Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics, Vol. 1: 1969-70 by Dean Mullaney and others

Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics, Vol. 1: 1969-70
by Dean Mullaney and others [741.5 Sta Vol 1: 1969-70] 

In 1969, before Star Trek had even started airing on any British television network (it aired 1966-69 in the U.S.), a comic-book format of Star Trek premiered in serialized form, 2 to 3 pages at a time, in British newspapers and magazines. The writers and artists creating this serialized graphic version of Star Trek weren’t given a lot of background information to work with, and in the early days of this comic strip, the Enterprise was led by Captain Kurt, and was far more militaristic — ignoring the “prime directive” of non-interference. Mr. Spock (i.e. Commander Spock) was extremely aggressive — seemingly “shouting” his dialog in very undignified manner. For many years, it was believed that these rare British Star Trek comic strips were lost to the ages, however this new oversized hardback book reprints the first two years’ worth of the British strip, with more to come.

I highly recommend this collection to any true Star Trek fan — just be aware that it is a product of its time, and you’ll be shocked at how little the early storylines adhered to established Star Trek styles and philosophies. If you’ve never read anything associated with Star Trek before — stay away from this…it should never be your introduction to the 50 years’ worth of Star Trek history that’s out there!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Trek: The Newspaper Comics, (in 2 volumes) by Thomas Warkentin.]

[ publisher’s official Star Trek: The Classic UK Comics 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!

A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

A Pocket Full of Rye
by Agatha Christie

A Miss Marple mystery involving a woman she’d trained to be a housekeeper. The housekeeper now works for a man in another town; the man dies suddenly and violently in his office at work. Police find in his pocket rye grains. When Miss Marple arrives on the case she notices that things seem to be following the nursery rhyme ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’. But who’s doing it and why? I found it to be pretty enjoyable; the Miss Marple books are always a bit more relaxed than the Poirot series. So while it doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat it is a fun puzzler.

[ official Pocket Full of Rye page on the official Agatha Christie web 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!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Flash: Season Zero by Andrew Kreisberg

The Flash: Season Zero
by Andrew Kreisberg [YA PB DC Kreisberg] 

This “graphic novel” trade paperback compiles several issues of a comic book that ties directly into the new Flash tv series on the CW network. There’s a twist — obviously The Flash on the CW is based on the character of The Flash (Barry Allen in his civilian life), introduced into the DC comics universe back in the 1940s. The producers of the TV series have altered some of his origins and created a team of supporting characters for their version of the character. This comic book/graphic novel tells all-new comic-style stories, but based on the current TV version of the character, NOT based on the version of The Flash as seen throughout 70+ years of comics history — in some cases the differences are minor and in other ways they are major.

The stories in this graphic collection are all set between episodes of the first season (2014-15) of this new tv series, and integrate well (sometimes even expanding upon) the plots in those TV episodes. The artwork ranges from excellent to not-so-good. If you are a big fan of the TV series starring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, then I highly recommend this to you. If you are a fan of the long-time Flash comics character, but haven’t tried the TV series, this would still be a good read. If you’re unfamiliar with the history of the character of Barry Allen (a.k.a. The Flash), you’ll probably want to pass on this one.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Flash, starring Grant Gustin.] [ The Flash: Season Zero page on the Arrowpedia ]

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!

All Dressed in White by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke

All Dressed in White
by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke [Clark] 

I’ve heard great things about both Mary Higgins Clark AND Alafair Burke, and when I saw this new item (something I could check off my 2016 Reading Challenge list–namely, “an item published this year”), I jumped at the chance to read it!

I really loved the premise of this story–it’s about a gal who is a TV Program producer, who specializes in bringing cold cases to light and attempting to solve them on video. This is the second in a series, but it didn’t seem to hurt me, not having read the first one. There are obviously characters that had been introduced before, but they were reintroduced in such a way that it didn’t seem redundant to me. (It’s important to me, when I jump into the middle of a series, to be able to pick it up without feeling like I’ve missed anything; but I also don’t want to feel like I’m being patronized by the author striving hard to bring me up to speed–this book was the perfect balance, in that respect.).

