Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni

My Sister's Grave
by Robert Dugoni

Tracy Crosswhite has been haunted by her sister's disappearance and presumed murder twenty years ago. Edmund House was convicted of killing Sarah eventhough they never found her body. It appears to Tracy that House was wrongly convicted and Tracy works to free him from prison. This page turner is a combination police procedural and legal thriller that questions legal ethics and asks the question "does the end justify the means?" -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department [ see Donna's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Michael Connelly, Karin Slaughter and Linda Castillo.]

[ official Robert Dugoni 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!

Ancient Scotland by Ian Zaczek

Ancient Scotland
by Ian Zaczek [941.1 Zac]

This is a Scottish history book with a lot of photos. Each chapter covers a different region of Scotland and provides a short history at beginning of the chapter. After the introduction to the area, there are full page photos of particular locations in the region with a paragraph or so about it on the opposite page. The photos are beautiful and more meaningful as you read the history of each place. It's a nice visual history of Scotland, but if you are looking for a more in depth history book, I'd recommend Scotland: The Story of a Nation by Magnus Magnusson. Id recommend it if you are interested in travel or history. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you like the photographic histories you may also like Heritage of Scotland: A cultural history of Scotland and Its People by Nathaniel Harris andThe great castles of Britain and Ireland by Lise Hull.]

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, January 27, 2015

Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller

Star Wars: A New Dawn
by John Jackson Miller

For fans of the Star Wars: Rebels TV series (or any fans of Star Wars), Star Wars: A New Dawn is the story of how two of the series main characters, Hera and Kanan, met and started working together. It's a fun, well-paced story that serves as a nice introduction into the new Expanded Universe being crafted by Disney. -- recommended by Corey G. - Gere Branch Library [ see Corey's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Knight Errant by John Jackson Miller, or Kenobi by John Jackson MIller.]

[ The Wookiepedia web site ] | [ official John Jackson Miller 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!

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated
by Alison Arngrim [Biography Arngrim]

This memoir was fun to read, as I'd expected, but also a bit sad. I already knew Alison Arngrim (who played Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie) wasn't really the mean girl she portrayed on the show; what I didn't realize was that she'd had a seriously traumatic childhood, and her role on the show was an escape for her. Arngrim fills her book with lots of behind-the-scenes stories about her cast-mates, as well as fun tidbits about life in Hollywood in the 70s. -- recommended by Tracy T. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Growing Up Brady: I was a teenage Greg, by Barry Williams; Here's the Story, by Maureen McCormick; and Losing It: And gaining my life back one pound at a time, by Valerie Bertinelli.]

[Also available in
downloadable E-book format.]

[ official Alison Arngrim 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!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy (on DVD)



Guardians of the Galaxy
[DVD Guardians]

After tracking down and stealing a mysterious orb Peter Quill — also known as Starlord — finds himself in hot water, being chased by Gamora, who was sent by a villain named Ronan the Accuser to retrieve the orb. Little does Ronan know Gamora has her own plan to sell the orb to The Collector but her plan gets back-burned when she and Peter are arrested along with bounty hunters Rocket and Groot who attempted to capture Peter for money. In jail they meet Drax who hates Ronan because he killed his wife and daughter. The five of them break out of a prison together and decide to take the orb to The Collector and split the profit. This plan goes awry and the orb is stolen by Ronan's minions. When they realize how dangerous the orb really is the team vows to retrieve it and take it to Nova Prime where it will be safe. This is harder than it sounds because with the orb in his possession Ronan becomes even more powerful. I liked the characters, I thought the actors portrayed them very well, and the storyline was good but my favorite part was actually the soundtrack. -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Carrie's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try other Marvel superhero movies like The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, and Thor.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Guardians of the Galaxy 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!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Lincoln Highway by Mike Konz

The Lincoln Highway: Nebraska's Longest Main Street Celebrates 100 Years
by Mike Konz [388.1 Kon]

Mike Konz is the managing editor of the Kearney Hub newspaper and an avid motorcyclist. This collection of photos and stories about the Lincoln Highway in Nebraska is an interesting story of the towns that rallied to help create America's first coast-to-coast highway using anything they had -- bricks, concrete and even packed dirt. This is a fascinating look at the the making of the Lincoln Highway across Nebraska using wonderful photos, newspaper articles, advertisements and interviews. This is well worth reading. -- recommended by Kim J. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Lincoln Highway: Main Street Across America by Drake Hokanson.]

