Saturday, April 30, 2016

Deliverance by James Dickey

Deliverance
by James Dickey

I saw parts of this movie many years ago, and I found it troubling. I believe, now, that I didn’t even see the movie in its entirety…. Upon listening to Burt Reynolds memoir (But Enough About Me), I decided I’d like to watch it again sometime… before that, I decided to read the book. (Reynolds said he had read it before being asked to play Lewis–I thought that was interesting, and I realized the actual story must be pretty good.) I’m so glad I picked this book up! I really enjoyed the writing itself, and as is typical for me, I was able to read the difficult scenes much more easily than I’m able to watch them. This story is beautifully written–many of the things Dickey’s character, Ed, says or thinks are things I could easily see myself saying or thinking. I especially appreciated that the story came from his point of view, rather than Lewis, who I had initially believed to be the protagonist of the story. In reality, it is Ed’s story, and that makes it so much better! I was really able to identify with Ed and his struggles, his fears, and his successes!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try , or The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, by Stephen King, or Jaws, by Peter Benchley]

[ Wikipedia page for Deliverance ] | [ Wikipedia page for James Dickey ]

Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Shaun the Sheep: The Movie on DVD

This is one of those kid’s movies that is just as funny for adults. Like the TV show, none of the characters talk, even the humans — they just mumble like the adults in the Peanuts cartoons. The story begins on the farm when Shaun begins to think of a way to get a day off their usual routine. Disaster and humor ensue when he and the other farm animals put the sleeping farmer an old camper, which then rolls away to the big city. The farm dog, then Shaun, then the rest of the sheep herd head to the city to find the farmer – as it turns out its not so nice without him. If you liked Wallace and Gromit you are sure to like this too because they are made by the same company using clay models and stop motion animation.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Shaun the Sheep: Season One or Season Two.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Shaun the Sheep: The Movie web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry

The Weapon of a Jedi
by Jason Fry [j Fry] 

The Weapon of a Jedi takes place between Episodes 4 and 5 of Star Wars. Luke Skywalker, along with C-3P0 and R2-D2, are sent on a scouting mission for the Rebel Alliance. A vision from the Force, along with a run-in with Imperial forces, lead Luke to the planet Devaron. Under the guise of repairing his ship, Luke is drawn to an old ruin declared off-limits by the Empire and avoided by the locals as haunted. Luke is guided to the ruins by a mysterious alien named Sarco Plank, a jaded opportunist with his own agenda. The Force guides Luke past the Imperial sensors to an old Jedi temple where he can learn more about the Force. That is, if Luke can survive Imperial hunters and a merciless foe out for his own gain. Jason Fry has contributed to plenty of Star Wars books before. He is a skilled writer who knows how to write a good story. The Weapon of a Jedi is a worthwhile read for any Star Wars fans. The plot and the villain are underdeveloped. But, it’s still a fun story that most Star Wars fans should enjoy.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Moving Target, by Cecil Castelluci, or Smuggler’s Run, by Greg Rucka] [ official Jason Fry web site ]

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie

Murder in Mesopotamia
by Agatha Christie
  An archaeology team from England and the United States is out on an expedition in the Middle East for the summer. The wife of the head of the team has been very uneasy so her husband hires a nurse to care for her. The nurse is the narrator of this story and from the beginning she is puzzled about what the woman’s issues are, because she appears healthy. When the woman confides her fear to the nurse, that someone is going to kill her, the nurse is confused as to why she was brought in rather than a private eye or security person. The woman’s fears prove to be justified when she’s found murdered in her room one afternoon. Mr. Poirot just happens to be passing through and is called into the case. While this will appeal to mystery fans, there is a substantial bit of archaeology in the story line so that if you liked the Tomb Raider movies or video games, you might like this too.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try 5 Little Pigs, by Agatha Christie. This novel like Murder in Mesopotamia brings the past to the present during the investigation.]
 