[ publisher’s official All Dressed in White web page ] | [ official Mary Higgins Clark web site ]

Recommended by Tracy T.
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!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Windows on a Lost World by V.E. Mitchell

Star Trek: Windows on a Lost World
by V.E. Mitchell [Hoopla Digital Service]

Probably the best word for this book, is weird. It’s a bit longer (3 hours) than some of the other Star Trek audio books on Hoopla, and that just made it a bit worse. The story is this – Kirk and crew are on a planet’s surface when some windows appear in the ancient ruins they are exploring. Kirk and Chekov ‘go through’ the windows and are somehow merged into the same body as large bug/scorpion like creatures, and while the alien has its own motives, Kirk and Chekov still retain their personalities. Spock, as he does, finds them and figures out who they are because Kirk can control the coloring of his body’s skin and communicates with Morse Code. They of course eventually get back into their own bodies, but if you think it’s weird now, it just gets more so. The females of this species are the only ones with the knowledge to help them, but are resistant to help males, who are just seen as dumb underlings. I found this so ridiculous I’m not really sure why I finished listening to it. At first it reminded me of Franz Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’, but this is much more bizarre. There are some things that are so bad they’re actually good in a campy way, so as I was listening, I was hoping it would turn out that way, but it didn’t. I really would not recommend it, but if you do still want to try it you can check it out on Hoopla, which is a digital streaming service our library subscribes to. Simply go to www.hoopladigital.com (or follow a link from our online catalog) to create an account, and then stream the audio through your browser.

[If you like this item, you might like these too – Checkout the Star Trek recommendations page on the libraries’ BookGuide readers advisory pages for more reviews of other titles you might like.]

[ V.E. Mitchell entry on Memory Alpha ] | [ official V.E. Mitchell web 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!

Sisters (on DVD)

Sisters
[DVD Sisters]

I knew, when this movie came out, that I would have to watch it. I’ve always loved both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, when working solo OR together. They were fantastic together on Saturday Night Live. I really enjoyed the memoirs each has written. So I knew this movie would be perfect for me. A part of what Fey and Poehler bring to this movie is not just their own comedic genius (which there’s a heaping amount of), but they also add in guest appearances by several big-name stars. Most of all, because I happen to be in the same age-bracket as these women, the jokes they made about their younger selves in the 80’s also rang true for me. Whether your were the “party girl” or the somewhat socially awkward one, you’ll find something to relate to in this film!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Baby Mama (another Tina Fey and Amy Poehler collaboration) or Mean Girls (Tina Fey & Amy Poehler together again).]

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

Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you watched 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, August 28, 2016

Delicious Dump Cakes by Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore

Delicious Dump Cakes
by Roxane Wyss and Kathy Moore [641.865 Wys] 

I was unfamiliar with the concept of “dump cakes”, when I saw this book on our “new books” display, and the colorful cake it uses on its cover (Peace Melba Dump Cake) caught my eye. “Dump Cakes” involve an absolutle minimum of muss and fuss, frequently encouraging the cook to use a pre-made boxed cake mix as part of the ingredients — although the book does have recipes for making a vanilla, chocolate or yellow “homemade” boxed-cake-mix. The instructions are incredibly simple. Ingredients are simply placed in layers in a baking pan/dish, without any real “mixing” necessary. The photographs in this book are gorgeous and mouth-watering, particularly the “Plum and Port Dump Cake”, the “Lemon Blueberry Dump Cake”, the “Rocky Road Dump Cake” and the aforementioned “Peach Melba Dump Cake”. My only complaint is that there aren’t photos of each recipe — in fact they’re there for only about half the recipes in the book. None-the-less, for cooks who who don’t have the time or patience for creating complicated desserts, this book provides lots of terrific ideas for sweet dishes that should please any discerning diner.

