Tag Archives: travel

April 2018

april2018It’s April! Spring into the new season with one of our Staff Picks! April 8-14 is also National Library Week, so show your local library some love by stopping in for special activities!

 

 

 

Jean – Reference

nomadlandNomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, Nonfiction 331.398 BRU

Retirement is often viewed as a time that is earned after one puts in a life-time of hard work, including idyllic views of selling the family home and traveling the country in a recreation vehicle. However, after the economic collapse in 2008, when many retirees lost their savings and many people found their mortgage underwater, living in an RV, car or van became a necessity after many walked away from their homes, no longer able to afford them, or able to sell them. Having little-to-no retirement savings left, these retirees find themselves traveling the country looking for temporary work in order to pay for gas and food. They are referred to as “Workampers” and corporations such as Amazon and large agricultural conglomerates have tapped into this alternative sub-set of the workforce by providing campground facilities surrounding their warehouses and farms. The work these seniors do is often back-breaking, low-pay, and often provides no benefits and few worker protections. It’s a fascinating, yet dire, look at a subculture of the labor force in America.

Hubbell – Circulation

artemisArtemis by Andy Weir, New Fiction Weir

Andy Weir’s second novel following his made-to-movie The Martian stays closer to home and follows the story of Jazz Bashara, a porter (and sometimes smuggler) working in the Moon’s first city, Artemis. Jazz is drawn into a mystery involving the city’s wealthiest resident, its government, and, most importantly, the unique mineable resources which make the entire endeavor profitable. Like in The Martian, Weir’s humor and down-to-earth, if not salty, dialogue shine in the rendering of the novel’s protagonist and we find her just as easy to follow as the mystery and intrigue itself.

Paula – Circulation 

dunkirkDunkirk, Starring Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy, New DVD Dunkirk

Dunkirk is the heart-pounding true story of the evacuation of Allied soldiers that were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France during WWII. Surrounded by German forces, British and French troops desperately tried to stay alive while waiting to be rescued. The film is told in three separate timelines, each focusing on events that occurred on land, sea, and in the air. Nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, Dunkirk is an awe-inspiring and emotional film that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Pat – Circulation

glass castleThe Glass Castle, Starring Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, and Naomi Watts, New DVD Glass Castle

The Glass Castle is a biographical drama based on Jeannette Walls’ best selling memoir. It depicts Walls’ real-life childhood spent squatting in homes and living in poverty.
Four siblings must learn to take care of themselves, as their free-spirited parents both inspire and inhibit them. On the way home from a dinner with her fiancé, Jeanette (Brie Larson) spots her parents, Rex (Woody Harrelson) and Rose Mary (Naomi Watts), digging through the trash. She then remembers her childhood, when she, her parents, and her siblings would go on the run every time her father lost a job, their lack of food, Rex’s drinking and the time she burned herself as a child while boiling hot dogs. She also remembers the wondrous times such as planning the “glass castle” that they hoped to build someday, or Rex letting the children choose their very own star as a Christmas present. Outstanding acting, the movie is a powerful story of dysfunction, abuse, and thriving against all odds.

Michelle – Administration

handmaids taleThe Handmaid’s Tale Season 1, Starring Elizabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, and Alexis Bledel, New DVD Handmaid’s Tale Season 1

Based on the book by Margaret Atwood, the show is a dystopian look at a not-too-distant future that could be waiting for us. Following a coup, America is ruled by a repressive, religious regime that has taken away the rights of all women. Due to environmental reasons, there are few women who are able to bear children. Those women have been collected and forced to become Handmaids. The show follows the story of one Handmaid named June and those around her. The book was written in 1985, but its themes are so relevant to the concerns in today’s society. The Handmaid’s Tale has received both Emmy and Golden Globe wins. Catch up now before season 2 begins on April 25.

Chris – Circulation

origin of symmetryOrigin of Symmetry by Muse, CD 781.66 Muse

Regarded by many as their seminal work, Origin of Symmetry put Muse on the UK’s map back in 2001. This is the album that would gain them genre labels such as progressive rock and space rock, which are accurate descriptions of the kind of music they made for this album. Their use of synths and electronic effects create an atmosphere of both hurtling through space and of gently floating wherever momentum takes you. Both of these feelings are present on “Citizen Erased” and “Space Dementia,” two of the progressive tracks on the album. Standout straight up alt-rock singles from this album are “Bliss” and “Plug In Baby,” the latter of which features one of the most iconic guitar riffs of the 21st Century. Muse expertly blends rock with classical, electronic, and progressive influences. This is an album not to miss if you have not heard it before.