[ official Lincoln Highway Association 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, January 19, 2015

Making Mirrors by Gotye

Making Mirrors
by Gotye [Compact Disc 781.66 Got]

For anyone who enjoys pop/rock/synth/euro music, this is a good offering from the Grammy-winning Belgian-Australian musician Gotye (real name "Wally" De Backer). Including the evocative, retro-flavored smash hit from a couple of years ago, "Someone that I Used to Know", the album is a mix of upbeat tunes and darker, quirkier songs. In a few instances I found it reminiscent of Lincoln's own Matthew Sweet. Gotye employs a variety of styles (R&B, techno, ballad) in his offerings and even if you don't like all of them equally, they all have something intriguing or a little different to the sound and/or lyrics. -- 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 Time capsule: the best of Matthew Sweet, 1990-2000; Pure 80's hits; New wave hits, Vol. 1; Suddenly 70s; Guardians of the galaxy: Awesome mix, Vol. 1; Pop music: the golden era, 1951-1975; The roots of rock: 80's new wave.]

[ Wikipedia page for Gotye ] | [ official Gotye web site ]


Have you listened to 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, January 18, 2015

Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight by Jay Barbree

Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight
by Jay Barbree [Biography Armstrong]

Neil Armstrong - the first man to step on the moon. This is not a story of Armstrong's lifelong flight from the police, as a friend jokingly questioned. Rather, this covers his training, his career as a pilot in the Korean War, his NASA career, and his life after he left the space program. There is excellent background on all the Mercury and Gemini flights, and most of the Apollo flights, as well as some of the Soviet flights. We meet most of the astronauts and some of the cosmonauts. We also get a full five enthralling chapters on Apollo 11's historic flight to, and return from, the moon. There are photos on nearly every page, a good many I hadn't seen before and some are very moving. My only complaint - all the photos are black & white. When tragedy struck again, Armstrong returned to NASA briefly as Vice Chairman of the commission that investigated the Challenger accident. Barbree was best friends with Armstrong, good friends with most of the astronauts and we get some good stories. Definitely a bromance with the fliers and the space program but Barbree doesn't cut NASA any slack for its mistakes and later failures. A must-read for the space fan and I defy you to not tear up throughout the telling. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Charlotte's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[ official NASA Bio for Neil Armstrong ] | [ Jay Barbree 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!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (on CD) by Susan Wittig Albert

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies
by Susan Wittig Albert [Compact Disc Albert]

This charming, homespun cozy is set in Darling, Alabama in the midst of the depression. The story is as much about the townspeople getting by as it is a mystery. Along with their gardening, the local garden club, the Dahlias, wonder who the secretive platinum blonde is that is visiting Miss Hamer and claims to be her niece and decide to investigate. The Dahlias also support each other through their trials and tribulations including a foreclosure and the resolution to an old romance. The book is sprinkled with recipes, gardening and housecleaning tips. -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department [ see Donna's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the works of Laura Childs, Ellery Adams and Victoria Thompson.]

[Also available in traditional print, downloadable E-book and Large Print formats.]

