Saturday, October 25, 2014

I Work at a Public Library

I Work at a Public Library: A Selection of Crazy Stories From the Stacks
by Gina Sheridan [817 She]

Several of my library co-workers were already reading this humorous collection of "insider" stories from the world of public libraries, so I couldn't pass it up. Gina Sheridan, the author/editor of this work, has run a blog (linked below) for several years, in which she gathers the outrageous stories of librarians who have crazy or unusual transactiosn with their customers. This volume reproduces several of the most popular "incidents" from that blog, and breaks them all down, very humorously, into categories as designated by the Dewey Decimal system. If you're curious about the kinds of bizarre librarian-customer interactions that take place in public libraries across the United States, this gives you a little peek into that world. And, while I enjoyed this book very much, it barely scratches the surface — I would've liked to have seen even more stories that were presented. Sheridan (and her fellow contributors) also seem to soft-peddle some of the stories...those of us working in the library industry certainly have even more outrageous stories to tell. But...perhaps you don't want to have your hair curl! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[ the official I Work at a Public Library Tumblr site ] | [ official Gina Sheridan web site ]


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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, October 24, 2014

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (on DVD)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
[DVD Cabinet]

A classic, 1920, German silent film with a twist ending I didn't anticipate. Francis tells the story of him and his friend, Alan, who are both in love with Jane. The two men visit a carnival and see the sideshow of Dr. Caligari who claims that his somnambulist, Cesare (played by Conrad Veidt - remember the German Major in Casablanca?) can answer questions about the future due to his being constantly asleep. Alan jokingly asks when he will die, and Cesare answers, "at dawn." And now we're worried because a serial killer is currently at work. Francis and Jane investigate Dr. Caligari and Cesare, learning that Caligari is actually the director of the local insane asylum. Jane is kidnapped, a wild chase ensues, and the story returns to the present where we get the surprise ending. And there's a reason for the weird, expressionist background. The film runs only 75 min but is excellent entertainment. I first saw this movie in the late 1970s or early 1980s when it was available on VHS (and yes, I still have the tape). After my first viewing and knowing the ending I rewatched it immediately (like we all did after first seeing The Sixth Sense). Ignore the remakes, this original is the only way to go. And you'll learn what a somnambulist is! -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Charlotte's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ Wikipedia page for this film ]


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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!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Return of Sherlock Holmes
by Arthur Conan Doyle

This collection of 13 short stories begins with Sherlock's return to Baker Street. Having been sometime since his disappearance/death at the Reinenbach Falls, his faithful friend Watson is so shocked to see him, he faints. Once recovered and told how he survived and returned, the pair are back to solving mysteries. I like the short story collections, but there are full length novels by Doyle including A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Valley of Fear. If you liked the new Sherlock tv series by the BBC which is set in modern times more than you liked the Robert Downy Jr. movies, I recommend reading the these. Even though the tv series is set in modern London, I think it's more similar to the books than the movies are. Really, I'd recommend this book to anyone this time of year. I think autumn/winter is the perfect time to read these because the nights are dark and chilly, perfect for reading mysteries. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock: Seasons 1-3 by the BBC starring Benedict Cumberbatch.]

[Also available in a variety of additional formats.]

[ official Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate web site ]


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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!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark
by Peter Milligan (writer) and Mikel Janin (artist) [YA PB Milligan]

The comic-book industry, especially the two major mainstream publishers — DC and Marvel — is rife with "reboots", in which the creators reinvent the world in which long-standing characters exist. DC in particular, revamped their comics line around 2010. One of the new titles that grew out of their "The New 52" revamping is Justice League Dark. The Justice League itself, comprised of such colorful characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter, is well known, But, the Justice League Dark gathered a number of the anti-heroes or figures associated with the paranormal and mystic elements in the DC universe, and teamed them up to fight the kinds of supernatural menaces that "normal" superheroes were ill-equipped to deal with. Fan favorite paranormal heroes, such as John Constantine, Deadman, Zatanna and Madame Xanadu form the core of this new group, with other supernatural heroes (Frankenstein, Shade the Changing Man, Black Orchid, Swamp Thing, Timothy Hunter and many more) coming into individual issues of the comic book to provide the occasional assist. DC has gathered up issues of this ongoing comic book to release "graphic novels" that include 6 issues of the comic in each trade paperback. The art is fantastic, the writing is strong, and for anyone who's ever been a fan of any of the quirkier characters in the background of the DC comics universe, I highly encourage that you check out these Justice League Dark collections! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Volumes Two and Three in this graphic novel series.]