[ official Plugged Into Cooking website — Rosanne Wyss and Kathy Moore ]

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, August 27, 2016

Ollie's Odyssey by William Joyce

Ollie’s Odyssey
by William Joyce [j Joyce] 

Blend The Velveteen Rabbit, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, a bit of Calvin and Hobbes, and a fair dose of Toy Story, and you’ll have some idea of what this new book from William Joyce is like. Ollie is a homemade plush toy, partly like a teddy bear and partly like a rabbit, who has many pretend “A-ventures” with his boy, Billy. But his status as Billy’s favorite draws the attention of the “Creeps,” the frankentoy-like minion creations of Zozo, an evil toy clown. The Creeps kidnap Ollie and take him to Zozo’s lair, but Ollie escapes even as Billy sets out alone in the middle of the night to search for him. By the end of the book both Billy and Ollie find themselves changed in significant ways. The story is enhanced by Joyce’s own gorgeous illustrations.

The publisher suggests that this book is for ages 7-11, which seems about right; parts of it are probably too dark for younger readers. But there’s plenty here to keep adults engaged as well, including pop-cultural allusions to Star Wars, King Kong, The Wizard of Oz, and even The Magnificent Seven.

[If you like this item, you might like these too – The other titles mentioned in the review.]

[ publisher’s official Ollie’s Odyssey web site ] | [ official William Joyce web site ]

Recommended by Peter J.
Virtual Services Department

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!

iZombie, Vol 1: Dead to the World by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred

iZombie, Vol 1: Dead to the World
by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred [Hoopla Digital Service] 

Before I read this I had started watching season one of iZombie, realized it was based on comics and was curious how different they were. Turns out they are really rather different, but I liked both. For starters the main character’s name is different. In the TV show it’s Liv, and in the book it’s Gwen. The book starts after she’d died, whereas in the TV show we see her a bit before she dies and how she becomes a zombie, so we know less in this about who she was before. It is clear thought that she is no longer in contact with the people she knew before death and zombiehood. She lives incognito working as a grave digger and gets brains to eat that way. Like in the TV show, she needs to eat brains but when she does gets flash backs of the deceased person’s life and memories. Unlike the show she does not take on their personality and skills too. She has some friends including a ghost and a wereterrier; although we also meet vampires and a mummy. I used to watch the Munsters on TV and this kind of reminded me of it in that there are a group of ‘monsters’ who aren’t villains or really too scary, just trying to live a normal life in a world where they aren’t normal. The TV version of iZombie does portray this, but it definitely has much more action, thrills, and fear that someone may find out the truth about the main character and the repercussions that could come from it. I would recommend this to people who enjoy the TV series or fantasy fiction set in the modern day.

This is available as an instant (no waiting on hold) download from a resource called Hoopla. You can download it on your phone or tablet via the Hoopla app, or read it in your browser on a computer. I always read it on a computer which lets you zoom in on each panel to read the text better or be zoomed out so you can see the whole page at once. There is a Hoopla link on our website and you can now search Hoopla titles directly from the normal catalog and it gives you a link to download them from there, which is pretty cool.

[If you like this item, you might like these too – You might also like the Witchblade, Hellboy, or Ghost graphic novel series (also available on Hoopla).]

[ official Chris Roberson web 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!

Friday, August 26, 2016

iZombie: Season 1 (on DVD)

iZombie: Season 1 [DVD iZombie]

Someone I know talked me into trying this series; it was clearly about zombies which I was not really into but they told me that the main character solves mysteries about people’s deaths, so it’s kind of like a CSI show, and also there is brain eating with hot sauce. It was the mystery aspect that appealed to me initially, so I agreed to try it. I was a bit surprised at how much I liked it. I had not watched anything with zombies before was not too interested in them but in this series they are actual people we can relate to, some characters act like zombiehood is just a health condition or alternate lifestyle. It’s really full of surprises that I don’t want to spoil, so I’ll be brief with the plot summary. Liv Moore is a med student doing her residency at a hospital; she goes to a party, crazy stuff happens, a lot of people die and she wakes up finding herself in a body bag. She died, but didn’t because she was turned into a zombie who has to eat brains regularly. Because of her new needs, she gets a job in the medical examiner’s office to have easy access to brains. The brains she eats from the bodies of the corpses that come through give her visions and the personality/skills of the deceased and she uses this to help solve their murder case with the Seattle Police Department. There is a lot of character development in this series and a very twisting plot. This series is based on the comic of the same name, which I also reviewed this month. The TV show has a much faster pace with more action, excitement, drama, brain eating, and very graphic violence including blood, guts, guns, and meat saws. If you don’t like watching movies or shows with this level of violence I’d recommend you read the comic (available on Hoopla) because it has a comparable story without the blood and guts.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try iZombie: Season 2, or the iZombie comics on Hoopla.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official iZombie series web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