[ official Susan Wittig Albert web site ]


Have you read or listened to 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, January 14, 2015

Extraordinary Measures (on DVD)

Extraordinary Measures
[DVD Extraordinary]

I'll admit, I had superficial reasons for wanting to watch this film -- after all it has two of my favorite actors in it: Harrison Ford (Star Wars, American Grafitti, Air Force One, Indiana Jones), and Brendan Fraser (The Mummy films, Blast From the Past and more). In the end, however, It was the story that impressed me the most, despite terrific performances from both Fraser and Ford (and Keri Russell). Fraser and Russell are salt-of-the-earth ordinary folks, whose two children are diagnosed with a rare genetic disease that will likely kill them before age 10. Ford plays a crusty, cantakerous medical researcher (in Nebraska!!), who they turn to for help because he's research work may hold the key to their childrens' survival. A large chunk of this movie deals with the emotional stresses and turmoil that the family go through as they try to raise astronomical amounts of money for the medical research, with the anti-social nature of Ford's character making it all-the-more difficult. Lots of emotional highs and lows in this film, and it provides a fairly realistic look at the complicated process of medical research and testing. I also enjoyed the Nebraska connection! Highly recommended. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]


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

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Linus and Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi

Linus and Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi
by Vince Guaraldi [Compact Disc 781.65 Gua]

On this CD, George Winston preforms the solo piano music of Vince Guaraldi, the man who created the music for the animated Peanuts shows in the 1960s. If you've seen the shows before the songs on this CD will be familiar to you. The music brings back fond memories of watching Snoopy and the gang dance around as Schroeder plays the piano for them. It's a great CD to listen to over and over. I'd recommend it to those who like jazz piano and anyone who enjoyed the Peanuts TV shows. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[ official Vince Guaraldi 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, January 12, 2015

Tarkin by James Luceno

Tarkin
by James Luceno

This book serves as something of a "reboot" of one of Star Wars' more iconic characters: Wilhuff Tarkin. It's an interesting and fun read in that you come to understand why Tarkin is the way he is. Luceno crafts Tarkin as both protagonist and antagonist in this well-paced and fairly compact story. -- recommended by Corey G. - Gere Branch Library [ see Corey's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Dark Lord: the Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno, and Darth Plagueis by James Luceno.]

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

[ The Wookiepedia web site ] | [ James Luceno 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, January 11, 2015

Heart-Land: Growing Up in the Middle of Everything by Douglas Keister

Heart-Land: Growing Up in the Middle of Everything
by Douglas Keister [Biography Keister]

This humorous autobiography is a must-read for anyone who grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska in the 1940s, 1950s or 1960s. The author is Douglas Keister, a local Lincoln boy who went on to publish over thirty books with his photography. Mr. Keister's writing reminds me of the classic movie "A Christmas Story" which was based on the book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cass by Jean Shepherd. Memories of the old Gold's Department Store, the Yum-Yum Hut, Tastee Inn and Out and other Lincoln landmarks fill this charming book. There is also a chapter about Charlie Starkweather for those interested in the infamous murder spree. -- recommended by Kim J. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Remember When: Memories of Lincoln by James McKee and Linda Hillegass.]

[ official Heart-Land page on the official Douglas Keister 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!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Which Way, Yahweh?

Which Way, Yahweh?
by Hilda Neufeld Schmidt

This book chronicles the story of a young man who fell in with the wrong crowd, and he lost his life for it. This particular crowd, living in various midwestern areas (ending up in Rulo, NE), basically became a sort of religious cult. As a part of their directions from their leader, who claimed he was spoken to by God, the group tortured and killed a 5-year-old boy and a young man named James Thimm. This was really difficult to read, due to the detailed description of abuse the protagonists endured, but I felt it was important to learn what can happen right under our noses. So sad, so very heartbreaking and sad. It's pretty graphic... almost made me upset to my stomach, reading it. The story is somewhat poorly written – grammatical errors, that sort of thing; but the information is pretty complete and detailed. The story gets across with no problem. Considering it was written by the victim, James Thimm's, mother, I let that slide. (Am usually so critical of that sort of thing.) -- recommended by Tracy T. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try In Cold Blood by Truman Capote; Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry.]

