Tag Archives: WWII

January 2018

january2018It’s a new year! Resolve to check out your library and some of our staff picks!

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

windriverWind River, Starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, New DVD Wind River

Wind River is the story of a veteran tracker with the Fish and Wildlife Service (Jeremy Renner) who helps a young FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to investigate the murder of a young Native American woman, and uses the case as a means of seeking redemption for an earlier tragedy. It is well-acted and the story held my interest throughout. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded, letting me learn bits and pieces as the investigators made those discoveries. The movie states that it is “based on true events” but is actually all fictional, but based upon the fact that a number of Native American women go missing every year.

Chris – Technical Services

viceroyshouseViceroy’s House, Starring Gillian Anderson, Hugh, Bonneville, and Michael Gambon, New DVD Viceroy’s House

If you like historical/biographical movies you will enjoy Viceroy’s House, directed by Gurinder Chadha. The final Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, is tasked with overseeing the transition of British India to independence, but meets with conflict as different sides clash in the face of monumental change. Hugh Bonneville & Gillian Anderson play the Lord and Lady Mountbatten.

Chris – Circulation

atomicAtomic by Mogwai, CD 781.63 Mogwai

Atomic is the latest soundtrack effort from Scottish post-rock giants Mogwai. This album is the result of the band reworking the soundtrack they created for the BBC documentary Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise which examines the atomic age, from the accidents to the wars. What Mogwai created is an emotional journey to different aspects of this era. The science is evident on tracks with an industrial feel, like being in a centrifuge. Other tracks represent the devastation wrought on societies with melancholic strings and passages of quiet. This entire instrumental album is more restrained than Mogwai typically are with their compositions, but that just makes it tighter and more consistent on a thought provoking topic.

Hubbell – Circulation

blitzedBlitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler, Nonfiction 362.2995 OHL

Many are familiar with the evidence about the use of drugs, especially amphetamines, by Hitler himself. In Ohler’s book, he examines the widespread use and production of narcotics by the Nazi regime. Using the nation’s developed industrial network, the Third Reich poured resources and money in developing and distributing forms of amphetamines and cocaine to its populace and also to its soldiers. The Third Reich simultaneously demonized drug and alcohol use by its perceived internal enemies while using the same propaganda machine to peddle its own drugs to its people.

broadchurch1Broadchurch Seasons 1-2, Starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, DVD BROADCHURCH

The first season of this murder mystery series gripped Britain at the time. The mystery of who killed young Danny Latimer was even hidden from the cast until the last two episodes. David Tenant and Olivia Colman play detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller in the fictional town of Broadchurch in southern England. The cliffs and views of the area along with great performances from the primary and secondary characters have made Broadchurch a hit. The second and third seasons deal with new crimes in the area but the story and characters from Season 1 are still very much involved.

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December 2017

december2017coverIt’s December! ‘Tis the season to be reading (and watching and listening to) some of our staff picks!

 

 

 

Paula – Circulation

christmasstoryA Christmas Story, Starring Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, and Darren McGavin, J DVD Christmas Story

A Christmas Story is a classic holiday movie that the whole family will enjoy. No Christmas is complete without watching nine year old Ralphie struggle to convince his parents, teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect gift to receive. Narrated by Ralphie as an adult, the movie hilariously reflects on childhood memories that anyone with a crazy family can relate to. From leg lamps, to flat tires, to pink bunny suits, A Christmas Story will leave you laughing as Ralphie and his family celebrate the holiday season in their own unique way.

Lisa – Youth Services

sickenedSickened: The True Story of a Lost Childhood by Julie Gregory, YA 921 Gregory

This bittersweet autobiographical book accounts the author’s upbringing as a survivor of MBP (Munchausen by Proxy). Decades go by of missing out on school and friendships while her mother takes her to hundreds of physicians claiming her daughter has a fictitious heart condition. A good read.

Chris – Circulation

sleepwellbeastSleep Well Beast by The National, New CD 781.66 National

Indie/alternative rock act The National are back with their seventh album, Sleep Well Beast. This effort continues the tradition of mildly bending their sound in a different direction with each release. This time, they make use of electronics to compliment their signature sound, but not overtake it. A few songs break from the normal ambling pace that The National are known for to bring a bit of a hurried tone to this album. But otherwise, that melancholy drifting and Matt Berninger’s iconic baritone are as good as they ever were, as is his dark, intelligent, and dense songwriting. So while some elements may sound new, it is still unmistakably another excellent album by The National.