[ Justice League Dark page on Wikipedia ]


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Dark Lady: Sherlock, Lupin and Me

The Dark Lady: Sherlock, Lupin and Me
by "Irene Adler" [j Adler]

Although we don't normally review youth materials on BookGuide, there are a lot of Sherlock Holmes afficionados who may appreciate this juvenile title. The Dark Lady is an English language translation of the first in a six-book series originally released in Italian. The book is ostensibly told from the point-of-view of Irene Adler as a young pre-teen, on vacation in the village of Saint Malo. In fact, "Irene Adler" is listed as the "author" of this work. Irene, as Sherlockians well know, will be "the woman" who bests him on a case ("A Scandal in Bohemia") in his later career. But in this story, she's very young. As are William "Sherlock" Holmes and Arsene Lupin (later a famed "gentleman thief" in a series of detective/crime novels by Maurice Leblanc), both of whom are also vacationing in Saint Malo. The three youth naturally encounter each other and form into a tight-knit band of friends. And, this being a juvenile crime novel, the threesome tumble across a dead body on the seashore. When the local constabulary seem incapable of solving the mystery of the dead man, the three juvenile detectives take on the case, which puts them in peril with the local criminal elements. The three main characters are bright, inquisitive and likeable, even though Sherlock has already started to develop some of the abrasive qualities he will exhibit as a "consulting detective" in his adult years. Irene herself is perhaps a bit too progressive for the time period in which this story is set, but she makes for a very plucky narrative voice. No matter how ridiculous the set-up for this series of books is, I enjoyed this and look forward to the other volumes being translated into English. Sherlock fans should enjoy this as well. One fair warning — the ending of this book comes rather abruptly, as if the author got tired of the story, and decided to wrap things up on short notice. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the books on our Elementary booklist — a comprehensive listing of alternative Sherlock Holmes works.]

[ English-language publisher's official The Dark Lady web page ]


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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!

I'll Mature When I'm Dead (on CD)

I'll Mature When I'm Dead: Dave Barry's Amazing Tales of Adulthood
by Dave Barry [Compact Disc 817 Bar]

I enjoy Pulitzer Prize columnist Dave Barry's humor a lot, including the 1990s sitcom "Dave's World", so I decided to give this audio book a try, especially when I saw that it was self-narrated. Plus, he always has a way with titles. It's a collection of essays that first came out in a print edition in 2010. I'll put a PG caution on it for some 4-letter words and adult topics but over all it is a fun and quite true look at parenting, middle age, technology, marriage, and other assorted events of middle-class life. It also includes parodies of the TV series "24" and the "Twilight" book/movie trilogy. Dave also gets some serious shots in among the comedy at tightly-wound soccer parents, health care, the downturn of daily newspapers, and the Miami-New York 'rivalry'. The chapters lend themselves to listening in "drive time" portions -- the tracks are from three to seven minutes each. Like me, I think you will LOL from time to time at Mr. Barry's sarcasm but also be touched by how astute and even sensitive he is, too. -- recommended by Becky W.C. - Walt Branch Library [ see Becky's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the book of the same title; Dave Barry Slept Here : A Sort of History of the United States; Dave Barry is Not Making This Up; Dave Barry's Money Secrets : Like, Why is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar? (downloadable audiobook); You Can Date Boys When You're Forty : Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics he Knows Very Little About (new in 2014).]

[Also available in downloadable audio and traditional print formats.]

[ official I'll Mature When I'm Dead page on the official Dave Barry web site ]


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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!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Draft Day

Draft Day
[DVD Draft]

Kevin Costner plays Sonny Weaver, the General Manager for the Cleveland Browns. As General Manager he's in charge of the NFL draft for his team and the story follows him getting the number one pick and the drama to go with it. Excellent movie for any NFL fan. -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Carrie's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Million Dollar Arm, Trouble with the Curve, or other football movies such as We Are Marshall or Remember the Titans.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]


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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!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Codex Born