[ Murder in Mesopotamia page on the official Agatha Christie web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Star Trek: The Animated Series on DVD

[DVD Star]

When the original live-action Star Trek ended its three-season run on NBC in 1969, nobody could have foreseen that a fairly low-rated series in the early days of color TV was going to have much of an impact on popular culture. However, the studio packaged the existing 79 episodes and sold them into local syndication across the country (and, eventually, across the world), and audiences who hadn’t caught the series when it originally aired now found it and turned Star Trek into a huge hit.

With Star Trek conventions starting to pop up around the country, and an audience growing in size each year — and hungry for new Star Trek adventures — NBC authorized the production of an animated version of Star Trek. The Animated Series, which lasted for 22 half-hour episodes in 1973 and 1974, carried on the style and tone of the live-action series, while also pushing some visual boundaries that the live show could not have managed — several truly “alien” characters were introduced as “cast regulars”. Speaking of “cast regulars” — most of the actors who played the core cast of characters on the original Star Trek — William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, etc. — returned to reprise their characters in this animated version.

Some of the plots of the animated episodes were a bit more outlandish than the live-action series, and in subsequent years Gene Roddenberry and his successors in the Star Trek production offices have pretty much disavowed almost all of the events from the animated series episodes, stating that none of the animated plots are part of the “official Star Trek continuity”. At its worst, the animated series is too comical. At its best, Star Trek: The Animated Series can stand up to the best of any other Star Trek live-action series very easily, particularly in episodes such as “Yesteryear”, which explores Spock’s childhood growing up bi-racially on the planet Vulcan.

Any true Star Trek fan should own a copy of this series on DVD, but if you don’t, the libraries now have it available for check-out

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Trek: The Original Series, or any of the first Star Trek feature films, starring the cast of the original series.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ Synopsis of this series at StarTrek.com ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Once a Crooked Man by David McCallum

Once a Crooked Man
by David McCallum
  Not only am I a fan of mystery fiction, but I grew up on the pop culture shows of the late 1960s and 1970s. So when I saw that one of my favorite actors, David McCallum — Illya Kuryakin from the kitschy spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964-68); also “Duckie” on the current hit series N.C.I.S. — had written a mystery/thriller novel, I couldn’t pass it up. Once a Crooked Man is McCallum’s first foray into writing, after an illustrious career in both acting and singing, but you’d be hard pressed to tell that he’s never published a book before — this comic novel features well-defined characters — including a family of American mobsters, our main protagonist — a B-list actor whose Good Samaritan act pulls him into a deadly situation, an edgy young female British cop, and an embittered but determined wife of a British Colonel, desperate to avenge the wrongs inflicted on her parents. There’s a convoluted but cohesive plot, unexpected sexual encounters, and globe-trotting adventure.

Once a Crooked Man is not perfect, by any means — there are some pretty graphic bits, and, personally, I found the ending a bit rushed or forced, or I would have rated it higher. But, if you’re a fan of the comic farce crime fiction popularized by Donald Westlake in his Dortmunder novels, or Lawrence Block in his Bernie Rhodenbarr novels, you should enjoy this one as well.
[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Donald Westlake or the “Burglar” books by Lawrence Block.] [ publisher’s official Once a Crooked Man web page] | [ official David McCallum – Writer Facebook page ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson

Letters to a Young Scientist
by Edward O. Wilson [Biography Wilson] 
 Part biography and part advice to a science student or recent graduate, this book by a myrmecologist was a short read. It is very much aimed at science students at the university level in the advice it gives for those early in their careers. I read this after graduating with a degree in geology and I would say that it would make a nice graduation gift someone. People who like biographies may also find it interesting because in the series of letters there are a number of stories from the author’s life long quest to learn as much about ants as possible.

