Tag Archives: poetry

March 2017

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

 

 

 

Pat – Circulation

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

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

 

Angie – Reference

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

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

Chris – Technical Services

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

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

Chris – Circulation

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

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

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April

April2016

It’s April! April is National Poetry Month and April 10 through April 16 is National Library Week. So celebrate your local library and its contributions to your community and read a poem this month (or even write one)!

 

Melissa – Technical Services

littlelifeA Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, New Fiction Yanagihara

Yanagihara has created something that is simultaneously beautiful and gut-wrenching. She depicts the lives of four men over their decades-long friendship. There’s not much new I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said by better literary critics. “How often is a novel so deeply disturbing that you find yourself weeping, and yet so revelatory about human kindness that you might also feel touched by grace?” (San Francisco Chronicle). “There are truths here that are almost too much to bear.” (LA Times). Truly, this is a book that will stay with me for years.

Sue – Circulation

deniselevertovThe Collected Poems of Denise Levertov by Denise Levertov, Nonfiction 811.54 Lev

Denise Levertov was an English-born award-winning poet. She was born in Essex in 1923 and passed away in 1997. She began writing at a young age, even getting a positive response from T.S. Eliot when she sent some of her poetry to him at age 12. She was first published at age 17. She worked as a nurse in London during WWII and moved to the U.S. in 1948 after marrying an American writer. Her poetry included a wide range of themes over her six-decade career. Early on, her themes included feminism and political and social activism, particularly in the 1960’s and 1970’s, when she spoke out against the Vietnam War and supported civil rights. In her later years, she became a Christian and she wrote spiritual and nature poems. I find her poetry to be an affirmation and celebration of life, even with all of its sorrows. Her writing is very lyrical and reads beautifully. Her poems, especially her later poems that focus on spirituality and the natural world, express deep emotions and reflect upon the meaning of our lives. These later poems are my personal favorites and include “Sojourns in the Parallel World,” “Beginners,” “Of Being,” and “A Gift.” “Sojourns in the Parallel World” speaks about how man has moved away from the natural world, but can find peace and wisdom in nature away from man-made anxieties. “Beginners” speaks of how far man has yet to go in order to find justice, mercy, harmony with nature, etc. “Of Being” and “A Gift” suggest that though life includes sadness and suffering, the joy of life makes up for the sadness and helping others is a way to increase our joy and make our lives more meaningful.

waitingformylifeWaiting for My Life: Poems by Linda Pastan, Nonfiction 811.54 Pas

Linda Pastan is an award-winning American poet who resides in Maryland. Her poems deal with our everyday lives and feature themes of domesticity, like parents, children, home, loss, grief, aging, and the unexpected joys and tragedies of life. She writes about ordinary moments of life and celebrates them for their deeper meaning. Her poetry tends to be concise, filled with vivid imagery and simple beauty.

I find her poems to be rich, getting beneath the surface of our ordinary lives to touch on deeper meanings, like love, death, and what defines us as people. A few of my favorite poems from this collection are “Dreams,” “What We Want,” and “The One-Way Mirror Back.” “Dreams” speaks of the meaning of our dreams, how what is most meaningful to us is what our subconscious mind turns to during sleep – how a lost loved one can return to us in our dreams, or a perfect day can be re-lived, or a bad day can have a different ending. Figurative language creates memorable images that add to the poignancy and strength of the poem. “What We Want” is a lyrical poem that explores our longing for something different – how we want things we don’t have or get things we thought we wanted to find that we don’t want them after all. The poem ends, though, with a celebration of the familiar and comfortable, reassuring us that what we do have is pretty good, even if we still feel that longing. “The One-Way Mirror Back” is a longer, reflective poem about the author’s childhood and the love of her parents, shown in so many ways over the years, and her appreciation now that she is older and can understand how blessed she was to have a happy and loving childhood.

alwaysareckoningAlways a Reckoning and Other Poems by Jimmy Carter, Nonfiction 811.54 Car

This is a book of poems written by former president Jimmy Carter. Many of the poems in the book are reminisces of his childhood growing up on a farm in rural Georgia. They speak of important people in the early years of his life and places that affected him. The poems also reflect on his adult life, including thoughts about his family, and his political life.

The poems about his childhood speak of the local farmers and townspeople, his work in the fields planting and tending the peanut crop, and show the divide in the South between black and white at the time.

Some of the poems are quite personal. He includes a poem about his difficult relationship with his father and their healing at his father’s death. He also writes of his mother, a nurse whose strength he greatly admired. Another poem is a tribute to the beloved dog of his childhood. The collection also includes a lovely poem to his wife of over 65 years, Rosalynn, speaking of his love for her when they first met to today when “her smile still makes the birds forget to sing.”

The political poems show us Carter’s deep compassion for people and his strong sense of righteousness and justice, which he never stopped working for, even after his presidency.

