Friday, March 24, 2017

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
by Shirley Walker [Hoopla digital streaming service] 


Wonderful music from a wonderful movie. Unfortunately the movie is not available in the library’s collection as of right now. You can however listen to the soundtrack on Hoopla by streaming it or downloading it to the Hoopla App. The music itself is mainly instrumental with some vocals, but it is not obvious Batman music unless you are familiar with it already. Since watching the movie I have put the music on a few times while I’m studying because it’s so good. Even non-Batman fans could easily enjoy the music on its own, particularly if you like epic soundtracks, and I would recommend it to anyone.

[If you are inclined to watch the movie, it’s very good and you don’t need to know much about Batman beforehand to understand what’s going on or who the characters are. Quite a bit of the movie is flash backs, so you see the present day characters and the same characters in the past, so everything is well intact in the one film. The movie is from 1993, so the animation is not the new computerized type that we get a lot of today, and I like that aspect too. I would rate both the music and the movie 10 stars, and I’d recommend them to anyone.]

[ Wikipedia page for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm ] | [ Wikipedia page for Shirley Walker ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Gift From Bob by James Bowen

A Gift From Bob
by James Bowen [Biography Bowen] 

I’ve really enjoyed the first two man-and-cat autobiographies written by British author James Bowen, in which he shared how the love a orange tabby cat raised him from his struggles out of drug addiction on the streets of London to becoming a minor international celebrity. In this volume, Bowen reflects back on one of the last Christmas seasons he and Bob shared when they were still struggling to make ends meet, before their literary fame occurred. // Bowen’s writing style is very fluid and conversation — it’s like sitting with a friend and hearing them talk. His gratitude at how their lives have turned out (even before the fame) is tangible, and you feel like you really get to know not only James and Bob, but the people around them. This isn’t a long or complicated read, but if you’ve enjoyed the earlier books, you’ll enjoy this one just as much. If you haven’t met James and Bob the Streetcat, this is a good introduction to them, and you’ll want to follow up with the two earlier volumes as well.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life and The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Streetwise Cat, both also by James Bowen]

[ official James Bowen & Streetcat Bob Facebook site ] | [ British publisher’s official James Bowen web page ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mind Your Manors by Lucy Lethbridge


This delightful book covers all aspects of cleaning Great Houses or Manors in Victorian England. As a fan of the television series Downton Abbey, I kept imagining the various characters of the show (such as Mrs. Hughes) teaching these techniques to newly hired staff. Not only is this book historically accurate in the methods used to clean every part of the home and the clothes of its residents, the book is also humorous as well. Recipes are provided for various cleaning solutions that are easily created without lots of nasty chemicals. I highly recommend this book even if you are not planning to work as an Under-Butler or Kitchen Maid in the near future.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the materials on our If You Like…Downton Abbey booklist!]

[ publisher’s official Mind Your Manors web site ] | [ official Lucy Lethbridge Twitter feed ]
 
Recommended by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown! (on DVD)

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown! (and Don’t Come Back!)
[j DVD Bon]

I had this movie on tape when I was a kid, so when I saw the library had it on DVD, I had to check it out. There are some movies I enjoyed as a kid and watching them as an adult is just not the same. This one though, was just as good as I remember it being. Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and Marcie all go to France as exchange students; Snoopy and Woodstock tag along. The girls stay at one house and the boys and Snoopy stay at a chateau. It’s dark and stormy as they arrive at the Chateau after dropping off the girls, and no one is home. Snoopy acts as guard dog, but eventually heads for the pub for a night of root beer and jukebox tunes. It’s mystery and comedy as they try to figure out who and where the chateau owners are. It’s Peanuts, so it’s suitable and enjoyable for all ages.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try A Boy Named Charlie Brown, also on DVD.]
 
