef and restaurant ranks. Marcus appears frequently on the Food Network and has cooked for the President of the United States. If you are a fan of memoirs or cooking, this book is for you!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

February

groundhogIt’s February. The end of winter is in sight (think positive!) Here are some suggested titles for reading on snowy winter nights.

 

 

Melissa – Reference

wewereliarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart, YA Lockhart

A wealthy family is forced to come to terms with its inner ugliness as four young cousins refuse to play the “money game”, pitting themselves against each other for inheritance money. Lockhart contrasts the innocent idealism of youth alongside grave naiveté.


wildtruthThe Wild Truth
by Carine McCandless, New 921 McCandless

For anyone who has read or seen Into the Wild, Carine is Chris’s sister and here she offers more insight into why a young man with a bright future ahead of him would suddenly abandon his family and all his worldly possessions. What Carine tells us is that the picture painted by Jon Krakauer (author of Into the Wild) did at all resemble the truth of Chris’s childhood. It’s an important reminder about knowing a person’s history before judging his/her character.

Sue – Circulation

whenworldyoungWhen the World Was Young by Elizabeth Gaffney, New Fiction Gaffney

This is a coming-of-age story set in post World War II Brooklyn. It tells the story of Wally, who is 9 years old when the book opens in 1945 on V-J Day. Wally’s father is serving in the Navy. Her little brother passed away tragically two years prior of illness. Her glamorous mother, Stella, has returned to doctoring and Wally misses spending time with her. She bonds with Mr. Niederman, a mathematician boarding with the family while he does war work for the government. Wally has mostly been raised by Loretta, her grandmother’s black maid who also helped to raise Stella. Wally is not a typical girl, but a tomboy who is fascinated by ants. Her best friend is Loretta’s son Ham, a few years Wally’s senior. The book follows Wally from 1945 through college-age. A personal tragedy befalls Wally on V-J Day and the book revolves around the lead-up to that event and the repercussions on Wally and other’s lives. We see Wally grow and mature as the novel moves forward in time and how political, racial, and world events of the time deeply impact her life and decisions, as well as other central characters in the book. A powerful and realistic family drama with strong characters set in a fascinating time in American history.

deliciousDelicious! by Ruth Reichl, New Fiction Reichl

Billie has just moved to New York City from California. She is an excellent chef, but for undisclosed reasons, she doesn’t want to cook. Instead, she gets a job at Delicious! magazine responding to customer questions and complaints. She enjoys the job and makes friends with her co-workers. But then the magazine ceases publication and everyone is let go except her. She is being kept on temporarily to continue to assist customers. The book really takes off and gets interesting when Billie, working alone in the building, comes upon a cache of old letters hidden in the library. She is particularly intrigued by a series of letters between a 12-year-old girl named Lulu and the famous chef James Beard written in the 1940s during World War II. After reading the final letter, Billie is compelled to try and find Lulu, and possibly write an article about the letters. Throughout her adventure, we learn more about Billie’s life in California and the personal tragedy that sent her to New York and turned her away from cooking. Billie’s life and Lulu’s life parallel each other in that both suffered major losses, Billie in her recent past and Lulu in her distant past. Billie, through reading about Lulu’s journey, finds the strength to come to terms with her past and make a new life for herself. A satisfying, warm-hearted story.

dustbowlThe Dust Bowl, a film by Ken Burns, narrated by Peter Coyote, DVD 973.91 Dust

The Dust Bowl is a Ken Burns documentary. Four hours in length, it chronicles the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history that lasted almost a decade. Using interviews with people who lived through it, photographs, and video footage, it does a fine job of explaining the causes of the Dust Bowl, including drought and improper farming methods that led to soil depletion and erosion, and the reasons for its end, including actions taken by the FDR Administration to improve farming methods and soil conservation techniques, in combination with improved weather conditions and more rain. The video footage of the dust storms is really frightening. The dust was so thick it would black out the sun. The film also shows how FDR took action to help the farmers after the failure of the Hoover Administration to do so. The personal stories are very moving and you realize the bravery of the people who faced such hardship and loss.

