Staff Choices

Posted by Ultra Violet on 08/14/12
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In this lively podcast, staff member, Will Kramer, lets us in on his secret to searching our catalog for unusual movies. Will searches IFC in the Keyword search field and gets 162 DVDs made by the Independent Film Company. The Norwegian film, Dead Snow, is one of his favorites that he found through this method.
Posted by Auntie Anne. on 08/05/12
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"Let me tell you something, son. When you’re young, and you head out to wonderful, everything is fresh and bright as a brand-new penny, but before you get to wonderful you’re going to have to pass through all right. And when you get to all right, stop and take a good, long look, because that may be as far as you’re ever going to go.”  This is the advice given to 5-year-old Sam Haislett, the speaker of which should have heeded his own advice.

Charlie Beale was a handsome, charismatic 39-year-old war veteran in 1948 when he wandered into sleepy Brownsville, Virginia.  He carried with him two suitcases, one full of money, the other full of knives.  Charlie liked what he saw in Brownsville and decided to stay.  He talked the local butcher into giving him a job (hence the suitcase full of knives), and soon he became well-liked by the townspeople, and adored by young Sam, the butcher's son.  The day that beautiful, young Sylvan Glass walked into his life, Charlie Beale was never the same. "She went off in his head and his heart like a firecracker on the 4th of July."

Sylvan Glass was the teenage wife of Boatie Glass, the richest, greediest, and most mean-spirited man around. Sylvan was raised in a backwoods berg to dirt-poor parents who were sadly desperate enough to sell her to Glass.  Although she had no education, Sylvan was wily enough to reinvent herself into a Hollywood starlet wannabe, fashioning her new persona from movie magazines and afternoon matinees.  So when Charlie, along with young Sam always in tow, entered her life, she saw him as a means of playing out her fantasy life.  Unfortunately, Sam was always there as an innocent witness, reading comic books at Sylvan's kitchen table, while she and Charlie were upstairs. It's obvious from the start that this flirtation can come to no good.  And the reader gets a personal accounting from adult Sam Haislett who narrates tragic events of the story.

Heading Out to Wonderful reminded me of a runaway train. It started out nice and calm, even passing some beautiful scenery along the way.  But soon enough you realize that the train is out of control as it picks up speed.  You're hoping that the crash won't be that bad because you have become invested in the book's very well-developed and interesting characters. Then comes the crash, and, wow, you never saw that one coming!

A Booklist reviewer says that Goolrick, in Heading Out to Wonderful, "creates a mesmerizing gothic tale of a good man gone wrong." It is mesmerizing indeed, a book you won't want to put down.  It is implied at the beginning of the book that Charlie Beale had somewhat of a checkered past, and I sure would like to have found out where he got all that money in his suitcase.  The author unfortunately bypasses those key bits of information.  But other than that, I give this book two thumbs up.

Posted by rkong on 08/02/12
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Ever wonder what library staff members read, watch, and listen to when they're not working? Well, here's your answer! We asked staff to go into our catalog and tag their favorite books, movies, music and more. You'll find suggestions like Firefly, the space western television series created by Joss Whedon after Buffy the Vampire Slayer and before the Avengers.

So, have a look at our favorites and let us know what you would add to the list in the comments below.

Posted by kto on 08/01/12
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Twilight and Stephenie Meyer fans may recognize this story- a much older vampire heads to high school and falls in love with a fellow classmate. Drama and romance ensues. But this isn’t just another spin on Meyer’s story. In fact, the Vampire Diaries book series that is the basis for the show was written by author L. J. Smith almost fifteen years before the publication of the first book in the Twilight series!

Why you may love this: The series is developed by two of television’s most interesting minds, Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec (Dawson's Creek, Kyle XY, the Scream movies, etc.). It also stars some of television’s best young actors, including Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder. Ultimately, the best thing about The Vampire Diaries is its foundation as a story of loyalty and tenacity even in extreme circumstances.

4.5 / 5 stars!

Posted by Ultra Violet on 07/26/12
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Mary Weber shares her gardening expertise and stories of the grandmother who sparked her love of making beautiful things grow. Mary recommends The Gardener's Color Palette by Thomas Fischer as an excellent resource for planning the overall look of your space.