[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Sunday, March 19, 2017

New Booktalk Booklist: Irish Authors - 2017

On March 13th, 2017 and again on March 17th, 2017, Jodi R. from the Gere Branch Library presented a booktalk featuring some of her favorite Irish Authors, to the Gere Branch BooksTalk group and the Bethany Branch BooksTalk group.

The booklist from her booktalk is now available online via the libraries' BookGuide readers advisory resources, on the BookTalk Booklists archive page. You can click that link to see all past BookTalk Booklists, or you can click on the following link to jump straight to this new entry.

Irish Authors - 2017 (March 13th 2017, Gere Branch BooksTalk & March 17th 2017, Bethany Branch BooksTalk)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

New Booktalk Booklist: Recent Reads by Mindy

On January 30th, 2017, Mindy P. from the Gere Branch Library presented a booktalk featuring some of her favorite recent reads, to the Gere Branch BooksTalk group.

The booklist from her booktalk is now available online via the libraries' BookGuide readers advisory resources, on the BookTalk Booklists archive page. You can click that link to see all past BookTalk Booklists, or you can click on the following link to jump straight to this new entry, which is a printable PDF.

Recent Reads by Mindy (January 30th, 2017)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher (audiobook-on-cd)

Shockaholic
by Carrie Fisher [Compact Disc Biography Fisher] 

As with “Wishful Drinking” by Fisher, I opted to listen to the audiobook, since she reads it herself. I think Carrie Fisher was absolutely brilliant, and this book is further proof of that. It’s amazing to me, only two months after her death, that this book was published in 2011…. if only because she mentions her upcoming death at least twice in this book. It was a bit eerie.

Aside from that, I really enjoyed this book. Carrie Fisher was a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is woman who sounds like she took no crap from anyone, except herself, of course. She was a tortured soul, but it seemed like she was really coming to terms with things and getting her life in order. This was, of course, before the 7th episode of the Star Wars saga…

What I appreciated most, perhaps, about this book was the talking she did of other famous people that she knew–specifically, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and her father (Eddie Fisher), among others.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes, or But Enough About Me: A Memoir, by Burt Reynolds, all read by their authors as audiobooks.]

[ official CarrieFisher.com web site ]

Recommended by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan

Snow White: A Graphic Novel
by Matt Phelan [j Phelan] 

The stark simplicity of this book’s cover caught my eye on the library’s new books display, with a typeface that screamed “1930s”. This book is a re-imagining of the classic Snow White fairy tale, told in a setting of 1930s Depression era New York City. The “evil Queen” is Snow’s stepmother, a vain performer who has become the “Queen of Broadway”, the “magic mirror” is a stock-market ticker-tape machine that spits out messages. And the Seven Dwarfs are seven street ruffians who rescue snow from muggers and take an immediate liking to her. // The artwork is fairly stark — black and white with only a few splashes of significant color added for effect. In some scenes, the artist manages an almost dream-like quality. I’ll have to admit, not ALL of the art appealed to me, so I’ll drop my rating of this from what would have been a 9 to an 8. Otherwise, a very imaginative read. I recommend this for anyone who is a fan of this classic storyline…you may enjoy this twist!

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the TV series Once Upon a Time, which similarly takes well-known fairy tales and spins them in new directions]

[ official Matt Phelan web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Masterminds on DVD

Masterminds
[DVD Masterminds] 

This is a comedy based on the true story of the Loomis Fargo robbery in October of 1997. David Ghantt – a guard at an armored car company – falls in love with former coworker Kelly Campbell. Campbell pretends to love him back and convinces him to steal the money he transports daily, around 17 million dollars. Campbell is following the orders of Steve Chambers and convinces Ghantt to leave the money with them and that she will meet him in Mexico soon. Chambers sets him up to take the fall, sending a hitman to kill him while he lives the rich life. Now Ghantt must evade both the police and the hitman while attempting to get his life back in order.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Keeping Up With the Joneses] [Also available in traditional print format.]