Hubbell – Circulation

landofmineLand of Mine, Starring Roland Møller and Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, New DVD Land of Mine

Land of Mine is an Academy Award nominated Danish film which tells the story of German POWs forced to defuse land mines on the Danish coast after World War II. The movie explores the relationship between the German prisoners (many of whom were mere teenagers) and their Danish captors. Two of the Danish officers take vastly different approaches to the POWs, creating a dramatic conflict and resolution.

americangodsseason1American Gods Season 1, Starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, and Emily Browning, New DVD American Gods Season 1

American Gods, based on author Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name revolves around the main protagonist Shadow Moon. After being released from an unwarranted prison sentence, Shadow Moon meets Mr. Wednesday, one of the old gods. The plot of the series pits new gods (like Mr. World, the god of globalization) against older ones (like Bilquis, the Goddess of Sheba). The gods wield power based on the number of followers they have. The old gods have lost power over the years and fight to regain control of the people’s faith. The series can be disjointed at times but is visually stunning and has received excellent reviews.

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November 2017

november2017coverIt’s November, a time to be thankful for everything good in life including family, friends, food, books, and music. Check out some of our recommended titles!

 

 

Theresa – Youth Services

eleanoroliphantEleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, New Fiction Honeyman

Thirty-year-old Eleanor Oliphant has worked the same job since getting out of school. She can’t stand her coworkers and looks forward to her weekends which entail ordering pizza and drinking large quantities of vodka. The only time the doorbell rings is if it’s the landlord, the gas company, or her Social Services case worker. (We later find out why this is the case.) Her only phone conversations are with “Mummy,” who does nothing but ridicule her.

One day everything changes. She and the unhygienic IT guy from work happen to witness an elderly gentleman collapse in the middle of the street as they are leaving work. Eleanor, who would never have become involved, is begrudgingly coerced into action. This incident has flung Eleanor into social situations she has never experienced. Her life drastically changes from here.

This book will have you laughing out loud at Eleanor’s lack of social skills, commentaries, and brutal truthfulness. As the story progresses, we learn why Eleanor is the way she is, and how she overcomes the tragedies she has endured.

Melissa – Technical Services

shadowlandThe Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova, Fiction Kostova

In her newest historical adventure, Kostova writes of Bulgaria in post-WWII times. The protaganist, Alexandra, has just arrived in Sophia from America in the spring of 2008 to teach. Her first encounter with native Bulgarians proves to be a bungle, and she finds she has accidentally left with one of their packages: an ornately carved urn inscribed with a name. As she attempts to find its owners, she learns more about the man whose remains she carries, and it proves to be both an exquisite and excruciating life. Kostova’s researched details and heavy reliance on setting pull the reader in on another journey both through continents and through time.

Chris – Tech Services

webandofangelsWe Band of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped on Bataan by Elizabeth M. Norman, New Nonfiction 940.5475 NOR

The “women” were the Army and Navy nurses left on Bataan and the island of Corregidor tending the wounded, when General Wainwright surrendered on May 6, 1942. For them, war became Hell.

The nurses, along with soldiers and civilians were caught by the Japanese and sent to prison camps at San Tomas and Los Banos for three years to wait out the war. Upon coming home after the Japanese surrender; life continued to be hell for many. This was due to malnutrition, tropical diseases, what we refer to as post-traumatic stress disorder,
and lastly the non-recognition of their female leaders who kept their morale up and kept them focused.

All written from first-hand accounts, diaries, letters and in-person interviews, it is a true saga of women in WWII.

Pat – Circulation

strangerinthewoodsThe Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, New Nonfiction 921 Knight, C. Fin

This is the true story of a 20 year old man who walked into the Maine woods with a small number of items who chose to live in seclusion. He robbed lakeside summer camps (vacation cabins) for food and basic supplies. He devised systems and carved a life that allowed him to live for 27 years in the brutal Maine woods, sometimes in 20+ below zero winter weather. He only interacted with other people twice, once saying “hi” to a hiker and once with hand movements and body language only.

The story of Christopher Knight is a remarkable one. It is well worth reading for the insights it gives into an extraordinary mind and the amazing tale of survival that very few could have accomplished.

Chris – Circulation

slowdiveSlowdive by Slowdive, New CD 781.66 Slowdive

British shoegaze/dream pop band Slowdive have returned with a new album after 22 years, and boy was it worth the wait. Universally acclaimed by music critics, this album doesn’t falter like others do when bands decide to reform after a lengthy hiatus. It continues and even expands upon the band’s former work, taking it in new, masterfully-crafted directions from veterans. Listeners can expect to become enveloped in atmospheric, swirling guitars and airy vocals that blend into the mix. The music will soothe the spirit and send it into a “slow dive” into euphoria. Standout tracks are singles “Star Roving” and “Sugar for the Pill,” and “Falling Ashes,” the album closer that, to me, sounds exactly like its title describes.

