Tag Archives: war

June 2019

june 2019It’s June! Summer is just around the corner! Grab a good read and enjoy the warm weather.

 

 

 

Chris – Technical Services

scottish folkThe Rough Guide to Scottish Folk, New CD 781.62 Scottish Folk

Sung in Scottish, Gaelic, and English, this hour of folk songs by various artists sing of the history of Scotland and preservation of their musical traditions.

 

Jean – Reference

the worst hard timeThe Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan, Nonfiction 978 EGA

An excellent story along the lines of Grapes of Wrath, but unlike the story of the mass migration, this one is told from the point of view of those who actually remained in the panhandle during the “Dirty Thirties” due to stubbornness, or because they were too poor to leave. It’s also a good treatise on how humans can have a devastating impact on climate and on the earth. An amazing account of our country’s history that everyone should read.

Melissa – Technical Services

normal peopleNormal People, by Sally Rooney, New Fiction Rooney

A Man Booker Prize nominee, Normal People tells the story of two teens who could not be any more different, but are inexplicably drawn to each other when no one else is watching. Connell is charismatic and popular, and Marianne is withdrawn; a true rebel who doesn’t care a whit about other’s opinions. They keep their friendship, and eventually their relationship, secret. As they move to college and grow as adults, their relationship and personalities change shape. They cannot be together, but they cannot be apart. The tale is not so melodramatic as this summary makes it seem; it’s subtle and intoxicating. It’s a look into how small nuances can shape the deepest relationships.

11-22-63.jpg11/22/63, by Stephen King, Fiction King

King puts forth a time travel tale that is both vivid and riveting. A portal exists in a small-town diner that links modern day to September 9, 1958 every time it is used. After learning of it from the diner’s owner, Jake Epping is tasked with going from 2011 to 1958 to live for 5 years, gather information, and then attempt to stop the assassination of JFK. Within those 5 years, Jake’s “life” begins to catch up with him. But this is a Stephen King novel, so it is not without some paranormal elements (aside from time travel, that is). It is eerie, fun, and reflective.

 

Theresa – Youth Services

the house we gew up inThe House We Grew Up In, by Lisa Jewell, Fiction Jewell

If you like reading about dysfunctional families, this is the book for you!  The Bird family consists of Lorellei (Mom), Dad, Meg, Beth, and the twins, Rory and Rhys. Most of the story takes place in Cotswolds, England in their house, which over years becomes more and more filled with Lorelei’s “precious mementos.” Lorelei loves the early years of her children so much that she tends to collect mementos in an effort to somehow freeze time. She insists on hanging up every single piece of art produced by the children, along with craft items that they could never in a million years use. The yearly Easter egg hunt is extremely important to her, especially saving the candy egg “foils.” One Easter weekend a tragedy occurs, so terrible, that it begins to tear the family apart. Much is swept under the rug. Issues are not discussed. Years pass by, the children become adults, and Lorelai has become the county’s worst hoarder. After becoming a recluse, alienating her husband and children, something beckons them all back home… to the house they grew up in… and to what really happened that Easter weekend so many years ago. I really enjoyed this. Each character has their own story. It gives a great deal of insight as to why someone would become a hoarder.

Chris – Circulation

the-good-neighbor.jpgThe Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, by Maxwell King, Nonfiction 921 Rogers, F. Kin

In this book, Fred Mcfeely Rogers, the famous Mister Rogers, walks us through his beginning as a Harvard graduate to his over 30 years in television. His program “Mister Rogers” touched almost all our lives, teaching us our virtues and how to be a good neighbor. His passion and unique way to show us that we are all different was part of his story, just as he was different. Showing children how to deal with events or just learn how to whistle was his magic. His puppets, movies, and regular guest visitors were a treat and lesson. He very much enjoyed this role he was blessed with in his life.

Hubbell – Circulation

a-private-war.jpgA Private War, starring Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, and Stanley Tucci, New DVD Private War

The late Marie Colvin was a tenacious and outspoken journalist. She died covering the Syrian Civil War in 2012 and had covered numerous conflicts during her career including Sri Lanka, Iraq, and numerous other Middle Eastern countries. Matthew Heineman’s A Private War (the director’s first dramatic piece) includes an excellent supporting cast including Jamie Dornan and Stanley Tucci. It uncovers Colvin’s life’s mission to show us the cost of war while also movingly personalizing her story.

Paula – Circulation

the breakfast clubThe Breakfast Club, starring Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Judd Nelson, DVD Breakfast…

The Breakfast Club is one of the most iconic movies of all time. A classic John Hughes masterpiece, the film centers on the lives of five teenagers stuck in detention on a Saturday. By spending the whole day together, the teens, who were strangers with nothing in common, become good friends and learn more about themselves through sharing some of their deepest secrets with each other. Full of some of the most memorable quotes and 80’s nostalgia, The Breakfast Club is a movie that people of all ages will enjoy.

 

 

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August 2018

august 2018

It’s August! Enjoy the rest of the summer with one of our Staff Picks!