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

Recommended by Carrie K.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

New Booktalk Booklist: Mixed Theme Booktalk

On January 23rd, 2017, Tracy T. from the Bennett Martin Public Library presented a booktalk featuring a wide variety of materials, to the Gere Branch BooksTalk group.

The booklist from her booktalk is now available online via the libraries' BookGuide readers advisory resources, on the BookTalk Booklists archive page. You can click that link to see all past BookTalk Booklists, or you can click on the following link to jump straight to this new entry, which is a printable PDF.

Mixed Theme Booktalk (January 23, 2017)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

New Booktalk Booklist: Best of Non-Fiction Book Tasting

On February 17th, 2017, Brenda E. and Pat S. from the Gere Branch Library presented a booktalk on the theme of new non-fiction titles, to the Gere Branch BooksTalk group.

The booklist from their booktalk is now available online via the libraries' BookGuide readers advisory resources, on the BookTalk Booklists archive page. You can click that link to see all past BookTalk Booklists, or you can click on the following link to jump straight to this new entry, which is a printable PDF.

Best of Non-Fiction Book Tasting (February 2017)

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Clocks by Agatha Christie

The Clocks
by Agatha Christie

While this novel was an engaging mystery, I was disappointed that Poirot was absent for most of the story. He does play a part in solving the case, but he does not visit the scene or interview witnesses. His friend who approaches him with the case brings him all the data he needs and solves it by sitting in his armchair. It was kind of like The Hound of the Baskervilles in that respect, in which Watson is sent out to investigate while Holmes stays at home just coming in at the end. It was still a good book and I still would recommend it to mystery fans, but just didn’t feel like a Poirot novel. Here is the basic plot: a man is found dead in a home of a blind woman with more clocks than usual in the room. Not only do they need to find the killer, they also don’t know who the victim is or how he came to be there – the secret lies in the past.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Five Little Pigs, by Agatha Christie, or The Valley of Fear, also by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.]

[ official The Clocks page on the official Agatha Christie web site ]

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman


Poignant and bittersweet with moments of happiness and fun, this novella by acclaimed Swedish author Backman [“A Man Called Ove”] imagines what it must be like inside a mind that is being destroyed by dementia and depicts how such a person’s family-cum-caregivers provide for and accompany him or her on the long good-bye. The tale focuses on 3 main relationships revolving around the central character, an unnamed man: Grandpa and Noah (“NoahNoah”); Dad and Ted; and “darling you” and “my love” (a.k.a. Grandma). Noah loves math and space and being silly and adventuring, just like his Grandpa, so their times together become all the more precious in memory. Dad and Ted have always had a slightly uncomfortable bond but love each other nonetheless. Man and Wife have loved each other fiercely and happily and forever since they first met. This tale, which the author notes was not originally intended for publication, may be slightly confusing at first until you figure out the alternating perspectives and events. Even though it is a short book, it pays to re-read small segments as you go, to absorb and savor the layers of emotion and meaning, and the beautifully crafted writing/translation. And then read it again a few more times. Those who have gone through a loved one’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease or a comparable condition will recognize and sympathize with many elements of the story, and those who have yet to endure such a challenging journey may become better prepared to make it..

[ official And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer page on the publisher’s official Fredrik Backman web site ]

Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hamilton: An American Musical - The Original Broadway Cast Recording

Hamilton: An American Musical – The Original Broadway Cast Recording
by Lin-Manuel Miranda [Compact Disc 782.14 Ham] 
 A hip-hop musical about one of America’s founding father? Didn’t sound like something I would necessarily enjoy, since hip-hop is not one of my favorite music categories. But, because Hamilton: An American Musical became an international sensation in 2015 and 2016, I decided to give it a shot. And I am so glad that I did. This is one of the most compelling and engaging musicals I’ve ever listened to!

