Staff Choices

Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/14/12
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Our Book Discussion Collection is highlighted by Anne Harmel in this podcast about AHML's book sets for checkout. We have twelve copies of  The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler and you can get a book bag to take them home. Book discussion books have a six week checkout instead of four.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/01/12
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Are you intimidated by opera? Don't be! In this podcast by staff members, Katie and Violet, you will learn about Verdi's Rigoletto and other operas. Before you buy tickets to a live performance, check out some operas on CD or DVD. Your library also has a great selection of books on opera to give you a richer understanding of the history of this underrated art-form.
DVD, Opera
Posted by Pam S on 08/30/12
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After hearing all the "buzz" about Gone Girl and waiting for the book, I found myself wondering if this novel was worth the hype.  In a word, YES!  Wow, this book had me engrossed from the first page to the last.  It is a gripping thriller with plot twists you won't believe.
Nick and Amy are a seemingly happily married couple celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary.  Amy suddenly goes missing with no trace and Nick becomes the prime suspect.  Amy has left a treasure hunt of clues for Nick as an anniversary present and Nick must follow the clues as he tries to solve his wife's disappearance.  Alternately, chapters are told through Amy's diary leading up to the day she goes missing.  The two different perspectives of narrators give the reader great insight into this damaged marriage. 
You will be on the edge of your seat reading this book.  Just when you think you have it figured out, the plot takes ingenious twists.  I,  for one, think this book is worth the hype and the wait. 
Posted by kensey on 08/24/12
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I've read several of bestselling author Emily Giffin's books and never considered them "good." I love a light, quick read, and her books fit the bill, but almost always induce several affectionate eye rolls from me before the last page is turned. But her latest, "Where We Belong," kept my eyes firmly on the page and out of the back of my head. I can unapologetically say I liked it.
The story is written from alternating points of view - that of Marian, a high-power New Yorker who gave up a daughter for adoption eighteen years ago and never told anyone, and Kirby, her now eighteen-year-old daughter, who, by finding her, forces her to reexamine her life and her choices. The story also alternates between the events of the present and the memories of the past.
Giffin does a great job of switching between voices, capturing that of a modern teenager's especially well. When Kirby, the daughter, starts a shy romance with a boy, the dialogue is touching in its realness - refreshing for those who get sick of reading flirtatious banter that's so clever it's cheesy. Kirby's character also manages to thrive through the book by not being dramatized as the manic pixie dream girl so many authors favor for their female (especially teenaged) characters.
The emotional parts of the book that explore the relationships between each of the characters are extremely poignant. I usually pride myself on not falling prey to the emotional traps of "chick lit" but because the relationships in this book are so relatable and are mostly non-romantic, they really did surprise me with their strength.

"Where We Belong" is not literary in nature - I'd still consider it a light and fast read. But it still feels just a little different, and a little reminiscent of author Melissa Bank.  I'm happy to say that I didn't visualize the book as a typical romantic comedy, starring Katherine Heigl and Vanessa Hudgens as mother and daughter, respectively. Rather, I saw a real story with real characters and good acting, maybe say, by Charlize Theron and Ellen Page. If you've ever been turned off by Giffin before, now's the time to give her another chance.

Posted by jonf on 08/21/12
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Daniel Byrne is a priest for the Vatican Office of the Devils' Advocate, the bureau that is in charge of debunking claims of miracles around the world, Daniel is pulled from a Stigmata claim in Africa and given a new assignment.
Daniels' uncle who raised him after the death of his parents is a powerful T.V preacher who has just recently been predicting events when speaking in tongues, he has used this trick before but now the Vatican linguist has confirmed that when played backward at 66.6 he has been perfect with his prophecies.
Daniel is stunned when he finds out his uncle is really predicting events and is as shocked as Daniel is.
Tim Trinity seeks his nephews help and soon Trinity is targeted by a secret global group, a casino owner, and his own flock.
Sean Chercover has written a fast paced thriller with good character development and exotic locales, would appeal to fans of Steve Berry and Dan Brown.
Posted by Uncle Will on 08/21/12
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Private First Class William Joseph Kramer was in the 4th Marine Division during WWII.  He saw action in some of the most fierce battles in the Pacific.  He was honorably discharged after VJ Day.  He came back to the states and became a limestone sawyer.  He married and had two children.  When the inhaled limestone dust became life-threatening, he packed up his family and moved to New Mexico because the air was said to be drier and cleaner than Chicago. When work could not be found, he moved his family back to Chicago and once again proudly wore a uniform for the U.S. Government.  This time around it was that of a postal worker.  For the remainder of his life he never mentioned the war or shared his thoughts or feelings with anyone.
Chuck Tatum was an 18 year old Marine that was part of the first-wave landing force on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. The battle lasted until March 26th.   Tatum was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals for his valor and wounds received.  This book is an in-depth look at the bloodiest battle of WWII.  110,000 Marines landed on the black sand beaches that day back in 1945.  6,825 Marines were killed during the siege.  The entrenched Japanese lost 22,000.  
Tatum's book was used as one of the four reference books for the filming of The Pacific in 2010.  It was made by the same production company that produced Band of Brothers.  The narrator in both films was Tom Hanks.
If it wasn't for books like Red Blood, Black Sand, interested parties today would not be able to understand the toll it took on the young men who bravely fought to keep our country free.
Pvt. First Class William Joseph Kramer had two each on his forearms.  One honored the love of his mother and the other, that of the Corps.  To his dying day he was damn proud of being a Marine.  This was evident in the way he carried himself.  The sharpness of his dress.  His inability to ever back down from anything. 
Like most of his brethren, he just didn't answer the question:  "...What did you do in the war, Daddy?..."  
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!

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