Codex Born
by Jim C. Hines

In Codex Born, the second of the Magic Ex Libris series of modern fantasy novels, author Jim C. Hines ramps up the action from the first book Libriomancer. These novels are tremendously fun — Hines has created a magical system unlike any I've seen in fantasy books before. The magic users here base their skills on works of literature — they can literally tap into other written works to find the tools, spells, equipment and/or energy necessary to practice their own magic. For this adventure, our hero, librarian Isaac Vainio has settled into his role a magical researcher, and is still getting used to his intense relationship with the Dryad Lena Greenwood. When attacks on the local supernatural community force Isaac to become more of a participant and less of an observer, he quickly discovers that there are serious threats to the magical world — threats he may not have the allies and resources to effectively counter. Although this novel definitely feels like a storyline set in the middle of a much larger plot, it still moves that plot along effectively, introducing new twists to Hines magical worldview. Fans of the works of Jim Butcher or Rachel Caine should enjoy this series. I really enjoyed the way the author looks at the character of Lena Greenwood — who was pulled into Isaac's world as a stereotypical "character type" from a pulp novel, but who is now self-aware and knows that she was "written to be a certain way". I highly recommend this series. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Libriomancer, the first book in the series.]

[ official Jim C. Hines web site ]


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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, October 13, 2014

The Best of Scottish Pipes and Drums

The Best of Scottish Pipes and Drums
by various [Compact Disc 781.62 ScoB]

This album is a mix of tracks by three preforming groups: The Pipes and Drums 1st Battalion Scots Guards, The Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch and The Drums and Pipes of the Gordon Highlanders. The Scottish tunes and marches were all very well played. There are no vocals on this album at all, so if you like instrumental music you should give this one a try. Some people may not like bagpipes right away, but I've found it does grow on you over time. What you have to remember is that the Scottish regiments used to have pipers play in battle to instil fear in their enemy and keep their own troops going. A Gordon Highlander piper named George Findlater was actually awarded a Victoria Cross (the highest decoration for bravery in the face of the enemy in the British Commonwealth forces); wounded and unable to stand, he continued to play the pipes to encourage his comrades. You can read his story and take a tour of the Gordon Highlander's museum at the webpage l inked below. If you are interested in Scotland and its history then this would be a good CD to checkout for a sample of the sounds of Scotland. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try either Gordon Highlanders museum virtual tour: http://www.gordonhighlanders.com/?location_id=35 or George Findlater's Story: http://www.gordonhighlanders.com/The-Victoria-Cross#.VB3UKaPp_jU.]

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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 Clans and Tartans of Scotland

The Clans and Tartans of Scotland
by Robert Bain [929.2 Bai 1976]

This little book contains brief historical information on each of the Scottish clans and their tartan, motto and crest. On the page opposite the information is a full color photo of each tartan. There are some interesting sections at the beginning of the book too about how the clan system came about, how they were organized and their social roles. Scotland has a very long history, so this short introduction to a specific aspect of it was a not so daunting way to start reading about it. I married into a Scottish family so it was particularly interesting to me to read about my clan. It may be of interest to other in similar situations or to those with a Scottish heritage. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try http://www.tartansauthority.com/tartan-ferret/ — This is a good webpage about tartans. It is a bit more complete than the book because each clan's tartan has variations which you can view here.]

[Also available in several earlier editions.]

[ TartansAuthority.com web site ]


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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!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
[DVD Star]

This movie picks up where the previous one left off. Kirk and crew steal the decommissioned Enterprise and return to the now forbidden planet Genesis to retrieve Spock's body, which according to Spock's father must be returned to their home planet of Vulcan. The ship is not fully operational due to it's adventure in the previous movie. While they do make it to the planet, there is an enemy ship waiting for them. There is also a federation science research crew on the surface of the planet who also get involved in the conflict. Full of action and excitement it's a good Star Trek movie that would appeal to those who like action and sci-fi movies. I would recommend watching movie two first because it does directly pick up after those events. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Trek the Original Series and Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.]

