Information, Answers & Reviews

Nature: A Murder of Crows

You can always count on the PBS Nature series to be interesting and have beautiful videography. But I was especially captivated when I recently watched A Murder of Crows. It didn't sound that interesting- a documentary about crows, but when I read the description of crows as "apes with feathers" I was intrigued. I had no idea how intellligent these birds are.
 
 

Authors in the News

The RidgeLauren Myracle writes about being un-nominated for the National Book in the Huffington Post. Put in a really tough position, Myracle comes across as funny, tender and sympathetic. And apparently I wasn't the only one who added Shine to my Goodreads list.

Earlier this week, local law enforcement in Ohio was forced to shoot 49 large animals after their owner opened gates and cages prior to killing himself. As a follow up, NPR interviews local author Michael Koryta, the author of The Ridge which includes a significant plot line involving a large cat sanctuary in Kentucky. The interview covers challenges of regulating exotic animal ownership.

Man Booker Prize

Sense of an EndingJulian Barnes was awarded the Man Booker prize this week for his recent short novel, The Sense of an Ending. Reviews of the book include key words like "compelling", "memorable" and "dexterously crafted".
Barnes is well known in Britain, and has made the Booker short list three times in the past. He was the front runner going into the final days of the Booker, a prize awarded to British authors and authors from the Commonwealth. Usually considered one of the more prestigious literary awards, the Booker prize wasn't without it's own controversy this year. Critics complained that the short list was less literary in an effort to be more accessible and reward popular titles.
Can a book be accessible and popular while also being literary? Color me intrigued - I've just added this to my to-read list.

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 »

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