Mary – Youth Services

thedoorThe Door by Margaret Atwood, Nonfiction 811.54 Atw

Margaret Atwood’s poems are small, lyrical masterpieces. With minimalistic words and cadence, she can make epics from everyday experiences, such as gardening to watching a young girl sprint down a wooded path. This specific poetry collection includes a CD-Rom, where you can hear Atwood read the highlighted poems of this collection.

carol

Carol starring Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and Sarah Paulson, New DVD Carol

Patricia Highsmith is usually heralded for her mystery novels, such as Strangers on a Train. But also within her writing canon is a tender, yet explosive story of two women falling in love in the 1950’s. Like the original book, Carol as a film adaptation is set in a pre-Stonewall era America, where being gay is not openly discussed within society, and it is also a prosecutable crime. This backdrop of social restraint, combined with contrasting 50’s glamour aesthetic, is the world director Todd Haynes carefully creates in this cinematographically elegant film. The story itself begins with the meeting of two women. Therese Belivet wants to be a photographer, but has taken up a job at a department store, in a toy section. Carol Aird, a recent divorcee, meets Therese at this department store when she is looking for a toy for her daughter. Their connection and attraction is immediate. With a highly nuanced, no-nonsense script by playwright and screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, this film shines as it delves into the harsher realities of the human psyche and obsession. With unforgettable performances by Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, and Sarah Paulson, this film brings light to a world of women who lived in the 1950’s and were forced by an unforgiving society to make their own way, and search for joy, rooted at the centers of themselves.

Brigitte – Circulation

brooklyn99Brooklyn Nine-Nine starring Andy Samberg, New DVD Brooklyn, Seasons One and Two

If you feel like staying in on a rainy weekend this April, consider renting Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is not your typical sitcom; it’s also not your typical cop show that relies on the gore of a more mainstream police show like Law and Order or Dexter. Watch as Detective Jake Peralta, played by Andy Samberg, tracks down bad guys with his coworkers Terry and Boyle while still being an unrepentant goofball. His best friend Gina, the office administrator, marches to the beat of her own drum while the stoic Captain Holt fires off one-liners faster than he can draw his gun. This show is a light-hearted look at a police precinct that will be sure to keep you laughing!

janethevirginJane the Virgin starring Gina Rodriguez, New DVD Jane, Season 1

Jane the Virgin is an adaptation of a Venezuelan telenovela about a pregnant virgin and the antics that surround her pregnancy and family life. Jane is a smart and driven college student who is accidentally impregnated when she goes for a routine check-up. It sounds crazy – because it is, but what is crazier is how Jane reacts to this impossible situation – she decides to keep the baby. This comedy is sure to keep you on your toes and laughing the entire time. If you’ve never seen a telenovela before, this is a great introduction to a new genre for you!

Hubbell – Circulation

pathbetweenseasThe Path Between the Seas by David McCullough, Nonfiction 972.87 McC

One of McCullough’s first books, The Path Between the Seas tells the complete story of the greatest engineering feat of the 20th century, the construction of the Panama Canal. The canal took more than 40 years to complete from the first breaking of ground to the first ship to pass through it. This account explains the first attempt made by the French entrepreneur Ferdinand de Lesseps, which ultimately failed and exposed deep corruption in the canal company and the French government. Then, the book takes us through the American takeover of the failed project, which ultimately changed the world forever.

underaloneUnder and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America’s Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang by William Queen, Nonfiction 921 Queen

William Queen is a retired ATF agent and Vietnam veteran who managed to infiltrate one of the most prominent outlaw motorcycle gangs in the country, California’s Mongols. Queen’s first person account of his time as a undercover ATF operative is gripping and real. Not only did he manage to gain full “patch” status within the club, he even rose to the ranks of treasurer and vice president of his major local chapter in California. If you liked Sons of Anarchy, you will like this first-hand account of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

fargoseason1Fargo, Season One starring Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, DVD Fargo, Season One

Fargo, the TV series, is a re-imagination of the classic 1995 film of the same name and has the same dark themes set against the peaceful background of the upper Midwest. Following a chance encounter and an awkward murder for hire, the story devolves into a dark humor tale of revenge and fatal misdirection. The series was critically acclaimed widely and stars Martin Freeman (of Sherlock) and Billy Bob Thornton.

Dagmar – Circulation

grownupThe Grownup by Gillian Flynn, New Fiction Flynn

The Grownup is a very witty new book by Gillian Flynn, the author of other popular books, such as Gone Girl, Dark Places, and Sharp Objects. If you like her clever fiction, thrillers, suspense, and ghost stories, this is your book to read. The book is so engaging that you may not be able to put it down (I was not able to), but the good news is that the book consists of only 62 pages, so you may be able to get through it quickly in one reading (I did). It is a story of an unnamed young woman, who is trying to survive by “various levels of mostly harmless fraud.” She works, among other things, as an intuitive psychic at Spiritual Palms. They call her Nerdy because she wears glasses, reads books, and eats yogurt for lunch. She is not really a nerd; she only aspires to be one. She is a high school dropout who reads constantly, but lacks formal education, so she is left with the feeling that she is smarter than people around her, but not as smart as “really smart people who went to universities, drank wine, and spoke Latin.” Her life is about to change one rainy April morning when Susan Burke walks in for an aura reading. The “psychic” makes her predictions based mostly by being a keen and shrewd observer of human behavior. Therefore, when she sees the beautiful Susan Burke, she diagnosis her as an unhappy woman eager for a change in her life. However, when the “psychic” visits the Victorian house that is the source of Susan’s unhappiness and grief, she realizes that she may start believing in the ghosts herself. Miles, Susan’s stepson, does all he can do to help to fuel this imagination. The story takes many unexpected twists and turns and the result is wickedly funny, clever, and humorous book to read.