Corky – Circulation

castleCastle, starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, DVD Castle Seasons 1-6

I loved Castle from the first day that I saw it in 2008. (Has it been that long?) The TV series features Nathan Fillion as Rick Castle, a famous crime novelist, who is paired up with Detective Kate Becket, Stana Katic, to solve homicides for the NYPD. This reminds me of Moonlighting with its quick dialog, witty banter, and physical attraction between these two who do not necessarily want to work together.

While Rick Castle is assisting the NYPD investigate a copycat serial killer who is following the plot of Castle’s books, he decides to kill off his main character and create a new one named Nikki Heat, based on, who else, but Det. Kate Beckett. Castle plays poker with the mayor, and producer Stephen J. Cannell and author James Patterson (who play themselves in the series) and pulls strings to shadow Det. Kate Beckett for writing inspiration. Castle adds humor by his unique way of looking at crimes and facial expressions. I am recommending Season 1, but all of the six seasons are worth watching.

Mary – Youth Services

brieferhistoryA Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking with Leonard Mlodinow, Nonfiction 523.1 Haw

Recent films such as The Theory of Everything (based on the life of Stephen Hawking) and The Imitation Game (based on the life of mathematician Alan Turing) have both been successful in popularizing great minds in math and science. If you are more curious, however, about the true work of these individuals, I would highly recommend looking into both Hawking and Turing’s non-fiction works. In the case of Stephen Hawking, his most accessible work of popularized non-fiction science is arguably A Briefer History of Time. Based off an earlier work, A Brief History of Time, this “briefer” version (as the title would suggest) takes the original, ground-breaking physics book and helps make its material more approachable for the non-astrophysicist. By utilizing well-designed illustrations, A Briefer History of Time, in a digestible way, breaks down concepts of time, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, space-time, and what would happen to you if you were sucked into a black hole…among other mind-blowing facts about our universe that, if you know them, are sure to make you popular at parties. (Well, the ones worth going to, anyway.)

throughthewoodsThrough the Woods by Emily Carroll, New YA Graphic Carroll

Dark, unsettling, and with all the menacing charm of a Grimm fairy tale, Emily Carroll has created one of the most elegant graphic novels of 2014. In five short stories, Through the Woods contains fairy tale-like stories that even I thought were genuinely chilling. This book is indescribable, and fans of graphic novel will be sure to be awed by Through the Woods’ truly unique and eerie illustration style.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

December!

Here we are: back into winter, back to the holidays, and onto a new year full of exciting possibilities. We hope you enjoy your holidays and time with family and friends. Here is a few things our staff enjoyed and we will continue to share what we like from our collection in the new year. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Pat – Circulation


sycamoreSycamore Row
– By: John Grisham – FICTION: Grisham

If you like A Time to Kill, you will almost certainly enjoy this book. Grisham uses the same characters for this story.  It’s about a handwritten will by a man named Seth Hubbard done so the day before he hangs himself and whether or not the will is valid.  This is a very thoughtful and engaging drama with a good story line.

 

Sue – Circulation


redbirdA Redbird Christmas –
 By: Fannie Flagg – FICTION: Flagg

I love most of Fannie Flagg’s books. This is one of my favorites. A wonderful read for the holiday season, it tells the story of Oswald, a man who receives a terminal diagnosis from his doctor in Chicago and goes to spend what may be his final Christmas in a small, rural town in Alabama. There Oswald becomes friends with people in the tiny community, including his next door neighbor Frances and the local grocery store owner, Ray, as well as Ray’s bird Jack, a cardinal that Ray took in as an injured fledgling who now lives in the store. Then a little girl named Patsy, neglected and abandoned, appears in town. Shy and physically disabled, Patsy develops a deep bond with Jack. When something disastrous happens, things look bad until a Christmas miracle heals the town. A sweet and inspiring story that will leave you feeling uplifted.


grantThe Christmas Collection –
 By: Amy Grant, CD 781.72 Grant

A CD of holiday music sung by Christian artist Amy Grant. It includes holiday classics such as “Silent Night”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, as well as more contemporary songs, including “Grown Up Christmas List” and “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)”, which is a moving song that took my breath away with its beauty the first time I heard it. Grant has a lovely voice and I enjoy her renditions of the holiday classics and especially like “Breath of Heaven”.