Posted by Uncle Will on 07/25/12
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Stockholm's detective extraordinaire, Joona Linna, is back in this sequel to the best-selling first novel The Hypnotist. Joona is invited to join Sweden's elite-of-elite crime-solving team called "The Commission" as its sixth member. This small group of investigators are "...responsible for combating serious crime at both the national and international level...."  Joona declines the prestigious offer since they mandate a regimented procedure for investigating crimes. Variations to the theme are not welcomed.

Joona is the modern-day combination of a Swedish Sherlock Holmes and action star Chuck Norris. He basically has free reign over what cases he gets involved in and what means he uses to solve them. The nice part is that he is not pretentious or self-centered. He is just uncannily always right. 

The Nightmare has Joona investigating several murders whose connection is apparent, at first, only to him. A renowned pacifist and her lover are on the run from a robotic-like professional killer. The assassin is searching for a photo that would compromise a major arms deal if released to the public. The person who has ordered the killings has an unusual way of conducting business. Contracts are never signed. What he requires, in order to complete all business transactions with his future partners, is their willingness to share their worst nightmare.       

Alexander Ahndoril and his wife Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril write under the pseudonym Lars Kepler. These Swedish authors had a breakaway best-seller last year with The Hypnotist. The film version's release date is set for September in Sweden. The movie is about "a detective who pairs himself with a famous psychologist on a case involving a traumatized young witness to a crime." 

Posted by Ultra Violet on 07/21/12
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Summer Kosuge and Tom Spicer discuss One Week Job in this podcast about documentaries. It's a funny, inspiring and fascinating film for teens and adults. Take a listen, then check it out or put it on hold.

Posted by Auntie Anne. on 07/20/12
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Wow! This is one very powerful book! Set in Appalachia, it is the story of two brothers, Jess and Stump Hall.  Stump, the older brother, is autistic and has never spoken a word in his life. His younger brother, Jess is precocious, adventurous, curious, and very protective of his older brother. But it is Stump, who in spite of their mother's stern warnings, can't resist spying on someone. The consequences are horrific when he gets caught in the act. Stump's mistake unleashes unspeakable evil, and Jess is powerless to help him.

The story is told by three characters - Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral compass; and Clem Barfield, the town's sheriff, who has his own set of demons to exorcize. Their voices resonate like a ballad of Appalachia, the lyrics of which sing with love, forgiveness, tragedy and evil-doers.  Check out the interview below to watch author Wiley Cash tell of his own childhood growing up in North Carolina, the inspiration for his killer debut novel. One reviewer calls Cash "a new, strong, Southern voice in American fiction."  After you read A Land More Kind Than Home, you will anxiously await his next killer novel.

Posted by roseh on 07/18/12
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I was intrigued by the title, The House at Sea’s End, and hooked immediately upon reading the first pages. My interest never wavered; in fact, it prompted me to read the previous books in the Ruth Galloway Mystery series: The Crossing Places and The Janus Stone.

The main character, Ruth Galloway, is a forensic archaeologist. She is a professor at the local university and is the Head of the Forensic Archaeology department.  Often called upon to assist the police department, Ruth uses her expertise with carbon dating and ancient civilizations to solve crimes, some new, and some very old.

Although Broughton Sea’s End is a fictional place, the author, Elly Griffiths, creates a fascinating tale enhanced with vivid imagery highlighting the unique setting of the Norfolk coast. The characters are independent and sometimes quirky. They use just enough distinctly British terms and phrases to make the story interesting without making it cumbersome.

In The House at Sea’s End, a bit of World War II, that is, the threat of enemy invasion and how the local watch brigade dealt with it, comes into play. Six skeletal remains have been found in the eroding cliff side. Further investigation reveals a possible connection to a local war-era organization whose surviving members are being murdered as the mystery unfolds.

I recommend this book and the entire series; but I think The House at Sea’s End has been the best. A new addition to the series, A Room Full of Bones, has just been released this month and I cannot wait to read it.

Posted by kto on 07/16/12
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Girl meets boy via an online dating site. In a weird coincidence, on the same day she meets boy’s best friend. Both boys want her but only one will win her heart.

Did I mention that both “boys” are highly trained CIA operatives?

For me, this movie falls into that weird place where it’s so bad that it’s actually good. A guilty pleasure--if you will--for those who tend to like Reese Witherspoon movies. The best thing about this movie, and likely the intention of those who created it, is that it has something for every type of typical moviegoer. For those who like action and comedy you have Chris Pine and Tom Hardy running around fighting one another for the girl. For those who like romance you have the overall story of Witherspoon’s character falling in love with one of the guys.

3.5 / 5 stars!

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