Lin-Manuel Miranda (The Heights on Broadway, and the soundtrack of the recent Disney animated film Moana), studied the true life story of Alexander Hamilton and found that he could identify with Hamilton’s personality and struggle. Years of writing and sharing with fellow musicians ultimately led to this musical, which on Broadway has been color-blind in its casting, putting actors and actresses from different cultural and racial backgrounds into roles based on what would have exclusively been caucasian figures in American history — Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Burr, etc. This level of creative diversity in and of itself is impressive, but what is most impressive is how the political, military and economic struggles of America’s earliest days are brought to vibrant life with Miranda’s pulsing and driving music.

I challenge anyone with an open and willing mind to not be moved by such Hamilton songs as “My Shot”, “The Story of Tonight”, “Wait For It”, “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)”, “Dear Theodosia”, “The Room Where it Happens”. I’ll even have to admit, when I listen to the show closing number “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”, I get a bit weepy. These songs are filled with powerful lyrics, told in creative and unexpected ways.

Though the original Broadway cast of Hamilton has now moved on to other projects, PBS’s Great Performances on TV showed a behind-the-scenes “making of” special about Hamilton, which features snippets of the show. You can still view much of that special on the PBS website. And, hopefully, touring companies of the show will ultimately take it on the road to either Omaha or Lincoln. In the meantime, don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy the music behind this 2016 Tony Award Winning Best Musical.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda (the libretto) [782.14 Mir], Hamilton: The History Behind the Revolutionary Musical, by Kristine Dawson [782.14 Daw] or Hamilton: An American Musical – Vocal Selections, by Lin-Manuel Miranda [782.141 Mir]]
 
[ official site of the Broadway musical Hamilton ] | [ official Lin-Manuel Miranda web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Singin' in the Rain (on DVD)

Singin’ in the Rain
DVD Singin] 

In 2017, the classic movie musical Singin’ in the Rain is enjoying the 65th anniversary of its 1952 release. This two-disc DVD set was released to commemorate the film’s 60th anniversary in 2012 — and was also available as part of a much more elaborate boxed set (with Blu Ray and various other goodies). Considering its legendary status — Singin’ in the Rain shows up in the Top 10 or Top 14 on most fans’ and critics’ All-Time Best Movies lists — I would be surprised if anyone is NOT familiar with the plot. But for those who haven’t seen it, the film is set during the period when the movie industry was switching from Silents to Talkies. Gene Kelly is Don Lockwood, a heart-throb of the silent movies, partnered with squeaky-voiced Lena Lamont (played by Jean Hagen), who will obviously not make it in Talkies as easily as she did in the Silents. To salvage their failed attempt to make a Talkie, Don and his musical partner, Cosmo Brown, along with young up-and-coming actress Kathy Selden, hatch a scheme to turn that film into a song-and-dance musical, with Kathy’s voice substituted for the high-pitched Lena. Fillled with unforgettable music, from “Make ‘Em Laugh”, “Good Morning”, “Moses Supposes”, “You Were Meant For Me” and “Singin’ in the Rain” (among others), all by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown had all appeared in other musical films, but are packaged perfectly here, tied together by a plot by screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green. But it is the perfect cast — Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor as Cosmo, and Debbie Reynolds as Kathy — that elevate this to his place of cinema perfection. This two-disc anniversary set includes an entire disc of “special features”. These include: “Musicals Great Musicals” (a documentary about Arthur Freed, “What a Glorious Feeling” (a documentary about the making of Singin’ in the Rain, film clips of the prior uses of Singin’s songs in earlier films, audio song excerpts (including unused tracks), and more. This movie cannot be recommended more highly!

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try pretty much any other Arthur Freed musical, or Gene Kelly song-and-dance musical, including “An American in Paris”.)

