Tag Archives: Tragedy

May

Mary – Youth Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

Margaux CIrculation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sue – Circulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt – Reference

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

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

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

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

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November!

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

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

Sue – Circulation


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

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

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

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


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

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

Mary – Youth Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris – Technical Services

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

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

 

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

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

 

Check back next month for more!

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July!

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

Melissa – Reference


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


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

Mary – Youth Services


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

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


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

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

Matt – Reference


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

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


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

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

 

Check back next week for more suggestions!

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June!

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

Jacob – Circulation

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

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

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

Mary – Youth Services

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

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

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

Matt – Circulation

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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May 2013

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

Jacob – Circulation


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


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

Melissa – Reference


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


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

Matt – Circulation

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

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


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

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

Check back next week for more recommendations!

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April

Spring is on its way. Here’s some things to check out!

Michelle – Administration

straightaStraight A’s – Starring Anna Pacquin, Ryan Phillipe, Luke Wilson – NEW DVD: DVD STRAIGHT A’S

Staring Anna Pacquin, Ryan Phillipe and Luke Wilson, this engaging, character driven family drama has great acting and an unexpected plot twist.

crywolfCry Wolf – By: Patricia Briggs – NEW FICTION: Briggs

A fun romp through the forest with a new werewolf pack. This is an entertaining, light read for those who enjoy the supernatural genre. It is the first book in the series and includes the novella that started everything.

 

Matt – Circulation

holmesMastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes – By: Maria Konnikova – NEW NONFICTION: 153.4 KON

This is a great book for people who want to de-clutter their mind and start thinking more purposefully. In her book Konnikova ( a science and psychology writer) focuses on the techniques used by the greatest fictional detective of all time to help regular people learn to streamline their thinking. A good read for people who like Holmes and those just looking to see the world a different way.


stranger
Stranger Than Fiction
– Starring: Will Farrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal – DVD: STRANGER..

A superbly absurd comedy about a man who finds himself the center of a living novel. Will Farrell plays Harold Crick: an IRS adjuster who lives a very orderly life until he starts to hear narration of his thoughts and actions. It is when Harold learns the author of his book likes to kill her main characters, that Harold decides to live the life he’s always wanted. A funny and touching movie.

intreatmentIn Treatment – Season 1 – Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Forbes – DVD: IN TREATMENT

In Treatment is about therapist Paul Weston as he tries to help his patients and keep his own life in order. The format follows 4 different patients and Paul’s session with his own therapist giving each session its own 30-minute episode. In this episode format its possible to watch the progression of one patient at a time or watch all the sessions in the same week. It was a very daring and well done series full of questions about the fragility of the human condition and how people cope with difficulties in their lives.

Julia – Circulation

heistThe Heist – By: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – CD 781.649 MACKLEMORE
In Macklemore’s debut, full-length album, The Heist, he showcases songs about his personal struggles with addiction, in “Starting Over,” as well as touches on social and race issues with “Wing$” and “A Wake”. His fifth and most popular radio single from this album, “Thrift Shop”, peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. This is a must-listen-to cd, because every song is different from the one before it. If you’ve only heard “Thrift Shop” on the radio, get ready to hear some really amazing, and completely unique indie rap and hip hop.

Check back in next month for more!

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January

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

Courtney – Reference

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

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

Melissa – Reference

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt – Circulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come back next month for more recommendations!

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December!

The holidays are here and something something something cheer! I don’t know, I’m no Yuletide poet but I am proud to present these gifts of recommendations from the Oak Brook Library staff. Happy Holidays!

 
Mary – Reference
13067005“Talking to the Dead” – by: Harry Bingham – NEW FICTION: BINGHAM
 
Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths is strange.  Not in the regular sense, like everyone is a bit odd.  But rather, Fiona finds solace amongst the dead. She does not pick up on social clues.Yet, when it comes to crime, she is intuitive and resourceful, a crack investigator.
This mystery begins with the discovery of two bodies, a mother and her 6-year old child.  D.C. Griffiths believes the young girl is trying to tell her something which leads her on a complex journey to solve her murder.
A good storyline with an intriguing character study makes this mystery work.
 
Michelle – Administration

MV5BMTM3MzUyNzg3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjk3NDA4Nw@@._V1_SX214_AL_“People Like Us” – Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael D’Addario, Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde – NEW DVDs: PEOPLE LIKE US

This is the story of a man discovering that his recently deceased father had an extended affair that resulted in a daughter. In his quest to learn about his sister, he reevaluates his own life. This movie is a great drama that examines the meaning of family.

 

1676855“Supernatural: Season 7” – Starring: Nicholas Knight, Eric Kripke – NEW DVDs: SUPERNATURAL

I am more than a little biased since Supernatural is one of my favorite shows, but I think it is a must-see. The show has everything: action, adventure, laughs, mild-horror and is, at its heart, the story of two brothers trying to survive. Like all previous seasons, this DVD set has outtakes that are hilarious.

 

Julia – Circulation

downloadThe Fault In Our Stars”–  by John Green – YA: GREEN

Popular YA author, John Green, tells the heart-wrenching, love story of teenagers Hazel and Augustus, who meet for the first time at a cancer support group. Hazel, who is terminally ill, and Augustus, whose cancer is in remission, bond and learn how to live their lives when so much is uncertain.
This book portrays teens with cancer and their families in an honest way — showing their bravery, fear and anger — along with their happier moments.
Although this book is intended for teens, I would also recommend it to adults.

taylor-swift-red-album-400x400“Red” – by Taylor Swift – AUDIO CD: 781.64 SWIFTIn Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album, Red, she leaves her country roots behind for a more “pop” feel with songs like, “22,” “Holy Ground,” and her first single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Swift even experiments with dubstep on the track “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Following the same path as her previous albums, Swift’s songs mirror her personal life, as well as her many public romances.