Paula – Circulation

gothamGotham, Starring Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, and Robin Lord Taylor, DVD Gotham Season 1

Before becoming the police commissioner of Gotham and a major ally for Batman, James Gordon fought crime as a detective on the Gotham City police force. This series centers on a young Jim Gordon and his struggles to clean up the crime ridden streets of Gotham, while also helping a teenage Bruce Wayne along on his journey to becoming Batman. One of my favorite things about the series is that it also places a significant focus on the origins of popular Batman villains, such as Penguin, the Riddler, and Catwoman. The villains are each given a major personality that causes them to be some of the most likable characters on the show. You will find yourself rooting for the villains rather than the so-called heroes of Gotham. This series does an amazing job of delving into the years before Batman, and shows how the darkness of Gotham corrupts even the lightest of hearts. It is a must-see for all Batman fans.

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October 2017

october2017coverIt’s October! Check out our picks for some sweet treats!

 

 

 

Chris – Circulation

villainsVillains by Queens of the Stone Age, New CD 781.66 Queens of the Stone Age

Sludge rock superstars Queens of the Stone Age are back with something a bit different than their typical grime-heavy sound this time around. They called on Mark Ronson, the prolific producer of artists such as Adele, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Kaiser Chiefs, for Villains and it shows. The whole album is infused with more rock’n’roll and dance vibes from vocal melodies to guitar sound. But what makes Queens of the Stone Age and this album so great is that they don’t lose their unique identity, their swagger, their musicianship, even while toying with their sound. Josh Homme’s haunting and cocky vocals, crunchy layers of guitar, and those deep bass lines are all still present, if a little bit cleaner. Songs in particular to check out include their first single “The Way You Used to Do,” “Feet Don’t Fail Me,” “The Evil Has Landed,” and “Villains of Circumstance.”

Michelle – Administration

concreteandgoldConcrete and Gold by Foo Fighters, New CD 781.66 Foo Fighters

To be honest upfront, I have to admit that I am terribly biased as the Foo Fighters are one of my all-time favorite bands. That being said, I think that their new album is a great addition to the Foo catalog. The songs are catchy and you’ll definitely find yourself tapping along. If you enjoyed any of their previous albums, I’m sure this one won’t disappoint.

Hubbell – Circulation

vietnamwarThe Vietnam War, New DVD 959.704 Vietnam

Renowned documentarians Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s most recent film covers the history of the Vietnam War. Using raw primary source footage and countless interviews from soldiers and officials from both sides of the conflict, Burns & Novick provide an objective account of one of America’s most controversial wars. In addition to recounting the military and political aspects of the conflict, the film also contextualizes the entire experience within the seismic cultural shifts of 1960s America.

tonierdmannToni Erdmann, starring Peter Simonischek and Sandra Huller, New DVD Toni Erdmann

One of this years Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language film, Toni Erdmann is a quirky but profound film about a father’s attempt to reconnect with his workaholic daughter. Winfreid’s father creates an alter-ego, Toni, and infiltrates his daughter’s professional and personal life. Full of dark humor and also tender moments, the film is deserving of its critical accolades: “If a single movie were enough to silence reports of the death of cinema, it would be this one” (NYT).

inthegardenofbeastsIn the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, Nonfiction 934.086 LAR

Larson, author of The Devil in the White City, Dead Wake, and many other narrative fiction works, tells the story of the American ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, in the months leading up to the outbreak of World War II. It is an incredible first-hand account of the actions of the Third Reich as they created the national support for the war. It provides a nuanced review of how the world let the Reich become what it did as the international community looked the other way.

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August 2017

augdogdays2017It’s August! The dog days of summer have arrived! Beat the heat with some of our cool picks!

 

 

Chris – Circulation

crackupCrack-Up by Fleet Foxes, New CD 781.66 Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes are back after six years of waiting for a follow-up to 2011’s Helplessness Blues. All that time away gave them the opportunity to transform their sound into something grander, not just rehash what they had done on their previous two albums. What they have done on Crack-Up is evolve their unique brand of indie folk into a progressive folk style. The compositions are less lyrically structured and more instrumentally expansive. The focus is really more on the concept of the album as a whole rather than the individual songs. The album ebbs and flows naturally itself, and even within songs. This is usually a style implemented by rock and metal artists, but Fleet Foxes pull it off beautifully, and in doing so lead the folk genre to new bright adventures down seldom-trodden paths.