Have you watched 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, August 25, 2016

The Pursuit by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg on CD

The Pursuit
by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, audiobook narrated by Scott Brick [Compact Disc Evanovich]

This latest entry in the O’Hare & Fox series by the writing team of Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, picks up right where the previous book, The Scam, left off — with con artist extraordinaire Nick Fox having been kidnapped at gunpoint from the romantic Hawaiian hideaway where he and FBI agent Kate O’Hare were planning a romantic tryst (the culmination of their relationship, which had been percolating for the past four books in the series. The Pursuit has Kate tracking and preparing to rescue Nick from the clutches of an international criminal who needed Nick’s expertise. Only, rescuing Nick isn’t really an issue — it’s what they have to do after springing him free that gets complicated, as they have to go back undercover with the same deadly criminal, to try to foil his planned biological attack on an American city.

Unlike the earlier volumes in the O’Hare & Fox series, in which there was some mild personal danger for the characters to contend with, this volume in series finally made it feel like there were truly big stakes involved in the undercover scam that Kate and Nick are trying to pull off. I appreciate the racheting up of the tension and stakes this time around. As always, the dialog is snappy, the characters are fun, and it was great to see Nick and Kate finally “get together” beyond their usual banter. I listen to this series as an audiobook series, with narration by Scott Brick — who does a marvelous job on the books-on-cd.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the other books in th O’Hare & Fox seres, also by Evanovich and Goldberg.]

[ official Lee Goldberg web site ] | [ official Janet Evanovich 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!

Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

Aftermath: Life Debt
by Chuck Wendig

Aftermath: Life Debt is the sequel to Aftermath and it fulfills all the promise shown in its predecessor. Wendig’s first Star Wars novel suffered a bit from needing to set up characters and events to come later. His second novel delivers big-time as he builds upon the new characters he introduced. Existing Star Wars characters such as Han Solo, Chewbacca and Leia play prominent roles in the story as well. Wendig does a masterful job in bringing old and new characters together and making them all feel authentic. The plot centers around Han Solo and Chewbacca going missing and Leia recruiting the new characters (who have joined together as unit tasked with capturing Imperial fugitives) to find him. The plot rapidly expands as we see the beginning of events that form the backdrop in “The Force Awakens” as well as leading up to the Battle of Jakku; a pivotal event in the new Star Wars canon. Readers will need to have read “Aftermath” to fully enjoy “Aftermath: Life Debt”. I would rank it just a bit behind Claudia Gray’s “Bloodline” as the best novel of the new Star Wars canon. Star Wars fans looking to find out what happened between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens” will get a lot of enjoyment from this novel.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig, Bloodline, by Claudia Gray or Lost Stars, also by Claudia Gray.]

[ publisher’s official Aftermath: Life Debt web page ] | [ official Chuck Wendig web site ]

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!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Planetfall by Emma Newman

Planetfall
by Emma Newman

I recently read this 2015 science fiction novel for my science fiction club’s monthly “book discussion” gathering, and have mixed feelings about it. Newman creates an intriguing near-future science fiction setting for her cast of characters, which is comprised of the surviving members of a deep-space colonization crew. The storyline takes place a few decades after their arrival on a distant planet, which their leader was “called to” because of a transcendental experience. The central character — Ren — is a troubled individual nearing a psychological snapping point — she is having to help maintain a secret from the rest of her colony, that eats away at her.

