Monday, April 13, 2015

Pearls Falls Fast by Stephan Pastis

Pearls Falls Fast
by Stephan Pastis [741.5 Pas]

Enjoyable oversized trade paperback collection of recent Pearls Before Swine comic strips, featuring the sarcastic and anti-social "Rat" and the doofus "Pig", plus their various quirky anthropomorphic neighbors. I particularly enjoy the idiotic attempts by the legion of crocodiles to convince Zebra to let them kill and eat him. Pastis has an occasionally (unpleasantly) nasty sense of humor, while at the same time regularly poking fun at himself, with the various characters speaking directly to him as an animated (and much beleaguered) cartoonist. The thing I appreciate the most about this oversized collection is that Pastis has provided background notes for many of the cartoons in this compilation -- making this kind of a "director's cut" collection. If you're not into biting satire, with occasional forays into cartoon violence, then this is definitely not the comic strip for you. But, if you don't have thin skin, and you're looking for a good laugh -- I highly recommended Pearls Before Swine, and this collection in particular! -- 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 various other Pearls Before Swine compilations.]

[ official Pearls Before Swine web site ] | [ Pearls Before Swine page on Wikipedia ]

 
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, April 12, 2015

The Great Heist by Jeff McArthur

The Great Heist: The Story of the Biggest Bank Robbery in History
by Jeff McArthur [364.155 McA]

In 1930, six men entered a bank in Lincoln, NE and in 8 minutes made off with more than 2.7 million dollars. This book explores the local officials, a connection to Al Capone that led the Secret Six of Chicago to offer assistance, and Al Capone's brother who had disappeared but was living in Nebraska as an upright citizen. -- recommended by Sandy W. - Gere Branch Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The 1931 Hastings Bank Job and the Bloody Bandit Trail by Monty McCord 364.155 McC.]

[ official Jeff McArthur 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! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth

Four: A Divergent Story Collection
by Veronica Roth [YA Roth]

This is companion book to the Divergent series. "Four" includes 4 short stories written from the viewpoint of Four (the leading male character from the Divergent series). I enjoyed reading this to add some more depth to Four's character. Getting to hear his internal thoughts adds much to what the reader already knows about him. If you choose to read this book, I would recommend reading "Divergent" first. -- recommended by Marie P. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in book-on-cd format.]


[ official Veronica Roth 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! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

All the President's Men



All the President's Men
[DVD All]

One of the most outstanding films of the 1970s -- based on the book by reporters Woodward and Bernstein, which chronicled their journalistic investigations into the Watergate scandal that ultimately led to Richard Nixon stepping down from the office of President of the United States. The performances in this are flawless -- Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman bring the reports to life, and Jason Robards definitely earned his Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Though a dark moment in our country's political history, this film celebrates the free press and the pugnacious nature of journalism in the 1970s -- a journalistic era that's quite different from the one in which we live now. This DVD release includes numerous "special features", sure to appeal to anyone interested in both American history, and the craft of film-making. One of my top ten favorite films of all time! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[Also available in traditional print format.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

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, April 9, 2015

Stories I Only Tell My Friends and Love Life by Rob Lowe

Stories I Only Tell My Friends (2011) and Love Life (2014)
by Rob Lowe both [Biography Lowe]

I wouldn't have described myself as a Rob Lowe "fan" up to now but I've enjoyed him very much in a handful of the movies and tv shows in which I've seen him. And in recent years he's been 'everywhere' in view, as they say. So, I decided to take a look at these two recent memoirs from this pretty-boy "Brat Pack" alumni and found them quite enjoyable. Lowe, who started acting in local and regional productions as a child and has rarely been out of work in the last 30+ years, being sober and married for almost 25 of those -- but not before falling into the trap of excesses that tempt many a young and handsome actor -- is an excellent writer and story-teller. Lowe grew up in Ohio, but after two divorces and some health problems, his mother moved him and his brothers to Malibu, California in 1976. In this ultimately fortuitous change of fate, Rob spent his teen years down the street from the Sheens and the Penns and in just a few years became one of the hottest young male celebrities in the world, dating everyone from Melissa Gilbert to Princess Stephanie of Monaco. In addition to growing up around current and future acting royalty, he's also met an array of other actors and celebrities over the years, some in odd circumstances, such as drinking milk with a bath-robe-wearing Cary Grant when on a house date with Grant's daughter. Lowe relays such surreal events with both wryness and affection. In addition, I kept being amazed at how he has ended up at so many crucial 'intersections' of pivotal events. For example, and unknown to him for several years after the fact, he was on a plane flight that some of the 9/11 hijackers were using as a practice run in August 2001. For all that he has lived a life of fame and sometimes fortune, Lowe manages to 'keep it real' by recognizing the value of his family and friends and filtering out most of the nonsense that accompanies a life in film and television. The first book is mainly about himself and his earl y career and the second is focused more on the importance of his wife and sons to him, and how he keeps sight of the goal of living an honest and fulfilling life. The title of the second book, in fact, is as much an admonition "[You should] love life", as it is an account of the loves of/in his life. I still wouldn't describe myself as a hardcore fan of Rob Lowe, but he's definitely a very interesting and very hard-working celebrity. And still very easy on the eyes! -- 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 audiobooks of these same titles; also The Outsiders; St. Elmo's Fire; The West Wing; and Parks and Recreation.]