[Also available in traditional print (movie novelization) format.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Star Trek web site ]


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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Food Lover's Guide to Kansas City

The Food Lover's Guide to Kansas City: The Best Restaurants, Markets and Local Culinary Offerings
by Sylvia Hogg Murphy [917.784 Mur]

I'll admit, what first grabbed my attention with this book was the gorgeous cover illustration of barbeque ribs, and the words "Kansas City" in big bold print. BBQ has a lot of regional variations, but the Kansas City style is the one I gravitate towards without question. My wife and I try to visit KC somewhat regularly, and whenever we're there, we definitely like to try out 'cue from one or more of the local joints. But...this book is about a lot more than just KC barbeque. Breaking the greater Kansas City area into 10 regions, the book dedicates a section for each region to Foodie Faves, Old Guard K.C., Occasions (places you'd go to for special occasions), and "Specialty Stores, Markets and Producers". Admittedly, I tend to hang out in the Plaza, Westport or Downtown areas of K.C. when I visit, and the restaurants and specialty shops this book recommends are all places I've either visited or at least am aware of. But there is a treasure trove of additional " foodie" locations just waiting to be tapped into. If you are an occasional visitor to Kansas City, and love great food -- I highly recommend this book to you to get dining and shopping suggestions you might not be aware of! And don't forget to stop at Oklahoma Joe's for the best BBQ in the city! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[ official Sylvie Hogg Murphy on Twitter ]


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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!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Water From the Well (CD)

Water From the Well
by The Chieftains [Compact Disc 781.62 IreYc]

This is a nice traditional Irish music collection that reminds me of the Lord of the Ring soundtracks. It's mostly instrumental with a few vocal tracks. I'd recommend it to those who like traditional world music. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the Lord of the Rings soundtrack albums.]

[ official The Chieftains web site ]


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Monday, September 29, 2014

Blood of Tyrants

Blood of Tyrants
by Naomi Novik

This is the eighth book in the Temeraire series by author Naomi Novik. This story starts out with a shipwreck which leaves our hero with amnesia on a foreign shore. Separating Captain Laurence from his beloved dragon, Temeraire, and putting him into a dangerous situation from the beginning of the book made this novel stand out as one of the best in the series for me. We are drawn back into the Napoleonic wars and thrown into battle once more -- with a Captain who doesn't remember how to fight with dragons anymore! The book ends with a cliffhanger which will undoubtedly be followed by more books in this series. -- recommended by Kim J. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik, plus any books in the Hornblower series by C.S. Forester.]

[ Fan-created Wiki for the world of Temeraire ] | [ official Naomi Novik web site ]


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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!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wallander (on DVD)

Wallander
based on the books by Henning Mankell [DVD Wallender]

Kenneth Branagh plays a Swedish detective in the coastal community of Ystad in Sweden in this excellent production of Wallander. The relationships between people in this series is what I find most appealing, in particular, Wallander's relationship with his adult daughter. The stories are gritty, compelling and tension-packed. Fans of actor Tom Hiddleston will want to see this as well. Series One also has an excellent documentary about the author, Henning Mankell. -- recommended by Kim J. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the DVDs of Inspector Morse, Prime Suspect.]

[Also available: The Novels of Henning Mankell that the show is based on.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ Wallander on EpGuides.com ]


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Monday, September 22, 2014

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
by Leslye Walton [YA Walton]

Ava Lavender and her brother are no ordinary twins. Ava was born with wings and her brother Henry does not speak for the first decade of his life. Even when he does begin to speak, it's rare and Henry is far more likely to be petting his dog or drawing very detailed maps than communicating with others. No matter, their mother Viviane determined that they are all less likely to be hurt and teased for their oddities if they stay in their mysterious house and do not associate with the outside world, for her own experience of the outside world led her only to heartbreak and misery. The twins live with their mother, grandmother (who has endured her own tragic losses), and a man whose loyalty is unwavering, though his exact relation, Ava isn't so sure. As Ava grows into her teenage years, she yearns for the company of more than just her household and the neighbors around her age she has befriended. Ava begins sneaking out with her neighbors to meet groups of others h er age and they are surprisingly accepting of the fact that Ava has wings. Ava creates the most daring dash from her house on the night of the huge celebration her town does for the summer solstice. As she's sneaking back home, she is invited in by someone she believes to be harmless. And that's when Ava loses herself. This book is beautifully written, but very, very dark. It is not for those looking for a nice, light read, but you will feel so much as you delve into its pages. Your heart is guaranteed to ache for Emilienne, Viviane, and Ava. -- recommended by Sam N. - Gere Branch Library [ see Sam's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[ official Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavendr and Leslye Walton web site ]


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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Landline

Landline
by Rainbow Rowell

Nebraska author Rainbow Rowell pens an adult novel about a troubled marriage that is falling apart among the laughter that it was founded upon. An unexpected twist in the plot lets our protagonist - Georgie, work through the hard question of where did everything go wrong...to the even more difficult question of should I try to keep my family together? A slew of friends and family try to sway Georgie's path, but she finds help in the most unlikely of places - in the most unlikely of times. -- recommended by Sarah J. - South Branch Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Eleanor & Park, Attachments, Fangirl - all by Rainbow Rowell.]