[If you’d like other perspectives on life in science I’d also recommend the DVD Antarctica: A Year on Ice about scientists who live and work at McMurdo. Another good one that’s a bit more historical is The Girls of Atomic City, by Denise Kiernan, about the people who worked at the location where uranium was enriched for the atomic bomb that ended WWII.] [ official E.O. Wilson Foundation web site ] | [ Wikipedia page for Edward O. Wilson web site ]
 
Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Series (on DVD)

[DVD Signed] 

In October 2013, the Hallmark channel on cable television aired a TV-movie titled “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”, which starred Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty) as the head of a small division of the man Denver post office which processed damaged or lost mail. The movie (and subsequent series) was created and executive produced by Martha Williamson, best known for the nine-season CBS hit “Touched By an Angel”. My wife, the daughter of a longtime postal delivery man, loved the story of a quirky crew of misfit postal workers trying to identify the intended recipient of long-delayed mail, and the drama that ensued as they reunited the letter and the person it was supposed to go to. The TV-movie pilot was very successful, and led to a ten-episode season of postal misadventures. Unfortunately, The Hallmark Channel decided NOT to renew Signed, Sealed, Delivered as a weekly series…but has continued it as a series of irregularly scheduled 2-hour TV-movies on the harder-to-find Hallmark Mysteries & Movies cable channel. This two-disc set includes the ten 1-hour episodes from 2014. The heart-tugging dramatic stories about the senders and receivers of “lost mail” pair up nicely with the more comical and light-hearted personal foibles of the four members of “The Postables” team. There’s even romance! If you like emotional stories about chances missed and opportunities recovered, with a heavy dose of humor to leaven the emotion, I recommend giving this series a sample.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Second Chances, a.k.a. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Movie”, available as a standalone title.] [Also available in traditional print format.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Signed, Sealed, Delivered web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Star Trek by The Vulcans (on streaming service Hoopla)

Star Trek
by The Vulcans [on streaming service Hoopla] 

This is not official Star Trek music, but the album does (at the beginning) sound like it could be from the shows. The album is classified as reggae music but it also has synthesizer sounds to it. As I said the music kind of drifts away from sounding like Star Trek as you listen through the tracks; to me it just sounded like retro videogame tunes. I was quite OK with that, because I do listen to those on YouTube sometimes. Overall it was a sort of weird but I still liked it. Just know that familiar Star Trek tunes are not included. If you want to try this one you can check it out on Hoopla, which is a digital streaming service our library subscribes to. There is not much in the way of set up you simply go to www.hoopladigital.com (or follow a link from our online catalog) to create an account, and then stream the music through your browser.

[If you are looking for actual Star Trek music Hoopla has a few albums for you including but not limited to: The Music of Star Trek by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, sound tracks to original television show, Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country, Nemesis, and the two newer films Star Trek (2009) and Into Darkness.] [ Review of this album on AllMusic.com ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library Library

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ringo: With a Little Help by Michael Seth Starr

Ringo: With a Little Help
by Michael Seth Starr [Biography Starr] 

If you’re looking forward to seeing Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band perform at Lincoln’s Pinewood Bowl this summer, here’s something to help you prep for it. This hefty 2015 biography by journalist/editor/biographer Michael Seth Starr (no relation, obviously, since Ringo’s given name is Richard Starkey but a nice coincidence) goes into great detail about the life and times of “the last Beatle.” The author’s fondness for the little drummer with the big nose is evident but he also chronicles the events, circumstances, and relationships of Ringo’s life with multiple perspectives and extensive research. From a wartime hard-scrabble and sickly beginning to fame as a teenage teddy-boy drummer who graduated to the rock-n-roll ranks with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes before John Lennon and company gave him a better offer, Ritchie Starkey’s childhood and youth alone would have made a compelling story, but to add in the fact that he became legendary in his own lifetime as a member of perhaps the most recognizable pop/rock band in history is even better. Add in his acting roles, his business ventures, his marriages and affairs, and his friendships with famous musicians and actors in addition to his relationships to John, Paul & George, and you have some engrossing reading. Now-days all about “Peace and Love”, Ringo is enjoying the fruits of his early labors, his escape from addictions, and a settled family life. Ringo and his wife, the American actress Barbara Bach, live part of each year in America, grateful to the nation that welcomed him with open arms when many of his fellow countrymen viewed him negatively for replacing Pete Best in the Beatles lineup. The book includes two small photo sections and an epilogue in which some famous contemporary drummers give their assessment of his skill and influence. Interestingly, Ringo did not endorse this tome, which seems arbitrary, given the love and time that went into it, but maybe that is just one cost of such a level of fame — not being able to trust what’s written, or have the time to review it, about yourself..