 
This is definitely one of Swift’s best albums to date.
 
Matt – Circulation
 
7743117“Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Arte” – By: Christopher Moore – NEW FICTION: MOORE
For those who have not been introduced to Christopher Moore, his 13th book isn’t a bad place to start. Moore’s style of comedy is raunchy, absurd, cheeky, witty and intelligent all at the same time while pushing compelling plots and fleshing out lovable characters. This book is perfect for any lover of 19th Century art as Moore uses famous artists such as Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Camille Pissaro, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Georges Seurat, James Whistler, Vincent Van Gogh and other Impressionists hanging around 19th Century France as characters. The story revolves around the mysterious death of Van Gogh and its impact on his friends Lucien Lessard, a baker turned artist and his debaucherous companion Henri Toulouse-Letrec as they try to figure out the reasons behind Van Gogh’s mysterious suicide and why the color sacré bleu seems to turn artists insane. An immensely entertaining read and one that includes color photos of many of the pieces of the mentioned artists.
 
13528336“The Onion Book of Known Knowledge” – By: The Onion Writing Staff – NEW NONFICTION: 818.607 ONION
 
This truly is the greatest parody of encyclopedias ever assembled. “The Onion” as a publication has been a staple of Chicago media and a source of solid satire for 24 years. From start to finish this book is incredibly funny provoking all manner of guffaws, giggles, belly laughs, howls, roars, cackling and the occasional snort.
 
Thanks for reading and come back next month for more picks!
 

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Picks for September

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

Melissa – Reference

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Theresa – Youth Services

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

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

Matt – Circulation

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Check back next month for more suggestions!

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August Picks!

Let’s face it: it’s been hot. Standing in a sauna while wearing a parka kind of hot. So grab some shade, a comfy spot and a cold drink to beat the heat. Here are the recommendations for you to keep cool through August!

Chris – Technical Services

hogan I Like To Keep Myself In Pain – By: Kelly Hogan – New CD’s: 781.63 HOGAN, K.

This is the first CD for Kelly Hogan, better known as a backup singer for the likes of Neko Case among others.  I would describe her as a cross between country singer, Deanna Carter and Cyndi Lauper.  Her 13 tracks are bluesy, soulful and poetic.

harrison Living In The Material World – By: George Harrison – Music CD: 781.66 HARRISON

George’s 2nd Solo album following the breakup of the Beatles in 1970 follows him on his spiritual path.  George said he was greatly influenced by Bob Dylan’s way of writing, each word chosen, each phrase having meaning.  In my mind another great poet taken from us to soon.

 lauperMemphis Blues – By: Cyndi Lauper – Music CD’s: 781.63 LAUPER, C.

What can I say, Cyndi at her best, interpreting some great blues songs.

 

angels To Sleep With the Angels – By: David Cowan & John Kuenster – Non-Fiction: 372.9 COW

Of the ½ dozen books I have read on the subject of the Our Lady of the Angels fire of December, 1958 this is the best researched and most complete of this day in Chicago history. The authors takes you step by step through the day from the vantage point of everyone involved-the fire department, the nuns and teachers in the school, the children who survived, the parish priests, the school boards and the police investigators who pieced this puzzle together and still came up with an “Undetermined Cause”.

quiet Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – By: Susan Cain – New Non-Fiction: 155.232 CAI

An exploration of the EXTROVERT ideal, how we undervalue the introvert, inspiring stories of successful introverts, and how introverts can change how they see themselves.  I especially enjoyed Chapter 5, The Secret of public speaking for introverts.

Melissa – Reference

secretoflostThe Secret of Lost Things – By:Sheridan Hay – Fiction: HAY

This novel is about a young girl who travels to America from Australia upon her mother’s death to carve her own path in life.  She finds a job with a New York book dealer, where she meets a true cast of characters and finds herself in the midst of a hunt for a lost manuscript. What this novel is really about is the plight of human suffering and how that can be used to form relationships that help heal wounds. The characterization is excellent, and while they each vastly differ from each other, Hay presents them in way that allows empathy for each. The surface storyline is captivating, and like many of the classics housed within the book dealer’s store, there is more to the story than it seems.

athome At Home: A Short History of Private Life – By: Bill Bryson – Non-Fiction: 643.1 BRY

Looking around his own home, Bryson wondered about the history of domestic life.  For instance, why of all countless spices available, do salt and pepper both have a permanent place on the table?  Where and how did company sit before the risqué invention of the sofa?  How has the home changed throughout history? Absolutely an interesting read through and through.  Bryson does an excellent job sharing the history of the home by touring from room to room, and giving the surprisingly interesting tales of the items found within each room.

Michelle – Administration
 wanderWanderlust – Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston – New DVDs: WANDERLUST
This is a hysterical look at a Manhattan couple who lose everything and moves to a hippie commune.
yemen Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Starring: Ewon McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas – New DVDs: SALMON FISHING…
This is a charming story of an unlikely group of people working together to bring Salmon to the Yemen. Based on the best-selling novel, the movie has everything; romance, comedy, drama and even a little action.

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