(Also available is Singin’ in the Rain: The Making of an American Masterpiece by Earl Hess.)
( Internet Movie Database entry for this film )

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Monday, February 27, 2017

The Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

The Wyrd Sisters
by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett’s Disc World series is fairly lengthy with over forty titles. The series can be broken down into smaller groups based on who the main character(s) is (are) and where in the Disc World it’s set. This book is part one of the witches sub-series. There are two older witches and a younger trainee witch and in this novel, they place a baby prince with a couple who agree to raise him as their own. For their own safety, and the prince’s, they don’t tell the new parents the baby’s true identity nor that his father had been murdered. Over time the dead king, who is now a ghost, and the witches bring the truth to light about the murder and the real identity of the prince. There is also a love story involving the king’s fool and the trainee witch. I’d say there are a lot of goings on throughout the story, which is not separated by chapters or even much of a break in the page. It’s very continuous in that way so at times I got a bit confused when the scene had changed abruptly without much visual break on the page, but I would not say it’s a negative, it’s just different. I did enjoy this book as it’s full of humorous dialog and funny situations. The plot itself is really funny, especially at the very end with the big identity twists. I’d read one other Pratchett before (Small Gods) and was not too eager to try him again, but I got talked into it and I don’t regret it. If you are looking for something funny and kind of off the wall with witches, ghosts, Death personified, and a training school for assassins, maybe this is your book.

Other books in the Witches’ series are Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, and Carpe Jugulum. I have not yet read these but have been told that they are best read in order, starting with Wyrd Sisters. They do appear in Equal Rights, Wee Freemen, and Hat Full of Sky, but the Terry Pratchett fan I know (whose read the whole Disc World series) suggested I skip out on these (the later two are written for teens).

( official Terry Pratchett Books web site )

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Hardcore Henry (on DVD)

Hardcore Henry [DVD Hardcore] 

I had heard the buzz about this movie when it came out in the theaters, back in 2015, but missed seeing it at the time. So I was glad to see it come out on DVD! I’m glad to have seen it now, but I’ll be the first to admit that Hardcore Henry is not going to be for everyone…in fact, it is probably only for a niche group of viewers.

Hardcore Henry is an extremely violent action/thriller film with some strong science fiction elements thrown in. It is told/shown from the visual point-of-view of the main character — Henry — with Henry’s eyes providing our camera angle. In other words, we (almost) never actually see what Henry himself looks like. The film opens with Henry on an operating table, having artificial limbs (with superhuman strength) attached to one arm and one leg. Henry doesn’t know who he is or where he is, and his throat has been damaged so he cannot speak. Henry is almost immediately thrown into a state of chaos and disorder, when the medical lab he is in is attacked by military types, and he and the doctor escape in an escape pod, from what turns out to be a top secret facility high in the atmosphere.

Reaching the ground, Henry finds himself constantly on the run, pursued by violent military groups, and starts to piece together his own story — he appears to be a highly trained killer. He keeps running into different versions of the same man (played by Sharlto Copley), and receives mysterious instructions to get to a particular place to receive more answers to who he is and what is purpose is. To tell anything more about the plot would be to spoil several surprises.

What I can say is that this movie is visually compelling. Hardcore Henry is literally told like many modern day combat video games — in First Person Shooter style. The action is bloody, EXTREMELY violent, and non-stop. If you like FPS games, you’ll probably love this film. For fans of experimental movie-telling, this will hold appeal. If, however, you’re in the slightly bit sensitive to violence, avoid this one like the plague.
Intriguing, and recommended with considerable reservations!

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film ) | ( official Hardcore Henry web site )
 
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge

We Love You, Charlie Freeman
by Kaitlyn Greenidge

This book has a weird premise. Once you get past it…

Mr. & Mrs. Freeman surprise their daughters one day by letting them know the family’s moving to rural Massachusetts to teach a chimpanzee to speak sign language. Before the move, these girls went to school with plenty of other kids who looked like them and understood them. Now they’re in the minority like they never have been before, and they’ve got to treat this chimpanzee like a brother.

The girls are each struggling to come into their own, and struggling to feel wanted by their parents who signed up for this job. They can’t really talk about why it’s weird to act like the chimpanzee is their brother now, and they feel like Mom is coddling him more than she ever did them.