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Beatles Anthology, by The Beatles, or the DVDs A Hard Day’s Night, and Help!.] [ official Michael Seth Starr author web site ] | [ official Ringo Starr web site ]

Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King (on audio)

The Colorado Kid
by Stephen King
 I read (listened to) this book because my book club was going to be gathering for our 100th time soon, and we’d all be discussing our all-time favorite mysteries. Since I’m new to the mystery genre, I wanted to try to (a) sneak in another mystery quickly before we met, and (b) add a Stephen King one to my repertoire, if possible. (Did you know that most of his novels are considered either Horror or Suspense? I guess I used to consider Suspense the same as Mystery, but apparently they’re not the same. Anyway…)

I enjoyed this book, largely because of the fellow who did the reading — he did his Mainer voices really well, and there were only three characters, so it was easy to keep them separate. And the story was beautifully written, as I’ve come to believe that few authors other than King can do. My attention was snagged in the beginning and held firm ’til the end.

However, I’m only giving this an “I really liked it” rating, rather than “it was amazing”, because as a mystery, it didn’t have me absolutely on the edge of my seat, dying to know the answer…plus, well, I don’t want to spoil it, but it didn’t end the way I’d hoped…

That being said, I’d still recommend it if you enjoy King’s work and/or if you’re into mysteries.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Joyland, also by Stephen King.] [ Colorado Kid page on the official Stephen King web site ]

Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Star Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka

Star Wars: Before the Awakening
by Greg Rucka [j Rucka]

Before the Awakening is a trio of short stories about the heroes from “The Force Awakens”. Finn (when he was still FN-2187) is a promising stormtrooper concerned that he doesn’t fit in with his comrades in arms. Rey is a lonely desert scavenger afraid to trust but desperate to belong. Poe Dameron is a hotshot fighter pilot looking for a cause worth fighting for. Before the Awakening is a fun, well-paced book that provides even more depth to some new fan favorites. Any fan of Star Wars, child or adult, will enjoy this book.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Moving Target, by Cecil Castelluci, Smuggler’s Run, by Greg Rucka, or The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry] [ Description of Before the Awakening on Wookiepedia ] | [ official Greg Rucka web site ]

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Project Almanac on DVD

Project Almanac [DVD Project]

This movie, rated PG-13, was very entertaining. We all agreed we want to watch it again later this year. It is a Science Fiction Action Adventure. If you like time travel or teenage situations, you might like this. If you like geek techno-invention movies you would probably enjoy this movie. If you like suspense or thrillers you might want to try it.

[If you enjoy this, try an M. Night Shyamalan movie, like Lady in the Water, Signs, The Village, or After Earth.] [Also available in traditional print format.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Project Almanac Facebook site ]

Recommended by Kathy H.
Walt Branch Library

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Laughter Therapy CD sets from NPR

Laughter Therapy: Funny for a Living and Laughter Therapy: A Comedy Collection for the Chronically Serious
released by National Public Radio [Compact Disc 817 Nat]