 

 

 

 

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November

It’snovember2015coverphoto November. Let us all be thankful for our loved ones and enjoy the holiday season with the recommended titles below.

 

Dagmar – Circulation

voraciousVoracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti, New Nonfiction 028.9 Nic

Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books is a delicious culinary journey with things that many of us love the most in life: books and food. The author, Cara Nicoletti, is a butcher, a former pastry chef, and author of the literary recipe blog Yummy Books. Her journey started in her junior year in college, when she, originally from Boston, was fed up, lonely, and exhausted in New York, and ready to leave the city. Her college friend Emily changed everything: convinced her to stay in New York, and years later to create a blog, which led to this book. Four years ago, the author, along with her friend Emily and her husband Ante, started a book club. Every time they finished a book, they would go to Cara’s apartment where they would  discuss a book and Cara would make them a meal from the book so they could eat while discussing. These book club dinners would eventually turn into a literary supper club, which then turned into Yummy Books, which was the starting point of this book. This is a very interesting new take on discussing books – book club readers take notice – the author may be onto something here and it may be just a recipe for success of reading and dining with friends.

cloudsofsilsmariaClouds of Sils Maria starring Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, New DVD Clouds

Many of us have followed Juliette Binoche and her films during her prolific career. From her first major international hit nearly 30 years ago, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” we saw her in films such as “The English Patient,” for which she won an Academy Award, and “Chocolat” with Johnny Depp, through which she won the hearts of many. Last month, the blog reviewed her recent film “Certified Copy.” This month, her fans will be delighted to see her latest film, Clouds of Sils Maria. In this film, she delivers another career-defining performance. Along with Kristen Stewart, she creates a seductive and mesmerizing masterpiece. Binoche plays renowned actress Maria Enders, who is cast opposite a young Hollywood starlet with a flair for scandal. Aging Binoche must face and come to terms with what it means to be an actress in a youth-obsessed industry. She prepares for the most challenging role of her life with her assistant (Stewart). During the process, tension rises and there may be a hint of another underlying problem for both of them. For her acclaimed performance, Stewart became the first American to win the coveted Cesar Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Sue – Circulation

skyeLetters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole, Fiction Brockmole

This is an engaging love story told completely in letters that spans more than two decades, from the first world war to the second. It opens in 1912 with a fan letter from David in Illinois to Elspeth, a published poet, in the Isle of Skye in Scotland. As Elspeth and David correspond via letter, they slowly fall in love. However, Elspeth is a married woman. When the war begins, David volunteers to be an ambulance driver and goes off to France. The book then jumps forward in time to 1940 and we follow the letters of Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, to her love who is serving in the war. Something happened back in the first world war that tore Elspeth’s family apart, but Margaret knows nothing of her mother’s past or her own father. As Margaret investigates her family’s past, we learn more about the events of 20 years ago and the story comes full circle. Though it is set in wartime, the book focuses more on romance and less on war. The characters and their emotions felt real to me and the story was absorbing and satisfying without being too predictable.

ettaandottoEtta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper, Fiction Hooper

This book tells the life stories of Etta and Otto, a married couple now in their 80s who live on a farm in rural Saskatchewan. The story opens with Etta leaving on a journey all the way across Canada to the sea in Halifax. She intends to walk this great distance by herself. It is something she feels she needs to do, connected to an event in her childhood. Otto understands and lets her go. Otto’s best friend and neighbor, Russell, at one time in love with Etta himself, is not so understanding and sets off after Etta. The book goes back and forth in time, telling each character’s story from their childhood to Otto’s service in the war as a young man and his return to the present day. While Etta walks, she picks up an animal companion she names James, giving us the four characters of the title.