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July

JulypicnicIt’s July! Celebrate summer, family, and freedom and enjoy the titles listed below.

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

grantchester

Grantchester starring James Norton and Robson Green, New DVD Grantchester, Series 1

This series is set in 1953 in Grantchester, a rural village outside of Cambridge, England. It focuses on Sidney, the young, handsome, and vibrant local vicar, and Geordie, the local police detective. Sidney is good at his job – his parishioners trust him and go to him with their problems, but he is a flawed hero. He drinks too much, his love life is complicated, and he is haunted by his service in World War II. Plus he is not above breaking one of the commandments or the law for the greater good. Geordie is a no-nonsense kind of man, married with a large family. Sidney and Geordie meet in the first episode of the series when a woman suspects a local death was not suicide, but murder. The two become best of friends and Sidney thereafter helps Geordie solve cases. As a trained detective, Geordie focuses on facts and procedure while Sidney is intuitive and quick-witted; together they make a good team. The show is highly entertaining, with a good balance of fun and seriousness. It has been renewed for a second season.

palisadesPalisades Park by Alan Brennert, Fiction Brennert

I enjoyed this book that mixes historical information about the now-closed Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey with the fictional lives of the character Eddie Stopka and his family. The book opens in 1922 when a 10-year old Eddie visits Palisades Park for the first time. From there on out, the park will have a profound impact on his life and the lives of his family, particularly his daughter Toni. We follow Eddie as he leaves home as a teenager, works in the South for a few years, and then returns to New Jersey to work at Palisades, eventually owning his own concession stand, marrying, and having two children who practically grow up at the park. As a very young child, Toni saw a high diver perform at the park and was inspired to become a high diver herself, against the wishes of her mother. The novel explores a number of important events in American history through the prism of the park and its employees, including World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Korean War. We watch Toni and her brother grow up and see the direction their lives take, influenced by their upbringing as concessionaires of the park and choices made by each of their parents. This book is entertaining with well-drawn fictional characters that we care about, as well as real-life characters that were involved in the actual operation of the park over the years, which closed its doors in 1971. A great blend of fiction and fact in a moving family story.

roseRose by Li-Young Lee, New Nonfiction 811.54 Lee

Li-Young Lee is an award-winning poet, born in Indonesia in 1957 to parents who were political exiles from China. In the late 1950s, his family fled Indonesia, eventually emigrating to the United States and settling in Pennsylvania. He currently resides here in Illinois. His poetry is lush and sensuous, evoking feeling through descriptions of taste, smell, hearing, and touch, and celebrating small moments in time while focusing on meaningful issues like family, love, and memories. This collection is very reflective, being greatly influenced by the death of Lee’s father, whom Lee views as an almost mythical figure, having been the personal physician to Mao Tse-tsung, and later a political prisoner and then a minister in his new country. My favorite poem in this collection is “From Blossoms.” Its figurative language is tantalizing – you can almost taste the sweetness of the fruit. I like the way the poem goes from describing the lushness of the peaches to a broader meaning of the lushness and beauty of life. I love the last stanza of the poem, with its repetition, giving strong emphasis to those joyful moments of our lives, that we should hold on to and savor.

Mary – Youth Services

carnivorousplantsCarnivorous Plants by Tony Camilleri, Nonfiction 583.75 Cam

Some of us may have vague, nostalgic memories of being given a venus fly trap as a kid. But for some of us, the cultivation of carnivorous plants did not stop there…and instead, it turned into an obsession. I am a proud sufferer of carnivorous plant addiction, and Carnivorous Plants by Tony Camilleri hits the spot, it really does. Although this guide on carnivorous plants and their cultivation is a bit dated in terms of the latest growing tips, I do think it still stands as an important work on the topic. Also relevant are the stunning photographs taken of a variety of carnivorous plants. You will not believe your eyes. (Or that these plants are real!) After all, did you know that the seeds of the Byblis gigantea will only germinate after a fire? And if you want to grow these small plants, you must actually create a small fire? Or that the carnivorous plant called The Rainbow Plant (Byblis) is named after a woman in a Greek mythology, named Byblis, who cries so much that she turns herself into a fountain? Or did you know that some pitcher plants can digest small mammals? If these facts tickle your curiosity, then welcome to the family. Carnivorous plant cultivation and education ensures these endangered and mystifying plants survive for the future years to come.

tempestThe Tempest starring Helen Mirren and Felicity Jones, DVD Tempest

This modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s last work is an astonishing accomplishment by director Julia Taymor and Helen Mirren, who plays the leading role of sorcerer Prospera. This modern re-telling places a woman in one of the leading roles of Shakespeare, which works marvelously. The Tempest is a story of family, aging, the relationship between a person and their passion in life, and also, when it is time to let go of one’s power and place. It is the story of the transformation of a sorcerer into something much more tricky to be: a human being. With great performances from Felicity Jones, Ben Wishaw, Djimon Hounsou, and of course, Helen Mirren, this Shakespeare adaptation is incredibly memorable, and I will confess, when I saw it years ago, it was the first time I “got” Shakespeare.