This book is strongly written in a way that helps us examine the parts of American culture that we still struggle with. The author is discussing racism from an odd viewpoint, but in a way that is maybe easier to digest. I personally felt that I would need to read this book a few times to really understand some of the lessons the author is trying to share with us.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Sellout, by Paul Beatty.)

( publisher’s official We Love You, Charlie Freeman web site ) | ( publisher’s Caitlyn Greenidge web page )

Recommended by Naomi S.
Eiseley and Williams Branch Libraries

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah

I don’t often read war-time historical fiction, yet this book was so good that I had to finish it. Two sisters and their family are living in France during the second world war and they must do some uncomfortable things to help the Allied cause, especially after a German officer decides to stay in their home. Near the end of the story the author flashes ahead to a time when they are much older. This book was really interesting and I felt many emotions. I look forward to reading more of Ms Hannah’s works.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try these authors: Ann Brashares, Jodi Picoults, Sandra Steffen, or Barbara Delinsky.)

( official Kristin Hannah and The Nightingale web site )
 
Recommended by Kathy H.
Walt Branch Library

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Suicide Squad (on DVD)

Suicide Squad
[DVD Suicide] 


I was really excited to see this in the theater after watching the trailers, and it was not disappointing. For those unfamiliar with the film, it’s set in the DC comic book universe, with the Joker, Harley Quinn and other villains who had been caught and put in jails around the country. They are sort of released to work as a team for the U.S. Government to bring down the antagonist. What I liked about it was that each character got their own moments and we saw their own backstories so you could choose your own favorite rather than the movie picking a protagonist to focus on. They also have their own strengths and weaknesses which make them more interesting. It was a good action movie and it didn’t feel like you needed any prior knowledge of the characters to enjoy the movie. Everyone will have their own opinion of course, but I would recommend it if you are looking for an action comedy fantasy, set in a modern day city.

(The Suicide Squad as characters also appear in a variety of comic book or graphic novel formats: traditional print format.)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film )

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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Monday, February 20, 2017

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (audiobook)

My Life on the Road
by Gloria Steinem [Compact Disc Biography Steinem (also Downloadable Audio)] 

Gloria Steinem reads the introduction to this autobiography, then actress Demi Moore takes over to read the remainder. I found listening to the eight CDs to be empowering, informative, and hopeful. The autobiography featured signs of hope that overcame hardships, inequality and tragedies throughout the decades of Steinem’s life. I was impressed by how easy it was to relate to the author’s life lessons, and was grateful she gave credit to the diverse people through which they were given. Demi Moore’s voice was a wonderful selection for reading these CDs and the downloadable audio available through Lincoln City Libraries. I completed this with a vast amount of new knowledge, as well as launching points for more people and historical eras I want to research further.

( publisher’s official My Life on the Road web site ) | ( official Gloria Steinem web site )

Recommended by Jodi R.
Gere Branch Library

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Death on the Nile
by Agatha Christie

It’s not just one death on the Nile. Is it revenge or is it something else? Revenge seems plausible since the first victim stole the fiancĂ© of her best friend who proceeded to follow the new couple everywhere – even on their honeymoon, a boat voyage along the Nile. She’s even carrying a gun and stated how she’d shot victim one because she can’t stand anyone else having her man. But she has an alibi. Thank goodness Poirot is aboard the boat to get to the bottom of things. There were a lot of smaller mysteries to solve along the way in this story which was fun. It was a good story, though the ending maybe not be quite as surprising as some others in the series. I think it’s still worth reading if a mystery set among the pyramids and the Nile sounds nice. As usual with Agatha Christie it’s not a graphic murder mystery novel, but more of a light puzzler.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Agatha Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia or Appointment With Death. Both star the Belgian detective away from England.)