The book has a dream-like quality to it – you are not sure if some of the events really happened or if it was just in the character’s mind. The various events that affect the characters’ lives and how their lives play out over the years makes for compelling reading. The book is beautifully written – a moving story of friendship and loyalty, lives not without hardship, but with family and friends always there when needed to share the joy and the burdens.

hinterlandHinterland starring Richard Harrington and Mali Harries, DVD Hinterland, Series 1

This is a detective drama that follows DCI Tom Mathias and his team as they investigate crimes in a remote coastal area of Wales. Mathias is a brooding, serious man with an unhappy past that has sent him from London to Wales for a fresh start. The show is gritty, dark, and intense with beautiful cinematography showing the barren Welsh landscape. The show is filmed in both Welsh and English, with the Welsh language version broadcast in Wales and the English version broadcast in England. The second season of the show is airing this fall in Wales and a third season has been ordered.

Chris – Technical Services

vintagechicagoDiscovering Vintage Chicago: A Guide to the City’s Timeless Shops, Bars, Delis & More by Amy Bizzarri, New Nonfiction 917.73 Biz

A must-read for Chicago history lovers. A guide to the many unique and historic places around the city; great for planning your own walking tour. Appendix’s by category, by neighborhood, and year of origin.

 

bidbadbillmurrayThe Big Bad Book of Bill Murray: A Critical Appreciation of the World’s Finest Actor by Robert Schnakenberg, Nonfiction 791.43 Sch

An A-to-Z compilation of everything Bill; quotes, filmography, photos, & “Tales from Murrayland.” If you love Bill’s work, you will like this. Not to be read from cover to cover, but to be enjoyed in bits and pieces.

Melissa – Technical Services

hautingofhillhouseThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Fiction Jackson

For those unfamiliar with the plot of this classic, a group of people gather together in a house with a dark reputation with the goal of experiencing some of the paranormal events held in legend. Jackson does two impressive things with this book: the characters are so rich, which isn’t always the focus of a horror novel. Typically, in a horror novel, much of the emphasis goes towards the atmosphere. And yet, the atmosphere that Jackson creates is superb. The characters get on well with each other, enjoying each other’s company and witty exchanges. It’s only at night that the fear sets in. Thus, readers are removed from the tension of the horror, and laughing, only to be thrown back in again. This makes it all the more terrifying, because every instance of fear follows a period where the characters (and reader) were relaxed and calm. The horror/comedy coupling echoes the madness felt by the narrator, as she slowly loses her sanity as she stays in Hill House.

Pat – Circulation

jinxThe Jinx: The Life and Death of Robert Durst produced by Marc Smerling and Andrew JareckiNew DVD 364.15 Jinx

This is a six-hour documentary broken into six installments. They follow the life story of Robert Durst, a reclusive real estate icon, including his childhood, the murder of his first wife Kathleen, the murder of his close friend Susan Berman, and the murder and dismemberment of his neighbor Morris Black. Robert Durst is in jail today, pending trial, because of the Jinx. His entire story is so bizarre, yet true, each detail more incredible than the last.

Mary – Youth Services

whybehappyWhy Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson, Nonfiction 921 Winterson

Jeanette Winterson is a prominent, lyrical writer of many well-known books such as Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, The Passion, and Written on the Body. Her works often deal with the subversive spirit, or how one can survive in a society ready to strip one’s individual differences. Like her works, Winterson’s memoir is not the typical life story. Often blanketed by her vast knowledge of literature and history, Winterson reveals what her life was like growing up in northern England. The memoir’s focal point is the time Winterson lived as the adopted daughter of strictly-religious, Pentecostal parents. Never knowing when the four horsemen of the apocalypse and Jesus would take her, Winterson’s childhood story is sometimes darkly humorous, sometimes distressing in its portrait of what it is like to mold individual identity; what it means to be both a member of a biological and a created family. This work, among many other things, is a love letter to literature and survivors of childhood trauma. It also serves as a testament to resilience and individuality – a sigh of relief: Thank goodness I am not “normal!”

sleeperandspindleThe Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell, New YA Fiction Gaiman

I have eagerly been awaiting this book’s American release. The long wait is now over, and I can call off the small boat that would have smuggled me into England. The Sleeper and the Spindle is Neil Gaiman’s retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, with lavish, dark illustrations by Chris Riddell. I often find it is hard to breathe new life into certain tales, but Gaiman takes an angle on the beloved story that is interesting and thought-provoking. Combined with the stunning artwork by Chris Riddel, The Sleeper and the Spindle exists as both a beautiful art object and a fresh portrayal of a classic fairy tale.

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