Hubbell – Circulation

tyrantTyrant starring Adam Rayner and Ashraf Barhom, New DVD Tyrant, Season 1

Tyrant is a modern drama whose plot is loosely drawn from the recent political revolutions in the Middle East. Bassam “Barry” Al-Fayeed reluctantly returns to his father’s kingdom, the fictional and politically fractured Middle Eastern country of Abuddin, for the wedding of his nephew. Barry has wiped away the memories of growing up as Abuddin’s prince, but returns with his American wife, Molly (Jennifer Finnigan), and their two children. During their stay, however, Barry’s violent and sociopathic brother Jamal (Ashraf Barhom) looks to gain control of the country following their father’s death and Barry chooses to stay to guide his homeland on a rough path to democracy. Tyrant was created by the acclaimed Homeland producer Gideon Raff and its second season just began in June of 2015.

Jacob – Circulation

runningthebooksRunning the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg, Nonfiction 027.665 Ste

This memoir is about a young man who takes a job on a whim as a prison librarian. He thinks the job is going to be pretty straightforward and not too tricky. He learns rather quickly, though, that this is not your typical job. He must navigate the murky waters of helping inmates who want nothing more than to be out of prison and appeasing a prison system that want to keep them locked up and orderly. Steinberg details this dichotomy wonderfully, while also describing the numerous characters he encounters while at work. This is an insightful read with a touch of humor.

Brigitte – Circulation

burningloveBurning Love starring Michael Ian Black and Ken Marino, New DVD Burning Love, Season 1 and Season 2 & 3

Do you love The Bachelor? Do you hate reality television? Do you like comedy? Then this is the show for you. Burning Love is a satirical “reality show” based on modern dating shows. Produced by Ben Stiller and starring Michael Ian Black, Ken Marino, and June Diane Raphael, these DVDs will keep you laughing.

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June

junecoverpossibleIt’s June. What could be better than sitting by the pool or at the beach with a good book?

 

 

Sue – Circulation

whistlingpastgraveyardWhistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall, New Fiction Crandall

I really enjoyed this coming-of-age story set in the early 1960s of the South and narrated by 9-year-old Starla. Starla’s mother left her and her father to be a star in Nashville when she was a toddler, so she has been raised mostly by her grandmother while her father is away working on an oil rig. Starla and her grandmother do not get along; Starla feels that the grandmother doesn’t love her as she is always punishing her. So Starla decides to run away to Nashville and find her mother. Along the road, Starla is picked up by a black woman named Eula traveling in a truck with a white baby. This is 1963 Mississippi, so that is not a usual site. However, Starla is an innocent child and so doesn’t fully understand the racial hatred of that time and place. Eula takes Starla to her home, where a confrontation with her violent husband sends her out on the road with Starla and the baby on the way to Tennessee. During the journey, Starla and Eula bond as they face experiences that test their courage and make them grow stronger. Starla learns some hard lessons about life both on the journey and when they reach Nashville. The relationship between Starla and Eula is portrayed beautifully and we really feel the love and devotion between the two.

firstimpressionsFirst Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett, New Fiction Lovett

Part historical fiction, part mystery, and part romance, this book alternates between the present day and the 1790s, telling the modern-day story of Sophie, a young woman just graduated from Oxford with a passion for English literature, especially the works of Jane Austen, and a 20-year-old Jane Austen herself in 1796 England. The part of the story involving Jane Austen revolves around her friendship with an elderly clergyman, Richard Mansfield, and the beginnings of her greatest novel, Pride and Prejudice. In the modern day story, Sophie gets a job in an antiquarian bookstore and receives two requests for an obscure book published in the late 1700s by an unknown clergyman. As Sophie investigates the requested book, she finds a link between it and Jane Austen that could rock the literary world, as well as endanger her own life. Being a book lover and book collector myself, I connected with the characters, especially Sophie’s Uncle Bertram, and I enjoyed the gentle relationship between Jane and Mr. Mansfield.

farmhandspiesFarmhand’s Favorite Pies: Recipes, Hints, and How-To’s from the Heartland by Amy and David Butler, 641.86 But

This book is invaluable for those who enjoy baking. I had never made my own pie crust before, but wanted to learn. I’d heard that using lard makes the best and flakiest crust, so I bought some organic lard and followed the recipe in this book for a super flaky crust. The book includes three recipes for crusts – two with butter, one with lard – as well as a crust for tarts and graham cracker and nut crusts. The book also includes tips and tricks for making the best crust and pies. In addition to the crust, I’ve also made the apple pie and it was a hit with my family. Recipes in the book include fruit pies, cream pies, tarts, and cobblers. The recipes come from blue ribbon-winning pies at county fairs throughout the U.S. Give the recipes a try – I’m sure you and your family will be pleased with the tasty results.

Jacob – Circulation

thunderboltkidThe Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, 921 Bryson

Bill Bryson is an author typically known for his travel and science writing. This book, though, details his childhood in Des Moines, Iowa, in the 1950s. Nothing about his upbringing is particularly noteworthy, but what makes the book so entertaining is Bryson’s humorous storytelling ability. He takes mundane events and adds his own personal twist. Bryson also weaves into his lighthearted memoir the latest gadgets and gizmos available to the American family in the atomic age. Overall, the book is an easy read and a glimpse into what it was like growing up middle class in mid-America after WWII.