[Links above should take you to all available formats of both of Lowe's biographies.]

[ Rob Lowe page on Wikipedia ] | [ official Rob Lowe page on IMDb ]


Have you read these? 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, April 8, 2015

Customer Review - Shift

Shift
by Jennifer Bradbury [j Bradbury]

Shift is a excellent quick read. It is under 300 pages so it is fast and makes for a great story. The characters show a deep friendship that must be changed in order to grow and it makes you reflect on your own life. The humor and truth to the story is compelling and keeps you hooked because of the mysteries that lie within. Recently making the transition to college from high school my self, I can relate on many levels and it very accurately portrays many of the struggles that comes with moving on and keeping your existing friends. The greatest strength of this book is it doesn't waste any time getting into the story. You're moving as soon as you hit page 2. I highly recommend this title to anyone looking to not get into a new series and have a quick read, especially for young adults getting ready, making, or have recently made the transition to college. -- review submitted by Alex A. - a customer of the Gere Branch Library

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

New Customer Reviews appear regularly in the pages of the BookGuide web site, particularly during the Summer Reading Program. You can visit the Customer Reviews page to see them all and/or submit your own, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually as we receive them.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Go Ask Alice
by Anonymous

I'll admit, I had never heard of this apparently *famous* book before. I saw it come across the desk to be checked in, and I was intrigued. Before I even began to read it, a friend commented, "Oh, cool, you're reading that!" Go Ask Alice is written in diary format... we're never actually told the name of the author. It's presented as a work of fiction, though it could totally have been a true story. The protagonist is a young teenager who is struggling with life, as teenagers often do. She wants to fit in, she wants a certain boy to like her, she finds her parents and siblings irritating but loves them SO MUCH! Quite by random, she is given a drink, at a party, that has been laced with acid. She has a "trip" and decides she loved the experience. What follows is her slow descent into drug addiction, sexual promiscuity, and life on the streets. As a parent, I find it frightening -- as someone who went through similar teenage issues, I found it quite relatable. -- recommended by Tracy T. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Tracy's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote.]

[ Go Ask Alice page on Wikipedia ]


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, April 2, 2015

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes...and Other Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes...and Other Lessons From the Crematory
by Caitlin Doughty [Biography Doughty]

Told with humor and compassion, this memoir is about a young woman's desire to explore the topic of death. She takes a job at a crematory and later attends mortuary school and becomes a licensed mortician. This memoir is a frank behind the scenes look at the death industry in this country. It will make you think about how our society approaches death and dying. -- recommended by Tammy T. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.]

[ official The Order of the Good Death web site - managed by Caitlin Doughty ]


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, March 30, 2015

Requiem for a Dream on DVD



Requiem For a Dream
[DVD Requiem]

My younger brother recommended this movie to me a few years ago, but I hadn't gotten around to seeing it yet. Recently, I saw this movie on a list of "Movies You Must See--But Only Once". I was intrigued. I'll admit, the viewer should be warned about some graphic content; however, it's not the worst I've seen, by a long shot. The movie centers around four main characters: Harry, his mother Sara, his girlfriend Marion, and his best friend Tye. It follows them over approximately six months as they all go on their own downward spiral into addiction. That, to me, is not so original a concept. What struck me as unique about this film was the inner-workings of the relationships and how they slowly unravel as time goes on. Although this unraveling is what's to be expected, the actors portray the characters in such a gritty, naked way, that I couldn't help coming away from the movie slightly refreshed and relieved that I have such small problems to deal with, in comparison. Despite the opinion of the person who created that list I'd mentioned, I actually watched this movie twice within a week's time. I thought it was VERY compelling! -- recommended by Tracy T. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Tracy's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Traffic, Rush (1991), and Blow.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

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 29, 2015

The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber

The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder
by Charles Graeber [Biography Cullen]

Charles Cullen was arrested in 2003, and the media quickly gave him the title "The Angel of Death." A nurse in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Charlie was implicated in the deaths of up to 300 patients. This book was a very interesting read. I was interested in the medical aspects of this book, having family members who are nurses, as well as the suspense of wondering how the police were finally going to arrest Charlie for his crimes. Though passages of this book read a little slow, I was still very interested in it, and once the investigation began, I couldn't put it down. -- recommended by Marie P. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in downloadable audio and downloadable E-book formats.]