Laughter Therapy is two sets of audio recordings from National Public Radio, featuring interview clips with comedians covering decades of NPR broadcasts. One 3-disc set — Laughter Therapy: Funny for a Living — is hosted by Ophira Eisenberg of NPR’s Ask Me Another, and the other is a 2-disc set — Laughter Therapy: A Comedy Collection for the Chronically Serious — hosted by Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me‘s Peter Sagal. Both sets follow the same formula — interview clips, interspersed with performance snippets from many of today’s and yesterday’s most noteworthy comics. Often, the comic was on tour to promote a “new” (at the time) book or DVD release, so some of many of the interviews cover the content of those books. But, often, the comics and interviewers are just riffing on the life of the comic. Entertainers including in “Funny for a Living” include Lucille Ball, Louis C.K., Sid Caesar, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Crystal, Dick Van Dyke, Jim Gaffigan, Buster Keaton, Groucho Marx, Bob Newhart, Carl Reiner, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Wiig, Jonathan Winters and more. I really appreciated hearing the voices of both Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in their segments! The “…Chronically Serious” volume features Mel Brooks, Drew Carey, Stephen Colbert, Eugene Levy, Martin Mull and Fred Willard, Paula Poundstone, Mo Rocca, Phyllis Diller, Joan Rivers and more.

Both sets are highly entertaining — my only complaint is that the snippets for each artist are so short that you’re left wanting more. Fortunately, in the case of many of these comedians, the libraries own their comedy routines on CD, or you can find their bits on YouTube as well!

[If you like this item, you might like these too – See each of the related artists in our catalog — we are likely to have some of their comedy albums available on CD, or through our Hoopla downloadable/streaming service!]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey

The Productivity Project
by Chris Bailey [650.1 Bai]


The subtitle of this recent book by Canadian productivity expert Chris Bailey is his focus — how to accomplish things that you desire, and not just “do” things that seem productive, by using a 3-pronged approach. More or less obsessed with productivity and time management since his teens, Bailey examines the topic with enthusiasm, practicality, humor, and personal examples. In fact, he conducted the project on himself over the course of a year and came up with 25 strategies to become more productive. He cautions the reader, wisely, however, that unless you really care about making a change and commit to it, you’ll just waste a lot of time and frustrate yourself. In other words, an increase in productivity should have a purpose. Do you want more leisure time? Are you building a business? Are you a home caregiver? Do you simply want to be more organized at home and/or work? Then this might be your answer, especially if you value things like control, discipline, and having plenty of time for passionate pursuits and personal growth. The book reads easily and is organized effectively. In fact, Bailey is so focused on productivity that he has even provided an estimate at the beginning of each chapter of how much time it will take to read! This is definitely worth a look for anyone who feels inefficient, overwhelmed, bogged down, or unable to successfully cope with managing the status quo of his/her daily life and work.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try alifeofproductivity.com, The Smart Guide to Managing Your Time, by Lisa Rogak, or Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson] [ official Chris Bailey web site ]

Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke

Rules for a Knight
by Ethan Hawke

I’ll have to admit — I didn’t enjoy this as much as I was hoping to. Actor/author Ethan Hawke (Dead Poets Society, Gattaca, Training Day) put out this short volume of fictional essays in 2015, after compiling it over the course of a couple of years. It is framed as advice being passed down from noble knight Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke (ostensibly Ethan’s ancestor) to his children, written on the eve of Sir Thomas entering a great battle. Each short chapter starts with a “rule” for proper knightly behavior, followed by a short fictional “remembrance” of Sir Thomas, recollecting experiences he had during his own training for the knighthood. Topics of the “rules” include, Solitude, Humility, Gratitude, Pride, Cooperation, Friendship, Forgiveness, Honesty, Courage, Grace and ten more. Also included is a short “epic poem/song”, referenced within the text of the rest of the book.

Though fashioned as a legitimate historical document, it isn’t — Hawke weaves together influences from a variety of different philosophical backgrounds and theories, and includes attitudes or ideas that seem much more modern than the time period of the Knights would have allowed. None-the-less, all 20 of the “rules” are admirable, even if the faux “reality” of the examples used to illustrate the rules are unrealistic. Since Hawke wrote this as advice for his own kids, I’ll give him credit for a good read!