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

the tudorsThe Tudors, Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, and Natalie Dormer, DVD Tudors Seasons 1-4

I recently re-watched the Showtime TV show The Tudors and I still found it to be an entertaining work of historical fiction mixed with actual events that occurred. The show follows the reign of King Henry VIII as a young man through the end of his life, highlighting his many marriages, the relationships in-between and his slow descent into cruel madness. Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as Henry VIII and the show also features Henry Cavill as the Duke of Suffolk, Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn and many other faces you may recognize. A word of warning, however, the show does not shy away from the bloody violence that was so abundant at the time. As they say – viewer discretion is advised!

Jean – Reference

baby teethBaby Teeth, by Zoje Stage, New Fiction Stage

For fans of Stephen King and Gillian Flynn, a psychological thriller in the vein of The Omen, that is creepy, yet fun.  For parents Suzette and Alex, their seven year old daughter’s perplexing behavior becomes more and more sinister as they try to make sense of her inability to speak (or is it an unwillingness)?  As we read alternating chapters in Hanna’s voice, it becomes clear that there is more going on than childish misbehavior.  But as we delve deeper and deeper into her psyche, the reader begins to wonder – is it a simple lack of ability to communicate, or is it just pure evil?

Paula – Circulation

AGameOfThronesA Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin, Fiction Martin

A Game of Thrones is the first book in the epic fantasy series A Song of  Ice and Fire, and the basis for the hit HBO TV series Game of Thrones. The series tells the story of the war for the Iron Throne between the Seven Kingdoms, and each of the noble families that claim they have the right to rule the land of Westeros. Each chapter is written from a different character’s point of view, giving the reader a unique experience by being able to see the conflict develop from multiple different sides. It is an exciting read as much as it is complex, dark, and bloody.

Pat – Circulation

then she was goneThen She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell, New Fiction Jewell

Then She Was Gone is a psychological thriller. This book is about a young girl, Ellie, who goes missing one day on her way to the library. Ten years later her mother, Laurel, meets a man, Floyd, in a coffee shop and they strike up a friendship. When Laurel meets Floyd’s nine year old daughter she is taken aback at the striking resemblance she has to her missing daughter and she understandably cannot let the mystery go. The book was mysterious, sad, crazy, but engaging. Also some parts are disturbing, so be prepared for that.

Hubbell – Circulation

nobody knows your nameWhere Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball, by John Feinstein, Nonfiction 796.357 FEI

Minor league baseball players toil in small cities, ride buses across the country, eat crappy food, and stay in cheap motels. Washington Post columnist John Feinstein compiles the stories of nine minor league baseball players whose careers are marked by varying degrees of success. One waits eighteen years between major league at-bats. Another experiences fantastic success at the major league level and helps his team to a World Series championship only to be demoted after the post-season. Feinstein explores the day-to-day life of these players and coaches, but also uncovers some of the darker unknowns of minor league service. They lack a labor union, have no collective bargaining rights, are exempt from overtime pay and, on average, make less than minimum wage, all of which is explicitly permitted by law.

Melissa – Technical Services

11millionHow Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews, Nonfiction 320.01 AND

This book is an essay about integrity in politics and the consequences that derive from a lack of it. The author notes the Nazi government tactic of repeatedly lying to its citizens in order to get them to board the trains to concentration camps, and give up their wealth and security. He also explores how lying is regarded as commonplace in American politics. This essay is relevant for all governed peoples, and for all time.

 

 

 

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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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September

September2016coverIt’s September! Welcome cooler weather with the change of season and check out the recommended titles below.

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

lilacgirlsLilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, New Fiction Kelly

This book is set from 1939-1959 and alternates among three characters, each of whom narrates her own chapters: Caroline, a New York socialite working for the French embassy, Kasia, a Polish teen, and Herta, a Nazi doctor. Kasia and Herta’s stories intersect when Kasia is caught working for the Polish underground and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp, along with her sister and mother, where she becomes a victim of gruesome medical experiments. It is not until after the war that Caroline’s part in the story becomes clear. The book is harrowing, showing the atrocities committed by the Nazis, but also inspiring, celebrating the strength and will of the victims.

Having each character tell her story in her own voice makes it more powerful. I felt so sad for Kasia that she struggled to make a life for herself after the war due to the psychological scars she carried and it was chilling and disgusting to see Herta’s hatred for Jews and her justification for the horrors she committed. The book was thoroughly researched by the author and is historically accurate, though the characters’ stories are fictionalized. Caroline and Herta were real people and Kasia and her sister Zuzanna are based upon real victims of the Ravensbrück medical experiments.

jonathanunleashedJonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff, New Fiction Rosoff