( official Death on the Nile page on the official Agatha Christie web site )

Recommended by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Last Man on the Moon (on DVD)


I had a bit of a Twilight Zone moment while watching this documentary DVD at home on January 16th, 2017. The DVD froze in my older DVD player, and I decided to stick it in my computer to watch the rest of the program, but before I did, I decided to check on the Internet to see what Gene Cernan was up to since this documentary was released in 2015. To my dismay, I discovered that Eugene Cernan had passed away that very morning, at the age of 82. It made watching the remainder of this superb film somewhat melancholy.

The Last Man on the Moon, taken from Cernan’s own autobiography title, is a somber and reflective look at astronaut Gene Cernan’s history with NASA, and his years since being the final human being to have stood on the surface of the Moon. Six Apollo missions landed on the Moon, starting with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s visit on July 20, 1969, and ending with Gene Cernan and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt’s departure on December 14, 1972. Twelve humans have trod the surface of our celestial neighbor, and with Cernan’s passing, six remain alive. The documentary film-makers spent four years interviewing Cernan’s friends and colleagues, and following Cernan in his everyday life, and the footage they compiled and assembled for this show really humanizes Cernan and makes him a very likeable guy…someone easy to relate to. I was fascinated by the footage of the early years of the space program, but even more fascinated by Cernan’s recollections of his old Houston neighborhood, when he visits in the modern era. Recreation scenes and/or special effects nicely supplement the content when original footage is not available.

Watching this documentary made me sad for the state of our current space program, but made me appreciate all the more what seemingly insurmountable obstacles the scientists and astronauts faced when President John F. Kennedy threw down the gauntlet of challenge to put a man on the moon. The scientific and social benefits that humanity has reaped as a result of the space program of the 1960s and early 1970s is remarkable. In the end, The Last Man on the Moon is a celebration of not just one man, but the entire program that got him to his place in history.

I can’t recommend this one highly enough!

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Cernan’s book The Last Man on the Moon (not in LCL), In the Shadow of the Moon (DVD), John Glenn: A Memoir by John Glenn, Moon Dust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith, Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight by Jay Barbee, or Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home From the Moon by Buzz Aldrin.)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film ) | ( official Last Man on the Moon web site )

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Puiblic Library

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe

The Gilded Years
by Karin Tanabe

Venture into a world of great opportunity and great risk in The Gilded Years. Based on real people and events, it’s the story of the first known woman with any Negro heredity to graduate from Vassar College. In that turbulent but promising era just before the turn of the 20th Century, we become privy to young Anita Hemmings’ dreams and what she does to fulfill them as best she can in the times and culture to which she was born. Along the way this beautiful, smart and talented young heroine experiences academic success, fear of discovery, and first love — all culminating in a combination of renown and rejection. In spite of everything, Anita manages to move forward and forge a life that, if not what she originally envisioned, is remarkable nonetheless.

( official Karin Tanabe web site )

Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Another Brooklyn
by Jacqueline Woodson

This is a short read that is chock full of emotion. After hearing positive buzz about the book, I read the synopsis and thought, well, I don’t know anything about Brooklyn, I don’t know enough about the 1970s, and I never had a strong pack of girls I roamed the streets with during adolescence, so maybe I’m not the target audience for this book. However, I kept reading positive reviews about the book and so I finally dove in. Once you get started, it really pulls you in.

The main character, August, delves deeply into her work as an anthropologist in order to both take her mind off of her damaged family unit, as well as to better understand it. She’s got an intriguing relationship with her brother in that they both have a lot to teach each other, and they have each coped with their parent issues in different ways. The girls she grew up with each taught her so much. They all made each other stronger and wiser, yet it is sad to know they can never go back to what they were.

It did indeed remind me of my old friends, and though we can easily get back in touch, we have each grown up in different ways so will never completely understand each other again like we did back then.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay – for mature readers.)

( official Another Brooklyn web site ) | ( official Jacqueline Woodson web site )

Recommended by Naomi S.
Eiseley and Williams Branch Libraries

Have you read this one? 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!