Paula – Circulation

kingsmanthesecretserviceKingsman: The Secret Service, starring Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, and Samuel L. Jackson, DVD Kingsman

Eggsy is a troublemaker just trying to get by on the streets of London. Before being sent to jail, he is recruited to join the Kingsman, a secret British spy organization that protects the world from monumental threats. As he learns what it means to be a Kingsman, Eggsy and the other agents must try to stop a villainous tech genius from killing off the majority of the world’s population. Filled with non-stop, fast paced action and witty humor, this movie will keep you on the edge of your seat. Colin Firth amazes in his character as Agent Harry Hart, and will leave you desperately wanting more.

hacksawridgeHacksaw Ridge, starring Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, and Sam Worthington, New DVD Hacksaw Ridge

Set in WWII, Hacksaw Ridge tells the true story of army medic Desmond Doss. As a pacifist, Doss refused to bear arms during training and in battle, causing much tension and backlash from his fellow soldiers. Despite this, Doss never lost touch with his faith, and went on to save the lives of 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa without firing a single shot. For his valiant efforts, Doss was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Hacksaw Ridge is one of the best war pictures I have ever seen. It is filled with raw emotion and powerful strength that captivates all viewers. Andrew Garfield delivers an outstanding performance as Doss that rightfully earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Michelle – Administration

Smallville, Seasons 1-10, DVD Smallville

Smallville, one of my all-time favorite shows, follows Clarsmallvillek Kent from his teen years in Smallville through to the beginnings of his superhero days in Metropolis. The show followed a strict “no tights, no flights” rule, so don’t expect Superman. You will get to see Clark’s ever evolving relationship with Lex Luthor, his childhood romance with Lana Lang and the Lois and Clark origin story, with special appearances by the Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary and more . This is the show that ushered in the era of current superhero shows. One small caveat, if you are starting with season one, the special effects are pretty cheesy, but they do greatly improve as the show progresses. Smallville stars Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Erica Durance as Lois Lane and Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen.

Jacob – Administration

accountantThe Accountant, Starring Ben Affleck, DVD Accountant

Ben Affleck is a math whiz who uses his talents to help corrupt organizations and individuals with their financial issues. Always in danger of being caught by either the government or competing criminals, Affleck must work quick to unravel the disappearance of a large amount of money. This fast paced movie entertains and keeps the viewer guessing as to what is going to happen next.

Brigitte – Youth

myfrienddahmerMy Friend Dahmer by Berk Backderf, YA 364.152 DER (GRAPHIC BK.)

My Friend Dahmer by Berk Backderf is a Young Adult book that tells the true story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s life during his high school years. As the author was a close friend of Dahmer’s this graphic novel provides a unique insight into his life before he became a notorious serial killer. Themes touched upon in this novel include friendship, empathy, responsibility, and teenage isolation. This graphic novel has been made into a movie, set to be released later this year.

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July 2017

july2017coverIt’s July! Celebrate the summer and freedom with friends and family and some of our recommendations!

 

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

whothoughtthiswasagoodideaWho thought this was a good idea? : and other questions you should have answers to when you work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco, New Nonfiction 973.932 MAS

Mastromonaco, a former White House Deputy Chief of Staff during the Obama administration, wrote this funny and interesting look behind the scenes at the White House. She shares amusing, scary and downright embarrassing stories about her time in politics, starting as an intern for Bernie Sanders, working for the Kerry campaign and then joining Obama’s administration. What makes this book different from many other political books is that it is presented from the point of view of a woman in her 30s. Reading this book makes me yearn for the Obama years!

weinerdvdWeiner, DVD 328.73 Weiner

This documentary is an examination of disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s 2013 mayoral campaign. It is a fascinating look at the inner workings of a man who threw away his career, had a very good chance for redemption and blew it – losing everything in the process. Watching this documentary, I went the whole spectrum of feeling sorry for him to wanting to smack him upside the head. I am still amazed that someone with so much potential could keep making the same mistake over and over again!

aunitedkingdomA United Kingdom, New DVD United Kingdom

This film is based on the true love story between the future King of Botswana and a white English woman in the 1940s. It stars David Oyelowo as Seretse, who is studying in London before taking his rightful place as King and Rosamund Pike as the woman he falls in love with and through their love, they change the course of African history. Their decision to marry just as apartheid is beginning in South Africa causes an international uproar. Before seeing this movie, I was completely unaware of this story and I think it is one that people need to be familiar with. It is a beautiful story of the triumph of love and an intriguing look at race relations from the perspectives of both the English and the Africans. Oyelowo gives another great performance as a man torn between his love for his wife and his love for his people.

Pat – Circulation

walkingwiththeenemyWalking with the Enemy starring Jonas Armstrong, Hannah Tointon, and Ben Kingsley, New DVD Walking with the Enemy

Set in 1944 in Hungary and inspired by true events, this powerful drama depicts the heroic efforts of Elek Cohen, whose real name was Pinchas Rosenbaum, and many others to try and save thousands of Jews from extermination in that country during WW2.