[ publisher’s official Rules for a Knight web page ] | [ Wikipedia page for Ethan Hawke ]
 
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Smuggler's Run by Greg Rucka

Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure
by Greg Rucka [j Rucka] 


Smuggler’s Run takes place right after the events of “A New Hope”. Han Solo has his reward for saving Princess Leia and is anxious to get the money to Jabba the Hutt. Unfortunately, things never seem to work out easy for Han Solo. Persuaded/guilted into a mission by Princess Leia and Chewbacca, Han Solo and his faithful Wookiee copilot race against time to rescue a high-level Rebel spy on the run. A relentless and ruthlessly efficient Imperial agent is hot on the Rebel’s tail. If that weren’t bad enough, Han and Chewbacca find themselves dealing with stormtroopers, TIE fighters and a team of bounty hunters looking to collect on the bounty placed by the impatient and vengeful Jabba the Hutt. Along the way, Han starts to believe that maybe there are more important things than just looking out for himself. “Smuggler’s Run” is a short, fast, fun read aimed at younger audiences. Many older Star Wars fans will likely enjoy this book as well. It’s pretty much a by-the-numbers story that’s not terribly inventive. However, it’s true to the characters and a fun story.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Moving Target, by Cecil Castelluci or The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry]

[ official StarWars.com web site ] | [ official Greg Rucka web site ] 

Check out more Star Wars fiction in our Star Wars: The Reading List booklist on BookGuide!

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories edited by Otto Penzler

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories
edited by Otto Penzler [828 DoyYp] 

This massive anthology of shorter Sherlock Holmes works is merely the latest in a series of creative anthologies edited by Otto Penzler for Vintage Crime/Black Lizard books. Previous volumes have included The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries (previously reviewed here), and The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room Mysteries). For this Sherlock Holmes collection, Penzler has gather 83 short works from authors both best-selling and obscure. He opens with two short-short works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself (although he does not include the newly-discovered new story by Doyle that was unearthed in somebody’s attic in 2015. Stories included in this collection range from serious, written in classic Doyle Holmes style, to parodies and pastiches, having fun with the characters and tropes of the Holmesian canon.

There are many Holmes collections or anthologies out there, and often you see the same stories in many of those books. I can’t say I’ve ever seen this many different stories featuring Holmes in any collection previously, and Penzler has certainly included some of the rare, lesser-seen tales. If you are a true lover of the world of Sherlock Holmes, or even if you’re just a basic mystery fiction fan, I highly recommend this volume, although obviously nothing substitutes for Doyle’s 56 stories and 4 novels for authenticity!

[ publisher’s official The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories web page] | [ Wikipedia page on Sherlock Holmes ]

Check out more Sherlock Holmes related titles in our Elementary booklist on BookGuide!

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Join fellow mystery fans for the 100th meeting of Just Desserts

Hey, Mystery Fans!

In April 2006, the Lincoln City Libraries held its first Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group meeting, at the Bennett Martin Public Library downtown. For the next 11 years, the Just Desserts group has continued to meet, once a month (January through October), first at the Bennett Martin Public Library, and more recently at the South Branch Library, on the last Thursday of each month.

Over the course of 99 meetings, we've discussed novels or short story collections from 94 different mystery authors, and shared dozens of different types of desserts during our discussions.

To celebrate the 100th meeting of Just Desserts on March 31st, we're having a special meeting, moved to the Walt Branch Library for one-month-only. We invite any and all area mystery fans to join us.

Just Desserts #100
Walt Branch Library -- 6701 S. 14th St.
Thursday, March 31st, 6:00 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Instead of our normal format -- in which all group members read the same book to discuss as a group -- we will be inviting all attendees to speak for a few moments about their all-time favorite mystery novel or short story collection. We plan to record this month's meeting to release as one of our audio podcast episodes. And a list of all the titles discussed will be shared online after the meeting.