Mary – Youth Services

annieonmindAnnie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, YA Garden

Originally written in the early 1980’s, and often on the list of banned classics, Annie on My Mind tells the coming of age story of two girls, Eliza Winthrop and Annie Kenyon. They meet in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and since that meeting, they form a friendship, which transforms to a deep love for one another. At times, Annie on My Mind is a portrait of the times it was written in, but by extension, it is also an unfortunate portrait of intolerance still alive in modern society. You can heal or hurt because of your differences, and I think that Annie on My Mind provides a colorful cast of characters that will truly live beyond the time it was written for, as it already has. It is a book well worth checking out, and because of its frequently banned status, it is surely a story worth fighting to keep on library shelves.

1000formsfear1000 Forms of Fear by Sia, CD 781.63 Sia

There are very few songwriters as unique and explosive as Sia in modern music. Because of her distinct singing voice and iconic style of songwriting, the experience of listening to her sing is quite visceral. This album fully reflects the great emotional depth of her writing, and also her steely strength to battle pervasive anxieties, both personal and societal. 1000 Forms of Fear is a monumental achievement for Sia, and it leaves one imagining what she will do to top her latest work, as she always seems to do.

Hubbell – Circulation

poemsfromguanPoems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak, edited by Marc Falkoff, 892.7 Poems

Compiled by NIU College of Law professor Marc Falkoff, Poems from Guantánamo is eye-opening, inspiring, and heartbreaking. The collection features poems written by detainees themselves while incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay. The English translations are expertly done, annotated with linguistic details so that the native tone is not lost on the reader. Each poem is also prefaced with a brief summary of the inmate’s background and journey to the prison. One prisoner, detained at age 14, gives a harrowing account of his capture and transport to Cuba. Another, of British and Zambian heritage, wrote rap poetry to communicate with his family and friends back home. The stories portray a bleak existence of incarceration, but one that needs to be heard.

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May

MaycoverSpring is here! Take a book outside to read and enjoy the beauty of the season.

 

 

Linda – Technical Services

stilllifeStill Life: A Three Pines Mystery starring Nathaniel Parker and Anthony Lemke, New DVD Still Life

First watch the videorecording, Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery, an excellent adaptation of the first in Louise Penny’s mystery series. Then indulge yourself by reading the books, all available in our adult fiction section under the call number F Penny. In order they are: Still Life, A Fatal Grace, The Cruelest Month, A Rule Against Murder, The Brutal Telling, Bury Your Dead, A Trick of the Light, The Beautiful Mystery, How the Light Gets In, and The Long Way Home. Enjoy!

Sue – Circulation

mancalledoveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Fiction Backman

I loved this book. It is a beautiful story and so, so funny. Ove is a grumpy, anti-social man who has just been forced into retirement. All he wants is to be left alone, but his neighbors won’t have it. First, there is the pregnant woman who has just moved in, her mechanically-challenged husband, and their two young daughters who keep showing up at his door, then Jimmy, the young man next door, plus Ove’s long-term neighbors Anita and her husband Rune, whose health is in decline. Ove’s best-laid plans keep getting disrupted by these people. Though Ove is a grouch, we discover that he is an inherently decent man, but he possesses unwavering principles and so is very inflexible in his attitudes and actions. As Ove’s past is revealed through flashbacks, we see the heart-wrenching losses he’s suffered throughout his life and begin to sympathize with him and admire him. This book was truly a pleasure to read – it will make you both laugh out loud and cry.

MurdochMurdoch Mysteries starring Yannick Bisson, New DVD Murdoch, Seasons 1-7

This is one of my favorite television series. It is a Canadian show set in the Victorian era when Canada was part of the British Empire. The show stars Yannick Bisson as Inspector William Murdoch of the Toronto Constabulary. Murdoch is an intelligent, taciturn detective very keen on using new technologies such as fingerprints to help him solve crimes. One fun part of the show is bringing in real-life characters and inventions of the time. Such historical figures as Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle, Buffalo Bill Cody, and numerous others make appearances on the show. The show is also humorous in its suggestions that Murdoch himself created early prototypes of many later-to-come inventions, such as scotch tape. The show also has fun with the characters suggesting inventions that are yet to come, like the World Wide Web, paint-by-number kits, and many others. I find the mysteries to be intelligent and entertaining and I really like the characters and their interactions with one another. Besides Murdoch, there is his boss, Inspector Brackenreid, a gruff Yorkshireman transplanted to Canada, Murdoch’s earnest but inexperienced sergeant, George, who abounds with wild theories about crimes being committed by aliens or werewolves or other such supernatural creatures, and the lovely and strong-willed Dr. Julia Ogden, the pathologist who has had to work hard to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor in that time period. As the series goes on, we learn more about each character and the characters grow and change and their relationships with one another deepen. The seventh season concluded in 2014 and the show returned for an eighth season this year.

abovetheriverAbove the River: The Complete Poems by James Wright, New Nonfiction 811.54 Wri

James Wright was an American poet from Ohio. He was born in 1927 and passed away in 1980 from cancer. His poetry was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, as well as other honors. In addition to his home state of Ohio, he spent time teaching in Minnesota and New York. He suffered from mental illness throughout his life and had several nervous breakdowns, yet his poetry celebrates the human spirit, as well as speaking out against social injustice. My favorite poem of Wright’s is “A Blessing.” The first time I read this poem, many years ago, it touched me emotionally. The gentleness of the horses, their quiet companionship, and the affection shown by them towards the speaker is moving. The mood of the poem is soft and tender, using lovely figurative language to express the speaker’s feeling of awe at the wonder and beauty of the natural world.