[ "Nightmare in Rulo" Nov 16 1986 article in the Chicago Tribune ]


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, December 30, 2014

Modern Family - Seasons 1 through 5 (on DVD)

Modern Family - Seasons 1 through 5
[DVD Modern]

This TV series is hilarious. It involves Ed O'Neill's character and his wife, played by Sofia Vergara and their children and grandchildren. Sofia plays the second wife to Ed's character Jay, and being younger than Jay's first wife, she is close in age to his children. -- recommended by Kathy H. - Walt Branch Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Parenthood TV series drama on DVD (we don't own), The Devil Wears Prada DVD, Glee TV series DVDs.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Modern Family 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!

The Public Library: A Photographic Essay

The Public Library: A Photographic Essay
by Robert Dawson [027.7 Pub]

This is a fascinating and impactful collection of photographs and short essays, focused on the history and future of Public Libraries across the United States. Over the course of more than 18 years, photojournalist Robert Dawson toured the entire country, visiting libraries both tiny and huge, and capturing images of those facilities. Those images -- featuring small shed-like structures all the way up to magnificent new buildings like the main library in Seattle, alternate with thoughtful and frequently emotional stories illustrating the importance of public libraries to the American way of life. From a bookmobile driver visiting impoverished rural areas in the Southwest, to the venerated halls of the main New York City Public Library and its famed reading room, the stories of lives changed and futures made in public libraries are uplifting. And the essays looking at decreased library funding, coupled with images of abandoned and/or dilapidated libraries may make you become a library advocate. As the Lincoln City Libraries campaigns for public support for a new downtown Central Library, I found this book to be both timely and timeless. This book will appeal to both library lovers and to fans of architectural photography -- the types and varieties of architectural styles used in libraries in the United States is incredible! -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[ official Robert Dawson's Blog ] | [ official Robert Dawson Photography 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, December 29, 2014

Safety Not Guaranteed (on DVD)

Safety Not Guaranteed
[DVD Safety]

This is a wonderful, quirky, offbeat character study film, spun off of a real-life personal ad that appeared in print several years ago. Darius is a young female intern at a big Seattle magazine, who ends up on a field trip with one of the senior writers and a shy fellow intern, to research a human interest story. Someone in a backwater community placed a personal ad stating: "WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED." After her writer-boss (who's using the trip for his own non-work-related reasons) alienates the man who wrote the personal ad (Kenneth), Darius ends up being the one to try to befriend the apparent nutjob and learn what his story is. Kenneth is an odd man, possibly a bit unstable. But Darius, herself is somewhat damaged goods, and as she pretends to become his potential time travel partner, they actually do bond. In a subplot, writer Jeff tries to reconnect with his youth by seeing an old girlfriend, and intern Arnau is forced to break out of his introverted shell. This is a slow-paced film, in which the best moments are often the quiet and introspective ones. I was never quite sure where it was ultimately going, but the journey along the way was fun. Actress Aubrey Plaza was marvelous as Darius, an emotionally-stunted twentysomething who slowly connects with the people around her. -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Scott's Reviewer Profile and more of his reviews ]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ]


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

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

December (on CD)

December
by George Winston [Compact Disc 781.65 Win]

This is an album of wintery piano solos that make a nice soundtrack to the cold winter days. There are some holiday songs on the album, but not all of them. I did enjoy it but I do prefer his "Linus and Lucy" album. I'd recommend either if you like piano music or if you are looking for music for your drive in the snow. -- 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 Summer, Autumn, Winter Into Spring, Linus and Lucy: Music of Vince Guaraldi, all by George Winston.]

[ official December page on George Winston web site ]


Have you listened to 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, December 24, 2014

New Booklist: 75 Young Adult Novels Every Adult Should Read

Here's a year-end gift for all you readers -- Teen Specialists Carrie K. and Susan S. have assembled a brand-new booklist. Their theme?