This movie serves as a brutal reminder of the horrific acts of the Nazis and others, but also illustrates the true bravery of the men and women who took actions and resisted their evil.

It’s no Schindler’s List but a little-known WW2 story that needed to be told.

Chris – Circulation

wolvesWolves by Rise Against, New CD 781.66 Rise Against

Chicago-native punk-rockers Rise Against remain amazingly consistent with their new album Wolves. This is the eighth studio album in their almost twenty years as a band, but they are as urgent as ever. Urgency is one of the themes of the album, especially in terms of speaking out and being active. They advocate that the best time is now to let your voice be heard so issues of injustice and global harm can be resolved and not persist to a point of irreversible damage. Their political, social, and environmental message is conveyed over the typical energy of punk compositions. The first four tracks are the standouts on the album: “Wolves,” “House on Fire,” The Violence,” and “Welcome to the Breakdown.” I’ll also note that there is a parental advisory on this album for some strong language in a few songs.

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June 2017

june2017coverIt’s June! Summer is just around the corner! Grab a good read and enjoy the warm weather.

 

 

 

Michelle – Administration

fromcradletostageFrom Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars by Virginia Hanlon Grohl, New Nonfiction 920 GRO

Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana, interviews other mothers of successful musicians and shares their stories. The mothers all have unique and interesting stories of raising children hit by the music bug, including Dr. Dre, Josh Groban, Kelly Clarkson, Mike D, Tom Morello, Adam Levine and more. The author is in a unique position to be able to relate to her subjects and she also shares her own stories of raising Dave. It is a thoughtful collection of short stories and a good read for anyone interested in today’s musical creators.

Melissa – Technical Services

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, Fiction Burnet

hisbloodyprojectIn a search through his family history, the author uncovers some documents relating to murder trial involving one of his ancestors. Roderick Macrae is the son of a crofter living in the Highlands of Scotland in 1869 and from the outset, we know that he is on trial for murder. He is an exceptionally bright young man, and we hear his side through his written memoir. We then hear other perspectives, and learn that each is in itself unreliable. The journey of the book is motive and state of mind. What were the real reasons for the murder? Is Roderick a murdering psychopath or a man pushed beyond his limits? Did he suffer a fit of insanity or is he wholly sane? The colorful characters help bring this book to life, and at least one is based on an actual historical individual: a prison doctor who specialized in criminal psychology. My favorite aspect of “His Bloody Project” is the deft manner in which Burnet presents each side of case; each tale is perfectly rational and yet they are mutually exclusive. This book is a thrilling tour through historical Scotland that offers much more than its description as “thriller” as it touches on class conflict and preconceived biases. The book earned a much-deserved spot as a finalist for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.

Pat – Circulation

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman, Nonfiction 940.53 ACK

zookeeperswifebookWhen Germany invaded Poland, bombs devastated Warsaw, and the city’s zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonia Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen “guests” hid inside the Zabinski’s villa. They ended up saving the lives of hundreds of people.

Sometimes the text does get a bit bogged down in details but the bravery of these people is amazing and truly uplifting. A fascinating true story.

Chris – Circulation

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, New Fiction Gaiman and YA Gaiman

norsemythologyMuch like author Neil Gaiman states in his intro to Norse Mythology, my initial encounter with the Norse gods was through Marvel’s incarnation of Thor, the god of thunder. Getting myself wrapped up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and being a fan of Gaiman’s easy-to-read but intellectual writing style, I had to check out this book. His experience in the fantasy genre and his previous works about gods and mystical creatures lend him to be the perfect candidate to bring some of these ancient stories back to life in a way only he can.

This is a collection of selected Norse myths mainly involving Odin, Thor, and Loki, the three figures with the most lore remaining. The book does a great job introducing these players and revealing their quirks. Gaiman wisely begins his telling with the very beginning–the creation of the gods and the Nine Worlds. He continues with their various exploits such as how Odin lost his eye, where Thor’s hammer came from, Freya’s wedding, Thor’s journey to Jotunheim, and his fishing trip. He appropriately ends the novel with Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. This is an excellent starting point for anyone curious about Norse mythology or anyone looking for a well-written collection of fantasy stories.

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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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October

October2016It’s October! Enjoy trick or treating, bonfires, falling leaves, apple cider, and all the other great things about fall and check out the recommended titles below.