When a stranger arrives at the outside of their colony borders — an apparent descendant of a survivor from part of their original group, who had all been believed dead — Ren’s world begins to unravel. This novel is well written, and Ren is a fascinating, though flawed, narrator. My only complaint is about the ending, which feels rushed and seems deeply flawed. If it hadn’t been for that drawback, I’d have given this one a “9” rating, but the end of the book slides that down to a 7 for me. None-the-less, it is well written enough, and features intriguing enough characters, that I do still recommend it!

[ official Emma Newman 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!

Time of Departure by Douglas Schofield

Time of Departure
by Douglas Schofield

I can only describe this novel as a mystery with some romance and a Twilight Zone like atmosphere. Claire Talbot is an up-and-coming prosecutor who looks into a cold case with the help of a retired Gainesville police officer.

The story begins when two skeletons are unearthed by a road-building crew. The bodies have been in the ground for about 30 years and are part of string of unsolved murders. Thirty years ago, serial killer stalked Gainesville and seven women disappeared. Six were brunettes and in their 20’s and the other one was a blonde in her thirties. One day, while Claire reading the old case files, an old man walks into her. He introduces himself as Marc Hastings, a retired Gainesville police detective and he tells her that he is there to help her solve these crimes. Claire is a taken aback but she agrees to work with him. As they work together she begins to feel some weird vibes from Marc. He knows way too much about her and her personal likes and dislikes. She asks him how he knows her so well since they had never met. He refuses to tell her. As I kept reading this engrossing novel, I learned how he knew her.

I highly recommend this book that kept me reading well into the night..

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Fool Me Once, by Harlan Coben] [ official Time of Departure web site on the official Douglas Schofield web site ]

Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department

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!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chef on DVD

 Chef [DVD Chef]

Jon Favreau stars as brillian chef Carl Casper, a man with visions of what his culinary skills can accomplish, but who finds himself hemmed in by the restrictions placed on him in his restaurant job. When his conflicts with the restaurant’s owner, and an altercation with a local critic cause his current restaurant career to implode, Casper finds himself taking his ex-wife’s advice and investing in a food truck, while traveling to Miami. The process of completely rehabbing the truck, and driving it cross-country back to Los Angeles, provides Casper with an opportunity to re-bond with his young son and explore their similarities. While loaded with language issues that gave this film an “R” rating, the personal journey that Casper and his son go on makes this an enjoyable film. The set design and cinematography are excellent. And the performances by Favreau, John Leguizamo as his friend and sou chef Martin, and Emjay Anthony as young Percy Casper, are all superb. A great supporting cast as well, including Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt and Amy Sedaris. In the extras on this DVD, watch for several bizarre outtakes from Amy Sedaris!

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Chef – The Movie web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you watched 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!

Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary by J.R.R. Tolkien

Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary
by J.R.R. Tolkien [829.3 BeoYt] 

While J.R.R. Tolkien is best remembered today as a fantasy author, most of his working life was spent in academia as one of the world’s leading authorities on Old and Middle English language and literature. Tolkien had very specific ideas on how the Old English poem “Beowulf” should be translated into modern English, as well as the difficult choices faced in the translation process, which he spelled out in his 1940 essay “On Translating Beowulf.” (This essay can be found in the 1983 anthology, The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays, which unfortunately is not currently held by Lincoln City Libraries; a good summary of the essay is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Translating_Beowulf) Among other things, he strongly believed that a modern translation should reflect the fact that the Old English language used in the poem would have already seemed archaic at the time of its composition. This recently published prose translation shows him putting these beliefs into practice. The result is a translation that is challenging to read. Readers who just want to know the general storyline might find a different translation more accessible, but this one has the advantage of giving something of the feel of the ancient text.

This volume, however, contains more than just the translation of the text. As an Oxford professor, Tolkien lectured regularly on Beowulf to students who were assigned to translate portions of the Old English text. The “Commentary” is based on those lectures. Far more than just an examination of what modern words might be used to translate particular Old English ones, the Commentary is a lively and fascinating examination of the historical and religious context of the poem.