Young Adult publishing continues to be an explosively popular field, with books like the Twilight and Hunger Games series, or John Green's The Fault in Our Stars standing front and center. But Young Adult fiction isn't all sparkly vampires, dark dystopias or angst-filled relationships...there's a lot more going on in the YA field. Carrie and Susan also include a number of classic novels from years gone by, that they consider to be true "young adult" fiction, before that category was clearly defined.

So...check out the new booklist -- it's a PDF, with each title hotlinked to the libraries' online catalog, so that you can check on the status of any book and/or place a reserve.

Million Dollar Arm (on DVD)

Million Dollar Arm
[DVD Million]

J.B. Bernstein is a sports agent whose business is going under. While watching cricket on TV he is inspired and comes up with an idea to bring cricket players from India to America and train them to play professional baseball. They hold a contest in India to find the best pitchers and bring the top two to America where they train and tryout in front of scouts for major league baseball. At first they have trouble adjusting to the new environment and also to baseball itself and end up living with JB. This cramps his style as he's not used to being responsible for other people. They grow attached to his neighbor who also takes an interest in them. As they grow more comfortable in America JB also grows in maturity and they become like one big happy family. It's a good movie for baseball fans. It also has moments of comedy, is based on real events and has a feel-good ending. -- recommended by Carrie K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Carrie's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Bend it like Beckham, Draft Day, or other baseball movies.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Million Dollar Arm 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, December 22, 2014

A Charlie Brown Christmas (soundtrack on CD)

A Charlie Brown Christmas
by Vince Guaraldi [various call numbers]

This soundtrack album is essential holiday listening for me - in fact, if prompted to complete one of those "what music would you want to have with you if trapped on a desert island?" quizzes, this would be one of my choices. Having grown up watching the A Charlie Brown Christmas special on television, Vince Guaraldi's jazzy, light-hearted yet sentimental riffs perfectly capture the Christmas season for me. Of course, the "Linus and Lucy" track is probably the best-known, and carried over thematically to the many other Peanuts television specials. But the soft, thoughtful, vaguely plaintive "Christmastime is Here", in either instrumental only, or even better with vocals, snaps me back to my childhood, being comforted by family gatherings, festive decorations and smells, and a general sense of seasonal well-being. The only other album that does that is John Denver and the Muppets - A Christmas Together. If you're a Peanuts fan, you probably already own this CD. If it is not already part of your holiday music rotation, consider checking it out...it will most likely bring back a lot of memories! -- 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 actual DVD of A Charlie Brown Christmas -- the music is also available in various printed sheet-music collections for various instrumentations.]

[ Bibliography of Vince Guaraldi music ] | [ official Vince Guaraldi web site ]


Have you listened to 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, December 17, 2014

Christmas at Historic Houses by Patricia Hart McMillan

Christmas at Historic Houses
by Patricia Hart McMillan and Katherine Kaye McMillan [745.594 McM]

This is a gorgeous table book for browsing through to enjoy, and perhaps copy, the Christmas decorating schemes of over 60 American and English historic estates and simple homes – from the palatial Biltmore to the simplistic Nelson-Galt Office in Colonial Williamsburg. Homes include Mount Vernon (Virginia), Molly Brown House (Colorado), Waddesdon Manor (England), Maymont Mansion (Virginia), Hearthside Homestead (Rhode Island), and Monticello (Virginia). We learn the importance of preservation and restoration, and about the Christmas celebration customs of other countries and previous time periods. Entire (short) chapters on decorating with Christmas stockings, trees, and wreaths. Then you'll encounter the beautiful color photos of the estates, mansions, and homes, and their decorated gardens and interiors. No need to read or thumb through this book in order. Just jump around and enjoy the various styles and colors. And for those wishing to order from the gift shops, a listing at the back of the book includes website, address, and phone numbers of the historic buildings. -- recommended by Charlotte K. - Bennett Martin Public Library [ see Charlotte's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]
 

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, December 14, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star
by Curt Bright and the String Beans [Compact Disc j782.42 Str]