Mary – Youth Services

frannyandzooeyFranny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger, Fiction Salinger

Sometimes you read a book and immediately wonder how the author created – and there are no other words for it – a small piece of magic. Franny and Zooey is one of those impressionable books. The work itself is a collection of two novellas, Franny and Zooey, respectively. The first novella tells the story of a disillusioned college student, a young woman whose scathing wit begins to be worn down as she opens her eyes to the world of indifferent adults around her. The second novella, Zooey, opens with a grown man sitting in a small bathtub within his childhood home, nursing a nervous breakdown as he awaits his sister Franny’s arrival from college. When this brother and sister – Franny and Zooey – talk to one another, the dialogue that ensues is rich, humorous, and expertly crafted by Salinger. Franny and Zooey is an unforgettable story, and I highly recommended it to anyone facing the blues of indifference. It’s a definite yearly re-read of mine.

artofaskingThe Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, New 921 Palmer

Two years ago, Amanda Palmer gave a TED talk that has a YouTube viewcount steadily climbing towards the 4 million mark. This talk shares the same title of her memoir, The Art of Asking, and it examines why we don’t ask for help, and how we can connect with each other through the act of asking for help. If someone does not know Amanda Palmer from this TED talk, or as a musician, she is especially known for her close connection with fans online, and most notably, her Kickstarter campaign that raised $1.2 million dollars to independently release an album. The book covers these aspects of her life, and also, it is a highly personal look at the figures and events that have shaped who she is. If debating between the book form of The Art of Asking or the audiobook, I would listen to the audiobook. Palmer reads it herself, and it includes her own music, and the music and voices of those you encounter in her stories. It makes for a highly effective, shining collaborative effort of artists and their ideas of what it means to make good art, and most importantly, how to be kind to yourself and live a quality life.

Brigitte – Circulation

runthejewelsRun the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels, CD 781.649 Run the Jewels

Released in late 2014, Run the Jewels 2 is arguably the best album of the year. It is certainly the best rap album of the year. Musical duo Killer Mike and El-P reflect on racism, poverty, and the economy in their sophomore album with emotion-driven lyrics and harsh beats. It’s truly a must-listen for any hip hop fan. (Note: the album contains explicit lyrics.)

Hubbell – Circulation

MissingBBCThe Missing, starring James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor, New DVD Missing, Season 1

The Missing is a 2014 BBC original production rebroadcast by Starz in the U.S. Set in London, England and rural France, The Missing begins with a familiar premise when the Hughes’ (Nesbitt and O’Connor) son, Ollie, vanishes during the family’s vacation in the French countryside. The boy remains lost and the series resumes five years later; the couple is divorced, Emily Hughes remarried, while Tony Hughes still searches for his son, now presumed dead. The investigation is reopened with the help of French detective Julien Baptiste (Tcheky Karyo), and the two uncover major flaws in the original investigation borne from police oversight and political corruption, which gives rise to the possibility that Ollie may still be alive. Tony persuades Emily to join them in reexamining the case, and the series concludes with a shocking finale that answers some questions but raises even more.

americans The Americans, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, DVD Americans, Seasons 1 and 2

Based loosely on the real-life Soviet espionage program, “The Illegals,” and also inspired by the experiences of show creator Joe Weisberg, The Americans tells the story of the seemingly innocuous Jennings family. Elizabeth (Russell) and Philip (Rhys) are introduced as two average D.C.-area suburbanites raising two children, but are quickly revealed to the viewer to be Soviet-born, expertly trained intelligence operatives leading a double-life. In the pilot, the Jennings meet new neighbor and FBI agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich) and immediately begin to gain his trust in order to glean information about the FBI’s counter-intelligence efforts. The Jennings stop at nothing in carrying out their directives from their KGB superiors, which include seduction, blackmail, covert surveillance, and outright murder. Philip completes a sham marriage with an FBI office secretary. Elizabeth attends AA classes to befriend an employee of a government defense contractor. The series skillfully balances the couple’s covert intelligence activities with the ever-present prospect of their teenage children discovering their parents’ secret. The series has received critical acclaim and is gaining viewers each week as airs its third season now on FX.

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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!

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April!

Well it’s April. That’s all I got. Here’s some items you should check out at the library.

Mary – Reference

 13064395Duke of Midnight – By: Elizabeth Hoyt – New Fiction: Hoyt

This book was a great escape from the suspense/thriller books I’ve been reading lately. It lightheartedly had blackmail,l backstabbing, revenge and, of course, romance. The story begins with a Duke disguised as a masked “Ghost of St. Giles” pursuing two women; And, ends with the Duke falling in love with a lady’s companion. Ah…

 

6217813Silent in the Sanctuary: A Lady Julia Grey Mystery – By: Deanna Raybourn – Fiction: Raybourn

Second in the Lady Julia Grey Mystery Series. Set in the 1880’s Julia thrives when there is intrigue and dangter in her life. A bit of a melodrama with stories within stories within stories; unique characters, relationships unfinished, smoldering tension and a murder to be solved with a twist! Excellent writing, great characterization and a finely orchestrated mystery.