Tolkien believed (along with some other scholars) that “Beowulf” as we know it is a blending of accounts of early Scandinavian historical figures with an ancient folktale. Included in the volume is “Sellic Spell,” which is Tolkien’s attempt to show what this hypothetical folktale on its own might have been like.

This volume is not a quick read, and it may not be for everyone – not even for all Tolkien fans – but it is a rewarding read for those interested in Tolkien’s scholarly side.
[ Wikipedia page for Tolkien’s Beowulf book ]

Recommended by Peter J.
Virtual Services Department

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!

The Last Roundup by Christie Golden

Star Trek: The Last Roundup
by Christie Golden (author), David Kaye (reader) [Hoopla digital service or Golden in adult fiction]
This Star Trek novel is about Kirk’s ‘retirement’. He is no longer a starship captain, but is simply teaching at Star Fleet Academy and is bored out of his skull. The rest of his crew have gone their separate ways and are brought back together once more in this story. Kirk’s two nephews come to him to ask if he’d join them on a new colony they are founding. He does not really want to go, but he does not want to stay behind either, so he goes and has Scotty and Chekov come along as well. The new colony is based on the idea of developing new technologies. The planet they selected is supposedly uninhabited, but there are in fact others beings there with their own outpost. Kirk’s nephews are convinced all is well, but when the communication channels become jammed, Kirk, Chekov and Scotty look into them a bit more and discover the peace is only a façade. I really liked this story and would recommend it to Trek fans. I only wish that some of the original crew had done the voice acting as they had done in other audiobooks I’ve listened to on Hoopla, which is a digital streaming service our library subscribes to. The library does have a paperback copy if you prefer that format.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Doctor’s Orders, by Diane Duane]
 
[ The Last Roundup page on Memory Alpha ] | [ official Christie Golden web 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!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Fastest Things on Wings: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood by Terry Masear

The Fastest Things on Wings: Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood
by Theresa “Terry” Masear [598.764 Mas]

When my family first visited Estes Park, CO in the early 1980s, I was astonished at the number of hummingbirds which could be seen both at feeders and in the wilderness of that Rocky Mountain area. Growing up in Lincoln, NE, I couldn’t remember ever having seen a hummingbird, live, before — not surprising since we’re on the westernmost fringes of the flight path of the ruby-throated hummingbird, which is the only hummingbird native to the eastern United States. But, from the Rockies to the west coast, you can see examples of as many as 14 other hummingbird species. I read and enjoyed Arnette Heidcamp’s A Hummingbird in My House and Hummingbirds: My Winter Guests, in which the author recounts her adventures in rescuing a very small number of these flying jewels. I thought her efforts were impressive and inspirational. And then I read The Fastest Things on Wings, Terry Masear’s recent autobiography about her experiences as a hummingbird rescuer/rehabilitator in Hollywood, CA. Masear has rescued literally thousands of these beautiful birds, who have fallen victim to collisions with windows, polluted food, nests blown from trees in storm, or carelessly cut out of trees by tree-trimmers. Masear makes every story shared into an emotional journey, sharing psychological insights into the personalities of the people who either bring her injured or orphaned hummers, or who call her, begging for instructions and assistance.
Masear’s tales are tied together by her relationship to two specific hummingbirds — Gabriel, the first bird she ever rescued, who ultimately becomes the catalyst for her investing more than three months of her life every year to the feeding, housing and then release of hundreds of birds. And Pepper, an injured hummer whom she trains to fly again, and whose resilient nature and willingness to help other birds reveals more about the range of differences between individual birds that any casual birdwatcher would see. And that is the emotional and heart-lifting crux of Masear’s book — although not every bird survives the circumstances that bring them to her care, so many of them have such distinct and unique personalities and behaviors that you find yourself emotionally invested in her stories. Highly recommended — one of my favorite reads this year!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the hummingbird rescue books by Arnette Heidcamp.]

[ publisher’s official Fastest Things on Wings web page ] | [ Terry Masear’s official Hummingbird Rescue web site ]

See more heartwarming books about animal-human relationships in the booklist for Scott’s past booktalk, Creature Comforts

 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!