51FB60zMNFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Wishin’ and Hopin’: A Christmas Story – By: Wally Lamb – FICTION: Lamb

A nostalgic look at growing up in a Catholic family in the mid-1960s, reading this book reminded me of the movie “A Christmas Story”, based on Jean Shepherd’s book of the same name. The book describes the months leading up to Christmas in the Funicello family, as told by fifth-grader Felix, a distant cousin of Annette, who was at the height of her fame back then. Humorous and light-hearted, the book is fun and a tribute to a more innocent time in American history.

 

Melissa – Reference

3447In the Lake of the Woods – By: Tim O’Brien – FICTION: O’Brien

Tim O’Brien has created a mystery unlike any other I’ve read.  He has crafted two of the most complex characters I have ever had the pleasure of examining.  A married couple retreats to a cabin in the Northern United States to reevaluate their lives and love.  Naturally, not all goes as planned and readers are left to examine the evidence, the perceived evidence, and decide for themselves just what really happened in the lake of the woods.

 

1848666The Opposite of Love – By: Julie Buxbaum – FICTION: Buxbaum

I picked this up after finding myself wanting a light, easy romance (isn’t that what we all want?).  Despite fulfilling that need, this book also has a very real focus on the complexities of love and all its forms.  Emily, the main character, has worked herself to the bones at a NYC law firm to make a strong career while having a fun relationship with a doctor.  Her life appears to be idyllic to many, though she discovers suddenly that it is anything but.  For those looking for a fun read, this is a real treat because it is at times jaw-droppingly unpredictable, relatable, and even heart-wrenching.

Mary – Youth Services

MV5BMTk3NDI1MDM5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjkyODIxOQ@@._V1_SY688_SX550_AL_Hannibal—Starring: Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and Gillian Anderson –NEW DVD: Hannibal

Hannibal is not your typical, late-night American crime procedural. Based off the iconic Hannibal Lector Series of books, this psychological crime drama follows Dr. Hannibal, a criminal psychiatrist, culinary artist, and part-time cannibal. Unknown by the police as a direct cause of most of the area’s crime, Dr. Hannibal sets out in a small Minnesota town, along with a talented, yet disturbed criminal profiler, to uncover a series of bizarre crimes. Hannibal is unexpectedly humorous; it is disturbing as well as insightful into the ways it examines our fallible, yet complex human minds.

bell-jarThe Bell Jar- By: Sylvia Plath —FICTION: Plath

Some narratives cover difficult topics, while guiding the reader in the process of storytelling. The Bell Jar does not adhere to this convention. This semi-autobiographical and only novel written by Plath is unparalleled in its ability to make the reader feel what it is like to suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, or Depression. Told through the eyes of a fictional narrator, Esther Greenwood, the novel covers her descent into mental illness, while getting a taste of her illustrious new life in New York City. There are staccato bursts of honesty, desolation, and humor which make this novel unforgettably true to the topic it covers.

18209305My Brief History – By: Stephen Hawking —NEW NON-FICTION: 921 Hawking

Having tea with Stephen Hawking is on the top of my bucket list. This is not a joke. Sadly this autobiography of Stephen Hawking is probably as close as I, or any of us will get to understand the personal life behind the brilliant physicist who changed the way we perceive the universe. Although this personal narrative is not quite “personal,” it is filled with humorous and compelling biographical details.  Also, for us physics geeks, there are sprinkets of black hole talk, cosmology, and dashes of theory to keep us satisfied. The book, when reading it, feels as if you sat down at Mr. Hawking’s house, and he began to talk about his life, but went on a physics tangent. I found it charming.

Chris – Technical Services

The-Conjuring-2013The Conjuring – Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston – NEW DVD: CONJURING

If you are a fan of the Exorcist or Amityville Horror the new movie the Conjuring is for you.  Be prepared for a good storyline and some very scary scenes.  It will keep you on the edge until the end.

 

 

That’s it for 2013! Check back in January for another list of things to check out!

1 Comment

Filed under and Movie Reviews, Book, Music