The cinematic Star Wars universe is enjoying a rebirth, with new films in production right now (the first scheduled for release in December 2015), a new animated series (Star Wars Rebels) on TV, and excitement building over the direction the new films will go. This seems like a perfect time to look back with fondness and a bit of tongue-in-cheek at the original trilogy that started it all. Curt Bright, singer/musician with the popular Lincoln children's music group The String Beans, has created a musical parody/tribute to Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi. In the fannish tradition of Filking -- setting new lyrics to popular existing music -- Bright created a staged musical that retells the events of the original trilogy through songs -- hilarious, goofy and perfectly rewritten songs. Some of the examples include "Sand People" (to Randy Newman's "Short People"), "Don't Stop Rebelling" (to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"), "Leia" (to Eric Clapton's "Layla"), "Lake of Fire" (to Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"), "Vader Cut Off My Hand" (to the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand"), "Stormtroopers" (to the "Ghostbusters" theme by Ray Parker Jr.), and "Always Look on the Dark Side of Life" (to Eric Idle's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life") -- these just scratch the surface!

The stage show was performed in various formats at various venues (including area sci-fi conventions), before culminating in a live show produced at YAAL (Youth Actors Academy of Lincoln), twice. Bright and his adult String Beans associates recorded this soundtrack album, which first became available for fans at the YAAL shows. Although it is not the YAAL actors performing on the CD, if you've been lucky enough to have seen the staged YAAL musical, this soundtrack album will still bring back fond memories. If you never saw A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star performed live, well then, first, you've missed a true treasure of sci-fi pop culture, but second, you'll still enjoy this album for its hilarious take on Star Wars tropes. And the best news? The show may be coming back to a Lincoln stage again in the near future! [Note: Although this is cataloged in the library collection as a juvenile item, it may actually appeal to adults even more -- some of the reworked fannish song lyrics may go over the heads of the youngest listeners.] -- 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 classic movie/tv musical parodies from Mad Magazine, reprinted in various Mad Magazine archival collections. Mind you, this is a recommendation of the movie musical parodies, not just the straight-forward movie parodies.]

[ Extended Review (also by this reviewer) and photos from past local productions of this staged musical ] | [ official The String Beans web site - where you can order this CD ]


Have you listened to 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, December 13, 2014

Hannibal - Seasons 1 and 2 (on DVD)

Hannibal - Seasons 1 and 2
[DVD Hannibal]

At first I didn't think I'd like this series, too gory, possibly creating nightmares. After watching a few episodes I realized its more psychological, although there are some graphically violent visual scenes, I can look at it in a different way. Its interesting the way the characters relate to one another and try to figure each other out. After watching this, I always watch something funny. -- recommended by Kathy H. - Walt Branch Library

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Walking Dead, complete first and second seasons DVDs; Sherlock, seasons one and two DVDs; Grimm seasons one and two DVDs; I Know What You Did Last Summer DVD (we own the YA book by Lois Duncan, not the DVD); Scream DVDs (we do not own).]

Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ Hannibal episode guide at EpGuides.com ]


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, December 12, 2014

The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne

The World of Pooh: The Complete Winnie the Pooh and House at Pooh Corner
by A.A. Milne [j Milne]

These are the original stories of the Hundred Acre Wood written by A.A. Milne 90 years ago now in 1924. This is really a collection of both books, in the series. I hadn't read them as a child; I just knew the Disney versions, as I'm sure is the same for many people. The books had some familiar stories like the invention of the game Pooh Sticks, the night Tigger arrived in the woods, and the great flood. I really enjoyed reading it. It'd make a good gift for a child, or you could check it out from the library and read it together. Either way I think this is a classic to not miss out on. -- recommended by Kristen A. - Gere Branch Library [ see Kristen's Reviewer Profile and more of her reviews ]

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The World of Christopher Robin By A.A. Milne.]

[The Winnie the Pooh books are available from the libraries in a wide variety of formats and editions.]

[ official A.A. Milne entry at 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!