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Promise on DVD

A Promise
[DVD Promise]

As a fan of the late Alan Rickman, I wanted to see this film to see one of Mr. Rickman’s last performances before his untimely death earlier this year. Alan plays a wealthy business owner in pre-war Germany who takes in a young man as his administrative assistant when his own health is rapidly failing. The young man becomes part of the family, living with them in their mansion. The story surrounds the relationship of the young man with both his employer and his young wife. The man falls in love with his employer’s wife then is sent to Mexico to follow through on a business venture that he had suggested. The man makes a promise to return to his love, but war breaks out in Europe preventing his return. The story is very interesting but seemed rather slow in pace. I recommend it just for Alan Rickman’s fine performance.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Sense and Sensibility, Howard’s End, or Enchanted April.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you watched 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, July 28, 2016

Star Wars: Panel to Panel: From the Pages of Dark Horse Comies to a Galaxy, Far, Far Away by Randy Standley

 This is a marvelous look at the heroes, villains, alien races, exotic planets, intriguing spaceships and fascinating technology of the Star Wars universe, specifically as seen in the numerous Star Wars comic books published by Dark Horse Comics. Considered to be part of the “Expanded Universe” of Star Wars storytelling, whose continuity was jettisoned when the new Star Wars movies (beginning with The Force Awakens) started being produced by the Disney studio, Dark Horse Comics’ Star Wars entries provided a vibrant and exciting “new” look at both established characters (Han, Luke, Leia, Darth, etc.) and all-new characters in the Star Wars universe. This book’s content features the artistic work of dozens of excellent artists, inkers and letterers. Even if the stories being referenced in this volume are no longer part of an established and approved continuity, if you are a fan of either Star Wars or comic books, this book is still highly recommended!

[ publisher’s official Star Wars: Panel to Panel 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!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Amazing Cows by Sandra Boynton

Amazing Cows
by Sandra Boynton [j741.5 Boy] 

Cats & Cows & Chickens – oh my!

Welcome to the world of Sandra Boynton, populated with cute and erudite critters that have been entertaining the funny bones of millions of children and adults since the late 1970s. Perhaps you’ve received a birthday card with the sentiment “Hippo Birdie Two Ewes” some time in your life? That’s essential Sandra Boynton, a cartoonist a lá Charles Schulz who can do a tremendous amount of emoting with just a few lines, circles, and squiggles. She has produced a plethora of greeting cards, buttons, calendars, mugs, etc. and BOOKS, lots of books. Her toddler-level board books have been a popular choice of parents for four decades now. Do titles like Moo Baa La-la-la or The Going to Bed Book or Your Personal Penguin sound familiar? She has also written some things for older children and adults, ranging from song-and-dance tomes like Grunt: Pigorian Chant to Chocolate: The Consuming Passion, originally released in 1982 and revised in 2015. [LCL does not currently own this book, gasp!]
Amazing Cows is an example of her lengthier books which take a theme and run far and wide with it. You will find out many things you did not know about cows, most of which are patently untrue, but very funny nonetheless! From ‘cowleidoscopes’ to the stages of insect ‘metamoophosis’, this will engage different ages of children, and also appeal to the child in many adults. Although it is cataloged as a young person’s book in LCL, a blurb on the cover states it is for “All ages up to a hundred and MOO.” What I have always LOVED about Boynton is her spot-on blend of appealing cartoon animals with her wild puns, cultural references, and gentle but clever absurdities. I always smile, and often laugh out loud, at a Boynton visual/verbal joke.

Like those great classic Warner Brothers cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, et al, Boynton’s work has something for kids and grownups alike to enjoy. As evidence, she has over 250,000 followers on Facebook, and it is mostly adults who are regularly making comments and sharing her posts!
A world without Sandra Boynton’s merry menagerie would be dull indeed.

[ official Sandra Boynton web site ]


Recommended by Becky W. C.
Walt 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!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Try out our new e-mail newsletter -- Book Sizzle!

Do you subscribe to any of the libraries' Books, Movies & More e-mail booklist-format newsletters?