[Also available in book-on-cd, and Large Print formats.]

[ official Rainbow Rowell web site ]


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Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Fabulous Women of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell

The Fabulous Women of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell
by Boris Vallejo, Julie Bill, Anthony and David Palumbo [759.58 qVal]

The field of science fiction and fantasy publishing has recently gone through some growing pains, inspired in part by negative reactions to the traditional kind of fantasy artwork that seems to objectify women. As the publishing industry moves away from book and magazine covers with beautiful women in chainmail, holding big swords, it seems worthwhile to look back at two of the artists whose fame was most notably linked to that type of cover art -- Boris Vallejo and his wife Julie Bell. This beautiful hardbound art book reproduces dozens of each of these artists' works from the 1960s, 70s and 80s, that originally appeared on book and magazine covers, in calendars, on trading cards, and in gaming literature. The colors are lush, the female figures are curvy yet powerful, and the dragons, unicorns, alien beasts, spaceships and other fantasy or scifi set pieces are gorgeous. Vallejo's work epitomized the space opera movement in those earlier decades, and even if you find the cheesecake elements of his paintings to be somewhat off-putting today, there's no denying the strength of his heroines, and the impact his work has had on fantasy illustrations for over 40 years. [NOTE: Fair warning, there is nudity involved in some of these illustrations, including those works by Julie Bell.]. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Fantastic Art of Boris, and Icon: A Retrospective of the Grandmaster of Fantastic Art by Frank Frazetta.]

[ Imaginistix -- the official web site of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell ]


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Friday, September 19, 2014

Good Ol' Freda

Good Ol' Freda
[DVD Biography Kelly]

Do you draw a blank at the name Freda Kelly? I did too, but not any more. This is the story of the Beatles' "girl Friday", a likeable young woman from the same area of Liverpool as "the lads" who became their fan club president and business secretary. Now that her grandson is growing up, Freda decided to revisit her historic past life as one of the Beatles' inner circle of associates/friends and make her story available to the world at large. The bonus features are a bit hit & miss but over all this is a very engaging, informative, and absorbing remembrance of a seminal time and an unforeseen phenomenon by a woman who never let any of it change her happy and loyal but oh-so-capable character. I nominate Freda Kelly as the true "Fifth Beatle"! -- recommended by Becky W.C. - Walt Branch Library [ see Becky's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Beatles Explosion (DVD); A Hard Day's Night (DVD); Help! (DVD); The Beatles Anthology.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Good Ol' Freda web site ]

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dear Zoe

Dear Zoe
by Philip Beard

This story is about a family tragedy in the midst 9/11/01. Tess is an American teen with two younger half sisters. Zoe, the youngest at only 2 or 3, is playing in the front yard as Tess watches her. When the news of the terrorist attack comes on TV, Tess is called inside to see what's happened. Zoe, who was left alone in the yard, runs into the street, is hit by a car, and dies. The story is the aftermath of that Tuesday morning. There is not much in the way of a plot, it's more about moving on with life after a death and growing up. It's written in first person from Tess as a letter to Zoe, about guilt, grief, love, family, and coming of age. I think it would appeal to teens since it's told from a teen point of view, but adults will also appreciate it as a story of moving past a tragedy. It's a pretty quick read but some readers may need a box of tissues to get through it. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ See Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Lovely Bones, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.]

[ Publisher's official Dear Zoe web page ] | [ Philip Beard on Wikipedia ]
 

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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!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Foul Play (on DVD)

Foul Play
[DVD Foul]

"Beware the Dwarf" is the whispered warning given to Goldie Hawn's character early in this film, which starts starts a series of comical, farcical adventures. At its heart, Foul Play is a romantic comedy, but it also has some strong mystery elements in it as well. Hawn is her typically bubbly, confused self, and Chevy Chase (in his first starring film role since hitting it big in Saturday Night Live) is the San Francisco detective who has to investigate when bizarre things start happening. This a a goofy, romp of a movie -- don't expect anything serious at all. Also features Dudley Moore (prior to his starring role as "Arthur") in a quirky turn, and Burgess Meredith in a vaguely creepy supporting role. Great music and great scenery, but it is Hawn and Chase and their clumsy romantic escapes that make this a fun film to watch. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ See Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of Chevy Chase's other films, particularly the "Fletch" movies, or any of Goldie Hawn's other comedies.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]


Have you seen 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!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler

What would you do if your sister was removed from the family when you were five and you thought it was your fault? Would it make a difference if your sister was a chimpanzee? A touching and funny book about a unique dysfunctional family. -- recommended by Tammy T. - Collection Management Department

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Ape House by Sara Gruen.]