[ official The Good Nurse and Charles Graeber 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!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pacific Rim on DVD



Pacific Rim
[DVD Pacific]

If you like monster and or robot movies, this one is for you. There are giant monsters attacking earth. The humans build giant robots called Jaegers to fight and defeat them. The robots are controlled by two people working as one with a mind bridge, whose movements move the robot. A veteran operator, who lost his brother and co-operator in battle, must return to the battlefront with a rookie to avoid an apocalypse brought on by the monsters. I think this is a great action film with a good story and characters. The veteran and the rookie have interesting pasts that they must confront in order to work together to operate the Jaeger. I highly recommend it if you like action movies. -- 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 Dredd and Godzilla (2014), both on DVD.]

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

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!

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton

In 1686, eighteen year old Nella Oortman enters an arranged marriage with a much older, successful, merchant trader in Amsterdam. As a wedding gift, her husband gives her a cabinet-sized replica of their home. A mysterious miniaturist begins sending her tiny creations that replicate their counterparts in the house. These eerie gifts from the miniaturist help Nella unlock the many secrets of her new home. This book is historical fiction at its best and will keep you turning the pages as the secrets are revealed. -- recommended by Tammy T. - Collection Management Department

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.]

[ official Jessie Burton 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!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
by Randall Munroe [500 Mun]

I've been a fan of Randall Munroe's online webcomic XKCD for many years -- he mixes heavy doses of sarcasm with a great deal of intelligence. His simple stick figure illustrations belie a very active mind behind the simplistic imagery. Some time ago, Munroe started a sideline to the XKCD strip, in which his readers and fans submit bizarre yet intriguing "What If" questions to him, which despite their patently absurd nature, he still attempts to answer. His answers combine his trademark humorous cartoons with rigorous scientific research, often with the assistance of experts in a variety of scientific fields. In this new hardback book (also available as an audiobook, narrated by actor and geek icon Wil Wheaton), Munroe gathers over 50 of these "serious scientific answers to absurb hypothetical questions", along with some lists of some of his favorite "Weird (and Worrying) Questions From the What If Inbox". Are you curious what the answers would be to the following questions -- "Is it possible to build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns?", "What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% of the speed of light?", "How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?", "What if a rainstorm dropped all of its water in a single giant drop?", or goofy questions like "How much Force power can Yoda output?" - look no further than this tome...you'll find your answers. Personally, my favorite parts of the book were the "rejected" questions that cause Munroe to worry abou the states of mind of his many readers. This book should appeal to anyone with an interest in the scientific research process, anyone who has a sarcastic sense of humor, or anyone who just likes pondering the unponderables! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

[ official What If page on the site of Randall Munroe's online XKCD webcomic ]


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, March 25, 2015

The Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Quilter's Kitchen
by Jennifer Chiaverini

I chose this book because I found it on a search in the NoveList database--I was looking for novels that include recipes. This particular story is the 13th book in a series of 20, but I was able to follow along quite well without having read the previous 12 books. The main focus of the series, I believe, is quilting, although this story definitely put a lot of emphasis on various dishes and treats enjoyed by generations. There were so many recipes at the end of each chapter, I felt the book was a bit of a treasure! The story itself was light and quick to read--I may yet go back and begin at the beginning of the series! -- recommended by Tracy T. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Tracy's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg; or Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.]

[Also available in Large Print format.]


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, March 24, 2015

Star Stuff by Stephanie Roth Sisson

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos
by Stephanie Roth Sisson [j Biography Sagan]

This picture book is an absolutely charming biography of astronomer Carl Sagan, the man who brought the original Cosmos science mini-series to television back in 1980. Told in simple phrases and illustrations that are both simplistic and yet hauntingly accurate representations of the young Sagan, this book perfectly captures what it must have been like for an inquisitive dreamer like Sagan to be inspired by the study of the unknown. Sagan did so much to popularize the studies in various fields of science for two generations of young people -- it's marvelous to see his own journey of study and exploration captured in this unique and engaging youth biography. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[ official Stephanie Roth Sisson 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!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Expendables 3



The Expendables 3
[DVD Expendables]

When one of his team members is shot on a mission, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is shaken. He is assigned a new mission that has a poor chance of success, so Barney selects a new team so he will have no emotional ties to anyone in case there would be fatalities along the way. So I admit I have never seen the first movie in this series, but I enjoyed the 2nd one. I appreciated the cast in this third installment, my favorite character being Galgo (played by Antonio Banderas). I have never seen Antonia Banderas play this type of quirky, wacky character, and it made me laugh-out-loud more than once. The action was non-stop, and I was entertained from start to finish. -- recommended by Marie P. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Expendables 3 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!