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

weareallmadeofstarsWe Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman, New Fiction Coleman

This is a beautiful book, sad in parts, but ultimately uplifting and inspiring. It tells the story of two women: Stella and Hope. Stella is a nurse working at a rehabilitation and hospice center. Since her husband, a solider, returned from duty with a serious injury, their marriage has been in crisis. Hope is a young woman with cystic fibrosis recovering from a life-threatening infection at the center. Knowing that her life expectancy is limited because of her disease, Hope has been afraid to live fully and is isolated and sheltered. Both of these women are at a crossroads in their lives and have to decide how to live going forward. Each character narrates her own chapters. Secondary characters are Grace, a dying patient of Stella’s with a secret, and Hugh, a man who has a connection to the center that is revealed as the story goes on. One aspect of the book that I found especially moving was the inclusion of letters written by Stella for patients who are nearing the end of their lives, interspersed throughout the book. They mainly either express regret over actions taken or not taken by the writers or ask their loved ones to go on living and be happy once they are gone. The letters are extremely touching and really get down to the gist of what makes our lives whole.

leavinglucy

Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon, New Fiction Solomon

In 1917, teenager Beatrice, the daughter of well-to-do Jewish parents in Massachusetts, becomes pregnant after an encounter with a naval officer introduced to her by her mother. Not wanting to leave the baby to an orphanage, Beatrice instead abandons the baby in her uncle’s pear orchard, where unknown persons steal their harvest each year. Beatrice watches as the pear thieves discover and take the baby. Ten years later, Beatrice’s grief over her loss has frozen her in time, wiped away her aspirations, and kept her in a state of depression. She flunked out of college, she stopped playing the piano, though a gifted pianist, and she chose to marry a homosexual man in a marriage of convenience. Now living with her Uncle Ira, whose health is declining, Beatrice hires Emma, the wife of a local fisherman and mother of nine children, to nurse Ira. Unbeknownst to Beatrice, Emma is the woman who took in Beatrice’s baby, now a ten-year-old called Lucy Pear. Meeting Emma is the beginning of taking away Beatrice’s inertia and freeing her to move forward, while Emma’s life also changes due to her meeting Lucy’s birth mother. This is an absorbing novel, filled with the honest emotions of strong characters who face difficult life choices and live with the consequences, and who find the strength to move on from past mistakes and make new lives for themselves.

turnTurn Washington’s Spies starring Jamie Bell, New DVD Turn, Seasons 1 and 2

This is a Revolutionary War drama inspired by the book Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose that details a spy ring that fed information about Redcoat troop movements to General Washington during the war. The main characters are four friends who grew up together in Long Island: Abraham, a cabbage farmer with a wife and young son, Ben, an officer in the Continental Army, Caleb, also in the Continental Army, serving under Ben, and Anna, Abraham’s former fiance, now married to another man and running a tavern in their hometown. The show begins slowly, setting up the characters and background information, and builds momentum as the series goes on.

Most of the main characters are based upon real people, but historical facts have been significantly changed for dramatic purposes, so don’t expect the show to be historically accurate, but it is exciting and entertaining. And it may prompt people to learn more about the historical people portrayed in the series. The show is filmed in Virginia. It is well-made with strong production values. Seasons 1-3 have aired on AMC and it has been announced that Season 4, to be aired in 2017, will be the final season.

Chris – Technical Services

beyondthecallBeyond the Call: The True Story of One World War II Pilot’s Covert Mission to Rescue POWs on the Eastern Front by Lee Trimble with Jeremy Dronfield, New Nonfiction 940.54 Tri

The story of Captain Robert Trimble (Lee’s father), a distinguished flyer in WWII who was sent on a mission to recover POWs in Poland near the end of WWII. Another story of heroism from all those years ago, that might not have been told. Fascinating and heartbreaking.

Michelle – Administration

savingSaving Hope starring Erica Durance, DVD Saving Hope, Seasons 1 and 2

Saving Hope is a Canadian TV drama that is part Grey’s Anatomy and part Ghost Whisperer. The show stars Michael Shanks as Dr. Charlie Harris, the chief of surgery who ends up in a coma after a car accident, Erica Durance as Dr. Alex Reid, Charlie’s fiancée and fellow surgeon, and Daniel Gillies as Dr. Joel Goran, Alex’s former boyfriend and Charlie’s replacement at the hospital. In the first season, Saving Hope follows the lives of these main doctors, as well as their co-workers and patients. Charlie, in his comatose state, is able to communicate with other patients who are also in a coma or have recently passed. Alex tries to juggle caring for Charlie and her patients, while also dealing with the reappearance of Joel in her life. It is a fun twist on the average medical drama that has kept me intrigued well into season three.