So...join us, even if you've never attended a Just Desserts meeting before. You're welcome to bring a Dessert to share with fellow readers. And be prepared to share a mystery novel that holds meaning to you...and why!

Star Trek Newspaper Comics: Volume 2

Star Trek Newspaper Comics: Volume 2
by Thomas Warkentin [741.5 War] 

This is the second half of a collection of Star Trek newspaper comics from the early 1980s. It features characters from the original television series with new storylines. I really enjoyed the first volume and was eager to read the second. It was not disappointing. The original series is my favorite and this felt like it has the same exploration spirit and crew comradery that I really enjoy about Star Trek. I really don’t have any complaints about it and would recommend it to any Star Trek fan. I’m now waiting to get my hands on the Star Trek UK Newspaper Comics, which have recently been collected (coming soon to the library’s collection).

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Trek Newspaper Comics: Volume 1, by Thomas Warkentin]

[ official Star Trek Comics page about this two-volume set ] | [ Thomas Warkentin page on the Memory Alpha Star Trek site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The United States of Pizza

The United States of Pizza
by Craig Priebe [641.824 Pri] 

The Lincoln City Libraries have an incredible collection of cookbooks, and nearly every time I wander by our “New Books” display, I find myself gravitating towards one of more of these visually appealing tomes. This one in particular grabbed my attention with its cover image of a meatball-festooned disc of pizza goodness. After opening chapters dealing with the kitchen equipment needed to make good homemade pizza, and sections covering basic crust and sauce recipes, author/chef Craig Priebe breaks the rest of this volume into chapters based on the styles of pizza involved: Naples-Style, New York-Style, Sicilian-Style, Sourdough pizzas, Stuffed pizzas (things like calzones, pierogies and strombolis), Corn Flour pizzas, Whole Wheat pizzas and Gluten-Free pizzas.

Each recipe in each section is highly-detailed but clearly explained, step-by-step, and there is a photographic illustration of the finished product for about 85% of the recipes. Each of which is mouth-wateringly gorgeous. I’ll have to admit — some of his recipes are really kind of “out there” (calamari pizza?), but most of what he includes in this book could be modified easily to accommodate differing tastes. Priebe makes gourmet pizza creation seem like something anybody should be capable of! And the pictures of the pizzas are worth the price of admission!

[ publisher’s official The United States of Pizza web site ] | [ official Craig Priebe web site ]
 
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz


Adam Gidwitz (author of the Grimm series) retells the story of The Empire Strikes Back. Gidwitz likens Star Wars to fairy tales in that it takes old stories and makes them new again. He also believes the hero of a fairy tale is “empty” so that the reader can more readily put themselves in the hero’s place. This is why, according to Gidwitz, Luke Skywalker is perceived as bland when compared to someone like Han Solo. Gidwitz thus places the reader in Luke’s place by referring to Luke as “You” and giving the reader insight into Luke’s thoughts and feelings. The other characters are presented in traditional storytelling manner. Interspersed throughout the story are “Jedi lessons”: basic breathing and meditation exercises along with stories and instruction about viewing the world as a Jedi. It is an interesting and unique way to retell the story. Gidwitz does a pretty god job in carrying it off. However, it does come across as clunky at times and sometimes prevents the story from flowing as well as it could. Overall, it is a good book and worth the time of any Star Wars fans. Younger readers will get the most out of it as will older fans with a sense of humor and willing to read a different style of Star Wars story.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy, by Alexandra Bracken or Beware the Power of the Dark Side!, by Tom Angleberger]

[ official StarWars.com web site ] | [ official Adam Gidwitz web site ]

Check out more Star Wars fiction in our Star Wars: The Reading List booklist on BookGuide!

Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Ellery Queen Mysteries on DVD

[DVD Ellery] 

Set in the 1940s after WWII, Ellery Queen Mysteries was a one-season TV series starring Jim Hutton as the mystery writer/detective, and David Wayne as his widowed father, NYPD Homicide Inspector Richard Queen. Each episode begins with an introduction to the murder (“in five min this movie producer will be dead”) and a listing of the potential suspects (“Was it the newly fired director? The young starlet with whom he’s having the affair? The film writer?”), and a challenge to viewers to “match wits with Ellery Queen and see if you can guess — whodunnit!” Then moves to the opening credits with the catchy theme song by Elmer Bernstein (encouraging you to Fox Trot across the living room).

The TV series is based on the characters in the Ellery Queen mystery book series written by cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee using the pseudonym Ellery Queen. The stories are plotted with clues that enable to reader to solve the crime and the TV series follows the same pattern.
At the end of each episode Ellery breaks the fourth wall to ask the home viewer if we have figured out the mystery (I never did). Widely recognized character actors populate this series and made the viewing even more fun, as well as the obvious familial fondness Ellery and Richard have for each other.

Definitely a family-friendly program, no foul language or grisly murder scenes, but definitely very entertaining and highly recommended. (Interesting side note: when Hutton’s son Timothy starred in Ordinary People and the Nero Wolfe TV series he wore the Ellery Queen cap his dad wore in the series).

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the Nero Wolfe mysteries on DVD.] [Ellery Queen mysteries are also available in traditional print format.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ Wikipedia page for the Ellery Queen Mysteries series ]

Recommended by Charlotte K.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

The Hirschfeld Century by David Leopold

The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age
by David Leopold [Biography Hirschfeld] 

This large, coffee-table art book is a wonderful tribute to the incredible art of legendary caricaturist Al Hirshfeld, whose highly stylized art appeared in dozens of publications over the course of his career. Perhaps best remembered for the line-drawing works that graced many a Playbill, celebrating the New York theatre scene, Hirschfeld’s earliest published art which is reproduced in this volume comes from the late 1920s. Hirschfeld continued to create new pieces until his death in 2003, and a 2002 self-portrait is the last (chronologically) presented in this collection. The over-360 pieces in this large volume are interspersed with biographical information about Hirschfeld, and historical information about the stage shows celebrated in the art — this text by editor David Leopold is equal parts technical writing combined with equal parts reverential tribute.

As a fan of Broadway theatre history, I particularly enjoyed the background information included with the art. There have been other past Hirschfeld collections, but this is a great combination of art and text, and I highly recommend it. As always, part of the fun in looking at Hirschfeld’s line drawings is finding his daughter Nina’s name hidden in the art, usually in the drape of clothing, hairdoes, shadoes, or bits of the backgrounds or scenery — often there is more than just one “Nina” present. Have fun looking!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Hirschfeld: Art and Recollections from Eight Decades, by Al Hirschfeld [1991], Hirschfeld: On-Line, by Al Hirschfeld [1999], and Hirschfeld’s New York, by Al Hirschfeld [2001] ]

[ publisher’s official The Hirschfeld Century web page ] | [ official Al Hirschfeld Foundation web site ] [ New York Historical Society Museum & Library’s web page for the Hirschfeld Century exhibit in 2015 ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Beach Boys: America's Band by Johnny Morgan

The Beach Boys: America’s Band
by Johnny Morgan [Music 781.66 Beach] 

As a lifelong Beach Boys fan, I have to read every new book that comes out on the group. This book was a fun read and had some of the best photos I have ever seen in a Beach Boys biography. The interviews and background information were very impressive. I also appreciated the complete discography, filmography and websites included at the end. I liked the format of the book, basing the chapters on the various albums that were released by the group in the past 50 years. I would definitely recommend this book to any Beach Boys fan. Even if you don’t care to read the book, it is worthwhile to just look through the photos and see the fabulous collection of concert posters and album covers. The graphic design is very well done!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Beach Boys in Concert: the ultimate history of America’s band on tour and onstage, by Ian Rusten and Long Promised Road: Carl Wilson, soul of the Beach Boys: the biography, by Kent Crowley] [ official The Beach Boys web site ]

Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!