[Also available in downloadable audio, book-on-cd formats.]

[ Publisher's official We Are All Complete Beside Ourselves web page ] | [ official Karen Joy Fowler web site ]


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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!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Her (on DVD)

Her
[DVD Her]

In the beginning we meet our protagonist, Theodore Twombly (played by Joaquin Phoenix), as he is going through a divorce because of his inability to express his thoughts and emotions enough for his wife to understand. We follow the depressed Twobmly through his dreary days where his only highlight is work. Twombly works writing personal letters for other people - children to parents, employees to bosses, etc. He has it developed into an art form - the ability to express emotions for others. However, his personal life seems to be at a standstill until he meets "Samantha" - a new operating system able to grow and adapt to a user's needs. Suddenly, Twobly's life is all about Sam, and the adventure begins blindly, with our protagonist blissfully unaware of the hardships that lie ahead. Very intriguing and unique. -- recommended by Sarah J. - South Branch Library

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Her the Movie web site ]

Have you seen 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!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Dragon Business (audiobook)

The Dragon Business
by Kevin J. Anderson [Compact Disc Anderson]

The stylistic tone of this fantasy novel by Kevin J. Anderson is a little extreme, but if you like absurdist fantasies, you'll probably enjoy this one. Imagine Monty Python meets J.R.R. Tolkien. The Dragon Business (and at this time the libraries only own this in book-on-cd audiobook format), is a story told on two levels. In an extensive framing sequence, King Cullin "the Dragon Slayer" is taking his bookish young son on a father-son outing to a local tavern to introduce him to some of the commoners in the kingdom. While enjoying their boys' night out, King Cullin shares with Prince Maurice some tales of himself as a young lad, swept into service as a squire an apprentice dragonslayer. Only, young Cullin worked as part of a small crew of con artists, manufacturing fake dragon attacks and offering up their services to rid small kingdoms of the supposedly fearsome creatures. Until the scam crew finds themselves facing the responsibility of eliminating an actual dragon. The dialog is at times hilarious, the situations that Cullin, brave Sir Dalbry and gravedigger Reeger find themselves in are both silly and serious. And you'll find yourself rooting for young Princess Affonyl, who'd rather fake her own death by dragon attack and go on the lam than face a marriage arranged by her father. Anderson puts a lot of "modern" twists on the terminology and scenarios in the book, and those who prefer their their fantasy novels "pure" and/or realistic will want to avoid this one. But if you're looking for some laughs, give it a try! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, the closest match I can think of, stylistically, to this novel is the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and/or the stage musical inspired by that film, Monty Python's Spamalot.]

[ Audio publisher's official Dragon Business web page ] | [ official Kevin J. Anderson web site ]

 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, September 7, 2014

What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life

What's So Funny? My Hilarious Life
by Tim Conway [Biography Conway]

Tim Conway has cracked me (and probably literally millions of people) up for decades so I was delighted to see that he put out this memoir last year. It is a funny and gentle read, with a large helping of quirky thrown in. He and his immigrant parents personify the American Dream of working hard, being successful eventually, and living a happy life. I was amused to find that Tim, born "Toma", gets much of his off-the-wall personality from his parents, a tall Irish groomsman and a short Romanian-American housekeeper and seamstress. And I was surprised to learn that Tim has a wide range of educational and occupational experiences -- radio DJ, tailor, baker, army clerk, -- and he played several sports, too. And, of course, Tim reminisces about his wonderful years with the gang from the Carol Burnett Show. How can you not love a guy who would make a suitcoat and tie for himself out of the same plaid material that covered his home office walls for a "where's Tim" gag? -- recommended by Becky W.C. - Walt Branch Library [ see Becky's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try This time together: Laughter and Reflections by Carol Burnett; My lucky life in and out of show businessThe Carol Burnett Show: Show Stoppers.]

[Also available in Large Print format.]

[ official Tim Conway web site ]

 
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!