Hubbell – Circulation

zeitounZeitoun by Dave Eggers, Nonfiction 921 Zeitoun Egg

Zeitoun is a true account of one man’s experiences in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Zeitoun is Syrian immigrant Abdulrahman Zeitoun, who owned a painting business with his wife in New Orleans. After the flooding, Zeitoun canoed about the city, distributing any resources he had and rescuing survivors. In a twist of fate, Zeitoun was arrested by national guard officers and subsequently jailed without a trial or medical attention for close to 30 days. In the meantime, his property, where he had been taken into custody, was left unlocked and unsecured by the authorities and was subsequently looted and damaged. David Eggers’ account of Zeitoun’s awful experience puts 9/11 anti-Islam sentiment against the backdrop of the worst natural disaster in American history.

Chris – Circulation

community

Community, The Complete First Season starring Joel McHale and Chevy Chase, DVD Community, Season 1

Welcome to Greendale Community College where you’re already accepted! Make some new friends in Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), the recently unemployed lawyer; Annie Edison (Alison Brie), the studious recent high school grad who has a knack for perfection; Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), your source for anything related to pop culture; Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), the bumbling activist; Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), the former high school football star that got injured; Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), the religious optimist that you don’t want to mess with; and Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase), the inheritor of Hawthorne Industries. Your Spanish teacher, Ben Chang (Ken Jeong), is only slightly ahead of the class in his lessons. Ian Duncan (John Oliver) will be your apathetic psychology professor. Finally, Craig Pelton (Jim Rash) is your dance, costume, and event-loving dean.

Throughout the first season of this highly-acclaimed but ultimately unfortunate sitcom, you will celebrate all of the holidays and zany school promotional events in a way that only Greendale can. The script is smartly written, packed with subtle, and not so subtle, jokes. It helps to be up on pop culture to understand some of the more subtle ones, but isn’t necessary to have a good time watching the show. Community is described as being very “meta,” meaning it knows it is a TV show, but goes along with it and the tropes anyway. Loaded with gags as well as Easter eggs, this show is worth a second viewing to catch even more. Season 1 gets better with every episode, exploring relationships and real-life crises mixed in with the humor. Community has a lot of heart, so maybe it will capture yours.

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Filed under Book, Music, and Movie Reviews

It’s DecemberDec2015cover! Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones and check out the recommended titles below.

 

 

 

Sue – Circulation

onceagainitschristmasOnce Again It’s Christmas by Kenny Rogers, New CD 781.72 Rogers

This is a new Christmas album by Kenny Rogers. His last Christmas album was released in 1998. This CD includes classic Christmas carols including The Little Drummer Boy, Winter Wonderland, and I’ll Be Home for Christmas, as well as original songs and duets with Alison Krauss and Jennifer Nettles. My favorites of the original songs are Once Again It’s Christmas and The Light. I also enjoyed There’s A New Kid in Town and Back to Bethlehem, which have been covered by other artists as well. Once Again It’s Christmas is a nostalgic song about the joys of the Christmas season. It reminds me of the classic song Silver Bells. The Light is a lovely ballad exalting the virtues of the Christian faith. The song includes accompaniment by a choir and an orchestra. There’s a New Kid in Town is a beautiful, melodic song celebrating the birth of Jesus. Back to Bethlehem is about the troubles of the modern world and returning to the values of Christmas. The album has a soft and peaceful mood, with string instruments and piano featuring on most of the songs, and makes a strong addition to our Christmas collection.

homefiresHome Fires starring Samantha Bond and Francesca Annis, New DVD Home Fires

This is a PBS period drama about the British home front during World War II, set in a small community in rural Cheshire and following the lives of the members of the local Women’s Institute. It was inspired by the nonfiction book Jambusters by Julie Summers, a history of the Women’s Institute during the war and its contributions to the war effort. The series opens in August 1939 and goes through the Battle of Dunkirk in May 1940. The series has been renewed for a second season, which will open in the summer of 1940 during the Battle of Britain.

Over 300,000 women were members of the Women’s Institute during the war. They did their part for the war effort by growing and preserving food, knitting for the troops, organizing the evacuation of children and taking in evacuees, setting up canteens for the troops, and raising money for needed supplies.

I am fascinated by the history of the home front of England during WWII – how England stood alone against Hitler and how strong the people were to keep going in the face of years of war and all the suffering and loss. The Blitz, food shortages, rationing, the death of loved ones on the battlefield and at home, constant fear of bombings, and yet they not only endured, but maintained positive, can-do attitudes. It is remarkable what women accomplished on the home front despite all the hardships and the strength and resolve shown by them. Women did men’s work in the factories and fields, kept their families fed when there was no food, lost not only husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers, but also women and children to bombings and other wartime events, took in evacuees, gave up their homes or land or possessions to the war effort, and in the end, they did their part to defeat Hitler.

halfbrokehorsesHalf Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls, Fiction Walls