Jonathan is in his early twenties and just out of college. He moves to New York City to start his adult life. He is quirky and thinks outside the box. His passion is drawing comics, but he ends up at a soul-sucking job as a copywriter working for a client that sells office supplies. He has a girlfriend who is totally wrong for him – it is obvious to everyone in his life that she is not his match, but still he gets engaged to her on the spur of the moment when the bridal magazine she works for offers to pay for the ceremony, in exchange for live streaming it and doing a magazine spread. Even while engaged, Jonathan meets a few other people who interest him romantically, yet he clings to the idea of marriage to this woman. Jonathan’s life changes when his brother leaves his two dogs with him when he goes overseas for a work assignment. Jonathan develops a strong bond with the dogs – Sissy, a sweet cocker spaniel, and Dante, a very intelligent, work-driven border collie. Jonathan worries that the dogs are unsatisfied with life in a big city and he visits a vet, who suspects that he is projecting his unhappiness onto the dogs, who are dogs after all and take things as they come. Jonathan is a likable guy, but somewhat exasperating as he is stuck and miserable but afraid to make any changes in his life. The reader sees long before he does that he is making the wrong choices. The dogs sense it too and help Jonathan to find wisdom about the best way to live his life, nudging him in the right direction. The dogs’ antics are funny and clever, leading Jonathan down the path to a more rewarding life. The book is very funny and passionate dog lovers will savor it. A fun, light-hearted read.

shetlandShetland starring Douglas Henshall, DVD Shetland, Series 1 & 2

This is a detective series set in the Shetland Islands (part of the British Isles located in the far North and governed by Scotland) that follows Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez and his team as they investigate crimes committed on the islands. The first two seasons have been released as a set, which comprises four two-part episodes that are based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. I find this series to be very well done, with compelling crimes and interesting characters. Each story is allowed to evolve, being two hours in length, moving at a slower pace than most American detective shows, which allows more emphasis on character and setting. The crimes are not cut and dried, but complex with numerous suspects, keeping you guessing until the end. DI Perez is a likable character, a compassionate man who is good at questioning witnesses and suspects as he has a comforting presence. We learn that Perez is a widower with a teenage stepdaughter who grew up on the islands. The beautiful but bleak, rugged landscape sets a mood of isolation and gives you a sense of a close-knit community that feels the effects of crime much deeper than that of a well-populated urban area.

Chris – Circulation

yourinnerfishYour Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin, Nonfiction 611 Shu

Have you ever wondered how the human body has come to look and function the way it does today? Have you noticed similarities between humans and other groups of life? There is a good reason for this–humans are essentially more complex versions of creatures from these other groups. There are even more similarities than you think because many features cannot be seen on the surface. In paleontologist Neil Shubin’s first foray into popular science, he tackles the task of relating 3.5 billion years worth of evolution–of bacteria, prehistoric fish, flies, and many, many others–to the current human form. For example, fish, whales, and bats all have similar “hand” structures to humans. Flies have some of the same genes that function the same way in humans as well. Shubin is successful in his task because of his experience in the field, breadth of scientific evidence, and clear, easily accessible writing style. This is a fascinating read for anyone curious about evolution and the amazing path bodies have taken over 3.5 billion years. There is also a three-part PBS series based on this book.

Melissa – Technical Services

allisnotforgottenAll Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker, New Fiction Walker

In this tale, a teenage girl named Jenny is raped at a party. While being treated in the hospital, she is given a new and controversial drug that will erase the memory of her trauma. The treatment is not as effective as it is purported to be, and the ghosts of the incident seem to linger in Jenny’s subconscious. Her family begins to crumble in the aftermath, as her father regrets this course of action and will not rest until the man is brought to justice. The narrator is Jenny’s psychiatrist as he works to help her uncover the truth of that night. A fun and creative thriller, and the movie rights have recently been sold.

Chris – Technical Services

canalzheimersCan Alzheimer’s Be Stopped? written by Sarah Holt, New Nonfiction DVD 616.832 Can

Scientists reconstruct the molecular chain of events which leads to dementia.They explore the leading theories and you meet individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s and the clinical trials they are participating in as the researchers test their theories. A peak behind-the-scenes of what is happening in Alzheimer’s research. Recommended viewing for those who wish to learn more about the medical research currently going on.

isawthelightI Saw the Light starring Tom Hiddleston, New DVD I Saw

Tom Hiddleston stars as Hank Williams, the country western singer who rose to fame quickly and burned out fast. During his short lifetime, he wrote many timeless and heart-wrenching songs still covered by musicians today. Tom does a terrific job portraying the charismatic performer with a troubled soul and interpreting his songs.

headincloudsHead in the Cloud: Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up by William Poundstone, New Nonfiction 306.42 Pou

If a few keystrokes can summon information in seconds, why should we bother learning facts? The author examines what Americans know and don’t know on a range of topics. He shows that many areas of knowledge correlate with the quality of our lives – wealth, health, and happiness – and even with politics and behavior.

Being well informed is about context as much as it is about factoids. It is the overview that permits the assessment of the particular that offers all-important insight into what we don’t know. Exposure to facts is good, but so is interacting with others of differing viewpoints. Discussion and debate hone opinions more effectively than reading facts.

walkingpointWalking Point: From the Ashes of the Vietnam War by Perry A. Ulander, New Nonfiction 921 Ulander

Memories of the war you may not want to hear about from a soldier who was there. 236 pages, very fast reading.

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