If you don't, but you're thinking of sampling one or more of them, may we encourage you to subscribe to your latest addtion -- Book Sizzle! Book Sizzle is a weekly newsletter that highlights books and DVDs associated with subjects that have been in the news, and which provides a consolidation of quick links to as many as 13 of our other, more specifically focused, newsletters.


You can check out the current issue -- new issues are sent to subscribers every Friday -- at this link. And if you like what you see, you can subscribe to Book Sizzle (or any of our other newsletters) and the subscription link at the bottom of the issue!

The Soprano's Last Song by "Irene Adler"

The Soprano’s Last Song
by “Irene Adler” [j Adler] 

This is the second in an ongoing series of novels featuring pre-teen versions of Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler and Arsene Lupin as friends, who solve mysteries together. Following the first volume, where they all met for the first time while each vacation on the coast of France, this volume finds all three meeting up again in London, where Arsene’s father has been arrested for the murder of the assistant of a famed opera composer — he was framed and they have to figure out what really happened. Attributed to “Irene Adler” as the author, these books are actually by Italians Pierdomenico Baccalario and Alessandro Gatti. I enjoy this series, although it plays total havoc with any kind of “continuity” with the Sherlock Holmes “canon” — the characters are well-defined, and it is fun to see the adventures told from the point of view of the young Irene Adler. This volume is a little less action-packed than the first, but features a well-described London and its environs, so we get to see the young Sherlock in what will eventually be familiar settings once he’s an adult. A fun read, but somewhat slow paced.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the other volumes in this ongoing series.] [ publisher’s official The Soprano’s Last Song web page]

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!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country on DVD

[DVD Star]
 
Kirk and crew are assigned to help in the peace talks between the Federation and the Klingons after it become known that the due to an explosion, the Klingons have limited time before they die out. Not being too pleased at the situation he’s been put it, Kirk does as he’s told anyway, however a mysterious situation occurs and he and McCoy are convicted of murdering the Klingon High Chancellor. After being tried by the Klingons, the pair of them are sentenced to a labor prison camp on a snowy planet; escape and freeze to death. They’ll need the help of their friends to get out of this one. I really liked this movie; it was the last of the original crew movies for me to watch, so it was a bit sad that the series was over. My favorite is still ‘The Voyage Home’, but I liked this one a lot too. If you are interested in this movie and not very familiar with the ST movie series of the original crew, I recommend you start with the first movie (Star Trek the Motion Picture).

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Trek: The Original Series.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Star Trek web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

Have you watched 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, July 24, 2016

Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel

Written in Dead Wax
by Andrew Cartmel

The cover to this mystery is what caught my eye, and a quick read of the back-cover blurb made it sound intriguing — the sleuth in question is The Vinyl Detective, a British loner who spends most of his days roaming the English countryside, visiting second-hand stores and charity shops, browsing their collections of old style vinyl LP recordings, looking for collectible titles that he can “flip” online into a handy profit. When a joke business card he had printed that claims he can find any record for anyone actually results in a client hiring him to find a rare jazz recording, he finds himself in a race with a femme fatale, brutal thugs and other mysterious figures to find this obscure album. Even finding the album doesn’t end the mystery, as he gets sucked into a much larger storyline, involving a legendary but tragic figure in jazz history, a beautiful singer from the 1950s, and a recording studio that went out of business under mysterious circumstances.

The world of vinyl LP collectors, and the recording industry of the 1950s and 1960s are fascinating topics to serve as the centerpiece for a mystery…which ultimately turns into a murder mystery. The settings of London and its suburbs, and then Southern California in the second half of the book, are well drawn. The supporting cast of friends and foes of The Vinyl Detective are all quirky all the ladies seem to fall for the charms of our hero a little two willingly, considering that he’s a bit of an odd duck. And the quirkiest bit of all is that our hero’s name is never revealed in the entire book…but, as a reader, you don’t mind. I enjoyed this one quite a bit, and am pleased to see in the endpages that there are at least two future volumes in this series forthcoming.

[ publisher’s official The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax web page ] | [ Andrew Cartmel page on Wikipedia ]

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!