This novel by the author of the acclaimed memoir The Glass Castle is a fictional account of the life of the author’s grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, written in her grandmother’s voice. Lily was a woman ahead of her time, strong and independent. Born in the early 1900s, she spent much of her life on ranches in the American West. By the age of six, she was working with her father breaking wild horses. She went on to become a teacher, working in rural one-room school houses, and a mother of two. In addition to her skills with horses and teaching, she also learned how to fly an airplane, all great accomplishments for a woman of that time. She was a tough and practical-minded woman with good common sense who did not suffer fools gladly. The book was entertaining as Lily had an adventuresome life. Besides her experiences on the ranch, which involved flash floods, harsh winters, and all the other troubles that come with livestock and living off the land, teaching, and raising her children, she raced horses, ran moonshine, lost her sister tragically, married a con man before finding happiness with her second husband, and survived both the Depression and WWII. She passed away when the author was eight years old and is fondly remembered by her family.

Theresa – Youth Services

heartshapedboxHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, Fiction Hill

This is a ghost story about an aging rock star known for his strange and macabre collections. When he finds out that someone is selling a ghost, he has to have it. What he gets is a suit…the ghost’s suit, which comes in a heart-shaped box. What he doesn’t realize is that he was tricked into buying this ghost who has a reason to want him or anyone who helps him dead. It’s difficult to imagine that a ghost could cause bodily harm, but this one convinces his victims to harm themselves. Scary!

I enjoyed this as a perfect book to set the mood for Halloween. After reading it, I found out that the author, Joe Hill, is actually Joseph Hillstrom King, the son of authors Stephen and Tabitha King. He decided to use an abbreviated form of his given name in 1997, out of a desire to succeed based solely on his own merits rather than as the son of famous writers. After achieving a degree of independent success, Hill publicly confirmed his identity in 2007.

Dagmar – Circulation

hemingway

Hemingway & Gellhorn starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman, DVD Hemingway

Hemingway & Gellhorn is a 2012 HBO biopic film by director Philip Kaufman (The Unbearable Lightness of Being), starring Nicole Kidman as Hemingway’s third wife Martha Gellhorn and Clive Owen as Ernest Hemingway. They are one of the most famous American literary couples. The film tells the story of their passionate love affair and tumultuous marriage; it depicts the conflicts between the career of a great literary master and that of his beautiful wife, a trailblazing war correspondent. The adventurous writers, who meet by chance in 1936 in a Key West bar, meet again in Spain and they go together through the Spanish Civil War and stay there until 1939. She becomes his muse for the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. In 1940, Hemingway divorces his second wife and marries Martha. Together they witness history and cover the great conflicts of their time, but the war they could not survive was their own. “We were good in war,” says Kidman as the renowned war correspondent Gellhorn. “When there was no war, we made our own.” In 1945, Martha Gellhorn asks Hemingway for a divorce. Kidman received a lot of well-deserved praise for her performance as Martha Gellhorn, especially for using her beauty – exceptional figure and old- fashioned movie star glamour – to full effect. Owen portrays well Hemingway’s charisma and his legendary temper. The film also features an all-star supporting cast and has a lot of extraordinary archival footage scenes. The only flaw the film has is its length – 155 minutes. But it may be a good film to watch on one of those long winter nights.

Hubbell – Circulation

sixthextinctionThe Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, New Nonfiction 576.84 Kol or New CD 576.84 Kol (audiobook)

Written by journalist Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction examines the patterns of the phenomenon of mass extinction throughout natural history. The author, through the presentation of convincing scientific evidence, purports that we presently are in the sixth such massive die-off in Earth’s history. Kolbert keeps the tone light, however, and even entertaining with chapters like The Rhino Gets an Ultrasound and Dropping Acid. The first chronicles zoologists’ attempts at sustaining population of the near-extinct Asian Rhino while the the latter explains the process of ocean acidification and its dire consequences on marine biodiversity. By analyzing past examples of extinction periods throughout the geological ages, Kolbert (and scientists) suggest we have now entered a new period called the Anthropocene Epoch, in which humans have irreversibly changed the very nature of biology on the planet.

Brigitte – Circulation

natlampoonxmasNational Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase, DVD National Lampoon’s

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a Christmas classic that the whole family is sure to love. If you are feeling nostalgic this holiday season, check out this comedy starring Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, a man just trying to make the holidays fun for his family, often with hilariously disastrous results. Yule love it!

Jacob – Circulation

DeadwakeDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson, Nonfiction 940.4514 Lar

The Lusitania was a luxury cruise liner headed from New York to Liverpool. Tragically, the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland and sank on May 7, 1915. Through meticulous research and historical documents, Erik Larson intertwines the stories of the ship and the submarine, while telling the story of this historic turning point in WWI. If you are a fan of Larson’s previous works, you will definitely enjoy this one as well.

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December 1, 2015 · 2:47 am