 

Sue – Circulation

9781420945508_p0_v2_s260x420Collected Poems of Sara Teasdale – Nonfiction: 811.52 Tea

I find Sara Teasdale’s lyrical poetry to be beautiful in its imagery and simplicity. This collection includes poems from all of her published volumes. She was born in 1884, growing up in Missouri. She moved to New York City as an adult and passed away in 1933. Her poems are mostly about romance and natural beauty, but also explore human loss and death. She struggled with unhappiness in her lifetime and committed suicide at the age of 48. In some of her poems, you can sense her depth of emotion and a focus on endings, especially in her final volume of poems, published the same year as her death. One of her most famous poems, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” speaks of the world after a human war and how wildlife and nature go on without caring about the fate of humans. One of my favorite of her poems is “Night,” a short and simple but lovely poem about finding beauty in the world. Others poems in this collection that I enjoyed reading are “A Prayer,” “Leaves,” “Meadowlarks,” and “Wood Song.”

65353Selected Poems – by Wendell Berry – Nonfiction: 811.54 Ber

Wendell Berry is an American poet, as well as a novelist, essayist, and farmer. His poems speak to the importance of man living in harmony with nature, with an emphasis on preserving the land and farming with natural methods. This book is a collection of some of his best poems from the first 25 years of his writing career. My favorite poem in this collection is “The Peace of Wild Things,” which contemplates how humans fear and worry about things that haven’t even happened while wild animals live in the moment and have more peaceful existences.

6535688The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing – Edited by Kevin Young – Nonfiction: 811.54 Art

We have all suffered loss in our lives. I have been able to find some solace after loss through books. This book is a collection of poems whose subject matter encompasses loss, grieving, and healing. The book is divided into sections that roughly follow the stages of grieving and offers poems for each of the sections: Reckoning; Regret; Remembrance; Ritual; Recovery; and Redemption. The majority of the poems are contemporary, written in the latter part of the 20th century, with a few classics from earlier times as well. The poems are quality works in their own right, and are not only for the recently bereaved. Some of my favorite poets are represented in this work, including Mary Oliver, James Wright, Li-Young Lee, Galway Kinnell, Philip Larkin, and Billy Collins. Some of the poems are heartbreaking, but many of them are also hopeful or express gratitude. They are all beautiful and moving.

Margaux – Circulation

16074952Binny For Short – By Hillary McKay, With Illustrations by Micah Player – Juvenile Fiction: J MCKAY

Binny thinks of her life in two acts: the first act, up until she was eight years old, when her father was still alive and her dog Max had not been given away. We meet her when she is eleven and her Great-Aunt Violet has passed away and suddenly Binny and her family are no longer living from paycheck to paycheck. When Aunt Violet leaves the family her home, Binny moves to a home by the sea where she makes new friends and a new life. The modern illustrations add a fun element to this poetic read.

820517Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key – by Jack Gantos – Juvenile Fiction: J Gantos

Joey Pigza can’t do anything right. He makes his grandma mad, he can’t sit still in class, and he drives his teachers crazy (especially when he forgets his ADHD medication). The grownups in his life are getting so fed up with Joey that they are thinking of transferring him to a special education center downtown. Joey’s goal is to stop being a disappointment to everyone he cares about. This heartbreaking story is, at its heart, about a boy whose goal is to stop disappointing everyone he cares about.

 Mary – Youth Services

542446Ascending Peculiarity: Edward Gorey on Edward Gorey—Interviews Compiled by Karen Wilkin—J NONFICTION: 921 GOREY

Edward Gorey, as a person, was a subject of mystique, and speculation due to his private nature. He lived, after all, in a New York apartment filled with cats, and was most commonly found wearing a heavy fur coat, paired with sneakers. Since his famous, and peculiar line drawings had an Edwardian-aged, morose edge to them, many people many people assumed that while Edward Gorey was alive, he was A.) British and B.) Dead. None of which—quite needless to note—were true. Ascending Peculiarity is a collection of the best, most comprehensive interviews during Gorey’s lifetime. They expose the private, fascinating man quite well. If you were ever interested in Edward Gorey—as an artist or person—this is an essential read.

Matt – Reference

warpaint_packshotWarpaint – By: Warpaint – New Audio CDs: CD 781.66 WARPAINT

Warpaint are a fantastic group from Los Angeles who make hypnotic indie rock. Their songs have catchy rhythms with dark undertones and edgy lyrics which elevates this group above many of their west coast peers.I just saw them at The Metro and they put on an amazing show. Definitely a band to watch.

 

the-last-waltz-logoThe Last Waltz – By: The Band – New Audio CDs: CD 781.66 BAND

If there was a more perfect sound for what would be called Classic Rock, no other band has made it better than “The Band”. A group of musicians who gained notoriety with their tours and recordings with Bob Dylan, adopting their name after many people called them ‘the band’ instead of their actual name. The Last Waltz is a staple in the history of live recordings: debateably the best ever. Featuring artists such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Dr. John, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, and Bob Dylan to name a few.

