Information, Answers & Reviews

National Book Awards Controversy

ShineThe National Book Award finalists were announced last week and cover fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young adult literature written by an American author. In the original announcement, Lauren Myracle's Shine was mistakenly announced as a finalist for the young adult literature category instead of Chime by Franny Billingsley. The National Book Awards admitted to the mistake right away and made an announcement that Shine would remain on the list due to it's literary strength. But in a new shocking twist this week, The National Book Awards has asked Myracle to withdraw from the shortlist.
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New Movie Monday Quick Tip.

On the second Monday of every month, a new release will be shown at the main library's auditorium. Due to copyright restrictions we can not "publish" or "advertise" the name of the movie too far ahead of showing it. You can however use the library's "calendar of events" link on the main page to locate the date of the movie and send yourself an e-reminder of the event. See an example here: Read more »

22 Britannia Road

22 Britannia RoadMany novels dwell on the horrors of war, but few deal with the dislocation and tremendous adjustments that occur afterwards. Amanda Hodgkinson's wise debut novel does exactly that for a Polish family separated during World War ll and later reunited in England.

A year before Poland was invaded, Silvana, a movie projectionist, and Janusz, a country boy meet and marry. They have a son Aurek. War comes and Janusz is called to defend his country. Before even reaching his unit, German bombs halt Janusz's train and he is injured during his first battle. He watches as an old woman herding her sheep is shot down.

After the planes disappear, the young Polish soldier decides that he must care for these animals and give this old woman a proper burial. Meanwhile Silvana takes Aurek to the city but as the Germans invade it, she is separated from her son. A woman helps her to reclaim him. Later, a German tries to rape her in an abandoned apartment that she has taken over in search of food and shelter. She and Aurek flee to the woods where they spend the next three or four years.
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The Passage by Justin Cronin

The PassageIn The Passage, author Justin Cronin, shows us a world in which humans struggle to survive in a bleak future overrun by horrific vampires. The only hope for humanity is a mysterious young girl.
 
When the military attempts to use a virus to create the next race of super-soldiers a bloodthirsty horde is released upon the world, knocking the human race down a step in the food chain. Cronin, admittedly, takes us where many, many authors have taken us before. However, few authors have done so with the style that one expects from Cronin, a former Hemingway/PEN award winner.

Nowhere Boy

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Confession time -- I grew up with The Beatles. They hit the music scene in the U.S. in 1964 when I was 9 years old. I was enthralled. From that time on, I really wanted to play guitar and drums. Many books and movies have been written and made about the early days of The Beatles. Nowhere Boy could have been just another in the bunch. Read more »

Heavens to Betsy

Heavens to BetsyBetsy Blessing is an interim reverend at Church of the Shepherd in Nashville, TN, but when the senior pastor retires without warning the church reluctantly turns the reigns over to her. The board, for the most part, is not fully supportive of Betsy because she's a female and Edna Thompkins, Betsy's nemesis,  knows just how to get under Betsy's skin. Little does the congregation or Betsy's best friends, LaRonda and David, know that Betsy is planning to go to law school in the fall. All she has to do is get through a few months and she's free...or so she thinks.
 

A Thousand Clowns

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A Thousand Clowns has long been at the top of my favorite movie list. Based on the play by Herb Gardner it is the story of Murray Burns, a former television writer for a local Children's show and his nephew "Nick." There is a reason for the quotes around Nick's name which becomes apparent as you watch the movie. Murray has been unemployed by choice for a considerable length of time because he wants to have fun in life. His philosophy can be summed up by the following exchange between Murray and Nick at the beginning of the film,

Murray: "Nick, you are about to see a horrible thing."
Nick: "What's that Murray?"
Murray: "People going to Work." Read more »

Half Broke Horses: a True Life Novel

Half Broke HorsesThis Sunday in our Booksplus program (Library Room 2B at 2p.m.) we will be discussing Jeannette Walls' rousing true fiction story Half Broke Horses about her grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, a feisty woman who grew up in the still wild west of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in the early years of the last century. You may be familiar with the author's first book The Glass Castle; it made many best books of the year lists when it came out in 2005 and still has a wide readership.

What a gripping opening. A flash flood rips through the family ranch one evening and Lily her brother and sister hear a loud rumbling as the earth shakes beneath them. Lily grabs the youngest and runs for the only tree in the field. They spend a harrowing night hanging on to branches as massive flood waters drown the field. Although Lily is only ten at the time, she keeps both children awake by making them say their math tables, the names of the states, and any other long list she can remember.
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Post Mortem: The death investigation crisis in America.

Everything is not what it seems. I guess I watch too much tv. I've always been under the impression that forensic investigations and death investigations were done in a highly scientific and professional manner. As it turns out, the reality is that throughout most of America the position of Coroner is an elected position. This means that the person doing the investigation could have little to no experience at all which could then lead to a Read more »

The Housemaid (2010)

Currently I'm a little in love with pretty much anything coming out of South Korea. Whether it's Thirst, The Host, Oldboy, or 3-Iron, I love pretty much everything I see. South Korean directors manage to make some of the most deliciously weird movies I've seen. The latest batch of weirdness comes courtesy of The Housemaid, the latest from Sang-soo Im. Read more »

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