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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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First Post of 2014!

Happy New Year to you! The colder it gets the more we’d all like to stay inside. Snuggle up and enjoy some of these items from our collection!

Sue – Circulation 

img_17591Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry – Edited by Billy Collins – Nonfiction 811.6 Poe

A collection of 180 poems, all written by contemporary poets and chosen by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. My favorite poem in the book is “Dog’s Death” by John Updike, a heartbreaking, but beautiful tribute to the poet’s late dog and the devotion and love of dogs. Another poem in the collection that moved me is “St. Francis and the Sow” by Galway Kinnell, which speaks of finding beauty beyond physical appearance – that all beings have their own loveliness within and we need to look deeper and believe in ourselves. I also enjoyed “Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad” by Jan Heller Levi, about a son looking back on his relationship with his father with the benefit of maturity, and seeing the relationship from a different perspective. The 180 poems are all diverse and you are sure to find some that speak to you as these three spoke to me.

 51DiLm5WXKLPsych Seasons 1-7 – Starring: James Roday, Dule Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson – DVD: Psych 

If you want a serious crime drama, Psych is not for you. But if you want a laugh-out loud, irreverent crime show, give Psych a try. The show stars the hilarious James Roday as Shawn, a fake psychic whose real ability is his uncanny attention to detail and photographic memory, and Dule Hill as his long-suffering best friend Gus who helps Shawn run their psychic detective agency and assist the police department in solving crimes. The show deals with a different case each week and the relationships among Shawn, Gus, Shawn’s dad, and the two police detectives Shawn and Gus work cases with, Lassiter and Juliet. Watch and laugh and see if you can find the pineapple – each episode features a pineapple somewhere in it, a long-standing joke since the pilot. Season 8 begins this month on USA Network.

6506307Blackout – by Connie Willis – FICTION: Willis

Part science fiction and part historical fiction, this book is set 50 years in the future when time travel has become possible and historians travel back in time to experience historical events firsthand. Three students from Oxford University travel back in time to World War II: Eileen is taking care of evacuated children in the country, Polly is working as a shopgirl in London during the Blitz, and Mike is observing heroes who helped rescue soldiers from Dunkirk. Historians believe that their presence in the past does not affect the outcome of history; however this theory might prove to be wrong when something goes awry and Eileen, Polly, and Mike are trapped in 1940 and can’t get home. The story is continued to its conclusion in a second volume, All Clear, also found under Fiction Willis. This is an excellent novel, rich in details about the everyday life of English civilians during the war, complex, and exciting.

Mary – Youth Services

downloadA Single Man—Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode – DVD: SINGLE MAN

After the sudden death of his partner, George (Colin Firth) has the last day of his life planned. The only predictable part of the plan is the small shotgun he carries in his briefcase, which, he reasons, will be a suitable prop to end the day. While making the effort to carry on his last day as normal, this British professor teaching in California is overwhelmed with increasingly strange and mesmerizing details of life. Colin Firth plays a complex, dark character, whose microexpressions are enough to make your stomach curl in some scenes, guiltily laugh in others. Based off a novel of the same title, this is a brilliantly dark drama of love, loss, and the universal need for human connection.

Margaux Circulation

1795179Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – By: Benjamin Alire Sáenz – Call Number: YA SAENZ

It’s 1987 in New Mexico and Aristotle is on a mission to spend the summer by himself. His plan is working perfectly until he meets Dante at the local pool. In attitude, the two are complete opposites. However, they both share a love for reading and culture. After just one summer, the two are best friends. Dante’s father is transferred to Chicago and his letters to Ari go largely unanswered. When reunited the following summer, Dante reveals a secret to his best friend that will change their relationship forever. This novel has a very introspective mood that is heightened by Dante’s tumultuous family history. If you’re a fan of any of Rainbow Rowell’s work, or Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, you’re bound to fall in love with Dante and Aristotle.

16068905Fangirl – By: Rainbow Rowell – Call Number: YA ROWELL

When Cath and her twin sister Wren start college at the University of Nebraska, the last thing Cath expects is a change in the status quo. Cath is used to spending every moment possible with her sister and a majority of the rest of her time is spent on her dirty little secret: writing fan fiction about Simon Snow (a character not unlike Harry Potter). But when Wren takes her freshmen year as an opportunity to “branch out,” Cath becomes a shut-in. Her roommate seems to have a vendetta against her, and her roommate’s boyfriend insists on talking constantly. Throughout the novel, Cath tries to come into her own and figure out a balance between her Simon Snow obsession and trying to figure out dating, friendship and family in college. This might be a formidably sized novel but the story moves quickly.

Matt – Reference

Savages-Silence-YourselfSilence Yourself – By: Savages – NEW CD: CD 781.66 SAVAGES

This French foursome has an aggressive, raw sound that pushes them above many of the post-punk acts around. The songs are excellently crafted yet feel unhinged as their wild energy coupled with articulate emotions gives each song an exciting conflicting feel. Definitely one of the stand out records of 2013.

 

unnamedWe The Common – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – New CD:781.66 THAO

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down have been a buzz band for a few years now and they don’t disappoint. Their songs are as catchy as they are inspired mixing styles into a seamless unification of indie, pop, folk and dance.

 

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